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Saturday, December 31, 2011

A very special New Year's Eve message from JH2D

Tod posted this on his Facebook page and I thought it was worth sharing on here.

Go hog wild tonight!
We have watched the ball drop in Time Square and in Jackson, Michigan. We have hosted New Year's Eve parties at our home for anywhere from 10 to 60 of our friends. We have rung in the new year in bars filled with bear, drag queens, and twinks. So what does this New Year's Eve have in store? Putting the kids to bed, having a nice quiet dinner, and welcoming in the new year in front of a roaring fire in the fire place. Hopefully starting the new year in this calm manner will set the tone for 2012!

Yup, we're old. Yup, we're lame.
What are YOU doing this evening?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A midwinter's greeting.

A warm and fuzzy holiday greetings from all of us at Jesus Has 2 Daddies. May your dreams come true, may your every wish be realized.
Mine, I just want a nap.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mizz'N My Kidz! A very special holiday edition

Eli's birth dad and his brother.

It’s the Christmas season! And, just like herpes, Eli’s birth mom is the gift that keeps on giving. She once again turned off her privacy filter on Facebook, and I was able to grab some more of her ramblings. Warning: English teachers and the easily offended should probably NOT read this. My notes/explanations are in parentheses.
· Yes, I Have A High Class, A Ghetto Ass, Luscious Thighs, Candy Eyes, Tempting Lips, Killah Kiss, So Wave Good-Bye && Blow A Kiss Cuz Baby Youh Cant Handle This
· Well Guess Im Goin Bacc Ta Bed, Dont Feel Good At All :'( Wanna Cry, Ive Been Really Emotional Lately :(( I Dont Kno Whats Wrong Wit Me...Gotta Call CFH (Center for Family Health) In Tha Morning && Get Me&& Tay In Ta See A Doc
· Soo Would Rather Be Dead, Than Ta Feel Another Minute Of This Pain... Its Slowly Moving Up InTa My Chest... Wishin SomeOne Would Juss Shoot Me... On My Way Ta ColdWater Wit Tay,
· M F G, My Daughter Is Fucc'N Huge.! I Love All My Kids Soo Much.!
· Wow, Got Some New Pics Of My Daughter.! [: !! Bouts Ta Goo Smoke A Fatty Wit My Girl
· Bitch Pull Your Hair Back And Suck L’s Dick... *needs a cuddy buddy* (L is Eli’s birth dad)
· Soo I Got A Ride InTa Town, And Still Cant See Him :( Ugh This Is Fuckin Irritating! Wit My *Ride or Die* Chick... I Love This Bio-tch!! Sorry, I Tried....
· This one hit home: B O R E D . . . Need SomeThin Ta Do, Who Wants Ta Hang Out?!? Aint Got Time For Games, && Dumb Shit.! *Single Girl Swagg* Fucc'N Lame-O!! HaHa :) Alayzia Is Huge, Now If I Could Only Get A Recent Pic Of Elija, Things Would Be Great :)) Wanna Cuddle .?!?
· And this… Hmm What Ta Do.? EveryOne Is Sleepin, Started Walkin In Town Earlier, But Turned Rite Around, Its Eff'N Freezin OutSide.! Need A Cuddy Buddy! Fucc EveryOne, The Only People I Need In My Life Are My Girls, Minus 3 Other People, That Cant Be In My Life, But I SOO WISH THEY WERE, Mommy Loves Youh Guys.! *I WILL SEE THEM ALL AGAIN ONE DAY* Even If I HafTa Wait Til They Turn 18!! (I am assuming that she is talking about the kids that were taken away from her, including Eli)
· Sitn at tha ER. Need ta go home... This shit sux... Super hungry... Ready for this money then bed... IF I EVER MAKE IT HOME... Whose got a couch me and my girl can crash on?
· Soo I Just Found Out, Im DYING.. Man Oh Man.. WHOOP WHOOP... TAKE ME WERE I STAND :/
· Gon` go back ta sleep... Im FUCKN HUNGRY... Peace N love ta my REAL people... Getn crunk tanite... No food so fillin our stomachs wit alcohol... (Always a good choice)
· L called me taday. Tha last thing i wanted ta hear taday... But oh well he is doin good... Thats all that matters... And NO WERE NOT GETTING BACK TAGETHER... I GOT A RIDE OR DIE BITCH, THATS DOWN 4 ME..
And then, the equally grammatically challenged baby momma of Eli’s brother posted these lovely bits. A bit of back story, she is on again, off again with Eli’s birth dad. Apparently more off now, as he is currently in jail.
Post: me and L is over now everybody can have him and now i can move on and find somebody to love me for me and that will except my son i am a package deal.. i dont need a man in my life to make me happy as long as i got my baby boy them 2 win they can have him im done
Comments: (She is A)
Person 1 YOU WILL FIND SOME ONE TO LOVE YOU THE WAY YOU NEED TO BE LOVED AND THEY WILL LOVE YOUR BAY TO IM GLAD THAT YOU ARE OVER HIM HE WAS NOT RIGHT FOR YOU AT ALL AND ILL PRAY THAT YOU WILL FIND SOME ONE THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU AND YOUR SON IM HAPPY FOR YOU THAT YOU ARE GETTING ON WITH YOUR LIFE LET GOD HELP YOU JUST PRAY AND ASK GOD TO FIND SOME ONE FOR YOU AND YOUR SON WELL ILL LET YOU GO FOR KNOW LOTS OF LOVE AUNT S
Person 2 so who was fuckin u over why did u break up if u dont mind me askin!
A: he is fucking my cuz\
Person 2 oh wow thats not kool how did u find out
A: cought him
Person 2 oh thats so bad im so sorry ull find someone else who will treat u right WAT HE FUCK UR CUZZO??? Bz!?
And, to wrap up this lovely entry, just found out that Eli’s mom is pregnant once again. Just in time for the holidays.


More about religion

Some responses to my recent post off of the blog:
A note from a coworker: I read your blog about the Church and completely agree with you! I was raised as a Protestant, attended a Catholic high school, and taught at a Catholic middle school for a few years. As an adult, I've concluded that religion was a man-made establishment meant to instill fear in the masses, although I do realize that initial religious practices (i.e., sacrifices and praying) developed due to man's inability to explain natural phenomena. People are afraid to admit they cannot provide answers to some of the most perplexing questions, and seem afraid to question their faith for fear of going to hell. Rather than admitting they do not yet know an answer, it is easier to make up something. At one point the sun and planets revolved around the Earth, right?!

