The one thing we've tried with her that we think she may be sensitive to is bananas. They seem to give her a stuffy nose.
Right now, if she sees a person drinking from a glass, she immediately eschews her bottle and demands a glass of her own. But she still doesn't have the concept of sipping from the sippy cup. So we're giving it to her sans valve. It's messier that way, but less so than a regular cup. Now, if only she'll hold it herself!
The following is the email I sent to the Director of our Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered Community Center about the exclusion of queer families from organized neighborhood potlucks. I sent it last Wednesday and have yet to receive a reply. I am hoping the delay is indicative of forthcoming change and not just apathy about the issue or that email hasn't been read yet. I'll keep everyone posted if/when I get a reply.
Dear [Director's name]:
I write to you regarding the recent Winterfest activities, specifically the Neighborhood Potlucks and my family.
As I am sure you are aware due to your work in our community, one of the hardest things about becoming a lesbian parent in Utah is not the atmosphere of hatred and fear that expresses itself so well during our legislative session. It is the loss of community. It is the inevitable dwindling of one's social circle as you focus on your child and your friends focus on... well, on whatever they were focusing on before the child was born. This type of isolation is normal. It happens to every parent whether gay, straight, single, or partnered. And yet, here, where a community is stretched so thin, where the weight of legislated hatred and doctrinal homophobia serves to make GLBTQ people feel unwelcome, unwanted, misguided, and wrong in every way, isolation can be devastating. You know this, this is why we have the Center, this is why we work so hard to create community and safe spaces. This is also why when I first saw the notices about the Neighborhood Potlucks that kicked off during Winterfest, my partner and I were so excited. A last, here was a chance to get to meet the people behind the rainbow flags hanging in Sugarhouse homes. Here was a chance to reopen our social circle, and socialize during the daytime, away from smoky bars. Here was a way would could meet new people -- meet neighbors, create community -- without having to try to find a babysitter.
We went to the website, looked up the email address for the Sugarhouse potluck, and sent off an excited email. To our dismay, we received an email in reply that stated that children were not welcome at the Sunday afternoon, neighborhood potlucks. Confused, I opened up the NPN charter attached to the email. The charter states:
Aside from downtown Salt Lake City, the outlying areas are unique. Unlike Salt Lake City proper, there are limited or no “gay hangouts,” meeting places, community centers, theaters, coffee shops, etc. that serve the queer community, compared to the venues that are immediately accessible to those living in or near Salt Lake City. Therefore, the Potluck Network wishes to serve ALL LGBTQ people by:
It then goes on to state the official objectives of the NPN, which I will not include in this email as I'm sure that you've already read them. I just want to point out that the "all" in all caps is original to the document. My question: How can something that claims to wish "to serve ALL LGBTQ people" put up barriers against a portion of the population that is already isolated from the community? This is not advertised as a cocktail party, or an "The L Word" soiree or some other "adult only" entertainment. This is a neighborhood potluck scheduled for a Sunday afternoon. A potluck that strives to "help create a group of neighborhood 'family' members" and to assist "people in getting to know those who live in their immediate city or area, which in turn can make their lives more familiar, comfortable, and enjoyable" by "introducing people to others like them, who will readily accept them for who they are." How can something with a charter that speaks these words exclude GLBTQ parents and their children? Are we, now that we have children, no longer a part of the LGBT community?
When I wrote back to the Charter captain for Sugarhouse, I was told that the decision to exclude children was made by Lynda Lxx and Jennifer Nxxxxxxx. I wrote to Jennifer expressing interest in a neighborhood potluck where my partner and I could bring our daughter, and was referred to the Gay and Lesbian Parents of Utah. GLPU is a fine group. I should know, I'm a member. In fact, I just turned down an offer to be their treasurer. But the GLPU has a different mission than the NPN. The two are not equivalent. Just because I want to be able to bring my child, does not mean that I am looking for a playgroup. Just because I am a parent does not mean that I want only to meet other parents. My partner and I wanted to meet other GLBTQ people, regardless of whether they are parents or not, in our neighborhood.
I have talked about this with many people. They all express surprise that children would not be welcome at a neighborhood potluck. I can understand, in part, a reluctance to extend a blanket invitation to children: I, too, have had gatherings disrupted because someone brought a child that could not behave, or because someone brought a child and then dumped responsibility for that child's entertainment and well-being on the other guests of the party. I too would not want those people around. But, to make a blanket statement that ALL children are not welcome, seems directly contrary to the stated mission of the activity.
Unlike many other GLBTQ parents, my partner and I are close to our family of origin. We have a support system that keeps us from feeling too isolated. We know many GLBTQ parents who do not. Further, many of these parents and families feel isolated from the GLBTQ community in general. Many of the "official" community activities take place in bars, or in evenings, making it difficult for parents to attend. This seemed like an activity that could bring both parents and non-parents together to create a more welcoming, cohesive community. I am extremely disappointed that the people who created it and who run it do not see it that way. I hope that Jennifer and Lynda will change their minds and allow parents to bring their children to the neighborhood potlucks.
One further thought: removing the barriers to attendance by GLBTQ parents would be good for the survival of the potlucks themselves. Though in her final email to me Barbara stated that she would remove me from the email list, she has not. In a subsequent email sent to everyone on the Sugarhouse NPN list Barbara stated that no one had volunteered to host the next, or any future, Sugarhouse Neighborhood potlucks. This is sad, since if Kristin and I had been allowed to attend we would have volunteered to host at least one and because we have other friends in Sugarhouse who would also have attended if children were welcome, and those friends would also have volunteered to host.
I am forwarding my original communication with Barbara (Sugarhouse charter captain).
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on this subject. I look forward to hearing your own thoughts in return.
Trista [Last name]
Or, What happened at the Shower.
When I first realized that I was not going to be content to live in the closet to my extended family much longer; when I realized that Kristin was not just a passing crush or even an ill-fated experiment in living with a lover; when I realized that I was going to want to bring her to my father’s family’s Christmas party and that our normally clannish family was going to be even more clannish than normal because our Matriarch was “dying” and that was going to be her “last” Christmas; I also realized that I had put a real distance between myself and my extended family, both sides, for several years out fear that they would reject me for being a lesbian because they are all Mormon. And I also realized that having created a distance between myself and my family -- that having kept them from really getting to know the adult me -- and then wanting them to be hunky-dory with all of me all at once (or rather, being pissed at them for being assholes after having set them up to be such) was not fair to them. I decided that I would work to close the distances I had created. So I started sending friendly letters and cards to Aunts and Uncles. I started asking cousins out to lunch and dinner. I organized “Cousins’ Nights Out” and made sure that I invited cousins that were significantly younger than me and my siblings – acknowledging their adulthood and our cousinship where when I was younger I regarded them only as infants and nuisances. The only branches of the family that were unincluded in this effort were my oldest aunt and her children because none of them live in the SLC valley and they really don’t do much with the rest of the family, and the uncle that I worked with for ten years and his family. I didn’t think I needed to make any special efforts with that uncle since I had remained close to him, and I had always thought his wife and their children were insufferable. Perhaps that was a mistake on my part.
When Christmas got closer and my father’s side of the family went into the “Grandma Crisis” and started saying that only “family” were to be allowed at Grandma’s last Christmas (though clannish, we do tend to be friendly, allowing people with nowhere else to go to come to our big family Christmas Eve party) and I was not about to leave Kristin home alone that night just because she was a “friend” I realized that preparation time was over and it was time I come out to the whole family. I called several of my cousins to tell them. All of them that I called were supportive and not terribly surprised. So, when that uncle and his wife and children started saying that they didn’t want me and Kristin at Christmas because they didn’t want Christmas turned into a political statement, and my father stated that a) my relationship with Kristin wasn’t political and it was insulting to think that I would make it so and b) if I weren’t welcome then he and the rest of our family wouldn’t be there either (a huge thing to say since remember at the time we all thought my grandmother was dying) many many of my cousins and my father’s siblings and their spouses backed him up. All without me saying one word about the matter to any of them (besides my father). Throughout the years I have never talked bad about that aunt or uncle or their children with any of my other family members. I have remained positive and clear about how much my family means to me and how much I treasure their support without attempting to create “sides” or polarize the family on political issues. The only political issue that I have ever broached with them was when I sent letters detailing the anti-gay marriage amendment and exactly what that would do to me emotionally and legally and asking them not to vote for it. Most of my cousins and Aunts and Uncles called my parents to let them know that they had not. One of my cousins “removed” every sign promoting the amendment from her neighborhood.
