Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Our Family ride

From L to R: Yukon, Papa, Daddy, Anna, Eli, Edwin
I have seen these all over the place and have half-heartedly checked to see what genders were represented in the sets. Not too surprising, they have the requisite Ward and June and assorted little ones to attach to your ride. I have seen them for sports teams and other hobbies, and have often thought it would be cool to market these for LGBT families.
I had to buy two sets to get two of the male figures; thankfully they were pretty cheap at the local dollar store, so I didn’t mind buying two. We’ll see how this flies in our town, the birthplace of the Republican Party. I have had two rainbow sticker magnets yanked off my car over the past few years; we’ll see how long this lasts.
Dear readers, would you buy these for your car if they were tailored to LGBT families?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Leather, how to work it.

To all the Bad Ass Leather Daddies and Wanna-bees at IML this weekend, this is how you rock out a Leather (okay, pleather) coat on a bike. Take notes bitches.

Friday, May 27, 2011

IML and Bear Pride: One from the archives

Again with the warnings… this is not your average post for me, but since it is IML/Bear Pride weekend, I thought I would share one from the archives. Mom, Dad, don’t read this. Actually, no one should read this.
Author’s Note: Back in June of 2002, I wrote for an online journal called “The Midwest Ursine” and we were going to do an entire journal on Bear Pride and International Mr. Leather, which take place in Chicago each Memorial Day weekend. Bear Pride is a silly event with big and furry guys coming in from all over to party and overeat. IML, however, is an epic event that draws THOUSANDS from all over the world. To get an idea, go to their website and see how involved it is.

Warning, it’s not safe for anywhere: http://www.imrl.com/

So, I wrote up this review, mind you, almost ten years ago, and when it was published, I got my butt spanked (pun intended) by the Leather community. Me-ow girls, pull your claws back, it’s called humor, look into it. Here’s the original post:

 A Bear in a strange land, or:
More Vanilla than Vanilla Ice, or:
What I learned at IML

I will admit, I was a virgin, and wasn’t really that interested in going to the Hyatt to see all the hoopla involved with IML.  There were three others in my party though that wanted to, and since I had dragged their asses to much of Bear Pride, I thought it only fair for me to reciprocate.  Our friend remarked that it was “interesting” and that “we wouldn’t be disappointed”. To me, IML is just the Miss America Pageant without; well… there isn’t much of a difference really.  The IML contestants go through the same hoops and public parading about that the eager young lasses in Miss America go through.  Sashes, head gear, talent, eveningwear, etc. 

Same contest, different folks. 

I was shocked when I walked into the Hyatt, as thumping disco music was everywhere, as were the guys decked out in various forms of leather and undress. IML had single-handedly turned the hotel into one big gay bar.  I pitied the poor tourist that stumbled in looking for a room.  They really ought to have warning signs posted around the perimeter. 

WARNING:  Men in butt-less chaps.  Children and Christian conservatives strongly cautioned!

Here is what I took from my afternoon roaming around at the Hyatt.

