Monday, June 16, 2014

Visit to LA

Sam and I arrived in LA two hours behind schedule last Thursday. Since our flight was delayed two hours, the line for our rental car was an hour and a half, and traffic was bad - I missed my one and only interview. They were nice enough to go in on Friday (they normally don't) and interviewed me then. It was a stressful arrival and didn't stop there. As we were experience the awful California drivers, Sam turned to me and said, "We can't live here, I want to go home." Although sarcastic, I knew she was somewhat serious, because I felt the exact same.

Luckily, our wonderful host Timothy turned our interesting afternoon around. We grabbed a bite to eat, and after walking through the area where the Oscar's are held jumped on the subway, and headed to downtown Los Angeles. There was an Art Walk going on that we really enjoyed and then we hunted down the food trucks and got ice cream sundaes. (We might never fit in in LA - we love sweets and carbs too much!)

The next day we explored neighborhoods and I had my interview. It lasted two hours and actually went really well. Now if I can only figure out this California credential business…I will keep you updated on the job front. We found some locations we felt more comfortable in and experienced less of a culture shock than Hollywood, but are still not exactly sure what neighborhood we'll end up in. Friday evening Timothy introduced us to two of his incredible friends, Eliseo and Scott (aka Usher and Hugh Jackman). They welcomed us into their beautiful home and then took us out for a night in West Hollywood. It was quite the scene, Sam and I walked down the streets wide-eyed and in awe. They took us to a couple of clubs and introduced us to "WeHo" as they call it. Even if we could afford to live there, we couldn't keep up with the nightlife. In bed by 10 doesn't really work there...

The next day was my favorite because it was beach day! (This is the reason I can actually pick up and move to Los Angeles.) Before the beach, Timothy took us up Runyon Canyon. This is where EVERYBODY hikes, including the celebrities. Sam had to take a picture by the rocks spelling "LOVE". The beach wasn't the Hawaiian beach and unlike my sister, it isn't a quarter mile walk to get there, but the 30 minute drive was totally doable. It was so fun to be in the waves and lay on the sand, and I think Sam even enjoyed herself! We stopped and got ice cream, cupcakes, and cookies and it was amazing. Scott was so sweet to treat us and pamper us, the whole day really. That evening we met up with one of Sam's childhood best friends, Dan. We ate at a delicious restaurant and got to do some catching up. Sam and I were pretty exhausted and called it a night after that.

We left the next morning, but felt like we packed so much into our short trip. We had such a good host, who took care of us and showed us around. He was so sweet to give up his bedroom and stock his fridge. We love you Timothy, even though your driving is terrifying! We were excited to return home to Salt Lake, but are already missing friends, the beach, and some aspects of LA. This move will take some adjusting, but we are a step closer to this exciting adventure!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

What's Next?

I swear this last year has been the fastest year of my life! I only have 10 days left of my first year of teaching, the three of us girls (Sam, Kenna, and myself) all graduated a couple of weeks ago, Taylor has been gone for nearly four months, and now we are preparing for our next adventure. We will be heading to Los Angeles, California in less than three months! We are so excited for the beautiful weather, the beach, some friends we rarely get to see, new turf, living on our own, for Sam to finally follow her dream, and our legal rights! (Odd how we can't get that last one here.) As excited as we are, it's going to be REALLY hard to leave this place we have grown to love.

Los Angeles

The three graduates

It's difficult to leave a first year teaching job that couldn't really get any better after just one year. When my logical side starts talking, I could almost kick myself! I have no idea if I'll find a teaching job in L.A. or if I'll enjoy it. My first year of teaching experience was incredible, my colleagues and students made it so easy to go to work and now I'm just up and leaving...yikes. I'm in the process of finding a job in L.A. but it's really challenging to do from here. I have to take a whole new set of tests to qualify for California (one of which I took today and won't know if I passed until mid June). Sam and I are going out in less than a month to look for a place, to live and maybe do some interviews. We are going all in and planning to move whether we have jobs or not. This is so unlike me, and Sam really, but we are going all in. We obviously won't stay if we can't afford to live and have to start stripping, but we are going to give it our best shot. I will take any good thoughts or energy in my direction on this job hunt!

It will also be such a challenge to leave our friends and family that are still here. We had to say goodbye to Taylor just a few months ago and now goodbye to everyone else. Especially our Kenna. There is a new dynamic in our home with the three of us girls and I feel like our relationship with Ken has just gotten better. Sam better step up her work out game, because Kenna is my biggest source of motivation to exercise. We have met so many friend over the last four years of living in SLC and it will be difficult to say goodbye to so many. (Side note: we will be having a going away get together in July.) Our family's are stuck with us no matter how far we go, but we sure will miss them. What will we do for Sunday dinner??? We wish we could take everyone with us, especially our nieces and nephews who will grow the most. Come visit us everyone!!!

