Wednesday, November 26, 2008

And I am Thankful For...

Sometimes, at Thanksgiving dinner, we all write down something we are thankful for on a piece of paper. Then put all the pieces in a hat and draw one to read.

It was a ritual introduced to us a few years ago by good friends. It's fun to do.

A few things I could put in the hat...

I am thankful for three healthy kids. In all of the chaos of daily life, of schlepping here and there, I forget that all my kids have their health, use of all their limbs, senses.

I am thankful for a wife I not only love but I actually like. We are not together because it's easier or more convenient or for the kids, or for the money, or for so many reasons people stay married even when they no longer like each other. Love is a different thing- I know many couples who are divorced who still love each other on some level, mostly because they share wonderful children. Jeanine and I are together because we sincerely, and deeply like to be together.

I am thankful for Chubby Hubby ice cream. Who ever thought of putting vanilla malt ice cream with fudge and peanut butter swirls and threw in chocolate covered, peanut butter filled, pretzels deserves some sort of medal. I'm not entirely grateful for the way it clings to my waist but sacrifices sometimes have to be made.

I am thankful for good friends. I have so many people in my life who love me for who I am, even with my sarcastic mouth and bossy demeanor. The people who know me well enough that they giggle when anyone refers to me as "butch" and have watched me transform from a part time QA software tester to a full time mom and writer.

I am thankful that every time I turn the faucet on, I get clean, drinkable water- enough to wash my clothes, my dishes, my self, not to mention all my children. Every day. No matter what.

Mostly? I'm thankful to be alive. There have been times in my life when I did not think I could take one more step, have one more nightmare, or live through one more anxiety filled day. I did, with the support of so many. It sounds corny but I mean it. So many who have lived through the same experiences don't make it out alive, or don't make it out whole, living broken lives in never ending pain.

I live a blessed life. It's never enough to say thank you... but it's a start.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


This gives me goosebumps.

We will work on hope.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Jake asked me yesterday if he could write something that I would post on my blog. I said yes, of course.

He worked on it this afternoon- had to think about it, tried a couple ideas. And came up with this piece:


The first step I take in the water I shiver. The water gleams at me. The water is cool like a chunk of ice. I swim around in the water. Waves are crashing and the horizon is up in the water."

A little bit of a proud Mom here.

Big proud.

I did not give him words. I did correct his spelling.

Jake has struggled to learn how to read. When he was a baby, he had ear infection after ear infection. He simply could not hear for the first 18 months of his life. We finally went with tubes after trying everything else.

He pointed to the trees when we walked out with him- he could hear the wind for the first time.

It's been a catch up game ever since. His brother Zachary loves to read and is always with his nose in a book. Jake has been jealous and wanting desperately to be able to read long chapter books, too.

He's getting there.

But what has started to blossom is an unbelievable ability to tell a story on paper. Mind you, he's always been a character to chat with- no question. Now he can put those thoughts into sentences on a piece of paper.

I promised him once a week, he could write for the blog. He's taking it very seriously.

So am I.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Jake's BIG Day

Yesterday, Jake had homework he needed help with.

How did I get my name? he asked.

Oh, well, I said, first of all, I loved the name Jake. Jacob. I loved it and your mom was not so keen on it. So, we came up with other names for Ben and Zachary that we quickly agreed on. Then, when she wanted to have one more baby and I was not so sure about one more, she said, you can name the baby.

That was enough to convince me.

Not really, but I was talking to an 8 year old about his name.

I told him about a story I wrote, in 1999, long before we were even thinking about another baby. I named the main character "Jake."

I read him the story.

Was that me? he asked.

No, actually, it was Ben. I had taken him to the zoo. But I so loved the name Jake, I had to use it.

He beamed.

Ben beamed.

Zachary rolled his eyes at us beaming.

Without further ado, Jake's Big Day:

Jake had a big day.
He went to the ZOO
and danced with the butterflies,

and howled with the wolves,
and hopped with the kangaroos,
and made faces with the gorillas.

He ate cotton candy, pizza, popcorn and drank pink lemonade.
He even rode a fierce crocodile.
It was BIG FUN.

When Jake got home that night,
he bounced off the walls.

