Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June 1, 2016

The day I wrote this article, the United States House of Representatives voted down a bill that would have protected LGBTQ rights. The bill, which was actually expected to pass, would’ve made it illegal for federal contractors to fire employees based on orientation.

It missed by one vote, failing 212 to 213.

This article almost didn’t get written. I almost emailed Betty and said “I have nothing for you this month.” Because I was almost beaten. The hate that is being spewed – not only without fear of repercussion but with authority and legitimacy – very nearly got to me this month.

I texted my sister because I had nothing. It’s not that I didn’t have an idea. Writer’s block sucks but it’s part of being a professional writer. You learn to just start putting words on the page and next thing you know, you’ve got an article, or an essay, or a chapter, or whatever. The day I wrote this, my nothing was more than that.

I couldn’t bring myself to write an events article. Not with all the government sanctioned hate happening to us right now. But I couldn’t bring myself to write another article about the hate. Not this month. I had … nothing.

And then my sister texted me back. My niece, her daughter, is in the 5th grade. Goes to public school. In the interest of full disclosure, she goes to public school in one of the most liberal, tipped all the way over to the left, artsy, earthy crunchy towns in the entire country. She still goes to public school. Here in the United States.

Two of her friends, her schoolmates, are transgender girls. Openly, happily, supported by parents and community alike. In 4th and 5th grade.

My friends, Darin and David, have become foster parents in order to begin the process of adoption. They’re in Oregon.

My friends, Christine and Teresa, just up and got married at the spur of the moment last month. They’re in Connecticut.

And another friend (who shall also remain unidentified, because he’s a minor) has come out to his friends, his school, and his mom as definitely gay, possibly transgender, and certainly bigender. He’s in Maryland (and still requests male pronouns, just to be clear).

Five instances of love don’t even count as a drop given the tsunami of hatred that’s rushing toward us right now – and yet they MUST matter. They DO matter.

Because it is different. And I have to believe that we will push back against the hate. 

Now is not an easy time. I’m deeply afraid it will get worse before it gets better. And – it is different. So I hold onto that. Because that’s something.

Until next month, Poppets, take care of you – and each other.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May 1, 2016

There’s a sense growing in the United States that scares me, Poppets. There’s a sense that Ted Cruz is a viable, saner, more palatable alternative to Donald Trump. Oh, Poppets, this is a road we must not go down.

Now, I realize that I am probably not talking to that many Republican voters right now. That most of you are staunchly entrenched in the Hillary or Bernie camps. What scares me, though, are those of you who might be so firmly entrenched in their respective candidate’s camp that you’re also in the PUMA (Party Unity My Ass) camp.

Don’t get me wrong – I understand it. We have had candidates shoved down our throats. We have voted for the lesser of two evils. We have been stuck with nominees who considered us afterthoughts, at best, and second-class citizens, at worst (and that’s within the Democratic party!). If your candidate doesn’t become the nominee, I really do understand how easy it would be to not vote for the other in November. Or to vote for a third, independent candidate.

But here’s the truth – that is voting for the Republican candidate. Silence, in whatever form it takes, always empowers the oppressor. You can argue all you want, but the fact remains that not voting, or throwing away your vote simply to be able to stand there and say “oh, but I did vote!” is voting for the other side.

Which brings me back to the opening paragraph – people are starting to see Ted Cruz as a viable, saner alternative to Donald Trump. And it’s making people believe that, so long as Donald Trump isn’t nominated in November, it’s okay to be in the PUMA party. It’s okay to not vote for Hillary or Bernie, because hey, Ted Cruz may win, but it’s not Trump, so it’s okay!

No. No, it’s not.

Do not fall into this trap, Poppets. Cruz is calmer. He is more likeable. He’s friendlier – but do not mistake that for being nicer. Or kinder. Or saner.

He wants to keep Christianity and the 10 Commandments in the “public sphere”, completely disregarding the separation of church and state and the, you know, millions of nonChristians who live here. (

He wants to outlaw a woman’s right to choose what she can do with her own body. (

And he considers our very existence a “moral decay” and a “crisis.” (

Go ahead. Disagree with Hillary or Bernie. Argue, debate, fight, protest, volunteer. For God’s sake VOTE. But come November, put it aside. Even if your candidate didn’t win the nomination. Because Ted Cruz is not a saner alternative to Donald Trump. Just a quieter one.