The Church does some good--creates a sense of community and provides assistance to the needy--but I cannot tolerate the crap some of these priests spew. I only attend certain services for my family's sake (church memorials/ holiday events) and get so angered while sitting through a sermon. (I'm sure my facial expressions and gasps reveal my feelings quite clearly.) One even minimized the importance of education because it required critical thinking that challenged the teachings of the Church! Not something an educator wants to hear. I probably should have posted this response in your forum, but am quite private about my feelings. I guess it stems from my family's disapproval of my religious beliefs! Don't feel bad about not sending your children to church. As you stated, quality family time can offer far more valuable life lessons.

Thanks for getting me stirred up!

From a former student:
I love your view on Elf on the Shelf; personally I have always found that creepy. I too have a religion issue with my kids but on a different level. My kids are heavily, heavily influenced (attempted brainwashing more like it) by their Jehovah’s Witness Grandmother and I was raised bible thumping Baptist with religion issues of my own. Still looking for the perfect mix of some religious education but letting them know it is their choice and their decision on what they believe in. If they treat others like they want to be treated and don't end up in prison or a teen parent then I think I did a damn fine job by myself with no higher entity involved.

Another former student:
I am thankful every day for my UU upbringing, learning the world’s religions in Sunday school, in a non-dogmatic and accepting community gave me full perspective to find my own path of affiliation and truth.

From a fellow Thespian in town:
Not that you are seeking nor need any validation ... but I've read your blog and agree. When my children are grown, educated and have taken the time to learn, they can make their own choices about religion and church.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My own war on Christmas, 2011 Update


A few years back we bought the infamous “Elf on the Shelf” after hearing from many of our friends how wonderful the Christmas season became once their particular Elf made their annual visit to lord over and terrorize their children each year. If you’ve seen Toy Story 3, you know that Sunnyside Daycare is looked over by a mechanical monkey who sees all and rats out any trouble makers. Toy Phone tells Woody that if he wants out, he needs to “Get rid of that MONKEY!”
Your Elf is much like that.

Depending on how bad your kid(s) have been, the narc Elf will hurry back to the North Pole and rat out your progeny each and every night to the Big Guy himself. While this isn’t the Godfather saga, and severed reindeer heads are hard to come by this time of year, this kind of intimidation sometimes works and the gullible children fall under the magical spell of this parental ploy. A few years back, our Elf (Krewfie) went missing. Apparently narcs are the first ones to get knocked off on the street because after the Christmas of 09, Krewfie was nowhere to be seen. Not even a note or a tiny severed elf finger as a warning. While we scrambled for a replacement and a good story to tell Anna, the Elf at daycare went up and the behavior became a bit better at home. But like clockwork, sometime in early December, Anna cracks under the pressure and her behavior goes to 11 on the naughty scale. After a few rather big incidents at school, we decided that Krewfie needed a holiday up north, so Anna could take a breather and get her 6 year old shit together. I was seriously ready to start looking at boarding schools in Eastern Bloc countries run by former Nazis. While Krewfie hung out with the Palins, the change in her and Eli’s behavior was amazing. Suddenly they were happy, the behavior, although not perfect, was much improved over the previous week. After a run of goodness, Krewfie came back with a note… basically catching Anna being good. She has been stellar. She has been a delight.

And then it hit me, I wonder how much different my youth would have been if I had not gone to church and had the “IT’S A SIN!” shoved at me every time the idea of me being gay came up. I remember feeling much angst and internalized hatred for myself and for the other gays I knew. I also remember acting out, and not knowing why I was doing it. I wasn’t sure where it came from, but I know that the bible and my church certainly had a hand in it. So now that I am no longer affiliated with a church and consider the bible a great work of fiction, my life has settled down as well. I no longer feel unworthy (Thanks United Methodists!) and I no longer feel like a second class citizen or a bigger sinner than my neighbor. My own Krewfie has flown back north, never to reappear. My own internal compass of what is right and what is just is guiding me and that’s enough for me. I will rely on my Judeo-Christian upbringing to help frame it, but when it comes to absolutes about what is right and what is wrong, I will defer to secular law and my heart. For too long, I have had that Protestant Krewfie hanging over my shoulder snitching on me and telling the Big Guy that my sin is much worse (AN ABONIMATION!) than any others.

My hope is to wean Anna off of church because I know this fire and brimstone stuff is coming. They have already discussed the Ten Commandments in Sunday school and Anna seemed a bit perplexed about all the “do this, don’t do that” business. I am a bit confused as to why they are teaching this as adultery is a pretty big concept for 6 year olds to wrap their heads around. We have been told that she “needs” to go to church, but after much soul searching and discussion, we have found that we “need” to find out our own way of teaching her about what is right and what is wrong. We don’t need fables from a mistranslated book telling us what to do; we have our own Krewfies to help us with that. We have great stories from the library that showcase how to be a good person and do what’s right. We have DVDs of Disney classics from years past that show how character and honesty can make the situation right (with some snazzy music too!) So maybe Sunday mornings will be hang out and read or watch a DVD time. C

Certainly much less guilt and, as a bonus, we can do it in our pajamas.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

California Dreamin' : A letter from the Godfather


A blog entry from Alan, our dear friend, and Godfather to our children. When Michigan finally shuts its doors in a few years, and only the casinos and medical marijuana clinics are left, you can thank the hateful Prop 4 from a few years back. The brain/creativity drain that this state is experiencing is staggering. You can find more of his work here at his personal blog: http://akiste.wordpress.com/

Dear Governor Snyder,

Greetings from California!

My name is Alan. I was born and raised in Michigan. Most of my family lives in Michigan. My husband, Brian, was born in Michigan and most of his family lives there as well. We both received our degrees at Michigan colleges. Brian has served as Director of IT for several successful high-tech Michigan companies. Most recently I was a post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Michigan. And now I have just begun my first semester as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at [California University], in [somewheresville], California.

Given my life-long Michigan connection (and my family has lived in Michigan for well over a century), and given that there were open positions in the Chemistry Departments of Grand Valley State University or Western Michigan University for which I was highly qualified, you may be curious as to why I am now a Californian. Put simply: an important factor in our decision to leave our home and family is that Michigan’s Republican-controlled government is too anti-gay for my husband and me to continue to live there.

So then, my years of experience as a successful high school chemistry teacher (and four-time Kellogg Foundation Influential Educator award winner), as a researcher in cutting-edge polymer chemistry research as well as novel educational research, the money paid by Michigan residents to fund my two University of Michigan Master’s Degrees and my U-M PhD (12 years of University of Michigan tuition, benefits, and stipends!) are all now benefiting the state of California and its residents. Things may not be perfect here when it comes to equality, but at least California offers domestic partnerships and benefits. Not to mention, of course, the loss to Michigan of having two highly-paid professionals spending their combined income in California instead of Michigan.

