a 6ish month update on my 101/1001 list

Man. I am so timely and so consistent with this type of thing. I wish you all would have been committed to reading this blog back in the early 2000s. You would have found it to be much more riveting (not at all) and consistent (too much even). I just can’t keep up with the cool kids these days when I’m busy being my own cool kid and raising the next generation’s cool kid. I think about it, though, and how fun it would be to type all of these ranty things that are too long to fit into 140 characters on Twitter and the type of things that I don’t want to see all these “Blah Blah liked your post”. Because let’s face it, you better damn well like everything I say, you know?

So, yeah – almost six months into the 101 things in 1001 days list and here’s something like an update. To be honest, I didn’t look through the list before I decided to update it, so here’s what you get to learn:

12. Take a full week of vacation at once every year. (Duluth/Key West in 2016) Next year’s vacation probably won’t involve a top secret birthday flight, but MAYBE IT WILL.

19. Go out with friends in some fashion at least once a month. (3/2016, 4/2016, 5/2016) June was going out a few times with Matt and Jenni while I was visiting Key West and, in July, we went to three different birthday parties, met some random GLBTQ parents (that I actually LIKED) in a park to hang out and went to go see Indigo Girls with Jenny.

42. Get my eyes checked once a year. (2016) I need “readers”, as my eye doctor puts it, but it’s not really required. So screw that. No bifocals until a doctor tells me to do it. I’m already on high blood pressure medication. That’s enough old-timey stuff.

58. Try 10 new recipes. (Buffalo Chicken Soup, Kalua Pig). We got an InstantPot off Amazon a couple of weeks ago. It’s nuts and I love it. I’m also making buffalo mac and cheese tonight for my lunch, so if it’s that palatable I’ll have another one to add soon.

69. Go to the Minnesota Zoo again. We did. And then we bought a yearly membership, because why the hell not?

71. Go to five shows. We went to the Indigo Girls again. We have to. It’s a lesbian requirement.

89. Spend a night/weekend in Duluth. Done and done. We celebrated Ash’s 19th birthday during a middle of the week trip to the North Shore. It’s on our “need to do again” list for sure.

93. Visit Paul Bunyan and the Blue Ox in Bemidji. Went north for work, but brought the family along and did all that touristy jazz. It’s another on the list of, “hey, northern Minnesota is pretty cool!”


I’m probably going to have to kick things up a notch to knock most of this off my list, but I’m feeling good about it. Or it could just be that I’m feeling overly ambitious to start projects I’ll never complete, but at least that won’t come as too big of a shock for me.

my 2016 take on pride

I’m really glad I live in state and metro area where we celebrate diversity, specifically the LGBT variety this time of year. I’ve been celebrating it since I moved here in 2003. My first parade blew my mind. It was three months after moving from a town where faggot and dyke are still used as popular vernacular from homophobic poopheads. Not cool, you guys. 

It wasn’t until I’d lived here a few years and had met some friends that were like, “hey, you’re cool”, that made me realize I was cool the way I was and I could stop spending time on match.com trying to convince myself I was something I wasn’t. (By the way, big thanks to the dudes out there who took me to dinner on our first dates, because I was hella broke and Chili’s was so delicious.)

A few years later involved a move to Minneapolis, a job in downtown Minneapolis where I worked with a real life gay dude, and I was finally like, “yeeeeeeah, I ain’t hiding anything anymore.” And ever since, I’ve been all WHAT? I GOT A WIFE. WHAT IS YOUR DEAL? 

It was a little defensive at first. Some people still aren’t sure about the whole gay thing. Maybe it’ll be like laser discs and go away one of these days. But then after a while, it finally just felt like me. And I’m proud of that. 

It took me a while and it needed to. I’m glad I can feel comfortable enough in my own skin to have pride in who I am. I wish that for everyone. I wish a lesbian from a small town in Missouri could have short hair, wear a tie to work in an office and not feel weird about taking her girlfriend to the movie theater without fear of being taunted or made fun of. I wish a gay man in a small town in Northern Minnesota didn’t have to hide who he was at work every day, but I’m so glad he works for my company now where he beams with pride every day that he can come to work and be his authentic self. I’m proud of those people because they have to work even harder to be true to themselves. 

