Thursday, March 26, 2009

Food for thought....

This a guest post written by my husband. He sent it to me in an email and granted permission to post it on my blog. Despite all the really harsh and raw things on my blog, I do still love him and will always think he is a beautiful person inside and out, and this post just confirms that....

For many years, food has been an important metaphor in my life. I grew up on a farm, we had a huge garden that my grandfather helped us to plant and I loved cooking with my mom from the time that I was 7 or 8. When I went to college I became a baker and then later I became a pastry chef and a cook at a major hotel. Food can be grounding. When you chop up tomatoes and onions, mince garlic, add fresh herbs, and then labor over it in the kitchen, you are taking the best that Mother Earth has to offer, adding a little of your own love, and then serving it to people you love unconditionally.

When we were married, we prepared much of the reception food with the help of our friends and families. Since our own wedding, we have helped others celebrate by freely helping them with our own 'catering skills'. We've shared many great moments in the kitchen and even great times cleaning up in others' kitchens.

When I moved out, it was important that I find a place to rent with a big kitchen, and I immediately filled it with cooking tools, a new Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, and the best tools I can find. I purchased vacuum sealing equipment so that I could impress my friends with Sous Vide cooking, the new rage in professional circles. Yet, after a couple of months, my kitchen became empty and bare, not of professional tools, fresh ingredients, or of cookbooks. I noticed it was barren without the love and teamwork that had been in the kitchen in our home.

Sometimes, as gay men, we put one virtue ahead of all others, the idea of love or sexual affection. We become convinced that we were somehow cheated out of a normal measurement of this ingredient and then we become obsessed with seeking it. This idea of love or sexual affection is a little bit like sugar. In appropriate amounts, in a cookie or a cake, it adds sweetness. If there is too much, the cake will collapse, the cookie becomes too hard, or it dominates the other ingredients. I believe, what I've often found in the gay world, is an obsession with finding sugar, a kind of saccharine substitute for real love and the true mix of virtues and emotions that come with it.

On Tuesday, I had the chance to cook again in our old kitchen. It was for me, a powerful and wonderful experience. I found a fun recipe on the Internet and purchased fresh ingredients, chopped them up, and saw as each of these strong ingredients--garlic, onions, thyme, cream, stock, chicken, pasta, parsley and stock came together to make a great dish, chicken tettrazini. It was a dish prepared with love and a bit of hope. My parents came by unexpectedly and then you helped me serve the dish. The kids loved it, my parents did, and you did also. The dish was well blended and the ingredients were harmonious.

Pieces of me (he used my real name), I miss the many different ingredients in our marriage. I miss the cooking. And I miss the love. No amount of adoration from my gay friends makes up for the emptiness I now feel in my own kitchen. I could make the best Sous Vide dish in the world, but without you it always seems to fall flat. I hope we can cook together some more and find ingredients that will make it work.

(my husband's name)

Monday, March 23, 2009

525,600 Minutes

525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes –
how do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.

In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?How about love? How about love? How about love?
Measure in love. Seasons of love.

525,600 minutes! 525,000 journeys to plan. 525,600 minutes –
how can you measure the life of a woman or man?

In truths that she learned, or in times that he cried.
In bridges he burned, or the way that she died.

It’s time now to sing out, tho the story never ends let's celebrate remember a year in the life of friends.

Remember the love! Remember the love! Remember the love!
Measure in love. Seasons of love! Seasons of love.

-Seasons of Love, from RENT

Its been a year, that would be 525,600 minutes to be exact since my husband came out to me. In many ways it seems just like yesterday, in other ways it feels like a very LONG year, measured in daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee, (or rather diet coke). In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.

In daylights that reminded me I had to get out of bed and face the world when I really did not want to. In sunsets that reminded me of the love I have for my children as I put them to bed. In midnights when the house was quiet and I had time to reflect and cry openly. In diet Coke that kept me going EVERY day. In inches, which is generally how far I felt I was moving forward on a daily basis. In miles, which is how far forward I actually moved. In laughter as I was reminded of the good friends I have, and in strife as I have felt my own sorrow and the sorrow of others, especially my husband.

In truths that she learned, or in times that he cried.

In truths I have learned, so many truths. Truths like I am a stronger person than I allow myself to believe. Truths like I am physically attractive. Truths like I am really, really good mom. Truths like people are complicated, including me. Truths like I have my own faults but I can recognize those and CHANGE is possible. Truths like growth is painful, but I and we, are a better because of it. Truths like some people will never get it or understand, and I can't change that, so I am going to chose not to be bothered by it. Truths like helping each other is the most IMPORTANT thing we as human beings can do for each other. And the most important truth, my Heavenly Father has an absolute unconditional love for me.

