If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Four Weddings And A Marriage

I don't like weddings.  I especially don't like traditional weddings.  I don't even like diamonds.  As a child I never once imagined myself as a bride.   I can't understand spending a lot of money for a one-day event nor do I understand the fun of planning a wedding.  However I do understand the importance of marriage.

There are four weddings being planned by family, friends, and loved ones in my life.  In all four cases the couples have strong relationships based on true understanding, friendship and respect.  I will be happy to watch them make their commitment public.

Two of the weddings are with family members and I will be more intimately involved in the planning and execution of these weddings.  My sister C is marrying K.  I was honored when they asked me to officiate.   I haven't known K for very long.  C met him after I had moved to SouthLite and he and I met for the first time this past Thanksgiving.  It didn't take long to see how well they work as a couple.  I have never known my sister to be this happy.

Pumpkin and BB got engaged earlier this month.  I love them both and I know how much they love each other.  In true Pumpkin fashion, she is all about the wedding planning and has gone dress shopping every weekend for the past three weeks.  The wedding won't occur for a year and a half but she has been looking forward to the planning since she was a child.  She is almost sad to be doing it because once it is over it will no longer be in her future.  This boggles my mind.

b and I got married eight years ago today.  We did not tell my family we were getting married.  We did tell Angel and the three of us stood up in front of a judge on a Wednesday morning.  The judge's secretary was our witness.  Afterwards we went out to lunch and then spent the afternoon bowling.  It was perfect.

b and I had already committed to each other and, both having failed marriages under our belts, had no intention of every marrying.  However C's long-time partner, a man I considered her husband and my brother, died very unexpectedly that January.  Since they were not legally married, C did not have certain rights in arranging for his funeral.  At the same time b, who had no health insurance, got pneumonia.  We were broke and getting him the medical attention he needed was difficult and stressful. Angel and I were covered under my insurance and neither one of us were sick.

To me, marriage (legal or not) is about being 'it' for someone else: the person who stands by you emotionally, physically, and financially.  Saying you are married is saying you take responsibility for another person and that you trust and allow that person to take responsibility for you.  It does not mean that you give up your autonomy but that you balance individual needs within the needs of the family you have created.  Until the events of that January, I thought b and I did and could do all of that for each other.  However it became clear to me exactly how legalities can inhibit your ability to care for your chosen family in a time of crisis.

It was remarkably easy to get married.  We did it in under a week.  There was some paperwork and a few fees and then the event itself.  While it is not a romantic story, it is also not a sad one. Necessity and pain may have been the catalyst to my marriage but it is founded in a deep commitment to care for and about each other.  b has made me feel cared for and loved since the very first day I met him (which happens to have been 12 years ago today).

I love being married. I may not 'get' weddings but I get the legal and emotional need to declare your commitment.  I know why it is important to have that commitment recognized and respected. This week I learned that my state has proposed a law to regulate who is allowed this privilege through our constitution.  As has happened elsewhere, some people in my state want to limit marriage, and by extension the definition of family, to opposite-sexed individuals.

As a member of a heterosexual couple, I got married in under a week.  I know of others who have done it in a day.  Today, in under 10 minutes, I was ordained as a minister online.  I now have the power to marry other heterosexual couples across the country.*  I find this a bitter irony.  Blocking this law is a fight that needs to be fought in my state and, unfortunately, every state across the nation.

*In what feels like a strange bonus prize, I also now have the power to absolve people's sins.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Deuces Wild

  • I am teaching 2 classes this semester.  One of which I have taught for the past five years and the other I'm teaching for the first time.
  • I have 2 research projects I am starting this year.  One is up and running and the other is languishing on my desk.
  • I am on a search committee for 2 additional faculty members.  One position has already been filled and we are trying to bring in 2 other candidates in the next 2 weeks for the second position.
  • I have 2 students that are having serious problems and I am worried about them.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

RBOC: In Which I Post Simply Because It Has Been Too Long Between Posts

  • Do I even need to say the semester has been crazy?
  • Classes are going well.
  • My grant did not get funded.  It didn't even get discussed.  However my institution may be paying me to rewrite it over the summer.  
  • It is possible I will make more money in the writing of this grant than if I were to actually get it.
  • Service is driving me crazy.  Really somedays I have to wonder if tenure is really worth all this aggravation.
  • Last weekend I visited Pumpkin.  BB has left for a 5-week trip to Antarctica.
  • Pumpkin directed the Vagina Monologues at her school.  I watched 2 of the 3 performances and was most impressed.
  • Angel is having a wisdom tooth issue.  I did a stint of bad mothering trying to convince him it was nothing only to find out he has a major infection.  
  • b and I are not big fans of Valentine's Day but we did a little celebrating.
    We had pizza.
    Had some wine.
    And I made cookies.
    Other than that I am counting the days until Spring Break.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Eating In Diners

Whenever I travel back to the City of My Birth I try to eat as many of the foods that cannot be replicated in SouthLite. Diners fall into that category. This trip seemed to be all about the diner.

Luckily I managed to slip some pizza in there too.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Old Stomping Grounds

b and I drove UpNorth this past weekend.  I spent a considerable amount of time wandering through the neighborhoods of my youth.  These are shots taken with my iPhone using primarily Instagram and Hipstamatic.

Red Doors