Friday, June 30, 2006

Photo Friday: Lo Climbs A Mountain

Here is my Photo Friday story:

The trail begins...

These white blazes continue all through the Appalachian Trail. Follow the one on the left... the top of the mountain!!

Here's a gratuitous shot of mountain laurel from the trail (I know, we're limited to three, so I won't submit this one officially, but it's so pretty):

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Paws are Crossed

Maggie O wants everyone to know that her paws are crossed for everyone in the fertility sweepstakes. (Especially Marci, Sacha and anyone else still hoping for pregnancy this cycle.)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Photo Friday: The Cutest Rainbow of All

Maggie the Family Dog

Here is our double-rainbow dachshund. The rainbow collar is her everyday attire. (I -- Lo -- searched far and wide for it and bought it at a big march in D.C. She has a skinny little neck.) The Family Dog T-shirt, though adorable, is a less common piece of attire for the simple reason that she hates clothing. We've decked her out in it more than once for the local Pride parade though. Oh, those evil mommies.

(Click the link above for more pix of Maggie in her rainbow-wear. Thanks, J!)

Speaking of the local Pride's a rainbow picture from there, as well.

Pride Rainbow in my City

If you click on this link, you will see the proud leader of our municipality with a rainbow flag. Yeah. Whatever. Maggie is much cuter.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Embarrassing Question do you post photo sets from flickr, so that they appear both as links to the photo set, and images on their own accord?

Everyone else is doing it, and I've tried that whole "trial and error" thing.

Your reward for helping, of course, is the Lo & Co photo collection..... ;-)

Friday, June 16, 2006

My First Crush

At left: the glow of young love.

This post is inspired by my recent viewing of Little Manhattan. (People who have never had a love affair with New York City may find this movie less charming than I did, but still pretty damn charming. I mean, it's about fifth graders in love, and it's realistic. What's not to be adorable.)

Anyway, my first crush is something I have spent my entire life not talking about, so here's to breaking THAT silence:

I was in the 4th grade, and she was in the 5th. She played the lead in the school play. My best friend and I played recorder along with the music teacher's piano. During those long hours in the school auditorium, I fell madly, passionately in love. But I was nine years old and I had no idea that I was in love. I knew that I wanted to know her full name and where she lived (one neighborhood over from me, I learned, and I did find her in the phone book, but of course I never called her). I knew that all of a sudden the sappy love songs on the radio spoke to me (I mooned over Billy Joel's "For the Longest Time" a lot). I dreamed about her, and made lists in my diary of the details. In fact, my diary entries from that year offer descriptions of my daily sightings. In short, I thought about her all the time. When she touched me -- when our hands brushed, when one day she put her head on my shoulder and moaned about memorizing her lines -- my whole body felt like it was on fire. I told my best friend that I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted to be friends with her. That was the best I could do to understand what was happening.

Later in the year we did another play, at the local afterschool program where all the neighborhood children headed after school. I played Tweedledum to her Alice. I had a pillow shoved up my shirt and I lived for every minute of it.

At the end of that year, since was she was a Fifth Grader, she would move on to the local junior high, while I would stay in elementary school. I was tense about this development, but found solace in the knowledge that after just one more year I would join her there. As it turned out that was not to be, because my family moved to another city the summer after fourth grade. I mourned this girl for months after the move. I insisted on buying the same brand and color of sneakers she'd had, I named a LOGO computer program after her, I moped and longed and yearned. I didn't know why, exactly, I just missed her more than anything else about home (and I missed home a lot).

The story about me, in my family, is that I am a "late bloomer," and I wasn't interested in relationships because I was too busy with other affairs. Well, it turns out I wasn't late at all. I just didn't know what was happening. I was pretty early...the girls I knew weren't really into boys until at least fifth grade, and even then, the interest had a lightness, an airiness, a putting-on that does not at all remind me of my passionate fourth grade crush. Fifth grade was when kids "went out" with each other without actually speaking or touching. As it turns out, I had pretty intense physical yearnings as a nine-year-old. I was interested, all right.

It's just that I was 22 before I had the sense to realize what I was feeling. Now THAT is where I was a late bloomer.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Photo Friday: My Great-Grandfather's Hometown

This post is late because we were at my tenth college reunion...that, however, is another post (soon).

I took this picture outside the train station in Vienna, 12 years ago. It is definitely right up there with the weirdest things I have ever seen anywhere. It appears to be a statue of a pig. A naked pig, with big muscles, wearing a large tie, a hat, glasses, and white gloves. And, of course, pink shoes. The purpose or symbolism of such a statue, however, entirely eludes me.

