Friday, April 24, 2009

simple fix

What do you do when you wake up too late to roll out the roll dough and let it rise properly? Put it in a warm oven, of course. And what do you do when the oven is actually too warm and the rolls rise and then deflate looking like rolls that have had gastric bypass surgery? Tell everyone they're an exotic cross between rolls and flat bread! (I inform Scully, who has a pot luck today at work.) And when said mysterious bread product is then burned in the oven? What do you do then???

Celebrate! These damn rolls are not meant for consumption!

I told Scully "tell everyone that the children are fine but the rolls suffered a terrible death."

I do wish things at her office weren't so contentious. (How can a potluck be contentious?? but it is.) If we were in lawrence I'd have brought the overly browned hockey pucks and we'd have all just laughed about it.

Good thing the oatmeal cake turned out okay.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Recent developments

Thumper has started playing. He likes to grasp something--anything, smile and squeeze it. This is particularly funny if what he is grasping is his sister.

And Khubz has moved on in her dreams. For months we'd say "what are you going to dream about tonight?" and she'd say "a monster like grover" or "big bird in his nest" or any number of Sesame Street friends.

Tonight out of the blue she says "tick birds." Big Bird? "No, Mommy. Tick Birds on a rhino. Eating comida. Tick birds."

Thank you, Animal Snackers for spicing up dreamland.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Welcome Ryah!

Sometime last night sister Samm became Mommy Samm to Ryah. Welcome sweet little girl. You gave your Mom and all of us quite a start coming almost two months early. But we are totally proud of you for fighting so hard to come into the world. We are so grateful you decided to stay.

Congratulations to us!!!

Worth a thousand words

A big welcome from the great state of Texas.
Please note furious winds--I had to stop taking pictures and hold my skirt down. Khubz was very excited to identify the letter X for us. Also see her aforementioned cowboots.

I flip Texas a lot of shit even though George Bush is finally out of office. But many, many fabulous things happen there. Just take a look!
Our son meets the goddess

Beginning BlueBonnets

Khubz as CowGirl doing the Spiral Dance
These boots were made for walkin.
She picked them. She loooves them.
Of course they're pink.

Khubz: "See my harry potter? i very braaaave."
Scully: Well, now she's a real texan. She was attacked by a mesquite tree and
lived to tell the story.

Smiley Smilerton enjoyed himself.

Here he is demonstrating "guffaw."

I'm sure its because I said something very, very funny.

Competition for eggs was hot at the ranch. Khubz held her own. Thumper simply charmed people in to giving him their chocolate.

Frog catching, turtle spotting and all the mud a kid could ask for.
Yes. She rode this with her cousin. Dissatisfied being a side kick she also drove it. By herself. Scully fixed it to go about 2 mph. I was still pretty sick watching.

What a great day!!!

And this one was all smiles. He was cackling with laughter even when we were at walmart. People stopped and stared because the sound of laughter had never before been heard at the walmart checkout.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Jumping the state sanctioned broom

So we are getting married. Again. This time the state of Iowa is invited. Scully and I married six years ago. Our ceremony was outside. There was a stunning sunset. We called the four corners, were tied together with a lasso, exchanged coins, jumped a broom and bound our hands & fates together.

With all that, who would have missed a teeny, tiny bit of government recognition?

Well we did. So here we go again.

You can pick up forms in three weeks and I think we are going to move quickly. I am joyous, stunned, proud of iowa, nearly speechless, grateful to the queers who endured the hateful rhetoric. . .

And with all of that said, I do think marriage is kind of weird. I don't think it is the be all/end all of queer equality or ending homophobia. It is not the battlefront that I would have chosen and it is not the battlefront that I have devoted much personal energy towards.

But it is also not really me that thinks marriage is weird. Just listen to the folks who were trying to "protect" marriage. This is what they think its good for.

In prior court proceedings, Polk County lawyers had offered five main rationales for the law banning gay marriages:

  • to maintain traditional marriage,

  • to promote the optimal environment for raising children,

  • to promote procreation,

  • to promote stability in opposite-sex relationships,
  • and to conserve state resources such as tax breaks.

Lets break these down.