We sure love Salt Lake and are proud to call it home. We love the restaurants we've discovered, the friendly people, the Capitol, walking places, the parks, the library, the nearby mountains, the sunsets, and all it's beauty. We know L.A. will hold a whole new atmosphere, but we are excited to see what life brings. You might want to get Sam's autograph before we leave, because the next time you see her it might be on the big screen.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

History in the Making.

If you told us yesterday morning that we would be legally married in Utah later that day, we would have laughed and said it to be impossible. I was finishing up some last minute things at work before my break, and Sam was celebrating the holiday with some co-workers. Facebook's newsfeed was blowing up and we both suspected it was all too good to be true and to not believe the hype, despite what everyone was saying. When we arrived home around 3 o'clock, we talked to Taylor because he seemed to know a little more, and we figured we should look into it. After receiving a text from a friend that we should hurry into the clerk's office to apply for a marriage license (thanks Kris), we started looking into that. They wouldn't pick up the phone, so we decided to rush down to the City and County Building, and Taylor decided to join us last minute.

We quickly realized why we couldn't get through on the phone lines. Almost every local news station was there and there was a lesbian couple being interviewed holding up their license! Our hearts began to beat a little faster and we started to shake. We quickly began filling out the application. While standing in line, Jim Dabakis and his future husband were right behind us.

*Sidenote: Sam's wedding ring was stolen just 3 months after we were married, so Sam hasn't had it for the majority of our marriage. I made arrangements with Sam's dad to have it remade and sent to Utah just this last Wednesday, obviously not knowing that this event would take place.

While still in line to sign the papers, I awkwardly pulled out the wedding ring and said, "I was going to wait to give this to you, but…" and slipped it halfway on Sam's finger while getting pushed aside by all the news stations interviewing Jim and being asked by another sweet couple if we could take their picture. Sam had to slip it the rest of the way on, and even though it wasn't the most romantic moment to give her the ring, it was fitting.

After showing our I.D.'s, paying the $40, and signing under "Mr. and Mrs." (they haven't been able to change that yet), we moved downstairs where the crowd continued to grow. After we got the papers, we were told we needed to make it really official by having a licensed marriage officiator perform the technical speech and we needed two witnesses, and signatures and all that. We only had one potential witness with us, so we planned to wait until early January so we could plan a little more.

As we stepped off the elevator to leave, we saw a minister waiting to do free marriages. There were people all around, so anyone could have been our second witness, and as another couple stepped up, we realized we didn't have to wait either. As we were standing there, debating if we really wanted this stranger of a minister to marry us, one of my student's dads came to mind. He had told us he performed marriages, and I immediately started to try and find his number, which was not proving successful. Fate dealt us some luck and literally minutes later, his husband, Manuel, walked through the doors next to us! Shortly after, Kamrin and the kids showed up. We couldn't have planned it any better. The conversation went something like this:

Elise: "Kamrin, can you marry us?"
Kamrin: "Yes, of course!"
Elise: "Like, right now?"

Kamrin grabbed both of our arms and said, "Let's go stand over here by this Christmas tree."
He performed the short and sweet ceremony, and then asked if we had any words. Sam said a few awkward things about how she wished she wasn't wearing her ugly Santa sweater, which made us all laugh, but then she brought it back by telling me how much she loved me. She almost kissed me right then, but then realized we had to wait when Kamrin stopped us. He said those words: "You may now kiss the bride," and we did…while crying. We all hugged, he signed our marriage certificate, we signed, Manuel signed, and Taylor signed. We walked upstairs, turned in our form, and that was it! We were married, officially!


We would have loved to have had all of our loved ones there, but it was so perfect how spontaneously it all happened. The energy and emotions were ridiculously high, and we got to be a part of history. We have been waiting for this day for 8 years, and thought we'd make it legal in Seattle, several months from now. We still can't believe it happened in Utah.

Words can't describe how we felt, but I think our faces say it all. We celebrated with a few friends over dinner, and felt an overwhelming amount of love from calls, texts, and Facebook posts. We are overwhelmed by all the updates and wish we could personally hug every one of you who likes a post or makes a comment. Thank you!!! We know how lucky we are. December 20th, 2013 will be a day to remember.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


The last six months have flown by. Here are a few bullet points to fill you in:
  • Teaching has been incredible, and I'm not kidding when I say I couldn't have a better first year group of students. They make going to work so easy. (My class needs a blog post of their own.)
  • Sam is in an interesting place, working two jobs part time and going to school. She's hanging in there and still making me laugh. I'm one lucky woman.
  • Sam and I still really want a baby and are still planning on moving come summer so we can make it happen.
  • We are really anxious for this semester to be over and to have a winter break. (One more semester until Sam, Mckenna, and I graduate!)
  • We are currently looking for a new roommate, because Taylor is moving to Africa in 57 days! 
If anyone knows anything about my relationship with Taylor, you're probably worried about my well being once he leaves. (Trust me I am too.) I can't begin to put into words how much he means to me, nor do I want to because I don't want it to go to his head in case he reads this. I am so proud of him though. I have looked up to him so much over the years. He influenced me to go back to college, and with his put downs and negative comments, encouraged me to graduate and become a teacher. He had accomplished so much and once I thought he couldn't go any further, he joined the Peace Corps and is going to Africa. I feel lucky to know him and as much as my heart breaks at the thought of him leaving, no one could be more excited for him. Go kick some ass Taylor Horn and don't forget about me. Your Chucka.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Careers and School and Babies, Oh My!

