Monthly Archives: February 2010

Domestically partnered

Okay, this post feels kind of big and scary to write, so I’ve been putting it off.  Much like my online nutrition class has been scary and boring to take, so I’ve been putting that off, too, but I now have a clean apartment and have emailed all the apartment people and caterers, so I am forcing myself to pick between blogging or taking my class.  Obviously blogging wins. Don’t tell Turtle.

Before work on Thursday, Turtle and I took the dog for a walk, had some breakfast, and then drove in to Cambridge town hall.  There are only three places where you can register a domestic partnership in Massachusetts: Cambridge, Provincetown, and somewhere else that I can’t seem to find online (does anyone know the answer to this?).  Here we are at City Hall in Cambridge:

Yay City Hall!

So we went inside and found room 103 for the City Clerk.  We knew that’s where we were supposed to go because it says so on this Domestic Partnership FAQ.

Now, I know what you’re wondering: What does it mean to be a domestic partner? How are you qualified to be a domestic partner?

Well, dear reader, I will tell you.  First, you must be domestic, a la cleaning the apartment, walking the dog, making lunch and packing it in a paper bag for your partner, who is someone you love and support and is your partner in life. Duh.

No, but actually it’s not that far off.  Here is what the fact sheet says about what a domestic partner is:

To be domestic partners, you and your partner must reside together … in a relationship of mutual support, caring and commitment, be 18 or over, and consider yourselves to be a family. Neither of you can be married to anyone, and neither of you can have a different domestic partner … You cannot be related to your partner [in any] relationship that would bar marriage.

“Reside together” means living together in a common household. A partner may be temporarily absent from the common household, so long as she or he has the intent to return. A partner may own or maintain an additional residence.

“Mutual Support” means that the domestic partners each contribute in some fashion, not necessarily equally or financially, to the maintenance and support of the domestic partnership.

So, somehow we should consider somewhere home, even if we don’t both own it or live there, and even if we live somewhere else.  We should be in what is considered a “relationship.”  And we should have $25 to give to the city clerk.  What does this get us? “A Certificate of Domestic Partnership and two wallet-sized cards indicating the existence of the partnership, [and] the names of the domestic partners.”

Besides that, we get some “access rights” that spouses get, like hospital and correctional facilities visitation.  This works out great with my plan to land in jail soon!  No, but really, the hospital stuff can be important, and, most importantly, my insurance allows me to add Turtle to my plan if we’re domestic partners.

The interesting thing that happened came after I posted this picture on Facebook soon after we got home.  After all, it was exciting: our relationship is now legally recognized, even if the only thing we have to do to dissolve it is sign one piece of paper.  I should note that, along with the picture, I wrote, “We’re official! Officially able to share health insurance…” (note: health insurance was the whole reason we decided to do this!)

People started to ask me if we’d gotten married.  Several people said congratulations on our marriage.  And while it’s really sweet that people noticed and remembered, I was definitely struck by this, and I guess I’m still trying to articulate why for myself.

I think that I’m upset because so many people equate domestic partnership and marriage, and it is not the same thing at all. Not at all.

In my search for the other town in which you can register a DP, I found this sweet summary:

There are hundreds of laws that are triggered by legal marriage. In most locations, Domestic Partner Registrations prompts very few benefits, if any, and outside of that jurisdiction, they are legally entirely worthless.

The most a registration generally does is to allow you access if your partner is in prison or in a hospital. Usually they don’t even allow you to make medical decisions, should your partner be incapacitated… Domestic partnership registrations are nothing whatever like legal marriage. And unlike legal marriage, they have such little history that their legal status is uncertain.

So, we live in Massachusetts.  We can legally marry in Massachusetts (don’t get me started on filing taxes).  We plan to legally marry in MA in just over 200 days.  This is not the same as a domestic partnership.