His mother said, "Settle Down Jake."

But Jake couldn't Settle Down.
BIG FUN was, after all, BIG FUN.

It bubbled from his nose, zigged between his toes
and shot out of his hand,
which, in turn, made the mashed potatoes fly.

It swished the bath water out of the cup, up high in the sky, and
down onto his other mom's head.
It snuck into the pajamas and made them wild beasts, chasing him all around the room.

Finally, his moms
Lost their Patience.
and sent Jake to bed.

Jake sat on his bed.
He was very sad.
And very mad.

Jake found Teddy, his favorite bear, and sat with him.
They scowled together.
And then they scowled some more.

Then Jake remembered the face he made at the gorilla.
And he showed Teddy the gorilla face.
Teddy laughed.

Jake showed Teddy how to hop like a kangaroo.
Teddy almost reached the ceiling.

Jake showed Teddy how to float like a butterfly,
his hand carefully guiding him through the air.

He even gave Teddy an ice cream cone.
Teddy smiled his soft stitched smile.
Strawberry was his favorite.

Finally, when his moms came in his room,
to kiss him goodnight
and remind him that even when they are mad
and their patience has disappeared under the couch cushion, along with 2 pennies and an old piece of popcorn,
they still love him Very Much.

And Jake decided he wasn't so sad.
Or so mad anymore.
Maybe, he was a little bit glad his moms were there.

After more kisses and hugs,
his moms left the room.
And he finished telling Teddy all about his day.

In a whisper.
And soon,
in a dream.

No to Nuclear Power

Okay, I admit I am a little biased but I think this is one of the most creative, cool, videos I've seen about nuclear power.

and uh... yeah, the artist, Sara O'Brien, is my namesake.

(puffing chest out proudly)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Transgender Day Of Remembrance

God Files a Prop 8 Amicus Brief

Isn't part of religion having some humility? You know, all that bowing heads and stuff?

What's up with this group, The Kingdom of Heaven, World Divine Mission? They have filed an amicus brief on behalf of God.

Not Jesus. Or some Saint. God himself.

Because Mariette Do-Nguyen, head chick in charge of the Divine mission, is the "Heiress of the Almighty Eternal Creator."

Alrighty then. Let's just call it a day. God has spoken.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Back Home

I've come to realize something very important. I have to slow down.

I have to find calm every day. I have to stop being so mad all the time about the injustices in the world.

I have no real sense of making a difference in the greater world. But I do know I make a difference in my own world.

With my kids.

As raising kids has done to me, over and over, I find myself with yet another challenge. I must settle in and find peace. I have to be vigilant with old wounds that keep popping up and rocking my own stability.

Over the years, I have spread myself fairly thin. I have a hard time saying no to someones request of my time and energy. In every request I see an opportunity to learn, to grow.

And it also takes away from my family.

We are not in crisis mode in the Cowen-Whitman household but close. My oldest son needs structure and calm, my middle son needs to be relieved of negotiation duties, and my youngest needs someone to still play Lego's with who doesn't tease him for being a 'baby.'

All of them need my full attention.

This political year, a historic year, has pulled me away too many times. I had a wake up call the other day, from the vice principal of the middle school.

I'm not going to stop writing- it is what keeps me sane- but to refocus. Parenting is the most important thing in the world to me. There are thousands of voices calling for the rights of LGBT people.

I am one of four on a team raising these boys.

I am turning this ship back home.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Breaking News

I interrupt this political rant for some breaking news... I just witness the most disgusting combination of food going into a single boy I have ever seen in my life.

Chips, salsa, baked stuffed potato (leftover), milk, graham crackers and sushi. All in one sitting.


That's all. Back to politics.

Two Wrongs Never Make a Right

Two wrongs never make a right.

Over the weekend, a protest got violent. If the answer, as some believe, is to take arms against this sea of trouble... then count me out. I'll have no part of it.

I am raising three boys. White males in this society which so often gives a wink and a nod to their violence. I won't have it.

I know we are angry. I know we are hurt, furious, watching our rights be stripped away from us. But when we lower ourselves to the level of violence, we have lost all perspective.

And our dignity.