In times I know he cried for all the changes, for all the judgements, for all heartache he felt he was causing me, the kids and his family, when in reality we cried for him and the difficult realities he was processing.

It’s time now to sing out, tho the story never ends let's celebrate remember a year in the life of friends.

Remember the love! Remember the love! Remember the love!
Measure in love. Seasons of love! Seasons of love.

The story does not end, it continues as well as the journey for both of us. Where the journey takes us and how the story ends has yet to be written, or decided for that matter. What can be measured is the LOVE. The love we still have for each other, for our children, for our families who struggle to understand and accept, for our friends who only want us to be happy.

We can remember the love of all of those around us the last year who have reached out to help, to understand, to provide comfort, to advise, but most of us to remind us we can't travel this journey alone. We need to get by with a little help from our friends, and friends can also be spouses who forge ahead both together and alone trying understand and enjoy each Season of Love.

Here's to another 525,600 minutes and the Seasons of Love to be had......

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I have several scars, from past injuries. There is the scar that is near my eyebrow from hitting my head on the metal frame of a bunk bed in the dark. There is a scar on my knee from the rocks on the playground at my elementary school. And the scar I am most proud of is the one that can be found where my abdomen meets my pelvis, from the three c-sections that represent the birth of each child. Then there are the emotional scars….

It was almost five years ago to the day that I sat in an LDS chapel in Provo, across from the temple, for the funeral of a friend of mine. I would have liked to call her a “dear” friend, but I had not known her long enough to fall into that category. She was my boss. She had only been my boss for six months. During that six months she was a friend, mentor, and role model for me. I soaked up every word, every piece of advice, every suggestion she offered. As a judge she had a mature sense of wisdom, with a sense of right and wrong and fairness. Little did I know in 10 months time I would be attempting to fill her enormous shoes, and relying on every bit of wisdom I had learned from her in our short time together.

She died unexpectedly, without warning. No illness, no accident, just a silent peaceful passing, a call to return home. She was young, 48, leaving a husband, and three children, all girls, 19, 15 and 10. Her death was a shock to all. I sat in the chapel or rather the overflow in the cultural hall, among my co-workers. As I sat I pondered the last time I sat in a chapel for a similar reason. It was the funeral for my mother 14 years earlier. She too was young, 46, I was 22, my brother was 15 my sisters were 10 and 7.

Her daughters filed into the chapel with their father, and other members of the family. As I looked at her daughters, whom I knew she cherished above all else, I ached for them. I had taken that walk 14 years earlier. I knew what they were feeling, but more importantly I knew what lay ahead for them in the days, weeks, months and years to come, and they adjusted life without their mother, whom I knew had been a larger than life figure in their life just as my mother had been in mine.

I pondered the change in my life during the last 14 years, and as much as I ached for them I knew time would be the best healing medicine I could prescribe for them. Time having helped me make it through the roughest part of the grieving, with now only occasional moments of sadness to remind me of my humanity. I knew they would grow, I knew they would change, I knew they would become stronger women and most importantly I knew their mother would be closer than they thought, even though many days she would feel very far away.

Several days after the funeral I had the unenviable task of taking the items from her desk at work to her house. I was greeted at the door by her husband and I expressed my sadness and sympathy at her passing. We chatted for a few minutes and I shared with him the death of my mother at a young age too. He asked me “Does this get better?” I recall my answer “Time, time is the only thing that will make things seem better.” I recall the disappointed look in his eyes.

Oddly enough I now find myself having to swallow the bitter pill of my own advice. Time, it’s a four letter word, and in my book right now not a good one. I know in time the strong emotions I am feeling now will be tempered by newly found wisdom, and growth. I know time will heal the wound that seems so open and raw right now. And in time even though the wound will be healed, the scar will remain as a reminder of injury and the miracle of time.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I am a mason, I’ll bet you did not know that. I am building walls. Okay, not in physical sense, but in an emotional sense. I can feel it. I can feel brick by brick the wall getting taller every day, and probably being reinforced with steel. It’s a barrier, but you know of course because it is my wall the stone work is gorgeous.

I never want to feel this vulnerable and hurt again, I won’t if I build that wall and refuse to let anyone in. I have good cause to build this wall. For the last twenty years, with the exception of my children, anyone who I have allowed to penetrate that wall has left me, abandon me. Some have left willingly, some have left unwillingly. I either event I am left to pick up the pieces and move on. Alone, by myself, relying on myself, as usual.

