No Freedom ’til We’re Equal.

A slightly terrifying fact has recently come to my attention: I am now the same age that my father was when he proposed to my mother. They met and fell in love while attending college in Louisiana. Afterward, my mother moved back to her home state of Florida to attend law school while my father commuted to a job on Capitol Hill from his new home in Virginia. They were married in Tampa Bay, Florida on May 31st, 1981. After my mother graduated, they settled down in Virginia, where they raised three (gorgeous, talented, intelligent, awesome) kids and have remained in all the years since. They’ve been married for almost 32 years, and, if all goes according to plan, will remain that way until they die. They’ll be able to visit each other in the hospital, inherit what is legally due to them, and will have benefited for decades from hundreds of rights, privileges, and benefits afforded to them by virtue of being a married couple in the eyes of both their state and their country. They’ll have had rights that they never took advantage of and maybe some that they never even knew or thought about, like most married couples. Because that’s how this country’s government works.

When my dad proposed to my mom all those years ago, I doubt either of them thought much about the possibility of having a kid who would someday be their age, over three decades later in the year 2012, and that he would be a second class citizen of the country in which he was born and raised. I don’t think it occurred to them that they would have a son who, through no fault of his own, would be denied the same rights that they had taken for granted. But that’s exactly what’s happened.

I remember vividly the night that New York passed The Marriage Equality Act in June 2011. Max and I took the subway into the West Village and joined the celebration outside of the Stonewall Inn. We shook hands, hugged strangers, took pictures, bought a polyester rainbow flag (or was it given to us?), and let ourselves feel the weight of what New York had accomplished. Neither of us had ever been close to getting married ourselves—had never personally felt the sting of being told we couldn’t—but still I remember the feeling on the subway ride back home. There was a certain lightness, an indescribable feeling of knowing that our city—our state—regarded us as equals. We were finally granted the same respect that had always been reserved only for our straight peers. It meant that we weren’t outliers, that we weren’t hated, or disparaged, or better off hiding who we were. We were—we are—people, just like everybody else.

I want everybody in this country to have the same feeling I felt that night, and continue to feel as a person lucky enough to live in New York. Unfortunately, it only takes a trip to my home in Virginia, or down to visit my grandmother in Florida, or to any of the 43 states that have legislated away my access to basic civil rights to be reminded of how far we have to go as a nation.

I have yet to hear an argument against gay marriage that is not steeped in bigotry, hate, or often masked by religion. As much as Republicans would like to rewrite history, as often as their vice presidential nominee wants to say “I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or their faith,” this is not a Christian nation. Our laws and institutions are pointedly and purposefully separate from religion. Nobody is suggesting that your place of worship or religious leader has to perform a gay marriage. The request is simple: to have the same rights under the law. Separate is not equal, and anything less will not do.

I know people who are voting for Republicans. Some of these people I even count as friends. When I talk to them about it, the general response seems to be that they don’t “personally” support discrimination, even if discrimination is central to Republican social policy. Let me be clear: there is nothing more personal than a vote. By voting for Mitt Romney, you are casting a vote for discrimination. You are casting a vote against me, against my family, against equality, against fairness, against love, against freedom, against the promise of liberty and justice for all. A vote for this Republican party, as it stands in 2012, is a vote for discrimination. You are complicit in it, you are supporting it, you are perpetuating it. There is no other way to look at it, and it’s truly heartbreaking to see people I otherwise respect blind to this fact.

