Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I really love Halloween. I love eating candy. Even though I rarely dress up, I love the costumes. I love the way it doesn't feel like fall without the experience of Halloween.

In the spirit of the holiday, here are some of the coolest Halloween-y things I've found online.

1) This short film is totally disgusting but wicked awesome.

2) flickr member stevechasmar has been uploading vintage Halloween photos each day for the month of October.

3) Very scary Halloween masks!

4) Violent cartoon prints!

5) Coolest carved pumpkin ever!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I love this video.

Keeping up with my current tradition of either posting about kittens or politics, here's a video that I found to be very poignant.

Go, Obama!

(Thanks, Kari.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Last night, our little orange goddess finally came out of her shell. She'd spent most of her time hiding behind a chair or in a magazine rack or under our clawfoot bathtub. (Sometimes she'd reluctantly let us hold her, but only if we could catch her.) I guess yesterday she'd had enough of that hiding game, so she was out and about when I got home from class. I sat down to eat a salad and pita bread, and the next thing I knew, I saw her staring up at me.

I held out my hand to her, and she immediately began licking my fingers. (Apparently she liked the salad dressing quite a bit!) I then picked her up and was delighted to hear her purring. She didn't leave my side all night. We watched TV together, and we let her sleep with us. (We won't be making a habit out of letting her sleep with us at night. As soon as the other two are more comfortable with her, she'll be staying with them in the bathroom every night.)

It was very strange sleeping with such a small creature. I woke up probably at least once an hour to make sure she was still breathing. I have to admit that it was so wonderful waking up to that little orange face. She's pretty dang cute. I had forgotten how much I love kittens.

We still haven't named her, but I know it will come to us.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Perfect World

This morning I read this comment on this recent blog post. Of course, it was anonymous.

Gay marriage? Children being had? We may be preachimg to teh converted here, but please see the link >

Many thanks.

Typos aside, I found this comment to be interesting because 1) I didn't really get the point behind it (at first), and 2) the link provided lead me to some places I'd never been before:

About orphans
People are giving away their children, without any accountability to them.
IVF/ART newborns at risk from inherited diseases.

The URL for last page I linked to is actually Quite telling.

Each page contains a multitude of other links. I haven't clicked on all the links yet. I'm not sure if I will, to be honest. But I do like to be informed. I like to hear other points of view. Despite the blatant bigotry of the URL mentioned above, I'm still interested in what these links are telling me. I feel like I understand a little more about this article's point about birthright.

I'm not going to rehash the contents of the links I've provided above. I leave that to all of you if you're interested in reading them. But I do feel the need to respond to this anonymous commenter.


We are not living in a perfect world. We are not perfect people. And there is no perfect answer for any issue. All we can do is our best.

But for the sake of keeping the dream alive, here's my vision.

In my perfect world, consenting adults would be able to marry each other. They would be able to form families. In this world, no child would be unwanted. There'd be no need for the foster system and the cycle of abuse it perpetuates. There'd be no need for abortion. Every child, whether conceived the traditional way or through ART, would be welcomed and enveloped in love.

None of us would ever be sick or have to suffer. But if we had to be sick, everyone who needed quality health care would have access to it. There would be no infertility, no cancer, no Alzheimer's. There would still be death, but it would be painless and peaceful.

We would all have enough money to pay our bills and take care of ourselves and go on at least one fun vacation a year. We'd all have access to a college education; we'd all be able to get a decent, fulfilling job. We'd all work hard to take care of our planet so that there would be a safe place for future generations to live.

In my perfect world, there would be no hatred. No selfishness. No judgment. There would be people of all races and religions and sexual orientations and philosophies. There would be no need for war. We'd be able to sit down and talk out our issues with other countries instead of dropping bombs.

We'd be able to walk down the street in the worst neighborhood without being afraid. We'd be able to see our similarities and embrace our differences. And we'd be able to really understand what it means to love and accept others.

Anonymous, if you're reading, you might be bewildered by all this. You may wonder how posting a simple link got me to this point. Well, I just want you to know that some of the arguments you linked to make an assumption that this is a perfect world. And while I love dreaming of a utopian fantasy, I also know that the literal translation of "utopia" is "no place." It just doesn't exist.

But that doesn't mean that the good things in the world need to be taken away. I understand where you're coming from, I think, but passing Prop 8 will needlessly make this world more imperfect than it already is. There is already so much injustice in the world; how can we knowingly contribute to it?

Aside from electing Barack Obama as our new President, voting no on Prop 8 is the best thing we can do right now for the future of this country. Yes, this is just my opinion, but I believe it is founded on the principles of compassion. I also believe that a yes vote on Prop 8 is ultimately rooted in bigotry.

I have said all this before. And I'm sorry to keep repeating myself. But I can't help myself - this is very much on my mind. Our world stands to change forever on Election Day.

