12.29.2006

Now My Life is Complete

I have the best readers in the whole wide world. All I have to do is ask and I receive. Yesterday Leith was so generous to gift me with Dar's version of Highway Patrolman. How wonderful is that? It made my day. Leith, you totally made my day. I chortled, actually chortled, as I downloaded my song, moved it to the iPod immediately, and forced Kristin to listen to it. You know, Leith, when we start up the next round of the Crazy Mixed-up CD club you should totally join.

Following hot on the heels of yesterday's request is another. Well, I guess, more of an announcement. There's definitely something in it for you if you participate. You all know Zilla, right? She of the magnificent comments? Hair Bitch Zilla? Well, she's doing a cookbook. Anyone who submits can have a copy. The more people to submit the better a book it's going to be. I'm going to do it, and I thought some of you might like to do it too. Here are the rules. How cool is this? I wish I'd thought of it...

Finally, something else that makes my life complete:
Earlier this month SomeRandomChic published a link to the coolest onesie imaginable... we couldn't help it, we had to order one for Julia. It reads "I am an all powerful amazon warrior" from the Righteous Babe Store:

Warrior Pride

and, for you, a bonus "Amazon Yell"
Amazon Yell

12.28.2006

An Unusual Request

There's a Dar Williams song that I've heard on the radio several times and absolutely love. The only problem is that it's from a compilation CD called Badlands: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen's Nevada. Dar sings a cover of Highway Patrolman. I don't want to buy the whole CD because I've listened to clips and I don't want any of the other songs. And the CD (not to mention Dar's track on it) isn't listed on iTunes.

My request:

Does anyone out there have this song and would be willing to send it to me somehow (right now I'm thinking that you could burn it to a CD and mail it to me... I'll reimburse you)? Or does anyone know of someplace on the internet where I can download it? It doesn't need to be a free download, I'm happy to pay for the song, I just don't want to have to buy the whole CD...

Thank you.

12.27.2006

Some Moments of Note

1) Christmas Eve: Mom calls to confirm some details about the Christmas Eve party, and we ask her if she will bring an apron for Julia. We've been looking everywhere for a child-sized apron (that's not a costume) with no luck. Mom has a couple at her house that Julia uses on Grandparent's Night. Julia will pull bibs off, but she leaves the aprons alone. When we arrive at the Christmas party, Mom pulls out a completely new apron. Turns out that after we asked her to bring an apron she decided that the ones she already had were too stained for a fancy party and went and sewed one for Julia and a matching one for Grandchild the First from scratch before coming to the party. Sometimes I think my mom is an overachiever.

2) There's a white elephant exchange at the Christmas Eve party. Gifts that Kristin and I have given at this party in the past include: a white elephant (he he, get it? it's a white elephant exchange and we exchanged a white elephant!) tea pot; a kleenex holder with a big nose on it that sneezes everytime you pull out a kleenex; a toilet paper holder with a radio and an alarm button -- you know, just in case you fall in, and: a 6 foot tall inflatable christmas tree. This year we gave a cookbook called "Are You Hungry Tonight: Elvis' Favorite Recipes" and "Desperate Housewives: Dirty Laundry" board game. The two best parts? The only gift bag big enough to hold the Desperate Housewives game was a birthday bag, so I took a sharpie and made it say, "Happy Birthday, Jesus!" My immediate family thought that was hilarious; the rest of the (more religious) members of the family were not so amused. And the final best part: my staid, very devout uncle is the one who got stuck with the very risque "Dirty Laundry" game. You should have seen his face!

3) Best Christmas Present ever: Julia slept till 9 AM Christmas Morning!!! Whoo hoo! All the (very horrible, heart-rending) sleep training we've been doing this week paid off!

4) Have I mentioned she's a toddler? We had Christmas Dinner over at Camden's house and we were treated to the spectacle of her and Camden fighting over toys. This is the first time we've seen Julia actually fight another kid over possession of a toy. "MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!!!" she screetched over and over as he would dive for a toy that she had just put down. At this point the behavior is still cute. I'm sure it'll wear thin as time goes on.

