Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Red Plum Jelly

My friend Jennifer's mother make the best plum jelly. I called Jennifer to try and finagle a jar (as I did last year) and I was disappointed to learn her parents plum orchard did not produce fruit this year. This weekend I discovered plum jelly at the grocery store, and it's not bad at all. I like plum jelly because it has a slight tangy bite to it.

Why can't we exchange gifts on Labor Day?

As you know, my husband is the CFO of our marriage. He comes from a long line of savers, and it's a win for the team if he keeps my spending in control. With my husband in charge of the purse strings we will be able to retire sooner, which is the goal. Over the course of our relationship and under his influence I've become a saver too.

However, some times I want to buy something but I don't want to get interrogated when my husband discovers the purchase: "How much did that cost? Do we really need that? Can you take it back?" Last Easter I saw this hand blown glass vase at Crate & Barrel and since we were hosting Easter lunch I bought it, had it wrapped, and then hid it in the closest. On Easter morning I surprised him with this gift from Crate & Barrel. As soon as he opened it he rolled his eyes, and so I snatched it from his hands and put it on the table. Any time he harassed me about (allegedly) buying something for myself, calling it a gift for him, and giving it to him on a holiday where we don't give gifts, I would just ask what he bought me for Easter?

Fast forward to last week when we were in Crate & Barrel and I was honing in on a few items that I needed, and all the sudden my husband looked at me and said: "we do not exchange gifts on Labor Day." He made me look him in the eyes and agree that we weren't going to exchange gifts on Labor Day.


While the first family was away on vacation last week the President's oval office was remodeled. You can see more photos here. The nicest thing I can say about this makeover is that it should make all the American grandmothers envious, because it looks like a Dallas grandmother's den. Clearly he did not hire a nice gay decorator, because this is an uninspiring re-do. Why remodel a space if you're not going to improve it? His oval office is all browns and beige a.k.a. BORING!

Lucky for me we did not elect the President to pick out wallpaper.

Keeping up with the 'rents.

I've been eligible for a iPhone upgrade ever since the new iPhone 4 was released, however, my husband cannot upgrade until the spring. I have been waiting on him to upgrade, because I know he'll be extremely jealous if I have an iPhone 4 before he gets one even though I've been using my iPhone 3 while he's working with a iPhone 3GS for years. I don't know how much longer I can wait. My phone has really slowed down ever since I've loaded the new software.

And, this weekend my husband's parents who like to save money more than they like to spend it just ordered two new iPhone 4's. They were eligible for the upgrade, and they did. We can't have older phones than his parents; we have to at least try to be cooler than his 'rents. Key word: try.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Perry doesn't believe in equal rights.

"There is still a land of opportunity, friends — it's called Texas," Perry said. "We're creating more jobs than any other state in the nation. ... Would you rather live in a state like this, or in a state where a man can marry a man?"

My husband and I are 100% Texan, and YES we do want to live in a state where a man can marry a man - it's called Texas. When will Republican politicians stop using gay marriage as a wedge issue? It's nothing more than pandering to the lowest common denominator. It's ignorant, but unfortunately it seems to work...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Raise Your Hand

My brother and his wife are always competing. They like to ask Presley if she's a mommy's girl or a daddy's girl in front of each other to see what she says. Today my brother called to report the following conversation between him, his wife, and Presley:

My brother's wife: "Raise your hand if you're a mommy's girl!"
(Presley does not raise her hand.)
My brother: "Raise your hand if you're a daddy's girl!"
(Presley raises her hand high in the air.)
My brother's wife: "Raise your hand if you want ice cream and you're a mommy's girl!"
(Presley does not raise her hand.)
Presley: "I want ice cream."

It's impossible for my brother's wife to win this game right now. Since my brother's wife is responsible for feeding Paxten she does not have as much time to spend interacting with Presley. My brother and Presley have become BFF's ever since Paxten has entered the world. Sometimes I wonder if I'll be as good of a father as my brother has become to his two daughters; I don't know if I'll be able to compete with him.

Beautiful Baby

This is a photo of Paxten at three months old, and she's just as cute and adorable as her older sister Presley. It's fun to see her personality starting to emerge...