Traditional Marriage--Yes. Please. Let's stick with tradition. Which tradition, you ask? How about one that allows a twelve year old girl to be married off to a 50 year old man? Yes, please! Tradition is good!

A quick side note on this one. I do wish the white queer groups would stop using interracial marriage analogies to try and logic people through this argument. Rather than helping people reason it only invites more emotion and reveals just how blindingly white most queer groups are. Why not talk religion? For real. Avoid the whole is it/isn't it a choice (who cares anyway!) question and use a religion analogy. It does go against some people's religious definition of marriage for a Muslim to marry a Wiccan. It does not & should not matter to the state--even though religion is something that can be changed. It is nobody's business and if a church disagrees with it then they do not perform that marriage. I think it's a much better analogy.

Raising children--Okay, let me try and do this one without being too bitchy. So if I was married to a man things would be better for the kids because there'd be more pornography around the house? It seems I've been confused about what we've been doing around the fruitbasket. I thought we were promoting an optimal environment for children. Forget all the endless reading of Mi Carrito over and over and over and OVER again. Forget ABCFroog! Forget the seedlings by the window, the expensive organic apples, the stomping in mud puddles. What we need is a man! If all these homophobe groups are worried that Thumper won't learn how to pee standing up they can relax. I'm a dyke. I've peed standing up my whole life.

Promote Procreation--because the human species is in jeopardy of dying out. For real, though, anyone who had the misfortune of being around me when I was on the crazy-woman-juice would know better than to suggest I hadn't done my bit to keep the human race going--queer or no.

Stability in opposite-sex relationships--Look. If your hetero relationship is threatened by the mere presence of queers you are in a whole lot of trouble. I'd think you'd want us getting married so there'd be less temptation for you to stray. "Poor heterosexuals. They can be swayed so easily." How is it that the homophobes haven't come after these lawyers for using this as one of their points?

And finally, tax breaks. Because this is the best way to decide anybody's civil rights.

So why are we doing this anyway?

Because this is the first time the government has acknowledged that we are a family with all the bliss and shit that carries. I don't think the queer rights movement should be all about achieving "straightland" and I'm not interested in "acting normal."

But Scully and I have obligations to each other. We have obligations to our kids. We live up to and struggle through those obligations every day. I just think we deserve the same government recognition of that. And maybe a tax break.

Please don't touch me

I need to start by saying, hamdillah, that we made it back safe and sound from texas. I should next tell you that we had a fabulous trip, Khubz and Thumper were appropriately adored, springtime in texas really is beautiful, we all had a very good time.

Now please stop touching me.

We left Tx at 6 pm. Thumper fell asleep about 7. Khubz informed us she wasn't going to sleep in her carseat and would instead "wait for her bed." That's fine. But your bed is 6 hours away in Kansas at a as-yet-unknown motel-6. Don't wait up.

It was pouring rain. People in OK City were driving like they did not love their lives or ours. Khubz was alternately belting out ABCD and sobbing. She was way overtired. She didn't like me periodically leaning over Thumper to nurse and abandoning her. She discovered how to yank on Scully's seat belt with her foot and didn't like being told to put! her! foot! down! Through her tears she would ask to hold my arm.

You know how this goes.

"Hold you arm, mommy?" said sobbingly. "You big arm?" "You HUUUUGE arm Mommy?" "Big,big,big arm??" She loves my arms. She loves arm fat. She loves how squishy I am. Good thing. But after hours of that, especially that spliced with screaming fits about whether she would or would not kick the seatbelt, I was ready to yell "Mama! She won't stop touching me!!!" It did not help that when I would edge away from Khubz, closer to Thumper he would actually begin to chew on me.

It is good to be home.

We also got to stop in Lawrence, did a drive-by squeeze with one of Khubz's (and our) very good friends. We also stopped at another friend's to meet their latest addition. He is completely squeezable, edible, addictive--sweet little man ready to curl up on you and grunt away. My friend and I did not get a chance to really talk (of course) and there are so many, many things I want to say. Things like: you helped me hold on after thumper was born and I am totally here to help you hold on. And like: You are right. It is too much. It is totally okay to just get through right now. And also like: This is the hardest part. This right here and everyone is at their worst because it is the hardest part and soon there will be some more sleep and soon there will be some very restorative smiles and there will still be plenty of veryveryvery hard but it will be buffered by these better moments. And also finally: I know these are all platitudes but I do believe they are true and I clung to them and you can hold them or discard them as you need to. But I am totally proud of you for being honest about what you are feeling and as always I am here for you, loving you my very dear friend.