Put the anger to work in a positive way. Please. We need the resources. But if you think hurting anyone, ever, is the answer to the problem, you don't have an inkling to how social change comes about.

Seeing the video on Pam's House Blend embarrassed me. I could hardly watch. Reading some of the comments horrified me.

We just gave the most powerful ammunition to the other side. A couple of people on video is enough to make this all come crashing down.

It breaks my heart. All the years of being a parent at elementary school, all the years of marching in Pride parades, all the peaceful activism is for nothing if this continues.

Please stop. My marriage means nothing if a single person is hurt in order to save it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Redefined Marriage? Grow Up

Ugh. My least favorite Mormon in all the world is getting under my skin. A woman- who will remain nameless- is complaining.

Homosexuals are going to redefine her marriage.

How? I can't even imagine how my being married in MA for the last five years- legally, we've been together much longer but with no rights- has had any effect on her in NY. Did her wedding ring turn green? Because if it did it might be from all that preaching and forgetting about the lack of piety in her early years.

I mean, she did enough to hurt her own marriage. Don't go pointing fingers at me. And there is that little thing about living in glass houses...

Did her husband go limp? Go buy some Viagra. That's not about my marriage, that's about age. Sorry, it happens. Well, not to me, mind you.

How? I don't get it. But she gets to redefine my marriage. That's okie dokie.

Her son, a brilliant young man who is a Mormon, too, has claimed that Mormons only make up 2% of California's population and clearly, we should be looking at the Blacks and Latinos.

Love that. Pass the buck.

Oddly, the "NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund, Asian Pacific American Legal Center and two other groups asked the state Supreme Court on Friday to issue a stay preventing the ballot initiative approved by voters last week from taking effect.

The petition is the fourth seeking to have the measure invalidated. But it's the first to argue that the court should step in because the gay marriage ban sets a constitutional precedent that could be used to undermine the rights of racial minorities."

I guess they don't agree. And neither do I. He called for rational discussion. That's nice but when you've stripped me of my rights? I'm not calm. I'm angry. While I've called to stop marching on churches? I believe we should be taking to the streets, day in and day out.

He can be calm because no one is taking his rights away. No one is threatening his family. I love that on his CV he does not list his BA from BYU. Afraid of discrimination? Maybe no one really wants a lecture on moral development from a Mormon?

And there is the ultimate irony. I have always stuck up for the Mormons. I have known too many who were just run of the mill folks, no magic underwear, no grain in the basement and no polygamy.

Nice to know it was clearly a one way street.

It is wrong to vote on rights. You cannot give minorities different laws. It is a violation of the Constitution.

I don't want to throw mud. I just want my rights.

I don't want to be defined solely as "lesbian" any more than she wants to be defined only as "Mormon." We are both so many other things. I don't want my rights hinged on a single aspect of who I am, and I'm certain she doesn't either.

But here we are.

Seriously... redefined her marriage? Grow up. Look in the mirror. Nothing has changed. Stop trying to redefine mine.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pondering the Question

I got really nervous the other day when I found out some people were reading my blog. Not just the possibility of Ben's classmate but also folks in organizations that I respect deeply.

Oh my.

I froze for a while. I didn't know what to say that would be articulate, bright, witty and not boring dull stuff like... my cats.

Mind you, today I have people working in the house. I locked the cats in the office with me. They were not happy.

I feared for my life.

Finally, after their howling, clawing at the doors, I let them out. They have to use the litter, I thought.

Immediately, they went to their food bowl. It had been a full hour, you know. They had almost starved to death.

Do I change my voice knowing specifically who is reading? I don't think I can. Some people disagree with me about the Mormon church. I appreciate that but I will not back off from calling for an end to protesting at their church steps.

I speak for myself and my views only on this blog. While I sit on a couple different boards, under no circumstance should my blog ever be seen as any of the organizations opinions or goals.

My kids know I write about them. I can't tell you how many times they ask, are you going to blog about that Mom?

Sometimes I do.

My goal is to make people understand we are all different, as my son Zachary eloquently put it the other day.

And we are all pretty much the same.

Finding a place of clarity is not easy for me. It may seem that way at times by the words I write. People send me emails, articles, and requests for stories to be posted.

