gratitude

SuperLunchNotes: She-Hulk

July 23, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

Day 3 of Girl Power Week features a one-two punch of green goodness.

First up is SHE-HULK! Not only is she built like a brick greenhouse, but she’s also a powerful attorney. In other words, leaps and bounds smarter than her crime-fighting cousin. She was also in the news recently when her brains and brawn were overshadowed by her bra size. A well-known comics writer dismissed her as a “big, green porn star” and referred to her as “chunky,” something many fans of her strength and smarts took offense to. The Internet hath no fury like a feminist comic book fan scorned.

SuperLunchNotes - She-Hulk

Check out She-Hulk’s current series from Marvel Comics. Gorgeous covers (and interiors), and a great example of an intelligent, powerful, statuesque, green woman. Quite smashing!

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25 MORE Reasons Having Gay Dads Is Awesome!

June 28, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Due to popular demand (the original post was one of the most-viewed ever on this site), as well as an over-abundance of photos from awesome gay fathers, I had to do a sequel — which I’m hoping is as good as (or better) than the original. Think Empire Strikes Back, not Teen Wolf Too.

So as we wrap up Pride month, I wanted to share 25 more reasons having gay dads is uniquely, similarly, lovingly AWESOME!

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1. You’re always surrounded by love
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Gay Dads Are Awesome! - Andy Miller

Especially when you’re smooshed into a photo booth. [Photo courtesy of Andy Miller & Brian Stephens]
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Fridge Wisdom: Same-Sex Marriage Legal in Indiana

June 26, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

same-sex marriage in Indiana
Indiana: Same-sex marriage legalized June 25, 2014. Folks gettin’ married the very same day.

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The birthplace of Letterman, Lincoln and Larry Bird — and now home to a whole lot more little pink houses* — Indiana joins 18 states and the District of Columbia in legalizing same-sex marriage! Just over a month after gay marriage became legal in Pennsylvania, equality wins out two states over as U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young declared Indiana’s ban on marriage equality unconstitutional.

In his ruling, Judge Young states,
“In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as [the plaintiffs], and refer to it simply as a marriage — not a same-sex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.”

Until that time, congratulations to all the homo-Hoosiers who can finally get hitched! Indiana is the 11th state where a federal judge has struck down a marriage ban since SCOTUS overturned Prop8 and DOMA. We’re on a roll, baby!
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BUT WHAT ABOUT UTAH?
First it was legalized. Then it wasn’t. Then yesterday a judge overturned the ban. While I’m very glad for this step back in the right direction, the governor still plans on appealing the overturn of the denial of the freedom for the refusal of rights on the ban and… OH MY GOD I’M SO CONFUSED!!! So until same-sex marriage in Utah is a once-and-for-all done deal, signed in blood and toasted with Caffeine-Free Diet Coke, I’m holding off on putting their magnet up gain.

Since the next step my very well be the U.S. Supreme Court, when they do get around to appealing, the decision could be monumental — and hopefully turn my whole map green…
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SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN THE UNITED STATES

as of 6.25.14

same-sex marriage map of the united states
Click to biggefy. Source: Wikipedia

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Every time a country or US state legalizes same-sex marriage, I post a photo of a magnet from either my fridge or that of a reader. Take a look at some of my previous magnet posts.

For more maps and magnets (not really, but for sure a lot of fun), stop by the Designer Daddy Facebook page, or follow along on Twitter!

*In 2010, the song “Pink Houses” was used by NOM (a leading opponent to same-sex marriage) in an anti-gay rally. Songwriter/performer and Indiana native John Mellencamp sent them a Cease and STFU. Thanks Johnny Cougar, you R.O.C.K.!

Fathers and Sons

June 15, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Father's Day - Grandpa - Dad

On June 1st my father preached his last sermon. To clarify, I’m sure he will continue to preach as long as he has breath — but this was his final sermon as pastor of the small Baptist church in Virginia where he’d been for the last 15 years. Prior to that he was a Chaplain in the US Air Force for over 20 years, and before that he pastored at churches in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Illinois.

His father was also a minister. Dad preached his first sermon when he was 18 at his father’s small Baptist church in Arkansas. I know very little about my dad’s dad. I know in addition to preaching he also repaired air conditioners and other electronics. I know he was 6’8″ tall (Dad is 6’5″). I know he neither showed little affection nor talked very much to his son, thus raising Dad to do likewise. I know he held a lot of things in, some that were devastating when unearthed later. I know he died of cancer two years before I was born. I know Grandma remarried to the man I called “Pappaw;” her first husband I’ve only ever called “Russell.”

