Monday, December 31, 2012

An Ode to 2012

Looking back at our calendar,
2012 was full of fun.
Let’s take a little look
at all the things that we have done

In January we started fresh
and made our resolutions.
We started hanging out with Brett
who’s full of contributions.

We found a new apartment
and in February moved in.
“Happy Valentine’s Day to us,”
we said, and then we lived in sin.

In March we had some visitors
and got a little loud.
We threw so big a party
the Great Gatsby would be proud!

Michelle and I went travelling
in April, yes indeed,
to Manti and to Logan
to see our friends in need.

May had Cinco de Mayo
for which we threw a fiesta,
and then we celebrated mothers
by taking a little siesta.

In June we went to Salt Lake City
and celebrated Gay Pride.
Brett and Wes accompanied
—we had so much fun we cried!

At Stadium of Fire
we celebrated July 4th,
then off to a family reunion
and Yellowstone up north.

In August we went to Colorado
for my sister’s wedding day,
then celebrated my birthday
with lots of PB&J!

September found us busy
with school again in session.
We went to a dog’s birthday party,
which is a strange confession…

Brian’s birthday is in October
as well as Halloween.
We also had a Bachelor’s Party
which was just a tad obscene.

November was the greatest month
with a trip to New York City.
Brian and I were married there
and our reception was oh so pretty!

In December we gave gifts
to our family and friends
and ate so many feasts,
we fattened our rear ends!

And now the year is over,
so we sing that famous song.
We’ll take a cup of kindness…
and thank God the Mayans were wrong!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Gifts, Part Two

My family mailed all their Christmas gifts and I opened them a little early.  Then we spent Christmas Eve and Day with Brian's family, waking up in the morning and opening presents just like we were little kids.  So fun!

A.  I managed to snag the game Yahtzee at the Kesler Family Christmas Party.  I was pretty pleased with myself.  Brian's cousin Emeli brought it... so, thanks Emeli!

B.  My mom and stepdad sent us a murder mystery party game called Pasta, Passion and Pistols!  They had me at pasta!  Ha ha... And I've never actually hosted (or been to) a murder mystery party so I'm really excited to throw one.  It should be a lot of fun!

C.  Continuing with the game theme, Brian's mom got us Chinese Checkers.  How did she know I was Chinese?

D.  My mom got me Backgammon, which I've never played before in my life.  I'm sure it can't be that hard... (see E)

E.  My mom also got me Backgammon for Dummies.  I stand corrected.  Apparently it's pretty complicated if you need a whole book to explain how to play!  But I look forward to the challenge.

F.  Brian's mom got us a new blue soap pump and toothbrush holder for our bathroom.  I'm hoping this new toothbrush holder gets less gunky than the last one... yuck!

G.  She also got us a new bathmat in brown.  (Both F and G came from our wedding registry... she's smart).

H.  New socks!  Most of ours are all holey and dingy... so I'm happy to Brian's mom got us some new ones.

I.  Brian's mom always gets us all pajama pants for Christmas and we open them on Christmas Eve.  This year she opted for athletic pants.  I think she's hinting that I'm fat and need to work out more.  She'd be correct.

J.  Brian's mom got me a really cool new shirt!  Gray and blue: my favorite color scheme!

K.  Brian's mom also got me a new tie.  Pretty snazzy.  Maybe I should start wearing ties to work more often.  Sometimes I'm too lazy and go to work looking like a hobo...

L.  My dad and stepmom got us a food scale (also from the registry).  Brian's really thrilled about it.  Like REALLY thrilled.  He's gotten so skinny from all his dieting that he needs a tiny little food scale to weigh himself!

M.  Jenny (my sister-in-law) got me the first season of I Love Lucy, just like Brian did.  Oops!  We're going to exchange it for the third season though, so no worries.

N.  Brian's mom filled a stocking for Brian and I to share... all I wanted were the peanut butter Santas!  Luckily Brian hates peanut butter, so he didn't even put up a fight when I claimed them all for myself.

O.  Brian's grandma gave us a book Cooking for Two, a homemade loaf of bread and a jar of cookie butter.  Kinda like the Santas (M), I claimed the cookie butter for myself!  I couldn't resist.  My two weaknesses--cookies and butter--all wrapped into one delicious, spreadable delight!

