December 24, 2012

Why I hate Christmas Carols

Maybe hate is too strong of a word...

Then again, maybe not. I noticed my dislike for Christmas songs a few years ago. My life was in such a crazy place then that the only meaning that I could attach to it was in a negative tone. I remember the first time I'd hear White Christmas in a season and feeling a dark, sadness that would come over me and even draw me to tears--it was usually a month or two after I felt that pit in my stomach around Labor Day when things would start going downhill that I mentioned in my previous post.

Some radio stations will go as far as start playing carols before Halloween, but it is usually after that when the songs start peeking. If I had my way I would outlaw Christmas carols until after Thanksgiving, but that's just me. I do realize other people like them and I suppose it is fair to allow everyone a chance to enjoy them--heck I even find myself singing along with some of them. But eventually I find myself needing to withdraw from them and my escape is to play Pandora Radio music on everything BUT Christmas! :-)

I was telling Jeff stories of my family's Christmas back in Mexico and Texas, gatherings, mission and church programs, some of the family dynamics between my family and my ex-in laws back when I was married, how some of those situations a few years ago started turning me sour for the season and such and then the thought came to me: "Christmas music makes me horribly sentimental" It could be me trying to sensationalize some of the good memories, or longing for as my ex used to call it the age of innocence, realizing the fact that it has been years since I've spent time with my parents and siblings...I don't know--. Just for the record my life is in such a different place emotionally and otherwise, so once I realized this I asked myself why do I feel like I do about Christmas carols and it threw me into an emotional spin- I have no psychology training but I figure it is the one thing that makes the most sense to me at this time...

Maybe I'm just turning into a sentimental old coot!

I think after realizing this I'm feeling much better. I'm not sure this means that I like Christmas carols any more (or any less) I guess I just have a better awareness of where some of my sadness comes from and I'll have to figure out how to get out of that funk when I feel it. Again, I don't know that it is a good thing or a bad thing but crazy how we learn/realize something new about oneself in a snap!

December 08, 2012

Silent night

I've neglected this blog horribly. First I got word that it had a virus. I don't even know of it is cleaned now.

Life has happened, work is crazy busy and well, I've living with my love--life is wonderful and beyond my wildest expectations. Tonight I get a rare night at home where we can hang, watch TV and relax a little.

Life is good

June 26, 2012

Mixed Orientation Marriages (MOM)

There's been a lot of buzz about this topic lately.

I suppose I could list all of the links to the different posts and discussions about it, not sure if I can even keep up and frankly, I don't know what that would accomplish. I tried abstaining from making an opinion about these stories because first I wanted to process what it all meant and if I honestly had a say on the topic at this point in my life.

Turns out maybe I do!!

I think I'm going to summarize my feelings in a couple of sentences (Okay, they ended up being paragraphs--I tried my best). First off, I'm glad that a lot of guys felt comfortable enough to let their future wives know that they were gay. If I had a time machine that is the ONE THING in life I would go back and do-over---keeping something like this to myself and not telling my now ex-wife was huge mistake--granted she said once that had I come out to her when we were dating she wouldn't have married me and that's fair. I admire the women who in-spite of knowing about their guys they still want to marry them--is it faith? is it being naive? is it being a realist? I don't know if they're aware what they're giving up...I suppose only they can answer for themselves and it still is much better to know that one is entering into a Mixed-Orientation Marriage consciously rather than only one party being semi-aware what it all means...

Hell, even being semi-aware, I spent 15 years in one!!

But once the awareness of one spouse being gay is out, there's always the proverbial  rainbow elephant in the room that everyone knows is there as much as they would like to ignore it. Some people have described this as coming out only to drag one's spouse (and potentially other family) into a closet of their own. There's feelings of self-worth, inadequacy, lack of trust, confusion that weigh horribly on two people who are merely trying to have a relationship without knowing why are the square pegs are not fitting in the round holes.

