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Friday, October 26, 2012

Ever wanted to be in flashmob dance?

Two days ago while I was running I got an idea for how to replace the anger, heartbreak, fear and anguish of the campaign with love and joy. 

Dance.  Public dance to be specific. 

I imagine by now everyone knows what a flashmob, but in case you don't check out one of the original flashmobs in the Antwerp train station in Belgium. 

That is right.  I am organizing a YES on 1 flashmob dance for little Bangor, Maine. 

I sort of jokingly put this idea out there in a Facebook post and I got a lot of interest.  This got me to thinking....maybe we could pull this off.

My friend Melissa is going to do the choreography and we are going to get a group together to practice this weekend.   We have a rehearsal planned for this Sunday at 11 am (if you're local and want to come it is at the Hampden Academy track- email me if you need info with the actual flashmob planned for Saturday November 3rd at noon in downtown Bangor.   If you want to dance in the actual flashmob but can't get to the rehearsal, we are going to videotape it and put it on youtube so you can learn at home!

I mean, why not?

It isn't as though I think a group of people wearing rainbow colors and dancing as a group in public is going to change the minds voters (though it would be cool if it did...), but honestly the group of folks that are working so hard and putting their hearts on the line in this election need a boost. 

It isn't just the gay people of Maine who are hurting from this vote.  There are so many straight allies who are also deeply affected by the state of affairs.  My  friend Raina wrote this to me the other day:

"We want to have our children grow up in a world that doesn't discriminate against it's own people.
I know that it may seem that I don't stand to lose anything with this upcoming election. But this is wrong. I stand to lose a lot if marriage equality is not voted into law. My heart will be broken. Like you, I spend many days with a heavy heart and I cry when I pass "no on 1" signs. My faith in humanity is crumbling each time I see a sign that promotes hate and discrimination. I have tried to imagine the possibility of this vote failing and I feel hopeless, I consider that I may need to seek therapy from a professional. Truly. I don't know what words to put here that will make you feel how passionately I support this bill. But know this, if it doesn't pass, I will (and already do) have a deep regret for not doing more and I will commit many many hours, days, weeks, whatever it takes to make sure that all families are treated equally and fairly, and that all adults have the right to marry their soul mate."

I am deeply touched when heterosexual people take on this fight as their own.  Because, honestly it is.  No one is free while others are oppressed.  I think MLK said that and wasn't he correct.

So I'm doing my nightly volunteer shift making phone calls for YES on 1 but now I'm going to add a little pep to our election countdown.  Let's finish this out with love and positivity and, perhaps, even a little bit of fun.  We only have 12 days to go...

Want to dance?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Marching On

A reminder of what we are fighting for and who we are fighting for.  This is the video Sandi made early last summer to play on the pridemobile for all the parades for marriage equality   that we did all over Washington County.

It is time for it to inspire once again.

Thank you to all the famlies and individuals who contributed to make this a feast for the eyes of love and joy.  Our love is no threat to you.

time to pay attention

In case you haven't already seen this all over Facebook (it has somehow been shared almost 400 times), I wanted to share with you something Sandi wrote about the election.  She doesn't get angry very often but when she does, it is worth paying attention to. 

She called it "Yes...I'm angry" and I'm so very proud of her for writing it.  It will appear in the Downeast Coastal Press, one of the newspapers in the rural Washington County where she was born and where much of the war over question one is based.  Aunt Suzie, Uncle Buck and Noah have been putting signs up all over the county and they are being torn down, vandalized and stolen at every turn.  In less than a week over 100 signs went missing. I assume people are feeling desperate and cornered with the shakedown of this vote and the people coming out of the woodwork in support of gay rights in this rural, conservative and very religious part of the state.

In Sandi's words:

"I have taken enough abuse during this campaign season. And I’m done taking it. I’ve had it up to my ears with Question 1.

