Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm just sayin'

Do you think there is any correlation to the Governor of the State of Illinois signing Civil Unions into law today and the fact that Chicago is expecting one of their worst snow storms - EVER?

Can we go ahead and get the news story out of the way that this is God's way of punishing Illinois?

All kidding aside - we do appreciate the gesture Illinois, but it's not exactly what we were hoping for.  I'm sure many people in Illinois (but not as many as you think) will take advantage of this new law and will get some specific legal rights and responsibilities that they want and deserve.  Citizens of Illinois who are in same-sex relationships and want to obtain those same Illinois rights and responsibilities as their heterosexual neighbors will be able to do so.  Or so they think.  The one right that isn't allowed is using the word 'marriage".  So when people say - "but it's the same thing" - they are wrong.   (and of course the Federal rights/responsibilities are not applicable)

It's just silly - and I don't mean to be disrespectful to the religious institutions that fought against using the word 'Marriage" - but it is.  (Well maybe I do mean to be disrespectful - since they have no problem being disrespectful to me.)

Remember the post on same-sex parenting that I said you knew was coming?  Same thing here.  You're probably wondering why it took me so long.  If you really take a minute to think about the government getting involved in anyone's "marriage" - it seems to be a direct violation of the right to privacy.  Governments should refer to it as a "contract". That's what it is.  Take the term "marriage license" out of it.  I won't repeat the standard lines about all the people who are currently able to get married - and probably shouldn't.  (Britney Spears, Newt Gingrich - for the third time,  etc...)  You get my drift.

Let religious institutions do what they want and determine who they will let partake in a "marriage" - but it's time to take the business of legal contracts out of their domain.

On a somewhat related note, don't get me started on the whole subject of weddings in general.  (This part will probably ruin Caden's chances of ever being a ring bearer again.)  Where do I start?  Engagement Rings?  Huh?  The male is expected to give a ring to the female to show that he wants to marry her.  Huh?  People really do this?  The whole ceremony thing?  The males generally stand at the front and wait for the females to come to them.  Huh?  Females - did you read what I just typed?  The females Dad "gives her away"?  Huh?  Females - did you read what I just typed?  I could go on - but once again - I think you get my drift.  How about after you sign the legal contract - take the money that would have gone to the ring and throw a big party - and of course invite your Dad (but don't let him give you away).  I told you to not let me get started.

I promise this is not my Ted Kaczynski manifesto - but like I said at the beginning...I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Dog Won

This pretty much sums up the weekend at our house.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

That's Rude

Actually, the entire phrase these days is "Papa, that's rude!".  It's the new mantra in our house.  This time next week I might need to change the name of this blog to "Papa, that's rude" instead of it's current name.

Of course he never says, "Daddy, that's rude".  It seems I'm the only one who is inflicting the rudeness towards him.  My 'rudeness' appears anytime I'm asking him to do something he would prefer not to do.  Example, "Caden, it's time to get out of the bathtub"...'Papa, that's rude'.  You get the drift.

I can't recall us using the word frequently at home and suspect that it's been explained at school.  He's latched on to it and is happy to use it even when it doesn't exactly apply.  I don't mind him using it inappropriately as long as both adults in this house are considered equally rude.

on another note...the other adult in this house informed me that last night's post was "boring".  Sorry - I can't be Shakespeare every night.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mac N Cheese

Dinner for Caden was kind of pathetic tonight.  I could have done better.  I have done better.  It won't win any awards from the nutrition department and my credentials as a full time stay at home parent really took a hit - but darn it - sometimes Trader Joe's Mac N Cheese is like manna from heaven (if you believe in heaven).

Not wanting to turn this blog into a commercial enterprise (unless someone is willing to make it a commercial enterprise for me) - but I can highly recommend their store brand frozen Mac n Cheese (microwavable) for a 5 year old.

