Monday, November 25, 2013


I'm thankful for good things that come in the mail!  Usually it's just bills and credit card offers, but today we got this awesome Save-The-Date from our friends Emily and Jessie who are getting married next spring.  We couldn't be happier for them.  We're also going to be what they call "bridesmen" so we're pretty pumped about that as well.  I'm thankful for love in the 21st Century.  I'm thankful for the rise of marriage equality throughout our nation.  I'm thankful for hot babes lying on the beach!  Hubba hubba!

Sunday, November 24, 2013


I'm thankful for time.  Yes, time.  I'm thankful that I've been granted time here on this planet.  I'm grateful for my life.  This life.  Here and now as the clock ticks by, turning seconds into moments into memories.  And as exciting as the 1920s might seem to be--with the jazz and the flappers and the style--I'm grateful to have been born in the era that I was born in.  Most of the time.  I'm thankful for the time I get to spend with Brian, even if it's squeezed between laundry and work and baking macarons.  Even if it's only after 11:00 PM.  I'm thankful that I've got hours to write in, hours to read, hours to play.  I'm thankful that I live in a time when I can use my phone to chat with Chileans on Facebook, call my mom in Idaho, text my dad in Colorado and see a photo of my niece.  All while emailing a professor as I walk to my car.  I'm thankful that time comes in phases, with each new day or month or year bringing new challenges and new self-identities.  I'm thankful I have the time to be thankful.

Monday, November 18, 2013


I'm thankful for The Madison, a local club in downtown Provo.  As a member of the Provo Pride Council, I couldn't be more grateful for their unyielding support of the gay community.  They've let us use their space for free during numerous fundraisers and even hosted the very first Righteous Miss Provo Pageant and the Official Pride After-Party.  Since then, they've been hosting a monthly drag show every third Monday featuring the Divine Sister-Misters.  Seriously, The Madison is amazing.  I'm also thankful for the opportunity to see my friends perform, for sequins and high-heels and wigs... and we're all thankful for dim lighting!

Saturday, November 16, 2013


I'm thankful for friends.  One of our friends, Wes, had been going through a rough time.  He lives in Salt Lake City now so we don't see him as much as we'd like.  We saw him briefly today and it made my heart happy.  He's so great.  We also saw our friends Annette and Rebecca in the afternoon while delivering macarons and then saw a movie with Nick and Kyle.  David joined us later for a bit of Cards Against Humanity.  It was a great night, ending with a wild drive to McDonald's, weaving in and out of traffic while blasting The Prince of Egypt soundtrack.  Dollar Menu for the win.

Friday, November 15, 2013


I'm thankful for margaritas.  I'm also thankful for friends like Tara who buy me margaritas.  I'm thankful for Brian and my coworkers and friends who join me for such a beverage from time to time.  Just time to time, Mom.  I promise I'm not an alcoholic!  I'm thankful for the folks at La Casita in Springville who make such a delicious (and strong) margarita on the rocks.  1 = tipsy; 2 = falling face-first into the calle.  We at Zales go so often that the waitress recognizes us.  She knows what we want.  We feel cool.  It's kind of a hole-in-the-wall, but it's fun.  We laugh, gossip, eat, and smile.  Sometimes our La Casita antics are put down in history in the form of Instagram videos... embarrassing Instagram videos.  Thanks, Tara.  Thanks a lot.

Monday, November 11, 2013


I'm thankful for dreams.  At work we have a Dream Board, a suggestion from our district manager.  It's meant to remind us of the true things we work for.  The things we hope to accomplish.  Matt dreams of going to the beach someday and learning how to surf.  Tara dreams of a beautiful home with color-coordinated couches and cushions and curtains.  Kord dreams of being Batman.  I dream that Macaron can get off the ground, and I'm thankful for how far we've come so far.  I'm thankful that the state has approved our recipes, leading the way towards our inspection.  I'm thankful for our friends who keep us busy filling out new orders and promoting us through social media.  I'm thankful for Brian's talents in the kitchen and his ability to stay calm and reassure me that all will work out.  He knows that our dreams will come true.  Our dreams of being financially stable and independent.  Our dreams of travelling back to the Big Apple again or living someplace exciting.  Our dreams of adopting children and forming our family.  I'm thankful for dreams and the opportunities presented me to make them a reality if I'm willing to do the work.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


