Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Later, Gators

I just wanted to say thank you for all of the support over the last few months as I've got my blog up and running, I've really enjoyed interacting with everyone here, or on Facebook or Twitter.

I'll be out the rest of this week and next, as Husband and Dog and I are leaving for our long-awaited beach vacation after a few weeks of nutty work travel. We're getting everything together -- a house sitter/plant waterer (my poor garden would perish), the beach towels, some sunscreen, an extra journal, and soon we'll be setting off. I'm looking forward to being refueled and rejuvenated, ready to spend the rest of the summer in DC, come hell or high humidity.

See you all at the end of June!

Thursday, June 12, 2014


13 & H NE -- June 11, 2014

It seems as though DDOT Urban Forestry is a little off their game. The sign seems to be doing well, though. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

DC Pride and Parenting

This weekend was DC Pride. St. Thomas' had a picnic, and afterwards we went to a parishioner's front porch to drink sangria and watch the parade. The sheer length and volume were astounding. The parade lasted from 4:30 until after 7:00, with every sort of float imaginable. It seemed like every politician in the city had marchers, as well as every major Christian denomination, some rogue Mormons, and some Jewish marchers. (My favorite sign of the entire religious contingent: Shabbat Shalom, Queers!) The spirit of campy irreverence and love reigned. The parade was also surprisingly commercial, with banks and hotels sponsoring floats. Chipotle won hands down for best corporate float, with a cowboy riding on a bucking burrito. Usually I don't like seeing a lot of corporate sponsorship in a community event like this, but it was a sign of just how far the gay rights movement has come. Everybody had a good time, except for maybe the protesters, who had to have a police escort for their own safety.

This weekend was also a baptism for a baby in our congregation, a beautiful little girl adopted by a married gay couple. Both parents are pillars in our community, part of who we are, and it was a joy to be a part of that baptism, knowing full well that child will grow to maturity in grace and love within a Christian community. And is she ever loved!

Now, I could write a book about everything that St. Thomas' has taught me, but perhaps the most surprising and lovely lesson of all has been about what it means to be a parent. This lesson began two years ago with one of our first gay adoptions, as I watched two men raise a baby up close for the first time. And it blew my little Central Pennsylvania mind.

First of all, in a same-gendered parenting team, there's no "default" parent. If the baby starts crying, in church or in the middle of the night, it's not automatically handed off to the mother. These parents actually have a conversation about it, and work out a plan. Over and over again, I've seen them take turns and work together to solve the problem. It seems simple, but it makes all the difference in the world. And for same-gendered parents, nothing about parenting seems to be taken for granted. Every child in each of these relationships has been longed for, waited on, hoped for, greeted with tears and joy. This isn't always the case on the other side of the fence, as babies of straight couples sometimes accidentally make their way into the world, unplanned and taken on a burden instead of a blessing. Lastly, I've seen a great deal of imagination and humor in the act of parenting. It's almost as if the joy spilled out and into creativity and laughter.

I'm not saying gay parenting is intrinsically better, or that straight parents can't also be parents who are great at communicating and who are excited and ready to be creative parents. But I know when it's time for us to start thinking that direction, I'll be thinking about my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, and taking a page out of their parenting book.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bomb Threats

It was an interesting morning for H Street. While I had left the apartment at 7:30 to get to Alexandria by 8:00, I got a text at 8:00 or so from Husband. "Bomb threat on H, whole street closed between 13th and Maryland." Oh. Ok.

You haven't heard anything about it on the news, because it wasn't covered by the news. Twitter users, mostly @dcvet and @azarrella as well as the @DCPoliceDept, were the only sources of information. Several businesses were evacuated, including AtlasVet (who continued to see patients even though they couldn't get into their building.) The bomb squad was called, and the package cleared. Thankfully, other than a few flashing lights and inconvenient rush hour detour for some, the morning passed uneventfully. Better safe than sorry.

But it's one of those moments that makes you reflect on the risks of living in DC, in the shadow of the Capitol building. I thought about those risks a lot the week of the Navy Yard shootings, too.  It's just that when there's a bomb threat, or an active shooter, or the Capitol is evacuated because of a car chase, you are acutely aware of how much trust it requires to live where we live. It's an act of trust to believe that first responders will respond, an act of trust that your neighbors will help you if you need them, an act of trust that people won't go around blowing things up or gassing us, an act of trust that you won't get caught in the crossfire of DC's gun violence problem. Even if it's an unthinking trust, it's still an act of trust. We depend on each other more than we know, and for the most part, we live up to the trust placed in us. I take heart in that.