30 November 2009

Santa's Beard

Another one of my holiday favorites, from TMBG:

28 November 2009

While We're on the Subject

I wouldn't mind a little Courtney Taylor-Taylor in my stocking, either.

'Tis the Season

Surely one of the stranger pairings in the history of Xmoose music, but I'd be hard-pressed to listen to Bing otherwise, knowing what an insufferable bastard he was. This number is nice, though.

24 November 2009


So early last week I came down with what turned out to be one hell of a cold. Hit me hard enough Tuesday morning that by that night I realized I needed to call in sick for Wednesday night. No fever, but I was still pretty sure none of my coworkers wanted me to share it. I made it in for Friday night's shift and am much improved, but I'm still dealing with lingering effects of it. And on top of that, Tuck came down with pneumonia very suddenly Friday morning, though I caught it almost as soon as it broke and he's responded incredibly well to antibiotics.

Anyway, in the midst of all this, Paula was able to get in touch with a nearby shearer to come shear Angus and Shaun, but David really wanted to get photos of me holding the boys first so y'all could get a better idea of just how tiny they are. Here's Angus:


And a pre-shorn Shaun:


If you embiggen, you can see all the weed seeds they'd picked up from being let into overgrown pasture that morning (not by me!). That should be fun to card out.

At any rate, the shearer arrived, started shearing away Shaun's belly fleece and made a slightly disappointing discovery. Whoever castrated him didn't make sure his testicles were in their proper place before placing the band, so he has no scrotum anymore, but his family jewels are tucked right up in his crotchular area. Poop.

And then we found the same had happened with Angus. Double poop.

So probably next week sometime I'll be doing a bit of surgery to rectify that situation. Fortunately, it shouldn't be terribly difficult, but it's one more thing I'd rather not have on my plate, either figuratively or literally. It does, at least, explain the head-butting issue.

Anyway, now they're even tinier and look like this:


And once they were all done and let back out into the pasture, they did what rams tend to do, especially when they're freshly shorn. They decided to figure out whether there was going to be a new king of the hill.


You'll notice Shaun doesn't look so brown anymore. If you didn't read my earlier post about it, his color is mooskit, which is primarily grey with brown fibers. Since this was their first shearing, he still had his baby coloring, but from now on he'll look more like these.

18 November 2009

New Beginnings

On Saturday I went to pick up the newest members of our little farm family. One of the biggest advantages to sticking with smaller animals is that you don't need a livestock trailer to move them around.


Paula and Wendy were so excited that they stayed up late to wait for their arrival. Because the remnants of Hurricane Ida were blowing through, though, it was too messy to get a temporary holding pen ready for them for the night, so they got to spend a night camped out in the back of the pickup. Since they're maybe 30 pounds each and had plenty of hay and water, and a few apples, it was more Hilton than hardship for them, though, and they've since settled in quite nicely.


That's Angus on the left and Shaun on right. Or maybe he's Fergus - it's a topic of debate. Either way, Posey is less than amused at the moment. I'm sure she'll get used to them in time, but she's lived with goats for so long that I think she's forgotten what other sheep are. Still, she's as big as the two of them combined, so it's pretty funny to see her take off whenever they come near.

One thing I can see we're going to need to work on, though, is their tendency to butt when they want food. I learned about that today when I hand-fed them a little grain and Shaun/Fergus lowered his head and rammed my hand when the grain was gone, apparently in hopes that would make more appear. They're little, but those little heads are still hard. I'm expecting a bit of TTouch work and lots of handling will make a big difference with them. And eventually, I'm thinking it may be fun to learn to hand shear them. I'm definitely looking forward to using the wool, but even more toward seeing how their personalities develop.

10 November 2009


Just a quickie to show an I-cord-as-swatch I knat up of wool from one of the Shetland wethers, whom we should be picking up this weekend pending the last bit of health testing. For the blood draws I had to clip away a bit of wool, so I washed the locks, carded them open, and spun this yarn up from the brown boy (who appears to be more properly mooskit in color and will be much lighter in color once shorn). This is the finest yarn I've ever spun, and I am pleased with how it turned out. I'm even more pleased with the color and softness of this wool. His fiber may get a little bit coarser as he ages, but as a wether it's not likely to change by much.