For any of these Mixed Orientation Marriages that claim to be doing alright (maybe 3-4) who knows maybe there's lot of them who are not as vocal and open-- there are at least 20 marriages that I'm personally aware that are either breaking up or didn't make it--and the list grows, the numbers on the Utah gay father's group expands more and more each time and 99% of them came from these kinds of marriages--bottom line, even for someone with poor math skills like me, the odds don't look so good, I hope there's a lesson to be learned from this. Some of these marriages have ended up amicably and some not-so amicably at a great price and suffering from all parties involved (spouses, children, etc).

Of course, I can stand here and write about this now. What do they say, hindsight is always 20/20?

Still knowing what I know now and knowing how I felt and thought back when I was venturing into marriage, reading about club unicorn of these modern days, it would have probably made my decision much more clear that if these guys could do it, heck, I can do it too!!--which could very well be the underlying message coming from these guys and at least it seems to be the meta-message heard by plenty of people out there; sure they say it is THEIR life, THEIR choices and THEIR marriages, but where I think they do a disservice is when they stop short of acknowledging that they're aware of the odds and risks and that all other forms of relationships--not just theirs--is as valid without having to comply with any society or traditions--for those that do, more power to them and God bless them!

Let's face it, relationships are hard even if the person you love has the right body parts--but that may be a posting of its own someday, I think I've said too much already...

June 08, 2012

Time flies when you're having flan...

I haven't done a good job at updating this blog, life has been busy and yes--some of it did include having Flan, in case you were wondering...

Last month came and went so fast I was having a hard time keeping up:

--I made Flan for a Spicy Dinner potluck in May and won the prize for best dessert, yeah!!!

--Between wrapping up the last apartment contract, setting up the new one and everything in between, the move to the new place finally happened. Combining two households was kind of fun, probably because aside from clothes and a couple of pieces of furniture, I got rid of almost anything that wasn't worth bringing to the new place. I'm glad I was able to take a week off work so things were not as hectic and was somehow able to pace things a little better. I was happy that Jeff would pack some of his stuff, bring it over and then I'd open the box and have a mini-Christmas morning episode opening boxes, unpacking and putting away pretty dishes and things! :-) 

--My son turned 18 one week and graduated the next one. His birthday dinner was nice, he chose Brazilian food--we had a great time. The next week I came up to his high school graduation and when I saw him wearing his cap and gown I just held him and I started crying--my baby boy made it through this milestone--I spent the commencement ceremony 1/2 crying and remembering how hard he has worked to get there.

--Pride 2012 came and went--had a lot of fun meeting new friends and seeing some that I don't get to see often. One of the things that I love about Pride is watching some of the new guys on the Utah Gay Father's group who have either recently come out or are in the process attend their first Pride festival, parade or event--it really must be what watching an angel get his wings must be like in my mind--it is nice to watch someone else go through that experience. It was way fun to volunteer, march and be completely exhausted by the end of the event, all great feelings.

Life is now back to normal--well I don't know that life has ever been normal--if someone knows what that is, please let me know, ha! But at least we're getting into routines and while Jeff and I are navigating through the newness of being/living together and all that it entails I'm especially excited to move forward with this part of my life--excited is probably not the right word, I'm ecstatic that this is happening to me! I'm one lucky man.  Who'd knew that 3 years ago I'd be in this place and I for one can't wipe the silly grin off my face!

Here's to moving on to bigger and better things, that's for sure!!!!

May 14, 2012

The ackward moment when I pinched a straight man's butt

Last Friday I went to a wine-tasting party. I had never been to an actual event where different wines were tasted and scored according to colors, aromas, consistency, etc, etc. Who knew that there were so many things to judge wine for? I tried to keeping up as the bottles were being passed and explanations were given, until about the 4th of 5th serving--then I don't know what happened to my score card...

I don't think I had met a lot of the folks who were at this party. I get chatty when I'm buzzed (well I'm chatty even if I'm sober), but this time there were more people to meet and I just naturally start asking questions from them to get to know them and find some common ground, so I tried my best to work my way around the room to get a chance to strike a conversation with other attendees.

