Writing. It’s a contest. Because this is America.

This is Erma Bombeck. Until about a year ago, I had never heard of her, which is just more evidence that even at middle-age, I have still managed to miss some of the best things in life. But I think there is time to make up for it.

ermabombeck

Erma Bombeck (photo stolen from Wikipedia), who is probably rolling over in her grave because of blogging and picture stealing.

Erma started her career as a “copygirl” in 1942. Today we call this “unpaid social media intern.” Then she went to college and became a columnist for a newspaper. In 1953, she left her job to adopt a daughter and then later gave birth to two sons. After 10 years out of the workforce, she went back to working at a newspaper writing columns for $3 each. Today, we call this “mommy blogging” and you don’t even get $3. But you can win new friends, some of which provide you with at least a $1 of self-worth. And sometimes, a lot more.

I was first introduced to Erma, when one of my friends said that I could be the modern-day lesbian Erma Bombeck. At first I was a little horrified, because of well, her hair. But then I realized that I was being a judgy female stereotype. So I stopped hating Erma for her hair, and that’s when I found out that she was active in the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, which made me like her more. And she is funny (more like). And she adopted a child (super like), so aside from the fact that she was married to a man, she would have made a great lesbian Erma Bombeck.

And now I’m going to try to become her. Not in a creepy steal her identity, The-Talented-Mr.-Ripley sort of way, but I’m going to try to write something just like her.

In January, there is a writing contest where I plan to win $500 and free registration to Erma Bombeck Writing Workshop. All I need to do is write an essay just like Erma to win un-sponsored passage to Ohio, which for just a minute I had confused with Iowa, a state that passed a gay marriage law four years ago.

Why does this matter? Because I thought I might be able to get gay married and go to a writing workshop all at the same time, which would be a dream coming true that I never knew was a dream prior to now. And that’s the best kind of dream. Except that there is no gay marriage law in Ohio, and I need to beat more than 500 other writers to win free registration to the workshop.

Wish me luck. And join me for some friendly competition, but just know that I already hate your hair.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Erma Bombeck Writing Competition  

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 © Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sometimes researching this book scares the sh*t out of me

I’m writing a book about how our babies were made. Yes, the world still needs more information on this topic. And every once in while I feel the need to do some research. Not THAT kind of research. Because gays don’t make babies the way most people do. At least, we didn’t.

Quickly, as a reminder. We went to a fertility clinic, bought some sperm, and then did tons of scientific experiments on my reproductive organs. Eventually, this resulted in seven zygotes (my little Mexicans) and two girls that we love and who seem pretty normal. Except for their size. They are a bit bigger than the ones we ordered, but that’s fine. Because nothing is perfect, as we were so gently reminded the other day:

Me: Do we have all the information on our sperm donor saved on your computer?

Pam: I don’t think so, but I can probably get it from the web site.

*logs onto web site*

Pam: He’s not here.

Me: What? What happened to him?

Pam: I don’t know.

Me: Why would they do that?

More confusion ensues, including me speculating that he might be dead, have committed a horrible crime or gotten in a bad fight with his wife about being a sperm donor. I will spare you additional details.

On Monday, Pam called the clinic to find out what was going on. And then she called me at work.

Pam: The first question they asked me is whether our girls are healthy.

Me: That’s weird. Were they pretending to be in an 80s horror movie? ‘Are the children safe? You better go check…’

Pam: No. Someone reported that a baby born using his sperm has autism, so they took him off the site.

Me: Really? Wow.

*silence*

Pam: Do you think our kids have autism?

Me: Um. No. I doubt it. At least, I hope we would have noticed by now. Please tell me we would have noticed by now. I haven’t spent THAT much time playing around on my phone, have I?

Pam: Well, you do spend way too much time playing around on your phone, but that doesn’t cause autism in your children.

Me: Whew.

Pam: Anyway, they are sending our records to us via e-mail.

Me: Great. And let’s never call them again.

Pam: Right.

surprise

This is me re-enacting an 80s horror movie. Except that I’m not dressed sexy enough. And we’re talking about sperm banks.

This post is dedicated to the love of my life who wanted to know “when are you going to blog about the crazy sh*t that you have to deal when you use a sperm banks?” I hope you’re happy now.

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© Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

 

 

Gay marriage passed in Illinois, but not without some confusion about driving cars

Illinois has passed a gay marriage law. (Yeah!) Maybe Pam and I will get married there. And Hawaii is now also an option. But I don’t want to get side-tracked. The law in Illinois was not passed without some important dialogue from both sides — the right side and the wrong side. And I’d like like to comment on something from the wrong side, before we move on.

