December 23, 2011

Christmas Thougts and Memories

Until a couple of years ago this time of the year had become a sad, dreadful time. Life in general had made it a bad holiday for me, but it wasn't always like that. There are plenty of previous experiences at Christmas that probably made it fun, so I'll write about a few of them:

My earliest memory of Christmas is from when I was about 5 years old. My parents had split up by then and my older sister, my brother and I were living with my dad. I remember my sister telling us about dad and her going to see the 3-Wise Men (in the part of Mexico we lived in there was no Santa, instead the 3WM = 3-Wise Men--brought toys and presents for kids on January 6th)--and she went on to tell us about the things that we might be getting from the 3WM if we were good boys and behaved...surprise, surprise---on January 6th we got a toy truck (pretty much like the one below), candy, underwear and socks just like my sister had predicted! LOL

 The next vivid memory of Christmas for me was when we moved from Mexico to Houston. Somehow or other in the move we managed to cram our old Christmas tree in the car--just in case we might need it--well times were so hard that first year with dad barely making enough and all those kids so when Christmas came around we dug out the old tree we actually brought from Mexico and put a few decorations on it. We didn't expect anything big until of course, LDS Church members came to the rescue with decorations, gifts, food, carols and goodies for all of us. It turned out to be a good Christmas after all.

While I was on my mission I spent 2 Christmases away from home. The first one was in Mexico City and the family that we rented a room from invited us with some of their friends or relatives--can't quite remember and the dinner was nice, lots of people and lots of booze which of course we didn't drink. I was asked to say a few words--which I can't even remember but it must have been an awkward message because I do remember people going back to their drinking and merriment right after that, LOL... the second Christmas was just spent with other missionaries hanging out and eating in Cuernavaca, it was nice and quiet. We always had a nice service and show with the President's family--they loved to sing, dance and put on a show for us--that's actually where I learned all about White Elephant gifts too!! :-)

Later on--Being married it meant that we had to spend time with both my family and in-laws. It was crazy because both families expected us to be there with them at the same time, it was hard to leave one house--because they weren't quite ready to do presents and such yet--then arrive at the next house and be told: "you weren't here, we opened presents already". I think that's when I started losing the joy for the holidays with the pressure of outdoing others for presents and the stress of "who are we disappointing this year"? Maybe it was just eagerness to please everyone and not being able to put our foot down and say: "look, we have to have our own traditions too, or we'll trade off every other year" try as we might it never worked out-- No bueno.

Fast-forward to now, I sure don't miss the anxiety and pangs of the holidays. Instead I focus on the kids, the babe and whatever little I can do to make it a special season--making the most of the circumstances. There have surely been adjustments in life, family dynamics and even revised/new traditions but I feel much, much better about the season and I don't have quite the anxiety levels I used to before. Sure, there is always so much more I could do so many more to touch and help, friends to remember and candles to light, but even in small ways, a lot of good things can happen. 

I hope everyone who might read this has a very

Merry Christmas
Happy Kwanza
Happy Hanukkah
Happy Winter Solstice Festivus

And if you're not with relatives, perhaps with friends or in any other possible way. If being with someone isn't an option I hope that at the very least the spirit of the season is enough comfort for now until times get better--that's how I used to make it through those dark times way back when...

December 08, 2011

Breeding them Tender (Femmy)

I attended a baby's blessing at an LDS ward last Sunday. It had been a long time since I had last attended the LDS church and a fast & testimony meeting on top of that! I didn't feel weird not partaking of the sacrament although the thought did come to my mind how at City of Hope the pastors always stress the fact that everyone is invited to partake of communion, even if you don't believe in anything, but that's not the point of this post--I'll get back on track, promise.

So finally testimony time came around--we had taken some paper to keep tallies on how many times we heard key words (Jesus-Christ, Joseph Smith and such-) and make it a little more lively. As usual the bishop shared his and invited members to do the same. After a few awkward moments of silence people started making their way up to share. We heard the token stalwart member who had spiritual experiences to share, a couple of kids, crying women and so on; at one point a guy got up and started sharing his thoughts at which point Jeff scribbled on his paper that his gaydar was going haywire. I paid a little more attention to the guy and well, yeah the way he expressed himself and gestures gave me cause to agree with Jeff (I don't have a great gaydar myself--I usually can't tell right off the bat)--maybe I should think like one of my friends does: Everyone is gay until proven otherwise--ha!

Anyway--getting back to the post it was interesting to see some of the other testimonies and the inflection that comes with them, particularly from the males. Some of them did seem spiritual and all but at some point I mentioned to Jeff how easy it is/was for many of us gay folk to navigate in the church pretty much unrecognized for our queerness all in the name of spirituality and he said something that he had mentioned before but I had not completely understood: "That's because in the church they breed them femmy" I guess it made sense to me at that point even though I had heard yet another friend before who mentioned that some people outside of Utah say that their gaydar doesn't work in Utah because everyone is trying to act all spiritual and such...

Good food for thought!

All in all I had a good experience at the LDS church. I had made a decision a long time ago that if I ever found myself in a situation where I needed to support a LDS family member in their life-events I would be supportive and make the best of the situation. I have to admit that up to now the last few times I hadn't been so much at peace with going back to a sacrament meeting but this time my impressions were not as bad and I felt in a much better place--not that I'll start attending my local ward or anything!!

One last observation: Jesus-Christ and Joseph Smith were neck-and-neck being mentioned in testimonies, according to my tally marks but Jesus won only very slightly--I'm not 100% sure what to make of that or if it even matters at this point...

November 22, 2011

Holiday Wishes

It wasn't long ago that as soon as I heard "White Christmas" for the first time in the holiday season I would get this horrible feeling of darkness and a horrible feeling of hopelessness and loneliness that granted, was mostly brought upon by myself, but it was a real feeling nonetheless. Thankfully that feeling has faded vastly and I'm in a place where I feel blessed beyond anything I could ever dream. Still as I see the wave of messages about being thankful for blessings and good fortune I can't but think of people out there who have a hard time with the holidays.

I'm part of a support group for gay dads. Some of them are newly out, some are going through separations and divorces or some kind of life adjustment. Some of the fathers are being shunned by their very own immediate families and in-laws. It is sad enough for parents not to see their children and the other way around, but it is even sadder when families shun their own members. I don't know if we've learned anything about watching out and taking care of each other. I ask myself if Jesus would do that to his own family? It also breaks my heart to see when partners (who may or may not be out) are not able to share or bring their significant other to their family functions because of all the possible implications and holidays are not spent in full/real celebration.

But it isn't just gay dads or LGBT people who could be going through this, it doesn't take much to notice others who may be going through the same and it doesn't take long to figure that out; for instance the homeless person walking down the street, the elderly lady looking out her apartment window, a traveler and the list goes on and one...


If you're in a position to reach out please do so. Make a call, send a text, send an email, drop in on someone that you know is alone. I've seen friends who have created open events for dinners and are reaching out to people regardless of who they are so that people can be included if they wish. It is a great opportunity to share and meet people that one might not otherwise do. I've been the happy recipient of invitations like this in the past and has helped my sanity immensely.

