Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yoga Master

I've never been much of a consistent exerciser. I love to walk and I love to participate in aerobic classes at the gym, but that's about the extent of my exercise regimen...and now that I don't belong to a gym (and haven't for 5 years) my only exercise comes from walking and sex (if you think sex is worthy of being called exercise, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't). Either way, I am not consistent in my exercise.

I also go through phases of exercising - I'll find something I really like such as kick-boxing and I will dive in, kick-box for a few months, and then kick-box myself right out of my phase.

My current phase is yoga. I am in love with downward facing dog and the sun salutations. I could downward dog all day long and I am proud to say that my dog is getting better and better. The dog and I are tight.

Journal of another phase? Hope not.

****UPDATE for my girl: Cobra

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I have been Walking with Dinosaurs

Check out what I was doing on Wednesday night:

Journal of [] Awe-someness

Passport to freedom

Yesterday I read the good news about the Federal Government's new passport name change policy. Our hard-working friends at GLAD filed a lawsuit in March when newly married Keith Toney changed his last name to match his husband's and daughter's last name. The state of Massachusetts readily changed his name on all state documents but the federal passport office would not honor his marriage license as a means to change his name on his passport. This causes problems when someone has two legal names.

I wrote about my disappointment when learning of the law here.

Due to the lawsuit, the State Department has changed its policy regarding name changes for same-sex couples who marry or who have a legal civil union or domestic partnership. Go GLAD! Go Department of State!

Journal of a frequent flyer

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oh Fresno.....

I grew up in Fresno, CA, which has been in the news quite often lately because of its high percentage of yes on 8 votes. To bring even more visibility to the issue in California, Equality California hosted a big she-bang called Meet in the Middle in Fresno, the Saturday after the CA Supreme Court denied overturning prop 8.

Today, Fresno is back in the news with an unsettling story of a lesbian couple denied visitation and consultation in a Fresno hospital. The hopital where I was born. Box Turtle Bulletin shared the story:

By Jim Burroway

That’s right. Hospitals denying same-sex couples visitation rights and the ability to make medical decisions for each other can happen even in California.

[Kristin] Orbin and her partner of 3½ years, Teresa Rowe, 30, who live in Northern California, were in Fresno for Meet in the Middle 4 Equality, an event protesting the California Supreme Court’s ruling upholding Proposition 8.

After marching 14 miles in Central Valley heat, Orbin (who is epileptic) collapsed and suffered three grand mal seizures. A doctor at a first aid center had difficulty finding her pulse, so he called 911.

Orbin said the discrimination started as soon as the paramedics arrived.

“By that time, I was going in and out of consciousness. The paramedics wanted nothing to do with Teresa and she had to practically fight them to be allowed to ride in the ambulance. I remember one of them was very nice and agreed to let her ride with me in the back. Once we got to the hospital, they wheeled me into a hallway and left me, refusing to allow Teresa to be with me.”

The problem with the hospital started when the paramedic informed the emergency room nurse on duty that Kristin was a Meet in the Middle marcher. The nurse didn’t like that.

Fresno Community Hospital and Medical Center refused to accept Kirstin’s medical cards from Teresa, and they refused Teresa’s offer to have their medical advance directives and power of attorney faxed to them. They even refused to accept Teresa’s warning that Kirstin suffered massive migraines if she were given the benzodiazapine Ativan, which they tried to give Kirsten when she woke up. Kirstin was finally able to join Teresa when a doctor arrived a few hours later.

I had hesitated in posting about this when the story appeared because there was only one news source for it. But now that the American Civil Liberties Union has investigated and found that there is considerable merit to the allegations. In fact, because Kirstin has epilepsy, trips to the hospital is fairly normal. In a statement from the ACLU, Teresa said:

“Unfortunately, because Kristin suffers from epilepsy, trips to the hospital are pretty common for us, which is why we filled out the legal paper work to make sure I would be able to be with her and make emergency decisions about her care. But the hospital wouldn’t let me see Kristen and ignored my advice about her treatment. They ended up giving her the exact medication I repeatedly asked them not to give her.”

The ACLU and the National Center for Lesbian Rights sent a joint letter to the hospital today urging that it adopt policy changes with regard to same-sex relationships. It cites California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which provides that “no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status or sexual orientation are entitled to the full and equal accomodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services…” The letter requires Fresno Community Hospital to take the following steps before June 22, 2009:

1. Adopt a comprehensive visitaiton policy that:

Affirms all patients’ rights to have visitors, explicitly including same-sex partners and their children;

Outlines a clear process for determining when visitors will be restricted and how that decision will be communicated; and

Includes a grievance procedure in the case of visitation denial that can be acted on quickly in an emergency situation;

2. Ensure that your hospitals’ non-discrimination policy explicitly describes LGBT individuals as a protected group;

3. Ensure that your patients’ bill of rights explicitly describes the rights of LGBT patients;

4. Provide LGBT healthcare training to the Emergency Department staff at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno; and

5. Participate in the 2009 Healthcare Equality Index, an annual survey of healthcare industry policies and practices related to LGBT individuals and families.

