Saturday, May 19, 2012

Son of Letter to a Friend

Rainbow fallsHi [Friend],

I read your blog entry from earlier today, and I feel that I need to say a few things. You wrote that if we allow same sex marriage, we should also allow marriage between multiple spouses because of their religious beliefs.

1. Although I understand your broader point concerning religious freedom and that those religions that condone and promote polygamy should be accommodated, as well as anyone who advocates multiple spouses, this is yet another "slippery slope" argument against marriage equality, akin to the "what is to stop someone from marrying their dog?" argument.

You are comparing the committed relationship between two consenting adults to all forms of relationships; these are not equivalent. You are once again bringing religion into the argument, stating that all religions have equal say, no matter the harm done to its members. I am of the opinion that religious freedom stops when others are harmed, and that is why I think that no parent should be let off the hook for allowing harm to come to their children based on their own beliefs concerning medical treatment. The children are not old enough to make an informed decision, and when they are sick, they have no say in the matter if their parents choose to withhold medical care from them for religious reasons.

2. There are a few arguments against polygamy and polyandry.

First, there is a financial and societal aspect against it. If the government were to allow full benefits to all spouses and children, the cost would be astronomical. Religious freedom is one thing; the full acceptance and financial support of such decisions is another. I am also not a fan of people having dozens of children, because this places an undue burden upon our society, but I understand that we will never legislate any sort of restrictions on that.

Some would argue that marriage equality for same sex couples also erodes society and places an undue burden upon our government. There have been no studies that have shown that committed couples, regardless of gender, are an erosion upon our societal mores.

Rainbow heartsSecond, although I mentioned both polygamy and polyandry, the fact is that the vast majority of polygamous relationships are those that consist of a man having multiple wives, rather than the other way around. In most of these arrangements, the wives are expected to be submissive and subjugated to their husbands. Marriages are often arranged without consent of the woman, and often at a young age, when they are not capable of informed consent. Again, religious freedom stops when rights are violated, and this is a women's rights and a HUMAN rights issue.

If people want to conduct such relationships within their religion, I do not think that it is appropriate to restrict them...UNLESS they are harming others. Women and children are harmed in polygamous relationships. The marriage of a same sex couple harms no one. Again, if people want to have multiple partners, that is their choice...but that does not mean that the government needs to recognize and finance such relationships. A committed relationship and marriage between two people is a social and governmental contract, and same sex couples should have that right.

3. Finally, you wrote in your entry that someone "sent" you an article with the title "Explaining Gay Marriage to an Idiot." Although someone may have indeed sent you that link, it was the title of something I posted on Facebook. If someone sent this to you, I want to make it very clear that it was not me. I would never do that to you. I did not sent that to you in any way, shape, or form, either via email or Facebook message. I posted it on my own Wall, not on yours. I did not tag you in my post. I do not think you're an idiot, and I have made it clear from the very beginning that I was not dismissing your religious beliefs or ridiculing you for them. However, I do think that the "man marrying dog" argument is idiotic. I totally respect your right to say whatever you want on your blog, I never suggested that you did not have such a right, and I never denigrated your religious beliefs. But if we have public blogs, it is to be expected that others might disagree with the opinions we put up there.

I am a strong and vocal advocate of marriage equality for same sex couples in a committed relationship. I often post articles about it, and I have made no secret of my support. If you think that every article I post is directed towards you, you might want to reevaluate whether you want to continue to see my posts. My posts are about topics, not people, and unless I tag you on something, I am not targeting you with any of my posts.


Friday, May 18, 2012

A day like buttah

Cira'sLoads and loads of real buttah! [private joke!]

It’s not often that you get a week-long stretch of just unbelievably gorgeous weather, but that’s what we’ve had this week. Cousin Shane has apparently developed psychic abilities and asked for this week off on vacation. I’m glad it’s been so perfect for him!

