Monday, December 31, 2012

Yuletide Greetings


This is the Third Annual The Weed Electronic Christmas Holiday Card!!!

You'll note that it's the 31st of December. As always, this is a purely strategic move! It's to make sure you're not so saturated with Christmas cards that by the time you see this you no longer have the energy to even read it. I want you to be able to enjoy this Weed update with fresh eyes and an open heart. Because I'm a giver. 

You're welcome! 

(The lateness certainly has nothing to do with the fact that I can barely pay enough attention to what's happening around me to successfully complete a round of Rummikub without messing the entire game up by putting down a non-sequenced set of numbers, let alone get a Christmas card out on time. You're so silly for thinking that has anything to do with it! Hahahahadon'tjudgeme.)

Ahem. Without further ado, let's get this brag-fest family update started, shall we?


Tessa, age 2



Our Little Miss T had a fantastic year this year. She has learned to say words, and she has learned to walk really really good! She might walk better than most two-year-olds, but it's really hard to tell because there isn't an Olympic event for toddler walking, so we're not sure how to gauge her ability with perfect accuracy. But that's okay because she gave us something different to share with you. Tessa is now fascinated with knives! We learned about this fascination when I came into the kitchen one afternoon and she was standing on a chair by the sink holding the largest butcher knife known to man and smiling coyly at me. So as not to scare her, I calmly approached her and said "what do you have there, T?" and she grinned and handed me the hefty blade, and I sighed with relief when she neither accidentally cut off her own face, nor gouged out my good eye with her new toy. We responded to this development by placing the knives on the highest shelf in the kitchen. Because we're good parents.

As you might guess, days later we came in to see her standing on the counter holding the same knife and smiling like she'd found a great treasure.  Clearly this girl has a love for knives and an uncanny ability to acquire them. It's a lot like being an Olympic gymnast. Except with knives and climbing counters and stuff.

Her greatest feat with knife procurement though was when we found her randomly running around the kitchen with a brand-new razor sharp Cutco knife. Not sure if you are familiar with these things, but they are sharp enough to cut through bone, so she was basically running around gleefully with a death-stick that could easily remove entire limbs off her sisters. We risked losing digits getting it from her. We were absolutely baffled by this and had no idea where it came from. Eventually, though, we realized that it was a gift for Lolly which we'd placed under the tree (not knowing what it was). Tessa wasn't interested in presents. She hasn't opened another one before or since--the only gift that called out to her was the knife, and she knew exactly which one it was. We're pretty sure this is a sign of genius. Because nothing says "I have a high IQ" like being able to find sharp metal wrapped in paper left on the ground by incredibly observant parents. Go Tessa!

Next, we have our little Viva le France, age 4.



Viva loves all things fashion and accessories. She also loves animals. (Sidenote: Viva has been in tears several times this year because we will not buy her a real chihuahua for her to carry around in her purse. She has recently decided that instead of a chihuahua she would like a "crinkle" dog (aka a pug). We read up on pugs and learned that they are couch potatoes who don't like to exercise and that they are social, loyal pets. Obviously, with those qualifications the pug is a perfect dog for the Weed household! Our landlords won't allow us to have pets though, so we'll have to wait to initiate Pug Weed into the family until we can buy a place of our own. For now, Felix and Alex, our parakeets, will remain the only Weed pets.) Anyway, we recently discovered that one of the main reasons Viva wants a dog is because she wants to "dress it up." We have caught her many times at her craft table fashioning dog clothes out of paper, tape, and staples. Perfect for warmth in the winter months! If you are interested in having Viva make your pet an outfit, please post your dog's picture and measurements in the comments and she will decide if your pet inspires her or not.




Anna, age 6, has found new meaning in life by expressing her deep-felt emotions through dramatic phrasing.  And also crying. There are.... so many examples of this new dramatic gift that we're hard pressed to choose just a couple. Here's one: Viva was sitting at her craft table trying to make a check book cover out of paper and tape. When Lolly noticed what she was making, she remembered that there happened to be an old check book cover that belonged to her grandfather in the office. (Remember how Lolly is kind of a hoarder?) She gave it to Viva, and Viva was thrilled. When Anna came home from school and learned that Lolly had given that precious family heirloom to Viva instead of her she came running into the office in tears. "Viva gets all of the special things from our grandparents," she said to Lolly. "When it's all said and done, I will have nothing. Nothing but an empty heart!" She refrained from throwing herself to the floor as she said this, but we're not sure why.

Here's another classic: Lolly has been the first counselor in the Primary presidency (the children's organization in the Mormon church) for two years. She was recently released from that calling where she had previously been very involved with the girls, and interacted with them at church every week. We had to tell Anna ahead of time so she wouldn't create a scene at church. This ended up being a wise move. When we told her what was happening, she was immediately moved to tears. "Your time in Primary has passed away!" she gasped, cupping her head in her hands. "I thought you'd be there forever but I guess my dreams have ended. I never thought my dreams would end..." by this point she was full-on weeping.  "It's too horrible to even think about!" Cue: hysterics. (Um, does it mean we're bad parents if we laughed while trying to comfort her?) Pretty much what this means is that when she's a teenager we're totally screwed.


Josh (age 32) and Lolly (age 34)

Well, what is there to say? Truth be told, Lolly and I have had a pretty unremarkable year. Just the same ol' same ol' for us! You know how it goes. Things were so commonplace--so boring and mundane--that there isn't really that much to share. I did write a couple of things, so that was nice, but other than that, things were so standard that there's not a lot worth mentioning. Well, I guess Lolly did finally clear our stainless steal appliances in the kitchen. And I switched out my old toothbrush. Go hygiene! Just livn' the dream. Ya know?

All right. Let's close this sucker out with some family photos. These are of the entire Weed clan minus my brother Chad who is on a mission in Tennessee.

Bottom row: My sister Maquel, her husband Nate Welch, Me, Lolly, Tessa Viva
Middle: My dad, Stew, my mom, Shellie, and Anna
Back row: My sister Jenni holding Parley, her husband Justin Pratt holding Alice, and my brother Chris (who is SINGLE, ladies!!!! Hit me up with an email if interested!!!)
(Photos taken by Tami Baumgartner)


Bonus stair shot!!!