If nothing else light a candle and think of someone you know (or may not know) who is having a hard time with the holidays or is ill or is simply going through a rough patch. I was taught this years ago by a friend and I honestly forget to do that but I'll make a conscious effort to light a candle each day through the season with that in mind and make a wish that perhaps the next holiday it will be different for everyone and I encourage everyone who may be reading this to do the same and pass it along. 

After all, isn't that in the very least what Jesus would do?

November 03, 2011

"Turn It Off"

Confession time: I've been meaning to post about this for a while and I keep saving the draft for later, it is time to just get it published. I think I've become obsessed with the Book of Mormon Musical (no, really?!?!?) Maybe it is because I'm only just catching up with campy tunes from musicals and I happen to like them--I don't know. I like almost all of the songs, but this one in particular always makes me crack up the most; however by the time the song ends I'm usually in tears---can anyone explain that?


I wish YouTube still had the boot-legged copy of the play to show the actual song with the actors, it is much more visual than what's available now, but at least there's something to show.

I can't speak for anyone else, this is just my personal experience but as an active Mormon I think I was constantly self-pressured to shelve things up. If I had questions on faith, doubts, fears and anything that was not edifying I was pretty much under the impression that I needed to "turn it off" in other words, don't think about it and it doesn't exist. Funny thing is that I don't remember ever reading it in any official talk or manual about this, it may be more cultural than anything, yet in retrospect it affected so much of my life. I think my tears might originate from the sadness that I allowed this coping mechanism to become my way of life, any one who can explain, you know "free-advising, I'm not a shrink but play one on the internet" types out there?

Sometimes when talking to other members the concept of "if it isn't useful for your salvation it isn't important" would come up and be held as the general consensus; but then again there are plenty of things in life that are important enough to question but the rule of thumb is again, if it doesn't lead you to be good, do good and possibly even show how good you are then turn off the thoughts. I haven't made a point to sit and think about the number of items that I may have turned off during my active Mormon life and at this point maybe it isn't even worth it, but for two or three--or probably many more very obvious things--turning it off made a huge impact in my life...

Who knows maybe I'm still turning a lot of things off...don't we all?

November 02, 2011

Dia De Los Muertos

Last May when I went to Roosevelt Utah with Jeff's family I was asked if we did anything for Memorial Day (well besides having a barbeque!) but more precisely going to the cemetery to visit the grave sites of the dead. I replied that we save the Day of the Dead for that--well I shouldn't say this because my family didn't typically observe the day anyway, but a lot of people in Mexico do it. They're having an exhibit at the West Valley Cultural Center so we stopped by last night to visit. I think I knew most of the stuff I read but basically the dead are celebrated for 2 days in November. The 1st of day for children and the 2nd day for the adults 

After doing a little more reading I find that the day is not just to revere the relatives who've passed on and honor them with the foods and music and activities they enjoyed, but also in a morbid kind of way to mock death--so if we make death seem just about the same as life (merely just bones without living flesh and organs), the next stage may not seem as scary, right?

I kind of like that idea yes, if Halloween is all about making fun of horror, evil and all things obscure I can completely see the concept of making fun of the ultimate stage of life, after all what good is life if it can't be enjoyed and celebrated, even in death! Aside from Halloween, how do you honor the dead?

Hope you enjoy these few pictures I took of the display!

October 07, 2011

Changes and more changes...

I was trying to do an extensive blog about the topic and while looking for a graphic I found this, I think it pretty much sums up what I'm trying to say, so I'll just stick with that instead of a never-ending ramble

September 25, 2011

Speaking in "I Terms"

Last Sunday at a class before church the topic was "Who is Jesus" which was in itself a fascinating dialogue but I won't touch on that in this posting--but a couple of things blew my mind--'nuff said!

However, before the actual class took place some group rules were reviewed. One of such rules was:

Speak in "I terms"

What that meant basically was that when someone gave an opinion or public thought the following terms were not allowed:

We believe
You feel
We learn
You do
We see

and so on...

In other words it was not permitted to speak for others thoughts, ideas and/or feelings.

I have to admit that this was a hard exercise. Generally speaking for humans (as the pack-creatures that we are) it isn't hard to get caught up in the semantics of keeping people included in one's thoughts, activities and ideas. If one is to pay close attention to commercials, documentaries and even pay a little bit of attention of how communication flows between people these very terms will come up over and over.

I've spent a little time paying special attention to messages on TV, radio and other mediums and I've noticed this repeating trend. Is it something in the English language-or perhaps any other language, I'll have to check out how it works in Spanish--that makes everyone feel automatically included in one's thoughts and actions, (marketing campaigns?) such as:

"As for me and my house, WE will serve the Lord" Joshua (Old Testament).
"Join US for coffee hour (or mingle time) after worship" Church bulletin
"If you vote for me, all YOUR wild dreams will come true" Pedro, Napoleon Dynamite.  :-)

And of course, the exercise would not be complete without exploring things like:

  • "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ and The Holy Ghost..." LDS church 13 Articles of Faith
  • "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible..." Nicene Creed

I guess my point here is at what point do I make my own personal beliefs and impressions part of the greater community? At what point does the community take my impressions make them part of their own, whether I'm right/wrong or just plain delusional? I think I need to start thinking more about this and believe it or not the last couple of days I've caught myself saying things like: "We don't do that", or "This is how we follow this policy..." and have had to rethink if what I'm saying is my own impression or if I should even be including others in what I interpret as a general rule or common thought.

The things that go through my mind sometimes...

September 20, 2011

While I was sleeping: Telling my dad that I am gay

DADT no more!

I think this scene was repeated over and over today everywhere that there are US Armed Forces while most of us were sleeping. I loved the way the soldier calls his dad: Daddy and his dad's answer brought tears to my eyes. Makes me happy to see that the world is still a place for love and hope, even if it is one person at a time and it is time to show what a person is capable of doing for their own merits than their color of their skin or who they love!


September 18, 2011

Life Is Good

I haven't posted much lately, no that there's not much going on iny life or current events to write about (i have a couple of thoughts im working on) but the only thing I can think of at this time to say is: 

Life is good and I'm a fortunate man


September 06, 2011

Time flies... what 20 years will do to you

This week marks 20 years since I arrived in Utah with my then-best friend. Both of us were naive returned-missionaries, didn't have a penny to our names, but we were ready to take on the world. I had been warned by people (among them my own mother) that moving to Utah would cause me to go inactive.

I've been asked repeatedly throughout my 20 years living here why Utah? I can't help but think, why not? But instead I tell people that I very much enjoyed this place, the scenery, the relatively mild weather (compared to Texas and other places) and yes, the reality was that I was here to be with the saints. It felt like a safe enough place, where I could be on my own, go to school, work and create a life. I learned a lot of interesting things being on my own, some of which scared me (like my first job interview here where I was asked where I went on my mission) some of which were exciting--such as being able to go come and go pretty much whenever I chose and then also discovered things about myself that I was probably not prepared to face or deal with, but I've talked about these before, I'll spare all the dirty details.

As the days turned into weeks and months and years life went on: jobs, friendships, relationships church callings, marriage, children, bills, moves and all the things that come with life---

"We were so happy
we didn't even know how 
miserable we were" 
--Fiddler On The Roof

I am not sure where things started to unravel in life, but something tells me that I never quite had it all together to begin with. The life I had didn't seem to fit quite me no matter how hard I tried. I was just playing a role in a show that just kept going and going and going--sometimes the episodes were interesting, sometimes they were sad and often times they were simply boring. I tried to flee Utah a couple of times to Southern California--the only place I ever found remotely interesting to drop everything and go and as I've told people, only to be chewed up and spit right back to Utah. Perhaps by all outward appearances we were just like any typical family--the normal ones (little does anyone know there are no normal families). But life has happened and continues to happen, isn't it interesting?

