Thursday, May 29, 2008

Partners of Pagans

I am happy to announce the founding of a new international organization called “Partners of Pagans”. I founded this group to find support and camaraderie among people who understand my particular fate; married to a pagan.

You might ask what kind of support we need. Well, the first thing that comes to mind is “Pagan Holidays; As the Wheel Turns”. I first realized I needed a Partners of Pagans meeting when I needed support around what to do on Samhain, a.k.a. Halloween. She’s up in Marin County at a witches-only event, and I am too scared to be alone in the house at midnight because of all the friendly ghosts.

All of my non-believing friends think I am totally out of my mind, but many people who have been to this house and have experienced the funny stuff will understand. Heck, the cable guy won’t even come here alone. He got a good dose one day when the TV starting going off and on by itself.

Next topic: Where to go during the initiation at your house? It’s a lazy weekend day, perfect for hanging around the house and relaxing. Guess again. An initiation today. Let’s see, how can I amuse myself out of the house from 11 AM to 5 PM. Please see the pamphlet on day trips for Partners of Pagans.

Next: Don’t tell me you ate THAT! One of our first UK members reports that he came home one day and there was a piece of cheesecake on the mantle. Sweet, he said to himself and partook. His wife came home and shrieked, “That was an offering to the goddess!” Oh, well. Another member’s response to that was, “When you offer something to the gods, you never know which god will receive.”

I think you catch my drift. When I was in England in April, each and every husband of all of those fabulous witches over there signed up. So stay tuned, and send in your topics for future meetings.

Oh yes, and there will be a Partners of Pagans caucus at the up-coming Fools Journey three-day spiritual restorative that I am helping some witches organize. Maybe we’ll even do a skit in the talent show.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

a poem

Till There Was You

There were bells on a hill
But I never heard them ringing
No, I never heard them at all
Till there was you

There were birds in the sky
But I never saw them winging
No, I never saw them at all
Till there was you

Then there was music and wonderful roses
they tell me in in sweet fragrant meadows
of dawn and dew

There was love all around
But I never heard it singing
No I never heard it at all
Till there was you

Then there was music and wonderful roses
they tell me in sweet fragrant meadows
of dawn and dew

There was love all around
But I never heard it singing
No I never heard it at all
Till there was you
Till there was you

by Meredith Willson 1957

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

All I want for Christmas is December 26th

How did this happen? How did this nice jewish girl from Philly end up stuck with Christmas? OK, I admit it. Around 5 PM on Christmas Eve, I usually get the Christmas spirit, and rush around buying jars of fabulous jam made by the Trapist nuns in Italy for everyone I will see in the next 24 hours. And the tree does look beautiful, each ornament individually placed with an invocation for the coming year. I pulled a little wooden hen out of the box and invoked “a chicken in every pot”.

But the next day is hideous. I am far too co-dependent to enjoy the opening of the presents. I hate the “this one’s for you, this one’s for you.” Then, after the presents are over, there is all that dead time for the rest of the day and night.

Even if you wanted to ignore Christmas, it’s pretty hard to do since everything is CLOSED. Except for Chinatown and the movies, which is what all good jews do on Christmas.

I have been begging my non-jewish girlfriend, who just happens to be pagan, to let us go out for Chinese food for Christmas dinner instead of doing all that shopping and cooking and cleaning up. Especially since Christmas comes so close after Solstice. Every year. It’s not like Chanukah, which may come the day after thanksgiving or Christmas eve. No one ever says, “Wow, solstice is early this year.”

So here we are, six days before Christmas, planning two major parties. Solstice we stay up all night on our vigil for the returning light. Then, four days later, the house will fill up with family for Christmas. I think this year, by the time my birthday rolls around on New Years day, I will be content to sit around and watch the college football bowl games and do NOTHING!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

come out, come out, wherever you are

Last Friday nite, we were sitting around the living room with an old college friend of Deborah’s and her 53 year old sister from Idaho. The sister, let’s call her Linda, moved to Idaho when she was 19 and had never seen a homeless person until Friday. She has grown children and grandchildren, and looks like Linda Evans from Dynasty. Or was that Dallas?

The night before, they had gone to Mecca and the Lexington Club, your friendly neighborhood dyke bar, which I thought a bit odd for two straight women. I forget exactly what we were talking about when Linda said, “I am in the process of coming out.” Jokingly I said, “As what?” “As a lesbian” she answered.

I almost fell over. Her sister's jaw dropped too, as she realized why she had been on a tour of the lesbian hot spots of San Francisco. Now, I have been a lesbian for a LONG time, and know that we come in all shapes, sizes, ages, etc, but somehow it always surprises me when someone who looks so straight wants to become a lesbian.

So how does a married woman in Idaho go about finding a woman? Craigslist! We sat by my computer, and I showed her Craigslist Idaho, the dyke march 2008 video on, and the SF pride website. All of the partially naked women at the dyke march were pretty surprising to her, and she asked me if all of those women were “that way.”

It made me feel so lucky to have come out in 1972 in the height of the second wave of feminism. (As a mater of fact, I just picked the up the 35th anniversary issue of Ms. Magazine. I remember when it first came out.) I moved to San Francisco in 1974, and have probably taken for granted all of the freedom we have here as gay people.

