Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cover Your Eyes

I have been swimming for about 8 weeks now. And although I have purchased a number of things to make swimming even more fun, I must say that the most important item to have is goggles.

Without goggles you cannot open your eyes underwater. And thus you miss many clues: how far you have left in the lane, if you are going in a straight line, and if something is in your way.

Now goggles are not a one size fits all sort of thing. Unless you already know what type and style fits you, please do not order them online. Most stores will let you open goggle packages so that you can fit them properly. This involves standing in the middle of the store and pressing the goggles to your face to see if they will stick for a few seconds. If they don't, they aren't right for your face.

I had to try on 3 pairs of goggles before finding the right pair and it has made all the difference in the world. So while I love my new *fancy* swim fins, and my new bathing suit, my goggles will always be my favorite swimming accessory.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Don't Jump The Gun

History has shown that gun sales go up after reports of public shootings. The one yesterday in a Oregon suburb about 45 minutes from where I live has surely scared many in my community. And so I beg those who are considering the purchase of a firearm (because they are scared) to pause for a moment.

Owning a firearm does not guarantee your safety. In fact, buying a firearm out of fear and just throwing it in a drawer is a truly dangerous thing. Using a firearm safely and accurately is a skill, and like most skills, needs to be practiced on a regular basis.

Rather than jumping to a purchase of a gun, please consider taking a course first. One of the primary objectives of the NRA is education and safety, and they have great courses. (The Basic Pistol class is a great one to start with.) They also have resources for parents to teach gun safety to their children.

With a reported 47% of American households with guns already in them, I will also mention that it is never to late to take a course and educate yourself about the proper handling and use of a firearm. Better late than never.

And remember: Education trumps fear every time.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Fill My Town With Love

On December 6, 2012, thanks to the voters of Washington State, gay marriage will be legal. (It's about damn time.) Washington is currently the only state on the West Coast where gay marriage is legal.

To me, it's not just about rights and justice, it's about celebrating love. What could be better than celebrating love? I don't know what/if the city is doing anything to help out-of-state gay couples but I've taken it upon myself to become an ambassador. I want you to fill my town with love.

The town I live in, Vancouver, Washington is the southern most town in Washington, thus the first one you encounter when you are traveling from California, Oregon or other states. By the way, it also was recently named "The sixth most gay friendly city in America" by The Advocate.

At first I considered pushing a shopping cart full of rainbow flags around downtown Vancouver, handing them out, putting them in flower beds, etc. But I thought creating a list of wedding resources in Downtown Vancouver might actually be more helpful. (And a little less silly.)

RESOURCES: (All located in Downtown Vancouver and are within walking distance. There are many other retail establishments in greater Vancouver, but I am just hi-lighting the immediate vicinity.)

How To Get A Marriage License In Vancouver, WA (Spoiler: 3 day waiting period, no blood tests required, you can start applying online for a license on December 6, 2012.)

 Getting Here:
* Car: Take the City Center #1C exit off of I-5 North
* Private plane: Pearson Airport
* Train: Amtrak
* Bus: C-Tran, Washington & Evergreen stop

* Swanky: Vancouver Hilton
* Waterfront: Red Lion At The Quay

* Hip: Mieko's Marketplace Flowers
* Traditional: Luepke Florist

* Treat

* Both hotels listed above have nice restaurants (and great Sunday brunches)
* Tiger's Garden (Our favorite Thai restaurant.)
* Tommy O's Pacific Rim Grill

Banquet Halls:
* Both hotels have spaces for wedding receptions.
* You can also rent space in our swanky new library.

* Java House
* Starbucks
* Torque Coffee Roasters 

For other helpful resources please check out GayVancouverWA.

Congratulations and best wishes!

Note: I receive no compensation for my recommendations. I am just trying to make a helpful list of resources I have seen and sometimes use. If I missed anything, please let me know.