As a result, the onus of having created a family issue over my homosexuality has fallen to my aunt and uncle and their children. They are seen as the ones with the problem, not me. And because of this, after my mother RSVP’d for the shower hosted by that particular aunt for her daughter in law, she found out that no one else (except one super, super nice aunt) from our extended family was going to go to the shower. Then I felt bad. Not for the aunt or her daughter in law and grandson, but for my mother. She talked one of my aunts into going with her, since if the mother of the aggrieved party was going to go, then she should at least have company.
So my mother went. And when I called her up to see how it had gone, she told me that she only had 2 complaints, and that she felt that it was a good thing that she was there, so that she could set some things straight.
Complaint #1: Everyone kept talking about how this grandson was the first of his generation with the ability to pass on the family name. First off: our family has only had this name for like 4 generations. Some great-grandfather of mine decided that he was tired of having the same last name as every other Danish Patriarch (Jensen) and so just randomly changed the family’s name to something else. Consequently our family (those descended from him) is not related to any other family with that last name. So, I don’t see the importance of preserving our name. But, I passed the name on to Julia, and my parents’ other granddaughter, Grandchild the First, also has the family name. And so my mother pointed out that these days there is no telling that girls will not pass the family name along, and thus there is nothing inherently more significant about him having the family name than her granddaughters having it.
Complaint #2: Evil Aunt (EA) was repeatedly asked in my mother’s hearing which other family members of our family had grandchildren, and specifically how many grandchildren they had. EA replied (three different times) that my father had 1 granddaughter. One. My mother corrected her publicly (three different times) that no, they had TWO granddaughters. Three times. My mother wants to give EA the benefit of the doubt and say that she was very busy running the shower and had a lot on her mind and Julia is so young that maybe she just rattled that answer off as rote. I replied that perhaps perhaps that would explain the first incident. NOT the two following. I refuse to give her any quarter on that one.
And so, I am very glad that I did not waste a Sunday afternoon being reminded that my child, though she bears the family name, is not really of the family in that woman’s eyes. And if you say, “Well, she may not have done that if you were there” all I have to say is that this is the woman who called me Trishta for decades, many times repeating the misname seconds after I would correct her: “Trishta, could you…” “It’s Trista, Aunt J.” “Oh, anyway Trishta would you…” And that this is the woman who can’t be bothered to remember Sister in Law the Maybe’s name even though she has been with my brother for 5 years, and is a geriatric CNA who goes to my grandmother at least twice a week to help her bathe and shop and do other necessary things so that the family doesn’t have to pay someone to come do that. Just because my brother hasn’t married her yet doesn’t mean she’s not part of the family (the fact that I call her SiLtM is an inside joke and not a reflection of how I feel about her status as a family member. If my brother ever dumps her we’ll probably disinherit him and adopt her).
My mother’s glad she went so she could defend us and publicly claim Julia as her granddaughter. But I’m tired of making overtures to that woman. And again, the only reason my mother went is because I told her she should.
I’m done there. And I’m tired of the people around her who go along with her arrogance and homophobia rather than do what’s right just because what’s right is harder. And I’m mostly talking about my uncle here, I am still very disappointed and hurt by his behavior over the last few years, but also their children and spouses who, like that daughter in law, are nice to me, Kristin, and Julia when EA is not around, and very cold to us when she is. I should be kinder to them all, I know, because that woman is Hell on Stumpy Legs, but I’m just tired of being the bigger person. If they're going to get quarter for doing the easy thing instead of the right thing, then I want some of that quarter, too. At least for a little while.
And, I’ll bet EA voted for the amendment
because of despite my letter asking her not to.
In other news, Julia had her 6 month well baby check. She is 15 lbs 9.5 oz (hanging steady at the 25th percentile for weight) 23.5 inches (also hanging steady at the 3rd percentile for height) and her head is 16 inches in circumference (I can't remember what percentile that is right now.) So she is still short and (relatively) chubby with a (again, relatively) big head.
And oh, my goodness, but is she a talker! The doctor was amused by how much she had to tell him at her visit. I expect her to start using a few words within the next couple of months. At this point her first word will likely be related to our dogs rather than Mama or Mommie -- since we spend so much of our freakin' time trying to keep dogs' tongues away from her face and dogs' teeth away from her toys (chewed toy count so far: 9).
Yes, we still using an answering maching. Much easier to screen calls that way. And yes, that's why we're never home when you call...
ME (bending over the telephone table in our dark little tiny little hallway)
You've reached 555-1234 please leave a message [beep]
[to Kristin] Did that sound blurry to you?
KRISTIN (responding to me from inside the bathroom, the door of which is not 3 feet away from the telephone table)
Yeah, you should do it again.
You've reached 555-1234... oh shit [beep]
You've reached... fuck! [beep]
[raucous laughter from within the bathroom]
I am trying really hard not to flush the toilet right now.
That would be really funny.
Well, I'm not going to do it.
You've reached 555[giggle turning into fully belly laugh] [snort] [beep]
You've ummm [squeaky snorty laugh][sound of toilet flushing in background] [beep]
10 or so minutes later
You've reached 555-1234, please leave a message [beep]
You sound like you're drunk.
You've reached 555-1234 please leave a message [beep]
Well, now you sound depressed.
You've reached 555-1234. If you don't leave a message, we won't call you back [beep]
Don't you want people to leave us messages? Because there you just sound pissy.
Well, isn't that true?
Yeah, but we don't necessarily want everyone who calls us to know that we're pissy.
Who would be calling us that doesn't know we're pissy?
You've reached 555-1234. Please leave a message. [beep]
You should have just stopped with the first one.
Ok, so since I came out to my father's side of the family, one branch, particularly one uncle and his wife, ok, mainly his wife who rules her family with an iron claw, has been pretty shitty to me and Kristin. When Kristin and I had our reception after our committment ceremony, none of that family came. And the big family gift that everyone from my dad's side of the family went in on? Well, they didn't go in on it. Actually, I heard through the grapevine that my uncle DID contribute, but only on the condition that it remain a secret -- even I wasn't to know -- so his wife couldn't find out. My parents told me anyway so I wouldn't think that my uncle hated me (I worked for him for 10 years), but it just made me angrier that his love for me wasn't strong enough for him to visibly do the right thing.
Anyway, they were pretty cold when Kristin got pregnant, and even though we invited them to the shower (I prefer to try to stay open and continue to allow people chances -- what this means is that I prefer to force people to continually be assholes rather than just assume that they are one and make it easy on them by never asking them to change) they didn't come. My cousin, her daughter, did give us a gift for Julia shortly after Julia was born, but my aunt and uncle remained cold and distant. Then, at Christmas my uncle's wife seemed to thaw. She even had a present for Julia (it's not about getting things, but rather it's about being accepted as a family member) and spoke to us civilly for the first time in years. Now, my cousin's wife gave birth in January. And that aunt (her mother-in-law) has decided to throw her a shower. My mother knew she was going to be invited and has been very vocal (ever since they snubbed our shower and Julia right after she was born) that she was NOT going to attend. However she just called me to ask me what I think. Since they are being nicer to us and Julia, should she go to the shower? Should Kristin and I go? We were included in mom's invitation because my aunt claims that she doesn't have my address (I've sent her several things over the years with my address -- including our baby announcement, but whatever, obviously she just threw them away! Never mind calling someone and getting our address!). So, what do you think? Should we take this as an opening and move forward towards establishing good will? Or should we treat them the way they've treated us? Natalie (my cousin's wife) has always acted a little strange. She's nice, and most of the time she'll act very nice towards us, but then sometimes she'll snub us -- usually when that aunt is around. It makes me think that she's a decent person who's just trying to stay on the good side of a very autocratic woman. The shower's really about her and her baby, so do I want to hurt them because I'm so hurt by my aunt? (btw -- this Aunt insisted on calling me Trishta for the first, oh I don't know, 25 year of my life! It wasn't a lisp. She can pronounce her "s" just fine in every other word. Just not my name. Even when I would correct her she would call me that. It wasn't until I forcibly corrected her oldest daughter who pronouced my name that way that she also started calling me by my correct name)
What would you do?
