Sunday, March 31, 2013
The best thing that has happened to me in the last year was losing my previous job. So many doors have opened for me! I have always loved the IT field, but in my new position at this company, I love it even more. I am learning and doing so much more than I ever would have had the opportunity to do in my previous position. I'm thankful that I went to work there in 2005 but I'm even more thankful that I was forced to move on in 2012. I have a lot more responsibility and the pace is a lot quicker. It has been an adjustment, but a good one. I'm a lot happier.
My latest adventure in my new job is travel. On Tuesday they are sending me to Israel! The company I work for acquired a company in the Tel Aviv area. They have not yet been integrated into our network so I am going over there to do some preparation for that. I'm excited to meet the people face to face with whom I talk on a weekly basis. I know it will be a lot of work, but it's going to be fun.
Since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of visiting Israel and seeing the historical and religious sites there. I'll be there for 2 weekends, so I plan on joining some tour groups to see the sites. (I'm not planning on doing much solo exploring unless it's a restaurant down the street from my apartment.) I hear the food is really good and that there are neat art and jewelry shopping areas. I can't wait to pick up some gifts for Ryan, Nathan, Abby, Mom, Jon, and Nancy.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
I had a very dear friend in college whom I suspected was gay.
After I graduated and settled in the Salt Lake area, this friend came back to Utah to visit me. Over lunch at the Rio Grande Cafe, I finally asked this friend point blank if they** were gay. I had felt for years that there was something unspoken between us and I wanted very much to bring down the barrier. I also felt that they had wanted to tell me in the past, but didn't feel safe.
So I took a deep breath and asked, "_____, are you gay?"
They just looked at me. And then they looked away. "I suppose you think I'm a sinner and I'm going to hell," they answered bitterly.
I remember answering shakily, "Can we leave sinning and hell out of it?"
I was afraid they would walk out of the restaurant, that I had gone too far and asked a terribly nosy and offensive question. But they didn't walk out. Instead, they told me about how they had known since kindergarten. How they always had crushes on their friends who were the same gender. How they had tried so hard, and hoped, and prayed, that they would be healed and changed and made straight. But it never happened. Instead, they fell in love with someone and decided to pursue it. And it wasn't easy, and there was guilt at first, but that it was wonderful.
Up until then, I had very conflicted feelings about the "right" and the "wrong" of being gay. I knew what my church taught about it (at the time I was a practicing Mormon). But I was also starting to realize that I had gay friends, people I had known for years or even my whole life, who didn't seem like gay friends but who were, instead, just friends.
It was a pivotal moment for me. Hearing this friend's story really changed my life.
But even with the realization that I believe that being gay is a totally natural, OK thing to be, I still never thought much about gay rights until more recently.
It started when a gay friend said, "It makes me sad sometimes when I see a couple holding hands at the mall. I can never do that with my partner without getting stares and whispers." That had never occurred to me. I have never thought about who's watching when I grab Ryan's hand at the mall. And when I do grab his hand, it's nothing. Nobody would ever say anything.
Another time Ryan and I were spending some time some gay friends at a basketball game. We ran into some people we know, so I introduced our friends to them. I said, "___ and ___, these are our friends ___ and ___." Later on, Ryan asked me, "I hope it was OK with them (our gay friends) that you introduced them as a couple. That's kind of outing them. Do you think they're OK with that?"
I felt a kind of sick rush in my stomach. I hadn't realized that it could be taken that I was introducing them as a gay couple. That hadn't even crossed my mind. I was introducing them as my friends! who happen to be a couple! a gay couple! but who cares?!
Obviously some people do care. And that bugs.
So I have spent a lot more time thinking about gay rights and equality in marriage and what impact I can have in the world when it comes to this issue.
I am not a political person. Anyone who knows me understands that I dislike disagreements or debating or rocking the boat. So in writing this, I am sharing what I feel very deeply in my heart. I do not intend to offend those who do not agree with me; however, I do not want to stay silent on this matter anymore. I owe it to myself, my kids, my acquaintances, and my circle of influence to be open about supporting my gay friends.
- Being gay is not a choice. It is the way you are born and the way you love. The only choice you have in the matter is whether you will accept who you are, or whether you will try to live a straight life due to society's or your family's or your church's expectations for you to be straight.
- Being gay is not "wrong."
- My gay friends have a right to be public about who they love. It should not be a shameful secret. If you choose to be private about it, that's one thing. I respect that. But being forced to hide it due to the hatred of others is another.
- My gay friends have a right to marry just like my straight friends do.
- My gay friends have a right to equal housing, equal pay, and equal health/life benefits for their partners.
- My gay friends have a right to be happy.
These beliefs did not come to me overnight. They came over years of thought and prayer and interaction with many different acquaintances, friends, and family members. It has taken me a long time to formulate these thoughts well enough to share them. It is not easy for me to write this because my words are tumbling all over and I'm not very eloquent. But tonight is the night.