This man – Apostle Paul David Rogers – told a radio station that “gay parents are like 5-year-olds who think they can drive cars.” I agree. And I don’t want that to get lost in all the other stuff that he was saying about God ordaining lions and chickens. Because, well, that would be crazy. Those are animals, and animals should not be leading churches or teaching the Bible, mostly because they can’t talk, but also because they probably won’t fit in those fancy robes properly.

So anyway, as a gay parent I would just like to say that I AM like a 5-year-old who thinks they can drive a car. I’m probably not as excited about driving my car as a five-year-old would be, but I’m probably just as bad at it. In fact, the other day I was just giving myself a pat on the back because I haven’t run into our newly painted garage with my car, and it’s been a whole three weeks since it was painted. And more evidence? Last weekend, I thought I could drive to the dog wash to wash the dog, and I got completely lost. I had to call Pam for help.

That said, I have no idea what this has to do with gay marriage, except that both driving and marriage require licenses. And gay people, including gay parents, can now get a license to be married in Illinois. But while you are there, please take the subway if you have kids. Because driving in Illinois or anywhere is a fantasy, for you, my friends. And also for me.

This probably what 5-year-old driving would look like. Which is scary, but not as scary as a lion in papal regalia.

This probably what a 5-year-old driving would look like. Which is scary, but not as scary as a lion in papal regalia.

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© Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Lesbians in Costco. A fantasy. (Not that kind)

“We are together,” I mouth to the woman standing at the door wearing a down vest and glasses. I gesture wildly toward Pam and our two girls who are sitting with their dolls in the shopping cart. And I hold up my black Executive membership card in plain sight.

Suddenly the Costco police — dressed in black t-shirts and sneakers and carrying box cutters — descend upon us and ask us to prove that we live in the same household. We are forced to show both of our names on our joint checking account. It’s not enough. We are taken to separate rooms and interrogated. I say that Pam hates the bran bread in the bakery, but loves the whole wheat. She doesn’t mention this. Instead, she says that we need cheddar cheese. But I say that we don’t, because we already have some in the freezer. Instead, I say that we need a plastic bag the size of a pillow case full of spinach. She says that we’re not getting spinach, because we’ll never eat it all before it goes bad.

Then, still doubting the credibility of stories and unconvinced that we are basically married, the police reunite us and force us to kiss to prove that we are not sisters just looking to get a discount at a big box store. Disgusted by this flagrant public indecency in front of our children, we are arrested by the real police. Our children, who are still sitting like angels in the shopping cart, are nabbed by a social worker and taken to a van parked outside. “Mima! Mima! Mommy!” they cry as they are carried off to the foster care system. My heart breaks.

“Sarah, are you coming?” says Pam. “The woman is waving us through and the people behind us are waiting.”

“Yeah, sorry I uh……. nevermind.”

That’s right. Nothing happened. We’re a family, and Costco has no problem with us. They treat us just like every other family. How was your weekend?

grocery list

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© Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tell me. Are you interested in this topic?

I am having a really hard time deciding what to blog about today. I’ve had such a hard time that I started yesterday, and I still don’t have anything today. So I need your help. In two ways. First, by realizing that this is not really a blog post. It’s more of a cry for help. And second, by telling me what you think of this idea.

BlogHer ’14 is looking for speakers on topics. And I’m giving it a shot, because 6 months ago I tried to get my blog listed in their directory and it was ignored or rejected or something. Which means that they are obviously looking for me to be a speaker for their conference instead of a blogger.

So what I need is an answer for this question: “Please tell us more about why you believe this speaker and/or topic would be a great fit for BlogHer ’14. (Word count 300 max.)” And since we already decided the first  good reason to be a speaker is that I WILL NOT BE IGNORED, here is the second more thoughtful reason:

I want to be a speaker because there used to be something wrong with me. And now there isn’t. Seven years ago, I wanted to have a baby. And I was a 36-year-old lesbian in committed relationship with another woman. So from my perspective, there was only one thing that was wrong. We didn’t have any sperm. But for others, there was a lot that was wrong. First, I was diagnosed as infertile, so I could receive medical treatment so I could get pregnant. And for 18 months, I was examined, probed tested and analyzed, all culminating one day in a therapy session where my partner and I were told that we would not make good parents. In other words, we were all wrong for this. And it was at that moment, I had to decide, was I going to continue to live my life like there was something wrong with me? That I was and always had been was so fundamentally flawed in some way that I needed to spend my life proving to people that I was worthy; worthy of being a parent; worthy of being a spouse; worthy of spot in world?  It would be easy to assume that I felt unworthy because I am gay. But I really didn’t discover that I was gay until I was in my 20s. Before that I was a foreigner growing up in a place steeped in religious fundamentalism. So as a child of immigrant atheists, I learned early that there was something wrong with me, possibly evil, even. Becoming a parent was a critical step for me in my journey out of wrongness and into a place that I’ve made for myself. A place where I can be myself: right or wrong. And usually both.

