Friday, May 16, 2008

They got it, they really got it

I have not waded through all 100+ pages of the majority and dissents yet. But back when these cases were in the court I work for, Judge Pollak posed this hypothetical question to me: If the domestic partnership law were amended so that it provided gay couples with ALL (not just almost all) of the rights afforded married heterosexual couples, would it still be a denial of equal protection to reserve the term "marriage" to heterosexual unions? Now mind you, Judge Pollak was and is firmly of the opinion that gay couples should be permitted to wed, but his question was a fair one, and one that needed to be answered.

I babbled somewhat inarticulately about the symbolic power of language. Here is what Chief Justice George had to say on the subject in the majority opinion. It's a little dense, but I think it is worth wading through because it is so very right:

"While retention of the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples is not needed to preserve the rights and benefits of opposite-sex couples, the exclusion of same-sex couples from the designation of marriage works a real and appreciable harm upon same-sex couples and their children. As discussed above, because of the long and celebrated history of the term 'marriage' and the widespread understanding that this word describes a family relationship unreservedly sanctioned by the community, the statutory provisions that continue to limit access to this designation exclusively to opposite-sex couples — while providing only a novel, alternative institution for same-sex couples — likely will be viewed as an official statement that the family relationship of same-sex couples is not of comparable stature or equal dignity to the family relationship of opposite-sex couples.

"Furthermore, because of the historic disparagement of gay persons, the retention of a distinction in nomenclature by which the term “marriage” is withheld only from the family relationship of same-sex couples is all the more likely to cause the new parallel institution that has been established for same-sex couples to be considered a mark of second-class citizenship.

"Finally, in addition to the potential harm flowing from the lesser stature that is likely to be afforded to the family relationships of same-sex couples by designating them domestic partnerships, there exists a substantial risk that a judicial decision upholding the differential treatment of opposite-sex and same-sex couples would be understood as validating a more general proposition that our state by now has repudiated: that it is permissible, under the law, for society to treat gay individuals and same-sex couples differently from, and less favorably than, heterosexual individuals and opposite-sex couples."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

We're getting married!!!!!!!

It's official!

I am completely overwhelmed, and can't articulate anything but joy right now. More later.

The opinion can be found here:

Tucson in May

I went to Tucson last weekend for Mother's Day, and because my mother had invited me to come see Celtic Woman with her on Monday. On Saturday I spent the day cooking a picnic lunch for Sunday. Here is the menu:

David Lebovitz's Killer App candied peanuts
Individual tartlets with sundried tomatoes, caramelized onions and gruyere cheese
Caramelized onion and goat cheese frittata glazed with reduced balsamic vinegar
Grilled zucchini, herb and olive terrine
Strawberry panzanella with Greek yogurt
Fruit with lemon curd

My parents' neighbor, Cathy Benson, joined us and we drove to Peppersauce Canyon, around the West and back side of the Catalinas. It is a magical place full of monumental sycamore trees where I spent a lot of time in high school. I don't think I had been back in 15 years or more.

Sadly, I have no pictures of the picnic because my other Mother's Day present was to not even ask my mother, who is intensely picture-averse, if I could take one. And I just plain forgot to take pics of the canyon and the food. So you'll just have to trust me that it was a beautiful day.

May is a great time to be in Arizona. Everything is blooming, and this year was an exceptionally good one, especially for the palos verdes.

I especially love how the palos verdes cast "shadows" of blossoms. It's like Andy Goldworthy without the Andy Goldworthy.

The saguaro blossoms had mostly gone but a few remained.

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Staghorn cholla:

Creosote catkins:
Desert willow:
Milkweed (?? This is what Maureen called it; I've never seen this before)

On Tuesday morning I got up very early so I had time to do a little yoga before hitting the road. I went outside, and there were 3 javalinas trotting past on their way to the watering hole: two adults and one juvenile. I ran back inside for my camera and when I returned there were at least 8 of them gathered around drinking. When I tried to get close enough for a picture they heard me and scattered. But a minute later another group came.
The first group had run about 100 feet away and were running around wildly. At first I thought they were still spooked, but it became clear that they were just cavorting and playing ring-around-the-mesquite-tree. A couple of them would break away and play ring-around-the-creosote-bush, then go rejoin the main pack and they would all stamp and snort and start running around again. I'm guessing there were 20 of them all together. I've never seen piggies at play before; it was a perfect birthday present!

The drive from Tucson to LA was pretty peaceful. Weird as it sounds, I really like that drive. Something about all that empty desert puts me in a very quiet frame of mind. Also, I bypassed Phoenix using I-8 to SR 85, something I've never done before, and it made the trip much, much better. Phoenix has nothing to recommend it for driving through, especially at rush hour. Other than paying $4.16 a gallon for gas in Gila Bend and the mother of all dust storms that continued for about 20 miles West of Blythe, the trip was uneventful.

I arrived in West Hollywood just in time for a Manhattan with Dick :-) Here he is in his girly bling-bling shirt:

Dick and Gary in front of their swell new WeHo condo. Doesn't Gary look cute with the goatee?

Wednesday morning I had coffee with Dick at his favorite Starbucks, where everybody knows his name and they serve pastries from LaBrea Bakery (happy me!) then drove up the pretty part of Sunset Blvd, gaping a bit at the amazing houses, before beginning the long and bleak drive that is I-5 through the Central Valley. As much as I love the drive through the empty desert on 10, I hate this drive up the middle of California. Too much traffic, ugly roadside and, of course, Cowschwitz. Bleh. It was a great trip and I'm happy to be home.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Oscar, the best god of them all

Not only does he do weather and parking like nobody's business, now he does offices.

I got it! I got it! Here is the prayer that we offered up, and Oscar came through yet again:

Oh Oscar, most great and powerful deity of all manner of conveniences big and small (parking, weather, early check-in), we will sacrifice scary red pickled things, cake and ice cream in your name in the fervent hope that Lisa might listen to raving lunatic homeless people and car alarms rather than ear-splitting child screams. Please make it so that no one who has been at this whacko government bureaucracy longer than Lisa wants the Larkin Street office. Blessed be thy name, oh mighty Oscar.

I am now accepting suggestions for fitting sacrifices.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

My new friend, guanciale

Among other delights this past weekend, we stopped at The Fatted Calf store at the new Oxbow Marketplace in Napa. Theresa and Tristan waited outside with Mattie while Tom and I flirted with the cute girl behind the counter (would she be a charcuterix?)

One of the delights she introduced us to was guanciale (pronounced gwan-CHA-lay), or cured pork jowl. Definitely in the bacon family but definitely its own creature, it was mostly pure white fat, with the thinnest stripe of pink meat. She sliced it read-the-paper-through-it thin and lovingly laid it out on parchment. She suggested wrapping it around asparagus, which I thought was a great idea.

Here are the asparagus spears ready to go in the oven:

After about 8 minutes in a 400 degree oven, the asparagus was cooked and the guanciale was partly rendered so that the fat had coated all of the spears, not just the parts touching the meat:

Do I need to say that this was delicious? I didn't think so.

Oh, guanciale, the world is our oyster! What shall I wrap you around next?

Party time!

The Sorcerer's Apprentice, loading up for the partyWe thought we brought everything. Everything except a grill. Luckily, we had an engineer there.

Getting a kiss from Alex and Jim

More pictures to come