I also have a brief anecdote to share. We had a husky in over the weekend who had been shot by a hunter (who is now in trouble with the game warden service, because shooting domestic animals is a big no-no). Anyway, the owners came in last night and were going to take the dog home because she was doing well, and I was talking to the mother about the dog's care and couldn't help but notice that she was wearing a very nice handknit Fair Isle sweater.

So after we'd gone over the important matters regarding the dog's care, I finally had a chance to ask her about the sweater. She told me that she and her late mother had owned a yarn store in the Midcoast area and her mother had designed all manner of Fair Isle patterns, including the sweater she was wearing, and knit them up in Jamieson & Smith yarn. She said she'd considered trying to get her mother's patterns published, so I encouraged her to do so. It was nice work and would certainly find a welcome audience.

08 November 2009

Relationship Borg

Friday morning I had a fairly critical case show up right at the end of my shift, which is never fun because it makes my 15-hour shift at least an hour or two longer. Anyway, since I'm usually too tired to drive home at end of shift and end up sleeping here, it also meant that it was fairly late in the evening by the time I came to and I was still faced with the hour drive home.

I called David to let him know I was coherent and about to leave for home and was thinking as I talked to him that I really didn't want to have to cook dinner when I got home and really, really would prefer just to order pizza, which we maybe do 3 or 4 times a year at most. So in order to try to steer the decision in that direction, I started out with an innocent, "What are you thinking you'd like for dinner?"

His response was immediate and unequivocal: "Pizza!"

He ordered marinara and mushroom, and I picked it up on my way home. We are, apparently, singular of mind and act as a colonial organism. But we don't assimilate.

Knitting Update

One sleeve down, one to go on Expedition. Since I've spit-spliced and woven in the few ends as I've gone along, there won't really be any finishing when I've finished with sleeve #2. I may give it a wash, but I'm more likely just to start wearing it.


The buttons are ram's horn buttons I got at Rhinebeck last year from Elaine at Frelsi Farm. I think they're perfect for this sweater. Keep an eye on her website, because there may be a photo on there of a certain dashing frenchie (modeling his sweater from her yarn) in the near future.

05 November 2009

Thankful Thursday

It was Carole's idea to start this, and although I won't promise to remember to do this every Thursday, it's a good little reminder this week that the sky didn't fall down Tuesday night. So this week I am thankful for:

1. David, of course. He makes me laugh, we finish each other's thoughts, and I truly am thankful every day to be married to him.

2. The fact that, despite the economy and the belt-tightening we've had to do in the past year, we still have plenty of food and a roof over our heads, which is more than a lot of people can say.

3. My family, who really get it.

Computer Says Yes!

Took me a little bit to get everything pulled together and notify the winners, but I did the drawing for the Raffle for Marriage Equality tonight as promised. The winner of the main drawing is Knitnzu! It just so happens that she's having a drawing of her own (leave her a comment by Friday) because she won another drawing and ended up with two copies of a romance novel, which is one more than she really needed. Talk about some people having all the luck!

And the winner of the drawing for furr'ners who got the word out is JoVE! I can't seem to find a current e-mail address for you, JoVE, so e-mail me directly so I can get some details. For folks who want to see the yarns our winners have to select from, I put them into a Flickr set here.

And for folks who don't get the reference for the title of this post, I present Carol Beer:

04 November 2009

A Modest Proposal

So the election is over and it appears that No on 1 has lost this battle. I am, of course, angry about this - angry that some people still think it's okay to put other people's rights up to a vote, angry that they find such glee in purposefully and maliciously hurting other people's families - but it's not a hot, weepy, tearful anger. No, this anger is cold and calculating and resolved that this war is far from over.

