12.30.2005

15 things (plus one) about me and books

I am taking Liza up on her 15 things about books meme. So, here goes:

1. When I was in first grade I began a life-long love/hate affair with the library because first graders were only allowed to check out books on the E shelf. The books on the E shelf were dumb – little more than picture books – books that had no need to be checked out from the library because I could finish them while standing in line waiting to check them out. I snuck a couple of books out and in, but worried about being banned from the library for life if caught, so I stopped stealing. After the school librarian found me sneaking into the library during recess to hide in a back corner with a chapter book not from the E shelf (because I figured that if I wasn’t allowed to check the book out then I probably wasn’t allowed even to read it) she granted special permission to me to check out any book I wanted.

2. The next memorable installment of the love/hate affair continues when I am 11. We rarely went to the public library because with 2 parents who worked all the time, and living out in the suburbs where the nearest library was too far away to walk, there just wasn’t time. That didn’t bother me overly, my parents had a large library of their own and even though they were mostly adult books (meaning books for adults – hard core science fiction, some romance novels, non-fiction, NOT adult books meaning porn) that I wasn’t supposed to read, I had no problem sneaking books into my room and reading them despite the prohibition. On this memorable event, someone (I can’t remember if it was my parents or some other adult) took me the county library and I checked out a bunch of books including The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley as well as some of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders’ books and a couple of other books I cannot now remember. I decide that it is unbelievably cruel to taunt someone with books they cannot keep. I cannot bear to part with these books and so “forget” to take them back. I don’t go back to the library for over a decade.

3. When I am 17 (senior in High School) my parents receive a letter from a lawyer. The County Library is suing them for the stolen books. The amount the library is suing for amounts to over $300 (they had listed each paperback as being worth over $20). This is a huge amount of money to my family. The library is willing to drop the suit and forgive the fees if we simply return the books. My parents call me at work (I make $4.25/hr and work 15 hours a week, I am currently working on trying to pay off my letter jacket and class ring as well as save up for a car, at this time my family is nearly homeless because my parents have sunk all their money (not much to start with) into building a new house after having sold the one I grew up in. We alternate between living with my Aunt and living in a camping trailer on the building lot. Everyone is short on sleep and patience and sanity) and tell me that not only has my little problem ruined their credit but if I don’t find those books (no mean feat since our whole house and the majority of my library is packed in boxes in a storage unit) and they have to pay the fees then bad, bad, bad things will happen to OUR WHOLE FAMILY and it will all be MY FAULT and I will have to LIVE WITH THAT KNOWLEDGE FOREVER. I manage to find the books.

4. I reread my favorite books obsessively. They’re like cozy clothes that one puts on and slouches around in for comfort.

5. My parents used to try to keep me in line by threatening to ground me to my room and take all my books away. After the first time they threatened me with this I took a selection of my favorite books and hid them in various nooks and crannies in my room so I could never be deprived of them.

6. The first book I stayed up all night to read was Harriet the Spy . I started it just before bedtime. I remember thinking how odd 3 AM felt and how tired I was but how I couldn’t possibly stop reading. I finished the book and fell asleep a little after 5 am. And yes, I used a flashlight under the covers. At least I did until it died, but by then my parents had gone to bed and I could safely turn the bedroom light on. I was 7.

7. I read very, very fast. I have been known to read a book while someone else is reading it by reading it in the breaks between their own reading sessions and making sure I leave it exactly where I found it with exactly the right page marked.

8. Giving away a book is one of the hardest things for me to do. Kristin reads a book and passes it on. I read a book and put it in my library. I may lend it out, but I miss it and I’ll track it down if it doesn’t get returned soon enough (ironic, huh?). The first few years Kristin and I were together we lived in a very tiny condo that didn’t have room for all my books. Every few months she would get a certain look in her eye and insist that “we” go through “our” books and weed them out. Each session was excruciatingly painful for me and would leave me in a bad mood for days – even though the books that were weeded were always books I hadn’t liked in the first place and wouldn’t recommend in the second.

9. One of the worst things that another kid ever did to me was when the neighborhood bully asked to look at my copy of The B.F.G by Roald Dahl and then threw it over a 10 foot chainlink fence topped with barbed wire. No matter how hard I tried I could not get over that fence. And believe me, I tried. I plan on buying this book for Julia.

10. The book I miss the most – I lent it to a former friend and it was never returned, that’s why that person is a former friend – is Susan Griffin’s Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her. I keep meaning to buy a new copy, and one day I will, but I had written such notes all through the margins that it was almost like a journal and those notes can never be replaced.

11. When I was in the 6th grade I read a book called DarkAngel. I could never remember the author but that book haunted me. Finally, two years ago, I looked the book up and got the author’s name and it turned out the book was in my University Library along with the final two books in the trilogy. I re-read it and it was every bit as good as I remembered. Go read it yourselves and see. If you follow the link, don’t pay attention to the “official” description, scroll down to the reader’s reviews to get a hint of the magnificence of this book (and, indeed, the whole trilogy).

12. Because I was a huge fan of adult fantasy and science fiction, my mother’s friend gave me a beautiful copy of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy when I was 12. I kept trying to get into the damn thing, but never could get past the first 20 pages. Now I can’t find it, I think it’s in a box of my childhood books still in storage at my parents’ house. When I get it back, I’ll give it another try (since I loved the movies so much).

13. When I was 20 I was browsing through a paperback exchange and came across a trashy romance novel where the heroine’s name was Trista. Since I have a thing about my name in print that comes from always wanting and never managing to find personalized things in gift shops when I was a kid I bought the book. It was the worst book I have ever read. It was one of those romances where the heroine is raped repeatedly and we’re supposed to find it sexy. It triggered all sorts of PTSD for me regarding my own sexual abuse since I kept reading all these horrible things that were happening to “Trista” (e.g. after the heroine is raped for the second time and she tries to stand up to her attacker she is denounced as a seductress and cast out of her community and ends up in a Nevada silver town as a Saloon Whore where the hero finds her and rehabilitates her and teaches her to love again) I couldn’t finish the book. My pseudo girlfriend (if I had been “out” she would have been my girlfriend) suggested that we burn the book. We did and danced around the flames.

14. I have only managed to read 3 books (not picture books) since Julia was born. And one of the books in the book count is really 2 halves of books (I have read 2 full books and half of two others). I dream of being able to read again.

15. My ideal job would be one in which I was paid to read. Does anyone know how I can get a job like that?

16. I let my aunt know I was gay by lending her Deaths of Jocastaby JM Redmann. She let me know she understood what I was telling her by giving me an entire stack of books by gay and lesbian writers.

12.29.2005

A Conversation

After visiting until quite late with our friends Emily & Clark who abandoned us this summer for Baltimore.*

"I really miss Emily and Clark."

"Yeah, it totally sucks that they don't live here anymore."

"I'm so glad they came by while they're in town and got to meet Julia. I hope they can come back this summer."

"I know. It was a nice visit." Long pause. "So many of our friends have moved away this year, you don't think it has anything to do with us, do you?"

"No."

"Not even a little bit?"

"It's this state, not us."

"Not even the dog diarrhea? Not even the fact that we're the kind of people who could have dog diarrhea in their basement and then when finding it instead of cleaning it up immediately could just turn the lights off and walk away?"

"Who's this 'we'? You. You did that. Not me. You."

"It's still your basement, too."

"Of course that's not the problem. Nobody knows about the dog diarrhea."






*And when in my earlier post about all the friends we've lost to other states in the last year I forgot to mention Emily & Clark it is in no way a reflection on the impact their move had on our state of happiness.

12.28.2005

Caution: One Could Slip on All the Sap Around Here

(The pictures look all digitized and funky, but you can still see them. If you want them to look clear, all you have to do is click on them.)

I don't know if I've spoken enough about how blessed my life has become lately. And here is where I reach a blank space in my mind. I, the writer, the woman who has words for everything, can find no way to express this -- oh, please Goddess, let me find a better term... no, no I can't right now, oh I can't -- profound love I feel for my daughter. And as I write that I can see/hear/taste every sappy book and Hallmark Card on Motherhood (notice the capital M) that was ever placed in my path. Next I'm going to tell you all what lessons she has taught me. How I'm such a better person now. Well, I'm not. I'm still depressive/depressing, occasionally effervescent, quite often lazy, and very judgmental in my heart toward people with missing teeth. Also, I discovered that one of our dogs had a diarrhea accident on a piece of furniture in our basement and instead of cleaning it up (it was already dried -- it had been there a while) I just slumped and turned out the light and walked back upstairs*. I'll deal with it this weekend. It's not like we go into our basement, anyway. So you can see that I am definitely not a better person. Julia has not been pulling her weight in ridding me of all these personality flaws. Really, I do think she could try a little harder, don't you?

She's just so damn cheerful.