  1. Leather is just another form of drag, without the makeup.  I walked by a booth in the Leather Market and they were selling black and white feathered wings to wear with leather gear.  Was there a prom included in this weekend?  Did I miss it? 
  2. Leather is HUGE!  The whole freakin’ hotel was filled with guys in harnesses and chaps.  Talk about a gay cash-cow.
  3. Some people take Leather waaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously.  Let’s review: it’s just another form of drag darling… you will have to wake up on Monday, go home, and go back to work.  Relax… we all know you’re a bad ass.
  4. Leather is EXPENSIVE!  (see number 1) Some of the stuff they were selling at the market (which is the entire basement of the hotel) was really pricey.  An un-named very close friend of mine calculates the price-per-wearing of his new chaps… and puts them on whenever he can to goes out.  Somehow this justifies their large price tag.
  5. Wearing Leather does not automatically make you butch… F.Y.I. (see number 3)
  6. Leather can be scary.  Granted, some folks find back hair scary, but some of the things that I saw in Leather Market gave me the willies.  There was a man laced to a table, completely immobile, with a gas mask on.  The evil salesperson kept tickling his feet with a feather.  Okay… this freaks me out on many levels:  the confinement, the lack of oxygen, and the tickling.  There was also a large rubber bag that you could go into and have all the air sucked out.  Think of the info-mercials you see for the Foodsaver.  Same thing, except for this time, you are the pork chop.  And what’s up with the electric wand thing?  I kept hearing this snapping noise, straight out of a mad scientist’s lab, but couldn’t find the source.  I thought that the speakers were finally going to blow at the hotel, after all, how much disco music can they take?  I walked around the corner, and this guy was having his nipples electrocuted with this evil looking wand that had two gold pipe-cleaners on it.  I get enough static pokes in my house in winter; don’t need them on my nipples… or elsewhere god forbid.
  7. Can someone PLEASE tell me when the scarf twirling became so hot?  I don’t ever remember getting a memo from Gay H.Q. saying that this was the new thing to do.  It is decidedly un-butch, and looks pretty silly.  I walked into an area where this rather humpy leather-daddy was doing his best to keep two colored scarves going to some circuit music.  I can’t tell you how stupid he looked.  Are these the guys who secretly wanted to be flag twirlers in high school?  Stop this now.  I insist.
  8. When did fisting become so popular?  Seems EVERYONE is doing it these days. I carry a red handkerchief, but it doesn’t mean I like fisting, it means I have allergies.  Hanky code be dammed… when you have to blow your nose, you have to blow your nose.
  9. I kept seeing guys with yellow shirts, yellow hankies, and other water sports related items.  We had had dim sum for brunch, and I had downed several pots of tea… nature was calling, but I was rather hesitant to go to the bathroom there.  I remember walking into the Cellblock’s back bathroom one night, and saw some activities taking place that I really didn’t need to see.  I was really scared to walk in to the Hyatt’s bathroom and see some water boy at it.  Fortunately, my fears were unfounded, and I left the loo without incident.
  10. Can someone explain the violent, degrading aspects of Leather?  For almost four decades we have been fighting for our rights, respect, and dignity. I saw some men at Leather Mart that looked like extras from “Fight Club”, and witnessed some videos that showed all kinds of degradation and humiliation.  How can we ask for respect from the general public if we don’t practice it with our own brothers and sisters?  Granted, a friendly swat on the ass during sex is fun (or as one friend calls “the slap and tickle”), but that’s not what I am talking about here.  I am talking about the extremely violent punching and other physical abuse that I witnessed at the event.  I will gladly discuss this with anyone from the Leather community.  I am very curious and interested to know what folks think about this issue.
  11. I am so very vanilla…  I thought that being gay automatically made you exotic, kinky, and in the know.  I had no idea how wrong I was until that day.   I am as vanilla as The Brady’s.  But who knows, maybe Carol and Mike had a kinky streak in them. 
And Finally……..

  1. Zak Spears is hot.  REALLY hot. I caught him out of the corner of my eye, wearing nothing more than a tight pair of jeans and a pair of chaps.  I collect autographs, and am a HUGE Zak fan.  I finally mustered up the nerve to go and say hi, and he was great.  He gave me a big hug and kissed me on the neck.  I had to bend over while he signed the autograph on a card for me on my back.  His voice is lower and much sexier than James Earl Jones, and sent shivers up my spine.  Zak, you made the trip to IML worth it. 
End note: If you don’t understand anything mentioned in this post, do not contact me, Google it carefully and learn. I have much respect for those that consider the Leather community part of their daily life. Right up the street from us is a Leather Household. These guys don’t just toss on a vest and call themselves Leather Daddies, they are living out the Leather life and all it brings. I have much respect for them and how they are choosing to structure their lives.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Real Men, Real Dads.

The original picture. They printed it upside down in the exhibit and in the book. Oh well.
A while back I posted this about the photo I entered in the Real Men’s Project. The photo has been hanging at our local hospital with the rest of the entries for about a year. It’s in the hallway between the parking ramp and the E R so usually you see it when there is an issue or an emergency. While I am thrilled to have this on display, I was a little sad by the location. But hey, what can you do? Well now the photo, along with the rest of the exhibit is now in a book. Tonight is the “official” book release here in Jackson and I am very excited.

