Sunday, January 30, 2011

A moment of silence

This post has adult language and themes.  It is my reflection on Marie Cartier's work, which documents over a hundred stories of what gay bar culture was like in the 40s and 50s.  With the stories of the bars also comes the personal stories of women who were raped, beaten, threatened, or had other awful things happen to them simply because they enjoyed the company of other women.  I am beyond grateful that I feel safe in my community and can marry the person I want.

I spent my weekend at Nehirim (a LGBT Jewish retreat) listening in part to Marie Cartier, and I'd like to take a moment of silence.  And this is why:

Before my time, it was not safe to be me.  It was not safe to be gay, much less bisexual or pansexual or transgender.  Don't look gay.  Or masculine.  Or different.  Sitting before McCarthy, in the formidable house of our government of the United States, you were asked "Are you a homosexual?" before "Are you a communist?"  More people were fired from their job because they loved someone who had the same parts as they did, than were black listed because of political idealism.  Except homosexuality was closeted, it wasn't televised, it wasn't ... sexy.  So you never hear about all those un-bedazzled homosexuals martyred for forbidden love.

Before my time, I could not have kids.  Well, I could have kids, but I couldn't keep them.  My husband knew what was best for me, for my children, for my maternal instincts, and have a doctor strip me of my parental rights.  Because what would be worse than sexual deviation creeping into their brains?

Speaking of brains, I couldn't have that either.  Before 1973, the APA considered it a disease.  The suggested cure?  Lobotomy.

And as long as you can trespass upon my mind, you might as well take my body with you.  The police raped the butches and dykes and drag queens.  The officer's pants around his ankles, he says to her, "I've never done this before."  The butch looks him in the eyes and says, "Well, you're doing it right now."  He violates her body as five officers - five men who took an oath to protect man, woman and child - watch.

Does his prick cure homosexuality?  I want to ask.

But I can't ask.  This was before my time.

Because now, in my time, I get to marry a woman.  Accepted, tolerated, celebrated by my community.  I will marry the woman I love and make a family with her.  We live together, we sleep together, we love our community together.  But it's recent, my time.  It's recent, and the people who came before are still here, are still living, are still loving.

So, for those who are here, and for those who didn't make it, I want to take a moment of silence.  In respect, in awe, in sorrow, in love.  I am blessed to live in my time, and I hope I never have to live in yours.

And let us say, amen.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fly me away

"I didn't realize how stressed you were until your last post" my best friend told me.  And, it's true.  I'm pretty stressed.  But I have to admit, it's not about the guest list.  It's about the guest list; buying tickets to Hawaii;  finding a catering; the many-stepped-ketuba making process; making, printing, and sending the invitations; and figuring out where we're staying in Hawaii.  It's a big list that is all marked urgent, and I seem to just run around in circles without having time to sit down and make a decision with Kate.

So yesterday, I sat down without Kate.  I worked on the invitation.  I figured out what flight I want to book to Hawaii.  I found a gorgeous Kauai house on the beach.  Kate came home later, exhausted from her last day at work at SFOP and then some volunteer work at PJA.  Even when Kate's exhausted, she has time for me and for what she feels she "should" do.  Kate completely amazes me.

She liked the changes I made to the invitation, liked the Kauai house, and we tried to book our flights to Hawaii.  (United, your miles system really sucks.  A lot.  We still don't have tickets and I don't think I'm going to keep my United account.)

We're going to try to book flights tonight, I already sent the Kauai house an e-mail, and we're almost done with the invitation.

And, maybe most importantly, I finished the guest list.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

We're going to Hawaii!

Tickets to Hawaii bought!!!  I got mine for $5 and Kate for $250.  Thank you airline miles!

(Do you remember when there were paper tickets for airplanes???)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The List

It'll be a great joy to have you at our party.

Yet, how am I supposed to greet over a hundred people in just under 3 hours?  Will I even know if you're there?  But I want you there anyway.  Even if I only see your face across the room and smile.  For that moment, when I see you, I will be so overcome that I get to celebrate this awesome experience with you.

If I could, I would invite everyone.  But space, food, and costs are all issues.  I want to invite you.  All of you.  I really do.  But I just can't afford it.  We've discussed ways, trying to make that work, but it won't.  It won't be what we want, what we can handle, what we can afford.

When people ask, "Am I invited?" it's a hard question to answer.  You might not be, and how do I say that in a room full of people - some of whom are on the list?

