Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why Today Matters...40 Years Since Stonewall

The Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, NYC, June 28th 1969.

A pivotal point in American history that, if you are one of my straight friends and readers, you probably never heard of. This blog is about our life with our daughter Sabrina, but I can't let this day go by without my thoughts. If you don't know what Stonewall is, briefly...

During the 50's and 60's things weren't the same as they were today. The Civil Rights Movement spoke for many minority groups, but not gays and lesbians. Being gay was a mark of shame at the least, and dangerous at the most. Gays were routinely beaten, arrested, fired, and ousted from society as a whole just for being who they are. Police would routinely round up gays at bars and clubs or on the street and charge them with lewd behavior or sexual deviancy. Raids were common; the police would arrest you just for being in there. Names were published in the paper, leading to ostracizing and loss of employment. The FBI and police kept lists of "known homosexuals" and the places they gathered. The Post Office kept records of homes receiving "gay friendly" material. The American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a sociopathic disorder. Even the US State Department included gays with Anarchists and Communists as un-American. Gays felt shameful about themselves and who they were. Until that night at Stonewall, which changed everything.

Judy Garland, a gay icon, had died that week and was being mourned by the gay community in New York gay bars like the Stonewall Inn. The Stonewall was the only bar in the city where dancing was allowed, at least until the police showed up. They began rounding up the usual suspects. People were marched out into the streets. Slurs were thrown. Then a bottle. Before you knew it, more bottles. Drag Queens refused to get into the police vans. People began to mass in the streets watching, then joining in the protest. Suddenly people who carried around loads of guilt and self hatred finally had enough. No more. The riots continued for a few more nights. No more hiding in the shadows. Gays began expressing themselves in public. No more trying to fit in. No more faking it and not showing the real person. A year later, the very first Gay Pride Parade took place in front of the Stonewall on Christopher Street. Two years later, most major cities in the US had Gay Pride Organizations. The Rainbow Flag was invented and became our symbol. The world had changed.

But the best thing that came out of Stonewall happened 40 years later, when a little girl named Sabrina Marie was born and joined her two fathers to complete a family. Today I'm thinking of those Drag Queens who stood up and said no. Thanks ladies.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day + 1

I know, I didn't post anything yesterday, my first Father's Day as a father. I meant to. We had a busy weekend. Saturday we had a dinner with some of the guys from the Dad's Group. I think it was a nice way to start Father's Day weekend, being with other adoptive gay parents and their kids. We like for Sabrina to be in that environment as much as we can, that way as she grows she'll always have the support of friends that are in the same type of families as she is. There was one slight mishap, as we left I needed room in the car to get on the seat and buckle the little nipper in. I put her Baby Einstein DVD on the roof, and well...let's just say I owe her one now! Those Baby Einstein videos facsinate her. They're really about color contrast and movement, plus we have the soundtrack and we play it in her room all the time so she's used to the sounds. We don't really want to expose her to a lot of TV already, but they work when we're cleaning house or showering or taking the newest batch of meth out of the oven. (Just kidding, we don't clean house...)

Sunday, the actual holiday, found us scrubbing away getting ready for our social worker's visit today. The weekend is our normal cleaning day anyway, but we needed a little extra "umph" this time. We let Sabrina take us out to dinner, and that was fun. She's becoming quite the foodie; Monday was D'Vine Wine Bistro to celebrate my cousin's birthday, Friday Gregg just said "NO" to cooking so we went to Buca di Beppo, and then Red White and Brew last night.

I thought a lot about my Dad this weekend. He did everything he could to always make sure his family was well taken care of. Many times he'd work two jobs to keep things going for us when we were little. We never had lots of money but there were always great family camping trips, birthday parties, and I know the debt meter was off the scale at Christmas. My dad taught us to always do the right thing. Maybe we didn't always get along growing up, but I wouldn't be the person I am without him. I don't really feel like a true father yet; it's only been nine weeks. But as I walk the room with the lights out at night, getting her to sleep, I find myself walking for an extra fifteen minutes with her in my arms, and some tears going down my cheek. She started out as Finster, became a home study, a letter, then a website, but now she's Sabrina and I can't imagine how I'd live without her.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Grover Gets It...How Hard Could It Be?