Always the drama queen, Anna and me at the exhibit. Thankfully we weren't there for an emergency.
More on the book here:Just in time for Father’s Day, “Real Dads” is a moving collection of photographs and essays that capture loving fathers at their best: an adult man writes gratefully about his stay-at-home father, a gay man writes about his dad’s surprising reaction to his coming out, a father writes about his daughter’s sexual assault and her healing. “Real Dads” offers hope and a reminder that every day fathers make the world a better place, one child at a time.
Our local paper had this to say about it: Its new book, “Real Dads: Men Embracing Nonviolence,” is a collection of photos, short memoirs and essays composed by fathers and by children about their fathers. The book was released online under the same title last year, but only contained the photographs. Timm Richardson of Jackson contributed an essay about calling his father to tell him he was gay and then again to tell him he was HIV positive. “What I really liked about this (project) was that I got to write it,” Richardson said. “It was in my own words.” All the entries have a common purpose — ending domestic and sexual violence and promoting understanding through fathers setting a positive example.
On Father’s Day, said Dani Meier, who contributed to the book, “we should really focus on the role dads have in modeling healthy relationships for their sons and daughters.” Meier also founded the Jackson Real MEN’s Project.“(Fathers) have a responsibility,” Meier said. “They have to show their kids that violence isn’t OK.” The book is the latest in a series of productions by the organization with the same theme, including a gallery of photographs portraying fathers and their children, which has been on display at Allegiance Health since last year.

A portion of the proceeds from the book will go to Dochas Inc., a Jackson-based nonprofit that works with at-risk children. If you would like to order this book, and I think you should, please go to www.realmensproject.org and order from there.

 If you want it signed by me, let me know, I’d be honored.


"I looked at the book and, quite frankly, it's gorgeous." Dr. Michael Kimmel, The Invisible Sex: Masculinity in Contemporary America

“I opened this book with the eyes and heart of a former bookseller, but what I found encouraged me as a daughter, wife, and mother. Every photo in this book reminds me that ordinary men who are bold enough to do the real work of being a dad make all the difference in our world.” Bridget Rothenberger, Nomad Bookhouse “The photographs are beautiful and the ideas are truly admirable.” Alan Alda, Actor & Writer

"I looked at the book and, quite frankly, it's gorgeous." Dr. Michael Kimmel, The Invisible Sex: Masculinity in Contemporary America

“I opened this book with the eyes and heart of a former bookseller, but what I found encouraged me as a daughter, wife, and mother. Every photo in this book reminds me that ordinary men who are bold enough to do the real work of being a dad make all the difference in our world.” Bridget Rothenberger, Nomad Bookhousee child at a time.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

See you on the other side

Mom and Dad, you might not want to read this… just saying.
When I was in high school, I snuck out one night under the guise of going to a movie. I imagine it was 1981 or 82. The drinking age was 18 at the time, so if you looked old enough, you got in. I went to the Scaramouche bar with my friend Chris and we nervously waited in line hoping we wouldn’t be carded at the door. The Scaramouche was a tacky place on the south side of Toledo, tucked into the corner of a strip mall. The place looked like every tacky post-disco club trying to stay alive, the feature I recall most was the stainless steel dance floor which did crazy things with the lights and lasers.
Once we passed into the club, the first song I remember hearing was Blondie’s “Rapture.” The song is a funky mix of disco, rap, hip hop, and, well, Blondie. We skipped the lines at the bar and jumped on the floor shaking our butts to the great tune pumping on the speakers. To this day, whenever the song comes on, I crank it up and dance like it’s the 1900’s. The song has been in my brain for the past three decades, and never gets old.
So, on the eve of the Rapture (2011 version, ignore all those others) I present the song that captured my young club kid heart.
Enjoy, and we’ll see you on the other side.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Raising a Diva

You might have gay parents if…

Tod posted this on his Facebook and I thought it was worth sharing. Not sure how this came to be, but the conversation over dinner last night went something like this:

Anna: "What is the most beautiful name you have ever heard?"

Daddy and Papa, in perfect harmony: "Maria."

And… scene.
Rachael has 2 daddies too.
Yup, we're those parents. Each week when I watch “Glee” I wonder if we are raising our own little Rachael Berry by subjecting her to our love of musical theatre. The finale of the first season had Rachael saving the day with a showstopper from Babs. When asked if she was ready, Rachael replied, “I’ve been rehearsing this since I was three.”

A dramatic moment on the sidewalks of Ann Arbor. Everyday is Drama Club for Anna.
I take comfort in the fact that Anna can’t carry a tune in a bucket. She may have a Diva-like personality, she can’t sing to save her life. Eli however is a great singer and can sing a tune after hearing it once or twice. Having sat through a decade worth of high school graduations while I taught at CCHS, I knew the horrors of the Diva + no talent + current pop ballad combination. We would sit on stage with our faces frozen in place while our ear drums committed suicide in our skulls each year as Polly McPopular belted out the song with much gusto and little talent.