Over the last two weeks she completed her transition from Newborn to Baby. She sits. She plays with her toys. She talks at us. I know I've been blogging about how she's begun to do these things, and she has, but in between her spouts of doing them, she was spending most of her time sleeping and eating and excreting and generally acting like a vague newborn. Now all the vagueness is gone. She reaches for things. She's begun to understand our words. Yesterday she was fussy and Kristin asked her if she would like to go to her momma (me) and Julia stopped fussing at her sentence and I walked over and she held up her hands to me. She reached for me. And she laughed when I picked her up. She's so responsive to the world all the time. Everything fills her with delight. She is a child who is unafraid of anything new. She opens her eyes in the morning, smiles, and laughs "Bring it on!" People keep warning us that soon she will develop object permanence and stranger anxiety, and oh though I do hope she develops some sense of caution, I also hope that she retains her open good-naturedness and her willingness to explore independently.

Several weeks ago I took the What Kind of Freaky Mother Are You test. The test informed me that I was the Punk Rock Momma who delights in her children's independent spirits. I've never had an internet test be so accurate (though I don't really care for punk music itself). As Julia begins asserting her personality she is showing herself to be both cuddly/loving and independent. She knows what she wants and she's not afraid to ask for it. When she was three months old she told us in no uncertain terms that she was ready for solid foods, but we held off until her 4 month birthday (the earliest doctors say you can give a child solids) to begin feeding her cereal. Now we've started her on Sweet Potatoes and she can't get enough of them. When it's meal time she hollers at us if we pause too long in between spoonfuls. But the hollering isn't angry, she's not throwing tantrums, she's just reminding us of her needs. Another example: the other night I brought her to bed with us to try to make her night feedings a little easier. In the middle of the night she began hollering. I tried feeding her and she ate a couple of ounces and then again, she hollered. She got louder and louder, more emphatic until she was crying and we got up from the bed. I took her back into the living room and said her name firmly. She stopped crying when she heard her name and looked around, noticed that we were in the living room and smiled. I put her in her swing and turned it on. She laughed once and fell asleep and slept through the rest of the night. That's pretty clear. No more co-sleeping for Julia.


She's also decided no more breastfeeding. When Kristin's milk supply dropped enough that Julia began getting most of her nutrients from bottles of formula, we had thought that Kristin was done with breastfeeding. But several times a day, even when she wasn't hungry, Julia insisted on nursing. Kristin was happy to oblige and nursed Julia every time she requested it. This last week, however, Julia has decided to wean herself. She is still cuddly, still likes to be held close to the chest and skin to skin, but wants her face out where she can see what's going on. She's a girl who knows what she wants and she's very effective at communicating her needs in ways other than crying. For Julia, crying is a method of last resort. She prefers to talk things out.

I say over and over, to anyone who will listen, that I don't know how we ended up with such a cheerful baby. My first reaction to almost anything is sorrow and anxiety. Hers is laughter. Though I'm not yet becoming a cheerful person in her company, I am learning how to act cheerful. And what's that old saying? Fake it till you make it? Oh, I'm faking it all right, baby. I just might make it, too. Oh look, I did end up writing a Hallmark card. Damn.

*ok, I know that this is very bad, and I shouldn't be telling anyone this, but we're still so tired and we've arranged a babysitter this weekend so we can gut out the basement and make it all shiny-clean, and that's the only piece of disgustingness down there... Oh, there's just no excuse! I am bad, bad, bad!

12.27.2005

Oh and

don't think that my manifesto below is any indication that I cling to a persecuted status or that I would work toward "ghettoization" of gays because that would be fun and safe (though it would be fabulous) or that I think that I necessarily have anything in common with other gay people (other than our persecuted status) just because we're all gay together. Or that I automatically like gay people over straight people. Or that I think all straight people should be gay. Or any of the other half-assed ideas some people could draw from what I wrote below.

Because this ended up being too long a comment

I started off putting this in the comment section for "The Greasier my hair, the sexier I am" but it ended up being so long that I decided to give it a post of its own.


I'll copy the comment I am responding to so y'all know what I'm talking about.

OK, I read this last week and I've tried to make sense of it for the past few
days.No dice.There are two coffee shops near where I work. One (let's call it Shop A) I know for certain is gay-owned and the second (Shop B) is not. Now, if I followed your example, I would patronize the straight-owned shop regardless of all other factors. And if everyone in my town followed your example, the gay-owned shop would soon go out of business based on simple demographics alone. As it is, I happen to patronize Shop A for one reason - the coffee is better. Second, by patronizing gay-owned establishments above all others, you're tribalizing the gay community, which only serves to draw a dividing line between it and the community at large. Rather than integrating (and normalizing)yourselves into society, you're creating micro-cliques - that's the gay barbershop & that's the straight one, that's the gay restaurant and that's the straight one, that's the gay bar and that's the straight one. What better way to demonstrate to people the inherent value of gay relationships then to sit down at a restaurant (regardless of ownership orientation) and showing everyone how normal and healthy your relationship is? That's how you make homophobia go away - not by creating some GLBT utopia. Third, don't you think that you're validating the concerns of you family (see posts below) by going beyond
"normalizing" your relationship and instead giving it "most favored" status above all others?


My dearest Anonymous Coward:

Just because I didn't take time to list the "all other factors" doesn't mean they don't exist. The piece was meant to be funny rather than an exhaustive review of the merits of Cafe Med. Still, because for some strange reason I like you, I've decided to reply to your comment rather than just dismissing it as the flawed piece of supposition and conjecture that it is. So, here goes.


  1. It is rare for an establishment that flies a rainbow flag to thrive in Utah. And they doesn't just fly a rainbow flag, they fly an entire medley of flags, of which the rainbow flag is but one. And still, it is the one that gets ripped down regularly. Still, they keep buying rainbow flags and putting one up every time the old one is stolen. If it were a Greek flag that was consistently being ripped down, they would get public sympahty and support in their battle against the ignorant racists of the world. They might even get some police attention for the consistent vandalization. But because it's a rainbow flag it becomes their problem, their stubbornness, their tribalism, their fault. Still, they refuse to hide the fact that they are gay, that that is one of their many affiliations, one part of the many pieces which make up their identities, even though such disguise is what Utah culture insists on. We want to support them in making themselves visible. If the soup I buy once or twice a month can help offset the cost of their replacing the flag, then I am thrilled to help with that.

  2. I capitalized the word AMAZING when speaking of their food in my original post. That emphasis actually does them a disservice. I cannot speak too highly of the quality and deliciousness of their food. Kristin and I are community-minded, but not so much that we would patronize a place that had terrible food. In the days after 9/11 when a local Indian/Pakistani restaurant was bombed in our city, all our liberal friends flocked to patronize the place to show their support and their anti-racism, but Kristin and I did not. Not because we're racist, not because we supported the bombing, but because their food is bad. Cafe Med has great food and it's a pleasure to eat there.

  3. Cafe Med is just over a mile from our home. Other than a local coffee/crepe shop, Dell Taco, and a Sconecutter, Cafe Med is the closest restaurant to our house. Not only are we patronizing a gay establishment, but a local one as well. We're keeping our tax dollars local and helping to keep a restaurant open in an area where restaurants tend not to do well. Plus, we can call in a take-out order and go pick it up in our PJ's and when we get home the food is still hot and we will have gotten compliments on our sleepwear.

  4. We eat out A LOT. At least twice a week. We go to this restaurant once or twice a month. You do the math: how many restaurants do we support? I could have written this story about a Mariachi band (provided they had had a female member) at our favorite Mexican restaurant. Or I could have written a funny story about our adventures at our favorite Thai and Tibetan restaurants. Instead, this event happened to occur at Cafe Med and, for the sake of the story and to set the scene, I mentioned that it was a gay-owned restaraunt and that we enjoyed supporting it. I also mentioned the fact that the owner's mother knows us to let the reader know that this is the kind of restaurant that the OWNER'S MOTHER hangs out and chats with the patrons. How cool is that?

  5. You're right that I am going beyond normalizing my relationship to giving it "most favored" status. I am giving it most favored status for me. It's quite common here for people to think that being gay is ok for "them". That it's normal "for them". But that "for you" it's a subpar choice. That "for you" it is giving up on finding that once in a lifetime love. To combat that, one needs to prove that not only is being gay normal for some hypothetical "they" but that it is the best relationship for you. That all things being equal, if you could change who you are, you would still choose that person. If doing that involves pushing the pendulum a little harder so that you can get it to center, then that is what I am going to do. What you're describing is a wonderful state that we are beginning to see -- a state where all sexual orientations can live in a spirit of peace and harmony-- but we're not there yet, especially here in Utah. In Utah what you describe is camoflage. It is invisibility. It is what allowed my grandparents and several aunts and uncles to think that Kristin and I were just "old maids" sharing living expenses while we look for Mr. Right. Even though she came to every family party. We blend, but we can't blend all the time yet. We still have to work at visibility and when you work at visibility, even in gentle ways, you attract a lot of negative attention. And the ways Kristin and I use are very gentle. I put my hand on her knee when we sit next to each other. We use joint checks. We give each other quick pecks (no lingering lips, no tongue, no passionate embraces) on the lips when we take our leave of each other in public. Actually, this is leading into my next point, so we'll pause this and move on.