After that ringing endorsement you would think they could send a case of the stuff my way.  They probably want to wait until I have more than three readers.  They might be waiting a long time.

and for those of you who don't have a Trader Joe's're missing out!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dig Boy Dig

Give a boy (or girl) a shovel and put him (or her) in your backyard (unattended) and don't act surprised when you have a 3 foot hole in a place where you really didn't need a 3 foot hole.

He's such an Oregon kid.  He informed us that it will be used for compost.  Yes - compost.  That's a word that had not entered my vocabulary until setting up home in Portland.  Yes - I knew the word - just never had reason to use it.  It was something that "hippies" had in their vocabulary.  I've mastered the use of the word "recycle" - but "compost" is a different level.

I tried explaining that I would prefer that the compost be in some type of container instead of just sitting in a big hole in the ground.  Our neighborhood coyotes (yes - we have coyotes) are probably voting with him.  He informed me that all of the leftover food would be good for the dirt and worms and we would just be wasting something else if we used a container.

I told you he was an Oregon kid - and I couldn't be prouder!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Same-Sex Parenting - (from the expert)

You knew it was coming.  That obligatory blog post on why same-sex parents are better than any other brand of parent.  It was going to be good - but then I started writing it.

Typing the words 'same-sex parent' even seems odd to me.  Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we fit into that category.  We live in Portland.  It's not unusual- even though we are the only same-sex parents in Caden's current classroom.   Did you see the 'Modern Family' episode where Cam and Mitchell were applying to a preschool for their daughter and thought they were shoo-ins because the school would definitely want their 'diversity'?  That could have been us.  We are same-sex parents of a multi-racial child.  We thought we would play that card while we have it.  (we did - but don't think the school cared - as they shouldn't have.)

As far as I can tell, parenting is parenting.  Caden has only known his parents as two men.  When I've heard other kids ask him where his 'mom' is - he responds simply, 'I have two dads'.  No hesitation for him - it's just what it is.  The other kids seem to accept his response also with the same lack of expression.  I find that the people making the biggest fuss over same-sex parenting are not exposed on a regular basis to same-sex parent families.  I can give you all the cliche' answers about how we have the same joys, heartache, trials and tribulations as all other families - but you probably know that.  In case you don't - read the above sentence again.

Right now Caden seems to be a healthy and happy 5 year old who loves skiing and soccer and loves to say that his new puppy is his little sister.  His future will definitely be affected to a large degree by a combination of our strengths and weaknesses as parents. (we hope we will have a majority of strengths.)  We'll have to ask him in later years if he thought it was a pro or con to be raised by two dads.  I can only assume that he will look at us and say, 'that's a stupid question'.  Asking myself if I thought being raised by a father and mother was a pro or con brings the same response.  It's all I knew.  How could I have known anything else?

The fact is I don't know if we are better or worse parents because of our sexuality.  I do know that we are better parents than those people who made their son hide in the house while they made the country think he was in that balloon in the sky (or whatever it was) last year.  Thank goodness they weren't gay.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A day late...

Old news by now - but still on my mind.  The U.S. House of Representatives voted yesterday to "repeal" the recently passed health care law.  Yes - they voted to repeal the entire thing.  No - they didn't provide their own solution to a problem.  Why would we expect that?  Wouldn't it at least been understandable if they looked at specific provisions in the bill and addressed those?  Give specifics (based on facts) and open the floor up for discussion.

It's comical - but serious at the same time.  I'm willing to guess that 93% of the people who are against the "Affordable Care Act" don't understand what is in it and the other 7% are mad that a black man became president.  (It's my blog - I get to come up with the percentages!)

They now say they will create committees to come up with a better plan.  Huh?  Didn't these guys have control of the White House and Congress for 6 years - and yet still provided nothing in the way of a credible solution to our growing health care problems?

If anyone should be mad - it should be those of us who wanted a single payer system.  We were the ones who lost this battle.  Opponents of the current plan love to call it 'government run health care'.  Ha!  I wish!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Clarification needed...

