Monday, November 23, 2009

Financial Stress: A Rant

So many platitudes exist regarding being wealthy in friends or loved ones, yet ignore the deeper wound. Here I sit, almost fifty years of age, over educated and under employed, making less money than I did in the nineties, unable to pay the phone and cable, or buy groceries, and praying for yet another miracle. Pardon my gloom; maybe it's weather in addition to my bank balance, but in the hierarchy of needs, I'm still at ground zero.

Yes, I know how to count my blessings. I am loved beyond measure. But Cameron needs dental work and we can't afford it. I need groceries, and we can't afford that either. On the blessing side, our guardian angel recently materialized with enough to cover two huge car repairs and the electric bill (still was turned off overnight). Oh, and did I mention the $400 plumbing bill and the additional $300 in water after it was adjusted? My water bills are usually $20 a month! Cameron still needs a transmission (come on student loan), the electric company wants a $250 deposit, and I can't make it to the next payday. Indeed, another angel has agreed to defer my car payments until I afford groceries. Goddess bless her!

I also know how to do magick. I do see the pattern of miracles that have made survival possible. I do recognize my hard work, and Cameron's, in our attempts to provide for ourselves. She is at my side at the flea market, running errands, adding in her earnings (can we say people don't want to pay for art?) And tonight I'll do my prosperity spell and open myself to the possibilities that the universe has to offer. And one more time a miracle will come. But I have to admit, this insecurity is getting old. I am educated. I work hard. My boss pays me half what I made less year, which was down $20,000 from ten years before that. Every month I'm $700 short. Oh, the boss was in Vegas last month, St Thomas the month before (continue the monthly pattern since the beginning of the year), and has put a freeze on pay raises.

I had hoped the flea market would get us through. While we had the best weekend yet, $90 isn't a lot. Especially when I paid $14 a day for the table. Someone who also sells jewelry told me that until April of this year, he averaged $5,000 a month at the flea market. Now he makes $100-$200 a weekend. They are hurting, too. The flea market, however, is providing what I need to be successful at festivals next year. I hear the festivals are still going strong and money is good. Unfortunately, I can only make jewelry one piece at a time. I can only buy velveteen and display stands when jewelry sells. And without all those things, I can't create a portfolio to submit for acceptance to festivals next year. And since when do jewelers have to submit a portfolio anyway? The folks that have been doing this for a while tell me that they never did. So I must not be the only one looking for creative solutions to financial disasters!

I'll post pictures of some of my jewelry that is for sale. Anyone's interested, let me know!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Cameron!

It's those quite moments in the middle of the night, when I prepare for work, while I find it hardest to go. Leaving the warmth of our bed, the protection of your love has become a daily challenge. Yet I also feel blessed. The house is silent except for the quite mews of the furbabies who want attention. You lie peaceful in your sleep, beautiful, wonderful, precious.

For six years we've shared this intimacy. Five years we've lived together, building a quiet life of miracles.

I tease you about coming out "half baked". Beneath the humor lies a reminder how amazing you are, that you are here, that you walk, that you are whole. Today is your birthday. May it be special. Know that you are loved beyond all measure.

TSG13 Remembering Our Dead

Unabashedly stolen from Alissa because it is important and we must always remember:

Because when one person's rights and safety are denied, so are we all endangered.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Feeling Subversive Today

Maybe fussing about panties got me on a roll. Or maybe I've been too busy making necklaces lately to bitch. But today I am exhausted, cranky, and ready to give the world a piece of my mind. Next item on my list: "I Believe" license plates. US District Judge Cameron Curry ruled "I Believe" license plates to be illegal because it violates the First Amendment ban on establishment of religion by government. At least our judges have some sense. Unfortunately, my Christian brothers have a plan B to get a similar plate issued using a state law that permits private groups to issue tags they design.

There are a great many things that might be said about this issue. But at the crux of this issue lies a basic inequality in how this country views anything that is not Christian, that is not heterosexual, or that is any kind of "otherness". Until I can not only put a pentacle or a gay flag on my license, but also know that I am totally safe dong so, Christians have no right to put such license plates on the road. Eventually, such a mentality will lead to a world where if I don't sport such a profession of faith or heterosexuality or other party acceptance, that my otherness will still put me in danger.

Panties: A Love/Hate Relationship

I adore Body Impolitic simply because it celebrates real people. When Cameron sent me an IM this morning, I hurried over to see what they are up to this time. The heading "Everyone Likes Panties. Don’t They?" screamed at me. After reading the blog, I also scanned the comments to find my own Cameron's comment included. Of course I could not resist and included my own rant. You are invited to investigate!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Finding my Niche

We have agreed to spend every weekend between now and Christmas at the Flea Market selling jewelry. However, I don't believe it is the best market for my work. Yet getting in front of the right people is costly! I investigated the holiday sale in Greenville this year: $600 per table. The stopped accepting jewelry July 31. This is not a cheap adventure.

My plan: be at the Flea Market for Valentines, Mother's Day, and holiday purchases. Otherwise, I need to attend Gay Pride in Atlanta (equally pricey as Greenville for a table, maybe walk the sidewalks with pride bracelets; Gay Pride in Charlotte, Columbia and Ashville; Pagan Pride in same locations, and a couple of festivals like Lyman Fest. So I'm looking up dates,cost, and deadlines and making plans.