Well, reality is setting back in after a nice summer with nothin' but my summer camp job, which I always LOVE. Now it's back to school and I'm trying to find a second job to pay dem bills. My wifey has started her career as a Functional Academics teacher and is a natural at it. I had the pleasure of going to her class for a day, and fell in love with her students. She impressed me, as I knew she would, and it made me excited for the possibility of having my own classroom one day. It's crazy to think that we met eight years ago, in college, both thinking we were going to become ASL Interpreters, and how much our career choices have changed since we met. Now Elise is finally set in a career and already into her Masters program. I'm so proud of her, and hope she's proud of herself. Maybe one of these days I'll actually finish this money-sucking, bottomless pit called college, and dive into a career of my own; and not let fear or stress talk me out of it. I tend to take quite a while to make big decisions. Not my favorite thing about myself.
On another note, we are beyond baby hungry. I feel like Tina Fey in "Baby Mama," whenever she sees a family with a baby. Sometimes Elise and I will stop in the baby clothes section at Target or the mall and just pick out outfits for our future babies.

We have seriously almost justified buying outfits for our nonexistent child several times. We both leave almost crying every time. Unfortunately, we cannot adopt here in Utah because we are a couple. A single, gay adult can adopt here, but not if you have a partner. Seems weird to me. I guess people find ways around it and do it here, but I want to get my children in an honest way so I don't break out into a guilt-ridden sweat every time I preach to them about honesty. Adoption costs a fortune though, and I'm just crossing my fingers that Elise's new teaching career will make us millions (because everybody knows teachers do it for the pay) and we'll be able to adopt 72 children in need of love. Cuz we have a lot to give.
Anyway, until then, school and work will have to suffice. Ugh. I miss my family members who are out of state. And I miss Elise's sister and her family in Hawaii. Why can't families just travel in packs forever?
Here's to babies. And family. (I raised my invisible mug, as if to "cheers" anybody bored enough to read this.)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Mutually Committed"

Today, we are one step closer! Closer to what, you might ask. Well...equality? Having the rights we and so many others deserve by being contributing members of society? Yeah, all of that.
We walked into the Salt Lake County Building and had a woman come over and immediately tell us in a worn out voice that Passport time was over. We didn't even skip a beat (for whatever reason) and just said we weren't there for that. "Then what did you need?" she asked. "Mutual...Commitment...registry?" we responded, not exactly knowing what to call it, since it seems it's no longer called "Domestic Partnership." "Oh, ok. I need to see your IDs, proof of mutual ownership of a vehicle, proof of a joint bank account, and proof that you share the same residence." BLAM. We set all those things down on the counter. We meant business. We were determined to NOT be sent away for not having something, like what always seems to happen at the DMV, no matter how many times you check the list for what to bring.
The woman didn't seem to know what she was doing, so I assumed she was new, but then her co-worker walked by and said, "Is this your first one? I did the third one earlier today!" The lady wasn't new, it was just that no one had done the process enough to have it go smoothly! We were couple number FOUR. Pioneers indeed. Only the fourth same-sex couple to receive a County-stamped piece of paper that said we could share in each other's work benefits, in all of Salt Lake County. Crazy.
This may not come close to the benefits we'll have when we can finally legally marry, but we're grateful for this small step forward. Yahoo for progression!

Friday, May 3, 2013

My Wife, the Outstanding Senior!

A few weeks ago, I got to help celebrate my wife being awarded Outstanding Senior for the College of Education at the University of Utah. Today, I got to watch her graduate and even give a speech, which she lost sleep over, but did so well on! I sat in that crowded auditorium a very, VERY proud wife. I am so proud of you and all your hard work, Weese. You've worked diligently and put so much effort into every aspect of your education and job. I couldn't be more proud to be affiliated with you. You are wonderful at everything you do, even if you don't see it that way. You're an excellent student, employee, friend, daughter, sister, wife, and every other role. I love you, babe. Congratulations on graduating with such honors, and also for getting into the Master's Program! One chapter is over (almost officially) and we have many more exciting ones to come! Here's to your future classroom, and only a little longer of sleepless nights, tests, and editing papers. You're almost totally done! And I'll be with you every stressful step of the way. I love you, love you, love you. Always.