I do my best to consider all sides ... except when I get mad. Then I tend to fire off a blazing response.

My readership has taken a big leap forward in recent months. I've tried to be respectful of that and not post something just to post something. I long ago gave up my every day, no matter what, posting. I come close but I have learned to be easy on myself when I simply cannot come up with something worthwhile.

My children are getting older. The thought that there are posts about them as young children trying to figure out which side their penis should rest in their pants may not be their first choice to have out in the world.

It does, however, make us human. Reachable as a family.

I ponder the questions over and over again. Should I do this? Does it put my family at risk? Does anyone even care? Should I stick only to politics? Only to family life? Should I simply write "fiction?"

My fiction is never really fiction, though.

I don't honestly know the answers. But I will keep asking them.

Mostly? I wanted to say thank you for reading. The new, and especially the old timers who have been here, checking in daily, seeing what's up, and reading.

Even if it is about the cats.

Thank you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In This Moment...

I lit a fire early today- the cold rain made it perfect timing even at 4pm. The cats and dog immediately shoved me from the front row and started soaking up the heat.

I'm married today. No one has taken away my right.

In California, 18,000 couples have no idea what they are. Some have kids, some don't. A few months ago, they were dancing in the streets, celebrating finally the recognition of their right to what everyone else has-

the ability to make a government sanctioned contract, under law, with years of legal precedent behind it. Some has dreamed of it since they were little, some never thought they would ever consider such a heinous crime of the patriarchy.

Yet there they were, with tears in their eyes, not understanding the power of the words, "I Do," and how those very words history, so deeply ingrained in the very fabric of their being would feel when they finally were able to say them.

My day was fairly ordinary. I met a friend, I folded laundry and in the morning I had a teacher parent conference for my middle son. I got gas for the car, saved a newspaper article requested by a friend and made all my kids practice their instruments.

In an instant, as has happened too many times to too many friends, a car crashes. A lump is found cancerous. An irreparable tear pulls apart to who thought they would be there until death do they part.

So far, for me? Not today.

I finally pulled the cats away from too close to the fireplace. The ziti is in the oven and about to come out. Everyone is done with their homework.

If my world ends this moment? I'm safe. My kids are safe.

Not the 18,000 in CA.

Should We March On Churches?

Yesterday, 10,000 people marched and rallied against the Mormon church in New York City angry about the loss on Prop. 8.

I think it's a mistake.

When we start making villains out of other people, we are no better. When we call them names, we are no better.

I love the energy. I love the protest and the 10,000 people. But we said we wanted marriage equality. We said we'd never make any church recognize our marriages. It was about equal access to an institution recognized by the government.

And yet there we were, protesting at a church that does not want to recognize us.

Should the church be allowed to plow 18 million dollars into a political campaign? No. Should any church be able to preach specific political action? Not and keep their not for profit status.

That's a different battle.

We will not win this fight by being angry and bitter against those who hate us. We need to educate people. We need to remember that every person who sees the way in which it is discrimination does not go back to being close minded.

My eleven year old son, Zachary, said to me when he heard about the loss in California, You mean, people think gays and lesbians are different so they shouldn't get the same rights?


Don't they understand we are all different? I mean... no one is the same.

No, they don't.

We are all different. People pray at different alters, and some are places we will never create change. That doesn't mean we need to stoop to their level.

Rally, organize, march, light candles, write, cheer- and remember we are about justice.


For everyone.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Root, Not the Drama

The root, not the behavior. I keep telling myself that over and over again. Don’t look at the kids’ behavior- think about the root of it.

Except when they burp out loud at the dinner table. That’s about behavior. Period.

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster lately with Ben. I had a friend suggest that Ben’s meltdown while I was away was perhaps because he wanted to be my project- instead of all the “dumb politics” as he calls it.


There is a parallel, of course. Dumb politics often focuses on the drama de jour rather than digging for the roots of the problem. Bailing out the economy isn’t the answer- it’s a Band-Aid. We will go down the same tubes again if we do not change the fundamentals.

The loss on Prop. 8 in California is about deep-rooted ignorance, not which television ads were used or not used. People voted against a faceless categorization of people. Often, because their church told them to.

