Thursday, November 1, 2012

Where all of this leaves us

  The day after we got back went went about filing for a domestic partnership. Tarra started work on that next Monday and we had to make things legal here so I can share her health insurance. A little internet research told us to print out this form and have it signed by a notary public. Well, we knew it was slightly less glamorous than a wedding, whatever, this was a legal move. We did want to do this as soon as possible so we considered just driving to the clerks office and handing it over right then and there. Except, well, if you bug an actual person, they charge you $15 extra. So, please, you can get partnered, I just don't want to see you do it. Ok, fine. Filling out paperwork, great, great, sign here, change of name for Tarra...done! Where is our notary public in town? Oh, right, the UPS store. Cue the wedding march and sprinkle the packing peanuts! We're getting hitched! The lady signs our papers and charges her fee, then says "congratulations!" and urges us to celebrate. I try to explain I don't want to celebrate being separately equal and this whole thing is sort of insulting the best I can without sounding like a bitter ass. I erred on the bitter side I think.
  We recently received our certificate in the mail with a printed on signature. Couldn't even bare to sign it... you must have so many of these Ms. Secretary of State? Fuckin Hell. However, in California, your marriage via mail comes with an instruction manual that says it's not ok to beat your partner and you should plan babies. I don't mean to sound so angry, that's actually pretty cool. I mean, we could have had a ceremony ourselves, but why? We aren't MARRIED here. We are Domestically Partnered. The same thing they give to old people that have been together for centuries and never bothered to get married just so when one croaks the other can collect their social security and they don't get separated in old folks homes. Nice, my relationship is lumped in with old people apathetically partnered.
  Whatever. This electronically signed certificate of bogus marriage-lite entitles us to share insurance, collect life-insurance, visit in the hospital, adopt each other's kids (that will actually be OURS). We have it, we're legal now.
  Though, where does this leave us. We're married in New York State, partnered in California, and single in like 40 states. So, should we go driving cross country and crash in say, Texas, I can't visit her in the ER. Nice. How do we file taxes? I mean we'll just do it, but won't that get us audited if we file as single federally and partnered/married? Should we get a punch card and get married in every state that allows it? We already have a certificate from Voodoo Donuts that says we're intentionally committed, a marriage license, a domestic partnership paper-thing... I plan to hang these all up in our home office like diplomas claiming (and overcompensating) legitimacy of our relationship. I actually don't know where this leaves us legally.
  What I do know is we're in over our heads, but we'll keep swimming because as much as I hate to admit it, we are using our relationship as a political tool. I know, I know, I begged to be left alone and be quietly equal. But, I am conflicted. When I introduce Tarra as my wife, it's political. People ask how, where did you go, what does it mean....Truth? It means a whole lot of things and nothing at the same time.
  Big things are coming though. Prop 8 has just been docked for November 20th in the Supreme Court- they will decide whether to hear it or not. They don't hear it? Marriage is all kinds of allowed in CA. They do, well, it's a big deal. They will decide whether citizens or states can vote on people's civil and human rights. They will decide if "gay marriage" (I hate that term, it's all marriage, please use "marriage equality") is even a human and/or civil right. They could decide with this one case that it is or isn't legal across the whole U.S. Probably not, but, the scope of the trial is huge.
  The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is up at the Supreme Court too. People are outraged that they can be married in their home state and reap the VAST financial benefits, but the Federal Government will tax the shit out of them when one dies like they are strangers. Please Sob your eyes out here. "It doesn't matter how long you were together, we were engaged for 40 years, the next day is different! Marriage is different! It's untouchable! Profound!"
  Let me get to Edie's words. Things are different. We became adults overnight. We're getting a house. We're talking seriously about kids. Tarra started a career. There is no simple breaking up now, there's DIVORCE. Speaking of, if that should ever happen, we'd have to go back to NY because you can't get divorced in a state you aren't even married in. Yes, gays get divorced too. Their success rate at staying married is 50/50. We're not so different. I can't see it going that way though, I can't get over how I still have a crush on her. In going through pictures to make this blog, I keep being struck by how beautiful she is. I cry every time I write about how much I love her.
  I dislike impotent anger. It is what is sounds- useless. You have been through this with us, whether actively a part of our lives, or passively though this blog. Most of you couldn't be there to celebrate with us, and many couldn't give when we needed. Please, then, do us this favor. SPEAK UP! Tell your story, tell our story. Yell it from the rooftops! Bring it up with your families. Tell the world that we are ordinary people with an extraordinary love for one another and deserve to be married. No, we can't vote on it anymore, but holding our love to a different letter in the law creates difference. It doesn't seem a big deal at first (if you didn't read my above rant), but difference is dangerous. It makes us "othered". It allows for discrimination. It makes space for kids to perceive inferiority and target kids they even think could be gay and bully them until they can't take it. SEPARATE IS NOT EQUAL. We've done this once before and this time is no different. We can no more choose who we love than can we choose the color of our skin. My love for Tarra is not different than any other and I should be allowed to share our student debt, our children, our property, tax breaks, retirement homes, and everything else in ANY AND EVERY state. Please, start sharing stories, we're all a lot more alike than you can imagine.


