Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I hope you all had enough to eat...I did. We went to my sister's house and she served up a great meal; we had good food and a good time with the neices and nephews. Before we went over there, I admit to tearing up a bit as I watched the end of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Seems not so much a big deal here in Arizona, but growing up in New York it was mandatory TV in the morning. Ask anyone from NY when Christmas "officially" starts and you'll get the same answer. Not after Halloween, not when stores start playing carols, not when decorations start appearing in mid November. For New Yorkers, Christmas officially starts at the end of Macy's parade when Santa, the real Santa, arrives on his sleigh in Herald Square. Not one second before. We're told Santa himself makes the trip to Macy's to proclaim Christmas officially here. I always feel nostalgic watching that part, but today I just thought about what it would be like to see little Finster's wide open eyes and us telling him the real Santa just started Christmas. I told Gregg be prepared because when it's five or six we're going to have Thanksgiving dinner on Long Island after spending the morning watching the parade in the city. I want the kid to see it when he can enjoy it, and when it still believes in the magic of Santa.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Kind of Baby Products!

Oh this is a great website for baby gifts...with my kind of humor! Check out Wry Baby. They don't have any of the products I talked about in the Cool Gadgets post. (Actually, that one gets hits all the time from people googling "cool gadgets"...poor unsuspecting straight people!) They do have some great baby tee shirts though. Like this one. Gotta love it!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tonight, On A Very Special "Blossom"

No it's not a tribute to "Blossom". I guess it could be an excuse to post pictures of Joey Whatisname, but no. Remember, they used that tagline every week for some great event on an otherwise moronic show? Remember? You don't? Well, so three people in the blogosphere get it so what...

Anyway the point. I added Gregg as a contributor to the blog. I thought it would be cool to have special guest stars every once in a while. Of course he says he's not going to do it but we can always hope. I'm sure it will need to be heavily edited but at least we'll get my partner's take on all of this. He'll come across with his fake crass, uncaring, why do I have to do this when I don't want to ways, but he's a giant teddy bear who will be a great father. You listening Gregg?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Playdates = 2 Tennis Balls and a Poop Bag

I'm stressing too much over this baby raising thing. My sister talks about how complicated it is to arrange successful "play dates" for the kids. First, my mother never heard that word. In the '70's it was called "It's the weekend/summer/spring break, get your bike and get out of this house and don't come back until I call you for lunch". Second, I arranged a play date yesterday for Ripley and Chase with their friend Bronco, the Yellow Lab who lives next door. They chased tennis balls and each other for 30 minutes while we picked up their poop. Then I took them home to lay on the floor and drool after eating a few crackers.

How different could it be with toddlers?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Not Sure I Like It

Hmmm, this didn't come out the way I planned...I'm not sure this new look for the blog is going to last very long!

Oh by the way, check this out. We went to Chuck and Jim's house Saturday for a gay dads group night. Chuck said he had a dream that we would have a baby before Christmas. I don't much believe in that stuff, but if you remember I had a "premonition" our home study would be done before Labor Day and we came in within a day or two to spare. Could it be? Better get my letter's next draft into the agency. We looked all day for some pictures we think they'd like, ones of us "doing" things. We can't find any of us together in action shots. It does seem strange huh? Eleven years and we can't find a couple pics that would work. Well our neighbor David said to grab some different T-shirts and a camera and we'll go across the street and hike Falcon Hill with Chase and Ripley, then change and go shoot hoops at the park (ha yeah that will be believable!). In other words, fake it!

Blog Reboot

Well I've been blogging now since April. Since this is my first blog, I kept the layout relatively simple, adding little gadgets to the sidebar here and there. But I think it's time for a reboot. I've seen some really cool looking blogs out there, and it' time to do a little redecorating. For posterity, bye bye old look!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Happy Post I Promised Like 20 Minutes Ago

That didn't take long. Here is the cheer up post I just talked about. Enjoy!

Letter Update

Well we got some feedback from the agency about the letter. Luckily it's mostly formatting stuff, so maybe we can make the changes and get it back to them by next week. Shouldn't be too much longer I hope!