Years later I lost faith in the LDS church and left with my family--mom's words became a reality. I can honestly say that losing my religion was one of most traumatic events of my life. I had no compass, I felt lost and abandoned from everything that I knew, even though I actually never quite fit in that world either--ironic, isn't it? A little over three years ago I wondered where would life take me but I wouldn't even dare ask the question out loud. Staying in a sad, sham of a marriage didn't seem any more appealing than the pain it was going to cause to split up, come out and start living my life. I don't even remember where or how I found gay Mormon bloggers, a community of people who at one time thought they were the only one of their kind in the world.

It took probably another six months for me to say the words: "Yes, I am gay" out loud and start the road to claiming my life. The next couple of years have been nothing short of an epic journey. Tears have been shed, pain has been caused, but some wounds have been healing--but on the other hand, I'm finally able to be me, the real me--have the ability to love and be loved for who I am. It was probably only about 2 years ago that I was able to look at myself in the mirror for the first time and liked what I saw. It makes sense to solve the mystery of why I am in Utah (and keep coming back) oddly as it sounds: This is home, this is where my support system is--call it family and/or dear close friends, Moho family and yes, even LOVE!! I don't know how easier I would have been able to make the necessary transitions, meet amazing people and run into a certain someone who has managed to show me a life and a world I dreamed of but could possibly not envision otherwise had I not been where I am now.

Life keeps going on, oddly enough. I'm far from having it together--I still don't have penny to my name, funny how somethings just never change--some days I honestly don't know which way is up and/or down but I do know that I'm in a better place (mentally & physically, emotionally than I was even 2 years ago) and I'm still a work in progress in other areas, I suppose as long as there's hope. If I could go back and tell that young kid that arrived in Utah 20 years ago this week anything worthwhile it would be to expect the unexpected but be open for possibilities, try everything once and yes, in the midst of all crazy things about life, relationships and growing older (not necessarily wiser) I would only add the following:

August 31, 2011

The Summer of God, otherwise known as: Church Hopping

This has been a busy summer and has been filled with lots of good experiences. Back in the beginning of June I had posted my moving experience going to the morning service at Pride and then Jeff and I made a decision to try to find a place where we could feel comfortable finding God and community. Since I had attended several times with him at First Presbyterian Church (their contemporary service) I'm already familiar with how things work. I particularly like some of their traditional services, like Kirking of the Tartan and of course one of my favorite events, Midnight Christmas Service!

We started out by going back to the First United Methodist Church in SLC a couple of times. The feeling of inclusiveness in that church is unique and there's just a great spirit of unity and diversity there. The pastor is super-friendly and it is a very welcoming place. It really helped that some of our friends are members or sing/play in that church. I particularly love their communion. They stress that a person doesn't have to be a member of the church to participate and it is very moving.

The next church we tried to go was Sacred Light of Christ; we had been there before because a friend was singing. It was a good experience, but frankly, the music there was probably a little too Rock-N-Roll to me, the "Amen!" and "Alleluias" take a little while to get used to and it just felt a little too out of place. Their communion was also nice though, same concept as before, all are welcome, no need to be a member but this time the person who gives you communion prays with you for as long as you need it--a nice, personal touch.

We were supposed to try the Unitarian Church on a given Sunday with Kiley, but she flaked out on us at the last minute--probably a date or something (he, he--just kidding, she was meeting her sister) so it was one of the Sundays that we did a repeat attendance at First United Methodist and ditched plans to to go Unitarian--but I still want to go back and try them one of these days soon, I had attended the Unitarian Church once before but it was more out of not wanting to be home, I really wasn't in the right frame of mind at the time.

The next place we tried was a little hit and miss at first, I have a friend who attends the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas and he seemed to really like it. When I heard that there was going to be a Cathedral of Hope in Salt Lake City I liked their Facebook page immediately and had been following their progress. I met the pastors at Pride and made plans to attend their first gathering, but that coincided with me moving and I missed it. We attended the next Sunday and it was a nice, quaint and personal service. The pastors Marianne and Julie are absolutely adorable and sweet. Granted, there are usually around 10 or less people and by all means the messages, music and feelings are great and personal, as Jeff put it, it is a very GRASS ROOTS community but they're very inclusive, accepting and so far I really enjoy the spirit there. Communion is again very simple, come as you are whether you're a member or not, regardless of what you believe. Of course this church is just starting but until it gets too big it is nice to walk in and have pretty much everyone know your name! :-)

Now the reason we've tried these places is that we've wanted not only a community, but also an affirming church where Jeff and I can attend and not have to remind ourselves to watch out with the occasional reaching and holding each other's back and/or perhaps even holding hands--and just about all of them are (well we haven't asked point blank at First Presbyterian if they are--but they're still very nice and welcoming folks). I've also expressed that although the affirming part is important to me, I also wanted it to feel very much like church, not just any stale, unorganized and general service--if that makes any sense at all!

I have to say in conclusion that my feelings for God (or all things God) have softened much, because I have decided to believe that most of what God does is through other people and at least from the few examples I've seen attending different denominations I've seen how loving and inclusive people are; which again, maybe it is more about my state of mind than the church itself--and of course, I don't think that my search is done, like I said before I would still like to try the Unitarian Church, possibly even Episcopalian and I'd sure like to go to Catholic mass now and then and of course the occasional LDS service when a friend or relative is speaking or has something important going. See? I'm doing much better already, I'm no longer the rabid, anti-God, scum of the earth heathen anymore, I'm starting to clean up a little, one Sunday at a time! 

August 29, 2011

Religion vs Science & The Imaginary Cousin

There's a distant relative of my mom's who happens to live in Utah. Not the closest by any means but it wasn't uncommon to see her and her family at the main family functions (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.) In fact, when mom would talk about her, we used to make fun and tell her that it was her imaginary cousin because it took a while for us to finally meet her....I know, crude.

It appears that  sometimes news about bad health or tragedy hits family all at once, when it rains it pours, right? Aside from dealing with mom's illness two weeks ago this cousin (who is in her mid-30's, 2 small children under age six) had a severe brain hemorrhage from which she has not been able to recover. She is currently in a coma, connected to machines that breathe and pump life into her. I had been talking to her husband, visiting the hospital and trying to be as much help as I can in whatever way it can be provided and her mom arrived from Mexico a few days ago on a humanitarian visa. 

The doctors had a meeting with the family yesterday about a couple of possible options:
1. Pull the plug, plain and simple. Her injury is not where the brain can regenerate itself. She has no way to respond to any kind of stimuli and prone to infections of all kinds (as hospitals are prone to be perfect places for this).
2. Fit her with more breathing/feeding tubes and send her to a nursing home still plugged in to machines until someone decides what to do with/about her, still no hope for her to ever wake up or respond to any kind of treatment or surgery.