5) Grandchild the First had some tough Christmas moments as Julia got some toys that GtF has wanted for years. Namely: that ginormous car. As Kristin and I were loading up the car with our loot, GtF looked at Kristin and said: "I don't think all those toys are going to fit in your car. You should probably leave most of them here. Julia can play with them on Grandparent's night." It should be noted that Grandma watches GtF every day, and thus toys that are at Grandma's house are, for all intents and purposes, GtF's. Kristin and I thought this was very clever, just not clever enough for us to fall for it.

and...

6) I wasn't there for this, but it deserves to be noted anyway: HD went into labor on Christmas night and delivered Mia yesterday. Go welcome little Mia! What a wonderful Christmas present.

12.26.2006

Hey, look! A picture!


Drummer Girl
Originally uploaded by Temmerling.
Turns out I DID take a picture of the tongue drum. And there, in the background, is that cars sofa sleeper thingie.

But don't pay attention to that. Look at that drum! Isn't it pretty? And it sounds so beautiful! And Julia LOVES it. And my dad made that! Holy crap!

A whupping

When I was a kid, we were poor. Kristin says that she used to think that she was poor as a kid, and then she got with me. The sad thing is that though we were poor poor poor, there are people who were poorer. We were never homeless, for example (unless you count my senior year of high school when my parents had sold their home and were building a new one, but couldn't afford temporary housing and just had a tiny camping trailer on the building lot, in the middle of the worst winter in decades... but that's still more than a lot of people had, so that doesn't really count) because my father could always build us a house. Sweat equity as down payment. And we always had at least one, if not two vehicles, because my father could repair a car. I guess there's a reason that now one brother works in construction and the other brother is a mechanic.

When I was growing up my father always had 2 if not 3 jobs. He worked during the day as a kitchen cabinet installer, and then he always had one to two side construction projects that he worked on nights and weekends. There's another post coming in the future when I talk about Dad's side jobs, but for right now just suffice it to know that we rarely saw our father: he was gone most mornings before we woke up, and he came home after, or just as, we went to bed. Sundays he would take off working to... work on our house. What with my mother's depression and my father's absences (and his resentment over having to work so hard all the time) it would be fair to say that our daily existence was rather grim. Not that an outsider would know. Family problems stay in the family, and admitting that you're unhappy is like exposing the dark underbelly of the family's existence. All of us (parents and siblings) can be more than a bit dual-sided: shiny and dark, shiny and dark.

But Christmas... the week between Christmas and New Year's my Dad always took off work. Part of it is just the nature of his work: people don't like their houses torn apart during Christmas, they want it all done and impressive for their in-laws. So it was easy for him to cram installs in before Christmas and clear that week out. But that doesn't discount the fact that for that one week our dad spent time with us: we spent time doing fun things as a family. We would play games, visit family, go out to dinner at a fancy restaurant like Sizzler, and go see a first run movie. We would sort through our old toys and deep-clean our rooms. And when my Dad was in charge of overseeing our room cleaning he didn't just accept a clearing of the center of the floor. No, if you told him that your room was clean he would go in and sweep everything loose on the floor up (even from the closets and under the bed) into a big pile and tell you that if you were really done putting everything important away then you wouldn't mind if he threw all this trash in the garbage. And you, stubborn child that you were, would agree that you really were done while you tried to pick out Barbie shoes and game pieces from the pile with your shoe without him noticing. Come to think of it, that wasn't so much fun. But still, he was there and he was paying attention to us. That week was a magical week that was separated from the rest of the year by my father's presence in our lives.

I didn't realize how formative this had been for me.

