March 27, 2013

Equality Signs go Viral

Unless you live in a remote village in the Congo or the Amazon with no news outlets you've seen this sign all over the place. It all started sometime Monday evening, I saw a few people change their Facebook profiles to this and I thought to myself: "great--here we go again, everyone will fall for it and change their profile picture" By the time Tuesday morning rolled around my feed was virtually a sea of red. Part of my reluctance in not changing my profile picture was that I did not want to offend anyone so I still waited but around 7:00 am I could not hold it anymore and pretty much told myself "F*@%-it" and jumped on the bandwagon.

Several of my gay friends liked the new picture--no brainer there, but most impressive was to see several of my "hetero" friends and a couple of family members who are very much allies in gay causes change their own profile pictures the same--several times during the day I chocked up tears of joy--it was electrifying to see more and more people change their pictures to red or some kind of version of it and voicing their support and cheers for us homos...

**I know several of my LDS and/or conservative friends and family are supportive, no question there, but oddly enough most were awkwardly silent all this time--I understand what it feels like to be afraid of what others will think, that people will interpret their 'likes' or even semi-friendly comments the wrong way--I get it. I would like to think that they were silently cheering for gay people in general but most important, thinking of my partner and I--instead of silently disagreeing or hating; and at the end of the day--have to admit that it is kind of hard not to take it personally-

"Sometimes actions 
Speak Louder 
than words"

-heck even an outward disagreement but in good respect would have probably been welcome--oh well, such is life and it is what it is; I'd like to think that I should just leave alone but how? I'll have to think more about this issue eventually, but for now I can not and will not let it bother me.

Of course anything that becomes viral has the chance of getting out of hand--the following pictures have the potential to go either way, so just for pure amusement and delight:

How about some equality bacon?
How about companies jumping on the Marketing fray? A local hotel that is likely grabbing lots of customers now!

Dogs will never discriminate against you--ha!!
In all seriousness:

This movement is happening--now or people will keep fighting for it to happen later. There's no going back. I know there are those who don't agree or don't understand and they may mask it all under the banner of:

"I love my gay friends/relatives
even if I disagree with 
their lifestyle" 

If you think this way, please, get off your high horse!! 

The way I see this whole issue is more about breaking barriers of misunderstanding if we just give people who are 'not like us' a chance. We live in a global society, rich in diversity, beliefs and customs that can enhance each others lives immensely. What we each believe in is irrelevant--it has more to do with how we treat each other because whether we live next door or 2000 miles away we're all connected and it affects our lives directly. In this day and age it is unfathomable to think that gay marriage would affect anyone negatively. There has been gay marriage in countries of Europe, Canada, Argentina, South Africa and even Mexico that have not affected morals, religions or society--for heaven's sake, why is the United States behind the times?

Gay marriage is not out to destroy anyone's marriage, the only gay agenda that exists is to get the same rights and privileges that a marriage contract brings which apparently go way beyond 1000--some of the are the right to be in the hospital with my partner if he/I get sick, right to inheritance, right to make life decisions, file taxes and have access to each others retirements without having to jump through hurdles that legal contracts now have-there are lots of laws that affect this and that's all.

I don't necessarily wish to marry my partner in a religious ceremony--and especially not in a church that is not affirming. I don't want to demand a LDS temple marriage, that is not the focus of this movement at all and anyone who thinks the contrary is out on left field--gay marriage doesn't put anyone's morals, values in question, but those who fight against it are showing their true colors--just think a little bit about that!

Feel free to share this with anyone you see fit--let's get the word out:

--it is time...
it really is time!!

March 25, 2013

Dinner Parties or Friendly Dinners?

The idea started a few months ago after we hosted a birthday party in October, we had a huge turnout and honestly, our apartment was too small and crowded to feel comfortable. We realized that the layout of our place is not good for big gatherings so being social creatures we talked about what would be a possible good alternative.

I remember my parent’s house being a gathering place for family and friends and once I moved out on my own, before I was married my little apartment became the place to go to after church, make a batch of whatever we were eating and share with about 5-6 friends. Once I got married I tried to keep this going but busy lives for us and my friends-and our/their wives just got in the way---see what I did there? he, he--they mainly didn't get along with each other so what was the point?; probably best to just leave that one alone. Also while growing up my parents had us kids set the table-it wasn’t anything more than get out the place mats, plates, utensils and drinking cups but it still had the feeling of a formal time to sit and eat together. I’ve gone back and do all those things when the kids come over to eat dinner on Wednesdays or Sundays as much as possible—I don’t know why I lost that and at what point eating with paper plates, and disposable cups became the norm—funny how some things happen in life.

Um...sorry about the tangent!

Back to the issue--Jeff and I decided that we would host smaller dinners with fewer people to get more of the intimate feeling and still be able to have a good time with others once in a while. So we’ve been inviting people over for dinner—at first it was once a week but then it became too much of a production and it seems to work best if we do it once every couple of weeks—typically a Monday night or adjust as needed based on schedules; but we go all out with the good plates, the good wine glasses, fabric napkins, napkin rings, full utensil set up the whole nine yards, what's the use of having fancy dishes if they never get used?—and I LOVE IT!

The best part is that we are able to reconnect with people from different points of life, singles, couples, we had Jeff’s ex-partner; we've also invited the first friend I ever admitted being gay to, new friends and old friends—It is fun to come up with “who are we inviting over next?” and figure out all the details. People are super-nice, we get to know them a little better and have a good meal, dessert, and wine or whatever drinks to share and good conversation. Most important we are back to what both of us enjoy doing, being social and hosting people at the house.

We’ve talked about branching out and consider inviting people we would normally not have over; maybe a married couple from my old days at church, or a couple of people from our Zumba class, a straight couple and yes, even some relatives without making it an official family function--in short invite people and yes, possibly even someone that would very much put us out of our comfort zone (sounds silly in my head, I know but we need to add all of these people to our list). 

I've loved bringing this part of myself back--I really do like doing it. So if you read this and have not been invited yet, or if you’ll be in Salt Lake City soon and have an evening to spare and some flexibility let me know, we would love to have you over and as the old saying goes:  “break bread", share some wine-or whatever your drink of choice is-have good conversation and laugh ourselves silly--really, do it! 

March 05, 2013

Downtown Escapades

Small shops on 300 South

Signs of Spring are finally showing--yay!!

It has been a particularly cold winter in Utah and while I've learned to deal with most of it, there comes a moment when it would really be nice to start feeling the warmth of the sun and the season that is starting to change. Since work moved me right smack to Downtown Salt Lake City, I've been taking little adventures on foot during lunch.

Interesting how some places show start contrasts between the new and the old!
I believe Salt Lake is a good walking city. Of course everyone is used to seeing mainly the most popular spots (Temple Square, State Capitol) and while they're beautiful in their own right, there are a lot of other quirky places that have lots of local charm, history and oddly enough plenty of diversity.

Entrance to the First Methodist Church in SLC
What is most interesting to me is the level of interesting stuff that I'm able to find while walking around town, rather than riding in a car--yes I know there's a difference but I really enjoy this and of course I get to take advantage of the physical exercise wandering around town. I set up an album on Facebook to keep track of these findings and while I do want to also take shots of the popular areas--I want to be able to find good places that just beg to be photographed.

Interesting Mural on a Wall