Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hate Crime Legislation has Passed at Last!

The headline reads: "Obama Signs Measure to Widen Hate Crimes Law." President Obama has signed a measure making it illegal to "assault people based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Federal hate crimes protections already cover race, ethnicity and religion." About damn time. But what will it mean?

The article states "More than 77,000 hate-crime incidents were reported nationwide by the FBI between 1998 and 2007." The reason they say "more than" is because I live in a state that has no hate crime legislation. I live in a state where Sean Kennedy was murdered and his killer served less than two years. I live in a state where local Christians picket gays in front of the building where a pay my personal property taxes.
“After more than a decade of opposition and delay, we've passed inclusive hate crimes legislation to help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray, or who they are,” President Obama said before he signed the bill.
For the first time ever, states like South Carolina that have no hate crime legislation can prosecute hate crime. Moreover, the statistics can now be compiled to add to the national statistics. I strongly suspect a number of people will be shocked at the sudden spike in statistics when states like our begin reporting hate crime to the FBI.

My East Facing Window

Clients like to tease me about my small office. It was created by splitting off a space from the doctor's office. Originally inteded to become the cash office, I have a split door and a very narrow space. Clients often lead on the bottom half of the door exchanging pleasantries and providing additional personal space. Indeed, my office measures about 4 1/2 feet by 10 feet. With an east facing window, I once pointed out that making a cash office might be dangerous. So when they offered the space as my first office as a counselor, I accepted. I enjoy being at the front of the building and out of the drama flow.

After being in my office several weeks, a counselor resigned and I was offered larger space. I declined. I have the only office in the building with an east facing window! I enjoy watching the sunrise and progression of the seasons. With the natural light, I find I have less depression. Indeed, I've created such wonderfully inviting space that clients, many not even my own, drop in to compliment me on my office.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My House x 19

Gotta love it!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blue Spiral

So we have checked out the flea market and it looks like no one does exactly what I can do. Indeed, some of the glass focal pieces are available from other vendors, so I'll know not to bother to stock them, but all the other vendors put their glass on ribbons or cords. And charge a fortune to do it!

Moreover, no one stocks these spiral pieces. I'm working on business cards and marketing ideas this week. I'll also be spending the next two weeks creating more necklaces. Can't get a table for next week as they were all taken. Tough on the finances, but better for preparation.

I'm also trying to finish the commission for my boss. She bought 12 focal pieces that I am beading for her. I hope to finish them today. Pictures to follow!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Checking out the Competition

Headed to Barnyard Flea Market today to check out the competition! Notebook in hand, I have a list of the regular jewelry dealers. I plan to follow up on a report that no one does the kind of work I do. My work involves a lot of glass focal pieces strung with seed beads, accent beads, etc. Most folks selling these focal pieces stick them on string or ribbon.

This afternoon we have a date with Misbeavin'. Going to draw upon her artistic and business skills to set up a website to sell my work, as well as to do some photography. New display boards and camera are waiting in the car.

And today I'm more motivated than ever. The Boss Man owns a multimillion dollar business. This year he's taken a pleasure trip every month --this month was a week in Vegas. My immediate boss left him messages all week reminding him of the payroll. I had to use half an hour of comp time waiting around for my check to arrive yesterday. Because of the recent water leak (still have to pay very steep bill despite the discount), I wanted cash to go to the water company. So I went to a branch of my boss' bank to cash the check. It bounced!

 A few phone calls later, I figured out that payroll was in the previous day's intake. (I've always known his money handling was a bit odd.) Apparently it takes a bank an extra step to process payroll, so the Boss' branch bank had to be called to speed it up. In fact, my pissed-off boss called the bank president and twenty minutes later I had my money. I'm still deeply disturbed that my well being depends upon such unethical practice. Shouldn't a business this large have a nice balance in case of any unexpected bills? The building is paid for.

