Monday, November 30, 2009

My New Adventure

I am on my way on a new adventure - last Monday I started my new job at Northern Quest Resort & Casino.  They recently created a brand new position - Interactive Communications Strategist - that had my name written all over it.  The position is housed in the Hotel Sales & Marketing department on the resort side, but I will be working on website content and search engine optimization as well as social media strategies and execution for several entities including:
  • Kalispel Tribe
  • the Resort
  • the Casino
  • The Q Sports Bar
  • Impluse nightclub
  • Legends of Fire cigar bar
  • Current Spa & Salon
  • Masselow's (the fine dining restaurant at the resort)
Our temporary offices are located behind the new parking garage and the hotel in what's known as the "PR trailer."  There are 10 of us in the trailer, which is about the size of the portable classrooms we had a Colbert Elementary back in the '80s and early '90s.  In a few weeks, our offices will be moved into the hotel.  I haven't even seen the hotel yet!

It has been really hard to leave my family at the Spokane Regional CVB.  I wouldn't be the woman/mother/friend/marketer/social media fiend that I am if it weren't for the love and support I received from the bosses and co-workers there.

I am very excited about the opportunity my new job holds.  But I really have my work cut out for me. I am 100% ready to hit the ground running!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Great Quote to Keep at Your Desk

My wonderful boss Jeanna emailed this out to our staff this morning after receiving it from a friend.  In light of some serious trials and stress I am facing, it seem especially profound to me today.

May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.

It's a slight variation of a quote from Mother Teresa. Every time I read it I feel a little better. 

Saturday, October 24, 2009

NYC Baby!

My fabulous hubby and I got to spend 5 days in NYC last week thanks to my work (Spokane Regional CVB) sending me to the E-Tourism Summit and thanks to our friends and family who helped care for the twins.

It was our first trip to the Big Apple and we had an absolute BLAST!

If you'd like to read about our trip, check out the blog I posted about it on our Hutson Family blog.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why I am Voting YES on Referendum 71

I don't tend to get very politically involved. However, there are some things I feel VERY passionately about on the ballot this year and I feel compelled to share my thoughts.

Hopefully, you plan to vote no on Prop 4 (I posted my arguments against it a few weeks ago) and YES on Referendum 71By voting yes on Referendum 71, you are voting to uphold the bill expanding the domestic partnership rights that was already voted on, passed and signed into law by Governor Gregiore.

I feel that if two people love each other enough to spend their lives together, they should be afforded the same rights as married couples. People typically assume this will affect only same-sex couples, but I can think of several heterosexual couples who have chosen not to marry, and removing the expanded domestic partnership rights affects them too!

I absolutely feel that same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry, but we're a ways off from that in the State of Washington.  I've already blogged extensively my arguments supporting same-sex marriage, so I won't rehash that here.  But I will reiterate the fact that life and love are hard for ALL couples.  Why should we intentionally make it harder for some people?

When the expansion of domestic partnership rights passed, I was extremely proud to live in this state.  I felt we had reached a new level of tolerance and understanding, and made a huge step toward equality.  If Referendum 71 does not pass, it will be a HUGE step backward for the State of Washington.

I have faith that Washington voters will do the right thing and support Referendum 71, We'll still be a step behind Massachusettes (where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2003), Connecticut (legal since 2008), Iowa (legal since April), Vermont (legal since Sept 1), Maine (legal since Sept 14) and New Hampshire (will become legal on January 1), but we'll be continuing to move in the right direction.

Your YES vote on Referendum 71 shows your commitment to tolerance, equality and progression. And it shows your commitment to Washington's families.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Vote for My Kids!

My hubby and I entered the twins in the Gap Casting Call! Please vote for my kids!

Please vote for Tyce here:

Please vote for Caliana here:  

You can vote for each photo once per day.  You do have to register in order to be able to vote, but it's completely free and you can delete your account as soon as the competition is over. (The contest is for Gap through Disney's

Thanks for your support!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Prop 4 & the Notion of "Rights"

Here's an argument against Prop 4 that I saw on a blog. It's an argument I hadn't even thought of before:

"The Bill of Rights declares that persons have 'rights' to 'affordable' health care, housing, energy, to be paid a certain wage, and various other goodies on every leftist’s wish list. The trouble here, of course, is that all these goodies must be provided by other persons — health care providers, builders, energy producers, employers, *et al*. So a claim to a 'right' to such things entails a claim to the services of other people — to their time, talents, energy, and the fruits of their labor.

No one can have a 'right' to goods and services others must provide or produce. The notion turns the very concept of rights on its head: *rights* is the concept which protects each person in the possession, use and enjoyment of that which is his own — his time, his talents, his person, and the products of his labor, i.e., to those things he has acquired without inflicting loss or injury on others."

It's a very interesting and valid argument, and likely one I will add to all my other arguments against it. Just one more reason to VOTE NO ON PROP 4.

For more information about the fight against Prop 4, visit SaveOurSpokane and SpokaneJobs2009.