Her mom is a "born again Christian" she swears that God will bring her daughter back. The cousin's LDS bishop keeps giving her blessings and basically pronouncing that if the cousin is strong enough she'll pull herself out of the coma with God's help (not the most impressed with the bishop's approach if you ask me). The doctors say there's really no hope. My cousin's husband says that they never discussed the "if I'm ever in a situation, this is what I'd want done..." nor the possibility of organ donation so he is/was as lost as could be--trying to hang on to hope as well as trying to be as realistic as possible and yet making sure that no one thinks that all he wants to do is pull the plug either--I hope I never have to be in that situation or put anyone though that misery but at least I've made my likely choices vocal to the people who may have to decide for me.

As I sat in the family meeting with the specialists, the social worker--God bless his soul--made the best effort at trying to explain the scientific base for the doctor's recommendations vs the family's desires to hang on to all hope and expectation for miracles--and he did a great job in my mind, I'm sure they're experts at managing the God vs Science issue from dealing with this day in and day out, but it still must be a hard thing to do. They're having another meeting today to make a final decision, possibly by this evening--but by all indications they'll be pulling the plug. Part of me wants to be a fly on the wall to watch all of this unfold, it is pretty fascinating (in a morbid kind of way). 

Life is so freaking fragile. Sure we go through it thinking to ourselves that we are invincible, but let's face it, it can be taken away in a blink of an eye. My cousin was a seemingly healthy woman, full of life and hopes for her family and here she stands at the gates of life and death. All I could wonder was when was the last time she got a chance to hold her babies, kiss her husband and tell him she loved him or enjoy the rain on her face, the scent of a flower and watch a slow-paced sunset on the horizon. I sure hope she did...

How often do we take the time to do those things that seem so small and menial yet they hold the most meaning to us when we look at what matters because again, no one knows when it may be our turn or how it will happen. So hold and hug your loved ones, don't let any time pass without them knowing of your love for them; take time and enjoy the little things that will mean the most in the long run...

That's all.

August 20, 2011

Hiking Pictures & Stories...

I had gone on a spur of the moment hike a couple of weeks ago with my dear friend Clive at the Bonneville Shore Trail but we only made it part of the trail, since we didn't quite know where the trail would lead, but I had every intention of going back and finishing it soon.

I got a chance to go back and finish it on Thursday with Jeff, we packed sandwiches, water and trailmix and headed out to the trail. One of the things I mentioned was how odd that within 10 minutes you don't even feel like you're in the city anymore, yet a few turns and climbs and there are stunning views of the Salt Lake Valley to the South, then a return to semi-reality with a neighborhood of beautiful mansions below the rim of the mountain--I wonder what people who live in those houses do for a living...

While hiking up and trying to catch our breaths we managed some interesting conversations, one of which was when I made the "wonder what those people do for a living" comment, Jeff said something to the fact of: "The main things in life are who I love, who loves me (family, friends) I have a good job that allows me to pay my bills and allows me to have a good life". Having that kind of conversations brings my life back into somewhat of a perspective. It is true, a lot of times we focus so much on what we don't have and fail to realize what we do. I need to think that way more often...

Once we made it to the top of a mountain we found ourselves literally surrounded probably by hundreds of dragon flies in a field. I was a little mesmerized by the view from the top and I wish I'd been able to take a picture of the dragon flies but instead shot only a view of the valley to the West, after all, you can only do so much with a camera from a phone.

I have to admit that this is one of the things I LOVE about Utah, the outdoors and views compare to very little else in other places and as much as it drives people insane because of the local flair (religion and politics) nothing compares getting to the top of a hill and looking down below, nothing matters up there, other than being in the moment. 

This is another view coming down by Ensign Peak, just as we were making it to the neighborhood down below. The total hike was about 5 miles, 2 hours, sore legs and a great time spent enjoying the scenery, the view, great company and having excellent conversations with the babe! 

Life is good, indeed!!!

August 18, 2011

Adventures in life: Feeling a little less than...

This is not a cry for help or pity, it is just to get my thoughts out and sorted out--or so I claim.

Ever since I planned my move to the downtown area I considered what would happen to the kid's ability to get to school. Their schools are not in their neighborhood, so it isn't just as simple as walking to class. Over the last 2 years their mom had dropped them off at my house early in the morning and I proceeded to drive them to school and then head to work. Well this year is different since I'm not so close to them. Still one of the reasons I considered moving where I live is that work is literally a walk away, I'm relatively close to everything I would need (walking distance) and I honestly am not afraid of using mass transit if I have to, so I always considered just handing the car to my 17-yr old son so he could drive his sister and himself to school as a possibility, after all the car would just sit parked at my place all day, all of it sounded much simpler as I thought of it in my head and eventually voiced it to the kids as an alternative. He was able to get his license this summer and things just have fallen into place to make the best of the situation, it all seemed great,

Until they drove off in the car last night; then it hit me: I may not get it back! eeeeeeeek!

It has been way too long since I haven't had a car. Now granted there are some perks of not having one, such as not having the insurance, maintenance and gas expense--which in reality does bite a big chunk of my already meager budget and my kids don't have to worry about how they're getting to school first & foremost and perhaps other places as well. The flip side of that is that my son is not working, I really don't know if his mom is able to take on the expense for an additional car, not to mention the fact that I'd always wonder what he is up to and of course if he is safe and sound--now it isn't like he drove off in a Ferrari or even a Lexus or anything, but still a car is a car, right? 

And let's face it, part of me says that a 40-something year male should be in a better place than this and be way more self-reliant than that even if it is something as basic as having my own wheels to move around--this part is kind of crushing my reality right now and is probably bugging me way more than I anticipated, after all, a car is one's little kingdom where I can feel the freedom of coming and going as I please and be in my little bubble which now feels like it just about burst

--I'm sure I'm making this sound way worse than it really is, seriously it isn't the end of the world and Jeff's offered to help where he can---what a fantastic guy, right? :-) I suppose things can always be much worse than they are and I'm sure there are people in even more dire circumstances than I find myself, at least my kids are able to get to and from school without worries and having to depend on others, so I probably should go with that thought in my head and make the best of the situation. Who knows it may be a good thing having to learn to use mass transit again and the benefit of walking somewhere--even for a gallon of milk is always an advantage, so I'll go with that... The trade off would be for me to trek all the way to the kid's house, pick them up, drive them to school, drive back to work--I don't think I'm up for that kind of stress, NO THANK YOU!

Yeah, I'll keep telling myself that I'm making the best choice, even though I'm losing some of my self-assumed freedom...this is probably more than I should be sharing on here--but just had to get it out and I also realize that there are worst things in life to moan about--life is good, it really is!!!

August 09, 2011

Family... it is about time!!!

Plans had been drawn: My niece had a quinceaƱera (it had been in the works for a couple of years, actually) and my parents and siblings were all supposed to meet in Utah last week. However, a few days before the party and family reunion my mom was diagnosed with thyroid cancer that was threatening to block her airway and she had to have surgery right away to fix that. Lots of last minute plans had to be altered. We all went into a state of panic and trying to decide what to do and how to react, cancel the party? travel to my parent's home? continue on? Mom's desire was that we kept the original plans and supported my sister and her daughter as much as we could and three of my sisters remained with mom and dad back in Texas.

