Camp It Up!

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Year-old tie-dye hanging out to dry, Berkeley, CA.

As it turns out, tie-dye shirts which have yet to be “set” and rinsed can indeed sit in a crumpled ball for a year, intimidating and then later forgotten, and be resurrected the weekend before departing for the family camp whence they came the year before! Patience (and neglect) rewarded.

Heading up to Camp It Up! family camp for the week. I sang its praises at VillageQ last year upon return, and don’t mind saying that if you don’t currently squirrel away all your spare pennies for a queer family camp (you queer families), well, you should try. Because it’s worth every one of those pennies.   (Here’s a regionally varied list of them I did back in April at VQ.)

Up at camp there is – ! – no cell phone reception & no cable/ wifi internet access. Schlubs who have internetty work to do make their way into the nearby town for the wifi-enabled cafe. I believe I’ll be among those schlubs, in which case I may also have the opportunity to share a photo or two.  I share this tidbit because I’m working hard at the whole “please keep blogging” thing with which I ended my talk the other night. It’s almost as good for the mental health as a nice, long, family vacation.

 

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10 x 10, inch by inch

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Voices of the Year/ 10×10 audience at BlogHer ’14, San José, CA. 

 

Don’t they/ you look fine?

The woman toward the right with the nice DSLR pointed at me is Danielle Tsi, BlogHer’s event photographer (and a brilliant one).  I’d worked with her at about a half a dozen BlogHer events, and she was kind enough to take my new cutie mirrorless camera and take a few pictures with it for me, so’s I’d have a clue what I was looking’ like (et voilá).  What’s not to love about a person whose generosity matches their talent?

On the occasion of its tenth annual conference, folks at BlogHer had asked ten longtime community denizens to take ten minutes to reflect on the past ten years online (and to imagine where we may be going in the next ten). I was honored to be among them.

I thought I might publish here what I read that night, for any of youse who were there and wanted to get a reminder, and for any of you who didn’t go, but might be curious. If I find out I have permission (nettiquette FTW!), I might embed the slides which I produced, but which were polished off by BlogHer’s designer & thus might be theirs.  If I can’t, your imagination will have to fill in the blanks. Which people’s imaginations generally tend to do anyhow, so.

Herewith, my ten minutes’ of reflection, complete with slide cues, because this is cinema verité here, people.

 


 

[SLIDE: note of gratitude]

 First, thank you. Thank you Elisa, Lisa, and Jory. Thank you Stacy, and thanks also to the many very hard-working women behind you for this stage and what it has meant to so many of us over the years. I know first-hand what it takes to make this happen, and it is truly a labor of love.

 Thank you also for the opportunity to reflect on the past ten years, from my point of view. I would sit in rapt attention listening to all sorts of people doing the same thing – in fact have, and will. It’s a great privilege to take a stab at it myself.

 [SLIDE: 2008 Community Keynote audience, courtesy Elan]

I can say in all honesty that two of the things most precious to me now, I owe to blogging: the clarity I have as a parent, and the opportunity I have to be doing the work I’m doing now in support of LGBT families in my community and online.

And it’s not an exaggeration to say that it all began on the BlogHer stage, 50 miles to the north of here and six years ago.

Six years ago, I stood backstage waiting to read a post at the first Voices of the Year. The ballroom was packed, but with about a third as many people. Backstage were a bunch of folks, none of whom I knew, even though I knew of them. We didn’t know what was about to happen. All we knew was that whatever it was, it seemed like a damned good idea.

I had spoken in the morning on a panel moderated by the inimitable Lindsay Ferrier.

[SLIDE: Lindsay’s pumps; riff; try really hard to not say anything untoward; resist the urge to speak randomly about muffins, as you are wont do]

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Spoiler alert: Squirrel Nutkin gets away

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Pages 54 & 55 from The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin by Beatrix Potter.

 

So in a little less than 10 days I’m going to be giving a short talk at the upcoming BlogHer conference in San José (details of the “10 x 10″ series here). It has been so dadgum long since I wrote in here that I feel like I practically have to explain everything, what with me no longer really knowing (as if I ever did, but still) who’s reading or why. Back in the day I would do annual reader surveys, and it was great; “lurker’s delight” I called them; I learned a ton about what folks read for, what they preferred, what they wanted to see more of, so on.  Lately, though, it’s a field here that I’ve left to go fallow, which of course isn’t the worst thing in the world, from the standpoint of the field. Fertility is restored.

Whoever you are reading this thing, hey! Thanks! And welcome to the ground floor of a building remodel. We’re just about to swing some hammers.