Why I'm Voting NO on PROP 4

I am absolutely voting NO on PROP 4.  At first glance, the Community Bill of Rights* proposed by EnvisionSpokane sounds great, right? Well, I'd suggest reading it in its entirety before you conclude that Prop 4 is a good idea.

Increased taxes to cover community health care, prevailing wages that will put many smaller companies out of business, tax monies going to pay for all the new lawsuits that will be filed against the city, new businesses looking to locate anywhere BUT here because of how much higher the price for doing business here would be, random bands of “neighborhood councils” vetoing everything proposed by the city.

Um, yeah. That sounds wonderful. Are you kidding me?

Breaking it down further...

The bill of rights states: “For residents otherwise unable to access [preventative health care], the City shall guarantee such access by coordinating with area healthcare providers to create affordable fee-for-service programs within eighteen (18) months following adoption of this Charter provision.” I heard one argument that this wouldn't take much for city staff to complete and that there would be fewer emergency room visits, which would lower costs.

First of all, it's naive to think that such a guarantee would not take hundreds, if not thousands, of staff hours to fulfill.  Also, I come from a family of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel and I can tell you that we've had as much preventative health care as anyone could.  But we’ve had family members in the ER for a number of different injuries and sudden-onset health issues. So if there were fewer ER visits overall, I highly doubt that it would be enough to make a dent in the cost of the staff time it would take to implement such a program.

Having to pay prevailing wage (which is the median pay for a given field in a specific location) for construction projects will significantly increase costs, not only for the construction companies, but also for any organization that is having a building constructed. I’m all for people being paid what they’re worth, but I don’t think that anyone should get middle of the range payment regardless of their skill level and work ethic.

According to the complete text of the documents filed with the Spokane County Auditor, the fourth duty that would be imposed upon the City of Spokane would be “providing legal defense for actions of neighborhood councils in vetoing land development projects,” which means that the City would foot the bill for all the impending lawsuits from businesses whose projects are vetoed.

And that leads me into my next point: Neighborhoods can veto development plans with as little as 15% of the people who voted in the previous election within the neighborhood limits. 15%! So if your neighborhood has 100 voting residents, you better hope that 15 of them don’t disagree with the other 85 or those 15 could cause a development project to be vetoed.

The bill of rights says “The City shall ensure the availability of low-income housing stock sufficient to meet the needs of the low-income housing community.” If low-housing doesn’t exist now, I’m curious where it's supposed to come from. Is the City supposed to build low-income housing? If that’s the case, what if more than 15% of the residents of the neighborhood the City wants to build said housing in are not supportive of the project?  Oh yeah! They can just veto it.

Part of the 9th amendment states: “Any person seeking to enforce the rights of ecosystems, may enforce these rights. Enforcement actions shall be filed as civil actions in a court of competent jurisdiction, against any person, government, or entity violating these rights…” While I absolutely agree that entities abusing our environment and ecosystems should be held accountable for their actions, it's ridiculous that someone would be able sue the City, an organization or an individual on behalf of the river, a patch of trees, etc.

The bill of rights says the City will be required to provide “sufficient funding to neighborhood councils for the creation, adoption, and enforcement of neighborhood plans” and yet there is no mention as to a dollar amount for such funding. It’s illogical and irresponsible to suggest something like this with NO indication of the amount, or of how the amount would be determined, or of where the money would come from.

I must admit that when I first heard about this citizens’ bill of rights, I was excited about the prospect of something that seemed so innovative. But upon further reading, I was extremely disappointed to discover how truly deceptive the language is in the bill of rights. I do think that a bill of rights for the citizens of Spokane is something I could vote for in the future, if it was developed in a socially-, fiscally-, environmentally-responsible way with language that is concise and transparent, and if it accounted for all details and outcomes.

I wish that instead of WASTING time and money promoting this joke of a bill of rights, and now more time and money fighting it**, the residents and leaders of this community were focusing on continuing to move forward in the POSITIVE direction we’re already headed.

I am disappointed with how many smart young people in Spokane have been duped by the smoke and mirrors of this ludicrous, flawed proposition.

I am a young, smart, environmentally- and socially-conscious business professional, wife and mother who was born and raised in Spokane.  I strongly feel the need to protect myself, my family and the city I love and I will VOTE NO ON PROP 4.  I ask you to VOTE NO too.

* Read an interesting take on the notion of "rights."

** For more information about the fight against Prop 4, visit SaveOurSpokane and SpokaneJobs2009.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Will Not Forget

It's hard not to think back to where I was and what I was doing when I first heard about the attacks on our country on September 11, 2001.  I've heard it said many times that this event was my generation's JFK assassination.

I had just pulled in to the parking lot of Gold's Gym on the northside of Spokane where I was going to meet my best friend Tera for an early morning workout. I vividly remember us both sobbing on the elliptical machines as we watched the towers fall one after the other. (I will spare you all a recapping of the details, as I'm sure that you remember as well as I do what happened that day.)  From the gym, I headed downtown to work at Northwest Hair Co. where I was a receptionist.  We had the TV on all day and I continued my nearly uncontrollable crying.  I don't think I've ever cried more in a 24-hour period than I did that day. 

