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 Amazon.com 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...