26 June 2009

And Life Intervenes

How has so much time gone by? I haven't even finished putting up pics from Montréal yet, but things got busy, I made a too-brief trip to South Carolina to visit my grandparents, and I've been busy since I got back.

I know, bad me.

Anyway, today brought a very fun visit from The Femiknit Mafia and Little Man. They got the tour of the farm, got to meet a couple of our resident snakes, and got to hang out while I did some quick vet work with a couple of the 'pacas, but the real reason for the visit was so Mafia could check out and take home my old kayak that really needs a loving home.

Unfortunately, I got an e-mail this evening that she wasn't able to get it into her building. *sigh*

Anyway, there's been no knitting to speak of for a while. A bit of repetitive strain of the wrists has made me set it all down for a bit. While I was at the grandparents' last week, though, I picked out a few nice fabrics from my grandmother's extensive stash and started a lap quilt for her. Nothing fancy, but it's in fabrics she loved once and will never be well enough to work with again herself. And despite the fact that it was getting up to 100° while I was there, she feels chilly much of the time and will really appreciate it. Photos will follow, eventually. Or at least I hope.

The other big thing going on is that we now are co-owners with the neighbors of 11 laying hen chicks. There were 12 initially, but one of the buff orpingtons decided to lie down and die a couple of days after they arrived. My big, butch project has been to construct a chicken coop for them. I have framing done, but there's still quite a lot left to do. Fortunately, I have the weekend off and am planning to work on it. Provided the weather cooperates.

15 June 2009

Married same-sex couple await recognition by state - Bangor Daily News

I submitted this op-ed piece a few weeks ago, and I learned from a friend that it was just published today.

Married same-sex couple await recognition by state - Bangor Daily News

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When we got married last year, our guests almost universally said it was the best wedding they'd ever been to, which was exactly what we'd hoped for. The wedding ceremony was in the historic and lovely Hancock Point Chapel, and the reception was held on Schoodic Peninsula, on a bluff overlooking the islands in Frenchman Bay. For me the area holds special significance, both because my roots in the area go back some 250 years and because it's where I spent the most treasured summers of my childhood.

Clergy were well-represented at our wedding. In addition to the Unitarian Universalist minister who officiated, a dear friend who had just been ordained to the Episcopal diaconate (and who has since been ordained into the priesthood) gave the readings, and David's cousin Deb, a Lutheran minister from South Dakota, was among our guests. We felt blessed, not just because of their presence, but because of all of our friends and loved ones who joined us to celebrate that day.

Despite all of this - the $20,000 or more we brought to the state economy, our commitment to and love for each other, the ecclesiastical imprimatur - the state still didn't recognize our marriage, and won't recognize it at least until the outcome of the people's veto initiative. We went to Nova Scotia to have a legal ceremony, so that when same-sex marriages are finally recognized by this state we won't need a "do-over."

Bishop Richard Malone and Michael Heath would have you believe that allowing the state to recognize our marriage is like dancing at the edge of the abyss. Maybe their hang-up is just over the word "marriage," though it really seems to me to go deeper than that. The problem is that we are, in fact, married - twice. Once by an ordained minister in front of people who are dear to us and once by a justice of the peace on a beach in Canada. We would simply like the state to grant that fact recognition and to provide to us the same protections and responsibilities it does to other married couples.

After all, the state already recognizes plenty of marriages that the Catholic Church would not condone or recognize. Atheists, divorcees, Catholics with adherents of other faith traditions, infertile couples - all of these are anathema to at least some part of the Roman Catholic church hierarchy, and yet they can still be legally married in this and any other state. This is because marriage as a civil institution is distinct from and, from the perspective of the secular state, more important than the religious ceremony. Regardless of whether or not a priest is involved, the marriage simply does not exist in the eyes of the state unless the couple has paid their fee and obtained a marriage license.

The word "marriage" has served double duty for all of this nation's history, signifying both the religious union and the secular one. The latter, at least, has changed and evolved as this nation has, such that the term "traditional marriage" as it's currently thrown around carries little meaning with regard to the civil institution. Wives were once the property of their husbands and were prohibited from owning property of their own, interracial marriages were once proscribed, but these have long since fallen by the wayside, despite dire warnings from religious conservatives at each step that eliminating these discriminatory practices would destroy the very fabric of society.

And yet with this latest stage in the evolution of civil marriage, Bishop Malone warns us that the state's recognition of same-sex marriages will "reverberate throughout society with tragic consequences." It is, quite frankly, a worn out canard that needs to be retired. Civil marriage has always changed to meet the times, and in that sense, this latest change is perfectly in keeping with tradition. So when Bishop Malone and Michael Heath try to restrict the secular institution to their particular religious concept of "traditional marriage," it makes one wonder: Who is really trying to change the definition of marriage?

14 June 2009

Le Jardin Botanique

I'm not doing these Montréal posts sequentially. The original plan was for me to be taking an ultrasound course over the weekend, but it ended up being canceled and we had our last day there as a total play day. So once we got our layabout carcasses out of bed and got reasonably woken up, we headed out to meet up with Tornwordo for a stroll around the Botanical Garden. I'd had a very nice time there on my previous visit to Montréal back in '98, but it had been so long that it was just like being there for the first time.

In no particular order, here are some pics (which curiously include none of the people involved).

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I didn't say they were all pretty.

12 June 2009

Comment Dit-on "Super Slack-Ass"?

Good Gah! It's been a week and a half since I posted last! My excuse is that we were in Montréal most of last week, and I've been flat out or passed out since getting back. I finally managed to get pics uploaded from the trip last night, and there are enough that I think I'm going to have to break them down into multiple posts (though I was bad and got none of Lee Ann or Tornwordo).

Anyway, let's start with the most meh thing we saw - the cross on top of Mont Royal:

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And the creepiest thing - these Christmas figurines in a store window near the cathedral:

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Children with no eyes = the stuff of nightmares

And the cutest thing of all, from the store right next to the eyeless children shop:

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Too bad it cost $395. Even with the exchange rate, that's like over $100 in real money.

And the cutest purchase I did make:

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Actually, it's the only purchase I took a photo of, and I got it for $24 in a kitschy junk shop. Aside from this and some most excellent pastries from this company, I also snagged some slightly used copies of Tintin books, which were some of my favorite comics as a kid, and plunked down quite a bit of money for CD's at the Archambault store on Ste. Catherine, thereby saving myself a fair chunk of change in shipping costs. I know I've said it before, but Québec has an incredible music scene and far too little of it gets heard outside La Belle Province. At some point I'll also try to share info on some of the CD's I bought.

And Now for Something Completely Different....

It's totally not related to Montréal or our trip, but I wanted to share this pic of something we found on the threshold of our front door the other evening trying to get warm.


What it doesn't realize is that if it manages to find its way inside, there are murderous cats waiting for it. So after a few minutes warming up in my hand (and depositing some very foul-smelling musk that required two vigorous washings of the hands), it was ready to go back to the proper spot down along the foundation.

02 June 2009

Betty Bowers Explains Traditional Marriage

I heart Betty Bowers. Thanks to Joe.My.God. for this