Do you think that sounds like a net win for Michigan? Do you think losing all those thousands of dollars in our spending and taxes and our combined job experience (not to mention community involvement and volunteer work) was really worth the pittance that domestic partnership benefits may have cost the state? Clearly the answer is “No, and no.” So then, for you and the other Michigan Republicans to claim that this is an economic decision is obviously false.

If I am wrong and your decision to steal benefits from state employees truly is about the economy, not bigotry, then I am sure that you will point me where you have announced that you will guarantee to reinstate these benefits when the economy improves. Or, if this is really about the cost of benefits, then I’m sure you can point me to your proposal to cover only gay male couples — we’re cheaper to insure than heterosexual couples because we don’t need hugely expensive maternity coverage. Or, if this is about the economy, perhaps you should simply cut maternity coverage for everyone altogether. Having children is, after all, a lifestyle choice and as you have said, “the additional cost associated with the extension of health benefits to a new group [ie babies] in the midst of significant budget shortfall could potentially impact the ability to hire staff necessary to provide services for state citizens.”

You know what else could potentially impact the ability to hire staff necessary to provide services for state citizens? If highly qualified potential employees move away. But clearly this isn’t about the economy at all. The passage of the hateful Prop 4 back in 2004 was bad enough. However, Michigan voters were assured again and again by supporters of that constitutional amendment that “every single person currently receiving any kind of benefit would continue to do so.” (Metro Times, October 24, 2004). Of course, those people lied and immediately set to work to try to dismantle domestic partnership benefits at state universities.

It is disappointing to see you and your Republicans friends once again dancing to the tune being played by right-wing religious political extremists in Michigan. It is even more disappointing to see you attempt to hide behind the obviously phony claim that this is an economic decision while just this week you were trumpeting Michigan’s #2 economic ranking in the recent BEES report.

But, if you believe that it is worth saving a couple bucks and to lose talented Michigan residents and their experience, their incomes, and thousands of dollars of tax revenue in order to satisfy the anti-gay agenda of religious bigots, then I’m sure you’ll agree that it was fortuitous that my husband and I moved out of Michigan. From talking to our friends in Michigan — both gay and straight — it sounds like we may have lots of new neighbors out here in California in the near future, too.

Sincerely,

– Alan, [somewhereville], CA


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Walking after midnight


Just like Patsy Cline, our dear Eli has begun to go walking after midnight; specifically around 4 or 5 AM. Instead of looking for love, he’s looking for food. He usually crashes out around 7 each night, and is apparently up and at ‘em bright and early, playing on the computer, trying to work the Wii, waking up his sister, making messes in the bathroom… you know, the typical stuff you do in the early hours of the day. He woke up the other day and helped himself to one of his sister’s leftover birthday cupcakes. The insanely tinted pink frosting is now ground into the carpeting on our stairs. We found a somewhat eaten ice cream sandwich in the sink the other morning, melting away down the drain. He couldn’t get the wrapper off, so he gnawed away at what he could and (thankfully) put it in the sink instead of chucking it on the floor.
We have put a lock on his door, for both his safety and for our sanity. The mornings are crazy, and being able to keep him OUT of his room is a good thing while we are getting ready. It is also used to keep his sister at bay, although she has figured out how to jump up and free the lock, letting herself in to wake him up or harass him. He is adamant about us NOT locking him in his room each night, and after his hollow promises to stay in his room until we wake him up, we have begun securing him (sounds better than locking him up) in his room.

Please do not call Child Protective Services on us, and Grandmas, calm down. It is for his safety. I have checked with our friend who is a child psychologist and he said it is okay. I pressed him about post-traumatic stress issues or repressed memories and he assured me that his young mind won’t remember anything but cupcakes and puppies from this time in his life. I feel bad we have to do this, but with his nocturnal activities, we need to make sure he is safe. I was thinking about the amazing, feel-good movie “Mommie Dearest” and I did a quick search for bed restraints. Dear Joan had the right idea. Kiss your kiddies goodnight, and then strap them in, Hannibal Lecter style to ensure sweet dreams and a peaceful night for Mommie, Daddie, and Papa Dearest. Apparently the only people using such devices now are prisons and mental institutions, so no go on that idea.
So we are left with a stern warning each night, and a tentative promise of no wondering. We have kept the door locked, and each morning, we hear him rattle the door to try and get out around 4 a.m. Putting him back in bed only generates howls and screams from him, which generates howls and screams from sleeping beauty next door, roused way too early to begin her hectic day.

It’s a no win situation for any of us. Please cancel any nominations for Parents of the Year. I am secretly excited for their teenage years when they spend all day in their rooms and sleep until noon. Until then, I will rely on our $1.00 solution for a good night’s sleep.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's in the cards, a Halloween Tarot Reading from Spo


My buddy Michael, of Spo Reflections http://sporeflections.wordpress.com/ did  2 dozen readings (for other people)  on All Hallow’s Eve. He did a basic reading spread, using 7 cards. This is what my reading said. My comments follow his interpretations.

Card #1  - “The Card about you” (in your nowadays status)
Card #2 - “Home” matters
Card #3 - “Work” - or what you are doing/keeping you busy
Card #4 - “The Relationship Card” viz. how you/others are doing, and the energies happening.
Card #5 - “Positive Energies”: the matters you should be aware of and use.
Card #6 - “Negatives Energies” : things thwarting you/impeding you/tripping you up.
Card #7 - The “Summary” Card. A sort of what the future holds OR what is your status. It is more a mirror held up to you, rather than ‘this is what will happen”. 

I used a deck called “The Hallowe’en Tarot”, which has suits of pumpkins, ghosts, bats, and imps.  While it is easier for me to lay out 7 cards and read the ‘gestalt’, it is not much fun for you. So, I will explain one by one.

#1- Death   oooh! the Death card! I hear you shudder!  Well, not to worry. This card is about major transformation.  The Death card in this position heralds major changes for you in the near future. It does not mean you are going to drop dead. This is good news. I am glad I am not going to drop dead. Changes? What kind? Ooo, a mystery.
#2- 6 Ghosts - a nostalgia card, or a card about children. Apparently your home life is dominated but ‘child energy’.  A no-brainer I suppose.  Tarot is often is merely a ‘mirror’ to your life.  Hmmmm, I do believe you are correct on this one.
#3- King Imps  A king card in the work position says you are doing well with work, Nuff said. This cracked me up as work is crazy, and I am most stressed when I am there.
#4- 8 Ghosts  A seeking card. Are you looking to expand your friendship circle, or work on your family life/relationships?  It seems to predict you will, or should do some soulsearching. We have had many friends move or transition away from our circle lately, it’s been sad.
#5- 6 Imps  A victorious card; in the positive position, it implies you are doing welll/will do well in work and what you are about to accomplish. This is good news. I just wish my art career would start to pay a bit better.
#6- 9 Imps  More imps!  And this is a negative card of worry. Apparently your propensity to fret and worry is your worst matter.  Lordy, this is so true
#7- Star - a ‘stellar’ card’  whatever is happening, it is going to work out fine. This is good news too!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Zombie Vs. Baby

 It has been a busy week here in JH2D-land. A whirlwind trip to Toledo for Anna's sister's birthday, at the amazing Toledo Zoo and our friend's EPIC Halloween party.
You know there will be pics coming soon.
But as we prep for the big day on Monday, I thought I would share this pic that I harvested from the internets. When I first saw the tag line "Zombie vs. Baby" I thought that all my wicked dreams had come true and they actually made a movie. Alas, it's just some stupid chart.
But still, awesome.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gay Family Values


Check it out and share widely! I am thrilled that more families like ours are being filmed and shared in the media.