 On a happy note, I made a dozen necklaces over the weekend that will sell for $12 each or 2 for $20. Half a dozen hearts and half a dozen spirals.  The purchased items are shown here. I'll post pictures of completed work later in the week.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Meet Me in Paris

This is an amazing photo essay that I want to share. Have a box of Kleenex handy and tell your family that you love them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Maine voters reject gay-marriage law

I grieve. I don't even have words for how deeply this wounds the soul. Obviously, in no way does legal saction to marry my wife destroy another's marital rights. NOTHING changes for heterosexual people. And yet I'm such a threat, every state sees fit to deny my right to marry. The trick is in the advertising. By voting to uphold the institution of marriage, rather than voting for homosexual people to marry, then the advertising implies the voter is simply upholding the institution of marriage, rather than voting to deny  my rights. I've written about this little problem previously. Click on the label "Brian Brown" following the article.

By GLENN ADAMS and DAVID CRARY, Associated Press Writers Glenn Adams And David Crary, Associated Press Writers – 12 mins ago

PORTLAND, Maine – Maine voters repealed a state law Tuesday that would have allowed same-sex couples to wed, dealing the gay rights movement a heartbreaking defeat in New England, the corner of the country most supportive of gay marriage.

Gay marriage has now lost in every single state — 31 in all — in which it has been put to a popular vote. Gay-rights activists had hoped to buck that trend in Maine — known for its moderate, independent-minded electorate — and mounted an energetic, well-financed campaign.

With 87 percent of the precincts reporting, gay-marriage foes had 53 percent of the votes.

"The institution of marriage has been preserved in Maine and across the nation," declared Frank Schubert, chief organizer for the winning side.

Gay-marriage supporters held out hope that the tide would shift before conceding defeat at 2:40 a.m. in a statement that insisted they weren't going away.

"We're in this for the long haul. For next week, and next month, and next year — until all Maine families are treated equally. Because in the end, this has always been about love and family and that will always be something worth fighting for," said Jesse Connolly, manager of the pro-gay marriage campaign.

At issue was a law passed by the Maine Legislature last spring that would have legalized same-sex marriage. The law was put on hold after conservatives launched a petition drive to repeal it in a referendum.

The outcome Tuesday marked the first time voters had rejected a gay-marriage law enacted by a legislature. When Californians put a stop to same-sex marriage a year ago, it was in response to a court ruling, not legislation.

Five other states have legalized gay marriage — starting with Massachusetts in 2004, and followed by Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Iowa — but all did so through legislation or court rulings, not by popular vote. In contrast, constitutional amendments banning gay marriage have been approved in all 30 states where they have been on the ballot.

The defeat left some gay-marriage supporters bitter.

"Our relationship is between us," said Carla Hopkins, 38, of Mount Vernon, with partner Victoria Eleftherio, 38, sitting on her lap outside a hotel ballroom where gay marriage supporters had been hoping for a victory party. "How does that affect anybody else? It's a personal thing."

The contest had been viewed by both sides as certain to have national repercussions. Gay-marriage foes desperately wanted to keep their winning streak alive, while gay-rights activists sought to blunt the argument that gay marriage was being foisted on the country by courts and lawmakers over the will of the people.

Had Maine's law been upheld, the result would probably have energized efforts to get another vote on gay marriage in California, and given a boost to gay-marriage bills in New York and New Jersey.

Earlier Tuesday, before vote-counting began, gay-marriage foe Chuck Schott of Portland warned that Maine "will have its place in infamy" if the gay-rights side won.

Another Portland resident, Sarah Holman said she was "very torn" but decided — despite her conservative upbringing — to vote in favor of letting gays marry.

"They love and they have the right to love. And we can't tell somebody how to love," said Holman, 26.

In addition to reaching out to young people who flocked to the polls for President Barack Obama a year ago, gay-marriage defenders tried to appeal to Maine voters' pronounced independent streak and live-and-let-live attitude.

The other side based many of its campaign ads on claims — disputed by state officials — that the new law would mean "homosexual marriage" would be taught in public schools.

Both sides in Maine drew volunteers and contributions from out of state, but the money edge went to the campaign in defense of gay marriage, Protect Maine Equality. It raised $4 million, compared with $2.5 million for Stand for Marriage Maine.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, voters in Washington state voted on whether to uphold or overturn a recently expanded domestic partnership law that entitles same-sex couples to the same state-granted rights as heterosexual married couples. With half the precincts reporting, that race was too close to call.

In Kalamazoo, Mich., voters approved a measure that bars discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Challenge of Flea Markets

(posted concurrently on beading blog)

There are two flea markets near my home. Barnyard Flea Market is huge, and part of chain of flea markets. Capitalizing on its success, half a mile away and closer to the interstate is Peddler's Junktion, (yes, they spell it wrong intentionally) a much smaller outfit. Barnyard has billboard advertising and excellent restrooms. The Junktion is older, built on a hill, and has poor restrooms. Their future advantage is that they are building storage like buildings and locating in the parking space behind the table. So if you rent a storage building, you get the table and a permanent place to set up for half the cost. With little foot traffic last Saturday, it would not have helped me.

The day was cold and raining. We got the tarp (provided by the flea market) dropped and set up the table. Mostly the only people to visit our table were other vendors. I spent $14 for the table, $6 for a hotdog lunch for two, brought my own drinks, and made three necklaces. Cameron says that at least I had the opportunity to bead in a cat-free environment!

Barnyard requires rental to be paid two weeks ahead of time, which is the furthest out they will book a table. So we've paid for the next two weekends, and we'll see how it goes.

I've run out of focal points and am waiting on the mail, so I'm taking a bit of a break for a couple of days to catch up on my life!