What this campaign has really done is to gel and confirm my belief that it's time to use their playbook against them. Bishop Malone has at least intimated that he's not opposed to civil unions, per se, and that his big problem was using the word "marriage", which he sees as a religious sacrament, for same-sex couples. Fine, then. If the word is his hangup (It isn't, really, but he needs to be hoisted on his own petard), then I say we let the word "marriage" be the exclusive province of the churches.

I was married in a church by a minister, and that makes my union a marriage, as far as I'm concerned. If what it takes for my relationship to be legally recognized is for the state to call it a "civil union", then so be it. The only way for that solution to be fair and equitable, though, is for the state to stop using the word "marriage" altogether and apply the term "civil union" across the board.

I propose a campaign that we call "Preserve Religious Marriage". We talk a lot about God and allowing churches to exercise their traditional values unencumbered by the state and throw in a lot of talk about "no special rights". In short, we completely co-opt their language, then change all the language in state law to use the term "civil unions", which are the same as marriages under current laws in everything but name and their availability to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. It is completely constitutional and it basically renders all the arguments they used in this campaign moot.

"Marriage" won't be taught in schools at all because it's a religious institution. We don't talk about the fact that there are some churches which are perfectly comfortable calling a union between same-sex couples a marriage. Maybe we don't even show any same-sex couples in any ads at all. Basically, we use their language and their imagery to defuse their message and completely fuck with the minds of their supporters.

It is, admittedly, a cynical approach, but at the moment I simply don't care. What they did in this campaign was completely cynical and mean-spirited and hateful, and they deserve to have that turned back on them.

03 November 2009

Raffle for Marriage Equality

My caseload was fairly manageable last night and I had no inpatients, meaning I actually had a rare shift where I was able to get in a fair amount of sleep. Where "a fair amount" means about 5 hours. So even though I wasn't completely rested this morning, I had enough energy after my shift to spend a couple hours volunteering at the No on 1 headquarters in Portland.

Polls are showing our side essentially in a dead heat with the people who don't think mine and David's marriage should be recognized. This means that this campaign will be right down to the wire, and it will all come down to whether or not the bigots and fearmongers can get more people to the polls than we can.

Anyway, I've been thinking of what I could do to help raise the money which is very badly needed. It's needed to pay for the phone banks, produce ads and get them on air, and to counter the hateful and nasty lies, which they're already recycling outright from the Prop 8 campaign in California last year. It would be nice if that money could go elsewhere, but seeing as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is closing down parishes and parochial schools and taking second collections to spend on attacking my family and others like it, we have to meet the fight head-on.

So I decided that since this is (primarily) a knitting blog, I should do a raffle involving knitting. I thought initially about offering to knit a sweater for the winner, but as a process knitter I tend to be a bit too slow for anyone to wait on a project of that size. That and I don't know that I've got enough of anything in my stash, which is where the yarn will need to come from given how tight money is these days. What I do have in stash is a fair selection of sock yarns, including some very nice handpaints. Some were gifted to me, but I'm going to make them all fair game because it's for a very good cause.

So here's the deal: To participate in the raffle, go make a donation to No on 1, then send me a copy of your receipt (either send a pdf copy of the receipt page or forward me a confirmatory e-mail to mel(daht)vassey(at)gmail(daht)com). For every $5 you contribute, you will get one "ticket" in the raffle. Donations can be made through November 3, Election Day. On November 4, I will use a random number generator to select a winner.

The winner will get to select a yarn from my stash of sock yarns, from which I will handknit them a pair of socks, the pattern for which will also be selected upon consultation with the winner. In addition to this, David is also offering a free pair of RedMaple Sportswear socks, winner's choice, to wear while waiting for me to knit up a pair. And as if that weren't enough, VUBOQ has offered up a piece of his lovely hand-turned pottery to sweeten the pot even more. Photos to follow, of course, once I manage to dig out my stash and assemble all my sock yarns in one place.

Oh, one more thing. Because this is a political campaign and donations are governed by campaign finance laws, No on 1 can only accept donations from US citizens or permanent resident aliens. However, so those of y'all who are "from really, really away" aren't left out, I will hold a second drawing for folks who do not meet the citizenship/residency requirements but who link back to this post to put the word out and encourage your US readers to chip in.