Until next month, Poppets, take care of you – and each other.

Friday, April 1, 2016

April 1, 2016

This article’s going to be short, Poppets, because sometimes it doesn’t take many words to say what I want to say.

April 25th is the last day you can register to vote or update your voter registration status online. In other words, if you want to be able to vote in the Presidential primary next month, it helps to be on top of it this month. 

May 16th is the last day to register IN PERSON to vote in the Presidential primary. But you have to be able to get to the County Auditor’s Office. In Bellingham, that’s at 311 Grand Avenue, suite 103.

All voters are encouraged to register early in order to prevent delays, glitches, or other issues.

And do not for a moment, Poppets, believe that the nominees are inevitable, have already been decided. THEY HAVEN’T. I know it doesn’t feel like your vote counts, but it’s important to vote anyway.

Think of it this way – if everyone who didn’t vote because their vote “didn’t matter” it would be enough people to change the outcome. Don’t be one of those people.

Don’t like any of the candidates? I feel your pain. Vote anyway. Vote against a candidate instead of voting for one. There are candidates running this year who hate us. They aren’t afraid. It’s not a difference of opinion. They hate us. Vote against them, or you are voting for them. Doing nothing favors the other side. It just does.

The names on the ballot come November matter. They matter deeply. Take a stand. Have a voice. Participate. Changes always start small, with one person. November isn’t that far away. You could even say it starts this month. So you start this month, too.

Start this month. This election. This vote. It matters because you matter. Because we matter.

Until next month, Poppets, take care of you – and each other.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March 1, 2016

It’s March, Poppets. We’ve almost made it through winter. The cold, the rain, the dark…it’s almost behind us for another year.

Here’s more good news, just about the time you’re thinking it might be nice to get out, shake off the winter blahs and go do something, there are things to do!

If you’re really looking to get out of town for a bit – and we all know a little travel is good for the soul, especially after a long period of hibernation – Dine Around Seattle runs Sundays through Thursdays, this month from March 6th through the 31st.  Participating restaurants are offering three-course meals for $33. Some are even offering $18 lunches! For more information and a list of participants, go to or call 206.629.2346 x 4.

Closer to home, the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) hosts a community meal that’s open to the public, free of charge, one Sunday a month. This month, it’s the 13th. In April, it’s the 10th. Lunch is from 2:00 to 3:30 both days. If you’re interested in volunteering to help set up, clean up, or just be an official pair of hands, give them a call at (360) 734-6820. And don’t be worried about being judged at a Christian church. First Christian is open and affirming, which means they actively welcome and provide safe space for us.

March 19th brings the Farmers’ Market. Hopefully, you’re already familiar with it, but just in case you’re not – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Depot Market Square. And by April, they’re back to their regular schedule instead of their winter one. Told you we were almost through it!

Also, on the 19th, Whatcom Community College is offering a course on Energy Medicine for You and Your Health. It’s been a long winter. We’re moving into what is guaranteed to be a contentious and truly vicious presidential campaign. Learn some ways to take care of and protect yourself, spiritually and emotionally. The cost is $35 and you should preregister. Call (360) 383-3200 or go to to learn more.

Need some good old fashioned, family-friendly fun? Try the Purim Carnival hosted by Congregation Beth Israel. It’s Sunday, March 20th, starting at 11:30 am, in Donovan Park. Call (360) 733-8890 for more details.

And finally, April 1st starts the Skagit County Tulip Festival and all the many events that happen down there this time of year. You can find them on Facebook for up to the minute information and schedules.

Spring is on its way, Poppets. Let’s get out and enjoy it!

Until next month, take care of you – and each other.

Monday, February 1, 2016

February 1, 2016

It’s award season, Poppets, and for many of us that’s a fabulous time. The glitz and glitter. The clothes. The gorgeous people out looking their most dashing and beautiful. What’s not to love?


Except that the Academy Awards nominations are entirely white throughout every single major category this year. Think about that: every nominee, of every gender, in every major category is one race – white.

But guess what? The host is black! So it’s okay, right? In other words, the man providing the entertainment is allowed to be a man of color, just not the award winners. Sounds remarkably like the minstrel shows, of you think about it. 