So there is a lot to blog about--texas stories, emotional updates, kiddo updates, cheers and jeers. . . But there's been a noticeable absence of fruit here lately as well as very few posts that don't talk about me washing poop out of elmo underwear. So I'm going to try and download the Tx pics, do some kiddo posting and also some conversation about our marriage quandary, "male post partum depression", economic recovery news and whether or not Scully and I should change our names. Oh yeah--also some type of salacious fruit image. Watch for it!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It is not all a barrel of laughs

But today was a very fun day.

The number of the day was 4. MajPaj, Khubz and I cut out paper hands and practiced putting the thumb down. We then taped them to cardboard sticks and they had "stop" signs. I was the train and they "stop!"d and "go!"d me for an hour. Why am I the one running around? They're the toddlers. Give me those damn signs! :)

I only had to clean poop out of elmo underwear once (that makes it a very good day!)

I had some biopsies done to diagnose a condition I've had since I was eight (don't ask) and the stitches blew. Why is this good news? Its small enough that I did not have to go get stitched back up.

I made six kids happy at snack time without resorting to chocolate. (Yellow, red and orange tomatoes, blood oranges and sunflower seeds. For real!)

Scully offered to rub my feet and wound up massaging my legs. Very, very nice.

We leave for texas tomorrow. The hardest part of this is finding anything to wear. All my normal/not pregnant clothes are chosen with one key element in mind. "Does this show off my tits?" Though my breasts are large right now (full of milk) they aren't what I would call well placed. I often call them gravity indicators. I've recently stolen the term "straws" from my good friend. So I have all these tops with scooped necklines demonstrating the nursing bras that look like they were mass produced during world war II to convince the germans they should stay out of england. (sigh)

That's okay. All anyone will notice is Thumper. His bright, smiling eyes and his open grasping mouth. And then his sister. "You GOT MILK MOMMY? from you CHEST? MILK, MOMMY? It SPILLING? ON YOU SHIRT? MILK ALL OVER, MOMMY?"

Stay tuned. I'm off to finish the laundry before the hungry one wakes up.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Goin to the chapel and im gonna get married!!!!!!!!!

Unanimous ruling: Iowa marriage no longer limited to one man, one woman

The Iowa Supreme Court this morning upheld a Polk County judge’s 2007 ruling that marriage should not be limited to one man and one woman.The ruling, viewed nationally and at home as a victory for the gay rights movement and a setback for social conservatives, means Iowa’s 5,800 gay couples can legally marry in Iowa beginning April 24.There are no residency rules for marriage in Iowa, so the rule would apply to any couple who wanted to travel to Iowa.


Shelly Wolfe and Melisa Keeton, who waited for word of the ruling outside the Polk County Recorder’s Office, immediately called their pastor anyway to make plans.“We’re going to make it legal,” Keeton, 31, of Des Moines said.Wolfe, 38, and Keeton, who is 21 weeks pregnant, went through a commitment ceremony two years ago. Their marriage certificate was among the 26 that were put on hold when Polk County Judge Robert Hanson’s decision to open the door for gay marriage was delayed until the high court could weigh in.Third state to allow same-sex marriagesToday’s decision makes Iowa the first Midwestern state, and the third in the country, to allow same-sex marriages. Lambda Legal, a gay rights group, financed the court battle and represented six couples who challenged Iowa’s 10-year-old ban on gay marriage.Supreme Court Justice Mark Cady, who wrote the unanimous decision, at one point invoked the court’s first-ever decision, in 1839, which struck down slavery laws 17 years before the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of a slave owner to treat a person as property.