Thank you everyone who gave their opinion. I really value what everyone said. Well, I do like to be the bigger person. But in this case I don't think I'm quite big enough. So. We decided that my mother would go as a representative of our branch of the family. She may take my Sister in Law the Maybe with her if SiLtM doesn't already have plans. She will bear a gift from Kristin and I and our excuses: too late notice, already had plans, so very very sorry, etc. All of which are true and none of which would have mattered if we a)had been asked nicely -- instead of as an afterthought or b)actually liked the people involved. So, ok, we didn't slam the door shut. But we're not rushing to push it open, either. I know in our current political climate I should be taking every opportunity to be open and loving and kind and get people to like me so that they will, I don't know, stop voting for people who take away my rights. But sometimes I'm just too hurt to keep putting myself out there. And sometimes I think that people should see that they've hurt me with their actions. *sigh* Oh well.
I have spent a long time studying these shoes, though, and I have to inform you that I don't think there's a single tulip on them!
2.23.2006mentioned once before that my younger brother, He Who Could Sell Snow to Polar Bears, had a garage band when he was a teenager and that I gave him a portrait package as a gift (so they could take their album cover pic). Well, when I was going through my mom's pictures I came across one of the proofs from that sitting. There are others out there, but I haven't found them yet but I will!
All I can say is, isn't he cute! (HWCSSPB is the one with the electric guitar)
Humph. If you are used to my being able to respond to your emails during the day, well, things are going to change. I am now blocked from my personal email. And instantly I went from thinking this was an ok job and happy and productive at it, to being instantly skeeved and resentful.
So, if you email me and I don't respond till the wee hours of the evening it's not because I don't love you.
Or, if you just need to email me for some reason, go over to Estelle's place and email her and she will give you my emergency address.
I mentioned this picture once before, but here it is in all its glory. My flower lion hair. I thought I was so damn cool. Returning to my faerie roots. Obviously obviously everyone would HAVE to believe me when I told them I was not for this ordinary life, when they saw how willingly the flowers twined in my tresses. Once they witnessed how naturally I flitted through the sylvan world never again would I be forced to sully my hands with the washing up. I was made for finer pursuits!
You laugh. But I really believed that. My inner ten-year-old right this very minute is arguing that the proof of my fay nature is the fact that the camera could not capture the reality of my appearance. I did not really look this, this (god, is there even a word for this?), NO! I was magnificent, just too magnificent for this mortal plane. So there!
And if you're wondering about the glasses, yes, you're right. My grandma picked them out. She said they were all the rage. She said it just that way, too. "All the rage." Which should have clued me in on the fact that she didn't know what she was talking about. but I was only 10 or 11 and I wasn't that street smart. Of course, she was probably just saying that because there were only 5 children's frames to pick from on the "discount" table which were the only frames my parents could afford. I cannot even tell you how many times I managed to "lose" those bad boys. Oh, and that orangie-brown splotch off to the right of my head? Vintage chili sauce. Or spaghetti sauce. Or something else food-related. But definitely NOT the glow surrounding one of the lesser fay. Unfortunately.
Ok, these amuse me too much to keep them from you. From time to time Lauri lets me know what Google's word for the day is. And invariable her little notices make me laugh and/or think differently about the world. They're too good not to share. So, until she breaks down and gets a dog herself, I'm going to post them here.
So, here's the one from last week:
Google word of the day:
spoony: foolishly or sentimentally in love
I think that's nice. My COD informs me that this is a dated word.. Whatever that means, Archaically, this word means foolish or silly, which is interesting, I think.
I'm thinking of first loves here, or at least the first parts of love. The spoony parts. The parts that still make you smile when you think of them. And I'm thinking of spooning. And spoons, and the sound of oooooooon when you draw it out a little bit cow-ishly. All of which make the word "spoony" sort of wonderful.
Don't you think? I like connotations for words I don't know, or didn't know, until I made them up (the connotations, not the words).
And here's the one she sent me today:
titivate: to smarten up; to spruce.
I like it because it sounds like titillate, so when I say "I've got to titivate myself" it sounds a bit dirty; but then I can look on with innocent eyes, thereby making the dirty-minded listener feel kind of bad. And I think that's funny.
I also like the use of the phrase "smarten up" as the definition, because when I think "smarten up," really I'm thinking about getting smarter. As in, "I'm going to class to smarten up." I would really enjoy it if there were a word that sounded like titillate that meant to get smarter.
The other defintion of "to spruce" is also interesting, because it primarily makes me think of trees. In COD (did you know that I have a Concise Oxford Dictionary installed on my computer -- which I bought for $1 at B&N -- that I double-check all google word-of-the-day defintions on?) titivate means: "adjust one's appearance," and "adorn or smarten up" (again, with the smartening!)
So, vaguely, "titivate" makes me think of trees and smartness and arousal, which are all very good things. The tidiness, I do not care so much for:)
First, an update on the newest member of our household. After learning that Brittany was not a Brittany Spaniel, but perhaps a Springer Spaniel, Kristin and I changed her name to Vera so that she wouldn't have to live her life under a lie. If you know how Vera relates to a Springer Spaniel, then you have too much time on your hands...
Anyway, we took her to a vet and had her scanned for a chip. Nothing. There are no flyers posted looking for her. No one we have talked to in the neighborhood knows where she belongs. Short of calling Animal Control again, we may have hit a dead end looking for Vera's home. But, I'm not all that concerned about it. See, this dog is a jumper. I let her out into our yard to play with our dogs (SOOO CUTE! The way they were all playing) I went inside and after a few minutes I heard Oscar and Oliver barking up a storm. So I poked my head out and Vera was in our neighbor's yard playing with HIS dogs. She had jumped the 5 foot fence. Of course, as soon as she saw me she ran up to the fence and started whining, as if she had no idea how she got in the neighbor's yard! I ended up letting her out of the yard myself and back into our yard. The point of this story is that Vera can get out of our yard any time she wants to. So, my thinking on this subject is that if she had a loving home to go to, and knew where it was, or really really wanted to go back there, then as soon as she had eaten and rested she would have been on her way. Instead she has settled into our household and our hearts with a web of steel threads.
She adores Julia, Julia adores her. Vera will lie there with a big doggie grin on her face while Julia pulls her hair and pokes her eyes. Oliver is loving having someone to play with and boss around, and the plants, well, the plants are thoroughly loving being eaten. Yes, Vera is a plant eater. Oh well. We continue in our quest to find the owners, but if they remain unfound, we will hold onto this dog until Lauri comes. And hopefully Lauri will give her a good home. If not, maybe we can convince my mom to take her. Unfortunately we can't keep her long term. Three dogs is two dogs too many. And with her escape artist talents, I don't want the worry of her disappearing. Plus, our dogs could totally escape our yard if they wanted to, or if they knew they could. We just keep them spoiled and content and stupid so they don't. I don't want them to learn bad habits from Vera...
In other dog news...