P.  Renee and Jaylon (my sister and brother-in-law) got us Mancala.  Games were a pretty popular gift this year!  Looks like we'll be hosting some game nights really soon!

Q.  Brian's mom got me a new votive holder.  It's long and wavy, and I think it'll go on top of the entertainment center once the Christmas stuff gets put away.

R.  Brian's mom also got me a candle warmer and lots of different scented cubes to melt.  Our house is going to smell delicious... like Grandma's Sugar Cookies or Apple Spice.

Not pictured, a gift card to The Cheesecake Factory from Daniel and Sofia (my brother and his girlfriend).  It came in the mail a few days ago and I forgot about it when piling gifts together for the photo... but that doesn't mean I'm not grateful!  Because let's face it, any gift involving food is one I'm going to enjoy!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Christmas 2012 is my fifth Christmas spent with Brian, the fourth spent with the Kesler family and our first one as a married couple.  So far it's been a pretty fantastic holiday season.  We didn't see the lights at Temple Square or make gingerbread houses like we've done in past years, but other Kesler family traditions have held true.  We all attended the Kesler Family Christmas Party on the 22nd, which included the traditional gift exchange (where Brian scored ten bucks and I got the game of Yahtzee) and a new tradition of having the grandparents talk about some of their fondest family memories.  It was a fun and interesting night.

As for Christmas Eve, we watched How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Muppet Christmas Carol like we've done every year since I've known them.  We watch them in the basement family room while gorging ourselves on a spread of holiday treats.  Once all the secular fun is out of the way, we head upstairs to light the candles on the German nativity set and read about Christ's birth.  In the candlelight we sing "Silent Night" in both English and German (only Courtney and Mama Kesler know all the words in German) and then write down our "gifts to baby Jesus" on little slips of paper and then tuck them into Jesus' stocking.  Our gifts include things we are going to do for him, like be more generous or use our talents.  We work on them throughout the next year.

Before heading to bed, the siblings all exchange their gifts to one another (we always draw names) and then we open our new pajamas and one other gift from the parents.

There's something comforting about traditions.  In a world that is chaotic and ever-changing, both for good and for bad, it's nice to have things that are familiar.  Things that bring us together and remind us what life's really about.  It's about family, it's about friends, it's about love...

It's about giving.  A new tradition was added today that I really enjoyed.  We brought gifts to a family in need.  A recently divorced mother without a job wrote to her Stake President for help and the Keslers volunteered.  We all pitched in for gifts for the four children and delivered them today.  To add to the Christmas spirit we sang them carols and the mother had tears in her eyes as she hugged Brian's mom and thanked her for what we had done.  It felt good to help out.

I also personally paid for a customer's ring sizing today at work.  They're a couple that I've grown fond of and I knew their holidays would be a little brighter without the extra expense.  I didn't tell them the person that paid for their sizing was me... but they figured it out.  You should have seen the look on their faces!

So my new tradition--and not just at Christmas time--is giving more of myself to others.  I'm blessed with so much, it would be a shame not to share it.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Gifts, Part One

Brian, Michelle, Wes, Brett and I got together on the 21st to exchange Christmas gifts.  Here's my impressive haul!

A.  Brian got me a new printer!  My old printer lasted a good four years or so... but it finally died out on me.  Printing at the UVU library got old really quickly, and it will be nice to print photos and stuff again (especially now with all the wedding pics).  And this new one is wireless!  So fancy schmancy!

B.  Michelle got me Horrible Bosses, which is a hilarious movie.  Luckily I now have a super awesome boss so I won't have to murder her any time soon.

C.  Friends With Benefits, another fun movie from Michelle, features my Justin Timberlake.  He's my other husband that Brian doesn't know about.  Well, one of them.  I have a lot of celebrity husbands.

D.  Ink for my new printer (A).  Brian had me open the ink first and I said, "But honey, our printer is dead..." and that's when he said, "Your new printer is hiding in the trunk of my car!"  I was so happy!

E.  Aveda shampoo and conditioner from Michelle.  It smells of rosemary/mint and should help my scalp while strengthening my hair.

