The following is an ebay auction that has since been removed:
WANTED: SpOnSoR fOr CiRcUmCiSiOn
Time left: 6 days 8 hours
7-day listing, Ends Feb-06-06 16:20:47 PST
Start time: Jan-30-06 16:20:47 PST
History: 0 bids
Item location: Calgary, Alberta
Ships to: Worldwide
Shipping costs: Check item description and payment instructions or contact seller for details
I am looking for a sponsor to help with the costs of circumcision for my son, who is due March 24, 2006. I remember the first and last time I ever saw an uncircumcised penis was the most atrociously, horrendous experience of my life. The lights were low, aromatic candles in the air, jazz music in the background, did the foreplay thing, and the clothes started coming off. The underwear came off last - otherwise I would have been gone a long time ago. I gawked at this "thing" that looked like the cross-species offspring of an earthworm, an elephant trunk, and a piggy in a blanket (a.k.a. sausage roll). I froze in sheer terror for a half second or so, then I screamed at the top of my lungs, and ran out of there like there was no tomorrow - I didn't even bother to grab my clothes, just ran out of there naked with nothing but my purse. I am sure you can only imagine how mortified that poor man felt, and to this day that foul & repulsive image of monstrosity still haunts my worst nightmares. I'm sure there's nothing like suffering that one-of-a-kind, unique experience to boost a man's self esteem. J So, you must understand why my baby should never have to go through anything of that nature.
The baby may be born a lot earlier than originally scheduled because of certain complications. They have changed my ultrasound schedule from once every 4-6 weeks to once every 1-2 weeks. Every ultrasound will determine whether the baby has to come out now or if he can stay in for another week. Note: No persons, including the parents, or filming/photography are allowed in the room at the time of circumcision. Before & after photos will be taken as proof, along with a statement provided by the doctor performing the procedure. My son will also wear a shirt stating "I got circumcised courtesy of ***name of sponsor & logo or contact information***!" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for an entire month (length of time and message may be renegotiated prior to auction ending), if desired by the winning bidder.
I was born with one kidney (which was damaged severely in 2002) and a bicornuate uterus (causing many complications in the pregnancy); therefore I am limited to the type of employment, activities, and amount of work that I can participate in. I lost my work-at-home job shortly after we found out I was pregnant and would greatly appreciate the help provided. We are good parents who planned the pregnancy. We made the efforts of getting married, purchasing a house, and waiting until we both had steady jobs & were financially stable before we even thought about creating another responsibility. However, as luck would have it, I never even got the chance to tell my employer that I was pregnant before he went bankrupt. And because I was considered a private contractor there is no unemployment insurance available to me. Fortunately, I have a very loving husband who does his best to support me emotionally and us financially. But that just barely gets us by. I hope that you will be able to help us in our time of need. I am available for hire for a work-at-home job (e.g.: data entry, phone service, etc.) that requires no start up costs. Thanks for your time and consideration!
Ok, I had wondered if this was a joke, but there was a webaddress associated with the auction announcement and if this is a joke then someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to set this thing up. But it's possible, so if it is a joke, well then, oh well.
Now before y'all get your shorts in a twist, I am not posting this as my entry into the circumcision debate. I'm not going there with this. My biggest beef is her reasoning behind the decision and her chosen method for solving the problem. I'm posting this because of the horrifying commercialization of the child's body as well as the normalization of what seem to be some pretty severe issues regarding the intact male penis.
Because she ran out of an apartment stark naked (but strangely managed to have the wherewithal to grab her purse -- not scoop up her clothes, no, not that, that would have taken too long. Is anyone else wondering about a woman who might be completely naked but keep her purse handy?) at the mere glimpse of an intact penis she assumes that most or every woman would also have done (and will do) so, and that thus every intact male will have this kind of experience, and that instead of realizing that the woman he was about to have sex with is crazy, he will realize that he is the freak.
Man, I know I've got issues, but at least I don't normalize them to the point where I will sell my child's body rather than work through them and heal. Frankly, any woman that would run out of an apartment naked (except for her purse) because she meremly saw (unless there's something more about that situation than she mentioned, and it's possible, but the way she's presented it, the problem is only that she saw it and not that it attacked her) an intact penis, does not sound emotionally stable enough to have children. What will happen the first time she sees the baby? Will they have to diaper the child before handing him to her for fear she'll jump up off the table, dropping the baby and ripping out the iv and run naked and bleeding from the hospital? And what about the first time the baby poops? or pees on her? or vomits? Or any of the other disgusting but natural things a baby is going to do?
And then that she would sell her child's body, be willing to turn her baby's chest into real estate is just too atrocious for words. Hey, give me money and I will place your logo on my baby's clothes for as long as you like (well, ok, many of us place people's logos on our child's body and pay for the priviledge but still...). If someone gives her enough money will she have the logo tattooed on the child? Can you hear that conversation down the road? "Sweetie, it says Nike on your chest because that way I could stay home with you during your first year. I know you don't remember it, but it was a very important time for us and you should be grateful for that distorted blue smudge that used to be a swoop over your heart. Of course, we blew through that money before you turned 2, so that's why your left arm says Penzoil and your right arm says Pepsi. What I can't believe, though, sweetie, is why you're so upset about the Taco Bell logo on your forehead. What's so wrong with it? You're just being ungrateful, do you realize how long I had to court them to secure that marketing deal for you? After I take my cut, that contract'll pay for part of your college education! I think it makes you look distinguished. I mean really, at least you don't have a foreskin, because that's much more likely to interfere with your future happiness than a body covered in commercial advertising. And I think the NBC logo I'm working on getting will look perfectly wonderful on your ass. All you need to do to fulfill the contract is promise to wear butt-less pants for 18 months!" Lovely.
Thanks to Estelle for the heads up.
We’re actually in the thick of this discussion at our own house, so I’ll let you in on the major points (with a lot of digression and pointless explanatory statements as usual). The question is more than just when, the question involves traces of “Should I even try to get pregnant at all?” Though we already have one child, if I were to get pregnant, in many respects it would be as if we were trying for the first time – we know about so many unknowns (as opposed to the unknowns that you don’t know you don’t know, you know?).
Fears about pregnancy itself
I always wanted to get pregnant but I only ever wanted to get pregnant once. Two children seemed like a nice number, but since I was planning on being a single mom, I figured there’d be no way I was capable of handling a pregnancy AND another child AND a job. See, all the women in my family (both sides) all have such severe morning sickness that they are truly out of commission for most of the pregnancy. They are the women who LOSE weight while pregnant, who carry around bowls and bags and peppermint gum, the women who look pale and sickly instead of glowing. Healthy babies, unhealthy mommies. No guarantees, but it looks likely that I will be that kind of pregnant woman, too. And yes, I know there are medications out there, but what side-effects do those medications have? Some of those medications given for morning sickness a generation ago resulted in birth defects that we are only now beginning to see. So, I figure I’ll have an exhaustion and vomit-filled pregnancy. And to try to do that and take care of an older child while working seemed to be too, too much I thought. I’ll have two if they’re twins. Or maybe I’ll adopt, but that’s it, no second pregnancy for me. Then I met Kristin. And when we started planning our family multiple children were always part of the picture. Partially because Kristin wanted to adopt while I wanted to birth, and partially because with two of us it seemed feasible to have more than just the one. And then Kristin decided that she’d like to birth, too. So, two kids, two different pregnancies, two different bodies. Perfect.
Then we decided that Kristin would go first. Not to be a whiner, because I know that we were lucky to get pregnant at all AND I know that that Kristin’s complications were nothing compared to some, but Kristin’s pregnancy sucked. It was awful. It was hard and scary and stressful. And though yes, YES, Julia was worth every second of it yes, still I would not want to do it again. But what does this have to do with anything, after all it will be an entirely different creature? Yes, yes it would. But Kristin’s pregnancy destroyed something for me I didn’t even realize that I was clinging to: a romantic fantasy of pregnancy. How could I have such a romantic vision of pregnancy when I had seen so many of my aunts so sick with child? I’m not sure, but all I know is that though intellectually I knew that pregnancy was hard and not all showers and nurseries and cute bellies and glowing skin and knitting, some inner child version of me was sure that that’s how it would be for me, and that all my female family members had somehow done it WRONG. Can I blame it on all the pregnancy “fashion magazines” and romanticized tales of enceinte bliss? I don’t know, but now I know the reality. They were not doing it wrong at all; they were doing the best they could. And now do I want to do something that could conceivably make me that sick for that long?
Yes, yes a baby would be worth it. But I am selfish, and I REALLY don’t like being sick. If we have to move anyway, why not just move and adopt?
Well, we’re not going to adopt because we would like the children to be closer in age than they would be if we had to move first and then start the adoption process and then wait for placement. If we planned on adopting then Julia would be 4 to 5 (or older) before we got our next child. We wanted our children to be 3 years apart or less. And no, that’s not a rational decision, it’s just the way we feel about it. And Kristin has already said that she would be willing to get pregnant again so that we could have two. But I’m not willing for her to do that. I’m not willing to be on the sidelines watching my wife go through so much again. I will take this bullet for her.
