Archive | February 26, 2013

Witch Reading Challenge

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I just finished the Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. I’m not big on reading bestsellers so I usually have to be dragged kicking and screaming into reading them. Especially since so many like Dan Brown’s books are so bad. I hate people who steal their material from others.

But I read that Deborah Harkness was an Elizabethan scholar and since that is one of my favourite periods of history I read the first one and enjoyed it. So I got the second one used on Amazon and I loved it!

I’m highly amused by the reviews on Goodreads that gave it one star and thought the people in it were boring. Seriously? Elizabethan Scholar + Magic = School of Night. I loved reading about the Wizard Earl – Henry Percy and Hilliard the miniaturist, Sir Walter Raleigh, Kit Marlowe (who was just as big a shit in real life from what I read) Thomas Harriot who may have made the first telescope, William Shakespeare and his thieving ways. How can those men be boring? They changed the world. She did a fantastic job of melding the fantasy with the reality of the period.

King James was terrified of witches and magic, enough so that his biblical translators paid him mind in the translation of the Bible. You know that old chestnut, “thou shall not suffer a witch to live”? the original Hebrew is generally translated “poisoner” not witch but because King James was on a tear they translated it just for him.

She did a great job with the Hapsburg court too and the lunacy of Rupert II. She made the period come alive and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I just hope the third book is as good as the second when she comes back to the modern world.

Progressive Culture | Scholars & Rogues

CATEGORY: RacePoliticsI was scrolling through Talking Points Memo this morning on the metro when I came across a story titled “Overturning The Voting Rights Act Would Be Seminal Moment For Conservative Legal Movement,” detailing how conservative groups are hoping to overturn the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a law they consider to be outdated. The oral arguments will begin this week in the Supreme Court.

In particular, conservative groups are hoping to knock down section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which is the section blocking changes to voting procedures until they’ve been properly reviewed. From the Department of Justice:

“Under Section 5, any change with respect to voting in a covered jurisdiction — or any political subunit within it — cannot legally be enforced unless and until the jurisdiction first obtains the requisite determination by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia or makes a submission…

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Today’s Chapel Service

It’s Chapel time for those of us who worked at Teresita Pines. One of our campers is in surgery right now for breast cancer. Your campers aren’t ever supposed to grow up to get grown up diseases but they do.

So for today’s chapel ceremony we will start by singing “Today”

Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
‘Ere I forget all the joy that is mine, Today

I’ll be a dandy, and I’ll be a rover
You’ll know who I am by the songs that I sing
I’ll feast at your table, I’ll sleep in your clover
Who cares what tomorrow shall bring

Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
‘Ere I forget all the joy that is mine, Today

I can’t be contented with yesterday’s glory
I can’t live on promises winter to spring
Today is my moment, now is my story
I’ll laugh and I’ll cry and I’ll sing

Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
‘Ere I forget all the joy that is mine, Today…

****

Do you remember being On the Loose?

Did you ever watch the sunrise turn the sky completely red,

Have you slept beneath the moon and stars, a pine bough for your bed
Did you sit and talk with friends, though a word was never said,
Then you’re just like me and you’ve been on the loose.

Chorus:

On the loose to climb a mountain,
On the loose where I am free.
On the loose to live my life, the way I think my life should be,
For I’ve only got a moment and a whole world yet to see.
I’ll be looking for tomorrow on the loose.

There’s a trail that I’ll be hiking just to see where it might go.

Many places yet to visit, many people yet to know,
For in following in my dreams, I will live and I will grow,
On a trail that’s waiting out there on the loose.

Chorus

So in search of love and laughter, I’ll be traveling cross this land

Never sure of where I’m going, for I haven’t got a plan,
So in time when you are ready, come and join me and take my hand,
And together we’ll share life out there on the loose.

Chorus

Lady Mother, a child is in your hands as all children are

Keep her safe on her journey

Don’t let think she is damaged in any way.

Let her know that her scars show that she is a brave warrior

And that there are scars that show us we survive to fight another day.

Let her know she is never alone

That she is surrounded by people who love her all the time.

She may not always see us but we are there

Holding vigil and sending her healing and peace.

Let her know she is surrounded by the light of her sisters

That camp awaits her as always.

A place of refuge in the green pines

And the mountain breezes.

And the cool streams that flow below camp.

Even if only in her mind’s eye and heart.

Let her know she is a Scode and not a boating award

No matter what she feels like when she wakes up.