I think that part of what is frustrating is how other people just accept that this is what we get, that this is what we do, that this is equivalent to marriage.  Besides that, every straight couple that I have suggested domestic partnership to, for heath insurance reasons or visitation reasons, or whatever it is – because it is available regardless of gender – seems uninterested.  “No, we’ll just get married,” or “No, we’re not ready for the commitment” are some of the answers I’ve heard.  Is it strange that these strike me as very privileged responses?

I’m having a hard time articulating my frustration.  Does anyone have input?  Has anyone had a similar response?  Is everyone really, really happy for me that I was able to become a domestic partner?

We’re happy because at least in our state, we will have some legal protections.

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How to throw an awesome engagement party, Part 1

One thing that sort of surprised me after we got engaged and told everyone about it was how excited some people were to make things happen!  And by some people, I mean my sister.

My sister is two and half years younger than I am and took a job in Chicago after she graduated from college last spring.  It was so exciting that she had finally graduated and might be close to home… and then she accepted a stupid job in a stupid city far away.  Luckily for me, stupid Chicago messed everything up and my fantastic sister had to move back to Boston, where she can be excited about wedding stuff close by.

So we got engaged and some of the first questions we got were, “Should I be planning a party? What are my responsibilities as your mother/sister/important person?” And we thought to ourselves, Hm, this would  be a good excuse to throw a party.

What the internet told me was that the engagement party is a place for families to meet for the first time and to announce the engagement.  This was kind of silly, since we’d already announced it, and our families had mostly already met.  So we just used it as an excuse to surround ourselves with people we care about and have a good afternoon!

My sister organized the whole thing along with one of Turtle’s best friends, who lent us his house.  It was a potluck lunch, so no one person had to worry about providing for everyone.  My sister took charge of putting together a jeopardy game and Turtle and I put together a human scavenger hunt.  We even got prizes for everyone!  I think we may have been more excited about the party than anyone else, but I guess that’s how it should be.

While Turtle & BF were out getting food for our potluck contributions, I set to work being crafty.

Here is our pretty stamp and squares I spent way too much time cutting up.  It didn’t take too long before I stopped caring whether the edges were straight.  Careless = the new chic.

I found some ribbon I had bought years ago and never found a use for… until now!  Used our three hole punch in a creative way to get two holes into the cards.  Just for the record, I LOVE the ColorBox inks.  The other stamp pad worked fine for what we needed it for, but is not very high quality, so steer clear if you want something nice.

One challenge I ran into was stamping things evenly!  The tree had a knack for being faded right in the middle, but if I pressed too hard then I would get bad brown edges all over everything. Stamps are hard.

Once I ran out of prizes to stamp, I decided we needed party favors!  M&Ms to the rescue!  I think we ate more than we bagged, but here they are! My mom had bought me this little heart- and star-shaped paper holders probably 5 years ago, which came in handy.  It was great how much stuff I already had for this impromptu project.

One of our really good friends gave us this beautiful frame for Christmas, but we hadn’t put anything in it yet – perfect for thanking everyone!  I stamped our special stamp lower down on the paper so that the date and names were hidden, and then used individual letter stamps to spell out the “thanks for coming.”  Again – casual = chic, right?

At this point I stopped letting the little lines on the edges of the stamps bother me, as you can probably tell.

Prize number one!  Well, number two, since I showed the bottle of wine a few posts ago.  This probably gives you a good sense of our friends and family.  We also spent our first date EVER doing the Sunday NYTimes crossword, so of course it felt important to represent that.

Other prizes: a coffee/tea mug from REI, a bottle of our favorite wine (PromisQous), a coloring book with colored pencils, a gift certificate to Not Your Average Joe’s (one of our favorite local restaurants), and two CDs of music that we like and have been important in our relationship.  I would have been excited to get any of these, if I may say so myself.  I suppose I’m somewhat biased, since they are all or they represent some of my favorite things.

Here is our human scavenger hunt!  Again with the somewhat sloppy spelled out stamps.