And as I type that phrase "take this bullet for her" I come to the crutch of my problem – instead of seeing pregnancy and childbirth as being something joyful and wonderful, there is a huge part of me that sees it now as something to be endured. Should I get pregnant while this is my mindset? Could I even get pregnant with this as my mindset? Would I subconsciously sabotage each attempt? Would I drive myself crazy thinking that I’m subconsciously sabotaging my efforts each month that I fail to conceive? Or would I go nuts thinking about how I’m thinking about how I may be … well, you get the picture. (please don't take this paragraph to mean that I think that every woman who fails to conceive is not pregnant because they are doing freaky self-sabotagy things. I DON'T. I just think that I am all powerful and that if I don't want something good to happen to me that I can will it not to happen -- even if I'm doing the willing subconsciously -- especially if I'm doing the willing subconsciously.)
Negative associations with Semen
Our lesbian pregnancy bible has a passage where the authors talk about needing to get rid of your issues with sperm. They propose that if you have a hostility or negativity toward the sperm within your body you may have a harder time getting pregnant. I guess your vagina will become even more hostile* if you have latent hostility toward the “invaders”? I don’t know. What I can tell you is that I have very negative associations with semen. I may not be a “penis-free lesbian” but there haven’t been many in my life. Most of my encounters with semen have been extremely negative. Not all, but most.** The first time we were inseming and semen got on my hands I FREAKED OUT. Right in the middle of the insemination I nearly burst into tears and had to forcibly restrain myself from flinging the syringe to the floor and rushing off to wash. I held my breath whenever handling the semen because I didn’t want to smell it. During the insem weeks I stayed away from the areas on Kristin that had been touched by semen. Honestly, the thought of having it inside me, of touching it, of wiping it off, of smelling it come out of me, nauseates me. It would be so much easier for me if we were doing this with washed sperm. But we love our donor and we can’t imagine not having a known donor, and we don’t want to go to the expenses entailed in having his sperm frozen, stored, tested, washed and inserted in me when if I could just get over this issue (my language, not anyone else’s) we could do it for free and on our own time. If I want to get pregnant I need to resign myself to having semen within me. And if I want to feel good about myself I need to be beyond thinking of it as “resignation”. I don’t know if I’m ready to do that.
Two miscellaneous things that will expose me as shallow and selfish (if you didn’t already know) and may even provoke mean comments that will make me cry:
Because even though I know that my idea of pregnancy is fueled by pictures of skinny, skinny women in tiny clothes with cute little bumps,*** and I know how wrong and damaging that is, I STILL see myself 80 to 100 lbs skinnier when I get pregnant. And that, people, is never going to happen. I will never be that skinny. I probably should never be that skinny. Yet how will I feel like a beautiful pregnant woman (in between bouts of vomiting) in the cute maternity clothes if I am not? If I can’t even fit into most maternity clothes even before I get pregnant? Mermaidgrrl posted a beautiful picture of a heavier pregnant woman on her site, and I look at it every day in an effort to retrain my thoughts about beauty.****
I’ve read so many sites about breastfeeding, overheard so many debates on the subject. I do truly believe that the best food for a child is breastmilk and yet… I watched Kristin struggle and struggle to produce milk for Julia. When we finally gave up there was such a release of tension in our home. And Julia is so healthy and so smart; I can’t see how she could possibly be healthier or smarter if she were exclusively breastfed. Well, I guess her poop would smell nicer. But there are women out there whom I respect who have expressed the idea that if a woman chooses NOT to breastfeed then maybe that woman shouldn’t be a mother. Maybe she’s not selfless enough. I am already a mother and yet I didn’t breastfeed. If I had breastfed Julia would that make me MORE of her mother? But I guess that’s not the point. I think the point is that by choosing not to breastfeed you are choosing not to do what you think to be best for your child, and what kind of a mother would choose not to do what’s best for her child? I have to tell you that the few times I suckled Julia I hated it. It didn’t hurt, exactly. I know I had her latched on correctly. It’s more that the sensation had me wanting to crawl up the walls. And the thought of that sensation fading because I will lose some sensitivity in my nipples makes me want to cry. And my breasts are already so large I worry about the state of my back (and my chances of finding even bigger bras) if they get any larger. So how do I reconcile the idea of giving birth and being a good mother with my extreme reluctance to breastfeed? I have decided that I will nurse my newborn to provide him/her with colostrum, but after that I guess I’ll see, perhaps it won't be as bad as I think. But you know this goes back to the semen thing. Will I have breastfeeding problems simply because I don’t want to breastfeed? Will I have breastfeeding problems because I’m sure I’m going to have breastfeeding problems because I don’t want to breastfeed. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
I just want to work through this all with the least amount of self-recrimination possible. And I want everyone to love me and think I’m not so selfish and needy and neurotic that I can’t do a perfect job. I just want to add to our wonderful family without fucking everything up in the process.
My current job is a contractual one. My contract is up in October (I think, maybe September). The trend here is to keep contractual workers on by renewing their contracts and all my colleagues talk as if I am to be here for a good long time. But still, there’s a level of uncertainty. After the last pregnancy and all the stress associated with expecting a child while one partner was unemployed, Kristin and I do not want to begin TTCing and then find out that my contract will not be renewed. So, we wait until I can ask and find out if they will be renewing my contract. Hopefully I’ll know well before the contract is up. And then we hope that if I get pregnant before I get firm papers that nothing happens to change their mind. Further, because I don’t want to have to look for a new job after the baby is born, we want to make certain that I will not be going on leave anywhere near the time when my next contract is up for negotiation. I don’t want them thinking that because they’re going to have to do without me for 3 months that they might as well not renew my contract and just get another girl in here. So (unless I get another job in the meantime – and I am (sort of) working on that right now) we will have a very short window to achieve pregnancy without worrying about my job.
Combine that with the fact that for the last 6 months my cycles have been 20 days or less. I’m not sure what part of my cycle is shortened, it could be both parts. I’ve started tracking my cycle this month and I had some blood tests done last week. But I’m worried that it won’t be easy for me to get pregnant, and that, coupled with our timing concerns and my ambivalence to begin with, just adds to my worry stew. And that stew is getting mighty thick and tasty.
Despite all this ambivalence, we are planning on beginning the TTC thing sometime this summer. But because of all this ambivalence, I’m not certain that we’ll let anyone know if/when we start.
Does that answer your question?
* I swear to god one of these days I’m going to write a poem called “Hostile Vagina”. It'll be magnificent.
** Ok, I guess with all the insems last year my history with semen is tipped toward the positive spectrum, but the trauma remains.
*** these images are so pervasive, they're even emblazoned on the cover of this book that I was thinking of buying but am not certain that I should now because I worry that it will aggravate my body issues -- I know, I know, never judge a book by its cover, maybe the pictures inside will show more diverse body types.
**** My standard of beauty does not extend to other pregnant women. I think ALL pregnant women are beautiful. It’s just me here. This picture looks like something I could look like, and so I think maybe I can work with it to retrain my self-talk. I do want to say that all you women out there who don’t have model/Hollywood bodies who post pictures of your pregnant selves make me unbelievably happy and I think they do important work for women with body issues who are thinking about getting pregnant.
You can see the rest of the pictures at my photostream (find it by cliking on the Flickr thingie in the sidebar). The one of her sitting at the little desk is also particularly cute.
Sorry for all the posts today, but JESUS!
The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 . This is a wonderful idea, don't you think? We're in a huge deficit and things need to be cut from the federal budget, so instead of making cuts in our war machine, or even, heavens, letting other contractors try to underbid Halliburton (and, I don't know, maybe even provide the services that Halliburton claims to be providing but doesn't even as they continue to overcharge us for them!!!) or maybe rolling back all those tax cuts that have been handed out left and right to powerful corporations and the wealthy people who run them, it has been decided to make cuts in our social programs.
This act will result in drastic cuts to Medicaid and food stamp programs as well as increases in student loan interest
That's right. Let's put the burden of balancing our budget on the backs of the poor and the young and the sick and the elderly. Let's make it harder for people on oxygen tanks to breath, shall we? Because it'll save us a buck! And it'll do us the favor of helping all those old, sick people weighing down our country off into their eternal reward. And thank goodness good old, sick Dick Cheney was able to return from the Middle East to cast the tie-breaking vote! I mean, even though he's getting his medical care thanks to our tax dollars, he deserves good care (as opposed to everyone else) because he's rich on his own right! He doesn't need federal aid, so that's why we should continue to pay for his care and not the poor saps on Medicaid.
