Monday, August 27, 2012

A VOTE FOR Question 6 is a VOTE FOR Marriage Equality

I sat down to watch the Republican National Convention tonight, but it's just Antiques Roadshow reruns-disappointing but much better for my blood pressure.  I've been musing lately about how hard it must be to be a Log Cabin Republican right now, but at least they can still party.

In local news, Maryland has finalized the language for Question 6: "The Civil Marriage Protection Act."  The language of the Act reads:

"Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs."

Rather than voting Yes or No on 6, Marylanders will be voting For or Against-tricky.  So far, public discussion has seemed muted.  I haven't seen any television ads or heard any radio ads.  I don't know if that silence is due to a lack of money, or if it's strategy.  It could be that money is harder to come by during a presidential election year, but you would think people would still have plenty of money to throw at a gay marriage vote.  Maybe the anti side is hoping people will vote without thinking too hard, and the pro side is trying to run a quiet grassroots campaign that won't rally the other side.  

Marylanders for Marriage Equality still seems to be running a smart, interesting campaign.  Check out this video to see a bunch of Marylanders supporting marriage.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

"AIn't Nobody Feelin' No Pain"

In the midst of moving craziness, we're trying to have some family time and prepare for a month of on and off separation.  Some stuff has been moved to the new rental, which is lovely, but I'll miss the retro elements of our current place.  However, the new place has some very nice feature: a fenced backyard that doesn't involve climbing down a rickety flight of metal stairs, a big bedroom for LB, and a guest room and bathroom on the first floor (we are hoping to have lots of guests).

 This weekend has involved a lot of work, some homemade green enchiladas (I realized I had already packed the Cuisinart, which was a problem, but managed to an old-school applesauce mill to make the enchilada sauce.  Good to know I'll be able to make both applesauce and enchilada sauce during the Apocalypse.), and this morning we'll have pancakes and bacon.  I've been making LB listen to "Marakess Express" and "Luckenbach, Texas" on heavy rotation, I'm not quite sure why, but she seems to be into it.  B. and I realized too late that we probably should have gotten a babysitter so we could go out together this weekend, but I guess we'll wait another month.
Big Shoes

Hanging out in a box.
New Kitchen
New Bedroom
New Nursery 
Getting in some quality Baltimore stoop-sitting.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dispatches from A Handmaiden's Tale

Not that anything's really changed in the past week, but lots of news items have had me shaking my head.  Of course there was the "legitimate rape" comment.  The New York Times Lede blog reminds us that this particular pregnancy/rape myth has a long history.  Historian Estelle Freedman published an informative piece about the history of legal definitions of rape in the Washington Post.  That controversy led to the chilling reminder that in 31 states convicted rapists who father children have the right to custody and visitation with those children.  CNN covers the story here.  The blog RH Reality Check has some older, but good, analysis here.  The choice of Paul Ryan reminded some of us about that pesky "Personhood Amendment" issue.  These amendments seek to outlaw abortion for any reason (and perhaps limit fertility treatments, including pretty mainstream stuff like IVF).  Here's a peek at what life under the "Personhood Amendment" might look like.

In keeping with the politics of our time, the radio show On the Media did an interesting piece about what politicians mean when they invoke Ayn Rand.

In less dire, but still distressing, news-this case of a married lesbian couple denied medical decision making rights during serious pregnancy complications.  It appears that this denial violated state law, and as I have said before, laws only matter if the people in charge know them and believe in them.  As frustrating to me as the violation of the law is the fact that filing a medical Power of Attorney in Nevada only requires filling out a simple form, and then getting two witnesses or a notary to sign the document. In my (humble and non-legal) opinion, hospitals should be required to provide the appropriate POA paperwork to any patient who comes through the doors and states that a designated individual should be their medical decision-making surrogate.

In Maryland you can fill out an Advance Directive form found here.  You just need to have two witnesses sign the form.  You don't need a lawyer and it doesn't cost anything.  If you haven't done it already, do it now.

And also, register to vote, but I'm sure you've done that already.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"We are Baltimore..."

If you live here, you recognize that title from an appropriately cheesy, if completely inaccurate, jingle on the local Fox affiliate.  As we prepare to leave, I feel this need to document our Baltimore.  Below is our late summer, overgrown backyard, and then some pictures of the backyards of our neighbors.  I love it when people have little victory gardens.

Our overgrown backyard and tomatoes in pots.

These neighbors grow strawberries, tomatoes, and lovely flowers.