More on this here:
http://gayfamilyvalues.blogspot.com/2011/10/right-to-lovejust-dont-pray.html

My Hero, part 2


He is the mustard to my ketchup.

He is the Guinness to my IPA.

He is the Ginger to my Spice.

He routinely brings me back to reality.

He often keeps me sane.

He has stopped me from packing up the kids and shipping them off to Sarah Palin.

He is my rock.

He is my husband.

Being the artist in the family puts me in the spotlight on a regular basis. However, being a sixth grade teacher rarely gets you in the spotlight unless you do something wrong or smack a student (thank you Cit Pat and your selective coverage). Tod has done so much this fall that he deserves a moment in the spotlight. Without him and his Dad, our kids wouldn’t have the amazing play set we have in the backyard. Without him, we wouldn’t have the new kid’s rooms and our new bedroom and bathroom. Without Tod and his leadership at Frost, Market Day wouldn’t be part of their fundraising and many kids wouldn’t be able to go to camp each year.
He’s always learning and working to create the best learning environment for his kids. As I sit here writing this, he is working on an on line class to help his kids deal with technology in the classroom. So much of what our K-12 teachers do each and every day is worthy of the front page, but alas it won’t ever make it unless they do something horrible. The paper rarely shows the teachers sitting up late at night grading papers and worrying about their students. They rarely show the teachers working on their own time to work on professional development or curriculum issues that affect student learning and ultimately assessment scores for the district.

Tod is my hero, an unsung hero, but a hero never the less. Take a moment today to thank those in your life who have become your heroes and share it here. Thank you Tod for all you do for our family, for our community, the students, and for me.
I love you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The joys of adoption

September was an insane month and our lives have not been our own. Between work commitments, football and Art Prize, we’ve been crazy busy. But last week, something happened that I can honestly say stopped my heart and probably took ten years off my life. I was at home on Wednesday after a great photo shoot for an upcoming show at the Gallery Project, and my cell phone rang. It was Eli’s social worker. Her voice, normally bouncy and light was sullen and decidedly dark. She was very matter of fact as she shared with me that Eli’s birthfather had contacted her to let her know that both he and Eli’s birthmother were HIV positive. They didn’t know when they contracted it, but they were now, at this time, positive. I stood in our kitchen in stunned silence as I let her talk for a bit more (what she said, I don’t know or remember) and the wheels of terror started turning in my head. I know a lot about HIV, how it’s spread, contracted, etc. But most of that is from a gay perspective. I have never had to deal with HIV from a straight perspective.

I thanked Amy for her call and she choked up a bit as she said “Tom, I am so sorry. Please let me know what you find out.” I called our family physician and had a pretty frank conversation with the woman who answered the phone. She was very helpful and gave me a whole host of ideas for what to do. We decided that it would be best for the local hospital to do the lab work, so I had her send over a standing order. In the meantime, I called Tod at work and shared the information. He had a meeting after work so he said that he would come and get Eli to take him to get the blood drawn. I can’t tell you what was going on in his head, but he was very calm and collected. I love him for that trait. He is my rock when shit like this goes down. We had a brief chat, as he was in his classroom with his students, and we both went on with our days.
I never expected this to happen this way. After dodging the HIV bullet for three decades, I thought for sure that it would be me that would be positive and not my adopted son. This past summer, a fellow Family Week dad and I were sitting on Oval Beach watching the multitude of kids frolic in front of us on the shores of Lake Michigan. There were hundreds of them, from all walks of life. There were many that were handicapped, there were a few that had mental/emotional handicaps, there were many from other countries and there were some that honestly defied description. We began a conversation that some will consider insensitive, but bear with me on this. The comment was made that we as LGBT parents are often the ones that come in and pick up the trash left by the heterosexual birthparents. That was tough to hear as I would never consider a child trash. However, many of these kids were tossed aside when life got too tough, or when the kids became an inconvenience, or when the law had to step in and take over. Some were deemed “unadoptable” because of their illnesses/conditions but yet, here they were thriving in their new homes.

Eli was one of those kids. His parents couldn’t stay sober long enough to take care of him, so when he got sick his teenage aunt took him to the hospital and the authorities stepped in and had him placed with his foster parents. It hurts to check out Eli’s birthparent’s Facebook pages, as they both have pictures of him and list them as their child. Yes, you created this child, but you also abused and neglected him. You may have had the plumbing to make this work, but you didn’t have the mindset or the capacity for sobriety to raise a child in a loving home. In the time since Eli’s birth and removal from their custody, his birthparents have had several more children with a variety of other parents. Eli’s family tree is something made for the Maury Show.
Because of the timing of when we had the lab work done, and the time it takes to process, we spent five days in a fugue state of sorts. I went to work on Thursday after a fitful night of sleep and told my Dean the situation. I needed someone besides Tod and the social worker to know our situation. He was very understanding and told me to do what I needed to do. Thursdays are my long day at the college. I am there for about 13 hours. I did what I could to stay focused, but my thoughts continually went to Eli and the news we got from Amy. I spent some time looking up information on HIV and pregnancy, and there was a glimmer of hope as most kids born from women who are HIV positive usually are okay if they are not breastfed and care is taken during the birth to protect them from further infection. I seriously doubt that Eli’s mom breastfed him, as that would have totally interfered with her drinking and drug use. I checked out a recent wall post on her Facebook page, and she alluded to the fact that she couldn’t wait for this (pregnancy) to be over so she could get stoned again and resume her partying ways. Yes, Eli’s brother is in foster care now.

