Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bonding in love, gay marriage

We just got back from an emotional, fun weekend in Cambria where our good friends had a marriage ceremony with about 120 friends and family. Same-sex weddings are so moving in every dimension. Most people have never been to one. Most do not know exactly how to approach them (as a jaunt, a party, something significant, etc.). Everyone then is totally blown away and moved to tears several times at the ceremony itself. The whole weekend was fantastic. We had out two youngest kids with us who are really close with the wedding couple's kids. My parents were invited, too and I think my mom's eyes were moist half of the time. We have become very good friends with the couple’s two mothers and dad. And we now know better their siblings, too. All in all, it was really a great weekend.

E wrote a beautiful wedding toast that we shared at the reception:

D and J, J and D --
Two beautiful men and souls, finding one another in life's maze,
Each looking for that missing piece to complete his whole,
Both finding a mate to launch a new future.

D and J, and their two kids --
Four peas learning to build their pod as a home together,
Each discovering the path to express uniqueness,
All balancing the others to launch a new family.

J and D, and the two kids,
Plus the three parents of J and D --
Seven forming a rainbow bright,
Each bringing special hues,
All bonding in love to launch a new clan.

J and D,
May we who have witnessed this marriage ceremony
Now toast to your love and your family,
And in doing so,
All commit to bring you years of friendship and support
As you go forward,
Together as One.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Gay family road trip

This Memorial Day weekend, good friends of ours are having a gay wedding/commitment ceremony. They have been together as a couple for about four years and are co-parenting two kids. The service is going to be at a beautiful hotel along the central coast of California. It is about a 3 hour drive from here. We are renting a mini-van for the weekend because this is going to be a family affair. First, we are picking up my two younger kids (8 and 10 years old) from my ex-wife (we also co-parent). Then we load in my parents. The six of us then head down the California coast.
E and I were married in a Jewish ceremony almost two years ago (Father’s Day, June 19). This weekend’s wedding couple were the best men at our wedding. At our reception my Mom pestered them about when were they going to get married? She jokingly offered to pay for it. Our friends decided not to hold them to their offer but they are invited to celebrate with them. The newlyweds are vacationing aboard the Queen Mary 2’s first all gay-transatlantic cruise across the Atlantic. Mazal Tov! (מזל טוב)

You never come out just once.
I first came out at work to my co-workers about four and a half years ago when I came out of the closet. Two years ago many were either invited to the wedding or saw the pictures or the announcement in the papers. Yesterday was another small outing. Work hosted a staff picnic. I was sitting next to the two newest employees that started in the last two months. We were chatting about upcoming summer vacation plans as well as past trips we all have taken. E and I do lots of adventure travel and I talking about our upcoming hike in Germany and Austria. The new female employee asked me, “Where does your wife work? How are you able to coordinate schedules?”
I replied: “I don’t have a wife…(pause)…I have a husband. He works for himself so scheduling is easier.”
“Welcome to California”, said the new guy that just moved into the state.
And that was it. The conservation continued on about vacations and work.The moment was a little scary. But I was not going to let the opportunity go by to remind people that not all couples are straight.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Out to Benefits and Galas

GuyDads in formal attireSpring is a time when many non-profits have their benefits and galas. We have attended a number of them in the last two weeks. Here is a quick picture tour:

As mentioned earlier, Facing History and Ourselves hosted a Community Conservation with human rights activists John Prendergast and actor Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda and Crash). Human rights activists John Prendergast and actor Don CheadleThey talked about their book "Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond."

We then attended annual fundraising dinner for Outlet. It was the organization’s 10th anniversary. Outlet supports and empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth ages 13-20 living on the Peninsula and South Bay. Outlet's mission is to increases youth confidence, builds personal assets, and creates healthier communities through a range of support services, leadership training, community education and advocacy. Fernando and Greg, the out morning team from the SF radio station Energy 92.7 with GuyDadsWe are pictured with the emcees for the evening, Fernando and Greg, the out morning team from the SF radio station Energy 92.7. We recently switched to listening to them. We both find them to be witty, catty and fabulous! Although, we don’t always understand the pop cultural references they goof on. I doubt we could recognize a Kelly Clarkson from a Paris Hilton if our life depended on it. (Fortunately, it doesn’t.) Although we love dancing to club dance music, we can’t stand listening to the station’s “pure dance” format. It is just “thump, thump, thump” for the rest of the day. After Fernando and Greg in the morning, we switch back to KFOG and its “world class rock” format.

American Idol finalist R.J. HeltonSpecial guest was American Idol finalist R.J. Helton. Helton, a finalist from the first season of American Idol (another cultural reference we know nothing about), came out last October. He was one of the final five contestants but lost to Kelly Clarkson. He attended the event with his partner.

Much of last weekend was given to attending the 30th anniversary gala of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). NCLR is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. They have done great legal work for the community. The gala was fun even with thousands of lesbians and only a few hundred gay men. We ran into many old friends and met some wonderful new ones. This year’s featured honorees were Martina Navratilova and John Amaechi. John Amaechi former NBA player Martina Navratilova and E waiting at the elevator
The emcee was comedian Kate Clinton.
Kate Clinton

