blogging

Super Dad: Oren Miller!

June 26, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

Riffing off my SuperLunchNotes, this summer I’m doodling a series of notes featuring some of my favorite dad bloggers… re-imagined as superheroes. Why? Because it’s fun. And because you should be reading these guys. And because I’ve gotten so much support from my community of blogging dad pals, I wanted to toss some good karma their way. I’m pretty super that way.
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SPECIAL EDITION
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MEET SUPER DAD OREN MILLER, A.K.A.

PROFESSOR O!

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Super Dad Oren Miller

About PROFESSOR O:
Origin:
The first time this father of two sat down to write, he spilled his coffee and a sippy cup of milk onto his laptop. As he frantically grabbed to salvage his computer, the caffeine and calcium fused into a super-technological compound, surged through his body, and immediately connected him to every other dad blogger — past, present or future!
Powers: Using only his mind, PROFESSOR O can seek out any dad blogger in the galaxy! He then connects them into a secret community where they learn how to use their own mutant blogging skills to squash stereotypes, offer support to one another, and advocate for fathers everywhere! He is also a master level blogger AND father: he can change minds and manipulate emotions through the written word, coordinate hundreds of dads with a few mouse clicks, and oversee a playdate complete with healthy snacks and an important life lesson thrown in for good measure.
Weaknesses: He gets really annoyed by exclamation points (!) and by the ever-changing Facebook group policies. Also hates Nazis.

About OREN MILLER:
Oren truly is a superhero to me and to the nearly 800 dad bloggers that belong to the Facebook group he started two years ago. Even before launching this informal group, he would search out new dads who were blogging and feature them on his site, A Blogger and a Father. This is how I first “met” him. I met him in real life a few months later, when he invited me to a meeting between several other parent bloggers and the governor of Maryland. There I was able to personally thank Governor O’Malley for all he did to pass same-sex marriage in our state — an opportunity that still boggles my mind and warms my heart.

I’ve not met anyone else in the blogging community with such a pure desire to connect and support people. His aspirations were never to appear on The Today Show or be the keynote speaker at a conference. His ambition is to find and build community, to start and continue dialog — not just about writing and social media, but about the struggles of life and the indescribable experience of being a father.

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EVEN SUPERHEROES NEED HELP
I had already planned to include Oren in this series of Super Dad notes, but this post is serving an additional, and vastly more important function…

At the end of May, Oren was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. The cancer had spread to several other organs, and he was given a prognosis of one year. Please take a moment and read his own words about this experience, as mine can’t begin to do it justice.

Shortly after his diagnosis, I started a fundraiser through GiveForward on behalf of our ragtag group of dads, with the hopes of raising $5,000 to send Oren, his wife, and two children on a family vacation. Within 12 hours it surpassed that goal, and now (less than 2 weeks later) stands to reach $30,000. The fundraiser has since pulled in many beyond his dad blogging community, with their generosity now earmarked for medical bills, education funds for the kids, as well as an unforgettable family vacation. To help attain (and surpass) this next benchmark, the extremely helpful and generous folks at GiveForward have offered to contribute $25 for each blogger who writes about Oren — up to $1000 (40 blog posts). By the time I publish this, I believe I’ll be number 40.

DON’T BE A BYSTANDER
If you have ever read and enjoyed my writing
, you have Oren Miller partly to thank. After my first year of blogging, I was considering giving it up, not having felt I’d connected with many people. Being featured on Oren’s site, joining the Facebook group, and having the privilege of calling Oren my friend have inspired me beyond measure. Not just as a writer, but as a father, a husband, and as a person on this planet.

Please consider adding your own contribution to this fund. It won’t bring a cure. It won’t buy more time. But it will extend the community of support for those Oren cares for most, connect you to something bigger than yourself, and make you — even if for a moment — a superhero.
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Oren and Brent

Oren and me at my wedding in April

Dad Blogger offspring

Future generations of parent bloggers goof around in Oren’s backyard.

 

Super Dad: Zach Rosenberg!