Ben had a moment last night. I’m not going to get into the specifics because I realize it’s not the point. The point is I have a boy who is desperately struggling in a society that is not very open to him. He loves music, facebook and being fashionably dressed. He is kind, at heart.

Every mom says that, he responded last night when I said that to him.

But you are going to great lengths to never let anyone see it, I replied back.

How do we get to the core? How do we get past the words, and the news reports and see what lies underneath?

The Dow reaches 9,000 and everyone sighs relief. They shouldn’t. It’s still broken and the people who broke it are still in charge.

The loss in CA has been responded to by some of the most negative, personal assessments of those running the campaign. It misses the point.

We live in such an instant gratification society it’s hard to slow down and stop. Examine. Evaluate. Underneath all the bad boy bravado, my son is scared. He doesn’t feel normal at an age that normalcy is at a premium. No, where conformity is all anyone strives for because none of them feel normal.

With all those hormones in full swing, who could?

He has an added layer, with two moms, two dads, no divorce to explain it. Not to mention other parts of his life he is beyond reluctant to address. He writes, “Ben is awesome” all over his notebooks.

I know who he is trying to convince.

And yet when he gets in my face, his brothers faces, it’s hard to remember this is a boy turning into a young man. It is often so hurtful, his brothers lash out at him. They call him the names he is most afraid of.

He doesn’t feel good about himself. He continues to sabotage everything, screaming out for help and screaming when he gets it.

I thought I needed Valium for the election…

Instead, I’ve been taking long walks with my dog when I get too upset. I go back to the root, and try to think of how to address it. He is furious, currently, that we are moving him to a private school.

You will get a second chance, I said.

The kids are all the same everywhere! He shouted back.

Yes, they are. But who you are, if you let yourself be who you really are? Will attract different kids. It won’t be so hard all the time.

I know his secret. He knows I do. He wants me to fix it and wants me as far away as possible.

I can’t fix it. I can only understand the root and open doors for him. He will have to walk through them.

Mostly? I must remember, every day, to look past the drama de jour and focus on the cause. It’s pointless and engages me in the wrong way to do anything else.

Now if we could only learn that in the political arena, we might actually get somewhere for once.

Thank You

This is perhaps one of the most passionate, eloquent responses to Prop 8 passing:

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Massachusetts Equality Under Attack?

“We’re much encouraged by the results in California, and there’s no doubt in our minds, had ,” said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, which opposes gay marriage.

Yes, that is a Massachusetts based group. After failing on June 14th, 2007 to get their ballot to ban marriage equality here, they had previously slunk back into their holes to shed another layer of skin, I suppose.

Now they are back. Feeling bold, they dusted off all their old literature and are considering another run at making marriage between a "man and a woman" only here in Massachusetts.

While I am tempted to say, "Bring it on," as our esteemed President Bush did, I know better. It cost trillions more dollars with Bush's bravado, and I will not cost the LGBT one extra dollar necessary.

Honestly, like watching the raccoons that live in my back tree, I feel the need to live and let live. They are a tiny group of people that feed on main stream media's need to have "the other side's" point of view. They come out and make a mess of things but are mostly harmless.

Except when they are rabid. The raccoons are not. Kris Mineau, I'm afraid, is. If he thinks he could have changed the constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with a popularity vote, he hasn't read the document very closely.

It's simply bravado, not unlike Mr. Bush.

I am keenly aware though, that we must be vigilant to protect our victories and continue to push forward. We want a trans-inclusive civil rights bill passed this year in Massachusetts. We have the first same sex marriages taking place in Connecticut on Wednesday. We are close in Vermont, New York and New Jersey.

California was a huge loss for us not only in that a minorities rights was put up to a popularity vote and we lost but also because of the message it sends to the nutwings like Kris Mineau.

He thinks he could have won?

Perhaps he still believes in Santa, too.

We can laugh but we must remain vigilant. This is not to be taken lightly. Rights are free to give, and expensive to keep.

Massachusetts has always been Ground Zero for the right. Let's be sure they never win here.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

They are Marching in the Streets

I asked for this and it's happened.

In San Francisco, in West Hollywood, in Los Angeles and soon in San Diego, night after night, they have been marching.

