I’m pregnant!

     So, a little back story for those of you with whom I haven’t been in close touch with in the past few months. My fiancee and I broke off our engagement at the end of June. At the time I was living with a couple, over the summer in the South while finishing school. Over the months of July and August, the couple and I became really close. Our relationship morphed from friendship to more intense feelings for each other. They had talked about opening up their marriage before and I was strangely, curiously, and wonderfully drawn to both of them.
     Yes, I started dating a married couple. Now before you all think that I’ve gone completely nuts, we started researching on if other people have done this before (they have), if it has a name (it does- Polyamory) and some of the benefits (lots) and downsides (lots) to having such a nontraditional relationship structure. I can get into that more with anyone who’s interested, but I want to get back to the cute baby-related stuff. We moved away from each other in early September. I had landed a job up North many months prior and my couple had planned to stay in the South for another year. Well, that wasn’t really going to work for us, so J moved up to live with her parents in the North (2-3 hours away from me) and found a job until I joined her a few months later, once he found a job too. They had originally planned to stay in the South for another year, but we wanted to be together so they made that happen a bit sooner 🙂
     Now they both live in the next state over and we’ve been doing the commute to see each other as often as possible (with the hope of all being together when the baby comes). We took proper precautions to prevent this (IUD) but, this past December- I was a week late and had a positive pregnancy test. Once the whole omg-I’m-having-an-ectopic-pregnancy-my-lady-parts-are-going-to-explode” scare died down, we settled in with the reality that, yes- we are going to be parents.
     So here I am, at 23+2 weeks, sharing this and looking more and more pregnant every day 🙂

Remembering Harvey Milk

Remembering Harvey Milk, killed this day in 1978. Visit the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy.

“If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”
― Harvey Milk
“All men are created equal. Now matter how hard they try, they can never erase those words. That is what America is about.”
― Harvey Milk, The Harvey Milk Interviews: In His Own Words
“It takes no compromise to give people their rights…it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.”
― Harvey Milk
“All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.”
― Harvey Milk
“It’s not my victory, it’s yours and yours and yours. If a gay can win, it means there is hope that the system can work for all minorities if we fight. We’ve given them hope.”
― Harvey Milk
“Hope will never be silent.”
― Harvey Milk
“Let me have my tax money go for my protection and not for my prosecution. Let my tax money go for the protection of me. Protect my home, protect my streets, protect my car, protect my life, protect my property…worry about becoming a human being and not about how you can prevent others from enjoying their lives because of your own inability to adjust to life.”
― Harvey Milk
“Every gay person must come out. As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends if indeed they are your friends. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and all. And once you do, you will feel so much better”
― Harvey Milk

emilie & coralie

What a gorgeous wedding and couple!

for real

I have for you today a beautiful DIY wedding that took place behind the Stumptown Brewery along the Russian River. Coralie, a water polo olympian and Emilie, in the beautiful white dress, make an amazing couple. This wedding was filled with love and laughter and sunshine. Although the details were simple they are a wonderful representation of this amazing couple.
From photographer, Kylie Chevalier, “Emilie and Coralie’s wedding was one of the sweetest and most joyful weddings I have photographed in a very long time!  From the moment they began getting ready, till the end of the reception there was an incredible amount of excitement and happiness.  With the help of some wonderful and talented friends and family, the decor of this wedding turned out absolutely beautiful.  Bright oranges and greens brought life to this simple and sweet backyard style wedding along the Russian River.  Friends and family enjoyed…

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maggie and milly and molly and may

maggie and milly and molly and may

maggie and milly and molly and may went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles, and

milly befriended a stranded star whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and

may came home with a smooth round stone as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

e e cummings

Quick Update

So, as an update on my life- my fiancee and I separated 😦 but I’m out of the south (yay) and gainfully employed! It’s just me, Calle and Kila (dog and cat), hanging out in the mountains. 