The choice in this election couldn’t be clearer, and not just on this issue. It’s the difference between a president who cares about the future of our education system, our public sector workers, and the social programs that attempt to keep those in need afloat, versus a party who doesn’t. It’s the difference between a president who has regained much of our respect in the world and has a proven record of successful foreign policy experience, versus a candidate with no experience, Bush’s foreign policy advisors, and reckless and wildly inconsistent ideas about the rest of the world. It’s the difference between a president who supports rights for women to receive equal pay for equal work, to have access to contraception, and to seek a safe and legal abortion if necessary, versus a party who would deny all of these rights. It’s a choice between a President who has dug this economy out of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression versus a party who wants to return to the policies that caused the collapse in the first place. It’s the choice between a president who regards global warming as a real and tangible threat versus a party who thinks the climate change is a hoax, a joke, or both. It’s the difference between a president who doesn’t think you should go broke or die because of medical costs, versus a party that sees only the bottom line for the insurance industry. It’s the choice between a president who believes in equality versus a party who believes so profoundly in discrimination that they would amend our Constitution to reflect their extreme ideology. And that’s just off the top of my head.

To be clear, President Obama still supports states in legislating their own marriage laws, as ridiculous as that proposition is. His personal support for marriage equality does not actually represent a tangible shift in policy positions. Still, I’m not sure I can describe to a straight person how invaluable it is to have somebody in the White House who acknowledges me, who respects me, who stands in support of my rights where so many others have sat down or gone on the attack. Obama is an advocate and an ally for the gay community, and I am proud to call him my president as a gay American. An Obama presidency is not the answer, but it’s a pretty damn good place to start.

So please, go vote on Tuesday. Even if you think your vote doesn’t matter, if you don’t live in a swing state or you’ve never voted before, please vote. If you live in Washington or Maine or Maryland or Minnesota, please vote. Vote for me. Vote for my family—present and future. Vote for me to someday have the same rights as my parents. To have the same rights as you. Stand up against inequality, and stand with a president who has done the same.

Please.

OK, this video made me weepy. If you would like to donate for Washington state’s Referendum 74 for marriage equality, please go here.

If you would like to make a difference in this presidential election, here’s a pretty awesome, fun, and free way to do it.

Back to regularly scheduled programming next week.

Life
Tagged:

Lisa Congdon is made of magic.

First of all, thank you for all of the well-wishes and supportive comments, e-mails, and tweets over the last few days regarding the hurricane. Max, Mekko, Linus, and I are all totally fine—we didn’t even lose power and aside from a few downed trees, our neighborhood was largely unaffected by the storm. Right now we’re just feeling very lucky to live where we do, and our thoughts are with those who weren’t nearly as lucky. If you feel so inclined, you can easily text REDCROSS to 90999 to immediately give $10 to the disaster relief. 

On to slightly lighter matters…my internet-friend Lisa Congdon is made of magic. I don’t even remember how I found Lisa originally, but not only is she one very talented artist, she’s also an incredible person. I love keeping up with her, her fiancé, Clay, and their adorable Chihuahua, Wilfredo (she even got a tattoo of him!) via Instagram and Twitter, and I love following her blog and her current 365 Days of Hand Lettering Project. From illustrating for the Obama campaign to biking 545 miles in 7 days for the AIDS Lifecycle, Lisa is just one of those people who seems to have boundless energy and enthusiasm for whatever she’s doing—which usually seems to be about 10,000 things at once. Even though we’ve never actually met (we’ll fix that someday!), I just think she’s incredibly inspirational and, well, super awesome.

Today, Lisa’s three new wallpaper patterns (each of which come in a few color ways) launched at Hygge and West and holy shit, they are goooood. I pretty much want to buy all of them and wrap my life in them and live forever in a wonderful little world engulfed by Lisa’s whackadoo amazingness.

I love this Bohemian pattern (it also comes in a very pretty light grey!) and totally want to use it somewhere. It’s gold. It’s glam. It’s great.

Also, ferns. Give me the ferns. In gold, black, or green. Gimme.

Not surprisingly, this is my favorite. Amazing, right? I’m very probably definitely going to need a roll of this charcoal/gold Triangles pattern somewhere in my life. Or maybe in black? Or maybe in grey and pink? I’m not picky.

Guh. It’s all so good. I’m so proud of Lisa and so happy to see her work presented in yet another beautiful format. Congrats, Lisa!