It's hard for me to accept that another person might want to read my ramblings - and even harder to believe that they would want to comment on them.  But let's be real...I've put this in a public place and I must have some underlying desire to be read.

Saying all old friend (she's not old - it's the friendship that goes way way back),  wrote an e-mail to me directly to comment on my recent post about my agnosticism.  She brought up a very good point that she gleemed from the post that centered on my comment about wanting religious institutions (corporations) to stay out of the lives of others.  I'll share a portion of her comment here...(in bold)
Especially your statement that religious institutions ("corporations") should keep to themselves and "not affect others who want no part in their faith." What a sad world that would be if the churches of the world just did business for their own parishioners and didn't decide to feed the hungry, clothe the poor and shelter the homeless, visit the prisoner, and address injustices in the world. We may not agree with EVERYTHING our Church (or other churches) teach, but I feel sorry for the person who has decided it's better to believe in nothing at all than in a merciful God.

Point taken.  I could have written it a bit better.  Here's part of my response to her.  Hope it helps explain my point  more coherently.

I probably confused the few readers I have.  It seems you weren't able to get beyond that statement about staying out of others lives, etc...- which I can now understand.  I should have made it clearer by talking about religious organizations staying out of MY life.  Of course the good works that many religious and non-religious organizations do on a daily basis help ease pain and suffering throughout the world.  The people who are recipients of those good deeds would be the first to say that they want them to continue - and so do I.
The problem again lies when those same institutions speak out loudly and forcefully against my family (Kevin, Caden, and myself).  Both the Southern Baptist and Catholic church hierarchy have made it very clear that they want voters and politicians to take political stands against the rights of my family.  I could give you a list of public comments and statements made by leaders of both  that show this - but I'm sure you have heard them.  What I never hear is a local pastor or priest stand in front of a congregation and say, "I am embarrassed and ashamed that our church leaders have said these things".  They fear being fired and thus stay silent.  Don't misunderstand me though...I know you don't feel the same way and I am sure your local church has many members  who feel the same as you do in their hearts.  However it's the leaders and the many followers they hold sway over who are harming my family.
Stand in my shoes.  The most important thing in my life is my immediate family.  Imagine an organization that you belong to telling your kids that you and your husband's love for each other is wrong.  Imagine your Church that is a vital part of your life telling you that you shouldn't have children.  This is what the Southern Baptist and Catholic church hierarchy tell people.
That's a long preamble for the basic premise I am trying to get across.
I want people who have a strong faith in their God - to continue to have that and find comfort in it in whatever way they can.  I would never say to you or anyone that I wish they would stop believing what they believe and start considering themselves agnostic.  I simply ask the same of others and expect them to show respect for my belief also.    I fully understand the difference between the church as an institution and an individual's personal faith.  I wish that more of the "institutions" could also.  I know that Christians want others to experience what they experience and think that something is "missing" in the lives of people who aren't Christian.  That's presumptuous.
My agnostic belief is very freeing to me.  I find comfort in the fact that I'm not trying to follow something that I know I'm not capable of comprehending.  Even if I did not have the animosity towards these religious institutions, I would still consider myself agnostic.  If there is a God (in the manner in which you believe), I would hope that he/she looks at us in the same way.  The fact that you say he/she exists and I say I don't know if he/she exists just doesn't seem that important to me.  What's important to me is not what faith you do or do not profess -  but how we live our lives.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Kings Speech

I saw it tonight.  You should see it tomorrow night.  Two incredible acting performances - and a little history mixed in.

Actually more than two incredible acting performances - but the main two really stood out.

Geoffrey Rush and Collin Firth - Thanks for providing my entertainment tonight.

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Papa - tell me about Jesus",,,

he said from the back seat.  At least it's different from "what did you say?".  I didn't panic.  I knew this question would come one day - and I was prepared for it.  It was the week before Christmas and a fellow parent from his school had presented how their family celebrates Christmas by talking about the birth of Jesus.  Fair enough - I just didn't know she would take it all the way to the part about the King wanting to kill him.  That's the part that Caden remembered most vividly.