So we spent some time getting the house ready for winter. I always have this day in October or November floating around in my head each spring as I drag out all the stuff for our lives outside during the spring/summer months. I know that we’ll have to get a sitter to watch the kids while we put all that stuff away in the fall, which is what we did this past weekend. Eli napped and Anna played with the sitter while we busied ourselves, barely talking about the situation as we loaded up the cars for recycling and the Goodwill store. I spent the majority of the weekend mentally kicking myself for not being more patient with Eli and replayed scenarios in my head when his toddler behavior got the best of me. I felt like a monster, thinking about this kid and all the times that I have yelled at him or been less than tolerant of his antics as a three year old.
We got through the weekend and had a pretty good time with the two kids. There were moments, as they didn’t get naps on Sunday, none of us did actually. So tempers were short and emotions were running on 11. At one point, Tod and I did talk about the situation and we stepped into the “what if?” zone, a dangerous place to be with something like this. We had not told our parents or Eli’s foster parents, so we made a mental list of who we would tell and discussed the ramifications. It was not a good conversation, but it was one we needed to have just in case. At any public school or childcare institution, all kids are treated like potential bio-hazards. Any parent will agree that they are really a hazard. Between the nose picking, the booger eating, the poor potty hygiene, it’s a wonder any of them live to see five. They are walking petri dishes with grabby hands and runny noses. But this was different, but we knew that he would be treated fairly and with respect when he got to school. The ignorance and fear that permeated the early years of this disease are long gone.

I made the mistake of drinking a glass of iced tea on Sunday afternoon, and my sleep on Sunday night was less than restful. We went about our business Monday morning, and when I got to the college I called the doctor’s office to see if there was any news on the test. The woman who answered the phone told me that the test came back negative and that Eli was okay. I started crying on the phone as I thanked her and asked her what we needed to do next. The doctor was right there and he said we were okay, that after almost four years, Eli was safe. My hands were shaking as I called Tod and shared the good news.
So now what? Eli is fine and healthy, but his birth family is sick. We have no contact with them due to the nature of his placement and we like that arrangement. We have asked Eli’s social worker to keep us posted and to let us know what is up with this situation. I shared this story with our daycare provider and she grabbed me and hugged me and asked me why we didn’t tell her so she could have shared in our stressful weekend as we waited for the results. I told her that sometimes you have to face things alone, deal with them as a family, and then share with the rest of the world. Tod and I shared this horrible weekend together, it’s a weekend I hope we never have to live through again.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Gays shouldn't be allowed to raise children.

Yes, we're terrible parents and we allow our children to be terrorized by Zombies.
RUN ELI! RUN!

For the record, this was for our local TV Station filming our house for Halloween.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Five things

Five easy pieces
Last year, we had to scramble each Monday morning for the must-see item for Anna’s weekly show and tell time in kindergarten. She was a bit bummed this year to find out that:

1. No snacks in first grade and

2: no show and tell.
However, Anna was pretty stoked to find out that she would be able to bring in her “Me bag” as part of the class’ get to know you time. A green backpack was sent home with the instructions to find five items that represented the student. Anna picked some interesting items:

1.       A ring bought in Ann Arbor by her mom. She and her sister each have one.

2.       A magnetic princess/doll dress up set bought in Saugatuck when we were on vacation this summer.

3.       An Easter sticker book (still figuring that one out)

4.       A picture of her and Eli on Grandpa McMillen’s John Deere tractor

5.       A book on a girl who has two dads.
She and Tod spent the better part of the evening searching, and then editing her finds. At first, it looked like Winona Ryder’s purse, crammed to the brim with random items from her room and from Eli’s room and various other locales around the house.

There was also a worksheet that asked simple but informative questions such as: Favorite food? Pancakes. Favorite color? Pink, natch. What do you want to be when you grow up? In a band and a Doctor. I have to say that if I were to have this assignment right now, I am not sure what five items would best represent me.

How about you readers?

What five items best describe you?


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Banned Book Week: What's in YOUR library?


Pull out your copy of Lolita folks, it is banned book week!  In our vast collection of books here at home, we have a few that make the list each year. Topping it off is “And Tango Makes Three” the true story of two male penguins who adopt a baby chick. Scandalous, I tell you, scandalous!
It’s hardly worth getting into a frothy mix over this book, but the loonies on the right are having a field day with it. The always sane people at World Net Daily write:
The American Library Association this week is conducting its annual promotion of a “gay”-friendly agenda to school children across the nation through its highly publicized “Banned Book Week.” Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries.org told WND he believes the ALA’s list of books “is intentionally and deceptively false and is being used to promote a political agenda.”Linda Harvey of MissionAmerica.org, who monitors homosexual activism aimed at the youth culture, has called “Banned Book Week” a “smokescreen of hypocrisy.”“It’s that special time each year when some in the library profession point an accusing finger at parents, especially Christians or conservatives, who might dare to question the value or appropriateness of certain materials available to youth,” she has concluded.

Yes, because a book about two penguins who love and care for each other and want a family is really horrible stuff. At no point do they talk about the penguins going off to Fire Island for a coke and poppers fueled holiday weekend or show either of the birds in drag and or leather. WTF people?
It’s a story about two birds that happen to like each other and are, as the story says, “a little different” in the way they go about life. If we ban every book that portrays someone who is a “little different” the shelves would be empty. And yes, Sarah Palin, I am talking about your book as well.
Really, who the fuck lives in Alaska? Even the penguins have said no to that mess.

We took Anna to the Central Park Zoo, the hot bed of male penguin lust, and we checked out the exhibit. No mirror balls, no slings, no throws from Target. It smelled and was pretty much a mess, which would lead me to believe that there are lesbian penguins as well. Anna was thrilled to see the famous birds (which, by the way, have since split up) even though we couldn’t tell one from another. But, it made her day to see these animals that have a family just like her family: a little different, kind of smelly, and full of love.

More on banned book week: http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/about
The hilarious article at Wonkette that inspired this post: http://wonkette.com/453733/banned-book-week-is-wingnut-cue-to-panic-over-gay-penguin-sex

You can find the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Tango-Makes-Three-Justin-Richardson/dp/0689878451 or at your favorite bookseller that is actually still open.
World Net Daily, why bother?


Monday, September 26, 2011

Tell me what you want, what you really, really, want.