Julia was completely spoiled by my parents and siblings this year. Her large presents were: a ginormous car, a mini futon (just like this one, only Julia's is red and has Lightning McQueen from the Cars movie on it), another ride-on toy, a play stove, some dishes and pots, a set of tables and chairs, a big tongue drum that Grandpa made her (very much like this one, only Julia's is made of purpleheart wood -- stunningly beautiful, I should take a picture...) an activity cube, And the Smartville Alphabet Train Station. All that on top of a bunch of books and puzzles and art supplies.

Yeah. Most of that didn't come from us. We're a little overwhelmed. Our elegantly arranged and decorated living room (well, we think it's elegant) has been overrun with toys. And downstairs is a lovely large area that we could turn into a playroom... if we only had the time. And here am I, chafing at the fact that I have to be here at work this week (I'm here because 1 I have no leave left, and 2 because someone needs to answer the phones, of course there's only one other person here and so if the phone rings I have no one to tranfer the calls to, not that anyone's calling as everyone we work with are primarily lawyers and lawyers don't work on the day after Christmas, even Govt lawyers).

I realized last night that it's not just that I want to be home with Julia and Kristin, and it's not just that I want to set that playroom up. It's that it doesn't feel like Christmas if this week isn't set aside to be home with my family and friends. Up until last Christmas I had always managed to either take the week between Christmas and New Year's off entirely, or work drastically reduced hours. This year I have a kid to play with and no time to take off to play with her. But this is how it is most days, and though most days I'm not happy about this situation (after all, we had planned that I'd be a work from home mom) today it feels worse. It feels like the Grinch just pissed all over my Christmas tree.

Don't get me wrong. This is a very petty thing to be complaining about. I know this. I have a beautiful home. I have a loving partner. My family spoiled us and Julia rotten. We had a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day filled with family and friends. I am blessed. I know this. I know this.

But isn't it funny how childhood patterns, both the good and the bad, can just whup you right upside the head?

12.22.2006

I am a Bitch: Bah Humbug

When I was younger I used to think that there were more suicides during the holidays* because a) it was just that much more depressing to be depressed when everyone around you is so joyous and b) relatives are annoying.

Now I am older and wiser, and I know that it is the fact that there is so much fucking work to do during the holidays and yet everything around you is screaming: go slower! have hot cocoa! sit by the fire with your family and give gifts of expensive jewelry! surround yourself with adorable and thoughtful and tasteful crafts! But, in order to do all that one must go shopping at several stores, have the patience and peace of mind for crafts, and, most importantly, be high enough in the senority chain in order to take a butt load of time off work so that you can accomplish all these things. It's enough to make one wish that a bus would just come and run over you already. Preferably a bus with a Holiday Wreath affixed to the bumper so that your last, dying, breath can be full of Christmas Cheer.

People. I am a royal bitch. I have been bitchy to my recovering-from-surgery-and-a-cancer-scare loving partner. All because I haven't had time to go shopping for presents for her. Ironic, isn't it? It's enough to make me choke.

But, I just found out that our loving boss is giving everyone 3 hours off this afternoon... so I'm going to make a new start to this holiday. Solstice sucked, but the nights are still long so I've got time to re-do it. I'm going to get presents for my lovely this afternoon and then what I don't get done just doesn't get done. We're going to try and bake cookies tomorrow. That should be fun. I'll put Julia in a booster chair at the counter and give her dough to play with. Take lots of pictures. Maybe tonight I'll make hot buttered rum for Kristin and I, or Midori sours. Maybe we'll light a fire in our 1950's Gas Log Complete With Carcinogenic Sparkes for that Real Ember Feeling!

Maybe. One thing I know for certain... if you were expecting a holiday card from me... it's going to be late.

Have a Merry Weekend, whatever you do and however you look at it.


*I know this is a myth, but still, work with me here...

12.19.2006

"It's a metaphor, if you know what I mean"

I was 23 when I decided to run away from home. I felt stifled by my parents nd their love. I had just watched 1.5 years of romantic endeavor end very unremarkably (for the other person involved, as for me, I was devastated). And I’d just realized that the career I’d planned on having since I was 5 years old was not really the career for me. I felt stagnant, disillusioned, worthless, and protected to the point of never having to exert myself or discover what I was truly capable of. Running away to Oregon seemed the only good option.