I have to say this is starting to get to me a bit. I won't mind waiting once we're on the market for a birth mother. But this process of even getting that far is getting on my nerves. We've been at this since February, and we're still not a marketable commodity as far as the agency is concerned. I just want to get this process finished so we'll be in the pool of prospective parents. I'm trying not to let it get to me but it's hard. This weekend Jim and Chuck are having another gay dad's meeting at their house and once again here we go with no update, no birth mother, and no kid. If Gregg reads this he's gonna be mad at me again but damn, come on already. It's like putting your favorite dessert on the table in front of you and then just staring at it for months before you're allowed to eat it. (Cue Howard Jones!) I feel like the agency, for all the money we've paid them so far, should have someone on staff to assist in graphically getting these things together for the clients. I mean, they know what they want to see, so they should have someone there to help out. I can understand the website part; let the clients create it. But how hard would it be to hire someone to assist with letters? We'd save a ton of time if that were the case.

I feel my blog is starting to take on an angry, bitter tone lately and the hopeful and excited one I started with is fading away. I don't want it to be like that; I'm sure no one wants to read a daily dose of depression. I'll come up with some happier posts I promise. Google helps; pick two words and google them, then click the first link on the list. I did republican savior. I'm cheerier already!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Getting Closer...

OK getting close...we have a great PDF of our birth mother letter that we just sent to Lane at the IAC. If you remember the text has already been approved, the pictures have been approved, now we just need it all tied together. My friend Bob at work has put it together with us, and he and I have been tweaking it over the last few weeks. I think it looks great but we'll see what Lane thinks. He gave a quick reply saying at first glance it looks good, but he'll go over it and give us feedback by the end of the week. Fingers crossed. Superstition prevents me from linking to it here. Don't worry once it's done you'll see it.

Side Note: Ripley and Chase heard the Obama girls get a puppy now that Dad has won the election. It's only fair they get a kitten once the baby's here. Umm, no. Keep trying though.

Side Note 2: Crap I forgot what Side Note 2 is. I thought "Oh this would be a good Side Note 2" as I wrote Side Note 1. Now I can't remember what it was. I could make some crap up and put it here but you'd see right through it wouldn't you? Ha.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Running on Empty

Ahh this one's a stretch to relate to babies but I think I can do it. Kind of off topic. My brother talked me into doing the Phoenix 10K this Sunday. Well he didn't really talk me into it as much as I felt bad if I didn't. For the last five years every January I've run the Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon here in Phoenix. This year was a tough slog for me; it wasn't my worst run by time, that fell somewhere in the middle. It was my worst one physically. Last fall I was sick for a few months with, of all things, Legionnaire's disease. I know right, who gets that? Well I did, sometime in June. It took my doctor and a lung specialist a gazillion tests and four months to figure it out. A week on antibiotics and it's gone. I think I lost some lung capacity, because my normal marathon training is September to January, and I missed a few runs and for the bulk of my training just felt like I could not reach my normal potential. (My doctor said I shouldn't be running but I had a marathon to prepare for so lung disease or not, I'm going. I didn't tell Gregg that...oops.) I really love running, but this just took all the joy out of it. I remember crossing the finish line thinking "That's it, five is the magic number no more". I let my running slide after that. Running and I broke up over the summer, and it's only been in the last two weeks that we've started flirting again, taking the Boys out for a three miler here and there. I'm starting to feel bad I'm not signed up to run this year, so I decided to do a five miler on Friday and see how I felt. It wasn't bad, but fives are for me my base run. What I mean is that if I had to pick one run to do every day, it would be a five miler. Short enough that I could run it every day, long enough to make me feel good. I call running "Sneaker Therapy". I can be stressed or emotional about something, and a good run clears my brain. My favorite? A five mile run at night, temps in the low 50's, just me, darkness, and the run. I'll feel so good after that. Since running May to October around here feels like pointing a blow dryer in your face, you don't always get to do that. I've really been "wound a little tight" due to the election, stress over Prop. 102, work, and adoption hurdles. I've been pushing all exercise away, which is not like me. So this was a good way to get back into it.