All right, I think that pretty well wraps things up. On a serious note, I'm really, really grateful for the many wonderful things that have happened to my family in 2012. We were healthy, blessed abundantly, and richly benefited by our relationships with family and friends. Each of you reading this is a part of that for me, and I appreciate you stopping by. Genuinely. I hope you have an incredible 2013. I plan to make mine the best year of my life, and I mean that in all sincerity. I hope you do the same. 

Until next year... 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My article in the Deseret News + FFAQ Response--The "right" and "wrong" way to react

Okay folks, first things first. Here is an article I wrote for the Deseret News about why I love the LDS Church's new website about homosexuality. I enjoyed writing it because it let me get retrospective about the last six months in a way that was interesting to me. Also, not surprisingly, I'm a longstanding fan of the Deseret News so it was fun to write an article for them.



Aaaand FFAQ time.

First, let me explain FFAQ for anyone that's new here...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sick Girls

Last night my house became a vomitorium. (The fake definition. Not the real one which innocuously means a type of passageway.)

As I helped Anna throw up into a bowl, instead of being repulsed or annoyed or bothered, I found myself grateful. I'm so grateful that, unlike 20 sets of parents in Connecticut, I can wake up in the night and help my little girl when she's sick.

I spent a lot of my day yesterday envisioning Anna at school...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Hopeful Step--A post by Lolly


I feel like most Mormons want to be good people. They want to be Christ-like, kind, and compassionate. Lately I’ve been speculating that when you see a good LDS person behaving in a completely inappropriate and insensitive way it is often due to ignorance (or at least I hope that is the case!)

This past weekend, I had several conversations with different LDS people. The first was with a friend in my ward. She told me that reading Josh’s coming out post helped her to see the issue of same sex attraction with a new understanding. She said that she trusted Josh and so she believed him when he said that people do not chose to be homosexual but they can chose what they do with those feelings. She said that before reading his post, if her son had come to her and said he was a homosexual, she might have thought it was her fault or that he was doing it to spite her.

The next conversation was with a woman we met while visiting Josh’s parent’s ward in Portland. She and her husband approached us and told us that they were grateful for Josh’s coming out post. She said that she had read it shortly after she had had her firstborn son. She expressed the relief that she felt when she realized that it was okay to love her son, no matter what. That if he ended up experiencing homosexual feelings, she could still love him.

Now, this reasoning—that homosexuality is not a choice, that it is nobody’s “fault,” and that loving a child who is homosexual is not a betrayal of God and religion—might seem clear to some, but for a lot of religious people these conclusions are not obvious. Because this is the case, those of us who have experience with this issue need to share our voice with love in appropriate ways. This weekend, I was so grateful to be able to participate in an event that I felt accomplished this goal.


Photo attribution here

Josh and I were invited to participate in a panel for the leadership of the Beaverton, Oregon Stake. They also asked Josh’s parents to participate along with two other gay LDS men, Jordan Jantz and Jon Hastings.

I almost started crying before the meeting even started. It was amazing that this meeting was Stake sponsored and presided over by a Stake President (who was an amazing man, by the way.) The meeting was for bishops, priesthood leadership, and the youth leaders. As the room filled to capacity with the leaders of this Stake, I was filled with so much hope. It was amazing to see the leaders of a Stake congregating with the sole purpose of learning more about homosexuality. There was no sweeping of the issue under a rug. There was no “this is inappropriate to talk about.” There was only a desire to educate through the Spirit so that the leaders might be properly prepared to assist the homosexual members of their congregations in appropriate ways. 

As the meeting began with a presentation by the Stake President, I was so grateful and excited to hear him share information in such a loving, kind, and accurate way. He talked of ministering to the one, and walking with those who need love. My heart was truly touched. He shared effective methods of assisting homosexual members (like simply loving and listening) and ineffective methods (such as suggesting that reading scriptures and praying hard enough—or increased righteousness—will be effective in eradicating homosexual feelings.)He also shared the Church’s new website, www.mormonsandgays.org, and spotlighted some of the videos there.

Then the meeting was opened up to the panel. The Stake President said he wanted most of the meeting to be open for the leaders to ask questions, even if the questions were uncomfortable to ask. There were so many wonderful questions asked by these great leaders who were there to genuinely serve. I was
impressed by the nature of every question. Here are some examples of questions that were asked:
  • ·      Our tendency is to try and ‘fix’ a problem. How can I help an individual with SSA without trying to ‘fix’ it?
  • ·      I’ve heard some people say that the term ‘SSA’ is offensive to them. What term do you prefer and why?
  • ·      I’ve heard some people say some insulting and mean things in church in regards to homosexuality. How can we help the culture of the church become more educated in regards to this issue?
  • ·      What does therapy look like for a gay LDS individual?

The entire meeting was amazing for me. I saw many individuals crying as we discussed these important issues. People want to understand, and want to help. I saw hearts that were open and learning. We were taught through the Spirit. I was so grateful for the opportunity to participate. I wish every Stake in the entire Church would have meetings similar to this one, but hey, I’m chalking this one up to major progress!  Way to go Beaverton, Oregon Stake!!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Breaking News + Check in

Did you hear the news?

The church just released a website about homosexuality. I've been hearing about this site for months (basically since Lolly and I exploded on the scene last summer and became a part of the "conversation") and I am really, really excited to see that the day has arrived. It's a really good website. I think it adds so very much to the shifts in perception that are happening around this issue.

First, here are some relevant links:

This is an article from the Deseret News.

And this is the press release made by the church.

And then... drumroll please...

The actual website: mormonsandgays.org

Take a moment and look at that url. Notice anything interesting? Then do what I did: sigh in relief, nod your head and say "things are changing!"

Anyway, I've gotta say, I really, really love the things that are happening around this issue. I feel like there is such a culmination--so many voices converging saying the same things--that love is the most important message, and that understanding and empathy are so important. This may sound cheesy, but I'm so grateful to be a gay member of the church at this point in history. I feel like a small part of something really big. And I'm so glad.

And on that note, we need to do a check-in, don't we?

Rules: You cannot say "good" or "fine." Check in spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Set a goal and report on the previous week's goal. This is for fun, and is not meant to supplement or replace contact with a mental health professional.