Upon starting this blog I made it clear to myself that I wanted this 'online journal' to be a gift to Caden at some point in the future.  So without further adieu, I will explain to Caden why  I consider myself agnostic.  The word is fairly new to my own vocabulary.  Agnosticism sounds almost mystical - but I think it also scares some people.  We are a society that likes to know things (or maybe that's just me).  I like to say that people can handle bad news or good news - but 'uncertainty' can be troublesome.  I take exception to that in this case.  My 'not knowing' about how we got here, why we got here, what happens to us after we leave here, etc... is actually very reassuring to me.  I don't try to figure it out or search for answers.  I don't use the term atheist because I am open to the idea that their could be this higher power in the form of a God.  (I'm just not spending any time trying to please him/her.)

I was raised Southern Baptist.  (I'm sure there is another blog post somewhere in the future in that alone.)  Southern Baptists love to tell you that they have the "Truth" (as do most organized religions).  Young kids can be influenced very easily - and it just wasn't that hard to convince me that there were certain things I had to do - and not do in order to obtain an afterlife where everything would be perfect.  (for instance - going to high school dances was not good because it would lead to premarital sex and that definitely would not get you into the more pleasant area of the afterlife.  The less pleasant area consisted of swimming in fire for eternity - seriously that's what we were told.)  but I've digressed..

It was a long time coming but I finally decided that I don't automatically believe the things I was told and taught for so many years as actual truth.  Thus I don't worry about correct biblical interpretation or that dreaded word "sin".   (So when anyone says to me in a discussion about religion, "but the Bible says...", my eyes glaze over- or the classic and overused "we're all sinners" comment will really get my eyes rolling.)  There might be a "God" up high who looks down on us and controls everything (while giving us free choice) - and their might not be either.  A key revelation for me was when I accepted my own self as a gay man and realized that the teachings of most of Christianity regarding homosexuality (based on so called biblical interpretation) were wrong.  If I knew they were wrong about that - what else could they have gotten wrong?   This has been my journey.  I want people to believe what they want (that's really the whole point).  I want Caden to grow up knowing about all the different faith practices that are in the world.  This year he learned about Hanukkah and at Christmas, his Grandmother  took him to see a nativity scene.  The stories surrounding both of these examples are part of tradition and are to be respected.

Here comes the part I have a problem with.  Most Christian faiths want their teachings and beliefs to affect my personal life.  I want them to be able to practice their spiritual beliefs for themselves in any manner that doesn't affect others who want no part of their faith.  These institutions (or should I say Corporations) teach that Caden's parents love for each other is wrong.  That's a tough one to overlook.  This is a non-negotiable item to me.

So Caden - learn the history and tradition of all of them (including non-believers).  Decide for yourself if you think any of them have the truth.  Above all, be good to others (especially those less fortunate than you) and try and make this world a better place.  But do it because it's the right thing to do - not because you are concerned with an unknown afterlife.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"What are you talking about?"

We think he isn't listening - but his voice from the back seat of the car lets us know we are wrong.

The times of being able to have conservations just between Kevin and I,  while Caden is within earshot has now passed us by.  It doesn't have to be anything that would be remotely interesting to him or even about anyone he knows - but our whispering signals to him that this might be worth listening to.  If we were planning a trip to Disneyland, I could understand.

We now find ourselves talking in code when we think he doesn't need to participate in the conversation.  How long will using first name initials give us the freedom to have our own dialogue that doesn't involve input from a 5 year old in a booster seat.?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thank You Mr. President

Still acknowledging my frustrations with you - moments like tonight reaffirm why I voted for you - and will again.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Facebook - Friend or Foe?

I'm one of those people who love to make fun of Facebook and the millions of people who feel the need to express every movement they make to their so called "friends".  Of course the way I know you are expressing every movement you make is because I read every post you write.  