June 23, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Riffing off SuperLunchNotes, and inspired by requests from friends and readers of “Will you make MY lunch?!?” this summer I’m doodling a series of notes featuring some of my favorite dad bloggers… re-imagined as superheroes. Why? Because it’s fun. And because you should be reading these guys. And because I’ve gotten so much support from my community of blogging dad pals, I wanted to toss some good karma their way.

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MEET SUPER DAD ZACH ROSENBERG, A.K.A.

ZACHNEATO!

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super dad: zach rosenberg

About ZACHNEATO:
Origin:
When a bottle of Coke and a packet of Pop Rocks spilled onto a Ms. Pac-Man machine, ZACHNEATO emerged fully-formed, robed in pink, and ready to rule to world!
Powers: The ability to manipulate bits, bytes & blogs into anything he chooses. His hot pink robe and helmet make him impervious to Internet trolls and Twitter crashes.
Weaknesses: Without his fluffy pink armor, ZACHNEATO is susceptible to attack from his arch-nemesis, MR. A!

About ZACH ROSENBERG:
ZACH is the more vocal (and more pink) half of the blog 8BitDad. He and co-founder Bryan Ferguson have been making the blogosphere crackle with smarts and silliness since 2011(ish). They’ve got the comics/sci-fi/gamer beat covered, and do their fair share of reporting on all things fatherhood — particularly how it’s portrayed in the media. He is also a father and husband, and his favorite superhero really is Magneto. Or maybe Batman.

8BitDad 101:
The Ugly Truths Behind Caillou, Curious George and Max & Ruby
25 Reasons Kids Should Be Left Alone With Their Dads (I’m at #17. This list inspired my own)
Observations On Dad-Bias In 140 Commercials From 2013
BONUS: Their archive of hilarious video podcasts

 

 

SuperLunchNotes: Godzilla!

February 3, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

godzilla

As I mentioned over in a post earlier today (ain’t I prolific?), I lead a workshop on blog design at Dad 2.0 Summit. While I felt relatively prepared, had a clear agenda, bugged Doug French until he scored me a monitor, and put together some pretty darn cool swag to hand out, the only thing I was not prepared for was Charlie Capen and Andy Herald from How to be a Dad coolly sauntering over (I hear that’s how they all walk in Cali) to the first of my three presentations. I’m pretty sure I gave them a look of “What are you doing? Go away! You’re intimidating me with your combined blogging/design prowess!” Yet I kept my cool until the end when I opened it up for questions about the design principals I’d just eloquently finished discussing.

Andy raised his hand, “Dude, why aren’t your superhero notes on your blog?”

Uh, what?

“Well, I have a couple of things on there about it, but they get posted to Instagram and Facebook every day,” I kind of stammer.

“Dude, they need to be on your site STAT.” I’m paraphrasing, except for the dude part. (Remember – from Cali)

Charlie said something in an attempt to help interpret the Andy-ism and I got a little confused about what was going on and said something about we can talk about it later, but I think Andy told me again to put it on my site.

Luckily the bell rang and they had to leave. But I gave it a lot of thought. I had given it a lot of thought a lot of times before, but thought if I put it on my site every day it would be too much, or possibly force me to write more to fill in the other spaces, or maybe I could just do a week’s worth at a time. Mainly I just over-thought it a whole lot. Because really who cares as long as you get to see cute doodles of superheroes (and monsters), amiright?

So I did it and here it is (up there, top of the page). Now please like and share and come back every day and repeat as necessary. Oh, and please tell Charlie and Andy I did what they said. And also Stacy (the mother-flippin Editor-in-Chief of BlogHer and a great gal to do Jell-O shots with) because she also said I should do something with them. I’m a little fuzzy on the details. (Remember – Jell-O shots)

Okay, so I promise not every SuperLunchNotes post will be this long and annoying, but I thought it warranted some explaining.

Please tell me what you think. If you like, love, hate, meh — whatever your opinion, drop me a note.

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For more fun fatherly and frivolous stuff, visit (and Like) the Designer Daddy Facebook page!

