If I Had A Magic Wand….2014 Edition

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It’s December and in  a few short weeks we’ll be exposed to the yearly custom; The New Year’s Resolution. While most people find the exercise abhorrent and cheesy, we still think, ponder and hope and want to make lists between the highs and lows of holiday parties and the guilt and happiness that comes with them.

New Year’s resolutions are of course a reflection of us all wanting to do better. Humans have that unique quality unlike most mammals that we get up in the morning and can make a conscious decision to be a better person; to rise above eating, surviving and reproducing.

Rather than ask our friends and acquaintances what their New Year’s Resolutions are we should be working on a blueprint for Our Ideal Life and what we are going to do next to get there.

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We all would like more money and the freedom that financial security brings. To be able to have the time and energy to have high quality experiences with our friends and loved ones. We all want to have meaningful work that not only makes the world a bit better because of us, but gives us the recognition of being part of a successful community. We all hope to find and keep that special person in our lives that brings us emotional and physical satisfaction.

But all of the above are larger than life generalizations. Just wanting them is not enough. Margaret Cho once said that she dreamed of being surrounded by muscular men. She didn’ realized they’d all be gay. “I should have been more specific!” she exclaimed. And so we have to do that too. How much money would it take? How long would it take to get there? How would you do that? What do you need to do next?

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What type of work would make you happy and fulfilled? Who do you know who is doing that type of work? How did they get there? What have you done in the past that has made you feel successful? appreciated? What do you need to do next?

What does your ideal day look like with a partner? What do you do in the morning? What does he/she look like?  What are your deal-breakers? What can you  accept as a financial burden with a partner? (no, two cannot live as cheaply as one).  here are you looking for a partner? online? church? gym? How has this worked out so far? What do you need to do next?

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Sadie-Sadie; Married Ladies

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Sadie Sadie Married Lady

My apologies for the several week hiatus. Between the two family weddings, and our own, I’ve scarcely had time to share with you my gentle readers my latest adventure in M to the third power,  M cubed, (Muscles, Money and Mayhem).

I got married.

Really; license, boutonnieres matching outfits and all.

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It started a few months ago with the Supreme Court striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, passed during the Clinton Administration and signed by President Clinton (even though he didn’t have to sign it…and did NOT sign many laws that went into effect, but that’s another story he’ll have to answer to later..trust me) But back to the marriage. You see, married couples, heteros up to now, could transfer wealth at death in such vehicles (I love to use the word vehicles in sentences like this with no cars or movement involved) as life insurance, personal property such as homes owned jointly with NO FEDERAL TAXES levied.

That was the the basis of the Windsor v. IRS ruling. Edie Windsor was legally to her spouse, her spouse passed away, and because she and her spouse were both women, the IRS levied a $300,000.00 tax bill on her for the joint property they had paid for while married. If one of them had a penis and the other a vagina, the tax bill would have been $0.00. While my husband and I wouldn’t be on the hook for that much, my attraction to male pheremones and big biceps would have put either of us in a trailer park if one of us died.

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So with the end of DOMA and the IRS ruling that same sex couples married anywhere could file jointly and be recognized as legal heirs in the eyes of the Federal Taxation Rules, I  texted my partner of ten years and said, “Babe, we should get married while we are in California just in case something happens to one of us” He texted back “Sure” and the romance was on.

Turns out you can apply for your marriage license and schedule your ceremony all online for California weddings. There is but a 30 minute waiting period between getting your license and having the ceremony in California. Some states have up to a five day ‘cooling off’ period; I guess in California thirty minutes is all you need to get rid of your regrets.

But back to me, I mean us, since now we are legally married in the eyes of the IRS, California and the other 13 states and District of Columbia.

The wedding ceremony was wonderful, brief, successful (we had all the papers on the first try) and cost $77 bucks. That being said, the rest of this blog has to do with how it feels, at least for me, to be married.

While it is just a piece of paper, and love goes way beyond that, right? Well, no it does not. It really feels different. I no longer have to say, “my partner” and then go on to explain that its not a business partner but life partner and then feel compelled to add how long we’ve been together, how long we’ve owned a home, how and where we met; you get the picture. All I say now is that we are married and this is my husband. Period. A terrific shortcut I might add.

I feel more equal to my hetero married friends now, as it should be since I didn’t get a discount on my taxes for sucking dick. Whether they look at me differently now, I can’t say; but most of them seem genuinely excited for us and to tell the truth, it spills back over to us. Excited and gratified, relieved and comforting, it does make a difference.

So to the cynics out there who say marriage is a dead institution, I give them this. Anything that can make a tired old queen like me cry and then feel good about himself; and didn’t involve a mental health copay is no small feat. I love my husband, my marriage license and moving toward all 1138 rights that ALL married couples should have.

Here come the grooms.

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What Do We Really Have Control Of?

What do we really have control of in our day to day lives? Some of us believe that for the most part we are the masters of our own destinies. Others are convinced that your life outcomes are based on the zip code you are born in. A child born into a discreet poverty neighborhood with poor schools, a limited family support system and few relatives that are fully employed will have fewer lifetime options than children born elsewhere. Likewise the roll of the dice of genetics can give us height (30% higher wages over a lifetime for men) square jawbones and a pleasing face (teachers call on attractive children and give them higher grades than those deemed unattractive.) No matter how many times your mother and society say “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” we do anyways.

So given that we are born with a few marks for and against us, I feel it all comes down to how we relate to events. You have all seen versions of “Candid Camera” where unsuspecting victims are put in unusual situations and we laugh at how different their reactions are. But really this is a great learning tool. Imagine a coffee shop. Every day at 1PM you walk in, step up to a certain table and seat, and kiss the person on the forehead. You do that every day for a year, 365 days. Sometimes you will be smacked, sometimes you will be rebuffed, other times you’ll get a smile, a laugh, or get thrown out on your ass. Same event, different results. Why? Everyone at a certain time and place has a framework of how we see and react to the world. You might chance upon a person who has recently lost a spouse or relative and your peck on the forehead is just what they needed that day to come back and trust humanity again. You might be very unlucky and kiss a person who was sexually abused and the kiss on the forehead was part of the nightmare they lived.

What all this means is that you really don’t know how people will react to what you say or do at any given time. You make assumptions. Your brain is an excellent tool at filling in the blanks. By the way a person is dressed, their body language, their conversation, etc. gives us cues to make a ‘whole person’ out of the few facts we pick up. so what does this have to do with control?

We have the ability as humans to change our beliefs, either temporarily or permanently depending on our ability to figure out what the best reaction is to a particular event. Of course a hot stove means pull your hand back. Not a lot of control involved there. What about a stranger coming up to you and telling you that you are the handsomest man he’s ever seen? Do you rebuff him because your dating history is such that all men who act this way are pigs? What if he’s the ONE and this is his way of being honest and open?

You have a moment when an event comes at you that you can either get angry, get real, or get out. That very moment you and only you ARE IN CONTROL.

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