Thousands of people holding their No on 8 Signs, politicians, activists have taken to the microphones and made speeches vowing to fight, and fight and fight until we take back the constitution and eliminate discrimination.

Yesterday, they stopped issuing marriage licenses for same sex couples.

In turn? We took to the streets. Marching, shouting, listening to speeches, filling public spaces with our anguish.

Our despair at being treated like garbage for too long. For the hate crimes, for the job discrimination, for the loss of housing- all because of who we love. Gay, straight, Trans, bisexual, Black, White, Asian, Latino, old, poor, young- because half the people voted with us and half the people are all those things.

It is not a time to point fingers at other minorities. It is time to reach out and ask for their help. Because we are their long lost sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers.

And they are us. They face the same uphill battle. The same loss of rights and hate crimes. Those invested in keeping LGBT people out are invested in keeping all of us out.

A friend of mine is still out there. I'm not sure he'll come back. He's young, single and the moment in history is now. I believe he will stay to be a part of it. I'm proud of him.

We have finally come back to our roots- protests. Peaceful protests.

With thousands in the streets.

We will win because in this country, everyone values equality.

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What Can I Do?

I've read some armchair evaluations of the No on 8 efforts. I have to admit, it hurts too much to read the criticisms of the campaign.

Was it perfect? No. Even if we won it was not perfect. No campaign ever is. But everyone worked so hard to make it happen. To quickly type off statements that include how much better it could have been done it feels disrespectful to all the volunteers and staff who only wanted to do the right thing- always.

While the rest of the country celebrated a great win for Obama- sweeping, commanding mandate for change- I can't help but feel completely kicked to the curb. My rights? Not so important.

I am deeply grateful for the efforts to get Obama elected. I can breathe now that our supreme court will be fair. that women's reproductive rights are safe. the war, education, health care... the list is long.

But I am hurt.

And angry.

So before anyone writes to opine about how it shoulda, coulda, woulda- which I do believe we need to do in order to learn from the mistakes which will only help other states in similar efforts- stop for a moment and ask yourself what could I have done better. Look in the mirror first.

The next ten years will be the most significant shift in LGBT rights in history. That cannot be stopped. We will need all of us, working together, to move forward.

Today? I woke up, ready to reach deep down and remember, it's time to make the world change for LGBT people.

It will.

I promise.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Best LGBT Blog

Aw, shucks, Sue. Here I was, perfectly miserable today and you go and nominate me for best LGBT Blog for the weblogs awards.

If you want to go vote- for any blog, not just mine- please go visit. I can say as a blogger, sometimes you don't know, minus the ticks on the sitemeter, what kind of effect you have.

Thanks. You made me smile.

CA Lost

With only 500K votes left to be counted in CA, we'd have to win 400K to win on Prop. 8.

I believe it's over. We lost.

I am relieved Obama won. At some point? I may even be excited. Right now, though, I am heartbroken.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

But What About CA?

We're losing in FL... won in CT... dunno about AZ.

and I don't know about CA.

I don't mean to be selfish but... right now I only care about CA. For so many reasons but mostly? for my own.

Obama is a historic news. I will try to get excited. But right now? I'm still here for CA.

Obama Won

I'm ready to call it. I believe Obama- winning Pennsylvania, winning NH- has won the election.

It has not sunk in yet. We won.

Now for the rest... the ballot questions.

Live Blogging

I will be live blogging on this evening. Please come join me!

At the Polls in Massachusetts

Back in my liberal La-La land of Massachusetts, I hung out with a friend who was holding signs outside the poll. We chatted and said hello to folks walking in, telling them we heard Starbucks was giving out free coffee to anyone who voted.

Of course, we were skeptics. How will they know we voted? Would they give us tea instead? Could we take a raincheck- we had already had our coffee for the day.

Hey, we're New Englanders. We look a gift horse in the mouth and give it a kick to be sure it's alive.

On my way home, I came across this bumper sticker, a car parked obviously to go vote.

If this is not a Palin 2012 sticker, I don't know what is.

Personally, while the baby killing part isn't as bad as what they would have gone after Hillary Clinton with- she actually ate babies, from their point of view- I wasn't demoralized by it.

