Monday, January 31, 2011

Sooooo...We Got Engaged At a Truckstop...

No, I'm not joking...

Shortly before Christmas, UncleR and I were talking about life, our future together, and one thing led to another.  I don't remember how it happened. 

What I do remember is when she looked at me and said:  "Will you marry me?"  After I said yes, I turned to her and said, "Will YOU marry me?"  And it was official.  We were engaged.

A few days later, we travelled to New Mexico to visit my family.  We had planned to escape to Santa Fe to hunt for dual engagement rings.  But, those plans fell through. 

We knew we wanted something unique.  We knew we wanted something that spoke to us.  And we knew we wanted our rings to match.

On Interstate-40 and Route 66, between Albuquerque and Santa Rosa, New Mexico, at exit 234, near a little nothing of a post office town called "Clines Corners"...lies a truck stop...the "Flying C Ranch".

We had passed the truck stop on the way to my mother's house.  We had seen sign after sign advertising its' offerings:  FUDGE!  Hamburgers!  Fireworks!  Home decor!  Native American jewelry!  Dairy Queen!

We knew we would pass the Flying C for a second time during our travels, and UncleR wanted to stop. 

As soon as we stepped through the doors, I found them.  Our rings.  Made by a local, Native American jeweler, they were EXACTLY us. 

We went out to the parking lot, exchanged rings and we popped the question to each other again. 

It was romantic.  It was meaningful.  It was us.  I secretly think the dog barking in the truck parked next to us was wishing us many congrats.

What a story it is!  I love to share it.  But, I don't share it for anyone but us. 

And really, we're the whole reason for this marriage.  We're not getting married because society has told us we must.  We're not marrying because without a marriage, our relationship is incomplete.  In fact, we're wholly complete.  We're not getting married because it's the "right" thing to do.  We're not getting married for anyone...but US. 

I won't bore you with the stories about how neither of us ever believed marriage would be an option or occurrence in our lives.  Many same-sex partners feel that way.

I'll simply say this.  Just like our engagement, our marriage is for us.  We're doing it our way.  And we're doing it together. 

Exit 234, I-40, Route 66.  And that, as they say, is that.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Great Lasagna-Off...

It's a throw-down.  Bobby Flay style.

Date:  Saturday, February 5th, 2011
Place:  Our house
Time:  Dinner time

Last blog I explained about our love of cooking.  And our love of Food TV.

Our obsession has grown, exponentially, over the weekend.

For a while, UncleR has been bragging about this FABU lemon chicken lasagna that she makes.  It just so happens that I make a pretty good Italian style lasagna myself.  So, I did the only thing I could and issued her a challenge.  We'll both make our lasagnas and have the rest of the family pick their favorites.  Whomever wins the challenge will hold the title of Pasta Queen in the Jen/UncleR household. 

We explained the competition this morning to the other members of our family.  I vaguely remember UncleR telling our kid that she was gonna win, hands down.  I was proud when I heard him mutter under his breath in response:  "We'll seeeeee." a creepy, thriller movie sort of way.

I'm not saying I'm above bribery, because I'm not.  But, my faith in my culinary skills tells me that, really...I have nothing to worry about.

Stay tuned for the wrap-up on "The Great Lasagna-Off" this weekend.

And to my loving partner:  If you can't stand the heat, get outta the kitchen!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's The Weekend, That Must Mean It's Time To Get To Cookin'...

No really.  It's what we do.  We cook.

UncleR and I were friends before we were together in any sort of romantic way.  She once told me that her friends used to kid her...that the person she would spend her life with needed to be a chef, of sort.  When she shared that sentiment, in the back of my mind I heard, "Hey, I can kinda cook."  Wait...before I go on, I must say, UncleR can cook.  In fact, she's a fabulous chef.  She didn't need someone to cook for her.  She wanted someone to cook and eat with her.   

Fast forward to a few years later.  We've now been living together for 6 months.  And we've settled into a routine of sorts. 

It started off simply.  We would plan our family meals a week in advance so that we could shop accordingly.  Having two mommies busy with work and home necessitates this type of planning.  (And I'm a titch bit of the obsessive, planning type.  But, she loves me for it.)