I'm thankful for home-cooked meals!  I'm thankful to be married to a man that can cook!  The kitchen might be in a constant state of disarray, but I'm thankful for the smells wafting through the apartment.  I'm thankful for the delicious meals.  Tonight was fried chicken with mashed potatoes and carrots.  Some nights it's stir fry.  Other nights it's pork chops.  Pasta, homemade brownies, waffles or Buffalo wings.  Fresh guacamole.  Pumpkin soup.  You name it, he'll make it.  I'm thankful that we can afford groceries.  I'm thankful we can borrow from his mother's pantry at times.  Or his father's garden.  I'm thankful that I can contribute by at least washing the dishes.  I'm thankful that I've never gone hungry in my life.  I'm thankful for comfort food.  I'm thankful for comfort.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


I'm thankful for weddings.  My friend Krystal got married today to a wonderful man named Treven--a man I hope will take good care of her.  They've both been married before and they both have children, so this is a merging of two families.  I'm thankful for second chances in life.  I'm thankful for fresh starts.  And I'm thankful to share an anniversary with these two.  One year ago today Brian and I were married in New York City.  It was a wonderful experience and we couldn't be happier.  Our first year together has had its share of trials, but it has had more good days than bad.  I'm really thankful for the good days.  I'm thankful that laws are changing in this country to allow for my marriage.  I'm thankful for progress.  I'm thankful for love.

Friday, November 8, 2013


I'm thankful to have a car to drive.  His name is Urkel, after Steve Urkel, as a nod to the car's decade and general geekiness.  I'm thankful for my friend Zeek who bought a way cooler new car and sold me his old one.  I'm thankful for my mom and stepdad who loaned me the money to buy it from him.  I'm thankful for all the work those 90's engineers at Toyota did when they made this car 23 years ago.  I'm thankful for sunny days even in November.  I'm thankful that the roads aren't icy and snowy yet.  I realize that for posting this I will be cursed with both ice and snow tomorrow.  I'm thankful that winter doesn't last forever.  I'm thankful that I'm not riding the bus anymore... although sometimes I miss the people-watching.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I'm thankful for my coworkers who make life in the jewelry business a little more fun.  I'm thankful that we all get along and that we are all equally crazy, silly and immature.  Like when I'm busy helping a customer, these two take my phone and set the above photo as my new wallpaper.  I'm thankful for our Zales Quote Book, which has hilarious entries such as:  "Get down on your knees and eat me!" or  "I'm mo-la-la-la-la-la-lesting you!" and "I need $111... that's 10 dalmations more than a Disney movie."  I'm thankful that HR has not found said book.  I'm thankful our new manager turned out to be a nice guy and puts up with us.  I'm thankful I don't feel 27.  I'm thankful that Tara, my Work Wife, sends me text messages that say, "I get a open wit ma nigga/boo," when we find out we work the same shift.  I'm thankful to be employed, even if I complain about it half the time.  My work peeps make everything better.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I'm thankful for passionate professors who make learning fun, who inspire me to be a better writer, who won't let me give up on myself.  I'm thankful for professors that push me to test the limits of my own imagination--professors like Karin Anderson or Laura Hamblin or Christa Albrecht-Crane all of whom I have secretly (or maybe not-so-secretly) adored.  Digging through their garbage isn't weird, is it?  I'm thankful for my fellow English majors who give me good feedback in workshops, who stress with me about project deadlines and who can quote Hemingway or Shakespeare with ease.  I'm thankful for our conversations in the hallways, our cheery hellos, our laughter in the classroom.  I'm thankful to be a student.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I'm thankful for NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month.  It's this crazy thing that some of us writers do.  We attempt to write a novel of 50,000 words in 30 days.  I've attempted it before and was even successful once.  It was absolute shit, but it hit the word quota.  That being said, I'm thankful for the delete button.  I'm also thankful for hot chocolate, Microsoft Word, books and authors that inspire me, the support of my husband and--most importantly--my imagination.  I'm thankful for Jack and the Beanstalk, my main inspiration for this tale I've been tackling for the last few years.  I'm thankful for words and letters and metaphors and punctuation.  I'm thankful for poetry and imagery.  I'm thankful for the English language and the beauty that is the phrase "cellar door."