GO.

Oh wait, don't go. One more change I'm going to make. I will try hard to enforce this, but please make it easy on me by trying hard to follow this rule. I recently realized I had forgotten an important thing. In groups where check-ins occur, there is no "cross-talk." In other words, check-in is a time to share how and where you are, without feedback (either positive or negative) from others. This allows the person checking in to feel safe sharing anything, knowing they are heard simply by having shared. Now, one of the things I've been touched by in past check-ins is some of the positive feedback people have gotten. However, feedback defeats, in some ways, the purpose of a check-in. It needs to be a place where people can say what they need to say, make their report, know they were "heard" and not worry about starting debates or lengthy discussions by sharing their personal stuff.

So, here's the deal. We need to function under the assumption that someone does not want feedback. Thus, please don't comment on other people's check-ins--even if the person sounds vulnerable or in need of help, and even if your feedback is incredibly positive (which in almost every case in the past it has been). If the person checking in leaves contact information or has a profile, feel free to find their profile and contact them directly. (That would be the equivalent to finding someone after group and being like "hey, I was really moved during your check-in. Did you want to talk about it?") But any comments in response to a check-in are "cross talk." They detract from that person's moment of sharing. The past feedback has been so incredibly positive, that it didn't even occur to me until recently that I had accidentally created this problem, but now that I have realized it, I am going to enforce this new rule.

So, no cross talk. Or in other words, no commenting on other people's check-ins. (If you are checking in and wanting feedback, feel free to leave an email address that people can contact you at for a private, post-check-in conversation.)

All right, here goes mine:

Physically: I feel very encouraged. Myfitnesspal really is my new best friend and I feel completely in control of my eating. I ran a lot this week which I really enjoy, and had a good weightlifting workout this morning, so I'm feeling very healthy. And motivated. And good content.

Emotionally: I feel much better today than I did last weekend. Last weekend I felt needy and isolated and crappy. I reached out to a couple of friends of mine (or, rather, they reached out to me) and I was able to do this really weird thing where I actually talked about how I'm feeling (this is novel, I know), and that has helped me feel much better about things. Vulnerability: so uncomfortable, yet so necessary. I'm learning this more and more.

Spiritually: Really, really energized. I had an incredible interview with my bishop the other night to renew my recommend. We talked for a couple of hours (bless his soul, and his family for letting him be away for that long). It was an incredibly good talk, and really helped me get my head on straight (no pun intended--seriously) about a few things. Our discussion was totally and completely inspired.

Goal from last week: 5,000 words. Achieved.

Goal for this week: 5,000 words. Again.

All right guys. Please check out that website. Then check in and let us all know how you're doing. Thank you guys for being such an awesome community of awesomeness. You are the best blog-readers on earth. No jokesies.

(PS--I am actually not really interested in having a discussion about the website because I don't want to ruin the warm fuzzies I feel about it. On this one, let's all just rejoice in the good things that are happening and call it good. ;-) Any divisive commentary about it will be removed. Because I'm tyrannical like that. Bwahahahahaha!!!!)


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bible Story (of Horror)

This evening as we waited for Lolly to finish her maternal duties and get dinner on the table (whilst barefoot, wearing an apron, and humming the hymns of the pioneers, of course):

Anna: Dad, what's that one story about a lady who talks to a king in the scriptures? Not Esther. But another lady?

Me: Do you mean King Solomon? Solomon was approached by a lady...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Old Year Resolutions

It's December first.

That means there's one month left in 2012. (Are you so impressed right now with my math skills and calendaring talent? Cuz, whoa, I should probably be an executive secretary or a physicist or something. 12 minus 11 is ONE y'all. ONE.)



What this means is that each and every one of us has a list of things that we wanted to accomplish this year that we haven't looked at since, oh, say February. If we were really diligent, then March.

At the gym the other morning my friend Konrad came up with this new, great plan: we're going to focus on our Old Year Resolutions this month.

I invite you all to do the same.

Look back at your journal, and dust off that entry from January first. What were your hopes for this year? What were your aspirations? Which goals have you accomplished, and which ones can you still focus on this last month to bring closer to completion?

Don't be discouraged by how much might not have happened.

Take a moment to celebrate the progress, any progress, you made in any goal. Be grateful for the chance you had to work on it, and pat yourself on the back for all you have been able to do so far this year.

Then look at one or two of the ones that you didn't quite get to. Are there a couple that you could rework and fit into this last month? Is there anything that is close to achievement that, with some great focus, you can finish by 2013?

Now, make a short list--one or two or maybe three.

Then, and this is how we have decided to work it so that we actually get our stuff done, but feel free to skip this part if you're too afraid: we decided on a really uncomfortable, realistic consequence if we don't accomplish our Old Year Resolutions.

One of mine goals, for example, is fitness. I adjusted my goal to make it reasonable for a month, and then came up with my punishment: If I don't reach my weight loss goal in the month of December, then I will be violently dragged willingly play a game of church basketball.

You have no idea how much that punishment terrifies me, and therefore motivates me to NOT MISS MY OLD YEAR RESOLUTION. 

Here's an old post that might show why, just a bit: The Day I Realized I'm Exactly Like Jimmer Fredette. (Is it lame that as I reread this post I was laughing out loud at my own writing? Probably. Old Year Resolution: don't laugh at your own blog posts ever again. It's just sad.)

Anyway, I'd love to see any Old Year Resolutions you come up with. And I'd especially like to hear about your clever, motivational punishments. I bet you guys will come up with some awesome stuff.

Let's make the most of the rest of 2012! I'm off to go on a run so that I do not have to be subjected to church ball.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fan girls + Check in

Before the check-in, I want to share a couple of pictures from the AMCAP conference. I would have shared them in the post, but they didn't get uploaded in time, but I promised I would so, BOOM. More awesome photos.

Here is my very first picture with fan girls:

These ladies came up and were like "Um, we're your fangirls. Seriously." Then we had a great conversation. Thanks guys!
(Stephanie Gomez and Christine Johnson)



Spencer Ficiur had to join in on the fun and became an honorary fangirl. 