And then came OUR obsession with Food TV.  And I'm going to say our, even though it really started as MY obsession.  Because now it really is OUR obsession.

We work hard during the week.  Weekends are, of course, a time when we relax.  It became a tradition for us to watch the Food Network on Saturday and Sunday unwind to the hours of recipes and beautiful foods traipsed across our screen.  And then we started attempting to make some of these creations.  And those creations led to more experimental foodology.  And those foods have led us to where we are today...where we dare each other, our family members and our palates to try new flavors and tastes.

For example, this weekend's meals will include:  white bean chicken chili (from the Food Network) and homemade mac and cheese and corned beef brisket (from Jen's kitchen). 

You're drooling, right?

Even my facebook page isn't immune.  We make our creations and I promptly snap a picture and post it to my facebook for all my friends to see.  Really, let's be honest...I'm bragging.  It's a "lookee what I can do" sort of thing.  And I hope you're all jealous of my skills.

The last few facebook shots include:

A fruity (heh) salad that both of us loved, made by one of our favorite Disney resorts.  We copied it perfectly.

A homemade white cake with chocolate chips and a marshmallow cream icing.

Last night's smoked turkey, made in our own smoker, and which we were so excited to eat that I forgot to snap the picture before we promptly removed its' appendages.

I should end this blog now.  Because today's marathon of Food TV has begun.  And it's Superbowl weekend on the Food Network.  We're going to be planning our recipes for next week's game.

P.S.-Good eats to you and yours.

P.P.S.-See...I can blog without screaming about inequalities.  Of course, I'm sure that will come around again.  But, this was a good break, no? 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How About A Side of Homophobia With Your Chicken Sammie?

When I was younger, I and my group of 4 friends liked to travel a few towns over to go "malling".  Fun times.  We window-shopped, we giggled at all of the sexually explicit, gag gifts at Spencer's Gifts, and we ate good food.  Well, what we thought was good food.  We congregated during every. single. mall. trip. at Chick-fil-A.  I ordered my chicken sandwich with extra pickles and a side of waffle fries.  I was 13, and didn't yet have to worry about my figure.  Those were the days!

Apparently, Chick-fil-A is serving up a little something different with its' chicken sandwiches these days.

Namely, a big bowl of homophobic, anti-equality rhetoric and support for anti-equality organizations.

Over the past few weeks, the relationship between Chick-fil-A, its' charitable organization, the WinShape Foundation, and other anti-gay/anti-equality orgs such as the National Organization for Marriage and Focus on the Family has been revealed.  Chick-fil-A and WinShape directly fund, host conferences for and support these organizations and their homophobic positions/rhetoric against equality.

The WinShape Foundation's Retreat Center, described as a "Christian pastoral environment" that provides a retreat for Christian couples and/or families, when asked if its' center would be open to the LGBTQ community, simply said this:

"WinShape Retreat defines marriage from the Biblical standard as being between one man and one woman. Groups/Individuals are welcome who offer wholesome, educational conferences and programs that are compatible with Biblical values and WinShape's purpose."

So, are we welcome?  Or not?

Here was their follow-up:

"We do not accept homosexual couples because of the statement in our contract."


I refuse to accept your chicken matter how many pickles you throw on the top.  Your chicken just can't mute the foul taste you've left in my mouth.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why Do We Tolerate The Debate Over Civil Liberties?

I read THIS article this morning, which discusses the move to legalize same-sex marriage in a few locations around our country.  Namely, New York, Maryland and Rhode Island.

Part of me watches as progress is made toward equality in this country and marvels at how far we've come.  The other part of me seethes.  This morning, I became angered when reading about our so-called "progress".

As I plan my own wedding, the obstacles that gays and lesbians face when seeking to legally recognize our relationships have become all too clear. 

We don't reside in a state in which same-sex marriage is legal.  In order to legally marry each other, we are being forced to travel across the country to a place which does recognize our right to marry. 

Fine.  I'd travel a million miles to call the woman I love, "my wife".  In fact, the symbolism steeped throughout our wedding and ceremony...the incredible want to express our love for one another in this, in many ways, appropriately and amazingly expressed because we are choosing to marry in the place and manner in which we are.