And along with all of that (as if that weren't bad enough) this wondrous bill slashes funds to our child welfare system. So much so, that if it passes (and it looks like it will) and our states don't pick up the tab, thousands of children and their families will be without services, and thousands of child welfare case-workers across the country will be without jobs. (And applying for unemployment... of course unemployment benefits are a fraction of what they would be making at their jobs, so I guess we're still ok on the budget front). In fact, in Utah, if the cuts go through and the state doesn't step up, 314 caseworkers will lose their jobs.
314 doesn't sound like a lot, compared to the numbers of workers that Ford and Delta and other large corporations lay-off without a twinge to their consciences (do they ever consider cutting back the CEO's salary before laying people off? I know, I know, that's a tired arguement). But it's a significant number considering how much work a single caseworker does. How many cases they have. How many children they protect.
If you'd like a description of how overworked our caseworkers are already, head over to Wendy's Jelly Beans for some firsthand accounts. And my wonderful partner, who is so efficient and such good caseworker, is also drowning in too many cases, too much paperwork. I can't imagine what their jobs will be like if they eliminate that many workers and the other services that will be cut under this bill. It's not like the cases go away with the workers.
And funny thing is, when you start cutting social services, the need for them increases exponentially. Just think about it using this state as an example. Not only do you have all the cases that will get neglected because of overwork when the caseworkers get fired, but you'll also have new referrals coming in that will not be pursued because there will be no one to work them. It'll be the worst of the worst that will get paid attention to, while easier situations will be left alone until they degenerate. And THEN, on top of that, you'll have the victims of this situation -- the caseworkers fired, the seniors getting sicker, the neglected children acting out, the teens who can't afford to go to college -- needing more and more help to get them out the hole they're slipping into.
Meanwhile, we continue to hemmorhage money into the war effort and subsequently into the pockets of the wealthy profiteers behind it.
Update: Utah has only about 500 caseworkers to start with. If they really have to cut 314 workers that leaves only around 190 caseworkers for the entire state. Kristin's pretty sure her job will be safe, but many of her friends' are up in the air right now. Meanwhile, the cases pile up...
For a while there I really did think that Kristin was going to let me name our daughter Dagmar. Then I realized she was just being sarcastic. Funny how wanting something so much can make you ignore subtle hints that you’re not going to get it. I also liked the name Reagrin, but again, that one was nixed. Alas.
[begin philosophical rambling] Picking a name feels a little like being one of those fairies in Sleeping Beauty: you're bestowing a gift on a child, one that feels like it has consequences on a child's life-path and qualities. When you say does this child looks like a Mary, say, or Jefferson, what you're really wondering is if this child could embody the qualities that such a name brings to mind. A name becomes a submerged statement of intent. A wish. So, are you going to be one of the twelve good fairies, or are you the thirteenth -bad- fairy?* What's in a name? A destiny, a relationship, a life-long relationship with a therapist? [end philosophical rambling]
Kristin and I had been throwing out baby names from the time we began active planning. Perhaps even longer. From the beginning we both liked Julia. Kristin suggested the name because she has an aunt named Julia. I liked it because besides being a pretty name I really like the nickname Jules. I’m hoping that Julia will turn into an edgy, smart-assed little punk of a kid so I can get away with calling her that. I can just see it now: she’ll walk in with a sneer and toss all her belongings on the floor by the door before retreating to her bedroom, and I’ll call out from the couch, “Hey, Jules, get yer ass in here and pick up yer stuff, and while yer at it, get me a beer whywontcha?” and then she’ll ignore me and when I holler again she’ll come storming out and tell me off and then we’ll both break into laughter and she’ll pick up her stuff and then we’ll make dinner together and maybe even cookies. Do you think that’s a realistic expectation?
Other names we liked were Olivia and Louisa and Claire and Nadia. HOWEVER, we told my mother that we were going to give our girl-child her name as a middle name (which besides tickling my mother pink also had the delightful effect of royally pissing off Sister-in-Law the Maybe), so that automatically eliminated Claire and Nadia (my mother’s name is Annette -- say Claire/Nadia a few times paired with the name Annette and see if you can figure out why those names were eliminated) as well as Louisa, since Louise is my mother’s middle name – we didn’t want to make our child a reverse of my mother. Olivia was hard. We called our girl-fetus Olivia for several months. In fact, we called our fetus Olivia even before we found out it was a girl. But in the end the popularity of the name Olivia convinced us that we didn’t want to use that name (I know, Julia isn’t much less popular, but still, 35th as opposed to 4th is enough of a difference that we felt more comfortable with Julia)PLUS, about a month before we hit term, we spent a weekend being HAUNTED by Olivias. And they all had harrassed parents screetching at them: O.LIV.ia! Stop running around. OLIVIA get in the car! Olivia put the cat down. OOOOOOOOLLLLIIIIIIVVVVVIIIIIIAAAAAA put your pants back on! So that by the end of the weekend the name was totally ruined for us. We couldn't say the name without echos of those parents pushing their way into our consciousness. If you've got a child named Olivia, please know that I'm not talking about you or your daughter, and also please know that we both still LOVE the name, we just couldn't use it any more after that weekend. That left Julia as a possibility. But when we stopped calling the fetus Olivia, and opened the name game up again, suddenly Paige cropped into the picture. And now we started bickering. So we did what any other sane couple would do when faced with such a dilemma: we went to Barnes & Noble and looked at numerology books and did the numbers on the final two names. According to numerology (and who knows if this is right or not, so if your name is Paige don’t kill me or anything) someone named Paige would turn into a spineless, whiney people-pleaser, while Julia would become a self-possessed perfectionist (but not crazy over perfection) that is uber-nice to others and a grace to the world. And when we thought about it that pretty much described everyone we knew in person that had the name Julie or Julia. Not that we knew many, but it just seemed that we always liked people with that name. And we definitely didn’t feel like we could handle a Paige. And that’s how we made our decision.
As for a boy… Kristin would like to try for a boy the next time around. I am a little leery of engaging in the Epic Struggle to Come Up with a Boy’s Name That We Both Like again. We began engaging in the Epic Struggle and then joyfully left off once we found out we were expecting a girl. The problem is all Kristin’s fault (as I’m sure you all already knew) she doesn’t like any of the names I like. And all the names she suggests are lame. She has vetoed Svend as a first name, but allows that we can consider it as a middle name. I like her mother’s maiden name as a first name, but she doesn’t like it. I suggested Ingo but she said that was just plain wrong. We had decided that if the last pregnancy was a boy we would name him Julian (because it’s the male version of Julia, get it?) We would have decided to name a boy Oliver, but we already named our dog Oliver. So, our only boy name currently in our queue is… Blaise. We both like Blaise. It sounds like a superhero’s name. He would always have Halloween Costume, he could go as The Blaze! So I guess we’ll see what happens. Maybe something will change, maybe she’ll decide that my ideas aren’t all lame (what’s so wrong with Quentin or Alastair or Ingo?) or maybe I’ll develop amnesia and forget that I hate most of her suggestions (Kofi was one, and there was another one from Indonesia that I can’t remember right now). So there you have it. If you have any negative associations with or opinions about the name Blaise, do not, I repeat DO NOT, leave them in the comment section. Lord help me if you ruin that name for us I will have to open up a can on your ass.
* then again, there's the opinion that the gifts of the first 12 fairies aren't so lovely to be "gifted" with either -- such a burden to be forced to be anything, even if those qualities are "objectively" desireable.
That’s a difficult question to answer because I could answer 1 year or 4 years and both answers would be correct.
As I mentioned in my post on how Kristin and I met, I created myself a 5 year plan shortly before meeting her. Part of that plan was becoming a single mother. I wanted to become a single mother because I didn’t want to have to let someone else help me pick my child’s name. That’s right, it’s all about names and control. I was, by golly, going to name my daughter Dagmar* and my son Svend (after my grandfather and father). Plus, it seemed practical to make a plan to live out my dream of being a single mother since I had never had a monogamous relationship last longer than a weekend.
Then I met Kristin. I was very upfront with her about my desire to give birth to a child, and with the fact that I wanted a child sooner rather than later. She liked the idea of having children but wanted to adopt or foster rather than give birth. “Fine,” I said, “we can foster and adopt, and I will love all of them, but I still want to give birth. I want that experience for myself. If you’re not ok with that then this relationship will end when I get ready to bring a child into the world.” (I think I probably said that a little tearier and heated than it sounds right here) And she understood that I was serious, that no matter how much I loved her, no matter how much it would tear my heart out, that if she wasn’t going to be ok with having a child come through my body, then I would leave her. And then we stopped discussing it.
That doesn’t mean we stopped thinking about it, but rather that we both realized that we were neither of us in a position to have children right away so there was no point to argue. And besides, as long as we lived in Utah fostering or adopting was out of the question. After we had our commitment ceremony, we created a list of things we would need to accomplish before having a child. And then we put that list away. A year or so later when we finally pulled the list out to review it, we realized that not only had we accomplished everything on it, but that we were both pretty close to emotionally ready to welcome a child into our lives. A few months later we were both ready, so we pulled out a binder and started making plans. And I called my mother to give her the good news. She was not so excited. But I can understand. It doesn’t sound so exciting when you call her up and say, “Hey mom, Kristin and I have decided to start planning on trying to conceive a child. We’re thinking we’ll start trying in a year.”