It's official: now I really know I'm gaymous. (Btw, my computer still always wants to change gaymous to haymows. WHAT THE CRAP ARE HAYMOWS?) Also, I know I'm really truly gaymous because I actually signed autographs for the first time at that conference. Except, turns out, I suck at signing autographs and completely forgot to personalize them in any way. Yeah. I'm rad like that. So, sorry if you got my stilted, awkward signature and no personalized message. I suck at life. And at being haymows. (see what i did there?)

CHECK IN

All right: I should really just copy and paste the instructions so I don't have to re-write them every time but I'm too lazy to do that, which seems weird because somehow I'm not too lazy to re-write it every time? I'm baffled by this as well. But whatever, here goes.

If you're new here, on Wednesdays/Thursdays, we do check-ins. It's just a way to connect with your emotions, set a goal for yourself, and share a little about your life. You check in with how you are doing physically, emotionally and spiritually. Then you share a small, reachable goal, and update us on how you did on the goal from the week before. This is not intended to supplement or replace actual contact with a mental health professional. It's just for fun, y'all. Oh, and you're not allowed to say "good" or "fine".

GO.

Physically: I feel better than I have in a long time. I'm going to the gym regularly and I am in control of my eating thanks to a little app I like to call myfitnesspal, or theawesomestappevercreated. If you're on it, you should totally friend me. I need all the support I can get, and I'll cheer you along as well. Anyway, I love feeling in control of my eating, and I feel much better about myself when I'm going to the gym regularly. Doesn't hurt that I've already lost five pounds since Thanksgiving, either. So, yes, physically I'm feeling very excited and hopeful about reaching my longstanding fitness goals, which basically boil down to getting totally fit for the first time in my life. I can do that, right? RIGHT?

Emotionally: I feel decent. I've felt frustration about a few things in recent days, but I had a good session with my therapist this morning (wait, therapists see therapists, you ask? Yes, if they're good therapists they do...it's actually recommended in grad school...) and so I'm feeling more in control of my thinking. I have been loving family time lately, and played with the girls for a good hour tonight which felt really nice. And Lolly and I have felt really connected, and we have been writing together at night and then watching TV, which has been really fun.

Spiritually: I've struggled spiritually the last few days. I'm not sure what the problem is. My spiritual thoughts have felt tinny and flat, and my connection feels dim. At the same time, I've had a couple of really important spiritual insights about some things that were perplexing me, so that was helpful. I'm still chewing on them... they were big ones. I'll probably end up writing about them eventually, but right now I'm letting them rattle around in my mind and be assimilated into my thinking. 

Goal last time: write an hour a day. Achieved? I think? On average. I know I wrote daily, so that feels good enough.

Goal this time: 5,000 words by next Wednesday in the memoir. 

All right guys. Let me have it. I love seeing your check-ins and hearing about your lives. Thanks for sharing yours with me, and thanks for being a part of mine. Each one of you is awesome. All right, com'eer! *Cheesy group hug*


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lice and RSV. You know, the usual...

This is a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago. When we had lice and RSV. Not sure why I didn't post it. Probably because life was CRAZY at that point.

So, since getting home from LA last week we've had some fun times.

Exhibit A: Lice.

Have you ever had lice in your house? It's hell, let me tell you.

Also, a bit of trivia: guess which Ricki Lake show guests brought three girls to the dressing rooms with a lice infestation? The answer is (drumroll please):

These people! 
(And by these people I mean Lolly and me. Not Lolly's mom or sister, also in the shot.)

We didn't know we were hit till we got home. And then we did treatments on the girls (where when I say "we" I mean "Lolly") and then we bagged everything cushioned into big plastic bags (where when I say "we" I mean "mostly Lolly") and then we spent hours every day combing through the girls' hair and nitpicking (never thought I'd "get" to use that term in its correct context) and then vacuuming everything in the world repeatedly. So, it's been rough, but I think we're in the clear. Thank heavens.

Exhibit B: RSV. Last night I was out doing something with my friend Konrad when I got a phone-call from a number I didn't recognize. I let it go through to voicemail. And then felt like I should listen to it, immediately. So then I did, and it was Lolly saying that she was in Urgent Care because Anna was having breathing problems, and when Lolly took her in, they almost sent her to the ER, but then they decided to give her some breathing treatments there at the clinic instead. Lolly also said her phone was almost dead. And she gave no instructions as to what I was supposed to do.

Now, I don't know if you've met me, but if you have, you know that I kind of crumble into a ball of inaction when 1. there is a crisis of any kind 2. I have to make a really quick decision regarding logistics or 3. one of my children is in danger. So basically, I was screwed.

The following conversation is an example of why I shouldn't be trusted with anything serious, as well as why men shouldn't be allowed to make decisions. Ever.

Me: ...sits in silence after the phone message.

Konrad: So, what did she say?

Me: *looks up, stunned that someone had addressed him* Oh, it was Lolly and, uh, something's wrong with Anna. Lolly has her in urgent care.

Konrad: Should we go over there?

Me: Uh, I don't know. She didn't say what to do. And also, her phone died so I can't call her. And also, I just accidentally deleted the message she sent.

Konrad:  Maybe we should just wait for her to call again, then. Could be that if I drop you off down there, they could be on their way back and you guys just miss each other.

Me: Exactly.

Konrad: I hope Anna's okay.

Me: Me too.

Konrad: What were her symptoms? 

Me: Uh... something about breathing. I'm not sure, my brain turned off while I was listening to the message. And also I deleted it. Because I'm an awesome parent.

At this point I get a call from Lolly telling me that she's probably gonna be there for a while and asking me to come.

Me: All right. That was her. She wants me to come. Can you drop me off over there?

Konrad: Absolutely.

We buzz over there feeling like heroes. And then I head in and after talking to the nurses for a few minutes and getting caught up on what was happening Lolly was like "Hey honey. Can you take the other two girls home?"

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...... guess who didn't have the other car?

Luckily our good friend Colleen Gomes came and picked us up. Because she's awesome like that.

Anyway, the joke here is that neither Konrad or I had any sense that I should have taken my own car out there--in fact, to the contrary we were both kind of thinking it was a lucky break that he could drop me off so that the whole family could all come home together--but the second he told this story to his wife, Ashlee, she was like "Whoa whoa whoa, wait a minute. You mean he didn't take his own car? Lolly's probably been there for hours. She needs him to take the girls home..."