I’ll update more when I can, hopefully with an interesting post or two now that I’m not in grad school anymore (hazzah!). 

Are You a Fingersmith?

It has to happen. I have to face up to it. I have to do this. I have to post my list of all the lesbian movies that I have rented via Netflix. Don’t judge me. These don’t even include most of the gay movies that I’ve also seen or any of the movies that I down-right hated! I’m ashamed… so deeply ashamed. Nope, just kidding.

I loved every moment Imagine-ing them together, hoping the Walls Could Talk, seeing all the French Twists, Loving every Children’s Hour that I spent Bound in fascination, watching every doubting Cheerleader moment of it and Tipping the Velvet– wondering what a Fingersmith might really be… not to mention all of The Secrets that I learned and Heavenly Delights that I saw! And if you get any of these references, you might enjoy them too.

My Favorites:
Imagine Me & You
If These Walls Could Talk 2 (Ellen and Sharon Stone!)
Loving Annabelle (don’t think about how young she is, just go with it)
But I’m a Cheerleader
French Twist (french subtitles but actually really funny)
Saving Face (Gay-sians!)
The Children’s Hour (a classic! with Audrey Hepburn)
Henry & June (hot sex scene… I think)
Battlestar Galactica – all six seasons! J/K but they’re amazing
Tipping the Velvet (long but good)
The Secrets (Israeli)
All over the Guy (gay guys but super cute!)
Angels in America (a classic)
I Can’t Think Straight (came out last year)
Fingersmith (Very long but worth it in the end!)
Rick & Steve (Animated by LOGO)
EXes & Ohs (LOGO series)

Ones that I liked:
The Celluloid Closet (History of LGBT cinema, cute)
Julie Johnson (Lili Taylor and Courtney Love)
DEBS (mheh)
Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her (a lot of big names here)
The Gymnast (very slow beginning)
Nina’s Heavenly Delights (what I thought Bend it Like Beckham was going to be like)
Red Doors (cute story, not all gay though)
Love Songs (french musical- cute and strange)

Desert Hearts
Love & Suicide (angsty high school unrequited love, watch out)
Wild Side
Girls on Film 2
Amour de Femme (only if you like odd French films)
The Watermelon Woman
Gia (Angelina Jolie)
Foxfire (Angelina again)
Tying the Knot (gay marriage documentary)
Love my Life (gay-sians again)
OUTrage (closeted politicians)
Better than Chocolate (only because this was the first lezzie move I’d ever seen)

Learning How to Be a Person

I’ve learned that there are certain little things that no one quite tells you in life. Things that are really nice to know, and when you don’t- well, you feel like a fucking moron. I don’t mean things like, it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never have blah blah blah. I’m talking about more practical things. I’m starting a list. I feel as though someone should have told me some of these things, but I figured most of them out on my own- either through my own experience or friends’ stories.

1. Car problems. You can ask a mechanic just to look at your car and give you a written estimate. Then you can compare that to other places. OR you can say, do only 1 hour of work and then call me so I can authorize anything else. Some places will charge you just to look at the car, depending on how long it takes to try to figure it out but some places will just say “listen, you just need a little more steering fluid” and send you on your way.

2. It doesn’t hurt to ask.Even if the person is a dick about it, it doesn’t hurt to just ask.

3. Chimneys need to be inspected every year so that your house doesn’t catch on fire.

4. You should always check EVERY fluid level when you get your oil changed. Sometimes they top you off, sometimes they drain them and leave you bone dry on accident. Also, check your windshield wiper fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid and transmission fluid every 3-6 months. It’s super easy to do on your own (use the owner’s manual) and can save you money in the long run.

5. Don’t donate blood immediately prior to having your wisdom teeth pulled.

6. Don’t think that you can make super glue ‘tacky’ and use it to put on fake eye lashes.

7. It doesn’t hurt to contact someone again about a job or interview. It shows that you want it! Most of the time they want you to follow up, takes some work off of their shoulders. If you feel like you’re calling too much, alternate between calling one day, emailing the next time. Just don’t use multiple methods in one day. Then you’re just labelled as a crazy person.