We wanted to get people who didn’t know each other very well to start talking to each other, and to find interesting facts and want to learn more.  For example, one of the questions was, “Who met (me) in a swimming at (college)?” The funny part was that the person it was didn’t know she was the answer, which led to more funny conversations.  (Side note: I’m realizing I talk about Rumble a lot on this blog.  Hi Rumble!)

Turtle and I came up with the questions out at dinner one night.  It was a lot of fun putting together this list, and even more fun watching everyone try to figure out the answers!

Up next: the party itself, scavenger hunt and jeopardy included!

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Not marital…

… but we’re about to leave to be officially domestically partnered! It’s a big deal, but not a big deal. Obviously.

Yay sharing health insurance! Details to follow, maybe.

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Desperately seeking…

… someone who knows how to get dressed.

Dear small but loyal readership,

As usual, I need your advice. I don’t know what to wear.

This is a problem that has long plagued me.  I am known in certain circles for walking around in knee socks, slippers, underwear, and a sweatshirt, because I can’t figure out what pants to wear and clothes are overwhelming.  I may have even videochatted with my former roommate to show her the awesomeness of this outfit.  Okay, I was only wearing one sock.  Even two socks was overwhelming.

So you can imagine what it’s like to try to figure out what to wear for my stupid wedding. Which isn’t stupid at all, except for the part where I have to wear nice clothes for it.

Outfit number one: the dress for the ceremony.  I already have the dress.  It is very pretty, and very me, and I am not going to show it to you until after I get married, so there. I just need shoes, and that’s a whole different issue.

Outfit number two: the suit for the reception.  See previous post on women in pants and a vest. Totally hot and snappy.

So Turtle and I went to Men’s Wearhouse to see what they had.  Per a post I read on dressing your lesbian wedding party, the first question I asked was, “Have you ever fitted a woman for a suit?”  The very small, very masculine 18 year old kid who worked there said that no, he hadn’t, but there’s always a first!  He was incredibly awkward.  Asked what I wanted a suit for, and I said my wedding.  Awkard congratulations.  Turtle pipes up, “To me! We’re getting married!”  I’m not sure this affected the level of awkwardness – he was pretty much as uncomfortable as we could make him already.

So he starts to go to one part of the store and then is like, “Did you want to buy a suit?” When I said maybe, he starts to go to another part.  When I make it clear I don’t want a jacket, he turns and starts walking somewhere else.  He is clearly flustered.  Then his boss steps in, this big guy who is less awkward but also clearly feels a little strange about the whole situation.  Between the two of them they get me some pants and a vest and an enormous men’s button down shirt.  I try it on (no pictures, I forgot, sorry!) and I look pretty good.

Well, as long as you imagine that everything fits.

So the whole deal – vest and pants – would cost about $110, and then need alterations.  Some of the alterations just couldnt’ be done, because my frame is so different than a man’s (as the Men’s Wearhouse guy said, “You have some things we don’t, and we have some things you don’t.” Uh, thanks guy at Men’s Wearhouse for that nugget of wisdom).  So it would look pretty nice and be pretty comfortable, but not be perfect.

The other option is to get an entire suit (well, vest and pants) custom made.  I found someone on Etsy who has really nice looking stuff and got good reviews, but they do the entire process through the mail.  For the whole thing in the fabric I want (pretty! Dark brown! Made for my frame!) it would cost about $260.  You can check out their shop here, and see the reviews of their work here.

So, tell me what to do, oh faithful readership!  Do I spend $110 plus alterations on something that doesn’t fit quite right but is pretty nice (dark gray with little stripes) from awkward people who don’t know how to deal with lesbians, but try? Or do I buy something for $260 that is custom made from friendly internet people who I will never actually meet?

Or do I show up to my reception in one sock and some underwear? I have to say, friends, it’s a pretty good look for me.

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P**** envy

I have, at various points in my life, been aware of relationships of which I am envious.  The way two people seem to interact with each other is sometimes just so sweet or imperfectly adorable that I have wished for something like that.  I like to think, now, that people see Turtle and me and think that way.  Yeah, we’re kind of awesome.