I was talking to a guy that is just now starting to navigate through the coming out process and figuring out what is like to be an out-gay man. He had been telling me about his efforts to try groups that wouldn't necessarily have him change his orientation, but rather be comfortable in his own skin and basically stay celibate (I don't know if this is an LDS-oriented organization or not). Anyway he is finally in a place where he wants to be out, proud and live his life. I was telling him that it was eye-opening for me when I first came out and was told that people are flirty, some touching (like hugging) and like banter and such-- but it didn't mean anything serious, it was just that-- and now I get to share that with newly gays--yes, that's my small contribution to humanity--thank you very much!

As we were involved in our discussion a young guy that I had not had a chance to meet came by to refill his drink and I said: "See, so if I pinch this guy's butt, it is just for fun--nothing wrong with it" so the young guy turns around and lets me do it--he stays behind and starts chatting with us, turns out he is a BYU student who likes to get out of Utah County to breathe and find fun places to hang out that are not restrictive and suffocating. He is almost done with school so he only has to endure a few more months and then he said: "oh, by the way, I'm straight"---at which time I felt horribly embarrassed and apologized profusely for pinching his butt--he found this more amusing and he said it was alright, he didn't mind the attention, loves his gay friends and is used to it without feeling like his masculinity/orientation is being threatened--how refreshing is that?!?!?!

Anyway, my point here is that sometimes we assume things from people--we may be right, but sometimes we just never know and it is nice to be pleasantly surprised. Had a great time and left after the buzz wore off---oh yeah I still have no clue what happened to my score card, but I sure as heck know which wines I had seconds of and which ones I liked best; new friends, new experiences--love evenings like that!!

April 27, 2012

Visiting Temple Square

A friend came to visit Salt Lake recently and while thinking of the many different places to show him around town Temple Square was on the MUST-DO list. On the way to Temple Square we stopped by Brigham Young's grave site which is only about a block away. While trying to explain to this friend who is buried there and why all the last names were Young = a lot of his wives were buried there which brought on the awkward discussion on Polygamy and then I thought: "Boy this isn't only hard to explain but it is also hard to wrap my head around it now"

Temple Square itself it was fun; it was the middle of a Saturday so it was fun to watch Brideappalooza going on and the bustle of all the weddings going on. I didn't take many pictures but one of the statutes there called my attention, Joseph and Emma Smith--I'm sure I've seen it before but hadn't really paid attention before. I'm sure there's plenty of meaning to this statute and it paints a picture of perfection in many ways (perfect man, perfect woman, perfect marriage, etc).

I really don't want to get all anti-Mormon here--it really isn't my gig, I just found it odd--and maybe a little ironic that while there's a statue of of Joseph and Emma smack in the middle of the plaza, Eliza R Snow who was allegedly one of Joseph Smith's polygamist wives and then became one of Brigham Young's polygamist wives is buried about a block away--in another lifetime the thought would have probably never crossed my mind. However, nowadays with all of the attention that the LDS Church is getting with the Republican Presidential candidate and people searching to learn about the Mormon Church it occurs to me just how are the leaders going to deal with all of the "non-official" history that is really out there for the world to see.

Still, we had a good visit at Temple Square and walked over to the new City Creek mall where I saw a gay couple holding hands and more than a few tattooed folks and it was no big deal--at least not to anyone I was observing at the time. I guess my point here is that there are a lot of things in my life that are changing. Some affect me in lots of ways, some have not affected me in a long time and there are those that every now and then I discover in unexpected ways.

I guess it is called life...

March 16, 2012

Utah State Legislature Strikes Again

I have to admit that as much as I should be involved in the political process I am not as comfortable navigating in the mess that appears to be a legislative session in the State of Utah, but it doesn't take a genius to know that some of the laws that passed this session are just a little far-fetched. 