After a quick trip to the store this morning, I got in a super good workout. Beyond the 8 miles on the bike and doing weights, I did 35+ minutes and 1.8 miles on the elliptical! Woohoo! I’m going to go ahead and pat myself on the back for that one (pat pat), because when I first started on the elliptical, I could do about 3 minutes before I had to stop. So I’ve made some great progress, and I’m pretty damn proud of it! Since I started hitting it harder and eating smaller portions, I’ve lost 4 pounds, and I’m proud of that, too. Our upcoming vacation could be a problem, because I won’t be able to get those kinds of workouts done, but we’ll try to get in lots of walking, and the occasional workout at various hotels we’ll be staying at. I’ve already realized that I won’t be able to eat at every Route 66 restaurant, and definitely won’t be able to do breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I just can’t eat that much! We’ll do what we can, we’ll eat at some good ones, and stop for a drink at other good ones.

After my workout, I got the stuff together in the crockpot for Italian beef sandwiches tonight, then spent some time on the deck—a little sunning (it was hot!) and a lot of reading. I got to watch a lot of birds stop by for a bite and a drink, and Chip and Dale (our chipmunks) chowed down on the corn I put out for them and then chased each other around. It was cute. :)

I made plans with Shane for a late breakfast/early lunch on his day off this coming Tuesday. We read this morning that a locally owned restaurant, Cira’s, is closing soon. Shane has been there a while back, but I don’t think I’ve been there since I was a kid. Apparently the elderly owner has had a health setback, and although the employees and family have tried to keep it going in his absence, they feel that he won’t be coming back to work there and the time has come to close it. Shane and I have talked about how we wanted to go there, and when we saw that they’re closing soon, we said, “We have to get there!” Thank goodness that we can both do it on Tuesday, before Ken and I leave on vacation. I forget exactly when the article said it was closing—sometime within the next couple of weeks, when we’re on our trip.

Our grandparents lived right around the corner from the restaurant, and I remember walking around that neighborhood when our folks would visit Grandma and Grandpa. I’m sad that this South Bend fixture is closing soon, but I’m glad Shane and I get to go before it closes its doors. It’s also a good reminder to do these things before it’s too late! How many times do you say, “We need to stop there” or “We need to go there one of these days”? After Ken and I get back from our trip, we’ll find a time soon to go to Buffalo Rose in Lakeville, because I’m afraid it might not be around for long, especially once the new highway is open and bypasses the town.

I’m learning that sometimes you have to make time to do these things, rather than just passing by and saying, “I’ll stop next time I go by,” especially when it comes to these little locally owned places. Our choices are becoming increasingly generic, so seek the unique! Hey, I’d better trademark that. Seek the Unique!™

Tomorrow will be a quiet day at Nutwood, with outside time and a BBQ42 (barbecue for two). Ribs, probably some grilled potatoes with onions, and cucumbers and onions in that creamy sauce (some of you know what I’m talking about!). I’m also thinking about a pomegranate martooni. Sunday is an afternoon at our local zoo (the Potawatomi Zoo), a fine little zoo for a small city and one that I haven’t been to since I was in elementary school, with Ken’s Mom and her friend Yvonne, followed by dinner at the Oaken Bucket. Another locally owned place, and one that has what are widely considered to be the best burgers in town. Lots of warm weather all weekend, which is exactly what I like, and it might even be nice enough that we can sit outside on the patio by the St. Joseph River.

Oh, and Mick Jagger is hosting SNL this week, with musical guests including Arcade Fire, Jeff Beck, and...Foo Fighters! Angels are singing, people! ANGELS ARE SINGING! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Busy B(eth)

Bee cat*Note: Sheeba would like to make it clear that that is NOT him dressed up in a bee costume. Thank you.

I’ve been doing some buzzing around the past couple of days, so I’m finally getting around to an update.

Yesterday was lunch with Cousin Shane and Matt, and we paid another visit to Pat’s Bar in LaPaz. Shane and I went there a few weeks ago, after not being there for years, if you recall. It was Matt’s first time there, and he enjoyed it, too. They both had burgers, with a side of fried mushrooms (one of Shane’s big weaknesses), and I had a BLT this time. It was tasty, and just the right size for me (i.e., not a huge portion impossible for me to finish). We had fun talking and getting caught up, and after we finished, we did a little drive through the countryside to check on the progress of the new highway. I really can’t convey the oddness of seeing this big highway and multiple overpasses going through the area where we grew up, an area that I think you could safely call ‘bucolic.’ Shane had a good point, though. He said that the major highways were built in the ‘50s, with some additions around here in the ‘70s, so we really haven’t witnessed such a major project in our area for decades.