  6. Are you a member of a persecuted group? Do you know what it's like to get glares and comments when you reach across a table to hold your beloved's hand? To have waitpersons "be helpful" by automatically splitting your ticket cause you're "obviously" not going to be paying together? Have you ever been to a bar and then were afraid to walk to your car by yourself or with just one other person not because of some random stranger after drug money, but because of the belligerent man who was telling you about how someone should teach you a lesson? Are you told, repeatedly, that if people react in fear and censure and hate toward towards you it is your fault for being too open and "out there"? That this is a bad world, full of bad people, and so you should hide yourself accordingly. That the burdens of shame and change are yours and not your attacker's? For the most part Kristin and I work, live, play, and eat in the larger world. We insist on our existence and our dignity calmly, consistently, and (mostly) patiently. And we get tired of having constantly to do so. Going to a gay-owned and gay-operated establishment is a reprieve, a rest. A place where we can talk about how cute our baby is without answering questions about how we got her (note: we do not have a problem answering questions about Julia's conception, it's just it can be a little tiring to have to answer these questions from our server when all we want to do is order a meal. Still, whenever such questions are asked, we answer them completely and politely); where we can request a romantic nook and feed each other morsels off our plates and not wonder who's watching, who's going to complain, who's going to use this as an "example" of how gays are so "blatant" in public. We can be a normal couple in love whose act of loving is not seen as a political statement. Tell me that you would get the same amnesty from patronizing the straight-owned coffee shop and I'll tell you to go there as often as you can and enjoy the solace. However, if gays were no longer a persecuted group, if Kristin and I could be as nauseatingly twitterpated with each other in public as a heterosexual couple, Cafe Med would STILL be our favorite restaurant. Because of the food and because of the atmosphere. And because of the sarcophogus. (aside for Jen: Cafe Med is full of these weird decorative tidbits -- dragonfly lights that flap their wings, Green Men spitting water into basins, a columnar fountain, and a life-size sarcophagus. It's all part of the ambience. Eclectic, funky, fun)


  7. To read a paragraph out of my life, one that I have crafted to be an entertainment (and a sarcastic, snarky kind of entertainment), and thus think you have figured out a source of major conflict in my life (that I am trying to create a Gay Utopia) when nothing else I have written has indicated that I would like to create such a separatist universe (though I do have plans to create a commune one day, I'll have you know that I will be inviting one straight couple to come live on it with us so long as they pledge allegiance to the rainbow flag and promise to raise all their children as little homosexuals and swear that they will never "rub their straightness in our faces") is pretty outrageous. If you were to take anything as a prescription for life from that particular post, you should have taken the advice not to shower. That's what I was really talking about. Grunge is sexy sexy. LEt me smell those pheramones, baby, they just might turn me straight.

12.24.2005

I am lucky. Want to rub me and see if you get lucky too?

So yesterday I drove my car to work because I was under the fond delusion that the Madman-In-Chief would show some Christmas spirit and let the government workers have a half-day off. He didn't, but that's not the point. The point is that Salt Lake City's Mayor Rocky has had all the parking meters covered up so that you can park for free for 2 hours in the city. If one is determined enough, one can park for free ALL DAY just by moving one's car every two hours. It's not really worth it for a whole day, but thinking that we might get a half-day off (we didn't, but that's not the point) and thus I would only have to move my car once, I drove my car to work. It was dark when I left; it was lighter when I arrived. I parked right by the entrance to the mall parking lot and thumbed my nose at the people who were going to pay for parking.

When I came down to move my car 3 hours later (worried a bit that I had pushed my luck too far) I didn't have a parking ticket, but I HAD left my lights on. This is something that I am known to do on a regular basis, but not something an intelligent person would do when she is already having problems with her battery. (FYI, I have had to beat my car into starting an additional two times since the original incident) I turned the lights on and tried to start my car. Nothing. I knew that this time hitting wouldn't help, so I sat there in stunned silence while I tried to think of what to do. In my malice towards those who could afford to pay for parking, I had placed myself in the worst position to get a jump start. There was no way a car could get into position without significantly blocking traffic. I knew that I would have to call my brother and get him to come all the way downtown with his magic jump-starter box thingie. I knew he really wouldn't be happy about this. In frustration, I decided to try to start the car again... and it half-started and then the battery died again. This time I railed against my own supidity and impatience. If only I had waited another few minutes maybe the magic in my battery would have stored up a little more energy and it would have started. Now it definitely wouldn't start, Iwas sure. I cried a few bitter tears for the unfairness of it all. Then out of perversity and to truly depress myself, I tried again. And this time it started.

Oh my car. I hereby take back all the mean things I have ever said about you. Including the mean things about you not being a four door. I will willingly contort myself to get the car seat in and out forever so that I can keep you by my side.

THEN

I went back to my desk to sit and wait for the email from a Certain Someone who would have the power to give all the government workers a half-day off. While it didn't come (and that's not the point) one of the lawyers in my office whom I never have much to do with and so I hadn't brought her any homemade jelly as a gift like I did to the few people I DO have something to do with came by with a very generous gift card for me that all the staff had pitched in to get. This is on top of presents the people who do work with me on a regular basis had already given me. I may not like what I do, but I have the best co-workers on the planet. Who knew lawyers could be so nice?

Oh my job. Please forgive all the mean things I have ever said about you in the fastness of the night, or the very early morning when I am stumbling around trying to get dressed in some semblance of professionalism. I will willingly complete my contract and maybe accept an extension should it be offered (and should I have no better position to go to by then).

THEN

I needed to go to the liquor store. The really sucky thing about Utah are the liquor laws. Instead of being able to pick up a bottle of wine for dinner in the grocery store like a civilized, adult member of society, we sinners in Utah are forced to trek to the State-owned outlet. The outlet that has god-awful hours and is closed on holidays, Sundays and Election days. Holidays. Meaning that if one wanted to have a drink on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or the Day After Christmas, one had to fight in a gladitorial-like contest for one's alcohol within the confines of a crowded, dingy little building with a tiny parking lot (they ALL -- yes, all THREE of them -- have tiny parking lots, why make it easy to sin?). I knew the impossibility of trying to obtain hooch the day before a holdiay, but with one thing and another, I hadn't managed to get to the Alcohol Concentration Camp to pick up the bottle of wine for my parents' present before yesterday afternoon.

So, with no little trepidation, I drove to the liquor store. (this was after I was forced to use leave hours because SOMEONE refused to let govt workers have a half day off, but that's beside the point) As I had expected, the tiny parking lot was overflowing. I was forced to fish for a spot to park. After driving around slowly, I saw someone exiting and walking toward a car. I stopped and put on my blinker, ignoring the honking behind me. They were just trying to intimidate me into moving on so THEY could have the spot. Person got into their SUV and pulled out, but pulled out in such a way that I had to wait for them to get completely clear before pulling in. And an old lady in a MINIVAN pulled in from the other side. I glared at her and she smiled serenely at me. I drove on and found some parking in an abandoned lot a little bit away and walked to the store. Inside it was chaos: yelling, pushing, shoving. There were only three tellers and the lines wove throught the aisles of bottles. I knew right where I was headed and grabbed the bottle I sought (and it was on sale! $9 off!) and went to get in line. And was promptly cut off by the VERY SAME OLD WOMAN! She stole my place in line! I was so angry I felt like giving her a piece of my mind. I felt like breaking a bottle over her head. Instead, I decided to take the high road and move on. And that's when it happened. I stumbled onto the secret line. The line that was only 4 PEOPLE LONG. I asked the man at the end of it if this was really a line and he confirmed that it was. I couldn't believe it. Right that moment someone hollered "Look, that line only has 5 people in it!" and quickly the line snaked out behind me. The lesson? If I had decided to pause and respond in kind to the rude woman, I would have missed the secret line. I gave her a smug smile as I sailed out the door minutes after getting in line. She had quite a wait ahead of her.

Oh my State. Forgive all my insolence with regards to your silliness. If you hadn't insituted such silly laws, I would never have experienced such pure joy in the face of another's rudeness and well-earned instant Karma.

THEN

Kristin and I went for some Mexican fast food. At this restaurant I always order the kids' meal because it is just the right portion size. But sometimes I get flack because it's for kids, not adults. This time it was the manager taking our order and when we ordered she looked at me and asked, "is this for you?" I thought of lying and saying that we were taking it to the kid we had stashed in our car trunk, but didn't. I decided, for once, to tell the truth. "Yes," I said proudly. "Then I'll go ahead and give you the larger drink for free." She said. Wow. Telling the truth pays off!

THEN

We came home and found TWO presents on our doorstep and an unexpected Christmas bonus from my old employer (who hasn't actually employed me since the spring time, but whom I am helping to write a very large grant) in the form of a very welcome check.

AND FINALLY

I found out that I was a co-winner of the potty poem contest over at Anonymous Coward's place. Thanks, Clew, for letting me know I had tied with you.

What a great day. What wonderful lessons in consideration, generosity, patience, kindness and honesty.

