Sunday, March 28, 2010
Table for 17 was set on Saturday. Just a couple more dishes to do during the day on Monday and then all the last minutes in and out of ovens.
There are many rituals for preparing for Passover. The best-known ones are searching, collecting and selling of chametz (bread, grains and leavened products). [By the way, our chametz is stored in the closet.] Our tradition for the erev-Passover (night before) is to go have pizza and beer. Next stop: matzah!
A happy Passover to all our Jewish pals & family.
This wasn’t crazy enough for the household yet. First the toilet in the guest bath leaked one night and flooded the bathroom floor. I discovered this mess when I went downstairs to the kitchen to fix breakfast and found water dripping from the ceiling onto the kitchen floor. Our contractor came out and fixed everything. During the clean up process, E decided that the soaking wet rug from the guest bath needed to be washed. The rubber-backing on rug disintegrate into tiny little pieces and clogged the washer and drain pipes. It took three visits by the repairman to clean out and fix it.
After a week and a half of sickness and repairs I hope this upcoming week goes well. We are entertaining 17 people for our gay Passover Seder on Monday!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
My oldest kid is now 25 years old. I can still remember the panic of back in 1984 worrying about how I was going to afford having a child. I initially found a second job but after a couple months I dropped it in order to spend more time with the new family. I remember being overwhelmed at the time with the sleepless nights, ear infections at 2 in the morning, the near constant diaper changing, the rocking/holding/walking my daughter so she could sleep. At the time it seemed relentless but in fact it passed by very quickly.
Today, four of our six kids are in their 20's. Sometime in the next few years the cycle will repeat and we will be watching one of them struggling with new parenthood.
Monday, March 15, 2010
This last weekend the oldest daughter came down from San Francisco to spend some time with the two youngest kids. They all went ice-skating at Winter Lodge, Palo Alto's outdoor ice skating rink.
Here is an amusing video about helping gay dads and their kids. It is by the very funny Varla Jean Merman. We have done a gay cruise with her and saw her on stage in “Shut Up Sweet Charlotte” in San Francisco. By the way she is coming to San Francisco’s Razz Room, April 7th, 2010. There were some discount tickets available on Goldstar tickets.
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Stanford Shopping Mall A beautifully landscaped outdoor mall offers plenty of shopping options for a gay man: A/X Armani Exchange, Abercrombie & Fitch, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Crate & Barrel, Gap, Macy’s Men’s Store, Nordstrom, Polo by Ralph Lauren, Pottery Barn, Swatch, Williams-Sonoma, etc.
University Avenue is a great street of shopping, coffee spots, eateries and outdoor dining. A few of the appealing retail stores: American Apparel, Apple Store, Borders Books (has a small Gay & Lesbian section), Design Within Reach and The Modern Living (both fashionable furniture stores), Letter Perfect card shop (carries same-sex wedding cards), Palo Alto Bicycles (every Palo Altoian has at least one lycra bike-wear outfit), Palo Alto Sport & Toy World (good selection of competitive/Speedo swimwear), Restoration Hardware (often setup for catalogue photo shoots), Shady Lane gift gallery (fetish carved animals, trollbeads, fairies, colorful gems, fossils, etc).
Palo Alto has an abundance of entertainment choices that is the envy of suburbs across the country. The city is the home for several theatre companies. The nationally acclaimed TheatreWorks performs half of their season at the Lucie Stern Community Theatre (the other half is in nearby Mountain View). TheatreWorks is one of six professional theater companies in the Bay Area (others are ACT in San Francisco, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, and CenterREP in Walnut Creek). Other local community theatres companies in Palo Alto include Dragon Theatre, Palo Alto Players, West Bay Opera and Palo Alto Children’s Theatre. There is even a gay theatre, Theatre Q, which occasionally performs in downtown Palo Alto.
Restaurants & Eateries:
We tend to go to restaurants on University Avenue or within a couple of blocks. Our favorite Palo Alto places, in alphabetical order: Café Epi, Cafe Renzo, California Pizza Kitchen, Empire Grill & Tap Room, Evvia, Howie's Artisan Pizza, Junnoon, Joya, L'Amour Frozen Yogurt, Lavanda, Mantra, Mediterranean Wraps, Old Pro, Patxi’s Pizza, Peet’s Coffee, Pluto's Fresh Food, Prolific Oven, Red Mango Frozen Yogurt, Reposado, Rojoz Wraps, Sancho's Taqueria, Scott’s Seafood, Siam Royal, SliderBar Cafe, St. Michael's Alley, Tai Pan, Tamarine, Three Seasons, Vino Locale and Zao Noodle Bar. (We tend to eat out a lot.)
I don’t know of hotel/motel in Palo Alto that would not be gay friendly. Only one has sought out official GLBT designation.
TAG approved gay friendly hotel: Dinah’s Garden Hotel & Trader Vic’s. Rooms are uniquely decorated with decor from around the world – from Bali to Africa to Provincial France to the American Southwest.
BayLands FrontRunners is a running and walking club for lesbians, gays and friends. Currently the group has over 400 active members. They host a weekly run/walk around the Baylands Nature Preserve in Palo Alto every Saturday morning at 9:00am. Meet in the parking lot of the Baylands Athletic Center, located at the end of Geng Road, off of Embarcadero Road, east of Highway 101.