I'd like to be proud of California for saying no to bigotry.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Crazy Cat Day

Back when I met Ernie the cat, I realized that I really wanted another fuzzy creature around the house. A couple of weeks ago, we were in Petsmart and ran into a lady who was fostering this little orange kitty. He was really sweet and terribly cute. Turns out he had giardia but was being treated for it. We got the foster mother's number with the intent of taking him off her hands when he got better.

As it turns out, he still wasn't better when I talked to her last week, and she had decided to take him back to Petsmart to continue to be treated, as his treatment was costing her too much money. We were unwilling to take in a sick kitten, since we already have two cats who are healthy.

Melinda recently got a kitten of her own, and so today she took us to her friend's house so that we could pick one out as well. We met Bart, Melinda's new terror, for the first time:

And we met this tiny and sweet little girl:

We brought her home, and she has been incredibly mellow but very standoffish. I don't think she's really used to being around people, but we're hoping to bring her out of her shell. Woogas and Kerwin have been skulking around being pissy since she showed up, but I'm sure they will end up being best of friends.

We still don't have a name for her. We have lots of cute ones picked out (one in particular that I love), but I'm not sure which ones, if any, fit her yet. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Just in case I haven't posted enough about Prop 8...

I stole from Kari again...


Here are some wonderful reasons to vote YES on Prop 8!

1. Homosexuality is not natural, much like eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control.

2. Heterosexual marriages are valid because they produce children. Infertile couples and old people can't legally get married because the world needs more children.

3. Obviously, gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

4. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage is allowed, since Britney Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was meaningful.

5. Heterosexual marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are property, blacks can't marry whites, and divorce is illegal.

6. Gay marriage should be decided by people, not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of the minorities.

7. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

8. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

9. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

10. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why single parents are forbidden to raise children.

11. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and we could never adapt to new social norms because we haven't adapted to things like cars or longer lifespans.

12. Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a "separate but equal" institution is always constitutional. Separate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as seperate marriages for gays and lesbians will.


Thanks again, Kari.

Friday, October 24, 2008

That's what's up.

I saw this on Kari's blog and found that it was just what I needed after a long, overly emo week.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Things Look Up, I Look Down

Do you ever have those days when you're just not proud to be yourself?

Tuesday and Wednesday were very negative days for me. There are many things that are weighing heavily on me. Obviously, Prop 8 is one of them. I am also having all kinds of interpersonal issues with co-workers, one of which came to a head yesterday after I left work early for mental health purposes.

I have to constantly remind myself that not everyone is like me and that not everyone needs to be like me. There's an element of self-righteousness in me that I cannot stand. I really can't. I hate it when people don't accept me as I am, so why do I find it so hard to accept others as they are?

Don't get me wrong - I am very tolerant of other people's belief systems; this isn't really about that.

It's more about finding it in myself to be kind, because sometimes being kind to others who make me angry really is a lot of work.

I guess I really am a work in progress. I've got lots of unfinished spots and many rough edges.

Last night I played with these macros in Lightroom and found that the end products (and the process) did a great job of soothing the savage beast in me.

It's the little things, right?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Family Values

Thanks to you all for your comments on my post on Prop 8. Amy rose to the occasion and linked to an article that does not use the Bible as a means to justify Prop 8. (Thank you, Amy! I appreciate it very much.) I've read the article several times, and I feel compelled to respond.

First of all, I grew up with the traditional notion of family being made up of a mother, a father, and kids. That's what I knew growing up, and that's what worked. But issues related to Prop 8 weren't in the forefront of my consciousness back then. During my undergrad days, I began my exploration of what family is and what it means to me. I took a class called Perspectives on Gender, and this was my very first introduction to different types of families. One of the professors who taught the class was bisexual, and her sexuality resulted in her having a very different family than what I had previously been exposed to. We spent one day discussing the notion of family, and honestly, it was the best class period of the whole quarter. I thought her family structure was very cool.

Little did I know then that I would marry into another different sort of family in a few short years. As I discussed before, my husband's mother is a lesbian, and, together with her partner Cherie, they are raising Cherie's three grandchildren. The specifics of why my two mother-in-laws have custody of these kids are not really relevant to this, but I will say that the kids were not receiving adequate care from their parents.

But according to the article in question, "[every] child being raised by gay or lesbian couples will be denied his birthright to both parents who made him. Every single one. Moreover, losing that right will not be a consequence of something that at least most of us view as tragic, such as a marriage that didn't last, or an unexpected pregnancy where the father-to-be has no intention of sticking around. On the contrary, in the case of same-sex marriage and the children of those unions, it will be explained to everyone, including the children, that something wonderful has happened!"