And it was about a year. We made our decision to start actively planning in October, and we began TTC in June. We conceived in November. For posts about how Julia was conceived click here and then here.
We picked a known donor because of the fertility advantages of fresh sperm, but also because Kristin felt (and then she convinced me) that it was important for our child to be able to know his/her biological history. Not because we feel incomplete as parents, but because we wanted her to have more rather than less history and sense of place. Plus, Kristin and I wanted as much transparency about our process as possible and we wanted our child to know and love all parts of her family – chosen and biological. Finally, Kristin and I are strong believers in created family and a caring village. We tend to bring our close friends into our family circle, and so why wouldn’t we use one of those men already in our family circle to help bring another member into this life rather than going the expensive and (we felt) invasive route of frozen, anonymous?**
As it turns out, our donor ended up being someone we hadn’t met when we made the decision to use a known donor, but my god, he was/is the perfect addition to our family. He is Uncle Nyles. He is like a brother to us and he doesn’t try to be respectful of our position as Julia’s only parents, he just is respectful of our position. He is, in his mind and heart, only Julia’s loving uncle. We are definitely planning on using him again for a second child, and if, for some reason, he isn’t available, our hearts will break. Meeting him and getting to know him was like falling in love, or meeting a long-lost brother. He will always be in our lives, not only for Julia’s sake, but for our own.
*I do still have some regret that Julia was not named Dagmar. I LOVE that name. No one else loves it but I do. I would call her Mara for short. My mother told me that if I named a daughter that she would disown me. I also think the name Petra is very lovely and would love to name our second daughter that but I don’t think Kristin will agree.
** This is not to say that we think that using frozen is bad. There are many benefits to frozen, not the least of which is that you don't have to handle goop. Oh yeah, and all the fewer legal complications, those are important too. What I'm saying is that if you used frozen, please don't take what I said about our decision as a judgement on my part about your choice. I am absolutely certain that you made as right a choice about your family's creation as we made about ours.
I am wiccan. I was raised pagan, but not exactly wiccan, per se. Though the way I practice Wicca isn’t exactly the way everyone else practices it, Wicca is the closest thing you could say I practice. I consider religion and spirituality to be separable. So you can say that spiritually I am pagan and the religion I choose to reflect that is closest in form to Wicca than anything else. However, I don’t really associate with other wiccans. Partially because I don’t really know that many very well, partially because I think that many of the ones I have met around here (besides the ones that are my friends) are weird, and partially because I’m a solitary religious creature by nature.
However, Kristin (despite whatever she is spiritually which is not my place to say here) is Unitarian by religion, so we attend the Unitarian church here, and we plan on having Julia dedicated in the spring. We both love the religious education program at our church, with its emphasis on questioning and searching out one’s own answers, and so that’s the structure we want to give our child. We’re hoping that when we move the Unitarian church in whichever community we end up will have a similar RE program.
I plan on teaching religion/spirituality by example: by celebrating the holidays as I do, keeping an awareness of the goddess and cycles of life in our house, by answering any of Julia’s questions honestly and completely and including her in my rituals when she wishes to be included. I am hoping that she would like to set up her own altar like her mommies’ and I am planning on gifting her with a set of tarot at menarche. But only if she wishes it. I don’t plan on forcing my spiritual beliefs upon her, I want her to find her own
as long as it’s something of which I approve.
FAQ's relating to Julia coming tomorrow!
AF came along this morning and boy do I feel better. I have never been so happy to see her. No wonder I was feeling so bad yesterday what with the impending visit and it being the year's saddest day. Thank you to everyone who kept me in their thoughts. I think I should let you all know, though, that "Wistfully thinking of the everlasting peace of death" is still two points above "Thinking it would be nice if the train were to jump its tracks and strike me" which is one point above "wondering what it would take to get the train to jump the tracks" which is one point above "wishing someone would just push me in front of the train already" which is still two points above "Actually considering jumping in front of the train." As you can see, I have my depression all mapped out.
And since my spirits are up, I am going to go ahead and post another FAQ regardless of the fact that I think I'm being too long winded. So here we go.
How did you and Kristin meet and how long have you been together?
Whenever people used to ask me and Kristin how we met, we used to look at each other and smile as if we had a big, juicy secret to tell. And then we would tell the person, “You know, we always tell people who ask that question a different story. We like to see how outrageous we can get and still have people believe us. There was the one time we said we had met while doing internships with a circus, and then there’s the story about getting in a fight over the last package of Boca burgers in the grocery store and ending up spending the night together. And then, of course, there’s the yarn about Kristin watching me (a total stranger to her) try to parallel park my car and how she got so frustrated with my forward-two-inches-backward-two-inches maneuvers that she came up to me and told me that she’d park the car for me. But for you, you we will tell how we really met…”
And so for you, and only you, I will tell the story of how we really met. We met on the internet. I answered her personal ad. But maybe I should back up a little bit…
In late August of 2000, I moved back home after a disastrous attempt to move to Vermont and be with someone (yes, someone in particular, not just someone/anyone like the sentence sounds). I was heartbroken, furious at myself for falling for it again, and with a severely sprained ankle. I was so financially wiped out that my best friend had her uncle cash in his frequent flier miles to get me home. I flew home in pain and shame and secrecy. One of the first things I did upon my return (besides getting my dream job and getting depressed about living in my parents’ storage room) was fall into the arms of one of my best friends. We’d had an on-again/off-again flirtation (and occasionally more) for years and always blamed our lack of connection on bad timing. It seemed that our timing was finally right: here was I, claiming to be no longer emotionally attached to someone who would never be available to me; here was she, happy and settled in a stable polyamorous relationship. And for the first few weeks it was amazing. The sex was unbelievable, the connection between us was great, it felt so good to be enjoying myself and not pining over that person in Vermont. And then… well, her husband wanted to be included. And while I didn’t have a problem with him as a person, I just couldn’t go there sexually. But my sense of fairness insisted that I couldn’t be sleeping with his wife and not let him in on the action. So we did a couple of threesomes, and though they felt good (sexually speaking) eventually my emotional state crumbled. I started having flashbacks, panic attacks, migraines. Further, it seemed to me that they wanted a permanent partner in their lives and even without the emotional badness I just couldn’t do polyamory on a permanent basis. I wanted freedom, I wanted adventure, I wanted WOMEN!*
So it ended, badly. The kind of bad ending that takes several months to mature fully. Where you think for a while that you can all still be friends and then it explodes. As far as I was concerned it was over; as far as they were concerned I was taking some space and we’d renegotiate in a couple of months. In the meantime, I started looking around for other people to sow my wild oats with. I should mention here that the lesbian community in Utah can be a bit cliquey. It can be very hard to meet people here even if you know where to go. I wasn't having much luck finding women in the bar or the produce section of the Gay Smith's, or the coffee shop, so I started looking at internet personal ads. I browsed through several, and answered some, and then I came across HER. DAMN, but she was cute. And she was in a career that had always fascinated me. So I sent her a message, and received NO response. So I gave a wistful little sigh and continued slogging through the mess I had made of my friendship while I reevaluated ALL of my friendships and life choices. I made a five-year plan. I made a decision to stop being co-dependant. I dreamed up a ceremony where I finally let Vermontgirl go.
After the ritual (which took place on New Year’s Eve, natch) I was at peace with Vermontgirl, clear about the threesome, and ready to face whatever the goddess sent me (as long as it involved sowing lots of oats). The next day there was an email from my internet goddess. She had forgotten about that ad, just remembered it the night before and checked her messages. Out of all those people I was the one she wrote back to. We emailed back and forth for a few days and she sent me her number. “Whoa,” I thought, “you’re sure moving fast little filly!” but hey, I was all about the wild oats, remember, plus that sense of fairness intervened again and so I sent her my numbers in a gesture of faith that she wasn’t psycho or a lonely teenaged boy in a basement.
The day after that was not a good day for me. I overslept and arrived for work late, with greasy hair and unshaven legs (I hadn’t had time to shower or find pants, the skirt was the only thing clean). Then I had a baaaaaaaaaad phone call from my threesome friend. Right after I hung up from her and got my sobs under control, Internet Goddess called. She wanted to set up a time to meet. “What are you doing now?” I sniffled.