It's expensive to have a party like this.  Suddenly, I have to judge my friendships and ask myself some hard questions, such as "How well do I know you?"  I want you to come, but you don't have my number in your phone or know what I mean when I say "parents".  More importantly, will I know you in three years?  Six?  Will this be something we both treasure for the long length of our friendship, or a fun party that you want to go to?

How do you decide where the guest list ends?  I cherish my community and the people I know, and I don't want to hurt anyone by excluding them.  Already we've increased the size of the guest list considerably, and I hope not everyone RSVPs "Yes".  We simply don't have the space.

We're sending the invitations to the printers soon (I hope), and we're going to have to decide for a final time, who's on the list.  I hate this part of wedding planning.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Yummy in my tummy

We have no idea what to serve at our wedding.  What we want to eat is different than typical wedding food.  We want it to be:

  • Local and sustainable food 
  • Supports local businesses
  • Is delicious
  • "Comfort food"
  • Not fancy for the sake of fancy
We've been dreaming of Arizmendi's, Home Room, and the Cowgirl Creamery, but nothing is perfect.  We need gluten free and vegan options.  We need somewhere that is accustomed to catering, so our food isn't cold or burnt or late.  I'd prefer if it wasn't outrageously expensive, and was someone who was based out of Oakland or Berkeley.  

When talking wedding, all the norms are off.  Things are fancy, costs are higher, and a simple brunch spread just won't work anymore.  What do you think?  What would you want to eat at a wedding?  And - for the love of all things wonderful - please write down any suggestions you have in the comments.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Nerdy analytical data

I've been having some fun with Google Analytics lately, and I've learned many fascinating things.  The most amusing thing that I've learned is: the biggest keyword that people use to find this blog is "Kate Smallenburg".  It's five times more common than the second biggest keyword, "Joaquin Miller Wedding".

"Margee Churchon", on the other hand, has only directed one person to this site.  Hi, my lonely fan!  

Just kidding.  I also found out that there's a lot more of you out there than I would have ever expected.  Thanks for reading!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wedding logistics for your bum

Picture stolen from here

Like this small child in the picture, we hope that many of our guests will be comfortable sitting on the steps of Joaquin Miller Park.  We plan to make accommodations for our grandparents and others who may not want to toy with gravity, but for the cousins and brothers and other younger guests who will attend - it's the ground for you!

Of course, we don't want to ruin anyone's pretty dress or nice suit, so we want something to help pad your bum while sitting on the cold stone pathway.  You know those cushions you see at stadiums?  I can't find them for rent anywhere, which is frustrating.  I can buy them, sure, but I don't need 140 cushions after the wedding, and I don't want to inspire any sports-related bickering during the ceremony.

The best we've found are "chair cushions".  These nicer seat cushions would obviously have to be shielded from the dirty sidewalk by a blanket or sheet.  While I am amendable to this, I doubt these cushions come cheap.  Or, at least it doesn't appear that Stuart's Party Rentals will cheaply part with their cushions.

If you want a better view of the Joaquin Miller Community Park steps, click here for some gorgeous photos.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tikkun Olam

The picture's been updated because my fantastic friend found a picture of two women breaking the glass!  Yay Offbeat Bride!

Over at Offbeat Bride they have a lot of cool ideas.  They feature weddings that don't buy into the wedding industrial complex and are unique in some way.  My big hippie self just loves the site.

They have a "Tribe", where us brides (and grooms) can go to talk about wedding prep and exchange ideas.  I'm often inspired by my fellow engaged folks, and the other day I saw this great idea.

One of the iconic images of a Jewish marriage ceremony is the breaking of the glass.  There are many reasons people do this - to bring the wedding couple that many years of good luck and marriage, to remind us in this happy moment that there are other moments that are broken, to remember that the Temple in Jerusalem is in disrepair.  

On Offbeat Bride I saw,
"Instead of breaking a glass, we're going to glue a broken one - a symbol both of marriage and Tikun Olam."

Tikun olam means repairing the world, and is a core concept of modern day Judaism.  And what a better way to symbolize the marriage of two social justice folks whose independent life goals are to find a healing path for ourselves and our community?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Perfect shoes for a perfect dress

If you know me, you probably know I love shoes, especially comfortable and cute shoes.  I'll spend a lot of money on shoes.  And after I got my dress, I promptly went looking for shoes on the Fluevog website.  Fluevogs are the most comfortable heels I have ever worn.  I adore them. And you know what?  They were having a sale, and I got the most fantastic shoes ever!  They came yesterday, and I have to say they're even more perfect than they looked.  The purple is a little darker than it is in this photo, which is what I wanted.

Well, what I really want are these shoes.  But I can't walk in a four inch heel.  Sadly.