Iowa’s gay marriage ban “is unconstitutional, because the county has been unable to identify a constitutionally adequate justification for excluding plaintiffs from the institution of civil marriage,” Cady wrote in the 69-page opinion that seemed to dismiss the concept of civil unions as an option for gay couples.“A new distinction based on sexual orientation would be equally suspect and difficult to square with the fundamental principles of equal protection embodied in our constitution,” Cady wrote.The ruling, however, also addressed what it called the “religious undercurrent propelling the same-sex marriage debate,” and said judges must remain outside the fray.

Some Iowa religions are strongly opposed to same-sex marriages, the justices noted, while some support the notion.“Our constitution does not permit any branch of government to resolve these types of religious debates and entrusts to courts the task of ensuring that government avoids them,” the opinion says.The ruling explicitly does not affect “the freedom of a religious organization to define marriage it solemnizes as unions between a man and a woman,” the justices stressed. The case, Varnum vs. Brien, involved couples who sued Polk County Recorder Timothy Brien in 2005 after his office denied them marriage licenses. Hanson sided with the couples last year but then suspended his decision pending a high court ruling.

Read the summary: Iowa Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage.Read the full opinion: Iowa Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage.

“We won! It is unanimous!” Camilla Taylor of Lambda Legal exclaimed when the ruling was announced. “Today the dream becomes reality … and Iowa constitution’s promise of equality is fulfilled. Iowans have never waited for others to do the right thing. Iowa took its place in the vanguard of the civil rights struggle, and we couldn’t be more proud to be part of this.”Gov. Chet Culver e-mailed a response to reporters that said: “The decision released this morning by Supreme Court addresses a complicated and emotional issue, one on which Iowans have strong views and opinions on both sides.

The next responsible step is to thoroughly review this decision, which I am doing with my legal counsel and the attorney general, before reacting to what it means for Iowa.”Richard Socarides, a former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton on gay civil rights, said today’s decision could mean as much to gay couples outside Iowa.“I think it’s significant because Iowa is considered a Midwest state in the mainstream of American thought,” Socarides, a senior political assistant for Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin in the early 1990s, said Thursday. “Unlike states on the coasts, there’s nothing more American than Iowa. As they say during the presidential caucuses, ‘As Iowa goes, so goes the nation.’”

have long argued that allowing gay marriage would erode the institution. Some Iowa lawmakers, mostly Republicans, attempted last year to launch a constitutional amendment to specifically prohibit same-sex marriage.Such a change would require approval in consecutive legislative sessions and a public vote, which means a ban could not be imposed until at least 2012, unless lawmakers take up the issue in the next few weeks. Leaders this week said they had no plans to do so.

Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley, R-Chariton, nonetheless called for an immediate move to amend the constitution.“The decision made by the Iowa Supreme Court today to allow gay marriage in Iowa is disappointing on many levels,” he said. I believe marriage should only be between one man and one woman, and I am confident the majority of Iowans want traditional marriage to be legally recognized in this state. “Though the court has made their decision, I believe every Iowan should have a voice on this matter and that is why the Iowa Legislature should immediately act to pass a constitutional amendment that protects traditional marriage, keeps it as a sacred bond only between one man and one woman and gives every Iowan a chance to have their say through a vote of the people.”State Rep. Dave Heaton, R-Mount Pleasant, said he would support a constitutional amendment. However, he also believes lawmakers would have to work on parallel legislation that would grant civil unions or some sort of way to grant legal rights to same-sex couples.“I firmly believe marriage should be between a man and a women but at the same time, I believe we should address these issues,” Heaton said. “I would rather recognize a civil union than to have same-sex marriage.”

Diane Thacker’s eyes filled with tears as the ruling were read to an crowd opposed to gay marriage that had gathered on the north side of the judicial building.“Sadness,” she whispered.. “But I’m prayerful and hopeful that God’s word will stand.”Thacker said she joined to group “because I believe in the marriage vow. I can’t see it any other way.”Democratic State Sen. Matt McCoy of Des Moines, saw the decision a different way.“I’m off the wall. I’m very pleased to be an Iowan,” said McCoy, who is openly gay. Voices from outside the state quickly took sides. The Iowa Supreme Court’s Web site was deluged with more than 1.5 million visitors as of 11 a.m., court spokesman Steve Davis said..Doug Napier, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund in Arizona, said the Iowa Supreme Court “stepped out of its proper role in interpreting the law.”Napier said the legislature should place a constitutional amendment on a statewide ballot to let Iowans decide.The Defense of Marriage Act “was simple, it was settled, and overwhelming supported by Iowans,” Napier said. “There was simply no legitimate reason for the court to redefine marriage.”Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, a New Jersey group, said “once again, the most undemocratic branch of government is being used to advance an agenda the majority of Americans reject.”“Marriage means a husband and wife. That’s not discrimination, that’s common sense,” she said in a press release. “Even in states like Vermont, where they are pushing this issue through legislatures, gay marriage advocates are totally unwilling to let the people decide these issues directly.”