That's the case of House Bill 363 which basically teaches abstinence as the only recommended form of sex education and prohibits teachers to teach anything else. Not to be a negative voice of the people here, but I understand that the primary job for teaching children about sex belongs to the parents and I don't think anyone disagrees with me. However where I have a problem is that a lot of Utah parents are not interested in discussing sexual topics with their children--in any context and it could very well be that the parent chooses to call themselves conservative, but at least from my point of view (where I have teenage children myself) I don't think that a parent can afford to dig their head in the sand not address all of the good and bad issues of sex and hope that their kids will somehow choose to make the right decisions based on morals or what's being assumed as the popular belief. 

There's an online petition going around that has surpassed 40,000 signatures in which people are asking the governor to veto the bill, which might or might not make any difference because 1. The governor may ignore everyone's opinion and sign it into law, or 2. He might veto it which only means that the legislature might reconvene and override it--which leaves everyone pretty much in the same place

I think the state of Utah (or is it just the legislators?) must seem really backwards in this regard to the rest of the world when in reality is a pretty amazing place to live, great opportunities for outdoor recreation pretty much year around and great diversity---we just need to make the people who really help move all the crazy stuff die off fast and have the more open-minded folks take over; or simply involve more people in the political process and make it a more balanced system. 

I hope that at least those who dare make a statement show that slowly but surely Utah is starting to turn things around and becoming more than one-sided, right-wing, red state....until then, we may just have to be patient!!!

February 22, 2012

What am I giving up for Lent?

I've been hearing lots of people's resolutions for Lent. Some of my friends are giving up pretty considerable stuff like no Facebook, no margaritas, no drinking and coffee.

Lent is described in  Wikipedia as: 

 "The Christian observance of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.

The traditional purpose of Lent is the penitential preparation of the believer—through prayer, penance, repentance, alms giving, and self-denial. 

Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week, marking the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events of the Passion of Christ on Good Friday, which then culminates in the celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

During Lent, many of the faithful commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxury as a form of penitence"

Now, I am not the most ardent, believing and practicing Christian; I still eat meat on Fridays; a friend told me I was nuts for doing this if I wasn't even Catholic. Yeah that's probably true and I don't really know if what I'll do will make a huge difference in how I tune God in (or out!). I was also talking to the bf about this and noted that I already have a pretty streamlined life and I honestly didn't feel the need to give up much more; but after thinking about it for a little bit, I suppose there's always something that I can improve on:

So I'm giving up Vending Machine Snacks

Yes, that horrid temptress machine that sits there quietly and somehow manages to take my spare change--I'm done with you vending machine. It isn't you, it's me.... In a given week I've realized that I drop a few bucks for a quick snack, especially around the 3:00 pm munchies and I think I can do better than that. Same with soda pop, a can of poison is anywhere from $.75 to $1.25 for a single serving. What that also means is that I have to plan to bring a big bottle of something (for a $1.25 for a 2 litter bottle that will last all week) and maybe grab apples or bring my own dang snacks from home. I think I can do that with just a little bit of planning and careful avoidance of the break-room....

Yeah it isn't much of a penitence but then again... wish me luck and please hold me accountable!!

February 06, 2012

2002 Olympics. Has it really been 10 years?

Olympic Torch at Delicate Arch, Moab

The Salt Lake Tribune ran a section yesterday remembering the 10 Anniversary. Really? 10 years? It seems like only yesterday. I remember watching TV when they announced that Salt Lake City had been picked to host the 2002 Olympics. Later on we moved on to scandal as only Utah is capable of putting one together because of possible bribes (or as many called it back then--business as usual), then having Mitt Romney come and rescue them out of financial darkness.

Then 911 happened

We all thought that all the planning and anticipation was for nothing, yet the games went on. I remember seeing employees from the FBI and many other agencies going around town and giving us all a sense of safety.