We also speculated that the little towns of Lakeville and LaPaz could become ghost towns when the new highway passes them by, as did many towns along Route 66. I’m not sure...quite a few people have homes there, and some of the businesses might hang on if locals like us keep frequenting them. That’s one of the reasons we all like going to local places, in an effort to support such restaurants. They’re always much more fun and charming than a franchise, too!

We got back to Nutwood and sat out on the deck to have a cool beverage, chat some more, and enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful day. I always have a good time with the fellas, and yesterday was no exception. Thanks for the fun afternoon, guys!

This morning I got up an hour or so earlier than normal to head down to my Mom’s to help her with her ‘leventy-’leventh “last” garage sale. She wanted some help for this first morning, because that’s always the busiest, and she was pretty busy already when I got there (Although she wasn’t scheduled to open for 20 of the worst things about garage sales, in my opinion. If I say 9 am, that’s exactly what I mean, so you can sit in the damn driveway and wait if you show up at 8:30!). It stayed busy most of the morning, and finally it quieted down and I had her go inside and grab a sandwich while I manned womanned the till. It wasn’t super busy after that, so I headed out around 1 pm. I hope she makes some decent money off of this one, and I think she will (she usually does).

Vintage garage saleWe made a pretty good team. She’s the consummate salesperson, going around and chatting people up and generally charming their socks off. I can’t stand that kind of stuff, so I made change and wrapped and bagged people’s purchases! When I first got there, one lady had bought her stuff, and was standing there talking to Mom for what seemed like forever. She was going on and on about her broken pelvis a while back and her crummy ex-husband who used the F-word on her one too many times (I agree...that IS bad), and how he was jealous and followed her to church to try to stop her from going (she’s a Christian, doncha know) and blahbitty blah blay blue. I thought, “It’s going to be a long morning.” Why do some people feel the need to tell complete strangers details about their life? Maybe my Mom just has a look about her that says, “Talk to me.” haha I’m glad I didn’t inherit that from Mom!

Not everyone was a Chatty Cathy like that lady, though. There were some nice and cool people who were fun to talk with, and the daughter of a family friend and her husband, and others who know our family or are related to people who know our’s small town life, yo. Anyway, I helped Mom with the busiest part, and managed to walk out of there with only a few things! I certainly didn’t need anything, but I got a 1931 copy of Tom Sawyer, a pretty little yellow bowl, this ceramic cat that Mom and Dad had sitting around for ages (I couldn’t bear to let it go...for some odd reason, I just love that cat...maybe it’s because all the nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and grand-nephews would always pat the thing on the head when they were visiting), and the most wonderful find: a bag full of packages of silver head pins used for making jewelry! Mom didn’t know what they were...she didn’t know why those straight pins had blunt tips! Smile I had almost bought some more a while back. I’m glad I didn’t!

Got home, did my workout, signed for a package, got some deck time in. Tomorrow looks to be a calmer day, with a quick trip to the store in the morning for some extras for a Saturday barbecue, then just enjoying another beautiful day. Yay! ☼

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


EnchiladaAnother gorgeous day, even warmer than yesterday. It was a little too warm to stay in the sun for long, but I enjoyed some reading time in the shade, too. I will probably get to the point where I want to be inside a little more when it really gets hot and humid (although we don’t have central air, the ceiling fan feels pretty good), but for now, the last thing I want to do is sit inside on the computer when it’s like this. I love this time of year!