F.  Aveda exfoliating cleanser, also from Michelle.  Hopefully my face won't be as ugly anymore.

G.  Michelle continued to pamper me with Aveda Lip Saver.  My lips really love that stuff!

H.  One last Aveda product from Michelle (who is a very recent Aveda graduate, can you tell?): grooming clay!  It keeps my hair lookin' all sexy.

I.  Brian got me the first season of New Girl!  I love that show and even Brian likes it... and he pretty much hates television.  We both just laugh and laugh while watching the current season.  "Puppy in a cup!"  Sorry, only those who watch it will get that reference.

J.  Even though he's not a fan of Home Alone, Brian knows that it's one of my favorite Christmas movies so he got it for me.  Isn't he a sweetie?

K.  Brian got me the second season of Glee (I already had the first) and now I can gleek out whenever I want.  Well, I can gleek out whenever he's not home at least.  Or within listening distance.

L.  Michelle gave me a new gray tie from Old Navy to wear to work.  I really like it!

M.  Michelle also got me a baby blue Stafford dress shirt to wear with my tie (L) and I look pretty dang sexy in them both.  Minus my love handles...

N.  Michelle got Brian and I tickets to an upcoming production of Spring Awakening at the University of Utah!  I'm so excited to go because I love that musical so much; I sing songs from it in the shower all the time.  I hope U of U does a good job staging it.  Of course, nothing can compare to my shower performances, but hey, they can try.

O.  Brett got me an awesome blue hoodie from Express!  He was spot on with the color choice, because I love it!  It's also super comfy (and I'm sure expensive).  Thanks, Brett!

P.  Brian got me seasons one and two of the classic TV series I Love Lucy.  We both love that show a ton, so it's really a gift for himself as well.  I can't wait to start re-watching them!

Q.  Brian also got me an iTunes gift card.  I could use some new tunes, so I'll definitely be using that!

R.  Wes got me a Best Picture collection of movies on DVD.  It came with Braveheart, Forrest Gump, American Beauty, Gladiator, Titanic, The Godfather and Terms of Endearment.  So many great movies!

S.  Brian got me the Barnes and Noble edition of Neil Gaiman's American Gods and Anansi Boys.  He was quick to capitalize on my new-found love for Gaiman's writing, and I haven't yet read Anansi Boys so I'm excited for that.

Early Christmas with Brian and Friends

Since we'll all be with our own families for Christmas, we decided as friends to celebrate Christmas a little early with dinner, gift-giving and much merriment.  On Friday the 21st Michelle, Wes and Brett came over to our place where Brian made us delicious pork chops and mulled wine.  Then we exchanged our presents which had been piling up under our tree over the past couple of weeks.  It's amazing how quickly a pretty present can be unwrapped!  So many great gifts were given, but most importantly we shared our love and friendship.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

20 Things I Learned This Semester

Guess what, guys?  Remember that horribly needy girl I was telling you about a while ago?  You know, the one named School?  Well, I finally broke up with her!  That's right, we are as done as done can be.  And do you know what?  I learned a lot this semester.  I really did. 

1.  I learned that it is possible to get an A- in a class even if you wait until the very last week of school to do the assignments.  Depending on your professor, of course.  It also helps if you are a recently married gay man and your teacher is a long-married and very outspoken lesbian.  Actually, I'm sure that had nothing to do with anything... I'm just awesome.

2.  I learned that getting married is stressful.  Coordinating the efforts of all those willing to help is a challenge, as is making decisions about tablecloths, flower arrangements, bands, venues, food, lantern colors, etc...  It's also not the smartest idea to get married in the middle of a school semester and then have a reception a week before Thanksgiving.  So much stress piled on top of other stress!  All this leads me to Number 3...

3.  I learned that friends are a very valuable asset.  I couldn't have survived without them!

4.  I learned that I can indeed write a twelve-page research paper about Kafka's The Trial and do it well.  I also did my first ever annotated bibliography (and yes, I'm 26 years old and somehow never had to write one before).  I also presented a paper for an academic audience for the first time!

5.  I learned that I really love Franz Kafka.  I also love Neil Gaiman who wrote American Gods which I read in my American Literature class.  And David Foster Wallace.  I also learned that I love American literature more than British literature.  Sorry, Brits.