If you do so, just be sure to let me know you've done so and where, so that I can be sure to get your name on the list. The winner of this drawing will get second pick from my sock yarn stash, and I'll knit them a pair of socks after I finish the first pair.

Um, which means my knitting will be all booked up through next summer, I'm thinking.

Election Day!

David and I actually voted early at our town office yesterday and were encouraged to see the numbers of people coming in to cast their ballots. Then we headed over to the local No on 1 headquarters (at York Harbor Inn, for any locals who can go volunteer today - you're needed!) and put in 8 hours helping to organize things for today. David will be going back to help out today, as well, while I head back to work. They've been making good use of his organizational skills over the past few days.

In related news, the Raffle for Marriage Equality has raised $1010 so far for this campaign. If you have not donated and gotten your name in for this, there is still time to do so. I will accept any entries before midnight tonight. Even though the ads have all been run and the campaign is winding down, those donations are still very much needed to get through the last flurry of expenses. And I shouldn't have to tell you how important even $5 & $10 donations when you add them all up.

And now it's time for me to get some sleep. The two sides of this campaign are pretty much running even and it's anyone's guess as to what will happen, but I hope that today Mainers will stand up and do the right thing. If they should fail to do so, though, I've been through enough of these campaigns to know that time is always on our side. If the matter isn't put to rest this time, then there will be as many next times as we need to do so once and for all.

02 November 2009


It looks like the farm will soon become the new home for this pair.

Malaga, the last goat on the farm, is now 13½ years old and pretty severely arthritic, so even though he's in fairly good spirits at the moment, it's all but a certainty that he won't survive another winter. The problem with losing him is that Posey, the resident Shetland ewe, would be all alone, which is generally not good for sheepies, even primitive breeds like Shetlands that don't have as strong a herding instinct.

So Paula and I talked about it a bit, I did some asking around, and I found this pair of young Shetland wethers who were otherwise destined for the freezer, which is the fate of most ram lambs. Then there were negotiations with Wendy, who was pretty adamantly opposed until she saw their photos, and we have pretty much hammered out an agreement by which I will take over farm chores a couple of weekends a year so that Wendy and Paula can completely get away. I'll likely plan it so that I take time off those weekends, too, which will be like a mini-staycation for me since I never have a weekend fully away from work, either.

On Saturday, I drove up the coast after work to do a proper pre-purchase exam and get poop and blood samples to make sure there aren't any disease concerns that might be a problem for the 'pacas. I also came home with a few locks that we had to clip to do the blood draws, so I washed them up and just spun up about 9 yds of very lovely 2-ply laceweight from the brown fellow (whose color, I believe, is more accurately mooskit). I've got slightly less from the black one and will spin that up later, but I expect it to be every bit as nice.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes they are every bit as adorable as they look in the photo. They're 5 months old and weigh maybe 25-30 pounds tops. It was all I could do not to squee when I saw them. Here's another pic of them in the field with the resident ginger tom (who's maybe 13 pounds) hanging out with them for size comparison.

01 November 2009

A Guest Sermon

My friend Dawn, who is not a member of the clergy, gave her first sermon today. It is a must-read, and I don't think she'll mind me sharing it here. The original, along with a few additional words about it, can be read on her blog here. If you have comments or words of encouragement, I would like you to go leave them on her post, since she has worked tirelessly on this referendum and deserves to be recognized.

It is just two days before the election, and I am in a pulpit, a place quite frankly, I never pictured myself short of some kind of trial. Politics make strange bedfellows, though. And despite the fact that our democracy was founded on the principle of the separation of church and state, we as Unitarian-Universalists, are called to speak out for justice, and in this season, that means we end up mixing our faith and religious practices with secular concerns. And that, I suppose, explains how this grumpy middle-aged, lesbian, ex-Catholic semi-failed UU ended up in a pulpit two days before an election to not quite talk about politics.

As Unitarian-Universalists, what do we believe? What makes us what we are?