I lived alone in an area of town that is not-so-fondly referred to as Felony Flats so I never really associated with any of my neighbors.  But in the days that followed, I actually found myself spending time with some of them. One night that week there was a national moment of silence.  I remember sitting on the front porch of my apartment complex with my best friend and a couple of my neighbors eating pizza and reflecting on the events of the week and how it had impacted us.  We were all different ages and from different backgrounds and parts of the country.  We had four lit candles sitting in the center of our little circle - one for each of the targets in the attack; one for each of us.

I was only 21 years old and still in college on September 11, 2001.  I didn't know anyone who died in the attacks that day.  I didn't even know anyone who knew anyone who died.  But I was directly affected by the wars that came after the attacks.  Donnie, my best friend from high school, was a mechanic in the Air Force at the time and he was in one of the first deployments to Afghanistan.  He was gone for a year, leaving behind his wife and two-year-old daughter.  Barry, a man who is a close friend of mine and practically a brother to my husband, was sent to Iraq for a year instead of being able to retire after 20 years in the Army.  The stories of his experience there were horrible.

While my stepdaughters vaguely remember 9-11 (they were only 5 and 7 years old at the time), they remember their Uncle Barry spending time in Iraq.  I wonder how and when we will tell the twins about 9-11.  They really won't have anything to associate with it like the girls do.  But I want to make sure they have an appreciation for our country and the men and women who fight to protect us as soon as possible.

As I sit here writing this, I'm crying again. (I know. I can't help it!) My two-year-old son just walked up to me and touched my teary face and said, "It's OK, Mommy. It's OK." Then he gave me a big hug.  While I hope that someday the twins have some kind of an understanding of how we all felt that day and the same appreciate for our country and our troops that I feel, I pray to God that they never have an experience like 9-11 in their lifetimes.

The last thing I want to say is THANK YOU to all of the men and women of the armed services and their family and friends who support them.  My life and the lives of my children would not be the same without you.

Twitter Takes Me Places

It's official:  I'm heading to New York City to be a part of two social media panels at the E-Tourism Summit!  It's all thanks to the support I've received from the Spokane Regional CVB management team to make Twitter & Facebook work for our destination.

The Summit is October 13 & 14 at the Marriott New York Marquis right in the heart of Manhattan near Times Square.

I'm included in the list of speakers, complete with photo and speaker bio. Woo hoo! Fancy!

Chad and I have never been to NYC, so if everything works out as we hope it will he'll be coming with me.  He can investigate the city while I'm in session, then in the evenings we'll explore together.  And we're hoping to stay an extra day if we can make it work so we'll have a whole day together in the city.

Thank God for my parents' willingness to hang with the twins for 5 days & 4 nights. (Chad's parents will be out of town that week.)

We are so very excited! If you have any ideas as to where we should go/see/do/try, please let me know!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Do You have the Twin Gene? Um... no.

Have you ever asked a mother of multiples: "Do twins run in your family?"  Sure. I have too, before I actually had twins. When you really think about it, you're actually asking: "Did you use fertility treatments to get pregnant with twins?"

I don't get offended by that question - it takes a helluva lot more than that to offend me.  My mom, on the other hand, hates it when people ask her. She gets uncomfortable because she feels like it isn't anyone's business how we ended up with twins.  But I'm really pretty much an open book.  So in an effort to help others understand and maybe even help another woman feel like she's not alone in her plight to get pregnant, here's the kinda-short version of the story (I will spare you the gory details):

When I was in high school, I would have such horrible cramps and pain - it was completely debilitating. I would actually leave school and go to the office of my uncle, who was our family doctor for most of my life (blog to come about him later), to get a shot in my hip so the pain would subside enough so I could function normally.

By the time I was in my early 20s, my OB/GYN (Dr. Pam Silverstein at WomanHealth - she's AWESOME!) was convinced that I had endometriosis.  Other women in my family have had fertility issues, including endometriosis, so I wasn't too surprised that that was the prognosis.

By the time Chad and I were ready to start trying to have a baby, I had already had two surgeries to remove endometriosis and scar tissue. Thankfully, when we weren't having any immediate success, my doctor got very aggressive. She put me on Clomid, which is a fertility drug. After several months of increasing doses, we finally got pregnant.  It was really hard for me to believe because I never felt pregnant.  But we were so excited! After two blood tests confirmed it, we told everyone - family, friends, work.

Then after about two weeks, I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain. I knew what was happening, but I tried to pretend like I was fine because I didn't want to face the fact that I was losing our baby.  When I walked into work the next morning, one of my co-workers and close friends, who had been through a similar experience, took one look at me and said, "Go to your doctor NOW."  Apparently, not only was I extremely pale, but the pain was written all over my face.