Monday, November 4, 2013


I'm thankful that Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year.  I know I'm supposed to grumble and bah humbug, but I just love it.  I love the word festive.  I love fa la la la la.  I love Christmas trees and ornaments and ribbons and bows.  I love the way stores glitter at Christmas--consumerism at its most alluring.  Its most magical.  I'm thankful for Santa Claus, and believing, and wishes come true.  I'm thankful for childlike wonder.  I'm thankful for the little boy that said, pointing towards the men on the crane while tugging on his mother's shirt, "They're making Christmas."

Sunday, November 3, 2013


I'm thankful for delicious treats, especially macarons!  Earlier this year, Brian made macarons at his job with Culinary Crafts which sparked an interest in the highly-fussy and high-end French delicacy.  He began to make them at home, trying recipe after recipe.  Months later he had perfected them and I couldn't be any prouder of all his hard work.  His expertise has inspired a business, and I love working with him towards that goal.  Going on a business venture with my husband has been extremely gratifying.  Not only do we get to do something together, but we each get to shine in our individual talents.  Brian's amazing in the kitchen and his product is tasty and beautiful.  I'm good with the visuals, taking pictures, playing with fonts, etc.  I get to populate our social media outlets with photos and promotions.  I get to design our packaging and our business cards.  I do the fun stuff.  But when people say that they love our cookies, I just smile and say, "It's all Brian."  

Saturday, November 2, 2013


I'm thankful for my husband, Brian, and the fun times we have together.  Like our first-ever trip to  Wendover, Nevada.  We went with the Provo Pride Fun Bus today and boy was it ever fun.  We filled up our red Solo cups with margaritas and chatted up other gay and gay-friendly Utah County citizens as we drove northwest towards our destination.  Once there Brian learned to play Blackjack and I learned how to say no to desserts at an all-you-can-eat buffet.  It's harder than it looks.  I'm thankful for the group of people we went with, most of whom I met through my work with the Provo Pride Council.  I'm thankful for the transgendered and the gender-queer.  I'm thankful for the straight, the bisexual, the bi-curious and the gay.  I'm thankful for those who resist gender stereotypes, who fight for equality in our community, who refuse to be marginalized.  I'm thankful for men in floppy, white sun hats who are thrown out of BYU-housing.  I'm thankful for straight bandmembers who played at our wedding reception and ours only.  I'm thankful for fat comedians and gay florists and Japanese-manga-reading women who tell me of their love lives, who sit with me or hug me or tell us that we're their favorite gay married couple.

I'm thankful for my husband, Brian... or have I mentioned that already?

Friday, November 1, 2013


I'm thankful for family--that blood that flows mutually between us, around us and within us.  The blood that passes down from generation to generation.  When I bleed, they bleed.  When they bleed, I bleed.  I'm thankful for my baby niece, Amaya, who just turned a year old in October.  I'm thankful for her mother, my sweet sister, who brought her into my life... giving me yet another part of Renee to love and hold.  I'm thankful for her husband, Jaylon, who loves his family in a way that is truly manly and honorable and good.  I'm thankful for my mother and my father, both of which are deeply flawed and deeply beautiful.  I'm thankful for nights spent helping me with homework, shouldering my tears, putting up with my bad attitudes and passing fads and idiosyncrasies.  I'm thankful for my brother, Daniel, whose love for me speaks far louder than his words.  He's so quiet and calm.  But when we're together he hugs me tight and I appreciate it.  I'm thankful for his wife, Sofia, who loves him.  I'm thankful for my stepdad and stepmom, my stepbrother and stepsisters.  I'm thankful to be a part of a family that's multi-racial, multi-political and multi-religious.  A "true Modern Family" as my father puts it.  I'm thankful that baby Amaya gets to be a part of this kaleidoscopic quilt of promises and oaths and commitments.  There's sometimes heartache, that's for sure, but it's that ache that keeps us trying.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Provo Pride

Photos stolen from Wade Phillpotts and the Daily Herald. :P

"Christmas stockings!?" I said, in an overexaggerated tone of surprise, smiling all the while.  "What's this all about?"