I was bitten twice by a dog this morning. I had just dropped Julia off at A's house, when I stepped out onto A's walk and began moving toward my car. Suddenly two dogs came tearing out of the alley barking and snarling. I froze and kept my hands hidden. The light brown dog made a beeline for me. I avoided eye contact and kept still and the dog bit first my left leg and then my right. I couldn't help it, I yelled and A opened up her door and the dog took off. I've been bitten, I told her. And she asked if it had broken skin. It hadn't, but had shredded my heavy twill pants.
A told me where those dogs came from, and that they've bitten 3 people recently. So I walked across the alley to the garage where the dogs had run to. There was a woman in a jeep with the dogs and she nearly backed over me. When I told her that her dog had bitten me, she apologized and said that she was having a fence put in, but she didn't offer to pay for my pants. She just kept saying that he was a rescue dog and they were having problems and thanks for understanding. I guess my mild demeanor misled her. I don't understand. Not at all. See, I had a violent rescue dog once, too.
Phooka was a rottweiler/pit bull mix. 80 lbs of pure muscle with a locking jaw. I found her on a rainy night on a country road. She was maybe 4 months old. Had been abandoned. She was a very sweet dog, to me and the immediate family. To anyone else she was a nightmare. It wasn't a big deal when I was living with my parents. They have 2.5 acres, and we had a large kennel to keep her in. But when I moved into a small apartment in the city, it was apparent that I had a HUGE problem. She would try to attack anyone she percieved as a threat. Anyone. Even small children. But she didn't bite even one person. Why? Because I knew my dog, and I kept her on a leash, and when I had guests in my apartment, I put a muzzle on her. I could tell when she was going to attack, and I could pull her back and away. I walked her late at night or early in the morning, when people weren't around, and if people came by I moved with her out of the way and warned children before they got close that she was not a nice dog and they weren't to touch her. Even though I was living in a very bad neighborhood, and for a few weeks I had a peeper that she kept scaring off and she kept me safe and physically unmolested, it was difficult on me, and I worried that it wasn't good on her to be so anxious and trigger-happy all the time. So I paid for private training with a trainer who specialized with overly-aggressive dogs. It was in training that I had the closest call with her.
During most of the training I was the one holding the leash and giving the commands, since the idea was to get her to listen to me. But maybe during the third session, the trainer took the leash from me to work with Phooka himself. He gave her the command to sit, and when she didn't (she hated to sit) he corrected her. And time slowed down as I saw her rear up on her hind feet and thrust her face, lips pulled back in a snarl, every tooth exposed, into his face. I forced my muscles to go limp and somehow I managed not to gasp or call out. I knew that if I demonstrated any fear or stress at all, that she would take that as impetus to complete her attack and rip his throat out. We all stood there for a minute as she continued growling and holding eye contact with him, her teeth millimeters from his jugular, and then she decided that she had made her point and backed off. He handed the leash back to me and called an end to that day's lesson. He told me to put her down, but if I didn't she needed to be muzzled during lessons. I didn't put her down. I continued to work with her for another year. And during that time the only person she ever bit was me, and that was because I jumped in the middle of dog fight.
I say this so that it's clear why I don't understand why that dog was allowed to run free and bite me. That woman is not doing that dog a favor. By not keeping it on a leash at all times she is going to create a situation where the dog will be ordered destroyed. There are a lot of children that play in that alley, and it's just luck that they haven't been the ones bitten. So, I called Animal Control and reported the bite. I'm sitting here at nearly 11 am, finally getting something to eat for breakfast, with my favorite pants ruined, a bruise forming on my leg, and my bloodsugar all wonky. I hope they don't destroy the dog, but it can't be allowed to run free and bite people, even if it has emotional issues.
I'm not posting a picture of my bruise because I didn't shave this morning and I'm embarrased at my stubble.
So, ok. We left Brittany (she's a brittany spaniel, get it?) out in our yard till all the light was gone, just in case someone came by looking for her. And after we brought her in we kept an eye on the street for people driving by slowly looking for a lost dog. Nothing. She's settled in quite nicely and is a very sweet, mellow, loving dog who enjoys cuddling and hanging out in the nursery (we're not leaving her near Julia unattended, though, just in case). Oliver vacillates between playing with her and trying to make certain that she knows that SHE is the bottom of the totem pole and that HE is the one who controls where SHE gets to go and what SHE gets to do. Oscar is just ignoring the whole thing. We've brought too many strange dogs home to stay for a while for him to get all worked up about dominance issues. Strange dogs come, strange dogs go, it's no skin off his back (he's still waiting Oliver to go, though). We'll make some flyers tonight and walk her around the neighborhood some more to look for her owner -- though my gut feeling says she's either wandered very far from home (and been wandering for a while) or was abandoned.
Still, just in case. Oliver once escaped our yard and lost his tags in the process, and I know how we felt while looking for him, so we'll do what we can to find Brittany's home.
So, my question. Do you think we can just go into a vet and ask them to scan for a microchip? I REALLY don't want her to have to go to animal control if I can help it.
My nails are in a sorry state. You'd think it has been a long time since I've gotten lucky by how long they are. But they grow so fast, and the quick runs right up to the very tip of my finger, so even if I cut them to the quick they're still capable of drawing blood too easily. They're strong and sharp. Excellent tools or weapons. I've used my nails to open letters, scrape up old stickers, pry open staples, make fancy patterns of moon-shaped indents on flesh (when I'm really bored), peel citrus fruit, score cardstock (I am NOT kidding on this), get gum out of hair, delouse children, scratch backs, open cd cases, cut thread, and gouge out my enemies' eyes. On more than one occasion they have served as emergency (or I'm-too-lazy-to-walk-to-the-other-room-to-get-the-real-ones) flat head screwdrivers. I do try to keep them trimmed, but often their length is determined by wear -- they just sort of wear down like a bird's beak around cuttlebone. When they do break, they break down low, and I bleed and throb. But since they grow so fast I'm only without a nail for a day or so.
When I was 21 my mom had a hysterectomy. To occupy her one afternoon I agreed to let her paint little designs on my nails (I kept them painted and manicured at the time -- I hadn't yet realized that long, manicured nails were scaring other dykes away). It took her 2 hours, but at the end I had little tropical fish and other exotic sea creatures on each of my nails. They lasted for 2 weeks. I really wish I had taken a picture. As a side note, my mother was so amused by painting with nail polish, and I had such wild colors, that she painted a porcelain dragon figurine with my nail polishes the next day. Best use of purple, blue, and green nail polish I've ever seen.
I've learned to be careful with my nails so that I don't injure others accidentally. But, I'm afraid Kristin could tell you some stories...
As part of our print-all-our-digi-pics-and-put-them-and-all-the-other-hundredthousand-pictures-in-albums project, Kristin and I ended up printing up her Southpark caricature that we did way back in the golden days. And we made it into a fridge magnet. And then I got the great idea that if I could get all my absent and computer friends to make caricatures of themselves then I could make fridge magnets of everyone and I could create my own little happy communune in my kitchen. I can pretend you're all over for fondue!
Ok, so if you've already created one and you still have it kicking around, email it to me. If you didn't, or don't, and you want to make me very happy, go here and make a caricature of yourself (and another for your partner if you like) and save it as a screen shot and send it as a jpeg to me at anaccidentofhope[at]inbox[dot]com.
When I get them all printed and made into magnets I'll post a picture of the completed fridge commune and my happy happy joy joy dance. Isn't 10 minutes of your time worth a priceless picture like that?
This morning from the Deseret News:
A bill to nullify agreements that are unlawful or violate public policy passed out of the House Tuesday in a 53-18 vote.
HB304 now moves to the Senate, after Reps. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful, and Lorie Fowlke, R-Orem, were the only two Republicans who joined Democrats in voting against it.
The bill states, "an arrangement, agreement, or transaction that is unlawful or violates public policy is void and unenforceable."
The bill's sponsor, Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, said it is simply codifying what has been "a fundamental principal of law that's been upheld in case decisions for over 100 years."
However, some some lawmakers questioned whether the language — which some gay rights activists consider unconstitutionally vague — was as simple as Christensen suggested.