I'm sure I have more thoughts and feelings on this matter, but this is what is weighing on my mind tonight.
You are welcome to share your thoughts on this. But be aware that this is my blog with my thoughts and beliefs, and hateful comments (either here or on Facebook, which is where most of the comments end up these days) will be deleted.
Equality in love and marriage for all.
**Because I am telling this story from my point of view and how it affected my life - not telling my friend's story - I am using "they" and other gender-neutral pronouns to protect this person's identity.
Friday, March 22, 2013
On Wednesday I received a call from an attorney across the country. My father's brother had passed away and it turns out that my brother and I are his next of kin.
I have not seen this uncle since I was maybe 8 or 9 years old... maybe younger. I have vague memories of him at my grandmother's house. I also have vague memories of a visit to our home in Excelsior. He and my dad were close enough at one point that he is named as my godfather on my baptism certificate; however, in later years he and my father were estranged. I sent a high school graduation announcement to him in 1992, and invited him to my wedding in 1997, and sent a Christmas card or two, but never heard back from him. I eventually stopped trying and wasn't even sure of his whereabouts or if he was still alive.
So it was a surprise to hear from this attorney, to hear about my uncle's final years and how he lived.
Strangely, I am sad about his passing, even though I didn't really know him.
He was a college professor, so I did a Google image search to see if I could find any pictures. Sure enough, this one popped up. I was surprised to see how much he looks like my dad. He has the same hair, nose, and eyes. His shoulders are the same. His smile is the same. Did his voice sound like Dad's? How about his laugh? Did he have Dad's rheumatoid arthritis, too? Was he musical? I guess I will never know now.
The last of the Bronstad siblings is gone now. What a strange feeling. Only Jon and I are left of that branch of the family. It's a little bit spooky. Things like this remind me that I really am an adult.
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
2012, you've been good to me! I'm sorry to see you go. Here's a somewhat belated review of this rather good year. So what if it's late? I'm 39! I do what I want!
Without further ado...
I was on a bread kick and I baked a lot of bread.
Chewy Italian bread
We hung out a lot with our besties, Jonathan and Sarah. Sarah got cancer, but so what? She totally kicked its trash!
Kate and Sarah
We almost lost Doug to congestive heart failure...
But so what? He, too, defied the odds!
The boy who lived and his fabulous wife
We hung out a lot with Lori, another one of our besties.
Lori, Ryan and the demon dog, Dizzy
We saw these lovlies a few times.
Eric & Erin
I ran into some friends from my secret Internet society.
Kitty, LL, and H1
We went to a few Salt Lake Real games with a few great friends.
Ryan and his besties, Mitchell and Jonathan
I made a bunch of crafy stuff at Easter time.
We had dinner several times with Kaye, Joy, and Lucky.
We love Lucky!
I went to a Bachelorette weekend at Bear Lake.
Ry's sis Kristy and kids came to visit, as well as E&E again, and more nieces and nephews.
Eric, Hayden, and Ryan
We went camping at Great Basin.
Beware the marmots!
These two dears got married...
...and I took my favorite picture ever.
Our favorites spent the summer with us.
Dad & Abby at the range
The kiddos with a good friend
We visited Mt. Rushmore on the way to my 20th high school reunion (!!!)
We spent quality time with my family.
Abbs, Kitty, Dad, and Nate
Jon, Mom, Kate, Big John, and Josephine
Kate, Nancy, and Jon
And stopped at Wall Drug on our way home.
I grew tomatoes in a pot and managed to keep them alive. Normally I kill plants.
I ate a lot of pho.
Stacey and Dan got married, so I attended another fabulous Bachelorette party!
I reunited with Teri when I started my new job.
Our favorites came to be with us again at Thanksgiving time.
We ate Ethiopian food on a chilly November evening.
I made a bunch more crafty stuff!
I coerced Ryan into seeing A Christmas Story on the big screen at Jordan Landing.
Jonathan turned 40. Ha!
My team at work surprised me with lunch at my favorite restaurant, the Red Iguana.
My favorite brother and his GF surprised me with a fantastic Hello Kitty birthday package.
Ryan and I went to Mexico for Christmas...
Brrr! It was cold!
...with my two cuzzies Carly and Jocey.
Carly, Jocey, and Kate
In Mexico, I ate beef tongue smothered in mole, and it was fantastic.
We toured Baja wine country - so gorgeous.
We went to Coronado Island and got to see my BFF from college, Ginny.
We babysat baby Melodee. So fun!
M is not a fan of the self-portrait... yet
I attended a baby shower for the beautiful and talented Vaishali.
Someone is excited to be a big sister!
And we fondued for New Year's Eve with Jonathan, Sarah, Alex, and Natalie.
2013, what do you hold in store for me? Only goodness, I hope!