The older woman with short white hair, seated behind the display of stockings and bibles, said, "Well, my church does a service project every year where we give Christmas stockings to AIDS patients."

"What do you put in them?"

"Basic hygiene and toiletries," she said.  "We've found that with medications being so expensive, little things like deodorant and stuff sometimes fall through the cracks."

It seemed sort of an odd connection to me, and as if she could read my thoughts, she added, "Some of our congregation think we should get a new project, but as long as I'm able, I'm going to keep doing this."

She got emotional here and paused to regain her composure.  She continued on in a choked voice: "I got a call from a woman once.  I don't know how she got our number, but she asked, 'Are you the church who does the stockings?'  I said, 'Well, yes.'  She told me that when she was diagnosed with AIDS her family rejected her.  That Christmas the only thing she got from anyone was our stocking.  She said to me, 'I put on the lotion that was in there... and the new socks... and I crawled into bed and I cried.'"

The woman telling me the story completely broke down.  I found myself tearing up as well, and I said to her, "Can I hug you?"  She nodded and came quickly around her little table and I gave her a hug.

"That's why I've gotta keep on doing this," she said.

I don't even remember the name of her church, but her name was Deb.  That I remember.

Deb and her church group were just one of the organizations participating at Provo's first-ever Gay Pride Festival.  Groups like Affirmation, Understanding Same Gender Attraction, Mormons Building Bridges, Equality Utah, The Human Rights Campaign and many more had informational booths at the event.  The Centro Hispano even provided free HIV testing.

There was face-painting and bouncy houses for the children, as well as bocci ball and croquet and performances by Cheer Salt Lake.  A variety of local musicians like Bat Manors, Joel Pack and the Pops, Batty Blue, Birdie and the Black Sheep, The Troubles and more took to the stage and really made the Pride Festival a lot of fun.

And do you know what?  In what is arguably one of the nation's most conservative cities in one of the most conservative states, thousands of people came out in support of the local LGBT community.  And I was a part of that.

Months ago, a friend of mine mentioned that there was a group of people trying to put on the first gay pride festival in Utah County.  I was very intrigued and I couldn't shake the feeling that I should get involved.  I found the Facebook page and simply wrote a post saying I was willing to help.  I was told of a meeting taking place and before long I was part of the core committee.  We're just a ragtag group of people, meeting in apartments and flower shops, who just want to make a difference in our community.  And on a shoestring budget, we managed to pull off a spectacular event.  Sure there's room for improvement, but for its first year, I'd say the Provo Pride Festival was a huge success and a huge step forward for equality and awareness and acceptance in our community.

If you want to make a difference... go out and make it.  That's what I'm learning.  Deb's doing it with stockings.  We're doing it with festivals.  And you can do it too.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Don't Be a Drag, Just Be a Queen

I must admit that I've never watched an episode of RuPaul's Drag Race.

Nope.  Not even one.  In fact, I can only bring up the haziest of mental images when I try to picture what RuPaul even looks like.  I'm sure a lot of people are thinking, I don't watch that either.  Who cares?  But I've found that in the gay community this statement is met with jaw drops.  Drag queens are a big deal.  When we went to the Utah Pride Festival in Salt Lake City this past June, lots of our friends kept name-dropping drag queens from the show left and right and oohing and ahhing as if they had announced that Lady Gaga herself would be performing at Pride.  But to me those names meant nothing.

And yet, I suddenly find myself Facebook friends with a handful of local queens.  What's more, I spent five hours on a Sunday night shepherding queens from a dressing room down to the stage, zipping up gowns, clasping bracelets, running up and down stairs, encouraging and reassuring and smiling all the while.  I felt like a wide-eyed schoolboy being thrust into a whole new world of wigs and tucks and heels... God, those heels.

Sunday the 15th was Provo Pride's first-annual Righteous Miss Provo Pageant.  My friend David, a.k.a. Cherri Bombb, worked tirelessly to put it all together and I was more than happy to help out "wrangling queens" as he put it.  And although I was exhausted by the end of the night, it really felt great to be a part of it all.  Many of the contestants had never done drag before.  And you know what?  They rocked it.