I wonder what it would be like to have a true partner. Someone who loves you unconditionally, someone to be with you through thick and thin, willing to accept challenges and meet them head on, not run away. I doubt in this life I will ever know that….

Then I think about one of my favorite songs, “The Dance” whose message is I could have missed the pain but I would have missed the dance. The dance was good, very, very good. I am glad I did not miss the dance. I am thankful for the opportunity to dance.

Anyone know a good wrecking crew? I have a wall or two that needs some work…..

Friday, March 6, 2009

Toto, we are not in Utah County anymore….

Recently I traveled out of town for a family function. Living in Utah is unique enough as it is, but Utah County is a whole world unto itself. Whenever I do leave the state I am amazed there is a whole world beyond the borders of Utah that looks and acts very different, and it reminds me I need to leave more often, in order to maintain balance in my life.

As I sat waiting for my flight I enjoyed the people watching. One of the first things I noticed was a young girl around 25 with bleached blonde hair walking from one airplane gate to the next. She was wearing a short, tight, black dress with black tights. Her skirt was too short and she kept tugging at it to pull it down. The black dress and tights were not as striking as her accessories. She had on neon pink stiletto boots that went about half way up her calf, with a matching neon scarf and hat. I was surprised she was not boarding the flight to Vegas, because she looked like a billboard you would see there.

Once arrived at my destination, I headed to the car rental counter only to find eight customers ahead of me and ONE clerk working the counter. I quickly surmised that I was going to be there for a while. I started looking at the customers in line ahead of me to pass the time. Directly ahead of me was a man I dubbed “Mr. Florida” He was a retiree, with silver/gray hair slicked back, with his aviator style glasses on. He wore tan polyester leisure pants with grey patent leather shoes. His wife, a similar looking retiree was with him.

As I looked ahead further in line I noticed one of the best female mullets I have ever seen. The lady was in her late 40’s early 50’s, but her hair was stuck in the 80’s. It was a dark red color, short and curly on top, with straight kind of side burn looking pieces by her ears, and of course long and straight in back. As I sat there I pondered if I could get a picture of this fine piece of time warped hair without being too obvious and having her husband come and physical remove my cell phone with a camera from my hand. Her back was to me, and so was his so one quick shot and I would be done. By the time I got the courage to take the picture it was their turn at the counter, and while I tried to get a picture, they were too far away for you to appreciate the fine specimen of hair she was sporting.

Finally a few minutes after I had joined the back of the line, and individual got in line behind me. I dubbed him “Mr. Cue Ball” due to his shaved head. He was kind of a Telly Savalas character, only weighing about 60 pounds more. He wasn’t fat, just thick. It was clear he worked out. He was not happy about the long line and lack of counter help, surmising as I did that it was going to be a long wait. As I stood in line and we moved forward he too moved forward, making comments under his breath about the lack of speedy service at the counter. He kept inching forward, closer and closer to me. Was it my perfume, did he think I smelled good that morning, and wanted more of my flavorful aroma? Maybe he was trying to “hit” on me, looking for a date while in Vegas, perhaps he wanted to say my long flowing curly locks smell terrific. NO. He was under the impression that if he violated my personal space to get closer to the front of the line that some how this would make the car rental clerk move faster and he would be on his way to his appointed destination sooner. By the time I got to the front of the line he was within 6 inches of my personal space, and I was feeling pretty uncomfortable to be unnecessarily violated by a complete stranger who clearly had room to step back a foot or two. I considered saying something to him, but then I looked at the size of his arms and recalled his already edgy state of mind I decided my personal space could be violated a little longer.

Too bad you can’t pass a deadly but silent one when you need it….that probably would have cured the problem! Note to self, eat more beans before next trip to ward off people who feel it necessary to violate my SPACE.

Monday, March 2, 2009


How often I have sat in a church meeting looking at the clock counting the minutes until the meeting is over, not getting anything out of the meeting. Yet at the conclusion of the meeting others will say they felt the spirit and were touched. Were we sitting in the same meeting? Why didn’t I feel the same?

Recently I was sitting in a church meeting, feeling the spirit and a good friend whom I know was struggling with her own trials got up and left. She did not have anywhere she needed to be, it was just the speaker was hitting too close to home, and it was painful for her. Walking away was easier than facing reality. I felt bad. I was feeling peace and calm from the speaker, yet she was feeling angst. She was not ready to hear what was being said to her, I was. That’s the funny thing with the spirit, it does not come to you, you come to it, when you are ready.