Men are geniuses. Or genii if you want to get really fancy about pluralization.

Anyway, it turned out that Anna has RSV. So, she got breathing treatments and has an inhaler and some really nasty tasting medicine, and she's doing much, much better.
_________________________________________________________________________________

This is current me again. Hi! Not too much happening at Weed central right now. But having re-read this post I can officially say I'm glad we don't have diseases or parasites or bugs living on us or anything at the moment. And yes, I did just knock on a wooden picture frame.

A couple of interesting tidbits:

Did I ever tell you we were asked to be on Wife Swap? We ended up not feeling good about that, but it would probably have been really funny. And awkward. And would have ruined our children's lives.

We were just asked to be on another show.  So, back to the drawing board trying to feel out whether or not we should do it. It's interesting to see what we end up feeling good about and what we end up not feeling good about. I'll keep you updated.

All right. That's about it. Get ready for a check-in tomorrow! If you haven't done your goal, you have one more night...



Sunday, November 25, 2012

A wonderful weekend with my girls

We had a really good weekend with the girls. Here is a picture I took tonight:

Sorry it's slightly blurry. Have I mentioned I suck at photography?

This is them right before bed. They were all very excited by...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

32 things I'm thankful for, one for every year, in no particular order

1. I'm thankful for Lolly Shea.

2. I'm thankful for my three girls, Anna Viva and Tessa

3. I'm thankful for good, good parents.

4. I'm thankful for food. Especially good food. Like stuffing.

5. I'm thankful for technology. Especially good technology. Like apps called "myfitnesspal" to help me recover from eating enough food to fertilize an entire farm. After I digest it.

6. I'm thankful for my body.

7. I'm thankful for my brain.

8. I'm thankful for cars.

9. I'm thankful for buildings, especially the house I live in.

10. I'm thankful for my clothes.

11. Plumbing.

12. Sunshine

13. Modern medicine.

14. I'm thankful for music--listening to it and participating in it.

15. Running

16. My friends

17. The fact that nobody will judge me for putting periods at the end of some of these and not at the end of others

18. God, and the profound relationship I have with Him, and the fact that he guides my life so obviously and with such love.

19. Jesus the Christ.

20. Modern revelation. And personal revelation. And the Holy Ghost. And scripture.

21. Being a therapist

22. Writing

23. Siblings. And in-laws. And other extended family who are awesome.

24. My ward. I really love my ward.

25. Facebook. I can honestly say that Facebook has changed my life.

26. My iPhone. Gosh I love my phone. So, so much.

27. People in my life who love me for who I am and accept me without reservation.

28. My journals.

29. Ice cream.

30. Prayer.

31 This blog.

32. If you are reading this, I'm thankful for you. Really truly. You. Thank you so much for reading.

Though it's a day late, I'd love to hear something(s) you are thankful for.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Engrish Spam!!! + Check-in + Happy Thanksgiving!

So, I'm not sure why this started, but recently I've begun to get spammed trillions of times daily. The spam messages are... ridiculous.

They're like this:

I spend every waking moment in the morning reading this webpages fastidious tips meanwhile drinking my morning coffee. Thank you for your information in your webpage! Top notch! Also, see my webpage: delicious desserts.

It's like they are written in very, very poor Pakistani and then placed into a translator, and then copied and pasted verbatim into my comment box. And then the link is always to something really unrelated and innocuous sounding like air conditioning tips.

What?

Here are some actual samples:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Home again, home again.

Got back yesterday from our trip down to Utah. And yes, we successfully procured Lolly's Dunford donuts and Schmidts bakery cake. And she even let me eat a Dunford. Because she's filled with charity, and also because I saved the cakes from being destroyed on the plane when someone tried to put their luggage ON THEM. Basically I'm a superhero, is what I'm saying. A superhero for cakes.

Anyway, the reason we went to Utah was to be on a panel for AMCAP. AMCAP stands for the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapist and they had an event last Saturday. I was surprised to see various people on my last post get all concerned about me participating in this event which was specifically about homosexuality, Mormons and counselors. Um, just what panels do you think I should be sharing my voice, story and perceptions in as a Mormon counselor who is homosexual?

I'm starting to accept the fact that...

Friday, November 16, 2012

We're in Salt Lake. For cake and donuts. Oh yeah, and for a conference.



Important: The following post links to two companies. These are not paid advertisements. We promise. We just love these companies and this conversation actually happened.

So, yesterday I found myself, yet again, in the airport about to go to Salt Lake. The following conversation ensued as we waited to board the plane:

Lolly: I'm so excited!!! (claps hands)

Me: The thing that's funny about that is that most people would think you're excited about your trip. But really, you're just excited about cake.

Lolly: Schmidt's Bakery Cottage makes heaven in the form of buttercream frosting. There is nothing else like it. Anywhere. Especially Seattle.

Me: Yes. I get it. And that's why you have two large empty Tupperwares taking up space in our suitcase.

Lolly: Um, are you serious? Do you seriously not know how this works?

Me: What do you mean...?

Lolly: Hon, those Tupperwares are not for the cake. They are for my Dunford Donuts. The empty bag in our suitcase is for my carry-on of cake. s. Cakes. Plural. The donuts will be safely individually wrapped in baggies inside the Tupperwares. Obviously.

Me: Wait, we're getting donuts as well?

Lolly: We aren't getting donuts. I'm getting donuts. And cakes. For me. I'm not sure what you might be getting.

Me: I'm getting worried about space in our luggage for the return trip...

Lolly: It's understandable, I suppose. But don't worry. I'll make it work. (Leans over and gives me a kiss)(Looks at me with concern) Did my breath smell bad? Was it the onions in my sandwich?

Me: No, you're fine.

Lolly: It's just that you looked a little repulsed...

Me (whispering): You do realize we are currently in line to board a plane to Salt Lake City, Utah, where we will be speaking about our true love and intimate relationship even though I'm gay. Maybe "repulsed" is a poor word choice?

Lolly: Perhaps. But you did look repulsed.

Me: I'm not repulsed! I'm distracted. By all the Tupperware and bags. (Leans over and gives Lolly a kiss).