The next day we got to do some daytime driving through the Finger Lakes and golly! It was soo beautiful. I have never seen such vibrant colors on a tree! We were nestled on a side road pretty far from town. It was super cute though. We chatted up the host talking lightly about tourism, her moving out to California, her dog, oh...and marriage equality. Does it make me a bad person that I don't want people to gush about how they support me? I mean, I am ENORMOUSLY thankful to have people on my side and to live in a world where my "gayness" isn't considered a mental disease by medical professionals and to not have my relationship be illegal. I realize we have come a long way towards equality. Just the same though, I don't feel like I am equal when I have people reassuring me that I am. It's like when I say, "Gah, I am so fat! Look at this belly!" and people are like, "No, no, you're not fat! You're so beautiful!". Sounds great right? Yes. Except that by saying that, you have reaffirmed that fat and pretty are different. I am NOT fat, I am pretty. Nope, I DEF am fat. Also, I am pretty. Also, I am gay. I am glad to have support and encouragement. But, maybe let's not go on and on. It does the same sort of reaffirming that I am different if we need to talk about politics when I tell you I just got married. Aren't you supposed to roll your eyes and tell me about your messy divorce? Or your failed engagement? Or say, "congrats" and only kind of mean it before we go on with our day? I mean, how often does your happy news excite strangers? Usually never. We like being miserable toward each other and hating the happy one. Can't you just feign indifference for my "gay" marriage? I swear it isn't any different that marriage.
   Rant aside, this place was nice! 

Hungarian Crystal from the hosts homeland!
Sunrise was nice too outside our private porch. Though Tarra almost got eaten by the host ladies Great Dane beast dog.  

  We ate at apparently a very fancy restaurant (could have fooled me) that Adrian Brody and Kate Winslet frequent since they both have homes here. It was nice enough and the view would have been fantastic if it weren't dark. Canandigua Lake is the most expensive Lake to live near...huh.
  We left the Very Fancy Lake to get to Niagara. We could see the plume of mist from 5 miles away. Tarra was superduper excited. The U.S. view was pretty awesome, you couldn't quite see everything but- WOW!
The colors!
The rapids!

The falls!

So awesome!

Well, we both excited until we got back  into town. What a shithole. Niagara city looked like NY wine tasted (Bazing!). In all seriousness, it was a mess. Nothing really to eat but cheap hotel food, the park was jenky, you had to pay for EVERYTHING, cheesy gift shops everywhere. We were super unimpressed. We tried the other side of town for food. I got us lost across a detour for an hour looking for an international buffet I saw an ad for on a bus bench. No GPS, No G's on the phone. We settled for whistle pig. I got a cheese covered nasty dog and tarra got a burger plus a moldy bun. LAAAME. That was it for us. We were going to Canada.
I think this part of Canada is known as "Little America"

You had better! It's in french!
   The Canada side was AMAZING! It was like the Vegas Strip had a pretty epic affair with the border and they birthed this touristy, sparkly lighted baby. There was a Hard Rock Cafe, McDonalds, KFC, all the US hotels you could shake a stick at. Even the street said, "Lundy St 'tourist area'". Whatever, there was decent food to be eaten and the good side of the falls to be looked at!