Monday, August 23, 2010

$758,918 per year?!

Thank you D Magazine for pointing out that the the total compensation package for the president of the not for profit Texas State Fair is $758,918 per year. No joke. You have to read the article, here. The business parts of me understand that in order to attract top talent you have to pay top dollar in the market economy, but the other parts of me wonder why you need to pay one man that much money to run the three week event? I mean seriously. How hard could it be? I'd do it for half. Now I know why it's so expensive to go to the state fair.

Awkward Family Pet Photos

I just discovered a new website of greatness; the people that brought us Awkward Family Photos have created another website full of more awkwardness: Awkward Family Pet Photos.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Day No Pigs Would Die

This is a picture of the bacon I was cooking for our guests at breakfast.

I've always loved pigs. I used to want a pig as a pet, and I can remember crying for two days after reading Robert Newton Peck's A Day No Pigs Would Die in middle school.

Last year once I learned that pigs self awareness ranks among dolphins and apes, I became horrified at the thought of eating pork. (It just felt so cruel to imagine a pig entering a slaughter house, seeing the pig get slaughtered in front of him, and then understanding that he would be slaughtered next.) My goal was to not eat pork in 2010.

For most of this year I've succeeded in avoiding pork specifically- I don't grill pork chops any more. I don't eat ham. I love ham. I stopped eating bacon. However, I've failed in avoiding pork generally - beans cooked with pork, sausage that includes pork, and salads that are sprinkled with bacon. I was warned: My friend Dooley told me it's hard to avoid bacon, because Texas cooks seem to put bacon on everything. Yet, my biggest failure in my no-pork-in-2010-challenge came when I cooked the bacon for our guests and then it smelled so good that I ate a piece...or two.

Farewell Season? Oh No!

Oprah Winfrey's show has been in national syndication since I've been aware of television, 1986. Even though I've only seen her on my television set and she has never seen me, it still feels like she's a friend of mine. I feel like a know her, which is a concept that is completely lost on my husband. (He refuses to watch Oprah.) And now that this is the last season of her show I know I'm going to miss seeing her every day when she leaves my television.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

NPH is expecting twins!

"So, get this: David and I are expecting twins this fall. We're super excited/nervous/thrilled. Hoping the press can respect our privacy..."

Neil Patrick Harris announced on his twitter account that he and his partner David Burtka are expecting twins via surrogacy this fall. I find this news very exciting. If I had NPH's money, then we'd have twins on the way too...

Kids are expensive for everyone. (My husband's sister just told us their financial planner told them that if they have two children and expect to send them to private university after high school, then they need to start saving $1,200 a month for both.) Everyone knows children are expensive, but for gay couples the "start up" cost is significantly more, since surrogacy can cost around $100K.

Leaping Lizards

I was greeted this morning by a tiny little lizard in our kitchen sink. Maybe he was attracted to the water in our sink or our air conditioned atmosphere. I scooped him up and released him outside. While he was in my hand I could feel his iddy biddy heart beating. I didn't really mind having a lizard in our kitchen sink- but I would have been pissed if I'd discovered a roach in our sink. It's unfair to roaches, I know.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The drink was saved! (And so was his life.)

Saturday afternoon we had a small family reunion at our cousin Sarah and her husband George's house on Lake Lewisville. The house sits high above the lake, and their back yard includes a network of different concrete levels that gradually descend to the water. Protruding from the highest level is an old wooden deck built (incorrectly) by the previous owners of the house. My husband, who loves lakes, walked out on the wooden deck with his frozen drink in hand to get the best view of the lake. As his left foot stepped onto the deck the board supporting his foot completely broke and fell the 15 to 20 feet below. His left leg was instantaneously swallowed up by the hole in the deck all the way up to his thigh; while his left leg was disappearing in this hole his right leg kicked out onto the unbroken deck. His right arm flung out on other parts of the deck to add additional support while his left hand held onto his frozen drink, which was not spilled.

Since we did not want any more weight on the deck my husband slowly emerged from his predicament all by his lonesome- with his drink in hand!