But really what I want to talk about is experiencing this envy – recently!  We were having dinner at the house of some friends of ours – an adorable couple I admit to admiring/aspiring to someday be like in the past (hi guys!) – and it happened.

What, Rough-it? you say.  I thought you were happy in your relationship! What’s going on that you are missing something so much that you envy someone else’s relationship? What does this mean for your marriage?! Is everything over?!?!?!

No, dear reader. Do not worry.  I have puppy envy.  The relationship I covet is that between this couple’s dog, Harriet, and, it seems, everyone Harriet meets.

Harriet is a hound dog that our friends adopted a few days before we adopted Daphne.  They have, then, had her for the same amount of time that we have had Daphne, and of course we would go through some similar experiences and some different experiences.  For example, both dogs, being hounds, have been known to take off and disappear for a not-so-reasonable amount of time.  They both came back.

On the other hand, Harriet destroys stuff. Like, she ate through a door once, and if I remember to ask Rainbow for pictures, I will post them, because you should see what she is capable of.  Daphne never destroys anything. Good dog, Daph!  On yet the other hand, Daphne likes tootsie rolls. Straight from the cat litter box, if you know what I’m saying.

But here’s where the envy comes in: Harriet ran up to everyone wagging her tail and being so happy that there were people in her house, more people to pet her, people who had laps she could rest her head on during dinner.  Daphne, our lovely dog, barked at Rumble when she got home to her own house.  We were like, “DAPHNE! She lives here!” Argh.

And that’s not the half of it.  She has started chasing cars and lunging at other people and dogs while on leash (off leash she’s fine).  It’s frustrating, and it’s scary.  Here is an example of why it might be scary:

(This is actually Daphne playing with the kitten on the table, who she is so gentle with – but I thought it was a good representation of how scary she can be, if a little exaggerated.)

So we’re working on it.  Lots of treats, rewarding every time a car drives by and every time there’s a person or a dog  – the trick is rewarding her before she does anything bad, because otherwise you’re already too late.

Sometimes – often, even – I wish we had a dog who we could take out in public parks and not worry about.  I wish that when people asked if they could pet our dog, we could say “of course!” instead of laugh awkwardly and explain that we don’t mind but she probably does.

There are lots of things that make up for it though, like how adorable she is when she’s tired and feeling cuddly, or how happy she is when she sees people she does love.  And it’s so powerful to know that she doesn’t just love us because we’re people who feed her – she loves us because she knows us and trusts us and she learned to love us.

(adorable sleeping Daph – she’s such a good dog when she’s tired)
(um, she’s totally not allowed on the bed. That said, this picture is of her on my first sick day after I got her, and she was the best snuggle buddy I ever had (ahem, who wasn’t human. or Jake. cough cough.))

I love this dog like crazy, I do.  Even if she wasn’t socialized properly as a puppy, even if stupid things like cars and mailboxes scare her.  She’s somewhat redeemable.  For example, she has never destroyed a thing we own, though she has done her fair share of sucking on dirty socks (ew).

If you could change one thing about your pet, as perfect as it may be, what would you change?

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Make-up post of awesome

So as I said before, I’ve been a posting slacker, so tonight, I make up for it! Two posts for you! Unless I get tired halfway through this and give up.

Everyone who was supposed to should have received their StDs (hehe) yesterday, so it is now safe for me to post about them!  So here goes 🙂

As I said in a previous post, we found the stamp to use and then were on a mission to figure out how to use it.  We looked around online and decided we like something like this (found on WeddingBee):

by Miss Hamster - click on link for source

We talked about doing our pictures or a picture of us on one side and our stamp opposite the picture, similar to what you see here.  Then on the back we would have the details – when, where, wedding website, etc.  Sounds good, right?

Then we get to PaperSource to pick out our supplies.  We have a sense of what we’re looking for, so this is the easy part, right? Yes, until I’m late and Turtle finds the basket of samples and gets a whole NEW idea.