I went to bed last night with a heavy heart – heavy with sadness, but less comfortably, heavy with anger. Anger doesn’t come easily to me and when it does, I’m not one to let it reside for very long.    Anger serves to feed no one, but sometimes it has a place and a purpose. Sometimes it fuels a fire and used correctly, can be a nice little nudge to do or say something worthwhile.

So as I went to sleep last night, I said a little prayer that my anger would either be softened to something beneficial to me or that it would serve the purpose of nudging me to say something. By 3:30, when Maya made her way into our bedroom with her “chest full of cold” cough, my anger had dissipated into resolve and certainty that I should do what I don’t ever do – speak from my anger.

Suzanne and I sit in the evenings with our tea or hot cocoa and listen to each other’s day. It has always been our practice, but we are especially faithful to it now, as we see each other so little during everyday tasks - with me in grad-school and her managing our life. Lately, we have each, individually, had many conversations with family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances regarding the issue of question 1 this November. Naturally, these conversations make their way into our evening chats. For the most part, we do a good job of staying strong, not letting it hit us too hard when we hear, “but I just believe that marriage is too sacred to redefine. Don’t take it personally. I love you. I respect you and your family. I just think marriage is between a man and a woman.” Let me translate what you just said… “You are different than me. I deserve these rights, and you don’t.” It is discrimination. Ugly and hateful discrimination. Furthermore, when you say “I want you to have these rights, I just don’t think it should be called ‘marriage,’” what you are saying is this – you are unequal to me and therefore should not have what I have. “Separate, but equal…” Ring a bell?? Discrimination. At least have the decency to call it what it is.

Well, I’ve heard it enough. I’m tired of the lame excuses. I’m tired of the “I just believe marriage is too ‘sacred’ and shouldn’t be redefined.” Like the GLBT community is going to muck it up with extramarital affairs, quick-to-divorce attitudes, and less than respectful relationships. Wait…. you straight people f…ed that up already. You did that all on your own. So don’t tell me about the ‘sacred’ institution of marriage. What’s sacred is what you create. The sacred in marriage is not bestowed upon you by an outside institution.

In the spectrum of life and living, there are two end points of how you choose to live - your vibration, if you will – on one end is love, and on the other is hate. In my opinion, love is what we, as humans, aspire to be. We are born capable of the spectrum of vibration, and while love is the natural state, we can choose any other vibration we want. Having said that, I believe anything less than love is a choice to deviate from what is natural. That is why I know, in my heart and soul, that what I share with Suzanne is the most natural thing in the world, born of love, nurtured in love, and created anew daily in love.

As I sat last evening and felt Suzanne’s experience as she recalled her conversation yesterday, like so many conversations before, with a dear friend about why he is having a hard time “redefining” marriage to be inclusive… as I sat while she explained to me that his marriage was too “sacred” to share with us… as I sat while the sadness poured from her soul… as I sat and watched the tears stream from her heart… as I sat while she doubted the people of Maine & the outcome of the vote on November 6… as I sat while she so eloquently detailed all the empty and false reasons why we shouldn’t have access to legal marriage… why we are not “created equal”… as I sat with her sorrow… my blood began to boil.

On November 6, we vote for love or for hate. We vote for inclusion or exclusion. We vote to be bigger than we were or to stay stuck in segregation and discrimination. We have an opportunity to set an example for the rest of our country, or not.

I am deeply saddened, but not at all surprised, that religious entities are the biggest supporters of the campaign for discrimination. “But the Bible clearly says…” Hogwash. I’m tired of hearing what the Bible says. I don’t even want to capitalize the word “Bible” right now. I’m only doing it out of respect. Go pick out all the implicit instructions in the Bible, number them, and tell me what percentage are actually applicable in today’s world. Who wrote the Bible? Go pick out a book in the Bible and then tell me it hasn’t been interpreted 100 different ways. Who’s the main character in the Bible? I’ll answer this one for you – Jesus. What did Jesus preach? Love. What did Jesus advocate? Love. Who did Jesus discriminate against? No one.