Lolly: That's more like it. That may have just earned you a Dunford Donut.

Me (whispering affectionately into Lolly's ear): I plan to steal several...

Lolly: Dunford Donut rescinded! Help! Robbery!

Me: You don't even have the donuts yet.

Lolly: And apparently you never will.

________________________________________________________________________________

So here's the flyer for the thingamabob tomorrow. Please come! There's going to be seating for a LOT of people, and also, I'd love to meet you. Seriously, you. I want to meet you.





Friday, November 9, 2012

Lessons in Unconditional Love

Here is the address I gave at Circling the Wagons. For more on the story behind the conference and how I ended up speaking there, see yesterday's post.


Lessons in Unconditional Love

Hi there.

I’d like to thank Circling the Wagons for allowing me the opportunity to speak to you all today.

I’ve never been more scared to give an address in my entire life...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Circling the Wagons: ADD and fear almost won. But didn't.

I wrote this on Tuesday.


Last weekend was kind of a big deal for me, for a couple of really important reasons.

Honestly, I'm still recovering, even though I think things went about as well as I could have possibly hoped. Brene Brown talks about the concept of a vulnerability hangover. I experienced my first real vulnerability hangover on June 8th of this year as I talked to Important People in New York and LA who, the day before, had no idea I existed, and as I watched a picture of my family and the news that I am gay splash itself on news outlets all over the world when all I'd done was publish a post on this blog.

There was a moment the day after it all exploded (June 9th) when...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hi there, Ricki Laker

Oh hi.

If you're here today, it means you probably saw the segment about me and my wife on Ricki Lake or heard about it online somewhere. So, welcome to the blog that started it all!

Let me show you around.

First off, you might be wondering about the coming out post that began this whole process.

I posted it in June, and then it went viral. It's the thing that will answer most of your questions (if you have any) and you can find it by clicking here.

If you don't want to wade through the thousands of comments on that post, but want to leave a thought for us about it, feel free to do so on this post. 

Before that post, The Weed was primarily (and it still often is) a humor blog. Here are a few of the most popular past posts if you're in the mood for a chuckle:

Bambi Nuggets
Previously the most popular post on my blog, in this post my daughter and I discuss the tragedy of Bambi's mom, and the resultant conversation turns my blood cold...

The Time I Almost Played Trivial Pursuit with Ken Jennings
Spoiler: I'm really bad at trivia...

Morning Run
Yeah. THAT happened on my morning run...

Celebrity Crush
How can I can compete with this guy? Answer: I CAN'T.

And before THAT I spent six months analyzing and coming to terms with the fact that I have ADD. (I eventually started Ritalin. Things feel better. Sometimes.)

All right. Hopefully that gives you a taste of what you can expect 'round these parts. It's pretty much a regular riot, with a lot of talking about homosexuality, and a lot of hilarity surrounding my kids and stuff.

Here's a picture:

I'm not kidding, I chose this picture at random and it was me and Lolly in a pumpkin patch three years ago. AND WE JUST HAD HALLOWEEN. Yeah, that's how good I am at being thematically on topic. And/or how behind we are at updating our photo albums. You know, one of those two things.

So, yeah, welcome aboard! Or at very least a hearty thank you for dropping in and taking a gander.

(Oh, and if you want more regular updates, I just started a Facebook Page so I'll post a bunch of crap there and it will be awesome.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ricki promo + pumpkin robbery

First off, wanted to share the promo for the Ricki Lake show. It airs Friday and you can look up times on yesterday's post.



So, that's happening.

And now a (sad) story.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hell Week + Important Dates UPDATED

Hi guys.

There a few words that I might use to describe why I haven't been around for a week. Normally I'd give a lengthier explanation, but I have the feeling these words might just be explanation enough:


lice
trip to urgent care
RSV
broken down transmission
hate calls from perfect strangers to my phone
internet down at the house
lost keys

None of that is even close to a joke. So, yeah. Been an eventful week. And not in a good way.

The good news is...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

How things went with Ricki + Check in

All right, so let's talk about how things went on Wednesday on Ricki Lake.

I'm really, really happy to report that it was an incredibly positive experience.

So, here's the story, in a nutshell.

Several weeks ago I got a voicemail from a producer of the show...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ricki Lake UPDATED

So, I'm in the airport on the way down to California because tomorrow Lolly and I are going to be on The New Ricki Lake show.

No, this is not the 90's. Yes, this is actually happening.

On my Facebook page, I mentioned that there was an 8% chance that this was a set-up and that I would get there and someone would tell me that one of my children wasn't mine. And then I'd have to be outraged and violently throw a chair and get tackled by security.

However, a few commenters (on Facebook and Twitter) proposed some even better scenarios:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wednesday check in on a Friday (because that's how my life is right now)

Hi folks.

I'm having a minor episode of meltdown.

Everyone Shhhhhhhhh *puts finger over your mouth* It's okay. This happens to me from time to time. Basically what is going on is that I'm totally overwhelmed by the workings of my life and I find myself unable to do important things. Like return any emails. To anyone. About anything. Including my little brother who is a missionary in Tennessee. Or Important People. Or really awesome readers who send me really awesome messages of support or who ask me totally legitimate questions. Or basically anybody. I also find myself unable to do things like: manage my schedule; not eat the universe and every dairy product in my fridge (esp. cheese and ice cream); take 15 minutes to sign up for my licensing exam (oh, that little thing? No big deal! Who needs to maintain credentials?); respond to people about really, really important stuff like blurbs for book covers or TV shows; get to work when I need to get to work; anything whatsoever that has to do with my church calling; etc.

The few things I have been able to keep in tact in order to survive are: I successfully see my clients; I eat (way too much) food; I sleep sometimes; Lolly and I watch a TV show every night together to reconnect; I eat dinner with the family every night.

I feel like a complete mess.

Anyhow, I think that's a perfect reason to do a check in. Feel free to do one also. (I think I need a caveat stating that checking in on The Weed is not meant to replace or supplement therapy with a licensed professional. It's just for fun y'all.)

Rules. You check in with how you are physically, emotionally and spiritually. You make a commitment and talk about last week's commitment (if you had one). You are not allowed to say "good" or "fine" for any item.