Sushi boat!


Aw, we're cute!
The best was the light show at night! Wowza!

 That morning we were awoken by a fire alarm, though fake, taught me that I prized my camera and Tarra's laptop above all else. Also, in a sleepy panic, Tarra may put her pants on inside out and still struggle to button them. The day was spent back over on the Canada side looking at the falls one last time. We rode the Maid of the Mist and it was pretty much one of the coolest things ever. It was very, being on the top of Half Dome, at Maccu Picchu sort of cool. We have no pictures because it was soaking wet. They put us feet from the falls. The sound! The power! So amazing! Tarra yelled at the falls and told them they were majestic and even though they couldn't say hi back, she understood. I think the whole stress of the trip was worth seeing how excited she was at that moment.
  The next 14 hours were spent in transit. To Buffalo, drop off the car, into the airport, through security, plane, layover, through airport, plane, greet Kelly, drive home... We felt so super gross! Meat and cheese and traveling. Coming home wasn't really great either, we had left our house a disaster zone. Sigh. We were happy to be home though. We had big things coming, and our adventure wasn't over.


  Breakfast was amazing! Our B&B lady made us rhubarb muffins and applesauce and sooooo much bacon! It was lovely. We actually stayed a long time and talked to them about everything to marriage equality (it just kept coming up the whole time we were in NY...coincidence maybe) whether it is ok to bring your bib to a social dinner, the plight of the young families unable to cook for themselves anymore, to being a small farmer. I got some advice about farming and was told to subscribe to the Small Farmers Journal. This apparently was the bib-wearing husband farmer's bible. We left them for Seneca Falls. Tarra was excited because it was either the place they filmed, "It's a Wonderful Life" or the inspiration for it. Either way, there was sure to be something there to set a twinkle in her eye. I was excited for more falls, it was the name of the town...right?
  On the way I consulted our travel books and was informed that Seneca has no falls ever since they put the Lock in. I had never heard the word before, but Tarra nearly peed herself. She said a lot of technical things which I understood to mean that they had built a boat elevator. She seemed dissapointed that I had not done it justice in that simplification and assured me it was awesome. Still looks like an elevator to me...  Arriving in town we parked outside a, "Women Made" store that read underneath, "Don't worry, a woman is on the job". Pretty cool stuff. We went in and poked around and it took me a minute to really grasp what went on here: this was the center of the cosmos for women's rights.
  As an aside, this is how Tarra and I travel- we seldom look too far ahead and let whimsy and local advice lead us to the cool stuff. We hate tourist traps and things that are overrated. It works most often times. Then we do stuff like not realize that the Stonewall Inn was like two blocks from where we were staying in NYC...) The nice lady at the counter called up a friend across the street and said that there were two newlyweds interested in seeing the Women's Hall of Fame and wondered if, even though the place was closed for the day, she could come down and turn the lights on and let us look around? Her friend agreed and the woman also pointed out all the cool stuff to see on the map. Fuck waterfalls- this was awesome!

 This is the tribute to the Declaration of Sentiments. I will preface this educational bit with the confession that I did not know ANY of this before coming here. I know, I know...BAD feminist. Anywho, so let's go back to like...1848. Times are tense: there are talks of civil war over slavery, the underground railroad is going like crazy, and women wear corsets and floor length dresses, most are cooking in fucking hearths and none can vote or own property (I mean they are property and your car can't own your horse!). Some women are interested though in politics: GASP! So they go with husbands or alone to general assemblies to talk about Abolition. Except, men felt that in a meeting about equal rights and freedoms among humans, they did not mean humans with uterii. Some women were sent back home, and those allowed to stay had to sit in the back and be quiet. A few women, Elizabeth Cady Stanton for one, was like, "you're an idiot and an hypocrite" and went home and organized a giant general assembly of several hundred people in A FEW DAYS who came by horse, wagon, and foot. Badass lady. They drafted the Declaration of Sentiments making clear that our US Constitution meant equality for all and amended it to do so. It evolved into a well thought out list of 16 major complaints which can be summed up into: we are not treated like human equals and we will be beginning now or will die fighting. These 16 complaints are used today in the United Nations to determine equality for women. Many of these ladies went on to fight for equality in all its forms be it suffrage or abolition.
Tarra in the museum of awesome ladies.