We met for lunch at Chili’s, where I proceeded first to insult her haircut (new that day) and then to spill my guts about Vermontgirl and The Threesome That Wouldn’t Go Away (bet you couldn’t see THAT coming, could ya? Especially since I’m such a reserved and secretive person). Still, despite that, she invited me to her house to play scrabble, where it became immediately obvious that all my boasting about scrabble magnificence were bald-faced lies (hey, I thought, How hard can it be to kick someone’s butt at scrabble?). Still, despite that, she invited me to her bedroom to look at the pictures from her recent vacation in Portugal. So we went to her bedroom where we… looked at pictures. Really, just looked at pictures. I was a bit put out and resolved to stick her in Friendville and move on to easier chicks. Can you just picture it? Can you? Me unwashed, unshaven (and not unshaven in a “this is a statement” kind of way but unshaven in a “I forgot to do something” kind of way) and emotionally needy with a recent history of reckless behavior, a red/blotchy face from crying over lunch, and an embarrassing loss at scrabble after just boasting about how good I was. Wasn’t I just scrumptious? Wouldn't you want to take me to bed?
But by the end of the week we were “dating” and a few weeks later she and I took a romantic road trip to Taos for Valentine’s day. I moved in with her in March. There’s a lot in the middle there, some really amazing romantic and emotional and deep things that convinced me that sowing my wild oats was not worth tossing this woman off for, and convinced her that I was not ALWAYS a hygiene-challenged emotional wreck, but in the interest of protecting Kristin’s privacy I’ll keep those between myself everyone I know IRL. Umm, just kidding, kind of. Anyway, suffice it to say that Kristin is a wonderful, beautiful, brilliant, strong woman and I am so very lucky that I didn’t manage to scare her off that first day or any of the days since. This March we’ll mark 5 years of domestic bliss.
And there you have it.
*and yes, I know that the stereotypical image of poly people is that they'll sleep with anyone at anytime, so you'd think my wanting the freedom to sleep around wouldn't conflict with being in a poly relationship, but it's really not like that. Polyamory (especially the way this couple did it) involves a lot of communication and emotional work and dedication to relationship that I really was not in the space to do right then. Hence my feeling trapped and needing OUT.
Apparently January 23rd is the worst day of the year, emotionally speaking. It's true, there's even a mathmatic formula to prove it.
I've been working on another post about Battlestar Galactica since Saturday morning. AND I'm still working on the final FAQs. But I've decided that I'm too long winded. So I'm not sure I'll post the BSG ramblings. And I think I'll just finish up the FAQs and post them in the sidebar rather than putting them up as individual posts first. I'll get them done this week and inform everyone when they are ready for viewing.
I'm pretty low today. I would say I'm downright blue. Well, a little lower than "blue", but still 3 points above "thinking wistfully about the everlasting peace of death" so we're all good still. And as I go to write this mood in my witch's daybook, it informs me that herbs to prevent theft are caraway, garlic, and juniper. Good to know, good to know.
Lauri is simply one of the most wonderful and funny women on this planet. Simply put, I adore her. And her husband, Benji, is pretty great too. I keep mentioning her because I really want to spread the Lauri around (as long as I reserve large portions for myself). And I really want her to get a blog so I can link to her and you can go there and see for yourself that I am not crazy. As a secondary measure I am thinking about making a blog for her and posting her emails to me as her entries. That way you would all get to read such gems as this:
"The google word of the day is gastronome, defined as 'a lover of good food and drink.'
"Don't you think that the word is taking something nice and turning it ugly? As in, "Oh look, I love this delicious food and drink!" followed by someone pointing and yelling, 'Gastronome!'"
"This is my 3rd e-mail to you today, but I swear I am not obsessed with you. I only have one shirt with your likeness silk-screened on it. Just ONE. When I wear it, I gently pet your hair."
And my personal favorite:
"Have I told you lately that your daughter is the most beautiful creature alive?"
I first met Lauri when we both started the MFA program at the University of Utah. She was in fiction so I really didn’t have the time of day for her. But I noticed her because she had dry erase markers in her pink purse AND was willing to admit such and lend them to the professor to use on one of the first days of class. I thought that this was a bold move as it could have pigeon-holed her into being “the dry erase marker chick with the pink purse”. But it didn’t. At least every time I referred to her as that people looked at me blankly and then I felt stupid because I didn’t know her name and obviously this program was a “know the right name” kind of place instead of a “make up a cute and obviously appropriate nickname instead of getting to know a person’s real name” kind of place. Anyway, the next time I met her she was sitting behind? next to? in front of? diagonal to? me at the Working Dog (graduate students reading their work in a funky art gallery) reading. All I knew about her (besides the fact that she wrote fiction [said with a curl to the lip] and that she carried dry erase markers in her pink purse) was that she was from out of state. Being the concerned, caring person that I am, I asked her if she missed her family. She replied that she did, and she was sad because she and her husband had just adopted a very large dog and they had no idea what to do with the dog if they tried to fly home for the Christmas holiday. I, being the kind, sympathetic person that I am, offered to dog sit for her (without checking with Kristin first, because, really, who takes a practical stranger up on such an offer? I mean I could have been trolling for dogs to sell to a science lab for all she knew.) That was in, say, October.
The next thing I remember is that she coming up to me in the hall or something (or maybe it was at the next reading, I don't know) and asking me if I had been serious about my offer, and when I was startled into saying yes (because really, I didn’t want to undermine all my work and look like an asshole or something) she looked so happy, I think little tears of joy glimmered in the corners of her eyes. And so we had Annie, the gigantic self-mutilating blond German Shepard, over for Christmas. And thus a life-long friendship was born. One that has been regularly nurtured by her everlasting gratitude for the crumbs of affection and attention I throw her, and her willingness to let me use her employee discount at a Store I Shall Not Name but which has the initials B&N.
Plus, she makes great crocheted blankets. And she’s good to bitch at. And she likes my poetry. And when we get together we talk about important things and nothings often in the same sentence and only the two of us can figure out what we’re saying and we laugh at the clueless observers in our secret secret way and eat frosted circus animals and then laugh until the crumbs spew out of our mouth and then sympathize with each other over the lost trans-fatty goodness of those spewed-out crumbs. And this one time she brought us over Molasses cookies (for no reason) and then admitted that she had made us some cupcakes with strawberry frosting a day earlier and then she and her husband ate them all so that's why we got the cookies instead. I mean really, don't you just immediately love someone who can admit that? We didn't even know she had made strawberry cupcakes, so we never would have missed them. And there she was telling us about them and how oh so very good they WERE and too bad we didn't get any, but here are some crappy cookies instead (just kidding, the cookies were delish!).
Really, this picture she drew from Gruyere Way just sums her up so spectacularly (and it really is an excellent likeness -- she's the one with the ponytail):
But I won't let him step on YOUR house -- digital image by Lauri 12/05
And, as a bonus to this faq post, here is Lauri’s FAQ and my answer.
"How did you hide from your stalker? They can be crafty, and dogged, especially when trying to catch your lovely self." [italics hers, I should point out!]
Well, since most of the time he came for me at my work (a day care center) I had placed an alarm system of other teachers who would screech at me when they saw him approach and I would have enough time to crawl under the large reception desk until he was convinced that I was not there and went away. Sometimes I would duck into the toy room and crawl into a large toy chest. Sometimes I would go into the staff bathroom and lock the door and not come out until someone gave me the all-clear knock. It all depended on where in the center I was when the alarm sounded. But this one time the staff bathroom was occupied and I didn’t have enough time to make it downstairs to the reception desk or the toy room, and he was insistent that they let him talk to me and so I went out the back door into the fenced yard (where there was no place to hide) and climbed on top of the storage shed roof, but felt too exposed there, and so climbed from there onto the roof of the center and peeked over the edge until I saw his car drive away.
He tried to follow me home once, but he was no match for my excellent driving skills and so I managed to ditch him. And he was too stupid to do a public records search for my address. That being said, I probably should have gotten a restraining order, but he was a father of two of the kids at the center (not full custody or anything and most of the time he showed up he wasn’t picking up kids but the staff didn’t want to tell him to leave when he first arrived because he MIGHT have been there to pick up his sons and really they were so bad we just wanted them gone as soon as possible every day) and I didn’t want my boss to know about what had happened, and I didn’t think he’d take my concerns seriously (or at least not seriously enough to help enforce a restraining order), and I was young and stupid and feeling responsible for the whole damn thing anyway. And besides, I didn’t think he’d hurt anyone besides me. (VERY stupid assumption, I know, glad I wasn’t proven wrong).
An answer in three parts
1) Because Utah is a big vortex of negative energy that sucks you in and doesn’t let you go. Think of Al Pacino as Michael Corleone trying to go legit. Think of The Enterprise trying to shotgun around the sun and shoot themselves back into the past. Unfortunately I don’t have warp engines.
2) Because every time I leave bad, bad things happen to me.
3) Do you still need me to elucidate after having read about my family? You do? Well, ok, here’s an example of a telephone conversation* I had recently with my dad. (Notice how I don’t mention that we’re also looking at schools in D.C. or the Midwest)
Me – Oh yeah, Dad, before I go, there was one more thing I wanted to talk with you about. Kristin and I have decided that we are pretty certain that we will most likely be moving out of state in 2.5 years.
Dad – WHAT!!!!!
M- Well, you know how strongly we feel about being able to adopt our children. And how we can’t do that here. And I think I need to go get a degree in something that will lead to a more stable career. So we’re going to move so that I can get an MLIS while we adopt our kids.