We’ve Got Your Back: Impressions of Dad 2.0 Summit

February 3, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

I’m ending my long weekend the way I began it — hanging out in an airport for 4+ hours. Different airports — Baltimore on Thursday, New Orleans on Sunday — but they both have the same unsettling mixture of being simultaneously busy, anxious and lonely. Or maybe that was just me. I’ll spare you the details of my traveling travails, but between the Polar Vortex and my own absentmindedness, it was a wonder I got anywhere I was trying to. And I’m not even on my plane home yet.

I had considered waiting until I’d had a chance to “decompress,” catch up on work, and generally give myself a chance to create something more brilliant and insightful. But I’m taking this time in limbo to journal my impressions of Dad 2.0 Summit while they’re still fresh.

As my arrival in New Orleans was 6 hours later than planned, I missed the conference’s opening party. I had to force myself not to imagine all the hugging and backslapping and toasting going on as my network of dad blogging pals reconnected or (as in many cases) met in person for the first time. My tireless and generous friend Don left said party to pick me up from the airport (it was his fourth trip of the day) and as I trudged wearily into the lobby of the hotel, several of the men I’d become closest to came bounding out of the bar to greet me with all that hugging and backslapping I’d not been dwelling on. As I made my way through the lobby and up to my room, I was met with cheers of “Brent!” from even more of my until-then virtual friends. I felt like a rock star. Or at least Norm. It was already shaping up to be a pretty stupendous time.

aaron

After a very late dinner of bourbon and beer (and more meeting and backslapping and hugging), I called it an early night.

READ FULL ARTICLE >>

Meet the Monsters of Dad Blogging at Dad 2.0 Summit

October 31, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

I’ve sung the praises of Cottonelle Care Routine — the wondrous wipes and the terrific TP — in both poetry and prose. I’ve regaled you with tales of toilet treachery. And if you’re still reading these rear-related posts from a certain group of blogging bums, it means you’re either stalking me (in which case, please buy a t-shirt!) or you’re really keen on going to Dad 2.0 Summit in New Orleans, Jan 30-Feb 1, 2014.

I know I’m extremely excited to be experiencing all kinds of firsts for those three days… My first time attending Dad 2.0 Summit. First trip to New Orleans. And my first time to meet many of my fellow Cottonelle Brand Bumbassadors that have been bombarding you with poop-tweets and judging your own poems worthy to be praised or flushed.

We’re going to be announcing our final two weekly winners on Monday, November 4, so do your doo diligence, and get to haiku-ing. Because you could then be the BIG winner of the trip to Dad 2.0, which we announce a mere two days after that, on November 6!

In the meantime, I thought I’d spend the last few hours of Halloween (OH MY GOD I’M SO EXHAUSTED MY SON IS FOUR AND WENT TO ALL THE HOUSES AND ATE ALL THE CANDY!) introducing you to our fine and fancy gang of fellows who’ve served as your judge and jury these last several weeks.

And YES, you too can meet us all live (-ish) and in person in New Orleans if you win the BIG PRIZE! That right there should be motivation to get off your bum and get to Twittering.

So here they are (better-late-than-never) THE MONSTERS OF DAD BLOGGING BRAND BUMBASSADORS:

JAY I WANT TO SOKOL YOUR BLOOD

(AKA @DudeOfTheHouse)

sokol-1 READ FULL ARTICLE >>

SalonLGBTQ: Reconnecting, Simplifying & Loving the Ladies

October 30, 2013 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

Lately I’ve been lacking the time and energy to be an effective dad or a productive designer, much less a Designer Daddy of any measure. And I’ve got no one to blame but myself. But a recent trip to Atlanta brought about some much needed refocusing.

A couple of weeks ago I attended SalonLGBTQ, the first social media conference of its kind – for and about the LGBTQ community. My work schedule had slowly been reaching capacity, and culminated with several projects being due in conjunction with the conference. Amongst the professional stress was the ongoing struggle with our feisty almost-four year-old and his increasing use of falling on the floor and cry-whining as a means of communication. Add to that the pressures of preparing for this trip —where I’d also be making my debut as an “expert” blogger as part of a panel discussing parent blogging, social media and all things homosexual.