I remember when I was young and I was at that stage in a Catholic girl’s development when I began to realize that not every one of my friends was Catholic. I asked my aunt about different families we knew, and I remember when I asked about the Bennetts, she told me “they’re Unitarians.”

That stopped me for a moment. I had begun to learn a little about the various stripes of what had previously been a monolith of “Protestants” in my mind. I knew of Baptists and Episcopals (“Catholic-lite” I was told) and Pentecostals and Lutherans, but Unitarian-Universalists were a new thing to me.

“What do they believe?” I asked.

There was a pause, as my Irish Catholic aunt searched for her answer.

“Not much, as far as I can tell.”

More than thirty years later, I find myself here, asking the same simple question. The answer is far more complex than that first one I received.

What is it that we believe?

What is it that drives us?

We can cite the stuff that is written in the front of our hymnal and in all the literature, the lines about the inherent worth and dignity of each person, the bits about the interconnectedness of us all, the appreciation for our diversity and how we value each search for truth and meaning, but what DRIVES us? What makes us DO stuff? What makes us move?

What gives us passion enough to put aside the things that we do every day and invest a little bit of ourselves? And perhaps the more telling portion of this equation is this: how do we explain it to ourselves, and to others?

There are beautiful and intricate essays woven by theologians to explain why UUs are different from other Protestant sects, but for me, the thing that makes it real is what I call the “put up or shut up” principle. It is unwritten anywhere in our texts, you won’t find it in our creed, or in any hymnal or pamphlet, but it is something that runs through me that resonates within these walls.

We are people of action. We are people who put our money – and so much more – where our mouths are.

We do not only wail about hunger, we feed people.

We are saddened by oppression and seek to stop it and lift up the oppressed.

We do not just lament injustice, we work to fix it.

We prefer action to novenas.

Put up or shut up.

We exemplify faith in action.

The key thing, it seems to me, is that we like to be challenged. We like to have our ideas and beliefs challenged, else why would we show up every Sunday? Certainly not to be told repeatedly that we are right. Certainly not to have illogical things drilled into us by rote until we believe and chant it all back like so many automatons.

We want, nay, we DEMAND to be challenged, in all aspects of our lives. We need to hear “so what are you going to do about it?” We need to hear “please explain.”

Ours is not a faith of passive obedience, but one that demands rigorous action. As much as we need to be challenged, we challenge each other and the world around us. As often as we hear “please explain,” we say those same words.

“Please. Explain.”

“Show me.”

“Teach me.”

For what is it worth? To go through a day – or a lifetime?

never learning,

never growing,

never risking,

and never accomplishing a damned thing?

What kind of life is that? Where is the joy in being sedentary? Passive? Isolated?

When I first encountered UU-ism as an adult, it was at the Universalist-Unitarian Church in Waterville, Maine. I attended a service there as part of an assignment in a college class on modern religious movements.

I was overwhelmed.

The people were welcoming.

The readings were about love and sharing and helping and doing right, and you can only imagine my amazement when I flipped through the hymnal to find Holly Near!

I couldn’t go back for over a month. It felt so affirming -- it was more than I could stand.

I had never been in a church where I had been told that I was worthy. Indeed, as a part of the Catholic masses I used to attend weekly - sometimes daily – I repeated “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed” countless hundreds of times through my developing years and into adulthood.

To stand among people who did not ask me to hide my orientation or my politics was amazing. To converse with people who did not judge me because I had ideas that were different from theirs was enormous. To be welcomed and introduced to other, out queer people in a church was all a bit much for this embittered ex-Catholic to handle. I had no idea church could be like this. And it scared me.

What kept me coming back – initially – was the social and political action stuff. I was impressed by how active the people at the UU church were in politics. I was surprised to see people actually doing things – as opposed to just writing a check. In 1995, when I really became involved with the church there, it was because of the number of people from those pews on Sunday morning that I saw at the Maine Won’t Discriminate phone bank all the other nights of the week. We were fighting a No On 1 battle back then to protect the anti-discrimination law that had been passed by the legislature and signed by the governor.

Sound familiar?

You knew I’d get to this part.

The No on 1 part.