Amelia Bloomer saying some choice words about the fashionability of dying to be pretty.

The original plaque honoring the first Women's Rights Convention.

Yeah! The history of lady awesomeness! 
Tarra has dreams!

  The museums were amazing. I really wish I had seen these as a young girl. I always felt so weird in elementary school when people would ask me who my hero was. I would say, "Gandhi", or "Martin Luther King Jr.". I mean, yeah, those guys were amazing, but they didn't inspire me. I wasn't going to grow up to be a successful male social movement leader. Sure there was Susan B Anthony, but who else? I think this is the point where I come to the angry rant about the hidden nature of women in history and make some clever plead for a telling of HERstory. I am a college educated woman! I paid attention and got good grades, why is it that I hear all of these things for the first time as a 26 year old out of school? That's it, I am going to have the best  home school ever where art, physical education, sex education, and OURstory is taught alongside everything else.
  Anyway, the cool stuff kept coming. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Amelia Jenks Bloomer both lived in Seneca Falls back in the 1840's when it was a booming river trade town. So, coolest thing ever- you can go see their houses!
Stanton House

Bloomer House
  In reading my FB posts, my grandma calls me and says excitedly, "There's a house in Seneca Falls that your great, great, great Aunt or something lived in. Her name was Amelia Blommer and she invented bloomers." I had heard this story a few times growing up. Our family was small and broken up since my great grandmother was a narcissistic antisocial hermit and stopped talking to a great deal of our family. Men never stick around long in our family either... So our family tree looks a little like the ones that grow up under power lines. But to my small ears, bloomers were those things you wore under cheer leading outfits. Big deal grandma, she invented fancy underwear.
This is the, "Amelia Bloomer introduces Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony" statue.

These are bloomers.
  Turns out I was pretty wrong about bloomers and grandma never really divulged the whole story. Bloomers are pants to be worn under a severely shortened hemline. They were radical in 1848, crazy radical. They allowed women to DO things without being hampered by full length gowns and made an obvious visual statement about asserting equality. Amelia was a FUCKING RADICAL! Also, she ran a stop on the underground railroad in her home. This reminds me, I am a lazy bastard and should go out and do something more often.

  So, I learned a lot about women's history and even some of my family history. I am related to one of my new role models. Pretty cool stuff. Oh, here's what the lock looked like.

Elevated view
Lower ground view of the entrance.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


We took off mid morning from Ithica and headed to our first bed and breakfast. Neither of us have stayed at a B&B so we were super excited. But first- Breakfast! We went to Little Tree orchards to go apple picking. We were greeted in the barn with hot, sweet, apply musk...THEY MAKE THEIR OWN CIDER DONUTS!  We got hot cider and donuts and enjoyed them with our new friend.
Moon Shadow was much sweeter than this picture suggests .

Apple cider and donuts with friends.
Apple picking was so fun. Apparently though we were at the tail end and there wasn't much left. Their season starts in July. The apples left took a bit of effort to collect.
Not very glamorous work...

Almost there...