I remember watching the Olympic torch going through the streets live instead of TV as I had only ever seen the torch before, this time arriving and going through Salt Lake and feeling completely overcome by the meaning of what was happening to our town, as Karl Malone and John Stockton lit the cauldron at the City and County building--all pretty emotional. Salt Lake City was transformed into a party town like it had not been seen before and probably never see again, but I also had never been to an outdoor event where we went through security check a few times through.

People were friendly, warm, happy...

At the time I was riding Trax (light train system that was built to help with public transportation before, during and after) to work and back and I remember running into a lot of interesting characters and giving directions to tons of people who wanted to know what in the world State Street, 100 South, 300 West meant (street names) and if anything for 2 weeks it didn't matter who was local, who wasn't, who spoke what language, who was Mormon or who was Baptist or whatever, the world came down and came together in Utah.

Fun times...

I don't know if I'll ever experience anything like that in my lifetime, but it was fun to remember all of it and the legacy that it left. I remember hearing someone at work saying something silly like "the Olympics put Salt Lake City in weather maps of all the major newscasts and shows like the Today Show and Good Morning America"

Probably... :-)

It was just a cute way to recognize that Utah wasn't just some weird state somewhere out West where everyone was kind of quirky and weird!

Good times, good memories.

February 01, 2012

Gay Mormons Book by Brent Kirby

So I've started reading this book over the weekend. I knew it existed because I've met Brent and he told me about it. I hesitated getting it at first because I honestly thought it was more of a book about how to be Gay, Mormon and stay fully committed to the LDS Church which in my mind if it works for someone, more power to them-- but since it isn't the path I've chosen it didn't really have much meaning to me.

However, after thinking about it I opened it and recognized names of people I've met through the Moho (Mormon/Homosexual) community. Some of these people have become dear and close friends and well I couldn't help to start reading their stories--sounds a bit voyeuristic--maybe it is but if they agreed to write them then it is all good, no?. Now a lot of the people that are on the stories I've met while this book was being put together so I've seen their own personal outcomes and "end product" of sorts, but for the vast majority of them I didn't quite know how they got there. Needless to say reading about their initial realizations, angst, coming out, acceptance and moving on stories are not for the faint of heart and they're most definitely heart-wrenching.

So I've only been reading one or two stories at a time, that's probably all I can handle in one sitting, but I'm glad in a way I can read their stories and 'know them' a little better, perhaps understand them a little better and admire them even more for having the guts to be so public. I personally don't anticipate having any change of heart on my end and my situation with the LDS church but if anything reading people's stories make me realize how differently we all look at things, how we process them and the very many conclusions we all arrive as we navigate through life and well, that's a pretty cool thing in my mind!

January 22, 2012

Gay fathers coming out of the woodwork

We've seem to have had a rash of gay dads who've joined the Utah Gay Fathers group lately. Not sure if it is one of those: "I'll just wait and do this after the holidays" thing but it seems that there are a few who are either coming out to themselves, maybe trying to figure out how is their coming out going to affect their families and such. Some are still married, some are going through separations or just newly divorced.

I have said it before that anytime I hear about a new guy going through the process I have a twinge of PTSD kind of reliving my own experience, but lately things have gotten better for me. I think that the old addage of "time heals everything" really is true. Still as I see more guys take the leap from being married to accepting themselves, coming out and whatever their lives mean from there I can't help but think how many more are out there who are still living in angst.

To anyone going through any of these steps, even if it is just discovering who you are I'll write a couple of points that may be helpful. They're in other blogs and lists so they're nothing new, yet it feels like these points needs to be repeated over and over again. They also don't only apply to gay fathers, I think they're good for anyone coming out or going through almost any kind of transition:

1. You're not alone-- I remember feeling that I was the only gay person who was married in the entire world. There are literal networks around that can make you feel included and that you matter--find one. The gay dad's group I participate in is not a public group for various reasons but there are lots of guys still in the closet and all other steps that a certain amount of anonimity is still needed for them and it also allows for some rants and issues that can't be expressed in the open. 