Oh and it would have some funny parts, too. Because thinking that you are flawed, in retrospect, can be sort of hilarious.

What do you think? Would you go to this talk?

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The Kremlin says this flag is not gay. What did the flag tell you?

People, remember this name: Miriam Elder. I hope she is duly recognized with a Pulitzer Prize for hard-hitting reporting from Russia like this news about whether or not a Russian flag is gay. Experts, flag experts no less, made this declaration: This flag of Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region is not gay.

And now, why the confusion? Well, here is a picture of the flag:

gaylookingflag

I know. It’s like saying this lady is not a lesbian:

kd lang

Anyway, let’s chat about this. Because this is not an actual news site, and I’m not an actual reporter, I can say all the things — ask all the hard-hitting questions — that Miriam could not ask. And here is what I want to know.

Did anyone ask the flag if it was gay? No. That figures. Some things never change. We can spend all of our time speculating about whether something is gay or not and no one ever bothers to ask the thing. Oh wait. It’s a thing! So I guess that is the first lesson. Most objects don’t have a sexual orientation, even though lots of them seem to have a gender, like boats and hurricanes, for example.

But the best part of the article are the quotes from the flag experts. First Georgy Vilinbakhov, a Kremlin advisor, notes that “not every rainbow image is linked to sexual orientation.” This is truly disappointing news. All those years I thought Lucky Charms was just for gay people. And then there was this coming out shirt that I had in first grade. No wonder no girls ever asked me to go steady. This was just a regular shirt.

cool_retro_graphic_rainbow_design_tAnd in case you’re wondering why everyone is getting all worked up about rainbows in Russia, “gay propaganda” and other “public displays of homosexuality” have been outlawed in the country. The UN High Commission on Human Rights is involved, so we are talking about some serious shit here. Which means that it has no place on this blog.

Instead, let’s all give thanks (again) for free speech and proudly wear any rainbow-accented clothing, flags, socks or cereal that you have no matter what it means. I am.

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This book just punched me in the heart muscle. So I’m hitting it back with this post.

I just finished a really great book, Breeding in Captivity, about a perfectly normal woman and a perfectly normal man who are trying to start a family. Except they are not that normal, because it doesn’t really work out the way they planned. And I’ll leave it at that, because I don’t want to spoil it for you. (They win!)

And if you’re wondering what I mean by great, it made me laugh out loud. And then it made me cry out loud. Dammit! And now I can’t write a sarcastic post about it, because that just wouldn’t work from a strictly literary point-of-view. So I’m writing a mostly serious review, right here. Don’t ask me why I’m not writing it on Amazon. Actually go ahead. Here is why I’m not writing it on Amazon: 1) I don’t like assigning stars. It’s so reductionist. 2) I am more popular than Amazon, in my own mind 3) I dislike long reviews on Amazon, but on my blog they are wonderful 4) I don’t want to get in a legal battle with Amazon when the awesomeness of this review goes viral and blows up their site and 5) Haven’t I already given you enough, Amazon? My money? My time? My stars?

breedingincaptivity

But enough about me and Amazon. Let’s talk about what I think of the book. It’s funny. Here is an example:

The author, Stacy Bolt, must fill out one of the many forms that those of us who don’t get knocked up in the back seat of a Ford Escort must fill out. And on the form is the question: “How do you emotionally support your partner?” Her answer: “I compliment him on the size of his penis. I also pretend to agree with him when he claims that graphic novels are a legitimate form of literature.”

Stacy (we’re on a first-name basis now, because we have been talking about her husband’s penis) is just a teensy bit irreverent about this whole process, and it’s completely awesome. And then sometimes she’s not, and it’s also completely awesome, like this time:

“Most people go through their lives assuming that having a family is a natural thing. Hey, guess what? It’s not. It’s hard fought and won. It’s rare and precious and unfairly fragile. It has nothing to do with determination and everything to do with luck…. Whatever you have — whether you’re the Bradys or the Bundys — take stock in your luck and love it just a little more this year.”

And if that doesn’t punch you in the heart, I don’t know what would, you hard-hearted jerk. Ok. I’ll write an Amazon review. It’ll be number 22. Five stars.

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© Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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