A full half-peck bag! Apples for every meal

After that it was time for wine!  Our first stop though was at a distillery. It was amazing! We've never booze tasted, and we could tell after three tastes why it hasn't caught on as a thing...We settled on a gin and a maple liquor. Suuuper tastey!Wine tasting was a different story. I could go into detail about how each winery disappointed me, but I will tell you instead about two wines I think characterize the NY wine experience. The first is a famous brand: Hazlitt's Red Cat. The story goes that two parents started stomping these grapes in their front yard years ago to make this wine. It really caught on when their boys kept stealing some to take to their hot tub parties. The boys noticed the more wine the girls drank- they less clothes they wore. There was born a chant, which I couldn't quite hear over my brain begging me to clarify with our server, "So, you're telling me: if it wasn't for date rape you wouldn't have convinced anyone to drink this kool-aid flavored roach killer?". I refrained and looked down at our palate clenser- which was popcorn with artificial color and flavoring. I decided my opinions were lost here. We gave a few more wines a try- to be fair- and because we paid our $3 already. The next was another of their famous wines. It was also terrible. The whole time at each winery I kept waiting to hear, "SLAP THE BAG!". I didn't. These people seemed to be enjoying themselves. I won't be loud and ruin their time. I chose to silently judge instead.
The bottle should have given it away that this was a bad experience waiting to happen.
Plus side of the trip? This awesome mantis and my bag of buffalo cheese curds. 

They couldn't do wine, but man that rootbeer!

 Our bed and breakfast was lovely though. The people were great and the room was so cute! Their dogs maybe, were overly friendly and made it hard for us to park. The big one got both front paws up on our window and barked at Tarra. It was a lovely greeting.
Our own Ches Lounge.
Bluebird room!
Our fatgirl senses rooted these out!
Free sweet potato pie for our honeymoon! Sweet people! Great pie!
We also happened onto a super cute slow food restraunt that had just started. We had to wait awhile to be seated though because a kitten was stuck in someone's car and the whole wait staff was worried for it. Sweet people! So, our summary of the Finger Lakes so far- great views, friendly people, TERRIBLE wine.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


A Thornberry apple. Cute surprise of pink inside!
Ithica in the daylight was beautiful. We lucked out, as always, and the Farmer's Market was that morning. OUR PEOPLE! The first booth was a man that made wine from his blueberries. It was fantastic. The nose was very jammy, but it was full bodied and complex! Who would have thought!? We bought a semi-dry and a port. One is a gift and the other is for Thanksgiving. We got our first taste of New York apples too.
  We were picking out a chutney for Thanksgiving as well and sampling flavors like: apricot ginger, cherry, blueberry orange (which we picked)... they were all so wonderful! The farming couple made these from the fruits they grew. These guys were also the nicest people.  We mentioned we flew out from California to get married and they were so excited for us they gave us our jar for free as a wedding present. We got warm hugs too! They had to fly out to Connecticut a few years back to be married; it was nice to share an experience like that. 
 We were so excited about everything maple too! There is some maple spread coming someone's way! Candles and honey for someone else! Our favorite find was the soap people. They grow their own oil plants like sunflower to make these soaps! There's a bar for someone coming home soon!
  Our lunch plan may have been one of the highlights of my life. Yeah, our wedding too...whatever. MOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEWWOOOOOOOOODD! The books have become such a part of my culinary life, now we just happen to visit the town where this place was born!

Look! A moose in Moosewood! Cuuute!
Caribbean Roti and Spicy Peanut noodle! We even got fresh juie1

Mecca. The Grail. My grail anyway.

The food was amazing! We even got a new book: Sundays at Moosewood! So excited to get home and cook up a vegetarian storm!
  We headed just outside of town to Watkins Glenn for some falls Tarra wanted to visit. We had a hard time getting internet so we had to wing it and follow signs. We found a parking area that wanted us to pay to park. It seemed right, but Tarra asked if this was the falls. "It's the only thing we've got here, so yes." It would have been a sad statement had the falls not been so fucking awesome. I'll let the pictures tell the story.



No caption necessary. But Lol might do.

No! Tarra Dooon't throw the map in the river!

So pretty in person...

I am so lucky I get to kiss her in such pretty places. 

 We hiked for hours around the gorge until it was almost dark. We drove back and grabbed a bite and settled in early to take it easy. My knee had been bugging me...couldn't have been all the walking...