Friday, May 11, 2007

West Hollywood Weekend II

E and I spent another weekend in West Hollywood. It was very nearly a repeat of his birthday weekend in February. We again stayed at the San Vicente Inn-Resort. Our room was a marginally better this time. It was on the pool/courtyard side rather than the street side. The main advantage was it was a little quieter. It was still sparsely furnished with almost no décor. But we didn’t mind. The bed was clean and comfortable.
I find it amusing that the website describes itself as “a gay country club environment secluded from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles.” It does have a quaint gay vibe of worn tackiness and naughtiness. Nevertheless, we enjoyed it and had a fabulous time! Martinis at The AbbeyThe staff was friendly and helpful and the other guests were sociable and outgoing.
Friday night we had dinner at The Abbey again. The food there is excellent and reasonably price. The drinks are pricy, $12.00, for their special martinis. They are a generous pour and very tasty. I had the blueberry martini and E had the passion fruit martini. We also spent late Friday and Saturday night at Micky’s bar on Santa Monica Blvd. We had a great time sitting at the bar watching all the go-go boys and then dancing for a couple hours on the dance floor.
Our main reason for going back down to LA was to see the new production of “Porgy and Bess” at the Los Angeles Opera. The opera has been updated in several ways. It is still Catfish Row but the time is now in a late 40’s, early 50’s, inside a “Brechtian” cannery warehouse.
The staging is fluid and athletic. Porgy doesn’t have a goat cart; instead he hobbles around with a twisted leg and crutch. The singing was excellent. The score has an amazing wealth of memorable songs: “Summertime”, “A Woman Is A Sometime Thing”, “I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'”, “Bess, You Is My Woman”, “It Ain't Necessarily So”, “I Loves You, Porgy”, and “There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York.”
Muscle BeachSunday was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. We strolled from Santa Monica Pier to Venice Pier and back. It was about a seven mile walk we did. We stopped by Muscle Beach near Venice Pier to watch the guys work out. Our get-a-way weekend ended when we flew back from LAX to SFO on a United flight Sunday evening. It was the gayest flight we’ve been on. I swear that at least half the men on that flight were gay.

Truth about brothers….
This Mother’s Day Youtube video reminds me of my brother and I. We would pick on each other in almost the same way. I’ve seen our two oldest sons do the exact same thing. E and I have laughed and laughed as we watch it over and over again!


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Make a Difference This Week

Tuesday night we attended an event in San Francisco. It was called a Community Conversation with actor Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda and Crash) and human rights activists John Prendergast (and over 2500 of our 'closest friends'), we were all asked to help make a difference for Darfur this week. Please read on and help.

I am asking each of you to 'choose to participate' today (or at least by this Friday). This is a call coming last night from John Prendergast and Don Cheadle, who have just written a book "Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond." I just did what they asked. It is easy. It took just 3 minutes. Here is all you do:

--> Call 1-800-GENOCIDE (and please do so today). You will be connected to the White House. Say you have a comment for the President. You will give your city. Then simply say, "I urge President Bush to implement fully Plan B to end genocide in Darfur."

Background for those not there Tuesday night: Two years ago this administration declared Darfur a "genocide." Under an international agreement we have signed, that should have triggered immediate actions by our government (e.g., sanctions of all sorts, restrictions, etc.). This administration has wavered and wrung its hands for two years while thousands have died. According to John Prendergast, the pressure has built from the public and from some in Congress to the point that the administration's insiders are actually urging the President to act now. Critical, inside discussions are occurring this week, and a go/no-go decision is about to happen. This White House listens to the way the wind blows, and the daily tallies of how many people called for what can make a real difference.

SO -->>>>

1) Call today.
2) Have every member of your family do the same.
3) Send a likened request to all your benefit attendees, your friends, email lists, etc.

Margot Strom, the Facing History and Ourselves founder and one of the sponsor organizations for the event, told students it is time to "make noise." John & Don said the very same thing. And they all gave examples how 'noise' matters and has made a difference time and again in recent history. Please take the 3-5 minutes to make your call and 'noise' and then consider taking 10 minutes more to send messages to others urging them to do the same. Next week may be too late. This issue could go back on hold again for the administration. Demand this is not the case.

More information: Not On Our Watch website, SaveDarfur.org

Monday, May 07, 2007

The gay ex-husband

The New York Times on Sunday (5/8/07) had a wonderful essay in the fashion and style section written by the divorcee of a gay man. Link here. It is written by Cindy Chupack and is adapted from the new anthology "Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys." Ms Chupack was a writer and producer for "Sex in the City."

In the essay Ms Chupack tells of a bittersweet reunion with her gay ex-husband and his new family, a partner and a couple adopted kids. She is about to remarry and her rabbi suggests she get a Jewish divorce certificate called a “get”. This is suppose to help bring closure to the previous relationship. What this leads to is seeing her ex in a new, appreciative way. The essay starts off in a funny, hysterical vain that had us laughing out loud as were reading it. It ends with a warm, supportive understanding of gay families.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Climb every mountain...

It is not too late to sign up for a hike across the Alps with us in early August. We are going to do a 10 day hike that starts in Munich, Germany and goes across Austria and into Italy. We are using an adventure travel company called Mountain Travel Sobek (MTS). We have traveled with them extensively. We used them last year to hike to Peru’s Machu Picchu and the year before for England’s Coast to Coast hike. We have also done other hikes in the Alps with them. They are a great company. See the details on their website:

“Ten days, six valleys, three countries! Join us for an exhilarating ramble across the Alps along parts of the E5, one of Europe's most famous and challenging long-distance trails—and one of its most spectacular! Alpine meadows awash with flowers, rugged peaks, and glaciers galore fill the vistas as you hike across the Alps from Germany's picturesque Bavaria through the glaciated mountains of Austrian Tyrol and ending in the medieval city of Meran (Merano) in northern Italy. Accommodations for the traditional E5 are in dorm-style mountain huts, but we've modified the classic itinerary slightly so you can rest comfortably at night in charming chalet-style guesthouses or hotels tucked away in verdant valleys (including a four-star hotel with spa, sauna, and swimming pool!). And vehicle support means you'll only need to carry a daypack during the day. Wunderbar!”


10 days (begins and ends in Munich).
9 nights hotels or guesthouses.
7 days moderate to strenuous hiking (max. elev. 9,824').
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