The weeks leading up to Twin Cities Pride have been rough. 49 people were gunned down in a place they felt safe and free and able to not worry about who they wanted to dance with. That’s stripped so much feeling of safety for a huge amount of the gay community all over the world. It’s taken away some of our pride because it’s scared us. But it’s also given us more pride because we’ve come together and realized that we’re all together in this. 

Happy pride. I hope you can celebrate it in a way that makes you feel proud. I’m proud of you. Every single bit of you. 

a dad, three grandpas and my son

Happy Father’s Day. Since it’s a retail-recognized holiday, I’ll celebrate by blogging. 

Happy Father’s Day to my dad. 

 You are the best. Ever.  There was that one time when you yelled at me for burping out loud when we were having dinner at the Pit Stop Cafe. But I learned it from watching you, Ronald.  And then there were all the times you let me try things and do things and always encouraged me in your own way. I mean, Dad, that time you coached our 5th grade basketball team and we beat every single team was even more fulfilling since the only basketball game I think you ever played was H-O-R-S-E. Unless you didn’t feel like playing that long and you turned it into H-O. Or when we used THAT ONE PERSON’S NAME. I’ve learned a lot from you and I’m proud of it all. 

Now that I see you as a papa to Oslo, I get to see the love you have for him and it’s the sweetest thing in the world. He’ll grow up being able to have a grandpa in his life and I’m so happy for that. No, he will never talk and, no, you cannot cut his hair. Other than that, you’re a grandpa so everything else is free game. 

Growing up, I had two truck driving grandpas. And when there truck driving grandpas weren’t driving cheese all across the country, they were at home taking me fishing, giving me quarters, never letting me win at checkers and putting boobies on my snowmen. 

One died when I was in 2nd grade, which made it the worst year of my life. From him I learned that people don’t hand you shit. You work for it and you get better at it. That includes winning at checkers. I also learned how to negotiate Cheeto trades while sitting at the dining room table. Life skills, you guys. They don’t come with participation awards and my grandpa would likely mock every child that had one. 

My grandma remarried a widowed plumber that drove an orange and white Studebaker. The first time he showed up to pick her up for a date, I shut the door in his face. Soon after, they got married and moved from right next door to 30 minutes away. TRAVESTY. But he because the best third grandpa I never thought I’d have. He couldn’t hear a marching band two inches from his ear, was bow-legged enough to drive a Mack truck between his legs and just wore a rope as a belt on his dress pants when he couldn’t find a belt. He taught his grandkids a lot by  example; he exemplified not letting the little things get to you. He never told you that, but you saw it. He was the most patient soul I’ve ever encountered, even when he crushed your ribs with every hug. He died in 2006. 

My other grandpa is 91 and was running over a cat with his electric wheelchair when we were trying to FaceTime earlier today. This grandpa doesn’t say much; when he does share something, you stop what you’re doing and you listen. If he’s taking time away from watching the Weather Channel or RFD-TV, it’s important. He called me two weeks ago to see what Oslo was doing and tell me he might grow up to be a stand up comedian. The time before that, he called when we were driving through Iowa to see when we’d be there. That’s two more calls than I remember getting from him my entire life. He’s such an amazing silent example of an incredibly hard work ethic and a desire to provide everything you can to your family. He exemplifies pride in what he’s worked towards, like the riding lawn mowers he used to wax regularly or the fishing boats and trucks he would trade in on a regular basis. He’d give you the world if you needed it and wouldn’t ask why. I’m so thankful he’s gotten to know his great grandson. 

My little son doesn’t have a dad and not all kids do. My boy has a papa and a great grandpa. He also has two uncles that are so different in so many ways and yet are both the perfect role models from to see. He has a big brother that adores him and will no doubt be there to guide him along the way. He’s got more than a lot of kids out there and, for that, we’re so fortunate. 

We’re also thankful for the sperm of strangers in this household, both from Oslo’s donor and the fella who contributed to my existence. Thanks, fellas. I’m afraid there’s not a Happy Seed Provider Day, but we would definitely celebrate your… generosity.  

Happy Father’s Day, however you celebrate or however you don’t.