I'm cheating, of course, because Vienna is by no stretch of the imagination my hometown. I've been there once. As indicated by the title, however, Vienna was my great-grandfather's* hometown.

This week's theme got me thinking about that concept of "hometown." It wasn't really necessary thinking, since the assignment was clear enough: take a picture of something weird where you live. But that word "hometown" always gets me. Where I live now is one of three places I could call "hometown," and whenever I am asked where I am "from," where is my "hometown," I wonder which city counts as my hometown, if there is one place that is The Answer. The place where I was born? The town where I went to high school? Or the middle city that imprinted upon me so deeply that I have chosen it as my adult home?

I'm hardly the the only person on earth not to hail from a single place -- three cities is even a rather short list, in comparison to many people I know including my mother -- but coming from a single "hometown" is a quality I envy. All three of my cities have had their influence on this person I am. I can't say I'm sorry to have lived the life that created this self I inhabit. But the grass is always greener...

*And even with this claim, I'm still cheating. My great-grandfather always called Vienna his hometown, but it wasn't. He hailed from a small village (shtetl) that was at different times in Austro-Hungary, Germany, and Poland. (Now it's in the Ukraine.) He did live in Vienna for several years while he did his apprenticeship with a furrier, and from Vienna he immigrated to the U.S. Here in the States he met my great-grandmother (a true city girl from Budapest). They courted, married, raised children and then grandchildren, and finally died in the same Big City that is one of my hometowns...the one I have chosen for my adult life. My heart is here in the city of my ancestors (but also, my heart is in another Big City, where the ancestors on the other side chose to settle). I did feel an unexpected tug of familiarity when I visited Vienna, a city I'd never seen before but that somehow still lived underneath my skin. Place matters so much, often in unexpected ways... (just one of the reasons it makes me angry when people suggest to me blithely that if I'm not satisfied with the rights I have where I currently live, then I should move...)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Make My Family Legal

This post is in honor of Blogging for LGBT Families Day.

Yesterday there was discussion, in a court, about granting same-sex marriage in the city where I live.

Since I began to realize (at the tender age of nine) that I was probably a lesbian, I took it for granted that I would never have the same rights or privileges as the other members of my immediate family. The domestic partnership I have is, frankly, more than I ever dreamed I would have. The privilege of adopting my own child is, in fact, more than I ever dreamed I would have.

It never occurred to me that in my lifetime I might be able to live where I want to live and have a family just like any other family. I have always known, grimly, that I would live a cobbled-together extra-legal existence and grit my teeth and smile when relatives have two weddings when "well you know, this one is the *legal* ceremony."

I was raised by two parents who lived through, believed in, and were a part of the civil rights movement of the 1950s/1960s. I sang the songs, I walked the talk, I dreamed the dreams. I knew from a very early age that Rosa Parks wasn't just tired, she was part of a movement, she was sitting down to change the world.

But like the children I now teach, I also grew up thinking that civil rights was something that happened in the past, something that great people (including my mommy and daddy) had taken care of so that the children (me and my sister) could grow up in a world without hate, or at least *with* fair laws.

Of course, I got older, and I realized that the fight for civil rights is not over, and the road towards true tolerance and diversity and the ability to all live together and appreciate each's a long one.

As a Jew, I have a constantly evolving awareness of my own role in the dynamic equilibrium that is American cultural/racial/ethnic politics. I watch cultural/ethnic/racial/class diversity play itself out on the subway every day. I have long understood that as a (white) American Jew, my role (as my parents before me) would be as an ally, working to end the oppression of others.

But as it turns out, I am a member of a group that does not have the full spectrum of civil rights in the U.S.A. I am not sorry that I am "married" to the woman that I love, but I do not feel that I chose to love her any more than I chose to be born a female, or a Jew. And I find myself uncomfortable and even somewhat ashamed to be in a group (gay people) that is denied so much in this country. That surprises me because I do not think that any other group with civil rights problems should feel shame -- if anything, the lawmakers in this country should feel shame for not moving faster towards justice -- but there it is.

So the possibility of marriage in my city -- and in another pending case that could be decided any day, marriage on the statewide level in the next-door state where I work -- seems both like something I should have had long ago, and more than I should even hope for.

I may be mistaken about this, but as I understand the law based on marriages in Massachusetts, being married would mean that my wife and I would not have to adopt each other's biological children; we would be automatically included as a second parent on a birth certificate. The thought of that simple privilege actually brings tears to my eyes.

Here I sit, frustratedly checking the Internet daily (even hourly) for news that will make my family legal...and yet even that is a kind of hope.

Here's to all our families, the love that creates them, and the legal rights we need to keep them safe.