Last week I printed out health care proxies/directives for B and I to fill out. We know it's important - very important. But, they are still sitting at home, blank. This story makes me want to run home and fill them out RIGHT NOW. This story makes me so angry and so scared and causes me to reflect on the situation in this country. Yes, we are much further forward in our civil rights battle than we were yesterday, but I could end up in a hospital tomorrow without B by my side. That scares me. I also know that this story is a tame version of events that have happened across this country. That scares me. I also know that my little pieces of paper appointing B as my healthcare agent are oftentimes no match for the bigotry of people. That scares me.

For more info on the ACLU case, click here. I especially like the demand letter sent to the hospital.

Journal of me

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bye Bye Babies

Our latest bunch of foster kittens have all found their forever homes. Bye, sweet babies.

Journal of an animalover

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Day for Loving....

Today is the anniversary of the decision of Loving v Virginia (1967), the US Supreme Court case that legalized interracial marriage on a national level. Mombian quotes a beautiful piece of Mildred Loving's statement written in 2007 on the 40th anniversary of the decision in which she so eloquently speaks of the right to marry.

"My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God's plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation's fears and prejudices have given way, and today's young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don't think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the "wrong kind of person" for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard's and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That's what Loving, and loving, are all about."

How appropriate this statement is. Our generation is now so bitterly divided over my right to marry my same-sex partner. Hopefully soon we will see the US Supreme Court once again say "The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men," a "basic civil right."

Journal of a says, "Thank you Mildred and Richard Loving for making a commitment to each other in your love and your lives."

Monday, June 8, 2009

Finding/rebuilding/creating my spirit

I've been feeling for awhile now the need for a change. Looking across the span of my adult years, I follow a pattern, quite unconsciously, of changing and moving and reinventing myself. I am preparing for my fourth cross country move. West to East to West to East to West. I hope to rest and settle and discover a new piece of myself with this latest move West.

I originated in the West. My first move East was an 18 year old's quest for self-discovery, education, independence and "freedom" from all things thus far known. It worked. I received a stellar education, had my first real job, met my first wife, explored the East Coast...and then wanted to go West again to see what experiences I had missed.

My first move East to West brought me to Los Angeles, to my official first job, complete with office and full-time paycheck, to my first unfurnished apartment, and to my first experience living with a girlfriend. I grew up and felt like an adult and had to learn to manage money and drive in LA traffic. I loved it. I adopted kitties and bought furniture and learned how to compromise and communicate. And then I felt like something was missing...some kind of passion...and I was sure that it could be found if we headed East and I was sure that it could be found in the study of law.

So off we went from West to East in search of something. I did find what I was looking for but it was not what I expected. These last 5 years have been my most complicated and confused years. A lot of who I was and what I thought I could accomplish has crumbled. My last relationship came to a heartbreaking and tumultuous end, my self esteem took a nose-dive when confronted with academics and I felt lousy about my chances of loving the law. That's what I wanted, to find a career that I loved, one that would make sense to me, one that would make the financial and personal sacrifices worth it. I want to love the law so that I don't regret the changes I've made and chances I've taken. I don't yet know if that is possible.

Socially, my life took a sharp turn when I met B. How I defined myself changed, where I was going changed, how my actions affected others changed. Re-evaluating where I am in my relationship building has netted positive and comforting results. I am happy, very happy, beyond happy in this relationship.

This upcoming move West represents the search for something new, just as all my former journeys have, but this one is a search not for self-discovery or the missing piece to make me whole, it is a move that represents an optimism about the chance and ability I have to make a difference in the world; to be the kind of person that I will be proud of.

Journal of a seeker

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Relay for Life

I am still recovering from sleep deprivation caused by the 24 hour Relay for Life. But, the event is filled with so much love and excitement and good work that it's hard not to feel that it's worth it. Our team is called the Earth Angels and so we don beautiful angel wings for the event.

We had a gorgeous display of baskets for our raffle and many awesome things to sell at our marketplace.

Rockband makes my hair stand on end.

B and I ran a Guitar Hero/Rockband/Singstar competition as a fundraiser. It was a success until our TV pooped out. B picked up where the games left off and played tunes for the rest of the day and into the night.

We met our goal of $12,000...and then surpassed it!

At dinner time we served grilled chicken, potatos, pasta salad and green salad to all the hungry mouths walking the track. Food is always a good way to raise money.

My favorite (and the most somber and beautiful) part of relay is at 9:00 pm when candles are placed in white paper bags reading names of people affected by cancer. The bags line the track and cast an eerie glow on us as we march silently around the track to the deep and familiar sound of a bagpipe band. This year I dedicated my relay to Aida, my brother-in-law's mother who left us too early.

We stayed awake through the night with the help of a campfire, s'mores and good company.

We watched the sun rise up and welcome us to a new day and a brighter future.

This year B and I became participants in Cancer Prevention Study-3. The purpose of CPS-3 is to better understand the lifestyle, behavioral, environmental and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer and to ultimately eliminate cancer as a major health problem for this and future generations. The American Cancer Society's ultimate goal is to enroll 500,000 adults from across the county. If you are interested in participating, click here. C'mon, help out, it's easy!

Journal of those things that make a difference