We’ll send head shots and samples of Anna’s dramatic skills to Nick or Disney, and we’ll groom Eli for American Idol. While some pundits may feel that we are subjecting these two to our Wicked lifestyle in our Little Shop of Horrors the truth is, there are worse things we could do.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Your moment of cute

After two weeks of craziness, a rainy Sunday afternoon was the purrfect time to take a nap with my buddy Edwin.
Our apologies to any diabetics out there.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Happy Birthday to Eli

Today my little man turns 3. We've been told that 3 is the new 2 and that the really crazy behavior comes out this year. We'll see. He's talking more, he's able to express himself more, and he's growing like a weed. Here's hoping that this will be a great year, another one with positive developments and growth, for all of us.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wise words

It does Paula, it does. But we don't want to disrespect our friends Dan and Terry's work with "It gets better" Project. We met Dan, Terry, and DJ several years ago at the Rainbow Families Great Lakes Family Week. Dan came in with his family from Chicago each year and  took part in the festivities. They have stopped coming, but their work remains.
Please think about buying their book, or maybe two and donate one to your local school or library. We need to keep this message going strong.
Keep up the good work guys, and come back to Saugatuck. Phil's isn't the same without you.
The official site is here: http://www.itgetsbetter.org/

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mizz'N My Kidz! Mother's Day Edition

Eli's brother, in utero. I thought he was going to be safe in there, but apparently not.
Eli’s birth Mom, a candidate for Mother of the Year, has given birth to Eli's full brother. Here are some more ramblings from her Facebook page. She has no privacy settings on her page so we can glean this info without her knowing.

♥ Bitches Hate Me Cuz I Got What They Want ♥ ::She Tried To Be Me, But Didnt Work:: *Ha Ha Hoe, I Win Once Again*

Im 22 I Have 3 Kids! 2 Boys && 1 Girl! I Have A Fab Boyfriend, Who I Love 2 Death! I Used To Be A Trouble Maker But Now I Am Tryin To Turn My Life Around, My Family Comes First! Im Married To A Fab Women Named B (WIFEY) And I Have A BayB Daddy Named T Who I Miss Soo Much! I Love My Lyfe And Where Im At Rite Now! I Have 3 Sisters And 1 Brother, Im Closest To My Brother, He Is 18 And My Best Friend, I Love Youh J!
Stepping back a few weeks:

• Pissed The Fucc Off! UGH, 200 DOLLARS IN MAKE-UP GONE! My Wallet Is Gone, And My State Fone Is Gone!! Can This Shit Get Any Worse?? Now I Need To Figure A Way To Get More Make-Up And The Shit That Was In My Wallet!! UgH, Bouts To Juss Go INSANE...FUCC

• Sooo Pissed, My FoodStamp Card Shoulve Been Here Yesterday, And Its Still Not Here! I Really Think SomeOne Already Got It! And If He Or She Has It, Imma Punch Them In Their Face¡ This Shit Totally Sucks! UGH!! People Piss Me Off

• Bitch Is Boutz To Get Smacked In Her Shyt...Real Talk, I Dont Give A Damn If Im Pregnant Or Not...Cuz Theres Only Gonna Be 2 Hits...Me Hittin Her And Her Hittin The Damn Floor! Bitch Betta Watch Her Bacc, Hangin Out Wit Nasty Hoes, And Trifflin Ass Niggahz! All Ya'll Can Go To Hell! Bitch Say Another Word To Me And See What Happens Hoe!

• Ugh! Imma Merke This Nasty Hoe! Bitch Needs To Be Smacked...Bitch Yours Is Commin...I PROMISE YOUH THAT...

An update on the new kid:

• Ugh! Tired, Hungry, And My Belly Hurts...L Is Soo Gonna Merke That Hoe! Been A Alrite Day For The Most Part! Find Out Thursday When C Is Gonna Be Here For Sure...AKA We Get To Schedule The C-Section Thursday! Super Excited...Will Keep EveryOne Posted...