Despite all that, I managed to make it to the conference in one piece, though soaked to the bone from my walk across the street 2.5 blocks in the rain from the subway to the hotel. After cramming in some work and drying my socks, I went downstairs and enjoyed the hell out of the opening reception. It was Spirit Day, so everyone was wearing purple…except me. You know, the graphic designer who’s super keen on color and stuff. But it was a thrill meeting all manner of wonderful folk, including my longtime internet hero, Sarah/Nerdy Apple, and my new-found hero, Amelia. These two awesome moms have sons who don’t fit the normal norms, and they spend their time celebrating and championing them every chance they get. Plus these ladies both like to party. We were fast friends.

socks

Here’s my #SpiritDay purple, drying out from my trek through the rain.

purple

Flanked by some of my new favorite gals: Sarah “Smut,” Sarah “Nerdy” & Amelia “Blogger.” ©SalonLGBTQ.com

READ FULL ARTICLE >>

Cottonelle & Designer Daddy Have That Can-Doo Spirit

October 14, 2013 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

Greetings Dear Readers! It’s me, your bums-talking Brand Ambassador, bringing you another message from the fine folks at Cottonelle!

I and the other BA’s have been on a roll reading (and judging) all the wipe-related haikus you’ve been Tweeting out the wazoo. We’ve already given away $200 Amazon gift cards to 3 potty-mouthed poets. Check out their cheeky, winning work*:

Week 1 winner: @dad_strangeland
Did you wipe? I ask / My four year old shakes her head / Pants already raised.

Week 2 winner: @jesteram
Cottonelle sheets, wipes— / like yin and yang for your butt: / Two forces, one whole.

Week 3 winner: @DeadTurkeyBlog
Please try Cottenelle. / Like wiping with a pillow. / Without the divorce.

These lucky lads are now in the running to win the Grandest of Prizes: an all-expenses paid trip to Dad 2.0 Summit in New Orleans! And we have 4 more winners to choose over the next few weeks, so you still have lots of chances to score a gift card and a seat at Dad 2.0!

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While scrutinizing all these haiku hijinks has been hilarious, it’s also caused me to wax nostalgic. All the poop-talk got me reminiscing about the times in my life I could have really used some Cottonelle TP and Cleansing Cloths. Please indulge me as I over-share one such occasion…

WARNING: DO NOT READ IF ON YOUR LUNCH BREAK

I spent the summer after college in Siberia on a mission trip with a group from my church. We were in Irkutsk, a city of nearly a million people — yet we often found ourselves in rather sub-standard plumbing predicaments. One afternoon we were giving a presentation at a high school, when my lunch of dried fish, pork-filled dumplings and mysterious cabbage concoction decided to take the Trans-Siberian Express out of my body. I raced down the halls to the bathroom and scurried into one of the stalls. Not only did the stall not have a door, the bowl (which was common) didn’t have a seat. And to my horror – nor the toilet paper dispenser, toilet paper. Starting to panic, I hobbled around and check the other stalls. Nyet, nyet, nyet. No doors, no seats, no paper.

While this is not the toilet in the story, it was the one in our flat. That we used every day for 3 months.

While this isn’t the toilet in my story, it WAS the one in my Siberian flat… that I used every day for 3 months.

Lunch had now taken its leave, yet here I sat on my seatless bowl, not sure what to do next. I rifled through my pockets and found two very disconcerting options. Option 1: a small religious pamphlet illustrated in comic-book form. Option 2: my Bible.

The pamphlet was slick and varnished, with rather sharp corners. My Bible, on the other hand, had soft, tissue-like pages. It was my Sophie’s Choice of sanitation.

Luckily I remembered my Bible had several blank pages in the back for taking notes. My choice was made, desecration was avoided, my ass was saved! However some Cottonelle toilet paper and wipes sure would have been a god-send.