Mark Kende, a constitutional law professor at Drake University, described the ruling as narrowly written and “very well reasoned,” and predicted it will have national, possibly international, influence. But it also could create new, inter-state legal battles, he said. Couples who flock to Iowa to marry may not have their marriage recognized in other states that prohibit same-sex marriage, he said.The decision also is limited to civil marriages performed in county buildings, he said.Meanwhile, Kate and Trish Varnum, whose surname will forever be attached to the historic decision, called it “a great day for Iowa.”At a press conference this morning, Kate Varnum said: “Good morning… and I’d like to introduce you to my fiancĂ©. Today I am proud to be a lifelong Iowan.”Trish Varnum added: “It’s been a wonderful adventure, and we’re looking forward to the next wonderful adventure — as a married couple in Iowa.”A Des Moines Register poll in 2008 of Iowa lawmakers showed that a majority of Iowa’s lawmakers —123 of 150 — said they believed marriage should only be between a man and a woman. It was unclear whether those lawmakers had enough votes to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.Iowans have mixed feelings on the issueAn Iowa Poll in February 2008 showed that most Iowans believed marriage should be only between one man and one woman. However, the poll also showed that a majority of Iowa adults supported the creation of civil unions that would grant benefits to gay couples similar to those offered to heterosexuals in marriage.In the poll, 62 percent of Iowans said they believed marriage should be only between a man and a woman. Thirty-two percent said they believed same-sex marriages should be allowed, while 6 percent were unsure.Iowans were split, however, on whether the state constitution should be changed to ban gay marriages. More than half of Iowans who responded to the poll supported civil unions for same-sex couples. About four in 10 Iowans opposed civil unions, and 4 percent were unsure.

More reaction from elected officials, religious leaders Harkin, a Democrat, issued a written statement today that said: “my personal view has been that marriage is between a man and a woman, and I have voted in support of that concept. But I also fundamentally believe that same sex couples in a civil union should be entitled to all the basic legal protections and benefits of marriage.”“I know that this decision will be very hard for many to accept,” he added. “But I also know that it will provide many committed same sex couples and families important rights, as well as an important sense of recognition and belonging.”Religious leaders who support gay-marriage rights praised the ruling as an affirmation of equal rights for all Iowans.“The court’s ruling shows Iowa is a place that celebrates fairness and equality for all Iowans,” said Connie Ryan Terrell, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa. “It upholds the spirit of Iowa’s constitution, which clearly states each of us has the right to equal protection and recognition under the law.”The Rev. Mark Stringer said he cried when he heard of the decision. Stringer performed the only legal same-sex marriage in Iowa when he officiated a ceremony for Sean Fritz and Tim McQuillan in 2007.“It was such a sense of relief to me as someone who has cared about marriage equality,” Stringer said, adding that he is happy gay couple will have the same rights as he and his wife.“It’s really an astounding moment under our history,” he said. “What really excites me is that Iowa is the first in our area of the country. We are being a leader in civil rights, which will be part of our state’s history.” Polk County Attorney John Sarcone, whose office represented Brien, said has no plan to seek a new hearing on the case or appeal to the federal courts. Sarcone said the case involved “a substantial time and monetary commitment” for the county, although he did not know the dollar amount. Assistant County Attorney Roger Kuhle, who argued the case to the high court, traveled to England and Canada at county expense to take sworn statements, he said.

“This was never anything personal,” Sarcone said. “We have a responsibility to defend the recorder. We defended the statute, and we had a fair and full hearing in the district court and the supreme court. Everything was done with dignity.”