I don’t say these things to disparage my biological grandfather or to drudge up any of the pain Dad still carries regarding this relationship. I say them because Russell Almond was such a stark contrast to who Johnny Almond, my father, has become.

I know he has shown me affection every day of my life, hugging and kissing me even through the most awkward of my teen years. I know he loves to talk (when given the chance by his 4 verbose sons), and has taught me everything I know about crafting the perfect groan-inducing pun. I know he was always patient with me, even at my most impatient and distant and resentful. I know that he tried to play ball with me and take me golfing and other father-son activities that I hated and told him so, and yet he still showed me patience and kindness and love. I know that after each time he punished me, he always returned to remind me how much he loved me. I know he instilled in me the importance of being compassionate — not by telling me so, but by being the most compassionate man I’ve ever met. I know that he loves and respects my husband, and has said publicly that he is “the kindest man I’ve ever met.” I know he loves and cherishes my son as much as he’s ever loved any of his children or grandchildren, and that my son dearly loves his Grandpa.

During the four and-a-half years that I’ve been a father, I have come to understand the unending joy and deep heartache I must have brought to my dad over the years. I have come to appreciate his commitment to love me, even when I exhibited impatience or embarrassment or hatred towards him; even when I was religiously overzealous and thought his beliefs not strident enough; even when I blamed him for contributing to my being gay; even when I embraced my homosexuality, and he struggled to reconcile this with his lifelong beliefs.

I don’t say these things to embarrass him or to highlight the struggles of our relationship. I say them because my father has done so much to overcome the deficits in his own father/son relationship. I say them so he knows how much I love and appreciate him, though for much of my youth my actions said otherwise. I say them to celebrate what a loving patriarch he has become to his four sons, two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law (and another eventual one), three grandsons and two granddaughters. I say them to wish him a Happy Father’s Day.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are sinful, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” Luke 11:11-13

Father's Day - Dad - Me

Top photo: Russell Almond, behind the pulpit at his church in Arkansas.

I’ve always attributed my drawing skills to the many years I spent doodling on the back of the church bulletin during my father’s sermons. The above sketch was done during his final sermon as a full-time minister. And don’t worry, Dad — I was also listening.

Bottom photo: Dad, Mom & me, November 1970 / Me, Papa & Jon, April 2014

25 Reasons Having Gay Dads Is Awesome!

June 11, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

As we approach Father’s Day, there have been some pretty cool lists about dads floating around the Internet. So of course I had to make a list of my own, ensuring families with double daddies (or one great gay dad) are represented.

I originally intended to intro my list with lots of statistics showing how more and more Americans are in favor of same-sex marriage and adoption. Or how same-sex couples will be counted as families by the U.S. Census for the first time. Or that gay dads have turned up in all manner of commercials and top-ranked TV shows. Or how I belong to a Facebook group of over 3,000 gay fathers.*

But instead let’s just celebrate what makes gay dads unique, as well as what makes them as equally awesome as all the other active, engaged and loving fathers out there.

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1. You’re raised to be caring & compassionate
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father's day - gay dads - compassion

And you learn how to put your compassion into action… and be all cute and matchy-matchy while doing it. [Photo courtesy of Andy Miller]
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R.I.P. M.A.

May 28, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

RIP-MA Rest In Peace Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou 1928-2014  Rest In Peace

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I initially published this drawing without words. How is it possible to honor someone so eloquent with any language of my own? But as I thought about Maya Angelou, I recalled a special memory I wanted to share.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was published the year I was born, and from my earliest memories it sat on my parents’ vast bookshelves amongst my minister Father’s religious books, my English professor Mother’s literature, the World Book Encyclopedias. Long before I read Caged Bird, I remember asking my Mother about it, as the title (and cover) intrigued my young mind. She painted only the broadest strokes of the plot, but in the process I received my first lesson about racism.

The book is set in Arkansas, birthplace of Ms. Angelou, as well as both my parents, and home to nearly all my relatives. I lived there between the ages of 2 and 7, and one of my frequent playground pals was Felicia, a black girl. Racism was confusing when my Mother explained it then, and I dread the confused look on my son’s face when I explain it to him.

I’m thankful to Maya Angelou for finding beauty in the midst of horrible humanity, and for teaching generations (and generations to come) what it means to have hope.

Fridge Wisdom: Same-Sex Marriage Legal in Pennsylvania

May 20, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, LGBT STUFF

Same-sex marriage legal in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania:
Same-sex marriage legalized May 20, 2014. Marriages to commence posthaste!