6.  I learned how to make a Prezi presentation!  It's pretty awesome!

7.  I learned that it cost Ray Bradbury $9.80 to write Fahrenheit 451 using a rented UCLA typewriter for 10 cents/half hour.

8.  I learned that some people might not care about that random factoid.  Those people are lame...

9.  I learned that Touchstones might just be a UVU publication but they're still too good to publish my work.  I learned that I am not a perfect writer; there's much to improve upon.  I also learned that it's impossible to finish NaNoWriMo when you start halfway through the month...  but I managed to write over 25,000 new words of my novel-in-progress and it's looking mighty fine if I say so myself.

10.  I learned that some bus drivers are crazy.  They sometimes stop in the middle of the road to talk to a friend or slow down next to joggers and ask them if they need a ride.  I also learned the difference between courteous and overly-friendly-in-a-creepy-way.  A lot of the bus passengers are of the second persuasion...

11.  I learned that my bus commute is the perfect amount of time to watch an episode of New Girl or Modern Family on my phone.

12.  I learned that it's possible to run out of printing credits in the library and that $5 doesn't really buy you a lot of pages...

13.  I learned that it's possible for me to make an occasional comment in class without sounding like a douchey know-it-all or a suck-up.  The key is to keep it short and admit your own limitations.  Some kids in my class don't have that skill.  I wanted to punch them.

14. I learned that it's never okay to punch a classmate.

15.  I learned that Naked juice is really delicious, even if it's overpriced.  I also learned that the little breakfast sandwiches sold on campus are scrumptious.  They make an 8:30 AM class bearable.  Just a little.

16.  I learned that students read at about half the speed of our professors.  That partially explains why they assign us so much reading: they don't realize it takes us as long as it does.  They're also just jerks.

17.  I learned that if I stay up all night I can draw a ten-page graphic novel.  I also learned that it's not wise to give the one and only copy of said graphic novel to your professor.  I wonder if I can ever get that back.

18.  I learned that I am "funny and smart" from one of my professors.  Thank you.  Wish I could say the same...

19.  I learned that lists are one of the many aspects of post-modern writing.  I guess you could say this blog post is post-modern.  I also learned that my friend Wes uses the term "post-modern" far too often.  Like every other sentence.  He should read number 13...

20.  I'm just kidding.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

On November 25th, Brian and I put up our Christmas tree and other decorations with the help of Amy, Brett, Emeli, Michelle and Wes.  It was a holly, jolly time!  We had Christmas music playing, hot cocoa brewing, chocolate chip cookies baking and Brian even made us Belgian waffles with a yummy apple topping.  We sure do love Christmas!

Our last Christmas tree was sold when we moved to California, so we had to buy a new one.  Brian got a good Black Friday deal on an artificial, 7-and-a-half-foot, pre-lit, slim Virginia Pine from Target.  Some of our decorations came from Target also, but many were purchased at Hobby Lobby and Tai Pan Trading.  The leaf candle holder was a wedding gift from Brett, from Bath and Body Works.  The wreaths were decorated by yours truly.

Our color theme this year was brown, gold and red, which was quite the departure from previous years.  Our Christmas decorations in our Salt Lake City apartment in 2010 were red, white and silver.  Click here to look at old photos!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Wedding Photos: Friends

From the rest of our friends in attendance (at least those willing to jot something down!):

"Congrats on this new chapter!  I am so excited for you and hope the next years are the best.  Love you!" -Kayla

"I'm so happy everything worked out in the end in NY.  I wish you all the best moving forward." -Ryan

"Felicidades!  Les deseo lo mejor del mundo.  Espero que cada dia tienen exito.  Les quiero mas que un completo de vienesas!  Que Dios les bendiga amigos." -Gabriel

"Congratulations!  I'm so glad everything worked out.  You two are so cute together.  I wish you the best!  And many, many happy years!" -Caitlin

"Congrats!  We are so happy for you!  Good luck with everything!" -Tyler and Vicki

"I love the both of you and am glad to have amazing friends like you guys!" -Mesun

"Best wishes to you!  I'm glad I got to come, everything looked wonderful!" -Rebecca and Joseph