Rep. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake, asked Christensen whether the bill would impact gay and lesbian couples' ability to enter into legal contracts.
"No," Christensen answered, saying it wouldn't impact contracts such as joint tenancy or power of attorney. He said it would prevent court cases over agreements that go against public policy or are unlawful, such as failed drug deals or gambling debts.
Another example he gave was a visitation case involving a former lesbian couple pending before the Utah Supreme Court. Christensen said in that case the couple had used private agreements to "create a de facto marriage, a de facto adoption, and a de facto divorce."
Romero questioned the need for the law, saying, "This bill is actually an effort to erode private contract rights."
What I like (for "like" read: vomit blood) is how when directly asked if this is about gay and lesbian's rights to try to create protections for their relationships he says no. Then in the next breath he uses an example of just that type of situation as something this bill would outlaw(while lumping in our relationships with gambling and drug deals. While it's true that love is, to some extent, a gamble and intoxicating, somehow I don't think that's what he meant). He is a liar. And I feel like I'm back in Kindergarten screaming and crying because Brigham Smith stole my playground ball and then claimed that he had it first and I was tyring to take it from him, and the teacher believed HIM and all I could do was throw punches while screaming "Liar Liar Pants on Fire you Fucking ASSHOLE!" and then shake and cry from the unfairness of it all when he gets to continue playing with his stolen ball while I get put in the corner for language and hitting.
When one has an out-of-town guest, one wants to put their best self forward so that the guest returns with no new
phobias evidence of mental illness untoward stories misunderstandings of one's true character. Even if that guest is a very good friend who has seen you at your silliest and least attractive...
Friday Kristin went to bed and Lauri and I stayed up late to talk. If you can call staying up to 10 PM staying up late. I was sitting in our big leather club chair which backs up against the bedroom wall. Several minutes after Kristin retreated to the bedroom, I hear a buzzing, dare I call it vibrating, sound.
Oh. My. God. Does Kristin realize that her vibrator is so loud that we can hear it out here?
Phew, I guess she does. Lauri doesn't seem to have noticed, thank god that crisis is --
it started again.
Shit! What the hell is she doing? How am I supposed to sit here and carry on a conversation in the presence of audible evidence of masturbation going on right in the next room? I can't believe --
Maybe she just wasn't sure that it was really that loud. Maybe she was trying something else and has realized that it's just not going to work with a guest in the --
it started again.
FUCK! Ok, just smile and keep talking. Lauri hasn't indicated that she can tell what that noise is, maybe she'll participate in pretending that everything is normal and --
it stopped. I (metaphorically) held my breath. After a few moments it seemed clear the incident was over.
Then the phone rang. And as I walked past the bookcase, I could see Kristin's cell phone flashing that a call had been missed.
The phone was set to vibrate.
Kristin was sound asleep the whole time.
I am a complete freak.
But at least Lauri didn't notice, and she was blessedly unaware of the whole episode.
Until I told her about it the next day.
I posted on this a few months ago when there was an anonymous hater bothering Kiker. But this new example is just so... horrific. I'm not linking to it, because a) I don't want to draw more attention to it b)I'm hoping the blogger under attack just deletes the comments and c)most of you probably know what I'm talking about anyway. But two beautiful bloggers in the midst of amazing joy drew a vicious homophobic attack. One that went beyond just attacking their sexual orientation and their family choices, but attacked their looks, their judgement, and their child. Long, hateful, mocking, venomous comments. On a post that was all about love and joy and miracles. I just still don't comprehend the sense of entitlement and self-righteousness and hatred that would move someone to attack so unreservedly and then when rounded upon by the bloggers' well-wishers and friends would renew the attack with even more rancor and poison and justify her actions (she finally identified as female) as saying if the bloggers' didn't want to be attacked this way they shouldn't put their lives on the internet for all to see.
I run across plenty of blogs that I don't agree with. I even have some bloggers that I know and personally dislike. But I would never leave comments like that.
When I wrote Of Babies and Baseball Bats I wondered if I was being a little melodramatic, a little histrionic. No. No, if anything I was being too limited in my scope when I qualified it as what it's like to be a lesbian mother in Utah.
I wish I could delete those comments from that person's blog. I wish they hadn't had to read them. I hope that they are better armored than I when it comes to things like that.
And to my own anonymous hater, if you're still hanging around... you don't know what bigotry is if you think that anything I've written on this site is bigoted. You don't even know.
Bonus points to anyone who can tell me where I stole my title from.
It was good to have Lauri around. I have missed her! We didn't do much, just sat around talking, she kept me company as I began the huge put-all-of-our-pictures-into-photo-albums project. She even helped a little by making some label-cards for one of the albums. And Saturday night we went over to some other friends' house for homemade Thai food and hours of conversation.
The only thing that marred the weekend was my old friend, anxiety, paying a visit last night. We were over at N's (you know, N of They Who Have Chosen To Abandon Us)house for one final L Word party and it was sad enough to be in her house all empty and packed away (she's leaving town Saturday morning, and spend this weekend packing up the POD for transport) but while we were watching the show, during the part where Lara can't get any information about Dana's condition conversation turned to two more scary bills in the Utah legislature -- scary bills that I hadn't heard of yet. After I research them I may post on them, but suffice it to say that hearing about those bills drained away what little joy there was in the evening. Sometimes I wish I weren't such a worry-wart and could just be in the moment. For example, be there and be enjoying N's company before she leaves. I wish we were moving too, and yet I don't because it will tear me apart to leave my family behind. I just need to start my commune and kidnap everyone I care about and make them live in it with me. Yes, even you. Eventually you would love it there, I'm sure.
PS -- for those of you who know about my Frog Blog, I've changed my strategy to make it easier to keep it up to date -- shorter entries more pictures. Just so you know. If you don't know about the Frog Blog, and would like to, email me and I'll give you the URL if I don't think you're creepy.
Our donor had produced for us at his house and we brought it home in a jar. We went into the bedroom and Kristin climbed on the bed. I started doing my thing with the syringe -- pulling up the batter into it and then slowly, slowly pushing the air out -- when my thumb slipped and pushed the plunger all the way in, sending the semen shooting the semen out. We had the lights dimmed to protect the life of the sperm, and lord help me, but I COULD NOT find where the semen had landed! I felt my hair, Kristin felt her hair -- no semen. So I had to turn on the light. When the room flooded with sperm-killing light rays, we still couldn't find the stuff. We looked on the ceiling, the bedspread, the floor.
Finally, we looked on the glass shelf that Kristin uses for a night stand. There, in a puddle, on top of a thick layer of dog hair and dust (funny how you never notice how dusty something is until you're forced to look at it) was our semen. Kristin and I looked at the dusty, hairy semen, then we looked at each other. Then, with a sigh, I used the syringe to suck the semen up (additions and all) and finish the job. I was just too precious to sop up with a paper towel and throw away. Needless to say, we didn't get pregnant that cycle...
1) Oh my goodness, babies happen! Both Liza and Emilin have given birth. Go check them out (if you haven't already, that is).
2) I have it on good authority that Lauri has entered the state. In fact, I believe that she has entered Kristin's car. YAY. Only 18 more minutes until I get to leave here and speed home.
3) Last week, Friday afternoon I believe, Kristin did the grocery shopping. She bought 2 Chocolate Peppermint Stick Luna bars (yummy), one for each of us. Then, I spent all weekend working on a major grant application for the National Endowment for the Humanities (please, please, please keep your fingers crossed for this it is an AWESOME project and deserves to be funded). In the late-night, techno-stressed (it was an on-line application with lots of different passwords and programs and such), buzzed, OCD haze, I remembered eating Luna Bar Yumminess in the wee hours of the night.