The above image popped up when I was rummaging around in my early Flickr stream. I remember it accompanied a post (this one). I was rummaging back there because I was hunting down images from the 2008 BlogHer conference, the first one I went to, slack-jawed in amazement at it all. The changes/ evolutions/ you-name-its since then have been so big. In my own life, in my sense of what I can or should write about, in what this particular vehicle has been about (meaning: the blog), in the blogosphere generally.  So much has changed that people expect monetizing and dread publicizing and presume multiple platforms and blah blah blah. Not all people. But enough. Whatever the case, some hybrid of self-awareness and self-consciousness is part of the whole dealie-o. Continue Reading →

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Deli scene/ ode to Elan and Aidan

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David’s Delicatessen, Geary Street, San Francisco.

This is a test. If this were a real blog post, it would have appeared loooooooooong ago.

Slowly trying to blow the gunk out of the engine, here with an image of my favorite old companion (20 years together means we get to say “old,” right?), taken with my  favorite new companion, a wee little mirrorless camera that more or less fits into my pocket. I’m daring it to take noticeably better pictures than my cameraphone (who ever thought that would be an issue for any kind of quality camera), and also daring it to be in my life so effortlessly and regularly that it actually does help me see/ share the world via visual images nearly as much as the proverbial cameraphone in the pocket does.

I blame Palinode, specifically this post of his, for even getting the notion of nabbing myself a mirrorless 4/3s . Continue Reading →

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Book review: This Day in June

This Day in June is the Pride parade picture book queer parents have been waiting for since, oh, 1970. We’ve needed something that captured the joy and exuberance of the event, and something that helped kids picture the glorious range of gender expression and queer fabulousness that is so righteously on display at Pride (and by contrast so absent in most of our kids’ everyday lives). We’ve wanted a sweet, playful opportunity to talk in advance about what they’ll see, what it’ll be like, why it came to be and why it matters still. We’ve wanted to help them get as excited as we do, in anticipation, and have a way to share it with their friends. Author Gayle E. Pitman and illustrator Kristyna Litten have given us just that.

Read the rest of it over at VillageQ…

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Sharing the table

Tracking PixelThis is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Barilla, but opinions are my own.

My beloved and I distinctly remember the moment.  We were sitting at our dinner table in our first wee home. We locked eyes, and said to each other: “We’re ready.”  Ready, finally, to take the leap from where we were – a family of two committed people – into the inky unknown of two-plus.  If we were the luckiest people in the world, we would be led into that unknown by a few small people we could call our children.

Turns out we were indeed the luckiest people in the world.  My beloved’s will and bodily fortitude coupled not just with my own love and dedication, but with the courage and generosity of two old friends. One of them had a great idea (use my husband as your donor!), and the other of them (said husband) had great genes and an open heart.

Plenty of talking followed at each others’ dinner tables over the course of several months: we were proposing, after all, that we join our two families together with a uniquely powerful bond: children, our own and each other’s. There could be no knowing what that would feel like, yet also no going back.

#ShareTheTable

Of all the things that define our family, this non-nuclear beginning will always be one of the things I cherish most. Our children are quite literally the products of the best of what humans can do with and for each other.  They are precious harvest not just of love and will,  but also courage and generosity, and trust on all four of our parts. Without all these ingredients together, my beloved’s and my children simply wouldn’t exist.

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Amazing

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Streetsign near my new place of employ, San Francisco, CA.

Finis unius diei est principium alterius, as the Romans used to say, when they existed and spoke Latin to one another daily.  Or, to the rest of us: the end of one day is the beginning of another. Thus, at the beginning of the year, do I close one looong chapter between (sufficiently paying) jobs, and with unbridled glee and gratitude, begin a fresh one.  Come Monday morning, I’ll be combed and pressed and striding into a building spitting distance from this sign, which I take as a very good sign indeed.

 

 

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Let’s keep the moral arc bending toward justice

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“Martin Luther King Jr, Birmingham Alabama, 1963,” by Ernst Haas.

Quiet here of late, getting accustomed to resuming ordinary life, offline and on, in the wake of my dad’s return whence he came 92+ years ago.  The picture above and the links below repeat a post some years back in honor of the Revered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose life has been such an inspiration to me.

Inspiration how? I came of political age working all my spare collegiate hours in a student group entitled the Martin Luther, King, Jr. Convocation Day Committee (lovingly referred to as the MLKCDC). When I dropped out of school for a nine month period, these spare hours numbered just about every hour beyond those spent at my job or learning how to be a lesbian with my sweetie, who was also a member of the group, conveniently. Every one of us had to read several of his books as a condition of membership, which means now that my bookshelf sports most of his oevre in original hardbacks, thankyouverymuch. It also means I am conditioned not just to parrot the lines of Dr. King’s greatest speeches, but to locate them in context. So: “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice” comes from Dr. King’s “How Long? Not Long” speech (sometimes also referred to as “Our God is Marching On”), delivered on the steps of the Montgomery, AL state capitol at the conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March on March 25, 1965.

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