A couple months earlier I’d blown the engine out of my pontiac. The Brother Just Younger than I was putting a new engine into a Mazda for me. He was being slower than I liked, so I decided to give him some incentive. I told him he could have my room when I left, and I set a date that I was leaving so he’d have the car finished by then.

The car was finished the day before I was set to go. I didn’t even have time to test drive it. My brother gave me careful instructions about how often to change the oil and how to break the engine in on my trip. No one in my family was happy about my leaving; but it was something I had to do. The next morning I got up, packed the car, and hopped on the freeway. I was picking up my friend in a nearby town. She was going to drive with me and keep me company, and then fly home. Immediately I knew something was wrong with the car. The back end kept fishtailing. Did I turn around and take the car back to my mechanic brother? No. No I did not. I didn’t want to delay my emancipation. I kept going.

I found out that if I stuffed a pillow between my body and the door, I could rest my arm on it and I could stabilize the steering wheel that way. I was able to make all the minute corrections necessary to keep the car moving in the correct direction. My friend was supposed to help me with the driving, but she couldn’t keep the car going straight enough and nearly sideswiped someone. She told me that she thought something was seriously wrong with the suspension or some other mysterious car-steering mechanism. I, with $150 to my name and too much pride to turn around, just started praying, “just get me to Oregon, just get me to Oregon, just get me to Oregon.” Thinking that once I got there everything would magically work out.

I should have been a bit more specific in my prayer. I had chosen the most direct route to the city in Oregon I was headed for. And that meant I took a mostly-deserted highway from Winnemucca up into South-Central Oregon. So when I hit the Oregon border I was leaving Middle of Fucking Nowhere Nevada and entering Middle of Fucking Nowhere Oregon. Traffic on the highway was sparse at best. 10 miles past the border, on a bare hill speckled with stunted sagebrush, the Mazda blew a back tire, sending the car into a serious tailspin that took everything I had to get myself facing the correct direction and off the highway and onto the shoulder. Like I’ve said before: I am a fantastic driver, but a stupid car owner. We had made it to Oregon as requested, but there was no respite or shelter to be found.

***

We knew this year was going to be a difficult one. With Kristin needing to work 40 hours, and carry a full class load AND work a 12 hour practicum, we knew it would take everything we had to get through this year. But there was a respite. Christmas break. 3 weeks at least to catch our breaths, sleep, recover, spend time as a family.

As the semester wore on, Kristin got sicker and sicker. She was exhausted all the time. If she wasn’t taking antibiotics then she was sick. But the antibiotics were making her sick, too, giving her gastrointestinal problems. We were blaming the semester… if only Kristin had more time to rest she would get well. If only we had more time as a family we wouldn’t be so stressed out. The infection and the hell semester became a chicken and egg situation… Which caused the other: was it the infection making the semester unbearable, or was it an unbearable semester that was making the infection so difficult to kick?

And then Julia started reacting to the stress like a toddler… with tantrums and messes and clinginess. Her sleeping deteriorated and it was never that strong to start with. She stopped sleeping through the night at the end of October and added a 3 hour period in the middle of the night where she needed a mom awake and holding her. Kristin and I started taking shifts and switching off nights to try and cope. At this point crying it out was adding to our stress… and besides, Julia is as stubborn as her mothers. But as time went on more and more frequently I would let Kristin sleep through her shifts. Even though I’d been sick for weeks myself, I am usually the lighter sleeper. And I would hear Julia cry, and turn to wake Kristin up, and then sigh and get up myself. How can you wake up your wife to go care for the baby when you look at her sleeping and even in rest she looks so ragged and worn and exhausted? So I would get up and let her keep sleeping, hoping each time that the extra sleep would work a miracle and she would wake up rested and feeling fine. And as I rocked Julia I would mutter to myself, “Just get to Christmas break, just get to Christmas break, just get to Christmas break. Everything will be better once Christmas break is here.”