The book in question.
To quote Adam Lambert… “what do you want from me?”
I just read an article on my favorite nerd site Boing Boing about how to have a successful blog. The author of a recent book suggested to bloggers that they produce at least 1000 words a day.
Want to be a successful blogger? Every new endeavor requires a period of ascetic dedication. You must write a minimum of 1,000 words a day.
That’s about two pages of text (roughly) for your blog to make it relevant and to make it worthy or repeated visits. This can be in multiple or single posts. I was usually good for about one good, lengthy post a week for a while, but then September came and smacked me on the ass and suddenly I was busy with other things. I know that many of you do not regularly read the countless LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered) blogs that I read each day. There are many articles, links that come up that are germane to parenting and to adoption.
Would you want to read articles like that?
Or are you content to have the articles written by me for the posts?
I am committed to making this blog one of the finest for parenting, but I need your input. Let me know what you would like to see and I will do my best each day (children permitting) to make this the greatest blog ever. You can leave comments here, or you can email comments to me at taoakley@gmail.com.
Link to the article here:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

An aging Club Kid speaks

I often get laughed at by my students for my musical choices in the classroom/studio. I won’t lie; it was a tough time growing up musically. I grew up at the end of Led Zeppelin and at the beginning of Abba. My choices were limited for sure. But music was a huge part of me growing up. I loved Elton John and some of the musicals my parents had on vinyl. I remember coming home from camp in 6th grade and my parents had bought “A Night at the Opera” by Queen and it blew my little 12 year old head. Apparently they needed a soundtrack for the bacchanal they had while I was away.
My early years as a young gay male and the world of music that opened up to me in the clubs/bars/discos in Toledo had a lasting effect on my musical tastes as an adult. If I wasn’t sneaking in to the Gay clubs and dancing to late disco/early house, I was at the straight clubs shaking it to the grinding funk and R&B that populated the playlists at such bars like Renee’s, one of the true discos left standing after the 70’s. They tried to update the place with new lights and d├ęcor, but it was what it was, an old disco tucked in a shopping mall and it didn’t last very long into the 80’s. I had some older gay friends who tried to turn me on to the various musical genres taking hold and it was an array of music that still has a place on my Ipod today. Cutting edge groups like Kraftwerk, and divas such as Sylvester and Grace Jones still rock my world. But as the 80’s closed up and we moved on into the 90’s, club culture was still booming. Bars were a place of refuge for me and my friends, gay and straight. They were places where we could go and get away from it all. Sure we had the disco anthem “I am what I am” to help us feel good about ourselves, but it was no “Born this way.”  Many of my current students go to the Necto in Ann Arbor, another grey lady from the disco era who has managed to survive into this new century. Of course we knew it as the Nectarine Ballroom, and it was indeed that, it was a spacious and opulent place where the music was amazing and every night, gay or straight, was a show. Money was saved up each week for the nights out in Michigan. If we drove fast, we could close the Nectarine at 2 and drive back to Ohio to close out Buttons or Bretz and continue partying until 4 or 5 am.
I recently caught “Maestro” on IFC and the documentary has been floating around in my head since I watched it. I have watched the opening credits many times, as the narration over the thumping house beats brought back many memories for me. As the credits roll, a voice begins to speak:

“I want to tell you about walking into an oasis.”
“Feeling like I just walked into my family’s living room...it was about being safe from the social restrictions of the outside.”

“Everything the Moral Majority told you you couldn’t do, it didn’t exist anymore.”

“It was a family that had only one rule, to love thy brother, and that was okay.”

“It was you and them against the world, and we survived together.”

I get goosebumps as I read these words, because that is how I felt about going out to the bars/clubs in my early 20’s. It was freedom, freedom from a world of AIDS and HIV, freedom from the crap that was going on in my head as a young man who knew he was gay, but didn’t know how he fit into the world. The last line says that we survived together, but in reality, we didn’t. I lost so many friends from this time that it breaks my heart to think about them and their lives, cut down so quickly.

My nights of going out and clubbing are pretty much over now. The kids know when we are out late, and the later we are out, the earlier they get up. It’s not a winning situation. But I can still jam out with the Wii and dance with Eli as we do the Michael Jackson Experience together. It’s a totally different experience to dance with a 3 year old in your family room to his music and not be in a club. The smell of pot and poppers are replaced with the smell of juice boxes and a not so fresh diaper (on him, bitch.) I can still crank out Lady Gaga with the kids and on cue they both raise their hands in the back of my car as Mother Monster commands them to “put their paws up!”  And I can still put on my headphones, grab my dog, and go out for a walk in the park jamming to the tunes that made me who I am today. The strobes are gone, but the memories remain.

More on the film “Maestro” here:
For the first time Ramos’ documentary puts into perspective the period of time spanning the late 60s into the early 80s when New York City saw the birth of the Underground Dance Music Culture, a musical and a cultural movement that deeply impacted social rules and ultimately set the groundwork for the Chicago House Music scene, the Disco era and present day global DJ Culture. The quintessential elements captured in the DVD on the legendary New York and Chicago clubs like The Loft, the Paradise Garage, the Music Box, the Warehouse, and their renowned DJs Larry Levan, David Mancuso, Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles, have influenced parties and dance music productions across the world. According to renowned film critic Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times, “Maestro traces the roots of today’s global dance-music culture with a passion, knowledge and insight that is as infectious as the music itself. For the uninitiated it is a revelation and for the aficionados it will surely be a special treat.”

 The opening sequences (as well as the whole documentary) are on YouTube:




Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Parenting at its best.

A coworker posted this on Facebook with the advent of his son’s newfound mobility:

I am in the early stages of planning for the great baby-proofing of the home. Considering baby gates for the stairs (up and down), cabinet latches, door latches, toilet latches, and electric outlet covers. My guess will be that most of this money will be wasted on stuff that either does not work or works too well. If you have any recommendations for products to use or avoid, or if you have

We did it all, and honestly, it saved our butts a few times. I lamented the day we took the babygates down around the house, as Eli had full run of the place suddenly. The kicker (and cheapest) was the chain lock on the front and back door, waaaaaaaaaaay up high. These were deemed necessary after we had a few episodes where the kiddos made it out to the front porch. We need to be careful though when are Moms are here as both are short and can't reach the chain. Hmmmmm...
However, we found this to be the most effective method for keeping the kiddos in line.

What did you do? What did you feel you wasted your money on?


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

You're a good man Charley Sullivan

I saw Papa kissing Santa Claus, or is it Charley?
Sometimes our heroes are people we will never meet. Sometimes our heroes are our friends, and I am happy to report that this guy is indeed one of my best friends. Charley is one of the coaches for the U of M row team. While I am legally required to support the Buckeyes since I am from Ohio, I can get behind Charley and his team and cheer for them each season.

Our kids know Charley as “Ho Ho” as he does Santa for us each year, but we know him as a funny, intelligent, and handsome man who is an incredible friend and companion. We are indeed lucky to have him in our circle of friends. Rock on Charley and stay strong. For more on Charley, please check out this link, and please share this link as well, this is a story that needs to be told.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Daughter is Present: A JH2D take on Modern Art

The Daughter is Present, August 2011.