So finding a second source of income seems increasing imperative. I've worked for companies that bounced checks. Don't care to repeat the experience.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Turning a Hobby into a Job

While my boss profits at something around $300,000 plus a year, he has stopped all pay raises. He also does not offer health insurance. Since my paycheck does not go as far as it did even a year ago, prices keep going up after all, I've been trying to find ways to make ends meet. Random people have praised my jewelery over the last year as I have snuck a few dollars here or there to Michael's for something pretty. Then a few weeks ago, my boss asked me to accept a commission. She had already bought the focal points (should have talked to me first - I can get them far cheaper than what she paid!), and wanted to know if I would create the necklaces to go with them. I sighted her a rock bottom price (she's not getting a pay raise this year either!), and she brought me the focal points.

In the mean time, I got the bright idea of vending a Pagan Pride. Given that the rain never stopped and the temperatures never hit 60, and it was Clemson's homecoming weekend, I thought we did very well with $75 in cash and bartered goods worth about the same. Cameron got lots of cool loot, which should lure her out the next time I want to do such a thing! Maybe next time I'll also barter for something I want! LOL

So I've been shopping ebay, building stock, and plan to visit Barnyard Flea Market this weekend. It has an excellent reputation and would probably be a good place to cater to the Christmas crowd. Cameron and I will head over this weekend to scope it out and to pay the fee (cash only, paid in advance) and the following weekend I hope to be in business! Wouldn't it be a hoot if I could make as much or more than what I do as a counselor working for Scrooge?

Soon to come: Glass Dream Blog. There'll be a link from here to there...but not in reverse to protect my Christian customers. : )

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Upstate of South Carolina Pagan Pride Day

October 17, 2009 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Clemson 226 Pendleton Rd., Clemson, SC

Cameron and I have been offline for the last week, since Priestess told us about PPD at Clemson, SC. In my enthusiasm, I signed our fledgling grove up to vend. Then I had to create the necklaces and other jewlery I wanted to sell! I'll post a few here when I can.

I also have received my first commission order. My boss bought ten focal pieces and asked me to design a necklace around them. I cut her a good deal and she's excited by the work I've been doing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Not in My Bible

Some days I want to disavow the Christian church all together. This from our local paper:

Church Members Protest President: Group Rallies the First Sunday of Each Month
By Gary Glancy & Kim Kimzey
Staff writers

Published: Monday, October 5, 2009 at 3:15 a.m.

There were no counter marcheers, no police and not much fanfare, but about 50 members of the all ages from true Light Pentecost Church publicly vocalized their frustrations with President Barack Obama on Sunday.

Marching with a small brass section that played hymns such as "Lord I Want to Thank You," and "Victory is Mine" along North church Street from the Spartanburg County Administration Building to Krispy Kreme next door, the church rally opposed the president's position on abortion and homosexuality.

The held signs that included "America was founded on the belief of the true God. What happened?"; "The early church did not fear the sodomites";' and "President Obama continues to allow the innocent slaughter of babies...abortion is pre-meditated first degree murder."

After the march, Prophet H. Walker, overseer of True Light, delivered a sermon through a bullhorn condemning homosexuality, and saying "leadership causes this problem to manifest itself."

The only interaction with the public came as church leaders handed out fliers promotion their message to motorists stopped at the traffic light in front of the administration building.
I find the image frightening. I wish these people would read their bible before they spew hate. I am one to choose to argue scripture. I leave that to Cameron, to my priest, and to my own heart. However, I am deeply troubled by pickets reading "Modern Term: Homosexuality-Lesbian. Bible Term: Sodomites I Kings... I have to wonder if they have any idea that Sodomite is a term used by the King James bible, and can't even be found in some other translations such as NIV. Indeed, this is from the Purple Pew:

The men of Sodom forcibly sodomized foreigners and strangers as way to claim authority and dominance. As the bible passage says, all the people were present, including the women and children. The entire city was wicked. The Sodomites were prideful, haughty, slothful gluttons who had respect of persons, cared not a whit for the poor, and did not follow the ways of the Lord (Ezekiel 16:55-56). The act of anal sex is called sodomy today not because the men were homosexual -- for Ezekiel says they had daughters, and if they had daughters then they had wives -- but because the men of Sodom (in the presence of their wives) used anal sex as a weapon to control, humiliate, and show contempt for their enemies: foreigners and strangers.
So Sodomites were rapists, which the people of True Light Pentecost Church equate with homosexuals. Hmmm.....can it get more wrong than this???