One of these first-timers, Linnox Green, said afterwards, "For once, I didn't have to put up a masculine facade, I could let my guard down and be who I am.  In Linnox, I had a sense of pride and self love that I find hard to feel other times, especially since I go to BYU.  In many ways, it was a rebirth for me..."

So while I might not identify as personally to the drag scene as those who perform it, I can identify with their desire to express themselves as they wish, to be who they are and to do it without judgment.  That I can understand.  Living life outside the social norm takes a lot of bravery.  Hold your head up high, girls.  Chin up and boobs out.  We got this.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Instant Coffee and the Word "Husband"

I'm sure you all know that I hate the first day of school, mostly because professors feel the need to put us on the spot and share "fun facts" about our lives with random strangers in the hopes that we will all be immediate friends.  Immediate, like instant coffee.  Unfortunately nobody likes instant coffee any more than they like silly get-to-know-you activities.

It was during such an activity that something interesting happened.  Interesting to me at least.  You see, we were paired off and given five minutes to "interview" one another and find out all the cool and fascinating things about our partner so that we might introduce them to the group.  Each pair also had to repeat the names of the people before them and on and on until everybody knew everybody's name.

My assigned partner was named Jaclyn (Jack and Jaclyn, that is interesting, right?  Yes, but that's not it) and she loved Mario video games.  She owned every Mario game on every gaming console.  Her laptop cover had Mario's face on it.  I mean, the girl really loved Mario.  She also loved movies and was minoring in film with a major in writing.  She had spent all summer doing free-lance writing on the internet... in between fierce rounds of Mario Kart that is.  We had a great little conversation and when it was time to introduce her, I felt like I had plenty to go off of.

As far as my half of the conversation went, I talked about the Chihuahua Comics I drew all summer, how I used to work at a movie theater and saw free movies (this was while she was gushing over her love of film) and how my husband and I were married last fall in New York City!  When I mentioned the last part, she was very quick to say, "Oh, that's okay with me" as if I somehow needed her validation.  Straight people do that a lot around here when I mention I'm gay.  "Oh, that's cool."  "Hey, it's a free country."  "I won't judge."  I sometimes have the urge to say those same sorts of phrases when they talk about their heterosexuality.  Can you just picture it?

Sweet Mormon girl:  My boyfriend and I are getting married in the Provo Temple.

Me:  Oh... you're with a boy?  Hey, love is love, I guess.  Your lifestyle choice is fine by me.

Sweet Mormon girl:  Huh?

Anyway.  I'm getting off topic here.  The interesting part came when it was her turn to introduce me.  "So... this is Jack.  He used to work at a movie theater.  We both love movies.  And now he's bummed because he doesn't get free movies anymore."  Yep, that's it.  I was introduced as a guy who used to work at a movie theater.  The professor asked her if there was anything else she could remember about me.  She turned bright red and quietly said, "Oh, and he's married."

The class moved on to the next pair and I was left with this mysterious feeling of déjà vu.  When Brian first told me about the situation, I didn't think much of it.  But now that it's happened to both of us, I can't help but ponder over what this sort of omission might mean.  Both of these students seemed perfectly fine with the idea of us getting married and being in a homosexual relationship, but for some reason they each decided that it wasn't something they should share with the class.  Is it to protect us?  Do they fear that perhaps others might not be as cool with gay marriage as they are?  Are they sparing us from the torch-wielding mob that will inevitably rise up against us if our marital status should be revealed?  Maybe that's it.  In their minds they are guardians of the gays.

Or is it that perhaps they are less comfortable with our relationship than they say they are?  I mean, they do rush into the "It's okay with me" line perhaps a little too emphatically.  Maybe there's still doubt in their mind.  Maybe for some reason they're embarrassed about it, and when it comes time to "out" us, they can't seem to do it.  They can't bear to acknowledge this fact to the group at large.

Maybe.  Or maybe I'm over-analyzing this and it doesn't mean anything at all.  I mean, Jaclyn also left out the part about my comics.  Maybe she just forgot most of what I said.  Maybe her look of embarrassment when she said, "Oh, and he's married," was at her own bad memory.  Or maybe my gayness isn't noteworthy.  Maybe we're at a point in society where saying I'm married is good enough.  It isn't necessary to specify that I'm married to a man.  Maybe I'm putting too much stock into my gay identity.  I don't walk around saying, "Hi, I'm gay," so why should I want Jaclyn to say, "Hi, he's gay" for me?