My doctor was out of town, but her partner Dr. Lewis Meline was wonderful.  By the end of the day, I was back home after surgery removing both our teeny tiny undeveloped baby and one of my fallopian tubes which had been severely damaged by the ectopic pregnancy.  It was the end of August 2006, and after all that, I felt like our chance to conceive had come and gone.  A month later we decided to give it one Clomid one more try with the dose they will prescribe.

I knew the moment I got pregnant, which was interesting to me since I really never felt anything the first time.  I kept it to myself till I had the home pregnancy test to show Chad.  We didn't tell anyone this time.  We had our first ultrasound at 5 weeks.  There was a strong possibility of another ectopic, so they wanted to rule that out right away.  Oddly, I wasn't worried.  I knew everything was fine.

The night before the ultrasound, I said to Chad: "What if it's twins?"  He laughed and told me I was crazy.  I had a strong feeling I wasn't that crazy.  Sure enough - I laughed out loud the next day when the ultrasound tech said, "Here's Baby A. And here's Baby B."  Chad almost fell over.

Apparently the Clomid had caused two eggs to be released either simultaneously or one shortly after the other.  It's entirely possible that the twins did not have the same conception date, but we'll never know for sure.  Twins with Clomid isn't all that uncommon, but the thought of having twins had never crossed our minds before.

Anyhoo... so to answer the question I set out to answer at the beginning of this rambling:

No, twins do not run in my family.  We had help in the form of prayers, God and Clomid.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I'm a stepmom. I've been a stepmom officially for 5 years, and un-officially for 2 1/2 years before that. The girls were 6 and 7 years old when Chad and I started dating in 2001. They are 13 and 15 now, and both taller than I am.

I feel lucky to be able to help shape the women these girls will become. And I feel utterly blessed to have them help shape the woman and mother that I am. They are smart, beautiful, funny girls who, along with our twins, make my life complete. In all honesty, I was a little worried about how I would feel once the twins were born, but having the twins only solidified how I feel about the girls. I love them as if they are my own.

It can get interesting from time to time. I tend to forget that they aren't biologically mine, which results in frustration for all of us. Sometimes explaining homework can be tough because they don't think in the way I do because we come from different genes.

As for our co-parenting situation with Chad's ex-wife... we've been pretty lucky over the years. We definitely have a different parenting style (Chad and I parent very much the same way) than the girls' mom, which has lead to arguements and frustrations over the years on both sides. But we really try to always keep the girls' best interest in mind. And she has been fully supportive of me as a parent, always making sure to include me and making sure that I know how appreciative she is that I am a good parent to her daughters.


Point of all this really was to tell you about a wonderful woman I know (who shall remain nameless so as to not make her life more difficult) who is a FABULOUS mom to her husband's son. The boy's biological mom (aka the egg-donor) is a jealous pathological liar. In fact, the boy's father didn't even know she was pregnant until the doctor came out and said to him: "You have a beautiful son." She apparently didn't look pregnant & repeatedly lied about it.

My friend has been a loving, nurturing mom to her SON (I use the caps because that's what she calls him because that's what he is to her) since she started dating his father. She and her then-bf-now-hubby discipline him when necessary and are both wonderful parents to him. Together they are a perfect family unit. Which is how they were, until the egg-donor (she doesn't deserve more of a title than that) got jealous that they were going to get married. So she fought for custody and won. Ridiculous since she hasn't been the primary custodial parent since he was born.

Ever since the wedding, it's only gotten worse with her. And now that their are going to have a baby, I can only imagine what will happen. Their son is 6 (I think) now. And it is a constant battle between the egg-donor and the parents (and their lawyers). All my friend and her husband are trying to do is protect and parent their son, not take him away from the egg-donor.

In writing this, I'm reminded of another friend who shall not remain nameless - Alli Benjamin. She has been a mother to her son since he was a few months old. His biological mother (whom I will refer to as his "egg-donor") walked out on him and his father shortly after he was born. Her son is now almost 9. His egg-donor had not seen him since since he was two. Finally last summer, the court removed the egg-donor's parental rights and Alli immediately adopted the son who was already hers.
I just wish my other friends could have their egg-donor's parental rights removed.

Moral of my story is this:
  • If you are a good step-parent, thank you and God bless you.
  • If your child has a good step-parent, please be kind and fair to them, and know that they only want what's best for your kid/kids just like you do.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mermaid or Whale?

I just received this email from my boss who had received it from her sister - it's WAY too good not to share.

Recently, a poster featuring a young, thin and tan woman appeared in the window of a gym. It said:


A middle aged woman, whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster, responded publicly to the question posed by the gym.

To Whom It May Concern:

Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans). They have an active sex life, they get pregnant and have adorable baby whales. They have a wonderful time with dolphins stuffing themselves with shrimp. They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia, the Bering Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia. Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs. They are incredible creatures and virtually have no predators other than humans. They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.

Mermaids don't exist. If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human? They don't have a sex life because they kill men who get close to them not to mention how could they have sex? Therefore they don't have kids either. Not to mention who wants to get close to a girl who's skin is all scaly and smells like a fish store?

The choice is perfectly clear to me... I want to be a whale.