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Caster Semenya and Womanhood

To repeat the same question offered across the net, why must Caster Semenya wear glamorous clothes, burgundy nail polish and let her hair down to be perceived as a woman? I find it alarming regarding the message we send our young women. Certainly outward appearance does not define womanhood. Or does it?

It pains me to live in a society where youth and beauty define the person. Where one's achievements are measured by one's genitalia. The secretary of world athletics body IAAF, Pierre Weiss, said: "It is clear that she is a woman but maybe not 100 per cent." Reports have it that an Indian woman underwent a similar situation, and later attempted suicide. Indeed, Caster was placed on suicide watch immediately after her test results were "leaked".

I find so much in this story to be troubling. Certainly the fact that men do have a physical advantage over women is troubling to my feminist soul which screams for equality. I also find it troubling that a woman with feminine genitalia can have her gender questioned based on running quickly and having a deep voice. I also am troubled by a professional organization that would leak such critically sensitive test results so that a woman like Caster might learn the results in the media, rather than privately. Moreover, I am deeply troubled my Caster's appearance in a magazine sporting ultra feminine clothing, cosmetics and hair, and quoted as saying things like “I’d like to dress up more often and wear dresses but I never get the chance. I’d also like to learn to do my own make-up” and: “I’ve never bought my own clothes – my mum buys them for me. But now that I know what I can look like, I’d like to dress like this more often.”

Monday, October 5, 2009

Beer, Lesbians, Gender Dysphoria and the Episcopal Priest

I grew up in the Church of Christ. Oh, and my daddy was a preacher. For those who aren't familiar with that non-denominational Christian church, they have very strict rules. No drinking. No dancing. Grape juice for communion. No piano or chores. Everything is sung acapella. No mixed bathing (swimming). The list goes on and on. In a word, they are very restrictive.

Having been a member of the United Methodist Church before I turned nine, I missed the choir, the pageantry, the ritual. Especially since we lived in Bloomington, Indiana and the Indiana University music department often contributed to Sunday morning worship in a variety of ways.

My very pagan soul fell in love with Holy Cross Episcopal Church the first time I attended. Easter Sunday is High Church, and the pageantry and ritual was a balm to my very wounded soul. Six years later, I finally have made the decision to join (Cameron joined about six years ago). I've attended the prerequisite class and next Sunday the Bishop will welcome new members.

This church as been amazing to us. When Cameron had hip surgery, members drove 45 minutes to serve us communion. Of course Mother Linda was also at the hospital during surgery. She was present with me when I requested a rite of absolution prior to taking my third degree in wicca. I wear my pentacle when I take communion. All are welcome. Including our gay selves.

As a part of the discussion during that class, I quizzed Father Mike on the church's stance, and his own, related to GLBTQ people. He mentioned reservations regarding the Q part of that community, having read something written by priest who denied sexual identity in such a way he seemed to deny is own "isness". Father Mike had a hard time seeing how one could deny such an essential part of self.

Which is what led to two lesbians and one priest having a beer a Logan's. The poor waitress almost had a heart attack when we introduced ourselves and she realized she was serving beer to a priest! Ah, the joy of Episcopalians, whose love of the soul does not denounce the gifts of God/dess to the flesh!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Resignation from Human Race

Some days I want to resign from the human race. This feeling is not provoked by having the flu for two weeks (the reason for the sparse postings from this rather prolific gay witch), but by my outrage at this homophobic culture. Here's an example:

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida today rejected Lambda Legal’s lawsuit filed against Jackson Memorial Hospital on behalf of Janice Langbehn, the Estate of Lisa Pond and their three adopted children who were kept apart by hospital staff for eight hours as Lisa slipped into a coma and died.
But it's not just our women and children who cope with discrimination. Here's one soldier's story:

The rate of suicide by gays and lesbians is higher than that of the general population. Military gay personnel are still subject to those same problems as the rest of the homosexual population, but gays and lesbians have fewer opportunities to deal with these problems. While overseas or home, “don’t ask don’t tell” greatly harms the ability of a soldier to get the care he needs.
I can't even phrase my outrage at such discrimination coherently.