In the back of my mind, I know that I will exchange vows, and the legal union that I have made will not be recognized as soon as I step off the plane after returning home.  I'd like to say it doesn't matter.  That WE will know that we are joined, legally, as married.  But, it does.  It does matter. 

Take away all of the intellectual and legal arguments for same-sex marriage.  Yes, we are being denied LEGAL rights that heterosexuals are granted simply because they can call each other husband and wife...because both the state and federal government acknowledges their legal right to marry.  Take those arguments away.

Instead, consider this.  Why are we still allowed to debate the civil equality of an entire group of if CIVIL RIGHTS are a "thing" that we can or should dole out to only a select group or few, like equality is some fucked-up merit system or lottery.

Imagine the anger, or outrage, if the headline of the cited article above was different.  Imagine if the article was titled:  "Interracial Marriage Could Move Forward in Some U.S. States".  But, that's a battle we've already fought and won. 

And we are. 

And here I am.  Unsure of whether to be encouraged or discouraged.  Unsure of whether to celebrate or cry.  Maybe I'll continue to do what I've been doing for a while now...a bit of both.

Cheers to you, Maryland, New York and Rhode Island.  We celebrate with you, and we mourn for what we still don't have. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Who Are We and Why Do We Blog?

Hi.  I'm Jen.  And this is my second attempt at blogging.  We have oh, so much going on with our life right now.  And as always, I have oh, so much to say...that here I am again...tapping away on my laptop...puttin' everything out there. 

I thought I'd take a moment, before I begin to fill this space with nothing but my odd opinions and crazy spin on the world's happenings, to introduce our cast of characters.

Me:  Jen.  30-something, female.  Lesbian.  Partner to the most incredible woman in the world.  Mother to the coolest teenager I've ever met.  Speech-Language Pathologist by trade and by choice.  Political addict/activist. 

UncleR:  My wonderful, amazing partner.  She asked me to marry her and I said yes.  But not before I asked her too.  Oh, and I invited her to blog with me...cause she often has something to say.  And she usually says it better than me.

J:  My 14 1/2 year old son.  He is cool.  Cooler than cool.  And part of me thinks he knows it.

Big C:  My BIL to be.  He lives with us.  He dances like nobody's watching.  And I love him more than life itself.

2 dogs and a cat:  Kadee, Rory and Lilly.  One of the dogs likes to roll in horse poo, the other one wants nothing more than to sit in your lap...all. day. long.  The cat gets upset when you don't serve her every. want. and. need.

And that's us.  The "modern" American family.  2 ladies, their kid, their brother and their gaggle of animals.  And LOTS of laughing, good times, and love. 

Next:  I'll blog about something more meaningful...I hope.  Or maybe I'll just continue to drone on and on about nothing. 

Anywho...I'm blogging again.  Cause this life is too good not to share. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

DC Same-Sex Marriage Opponents Lose, Jen Wins...

Today, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal from opponents of same-sex marriage who wanted to overturn DC's gay marriage law. 

*Insert happy dance here*

I celebrate these victories, all of them, fought across our country.  I celebrate EVERY victory for the LGBTQ community in this country.  Some small, some big...many very recent.

But this decision today?  I celebrate this one in particular in a big way.  Why?  I'm marrying my partner in Washington, DC in a few short months. 

We don't live in DC.  We don't even live close.  We live somewhere in the south...where legalizing same-sex marriage is about as likely as Jessica Simpson joining Mensa. 

We're traveling to our nation's capital to pledge our love for each other...legally.  Sometime this summer, I will hold hands with my partner and pledge myself to her for all of our lives.  We chose DC because of what the place itself represents...the capital of the grand ol' USofA...the place where lawmakers so often debate what freedoms they will hand down to we, "the gays"...

Yesterday, we spoke to our wedding officiant for the first time.  Yesterday, we reserved our hotel room.  Yesterday, we held hands and spoke fondly about our excitement regarding our upcoming nuptials.

Today, the Supreme Court kept our right to marry legal in DC.  This is too good not to share.

Welcome to the blog.