Knowing what these kids went through at the hands of their own biological parents, and knowing how my two mother-in-laws rescued them from a very destructive and dysfunctional family life, the points made in this article piss me off. They piss me off more than anything else I've read on the issue. There is just so much that is wrong with what's being said here. And frankly, I take it personally.

And here's why: Prop 8 threatens my own family. Yes, I am a straight woman who is married to a straight man, and we plan to add to our own little "normal" family. But these kids, although they are not blood relations, are my family. And I love them. And I love my mother-in-laws for giving them a wonderful home, even though they are both in their 50s and should be planning for retirement. And actually, I would say that when these kids were adopted by my mother-in-laws, something wonderful did indeed happen. If, by being adopted by a gay couple, the kids are being denied their birthright (of abuse and neglect), then I say, "Screw birthright. Let's focus on love."

Besides all this touchy-feely stuff, what is this nonsense about marriage being designed for procreation? What century are we living in? What of those married couples who don't want to have children? Does this mean they shouldn't get married? What of those couples who suffer from infertility to the point where they may need donor eggs or sperm in order to have a child? Should they just forget their dreams of having children because they have a medical condition? After all, if they resort to using donor eggs and/or sperm, they might be denying their child his/her birthright! It's absolute rubbish.

As the author himself stated at the beginning of the article, "[marriage] as a human institution is constantly evolving, and many of its features vary across groups and cultures." And this is exactly right. Our notions of marriage and family have changed. My family is not threatening anyone else's family by being a little outside of the norm. But if Prop 8 passes, it will hurt my family. How is this fair or right? How can anyone justify this?

Bottom line: children primarily need love. We all do. It is simply not right to deny others the right to love and to have a family structure that reflects that love. I don't mean to belabor the point, but this is really an issue of human compassion and decency. I will lose so much faith in the human race if Prop 8 passes. It's just not right.

Tiny Baby Boy

My friend had a baby boy one month ago, and yesterday I went by her house to see him. He's the ultimate cutie.

I only am showing photos of his adorable digits, because it just seems like the right thing to do. I'm loving the blurry quality of these photos. Screw perfection!

I'm supposed to go back later on in the week for an actual photo session, but I'm not sure if I'll be posting any of those pictures. I seriously doubt the kiddo is ready for his close-up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Proposition Eight, Proposition Hate

The second I heard about Prop 8 months back, I dismissed it as complete and utter nonsense. Last week I read this article (and the comments) and realized how much we stand to lose if Prop 8 passes. I know I must seem very naive that I didn't realize this before, but to me the very thought of Prop 8 is, was, and always has been ridiculous. And then I remembered that there are people in the world who are (for whatever reason) threatened by the idea of gay marriage. This is something that I truly don't understand.

Yes, I understand the fact that the Bible says that marriage is between a woman and a man. But honestly, the Bible doesn't mean jack to me. While I appreciate books and works of literature, I don't base my life on any one in particular. I understand that the Bible is supposed to hold more power and instill more reverence than the average book, but for me, it simply doesn't. This does not mean that I think that the Bible is worthless. Obviously it holds a lot of cultural and religious value, and I think there are some good things that are shared within its pages. But I don't believe it's the word of God. Inspired by God? Sure. But it definitely contains the word of men, those utterly fallible and judgmental beings.

So I don't understand when people constantly turn to the Bible as a way of explaining away their bigotry in connection with Prop 8. I am really trying to understand how, if Prop 8 doesn't pass, that it will threaten the institution of marriage and the family. I want someone to tell me in words that have nothing to do with the Bible, because in all reality, the Bible is supposed to have nothing to do with this. What is so horrible about gay marriage? (This isn't a rhetorical question. I honestly want to know what you think. Tell me in the comments or through email. But please, leave the Bible out of it. It simply doesn't hold any weight with me.)

I'm lucky enough to have two mother-in-laws, and together they are raising three young children (my nephews and niece). They have a happy home. Is it normal? Well, as my husband likes to say, "normal is a setting on my dryer." And I tend to agree. Why are we so quick to put labels on things? Why is "normal" considered good and anything other than that considered bad? What does "normal" mean, anyway?

There's a theorist I like by the name of Jacques Derrida. When I can actually understand what Derrida is saying, he makes sense (on some issues). One of my favorite quotes of his is "the center is not the center." Derrida is big on the deconstruction of binaries (white/black, straight/gay, sacred/profane, etc.). While many would (and do) say that homosexuality is inherently wrong (based on the the Bible and the teachings of the Church), Derrida points out that there is nothing inherent about this belief at all. An institution has decided for us that homosexuality is a sin, in much the same way that it was decided that a table is a table and not a chair.

And this is where the power of "the center is not the center" comes in. If you really think about what Derrida is saying, you may come to the conclusion that none of these judgments is handed down by God but that society has decided what is wrong and what is right. Thus, the being we have always perceived as the center is really not the center.

