Friday, September 29, 2006


I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but Alan and I recently celebrated our 11th anniversary. (I like to tell people we met when I was in junior high; Alan, in turn, is worried about his reputation.) It's weird because it seems like both a long time and a short time at the same time. I tell you, I'm nothing if not articulate. :-)

How we refer to one another has always been not quite clear. Alan prefers "bear," as in "my bear." There's a local columnist and author, Dan Savage, who still insists on calling his other half, with whom he has a child, his "boyfriend." While granting that they have the right to call each other whatever they want, it bothers me. They are not high school sweethearts going to the prom. They are a committed couple sharing a home with their child.

After thinking about it for a while, I decided that "partner" was the best term; it's egalitarian and gender-neutral. "Lover" has a connotation of sex-on-the-side and, well, it's so 70s. My initial thinking was that "husband" had two drawbacks: first, it just seems campy. And while I can be a big fan of camp, I want to show respect for my relationship. Second, when people hear "husband," they automatically think, "wife."

Can I go on a bit of a tangent here? Straight people often seem to have a need to categorize each person in a same-sex relationship: one is the "man" and one is the "woman." What drives me crazy is that they think I can't see the wheels turning in their heads, when it is so obvious by the questions they ask and where they pause when absorbing certain pieces of information. Alan one time shared an intensely personal aspect of our lives with a coworker just to rattle him and shut him up. (While I appreciate the end, I'm not fond of the means.) One of the things I think different-sex couples can learn from same-sex couple is that you are two unique PEOPLE; base your relationship on that, not on prescribed roles. At the same time, I don't think people should try to be something they are not because they don't want to "prove" a stereotype.

My problem with "partner" is that it's antiseptic. It sounds like we're a law firm (not that there's anything wrong with that). And it's safe. No one has to think about us as a family because we're a "partnership."

So, I got to thinking: Do I use "partner" to ease the discomfort of the straight world? Do I use it to avoid confrontation? Back when Alan and I had our ceremony with friends and family present, I resisted calling it a "wedding." That was a straight term and I didn't want straight people to think I was trying to be like them or to gain their approval. But what was really behind it?

OK, folks, confession time. I am the marrying kind. Always have been; it comes/came very naturally to me. I was talking about equal marriage rights back before it was on most people's radars. (I wasn't jonesing to join the army, but I knew I wanted to be married some day.)

Now that equal marriage rights are part of the national discussion ( -- like we "discuss" things rationally), I've grown more and more "militant." Militant meaning that I have the nerve to think that LGBT deserve to be treated equally under the law as everyone else. And I use the terms "marriage," "wedding," and yes, "husband." Because they're understood. Because people instantly know what they mean; these words need no translation. These words also are not filtered through comfort. To me, they say, "yes, we are a family," not a facsimile.

I do NOT believe that all families are or should be the same. I do NOT believe that everyone is the marrying kind and that people only have value based on their family lives (or their professional lives). I believe that there are many valid models for marriage and for not being married. In short, I believe that people should be respected -- and treated equally under the law.

Now, I'm going to kiss my husband.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Catching Up

So, I've been catching up on my blog reading. I only have "we move to canada" left.

I don't write comments very much because often my feelings are "me, too" which seems uninspired. And I'm often pretty late. And other folks have already left the same comment I was thinking. So, I'm mostly a lurker. But I do try to keep up with the blogs listed here. We are becoming a little community. "Moving to Vancouver" suggests we all need to have a gathering in 2007 in Canada, as Canadians (PRs). Sounds good to me.

I talked to my eldest brother yesterday. His wife claimed Irish citizenship because her grandparents were born in Ireland. (Apparently, one can do that, at least for now.) And they've done it for the kids too, based on their mother's status. So, now my brother is applying for his Irish citizenship as the spouse. Citizenship, not permanent resident. They will have European Union passports. Wow. He just had to one-up me. :-) But seriously, they're not planning on moving; it's to give them options for the future. And while I'd love to have an E.U. passport, I am very happy and excited about moving to Canada. It's not just what's there; it's what Alan and I want. While we wouldn't be looking if we didn't have "issues" with the U.S., we want to be in Canada. (Am I making sense here?)