D- And so you really called me so that I can break the news to your mother that she’s losing 2 grandchildren at such a tender age. You know that is going to break her heart, don’t you? Well, don’t you?
M- No Dad, I really did just call to chat. But I thought while I had you I would share our thought processes. And what do you mean lose TWO grandkids? That second grandkid is only hypothetical. You’re not allowed to mourn the hypothetical loss of a hypothetical kid.
D- I’m just saying that it’s going to be really hard on your mother for you to move away when her grandkids are so young and cute. And what about that hypothetical 2nd child? You’re over 30, you know. You don’t have much time left. It’s not like your eggs are getting any younger. And just look at C. She’s the result of old eggs, and just look at how her life turned out. Do you really want to be responsible for creating that kind of mess?
M- No, but, really, 30’s not that old –
D – 31 in less than two months. And besides, if you’re leaving in two and a half years the longer you put off getting pregnant the less time we’ll have with that child before you take it away from us. And THAT, on top of losing Julia, will just be too much. Will you ever even come visit? No, of course not, you'll be too poor what with you being a student and Kristin being a social worker. That means we'll have to come visit you if we ever want to see those kids again. This is just going to kill your mother. And after I just told you about her high blood pressure, too. Are you trying to kill your mother?
M- Look! You didn’t even let me finish the plan! Of course we’ll come visit. In fact, the idea is that we’ll move back here after I’ve got my degree. Since Utah doesn’t have a library school they need to hire their librarians from out of state. But I’ll have an edge, because I already know so many of the librarians and library administrators from working with them over the last several years. So we’ll only be gone like two years. And when we come back our family will be secure.
D – Humph. Well, where are you thinking of going? Where are these so called “library schools”?
M- Well, the three closest to Utah are in Denver, LA, and Seattle. But Kristin and I have already completely ruled out LA. We just couldn’t live there. We’re leaning toward Seattle since it’s so close to Portland. In fact, I’m going to look into whether or not I could get financial aid to do Seattle’s distance ed degree and then just live in Portland.
D- If there’s a distance ed degree why can’t you just do it while you’re here?
M- Because that doesn’t solve the adoption problem. Besides, I’d still have to be on campus one week out of every term, and it’ll be a lot easier to manage that from Portland than here.
D – Well, whatever you do, don’t do Denver.
M – Why? Denver’s closer?
D – Yeah, well there’re no wineries by Denver. If we have to drive all that way just to see our grandkids, we’re at least going to get to stock up on good wine while we’re at it.
Now, I tell you, how can I move away from that?
* This conversation has been modified from the original in that I combined it with a couple of other very similar conversations held with other members of the family in order to better make my point as well as to better illustrate the message behind the words he really said.
and/or am seriously sabotaging my attempts to build a base of slavishly loyal minions.
These days it hurts when I sit.
I am taking a full course of antibiotics for the first time in years. That's because I used to have no health insurance and was forced to rely on the student clinic at the university for my health care. And there at the student clinic they only have one diagnosis: it's a virus, get the hell out of here and don't come back. No, I'm not giving you drugs! You don't need drugs you need some self-control! Yeah, that's right, I said you need some self-control you little whiner. Now stop coughing on me and take your sorry germ-ass out of here.
Yeah, I went there, but really it was only for the samples of condoms and lube (mighty handy when camping or travelling light).
But now I have insurance and so can go to a clinic that likes to throw medication around like it's confetti. Hurray! You're sick! Try some of these! and these! and these! And thus the antibiotics. And thus the problem down there. You know what I'm talking about, don't make me say it.
It hurts. So I went to the store to get some medication for it. Now here's the thing. I am allergic to mineral oil. My skin (and any other of my tissues that come in contact with it) totally freaks out and overreacts to its presence. When I was younger the reaction was so severe that I would be miserable for days, covered in angry red welts and oozing sores and boils from just a small exposure. Now that I'm older I'm not quite so reactive, but it still makes me uncomfortable and (if it's on visible skin) pretty ugly. Why am I going on about this? Because they used to sell an OTC medication that consisted of hard little suppositories. NO MINERAL OIL INCLUDED. I loved these. They were wonderful. I can't find them any more. Now there's only cream, cream, cream. Oh yeah, and those "soft, soothing" suppositories that are basically just slightly hardened cream. And the cream? You got it, chock full o'mineral oil.
So now, tell me, what am I to do? I have a doctor's appointment next week. My doctor's so new to me (this'll be the first real appointment I've had with her -- the emergency sinus infection appointment doesn't count) so I don't want to call to ask her to prescribe one of those oral medications for me, and I have a HUGE problem showing that part of me to anyone, but especially when it's, um, out of commission, shall we say. I've used yoghurt before, but I really don't have my hippy on right now. So I sat (ha ha, not really) in the aisle in the grocery store and deliberated. And deliberated. And then decided: the 3 day treatment with the least amount of The Liquid Evil I could find.
So now it's hard to tell if I'm healing from the original condition what with all the soreness from the allergy. Two days down, one left to go.
To add insult to injury, I left the package on the floor of the bathroom (we have a pedestal sink thus no counterspace) last night. And when we got up this morning it was gone. GONE. Kristin found it. Empty. Then she found the suppository. Very chewed. Very dog slobbery. But the foil was not punctured so guess what? Yup, I'm going to use it anyway even in its mangled condition. I mean, how would I know I was home if I got to take medications without having them sampled by Oliver first?
It'll be a bit difficult, though, because he also snacked on the applicator. And I am NOT putting that in my crockpot, if you know what I mean.
While adding some new links to my blogroll I discovered that there were 2 significant entries missing from my blogroll: Liza was Here and From Sunshine...and...states beyond. These are two of my favorite blogs and I visit them daily (sometimes bihourly) and I can't belive that I didn't have them in my blogroll. Go see them, love them, tell them I sent you and that I'm sorry.
You remember the Sullivan Institute, don't you? I swear, they just won't go away! Yesterday they came up to our office again to invite us all to their open house. "Come enjoy our view!" their invitation reads. I politely pointed out that since we're 2 stories above them our view was better, but I didn't fling their invitation in their smug, well-scrubbed faces. The garbage can yes, but not their faces.
Then today I read this. Now how am I supposed to be gracious when the come up to bug us again? Cause they will, you know. Bothering people and getting into other people's business and space is their sole purpose in life.
[editorial note: some of these questions were not originally asked in exactly the way I have chosen to post them, but I think they're funnier this way and it's my FAQ so I've changed them. This is no reflection on the askers]
You’d think that my attempting to seduce neighborhood girls starting at the age of 10 or so (don’t worry, they were all my age or older) and running an underground porn distribution ring when I was 12 would have been a big clue that I was, shall we say, different than expected. But it didn’t. I was a strange combination of educated and clueless about sexual attractions. I knew about lesbians, but I thought they were a form of sex play acceptable only when there was a man around. Thank you, Playb*y, ever so much!
The fall-out from the discovery of my porn ring was so severe that it effectively curtailed any further sexual exploration on my part for years. Outwardly I looked like any other naive, romantic teenage girl. I mooned over boys and agonized over getting asked to dances (I never did, not even once). I went on a couple of dates (with a boy who later turned out to be FLAMING gay). I had an intense, passionate emotional relationship with a girl… oh wait, I was talking about looking like a straight teenager, right? Well, that friendship was the only external sign that I was maybe not straight. Inside I was quite confused in a not-acknowledging-that-I’m-confused sort of way. When I thought about forming a relationship with a boy I had the idea that it could be tender and compassionate and best-friendy without any of that touching or kissing business. When I allowed myself to think of getting married I either felt sad for any man who married me, because he wouldn’t be getting any sex from me, or I hoped I would marry someone who wanted lesbians to play sex for him.
The first time it dawned upon me that lesbians could exist without a man to perform for was my senior year in high school. That year our school got a Lesbian. She and her Girlfriend (who supposedly went to a different school) would sit in the halls and make out. She was gothy and dressed bad (not like I dressed much better, but still), she was aggressive and in everyone’s face. She was a soprano in our choir and sat in front of me. She talked loudly about how there was a teacher at another high school that was going to help form a gay club (this was a couple of years before the East High School Gay Straight Alliance controversy). I was in the middle of a suicidal depression that I was working desperately to hide (because if I did manage to complete my plans for suicide I didn’t want any well-meaning idiot to try to stop me). She tried to be my friend. I don’t know if it was because she recognized the depression, she was attracted to my darkness, or if recognized me as a lesbian. Or maybe she was just lonely and I wasn't as mean as everyone else. She tried to include me in her conversations about the nascent club. She invited me to hang out with her. I rejected her publicly and as rudely as was possible for me. I felt I had enough problems without people thinking I was “like that.” She kept trying, and then she disappeared. I don’t know what happened to her. I don’t even know her name. But she put ideas in my head that later helped me find my way back to myself, and if I knew her name I would look her up and try to tell her that and apologize for the way I treated her.