P.S. We are in an age when media puts into our heads the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream with my grandkids, a good dinner with a man who makes me shiver and a latte with my friends. With time, we gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that when there is no more room, it distributes out to the rest of our bodies. So we aren't heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated and happy. Beginning today, when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think, "Good gosh, look how smart I am"!

Moral of the story: Enjoy your life and those around you rather than wasting time and energy focusing on fitting into a general perception of "perfection." AMEN!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Damn It! I Miss My Man.

Chad's gone. He's in Pittsburgh for NIOSH Leadership training for 6 days then he is visiting friends of ours who live in Philadelphia for 2 days.

Bums me out when he's gone.

It's partially because I wish I could be having those experiences with him. But it's mostly that I selfishly want him home with me.

I love coming home from work to him sitting at the island in the kitchen checking Facebook or the Seattle PI's photos of the day or the Chevy Camero site. I love sitting down to dinner with him and talking about the day over a glass of wine. I love snuggling with him in our big red chair to decompress while watching some reality TV (he humors me) or an episode of From the Earth to the Moon.

I love checking on the twins together before we go to bed. I love laughing at Conan O'Brien or David Letterman with him while we brush our teeth. I love cuddling up with him in bed before we go to sleep till he says "OK, get away, you're hot." (I just wait till he falls asleep and cuddle up to him again.)

I love the husband, father, best friend, lover, comedian, provider and personal heater that he is. So, yeah. It's totally selfish.

Don't get me wrong - I am excited and thankful for his job with the CDC and the training, opportunities and chances to travel that his job with the Federal Government provides. Wouldn't change those things for the world. But having him gone sure as hell makes me appreciate the man who has chosen to spend his life with me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Family Members... (it's not what you think!)

Last fall I wrote about my new Uncle Pat on our Hutson Family blog. (Synopsis: I got an email from Pat Lueck saying that he was pretty sure that my grandpa was his dad - sure enough!)

Well, he and his wife Ann and grandson Gabriel braved meeting the Washington Lucks last month. I blogged about it on our Hutson Family blog.

Pretty crazy stuff! But we're very excited to have all these new family members!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Praying for Peace, Hope & Justice in Iran

I've been following what's been going on in Iran via first-person accounts on Twitter (@Change_for_Iran, @TehranBureau, @Mousavi1388, @StopAhmadi, @LaraABCNews, @persiankiwi, @iran09, @madyar, @hadinili). They have been tweeting photos and video as well from YouTube (WARNING: lots of graphic content). What's going on over there is massively effed up. The people of Iran are trying to peacefully protest the recent election and they are getting attacked.

The two front-runners in the Iranian presidental election on June 12th were incumbent Ahmadinejad and Mousavi of the Independent Reformist party. There is much speculation that the election was a fraud. Mousavi and his supporters are calling for the election to be annuled and a new election held immediately. Mousavi has been communicating with supporters through his Twitter account and Facebook page.

There's a photo circulating that shows three TV screen shots. In each screenshot, it shows the time and the number of votes for each candidate. As time progresses, Ahmadinejad's votes keep increasing while Mousavi's votes decrease, which of course, is not possible. The Iranian government has admitted that in 50 cities there were more votes cast than there were registered voters (it has been speculated that it happened in as many as 170 cities).

The Supreme Leader (has ultimate power over everything including the president) Ayatollah Khamenei has validated the election and told the people of Iran that protests would be considered acts of terrorism.

Mousavi's "Sea of Green" (he adopted green as his campaign color) have demonstrated peacefully. They have either been silent or have chanted "Down with the dictator," "Death to the dictator" and "Give us our votes back".

The Iranian government blocked text messaging, cell phone signals, Facebook & YouTube. They have blocked and hacked Twitter accounts, and are using the accounts to track protesters. Twitterers (Tweeters?) have had to use proxy sites to post their updates. The government has ordered all foreign journalists to remain in their hotels. Some have even been ordered out of the country. Protesters, policitians and journalists have been arrested. Some have just "disappeared."

Protester have encountered tear gas, fire hoses, helicopters dumping acid on the crowds, gun fire and brutal beatings. People have been brutally murdered, though it's tough to know how many since any official reports have to go through the Iranian government before they become public. There are 4 types of security - the police, Basij (men too old or young for the army), IRG (Iranian Revolutionary Guard) & the army. The police, Basij & IRG are in the streets of Iran with the protesters. Some are sypathetic, but many just take pleasure in assaulting the masses. It doesn't sound like the army has been brought in yet, but it appears that it's only a matter of time.

Mousavi has ordered a national strike - no one go to work, no stores open - as part of the protest. The demostrations in the street continue. The violence continues.

I'm very disturbed by what's happening in Iran. And thanks to Twitter, I'm keenly aware of what's going on up to the minute. One person I'm following (@Change_for_Iran) has not posted anything since June 20th. I'm afraid for his safety. His profile lists him as simply "Iranian student."