Saturday, August 18, 2012

"I Like Girls Who Drink Beer"

Courtesy of Toby Keith, this one goes out to B., who spent yesterday loading a moving van and today driving up 95.  On the homefront things have been good, a morning spent walking up and down the moving truck ramp, a trip to the park, and a three-hour nap.  In the afternoon, LB played with her water table in the backyard while I weeded and sat and listened to the cicadas.  Since three quarters of our belonging are now in another state, our Baltimore house is gloriously empty.  Maybe we should just give away most of our belongings and sleep on a air mattress for the rest of our lives.  What do you say B.?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cicada Nation

Baltimore's still got a lot of summer left, but over the last week the cicadas have become more insistent with their late summer hum.  We are being our extended, multi-stage move.  The last time we moved it was cold, LB was tiny, and M the husky was healthy.  Now LB is big and M seems remarkably aged.  The chaos is still the same.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

"Each Piece of Our Living is a Protest"

This week the internets have been abuzz with the call of the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer "to deliver innocent children from same-sex household" by means of an "Underground Railroad."  (Interesting that we're no longer sodomites, but instead same-sex households.  I'm sure Fischer would be appalled to realize he's evolving.)  Fischer claimed that this article provoked his comment.  The author of the article was raised by a lesbian mom, and reports that the experience left him sexually confused, lonely, and "strange."

Then, in my continuing quest to actually use our Roku, I watched the documentary Commune (2005).  Commune tells the story of the Big Bear Ranch, founded in 1968, using archival footage and interviews with people associated with Big Bear.  The commune was a group of free-lovin' folks who sought to drop out of mainstream society in order to form a more perfect union, and show the rest of the world how it was done.  The commune included a significant number of children, and three of those former commune kids were interviewed for the film.  They represented an interesting cross-section: a kid who hated being a hippie turned scientist and suburban dad, a "free spirit" still happily living on the commune in a school bus and building a cob house (really a cob mansion), and a seemingly well-adjusted young woman with very painful memories of her particularly chaotic childhood.

I was struck by the similarities between B. and I, and other parents of the gayby boom and the grownups of the Big Bear Ranch.  We're living our quotidian lives--sublime, painful, dull, joyous,  in a way that was not possible a generation ago (and certainly there were gay parents a generation ago, but each year we gain legal, reproductive, and cultural possibilities).  The folks at AFA would say that we are engaged in a selfish and unnatural project, one that will bring sorrow to our children.  Thankfully, this is where my relativism brings me great comfort.  I've know kids of pot-smoking, not-believing-in-private-rooms-or-personal-possesions parents, who grew up wishing that their parents were more mainstream, and kids of strict mainstream parents, who left home as soon as they could and never looked back.  So yes, some of our gaybies will wish they were raised by straight mom and dad families,  as some poor kids wish they were raised by rich folks, and others with their parents were more loving, had better boundaries, pushed harder, or were more relaxed.  The wonder of children is in their possible futures (or perhaps you could call it their free will), futures that we cannot control as their parents.  And they may hate us, but most of them won't.  Eventually they will see us for the flawed human beings that we are, people trying to do our best with the cultural and historical hands we have been dealt.

Friday, August 10, 2012

This (Weird) Old House

I'm going to miss it.  Before our landlord bought this house in the '90s, I had belonged to a family with five kids and that family had lived here for decades.  The house was built in 1915, and this was considered a nice, if isolated and insular, neighborhood for white working people through World War II.  Cotton mills were the big industry here, and as they started closing down in the decades after the War, the neighborhood really suffered.  A few mills held on, making finished clothing or synthetic fabrics, but the last one closed in the 1970s.  One of our older (gay) neighbors, who grew up here, says that by the '70s our block was dilapidated and the homes were going for rock bottom prices.

Because they are rowhouses, all the houses on the block are roughly the same size with similar layouts. Ours does have some distinctive features like this beauty.

This is a cupboard build into the exterior wall outside our kitchen window and covered with the same asphalt siding that covers the back of the house.  I assume it was used in the cooler months for food (maybe beer) that wouldn't fit in the icebox.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer's Bounty

Our neighbor gifted us with a huge summer squash that became squash and cheddar fritters, served with sliced tomatoes from our lonely tomato plant (don't know if it was the Paul Robeson or the Cherokee Purple that survived-I hope it was Mr. Robeson), and some quinoa.  It was a nice summer dinner as a thunderstorm rolled in.  Everyone on our block has a tiny backyard.  Our is poorly weeded brick and flower beds, with a couple pots of tomatoes and herbs.  One of our neighbors works in some field related to urban food production.  His yard is filled with hop vines, tomatoes, and squash.  Earlier in the season they had tons of greens.  Most people grow something.  The neighbor who gave us the squash always grows strawberries and tomatoes.  There's something comforting and victory gardenish about seeing so much bounty in tiny little Baltimore yards.  It makes me think we all might survive for a minute after the revolution comes.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


If you happened to see a blond toddler running through PDX airport wearing pants, an undershirt, and Mardi Gras beads, and said "what are parents thinking these days," yeah that was us.  What can I say, gaybies like to party, or at least beads keep them reasonably entertained for a few minutes.

Our trip to Portland involved a visit to the rose garden, swimming, dim sum, absolutely amazing Khao Man Gai, Hood River, a drive around Mount Hood, donuts, time with family and friends, and lots more eating.