Last night, Kristin had just a few minutes after returning from work before heading off to a meeting. She looked in the basket for her Luna bar, and couldn't find it. Turning to me incredulously she asked, "Did YOU eat my Luna bar???" Honestly, the taste of Luna bar flooded my mouth. I could remember eating ONE late at night, but I couldn't remember eating TWO. But I did stay up late for 2 nights straight, what if I had eaten one EACH night? Who else could have eaten it? Certainly not Kristin, she was genuinely surprised that she couldn't find it. If the dogs had gotten it we would have found the evidence immediately after consumption. We hadn't had any pantry-raiding guests, and Julia doesn't like Luna bars. So... I confessed to eating the bar. I told her I was very sorry that I had eaten it and I would go right out and get her another. I felt like crying. She laughed and said that she was disappointed, but she guessed she didn't need a Luna bar after all. She took some dried apricots and left.
She called me about 20 minutes ago. "Guess what?" She asked. "What?" I replied. "I just looked through my purse and guess what I found?" "What?" I asked again. "My Luna Bar."
I guess I shouldn't confess to things I don't remember doing.
When we looked at this house, this bookcase held a set of encyclopedias from 1944. We tried to get them to let us keep them, but no go. The bookcase was exactly the right size for the encyclopedia set and a set of dictionaries, so I think the case was built specifically to hold them.
The shrine, oh the shrine. It's not really going to stay that way, it's just that we framed all the pictures and then ran out of steam to distribute them. I know, it looks a bit weird...
I have 2 other very large bookcases in the basement that hold my literary theory, poetry, dictionaries, queer theory, sci-fi, Dungeons & Dragons manuels (some from the early 80's!) and Elizabeth Peters books. But those cases are a mess, and I thought posting pics of 4 cases was a bit much.
This bookcase holds my antique books, young adult books, books on wicca and herbalism, books on childrearing, and some art books, as well as chunk of my pleasure-books. They're mostly alphabetical by author, although a few people have taken books out and put them back out of place.
Lauri will be here in just a little over 24 HOURS!!!!!
I am so excited I am nearly peeing myself right here in my marble and exotic hardwood lobby-type area.
Did you really think the positivity would last?
Some people recently emailed wanting to know if they were among the kind-faced, bat-wielding foes I mentioned in an earlier post. Needless to say, they are not. So, I thought I would provide an example of kind-faced nastiness that STILL has me sputtering in rage and disappointment.
Salt Lake is celebrating our very first Winterfest here. Winterfest is intended to be a sort of mini pride celebration organized around Valentines' day and celebratory of families and love (can you hear the sarcasm dripping in my voice yet?). One of the activities planned was the kick-off of Neighborhood Potlucks. Let me quote the Neighborhood Potluck Network Mission Statement so you can see what they say they're trying to do.
Objective of the NPN
Aside from downtown Salt Lake City, the outlying areas are unique. Unlike Salt Lake City proper, there are limited or no “gay hangouts,” meeting places, community centers, theaters, coffee shops, etc. that serve the queer community, compared to the venues that are immediately accessible to those living in or near Salt Lake City. Therefore, the Potluck Network wishes to serve ALL LGBTQ people by:
- Providing a forum to meet other LGBTQ folks in each chapter’s area.
- Continuously introducing members to new people who have just moved into the area and/or are attending for the first time.
- Assisting in easing feelings of isolation that result from not knowing LGBTQ people in your area, or moving into new and unfamiliar areas.
- Acting as a springboard for creating friendships and alliances with other LGBTQ folks in each respective area.
- Helping to create a group of neighborhood "family" members.
- Enriching and creating “community.”
- Providing a place for us to meet NEW friends.
- Introducing people to others like them, who will readily accept them for who they are.
- Providing a safe place to socialize and deepen relationships with neighbors.
- Assisting people in getting to know those who live in their immediate city or area, which in turn can make their lives more familiar, comfortable, and enjoyable.
- Helping to make our neighborhoods feel like home.
- Facilitating the formation of allies with neighbors we would trust to water our plants and feed our fish while we’re away! Someone to call with a spur-of-the-moment invitation of pizza and blender drinks! Someone to run to for help when we’ve locked your keys in our house!
Doesn't that sound wonderful? Wouldn't you want to join? So Kristin and I went to the website and got the email address of our local chapter and sent an email stating that we would love to come to the kick-off potluck. All the potlucks are scheduled for Sunday afternoons. They're all casual events. We were very excited to finally be able to meet our GLBTQ neighbors, particularly since the couple we normally call for spur-of-the-moment pizza and drinks and such are moving away.
This is the email we got in response (well, part of it anyway)
The SOLE purpose of the NPN is to provide a forum for LGBTQ folks to meet other LGBTQ folks who currently live in the same area and within the boundaries of their specific chapter. The NPN is being run as a GLBT Community Center Adult Program and is for adults only, no children please. For people who want a group in which they can bring their children, please contact Jennifer at the GLBTCCU for information on groups that cater to families, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you see that? No children! "Cater to families" indeed! So, the network wishes to serve ALL LGBTQ people as long as if they have children they find babysitters on Sunday afternoons and don't bother any of the adults with them. I'm still so upset by this. I don't even know how to express it. Here is the email I wrote in response:
My partner and I were looking forward to attending the Sugarhouse Neighborhood potluck this Sunday; however we will not be coming because we have a 5 month old daughter and we are unwilling to try to find a babysitter for a Sunday afternoon. We were surprised and disappointed that children were not welcome at something that is advertised as a community-building event and planned for a weekend afternoon. Frankly, we are reluctant to join a social group that plans weekend afternoon activities but does not welcome children. Excluding a portion of the GLBTQ community from these events seems contrary to the mission statement you attached to your email, especially since GLBTQ parents often feel particularly isolated from a community that does a great deal of socialization at night in bars and other adult venues. I will be contacting Jennifer Nuttall for information about another potluck to attend. If or when the Sugarhouse Neighborhood Potluck Charter decides to change their stance on children my partner and I will be happy to join. Until then, please remove our email address from the list.
The woman wrote me back and said that it was not her decision to exclude children, it was a joint decision of the woman who thought this concept up and the Center staff. I did write to Jennifer Nuttall at the center and was told that there simply isn't enough interest from other parents to create our own chapter of the NPN and that we should join the parenting group. I haven't written back to her yet. I AM a member of the parenting group, in fact I just turned down an offer to sit on their board. But the parenting group and the NPN have very different missions. The parenting group is not much more than a large play group. There are people who drive from all over the valley to attend. It's good, and it's useful, and we've met wonderful friends (especially Merr and Summer), but it is DIFFERENT than an event where you go and meet your neighbors. Just because we're parents doesn't mean we should be grouped only with other parents. Just because we want to be able to bring our child doesn't mean we want to attend a play group. I know that there are children who are so badly behaved that they ruin any attempt at socialization that isn't a playgroup. And I know that there are parents who are such poor parents that they bring their children to adult events and rely on other people to watch and rein that child in. I don't want to socialize with those kinds of people either. But I simply don't see why well-behaved children can't attend an afternoon neighborhood potluck. Children don't learn how to behave around adults unless they are taken around adults.
In speaking with other, veteran lesbian mothers, I learned that they never expected to be welcome at this event. They understand that parents are welcome in the "official" GLBTQ community here in only a very limited capacity. We are welcome to walk in the parade. We are welcome at a few public events. We are welcome to leave our children with sitters and come out to the bars. We are welcome to engage in the legal struggle for civil rights for them. We are not welcome at their homes, at their picnics, at their parties unless we set part of us aside.
I am not one of those women whose life is only about her children. But after working full time all week, and leaving Julia in daycare for 8+ hours on weekdays, I am not willing to find a sitter for her on the weekend just so we can go socialize with people who don't want her around not because of who she is, but because she is a child. If we're getting a sitter, by golly we're going on a DATE!