As a young American, this turmoil that is playing out right before my eyes Iran has made me so grateful for where I live and the trivial problems that I deal with every day. I can leave my house and take to the streets of Spokane without having to worry about my safety. I can post this blog with my name and location attached and not have have to worry that militia are going to seek me out and make me "disappear."

I'm praying for peace and justice for the Iranian people. I'm praying for an end to the violence. I'm praying for Iranian democracy. I'm asking God to give me the faith and hope that is evident in so many of the Iranian people.

I hope you are praying too.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Information about Referendum 71

Just got this email this morning from Equal Rights Washington/Washington Families Standing Together. Thought I would share. It gives information about the domestic partnership laws as it stands now and information about Referendum 71. It's signed by some of the key supporters of the pledge to decline to sign the Referendum 71 petition.

OK... that MAY be the end of my rant about this for now.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Follow up to same-sex marriage post...

After tweeting the link to the post "Really California? Are you kidding me?", a friend of mine @replied me and sent me the link to another blog post supporting same-sex marriage: I Am Married. It was written in 2004 by an award-winning author and blogger. He is a thirty-something straight man who is married with one child.

It's a great read! (Thanks for sharing, Aaron!)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Really California? Are you kidding me?

The title of this blog post really says it all.

I am shocked, offended, apaulled, disgusted, disappointed and ANGRY that the Supreme Court of California voted to uphold Proposition-8 this week. I mean, seriously. What the hell decade/century/millenium are we living in?

I whole-heartedly believe that marriage should be a LEGAL union between any two individuals who love each other enough to commit their lives to each other. Anyone who has ever been married will tell you that marriage is tough. But it's the most fabulous roller coaster you'll ever ride and I commend two people who are dedicated enough to each other to want hop on that roller coaster together.

LOVE IS LOVE. What difference does it make whether it's between a man and a woman or two men or two women? With all the horrible things in this world, I'm outraged that the Supreme Court of California has decided to continue to support something that takes away the happiness of marriage and equality from a few hundred thousand of the state's citizens.

It amazes me that states like Massachusettes (where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2003), Connecticut (legal since 2008), Iowa (legal since April), Vermont (becomes legal Sept 1) and Maine (becomes legal Sept 14) have embraced their gay populations while California, which is supposed to be a progressive state, has not.

I think at this point it has to be up to activists in California to petition to get a new bill/referendum/proposition on the ballot as soon as possible to legalize same-sex marriage. Since 6 of the 7 justices of the Supreme Court of California didn't have the cojones to overturn Prop-8, the voters are going to have to do it.

I'm proud that the State of Washington has passed a law to expand rights for domestic partnerships. But there is already a proposed ballot initiative to overturn the bill, which was signed into law by Governor Gregoire on May 18th, called Referendum 71 and immediately Equal Rights Washington starting urging citizens to Pledge to Decline to Sign Referendum 71 petition. I pledged earlier this week and I encourage everyone else who is registered to vote in Washington to sign it too.

While I am saddened and frustrated and angered by all this, I am still hopeful. I have faith that every state in the union will legalize same-sex marriage in my lifetime. And I am choosing to help the cause rather than ignore it or sit idly by.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Life and Death

Chad and I attended the memorial for a friend today. He passed away just before Christmas, but his family wanted to wait till spring for the memorial.

Andrew Gumprecht was a wonderful man. Only 33 years old, but he managed to touch the lives of many in his role as a bartender. He told amazing stories and charmed everyone who met him. He had a big smile and an infectious laugh. The memorial today made me wish I had known him better. His family and closest friends shed a bright light onto the person he was and, to be honest, I feel a bit cheated that he was taken from us before I got the chance to know him better.

His death has also made me consider my own mortality. Why do I waste time with things that make me unhappy? Why do so many of us do that every day? Why don't we tell the people we love that we love them every chance we get? Why do we hesitate to open ourselves up to the people we want to be close to? What the hell are we afraid of? Getting hurt, I suppose. But I contend that it would hurt more to lose the chance to get close to someone you care about than it would if you were to open up and have it not reciprocated. At least then you'd know you made the effort to open up your heart and you wouldn't regret the fact that your didn't take the risk.

I would imagine most people have read/heard The Dash. It's a poem that basically states that it's not about the day of your birth or the day of your death. It's about the dash that's in between. I want to make the most of my dash. I don't want to waste time with petty bullshit. I want to forgive and forget and move on. While I want to recognize and address my anger and sadness, I don't want to dwell on those emotions. I want to focus on my happiness. I want to surround myself with people I love who love me in return - people who love me for ME, not the person they want me to be or think I should be.

Of course, we're all painfully aware that we have no idea how much time we have on this earth. No big surprise there. But I hope to make the most of every day I have here. I want to make "Carpe Diem" my mantra again, as it once was. Nothing ventured, nothing gained... and all those other painful cliches that prove to be true time and time again. I refuse to let the opportunity to express my love and admiration for those around me pass me by.