And let’s get this out of the way, too – I have NO quarrel with Chris Rock. First, he took the gig long before the nominations were announced and second, the man is allowed to cash his paycheck. If he’s comfortable taking the money, I am not about to tell him he’s out of place.

However, white people being amused and entertained by a black man – while honoring themselves and no one else? That I have a problem with.

And, honestly, you should, too. First, because the LGBTQ community includes people of color. When people of color are left out of anything, it means some of our own are being excluded. Then, because there is overlap here, even for those of us who are not people of color. Because white, cis, straight must not be the only things of value in our society. Yet we are told over and over and over again that they are. That white, straight, and cis are all that matter.

Even the times our stories are being told by Hollywood, they are being told too often by white, straight, and cis people. The Dallas Buyers Club and Jared Leto. Transparent and Jeffery Tambor. About Ray and Elle Fanning. The Danish Girl and Eddie Redmayne. And don’t get me started on what happened with Stonewall

Yes, these are brilliant performances by brilliant actors (with the notable exception of Stonewall, which was pretty bad all the way around). They are still white, straight, cis actors telling these stories – because, as we keep seeing, white, straight and cis is what’s considered valuable.

I’ve also heard the argument that there aren’t enough transgender actors who are talented enough to play the roles. While I have no definitive proof that this isn’t true, I still call bullshit. You know why? Because it’s the exact same argument that gets used to justify why there are so few people of color in any role of responsibility, from acting to Wall Street. It’s the same argument that gets used when yet another man gets a promotion or a six-figure job and a woman doesn’t. “We hired the best person. We would have loved to have hired someone not this white, straight, cis, man but no one else was as good.” Really? No, not really.

News flash – if casting directors only look for established, well-known transgender actors, they aren’t going to find many. We haven’t given them enough roles to become established and well-known. God love Laverne Cox, she can’t play every role out there.

We have slammed too many doors in too many faces to expect to be able to reopen them now and have the people we want standing there, waiting. Plus, let’s be honest – movie makers don’t actually want transgender actors (or actors of color, or openly gay, lesbian, or bi actors) in those roles. Because if the people in charge truly wanted those actors, they would find them.

In 2014, there was a delightful movie called Boy Meets Girl. Its budget was a pittance. And they found a charming, talented, charismatic, transgender young actress to play the role of a charming, talented, charismatic, transgender young woman. Trust and believe, if the producers of Boy Meets Girl can find Michelle Hendley, so can major players in Hollywood.

It’s also too close to the argument that’s being used to justify all the Oscar nominations being white this year. “Oh, it was such a strong field… We would have loved to have nomination actors of color, but…” I’m sorry, but Idris Elba, Benicio Del Toro, and Samuel L Jackson all had movies out this year. It doesn’t matter what the role is, those men deliver, at the very least, Oscar-nomination worthy performances.

Which brings us back to where we started and #Oscarssowhite – and why we should care.
It’s the 21st century. White, straight, and cis shouldn’t be the only ones who get to do the talking, or who get the honors.

Watch the Oscars, or don’t. Pay attention to the fashion, or don’t. I’m not calling for a boycott, or anything like that. Just don’t be oblivious, and don’t think that’s it’s not your issue. Because it is. It’s an issue – a problem – that belongs to all of us.

Until next month, Poppets, take care of you.

Friday, January 1, 2016

January 1, 2016

Poppets, I cannot tell you how many drafts of this month’s article I have written, edited, deleted, and started fresh.

Part of it, no doubt, is because I’ve been writing this column for a while and, eventually, the ideas dry up a bit.

But part of it is I’m conflicted this year. I want to write about resolving to find love and peace in the face of hatred and chaos. I want to encourage you and myself to rise above. To answer with love. To embrace when possible and disengage when it’s not.

On the other hand…I want to write about resolving to stand fast. To fight back. To answer every microaggression with power. To refuse to be silenced or cowed, even to ensure a peaceful moment or two.

To write about letting people make their own choices, go their own way, and allowing grown-ups to fuck up and fail if that’s what it means. All while writing about how we must look out for each other, and guide, advise, and support because we are all put on this earth to take care of each other.

