Wednesday, August 28, 2013

NM Marriage Equality Update!

This past week has been pretty monumental for our little state (actually, we are the 5th largest state in the country, but I digress) in terms of marriage equality, and since it seems to be getting pretty minimal national news coverage, I thought I'd write a little about what all is going on, along with many informative links!

Last Wednesday, Doña Ana County started issuing same-sex marriage certificates and the NM Attorney General said he wouldn't interfere.

On Friday, our own Santa Fe county started issues same-sex marriage certificates! (Sidenote: A few months ago I had a dream that this happened, and as proof of my ability to predict the future you can read where I mentioned it in this very blog!)

I didn't read the news too much over the weekend, and it is getting hard to keep up, so I don't know exactly when the rest of this went down. BUT since Friday, FOUR more counties have started issuing same-sex marriage certificates: Bernalillo, San Miguel, Valencia, and Taos.

It's pretty exciting to see this all happen so quickly, and it will be interesting to see how it will play out in the near future. Legalizing same-sex marriage county-by-county is pretty unconventional, and the actual legality of it is being called into question. Lots of people want the state supreme court to rule on it, and lots of other people want it to be on the ballot. Everyone wants a statewide decision ASAP; those who are for same-sex marriage, and especially those who are married, want the reassurance that all these new marriages are valid, and those who are against same-sex marriage want all the new marriages to stop for good. So it is a quite fascinating political climate to be witnessing.

Eric & I love the idea of supporting the wedding industry of a state that has guaranteed marriage equality, and are crossing our fingers that same-sex marriage will be fully legal in New Mexico by the time we get married. Although honestly, it's looking like it will happen even sooner.

Also last Wednesday, former Democratic Party chairman (and possible Santa Fe mayoral candidate) Javier Gonzales came out publicly in a wonderfully written blog post. Here's my favorite excerpt:
"So I gathered the courage to speak with my parents, who responded with a much needed abrazo. I spoke to my friends, who after an initial awkward silence, asked, where are we going for lunch? I spoke to my daughters, who like many in their generation, asked what the big deal was.

"The life of St. Francis teaches us to discard the superficial and recognize the dignity in all of humanity. And in naming the cathedral in Santa Fe in his honor, our ancestors embraced that message. For over 400 years we have been a multi-cultural community that has thrived on our diversity. It is that spirit that has made us the City Different, a town that can embrace all kinds of people, from the children of traditional, culturally conservative Hispanics to the kids of hippies, from businessmen to artists, from natives and the old families that built this town to newcomers who help keep the economy alive. Our very existence as a community is proof that we are better when we value and accept one another for who we are without judgment."

While the last paragraph definitely idealizes Santa Fe's diversity (lots of class tensions abound), I think it really captures what so many in our community strive for, and a good reminder on an individual level as well. May we all be working to recognize the dignity in all of humanity - no small task, I know. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013


As I've mentioned before, summer in Santa Fe is tourist season, and we live just a few blocks away from the main tourist drag. That means for most of the summer, sidewalks have been crowded and restaurants have had wait times, but it also means that the town has been bustling with fun activities.

Sure, there are some days (er, lots of days) when I am walking behind a herd of slow-moving tourists (who don't seem to realize that some people in Santa Fe have places to be or even that other people might like to use the sidewalk) when I am annoyed by those who vacation here.

But the tourist population that descends upon Santa Fe in the summer has to get some credit for making/keeping our little capitol city interesting. For one, they bring lots and lots of money into our economy, which keeps lots of people employed. Santa Fe has a pretty low unemployment rate and the minimum wage in Santa Fe is $10.51 (second-highest in the nation - San Fransisco has us beat by four cents). And when it comes to what sustains our economy, especially in the summertime, it's the tourists.

Tourists in matching Hawaiian shirts!
Another benefit of Santa Fe's summer popularity is that there are lots of cheap or free activities in the summer. I guess people figure that if tourists are spending a bunch of money on food, lodging, expensive pieces of art, etc., there should be some activities they can partake in without spending money. I like this. I have seen live music almost every week, visited art exhibits and museums, usually without spending a dime.

Of course, I like tourists best when they are my family and friends visiting me! A couple weekends ago, my mom and brother visited for a long weekend and we got to do some of my favorite things together: visit the capitol building, shop at the farmer's market, play with Assisi, and eat tacos. It also gave us an excuse to visit some place I'd never been, such as the New Mexico Museum of History and the National Cemetery:

Mom at the cemetery.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

My dog.

One of my high school role models and teachers, Mrs. Rossi, told me in high school that the best thing dogs teach people is the capacity for unconditional love. That's stuck with me over the years, because she is right.

I learned last night that Calvin, our family dog, was put down. He had a tumor and was bleeding internally. He lived a good life, and would've turned twelve soon. I remember taking him home from the puppy rescue, dirty, covered in bugs, and laying in my lap in the car in November of 2001.

He was definitely the best (early) Christmas present I could imagine, and he loved me despite my hair being dyed black and being an awkward pre-teen. My favorite memory of him was just once when he slept in my bed the whole night - he'd usually nap with you for a few minutes, then he'd go find one of his many beds to sleep on. That memory is followed closely by him tearing in to his battery-powered singing Frankenstein toy.

Calvin was an old soul. Affectionate, calm, and solitary. When I was in Colorado last, I got to walk him with my grandfather around Crown Hill Lake with their dog, Buddy. He was always there when I needed companionship and a friend to hug when that was all that could help. I'll miss you, old man.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Reading & Writing

We begin today's blog with an anecdote:

In 5th grade, just like every year of elementary school, we had a chunk of time reserved each day for SSR - Sustained Silent Reading. (Also called DEAR - Drop Everything And Read.) This particular year, we would take five or ten minutes at the end of SSR time and write a paragraph or two about what we read, what we liked, what we thought would happen, etc.

This was, hands down, my favorite part of the day. We had so many interesting books in our classroom library! About kids who lived in Trinidad or had been kidnapped or went back in time to stop Lincoln's assassination! I loved reading these books so much that I started to take them home with me, and sometimes I loved them so much that I would go home and read them until I finished the book. Soon this became a regular thing, and my teacher noticed that in my reading journal I only had one entry about each book, since I was averaging a book a day. Because of this, I wasn't getting to reflect a lot on plot devices, character development, etc., and it kind of defeated the point of the whole activity. So my 5th grade teacher and I decided that the books I read during SSR should be classroom-only books, and I could take other books home that I could read whenever I wanted. (I wonder how often a teacher has to tell a kid to read less.) At the end of the year, I got the "Class Bookworm" award because I read the most books out of the whole class.

Reading Harry Potter, age 10.
 I tell that story not to brag about what an awesome reader I am, but to illustrate that since I was little, it has felt natural to spend most of my free time reading. My love of books goes back even farther than that - there are some pretty cute pictures of me, 3 or 4 years old and in footie pajamas, asleep next to a pile of books in my bed - but 5th grade was the first time I realized that I might like reading a little more than the average person.