(this post was in no way sponsored, I just think Lisa is the bee’s knees and this wallpaper is the hotness.)

I Like This
Tagged:

Sandy

You might have heard that we’re having some extreme weather in New York, what with Hurricane Sandy barreling up the coast and wreaking general havoc and inconvenience in her path. Yesterday, both NYU and Parsons announced cancellations for today, and today they’ve already announced for tomorrow. While our hearts go out to anybody and everybody who might actually be affected by the storm in any way, I’m privately and very selfishly thrilled to get a couple days to lounge around and pretend I’m a rich housewife or an agoraphobe, both long-held aspirations of mine.

Yesterday we went to the grocery store and battled huge crowds and very long lines to stock up on “the essentials.” The great (or horrifying) thing about Brooklyn is that nobody really has any idea what the essentials are, so a pretty standard shopping basket tends to hold some combination of frozen pizza, ice cream, a six-pack of beer (or more), and maybe a can of soup and a gallon of water, just because that’s what everyone else seems to be doing. People basically treat this stuff like a city-wide mandate to just stay inside and smoke pot for a couple days, which is pretty cute. Brooklynites would probably be the first to perish in a zombie apocalypse, but they’d do it with style and probably while working on a puzzle, eating kale chips, and watching Twin Peaks.

Like the rest of the borough, we have no fucking idea what to buy. For non-perishables, we basically picked up a couple cans of beans and called it a day before turning our attention to something more important/delicious: baking. We very rarely bake but something about being stuck inside has gotten us into the spirit.

We started with the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie (the recipe is just on the back of the chocolate chip package, or here). A delicious classic.

While Max was making Toll House magic, I moved on to my grandma’s oatmeal raisin cookie recipe! Max isn’t a fan of these cookies, but I love them. It’s a family recipe so I’d need to get permission before posting it, but I love me some oatmeal raisin.

I also tried my hand at Post Punk Kitchen’s vegan Marbled Banana Bread, which Anna made once while we were hanging out about two years ago. It’s a super delicious recipe and very, very easy to make.

I might need to make another batch, since one slice just really isn’t enough.

Otherwise, we’ve been hanging out, getting some work done, making popcorn and watching some trashy TV. Long Island Medium is my new very favorite thing in the world, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is really shitty, and we’re considering buying Safety Not Guaranteed on iTunes because Aubry Plaza. <3.

We bought the dogs their own little matching American Apparel hoodies yesterday (they’re only $16!) so they could get their cozy on, and it’s pretty adorable. They are not at all concerned or anxious about the storm and I think are just enjoying having us all hang out together for a couple days.

Be safe, everybody!

 

Dresser

You have rented a Zipcar and conned your boyfriend into accompanying you on a great schlep out to Long Island. You were supposed to meet Crystal, let’s call her, at 7 pm. But now it’s two hours later, it’s dark, it’s pouring rain, and Crystal is very, very late. You’re sitting in said Zipcar on a pitch-black residential street in front of the closest approximation of the address you’ve been given, which doesn’t actually exist. Crystal has been 10 minutes away for the last hour and a half, and the sneaking suspicion that you are being pranked is overshadowed only by the worry that you are about to be brutally murdered. You consider just leaving, just calling the whole thing off, just saying fuck it and hitting the road, back to Brooklyn, back to safety, but you’ve already come all this way. And waited this long. And rented a fucking mini-van. So you sit, the engine stalled, waiting for the phone to ring.