And then Christmas break arrived hand in hand with a cancer scare, and a surgery, and my poor, exhausted brain flipped out. We’ve been living in a state of constant adrenaline saturation for months. I don’t know about you, but adrenaline feels like a poison to me. It’s never a pleasant rush – it gives me the strength to do what I need to do, but afterward leaves me shaky and vomiting and crying and headachy. And when my adrenal glands are bathing me in a steady stream just to get through my life… first I start to need more and more just to keep going. And then I start to go a little crazy. And then I crash.

***

I have shy bowels. I can’t go to the bathroom in a public place where someone could walk in and sit down next to me… or walk in and sit down right after me. I would rather die than have someone smell my shit. So, for the 10 hours or so of the drive to the Oregon border, I’d been holding it. And holding the pee, too, for fear that the shit would take my opening the door to the pee as an invitation to let loose. It was ok. The adrenaline from driving the car, along with the vibrations from the shaking car, were enough to keep everything up there. When you’re fighting or flighting there’s no time for shitting. But then, suddenly, there were no more vibrations, and the massive dose of adrenaline that my glands had pumped out to get me through the stopping of the car, wore off as quickly as it had come… leaving me really needing to empty my bowels.

I jumped out of the car to inspect the damage. There was a pick-up truck pulling a trailer that we’d been playing leap frog with for 200 miles. I looked at them as they caught up to us…and they drove right on by. And then the urge hit me. I was frustrated by the car, the near death experience, the lack of help, and now NOW my body was going to assert it’s put-off-too-long needs… it was going to make me shit in the open without even any TOILET PAPER. I started swearing and crying and dancing. And my poor friend was watching me fall to pieces in front of her. She could understand the swearing, but the dancing? Just go to the bathroom, she kept telling me. NO! I’ll be fine once we get the car moving again. I just need to get the fucking donut on the fucking car. Did I mention we were on an incline? And that I was shaking from too much poisonous adrenalin?

I’d been counting down how much longer it would be before we reached my new home and haven, until we reached a place where I could relax and take care of my immediate needs. And now this. I’d gotten what I’d asked for: I’d just made it to Oregon, but everything had gotten immeasurably harder, and my physical needs that I’d been putting off for so long were letting me know in no uncertain terms that I needed to either find a way to meet them or I was going to lose control, and end up with a big, stinky mess right out in the open. But I couldn’t see a way to meet those needs; I couldn’t go forward, I was in too much pain, and my hands were too shaky to change the tire by myself.

And then a car came up that lonely road, and a man got out – a friendly woman waving at us from the passenger’s side in reassurance – and the man took the crowbar from my shaking hand, and put that donut on for me. And my friend and I got back in the car, and when we got going again the fishtailing wasn’t so bad. We were still far from haven, but the kindness of a stranger had made it possible for me to get moving toward safety again.

Of course, I still had to move through the insanity of being pushed far FAR beyond what I had thought I could endure… My poor friend. After we got going again we continued to climb, slowly, up that hill and came out onto a plateau. We journeyed on this plateau for a while and then, horror of horrors, the descent. 8% grades, a narrow switch-back road. I think it was called the Devil’s Spine or Dragon’s Ridgeback or something like that. Me driving a stick (had I mentioned that I had never driven a standard until I got started on that trip?) with a donut and still fishtailing a bit. And, yes, I still had to answer the call of the wild. One half of the way down I snapped, and started singing an old song my dad had taught us kids. A very ugly song called 3 wheels on my Rover. (I am very ashamed that this song was part of my childhood repertoire, and I haven’t sung it or even thought of it in years, and it’s a testament to my insanity that it came out in this moment)

Three wheels on my rover
And I’m still rolling along
Those cannibals are after me.
Spears they fly
Right on by
But I’m singing a happy song.