El Camino Reelers is a GLBT square dance group, in Palo Alto. Open to anyone. New class starts in September each year and meet at St. Andrews Church in Palo Alto.
The two public high schools, Palo Alto High and Gunn High, have a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). Castilleja School, a private college preparatory school for girls located in Palo Alto has a Rainbow Alliance club.
The Outlet Program in Mountain View empowers local LGBTQQ youth through a range of support services, leadership trainings, and community based education and outreach.
- Nearest gay bars: King of Clubs in Mountain View, Tinker’s Damn in Santa Clara (the oldest gay bar in Santa Clara County). In San Jose: Mac’s Club, BRIX Nightclub, and the leather bar Renegades.
- Gay & bisexual men’s club and baths: The Wathergarden in San Jose.
- The LGBT community center for Santa Clara County: Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center.
- Gay Days at California's Great America theme park in Santa Clara are at the end of May.
With terrific climate and varied terrain there is no shortage of gay activities and events. Indoors or outdoors, the Bay Area is an active man’s dream come true. There are a lot of options available. Here are a few:
- BayLands FrontRunners - a running and walking club for lesbians, gays and friends.
- El Camino Reelers - GLBT square dance group.
- Gay and Lesbian Sierrans - official activity section of the Sierra Club.
- ICU Friday - A rotating social group meeting the 3rd Friday of each month at a Peninsula bar or restaurant
- Liquid Therapy – South Bay social group meets first Friday of each month after work. Venue changes every month.
- Northern California Rainbow Divers - scuba diving club for the LGBT community
- Rainbow Rec – Activities oriented social group for gay men.
- SAGA North - Bay Area's Gay and Lesbian ski, snowboard and recreation club.
- Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus
- Silicon Valley Softball League
- South Bay Volleyball Club
- Sundance Saloon – Country-Western Dance club.
Two local restaurants are members of the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley. Both businesses give and support generously to GLBT causes.
- Hobee’s Resturant A local family-style franchise (2 locations in Palo Alto: Town & Country Village and 4224 El Camino Real) known for its hearty, all-day menu of pancakes, omelets and scrambles. Hash browns are gussied up with chicken-apple sausage or salsa fresca. Savory options such as huevos rancheros are served with large hunks of blueberry coffee cake. More classic fare includes burgers, sandwiches, quesadillas, pasta, and a list of hearty chicken and salmon entrees.
Vino Locale A unique European style wine bar specializing in local wine, food, and art from the Santa Cruz, San Mateo, San Benito and Alameda counties. It is located in a historic Victorian house on 431 Kipling Street in downtown Palo Alto and offers a beautiful courtyard available for outdoor dining.
Pink Spots, an advertising resource directory of gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses lists the following local companies for Palo Alto:
Accent Arts, Allied Brokers, Amanda Martin State Farm Insurance, Borders Bookstore-Palo Alto, Cafe Renaissance, California Café, Carlsen Audi, Chapple Electric, Charmelle 28, Classic Pet Grooming, Copy Factory, Dr. Taylor Comprehensive Foot & Ankle Care, Gadzo Law Firm, Gordon Biersch Brewery & Restaurant, Palo Alto Bicycles, Palo Alto Café, Peninsula Piano Brokers, TheatreWorks, Theodore H. Mock Photography, and University Mission Medical Clinic.
Gay Friendly Employers:
Based on the HRC 2010 Corporate Equality Index, an annual survey report that rates corporate America's treatment of LGBT employees, 305 businesses received top ratings of 100%.
28 local Silicon Valley corporations include: AAA of Northern California, Agilent Technologies, Apple, Applied Materials, Charles Schwab, Cisco Systems, eBay, Electronic Arts, Esurance, Fenwick & West LLP, Gap, Genentech, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Intuit, Kaiser Permanente, Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group, Levi Strauss, NetApp, Oracle, PG&E, Sun Microsystems, Symantec, Visa, Wells Fargo, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC, and Yahoo!
Of the more than 50 churches in Palo Alto, nine call themselves gay friendly and are listed on GayChurch.org: All Saints Episcopal Church, St. Mark’s Church, First Evangelical Lutheran Church, University Church, Covenant Presbyterian, First Presbyterian Church, Palo Alto Friends Meeting, First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto, and St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church. Gay friendly not listed include: Unity Palo Alto Community Church, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto.
The three largest of the seven synagogues in Palo Alto are gay friendly: Congregation Kol Emeth, Congregation Etz Chayim, and Keddem Congregation. (Our synagogue, Beth Am in neighboring Los Altos Hills, just hired a gay assistant rabbi.)
Unfortunately not everything in Palo Alto is all rainbows and glitter. There are several Palo Alto businesses and owners/management that donated significantly to a campaign of lies, hate, bigotry and discrimination in taking rights away from gays and lesbians with Prop 8. Among them are:
- Allegis Capital, venture capital firm
- Bob Anderson State Farm Insurance, insurance and financial services
- D & M Motors, Inc., general car repair
- Lee Aldinger Insurance, insurance services
- Osborn Capital Management, real state developer
- Phillip Fletcher DDS, general dentistry
- Robert Wheatley Properties, real estate developer, home builder
- Willis & Company, commercial property services
- WSJ Properties, real estate management