8. Don’t have ringbacks (songs that play while the phone dials). Doctors offices don’t call you because the secretarial staff won’t listen to that shit. I’ve seen it. Employers don’t like it either.

9. People can be quite purse-lipped about money. Here’s some shockers that I had to really dig to find out- weddings- average (varies depending on where you live) about $30,000 (wtf), financing furniture can be affordable and manageable, grad school has cost me 120,000 for my master’s degree.

10. If you are in a PA (physician assistant) program (like me)- you have a butt load of stuff to pay for during a 4-6 month period of time that you won’t have a job. Save money before school for that time period  or try to find a part-time job/ go back to your last job for a bit.

11. Mini vacations abroad are not as expensive as I thought. Fly somewhere cheap, do cheap stuff and eat cheaply. I met my partner for the weekend in Ireland and the entire thing cost $400.

12. Vegas is more expensive that I thought.

13. Getting a puppy is like having a toddler that looks nothing like you, will never learn to talk and will never go to college. Also, will be cute when you look back on these puppy years, but in the moment you think, “WHY did we get a dog?”

14. Cape Cod is not in Africa.

15. Worcester is pronounced “Wooster.”

16. Don’t buy cute things for your future when you’re in college. They end up breaking when you move every year and if they make it to grad school, you end up being so sick of them that you sell them for 1/8th the price you paid. Get cheap stuff, no decorations, travel lightly from apartment to apartment.

17. NEVER pay for a pack of cigarettes with a credit card. I’m still paying off cigarettes from college. 6 years ago.

18. Actually, don’t get a credit card in college. If you must, set a credit limit of $500. I don’t have that much debt, but I’ve been making so little that it’s almost impossible to pay off before I get hit with some large bill/ repair.

19. If you are going for a bachelor’s degree in Biology. You will be going to grad school or you will not pay off your student loan debt.

20. Finish college asap. I stayed 5 years to complete two degrees (plus two cooperative education periods) and I wish that I had just zoomed through in 3 like I could have. It would have been so much less debt and I would be a professional now that I’m 26, rather than still in grad school.

21. You have to register to vote at least 20 days prior to the election.

22. You can’t put gatorade in the Sodamaker.

WHAT did you just say??

23. It’s nip it in the bud NOT nip it in the butt

24. “sell you down the river” may be appropriately to say when you live in Boston, but maybe not so much when you move to North Carolina (I only made that mistake once, and then I was like- OH SHIT I’M OFFENSIVE).

25. If you get pulled over for a light being out and your car has so many electrical problems that it can’t be fixed- you have to prove it. Maybe even in court. And if you don’t show up for court, they can put a warrant out for your arrest.

26. “Gentleman’s Club” means that, if you are a girl, you cannot enter without being escorted by a man.

27. Not all people who smoke will get lung cancer but most people who have lung cancer (certain types) have smoked.

28. Diabetes can result in you losing your legs and put you on dialysis (did not know this prior to school).

29. Raisins can give dogs kidney failure.

30. Letting a dog eat too fast or run around after eating (large breeds) can kill it! It’s called Bloat- the intestines just kinda twist on themselves. Gross and sad.

Marriage & Commitment

The fight for marriage equality isn’t just about equal benefits and tax reform, it’s about joining the tradition of marriage- making that commitment in front of family and friends just like our straight counterparts. Third Way has found that more Americans, particarly those on the fence about this issue, are more likely to support gay marriage when the focus is shifted away from benefits that could be afforded by a civil union or domestic partnership towards the lifetime commitment of marriage. The full article and link are available below.

So here it is: I don’t really care about the tax breaks, the property tax if one of us dies or having to file ‘single’ on my federal taxes even if we’re married under state law- I just want to legitimately marry the woman I love.