Each verse you lose a wheel… My poor friend started crying as I was laughing hysterically. It took us two hours, but eventually we made it down the Demon’s Backbone and found, at the very end of the descent, that the road teed off with a steep drop-off at the dead end… there were flashing lights and sheriffs’ cars and a fire truck… and upside down in the gully below, the trailer smashed on top of it… that truck that shared the road with us for so long and didn’t stop to help.

If I hadn’t blown that tire on the ascent… and if I had managed not to blow it on the descent and kill us that way, then that runaway truck and trailer would have been behind us coming down off that plateau. There was (finally) a town just 5 miles away. It was Sunday night. We checked into a hotel... there had been some vagues ideas of us "entertaining" each other in a glorious celebration of life or something, but I crashed slept for about 12 hours.

***

This past weekend was the shits. But life goes on, you know? Julia was getting dedicated in our Unitarian Universalist church on Sunday (pictures tomorrow, hopefully), and we’d planned a brunch with family and friends after to celebrate. We couldn’t figure out how to cancel the brunch without also telling everyone why we wanted to cancel. Broadcasting the news to the entire blogosphere aside, Kristin wasn’t sure she wanted everyone we knew to know, you know? So we cleaned the house and made Belgian waffles, and went to Church and smiled, even though everything inside us was eaten away by adrenalin and anxiety. We were both of us absolutely convinced that the mass would turn out to be cancerous. The problem with having a long, long, long serious infection, is that it looks a lot like cancer. Kristin’s lymph nodes have been swollen and painful for weeks, her white blood cell count is through the roof, she’s exhausted and achy and in pain. She was needing care – more care even than I’d already been giving her.

But my resources were depleted. I’d been running on fumes for weeks myself – pushing everything off until a specified time. And telling you lovelies about what was going on, and the resulting support that you gave me, was enough to help me keep moving forward this weekend. It was enough to put some conviction in my voice when I told her it was just going to be a cyst. And it was enough to convince me that even if we had to push on through a terrible disease, there would be people there to support us and cheer us and pray for us and bitch with us and lend us strength. And that is why, even though the scare was only for 5 days, and even though it turned out to be nothing, I am determined not to call what I posted overdramatic or overreactionary.

I am overdramatic to the point of being melodramatic.
I am overreactionary.
Yes, I know.

But I also needed the help. We needed the help that you provided. We needed something to tether us to this world. Strangely enough, some of the strongest tethers came from the people who are the furthest away.

Oh, and the car? When we finally got to a town and a mechanics shop… it turned out that I hadn’t had a major problem at all… I’d been driving on two flat tires the whole damn time.

And now I'm off to crash...

12.18.2006

Cyst

She'd only been in surgery for an hour when the nurse called me into a consulting room because the doctor wanted to speak with me. I think I felt lighter than I have in days... I wouldn't let myself believe he wanted to speak with me so early because it was bad news. And it wasn't. When they got up in there the mass turned out to be only a large cyst. Rather than take the time to carefully remove a tumor, the doctor had only to drain the cyst and move on to the other clean-up work that needed to be done.

I can't express how touched I was by all the outpouring of love and support that we recieved from everyone out there in computer-land. There's a big part of me that's convinced that the prayers and candles and white light and positive thoughts coming from all directions changed the mass that looked solid enough and scary enough on the cat-scan to alarm three specialists into nothing scarier than an infection-filled cyst.

This has been one of the worst weekends of my life. But knowing that so many people cared made it just bearable.

Thank you. It's not enough, but it's all I have to offer.

12.14.2006

Now don't freak out...

The woman you love most in the whole, wide world; the woman that you would willingly give up perfectly good body parts for; the woman about whom you have gut-chilling, tear-spilling nightmares involving the premature death of; the woman that you know is probably the only person who will ever love the you that comes out when all your insecurities and paranoias surface...

What do you suppose your reaction would be when the woman you love calls you after an appointment with a specialist and the first words out of your mouth are: "So, what did the doctor say?" and the first words out of her mouth are: "Now don't freak out, but"?