Let her know she is carrying on your wings

Let her know she is loved.

You may leave the Chapel quietly now.

Cameron Alexander Robb 1956-2005

My little brother would have been 57 today. It seems had to believe he’s been gone since 2005. Much like children aren’t supposed to die before their parents little brothers aren’t supposed to die before their big sisters.

My little brother was the middle child. The kid with the mostly sunny disposition compared to his more dour big sister. Cam was Mom’s golden boy and had the hardest time with her when he got cancer. Because I was the one born with disabilities I was the defective one and he was her perfect boy. When he got sick somehow switched places and he didn’t know how to deal with the switch. He was her 6’4” blond haired hazel eyed perfect child. The night he had his first seizure she refused to get out of bed and go to the hospital to okay treatment and hung up before my dad could. He never forgave her for that.

The first time he was in chemo and radiation, Mom forbid my dad to drive him to treatment. My dad actually snuck out of the house to take turns driving Cam along with myself and 3 guys who had full blown AIDS and would die soon after Cam finished chemo.

When Mom got congestive heart failure and ended up in the hospital Cam flew down and went in to talk to Mom alone. To this day I have no idea what he said to her but she started screaming and he walked out and never spoke to her again before he died. I can only assume he enacted some karmic retribution that she richly deserved.

Cam got better the first time after participating in a clinical trial and was the longest lived survivor of his kind of brain cancer for 15 years. In that time he finished his college degree, BM in Voice at CSUF, got a good job at Sun Microsystems, joined the SF Gay Men’s Chorus, got a 10 year Medallion from the Gay Square dance organization, and found the love of his life, Scott.

My sister and I got to spend a weekend with Cam in April before the cancer would go on a rampage and take him away at Lammas. I will treasure that weekend for the rest of my life. Scott got to see Cam’s two crazy sisters and we got to see all his favourite places up north like Baylands Wildlife Refuge.

He used to chase me with snails when we were little hoping to make me to react. But as he finally realized I was way butcher than he would ever be. For some reason at that point I nicknamed him Bugro Nelson. I have no idea why except that it had booger in it I thought that was funny. He was always trying to give me one but nothing really stuck until he called me Marge Large, He thought I had big boobs when I finally got them. A small B cup are not big boobs but he thought it was funny. I didn’t but oh, well. He finally found a name to annoy me with.

He followed me through school choirs, church choirs, Latin for 4 years competing with me in the Junior Classical League and winning ribbons. We took voice lessons in college to together and I always got more nervous for him than me on days when we had to perform. He joined the band after he discovered the trumpet which was much better than the violin he started with. Although at one point if I had heard Tijuana Taxi one more time I would have gutted him.

He was my partner in crime, a year and a half behind me. And until the day I looked him in the eye and realized very shortly he was going to be bigger than me the one I fought with the most. At one point I had a lower voice in choir than he did, an alto to his soprano until he eventually became a bass and close to a double bass at that. He went on in college to do musical theater. He was Barnaby in Babes in Toyland and I ended up doing security for him because little kids would lie in wait outside the stage door to kick him in the shins. (Barnaby is the bad guy.)

We were raised going to the HIghland Games and learning Scottish culture. We all have Scottish names. He got the best one. It was really satisfying to yell when you were bad. We competed to see who was the best baker and he always got really pissed when mom deemed me the better baker. He was the better cook.

My parents had to put a line down the car seat and the couch or we would battle and for some reason used to slap each other in the face with our feet. I have no idea how that started but it must have looked extremely funny. It didn’t make my parents too happy though.

We came out to each other one day when we supposed to be buying him dress shoes. (Size 14 gunboats). My friends had all been insisting he was gay so when we got in the car I asked him if he was gay. His answer was “What do you think? Are you?” It turned out his friends had been insisting I was gay too. He decided we had to go to the grand opening of “A Different Light” bookstore in Silver Lake so we went and had a great time meeting his friends. And ended running through the Broadway shoe dept 5 minutes before closing so we wouldn’t be lying to Mom.

My friends used to call our family, two queers and the question mark until my little sister came out too. Mom got three out of three. We didn’t know there were gay people in the family tree until after we came out and got told stories about the great aunts and uncles who refused to get married so I’m pretty sure being gay is genetic in our family.

I miss his silly smile. I miss his teasing. I miss his voice and I miss his love.

I miss you Bugro Nelson. Cameron Alexander Robb 1956-2005 and I always will.