Hello dear readers and welcome to the new academic year! While most people mark time and celebrate the New Year in January, we teacher folks look at August or September as our new year. One of the traditions that I have is the yearly photo on the first day of classes. I have done it for some time now, and here are the pics from this year (and a few from years past). It’s a goofy thing, but it’s fun and it challenges me to think about a new pose and scenario for each passing year.
This year, I took on the amazing Marina Abramovic and did our take on her “The Artist is Present.”She sat in the museum in her red gown and stared at the folks that dared approach her in the sparse setting in the gallery. It was both a battle of wills and a rather contemplative moment as she and the public faced off.
For me with Miss Anna, it was a battle of the giggles and getting her to keep the gown on and in place for the shoot. Thanks to Tod for doing the wardrobe for the shoot. While it looks like a Snuggie, it is not. You can see the inspirational piece here:
And pics from the past 5 years. Please to enjoy.



The professor in me insists that you click this link and read more about this woman and check out the multimedia section on the MOMA site to see more.

You can also check out the Artsy link for more work... 

https://www.artsy.net/artist/marina-abramovic-1

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A comment from the other side


A friend of ours on Facebook posted this as his status update this evening:

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.

And I (the one with kids) responded: And they withdraw from the vaults of our sanity.

Snarky? Yup.
True? Yup, yup.

Discuss.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Adventure Time on Cartoon Network: OH MY GROB

The Gays have always been known as early adopters and have jumped on trends and technology way before the straights can get out of their Snuggies and get on the internets. I will admit though that I was a bit behind the times when it came to Adventure Time on Cartoon Network. Our daily television viewing is Nick, Nick Jr., Sprout, or Toy Story 1, 2 or 3 for the 1000th time. However, I was trolling around Tumblr and found this guy:
I would totally put a ring on this.
I wasn’t sure what he was doing, he was at Comic Con, and yeah, who knows what goes on there. Many of my friends have gone (I didn’t know I knew that many virgins) so I asked around discretely so I didn’t look like a total noob. Turns out he is dressed as one of the lead characters from Adventure Time, Finn. I love the name (waves at Finn!) and love the surreal vibe of the show. Finn is accompanied by his trusty dog Jake and together they go on some pretty wild trips.

Anna and Eli haven’t got behind the show yet, but I have set the DVR to capture its goodness. One of the characters if Lumpy Space Princess, who is a basically a cloud, a badly drawn cloud who has the voice of a Valley Girl, watch and you will understand. In one episode, she tells one of the characters: “If you want these lumps, you gotta put a ring on it!”  And then there is baby Jake singing about punching your buns.  So, find Cartoon Network on your provider and check this shit out. It’s the best.


Yeah, just watch it. I’m not flipping kidding.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Parenting & Imparting Life Lessons, from another perspective


This is Brad... really, it is.
My amazing on line buddy Brad posted a link about a family’s hijinks and added this rather insightful and entertaining addendum to the post. Brad and I have never met, but we are in a few  on line communities together. We're total BFFs even though we live on different ends of the country. I asked him if I could share and he obliged. Warning, salty language (salty? who the fuck am I kidding?) ahead, just sayin’.

From Brad:
I think anyone for whom this resonates will get it, and can find the commonality we share with those who would do such stuff to make a point to their children. Or rather will, as is our collective fate, do this stuff to further terrorize our children into learning the most important life lessons the only way we are certain to know how. We're just wired that way; we'll sink your fucking ship in a minute with an epic prank when your ego gets in your own way. It's just who we are, there wasn't much choice in the matter beyond how we communicate all that. It got me thinking about the kinds of life lessons we should be imparting in our children, so that we send respectable, trustworthy, capable, and intelligent people out into the world when it's their time to fly.

I would like it known that while I read that Failblog article with the hilarious pictures, and while I'm writing this down, I'm thinking of and channeling my beloved friend and phenomenal single mom, who does this kind of shit to her son Jake ALL. THE. TIME. The beauty of it is Jake is an awesome guy with a fantastic sense of self, sense of humor, and empathy for others. That is a direct correlation between who he is as a person and who has dedicated her life to raising him and sweating how she does it by kicking her own ass to make sure she's doing right by her son. For which I adore her - and then there's her WICKED sense of humor. I understand her in fundamental ways, because she loves her baby boy as much as I love my babies..

Here are a few of those important life lessons for our children, Biscuit style. Feel free to add more, or gank these and make them your own if you like.

1. LIGHTEN THE FUCK UP. I respect and appreciate your intelligence and temperament, but you have to know that other people are just going to do what the fuck they want most times, as is their right, whether or not you like it or care, AND YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THAT. Get right with that now, for the same reason you got over expecting to get a new toy each time we passed Toys-I-Lust, and it was okay. I believe in you - the POWER of you - to know when it's time, when it's just over and when it's just broken.
Also, can we agree, Smart Child O' Mine, to cut the shit with the "OMG, I ALREADY KNOW THIS, LIKE, UGH, BOOOORIIING, LIKE... blah blah blah Kardashians blah blah h.i.m. best EVAR blahbitty blah blah blah" bullshit, please? Beautiful child with the gorgeous everything, consider ME for a moment. Train thyself to consider who I am and what I've studied and debated before reacting as though you know more than I do. Being fair, yeah - you might know a thing or six that I don't enough to speak with some measure of authority on the subject, I just know more THINGS than you do, so lighten the fuck up and show some respect. Also, so I won't have to verbally bitchslap you so fucking hard you'll be stunned for the first 10 minutes after before you even feel it.

2. I will always be the softest place you'll ever need or want to land on. I will also be the one who walks into the mythical fires of Hell itself, simply to grab you by the hand and pull you out and into my safety. I will respect the boundaries of your privacy as is age appropriate for you, specifically for you, because you're not a child - you're not even MY child - you are a completely unique individual. I just ask to be included in the things that affect you, so I can best encourage you to be the best YOU you are capable of. I will never lie to you - but so help me, if you ever lie to me willfully and intentionally, the wrath that will come down on you will be so epic that intelligent alien life approaching Earth from space will see it and say to each other "UH-UH, OH H A I L naw, we're not stopping and getting all up in that shit - keep going." Be told, and don't think you're clever enough to test me on this stuff. I know you think it's crafty of you to think you're getting over on me, but let me tell you, that ain't SHIT. Any time you try to manipulate me, I'm only pretending to buy it because I'm hip to you and secretly thinking "OMG, look how cute you are right now with this, you really think this is working!" Unfortunately or you, *I* know how to take Mom's car out of the driveway and go joyriding at age 15 on a Tuesday school night, and get in all kinds of potential trouble, without ever getting caught. I was getting in bar fights at 17. Trust me boo, you ain't shit - I can smell deception like a fart in a car, and worst of all, I'm able to seamlessly go from 0 to fucking CRAZY before you even catch on. I'll buy into it like I have no idea what's really going on, and then come out of the ether like the fucking Batman and wreck your whole week - and you KNOW this. My point here is just don't, because this is what the consequences are, and you really don't want to be bringing the redneck out of me. Every sense I have as a parent is finely tuned and driven by pure will and determination, so I'm in your head and heart and will die before I willingly allow harm to come to you - including your own self-harm.