Who is more pathetic?  I'll go with the person who says they are so non-Facebook but still has to read your posts daily.

I resisted the allure of Facebook for a long time.  Kevin joined first.  I laughed each time he got a new 'friend" - especially the ones he wouldn't know if they showed up at our front door.  At the same time, I would begin to follow these strangers lives as if I were watching a soap opera.  "Who is going to lunch with Katrina today?  Is her daughter not feeling well again?"  "Why is Barb in France when she said she was not planning to go until September?"  "Will Rob's plane take off on time tonight?"

And mind you - I was doing this while reading Kevin's FB account (with his knowledge of course).  I didn't even have my own.  I finally broke down and registered my own account.  Sadly - I find myself getting more enjoyment (voyeurism) out of following Kevin's 'friends' lives than those of my own 'friends'. 

I promise to not make this blog another version of Facebook posts. I will never tell you what I had for lunch.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Congrats Auburn!

but do you really have to bring "God" into it?  Gene Chizik and Cam Newton immediately felt the need to evoke "God" into the game result.  Let's get real here.  If there is a "God" - do we really want to think that he/she gives a flip about the outcome of a football game?  God actually favors Auburn over Oregon?  Really?  Believe in a God if you want - but at least give him or her credit for having more pressing issues to deal with.

Reason #78 why I am glad I call myself agnostic.  If there is a God - I'd rather he/she deal with sick children - and leave the football games to the rest of us.

Ducks and Prince William

Sitting here watching the Ducks play and this crossed my mind...

Prince William, did you really think it was a good idea to give your deceased mom's engagement ring to your fiance'?  I mean - it's not like it represents a successful marriage or anything like that.   How about keeping the ring in a private place as a memory of your mom and going to a local jewelry story and buying something there.  I'm sure they would cut you a good deal.  You are a Prince - they want to be able to say they sold you a ring.

and even more completely off the subject...
Tom Delay - three years in prison - couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.  Hope you have a fun year or so in prison Tom.  You've earned it!

Go Ducks!

'nuf said.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday evening randomness...

If a Muslim-American put a map on the internet showing the location of 20 politicians with cross-hairs and one of them got shot - the Right would be calling him a terrorist.  When an American who calls herself 'Christian' puts a map on the internet showing the same thing and says we need to 'reload', and one of the 20 politicians (along with other innocent victims) gets shot - we just have to put up with her.

Handguns - Why?  I am not the only person in this country who grew up with the allure of guns as part of culture.  My family were all hunters - and we actually ate the animals that we killed.  (confession here - I really do miss fried backstrap (deer) on occasion).  I have killed a deer and turkey with a rifle as a young boy.  Not proud or ashamed of it - it's just something that we did - with parental supervision.  What I cannot understand is the need for handguns and the ease in which people can get them.  Arizona has one of the most liberal (and ridiculous) gun ownership laws in our country today.  I won't go into the arguments for or against handgun ownership.  We all know what they are.  I just don't believe that the arguments for handgun ownership are based in current reality.

The Arizona shooter is a crazy man.  We have to stop making it easy for crazies to have access to handguns.  We also have to call out the politicians and pundits who provide the rhetoric that fuels the crazy element in our country.  Let's start with calling out Sarah Palin.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Kona Connection

If you would have told me 20 years ago that I would be a father of a 5 year old boy today, I would have said, "you have the wrong Scott".  If you would have told me 20 years ago that at age 51 I would be in a 15 year relationship with the  best guy in the land,  I would have said, "Yes - I hope so!"

What never entered my mind 20 years ago was that I would actually become a Papa years later.  I never allowed it to enter my mind realistically because as a gay men I had programmed myself to think that  certain aspects of life were off limits.  I didn't ache to be a parent because I had convinced myself that it couldn't happen.  When Kevin's sister asked me in August 2005 if we were considering adopting,  I answered honestly, "No".  I could have passed a polygraph with that answer.