Hypothetically speaking falling through a deck high above a lake could have been a catastrophic event. However, since my husband has a yoga fit body (he's really flexible and really strong) and since only one of the boards broke- he walked away with a few scrapes and bruises. Instead of thinking about a hypothetical tragedy we are thankful that this happened to someone as athletic as my husband that could handle the situation. We also like to laugh at the fact that even though his life might have been in jeopardy (hypothetically) he still did not spill his frozen drinky drink.

I love you Honey!

Fiberglass Insulation

With the dual purpose of saving money and saving the earth the husband and I are adding more insulation to our attic. We were most recently motivated by the fact that Jennifer and William's 2009 house is almost twice the size of our 1980 house, but their monthly electric bill is half as much as our electric bill. They invested in an energy efficient designed house, and the results are significant.

Right now we have a range of R-10 to R-15 in our attic, and after our new insulation is installed we will have a minimum of R-48 in our attic. (Note: I have no idea what those numbers mean, but I know that 48 is almost five times greater than 10, and the bigger the number the better. ) Our hetero friend owns a roofing/solar panel/insulation company and he is giving us a good deal; he sent my husband a text saying he'd give us his best priced blow job. The husband and I had a conversation like this:

Me: "Hey Honey, what type of insulation is he adding?"
Honey: "He's going to blow in fiberglass."
Me: "Fiberglass! I don't want fiberglass- it's itchy. I want cellulose."
Honey: *silent* (Looking at me like I'm ridiculous.)
Me: "What?"
Honey: "In the two years we've lived in this house, how many times have you been in the attic?"
Me: *silent*

I haven't ever been in the attic of this house. (My husband cannot say the same thing.)

Open Letter: Death of a Camellia.

Dear Camellia Plants,

I am sorry. I thought I had the perfect shaded spot to plant a camellia, or two. I was looking forward to seeing your blooms in spring; however, I don't know if my vision of your rose-like blooms decorating the side of our house will materialize according to my original intent. You are burning in the afternoon sun. I incorrectly classified our small backyard with two mature trees as a shaded backyard; I now know the six hours of sun our backyard gets in the afternoon classifies it as a sunny backyard. My mistake is killing you, and I am sorry. Live and learn.



Wednesday, August 11, 2010

True Blood

Last night we had dinner with two of my husband's colleagues. They were in Dallas from out of town for a conference or class or something. One of the guys is a 39-year-old married father of three daughters and the other guy is a 52-year-old married father of two sons. At dinner last night the four of us spent at least 10 minutes talking about HBO's True Blood, because we are all addicted to the show!

We debated if Franklin is really dead.

We tried to figure out what's up with Jesus sudden appearance, and we wondered if Lafayette has powers too?

Also, we hypothesized what Sookie really might be?

To me this is significant, because these two heteros watch True Blood, and really enjoy True Blood, and True Blood has homos as important characters in the show. True Blood might be one of the only popular shows that includes homos kissing and gay sex. Of course True Blood also has straight sex, vampire sex, and human/vampire sex, but still my point is that the world is changing. Can you imagine if True Blood would have been on HBO ten, fifteen, or twenty years ago? I dream of a world where being homo is no-big-deal, and I think we're getting there...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sunday Brunch

On Sunday our friends and neighbors, Katie and Jay, came over for brunch. We cooked breakfast tacos (Don Juan via Juan-in-a-Million style), queso, and blackberry skillet cake. It was a lovely way to start Sunday, and our new goal is to take turn hosting brunch every other month.

Girls Rule

On Saturday we drove to the outskirts of Fort Worth where our friends Jennifer and William and their 14-month-old daughter live in an impressive house, which sits on top of five acres. We brought Pappasito's fajitas and they provided the margaritas and homemade fresh strawberry ice cream.

After they put the baby to bed we started playing games, and one game was Battle of the Sexes. It's a simple game that promotes stereotypes: the guys are asked questions most girls would know how to answer, and the girls are asked questions most guys would know how to answer. If you correctly answer a question you get to move your man or woman forward on the board.