It's definitely something to think about.

Yesterday I read this blog entry and found that it really spoke to me on this issue. And through the author's experience, I realized, just as she did, that there's a whole lot at stake here. We are all human beings. How can anyone with any sort of respect for the human race want to deny someone the right to happiness and the right to have his/her own family? Homosexuality is not a problem to be solved, but our treatment of it definitely needs to change. Homosexuality is not going away, people. And there's no reason why it should. We love who we love. End of story.

Vote NO on Prop 8. Vote NO on hate.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Life as a Slug

I was thinking about random things this morning and realized that November is going to be a very exciting and busy month for me. October has had its share of busy-ness and excitement, to be sure, but I've really slacked off on my blogging. To make up for it, I've decided to give NaBloPoMo another shot this year. It involves posting on your blog every day for the entire month of November. (Click here to read my entries from last year.)

I honestly just want to fast forward through the rest of this month and get on with November. There are so many cool things coming up! The election, for instance. And we found a cute little house to rent, so we'll be moving next month as well. Then there's Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season, not to mention a couple of shoots I've got lined up.

It's going to be awesome, a real picture of this slug's life. Care to join me?

Coronado Wedding

We went to our cousin's wedding on October 10 in Coronado, and I took a few pictures as a guest. I thought I'd share some here. Their Nightmare Before Christmas theme was a nice, fun touch. The lighting in these pictures isn't all that great, because I wasn't using flash.

The cake!

Cake table detail

Cutest flower girl ever!

Yours truly + the cutest husband ever

One of our absolutely adorable second cousins (sister of the flower girl)

Wish tree

Centerpiece details


Mother-in-law with our baby cousin Avery (sister to the two cuties above)

And lastly, the bride and groom!

Congrats, Tom and Cely!

Jessica + Glenda = Awesomest Mother-Daughter Combo Ever

First of all, I have to apologize to Jessica and Glenda for taking so long to get these up. It's been two weeks since I met with them, and it's definitely time I got this show on the road.

Secondly, this was the first session I did where I hadn't met either person ahead of time. I know Jessica from the blog world and the Nest, but we'd never had the opportunity to meet in person (although I feel like I knew her pretty well already from reading her blog). It was really nice to put the person to the words, so to speak.

And lastly, Jessica and Glenda are a super cute mother-daughter pair, and I really enjoyed this session. We started off at the Riverside Public Library, where Jessica spent a lot of her time growing up.

Then we moved on to the coolest building in downtown Riverside, the Life Arts building.

What's a photo shoot without a copy of Twilight?

Jessica + Glenda, thank you so much for being such gracious and understanding guinea pigs. I hope you enjoy your pictures. (And thanks again for your patience!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Where is Leslie?

It's been awhile since I last blogged. And apparently, judging from the emails I've gotten, I'm actually missed when I'm not blogging! Thanks to those of you who sent emails or asked me where the hell I've been/what the hell I've been doing.

I've actually been doing the same thing I've always been doing. Work, school two nights a week, photo shoots on the weekends, etc. I think I sounded a little negative awhile back, but rest assured that I am not an unhappy camper - I'm just being a slug most of the time.

Anyway. Here are two things of note about today.

1) Today is my brother's birthday. Happy birthday, Wade! I'm pretty sure that he's 33 today. I sent him two cool things in the mail, so hopefully he'll get those soon.

Here's a picture of the birthday boy:

2) Today is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I personally have never experienced this, but several people near and dear to my heart have.

The idea is for everyone to light a candle at 7 PM tonight, creating light for lost babies around the world. Sounds like a wonderful idea to me. I'll be in class tonight, but I will light my candle when I get home.

That's all I have for today. It's mid-October, life is good, and I'm tired.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Vote/Don't Vote

I actually don't like this video, but I like the message. So here it is. Vote, people!

We don't have TV channels at home (gasp!), but we still managed to watch part of the VP debate at a friend's house last night. Wow. Palin is a very unintelligent person. I shudder to think about McCain getting elected and then dying in office, thereby leaving the fate of the US in the hands of that woman. A woman who winks in the middle of a debate!

I'm scared of what the future holds for this country. This last month before the election is going to be very interesting.

I guess I have more to talk about than I thought...

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Hello, hello...

I'm not sure what to say here, to be honest. There has been so much that has been going on lately but nothing that I feel prepared to talk about on here. I have been keeping extremely busy, and as a result, I am pretty worn out. I am surprisingly lacking in things to say despite the exhausting whirlwind that my life has become.

I am probably going to take a bit of a blogging break. Well, I have some photo sessions coming up, and I'll probably post some pictures from those. But honestly, I am feeling absolutely silent when it comes to this blog. I suppose that could change tomorrow, but I doubt it.

So I'm just going to enjoy the silence.