I realized they know they are going to lose.

Stay tuned...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Phyllis Lyon- What Will She Do?

As I wait in the airport- lucky me, my plane was "broken" and we're waiting for another one- I keep wondering about Del Martin's widow, Phyllis Lyon.

They married, after being together over fifty years. Finally, they had rights, finally their relationship was recognized.

And then Del died on August 27th, 2008.

What will happen to Phyllis? How will it effect her ability to inherit on a state level?

More importantly, how could anyone take that certificate away from Phyllis?

It is an unbelievable act of cruelty, to have lost one's life love and to turn around and lose something they fought for so long.

Forget Arnold, and Reagan, and Obama and the ads blasting the airwaves for one final day. Forget the DNC- as they have forgotten us- but please, let's all hold Phyllis Lyon in our hearts today.

What will she do?

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Too Much Hate

I drove up to Oakley, California today to check polling locations and also went through Pittsburg, and Bentwood, all small towns north of San Francisco.

It was the hardest day I've had here, by far.

Everywhere there were Yes on 8 signs, no where No on 8 signs. Neighborhood after neighborhood, signs were on lawns of suburban houses not unlike my own. I came across two small Yes on 8 "rallies" at intersections, and people where honking and cheering in support.

I wanted to cry.

I feel so hopeless right now. It is an old feeling the roots from long, long ago. I'm surprised it has not come up before now. Maybe because I still had more to give, more to do, more to write.

I don't. I'm exhausted by the argument that I'm a normal human being. I swear, I'm going to go shave my head. Why bother trying to fit in? What good does it do? I have no more money to give and I leave tomorrow to go home.

Over and over, I saw little suburban boxes all lined up. How easily I could be in one of those houses. How many LGBT people are in them? One in ten, as they say, feels so lonely. I hope there are two in twenty- or more.

This fight will leave deep scars. No matter what.

We almost had to do this in Massachusetts. How many of my neighbors would have put up the hateful signs? I like to think none but I know I would have driven by some every day.

It feels like "You don't belong." Countless numbers of LGBT youth kill themselves over that message every year.

I am deeply grateful to all those who worked on the Massachusetts campaign. I feel even more protective of my state- we can never let this happen.

I don't want to take away the right of those twenty men on one corner, all shouting out cruel things. I only want to have the same rights. Why is that so threatening? If you don't want to be married to someone, then don't do it! Is that really rocket science?

It was a hard day today. The polls show this so close every single vote will count. Driving around, I have never felt so hated before in my life. Just because of who I love.

The campaign office is still full of energy and enthusiasm. I'm certain a great deal comes from Red Bull and coffee, but not a single person has let up.

If we lose on Tuesday, it won't be because there was not enough effort. It will be because there is too much hate.

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The “Call” at Qualcomm Stadium- Translation Needed!

Can someone please tell me where in the Bible Jesus spoke tongues? Because they are babbling away at Qualcomm Stadium today in his name.

Personally, I don’t think Jesus was a freak like the group filing in to protect marriage against the end of times- equal rights to all.

After hours of fasting, folks filed into Qualcomm Stadium boasting of 70,000 people were on their way to fight the evils of Equality in the state constitution.

Try 7,100, tops.

Even the Knights of Columbus did a solemn march to the event.

Where were their funny little cars?

When the going gets tough, the tough does great video editing to make it look full. It wasn’t. Although there were folks milling into the press box speaking tongues.

I guess that’s because they were hungry and the press had pizza.

I wonder where God is on this debate about treating people as different and taking away their rights. I don’t believe in God. I wish I could sometimes but I don’t.

But for those who do, I have to ask- do you think God would be nasty? Hateful? So many parts of the Bible focus on being kind, helping one another, and justice. I mean, the Jews got kicked all over the desert, and I don’t think God liked that.

Jesus, was after all, Jewish.

I wonder about all those people going to church. I walked up to the Grace Cathedral earlier. It’s a beautiful building, obviously built with a great deal of passion.