When I toured with the Blazing Redheads in the 1980s, we met lesbians in all these small southern towns, and the only time they could hold hands with their lovers in public was at women’s music festivals. It’s hard enough to imagine being a lesbian in some of these places, but being a 53 year-old married grandmother in Idaho trying to come out!

This woman is tough as nails, and will be happy no matter what she is doing, but I am just reminded of woman all over the world who want to be with women but can’t because of political persecution or their own internalized homophobia. I feel lucky.

Monday, October 15, 2007

settling in

Well, I’ve moved. Luckily, over the past few years I have been down-scaling and down-scaling to the point where this last move took two hours start to finish. Now I am faced with the unpacking.

It’s funny how you move your things-furniture, pictures, tchotskes-to a new place, and there you are-- home. This time it was a bit different, since I had already spent so much time up in the attic room that is now my office/the guest room that it felt like home instantly.

We were just up there for an hour or so with a friend, and she and D were sitting on the bed talking as I was unpacking boxes and showing them odds and ends from my distant and not so distant past. The picture of me in a mini-skirt and long hair at fifteen is always a crowd pleaser.

My passport photo from 1981 when I was off to Amsterdam to play with a salsa band for three months. My collections of cigar boxes, marbles, and colored glass ashtrays. And lots of old photos.

Remembering all of the things that have gotten left behind in all of my numerous moves over the last ten years makes me sad, but the happiness I feel now is worth it. As my mother said when she moved out of the house where she lived with my father for 42 years to move to a retirement community, “It’s just things.” Yes, those things represent memories, but the memories will just have to live in my mind, as there isn’t enough room to cart it all around with me.

So we are now in the process of blending two lives, households, and creating memories of our own. And to borrow a phrase from that witchy woman I live with, “I’m for it.”

Thursday, September 13, 2007

l'shana tovah

Yesterday, a new Whole Foods market opened one mile from our house. I know a lot of people don’t like Whole Foods, but I do, because almost anywhere in the country, at least the places I go, you can find organic products and mad-cow free meat. And they hire people with pink hair, tattoos, and piercings. A least in the Bay Area.

When I saw the fliers for the opening of the new store, I saw that there was going to be a bread-breaking at 8:45 AM before the store opened at 9. I needed to be there. My girlfriend thought that I was out of my mind, but I just said, “I like stuff like that”. After all, I was born on January 1st, and I like to be the first whenever I can, so to be one of the first shoppers in the new Whole Foods was appealing. And I wanted to be at the bread breaking.

I was also on the Golden Gate Bridge that day in 1987 when it was closed to cars to celebrate its 50th Anniversary, and there were 800,000 people on the bridge, and the engineers didn’t know if it was going to hold all of that standing weight.

And then there was the day in 1989 that the Bay Bridge re-opened after the earthquake, and Tony Bennett was there singing “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” Guess who was there. Yep, me.

So I went to Whole Foods on my way to work yesterday. There were about fifty people there, eager to shop in the new store. The bread breaking was pretty quick, and I realized how much I have been influenced by living with a pagan as I waited for them to call in the elements.

This morning when I mentioned to my girlfriend that there were actually quite a few people at the bread-breaking, she said, “People need ritual.” It gave new meaning to why I like to share momentous occasions with large numbers of people. I grew up as a reform Jew, but I all but abandoned the religious part as one more patriarchal religion. For the last year and a half, I have been a part of the pagan holidays, but haven’t quite adopted them as my own yet. Kind of sad that the bread-braking at the new Whole Foods is what I turn to to fill the need for ritual in my life.

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I had dinner last nite with friends and am going to the beach this afternoon to empty my pockets of everything from last year I want to leave behind. I realize that I don’t have to go to Temple to honor this holiday, that I can create my own ritual in a way that makes sense to me. As I ponder the meaning of this day, I am thinking about the need for more ritual in my life.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

i love seattle!

It is a beautiful city…very green with hills and lots of water. A lot like San Francisco, except the green in the summer part. It is also a very “green” city. One neighborhood library that I saw has a living roof, and there are blue recycling receptacles everywhere, including in the hotel room! And most people here are really, genuinely friendly. There is not that preciousness that people complain about in San Francisco, although from the rate of gentrification, it might not be too far off.

I love the water here. I always thought that the mountains speak to me more than the water, but now I realize that meant the ocean. Here, there are bays and lakes and channels everywhere. It is really a seaport town, and there are shipyards and fishing boats and all the industries that support them. I love it!

Yesterday I went to the Chittenden Locks. Real locks, like we learned about in elementary school. Lakes Washington and Union (freshwater) are 6 to 26 feet higher than Puget Sound (saltwater), so our friends, the Army Core of Engineers, dug out the channel and installed a system of locks. The large lock will accommodate a ship 78 feet wide and 700 feet long. And it is all done with gravity, no pumps.

So if a boat is going from Puget Sound to Lake Washington, the lower gates open, the ship sails in, then the lower gate closes, water from Lake Washington flows into the lock, and the water level rises to the level of the lake. Then the upper gate opens, and the ship sails on its way. I was literally awestruck by how beautiful and fascinating it was. Since I went there alone last evening while I was waiting for D. to arrive, I had to share my excitement with strangers. I’m sure I was the one who appeared strange. The locks are actually one of the largest tourist attractions in Seattle, and I can see why.

D. arrived, we had a great crab and oyster dinner on the piers, and today we are off for more exploration. I love vacation!