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Okay, now it’s your turn to confess.
What’s your scariest scatalogical situation? Please post in the comments. My favorite will get a shout-out on Facebook (anonymous, if you like) and my deepest admiration and sympathy.

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careroutine3

Late to the poop party and have no idea what I’m talking about? Take a second and go read this. I’ll wait… Okay, all caught up? Great! Now get to Tweeting haikus about Cottonelle and bums and wipes and poop, and maybe I’ll see you in NOLA!

*To read all eligible haikus as well as full contest details, visit the Haiku Challenge web page.

[Disclaimer: I am being compensated by Kimberly-Clark for my participation in my role as a Brand Ambassador. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions are mine and/or JJ’s.]

Cottonelle & Designer Daddy Get to the Bottom of Things

September 25, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

I’ve been tapped to be part of an elite squad of Brand Ambassadors, to tell you about an exciting new contest from the fine folks at Cottonelle!
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But first a word from our sponsor:

Are you tired of leaving the loo, only to return within minutes, realizing you’ve, ahem… missed a spot?

Does your morning constitutional frequently have you wiped out from all that wiping?

Have you longed for tips to help your toddler top off their potty-training technique?

Introducing the Cottonelle Care Routine!
The next time you
’re relaxing on your throne, follow up Cottonelle Toilet Paper with Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths, for the latest in tush technology!

careroutine2

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So, yeah. I’m doing toilet paper commercials on my blog now. Wondering how dear old Designer Dad fits this one into his otherwise awesome site about design and daddyhood and other cool, bloggy-type stuff? Simple, really.

FIRST: Being a dad involves A LOT of poop. And pee. And wiping. And quite a bit on the kiddo, too. If I need to explain this further, you’ve clearly never been around a child (or a grown man), or been one yourself.

SECOND: I love me some contests and giveaways and free stuff! Being a fancy-pants Brand Ambassador and all, I can’t actually win any of this stuff. But I’m pleased as punch to share it with all my awesome readers!

So what’s the free stuff?
Cottonelle is giving away a $200 Amazon gift card every Monday between now and November 4 — seven in all. The grand poo-bah prize is an all-expenses paid trip to the Dad 2.0 Summit conference in New Orleans, Jan 30-Feb 1, 2014. Airfare, two nights at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, registration fees — the whole shebang. Hebang, rather.

THIRD: To enter, all you do is write haiku about poo. (Okay, not exactly about poo, but it rhymed and was super cute.) You know how I love a clever turn of phrase, so this part’s a real hoot for me. Flex those clever craniums, fill your poems full of puns about keeping clean, tweet them with the hashtags #LetsTalkBums and #Haiku, and you’re in!

I and the other 6 way-more-illustrious bloggers will be tweeting haiku right along with you for fun, and then judging our favorite each week. One of those seven weekly winners will be chosen randomly as our big winner.

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Alright, this post is unrolling a bit longer than I’d hoped, so just a few more details before you go:

Check out Cottonelle’s Facebook page to join in on the potty talk and for cleaning tips, coupons and other fun stuff.

Be sure and visit the Haiku Challenge web page often, for all the official rules and where we’re collecting all your witty tweets in one big roll.

NEED A HAIKU REFRESHER?
3 lines of poetic brilliance…
1st line: 5 syllables
2nd line: 7 syllables
3rd line: 5 syllables

Break the lines with a return or a “/” and don’t forget to tag each tweet with #LetsTalkBums and #Haiku.

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OMG, THIS IS SO LONG AND NOW I HAVE TO GO PEE!
BUT ONE MORE THING!

Join me and the other Cottonelle Dads for a Twitter Party, hosted by Whit Honea on Monday, September 30 from 8-9pm EST. Use hashtag #LetsTalkBums and come ready to win a $50 Amazon gift card or two, an iPad mini, and hang around as we announce the first $200 weekly winner!

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[Disclaimer: I am being compensated by Kimberly-Clark for my participation in my role as a Brand Ambassador. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions are mine and/or JJ’s.]