Well, in that case I think the appropriate response would be to FREAK THE FUCK OUT. Don't you?

Outwardly I remained calm, I think. I asked a lot of ridiculous questions in with the very pertinent ones. And then I hung up the phone and went to speak to my boss about some time off (I have only a few hours of leave that I've managed to bank up since the pneumonia wiped my leave out). I got up from my reception desk, walked through one set of 10 foot tall bullet-proof glass doors, through the marble and steel-clad elevator lobby, through another set of 10 foot tall bullet-proof glass doors into the non-public part of the office and passed a co-worker. I thought I was being admirably calm. She asked me how I was, when I told her I was fine, she said she could tell something was wrong from my face. I am not close to my co-workers, they normally can't tell how I'm feeling. I must have looked very shaken for her to pick up that something was wrong. I told her what I had just learned, walked to my boss' office, saw that he wasn't there and retraced my steps to come upon her telling a group of my co-workers. She was embarrassed, I was too numb to care.

Yesterday Kristin went to see an ENT for this sinus infection she's had for the past 8 weeks or longer despite a cumulative 30 days of the kind of antibiotics that would kill a bull moose, were a bull moose a form of bacteria, and another 20 or so days on just regular antibiotics. Three weeks ago our family doctor was shocked that Kristin was still sick, and they x-rayed her sinuses... a lot of infection -- a lot of infection -- but otherwise it was normal, you know, despite the hella lot of infection. So Kristin scheduled the ENT visit; yesterday was the first day they could get her in.

This is how her visit went:
First she talked to the nurse. The nurse looked sympathetic and a bit worried.
Then she talked to a P.A. The P.A. looked alarmed.
Then the specialist came in. The specialist looked concerned and ordered a cat scan.

They shot horrible-tasting stuff up Kristin's nose and hauled her off to the cat scan machine. She sat in the machine and it started to turn. After a few minutes the image came up before the technician. The technician looked at it for a moment and said, "Oh my! I'll be right back with the doctor." And then left and returned with not one but three specialists. Three specialists who sat there and discussed the situation, and Kristin, as if she weren't sitting right there. Three specialists who were extremely alarmed at what they were seeing.

A mass. A mass that looks like a tumor. A mass that wasn't there three weeks ago. It is nearly completely filling up her entire right sinus cavity. The doctors mentioned cancer as a distinct possibility. Not a certainty, no, but still. They want it removed as quickly as possible and tested. These are specialists. They've seen bad. They know what bad looks like. This is not just a General Practicioner seeing something unusual and freaking out.

The doctor sent her over to a woman to have the surgery scheduled. The woman pulled up the calendar and looked at the first available date. January 18th. Kristin said she thinks the doctor wanted the surgery sooner than that (also thinking that by January 18th she'll be back in the thick of school and practicum and work). The woman said that January 18th is the absolute soonest they can fit her in. The doctor came back over to see how the scheduling was going and when he heard that the surgery is scheduled for January 18th he got very firm and said, "No, I said immediately." The scheduler showed him the schedule that's chock full. He looked at it for a moment and then: "cancel that tonsillectomy on Monday, we need to get her in."

Somewhere out there, some person's just been told that they have to keep their tonsils until January 18th.

In addition to the removal of the lump, Kristin has extra sinuses that they are going to take care of. I'm not sure if that means they're going to remove them, or close them up, or whatever. She was told that the recovery time on this surgery is 1 to 2 weeks. Black eyes for Christmas, hoorah!

We don't know how long until we know if the lump is benign or malignant. I'm hoping that we know right away... like they get in there and discover that it's just a big, hard booger. Or a cyst. Yeah. Just a cyst. Or that they'll come out of the surgery and tell me that it was just a swollen bean that's been in there, growing, since she was a kid and her mother told her not to stick beans up her nose. Or maybe it's a pearl. Maybe some bit of grit got up there and her body's been coating it coating it coating it in layers of pearlessence. We can have it made into a piece of jewelry for Julia.