No, the title of this post doesn't refer to the latest Chi Chi La Rue "Man on Man" skin flick. It's about something I saw (OK stole from) my friend C.I.W. at Me and She. Watch this one minute Sesame Street video and tell me why a Muppet and a toddler get it but millions of others don't.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Silent Night

Well for the last two nights in a row, Sabrina's been sleeping all the way through. On top of that, the "walk around with me for an hour until I'm sleeping or no one rests" routine has also been suspended. The nighttime routine and getting her to sleep is my job; waking up and dealing with her until morning is Gregg's. The last two nights I gave her a bottle, about 7 ounces, at 10 PM. I make sure everything's ready by then--bath done, bottle made, diaper clean, lights turned way down low, bedroom door closed, humidifier full and on, and soft lullaby music in the background. While she's eating, I'll softly tell her a bedtime story. If I can't remember one besides the Three Little Pigs or Goldilocks, we'll just go with a Gilligan's Island episode or how Superman was rocketed to Earth as a baby to become a mild mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper...c'mon it's not like she cares what the story is, just that her Daddy is telling it to her. I'll burp her and cradle her for about ten minutes, but then sleeping or not, in the crib she goes. I think the only reason I've gotten away with it so far is she's so obsessed with finding her thumb she kind of forgets everything else. I'm sure we're not all the way there yet, but it's a good start.

(Don't you just love the dress she's wearing in the above pic?)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Here We Go Again!

OK Everyone, another of our little community is getting ready to welcome the newest bundle of joy into the world...please take some time to send good wishes to my friends Lucy and Ricky over at A Modern Day Ricky and Lucy...she's in labor as we speak waiting for Little Ricky to enter the world...we're thinking of you guys!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Weekend Doin's

The Cousins

Ah they grow so fast. One minute they're falling asleep in your lap, the next they're laying quietly in the corner, chewing on a dirty sock. No not Sabrina! I'm talking about Ripley of course. Saturday was his 3rd birthday. We made a day of it and I took him and Chase to the park for a morning of swimming, dock diving, and chasing tail and tennis balls. We wanted to do something special for him, so that night we took a ride to Chandler Fashion Square to look for a dog birthday cake. We thought there was a Three Dog Bakery down there, but it must have closed. I knew I should have gotten one at the Doggie Cafe down by the park! (No they're not spoiled at all, are they?) So he kinda got skunked; but we got Dairy Queen, so it kind of worked out. Sabrina drooled a lot, but we stayed strong and kept her away from the Oreo Blizzards. Sorry girl, they don't have Similac Cones.

Sunday we had a surprise party for my mother, who retired from work. Check out the picture above of all the cousins together. They love the new addition.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A 7 Letter Word for Love

Wow...The girl has hair!

Cuteness...It does a body good.

Sharing a nap with Papa. Then again, it was Sabrina who caused the fatigue in the first place! This has been a rocky week for sleeping.

Erykah Badu, eat your heart out.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Back to Work, Back to Sleep

Ah well, paternity leave is over and it's back to work tomorrow. My job gives us a week off, and since I worked from the hotel in California I saved it until now. I took off on Friday last week, and since Monday was a holiday I was able to steal that extra day, but it's all over now. Don't ask why I'm up at midnight...oh wait, I know why, because somebody decided to pitch a fit about going to sleep and just drifted off a few minutes ago. Of course I did her bath, put on her nighttime lotion, fed her, tried the swing, walked around, sang (OK that one I admit would keep anyone awake. That Scottish Yeti on TV sings way better then me...) but nothing seemed to work--the screaming continued. Her Papa walks in and carries her around for 3 minutes and to dreamland. Oooh that little stinker--I'll get even with her!