I am fucking bitter. It occurs to me that the community will rally around a lesbian mother who has lost her child, but was there any support for her before she lost her child? Was there any support for their family (other than the gay and lesbian parents group, which I know they were members of) before everything split apart? I doubt it, because there's very little support for mine. And now I think the "official" stance toward lesbian mothers here was made very clear in an event that occured recently. There was a fundraising event for Keri Jones. It was held in a bar. Kristin and I wanted to go, but the fact that it was held in a bar made it impossible for us to attend. At the time I wondered why they held it in a bar. Now I realize that it wouldn't have occurred to the organizers not to hold it in a bar. Lesbian mothers who actually have their children, and are unwilling or unable to find sitters so they can go to a bar, are unworthy of consideration. They should stick to their homes, their straight friends with kids, their own families (if they have any), and their gay parent's group and not ask or expect anything more.
Or I could just be overreacting because I'm bleeding again and this means that my last cycle was only 15 days long and I've spent 2 weeks out of the last month being PMSy.
Imagine you're carrying something fragile, and precious. Maybe it's a decorated eggshell, maybe it's a piece of brittle antique lace, maybe it's a tea pot, heck, maybe it's a magic plastic bubble creature. Maybe, just maybe, it's a baby.
Now imagine you're walking on a crowded street carrying that fragile, precious thing. You've done what you can to wrap it in layers of bubble wrap. You carry it close to your chest to take up less space, you try to slip through breaks in the crowd without disturbing anyone. You're in a swirl of people and most of them have either hostile looks or blank looks on their faces. The hostile ones make no effort to share space with you peacefully. They jostle and shove you. Sometimes it seems as if they go out of their way to impede you. At times they seem to want you to drop or crush your fragile thing. Sometimes they reach with greedy fingers for your precious thing. When you move to shield it, their fingers turn to claws and they go for your face and eyes. They spit at you and call for the authorities, they sometimes accuse you of stealing.
The ones with blank looks ignore you. They move about their business oblivious to your distress. If you are shoved or tripped, if they notice at all they curse your clumbsiness before stepping over you and forgetting you as they move on.
And then there are the ones with baseball bats. They come out of the crowd and swing at you. Sometimes you can see them coming, bat out and ready, but the press of people keeps you from moving out of their way. You hunch over your precious thing and wait for the blows to fall, hoping that the bulk of your body will be enough to protect it, hoping that you don't crumple and crush it. Sometimes you can't see them coming; you're moving along and then a crack and flash of fierce pain and you look up to see the bat descending again.
Sometimes there are people walk with you, that try to stop the blows, that prop you up when you think you're going to fall, that can carry your fragile thing for you for a while when your hands are shaking so much you think you might drop it. These people help you through, even though they face their own blows as well as the ones they take for you. And for your part, you help them through, too, when you can.
And sometimes people with kind faces come close to you. Maybe they have scars from their own beatings, maybe their fragile thing has been broken or stolen long ago, maybe they look unscathed and sweetly innocent. Regardless of how wounded they look, they also look kind, and you let them close. You let them join the people walking with you, or maybe they were one of those people to start with. And when you're not looking, this person(or these people) will pull out their own bats, and hit you in the back of the head. And they'll pull off the clot of your hair that has stuck to the end of their weapon, and flick it aside like so much garbage, as you reel and gag and try to keep to your feet, and no one around you knows how to help.
That's what it feels like to be a lesbian (non-bio) mom in Utah. Is it any better anywhere else or am I just full of wishful thinking?
From the Deseret News
A conservative Salt Lake County lawmaker has proposed a bill that would forbid courts from awarding parental authority of a child against the wishes of the child's biological parent.
Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, pledged to run the legislation last summer following a Utah Supreme Court hearing in the case of a Utah woman fighting for visitation with her former lesbian partner's 4-year-old biological daughter.
Christensen said this week that HB148 is not solely intended to address that case or any others involving homosexual couples. It is simply, he said, an attempt to clear up a deficiency in the law.
But Keri Jones, whose battle with her former partner, Cheryl Pike Barlow, brought the issue to the forefront, thinks otherwise.
"I think it's totally an attack on (homosexuality)," Jones said. "I very much think it's about our family."
HB148 would forbid courts from invoking "in loco parentis" — a Latin phrase meaning "in the place of a parent" — to award parent-time, visitation, custody, legal guardianship, child support or adoption to a non-biological adult against the wishes of a biological or adoptive parent.
"In the Barlow case, judges with good intentions . . . ignored existing case law," Christensen said. "(HB148) is a clear codification of a well-established legal doctrine that has been misused in this case and others."
In loco parentis is meant to be a "temporary, voluntary delegation of parental authority," the Sandy lawmaker said. It should not, he said, be used "to force a biological mother to accept an agreement" with which she disagrees.
But Salt Lake City family law attorney Lauren Barros said there are many times when a neutral third party needs to weigh in on these emotional decisions. Often in situations involving separation or divorce, adults may harbor animosity or bitterness toward their former partner and act out of those feelings, rather than do what's best for their child, she said.
The common-law legal doctrine is used in cases of step-parents and grandparents, as well as live-in boyfriends and girlfriends who wish to continue a relationship with their former partners' children after the relationship ends.
"There's just too many people in Utah that are in this situation," she said. "I would hope that (lawmakers) would recognize that it would dramatically change a law and would affect a lot more people, not just gay and lesbian couples."
That's right. We can't point out the egregiousness of this law in reference only to GLBTQ people. If we want the law defeated we need to show how it will hurt "innocent" people. And here in Utah, GLBTQ people are never innocent.
Just because I knew this was coming doesn't make me feel less like vomiting right now.
2.5 years feels like 3 years too long to move to a place where people don't shit all over you and your family just because they can.
even though I was never abandoned as a child.
N called last night. Yes, that would be N of N&A AKA: They Who Have Chosen to Abandon Us. Though A abandoned us at the beginning of January, we had thought that N would stay by us through May. No. Through a wonderful stroke of fate their house sold (for full price and with no effort on her part) and she will be moving to Portland to be with A on the 18th of February. 2 weeks from tomorrow, y'all.
I am happy for her. I AM. It's been very hard on her to stay here by herself and take care of loose-ends. She's missed A a great deal. And A is SO HAPPY in Portland; the move was obviously the best thing for her to do. And yet... I'm selfish. As I was congratulating N on the phone and talking about how wonderful it was, I just wanted to cry. This is too soon. I'm not prepared for it. I haven't hardened my heart against them (or thrown away all things that remind me of them, or scratched their faces out of all our photographs, or photo-shopped them out of all our pictures) or adjusted to thinking of them as beyond reach. Just the other day I picked up the phone to see if they wanted to go to dinner, only to put it back down when I realized that, no, they wouldn't be able to go to dinner. A doesn't live here anymore and N is crazy-busy packing. At that point it was sad, but mostly just "Oh, we'll catch up with N later, she'll be around for a while." But now we won't. Like I said before, when I meet a good friend I pull them into my circle of family. I feel like I'm losing a pair of sisters. And yet I also know that they are NOT sisters, and are thus not obligated to return our phonecalls. They can move to Portland and just disappear.
I know that won't really happen, I know our friendship isn't over. We've tentatively planned 3 trips together to take place during the next year and a half: a visit to them in August (with a side trip to Seattle for a little S&M), a week in Hawaii in the Fall or early Winter, and a meeting at Kristin's sister's cabin in North Carolina sometime next spring or summer. But anything could happen between now and then. And I guess I'm mourning the loss of two such good in-town friends. Friends you can call up and go to dinner or just hang out with. We're throwing them a goodby breakfast tomorrow morning (A's flying in to help pack the house) and then they're off, back to packing everything up. We may see N one more time before she moves.
Can I feel sorry for myself without really wanting them to stay here all miserable and stressed out? Yes, yes I can.