And so I have started each of those articles – and a couple others, to be completely honest with you – and still haven’t settled on my path.

For me, in 2016, I think I will resolve to find the balance between those two seemingly disparate concepts: love and fighting. 

  • I will not stand for being attacked – but I will make sure I am being attacked before I strike back.
  • I will be willing to forgive a misspeak or misstep based in true ignorance – but I will not let ignorance be an excuse for cruelty.
  • I will embrace teaching moments – but I will not allow the conversation to be derailed onto how I need to explain myself.
  • I will not be man-splained, straight-splained, thin-splained, or Christian-splained – but I will be willing to have conversation where my partners get to do more than just listen to my experience, even if it’s not theirs.

As a Wiccan witch and a Libra, I believe everything is interconnected and I strive for balance. These resolutions reflect that.

In the past, I have been vehement about not making resolutions based on the turning of the page of a calendar. This year is different, though. This year, I need to make these resolutions. I need to know what my path will be before the vitriol that is building comes in full force.

So, Poppets, I encourage you to find your path, as well. Identify what’s important to you before you need it.

Be safe this year. Be well. And fight or love, as suits your needs.

Until next month, Poppets, take care of you – and each other.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December 1, 2015

As I mentioned last month, Poppets, the holidays started for me back in October with Samhain/Halloween. But they do reach critical mass here in December. Yule. Christmas. Boxing Day. I love them all. Not only do I get (more than) a little Martha Stewart-y in my own gothy way, but I admit it: I get teary.

Commercials kill me. Coffee commercial. Coca-cola commercials. Those damn Budweiser Clydesdales get me every. freaking. time.

This year, though, this year I’m teary over something else, as well. I’m grateful. I’m grateful to be back home in New England with the person I love in the place I love, surrounded by people I love and who love us back.

My family is happy, healthy, and well. We all have enough food in the pantry and money to pay the heating bills.

And I can never, ever, take any of those things for granted again. Which makes this year’s annual article on giving even more poignant for me. Because I am also so desperately grateful for the ability and opportunity to give back.

Now, maybe you don’t give at this time of year. Maybe you can’t, or you just don’t, or whatever. If that’s the case, cool. I have no problem with you making the choices that work for your world.

But! If you’re looking for ideas, may I suggest:

The Card Family. Visa cards. Gas cards. Starbucks cards. Target cards. McDonald’s cards. Movie theatre cards. No, giving cash isn’t actually all that special, but a bit of a shopping spree when you never get that is special. And the chance to hang out with your friends and actually buy a coffee, or go to the movie, or truly participate can be a blessing to a teenager.

The Practical Stuff. Warm hats, gloves, and scarves. Boots. Socks. Underwear. Pajamas, slippers, robes. No, none of it is glamorous. You won’t make any child squeal or teenager actually break a smile. But it will matter. A lot.

Toiletries. Toothbrushes. Toothpaste. Brushes. Deodorant. Baby powder. Tampons. Soap and travel soap dishes. These are all still needed during the holidays, when most people’s minds turn toward the fun stuff. Don’t forget the mundane is still important. Try to donate full-sized stuff, though. The travel-sized and hotel-sized stuff isn’t as helpful as we all want it to be.

Christmas-y stuff. Artificial trees. Wrapping paper. Tape and ribbon. Stocking stuffers. Tree ornaments. Batteries! The right organization can get these to the right recipients, and everyone will be happy.

Traditional gifts. Art supplies. Puzzle books with pencils. How-to books. Anything Avengers this year. Ball caps. Fancy toiletries (boys like body wash and cologne, too, remember!). Kits – from gingerbread houses to archeology digs. These are the things that never go out of style. Don’t underestimate their appeal. 

Unexpected food. Chocolates. Nuts. Tea bags. Ground coffee. Powdered creamer. Sugar. Granola bars. Cookies. Most food bank donations are healthy – as they should be. But sometimes, especially during the holidays, treats are nice, too. 

And there you have it; some suggestions if you’re looking to give this season. And if you’re not, feel free to pass the list along!

We’ve gotten through another year, Poppets. I say we’re doing pretty damn well – and God bless us, everyone.

Until next month, Poppets, Merry Whatever you celebrate. Take care of you – and each other.