And it’s true. That’s why I am here.

My job today is to challenge you, within the context of what we know of our faith, and ourselves, to be all that we can be, to do all that we can do. And to give of ourselves. I mean really give. Not the easy stuff, the check, the single shift at the phone bank, going to the polls and casting a ballot. I mean the tough stuff.

The put up or shut up kind of stuff. The ‘how much does this thing called equality mean to us really?” stuff.

We’re UUs. We’re already active. And, truth be told, we’re usually pretty smug about how active we are.

When was the last time you gave everything you had?

I mean everything?

When was the last time you stayed up late, got up early, worked tirelessly, round-the-clock, putting aside everything else for a thing that was bigger than yourself? And what was that cause? An event? A war? A campaign? A big project? A movement?

What is it that is worth that much of us? Is marriage equality worth that? Some say yes, some say no.

Let me tell you what happens sometimes when my partner Laura and I visit an emergency room. Laura suffers from chronic back pain and chronic migraines. Sometimes we end up in the emergency room for acute care. She is in pain, blinded by her pain, often crying, sometimes being physically ill, barely able to speak. I am nervous. I am scared for my beloved. I want to stop her pain, but I am powerless. I want the doctors to respond NOW to make her better. I am frantic with worry.

And then a nurse steps in front of me and says, “you can’t be in here. You’re not family.”

I could cite case after case of similar instances, both in Maine and around the country, but I am only here to tell you about my experience. My truth. My reality. Where I live every day. And this is it. Unless we are married, by law, I am not a part of my partner’s family.

The hospital cannot release Laura’s medical information to me. I cannot have input or ask questions about her treatment or how I should care for her after I get her home. Under the law, we are strangers.

To me, then, this fight is worth everything I’ve got. And honestly, I don’t recall a time when I have poured more of myself into a thing than now.

I have devoted myself to causes and projects over the years. Some were logistical challenges, like conferences or retreats or weekend activities, but some were bigger than that.

Some, like this campaign, are about something that goes deeper than coordinating a weekend of picnics and hiking. This is about equality. And rights. And security. And dignity, and justice, and all of those things that are hard to describe but so important to us.

So important is this battle that I have devoted what some would call an unreasonable amount of my life to it in recent months. I am a small-scale contractor, specializing in home maintenance and repair. With the economy in a downward spiral, I have taken a leap of faith and thrown myself into this campaign. I have abandoned my business except for the most peripheral obligations and have begun to rely on the kindness of friends and strangers to pay my rent and other bills. I have not applied for public assistance, although it may come to that after the election.

I go to sleep each night and wake each morning thinking of the campaign. I think of how I can help, what I can do, where I can go to raise money, to recruit volunteers, where can I put yard signs, how can I get a house party put together in Bucksport or Stonington, or Ellsworth? How do I get my mug in front of voters and potential volunteers in Sedgwick or Gouldsboro, or Belfast?

Lately I have been having a recurring nightmare. I awake with a start from a dream in which it is November 4 and I am reading the election returns in the newspaper. Only I learn that if we had two more votes in each town, we would have won.

We UUs often talk about a faith-lived life, but what does that mean? To me it means living my life as closely in line with the things I believe as I can possibly get. It means put up or shut up.

It means doing what it takes to do what is right. It means giving of myself, laying myself on the line, taking a risk, speaking out, standing up and stepping forward.

It means volunteer. Put a shoulder to the wheel, stand and haul in line with the others, and do the work that is real.

Some of us are burned to a frazzle. Some are too overwhelmed by the enormity of what must be done to even begin.

And I am here, feeling just a little of both. Like many of my friends, have been fighting the long battle for equality for years. Many of us are more than just a little burned out. We feel as though we have been throwing ourselves at this particular wall for a very long time and we can see no sign that our efforts are doing anything real.

In the past few months, my role in the campaign has been to inspire people to give of their money and their time. I make ‘em cry and then I make them write checks and volunteer. It is what I seem to be good at, so it is what I do.

Not everybody can ask a group of strangers for money, and fewer still can ask their friends; but I can, and it needed doing, so that’s what I did.