I won't bore you with the details of how it all came about, but to continue the hokey theme...the stars just aligned.   They didn't know it at the time, but seeing two strangers (who are now our friends, Tim and Peter) walking on the beach with their daughter in Kona, Hawaii that same day started a progression of events that changed our lives forever in the best possible way.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

They can read! They can read!

So glad to hear  the members of  the U.S. House of Representatives spent the morning of their first day of the new session reading the U.S. Constitution.  Now we know they speak English and are capable of reading words put on paper.

They said they did it because it was something that the 'Tea Party' folks wanted.  Huh?  I hope they all feel better about themselves now, but I wish they had at least a little bit of embarrassment to go along with it - because I was embarrassed for them.  It's absurd!  We don't need more theater or grandstanding.

I took my son to his pediatrician today for his 5 year check-up.  The doctor did not open up his textbooks from Medical School to find out what to do.  He did that way before we showed up at his office.

I would have loved it if just one representative would have stood up today and said, "I got elected because people assumed correctly that I have read this document before - and I don't need to prove to the rest of you that I have."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Dog Tale

If you promise a 3 year old kid that he can get a dog when he turns 5 - he won't forget.  When we said he could have a dog at 5 - I was thinking sometime during the year between his 5th and 6th birthdays.  That's not how he heard it.  I'm surprised now that he didn't wake up on the morning of December 18th and say, "Where's my dog?"  My main reason for wanting to wait is because I didn't want to be taking a puppy out in the rain during the middle of the night to do her business.  I know - a lame excuse.
I guess I should also be cursing Google because they make it so easy for a local breeder to appear on the computer screen with her phone number in bold.  Couldn't she have taken January 1st off instead of answering right away and insisting that we drive the half hour to her house?
I knew it was a done deal before we even crossed the river from Portland over into Washington state.

Shouldn't there be a state law against transferring a 9 week old puppy across state lines?  I guess if there isn't one forbidding two men transferring a 10 day old baby boy from Nevada to Oregon - I can't expect one for a dog.

Now that all is said and done - this is second best baby we've adopted.  (even if it means standing in the rain while begging her to pee)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Not a reflection of the entire Navy, but...

Did he really think this would help boost morale?  You have heard the headlines the past two days about the Naval Commander who thought it was oh so hip to make videos to cheer up the troops on ship while deployed out to sea.  Nothing wrong with wanting to break up the monotony of ship board life - but does it really need to involve scenes of women in the shower and gay bashing?  How does that boost morale?  Had he not considered having a talent show or organizing a chess tournament?  Does he not remember  Tailhook?  (Google it if you are 40 or younger.)

What an idiot!  His punishment involves removing him from command of the ship.  I'm sure his family is disappointed.  He will now have a plum desk assignment and will actually make it home in time for dinner every night.  I've heard nothing about a reduction in rank or loss of pay - but I might have missed something.

He sounds like a character from 'Mad Men', except this didn't happen in the 1960's.  It was only 5 years ago.    His supporters say what he did was no different from what you see on Saturday Night Live.  Really?  I guess I missed the SNL episode with the gay bashing in it.

Maybe heterosexuals should be banned from the military.  They seem to be the ones causing the problems.

Damn those activist judges!

My decision to not get a dog until later in the Spring was overturned on appeal.

Monday, January 3, 2011

"Papa, why do some 'don't knows' call you Grandpa?"

said my 5 year old son as we were pushing our luggage cart in the airport.  An airport worker thought he was being cute when he said to me, "Grandpa - that boy wants to push the cart by himself".   My son has learned through his 'stranger danger' safety DVD that people we don't know are called 'don't knows'.  This obviously wasn't the first time he had heard a 'don't know' refer to his Papa as 'Grandpa' - and since clocks tick forward,  it won't be the last.

How did I respond?   "Because your Papa really is old enough to be a Grandpa."

My question now is, "Why doesn't Kevin ever get the same question?"