To go along with the hot day, I decided to make a hot dish. Whenever we go out to one of the local Mexican restaurants, Hacienda (it’s a local franchise, it’s far from authentic, and there are others that I like better, but this place does super yummy margaritas), I always get the adobo enchiladas. I always think that I should get something different, but I love these stupid things so much that I haven’t been able to bring myself to order something else, at least so far. I thought I’d try them at home, and found a recipe. It called for ground beef rather than shredded (like I get at the restaurant), but I think it will still be tasty. They’re all put together and just waiting to go into the oven for 20 minutes or so. I tried the adobo sauce after I got it made, and oh man...I’m going to be pouring sour cream and sangria down my gullet like there’s no tomorrow! This shit is SPICY! Ken loved it, of course. haha

That’s not my picture, by the way. After I got them all ready for the oven, I didn’t feel ambitious enough to take a picture and edit it. But they’ll look pretty much like that!

I picked up a new microwave today after a rather scary incident the other evening. I was melting some butter, like I’ve done many times, and suddenly, the microwave went ZZZZZZ and there were flashes like there was arcing...but there was definitely no metal in the butter or in the glass measuring cup I was using! Kinda freaked us both out, and although it did continue working when I used it afterwards, we both agreed that we weren’t messing around with a wonky microwave. I’ve had this one since before Ken and I even met, so I had no qualms about getting a new one. You served long and well, Kenmore, but it’s time for you to rest!

Cousin Shane is on vacation this week, so tomorrow I’m having lunch with him and Matt at Pat’s Bar in LaPaz (the place where Shane and I went a while’s been there since we were kids growing up in this area). I’m looking forward to a fun chat with them and lots of laughs, as always! We have much to discuss, and I know we’ll have a good time. Thursday morning, I’ll be helping my Mom out with her garage sale. Argh...but I’m happy to help Mom. I’ll be able to chat with her, and I’ll take my Kindle along, too. Perhaps there will be some interesting people and fun adventures to share. Or not.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Letter to a friend

Marriage equalityI recently read a blog entry that disturbed me, and after a brief flameout on Facebook in which I urged anyone who opposed marriage equality to defriend me, this was my more reasoned response. I thought about this all afternoon, and I think it states my feelings fairly well (and without anger). A friend reminded me that we need to keep discussing these things with those who disagree, and he was right. That is how hearts and minds are changed, not by dismissal and angry rhetoric.

Dear [Friend],

I'm sorry it took me a while to get back to you. It's a beautiful day here, so I spent most of the afternoon outside and offline.

I had a very visceral reaction to reading your blog entry about same sex marriage last night. Maybe I was just tired, because it was getting close to my bedtime, but it made me think of the people I love who happen to be gay, and how they so desperately want the same rights afforded to every American citizen.

I am not going to insult your religious beliefs or try to dissuade you from feeling the way you do, but in friendship, I hope you will think about a few things.

1. This is probably the most unkind thing I will say in response to your entry. Your "slippery slope" argument, in which marriage equality could lead to people marrying their dogs (in your example) or their toasters (in other people's examples I have read) is a talking point widely circulated by those who are opposed to equality, and it is simply absurd. For one thing, you (and others) are comparing human beings to animals and inanimate objects. That is cruel and wrong. No one is proposing that anyone be allowed to do any such thing, and no court in the land would uphold such an absurd request...just as they would never uphold the marriage of an adult to a child.

2. As I mentioned in my comment, although many see marriage as a religious concept, that is in addition to the civic aspect; a marriage in a church without a state license is not valid. A marriage in any setting, with a license from the state, IS valid. No one is proposing that churches will be forced to marry same sex couples; in each of the states that have allowed same sex marriage, there are specifications that exempt churches from such an occurrence.

3. You mentioned in your entry that just a few short years ago, you and [your husband] would not have been able to legally marry as a mixed race couple. North Carolina didn't lift their ban on mixed race marriages until 1971. You and [your husband] wouldn't have just been unwelcome in certain states; you would have been in danger of your very lives, and would probably have found a burning cross on your lawn. That may sound harsh, but it is the truth. And why were there laws against mixed race marriages? Because certain lawmakers believed that is what the Bible dictates. This is why we don't make our federal and state laws based on biblical laws. If we did, there would be laws against eating shellfish, wearing clothes of mixed fibers, and planting different crops in the same field. I know I don't need to provide these verses to you.