What has this Holiday season taught you?

12.23.2005

The greasier my hair, the sexier I am. raowrrr

It must be the way the oil makes the silver shine.

Last night we instituted Phase 2* of Making Julia a Lesbian. We took her to Cafe Med which is a wonderfully cheesy restaurant with AMAZING food. It's gay owned and gay operated and Kristin and I go there so often the owner's mother knows us. We love supporting a gay-owned business so much that we ignore the revolving tweaker hosts and waiters (young men the owner/manager is trying to save? I wonder. Hmmm), we don't go there for the service, we go for the food and the sarcophagus -- though there IS a really cute waitress who's been there forever and who I think is a lesbian and who I am SURE wants me. We don't see her very often, though. I think it's because she knows she can't have me and it's too painful for her to have to see me so happy with my partner.

So, we took Julia there last night and last night there was a bellydancer. She was pretty good. Her outfit was amazing. Very little skin was bare and yet it was so sexy. We turned Julia in her high chair around so she could see the dancer and Julia was entranced with the woman's shiny coin-covered bosoms. There was a big smile all over Julia's face and she was so excited she was flailing her arms and legs around and bobbing her head. Sometimes the bobbing was even in time to the music. The dancer obliged by coming over and dancing just for Julia. Julia was flirting up a storm. Our evil plan is working! Ha ha ha ha haaaaaa.

Really, though, the dancer waaaaaaanted me. Wanted me with a capital W. There were long moments of intense eye contact. She kept coming over and dancing right in front of me (and yes, you could say she was also dancing in front of Julia, but it was ME she had eyes for.) I finally turned to Kristin in delight that SOMEONE was flirting with me (no one EVER flirts with me, they ALWAYS flirt with Kristin) and Kristin said, "Oh, I thought it was me she was flirting with." But later during the third dance Kristin had to admit that yes, indeed, it was I the dancer wanted. Which is funny, cause I hadn't showered in well over 24 hours. I felt extremely UNsexy. And I was wearing a big, bulky sweater because Julia spit up all over my shirt right before we had to leave and the sweater was the quickest thing to put on. The sweater also made me look like twice my normal size. But there must be something about me unshowered, because the first time Kristin and I met I also hadn't showered that morning, and felt horribly unattractive, and Kristin was totally hot for me from the get go. Just ask her, she'll tell you. But I should warn you, she talks in code. When she answers you with a "I liked her despite the fact I thought she had a serious hygiene problem" you should know that she really means "I liked her because of her earthy aesthetic." Just so you don't get confused.


*Phase 1 consisted of forcing Julia to cross-dress. We make certain to confuse the child about her true gender on a regular basis by dressing her in (gasp) BOYS CLOTHES. And we don't dress her in pink nearly often enough. We're so evil.

12.22.2005

now you all know me so much better, don't you?

Thought I would regale you all with snippets of my life yesterday. Not a "day in the life of" exactly, more of an "evening in the life of"


Snippet #1
Upon first returning home from work, with Julia in her car seat weighing me down, opened the kitchen door to be greeted by 2 large, loving dogs. With instincts honed by years of living with these two dogs, realized that they were acting guilty and shooed them out of the house so I could inspect the damage without the distraction of their apologies. Walked into the kitchen to the sight of a chewed-to-pieces weekly pill case (the plastic kind with compartments for each day of the week) and pills scattered all over the kitchen and dining room. Reached for my camera to document the destruction and realized that I hadn't yet put the new battery in and I needed to count pills RIGHT AWAY to figure out if any had been ingested by Oliver (the one who likes to chew pill cases -- this is not the first time this has happened). Left Julia in her car seat while I crawled on hands and knees through drifts of dog and cat hair gathering slobbered, slimy, and hairy pills. Counted the pills and determined that though many had been savored, none had been swallowed. Sighed at the realization that those previously saliva'd pills would still have to be swallowed by someone.

Snippet #2
Pulled the high chair out of the garage and cleaned off all the dirty ice and mud (our garage roof has a major leak). Put Julia in highchair and had to wedge her in with 2 fleece blankets to keep her upright. She's great at holding her head up but she is completely miniscule in the high chair. Thought she looked so damn cute that I would take a picture. Went to put in new battery for digital camera only to discover that we had bought the WRONG battery. Spent a precious few moments HATING our digital camera (a top-of-the-line camera 5 years ago that has more features than I will ever use (it was a present and not to me) that's rechargable battery has gone bad and is too expensive to replace and thus the camera uses disposable batteries like kleenex -- come to think of it we've spent more on diposables than if we had just bought a new rechargable, but it's a cash-flow problem).

Snippet #3
Decided to cheer myself up by (finally) putting in the Carpenters' 2 classic Christmas albums while cleaning the house. Paused in my sweeping to savor the exquisite moment when Karen's voice rises above the fading orchestra on the first crystal note of "The Christmas Waltz". Wept a little at the beauty of its perfection. Joined my voice to Karen's in song while gathering enough animal hair off the floor to create at least a litter of puppies and a couple of stray kittens. Thought briefly of grabbing the camcorder to record Julia trying to sing with Karen, too. Decided to let it go and just enjoy this moment of bonding over a mutual love of magnificent music.

Snippet #4
While washing dishes and moving my hips to the music (Julia contentedly looking at the toys on her high chair tray and occasionally singing) reviewed with no little salaciousness my long-time fantasy of having sex on a rug in front of a Christmas tree while listening to Karen Carpenter sing Christmas music (particularly "Merry Christmas, Darling" but of course the sex would take longer than just that one song) with only the light of the Christmas tree for illumination. Wondered if I am the only person ever to have that fantasy.

Snippet #5
At Kristin's urging, opened a box marked "from the elves" to be confronted by... a jar of salsa and a turkey baster(again, I would have taken a picture but...). It seems some of Kristin's co-workers think we should get started on that second child since our first one is so damn cute. (The elves, in their so-pleased-with-their-funniness-ness must have overlooked the fact that we didn't get pregnant that cycle. Ehh, who cares. It was a very funny present.)

Let me give a little back story here. It was maybe our 4th, maybe our 5th cycle. Kristin ovulated a little later than we had thought (we had already inseminated thinking that she had ovulated and then she really ovulated). We called our donor for an extra, emergency (because we were sure all the previously deposited swimmers must be dead and this was our last chance this cycle), deposit. He said he would be happy to produce for us; to make it easy on everyone this time he would produce in his home and meet us at the door with the good stuff so we could take it home and get busy with it. "Do you have anything to put the stuff in?" (besides the coffee mug we had had to use in a previous cycle and that we all agreed was not the best decision of container) "Oh yeah, I have that jar from the salsa you made me." "Ummm, did you wash it really, really well?" "Of course I did!" "Ok, I'll be there in 15 minutes." I left Kristin to get ready and headed out. He gave me the salsa jar in a discreet little brown bag and I raced home. Once there, I pulled out the jar and opened it up and we were nearly overcome by the smell of salsa semen. Yeah. Yum. Spicy. And us fresh out of tortilla chips. He had washed the jar really well, but had neglected to wash the lid. And you know what? We used it anyway.

The End

my lovely, lovely diagram

Ok, so some of you have been unable to read the incisive text on my work of art. I think it has something to do with monitor size. Because here at work (shhh, don't tell anyone I'm blogging at work) on my huge monitor the text shows up large and clear. But Kristin was trying to read it on the lap top at home and the text stayed too small. So I thought I'd try to post the picture in a larger format. If you still can't read the text, I give up, take my word for it that it's brilliant. Or email me and I will send you the original file.

By the way, I love that the discussion has moved to other blogs. Here are Star Evelina's two posts on the issue. And here I am repeating my links to the discussion over at Babycakes.

12.21.2005

Divine(ing)

So, in the spirit of returning to my spiritual life, I pulled out my tarot deck for the first time in months last night. Actually offered to give Kristin a reading. And I pulled a card to meditate on and to guide me until the next Sabbat (Imbolc, approx February 3rd a cross-quarter day also known as Candlemas). So, bear with me for the next few days as I post about this as well as meditate on the Solstice itself.

The deck I am currently using is the Motherpeace mini deck. Wonderful. The circular design allows for a great deal of precision and subtlety.





I stole (and slightly modified) the following two paragraphs from here.
“On an inner level, the Star is a symbol of that part of us which, despite disappointment, depression and loss can still cling to a sense of meaning and a future which might grow out of the unhappiness of the past. The Star does not represent a fully formed conviction of future plans, or a solution to one's problems, or a guide to action. Like the cards of the Hermit and the Hanged Man, the card of the Star is a card of waiting, for the sense of hope is a fragile light which glimmers and guides but does not dispel the darkness altogether.

"The Star, the guiding vision of hope and promise, arises not from intention but out of the ashes of the Tower which has been destroyed. The Fool waits amidst the rubble, without any clear sense of how or what to rebuild. In the midst of this confusion and collapse of old attitudes and structures, the faint, elusive yet potent Star rises.”