The time for house parties is over. We are down to the sprint for the finish.

I stand before you with a complex agenda. I am here as a fellow Unitarian-Universalist, knowing what it is to be a cat who resists herding, and resenting mightily the suggestion that I might not be as enlightened and politically active as I ought to be already, thank-you-very-much.

And I am here as an organizer who knows just how much more there is to be done in the next 58 hours and who wants to inspire you to do it.

And I need to somehow wrap it all in a not-quite-political message that will both challenge and appeal to the pantheon of spiritual traditions and beliefs that fill the room.

Frankly, a house party would be a lot easier right now.

We all know what is involved in a political race. We all know what is involved in the last hours of a campaign. There’s a lot of grunt work to be sure, very little glamour, and much confusion and sometimes some shouting. But it is as necessary to democracy as air and sunlight and free speech. It is the stuff that makes our nation what it is – free people working hard for justice.

A faith-lived life is a light that can change the world. Gandhi taught us this.

How much is it worth to us, this thing called equality? What does it demand of us? What are we willing to give? How much faith do we have?

Are we willing to give our time? Our energy? Our talents?

Our hearts?

So now I challenge you:

What are you willing to do on faith?

How much of yourself are you willing to put on the line?

Are you willing to give of yourself?

Are you willing to give a day?

One day of your life?

Tuesday? Election day? Can you take that off to help drive people to the polls?

Maybe Monday, too? To make get out the vote calls and help people who want to vote early?

Two days?

Can you offer that much on faith?

It’s a lot, I know.

Are we willing to step out on that high wire and trust that we are doing the right thing and that the fates, or some higher power of our own definition, will preserve us?

Are we willing to put ourselves on the line?

Not as civil rights workers have in the past, stepping into the path of police dogs and fire hoses and riot batons; but to put ourselves on the line in a different way.

Personally, I’d love to see everyone here rush up to our volunteers after the service and sign up to work all day both Monday and Tuesday.

Not all of us can take two days off. But we can all give something.

Through this fall’s campaign, I have been using some basic math to inspire people to write big checks.

When a donor makes a one-time contribution of $100, that is a very good thing. But what does that represent? How much of that person is offered in that donation?

If the donor makes $30,000 a year, that $100 check represents one-third of one percent of his or her income.

One third of one percent.

How much are we willing to give of ourselves?

How much of our resources, whatever they may be, are we willing to put into this battle for equality?

One day of our year is – in easy math – one three hundred sixty-fifth of our year’s allotment of days. In easier to comprehend math, that’s something just over one fourth of one percent.

If we break it down into working hours, for those of us with day jobs, let’s say we offer up a whole workday. Based on 50 weeks of full-time employment, one eight-hour day is four tenths of one percent of what we pledge to our employer each year.

How much are we willing to give of ourselves?

The time for writing checks is past. Now is the time when justice asks us to give of what is real, to give of ourselves.

We talk in lofty terms about democracy and equality and justice, terms our Unitarian and Universalist forbears held so dear and suffered so to preserve, but how much of ourselves are we willing to sacrifice for those things?

What is equality worth to us? What value do we place on being able to visit a spouse in the hospital? How much of ourselves are we willing to give so couples will never have to hear again “you can’t be in here, you’re not family,” or worse yet, from a funeral director, “I’m sorry, you can’t sign for the body. We need a family member for that.”

This IS the single most important civil rights issue of my lifetime.

Marriage equality is going to happen on a state-by-state basis, creating a patchwork of equality until we arrive at a Loving vs. Virginia – type decision that will decide for all the land whether same-sex couples deserve the same basic civil rights as our heterosexual counterparts.

Maine is the only election this year dealing with marriage equality. 34 times the issue of same-sex marriage has gone before voters in one form or another in this country, and 34 times it has failed.

The task before us is enormous and is of a level of importance that I cannot describe, but can only hope that you comprehend.

This is our chance to march to Selma.

The world is watching.

I have taken that step out into the ether and trust that the world and its people will not let me down.