Physically: I feel a little crappy. My blind eye hurts. It bugs me from time to time, with a weird headache behind it. I also feel blergh in general. Not sure how to describe it, but it's not "good" so it counts. Also, I ran several times this week, but I really need to do some weight training.

Emotionally: I feel overwhelmed. Life feels like complete chaos to me right now. I just told someone that I feel like I'm atop a racehorse that's on crack, just watching my life course past at high speed. As previously stated, I feel like I'm neglecting important things. And the craziness feels like it's increasing rather than decreasing.

Spiritually: I feel like my spirituality is yet another casualty to the crazy. I feel connected when I connect, but I also feel inconsistent and like I could use some good prayer and meditation. I did end up enjoying conference a lot, and thought there were some very apropos messages that were very helpful (and strangely work in tandem, as often seems to magically happen.)

Commitment from last time was to write in the memoir for 15 hours. I achieved this.

Commitment for this week is to write for 10 hours. At least.

Side-note: one of the things I forgot to clarify about commitments is that they should be attainable. So if you haven't exercised in a year, setting a goal for 6 workouts might not be a great idea. But one or two? Totally appropriate.

All right guys. It's Friday night. You're all having fun. I'm about to go have fun. And I'm about to eat pie. So life can't be that out of control, right?

If it suits your fancy, hit me up with another check-in, and let me know how things went this week. Hope you are all doing well.

Not editing this sucker! *presses publish*



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Crush

Anna: Mommy, how many cents is one nickel and two pennies?

Lolly: Well, sweetie, one nickel is five cents. So what would the total be?

Anna: Is it three?

Lolly: Hmmm. No, a nickel has five cents in it. It's like five pennies.

Anna: Can I look at a nickel?

Lolly: Sure. *finds a nickel and hands it to Anna*

Anna: Mommy, who is that on the nickel?

Lolly: It's Thomas Jefferson.

Anna: Ow wow, Mommy. He's really really handsome. *stares off dreamily*

Yeah. Anna just expressed her first crush. On a nickel.  Not sure what's more disturbing, the fact that it involves a founding father, or the fact that she just basically just got a crush on currency.


What a dreamboat.

(That joke would be so, SO much less creepy if I hadn't come out last summer.)
Photo attribution: here


We can't blame our sweet daughter for the strangeness of her celebrity crush. After all, her mother has a crush on... this.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Comment Clean Up + Question about kids and conference

All right, so the comments on the check-in post just got a reeeeeaaaallly poor clean-up. I tried to follow the rule "if it's not a check-in or in direct response to a check in, it goes." I probably messed it all up and offended three trillion people and did it in a totally unfair way and stomped on a genuine question or two, and for that I'm so sorry. I also got bored and stopped prematurely so I may have missed major stuff.

Normally when a post has threads that go off the deep end

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A religious post from Lolly

Hey guys, first of all, thanks again for your check-ins on Thursday. It ended up being a really helpful experience for me, and I enjoyed the opportunity to hear how so many people are doing. I definitely think that just became a "thing" so expect it to happen again.

Conference. I'm loving it. If you haven't had a chance to watch and you'd like to, you can check it out here. There are two sessions left tomorrow, one at 10am and one at 12 Mountain.

And finally, since tomorrow's Sunday and it's conference, I thought I'd share a religious post that Lolly wrote for another blog. I share this not spark a religious debate, but just to relish in our respective forms of worship, and to share a little bit about what Lolly and I believe.

God's Message to me from a Stranger


A few Sundays ago I was having a particularly hard day.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wednesday Check In

I wrote this post last night. It's a post that I decided to scrap, but now I've decided to post it so I can get the "post something!!!!" monkey off my back while I'm trying to focus.

Today I'm writing. All day. It's a mess, and shiz just got real up in here in my office. Pray for me. Pray that my mind will focus and that the words will come right.

Writing is hard. It's also amazing and exhilarating. But it's hard.

I stole this free-to-use photo of a pencil and paper off of the internet to symbolize writing even though I haven't written using a pencil on blank paper since approximately grade-school. I did this because I really don't want to PAY for a picture of someone using a computer. Effective, yes?
Photo attribution: here

All right, here's last night's post:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

So... yeah. Here's a post about bruises and cuts.

This is a picture of Viva after she hit her face on the piano while pretending she was a kitty. (Notice the dark bruise on her cheek.)




And this is a picture of Tessa after she face planted while running at the park.

Friday, September 28, 2012

New FFAQ--Bring on the questions and cast your dittoes

All right guys, it's Friday and I'm ready for a new question! (If you're new here, FFAQ stands for Friday's Frequently Asked Question.)

You know the routine. Ask a question you've been curious about. If you see a question you'd like to see answered, leave a "ditto" and I'll respond to the most commonly asked one or two questions.

Today I'm at my third day of a really long, heavy training about sex addiction. (I'm becoming a certified sex addition therapist (CSAT).)  The training is the Real Deal. It's intense and involved and goes through the whole weekend, which my mind can't wrap around ("wait, what? I'm working on Saturday???"), but I'm in it to win it. My FFAQ response will probably come on Monday of next week, but I'll drop a few posts to let you know how bored I am much I'm learning in training.

See you guys. Have a superb weekend. And thanks for your general sensitivity to my post yesterday. I appreciate it a lot. You guys are seriously awesome, and one day I want to have a party and hang out with you all and meet you in person and tell jokes with you all over some hummus and carrots. Or celery if you prefer.





Thursday, September 27, 2012

FFAQ--Guy Friends

All right, let's do this thing.

Here's the question posed by Nicole which was the runner up last FFAQ (or FOLS--short for Friday... oh, look! Shiny!) as some commenters have more appropriately named it since I'm doing it on a random WEDNESDAY):

Do you have a hard time having guy friends? I know as a married woman, I try not to have friendships with men, but since your attraction is different, does having male friends pose a problem for you?

I do have trouble having guy friends. 

But it's probably not for the reasons you'd think.

Monday, September 24, 2012

In which my faith in humanity is restored...

...one comment at a time.

So, yeah, I spent today periodically checking the comments on my post this morning ready to strike. I have been sitting patiently, like a sniper, awaiting the moment when I could obliterate the first offensive comment I saw so that people could see that I'm not all talk, and that I am dead serious, and that I really will NOT tolerate that stuff anymore.