In this deck, specifically, the woman has come to a place of warmth and healing even as it is, in itself, a place without answers. The rains wash the rubble away; it washes the ash from her hair. She can clean her eyes. She can clean her ears. She can soak the toxins from her body. She can relax; she can let even her cells expand; she can gather her strength for the next stage of the journey; she can get an idea of where she is going and what she can do next.

Here is a very old, old poem of mine that I think begins to touch on this. It’s a sestina, just so you know. Though, of course, when writing in forms, if I really have to explain that it’s in a form then I haven’t written the form well enough (which is possible since this is such a very old poem)

Luring Fantasy

Lately she's been giving in to the urge to sleep naked in the sun,
and allow her dreams to swirl slowly like a bed of restless sand
or submerging whales. Amazingly sunburn still manages to stiffen her skin;
but heat smoothes into the painful swells of her joints
and the one is worth the other, she figures; worth exposure to the beach
and surf's dance of argument and counterpoint.

Once she wanted to swim like a whale, move in a counterpoint
of desire and breath between clinging water and diffuse sun.
Everyday she sang to the whales, in early spring she saw one beached
and dusty. In a fur coat she stood on the gray and sandy
shore with her friends, shaking and stoned, smoking joints
and drinking, trying to remember how to breathe, how to feel her skin

again, how to move. She sleeps, she dreams of a covering of skins,
the soft and supple feel of a counterpane
of fur; the bones, sinews and joints
removed. She burrowed into it reaching for sun
as she now digs unconsciously into the sand
as if she were a whale, trying to swim through the beach,

through the hallowed loneliness of this beach.
When her friends had drunk enough and smoked too much, they tried to skin
that whale using beach-glass, the smashed rum bottle, even a broken sand-
dollar someone had found. She and her body were ineffective counterpoint
to their brittle wishes, so she huddled in her coat till the shrouded sun
set and they staggered away from the shreds. She buried the exposed joints

by flashlight... Mercifully she relaxes her joints,
her toes, her eyelids. She flings whales beyond the brilliant beach,
lures back dusty fantasies with the promise of a watery sun;
they start as tremors beneath her skin
as her lungs fill and release, her fingers ease, her eyes flick counterpoint
to her tissues expanding, to her breath pushing back against the sand.

When she finally got home that long-ago night, her eyes felt like sand
paper. She fixed another drink, but dropped it when a floor joist
creaked like whalesong beneath her feet. She stood by her counter, pointedly
ignoring the broken glass because it's liquid glitter reminded her of beach
sand. She showered the surf off of her skin
and wrapped up in a towel to sleep in the rising sun.

In sleep, with or without sun, what they stripped and buried in the sand
joins other broken, breathless whales under her skin.
Since that beach, she swims many pieces at once.

12.19.2005

Some posts just don't know when to die (edited to add a diagram of what I'm talking about)

Or:

Certain people will be returning the presents they bought for me for Christmas after hearing about this.

Is it too much to hope that they won’t hear about it? I don’t want to ruffle feathers again. But I also want to be very clear and it appears that to some it looks like I overreacted. Since this sentiment (you’re just overreacting to perceived traces of homophobia in the way people speak and interact with you) is what allows the radical right to make such progress in their attempts to marginalize and legislate against families like mine, (like kudzu – chopping off tendrils doesn’t eradicate the plant, you have dig out the roots) I thought I would (again) clarify just where the homophobia lay in the rhetoric behind the conversation. I’m not linking to the original post. That would be too much. If you’re so interested, and you don’t remember, you’ll have to do the work to find it in my archives yourself. Just keep this disclaimer in your mind. I love the people involved. They are good people. They have come a long way. They would never knowingly or willingly hurt me. The original post was not about calling them, individually, Bad People. It was about attempting to discuss how insidious homophobia can be and personalizing it to show how it has/is affecting me.

Standard Disclaimer: Again, like so many of my “intellectual posts” this one is long and rambling and occasionally not as focused or incisive as I’d like.


“That's not to say that any child, gay or straight will have it easy, but certainly you'd stipulate that a GLBT child will have just a little heavier burden to carry, right? So was it actually a homophobic reaction or was it wanting the easiest life for [your child]?”

Yes, LGBT kids carry an extra burden than straight kids; but in our society there are so many extra burdens to pass around: mental illness, birth defects, color, class, learning disabilities, introversion, paganism, Republicanism etc. Really, can you plan on a child never having any of them? Ever? Should you choose not to have a child because of the possibility they will have to carry one of these burdens? Perhaps, if the burden is severe, if the child would be crushed under it, if it is certain that your child would, indeed, have to bear that burden (and of course, I am thinking about Republicanism here) because the child would be born with it. Then, perhaps, it would be best not to give birth, maybe you should adopt. Or perhaps if it goes that far (if, for instance your child would be certain to have fetal alcohol syndrome -- a huge burden--) you shouldn't parent at all (because if you can't stop drinking while pregnant to create a healthy baby, then why would you think you would ever be sober enough to raise a healthy child). But not to have a child, or not to have a particular sex of child so as to avoid the possibility of that child carrying an extra burden? Does that strike anyone else as ridiculous?

Are you wondering why I am comparing a gay child to a child with birth defects and/or child abuse? Well, a) I'm trying to show how silly it is to consider gayness a burden compared to other burdens children can have and b) because many, many people consider gayness equivalent to a birth defect or a serious illness or child abuse. It's why I both hope and fear the discovery of a genetic/biological cause of homosexuality. Once it's scientifically proven to be biological it becomes harder to discriminate against us, but it also becomes a birth-defect, something to test for and (maybe eventually) abort if found. Where will the religious right stand then? Pro-life, but only pro-straight life? No, I know the answer to that question because they don't care about the quality of the life of the about-to-be or possibly-to-be-aborted fetus. If they did, they’d spend more time working to improve the quality of life for the children they “save”. No, they'll advocate against aborting gay fetuses at the same time as they advocate for gay people to be celibate, and closeted, and lonely, and quiet, and continuously trying to be "normal".

Because I believe that homosexuality is based largely on genetics (queerness is not genetic, though, queerness is placed upon/grown into) I do believe in that mysterious creature called the gay child. I have met some. I have recognized them even as everyone else is counting on a straight future for the little tyke. And I know that I have met some that I did not recognize; the way no one would have recognized me as gay at the age of 7 or 8 (though, believe me, I was). These children are not made to be gay by straight parents, they just are. And they do not have a problem with being different until it is pressed upon them that they should have a problem with it because everyone else does. Unlike some of the burdens faced by children, the extra burden gay children have is not endemic to gayness, it is a social thing. It does not arise from differences in abilities, but rather from a perceived violation of an unspoken social contract. And this burden is often placed upon the children not only by society in general, but also by family members. In their own home, children are told that they are not ok. That they will always be sad and lonely and outcast. That they would be so much happier if only they could change (a corollary to this is that society and the laws will never change, so they might as well give up and try to change themselves). So, given that, a gay child in a household headed by gay parents has less of a burden than one in a straight household (unless the gay parents are burdened and acting out their own internalized homophobia).

But wouldn’t a straight child then have that burden placed upon them? Doesn’t it follow that a person who is out and proud would want everyone else to be gay? Well, I can’t speak for all well-adjusted LGBT people, but I can say that the fight to be who we are and accepted for that means that we would never want to put someone else in the position of trying to change or hide their essential being. So, a straight child will be allowed to be a straight child without me trying to force them to try harder at being gay, though that child will have to be open and tolerant. And by open I don’t mean experimental.

The crux of homophobia is that the person is lost behind the perception of that person. A homophobe looks at an LGBT person and sees only sex acts, only difference, and often (but not always) only perversion. Even someone who “tolerates” LGBT people can be homophobic by seeing homosexuality (or being transsexual) as a problem that the person is working hard to make the best of. The LGBT person is reduced to only one note; all their actions, all their desires, all their motivations, all their plans are brought back to that one note whether the person doing the reducing sees that one note as bad or good. Hence the fact that despite everything my brothers know about me as a person, about my fierce defense of human rights, free will, freedom of expression, they would be concerned about my ability to raise a girl to be the person she was meant to be rather than a mini-me. And it is telling that they would not be concerned about my raising a gay boy. Because if I’ve been reduced to one note, my sexual and romantic attraction to women, then I cannot move beyond that enough to encourage (or actively force) a boy to be attracted to boys. It’s the same rhetoric that says that gay men shouldn’t raise boys. The fact that the original conversation I am referring to hinged on the belief that I would force a child at the very least to experiment with same-sex dating and at the most actively forbid them from being straight reduces me, as a parent, to my sexual orientation as well as making it clear that that sexual orientation is a problem that I shouldn’t pass on to my children. And it works to try to gain my complicity in making certain my children end up straight – so I won’t be seen as forcing my child into being gay. And (moving just slightly off point here) that’s what angers and bothers me about the studies on gay parents that trumpet the fact that children of gay parents are no more likely to be gay than children of straight parents as a reason to go ahead and let gays parent. As if, if it were different, if gays did have more gay children, it would not be ok to let them parent, because the last thing society wants is to have more gay children being produced. For the children’s sake, of course, because what decent person would wish such a burden on an innocent child? God, that’s like wishing them to have a birth defect so we can work towards equality for the physically challenged.