There is a place for religion – to commune and share love with each other. Unfortunately, religious entities are choosing something other than love. And they are doing it out of fear. I think it’s a fear of God and what they believe God wants. I think people are trying to do what they think is right. But unfortunately, and all too often, people turn to religious entities and stop thinking for themselves. They forget that they are in control of their own hearts and minds. We are God. God isn’t an entity outside of us. We are part of that “higher power.” Pull up your britches, people, and take some accountability.

Also, and all too often, religious entities lie. They are spouting lies all over the place right now. I know this to be true. I know what legal rights I do and don’t have. Churches are telling people that I have equal rights and that I shouldn’t be asking for more equality in this world because I’m just as protected by the law as my married friends and family. THESE ARE LIES. And when the church says, “we love you, we just don’t love your behavior,” well I’m sorry, but all I heard is “I don’t love.” What did Jesus preach, share, and embody…. Love. Do I have faith in religious entities that don’t choose love?…. No. I do not.

I am angry. I am angry that people won’t take the time and energy to think for themselves. I’m angry that people won’t educate themselves to the law. I’m angry that people would rather be spoon-fed lies than seek out truth. I’m angry that people won’t open their hearts and minds. I’m angry that a very large percentage of the population thinks it’s ok to discriminate against me. I’m angry that those same people think they are more deserving of rights. And I’m angry that they think they are somehow closer to God than I am. I choose love every day of my life. I live and love in the manner that Jesus taught. And I’m tired of religious zealots telling me that there is something unnatural and undeserving about me.

Every thought and every action we take adds to define us as who we are. If you are one of those people who believes me unequal to you and undeserving of your ‘sacred’ marriage, I have this to say… no matter how you frame it, or what language you couch it in… you are choosing hate and exclusion. I pray for you, not for me, that you won’t define yourself this way."

Thank you to the countless people pouring love our way.  We are immensely grateful for all of you spinning a cocoon of protection around us. We are finding our center, the heart of our life in our family and our partnership and we are standing tall.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