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And then there were 19. Only a day after Oregon joined Team Gay (see infographic below), a Pennsylvania judge struck down the Keystone State’s marriage ban. If this were a game of Risk, the gays would have just overtaken Asia.

In addition to being the 18th state (plus DC) to legalize same-sex marriage, Pennsylvania is also the 10th state where a federal judge has struck down a marriage ban since SCOTUS overturned Prop8 and DOMA.

I’d been meaning to create a graphic mapping the progress of same-sex marriage in the US, but was busy getting married myself. As the states continue to join the cool kids’ table, I’ll update the map along with posting another magnet.
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SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN THE UNITED STATES

as of 5.20.14

same-sex marriage in the united states

Click to biggefy. Source: Wikipedia

Although I have plenty I could write about Arkansas, Texas, Virginia and Colorado (all places I’ve lived), I’m holding off celebrating until marriage equality is a 100% done deal in those states. If you want to know the specific statuses and legislative nuances of all the yellow states, click the Wikipedia link above. It’s convoluted, complicated political crap — but hey, it’s progress!

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Every time a country or US state legalizes same-sex marriage, I post a photo of a magnet from either my fridge or that of a reader. Take a look at some of the previous magnet posts!
For more fun and conversation, stop by the Designer Daddy Facebook page, or follow along on Twitter!

 


 

Same-sex marriage legal in Oregon.

Fridge Wisdom: Same-Sex Marriage Legal in Oregon!

May 19, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, LGBT STUFF

same-sex marriage legal in Oregon

Oregon: Same-sex marriage legalized May 19, 2014. Weddings commenced immediately!

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In addition to keeping George W. Bush in office, the 2004 U.S. election brought about an avalanche of same-sex marriage bans, in the form of amendments to 13 state constitutions. While overall depressing, most of these were not shocking, as they were in predominantly conservative Southern and Midwestern states.

However, one marriage ban took most by surprise — Oregon. Long considered on par with neighboring Washington’s live-and-let-live liberalism, this defeat sat atop a mountain of disappointment as the rottenest cherry on the worst dessert ever.

Fast-forward 10 years (on the tenth anniversary of the first same-sex weddings performed in the U.S., to be exact) and a federal judge has struck down Oregon’s same-sex marriage ban! With apparently no pending appeals or stays on the horizon, marriage licenses began being issued immediately following the announcement.

I grew up a nomadic military brat, never really having a solid answer to the question “Where are you from?” And while I may not remember being born or living in Illinois for the first year and-a-half of my life, I was deeply moved and even proud when my “home state” legalized same-sex marriage in 2013.

My son may have even fewer ties to the state of his birth, as he only “lived” in Oregon for 2 weeks before we brought him home. Yet I am glad to be able to tell him that daddies and papas (and mommies and mamas) can now get married in “Portyand,” just like his Daddy and Papa just did in Maryland! Same-sex marriage legal in Oregon

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Every time a country or US state legalizes same-sex marriage, I post a photo of a magnet from either my fridge or that of a reader. Take a look at some of the previous magnet posts!

Same-sex marriage legal in Oregon.

My Big Gay Wedding, Part 2: The Daddy Album

May 8, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

I rarely use the word “perfect,” but our wedding day — long in the planning and exponentially longer in the legalizing — was about as near perfection as it gets. And since I’ve been yammering on and on about it for so long, I wanted to share some (more*) of the highlights of this truly blessed event.

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gay wedding - ceremony

gay wedding - scripture reading

Nick’s sister Rosella read from I Corinthians about love and all it entails, the same passage his other sister Dana had read at our commitment ceremony..

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A Gay Man’s Tribute to Fred Phelps

March 21, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

PHELPS2

My original idea for this illustration included a rough line drawing of an oft-seen photo of Fred Phelps. The intent was to depict the sheer evil of the man in pen and ink, superimposed over a collage of the disparate groups of people his hatred targeted. I scanned my drawing and began layering in images on the computer: Matthew Shepard and the iconic fence he was tied to; a scene from a production of The Laramie Project; the casket of an Iraq War veteran, draped in the American flag; paper angels representing the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the interlocked bikers that protected their funerals; symbols representing Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Mormons and Catholics.

As I fine-tuned the design, I hid the layer that included Phelps’ face. I looked at all of these otherwise unconnected people and realized I’d been going about this all wrong.

Phelps is gone…and what is left behind?

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