Obama Rainbow UnicornI recall discussions with a family member who felt that mixed race marriages were wrong. Their initial concern was how it would affect any children resulting from such a union. I know quite a few children from mixed race marriages who are extremely happy, incredibly smart, and very well-adjusted. I know of one who has made it into what is probably the most powerful office in the world. This family member based their opinions on the Bible. I asked if they felt it was wrong for a Caucasian to marry an Asian. They were okay with that. I said, "Really? Because those are two different races. Apparently, the Bible says that is wrong."

It bothers me greatly that you would deny the happiness to your fellow citizens that you would have been denied not so very long ago, for the same reasons that it would have been denied to you.

4. Finally, it's hard to sit there and hear someone you love and respect more than just about anyone on the planet say, "I'm tired of my country telling me that I'm not good enough to have the same rights as other citizens." This person is kind, loving, decent, a productive member of society, and a responsible citizen. You spoke of your work with those afflicted with AIDS, so you know that members of the GLBT community are people, not just a demographic. They bleed, they struggle, they live their lives, just like any of the rest of us...and they LOVE just like the rest of us.

I respect your right to oppose marriage equality based on your religious views. But I hope that you will continue to consider that our laws are not based on the Bible or on any other religious text. That is contrary to our Constitution. You can have a moral objection based on what the Bible says, but when it comes to our laws, your biblically based moral objection, frankly, doesn't matter. I want every person in this country to have the same right to marry that you and [your husband] had, even though there are still some that would object to your union—based on their own interpretation of the Bible.

My initial angry response was wrong, and I'm sorry for that. I consider you a thinking woman who is willing to explore her feelings on such matters. I hope you will continue to do so (even I didn't get to this point overnight!) and I hope we can keep the dialogue open.

All my best, 


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Meat market

Freezer 2012We’ve had a fairly busy weekend, so it’s nice to sit down and do an entry.

Ken didn’t get back from Pittsburgh until about 12:15 am on Saturday, and although my intention was to read until he got home, I’m afraid I got too sleepy and conked out! We didn’t sleep super late on Saturday, because we had to pick up the side of beef we ordered from one of Ken’s former coworkers. Actually, Ken went and did that while I got the cooler out of the garage, loaded it with what remained in the basement freezer, and started defrosting it. It took a little longer than expected, because I don’t think we’d defrosted it since the last time we got a side, which I believe was two years ago. (We did pretty good on getting through that side...only had a few pounds of hamburger, a couple packages of rib steaks, and a couple of roasts left. I’m cooking one of the roasts this afternoon.) We may not have a fistful of dollars or a pocketful of shells, but we definitely have a freezer full of beef!

Then we took Ken’s Mom out last night, to our favorite new southside restaurant, Maxi’s. A great dinner, great service, and very pleasant company! We hadn’t tried out the bar area yet, so after we ate, we went upstairs for a couple of after-dinner drinks (Bailey’s on the rocks for me...yum!), and to see our favorite server, Katie. She was the one who took such good care of our party of ten a few weeks ago, and she remembered us and took good care of us this time, too! When we got home, we were both pretty tired, so decided to take a nap. Ken woke me up when “Saturday Night Live” started, so I slept for quite a while! Apparently I needed it, though.

We didn’t sleep late today, either. After “Meet the Press,” I ran over to Cousin Shane’s and Matt’s to do kitty care, since they were visiting Matt’s folks in Milwaukee. All was well, and all four kitties are fed, with fresh water and clean litterboxes. I gave them as much loving as they’d let me...they’re all so cute!

Then it was home, getting the roast in the crockpot, Ken mowing the lawn, me calling my Mom, getting my workout done, then time to relax on the deck with my book. I finished The House of Mirth (which was very sad), and next up is Showdown: The Inside Story of How Obama Fought Back Against Boehner, Cantor, and the Tea Party by David Corn (I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while). I’m in the mood for a political book. I have laundry to do, but that can wait until tomorrow. The sun has come out after a cloudy day, and I want to enjoy that by spending a little more time out on the deck. I love this time of year, and it’s supposed to be a beautiful week!
I hope you all had a pleasant day and weekend!