And so, with just a stamp and a vague sense of colors we like (ahem, if we were to have colors. not that we have discussed this at length. *cough cough*), we perused the store, picked up some stuff, and headed home.

The ultimate design ended up being strips of pretty blue paper wrapped around the brown cards.  We stamped the blue paper and hand wrote details on the cards, with our wedding site URL on the back. Not too fancy, but fun and crafty, and gets the idea across!

Instructions are as follows:

Step one: Make a mess. Spread all potential supplies across workspace, even if you will not yet be using them.

Step two: CAREFULLY stamp the strips of paper your fiancee ripped by hand to specific measurements. What not to do includes dropping the stamp directly onto any supplies. Not that I did that. That anyone saw. Hm.

Step three: Stop taking pictures of the process and finish the darn STDs (hehe) already! Sorry no pictures of details. If you wanted them.

Step Four: Make sure all the cards say the right thing in the right places. Place in envelopes.

Step five: Cut out and affix pretty leaves to the back of envelopes. My sister gave me the leaf design cutter for my birthday and I was so excited to incorporate it!

Step six: Feel accomplished for a little while (at least an hour) before realizing that your wedding is only about 7 months away and this is a minor detail amongst all the planning. Eek! Readygo!

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Make with the happy! or, Embarassing Hair Pictures

So sometimes life gets in the way and I can’t write nice things about my life or our wedding.

Tonight, lucky you, is not one of those times.

Tonight, I would like to talk about hair.  Unfortunately, I do not have as many pictures as I would like to show you my many fabulous hair experiences, but I will do what I can.

In the internet wedding blogging world, everyone talks about hair.  They show their hair up and down and in a pony tail.  Here are three pictures of me with my hair up, down, and, um, swept to the side?

Uh, spunky, right?

Pageboy much?

current hair, swept to the side (plus pretty ring!)

So that is my current hair. In fact, I took those pictures, goofy face and all, just now, just for you. You’re welcome.  For everyone’s entertainment, though, I thought I would post some pictures of my hair over the years – not chronologically, but from shortest to longest.  Comments and laughter welcomed.

This was at a folk festival, the first time I shaved my head.  I LOVED this, though I don’t think my parents would for my wedding, and I do factor in their thoughts on some things.  I think hair is something not worth fighting over.

Short and simple.

On my first road trip with Fancee (whom I’ll be referring to as Turtle from here on because she insists she needs a nickname (she calls me Bird), and in a fit of belligerent silliness, I agreed that she did and that she is hard on the outside and soft on the inside, and probably tastes good in soup, so she’ll be turtle.  I’m not really sure where that all came from.  Plus I like to think that if I knocked her on her back, she’d have a hard time getting up.).

The fauxhawk meets swoop hair.

Derby event with my derby wife, Estrogeena Davis. Face cut out to protect the innocent 🙂  There was a sign on my arm that said “I’ll hit you for a dollar,” and I’m pretty sure I made a couple bucks that night.

Fauxhawk hair!

Our first date! Derby prom 08.  She’s so pretty 🙂 It was her first prom ever! I think we went home at 9, and talked about getting married after a beer or two. Or just one. Okay, it was half a beer.

Fauxhawk take two, with my little brother in the background. Post-derby photo shoot.

The bob. Simple and sweet.

This was in college, presenting a study I had done.

The bob, again.  Earlier in college. Like? Don’t like? Tell me your thoughts. i think I could get here by September if I wanted to…

Looong hair. This was just before I cut off 11 inches to get that cute bob up there.  The 11 inches are all packaged up nicely for Locks for Love and are still in my apartment somewhere.  Don’t tell Turtle.

Scowl! Long hair is hard!

So I’m not thinking anything super fancy for our wedding, but I want to be able to do something, so I’m growing it out now.  Not sure I love my long hair, but I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

Also, re: wedding hair, I love the idea of a delicate headband or something with leaves on it, if I can make it feel like me… what a strange thing, that some things look good but still dont’ feel authentic, and that hair can be one of those.

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