So, if you already know I love you, you'd better get ready for lots of hugs and kisses and "I love yous." And if you don't already know I love you, you're going to find out very soon. : )

"Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did." ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

"May you live all the days of your life."
~Jonathan Swift

"All I can say about life is, Oh God, enjoy it!" ~Bob Newhart

That's What You Call Friendship?

In the last few months, I've had some weird issues with "friends" and I've come to the conclusion that often friendships end because the two parties involved define friendship in different ways and those two different ways don't mesh. In other words, one believes in the give and take of friendship, and the other just wants to take.

Take, for instance, a "friendship" that peaked in the fall and winter of this past year. There was a woman who Chad had worked with at a past job. They'd become friends and she'd come to the occasional party over the past 4 years. Then during the summer she became more connected to us through work connections.

She and I really hit it off. She was closer to Chad's age than mine (no big surprise, because with the exception of a few recent additions to our friendship circle, our friends are typically closer to Chad's age) but she and I were very similar in a lot of ways - similar senses of humor (often a bit crass), passionate, goofy, etc. One major difference was our level of confidence and stability. I am certainly by no means the most confident person (I am well aware of my faults) but her confidence seemed to revolved solely around her appearance and the attention she was getting from men. Which, in all honesty while I don't thrive off it, I completely understand - who doesn't like to look good and get attention? Anyone who says they don't is LYING.

I spent a lot of time helping her through a rough relationship that included mental and emotional abuse. I really cared about her and wanted things in her life to be good. I was willing to help her in nearly any way I could to make that happen.

Anyway, she crossed a line with our friendship in mid-fall. It definitely could have been a deal breaker. I was pretty upset about it and, as anyone who has the full details of the situation would tell you, I had every right to be. But she apologized and I bought it so we dove right back into the friendship where we had left off.

Next she "fell" for another friend of mine. Because I care deeply for both parties involved, I spent lots of time counseling her about how to handle the situation with him. (Chad would tell you that this is my first mistake - I often insert myself where/when I shouldn't. And perhaps he's right, but it's the way I operate nonetheless. I never force it, but when asked, I am happy to throw my two cents in.)

Right around the holidays, she got mad at Chad about something work related that he had absolutely no control over. At which point, she essentially stopped talking to me. I called her several times to see if she was OK and got literally one word answers to my questions. Then when we heard from several mutual friends that she was saying a lot of really negative and untrue things about Chad, I stopped calling/texting/messaging to check on her.

So here's the short version of the end of the friendship... she un-friended me from Facebook. Stupid, I know, that THAT is what would piss me off to the point of blogging about it, but that's how I feel. And she actually did it along time ago, it just took me this long to get over the initial anger. I mean, seriously. You are 42 years old and that's how you are going to deal with this? You can't call me and talk to me like an adult?

I realize I am better off without someone so draining in my life, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

After all this, I really felt compelled to take a look at my friendships and evaluate them. I believe that friendships should be mutually beneficial - you give and, when needed, you take. I am really trying now to only put effort into the friendships with the people who have put effort into the friendship with me. I'm at a point in my life when I don't have time or energy to waste. Plus I am surrounded by a lot of amazing people who are truly more like family than friends. THOSE are the people who deserve my time and energy, not some random people who are trying to suck the life out of me.

While I'm still sad/mad about the way things turned out with this friendship, I wouldn't change it if I could. It took this for me to see her true colors. And as I have always said... things happen for a reason.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Power of the Tweet!

So after years on MySpace and Facebook, I have a new love (read: addiction): TWITTER.

I thought the idea was ridiculous at first. Who in the hell would want to read my random thoughts in 140 characters or less? And if they did want to, did I really WANT them to? But then I heard some case studies from other
MarCom peeps in Spokane and I thought it might be worth a second look. Organizations were using it successfully to build their brands. Maybe it would work for VisitSpokane.

I started with a personal account (
@Bethany_Kate) and used it rarely, but then I got a wild hair to search for other CVBs. There were tons of them! They were using Twitter for contests, to promote events and local establishments, to draw people to their destination's websites. So I embarked on a Twitter journey with @VisitSpokane.

As I built our Twitter brand, I also started using my personal account more. I started following a bunch of different celebrities, including
@DrDrew (Dr. Drew Pinskey of Loveline & VH1's Celebrity Rehab fame, who I happen to have a massive crush on) and @firstladyoflove (Dr. Drew's wife Susan Pinskey) who are both figure skating fans (their 16-year-old daughter is a skater) and avid Tweeters/bloggers.

Susan Pinskey tweeted a couple times about the fact that she was at Worlds in L.A. Just so happens that my boss and a co-worker were working the Spokane 2010 booth on thr concourse selling tickets and booking hotel rooms for the
2010 US Figure Skating Championships in Spokane. So using our @VisitSpokane account on Twitter, I invited Susan to visit the Spokane booth, which started a series of @replies (Twitter's version of publicly replying to people) between Susan and @VisitSpokane.

The result? Susan and Dr. Drew visited the Spokane booth on the last day of Worlds and spent some time talking with my boss and co-worker. Both Susan and Drew had been to Spokane before, for the 2007 US Figure Skating Championships and a speaking engagement at Gonzaga University respectively. Now we know they plan to come back in January 2010. And they want to be shown around town - I hope I get to be the one to give the tour!