Well my time was around 55 minutes or so; disappointing as I should have gotten in the high 40 minute range. That's what you get for not training! It felt so good though; I love a good race. I get off on the mental energy of it; you're really racing against the clock and your last time, not each other, so there is a feeling that we're all striving for that goal together. Kind of weird I guess but I love the camaraderie and support runners give each other in the "mob" as we move down the course. It's hundreds or thousands of people, depending on the race, just reaching a common goal. I think it was the jolt I needed though because I'm ready to start out there again. It's too late to start training for the marathon; I use an 18 week program for that. My brother and some of his in laws are going to do the half so I'll think about that. Not the most time left to prepare but I think I could jump into training and post a respectable time. We'll see. The most important thing is to get out there again.

Oh the baby part. Well it does help relieve adoption stress, for sure, but I love those cool jogging strollers. I could do that. I already take Ripley and Chase on runs with me (they love it) so I could handle a stroller and run at the same time. Something to think about...

*Note: If any of you are runners, and wondering about my marathon PR's, here they are below. For those of you who are not runners, a marathon is 26.2 miles. And I'd recommend everyone do at least one marathon in their lives; completing it is a feeling of accomplishment like no other!
2004 -- 3:56:57
2005 -- 3:54:50
2006 -- 3:56:29
2007 -- 3:48:12
2008 -- 3:55:48
Ha! I was so pissed in '07 I could taste 3:45 most of the race!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Adoption Bans are Coming Next

You may want to skip this one if you're easily offended it's not one of my typical posts. No really. You might want to. Skip it.

Last night, the righteous victory for Barack Obama not withstanding, equality took the back seat of the bus. Marriage bans in Florida, Arizona, and California all passed. Most disturbingly, a ban on adopting children by gays was passed in Arkansas:

Voters passed a measure banning unmarried couples living together from serving as adoptive or foster parents...The adoption and foster ban, aimed primarily at keeping gays from becoming foster or adoptive parents, received support from nearly 57 percent of voters in unofficial and incomplete returns...The foster measure's sponsor, the Arkansas Family Council, painted its proposal as a battle against a "gay agenda." The conservative group successfully pushed for an amendment banning same-sex marriage four years ago..."I think the voters realized that this was about child welfare, rather than the rights of adults," said Jerry Cox, the council's president.

My Spidey sense is tingling on this one. They've almost exhausted the marriage trick throughout the states. They need something else, especially since the right was handed such a crushing defeat last night. In order to get their voters to the polls in the next few elections, they're going to need something for motivation. This could be it. Notice how they go to the welfare of the child right away. No home study info, no social worker input. See here's the formula. First ban gay marriage. (Sorry, I should really call it what it is, Equal Marriage). Once that's done, start enacting laws that apply to married couples only. It's that easy. You can get around the gay thing entirely and never even bring it up. In the case of Arkansas open bigotry and hurtful "thinking" (for rednecks I put that in quotes) is celebrated, so they actually went out of their way to make sure the gay American citizens living there knew it was aimed at them. This is done to help demoralize them and make them realize they are abnormal and should be ashamed. See if you weren't freaks, maybe we'd protect your constitutional rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". So faggots, it's your own damn fault. What's next? Hey how about banning gays from being teachers? You know, for the welfare of the child. They're already unqualified to be Cub Scout Leaders. We could legislate gays out of the health care business because they spread germs. Maybe we should ban unmarried couples living together from having a dog because they might want to, you know, marry it.

Why is it that any group with "Family" in the name is always against leaving people alone to create and live in their own families? Who appointed them to speak for all families anyway? Oh right, religion. How could I forget.