trying to find the ground under me

I have felt that maybe it was time I should post about something other than the election.  I sat down to once or twice to do so and nothing came out.  I apologize.  I am consumed with it right now. 
Yesterday was a really bad day. What is the name of that book? Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  That was my day yesterday. 
To be honest many of my days lately have been very difficult.  I told Sandi that I don't feel great when I wake up or when I go to sleep and really not so great during many points of the day too.  This is not me.  This vote has got me down.
Yesterday morning, I had the kids in the car and when I went to turn the engine over it clicked. Dead battery. I scanned my brain for friends to call and lined up separate rides for each kid.  Maya was in a state of panicky tears at this change and I buckled her into a friends car whilst she clung to my shirt saying, "I want you to take me to school!!!" Fun times.
I checked my email while waiting for AAA and got an email from a dear friend telling me why he would be voting no on 1 in two weeks.  My inbox was also filled with a bunch of notifications of hate-filled posts that had been made under a comment I wrote on Facebook.  Let me back up. Our friends Mindy and Charissa went to our local, beloved apple farm on Sunday for hay rides and the corn maze and found a "No on 1" sign displayed front and center near their sign.  After a brief discussion with one of the owners (in which the owner said he felt, "same-sex marriage was no way to built a society") they left and posted something on Facebook about how sad they were to not go to this place anymore after knowing how they felt about families like theirs.  Many people saw their post and began to post on the Farm's FB page. I also did.  In the hours that followed, hundreds of people posted either for or against the farm.  Clearly much local business was lost by their careless placement of the sign.
For some reason, despite all the other posts on the page, people began to comment under my post.  In the next 24 hours, 50-60 people posted under my comment, both kind and supportive things and many hateful and mean comments and my inbox was filled with each and every notification. 
Not a good primer for an already difficult day.
I got the car jumped, put my bike in the back, drove to the garage and then hopped on my bike.  I desperately needed a bike ride and a soul clearing in the fresh air.  Half a mile from the garage I got a flat. 
I was done with the day and it wasn't even 10 AM. 
I called a friend to pick me up. (Yes I was in tears and yes I know how to change a tire but I couldn't face doing it on the side of the road abutting the sewer plant.  My spirits just couldn't handle further insult.)
I spent most of the rest of the morning in tears, talking with and receiving comfort from friends and trying to put myself back together.  I went for a run and picked up my car and wondered how to become less affected by the state of affairs. 
By the time afternoon rolled around and I was some semblance of put back together, I was so touched to have two people seek me out at school pick-up to tell me how much they appreciated what I've been writing on the blog. One woman told me that she had had some of the difficult conversations about question 1 with her loved ones.   I cannot tell you how much this means to me.  Two more people I don't know very well sent me messages on Facebook telling me how much our family's presence in the area and in this campaign has meant to so many people.  Sandi and I had a long talk about choosing love when hate is what is being spit all around us.  I was finally able to lay my head on the pillow last night and feel like I was a little more whole, a little more me.  My eyes were swollen from crying but I finally felt some relief.
The truth is, this is a campaign that is fighting for love.  Love must be what we fight with. In our house "hate" is like a swear word.  Our kids know that we try hard not to use it.  "We don't hate," we tell them. 
Here is a snippet of a conversation I had with Ella the other day:
Ella:  "Mom, why don't people want you to get married?  Why can't people all just get along?"
Me:  "I know this is hard to understand.  People have different ways of thinking and they often want everyone to think like they do.  A lot of people believe in what is written in the Bible and they think everyone should live the way they think it says to in the Bible."
Ella:  "Well, whoever wrote it should have written it a little nicer.  Especially since there are A LOT of copies of it."
I woke up today feeling less consumed.  I've need all the reminders and words of comfort.  People know not what they do.  People don't understand the hurt they are causing.  Keep love in your heart and your words the best you can.  Even if we lose the vote, we don't lose any of what we already have.  I am healthy.  My family is healthy.  We are happy.  We are surrounded in love.
Today I  feel less broken. I feel more myself. I haven't needed to cry over this heartache today.  The vote feels enormous but it doesn't feel like it is sitting on my heart.  I will take this peace and I will foster it. This is how I will survive the next 2 weeks.
Also, my friends went out to discuss the sign with the owners of the farm after their FB page went viral Sunday night.  The owners were truly bewildered about the effect the sign had had on people.  They were stunned and overwhelmed by the practical details of why same-sex couples seek marriage.  They did not understand how being unprotected effects our coupleships and our children. They were respectful and listened and were deeply affected by the things that were said about what it is like to be us.  Who know what will happen when they get in the voting booth, but one thing is for sure, countless hearts have expanded and opened as a result of this vote.  There have been so many of these conversations happening all over the state. It is a very painful process but I must believe some good is coming from all this expansion.
Here are some of the regulars of life that have been happening while I've been consumed.  Because surely, life as we know it keeps going.
I made these AMAZING  pumpkin cinnamon rolls from Smitten Kitchen. (And somehow made way too much frosting.)
 Ella made this picture as illustration of her story about Trish and Brock's wedding.  That is Trish, the bride, over on the left and Brock is on the right bowing to her.  I. LOVE. THIS. PICTURE.
Ella has an assignment to create a tool.  She and Sandi crafted the "egg decorator."  It holds eggs while you decorate them. (Duh.) Yes, Sandi blew the eggs out and then strung them. Yes, she tried to get me to help her after the kids had gone to bed since she didn't like how big the hole was on one of the eggs. No I did not.

Breven and Kenna and the girls went to Pumpkins in the Park this past weekend.  They scored a bunch of candy and jumped in the bounce house.  Fun was had by all.  Maya was a kangaroo, Ella a butterfly, Kenna was Strawberry Shortcake and Brev was Batman.  (My sister and family were on their way and got a sudden case of flu or food poisoning and sadly had to turn around.)