We had to have hard conversations the best way we could. I was anticipating having mom in person to talk about a lot of 'issues' but ended up doing it by phone the weekend before her surgery. We cried on the phone, we mended a lot of fences while we were still trying to understand what was going on. We brought up a lot of skeletons that once we talked about them, were merely shadows once we understood where each other were coming from---it is an irony how an illness or something tragic like this makes people stare at the face of reality and forces you to say things that normally we don't have the guts to do but I hope that we can move forward from now on with mended relationships and better dispositions.

My brother got here from Seattle with his family and lots hugs were shared all around and caught up from the years of absence, I mean we have Facebook, telephones and modern technology to help with the distance, but nothing beats good old face time. Mom went into surgery. The outcome was better than anticipated and now she is gearing up for treatment for the next few months. My sister arrived from TX and more hugs and more catch up time--all in between even sleep seems of little importance, every minute was/is precious.

The party went on, it was a smashing success and my niece was happy (as were all her friends and guests). Everyone worked so freaking hard, my two sisters who live in Provo being at the top of the list; my brother in law was able to broadcast the party to the family on the web, everyone took extra assignments--even Jeff was out there setting and cleaning tables--whatever needed to be done--we laughed, we danced, we cried--that's what family does, work together, hold together, pull together for each other and with each other. We had more serious conversations--some of which were too uncomfortable for many of us, yet the outpouring of love was greater than anything else which I believe was the central theme here--no judgement, no preaching but instead tremendous show of respect and love all around. Maybe it is what age has done to us, we realize that love is what matters most.

Sadly it was time to go back home for my brother, sister and their families, but lots of good things happened in between. We ate, we played, we hung out together and we held each other--literally. My kids got to spend time with some of my family, I got to spend time with them and Jeff got to meet more members of the family and see where some of my craziness comes from...I've been extremely blessed in the last few days. I got to spend some 1-1 time with my brother and my sister. Their impressions to me: "I'm glad you're happy, Jeff is amazing" -- yeah I know that! :-) he went so out of his way to make them all feel welcome and loved, just like his family has done to me and I'll be forever grateful for it.

I felt loved the way really I am, the way I wanted to show (or those I was able to show anyway); of course everyone wants to be accepted for who they are and in the middle of coming out and living a whole new life there's always all these worries of what may be real and what may be assumed as we talk on the phone and being face to face it is much easier to read and interpret people's reactions and body language and I'm glad to report nothing but positive outcomes not just from my siblings but also their families.  Bliss...I don't know how else to describe the last week or so. I was a whirlwind of activity that came and went so fast yet so much happened in between so now it is time to sit back and contemplate on all that has happened as life sort of gets back to our normal routines, but I suspect none of us will be the same again...

That's what family time did to me last week.

July 26, 2011

Really? are socks and sandals that tacky?

Something to give Stacy and Clinton something to cringe about: GQ Magazine named Provo and Salt Lake City, Utah as two of the worst-dressed cities in the US.

I'm wondering where the reporters visited to make their assumptions: As for Provo it says that the abundance of white shirts and ties is just too much--perhaps they visited on a Sunday? For Salt Lake they argue that the sandals and socks look did the entire city in....I wonder where did they run into people like that, the farmer's market or at the dog wash? Sadly last Sunday's "Cute Cowboy" gay-Latin night at Karamba only reinforced their suspicions, lots of us here don't really know how to dress. We might confuse gaudiness with flair--and the drag queens are not much help in showing us how to do it--just sayin'! :-)

Either way, I admit of being guilty of making several fashion mistakes--starting with the admission that in a former life, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away I considered white shirts and ties fashionable and yes, I hang my head in shame admitting that at some point I may have been known to wear the sandals and socks (I know, I know--hard to believe, right?). Still currently some of my clothes that are still a size or two too big since I've lost all that weight and because of my limited budget not being exactly able to replace my outfits at anything higher than DI and the occasional splurge at the clearance rack at TJ Maxx. So, I'll volunteer to get a makeover if GQ or What Not To Wear want to re-mediate the current situation of bad dressers in this state, so someone, please nominate me--I'll take one for the team!

July 19, 2011

Being Civil/Respectful Vs Loving...

I heard the kids talking about being social the other day. My daughter was saying something about not really getting along with a lot of people. My son said something along the lines of "just be nice". I butted in (of course--that's what parents do!) and said, you don't have to like everyone and walk around giving bear hugs to every person in the world, but you do have to be civil and respect everyone even if you don't necessarily like them and that's not negotiable

That may be easy for me to say--I'm a social butterfly--it isn't very difficult to be in social settings, being nice and chatty and striking conversations with people, the kind that within 5 minutes a complete stranger is telling me their deep/dark secrets. Is it because I may across as nice, civil and respectful? Does being a loving person fit somewhere in there? Does that automatically mean that an introvert is not a loving person? Not at all...I may be a little rusty but the commandment is: "Love thy neighbor as thyself", right? It doesn't say: "Be thou respectful and civil" Going back to what I told my kid, I don't think it is possible--if anything--appropriate in our society to go around giving everyone bear hugs, but we have to start somewhere and to me being civil and respectful is a good place to do so.

Even so, in the hustle and bustle of the day we sometimes forget to at the very least be civil and respectful because everyone is in their own little bubble of craziness and we either don't have time to stop and be polite to others, let alone think of bringing them into our own chaos, but at the same time we oftentimes don't think of pausing and stick to the basic niceties of "good morning, hello, please, thanks". I hope we do, but I'm surprised how often I see that not happening and makes me scratch my head. One of the things I really enjoy while I'm running is encountering other runners/bikers/walkers on the trail and almost without exception, people either nod, waive or will even manage a quick hello to each other. Maybe it is because we're all doing something we all enjoy and away from the daily grind and if anything that might set a tone for cordiality.

So does this post have a point? Perhaps--maybe not. Oftentimes we hear how this person is nice, or how another person is good, giving or loving and then we hear how to stay away from such and such person because they're angry, bitter, depressed--I'm sure no one likes to deal with the negative Neds in life but doesn't everyone deserve the same kind of respect and kindness? Is it fair to cut someone off driving or give a pedestrian the right of way only because if we don't we might get a ticket, or should we do it only because it is the right thing to do? Does it even start with a good morning gesture, a nod, a smile, a quick text? I sure notice little things like that and they tend to make my day--I'm sure to some people it might be exhausting, but again, for the sake of my ideal world where we'd all be singing Kumba-ya, with rainbows in the sky 24/7 and glitter all around us, we'll have to start somewhere....

So hello to you, and you and yes even you too!! :-)

July 18, 2011

Catching up with the Mohosphere...

I promise I haven't forgotten my blog duties (or the 3 people who read it, ha, ha, ha!).
  •  Update on mom: She's out of the hospital and waiting for biopsy results, at this time it is just a matter of time to know what we're facing in the form of a diagnosis. Thanks to all who've sent their support here or texts/emails.
  • Had lunch with a few Mohos last week, first on Tuesday with Gay LDS Actor, I testify that he exists! :-) We had a good time talking about his work, his partner and life overall, time flew by and he is the nicest guy who keeps really busy, I vote we all drag him into more Moho activities when he is not busy acting. Then on Friday I had lunch with Jeff, Kiley (who brought me a cool house-warming present, YAY!) and David and we chatted, laughed and ate. I think we almost have Kiley convinced not to go back to Louisiana--who knows maybe we should have hid the keys to her car!
  • I've been challenged to run a 10K in September, which means that I have to put some serious running in to train and add miles to my running. I was able to do almost 4 miles last Saturday without feeling like I was going to die, so I'm getting there, YAY! 