And?

You people have left 80 of the most civil, awesome, respectful comments every written about this complex topic.

How annoying of you!!!!

And also

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Real dialogue is happening right now. Like, seriously, people are talking. Not everybody is agreeing. Not everybody thinks in the same ways. But everybody that has said something has shown civility, has tempered their words and opinions with conciliatory language, has avoided inflammatory phrases for the most part, and has even apologized if they made mistakes.

Part of me is so disappointed I didn't get to show off my delete-button skills.

But most of me is so freaking happy to see the discussion be so awesome. I mean look at some of these conversations! People are actually talking to each other about hard things. I have felt enriched and educated as I've read some of the conversations on that post, and heard people speak plainly and without fear about their deeply held fears and beliefs.

I have no idea how long it will last, but I'm taking it for however long I can. And I am loving it. Maybe, just maybe, this is a new leaf, and the tone has taken shape in a lasting way.

But you better believe that the part of me that got all serious this morning is still waiting, dormant, for the first comment to cross into my arbitrarily chosen line "too much" so that I can decimate it.

All right, folks. I'm tired. FFAQ response tomorrow? Maybe. I have lots to do for this training I'm doing at the end of the week which feels actually as time consuming and expensive as a small grad degree.

Good night. I hope you all sleep well.

When the cat's away...

So last night was really great.

There were so many awesome people with so many awesome stories and I loved meeting everyone. Thank you to those of you who traveled far distances to come see me--and to all of you readers who came to support me, it seriously meant a lot to me.

I was an organizational disaster as I spoke and I had like ten notecards and another notecard and a piece of paper and I kept kind of losing track of what I was talking about and I looked like an ADD star palace, but in the end it ended up going well and I felt like I was able to say what I was supposed to say.

Here's a picture taken by a reader named Christen Lane who came to hear me and then posted it on my Facebook page.

My blind eye is only kind of squinty!!!

Thanks for the great photo, Christen.

When I got online after the event to check my email I did not feel so awesome.

So, I posted my last post at the airport on the way to Utah, and then I went off the grid because I was stressing out and needed all of my mental energy to think about my remarks. After I was done last night, I was like "oh, I can hop online now and see how things are going." Imagine my dismay and disappointment when I saw that I got numerous emails from people saying that the LDS temple ceremony was being mocked in the comments section of the post.

Of course I had to see for myself, and I was repulsed to see they were not exaggerating. And that there were one or two commenters who absolutely dominated the comment section with hate-filled, vitriolic, intolerant posts.

I have made a decision.

I am moderating comments.

I had thought that if I talked about this enough times, explained the type of conversation I was going for--the openness I seek, the feel of acceptance and sharing and mutual understanding, and respectful exploration of differences I am trying to foster here--that people would pick up on that and then manage themselves. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be happening.

This will be imperfect. I won't be able to be "fair." I have biases, and I will be more likely to remove the posts of some people based on history than others.

At the same time though, I don't want you to think that divergent opinions are the problem here. They aren't the problem. They are what make conversations great. There are so many divergent views shared by commenters who are able to articulate their thoughts in a respectful way (and did so even on yesterday's post). Anyone trying to share a perspective with respect and kindness, you have absolutely nothing to worry about w/ regard to moderation. In fact, your input is encouraged.

It is the people who have a clear agenda, who have explained that they do not intend to engage in this conversation in a respectful way, who can expect their comments to be removed. Every time. Without apology from me.

Furthermore, there is one more line I'm going to draw. As a believing Mormon, I cherish my religious beliefs, just as other adherents to other faiths cherish theirs. I love the exchange of ideas and information that happens when espousers of different creeds explore and share ideas. I think it's extremely useful to have that kind of exchange, and such a discussion requires a safe, respectful environment.

Because of this, any person who tears down a religious creed on my blog, or speaks derogatorily of someone's sacred beliefs can expect to have their comment swiftly removed. The level of disrespect and blatant intolerance I saw yesterday was breathtaking. It's actually been going on for a long time and I'm so sorry everyone has had to suffer through it for as long as they have. I've probably waited too long to take this action--the axe has been at the root for months--but I really did have hopes that people could self-manage. Last post's comments--and the many emails from people personally appalled by their sacred beliefs being trampled on--have demonstrated in a clear and obvious way that the time has come. Which makes me sad because while the presentation has been abhorrent, I have appreciated the perspective.

Aaaaand consider this issue put to rest. If you have a personal question about the policy or comments, feel free to email me at joshua dot weed at gmail dot com. I won't be responding to comments about it, but I will respond to emails.

All right. I have four trillion clients to see today. I'm gonna try to answer my FFAQ question tonight, but I'm going to be so busy recovering from the trip and preparing for a training I'll be going to from Wednesday to Sunday that it might not get finished. But I'll post something tonight regardless. It might be one sentence. About how tired I am. But whatev.

Thanks again to those who came to see me speak. Meant the world to me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What isn't soothing about this?




"What's that in your 1-year-old's mouth?" I'm sure you're asking.

Isn't it obvious?

It's an electrical outlet cover, of course! What adult doesn't remember the halcyon days of childhood, when they risked electric shock to find a two-pronged, hard-plastic replica of a pacifier?

"Mommy, I found a binkie!"


Hazards Involved in Tessa's New "Toy":

1. These things aren't just lying around the house. That means that in order to obtain one, Tessa is using her tiny, outlet-sized fingers to wrench them out of the socket. Totally not dangerous!

2. Choking hazard? Check.

3. Probably not orthodontically approved.

4. She's never used an actual binkie. So who knows the psychology behind why this is happening?

I know I don't.

"Oh, come on. Don't try to tell me you've never wanted to try one of these..."


This hasn't happened only once. This happens daily.

So pretty much we're the best parents on earth, is what I'm saying.

Oh, serenity.

Want one of these fun toys for your child?

I kind of love how the advertisement features a picture of a child ripping one out of the wall.


Or, if you're a good parent, you can purchase these strange contraptions to actually protect your child from electricity:


But seriously, where's the fun in that thing? You can't even pretend to be a baby with it!