But that's not what I wanted her to say, is it?  I just wanted her to say, "Jack and his husband were married in New York City."  It's a fun fact.  Not everybody at UVU gets married in New York City.  And my homosexuality is implied--not directly stated--by the word "husband."

Maybe that's what's really bugging me.  The fact that she couldn't say the word "husband."  Like she didn't feel Brian was deserving of the term only straight couples should have.  Which brings me to another case in point.  The other night I had a big birthday party at our apartment and it got too loud.  Some neighbor made a complaint and a police officer arrived at our door.  Brian went to speak with him in the hallway.  He just told us to be quiet.  No harm, no foul.  "Is it somebody's birthday?" he asked.  "Actually, yes," said Brian.  "It's my husband's."  "Well," said the officer, being as nice as possible, "wish your boyfriend... er, fiance... um, partner a 'happy birthday' for me!"

It was very sweet of the officer to wish me a happy birthday instead of slamming us with some sort of citation, but why was it so difficult for him to say the word "husband"?  I mean, I understand he's probably not very familiar with gay couples, but Brian gave him the correct word to use.  He just didn't feel comfortable using it.  And that's what I think happened with my classmate Jaclyn.  Even though I told her all the things to say, she just couldn't bring herself to say them.

As much as Brian and I strive to be as "normal" as possible, we are still perceived as something totally weird and foreign.  What's totally clear in our minds, completely baffles others.  I'm not writing any of this to condemn anybody or anything like that.  Jaclyn and the police officer are both good people.  I just find it interesting.  Interesting and, like instant coffee, a little bit disappointing.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Blogger MIA

Ever since school got out I've been MIA here on the blog.  I've just been busy with other stuff.  You know how that is.  So I guess it's high time to fill the blogging world in on what Brian and I have been up to.

  • I've been doing "Insanity" workouts consistently for five weeks now.  I just began the second (and more difficult) month of the training program so hopefully I get even more results.  I do think I look and feel a lot better, but I've still got more belly than I would like!  Perhaps I need to lay off the pretzel bites and Red Robin fries...
  • Speaking of eating, Brian has begun to live a vegan lifestyle for the past few weeks.  He believes humans are meant to eat animals, but he's against the animal cruelty found in today's factory farming.  We've watched some documentaries that will rip your heart out.  So sad.  As a result, I've become semi-vegetarian myself.  I eat vegan when I'm at home, and when I eat out or at work I try to avoid meat (I still allow myself cheese and stuff).  Sometimes I cave in though.
  • I announced the new "season" of Chihuahua Comics set to begin after Father's Day.  I've been working here and there on the new comics, but I have to admit I've got lots more to do!
  • Other than comics, I've been working towards completing The Diamond Course so that I can become DCA-certified.  I can get paid up to 40 hours for completing it, which is an extra week's pay!  That and it'll supposedly make me more diamond-savvy thus improving my sales.  If I don't improve my sales soon, I could be out of a job.  Luckily I've already made my May sales goal!  HOORAY!  Let's just hope I can keep up the good momentum...
  • Speaking of jobs, I have some bad news about Brian's job with Culinary Crafts.  He was fired on Memorial Day via phone and it's rocked us both.  We definitely need two incomes to live the way we've been living, so I hope he can find a new job soon.
  • Recently Brian started a little side business of selling macarons, but it's not enough to live on by any means.  However, we do hope to see it grow as time goes on.  We've made just a simple Facebook page and have been selling quite a few macarons to friends and family.  His sister got us a pretty big order from the middle school she works at, so that's awesome.  Hopefully word-of-mouth will keep us busy throughout the summer.
  • In other news, we were able to have dinner with my Uncle Greg a couple weeks back and just this last week my mom surprised me with a little visit at work!  She was in town for the day and wanted to see me.
  • The night before Memorial Day we had some friends over for what we were calling "PMS" or "Pre-Memorial Shindig."  It was a lot of fun and we even met new friends through some of our existing friends.  New friends are always nice.
So that's where I've been lately.  I'll try to take better care of this blog in the future, but I make no promises.  Ha ha.


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