Damnit, I want a white dress too.


Op-ed: We Should Make Marriage About Commitment

The Third Way has done research on how to pass marriage equality laws across the nation, and they found a mistake in the way it’s being explained to American voters.

By Lanae Erickson, op-ed contributor

Next April, as the cherry blossoms are flowering across the city, I will stand in front of my family and friends and make a public promise of lifetime fidelity and commitment to my partner of five years. We want to take part in the tradition of marriage because we take its vows seriously and hope that the closest people in our lives will both hold us accountable to those words and support us in our relationship as life doles out the “for better or worse.”

But if you ask people who are still struggling with whether they support allowing gay couples to marry, they are just as likely to believe that I want to marry in order to get “rights and benefits like tax advantages, hospital visitation, or sharing a spouse’s pension,” rather than to publicly acknowledge lifetime commitment. Why? Because that’s what many in the movement have been telling them for so many years—and they listened.

After conducting extensive research on Americans in the middle, Third Way believes that correcting this misperception is the number one thing we can do to solidify support for marriage across the country. And a vital part of that effort must come in shifting our own advocacy from the language of rights to the language of commitment.

There are three reasons that setting aside the rights argument in favor of talking about lifetime commitment is crucial.

First, most Americans don’t think about their own marriages in terms of rights. Although marriage provides important protections for families, the institution and the ideal of marriage transcend spousal Social Security benefits or joint tax filing. When asked to describe marriage in their own words, people in the middle use words like “commitment,” “responsibility,” “fidelity,” and “a big step.” And when contemplating why couples like themselves get married, they overwhelmingly say it’s “to publicly acknowledge their love and commitment to each other.” The description of marriage that Americans most frequently cited in another round of our research was “a lifetime commitment between two people through good times and bad.” There is a stunning consistency among these responses—and the shared theme is commitment, not rights.

Secondly, understanding that gay couples want to marry for similar reasons as other couples do—to make a public promise of lifetime commitment—drives support for allowing us to do so. Those who thought gay couples marry for commitment in our most recent poll were substantially more likely to support allowing those couples to marry; in fact, a whopping 3/5ths supported marriage, while 3/5ths of those who believed gay couples marry to get a basket of rights opposed it.

Third, if we continue to identify a lack of rights as the problem, civil unions may continue to be the answer for many in the middle. While there are differences between the rights afforded by state civil unions and marriages, continuing to argue that what we’re after is the 1138 federal rights of marriage gives those who aren’t comfortable with allowing gay couples to marry an easy out. We’ve heard it over and over again: “Give them all the rights of marriage, just don’t call it marriage.” And if we’re asking for rights, why wouldn’t we be satisfied with that answer?

Instead, using a framework of commitment shows what is really at stake. It isn’t about pensions or tax forms—it’s about joining the tradition that plays such an important role in American families, communities, and society. It’s about making those solemn vows in front of the people you care most about, promising to be faithful to your partner for the rest of your life. And it’s about having your friends and family pledge to support you in that sometimes difficult task. Those deeply personal, admirable, and incomparable promises just can’t be approximated with some made-up legal category.

This week, Third Way is launching a Commitment Campaign to help deepen support for marriage among those in the middle by persuading them that gay couples want to marry to make a lifetime commitment, not simply for rights and benefits. We’ll work with policymakers and advocates in states with marriage legislation and ballot initiatives, aid in the efforts to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act at the federal level, and help to build public support for marriage to prepare for a possible Supreme Court decision on the issue. The Commitment Campaign already has the bipartisan support of prominent political leaders and activists including Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D), former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee (I), Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), and former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman (R), among others. Our hope is that by shifting the focus to commitment, we can correct the misperception about why gay couples want to marry and hasten the time when committed gay couples across the country will be able to make those precious vows.

Lanae Erickson is the Deputy Director of Social Policy & Politics at Third Way, a moderate think tank in Washington, D.C.