"... I think that you are GREAT and I can't wait to get to know you better.  I'm so happy for you.  Congratulations!" -Hannah

"I'm so happy for you two... and excited for your future together.  Love ya!" -Andrew

"Best wishes for a happy life together!" -Martha

"What you've done here, what you've achieved together, is wonderfully inspiring." -Jonathan

"You guys are gonna have a beautiful life together." -Jake

"I love you guys and am so glad to have gotten to know you better." -Karrie

"Woo Hoo!  I am so happy for the 2 of you!  You are such a good example of selfless and sincere love: I hope to be like the both of you!" -Annette

"I love you guys so much!  I am happy for you and am grateful to be a part of your lives.  You can make it through any challenges with love, trust and respect." -Krystal

"Hey Jack and Brian.  Best of luck to you two.  You make a great couple." -Stan and Ryan

"We hope you both enjoy this time as newlyweds and will continue to grow with one another.  Congrats!" -Andy and Amberly

"Leave it to you guys to have a fancy cake.  Renae and I just saw it and thought you were all fancy.  Oh, and I just burned my hair in your candle as I was writing this.  Sorry, now it stinks.  You guys both look amazing tonight and I love your hair [Brian's]..." -Candace

"You guys look so great!  I am so glad we're friends... Oh, congratulations (the decidedly most important part of my sentiments)!" -Renae

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Wedding Photos: Family

From family in attendance:

"Congrats, Jack and Brian!  We love you." -Renee, Jaylon and Amaya

"Welcome to a new happy life!" -Janice and Chris

"I hope you'll always find happiness together.  You've both been so great for each other.  I'm excited to see you 'officially' begin your lives together..." -Jenny

"We wish you guys the very best!" -Clark and Shanna

"Best wishes for a happily ever after!" -Greg, DawSuwan, Lauryn and Mike

"You know I love you!  And... I'm jealous you guys got to see Once.  Next time you go, take me with you.  Please?? ... And Jack, I'm so glad that you are now part of our family officially!  Congrats!" -Amy

"Love you guys!" -Liz and Wyatt

"We love you both very much." -Deborah

"Happy wedding reception!  I hope you guys could stop stressing about everything in life and having to make sure everything was perfect for a few minutes and just enjoy this marvelous union you've made together!  You guys are the best brothers I could ever ask for!" -Courtney

"Congrats!  And Best Wishes!" -Bruce and Connie

"We love you guys!  Wishing you peace and happiness." -Suz and Ryker

"Congratulations to you two!  You are such a great example of gay men, it's amazing!  To many happy memories before, and many yet to come!" -Brett

"...we care about you guys and wish you the BEST." -Kevin and Diane

"Welcome to the wonderful world of marriage!" -Daniel and Kait

"Dear Sons,
Blessings of love, Blessings of grace, Blessings of joy, Blessings of peace, Blessings of strength, Blessings of hope, Blessings of patience, Blessings of a bright future." - Dad and Patricia

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Wedding Photos: Party

From our friends in attendance who weren't afraid to shake their money makers:

"I love you guys so much!  I'm glad that you two were finally able to get married." -Dyann

"Umm... yeah pretend I said lots of nice, heartwarming stuff.  I'm not much for words." -John

"Congrats!  I love you two!  And wish a happy life for you both!" -Riley

"You guys are so brave for going out on a limb like you did!  I'm so happy you went to NYC to show your love for each other.  Just remember to love each other over everything else and don't forget that life's about the little things." -Kevin

"Love you!  I'll miss you guys but I hope to see you more before I leave." -Brandon

"May your love be everlasting.  Too cheesy?  No?  Okay.  I wish you happiness all your days, much laughter, and many smiles." -Katie

"I am happy that in my lifetime I got the pleasure of seeing two lovely human beings fully commit to each other.  Thanks for paving the way for gays both here in Utah and the country at large." -Dean (Lamar) and Adam

"Congratulations!  Now keep it together and make the rest of us look stable!" - Curt

"I love you!  But you guys know that.  I would love to write something clever, but I'm not.  So let me know when you guys want that baby!" -Mineh

"Congratulations on your marriage!  I'm so happy for you and I know you'll have a lot of great years together!" -Dani


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