Thursday, July 31, 2008

You May Laugh ...

But it's totally how it is.

Gay Marriage, Part Two

Oh yeah. I keep forgetting to post about this! The "Big Day" is Fri, August 15th. We're going here to file our marriage license application tonight, and then we'll go pick up our license sometime between now and the 15th.

Our wacky cuz Kristin is becoming formally ordained, and she will preside over the nuptials in the Bay Meadows Winner's Circle (well, that's assuming they'll let us gather there briefly that day before racing starts. Otherwise, we may get stuck exchanging vows in the parking lot, maybe next to a van with a nickering horse. Hey! Now that I think of it, he could be our third witness, stamping our paperwork with a "good luck" horseshoe.)

Just kidding. We're keeping the ceremony small since we're already registered domestic partners in the State of California, and in April 2006, we flew to Vermont to celebrate a civil union. Our family and friends have already showered us with the equivalent of wedding presents, so we couldn't possibly ask for or need another round of gifts. No, this wedding merely confirms what everybody already knows: we are about as committed a couple as two people could possibly ever hope to be.

Why the 15th of August? That marks the day we both met, four years ago.

So why marry? Because, finally, we legally can. We can only pray that fearful and close-minded people won't snatch this legal right away from us come November.

Ah, the irony. Imagine this. On the wall at home, we'll have a domestic partnership certificate, a civil union certificate, a marriage certificate, and on the shelf a binder full of all the legal paperwork establishing our living trust, wills, powers of attorney over finances and health care ... yet some people still want to argue ours is not a "real" relationship and oughtn't be recognized as such. Somehow, in their minds, we "cheapen" their marriages.

All I have to say to that is: honey, if your marriage is that flimsy, you oughta spend more time working on it than on worrying about what we're doing.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Local Lesbian Poet Appointed Poet Laureate of United States

Well, halle-frickin-lujah! Kay Ryan of Fairfield has been appointed the new Poet Laureate of the United States, and she's an out dyke to boot. Good on her. And, don't you think she looks a little bit like Elizabeth Bishop?

Anyway, I admit I don't know much about her poetry, and I didn't really care very much for the two poems published in this article in the Chronicle. Shades of William Carlos Williams? But, I'm sure I'll buy her New and Selected Poems when it comes out in November, and maybe my college will have her out to do a reading since she's local. It's high time more lesbians are appreciated for the tremendous role in the arts we've been playing in this country for years and years.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The God of Animals: A Novel The God of Animals: A Novel by Aryn Kyle

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this one up last weekend quite randomly. It had a horse on the cover, and when I flipped it over, I was intrigued to read that the first chapter of the book was originally a short story titled "Foaling Season," which, as it happens, won a National Magazine Award for Fiction for The Atlantic Monthly. I figured at the very least it would be writerly, good at best and pompous bullhockey at worst.

I'm pleased to say I loved it! To read that the writer is only 29 years old and a graduate of the writing program at the University of Montana of course makes me want to chew off my nails and spit them at her in jealousy, but that's a good thing. To admit I wish I had written this book is high praise.

This is a "coming of age" story told from the point of view of 12 year-old Alice Winston; the Washington Post is not far wrong when comparing her to the little girls in To Kill a Mockingbird and The Member of the Wedding (to this list I'd add The Heart is a Lonely Hunter). It's a story about love, depression, cruelty, selling yourself out, rage, infidelity, resignation, wealth vs. poverty, and so many other "big" themes, yet through it all moments of grace and triumph come and go without the novel's ever descending into schmaltz. It's a horse story, too, set underneath that Montana "Big Sky." Well-written, the book's characters are totally real, flawed but likeable (even down to the mimosa-swiggin' Catfish). It ends as only a book like this can end, with Alice grieving, stunned, but years wiser--perhaps wiser than most adults.

An astonishing first novel, and I highly recommend it.

View all my reviews.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Stacy Westfall Riding

She rides without a saddle or bridle yet gets that horse to do amazing things. It'll give you goosebumps--I never saw anything like it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Boob Lube

You'd think a 46 year-old woman would've developed a habit by now of doing a monthly breast self-exam, but oh no. Not me. If I can't write it in a calendar, it's not going to stick in my head, and for me, the problem is I can't remember to write the reminder in the calendar in the first place. D'oh!

But now Save the Ta-ta's has come up with a brilliant idea: hand soap that you keep in your bathroom as a reminder to do the necessary deed. Go on. Buy some. You know you want it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Big Brown Is Back On His Game!

In a startling turn of events, Big Brown wins the fifth stage of the Tour de France between Cholet and Chateauroux.

I wish I could claim authorship of this, but I swiped it from today's Chronicle.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Taking the Plunge: Deciding to Own a Race Horse

After a year or so of agonizing over the ethics of race horse ownership, I've finally decided that the pros outweigh the cons, so this past weekend I took the plunge, opened an account, and applied for an owner's license in the state of California. This is something my partner has wanted to do for some time, but I've continually stalled, hemming, hawing, mainly saying, "How on earth do we justify that to your father?!" For, of course, anybody who knows horse racing understands that a racehorse is a colossally poor investment--you enter this business with the full expectation that you'll lose money, and that you're doing it more for the love of horses and for the love of the game. I'm figuring if we happen to break even, that'll be a blessing.

We are going in with two partners: our trainer, Steve Sherman, and his girlfriend, who has owned two race horses with some success. Steve's a solid trainer with an average 30% win percentage and his horses usually at least hit the board, so it's my hope the horse will, some of the time, be able to cover most of its own expenses ... which, for the uninitiated reading this, will probably be a minimum of $2,000 a month. We're starting off with the idea of letting Steve choose what he feels to be a decent $8,000 claimer, so when people ask us "Do you want a sprinter? A router? A filly? A colt? Dirt runner? Turfer?" it really doesn't matter to us. A horse is a horse, of course, of course. (OK, I'm kidding about that--each one is special in its own right; it's just that at present we know so little about choosing a good race horse that we're willing to defer to Steve's judgement.)

I feel happy and excited; at the same time, I admit I am fearful. It's a huge responsibility. After all, the horse could get injured and need a long layoff, and of course that's what we'd want to do--let him heal and not run him if he's even remotely questionable. This is a promise I made to myself to justify ownership in the first place: this business needs good owners, owners who care more about the horse than the money. (And most do: we usually hear only about the greedy ones.) And there's always the possibility of heartbreak. If we wind up with a winner, our horse could always get claimed right away from us, or, worse, he could break down and have to be euthanized. Several owners have told us of sobbing in the winner's circle because their horse had just been claimed, and just this past weekend, I watched sadly when one owner sprinted out to the backstretch after a race at Pleasanton because his horse went down. When the tarp goes up, shielding the crowd from view, you know exactly what's going on behind that curtain. Sure enough, he looked ashen upon his return to the paddock.

I know it's not all about mint juleps, big hats, and a blanket of red roses on Derby Day. Nonetheless, I can't wait 'til we get our horse, so we can go visit him on the backside and feed him carrots. Or feel the adrenaline as she breaks out of the gate on her first race day with us. I expect in the next year I'll learn a whole lot more about such things as pedigree and conformation. Here's to a good trip.