So for the next few years I struggled with sexual attraction. I formed intense friendships with women that felt incomplete. I decided that maybe I was bi. Yes, I was bi and so that meant I could choose to be with men. I had no physical attraction to men, but I liked men well enough as people, and I thought all lesbians must hate men and so since I didn’t hate men I must be bi rather than gay. I put myself in some dangerous situations to try to prove that I could be bi. Dangerous meaning that since decent men tend to stop sexual advances when the woman, instead of getting turned on, gets a nauseated look on her face and tries to withdraw and put her clothes back on, I went looking for men who weren’t so decent. I figured I needed more of a “just throw the girl in the lake and she’ll learn how to swim” kind of sexual initiation. So I ended up in a sexual situation that I’m not certain I should call rape (since I willingly put myself in the position for it to happen AND there was ultimately no penetration even though there were plenty of other sexual acts), but for over a year I had PTSD from it with flashbacks so vivid I would forget where I was (not very convenient to have one of these while driving). And the guy stalked me for two years afterward.
So, ok, not bi. I made a resolution to stop being self-destructive with men. Still, I remained self-destructive over the whole lesbian thing and made certain that I only chose sexual encounters guaranteed to hurt me. Since a little pain goes a long way with me (I am the Queen of Milking an Injury) I didn’t need many of these encounters to keep me unhappy and messed up for quite a while. But gradually, gradually I came to peace with myself. And then it became more a matter of changing self-destructive habits rather than actively seeking pain. And we all know how long it can take to change bad habits.
Here’s a side note. When I had my first sexual experience with a woman, I didn’t want to chicken out, I wanted to do everything, including going down on her. I had (fine, ok, HAVE) a germ phobia that extended even to kissing (I have to REALLY love you to give you an open mouth kiss, so consequently I have French-kissed far fewer people than I have had sex with) so you can imagine how I felt about performing oral sex. Still, if I was a lesbian I was going to be a lesbian all the way. So that night as I stared down at IT, something I had never really looked at before (not counting the plastic, airbrushed, shaved versions I had seen in porn mags) and smelled IT, and thought about how IT was the area normally associated with pee, I almost chickened out. But I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and held it, and with a resolution and show of courage not seen since Iwo Jima, WENT FOR IT. I can’t have been very good. Afterward I got very depressed since I knew I wasn’t straight, but I really didn’t enjoy doing that, so I figured I must be asexual. I didn’t know any other lesbians (the woman I had sex with was just experimenting and had never been with another woman either) and I didn’t know any guys that I felt comfortable talking about eating a woman out with. Eventually I came to the conclusion that since women turned me on even though I was still in gross-out mode, and men never had turned me on, I must really be lesbian after all, and I just hoped that oral sex was an acquired taste. And it was!
I came out to my parents when I was 22. By that time I felt secure enough in my identity to be able to handle challenges to it. Besides, I thought it was merely a formality. I was sure they already knew. It turns out that though they had plenty of evidence (including The Brother Just Younger Than I going through my bedroom, yes I still lived at home, and bringing a book I had on how to come out to your parents to my mother) they were resolutely swimming in denial. It was a bad night. It was a bad summer. It was a bad couple of years. They made 3 requests: 1) I had to go to therapy (I went, and spoke with the therapist without my parents in the room, and the therapist came out and said that I was perfectly fine, but she was willing to work with my parents to help them come to terms with my gayness, I have never seen my dad so mad “you didn’t even TRY to make it work”) 2) I couldn’t tell any of the family or my siblings (I had already told my aunt through books, but they didn’t know that) and 3) I couldn’t bring any “visibly or militantly gay” people around. The third one was the hardest for me to agree to, and frankly I agreed to it and then tossed it out the window. I settled into a “don’t ask, don’t tell” agreement with my parents and The Brother Just Younger Than I (my parents told him about me because he could sense tension in the house and was freaked that it meant they were getting a divorce or something. He was greatly relieved that it was just that I was gay). Strangely enough, this was the beginning of he and I growing closer as friends.
Eventually my parents came around. And by the time I met Kristin they had restructured their dreams for me so that they were in line with my orientation. Now they talk about how proud they are of how steadfast I am in my principles and integrity and how I work to be true to myself. They are fully supportive and love Kristin as a daughter and couldn’t love Julia any more than if I had birthed her myself. They are the best parents I could have asked for, and I am incredibly lucky.
By the time I was at peace with being a lesbian, and the majority of my family was at peace (or at a working peace) with my being a lesbian, I had been struggling with this for over half my life. Because of my personal path back to myself, and all the time it wasted (just think of what OTHER of my issues I could have been working on), I work to be open and honest in my communications about sex and sexual attraction and homophobia. I try to be tactful but I also don’t want to pull my punches to the point where no one feels their impact. While I hope this doesn’t make me a one-note wonder, I won’t let accusations of such keep me from speaking when I feel I have something to say.
Though I bought a CD of Nocturnes for Julia to drouse to, it turns out that the CD she really digs (in a puts her to sleep deeply and fully for nearly as long as it plays way) is...
The Essential Leonard Cohen, to be exact.
Huh. She must be having some great dreams.
We may try Dylan tomorrow.
When I was 7 I wanted to be an archaeologist specializing in bronze-age Scandinavia. I wanted to bring the dead to life with their voices speaking through my throat. I wanted to touch bog mummies and golden trinkets and speak Danish and read runes and live someplace that had vehicles that traveled over both land and water. This was what I wanted to be when I grew up from the time I was 4 (though I didn’t add the Scandinavian/bog mummy part till around age 6) to the time I was 24. I am NOTHING if not stubborn. Even when I was attending school on a music scholarship, even when music consumed all my free time and ambition, I STILL wanted to be an archaeologist when I grew up.
When I grow up I want to be independently wealthy and live on an island sipping cooled alcoholic beverages while writing poetry and training helper monkeys. I want to home school Julia and any other kids we have (and/or have around) with the whole world as our campus: doing a stint on Greek History? Why not head over to Athens and reenact some historical tableaux? I want to be a published writer and travel around doing readings and book signings and seeing marvelous places on some publisher’s dollar. I want to SELL OUT and enjoy every second of it. I want to be Head Librarian of my own library that will, of course, be located in a fabulous old building complete with pillars and stone lions. Oh yeah, and I want to steal Oprah’s chef away and make him create fabulous dishes for me that will simply MELT the pounds away. How many of these things do you think I will accomplish?
Do you really have family somewhere? I mean, cause the way you act you may as well have been abandoned at birth and raised by rodents.
Contrary to popular belief, I was not found under a cow and raised by guinea pigs. I really do have parents and siblings. And yes, they still love me, even after they found out I was occasionally writing about them here. But it was a close call. I think The Brother Just Younger than I has developed a twitch in his right eye from reading this site. But there’s nothing he can do about this site. I am, after all, the oldest and therefore the one who should know better. And besides, mom left me in charge and so yes, I am the boss of you, and you have to do what I say.
My mother is an artist who does amazing work in pen and ink. Right now she is pouring all of her artistic skills into quilting and worrying about her kids and grandkids. She does both pastimes creatively and beautifully. She is the middle of three girls, with a full-brother tacked on the end, and a couple of half-siblings and a couple of step-siblings acquired when she was a teen-ager. Mom is very close to her two sisters, and so am I. Her mother was an alcoholic who forced my grandfather into a divorce (in the 1960’s) and later married a man whose greatest gift to the world was his death in prison.
Despite her poor choices, everyone loved my grandmother. She was something special. Her hair was determinedly red. Red with a capital R. She lived in a house that was only a roof on a basement. I thought it was a magic house because it was so small on the outside and so large on the inside. A ditch full of catfish ran through her garden and she loved salmon-colored roses. A couple of years before she died she cleaned up her life and found Jesus (and re-discovered the color of her carpet). When I was 12 she died peacefully of an aneurysm while on the phone to my aunt. Julia was born on my Grandmother’s birthday.
My father’s family emigrated from Denmark a few years before my father was born (and that immigration is a saga in and of itself). They ended up in Utah because my grandmother was 9 months pregnant and hiding her pregnancy from the airline employees. On a layover in Salt Lake her advanced pregnancy was discovered and she wasn’t allowed back on the plane. They had been heading for LA, but decided just to stop here. Sometimes I wonder if this story is real or simply a family legend. I mean, really, like they couldn't just rent a car? Who plans on moving to an entirely new country and then doesn't really care where they end up in it? I think my grandfather always wanted to live in Utah so he could be closer to The Saints and just lied to my grandma about going to LA to be with her sister. But who really knows?