I simply love this picture of Ella doing her homework with a giant pencil.  This look of consternation is the one she wears each and every time she does her homework.
After my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day I came home and had these gorgeous flowers delivered to me by my dear friend Megan.  What a treat.  The card read: stay strong. 
The world is a hard place for me to be right now.  I guess all this hate and ill-will exists every day but I honestly don't come across it very often in my day to day life.  (Yes, I know this makes me very lucky.  I also consciously choose not to watch the news so that helps.) When I see it at every turn  right now I am deeply affected by it.  Are these the people I live among? 
I'm trying hard to liken it to shopping.  If you go into a store and half of the store is filled with really ugly clothes, but you find some that you love and you happily buy them, then who cares about the ugly ones you didn't buy?  Ugly clothes and people's hate need not be my business.
Except of course when they vote.
And here I leave you with something Maya said to Ella at dinner last night.  Maya and Ella had a secret and Maya wanted to share it with us. Ella was telling her not to because it was her secret too.  Maya said, "Ella, you take care of you and I will take care of me."
And wouldn't life be easier if that was the way it worked?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

There is something you can do for me.

There are only 23 days until the election and things are heating up.

I find these days to be incredibly difficult.  I feel like someone has surgically removed the protective bubble we live in and placed us out in the elements where judgement, exclusion, ignorance, intolerance and hatred live.  I want back in the bubble and I want to deadbolt the door.

As much as I am a fighter, strong and able, this was exactly why I wasn't ready for the marriage vote to return to our state.  Of course I want the rights, but I wasn't sure I could handle the fight.

Many of my gay friends are feeling the same way- bruised and worn down at best and depressed and demoralized at worst.

This is why the signs matter.  I've had many people ask me if it really matters to have a sign in their yard.  Does it actually change any opinions?  Haven't most people made up their mind?

First, let me tell you that each time I see a NO on 1 sign, I feel physically ill. 

I think the signs do have some influence over voters. I think that those who haven't entirely decided may see so-and-so's house with a YES sign and perhaps feel if that family is okay with it than maybe it is okay.  But honestly, the real power to the sign is for the gay people.  Seeing the orange sign on a stranger's lawn says:  "I will stand up for your rights and will put myself and my house at risk.  I stand by you."  Because make no mistake, hate crimes and retaliation are alive and well and when people stand up for gay rights, they do so with risk.  When others take that risk and stand beside you in the firing line, it means everything.

I know many gay women (and men) in the 50 and over group who lived for years in the closet with their long term partner- or "roommate"- and even though the world is more open and accepting, they still live with a level of fear of being out and visible.  They still are careful what pronouns they use when discussing their significant other in mixed company. 

I really don't know if people get it that hatred toward gays and fears for one's safety still exists.  Having equal rights means that we are equal in this society, rather than a group to be a scapegoat for people's  hatred.  If you marginalize people, they will be marginalized. 

A mom I know from school and who is new to the area told me that she read my article and she was going to stick her neck out there and put a sign on her lawn "even though no one will see it on my quiet street."  I told her that my gay friend Chris (from this post, near bottom) lived across the street from her and that she would see it each and every day and that that would mean everything to her.

I got this message from Chris that night: "Thanks for encouraging her to put the sign out. You have no idea how much I needed to see that. And, how much I needed to hear this story tonight in this exact moment, and not feel so invisible.

Maya and I are "sign captains" for our area, which means we can get a ton of signs at once and disperse them.  Have you even seen a cuter sign captain?

We have given out/delivered close to 70 signs!!  There are 5 on our street of 20 houses (and sadly one NO sign from people I don't know) and if I could pave the street with them I would.  This is why the signs matter to me:  when I drive up my street and see them all lined up on the lawns of our straight neighbors who know and love us, I feel safe and protected. It is like they are lighting the walkway back into our bubble.  I can leave the scrutiny of the campaign out in the world as I pull into the sanctuary of my driveway. 