3. You have to decide what you believe about religion and faith for yourself, and I will cover everything I can sans personal bias, even if it is contrary to what I believe. Because it's not about me, it's about you. It's insulting to a person's intelligence to foist an entire life design upon them, to say nothing of disrespectful - but there's a LOT out there, and you must self-educate before you're in a fair position to make those kinds of decisions. Don't believe what I believe because it's easy - in fact, follow that rule closely in most areas of life - believe in something because it makes sense and isn't constructed out of glass when it should be the strongest steel. There is no such thing as one true god, that's something religious people use as a safeguard. As many possible gods as there are throughout time and the history of mythology, there is absolutely no way to be sure which god or which religion is right - so if you go there, go with humility. Faith is a fine thing and I make no argument against it - it's when faith gets a manual that has to be treated with skepticism for the nonsense it is that problems arise. You CAN have faith without religion because the two are not mutually exclusive as long as you keep your ego in check and are not hypocritical because I will not tolerate that or suffer it. You'll never find morality in religion, you find it within. Morals are a choice, you'll figure yours out as you go along. Just remember - morality is doing what is right no matter what you're told; religion is doing what you're told no matter what is right.

4. No, you cannot go off with so-and-so, because I haven't spent any time with them OR their parents. It's not that I don't trust you, unless of course I have reason not to, or that I think you cannot make good solid decisions and choices in your own best interests. It's just that peer pressure is a fucking bitch on the worst rag ever, and I do not take on faith that you WILL make the best decisions and choices possible every time, so I'm pre-screening for riff raff. Remember, I am a fair man - what I am not is a naive, gullible man. As your parent, it's not the easiest thing mastering that fine line between parent and friend. Anyone you try to fly under my radar is going to result in you being REALLY unhappy with me for a while, and I absolutely will sit beside you when you're mopey and complaining about how unfair I am and begin singing "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen..." no matter where we are. Choose the people you surround yourself with wisely, and reject the notion that you are always the company you keep when it's inappropriate. That's insulting, and not very respectful of one's own intelligence and ability to see people for who and what they are.

5. It pays to be smart, humble, and free of ego. It's also not that difficult to just NOT be a dick to people for no valid reason. YOU decide who you're going to be in this world; set your standards high and your goals within reason and what is realistic for you - and be who you fucking ARE. Because who you are is awesome, and even if I weren't your parent, I'd very much want to be your friend. My wish for you is to be wise enough to recognize the love of your life when you see them, and stick it out when it gets rough, because they are so worth it.

6. Please remember that it's damned near impossible to embarrass me, and don't ever make the mistake of acting out or thinking you're a bad ass and disrespecting me, no matter where we are or who's watching. I ask this of you for any future instance where, say, we're in the mall or something and your friends are around and I settle your hash in front of the entire planet because you had it coming. I'd just as soon not do that, but we both know I will, so take some responsibility for yourself and don't open that door. You really don't want that. I hold everyone to the same standard and I expect you to as well. Don't make me sky-write your shit and make stencils to graffiti the whole state with.

7. The person you're supposed to be is the person you know you ARE - period. You have a responsibility to that person to be your authentic self. Let's face it - if you're not telling yourself the truth, then you're lying to every person you come into association with. That's no way to live. Why else do you think I came out as gay, liberal, and atheist at 15 - in Alabama, in the 80's, in the face of people who hated me for it? Because FUCK those people, THAT'S why. I don't owe them a fucking thing, least of all respect that hasn't been earned. If you want to hate me that's fine - I only ask that you do it on merit. Let people decide for themselves how they feel about you because you have the courage and will to be yourself without restraint or apology, because that is how character is made. At the end of the day the people who don't accept you as you aren't rejecting you - they were never worthy of you to begin with.

8. Darling now-teenaged-male-child, I know things are frustrating and taxing on your nerves and a lot of the time you're just mad and you don't know why, and inadvertently take that out on other people. Sometimes deliberately for no valid reason, which simply will not fly with me. Lo and behold, there is a solution, and an awesome one at that. When you start feeling all edgy and aggro, go to your room and beat your dick like it owes you money. You're not going to damage yourself by doing it too much - trust me, I'VE TRIED. It's not sex, it is maintenance - just like eating, breathing, and sleeping. It's what we do so we can be balanced and calm and not climb a clock tower with a rifle. It increases circulation and assists in oxygenating the blood, it releases endorphins, it's very self-validating getting yourself off FOR YOU, and then the main reason - IT'S FUCKING AWESOME. Everyone does it, including those who lie about it, so don't appropriate any guilt or shame about taking care of your body because that's just stupid. Don't be surprised when I call you out on your attitude by saying to your face "DUDE - go rub one out of get choked the fuck out, make a choice, because I'm having none of this." Just don't do it in the shower and run up the water bill, and everythang be everythang. Girls, I'm not ready for you to be teenagers, so cut me some slack while I'm navigating what you need from me so I'll know who and how to be with you. ;-)

9 - and then I'll stop for now. Once I watched in complete awe as a dog took a shit - while walking in a circle and not stopping at all - and made it into the shape of a heart. I am not kidding. It was an amazing experience that taught me to pay attention to all of the life going on around me and how truly fucked up I was and how much I needed my own ass kicked. I was 17 years old when it happened, sitting in the park, just completely wreck by something or other, because I had no clue where my limits and boundaries were. Then it happened, like it was totally normal, and the dog wasn't even smug about it. In fact he really didn't take much notice of me. I'd been institutionalized for a clinical nervous breakdown and diagnosed as bipolar that spring and it was now October, and holy fuckballs, this just happened. Right in front of me, HAPPENED!!!. What choice did I have but to interpret that as the dog's way of saying "You know what dude, fuck off - just FUCK OFF!!! You're not getting out of this alive, so get on with it for fuck's sake" in that heart shaped, steaming gift? What would YOU have thought if you saw that happen? Would you listen to everything around you long enough to pay the moment the respect and attention it deserves? You should, because that's all you've got. Find out who the hell you are and do not be afraid of who that is, because I love them already and want to hug them more than anything and shower them with protection and the best care I can manage, permanent press, it will not wash out. There is a bounty of amazing people for you to search out and find, learn to recognize them when you see them. I know who I am and I am content with that.

Do you really know who you are, my love?