I've been thinking of what we could be doing -- concretely -- in preparation for a possible big move. So, I've started on a project on transferring our movies on video tape to DVD. Mind you, this is not pirating, as we own a legitimate copy and are just changing the medium for our own private use. (Of course, I don't know what to do with the tapes once I'm done.) DVDs weigh less and take up a lot less room. From four boxes to one album on a shelf.

We also are starting our places and activities list -- the "do while we're still here" list. And we crossed off our first one: the Puyallup Fair. We've lived in Seattle nine years and we've never been. So, well, it was a big fair and now we've been there, done that. You know, not that we're big into the PDAs in Seattle, but out in the world beyond the city, I sure feel like an outsider and a citizen of another planet.

Reading the goodbyes of Nick and Mason, I had this realization: Alan and I have pretty shallow roots in Seattle. Yes, we have a few friends, but I joke that we'll probably see more of them when/if we live in Vancouver than we do now (because we'll have to be more deliberate about it). Neither of us have jobs that are meaningful. I love our apartment and I will miss it, but it's not the same as if we owned the house of our dreams. It's weird to realize that while there will be a lot of stress in moving, saying goodbye won't be part of that.

I think that part of it is that we're homebodies and our diversions tend to be indoors, at home. Another part is that Seattle did not turn out to be the bastion of liberalism that we had heard it to be. Everything is relative; perhaps Seattle is practically communist in the U.S. political spectrum. In Canada, it might fall somewhere between the Liberal party and the Conservative party. (From what I know -- and I still have a lot to learn -- I'm an NDPer.)

Well, I guess it goes back to that alienation I keep mentioning but never really elaborating on. :-)

But it is my hope that I will be an active community member in Vancouver, where it feels at least that I will have a voice. And my family will be recognized.

Sometimes I get scared that I'm expecting too much or that I'm being naive. There was a post on the yahoo groups I read (see links list) that listed something like "8 reasons not to immigrate to Canada." I have to admit that it did raise some fear in me. The logical side of me says that this is a person with sour grapes that expected too much to be done for him and that the facts he listed were not the whole story. But the emotional part of my brain worries.

This post has been somewhat disjointed, a collection of stuff rattling around in my head. I've made a list of topics for future posts that I hope will have more depth. :-)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

not a good month

I've had worse, much worse, and it's all so puny anyway in the grand scheme of things ...

First, I got the stomach virus that was going around work. Then I got the cold/flu virus that was going around work. And now I'm "between jobs." You know, I had just -- just -- convinced myself that this assignment would get me through until/if we go to Vancouver. Ha! Karma, I tell you. I must have been a horrible boss in a previous life.

I don't worry too much about the financial aspect; with some squeezing, we can make it on Alan's salary alone. But I am concerned about the CIC application. I'm applying as a SKILLED WORKER. Not that there's ever been a question about my skills. But if I'm not working, kinda hard to show that I'm employable. Damn me and my high standards. (I will be treated respectfully and professionally at work.)

Now that I'm recovering from my latest illness (God, that was a really crappy cold; besides the usual stuff, at times my whole body hurt so bad), I feel more like I should be working. At the same time, I haven't been very forward in finding anything. Note that I'm writing this and not doing something else.

I'm way behind in my blog reading. I do know that Nick and Mason are on their way; I believe that tomorrow is the start of their new life in Toronto. (I also hear that there's news in Gito's situation, but I haven't caught up with the details yet.) I am so happy for them; I've really grown to like and respect them. But of course it brings up feelings. Will this be us in a year? Will we be the first couple not to make it? And the stress to come -- you know what they say: be careful what you wish for.

Am I having doubts? Not really. Every time I have the conversation in my head, it always boils down to the conclusion that I truly believe that our future will be safer in Vancouver. This is in addition to the alienation I feel in the U.S. and the affinity I feel for Canada. One of these days I will write more specifically about that.

I know I'm not as active as the other blogs, but I do care and I catch up eventually. I see that there's a new member of the "community." Welcome, Tom & Emilio of Canadian Hope. Good luck to all of us, everyone!

[In addition to adding a couple of blogs to the list along the right side of the page, I've also added three yahoo! groups of interest to the links list, and two titles to the book list. Oh -- I finally fixed the "Contact Us" email link with the help of Thomas, a new reader and hopeful CIC applicant.]