Designer Daddy Goes to Annapolis

February 16, 2013 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

On a recent Thursday I saw a post on Facebook from fellow dad blogger Oren Miller, saying he would be meeting with the governor of Maryland, thus was soliciting questions from fellow Marylanders to take with him. He mentioned he was part of a group of parent bloggers the Governor’s office had invited for an informal Q&A regarding issues important to Maryland families. My immediate question – of course – was, “Do you have a gay parent blogger yet?” Oren, being the connected and generous fellow that he is, passed along my info which resulted in an official invite for the meeting…which was happening the very next day.

Giddy as all get-out, I quickly scrambled around, emailing, Facebooking and Tweeting (even LinkedIn-ing, I think) to get questions from friends and blog readers to take with me to Annapolis…so I wouldn’t look like a completely uninformed dolt. I ended up with a decent number, and narrowed it down to three priority questions to ask. I knew in a room full of bloggers my chances at getting a word in might be slim.

The next morning I sped through the nasty, wet traffic the nearly hour drive to Annapolis, eventually found parking, and trudged up the hill to the State House. Our meeting was in the Governor’s Reception Room — think the White House’s Roosevelt Room, only higher ceilings and more portraits of Maryland Governors. Our group consisted of 8 bloggers (5 moms, 3 dads), Governor O’Malley, and a few staffers.

The other guys in the group ribbed me for wearing a coat and tie and making them look bad. But in my research the night before, I’d been informed that O’Malley was not only the Governor of Maryland (home to the very recent Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens) but also a graduate of Gonzaga High School in DC. So my tie and my socks were purple (Designer Daddy’s got a rep to uphold) and I made sure to point that out when introducing myself to the Gov. I realized soon after though, that I was the only person NOT to specifically mention my child and how old he was. Smooth, huh?

The meeting was fairly informal, with Governor O’Malley talking a bit about the goals of the remainder of his term (which ends in 2014), using a projection of the office’s web site to illustrate certain points and show how citizens can keep track of the state’s goals and review progress in real time.

“Get a load of this guy in the purple tie.”

Not surprisingly, the first blogger question was about education, as were many that followed. Education-related discussions included the quality of public schools vs. private; school meal programs and the overall issue of hunger; and the lack of mental health providers, among others. The issue of mental health inevitably led to the topic of gun control, at which point I was able to mention one of the questions on my list.

A store near our house sells toy trains and guns. It’s always seemed odd disturbing to me (and many others) to have a gun shop so near residential areas, within walking distance of several parks and schools. It was even broken into a few years ago — apparently the thieves weren’t into toy trains, as only guns were taken. I mentioned all this to the Governor in order to say, “I don’t know what the zoning laws are for gun shops, but it shouldn’t be on the way to walking my son to the park or preschool.”

My comment wasn’t addressed directly, but the topic of gun control was discussed in general. And in a follow up email we were invited to a rally in support of his Gun Violence Prevention Bill on March 1. Information on this bill and the rally are listed at the end of this post under Resources.

Somebody’s not paying attention…

Our meeting was only an hour long, and by the time I’d gotten out one of my three points, we were already nearing the end. So at the close when the Governor asked if there were any further questions, I threw a Hail Mary to get in the comment I’d most wanted to:

“I just wanted to personally thank you. My partner and I moved to Maryland nine years ago, A) so we could afford to buy a house and because of the schools, and B) so we could adopt. I wanted to thank you for your support of the Same Sex Marriage Bill. It’s not a political issue for us; it’s our life, our family. We have a 3-year-old son, and I was excited the morning after the election to tell him that [his Daddy and Papa] were going to get married. He didn’t really understand what ‘ring bearer’ meant (laughter) — he thought it meant he was going to get to ring a bell. And I think since we already have rings, we’re just going to let him ring a big bell or something.” (More laughter)

(Pause) “So do you do weddings?” (More laughter)

Governor O’Malley’s reply, “I’ve never done a wedding. Technically I guess I’m allowed. I’ve never gone down that path, for fear that if I did one it would be impossible for me to justify saying no.” (Laughter)

He continued, “I think we found a broader way to communicate around that issue, by talking about the dignity of every child’s home. And I don’t think any of us agrees that’s it’s right or just that one child’s home would have lesser protections under the law than another child’s home depending on who their parents were.”