If you're not sure if the signs help, let me assure you that they do.

Thank goodness for the bright spots right now.  I have gotten such an outpouring of positive comments over both the blog post and the article.  I have a friend that reminded me how ridiculous the anti-gay people will look 50 years from now, the way the racists that opposed desegregation looked in the 60's.  I have another friend that said this to me: "It seems to me people would be so embarrassed to put out a NO on 1 sign.  It's kind of like putting up a sign that says 'sometimes I like to light my cat on fire' or 'I slept with my cousin but it was only twice.'" 

I have the comfort of a Friday afternoon with my family all at home, the wood stove going, watching the girls put on a lively gymnastics show for Sandi and I in the living room.  No one can touch that.

Twenty three days left.  Can you help?

Here are some things you can do (even if you want to help and you don't live in Maine):

-Get a yard sign (I can help you if you need help or you can go to the Twin City Plaza in Brewer to the Yes on 1 office near H&R Block.  If you aren't local look online for Mainers United for Marriage to get to your local office).

-Donate money to Mainer's United for Marriage.  They need money for TV ads to counteract the lies the opposition is telling on the air (such as the fact that we already have legal rights and now we are just messing with their religions).

-Talk to people.  This one is hard, I know.  I'm the least comfortable with this because of the vulnerable position in puts my heart in.  But as my friend Beth said, "I can't bear to wake up on November 7th and think I could have done more."  Can you talk to 5 people about their position on marriage equality, especially ones that you think might vote no or be persuaded?  Can  you talk to 10? 20?  If you don't live in Maine but know people who do, can you call them? I have decided to openly discuss this with the people we know- our neighbors, acquaintances, school friends.  I'm going to try to be brave and walk up and down my street and discuss this with the people I have lived next to for years. I'm going to be very brave and volunteer at the phone bank today to talk to other parents about this over the phone. I'm scared silly.

Open, one on one, discussion is the most powerful tool we have.  Many people have opened their hearts this way.  Let's not assume everyone we know is open-minded and accepting.  Let's not assume they really know what is at stake for gay couples, gay individuals who are trying to live honest lives out of the closet.  Let's not assume that the lies told by the opposition are understood to be lies by all who hear them.  Let's not assume that because the polls look good that we've got this in the bag. 

If every yes voter could secure 5, 10, 20, 30 more yes votes think of what that would look like piled up like a heap of jelly beans filling a jar.

So stick your heads out there and stick them out far because our heads are on the chopping block (in a matter of speaking) and we need your help.  We need your family's and your friends' help as well. 

In the spirit of sticking up for people, below are two comments from the Bangor Daily on my op-ed that I particularly liked for the arguments they made.  I swear I did not, as promised, read the online comments, but my friend Mary emailed me only the nice ones. 

~"Maine doesn't have civil unions; it has a (third-class) institution called domestic partnership.  However, even a separate second-class institution (civil unions) for second-class citizens is not the same as equality and fairness.  We had separate institutions for "coloreds" under the South's segregation laws -- separate schools, separate passenger train cars, separate seating on buses (in the back), separate bathrooms, separate drinking fountains, etc.  "Separate but equal" laws were declared by the Supreme Court to be "inherently unequal."  When you set up a separate institution from marriage, a second-class institution called civil unions, you are saying that some families aren't good enough to be treated as full citizens, with full access to the same institutions that first-class citizens have.Let's treat all adult couples fairly and equally -- let Ms. Carver marry the adult person she loves."
~"I fail to see how same sex couples wanting to get married is a 'special right.'  Seriously- someone help me understand what is so 'special' about getting to do something that the rest of the American population has always taken for granted and been able to do?  What are people are so afraid of?  Help me understand why two consenting adults; who love and care for one another, who work, who pay taxes, who vote, who follow the laws of this country, who may attend church or synagogue or mosque (or not), who may have children, who may serve and may die in combat for this country, like  ANY other American citizen… still can not get married in most of the states in this country.  Why?  Oh right, I forgot gay people are the same sex….this apparently disqualifies them from being considered full fledged ‘real’ American citizens like their straight counterparts.  REALLY?  