Someone asked if she and the father were back together and this is her response:

Hell Nah! FUCC THAT NIGGAH! Dont Get Me Wrong, I Love Him To Death, Hes The Father Of Both My Boys, But Hes Not Ready To Grow Up And Commit HisSelf To One Person! And Im Doing A Hell Of ALOT Better WitOut Him

And then this:

• Bored,Tired, & Hips Hurt! Cant Wait Til May 3rd! I Gotta Be Thurr At 5:30 In The AM, Then Surgery At 7:30! Yay Cant Wait To See What C Is Gonna Look Like¡ I Kno Hes Gonna Look Like Me¡ Its Like My Boyz Look Like Me And My Princess Looks Like Her Daddy! I Love All 3 Of My BayBiiz More Then AnyThing Or AnyOne In The World!!

But apparently not enough to actually help keep it healthy:

Bouts To Go To Bed, Long Day Tomorrow! Soo Tired, Bouts To Go Smoke A Cig Finish This Pop Before Midnight Then Hittin The Hay! Love My Life && The People In It!

And then after he was born:

• YesterDay Was A Longg Day, Still Havent Been To Sleep Yet, EveryTime I Try SomeOne Is Comin In! C Weighs 7.4 Now! I Love Him 2 Pieces...He Is Juss Soo Precious! He Is Sleepin Rite Now, 4 A Minute AnyWay...Be Glad When SomeOne Gets Here Later On 2Day So I Can Sleep! Soo EFFIN Hungry! ILY Babe. Your An Awesome Daddy! And C Loves Youh!!

• Layin Here Cant Sleep, The Baby Is Doin Good, Cl Is Here For The Nite But I Still Cant Sleep! C Is Soo Precious! He Has The Kutest Lil Head Of Black Hair...Proud 2 Say That Im A Mommy! I Love All 3 Of My Babies...Elija Will Be 3 In 6 Days...WOW! Loven My Lyfe...The Babe Got Me A Flower && The Baby A Balloon! WE LOVE YOUH CL && DADDY! Glad My Lil Bro Feels Like He Can Tell Me Stuff,It Means Alot 2 Me.

I take solace in this bit in her profile: I Used To Be A Trouble Maker But Now I Am Tryin To Turn My Life Around, My Family Comes First!

While I would like to believe that statement, her postings and her behavior tell me otherwise. I am thankful that Eli was rescued from this mess, but my heart goes out to his brother and I hope he is well and safe.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Updates for the week.

Yeah, just chillin', what are you up to?

My my, how time does fly. It was two years ago this weekend that the minister at the church we were attending pulled us aside to ask about our adoption plans. She knew that we were looking to add another child, but wasn’t sure what our preferences were. She mentioned that she had a friend who was a social worker and wanted to place a one year old boy with a same-sex couple. Tod’s parents were here for Mother’s Day so we danced around them and managed to gather up all the information the social worker needed to get the process going all the while cooking a fantastic dinner and keeping Anna busy. A few days later we were meeting with the social worker and mapping out his transition from foster care to a permanent home with us. I won’t lie; those first few months were rough on all of us. But now it’s like Eli has been with us all along.

As some of you may know, we follow his birth mom on Facebook and we were a little disturbed to see that she has given birth to another child. Not sure how that is going to work out, as we are not sure where she is at this time. We think that if the baby was born here in Michigan it would be taken away by the state, so we think she may actually be in Ohio. Regardless, we fear for Eli’s brother and what kind of craziness she will bring. The good news is that his birth father is no longer in the picture even though he is the parent of this child, Eli’s full brother.

And thanks for asking, but no, we are not going to ask to raise this one.

Tod is recovering nicely from his surgery on his elbow. The numbness in his hand is gone, so the moving of the nerve seemed to help the situation. He is currently in a cast, but that comes off next week and he goes back to school the week after. It’s been nice to have him home; it gives me a taste of summer. Speaking of, when is it going to warm up? I am eager to be outside and warm, not cooped up in the house shivering.

Anna and her sister Kara at the Fairy Festival a few weeks ago.
Mother’s Day is this weekend. We have so many wonderful Moms in our lives, but one stands out, and that’s Hillary, Anna’s Mom. Our thanks to you for asking us to raise your wonderful daughter and for allowing us to be part of your life as she grows up and matures into a fine young lady. You are a great role model for her and for her sister. Much love from us all.

So, dear readers, tell us about the special Mom in your life.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A quick note

Edwin came back. Winter semester ended, spring semester began. JCC had their winter graduation. Tod had surgery on his elbow on Monday and is doing quite well in recovery. His folks were here to help out (thank you!) so life was kind of normal.

Yes, we have been busy. More later.