And if you’re going to tell me that I am, myself, either homophobic or heterophobic, all I can say is that you’re probably right. I most certainly have traces of these prejudices within me. But I work hard at eradicating them and not projecting them upon others. Sometimes I am more successful at this, sometimes I am less. So, I don’t think that being homophobic is necessarily a bad thing – unless one is comfortable and complacent and acting out.

Here is one of my magnificent drawings to help explain what I'm saying (and that I am not actually lumping the crazies with the ones who are just uncomfortable with homosexuality. Well, OK, I am to some extent, but I'd also like to point out that I think we all fit somewhere on The Kudzu of Fear and Prejudice (it's a big plant))



Ok, so how many people did I offend this time? Don’t tell me.

PS -- Sacha and M have 2 great posts that relate to what I'm talking about. This one and this one.

You'll have just to imagine this

Here is a short list of the magnificent pictures I would post if my blankety-blank digital camera had a battery:

  • Our christmas tree
  • Zoe curled up under the christmas tree
  • Oliver with his head stuck through the cat door
  • Our vintage 1950's gas log complete with carcinogenic sparkles to give the illusion of "real" embers. You can't see any flames, but boy those sparkling bits sure fool one into thinking we have a real fire going.
  • Julia, her face smeared with her very first cereal, managing somehow both to smile and slurp cereal off the spoon at the same time.
  • Julia screaming in excitement and happiness as cereal falls out of her mouth, down her bib, and into her lap.
  • Oscar waiting very patiently for us to give up feeding things to that squirmy creature that for some reason we pay so much attention to, and start remembering that he is the one to whom we should be feeding treats (while at the same time crowding very close so that he can catch any cereal that falls from the spoon or Julia's mouth into his sphere of influence)
  • Julia sleeping on Kristin's lap with Zoe curled around her
  • Oliver "cleaning up" the pile of cat barf Zoe left for us on the rug just inside the cat door (just kidding, I wouldn't have taken a picture of that, that's just gross. But you want to know something grosser than that? We let him because we are still so tired and by letting him do what he so wanted to do, we avoided having to clean it up ourselves... at least removing the chunks -- we still wiped up the residue and disinfected, I swear!)

I really need a new battery.

12.16.2005

Good Things

So many, many good things happened yesterday and over the night. Not the least of these good things is all the new real-estate on Gruyere Way. One of the coolest things about it is the way it flushed some lurkers out of hiding. Lauri told me that you were reading, Benji, but I wasn't sure I believed her. I thought she was trying to reassure me that I did, indeed, have more readers than I thought. (or she was trying to deny responsibility for all the Iowa hits, freaky stalker that she is! She wants me, she wants me bad.) The neighborhood is the coolest ever and I really wish it existed somewhere (in part, I must admit, because I would love to be lounging on a beach in a hammock in some lovely 80 degree weather surrounded by margaritas and cool people). Though, it appears that we have a spec-house on the street, since the builder didn't leave a name. Maybe he or she is planning on selling it? Let's all hope we get a good neighbor. Maybe Mothra to do battle with Lauri's godzilla? (yes, Lauri, I know it's a brontosaurus -- or maybe a pleseiosaur?-- but there are no pop-culture references to famous monsters that do battle with brontosauri). If you're reading this and you haven't yet moved in, there's still time (just don't click on the link above to draw your house, click on this link to make certain your house gets added to Gruyere Way). It's monstrous fun.

Also, I just wanted to make a disclaimer: when I was complaining about all of my good friends moving out of state away from me, I didn't mean to discount the importance of Moss's proximity. Yes, my good friend Moss is still here. She seems not to have a sensitive nose. However, I also understand that she will be leaving eventually, too. So, everyone abandons me eventually whine whine whine. Ok, I'm over that now.

And thanks to everyone who has signed the frappr map. It seems that most of my participatory readers come from the same time zone. And it's not mine. Fascinating-strange.

So, I'll gloss over the recounting all of the rest of the good things that happened yesterday, with just a mention that I am pretty happy today because of them and get to the most important good thing that happened:

I got my cheerful, smiling, giggling, wriggling, babbling baby back! And she's nearly mastered sitting up on her own! It's such a relief to have her back. Plus, she slept really well last night. Went down about 9 and slept to 3:30, then back down at 4:30 and slept till we woke her up at 6:30. In celebration, I am posting another cute picture of her...

(taken by Heather)

12.15.2005

Do I smell or something?

I found out last night that A (not to be confused with A who watches Julia) just accepted a job in Portland. That means that she's moving on January 3rd. Her partner, N, will move either very soon (if she gets the job she just applied for) or in May when the school year ends. Either way, they'll both be gone. Kristin and I consider A&N our best couple friends. This means that I will have lost 3 of my (rather limited)IRL best friends to other states within the course of a year (Lauri & Benji moved last May). Now, I knew that Lauri and Benji were leaving when I met them. They were only here for school. And Jennifer will be leaving soon, too, since she's only here for school. But this whole move of A's is rather a surprise since they just bought a new house and haven't even finished remodeling it yet.

This move will be good for A, but I'm pretty down about it. Maybe it's time for me and Kristin to move, too. It's just that I really want to be close to my mother when it's my turn to be pregnant and give birth.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who moved onto Gruyere Way. I love the illustration of this wonderful on-line community. If you haven't yet built your house, please do, we're going to have some rockin' block parties...

12.14.2005

Where in the world is Carmen SanDiego? UPDATED cause I did it wrong

Hey all, how can I plan out my super-duper road/plane/boat trip to meet all of you if you don't let me know the general vicinity where you live?

So, please go to my Frappr! map and post your pin. I'll put this link in my sidebar so everyone can see it.

Thanks

PS - Thanks to Lorem who let me know that she was having problems. It turns out I had made the wrong kind of map -- I had made the kind of map that people couldn't add themselves to. Silly me. It's fixed now. Go there (please?)

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day...

Amanda's right. We all need some R&R. You too. All of you. Plus, Wannabemom mentioned that there are real-life blogger meetings going on and I'm wishing really hard that I could meet a bunch of you in real life. So... until then, come move in next to me on Gruyere Way (cause I like cheese!). Click on this link and draw a house (it doesn't need to be on the ocean like mine -- that's the magic of Gruyere Way it can contain all sorts of landscaping). Then you take this little personality test and then you receive great wisdom about yourself. Then your house appears on my street. Come back and let me know that you've moved in so I can bring over some baked treats (he he -- wait, no, don't let that scare you readers of the Tammi Letters on Estelle's blog off) . We can all see everyone's house by clicking this link, but if you click this second link to build a house you won't get your house on my street and what's the fun in that?

Let's have a slumber party!

PS-- Thanks to Anne for bringing this to my attention. You can check out her street (and my treehouse) here.

All My Children

Julia is still sick. And she's become disillusioned with the state.

For the first 9 days of her cold, she thought it was pretty cool. All the phlegm made great sounds, and even after she lost her voice she seemed overly tickled with the hoarse croak that would come out of her mouth, and kept croaking and croaking until she began to lose even that. When she lost her voice (Sunday), Kristin and I took her to the clinic where she was made much of by all the nurses. They said they'd never seen such a cheerful and flirty sick baby. Julia kept smiling and trying to sweet-talk them with her little froggy-voice. The doctor confirmed that she had a cold, but agreed with us that her congestion was extreme, and prescribed a decongestant and told us to watch for signs of ear infection.

Monday, Julia started to become cranky. But by yesterday she was downright ornery. She stopped talking, laughing or smiling. She wouldn't make eye contact. If she was not on my shoulder with her back getting patted or with her face pressed against Kristin's breast, she was hollering. Yelling. Screaming out in the only way she could that she was miserable and it was all our fault and how dare we not do everything we could to make her more comfortable since we had made her so miserable in the first place. WE OWED HER.

It was a long evening. And Kristin was up with her all night.* We were planning on taking her back to the doctor's today, but about 4 AM she finally ate (we'd been struggling to get her to eat all day) and fell asleep. And when I had to wake her up to get ready for the day, our cheerful, babbling baby was back. We're hoping that she's turned the corner and will now begin to get better. Our house looks like it did immediately post-partum. Laundry, dishes, dusting, vacuuming all undone. Clutter, clutter everywhere and not a place to sit. Actually, it looks worse than it did back then, because people kept coming by and cleaning up for us. Now, we're on our own.

Still, it could be worse. I'm just glad she seems to be getting back to normal.

The dogs are hoping that she's getting back to normal as well.

Since Julia's been sick, we've had the dog gate up to keep them out of the living room. That's because the living room is full of humidifiers, dirty burpcloths, aspirators, medicine droppers, baby toys and all sorts of other stuff the dogs are just slavering over getting their teeth on. We're too exhausted to clean up, and besides, if we put the stuff away, we'll just be searching frantically for it again in the next moment when Julia needs whatever that was we put away right that very second. So, the dog gate. This has severly interfered with Oliver and Oscar's customary lounging.