Some say marriage is a  ‘privilege.’   Let's look at the definition of privilege shall we?  Privilege, by definition,  is defined as a ‘special right’ or ‘benefit’ which is enjoyed by an ‘individual or class’ and is ‘exercised to the exclusion or detriment of others.’  Ahhhhh…. this must be those ‘special rights’ the vote NO on 1 people say the gay people want.  Those evil, insidious gay people… next they’ll want the ‘special right’ to vote or to have a driver’s license or pay taxes.  When will it end?
OK so let’s define ‘special rights’ shall we?  Special rights, are defined as: ‘…A term…referring to laws granting rights to one or more groups which are not extended to other groups.’  Oh I get it…so gay people want the ‘privilege’ aka ‘special rights’ of being able to marry; a privilege that clearly is not extended to any other group in this country, thus gay people getting married will undoubtedly be detrimental and exclude any and all other groups from the exact same ‘special rights’ and/or privilege of marriage. Wait what?"

I read this recently and it resonated with me, especially since I spend so much time around children and they love so easily: “The most perplexing thing about hate for me is it’s a conscience choice. You choose to do that. You learn to do that.” ~Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepard's mom

Let's choose love today.  Talk to people about inclusion.  Ask people what they are voting on question one. Share the personal stories of why this matters.  Dispel the myths and lies about how same-sex couples supposedly have all the rights we need.  Encourage people to think about how it would feel to be in love and have the majority tell you your love didn't count and wasn't equal. 

Good luck and thank you. And if you should take a shift at the phone bank, perhaps you should take a bottle of wine with you like I plan to when discussing such issues with total strangers this afternoon.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Trish and Brock's wedding

On Friday September 28th in an intimate wedding in the shell of their under construction house, Trish and Brock were married.  All of the energy and cooperation that went into every detail, from last minute construction, to decoration, to flowers, to food, to the hundreds of things that are invisible but make an event happen, to each part of the ceremony itself, spoke entirely of one thing: LOVE.

Trish and Brock are two people who exude love and caring for each other and their families and their wedding week and the wedding itself were a certain celebration of who they are individually and as a couple.  It was an exhausting honor to be a part of their circle to make it all happen.

Patti and Dwight

Trish and Dwight
Trish and her nieces and nephew

My beautiful girls


Kristi, Michael, Brevan and Makenna
Trish and Patti



The bride and groom with Brock's family

It turns out that the flower girls are really the jesters of the the wedding.  These two were all business as they headed up the aisle and they weren't taking any chances with the honor bestowed upon them.  They were rationing the petals like their future depended on it until we told them to go ahead and toss them all on the runner.  Maya started chucking fist fulls much to Makenna's dismay.  She bent right down and collected each and every one of Maya's haphazardly thrown petals and placed it carefully back on the runner.  

In fact, she was so tuckered out she had to take a nap during the ceremony.  Maya kept coming and sitting on my lap and whisper yelling, "WHEN ARE WE GOING TO HAVE THE CAKE?"

I truly don't think I've ever seen such a happy bride.

Trish and Brock not only wrote their own vows, they wrote a sort of ode to each other.  Each one filled a page full of love, dedication, history, future and promise.  As they read them aloud to each other, in a deliberate and present manner, I was so touched by the intimacy of their ceremony.  I have never seen a wedding that was so honest and full of real, rather than story-book love.   Their relationship is a gift:  they have been through enough to be certain of their solidarity and to face the world as a team, working together for their common good.  They don't just love each other.  They have created a life togther, one they work to nuture and care for. 

The small size of the wedding itself was rivaled the night after as we scrambled to pull together the reception for 180 people.  It was astonishing how the house was made into a sweet, romantic venue for a wedding reception.  There weren't any great pictures of it, but the tables were decorated with drift wood that held small floral arrangements.  Kristi's genius.