When they first announced that they were moving Kristin and I joked about auditioning replacements. We talked about making Merrilee and Summer (they of Clawing for Companionship fame) our new best friends and it's true that once N&A are all-the-way gone we will have more time to hang out with Merrilee and Summer. But really, Summer and Merrilee have already created a special place in our lives; we adore them independently of our feelings for N&A. If Summer and Merrilee were moving we'd feel just as bad. They can't fill the gaping maw of pain that N&A's absence creates. And it hurts so much that the only part I can really encompass right now is that now we'll have no one to watch Battlestar Galactica with. I've been joking (when N isn't around) that the worst thing about their leaving is that we'll have to go get cable and we can't really afford it,** but that's not really true (please tell me you all don't think I'm so selfish and shallow that you're all sitting there thinking "Whatever, that is so totally true. That is EXACTLY what she is most upset about, all this other stuff is just a big lie so we don't think she's as bad a person as she so obviously is."). I'm going to mis so much more. Thus, we need to have auditions in order to plug up that hole quckly and seamlessly:
WANTED: One lesbian couple to be our New Best Friends.
Qualifications: Must love our child. Must like "sophisticated" things without being a pretentious snob (being a little snobby in a self-conscious way is a plus, but not necessary) that way we can feel "sophisticated" sometimes, too without being made to feel bad because we so obviously aren't. Must be flexible enough to accommodate our ever-changing schedule. Must not mind that we run a bit late. Must be capable of engaging in deep and deeply passionate conversations without ever taking oneself too, too seriously. Must not get upset when Julia pukes on your new couch. Must love our dogs. Must be easy-going and intelligent. Must love to take hikes up above the city in order to enjoy picnics of wine and cheese and olives and bread as the sun sets over the valley. Must be the kind of people who would remember to bring a flashlight so we can all find our way down the mountain after dark. Must be kind, generous, and considerate. Must be capable of letting loose and being silly. Must not try to suck us into co-dependent behavior. Must be able to say what they need from us in return. Must have cable and be huge fans of Battlestar Gallactica and want nothing more than to have us come watch it with you. Must think that everything I say is funny, or deeply moving, or completely "right on".
Ok, I was going a bit far with those last two sentences. Still, any takers? Or are we asking too much? All I can say is that it's a good thing Lauri's coming to visit next weekend. And that we have plans with Summer and Merrilee every day of the weekend that N&A are officially moving out of town. Friends, if you know me through some way other than this blog, I am sorry, but I may be a bit needier for the next couple of weeks. Consider yourselves warned.
*by the way, Kristin and I refer to EVERYONE we like a lot as some sort of best friend (i.e., Best Internet Friend with a baby in Florida, Best Single Friend, Best Indian Food Friend, Best Go Off and Do Crazy Things Friend, Best Stalker Friend, Best Saturday Breakfast Friend, etc) so the word "best" doesn't really place our friends into a hierarchical order per se, though we would have to say that N&A are our best BEST friends as well as being our best daily friends, and so losing their proximity is just that much sadder.
** and then I wonder that if we can't afford cable, how can we affort to pay for plane tickets to Hawaii???
The following is an email I wrote to announce our San Francisco wedding. By this time, Kristin and I had had our falling-out with the woman who officiated our commitment ceremony. Plus we had begun the active planning stage of TTC and it was important to us that we do whatever we could to make certain that everyone understood that we are a family. We had hoped that our San Francisco marriage would stay valid, even if only in California, as a legal representation of the bond we feel and the family we created.
Dear Family and Friends:
Apologies for the mass email, but we wanted to let all of you know as soon as possible that we were legally married Saturday, February 14th, in the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Francisco. We apologize for not inviting everyone, and we wish all of you could have been there.
As you probably already know, on Thursday February 12th the Mayor of San Francisco, in an act of civil disobedience, began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Kristin heard the news first, and in a somewhat uncharacteristic act of spontaneity called Trista with a very romantic proposal that went something like, "Hey, do you have your heart set on remodeling the bathroom this weekend, or would you like to go to San Francisco and get legally married?" Within the hour, we had a hotel reservation, a house sitter (thank you Kim!) and an excited Minister willing to perform the ceremony.
At 9:30 Thursday night we left for San Francisco in our car. We pulled up to City Hall at 7:30 A.M. and were only the 73rd couple in line. It took 3 + hours of waiting, but we were finally issued our license. During our wait we were able to reflect on the meaning of family, while we were surrounded by such a diverse group of people. There were both old and young couples and couples of nearly every race. It was wonderful to see gay men holding babies in snugglies, lesbians with strollers, and both toddlers and teenagers standing in line with their parents. As each couple came out of the clerk's office with their license, the whole line clapped and cheered. The love and high spirits were infectious. Even the lone straight couple standing in line behind us was happy and excited to be part of such a monumental event.
Rather than have our ceremony at City Hall under the rotunda, with all the cameras and spectators, we chose to have a private and more formal church ceremony on Saturday. Kristin's sister, Kathy, and her kids flew in from Houston, and Trista's boss, Helen, was also in town. Minister John Marsh administered an absolutely beautiful service (see attachment if you are interested). Vows, rings*, and roses were exchanged, Minister Marsh and our witnesses signed the license, and we were officially married!
The next day we attended services at the church, and found out that we were the first** same-sex couple in the country to be legally married in a U.S. Unitarian Universalist Church. We were called to the front of the church with two other same-sex couples that had been married over the weekend, and our marriages were announced to the congregation. We then received a standing ovation. To look out over an entire church filled with people applauding our marriage was an amazing thing. We stood there in front of hundreds of strangers feeling our love celebrated. At that moment we felt so accepted and loved that we cried.
We had thought that being legally married would not change anything. We have been living together for over three years, and had a commitment ceremony a year and a half ago. At first we viewed receiving a marriage certificate from the government only as a simple political action. However, after our marriage, we do feel different. No longer when someone asks, "Are you married?" will we have to say, "Ummm, not exactly." From our experience over the weekend, we take away with us a feeling of acceptance and legitimacy. And, although our marriage will likely not be recognized anywhere other than a handful of places, feelings of love and acceptance will remain with us, along with hope that sometime in the near future all couples will be granted equal rights.
If anyone is interested in learning more about same-sex marriage, the following sites are informative: www.aclu.com and www.freedomtomarry.org
Also, the Freedom to Marry site has links to sign an online marriage resolution (which takes less than a minute) and to contact your legislators. Also, www.workingforchange.com is an easy site to use to contact your legislators.
Kristin and Trista
* We had only ever thought of the rings we bought for our commitment ceremony as temporary. With the way we felt about our commitment ceremony after our friend started drinking again, we were more determined than ever to replace the rings. While we were in Hawaii the November before this wedding we discovered a jewelry designer that we both loved. We decided that with our tax returns we would buy our wedding rings from him. Because we eloped again, our rings weren't there for the service, but they arrived shortly after. This is Kristin's ringonly hers is in white gold. The eyes are Tzavarites (just like in the picture.) And here is my ring.
only I had them make my ring in white gold with a yellow gold shell and a tzavarite in the shell instead of the diamond. They'd never made a ring to those specifications before, so as far as I know, I'm the only one with my exact ring.
** We found out that we were the first couple by accident. That morning we took some pictures of the church right before we entered to attend the service. When we entered the church an ecstatic gay man in a tuxedo approached us. "I noticed you taking pictures of the church, I just thought you would like to know that shortly before you took those pictures this church held the very first legal gay marriage in a Unitarian Church in the United States!" I, in a sudden panic that something had happened overnight to invalidate my own marriage blurted out, "But, but we were married here yesterday!" "You were?" the man's face, fell. I nodded emphatically. Just at that moment a woman who had been standing to the side of us jumped in: "That's ok, you were the first lesbian couple, and you were the first gay couple. That way you're both first!" Which was nice of her, but that's not why I had been upset. Oh well, if I had known that his statement was a product of his not knowing about our marriage rather than a sign that something terrible had happened to mine overnight, I wouldn't have said a thing. I don't like to piss in a person's cheerios, and he had been so happy at the thought of being first. The sad thing is that he and his husband were actual members of the congregation there, unlike we who were just visitors come in to steal his thunder.
And there you have it, the story of our two weddings. I'm sure that's not the end of it, though, since we're still not married. Third time's the charm...