  • I'm working on a couple of more serious postings too but seriously this weather has been so nice that the last thing I want to do is sit at the computer and type (and a certain handsome man is also keeping me busy, since we live so close together---not that I'm complaining at all) Woot!

July 11, 2011

Is there anything that prepares you to hear it?

I don't think anyone likes to hear that a loved-one is in the hospital. I heard of a friend that was having surgery and went to visit her on Friday morning. Spent a little time catching up and wishing her well. Later on I missed a call from my dad--when I got around to calling him back I could feel in the tone of his voice that he was worried. He told me that he had been in the ER with mom since the night before.

They had been doing testing and up to the morning they were still in the middle of it all but they finally decided to admit her. My first reaction was to panic --and ask why they didn't call me before? -he said he didn't want me or the other siblings to panic--oh...

Move forward to today. Mom is still in the hospital and they're doing a biopsy... It kind of sucks being so far away and not being able to do much, but I'm not a doctor so it isn't like I'd be able to do anything being there we just sit and wait and make an attempt to keep distracted until I hear again...

July 02, 2011

Slow week, crazy week

I started moving out of my old apartment last weekend. As I suspected, I had too much crap, considering that I had been trying to downsize considerably. At some point I sat in the middle of boxes, totes and thought to myself: "Where do I even start?" but little by little things just happened. By Sunday afternoon with a lot of very appreciated help from Jeff we moved most of the bigger stuff to the new, smaller place. 

A couple of days earlier we had also been talking about a lot of the stuff that had happened at this place. This is where I spent more than a few dark, sleepless nights thinking to myself: "What have I done?", this is where I would grab the dog to go on walks at 2:00 am to try to clear my head and where I cried many, many tears mourning the life I tried to live and trying to put the pieces of my life together again. 

But not all was sadness. This is where I remember catching my reflexion in the bathroom mirror one day and finally being able to literally look at myself probably for the first time and say: "You're going to be alright, you deserve to be happy and you're going to get through this". This is the place where I learned to pick my battles with the X. This is also the place where I held a Halloween party for my daughter trying to keep somewhat of a semblance of normalcy--not sure if I accomplished anything by that or not, but try I did. This is the place where I told Jeff I loved him for the first time. This is the place where he met my sisters and my kids and where we had food, learned to cook together, made dinners for people and had company over---great times!!-- I did a lot of growing as a person here. 

As I got ready to close the door for the last time in this place I took these pictures and thought: Why is it so freaking bittersweet? Yeah moving on and moving forward is a good thing. I am still trying to put it all together in my new place and I'm almost done, again not without tremendous help from the boyfriend. I took the week off work to get as much done as possible and by Thursday I was able to literally take a couple of days to just sit back, chill and relax (as much as I'm able to relax!) watch some movies and try to analyze all that has happened and the prospect of the things to come!

Last night at a dinner with friends; one of them is about to embark in a similar journey--he is looking for a place to live, move out of his house and move on--almost the same story but different people with slightly different circumstances--- I mentioned to Jeff that anytime I hear about someone (namely a married gay guy) goes through the process of leaving the house, the wife, the kids knowing that life will never be the same--my heart breaks over and over again and I relive my experience from over 2 years ago in some sort of  PTSD; but I understand that everyone has to walk their own journey and all we can hope is to be there for them, literally, love them, hold them as so many people did for me back then --still do-- and and that time will heal all wounds and people will learn to adapt, we have to in order to be able to allow life to move on...

So here's to new beginnings, new prospects and hopes for a better life, always!

June 22, 2011

Bucket List

I've often been asked what's on my bucket list and I've tried to start a list over and over again, never really putting a solid list together and I figured that it has to be a living/changing list for me. So I got thinking that maybe I ought to collect pictures of the things I want to do or places I want to see and label them Bucket List, Bucket List Part I, II, III until I run out of things I want to do or places I want to see (or until I don't know the next Roman numeral, LOL!). So here's a couple of them to get the list started (in no particular order):

I'd love to see Madrid, Barcelona, heck why not even run with the bulls in Pamplona. I'd also like to either see the Island of Palma or the Canary Islands but if nothing else, visit Cadiz and Gibraltar (although I know it is really Great Britan, not Spain--but hey, that's 2 countries!)--. This has been in my list of places to see for many, many years.

There's just something enigmatic about this place. I hear it is a real trek to get there and there's never a guarantee that a visitor might see the whole thing because it may be foggy, but I still want to see it and take in the energy of a place like this. I've visited pyramids in Mexico and you can just feel the place as being so beyond any expectations.

I'd like to take a good week or two and visit The White House, Congress, Library of Congress, Lincoln Memorial and lots of other monuments and of course, take in as much of the Smithsonian as I can handle. If it were that I traveled to DC in the Spring so I can see the blossoms, it would be even better! 

 This is one of the few areas of Mexico that I have not visited. I'd like to see this but more the archeological area of Chichen Itza and visit some Zenotes and other natural areas.

All in good time, I'm sure. Have any readers visited any of these areas and what parts would you recommend I see in these places? As I mentioned above, this list is to be continued...

June 20, 2011


I have always been sort of a nomad--not by intention--or maybe I have, don't really know. The longest I ever lived in a place (that I recall anyway) was 3 years in the house we owned in the past--the house I once thought I'd be carried out in a body bag someday--before we sold it....sigh

I think I learned the art of moving from my parents. In a 10-year span when I was growing up we must have moved an average of once a year--and we weren't even a military family!! Of course having 7 kids and 2 adults doesn't really translate into a lot of stability in almost any shape/form but we had moving down to a science. Same when I moved out of my parent's place and while married, aside from the 3 years in the same home there was an average move about once a year. I'm getting sick just thinking and realizing this because it didn't really allow me to grow roots anywhere. What was I running from? I remember thinking every single time: After this time the next move is to a permanent home, not to move again.

Well, I'm doing it yet once more and it still isn't to a permanent home; but I'm hoping that that will end someday, I really honestly do...

My lease expires at the end of June and I'm moving yet once more, lucky for me I've been able to remain in the current place for 2 years, so that's progress, right? I know how everyone always says that moving sucks---and believe me it does---I know I'm a very adaptable and change doesn't really scare me and all, but why on earth do I keep doing it so much? I should just learn to live out of a suitcase, but I really need to move and when thinking about it, there are a couple of very basic, but main reasons:

1. Save $$ in rent and commuting costs
2. Be closer to work--I can literally walk to work--woot!
3. Be closer to a certain someone :-) --this is probably the main motivator for this move no matter how I try to spin it, there I've said it. 

I went through the usual--should I--no I shouldn't move--but there's all these advantages--

When I moved to my current place 2 years ago it was 1/2 desperation as we were splitting up and things just had to happen in a reactionary way--it was tough and crazy. Things are a bit different now; the bottom line is that the kids are in a good place of their own and are pretty settled at this point and I'm still in the same county so it isn't like I'm moving to a new state or even across the state. Part of me feels that it is time to move on for me and I'm part nervous, but mostly excited to be able to do this.