And with that, we wrapped things up, got a group photo in the Governor’s office, and said our final “thank yous” and goodbyes. As I was shaking O’Malley’s hand, I told him I’d mentioned to JJ the night before that I was going to meet the Governor, which didn’t register. I told him he was the President of Maryland, which seemed to impress him a bit. O’Malley got a chuckle out of that, then encouraged me to “Keep Kensington strong.” A very politician thing to say, but not a bad admonishment.

Gov. O’Malley with MD parent bloggers. I look like I just won a bodyguard reality show competition.

I realize this post isn’t very meaty with policy details. One thing I learned from this experience is that real politics — not the issues-driven sound bites that fuel most election year debates, but the statistics, dollars and logistics — boggles and numbs my mind. I have new appreciation for elected officials and those that work for and lobby them.

However, I did email all my questions to the Governor’s office. I’ll be sure and send answers to those that asked, as well as to anyone else who’d like to read them — just say so in the comments or a direct message. I’ve also included a Resources list below: links and documents provided by O’Malley’s office in reference to several of the topics we discussed in our meeting.

While there’s still much to be done to improve education and decrease hunger and gun violence, I came away from this experience hopeful for my state and the country as a whole. I was proud to have been able to thank the highest person in power that helped bring about marriage equality, and thrilled to have this as part of our family’s story. I imagine this will be one of those tales my son will grow weary of hearing as he (and I) grows older. Designer Daddy Goes to Annapolis

“Ugh, Dad’s telling the Governor story again!”

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Resources:

State of Maryland 15 Strategic Goals: https://data.maryland.gov/goals

Legislative agenda this session: http://www.governor.maryland.gov/legislation2013.asp

FY2014 Budget (includes graphs showing education investments): http://www.governor.maryland.gov/BudgetFY2014.asp

Governor’s State of the State Address: http://www.governor.maryland.gov/stateofstate2013.asp

Gun Violence Prevention Bill Facts:
“We can reduce gun violence without infringing on law abiding gun owners’ rights” http://www.governor.maryland.gov/blog/?p=8133

Press release on bill: http://www.governor.maryland.gov/blog/?p=8020

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

EXTREMELY SILLY EPILOGUE:

My original intent on bringing up the Same Sex Marriage Bill was not only to thank the Governor for his support of it, but also to ask if there was something that had personally inspired him to be such a strong proponent on such a divisive and provocative issue. I never got to ask, but in researching afterwards I came across his bio on Wikipedia, and I think I found my answer…

Governor O’Malley is apparently a HUGE “Will & Grace” fan.
(Although I’m not sure what he’s got against Karen…)

Dad Bloggers of the World, Unite!

January 1, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED, LGBT STUFF

About a month ago, a clever fellow named Oren Miller started a Facebook group for dad bloggers and invited me to join in. Since then, our numbers have grown to about 80 and it’s been great “meeting” all these other fathers, sharing our voices and experiences of parenthood, and generally being networking nerds.

As we neared the end of the year, I floated the idea to Oren of having everyone share their favorite post from 2012, as a way of further introducing ourselves (and to get more readers and comments and such). Seems like everyone dug the Best Of idea, as there have been over 20 shared so far!

So if you get a moment while the year is still shiny and new, click through a few of these (after the jump) to see what a bunch of thoughtful, hilarious, imperfect, awesome dads have to say. It’s a very cool cross-section of geography, family makeup and parental insight, as well as a broad array of thought and emotion. From a bunch of men. Who knew?!?

For my own Best of 2012, I was considering this one, as it documented one of the most celebratory moments of my year/life. However, I decided on one that preceded it — partly because I’d like to think this post and the subsequent funds raised helped achieve marriage equality in my state, and partly because I wanted to show off my crazy collage one more time…

Gays, Muppets, Chicken + Jesus – Brent Almond/Designer Daddy

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