See, it's cold in our house right now. And we have hardwood floors. And though in the basement are 2 very large beanbag chairs that the dogs love to sleep in when we're downstairs, they won't go down there without us (unless Oliver has stolen something he wants to chew in peace, then he takes it down stairs to hide while he destroys it), so that means that when the couch and chairs and loveseat in the living room are blocked off, the only soft thing to lie on is their (gasp!) dog bed. And though the dog bed is huge enough for both of them, they refuse to share it. Well, let's be honest here. Oscar refuses to share it.

He is a typical oldest child. I should know, I am one. And I admit that I was a terror to my younger siblings. If you don't believe me, re-read this.

When we first got Oscar, we were so excited to have a puppy to spoil, we bought him a deluxe dog bed. And he rewarded us by chewing it to pieces. So we took it away. Later, when he was older, we bought him another one. He, refusing to succumb to our complacent, middle-class love of luxury when there are dogs in the third world who don't have the opportunity to sleep on a clean floor let alone a cushy dog bed, would have none of it. Besides, none of his other friends slept on a dog bed, and he didn't want to be the uncool one. So, he scorned the dog bed. The dog bed stayed unused and pristine, occasionally we used it as extra seating for our guests, it was that clean.

Then we got Oliver. Now Oliver is a luxury-loving dog. He loves hisself some comfort. When we first brought him home, he made a beeline to the dog bed and we worried that it would soon be in shreds, depriving us of our fancy floor-cushion. But no, instead of tearing it up like it was a rabbit making faces at him, he curled up on it with a sigh and fell immediately asleep. Oscar ignored the behavior for a couple of days, and then suddenly he decided that after 2 years of insisting on sleeping on the floor or the couch, he had a pressing need to sleep on his dog bed. This pressing need would manifest itself the moment Oliver got comfortably settled in the middle of the cushion. And even though at the time Oliver was a measly 7 lbs and took up maybe 1/100th of the space on that huuuuuuuuuuuge cushion, Oscar had to nose him off and sprawl out over the entire cushioned surface. Poor Oliver had nowhere to sleep since he was too little to get up on the couch (which is where Oscar usually slept). So we bought another dog bed, a smaller, Oliver-sized bed. Which Oscar immediately co-opted as well. That was hilarious watching him squeeze onto that small bed. And when Oscar wasn't on it, Zoe (the cat) was. It was an endless merry-go-round of bed swapping that was only alleviated when Oliver got big enough to get on the couches. Then, though Oliver preferred the dog bed to the couch, Oscar seemed to have felt that he got his message across, and left the bed to Oliver in order to resume sleeping on the couch or chair.

Now, since the couch and chair are barred from use, and Zoe has fully claimed the smaller bed, poor Oliver is again left to sleep on the floor. He is very unhappy. So unhappy that even though he knows he is not allowed on the bed, if we leave our bedroom door open, he jumps up onto the bed (no mean feat since the bed is 4 feet off the ground). For the first 2 days he was doing this I would come in to the room to find him on the bed and we would go through the whole routine of me forcing him off and shooing him out of the room. Now, as soon as I approach the bedroom, I hear the thump of him jumping off the bed, and I'll walk into the room to find him curled up on the floor, breathing only slightly faster than normal. He thinks he's got me fooled. I'm just too tired to push the point.

Even Zoe is getting put out by this extended cold of Julia's. Zoe liked the illness at first because we all did a lot of lounging around, and Zoe's favorite activity is lying on people who are lying around. But now even she's getting a little disgruntled because Julia won't talk or pull her fur anymore. Zoe loves it when Julia pulls her fur. She thinks she's getting petted. And she and Julia just look at each other and purr together. But now that Julia isnt' playing with her anymore, and Kristin and I have begun pushing Zoe off of us because her ploys for attention are too annoying on such little sleep, Zoe has decided that a house full of sick and prone people (though something she asked for in her dreams) is not as much fun as she thought it would be and has begun avoiding us.

We all need Julia to get well again.


*Yes, Kristin did have Julia all night while I slept the sleep of the dead. And she is wonderful. But to be fair to me, we've been trading off nights, so I've been doing my share. Honest. I swear to god. In fact, when Kristin was sick with her sinus infection last week, I did 4 whole nights in a row. So there. Stop looking at me like that.

12.12.2005

Because it's winter and I feel hollow today

AND NOW

lying on the grass in an arboretum
watching the shade of an exotic
tree run up my legs
the mountains in the distance
as full of transparent depths
as the Peach Leafed Willow
leaning over the bench
I am not lying on today

today I am a physicist
everything is pure light
always has been
but the density of things

now that I know everything is falling light
everything is as translucent and touchable
as the midday moon
there’s nothing to hold on to
I notice the Willow gone in January
and now if I’m smiling

when I mention this to a girl
I’m afraid of falling for
while we stand in a planetarium after the show
she pauses in her spinning
of the moon and says
fall is another word
for orbit
and she twists
the moon again around its axis

I think about how I hurtle
though winter just to come back around
to winter where the ground is slick
I never slow down
everything falls together and apart
and I think now the Willow
must have moved too fast
against the mountains and so fell
leaving a moon-shape
filled by falling clumps of dirt
both particles and waves
I’ll never move fast enough to catch it
now I try to follow slowly
let it take me from behind

12.09.2005

Sometimes hitting things helps

Ok, remember the little not-starting thing that my car was doing? The one that was vaguely related to the battery? Cause it was acting like the battery was dead? That thing? Well, the car has been fine for the last couple of days. Then this morning in bitter cold weather, I took Julia (who's THRILLED that she's so phlegmy, since the extra fluid in her throat helps her to make even more interesting sounds) to A's and came back out, happy that I was going to be on time to catch my train, and the damned car wouldn't start. And no one but A to give me a jump, and I didn't want to ask her cause that would mean she would have to leave a passel o'kids alone while doing it. So, since my brother had mentioned that he thought it might be something to do with the battery connection, I popped the hood (needed to pop it anyway if I was going to attract the attention of a battery-weilding jumper) and stood over the engine armed with a screwdriver. What I was going to do with a screwdriver I have only the fuzziest idea, but it was the only tool I had in the car besides my jumper cables. I poked at the battery terminals desultorily for a few moments, and tried to start my car again, and nothing.

And then rage entered. The rage that I so rarely feel and never express. That rage.

And I went back and looked at my stupid-head battery that was keeping my stupid-head car from starting and making me late for my stupid-head job and forcing me to stand there in the stupid-head 12 degree weather and I hit it with the screw driver. And it felt so good that I hit it again and then one more time. And then I heard it. That annoying buzzing sound that my car makes when my keys are in the ignition and the door is open and the battery is working. So I jumped in the car to try to start it... and it didn't start. So I got back out and I hit the battery again several more times until I heard the buzzing again, and then I hit it one more time for good measure and jumped in the car and this time it started.

Who knew? My car is a masochist and just needed a good flogging.

And I gave it what it so desperately needed.

You know what this means I should be, don't you?

I should be a mechanic.

12.08.2005

Midnight... not a sound on the pavement...

Got this from Calliope, and since you all know by now what a huge solipsist I am...

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, even if we don't speak often, please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL MEMORY OF YOU AND ME.

It can be anything you want--good or bad--BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE.

When you're finished, post this paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you.

unhappy milestone (and something maybe happy)

I am sorry to say that it appears Julia has her first cold. The poor thing is all stuffed up and this morning began a phlegmy little cough. She's such a cheerful baby, though, that she's remained in relatively good spirits about the whole thing, she's just been getting tired more easily, and since she really doesn't like to fall asleep, she's been a bit crankier than usual around her normal sleepy times.

Kristin is also sick, which makes me the only non-mucusy one in the whole household.

On another, related (I'm sure) note. Last night we realized that if WE are cold in our house, then our baby is probably cold. Yeah, we're brilliant over here. And it dimly occurred to us that her reverting to wanting to be held all night might have something to do with said chillyness. So last night we dressed for bed in: a onesie, socks, a heavy cotton nightgown, a long-sleeved sleep sac with the sleeves pulled over her hands, a hat, a receiving blanket, and a partridge. Have you ever seen the movie "A Christmas Story"? She looked just like the little kid in the snowsuit. Yes, we realize that the partridge might have been a bit much, but he just looked so left out sitting in his pear tree all alone... and yes, we know that overheating and excess cloth around the baby are sids risks, but it's not like we were covering her in a down comforter on a waterbed, and besides, she sleeps propped upright in her swing. Anyway, I finally got her to sleep around 10 PM and she slept all the way until...

4:15 am! and then she woke to drink 2 oz and go right back to sleep. I was back in bed by 4:30! Woo hoo! And I had to wake her at 7:00 because we thought I would be taking her to A's, but then she had the cough and we decided that I would stay home from work with her so she can rest and hopefully start back on the mend. So then I regretted waking her, cause I could have slept in! Oh well, now she's down for a nap, so I can tell that she is definitely not feeling well, because she slipped off without even a minor struggle.