So here's to new beginnings!

June 16, 2011

Fran Drescher & Gay Ex-Husband Peter Marc Jacobson

I think this is an example of how widespread the issue of gay men marrying straight women is or has been at all levels of society. His explanation is: "I lived in Queens, it is what you're expected to do and the live you're supposed to have" So many correlations here, I suppose this kind of thing isn't relevant to any specific group of religious or any other kind of people.

My hope is that as times change younger men are able to realize that it is okay to be gay, they don't have to give into the 'social pressure' and live a life that isn't what they can't do and drag a wife and potential children into it...

If only, if only..

June 13, 2011

BOM Musical

I watched The Tonys for the first time ever last night. Don't take my gay card away please--I've made up for my sin of omission by purchasing the BOM Musical soundtrack on for $1.99 and burned a CD for Jeff so I'm doing my part to spread the message! :-)

I was surprised by the BOM Musical number featured and as I kept hearing the words I could not find anything really doctrinally wrong with what the elder was singing but I found it more amusing the # of times that the audience laughed at the lyrics and thought: "Wow to be 19 years old and a believer"...

I remembered being a naive 19-year old and telling a businessman in Mexico City the story of the plates, how Joseph Smith found them, translated them and published the BOM with literally no education and how proud and humble this made me. The man then asked me what happened to the plates after they were translated and me giving him the standard seminary answer: "The angel took them" and thinking to myself: "Did I really just say that?" I think the guy read my expression and body language and smirked to himself...I don't think I got a convert that day... watching that performance felt a lot like that experience.

I honestly think that the LDS Church is benefiting more from the publicity of this musical than any other possible damage that the musical may cause. The soundtrack is pretty obscene in some parts, so if one is easily offended it isn't going to be a good experience. However if a member gets Robert Kirby's (writer from the Salt Lake Tribune) humor then it should be pretty harmless, so enjoy!

June 07, 2011

Pride Part II (Morning Services--or the Prequel?)

Queue the early morning flutes and bird sounds...

OK I'll be serious from now on, promise. Sometime last Saturday evening a friend had mentioned that he was singing at the morning services at First United Methodist Church in Salt Lake City. Initially the thought of rushing to be to church at 7:45am wasn't very appealing but I figured since we were going to be nearby for the day's activities we might as well score a good parking spot around the area and yes, why not hear our friend sing? Turns out two friends were singing at the services so that was already a bonus. I had never been to this church before so it is always interesting to walk into a sanctuary and feel the awkwardness of a new worship place, not quite knowing what's going to happen.

My friend was already playing the piano and the pastor was checking the sound system and I saw a couple more familiar and friendly faces, then all of the sudden my dear friend Invictus Pilgrim walks in and sits right next to us; more friends! This is really starting to get good, coffee is finally kicking in and I'm getting ready to get my church groove on. Then my friend at the piano starts singing an arrangement of "How Great Thou Art"

O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made.
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:

When Christ shall come with shouts of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!
I'm taken back to my mission days when I first heard an elder play and sing that song and tears start forming. I'm slightly uncomfortable feeling so vulnerable in a new place, the control freak in my wants to keep it together, but I can't help react the way I'm feeling. As the service gets under way scriptures and more words of affirmation and love are read:

“We believe that God is loving and healing through our tears
And we believe God can make us whole again.
For we believe in the great healing love of God.
We believe that God has made us who we are.
And we believe that God rejoices when we are able to live honest lives."

God made me and rejoices when I'm able to live an honest life...what a concept!! I may have heard that before in this or another context but it hits me like a ton of rocks and more & more tears come down. At some point I'm being held by Jeff and I just can't stop crying & feeling so overwhelmed. Call it 'the spirit' or whatever brand of feeling it may be, but I can't help but think that this is something good and very much needed for my soul. I remember feeling similar things going to Catholic mass, going to Presbyterian services and yes, I even recall feeling it in the LDS church at times...

A church board member gets up and talks about how the church has come along to being all inclusive and affirming--a process that normally takes anywhere form 1-5 years and it actually took the board members less than 30 minutes to reach...more tears come down.  The actual sermon was a simple metaphor of chickens who were never told they were actual birds and once they figured that part out, life was never the same in the chicken coup where they lived...really? A simple message with so much meaning and so appropriate. Communion was amazing, the pastor goes out of his way to include everyone, regardless of whether they are members of the church or not--more tears come as I take a piece of bread and dunk it in the wine.

I think God is trying to tell me something!

More music and beautiful messages. At the end of the service the entire congregation forms a circle; people hold each other's hands and pray and bless each other before going out. Maybe I haven't given God a chance to be in my life and bless me through others . I've lived the last few years on my own, feeling lost; renouncing and denouncing God and thinking that I'm doing just fine on my own and lately I'm feeling that maybe it is time I find him again and find some form of spirituality. Maybe it was the feelings of pride, having close friends nearby but that helped me feel all of that..maybe I'm just a sentimental old fool...but the experience definitely set the tone for the rest of my day. The last few years have left me with a sour taste for God and all things religion and I've hurt and been hungry and thirsty for years and maybe, just maybe it is time to find that which I've been missing wherever it may be.

Funny how things like that turn into something completely unexpected and yet so profound. I don't know where this quest will lead me. I have to be honest and clarify that I don't think I'll find what I may be looking for in the LDS church. I think a lot of water has passed under that bridge; I've made my peace with that part and but that doesn't mean I'm burning the bridge necessarily...who knows really. I'm also aware that if the Mormon church works for others I can certainly respect them for making that choice. Everyone has to find their own brand of spirituality, being what it may...

June 06, 2011

Great Day to be Proud in Utah

Wow! Where do I even start? I have to confess that when the topic of participating in this year's Utah Pride Festival came up in the Gay Father's Group I was a little reluctant to jump to the chance, after all last year was my first time ever attending it--ever, so I've come a long ways!

However as the plans unfolded I became more and more excited at the prospect. Initially I had considered only volunteering at their booth but again, everyone's excitement rubbed on and after Jeff also offered to work and march with us I thought: What the heck, let's just do it! My one and only concern was how was the group going to be taken generally since I had actually heard one or two people say something in the lines of "Gay Fathers? Really?"--however, my experience working the booth on Saturday evening was anything but positive and people came from all walks of life to tell their stories and share in the excitement.

So we get to the parade on Saturday morning and a reporter from the Salt Lake Tribune comes up and starts asking questions. I've been interviewed before and by now I have figured out that sometimes your comments make it to the paper, or not at all, so I started rambling things off to her, then she moves on to others and I forget all about her. Little did I know that I'd end up being quoted on the paper's story later on! aaack!! :-)

We had a lot of other dads, kids, partners, sons-in-law and even a couple of the men's wives be part of the group. As we walked the parade route and I saw people cheering for us all my fears were put to rest; I really had a hard time keeping it together and fighting the tears. IT WAS AMAZING!!! Another touching part of the parade--among many--: A girl sitting in the audience as we marched yelled "Hey my dad is gay" and she just started sobbing and being hugged and consoled by her friends... I was simply touched and amazed at the response to the group. We kept getting stopped by people at the festival and elsewhere because of our T-shirts with the logo and asked questions about becoming parents and shared a lot of interesting stories. I know a lot of people worked to put this together and it was simply amazing how it all turned out.