OK you know what? I was going to stop here because this blog is about our journey to adoption but the more I think about this as I proof read what I just wrote, I can't. My stomach is knotted up and I'm sorry I've just had about enough. I'm really mad. How dare they, in the name of religion, decide who is fit to raise a child and who isn't? Excuse me, but if you live in Arkansas in some backwoods shack you don't get to decide on the "welfare of children" with your tenth grade home schooled educations. This bull shit starts with a small group of religious assholes in places like this who find a few presentable people to dress it up and push it on the rest of us. I'm sick and tired of being told "the bible said" or "god spoke to me" are valid reasons to enact law in this country. Name me one law pushed by religion that actually gives rights to people. There isn't one. They're all designed to take rights away and get us closer to bible rule. The poor are loved by Jesus right? Not by religion. Try and send some tax cuts the way of the poor so they can actually scrape out a living and the wingnuts are marching in the streets with torches screaming "Socialism!". Heal the sick? Sorry, no. That might mean we need to do stem cell research, so better to have a long painful death from cancer or some other terrible illness then actually help the people who have families get better. This is exactly why, unless it's out of respect for a family member getting married or some such, I will never set foot in any church again. I will never donate a single cent to any charity run by religion. I refuse to vote for any measure, no matter how good for society as a whole, that is crafted with a religious bent.

And they better keep their grubby hands off my children.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day, 2008, Night

Prop. 8 in California has now stripped away the rights of some of the Americans who live there and voided their marriages tonight. Two couples I know, one of them our adoption counselor, have had their marriages voided by people that don't even know them. Prop. 102 in Arizona has enshrined discrimination into the state constitution and banned equal marriage. These are sad things for LGBT families. But as horrible as those things are, I'll think about them tomorrow. Tonight, I'll savor in the victory America has achieved in Barack Obama. I've followed him for the last four years. The book mark in my browser says "Obama Exploratory Committee" not Obama for President because I've supported him that long. In him, I see hope for our country, our world, and our planet. This is a better country now that he is our duly elected leader. I have no fears of bringing up a child under an Obama administration. Yes, I'll be sad, and motivated, in thinking about the discrimination and setback we've been handed tonight by these anti gay props. But there is hope. All I can say are the three words I've been saying since that historic day that Barack announced his candidacy in February, 2007: Yes We Can.

Election Day, 2008, Morning

Today is a day steeped in history. You can feel it in the air this morning. It's not like any other election day I can remember. Lately, any day we've had that has gone down as a profound day in the history of America has been tragically unbearable. The first bombing of the Trade Center. The USS Cole attacks. The absolute worst day I've ever seen in my life, a day I will never forget, September 11th 2001. The beginning of a war that never should have been fought. The financial meltdown of 2008. But not this one. This is the most exciting day for America in a long time. A day 400 years in the making. This could be the day America finally washes it's soul of our country's original sin of inequality. If Barack Obama wins, nothing will ever be the same again. The conversation of race will still be here, but will be changed forever. Our future will change with it. The end of the so called Republican "Southern Strategy". The end of Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton/Strom Thurmond/George Wallace politics, forever. Vindication for one of my personal hero's, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Will other barriers begin to fall as well? The ultimate equality for women? Beginnings of full acceptance, legal and otherwise, for gays and lesbians? The healing of a country and bonding of it's people finally, as one nation, helping each other? I don't know. I do know that I am so proud of my country today, and I will be able to tell a baby with "those two daddies" that yes, little one, someday you too can grow up to be whatever you want. Even President of the United States.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Organ-ized Chaos

Last weekend was another "Gay Dads" group outing. We joined some of the guys for a trip to Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa. When we pulled into the parking lot, I got some eye rolling from Gregg because it just struck me as funny that a bunch of gay guys were having a meeting at a place called "Organ Stop". Then again, I guess my sense of humor isn't always the same as everyone else's...

Organ Stop is a member of what I call the "Germ Festival Restaurants", a place which is full of kids running around all over the place like Peter Piper Pizza or the one with that rodent, Chuck E. Cheese. Their shtick is they have a giant organ that rises from the basement. (No, not that kind sillies, the musical one. Geez, you people!) Some guy plays songs and puppets dance around while the kids run all over the place climbing on tables and generally causing mild destruction. You know, good family fun. A glimpse into parenthood future. Much like the ghost of Christmas future in A Christmas Carol, it's scary and bleak. But we can suck it up once in a while to make the kid happy. *Grin*