Let's hope that it was the bundling and not the virus that helped her (mostly) sleep through the night!

12.07.2005

I'm procrastinating, so I thought I'd amuse myself.


You scored as The Student Dyke. Your entire life is defined by two things: your intellect and your sexuality; moreover you often merge the two to lure in women.

The Student Dyke

70%

The Vaginal-Reference-Making Dyke

50%

The Pretty-Boi Dyke

50%

The Quasi-Gothic Femme

45%

The Femme Fatale

45%

The Granola Dyke

40%

The Stud

35%

The Surprise! Dyke

30%

The Sprightly Elfin Femme

15%

The Bohemian Dyke

15%

The Little-Boy Dyke

10%

The Magic Earring Ken Dyke

10%

The Hipster Dyke

0%

What Type of Lesbian Are You? (Inspired by Curve Mag.)
created with QuizFarm.com


Wow! Right on. Now if only I could get into a PhD program... I could really stretch that out and be a student forever!

Let me know what kinda dykes y'all are. Come on, you know you don't really want to be working/cleaning/making dinner/watching TV/doing something meaningful right now.

This is your brain. This is your brain on a snowy day when you forgot your cell phone and you don't have any reading material for the train

Yesterday was our first big snowstorm of the season. It really wasn't all that big, not a lot of snow was dumped, but it started out raining and then the temps dropped drastically, so we had a lot of ice under the snow and the roads were terrible.

I timed my trek to the train station after work so that I would arrive only moments before the train, but once there I realized that I had forgotten my cell phone at my desk. And that there was no time for me to go back to get it. This is not unusual. I forget my cell phone all the time. In fact, I consider my cell phone merely a portable answering machine. Not that anyone calls me on it. I have no friends, whine whine whine.

Anyway. It was a bit tricky that I forgotten my phone yesterday since I was supposed to pick Julia up from A's house because Kristin had meetings. This normally wouldn't have been something that would require the use of a phone, but my car had just spent the weekend and some change in my brother's shop for unexplained dead-battery behavior (unexplained because even though I had to get jumpstarts from strangers twice and Kristin once, once we got it to the shop it started for him every time beautifully -- he thinks it's got an intermittent short somewhere) and we had only picked it up because we needed to have 2 cars on this day and we decided to play the odds that it would act up again for the payoff that it wouldn't and Julia wouldn't have to stay at A's past pick-up time. So it was kinda important that I have my phone so that just in case we lost our bet with the car I could call A and let her know that I was on my way and/or call my brother to bitch at him (not about his mechanic skills but about my crappy luck).

But the other reason I was wanting my phone was because the weather was so bad and the roads so scary that I really wanted to be reachable in case of a terrible accident. And as soon as I articulated that thought to myself I began the slippery slide into anxiety and creative visualization.

See, I suddenly had the vision of Kristin being involved in a fatal car accident and someone trying to call me to let me know and since I didn’t have my phone with me, they wouldn’t be able to reach me until it was too late for me to see her while she was clinging to life and then I would have to live with the knowledge that if only I hadn’t forgotten my phone, I could have been with her at the end, screaming at doctors to do something, ANYTHING, to save her life and sobbing briefly, quietly, before returning to her side while she left the mangled wreck of her body for the peace of whatever comes next.

And then the visualizations just got worse.

And in them I forgot that I didn’t have my phone with me and then suddenly I’m getting The Call while driving to pick up Julia and am told that I need to get to X hospital immediately, so I hang up and call my parents and ask them to go to A’s and get Julia for me and bring her to the hospital and I’ll have to call A and let her know what’s going on… but then I realize that I don’t know where A lives or what her phone number is! Oh My God. What kind of a mother am I? I can’t call A and let her know what’s happened and I can’t give my parents the address so they can go get Julia and bring her to her mother’s death-bed. I mean, I mostly navigate by intuition and landmarks, and though I can try to tell them how to get there, the kinds of things I consider germaine most other people would think made no sense at all… “drive till it feels right to make a left turn, and then right past the thingy that looks like that one other thingy you make another right and then from there you…” but maybe my dad can figure it out… No, wait, I’ll call N, she knows where A lives and she’s on the emergency pick-up list and she’s much closer than my parents are, so she can get there sooner. But what if I get there without Julia and Kristin’s just been holding on so that she can see her daughter and I show up without Julia and Kristin can’t hold on any longer and so she dies in bitter disappointment and I will have to live with the knowledge that at this crucial moment I failed her and there’s nothing I can do to make up for it?

And so on, and so on, and so on.

Of course, the prospect of ME dying in a fiery, snowy crash never occurred to me because I am a terrific driver.* Remember? We had this conversation already. But what I didn’t tell you then is that if I am a great driver in fair weather, I am a virtuoso driver in foul. I am excellent in the snow. I had to be. When I was 19 I had to be to work at 5:30 AM, and I lived with my parents in a canyon 40 minutes away from my work on a dirt road that didn’t get plowed that early in the morning. And that was a bad year for snow. My car was a 1980 Chevy Monza (heavy, heavy bastard of a car) with rear-wheel drive and tires that were so bald I was excited when cords finally started showing cause I figured that gave me more traction. We lived down a hill from the main (read: paved) street, so that meant that to get up to the road one had to get up enough speed so that momentum would help you make it up the steepest part of that hill. In order to do that, one had to gather speed in our driveway (a fairly long driveway – the house sits on 2 ½ acres) and then not lose that speed when making a 90 degree right turn onto the dirt road so that one didn’t lose momentum. If you didn’t calculate your speed and didn’t time the turn just right, you would either 1) slow to a stop halfway up the hill and then slide backwards all the way down the hill, past the house and end up at the bottom of the hill, stuck, or 2) end up in the (slight) ditch/snow bank on the other side of the road from our driveway. It only took me 3 instances of having to wake my father up at 5 am so he could stumble into clothes and go get my car from where I had lodged it before I determined that I would 1) make certain that I didn’t get it stuck in either of the 2 places again and 2) if I did get it stuck, I would unstick it myself. Consequently I now have both the ability to judge what a car will do in icy, snowy conditions when performing certain maneuvers and a knack for getting vehicles unstuck without resorting to winches and 4-wheel drive.

So, this is what I thought about all the way to the train station parking lot, all the way to pick Julia up (my car deigned to start for me), all the way through the terrible traffic on the slippery roads home, and for the next 2 hours while I fed Julia, made dinner and waited for Kristin to make her way home from her work-related errands on the Very Bad Roads. Fun, huh? Don’t you want to be me? On nights like last night, neither do I.

Oh, and yes. Kristin was fine. She’s not a bad snow driver herself. And I’m planning on giving my parents A’s address so they have it just in case.



* yes, yes, I know that it would most likely be another, terrible snow driver that caused the accident that killed me, but all I can say to that is that I am such a great driver that I would probably intuitively sense the impending doom and take corrective action before the accident even began. Besides, if I was the one dying in a car accident, I wouldn’t have to be the one worrying about who to call and freaking out over the fact that I have no idea where my daughter’s daycare is even though I drop her off every morning, now would I? And where’s the fun in that?

12.06.2005

Julia Christmas 2005


Julia Christmas 2005
Originally uploaded by Temmerling.
Taken yesterday. She was in such a good mood. If you would like to see more, head on over to the SF. If you don't know what I'm talking about, email me and if you're not an internet stalker-type I'll share.


Gotta love that little fat roll on her wrist...

12.03.2005

A challenge... or a cry for help?

Ok peoples. Do any of you have extra time, a talent with design and/or photoshopping, and the desire to see your work represent the mediocre mind-ramblings of me?

This blog template is boring. It looks like a lot of other people's. I get confused when I go to other people's blogs and see my template but don't remember writing what's on the page there. Yes, yes, yes, I know there are other templates out there I could search for an implement, but I want something original. Plus, I love the font and general layout on this one. I just want a better background and a masthead.

So, if any of you would like to make me one, I will love you forever and ever. I will laud your qualities and your good looks. I will praise you to the sky. I will post your name as my webdesigner. I will send you jam/jelly/salsa/a hat. Whatever it takes. I would really love if the imagery for the masthead came from the poem that my title comes from. You can find the poem by clicking the link in the sidebar that says "this site's mission statement". I particularly love the image of the "cracked bowl shining".

Now I realize that this is a lot to ask for, and that you're all very busy people (though not so busy you can't waste your time here, may I point out) but I thought that really, it's for you that I'm doing this. I don't really look at my blog, after all. You do. Plus, if you don't put things out there, no one ever gives you things. And besides, what's the worst that can happen? A resounding silence? A contemptuous laugh? A hollow promise? The sudden death of my readership? I've dealt with all of that before, and it only took me 9 months of psychotherapy to get back on my feet again.

You don't want to be the one to put me back into therapy, do you? I didn't think so.

Please?

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hats for sale

They’re adorable, no? I bet you know a baby that they would look good on. Why don’t you click on the picture and buy one…

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