Patti, the amazing, built this mason jar chandelier.  Trish had taken a shine to the one in the remake movie "Footloose" and set her mom to the challenge.  AMAZING. 

The flower girls just chillin'

Tricia's friend, Donna, took all the pictures (over 1000 in all!) and she graciously let me put them on the blog.  If you find yourself in need of a photographer her number is (207) 570-5662.   She's incredible.

Patti somehow had the role of catering for the crowd and she created a menu that could put any restaurant out of business: lobster, chicken, honey glazed carrots, steamed corn, homemade yeast rolls along with pasta and potato salad.  Oh and she made 200 homemade needhams.  Brock's mom Dixie and his Aunt Dale made over 150 pumpkin chocolate chip and 100 molasses cookies and something like 5 buckets of potato and pasta salad (we think this means 50 pounds of potato and pasta salad but that seems ridiculous.  Or awesome.)   Dixie and Dale had peeled 50 pounds of potatoes from Brock's Godfather's farm for the potato salad. The cooks had planned on 200 people and no one was going to go hungry.
Patti had a plan to cook everything in roasters all afternoon to have it ready by 5 p.m.  However, the electrical having just been hooked up a few days prior, the kinks weren't all worked out.  I am not up on the language of watts and fuses, but suffice it to say that every time she turned a roaster on, the electricity went out.  Patti ended up having to cook 30 pounds of carrots and 30 pounds of corn in giant lobster cooking pots on the outdoor propane stove.  That is a downeaster for you.   And she served dinner at 5:05.  For real.
Patti had ordered these snazzy aprons for us to serve in:
Working the buffet line was the perfect job for me because I got to see/meet everyone- a task that would have been impossible to achieve any other way.  Although I got stuck serving chicken somehow.
Sandi, Brock, Brock's Aunt Dale and his mom Dixie serving the guests

Me and my favorite father-in-love.
My family was invited and we had such fun!
After dinner and the lovely toasts, it was time for the bouquet toss.  Trish has a friend, Brittany, who is like a little sister to her.  Apparently Brittany would really like to be engaged.  I'm not sure what came over me (I blame it on the vote) but when they called all the "single ladies" to the floor, I went up and hunkered down into a squat with my arms up ready to catch that thing.  I have never gone up for a bouquet toss before and I was the grade school basketball player who begged her coach not to put her in the game.  Yet suddenly I knew I was going to get that thing NO MATTER WHAT.  I told Brittany, "No hard feelings but I'm catching that thing."  I knew I would clean her out if I had to. 

Up, up, up it went.  Right into my hands.  Donna snapped the action.  There is Brittany in the left hand corner giving it her all.  (Trish admitted she threw it high knowing I could catch it.)

I was SO proud of myself for catching it (I mean, I have zero successful sports background) that I went and sat smugly in the chair next to Sandi swinging my prize.  Then the garter removal started.  I swallowed hard.  DAMN.  I hadn't considered the inevitable result of my catching the bouquet.

The next thing I knew, Sandi was up by Brock with her dad's wallet handing him a $50 bill for the garter. You heard that right.  She PAID for the garter.

It was like a YES on 1 dream come true.

 Once the left-wing politcal posturing was over, it was time to dance!

Maya had some moves.

Sandi and Noah

And here you have it...the cake.  It wasn't perfect people but I must admit, it looked like a wedding cake. The presses that I was using to make a template for the scroll work was making holes in my drying fondant so I had to freehand the etching.  This is not a good thing if you're me.  In some places it looked like a first grader had done it.  But hey, it was my first one and I couldn't have made it for two more appreciative and relaxed people.  My most proud accomplishment?  The T & B on the third tier.  Trish had wanted initials and I told her I didn't think I could so I was even a little impressed with that.

 A week to remember.  A night to remember.  A couple to remember. 
 Love you both with all my heart.
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