In the old country my grandfather’s family business was carpentry, particularly furniture and cabinetry. He promptly set up a workshop here and waited for his sons to show an interest in following his footsteps. The oldest two didn’t, so by the time my father came along (the sixth of seven children) my grandfather had given up patience and didn’t really allow his youngest son much of a choice in careers. My grandfather divorced my grandmother in the late 1970’s and married a woman young enough to be his daughter. She killed him when I was 7, sold all of his things (everything in the workshop) the day after the funeral, (my father had managed to steal some things out of the workshop and scraped together enough money to buy one of his father's saws -- this is sad when you consider that my grandfather had intended my father to inherit the shop, but never wrote a will) and used the money to move to Paris.
My grandmother is a tough old broad who is battling anorexia and fighting overwhelming evidence that she should no longer live in her home alone. Other than the fact that she continues to insist that I used to come by once a week and do chores for an allowance (I NEVER did that, when she started saying that is when the family realized that she needed more supervision) she’s stayed pretty sharp, and if there’s any mischief going on in the family, most likely Grandma’s got her fingers in it somewhere.
My father is an amazing artisan with wood who can calculate complex mitering angles in his head. He can build almost anything out of kitchen cabinets, even a cradle. He has a contractor’s license, but works for a company called Cabinetry by Karmen selling kitchens to contractors.
My parents are pretty spectacular. Don’t get me wrong, they have their flaws, but they are working on them. They both come from very devout Mormon backgrounds. They both left the church when they were teenagers. They got married when my mother was 19 and my father was 18. My father had to have his parents sign a permission slip in order to get married. My grandparents didn’t really want to sign, but were afraid my mother must be pregnant (she wasn’t). They (particularly my grandmother) treated my mother very badly for a long time (still does occasionally). My mother thought for years that the bad treatment was because of the feared pregnancy, but it turns out that my grandmother just hates in-laws and All Others Who Are Not Blood Kin.
I was born 9 months and 2 weeks after the wedding. I was early but a lot of people thought I must be late. When my mother got pregnant my father went out and found a 3rd job. Every paycheck from that job he would take directly over to the hospital where they were planning to deliver me and make it out to their accounts receivable department. He is very proud of the fact that they day they released me and my mother he received a refund.
I have two younger brothers and a sister:
So you can see I have a very large and loving family. And I didn’t even get to aunts and uncles and all the cousins. And we’re kind of Blob-like in that we tend to absorb individuals into the family circle whether they like it or not. It can be a bit overwhelming. Everyone is in everyone else’s business all the time. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
Oh and, except for one rogue aunt (who lives in Atlanta) and a couple of uppity cousins, we all live in Utah.
I'm going to post the answers to the FAQ submissions here first as posts and then move them all to a FAQ page when I'm finished. So, you may not get any current info on my life this week, but you'll get more than you ever wanted to know about my past and my plans.
I am finally feeling like I'm on the mend. Julia's mucus is finally clear, though there's far too much of it for her comfort. Kristin is continuing to slide downhill. If she's not showing drastic signs of getting better tomorrow I'm sending her back to the doctor.
Since Julia has been having such a hard time sleeping, we've resorted to the lullaby tape. It turns out that Julia loves music, and as long as something sweet and high-pitched is playing, she will relax her way to sleep, or just hang out not-quite-sleeping. The only problem is that the lullaby tape, while not as bad as other tapes of the same genre, is still pretty insipid. The only reason we even have it is that it was a gift. I only put it on out of desperation. Now we've listened to it over and over until we're all (except Julia) SICK of the thing. I want to go to the store and find something (or, preferably, several somethings) easier on adult ears for her to listen to. We haven't made it out of the house, yet.
This afternoon I could not stand the thought of listening to the lullaby tape again. So, I dug through our CD collection (still nicely organized from my organizational spree in August) until I hit our classical collection and there found a CD of Mozart Concertos. Light, sweet, high-pitched, perfect. Except I haven't listened to this CD in years. It has a recording of the bassoon concerto that I used as my audition piece for the University. I never did feel like I perfected that concerto, but it was so damn fun to play. I think I've only listened to this CD once or twice since I was forced to stop playing. Each time I have cried as if my heart were made of salt.
But I'm older now, I thought. That's all behind me.
I was ok through the clarinet and oboe concertos. I used to play those instruments, but I never attempted those pieces.
It's snowing here. The flakes are slowly coating our cars, covering up the raw wounds in the mud field that should be our lawn, fleshing out the skeleton of our garden. The trees are iced, and each note of the bassoon is alternately feathers and needles. My fingers and the corners of my mouth keep twitching. Julia loves Mozart. I'm worried that if I turn it off she'll wake up. This pain is preferable to the lullaby tape.
The track has switched back to the clarinet concerto that opens the CD. When I put the CD in I pushed the repeat button so the music would play for as long as Julia would sleep. If she stays asleep I have 35 minutes before my nerves flare back to life.
Or I could be a coward and push the skip button.
I will not be a coward.
Today is Friday the 13th AND a full moon. What are you doing to celebrate?
The Cold Moon (or the Rowan moon) is the first full moon after Yule. It is a time of introspection and meditation -- a time when we look over the past as we look to the future.
In that spirit, I am announcing that I would really like to put together a...
FAQ Page! (Frequently Asked Questions, for those of you not in the know about acronyms.)
The only problem is that so few people ask me any questions, I have no idea what questions to put on my page. So far I only have two:
- You seem so nice, why don't you have any friends?
- Are you such a bitch to everyone, or is this behavior special for me?
Still sick. Julia is doing better, though we are having to siphon large amounts of mucus from her cute little button nose.
Today I am being a bad mama. While Kristin and Julia have been getting better, I have been getting worse. I've actually been running a fever, and that for me is a bad sign. So, Julia is at A's house and I am at home. That's the bad mama part. Because it's not like Julia has competely recovered yet. I mean, yes, she is no longer running a fever, and she has her energy back, and she's completely bored at home, BUT she is still very congested, still tires more easily, and wants to be held more than normal. In other words, she could still use a day home, but there is no way that I can get the rest I need to get better if I'm trying to keep up with her. So, off to daycare for a few hours.
She is SO going to put me in a bad resthome when I get old.
PS- my beloved lurkers, I hear you. New terms (frenchified and everything) will be coming forthwith (as soon as I am thinking clearly) as well as a permanent picture of Julia in her blue-green hair hat.
First of all, I just wanted to inform everyone that according to several blogs I have read recently, it is Delurking Week. I've done my part by delurking on several sites I have been haunting recently. I'm hoping that all my varied lurkers feel safe enough to delurk during this week (yes, I'm looking at YOU reader from Utrecht!) You don't have to comment on this post. You can comment on another, or just go sign my Frappr map.
I can't find out what other kinds of week it is, but for your education (and to guide the rest of your activities this month) here is a list of January's official designations:
National Eye Care Month
Yours, Mine and Ours Month
National High Tech Month
National Diet Month
International "Get Over It" Month
National Book Month
Soooo, take your stepkids and go get their vision checked, while your partner plays around with the ipods they received for Christmas and downloads some music to cheer you all up while you're eating cottage cheese and carrots. If the kids complain, tell them to "get over it" and go read a book!
We are still sick today. I have that nasty taste in my throat. You know the one. The one that doesn't leave no matter how many times you brush and gargle. The taste that tells you that adrenaline and sleeplessness and wishing-really-hard might fool you into thinking that you're getting better, but you're really not.
Last night I dreamed that Kiker arrived at my house on a flying bicycle with 2 oranges and a tangerine. She walked to the door and placed the fruit on a tray and said (very dramatically) "Let there be juice" and plunged straws into the fruit and handed the oranges to me and Kristin and the tangerine to Julia. Then she got back on her bicycle and flew away. I guess that'll teach me to read blogs right before falling into a bacteria-induced coma!
In honor of my yuckiness and that taste, here is a poem that I wrote a few years ago when getting over a bad spring cold.
The Sibyl of Cumae
It's not that the visions and voices were such a burden;
she was born to them.
Occasionally they came on like a cold
clogging every portal in her head
until the only things she had were a pounding and a ringing
and a taste in the back of her throat.
Most of the time, though, her gift was like
the translucent eyelid of an amphibian;
it slid over as she slipped under,
as natural as breathing though skin.
I wonder if she always looked through that crystalline film
and if this gave her eyes a glitter
visible only in reflection on the bodies and faces
of those who would not crowd around her,
and those who didn't look in her eyes?
Or was she, at odd times, drawn back to the surface;
opening herself to cold air and silence
to breathing in space through her skin?
I imagine her, in these moments,
shaking and raw, squinting to focus,
trying to figure out which eyelid to blink;
surrounded by strangers who look at her only
now that her eyes are crossed.
I see goosebumps on her skin,
a bluish tinge to her lips,
prophecy running down her body
puddling at her feet.
Just as that second eyelid is blinked away
and her vision cleared, just as she remembers
that noses are for breathing,
someone reaches out
touches her shoulder
shoves her back in.
I can never imagine a different ending
just as I can never imagine away
the coldness given my hands when I pushed her.
They ache and sometimes wake me
from watery dreams to leave me alone
with the cold, the dark, her body, my hands.