Well, it's been almost a month since my last blog post! Some significant things happened, and are happening. I think I'll just do bullet points. I'm warning y'all; I'm not feeling cheerful at the moment.
* Today is the tenth annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. Where I sit, there's still an hour left of it. As Queen Emily beautifully said, we need to think about this more than one day a year anyway. I hate that such things are needed, but they are, very much so. Quite a few transpeople, particularly transwomen, have been killed or attacked simply because someone disapproved of them. I don't know how to be articulate about this; I'm born female and dying female and not particularly informed. However, in real life, I know two transwomen quite well, a good friend and a spiritual mentor. I know they don't deserve to die because someone thinks they're lying when they present themselves as women. I know that the media and law enforcement officials insult transsexual victims of violence all over again by referring to them by their birth gender or putting their name in quotes or using terms like "a/k/a".
* My office, as many offices have in New York City, has canceled the annual holiday party. I feel so awful about it. Some of it is that I was given full responsibility for it last year, and I like it, and other people seemed to like how I did it. Much of it is that I am part of an incredibly sad trend. The caterer we've been using tried to put on a brave face, but she's lost half her holiday party business already. I hate it. I want to help her, I want to use the little bit of economic power I've been entrusted with to counter these negative trends. But we have less than half of the budget we had allocated last year, and I couldn't see a way to make something people would actually enjoy with it. (A big thing we'd have had to cut out was alcohol, and an office party without alcohol is like...an office party. Without alcohol.)
My boss let me conduct a quick survey by e-mail, and everyone would rather have even a two-figure bonus than a downscaled holiday party. It's like threads are being pulled and pulled and pulled out some more from the fabric. I know we should just be grateful to have jobs and all that, and we are. I know that the industry I just got certified to enter last summer, interior decorating, is also suffering, just another luxury that can be downscaled or done without. But behind luxuries are so many people who are working to pay for the necessities of their own lives.
* The people at the Big Three Detroit automakers all know that. I don't know what the right thing here is--that's our money Congress is spending, but the employees need to hold on to their jobs and the former employees need to hold on to their pensions. There's really no good option. I don't think we can just let it drop, though. We've lost or come close to losing so damned much in the past eight years, from the World Trade Center to New Orleans. We can't lose our auto industry, too. I hope to all the Gods Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid knew what they were doing when they demanded that the CEOs return with a business plan. Maybe if that standard had been applied to the finance industry bailout, it might be working or on its way to working by now.
* Besides, Tony Stewart intends to drive Chevrolets with his new team, Stewart Haas Racing, next year! I wasn't the only fan to actually cry while watching Homestead and his last race with Joe Gibbs Racing this Sunday. L'Ailee's best friend's little daughter, a 7-year-old who intends to marry Joey Logano, was there. Little 18-year-old Logano will be driving the Home Depot # 20 next year. I made a huge ceremony out of it because I like such things; I gave her my #20 earrings and plain orange #20 cap after the race. Next year I have to remember that I *like* the red-and-black Office Depot car, that I *want* it to win. (I'm not fond of Carl Edwards, who previously raced that ride.) I really want this new team to succeed.
* The day before Homestead, L'Ailee and I participated in a Join the Impact protest in NYC. We were so inspired to see Barack Obama win, and so upset that anti-LGBT laws passed in Arizona, Arkansas, California, and Florida. (Especially California; that was such a shock.) So it felt good to do something. I carried a sign that said, "Love Goes Both Ways". We both wore T-shirts that said, "Can I vote on your marriage now?" The best part was that friends of ours, a female couple in their late seventies who has been together over 40 years, joined us. Oh, everyone wanted to talk to them! They indulged all the curious youngsters, but were quite tired of talking about themselves by the time we took them to lunch. I hope that when I'm in my seventies, people in their twenties and thirties will be wondering how the hell we stood our situation.
* We almost skipped Christmas in Florida over it. Several of my relatives voted for the anti-SSM amendment on their ballot. I was so pissed. (So was L'Ailee, but she tried to keep me calm.) We almost got away with it. Problem is, I have some very cool younger cousins who have been looking so forward to seeing us, and we want to see them as well. They actually asked us to please come. So it looks like we'll have to, since, thank the Gods, we can. Maybe someday we'll skip it...
* Has anyone else seen a more secularist tilt in "My Name is Earl" this season? L'Ailee noticed it. A couple episodes ago, Joy decided that evolution was real. In tonight's episode, Earl and his friends try to find meaning in events triggered by a series of tornadoes that hit their town. Darnell, Joy's wise and patient husband, explains that in times of crisis, people try to find meaning that may not necessarily be there.
* Speaking of secularism, Austin Cline of About.com's Atheism site suggests that atheists thank people, not Gods, at Thanksgiving. L'Ailee already thanks the cook (that's me!) and her friends. While I am Pagan and will be thanking Gods, I like the idea of taking time to thank various people for their contributions.
* Now I have to say something for the Pagans. Operation Circle Care, a ministry of Circle Sanctuary, is gearing up. There are quite a few Wiccan and Pagan soldiers overseas who will be alone or with very small groups on the Winter Solstice. They would like such items as books, pentacles, incense, and Pagan music CDs. Most of all, they need to know they're not really alone. I relate. They're getting something from me.
* We're in a deep recession. L'Ailee and I are saving money. Consumerism solves nothing. But I have to show y'all some things at Archie McPhee! L'Ailee and I are among that insufferable group who budgets and spaces out shopping throughtout the year and is damn near done at Thanksgiving. (When she observes Black Friday, and she hopes she can this year, it's for *her*!) But we like to toss in a few fun small things. We know a few Jewish/Gentile couples who all have a wonderful sense of humor, and that is why we were so thrilled to find Santa Dreidels for them! (No, really, you have to see this one to appreciate it.)
We are also getting some packages from their extremely fucked-up candy selection for friends and cousins. We still plan to observe our annual Thanksgiving drink dare, because, you know, tradition is important. (My brother and I invented this; we mix up something vile to drink between dinner and dessert, throw down five dollar bills on the table, get a pool going, and dare someone else to drink it. If you can keep it down for one full minute, you keep the money in the pool.) That said, I think I'll have fun garnishing whatever liquid torture I devise for my friends with a sprinkling of McPhee's green apple flavored gummy maggots. Verily, L'Ailee loves me for my good taste.
* But they will pay me back. Oh yes, they will pay me back. Ice skating season has started. I have promised that I will play actual ice hockey with L'Ailee and her friends, my first game ever, because I know the fundamentals now. L'Ailee is fast as hell and extremely aggressive, and her best friend is big and strong. They are damn near unbeatable together. Me, I'm going to bring nothing but comic relief.