There is a Keith Haring AIDS Chapel altarpiece. It is a welcoming space. Even as an atheist I feel a sense of belonging. Maybe it’s because I’m in the heart of San Francisco and everywhere feels welcoming to me. I’m asked my gender preference- sir or miss- respectfully.

I guess those Christians have different rules than other Christians. It’s very confusing as an outsider. The Evangelicals think their version is it. The Catholics, theirs, and the Episcopal’s are more forgiving but they think they are right.

And we haven’t even hit the Protestants.

I wonder how this fits into legal rights because last I looked there is a separation of church and state. If marriage is all about religion then government should not recognize it.

End of discussion.

I walked the labyrinth. I might not be religious but I can be quietly spiritual. As I moved through it I kept thinking, what kind of person hates so deeply? I have been angry with people in my life- furious in fact. But hate, as I tell my kids, is a powerful emotion that only hurts you.

Never the other person.

I’m not sure that’s really true. I am hurt by the hate. I see myself as incredibly average. I write part time, I stay home with my kids, and I do all the suburban housewife activities. Nothing out of the ordinary, to be honest.

Yet all those swaying, crying, singing, dancing folks out in San Diego today are preparing to “defeat” me. To save the world against my kind.

I wonder… who will save us against them?

It’s ironic because I cannot even imagine taking away their rights to babble on, or to hold a gathering in a stadium, or their right to be recognized as equal citizens. I don’t agree with them, they basically scare me, but I still believe they have rights.

Why can’t they practice the Golden Rule? Would they want me to organize to take away their rights?

Vote No on Prop. 8 in California this Tuesday and maybe they’ll all go have some dinner and settle down. Realize they are a part of a diverse state, with many people of many different religions.

Rights are rights and, as the California Courts ruled, one group cannot be discriminated against simply because another group doesn’t like them.

It’s the same in every language- even tongues.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Playing Hooky

I played hooky today. I did. I'm sorry if I let down everyone but I am in San Francisco and the light was perfect for taking pictures.

Plus I had to get my kids some kind of gift after being away for so long.

I started in Chinatown.

We have a Chinatown in Boston but it's nothing like this. While the rain started to come down, the bright images in the windows and on the street jumped out.

I am a devote meat eater and have no shame about it. But I have to say, I'd rather have my duck without the head.

Waiting at an intersection to cross, a young man asked me if I went to Berklee College of Music because I had a sweatshirt on with their emblem. No, I said, my wife works there. Seems he was a student there for a couple years.

Great place, he said. I miss it.

I often think people in San Francisco have it made but he went on to say the culture and the history of the city was second to none in this country. I'd have to agree.

Although where else are you going to find a place where Buddha goes for cocktails?

I made my way down to the wharf because I had to have an In-n-Out burger. Again, what's the point of being in San Francisco without a taste of the elusive burger chain's double double?

I walked in and while waiting for my order, a woman about my age (I will NOT say middle aged) with her son asked me if I was from Boston.

Again, the Berklee sweatshirt which by now was completely soaked.

They had just moved from Boston and said while they did not miss the winter, it was these misty, rainy days that brought back fond memories.

I'm not sure what that says about our weather.

I should have saved some room because the crabs looked great. The smell of baking sourdough bread in the air was thick, too.

Just so you know, when it rains, the birds clearly decide to sit on your roof here, rather than soar overhead to dive bomb it with their waste. These two had no fear and were not giving up their perch on a brand new PT Cruiser.


After ducking into a store to get the boys some tee shirts, I finally gave up and took a cab. Drenched from head to toe, my camera under my sweatshirt, I avoided any conversation. Not only was he jabbering away at ninety miles per hour on his cell phone in a language I did not recognize, he had clearly just finished a cigarette in the cab. Oh my.

My wife is always on me about stinky cabs. How much she hates them, she'd rather figure out the public transit. Today she was right.

Tomorrow is another day of checking out polling locations. I have no idea where yet but will get my marching orders in the morning. Yesterday was over 30 sites. I got paranoid at one point, cruising suburban neighborhoods, pulling over, writing stuff down.

What would the cops say?

I feel guilty- there are countless people who have been working at this so much longer than I have. Day in and day out, and have been away from their families longer. There are other folks from Massachusetts here working hard.

But the light was great and I simply could not resist.