Crystal finally shows up with her “asshole husband,” as she referred to him an hour earlier by telephone. The sleeves of his shirt are cut off and he sports a modest though distinctive mullet. They pull up in front of a dark house and get out of their station wagon—a small Chihuahua, we’ll call him Rocco, in tow. Crystal looks exhausted. Her husband looks pissed. Rocco looks nervous. You make introductions quickly—it’s dark and raining and late and everyone wants to get this over with—before Crystal and her man lead the way to a dark front porch and open the front door of the house to a completely dark foyer. You stand on the porch, exchanging nervous glances with your boyfriend, who stands three steps behind you. Crystal and her husband cannot find a light switch and begin arguing with each other, then suggesting you join in the cause. Ain’t no fucking way, you think. I is smart, I is kind, I is important, and I is not about to walk into this fucking house and be blindsided by a couple of Long Island serial killers. Fuck no. Not tonight. Not for this.

They finally find the light switch and the house is revealed—sensible, polite, carpeted, nearly empty. The walls are the color of custard. It smells like the 1970s but looks like the 1990s. “This way,” they say, moving toward a set of stairs on the left. Against your better judgement, you follow them. They hadn’t mentioned anything about stairs. You get to the top, turn right, and enter the first room on your right. A switch is thrown, the room illuminates, and there they are, exactly as they looked in the pictures.

Welcome to Craigslist.

This all started when my awesome friend Maya, who is a genie of all things thrift, dug up this unassuming ad on Craigslist. She knew that I’d been looking for a dresser for a while (after we moved my desk out of the bedroom and into the living room), but New York City is pretty much the worst place to buy nice furniture if you can’t pay for nice furniture, and I’d been coming up completely dry. We really needed a dresser—with one small closet between the two of us, we were both completely tired of trying to maintain the “organization” of clothes shoved in a hanging shoe bags and cumbersome bins. I was *this close* to just buying the IKEA TARVA 6-drawer dresser and trying to make it semi-pretty (I have no idea how), but Maya caught me in the knick of time.

I obviously don’t have room for two huge mid-century dressers, but it turned out that if I could go get them, Maya would take one off my hands. So by buying both, we were already down to $200 a piece, and when I got there I haggled down another $100 because of some flaws in the condition (veneer chips, cigarette burns, standard vintage fare) but mostly because these wacky consignment folks made me wait for so long that I knew they’d agree and I would feel better for my struggle. For a $150 gorgeous dresser (which was really more like $250, once the cost of the Zipcar was factored in, in fairness), I’ll wait a good long time.

(Plus, I got to go see Maya’s house, which is like a magical wonderland of awesome. I never wanted to leave.)

As soon as we hauled this beast up to our 5th floor walk-up at around 2 in the morning, I had to go return the Zipcar and by the time I got home, Max had already somehow dragged it into place and covered the top with piles of books and other…stuff. I have been so busy that I haven’t even taken the time to give the thing a proper cleaning and TLC, but come on—that’s a good looking hunk of wood. And it’s going to look amazing once I get around to cleaning off all the old layers of furniture polish and crap. I’ll make this thing so happy it came to live with me, it’ll never want to leave.

It’s pretty large (and deeper than the desk was), and looked totally crazy to us at first. But now that I’m used to it, I’m so into it. I think I’m going to try to polish up those little amazing brass handles while I’m working on the wood—they’ll never look brand new, but that’s what I like about the idea. I just want a little more brass. Love me some brass.

Ignore the crap on top and just look at that sexy sexy dresser. We have too much crap.

So, I’m just going to call it: SHELVING FAIL. I hate those shelves so very much.

They have to go. It’s not super high on the list of priorities and I’m still tossing around ideas about what to do with all of the many many books (kindling?), but this just isn’t working. I hate how the shelves are all crooked and how the L-brackets can’t stand up to the weight and how there isn’t enough room and…I made a mistake. These were kind of thrown up in a moment of desperation and panic (Max moved in –> 34,765,234,238,754,973 books moved in), but my dislike has only grown in the intervening months and something’s got to give. I’ll fix it.

But dresser. At least we have a dresser.

I solved breakfast and this is what it looks like.