Another thing that I need to explain is that at least my own uneducated concept of what Pride was before I ever attended was that I might be seeing lots of public nudity and possibly even sex, after all, "isn't that what gays do?" Let me just reassure everyone that both at the parade and the festival no such thing goes on that you don't see at any other public festival. Sure there are those that stand out like drag queens but I honestly didn't see anything lewd or that I considered inappropriate and in my mind, in order to become better knowledgeable about what really goes on, everyone should attend Pride at least once in their lifetime, there, I've said my peace about that...

I was talking to a co-worker who attended and she was saying that although Pride is focused on LGBT, it really is a celebration of diverse people. She said that she felt just as comfortable celebrating herself being straight as everyone else who were there celebrating whatever they were and I thought: "Yeah, that makes sense, we should celebrate people, not genders or preferences; maybe we'll get there someday..." I have other postings more or less related to this that I'll need to work on so I hope to get more thoughts on this later on. I was also going to post the picture of the group, but I didn't ask their permission to post it on my blog, so I'll hold off on that and post a picture of the famous T-Shirt...

May 26, 2011

Social Change

I'm trying to catch up with some fellow blogs (don't always have the chance so I try to read as much as I can here and there). Rob in his blog,  Scrum Central  talks about how progress on so many levels is being made and mentions Cesar Chavez, I love the quote, so I'll re-post it here. It resonates with me very much and I hope that I'm able to elaborate more about this later on, but for now here it is:

"Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours."
- Cesar Chavez

May 20, 2011

Madonna - Dress You Up

I set up a new Pandora Radio station that I called Lucky Star. Mainly 80's music. I LOVE 80's music, makes me feel so freaking liberated---don't you young-whipper snappers start calling me old now and get off my lawn!!!!!

Last night Jeff and I started singing to this song out loud back up vocals and everything...

Reason #45878984 I LOVE THAT MAN! :-)

May 14, 2011

Coming Out Stories on Netflix

I've been getting hooked on streaming shows on Netflix lately and ran across a series from Logo called "Coming Out stories".

I've loved watching all the different backgrounds and points of view yet they all as as poignant and touching about the difficulties of coming out to loved ones. A couple of points that I keep hearing:

1. I don't want to disappoint my ___________
2. The anxiety and shame of feeling like they can't be themselves--their true selves by holding out this information from their loved ones.
3. Most of the relatives (parents, siblings, ex-spouses) first reaction is: "I already know" or "I've known but I wanted to give you time"
4. Tears... Make sure you have tissue close by...

It has been great to watch. I recommend that you watch it if you can!

May 13, 2011

I'm not gay but I think my boyfriend is...

He, he ,he!

No worries, this is not a Dear Abby story in which a very suspecting woman asks Dear Abby about the man in her life who is very sensitive, has a high fashion sense and loves to watch chick flicks... This posting is more to welcome the boyfriend (FKA--formerly known as-The Babe since he also said he doesn't like to be called that). I finally gave him the blog address and he said he is going to read it---he better post comments too since the blog is 1/2 about him anyway! :-) He has a name, and while this blog is just about as public as anything can get, I forgot to ask if it is OK to use his real name---

So everyone please waive and say: "Hi!" to the boyfriend!!

May 10, 2011

The Mommy Roller Coaster

This is a hard post to write...

I don't know if any of my relatives or people that know my mom read this and if it might get back to her. I'm not the biggest fan of Mother's day. Yes I admit to having severe mommy issues... but then again, who doesn't? I am not sure where these issues stem from. From what I understand I was such a momma's boy, always clinging to her skirt. I was cared for and pampered by the females of my maternal family (aunts and cousins). When my parents separated I went to live with my biological father for the next six years and I only saw my mother once in that time and went back to live with her in my early teens. I read somewhere that during that time living at my dad's I likely experienced some form of Attachment Disorder although this is much more common in younger children--I have no scientific evidence for this so it is just my own opinion/conclusion.

As I learned to live again with a mom a lot of emotional connections were lost. I remember clamming  up and not knowing how to react when she'd have a blow up over something I may or may not have done during my teens. I would just stand there while she yelled and threw things and I had no reaction for her, good or bad. I couldn't yell back, I couldn't cry, I just stood there and said nothing. Since I hated making her mad I dedicated my life to pleasing her with good boy words and actions. I could never say anything wrong or that would contradict her and I would do everything possible (cleaning the kitchen, the house, the yard) and pitching in every possible way to not making her mad and of course being the perfect Mormon son who did everything to make her happy--it was exhausting! I remember that she caught me playing with my sister's barbies once and took me to therapy. I don't remember talking or saying anything to the therapist, she did all the talking--and I never went back--don't know why...

When I came home from my mission and wanted to start school she had issues with where I wanted to study. When I wanted to move away from home she had the bishop 'have a talk' with me about staying home. When I finally made the move to Utah the family ended up moving up later on and she had the new bishop "advise me" that I should move back into the family home. She had me kick one of my roommates out of my apartment because she and my dad thought he was too effeminate...ugh!! I can't say that she was the most happy about who I married more than probably her relief to "finally getting married". However the relationship between my X and mom was horrible. Years ago when the X and I we were having marital problems she gave me an ultimatum that I should leave everything--including my family and dedicate myself to the church and being a perfect Mormon---This pushed me over the edge and I forbade her to talk to me or come close to my family, it was horrible and of course I'm sure I projected A LOT of my issues on my X. After some therapy I made peace with a lot of these things--but they obviously resurface ever so often, say--every MOTHER's DAY?!?!  The most progress made was/is that I talk to her once a week, we exchange short pleasantries and say goodbye over the phone--5-10 minutes tops.

When I told her I was separating/divorcing I said: "Mom, you know that I'm gay; you've known this for many years. I'm not asking your permission, I'm not asking for your approval" and that was that. We're still renegotiating a lot of our roles even as adults but it is very hard. I can't bring myself to tell her I love her--I do, I really do but just thinking about saying the words makes me clam up again and I can't get them out--it sucks!  A lot of the mom issues I've had with her have obviously been passed on to the X and that's probably my fault, but I have no clue how to fix that.

I'm not even sure what I can do about it, if there's anything that can be done at this time. One of the shrinks I talked to at one point said I should write a letter with all my issues and mail it to my mom or at the very least take it somewhere and burn it or meet with her one day and talk about it long and hard, unleash all my emotions and let it all out---both suggestions easier said than done....I just don't get how the easiest, most natural relationship in the world (Mom-Child) can be such a  torment!! I see other people's relationships with their moms and while it makes me happy to see that not everyone has mommy issues, it almost makes me jealous that I don't have that.

Today (May 10th) is when Mother's day is celebrated in Mexico. I didn't make calls on Sunday so instead I called mom (5 minutes--yes) my ex-mom in law and two older aunts. By the time I was done calling people I was in tears and a wreck. I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with mom next time when I see her in August I'll have to set some time aside to deal with this, although I've tried in years past (a long, long time ago) and I didn't feel like I got anywhere--so we'll see. I guess that while I respect the role of moms and women in life I have to refrain from being too congratulatory and excited about mother's day. This posting has already gone too long already and if anyone is still reading this far I admire you. I just have the hardest time dealing with issues like this and big surprise---it doesn't stop being exhausting!!