2. You're not a monster-- It think it has become more mainstream to come out. Sure, not everyone is going to like it, accept you with open arms and march with you at the next Pride parade, but I believe there's a certain amount of empathy and understanding from people in regards to being gay and coming out. I have not had any kind of negative experience coming out, even as an adult, having been married and having kids--sure I've heard rumors through the grapevine but nothing face-to-face. Better yet if individuals fear that their families won't accept them, it may only be the difference between knowing someone gay and not being aware of how many of "us" are out there.

3. Find a tribe-- Find someone you can talk to, confide in. Someone you can be vulnerable with and that will hold you when you need it. Someone that will allow you to scream when you feel like doing it and that will help you move through the process. Find friends that will allow you to grow and help you out of your cocoon. For some reason a lot of people think that all that gay guys do is hook-up and hunt for their next sexual conquest. This could not be further from the truth but because that seems to be the notion, a lot of guys coming out feel like that's the only thing they're supposed to do and while there's a place for that "gay adolescent" stage it doesn't have to be the only thing in a person's life. Most cities have sports, gardening, cooking, brown bag and other interest groups that will provide you with a social outlet-- get out of your shell and find them. Don't be the person who only has gay friends--don't forget your straight ones--who else is going to give them style advice? :-)

4. Man up-- Own up to the possible "mistakes" that you've made, the relationships you've affected, the people that in some way or another you may have "lied to" even if it was just to survive. Hindsight is always 20/20 but think of the things you couldn't have learned otherwise, the relationships you've had and yeah even the blessing of being a father to children if you have them--. But once you've apologized and owned up, move on. Do the manly thing and take care of your ex and the kids financially (get divorced and set your obligations--child support/alimony--in writing as fast as possible), be fair but also make sure you can still survive and as much as you can, don't dwell on your mistakes and don't make any excuses. Don't allow people to use you for guilt or give them entitlement over your life, your money or any aspect of your person.

5. Live your life. Show people that being gay is only part of who you are. You may be a son, brother, father, husband, employee, boss, church leader, a neighbor, a friend--whatever it may be, but being gay is not THE ONLY thing about you. Sure, it may drive a lot of what you say, think and do; but by all means it shouldn't be the only driving force. Still move on with your life and show yourself and everyone that you still have to put on your gay underwear and gay pants one leg at a time! Don't make rash decisions, you don't have to dissolve your life, your employment, even your married life if that's not in the works, but feel the freedom of accepting yourself and knowing what works for you.

I'm sure there are lots of other things that could be said about this, but if I think about it more I won't ever get this posted, so here are just some thoughts, take them for what they're worth, I'm not licensed, trained or paid for any of it. I just have a big mouth and a not-so-humble opinion! :-)

January 11, 2012

Salt Lake is the Gayest City!!

Congratulations Salt Lake City!!

If you haven't read the article, here it is. The criteria is kind of weird but hey I'm sure that Utah's tourism board will gladly take the attention that this is getting. Other organizations may not be so amused (if I were they I would definitely spin it in the direction of saying: "See? We're gay friendly in spite of requiring people to believe otherwise").

Times must be changing, in my non-scientific opinion, but I believe so much more can/should be done. We were sitting among friends a couple of nights ago and someone brought up the fact that a lot of Mormon families feel the conflict between loving their religion vs loving their gay children, cousins, friends. I suppose it might take some time, serious thought and perhaps even personal struggle but in the end LOVE has got to win--it has to, family and love have to trump policies instituted by a bunch of retired men running a corporation.

I have seen this kind of love being put into practice over and over and yeah while I don't expect families to drape themselves in a rainbow flag and march at the next Pride, at the very least they're being loving and accepting of their gay relatives, their partners and allowing them to be part of their lives. Again, love has to be the factor here.

January 01, 2012


I'm not much of a 
New Years' resolution kind of guy;
but this 2112

I want to do some of the following:

Something New
Something Unexpected
Something Scary
Something Magical

Don't quite know what all of that means;

 I'll have to keep an eye 
for the right opportunities
seize them!!
That's all