I am a dinner person. Some people say they aren’t “breakfast people,” but I like to take that a step further because sometimes I also forget to be a “lunch person” or a “snack person” and just do most of my eating between the hours of 9 PM and 2 AM. I think this makes me what some would call an “animal.”

But sometimes on weekends, I get this itch to make breakfast. I don’t think it has much to do with hunger, but I like the process of the whole thing—the cooking, the plating, the cleaning up, the rush of pouring time and effort into something I generally regard as worthless. Afterward, it’s nice to sit around with Max and read the paper or, more accurately, not read the paper and catch up on the shows that our TV has recorded throughout the week.

The problem is that I never know what to make. Part of not being a breakfast person is that I don’t really like most breakfast foods, particularly the ones I can create myself. This includes pancakes, waffles, cereal, oatmeal, granola, yogurt, and various simple egg dishes. Give me a plate of eggs florentine at any brunch, but you can take yourself straight to hell if you think I’m about to try to make it.

But one fateful Saturday when I opened my refrigerator and surveyed the ingredients, a wave of inspiration overtook me. It was that day that I made/invented the recipe/miracle that would later come to be known simply as “delicious breakfast.” And now you can, too.

DELICIOUS BREAKFAST (serves 2-4, depending on gluttony)

2 ripe avocados
4 eggs
2 whole wheat bagels
Sriracha Sauce

Step 1: In your fridge, you will find two ripe avocados. Cut them in half and scrape out the innards into a bowl.

Depending on what else you have around, you might want to add other stuff to make this more or less like guacamole. I suggest some lime juice, some salt, some diced onion, and a whole bunch of cilantro, if you have it. I often don’t have cilantro on hand so I’ll just include as many of those ingredients as I can find and call it a day. Use your imagination. Trust your instincts. Breakfast is already the worst meal of the day so you can’t fuck it up too bad.

Aside: having a butcher block countertop is the BEST. I love it. I’ll never understand people who buy butcher block and then refuse to cut on it. That’s the fucking point. Plus, I kind of think it looks better over time, when it gets a million cut marks in it and all of a sudden your kitchen has some character and you look very dreamy and very gourmet for making all those cut marks in your countertop.

Step 2: Mash all that stuff together in a bowl with a fork. It’s OK if it’s still a little chunky. Better, actually.

Aside: buy Hass avocados. Never buy those big smooth shiny ones. You’ll say to yourself, “hey, these are half the price! Why isn’t anyone buying these large cheap avocados? Why are people so foolish with their money?” And then you will try one and you’ll understand the true meaning of evil because it will be unfolding in your mouth.

Aside-Aside: Have you heard these commercials on the radio advertising avocados from Mexico? I don’t really get how a fruit gets a radio advertisement endorsing its fabulous qualities (“it’s a great way to dress up tuna!”), but I would like to find out. Also it makes me laugh every time because WTF why are they advertising avocados on the radio? Everyone knows what an avocado is (delicious) and where you might procure one (at the grocery store, dummy).

Step 3: Fry up those eggs. The secret to a good fried egg with crispy edges is a lot of butter. You’re welcome!

Aside: I don’t think it’s possible to take an appetizing photo of eggs while they’re in the process of frying.

Steps 4-8: Toast your bagels. After toasting, spread a thick layer of your avocado mash/guacamole on top. Then slide a freshly fried egg on top, do some fancy stuff with sriracha, and serve. Eat like an open-face bagel and make a delicious mess. One is a completely sufficient, satisfying meal, but both is what you want.

Aside: the consumption of this meal is very messy so it’s a good way to test your relationships and friendships. Probably not the best thing to make if you’re still trying to woo someone, but if you’ve already finagled them into living with you and getting a bunch of dogs, go for it.

Aside-aside: last time I visited my BFF Chandler in Portland, she wanted to make me this great breakfast she invented, and it was this exact combination of ingredients, minus the sriracha. We’d both come up with it independently and both continued to make it over and over again. Are we an X-File?

Back to Top