Additionally, Susan started to follow @VisitSpokane. Since she @replied us and started to follow our account on Friday we've had about 30 new followers. It's now Sunday.

Ah yes, don't ever doubt the power of a single tweet. : )

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Family Ties that Bind

So, my family is crazy. Not in a bad way though (mostly). In a good, hilarious, keep-you-on-your-toes, thank-God-they're-around-to-keep-me-grounded kind of way.

We had a belated wake for my Grandpa Bill last weekend in Davenport, WA, on my aunt and uncle's farm. Grandpa grew up in Davenport and raised his family there, for the most part. He would have been 90 years old on March 15th of this year. He passed away May 23, 2005, at the ripe ol' age of 86. I wish he was still here. Have LOTS of questions for him... But I digress a bit (there will have to be a whole separate post about him later).

The man loved Black Russians, so I thought it would be fitting to bring the ingredients so we could properly toast him. At the liquor store I contemplated the size of the vodka and coffee liqueur bottles before settling on the medium size. In retrospect, should have gotten the large bottles (we polished off the medium ones).

We spent the day eating (everything from white chili to pizza to green olive dip to chocolate cake), drinking, looking at old family photos and playing Chinese Ping Pong - which I highly recommend if you have never played. We even called my new Uncle Pat (who also will get a blog post of his own) in Minnesota - my Aunt Joy, dad and Uncle Lenny got to talk to him for the very first time. Aunt Sherry has had a couple conversations with him already.

There was, of course, all kinds of silliness and harassment and revelry. And we all agreed that next time we'd have to do it on a Saturday and make it a slumber party. Whose house it will be at remains to be seen...

I almost always come away from family get-togethers on a high. Such gatherings are a great reminder of how much we all have in common and how much fun we have when we're together. Don't get me wrong - we have a lot of differences, and each of us in each generation have chosen quite different paths for our lives. But the fact remains - we are definitely family. We have similar senses of humor. We're all smart. We all have artistic streaks (some certainly have more talent than others), though we choose all different media to express those streaks. Most of us have a little OCD. We're fiercely loyal.

So out of that loyalty, I felt compelled to vocalize my unconditional love for my family. I have their backs and I know they have mine. It's nice to know that no matter what twists and turns my life takes, I will have them all there to support me in the end. Just as I will support each and every one of them, regardless of what path they choose and decisions they make.

To have a tight-knit (moderately crazy) family is definitely a gift from God.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Thoughts about Octomom

Wow. This woman pisses me off. 14 kids all under the age of 8, some with disabilities. Single parent. No job. My heart breaks for each and every one of those kids. There will never be enough of ANYTHING to go around - love, money, etc. Even with extended family around to help, I just don't see how those kids can grow up with any semblance of a normal life.

Beyond that I don't see how she (Nadya) will ever have a normal adult relationship. How could anyone enter in to that kind of crazy life? How could there even be time for any kind of romantic relationship with 14 kids to take care of? Plus I highly doubt that there's any way that she is at all prepared for the work that needs to go into a marriage.

And where in the hell did this fancy new house come from? I'm beginning to wonder if it didn't come from a producer who is hoping to set up a "Jon & Kate Plus 8" type of a show with her. Bet she'd jump on the chance.

She actually has a web site set up so you can make donations to her and the kids. Are you kidding me? Yes, those kids are obviously in need of financial assistance. But would you trust this woman to use your donation to benefit them in some way? I sure as hell wouldn't.

The other thing that really bothers me about this situation is the doctor that performed the in vitro. I don't understand how he could possibly think that implanting 6 embryos would be a good idea. Especially given the number of children that she had already. I understand that ultimately the number implanted was her decision, but did he even try to counsel her out of implanting so many? Doesn't sound like it.

Last thing before I shut up my pointless ramblings about this situation... does she really think that ANYONE believes that she isn't making a serious attempt to look like Angelina Jolie? Click here to see the link to side by side photos of the two women. Click here to see the before and after photos of her.

In conclusion, she is absolutely nuts.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The time has come...

Not sure why I feel compelled to start blogging personally. I mean I've had one for the Hutson family for a while and we've been blogging about all things Spokane at work, but suddenly I want my own. Considering I really don't have any extra time on my hands, this will certainly be a sporadic attempt at blogging at best, but here it begins nonetheless.

It's not like I plan to use this blog as a tell-all diary or anything like that (can you password-protect these things?), but I suppose it'll be nice to have a place where I can vent my random musings about life, love, motherhood, friendship, work, etc. In fact, I have a lot of stupid stuff to say about a lot of stupid stuff.

And I can use punctuation, especially hyphens, at will without having to worry about who's going to cross them out during the proofing process. I really am a fan for AP-style punctuating. It plays into my obsessive-compulsiveness, I suppose, which could and perhaps will be a blog post all of its own.

So... away we go!