“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
“The Walrus and the Carpenter,” Lewis Carroll
My friend Sarah treated me to Victorian High Tea at Tyme for Tea in Niles on Wednesday. It was a lovely afternoon.
The sky was that cornflower blue that blesses us who live here in the fall, and although the hills had not yet turned from brown to green, the trees had turned from green to red. Niles is a small town hidden away in the East Bay, lovely and quaint, if admittedly a bit kitschy. The Niles Canyon Railroad runs from there, and I have sweet memories of taking small boys riding on a steam train through the golden hills on a November Saturday afternoon.
Tea was fun, and silly. The tea shop has a chest of hats, so I donned a brown panama and selected a maroon cloche for Sarah. We dined on fresh-baked cherry scones and lemon curd, tea sandwiches and petit fours, washed down with warm tea redolent of peach and ginger.
We talked. We talked of work — hers ongoing and mine recently completed. We talked of family. We talked politics. She commiserated with me over my frustration with recent health issues and meds side effects.* I talked about the year, and how glad I was it was drawing to a close. We talked about our plans to see The Book of Mormon, and she talked about having had to remind herself not to sing the songs out loud during her trip to Uganda. We talked about how I had just started reading Cory Doctorow’s fiction (as opposed to his blogging), and how Nate Silver was, as she said, “adorkable.” We talked about how the sex workers in Amsterdam are unionized, and how legalization of behavior makes it easier to regulate.
We talked of our lives as they are, and our lives as we would have them be, and the world around us.
It is soul-filling to talk at length to friends whose approval I need not seek, whose disfavor I do not fear. Not because they do not matter — there are legions in this world whose opinion is of no consequence to me — but because they can be trusted to not judge me, or when judgment is inevitable (for who never judges?) to leaven it with love and compassion. People who know my imperfections and accept me anyway. Who like me anyway. And whom I like and respect in turn, regardless of their flaws, whatever those may be.
I am grateful to have friends like that. Some, such as Sarah, or Stephanie, live close to me. Some — Cathy or Jennifer or Carol or others — are flung across the country (and soon, in Jennifer’s case, across the world). I do not have as many as I would like, or arguably need (I am a solitary and suspicious type, and people often have to work to get to know me), and I am far, far too bad at keeping in touch, but I treasure each one of them.
I need to tell them that more often.
We need to talk.
*Among other things, my hair is falling out. No, I do not have cancer.
Who I am…
I am a lawyer, former mother of teenagers, and a quixotic seeker after and champion of factual truth.
I make the best damn brownies you have ever had that are not regulated by the federal government.
I love movies, Broadway, and intelligent conversation.
I think in song lyrics and movie and television quotes.
I believe in the use of proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar even in text messages. I am willing to debate the use of the Oxford comma, if you know what the Oxford comma is. It also makes me very happy if people use the subjunctive mood when appropriate.
I have been told I intimidate people. I am really just a fluffy-centered teddy bear. Really.
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Words to live by ….
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.
“Pray for the dead, fight like hell for the living.” Mary Harris (“Mother Jones”).
“Don’t boo. Vote.” Barack Obama.
“Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.” Reinhold Niebuhr.
“No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do the bad things.” Sir Terry Pratchett.
“Damning facts are still facts.” Steven C. Holtzman.
“If you don’t stick to your values when they’re tested, they’re not values — they’re hobbies.” Jon Stewart.
“Darkness never sustains, even though it sometimes seems it will.” Doctor Who.
“Writing is a form of mischief.” Stephen Sondheim.
“An idea is not responsible for the people who believe it.” Don Marquis.
“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.” Joseph Campbell.
“Truth is our strongest ally, our biggest weapon, and our best defense.” Me.
“Reality has a well-known liberal bias.” Stephen Colbert.
“The opposite of war isn’t peace, it’s creation.” Jonathan Larson.
“We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger.
We rise and fall, and light from dying embers
Remembrances that hope and love last longer.
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love;
Cannot be killed or swept aside.”
“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” Emma Goldman.
“No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett.
“I believe that the God who made (among other things) light, and space, and number, and time, and the spiral curve of Fibonacci numbers, must be acknowledged to understand more than I do about why there’s pain in the world.” Teresa Neilsen Hayden.
“No, it’s not fair. You’re in the wrong universe for fair.” John Scalzi.
“Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.” Lawrence O’Donnell
“So keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin’ ass and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.” Molly Ivins.
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