My husband and William played on the guys team, and Jennifer and I played on the girls team. (Of course they did not stand a chance to win.) Jennifer and I came from behind to win the game. The momentum shifted when Jennifer knew "Chop Shop" was on Discovery and "Pimp My Ride" was on MTV, and I knew that the commissioner of baseball was Bud Selig.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Thank You Kathy

Heteros that champion gay rights are considered our allies. An "ally" is a person who is a member of the majority group who works to end oppression in his or her private and professional life through support of, and as an advocate for the oppressed population.

Currently our most vocal ally is comedian Kathy Griffin. She just finished her sixth season of her Bravo reality show, and she dedicated an entire episode to highlight her trip to Washington D.C. where she encouraged law makers to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell" in the armed services.

Peppered through her funny and shocking television moments she made some really good and serious points:

  • We are already fighting two wars so why would you want to limit the numbers of brave men and women who are volunteering to fight?
  • In my opinion this is a civil rights issue, and I want my army that my taxes are paying for to be a nondiscriminatory army.
  • The only way to win this battle is if we're louder than the haters.
  • If our own policies aren't promoting equality, then what exactly are we fighting for?
I think this is why Kathy is a double Emmy winner. She uses her humor to address serious subjects, and she entertains while she encourages change in the world.

And the closeted gay service member that is still currently serving in the army said it best: We have hope because of people like Kathy.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Castor Bean Plant

I purchased two Castor bean plants for our back yard because they were an interesting plant with red stems and beautiful flowers, but then I found out their seeds are extremely poisonous and can kill humans and animals if ingested. Yikes! My husband had me move my Castor bean plants to the front away from our dogs turf. My Castor bean plants are thriving in the front, but now they are starting to remind me of marijuana plants. (No wonder we have no friends on our street.) What message are we sending to the neighbors with a plant that produces deadly fruit on our front porch?

No. 4

And then there was FOUR! My husband's parents surprised me with an Eames Molded Plastic Chair for my birthday, and the fourth chair addition makes our breakfast nook look legitimate. As a coming out party for our table and chairs we've invited our friends Katie and Jay over for brunch on Sunday. (I won't tell them I'm secretly celebrating that I can fit two couples in four matching chairs, because that would be weird- right?)

And I just realized this photo contains both of our 30th gifts to each other; when I turned thirty my husband gave to me the beautiful round black granite table that is the center piece of this room, and when he turned thirty I had to give him the white erase board on wheels that I'm always trying to hide. Unfortunately, I've become desensitized to its presence in our home, which is why it wasn't wheeled out of the way for this photo.

Thank you California Courts!

This is why we have the best country on earth.

"The evidence shows that Prop. 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California constitution, the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same sex couples,” Judge Walker wrote in his 130-page decision.

As a member of the minority, I would like to thank the court system for standing up for what is right. I still believe my husband and I will be able to get legally married in our home, Texas, before we're dead and gone. What an incredible day that will be.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sleeping Dogs

This rarely happens, but when it does it makes me smile with pride; sometimes our two beloved dogs end up sleeping in the same bed together. Martha Fauker is older and bossier, and she relates more to humans than to dogs, which means she really doesn't ever play with Trigger. In fact, sometimes I'm unsure if she ever acknowledges Trigger's existence. If he tries to give her a lick on the face, she moves her face. I don't have much proof that Martha Fauker interacts with Trigger unless he's doing something she doesn't tolerate...at which point she charges Trigger, which frightens him into submission.

However, there are moments when for whatever reason they appear to love each other. It makes me happy to see them together. I guess that's just a classic sibling rivalry?

Prettiest Little Thing

On Saturday Paxten enjoyed her first Reunion. Sher enjoyed hanging out with her two favorite uncles and watching her sister ride the merry-go-round.


A friend of my friend claims to have witnessed this kid catch this 10 to 15 year old catfish that weighed 60 pounds...if I was swimming in the lake and I saw something like this in the water, then I would for sure scream like a 13 year old girl. Fresh water fish are not supposed to get that big, right?

100 degrees in the shade!

When I got into my car after work today, it showed that the outside temperature was at 100 degrees. That is a high temperature for my car considering I park in an open air. completely covered, multiple story parking garage. It was impossible for my car to get any direct sunlight all day, and yet it still reached 100 degrees. It's going to be a long hot August.