What I am trying hard not to think of is that when we looked up cancer of the sinus cavity one of the professions at risk to develop the disease is that of Crime Scene Technician... because of the fingerprint powder. And how when Kristin was a crime scene tech she would come home after her shift and blow and blow and blow black crud out that she'd inhaled (the police department wouldn't provide masks) and how she's been saying for years that her sinuses haven't been the same since. I'm not thinking about that. I'm not. It's just a cyst. It's just a tiny balloon. It's just a hardened and out-of-place gummi bear. It's just a scare.

I love her so much. Last night I kissed her cheekbone over the mysterious mass and held her. All night I kept waking from the kind of dreams that wake you up in a cold sweat. And I would turn to her and listen to her breath and tuck my arm around her body and try to fall back to sleep. And Julia was kind enough to sleep through and not disturb us.

A Meme to Sum Up the Year

(because I don't yet have the pictures ready for my Mormon Housewife Politics Post)

Thanks Liza for the idea!

You take the first sentence of the first post of each month...

January: Lots to say, no time to say it (hopefully some will come tomorrow) but hey, aren't my new shoes cute?

February: It seems everyone is talking about adoption these days.

March: Sometimes it seems as if my life is made up of one long search for mysterious bad smells.

April: Earlier today I would only have agreed with the negativity part of this evaluation.

May: Picture this (or don't, actually, I'm really not sure anyone really wants this in their head): I had a headache all night.

June: While Kristin and I were on our night-time tour of Portland, N took us around some of the neighborhoods that she thought we might be interested in moving to.

July: A few days ago, K of Odyssey to Conception wrote about a frightening incident involving her daughter, a rock, and a lot of blood.

August: You know you're a mother when... you fix your morning iced latte in a sippy cup because you can't find your chic stainless steel travel mug.

September: I'll take happy wherever I can get it these days.

October: It turns out Julia LOVES the circus.

November: I'm supposed to start a novel today.

December: Because Cali wanted snow pictures, and because I'm behind in the Photo Friday game... I've got a GREAT idea for G, hopefully I'll get to it over the weekend or Monday...

Wow. I look over those opening sentences and I see a lot of things not-done... a lot of good intentions not followed through with, and a lot of depression. Here's to hoping for a better year next year.

12.13.2006

Vote

If I were to magically morph myself into any kind of blogger in the whole wide world, I would want to morph myself into a blogger very much like LesbianDad. It's true. I absolutely adore LesbianDad's writing: post after post shines with good humor, intelligence, grace, and generosity. When it was announced that LesbianDad was up for a weblog award in the category Best New Blog, I was thrilled (a teensy bit jealous, true, but thrilled nonetheless, though I guess I'm not really a new blog, so the point should be moot) for her. I've been voting every day.

The biggest challenge to her ascendancy is a group right wing political blog. And, while one on the contributors has requested that this not continue, the readers of this blog have gotten nasty nasty nasty about LesbianDad and her popularity. I'm not going to repeat the comments, I try not to spread filth. The gist of many of them seems to be that if LesbianDad wins the award it will be because the gays stacked the deck to try and "prove" that we're mainstream and normal and deserving of respect and equal treatment. You know, it's all part of our agenda to push ourselves on decent people and ruin children. And, of course, only the gays would vote for LesbianDad...

If you aren't familiar with LesbianDad, I'm asking you to follow the link and give the site a look-see. If you like what you see, and you're not currently supporting another candidate in the Best New Blog category, will you please go vote for her? (and, of course, if you are already a fan of LesbianDad you've been voting all along, right?) This isn't about pushing an agenda. This is all about nastiness and the not rewarding of such. This is about grace and generosity triumphing over spite and fear. This is about great writing and the acknowledgent of such.

You can vote once a day until Friday. Go. Read. Become Huge Fans. Vote. Vote. Vote. Show LesbianDad your support in the face of what has turned into a really vicious attack.

And then, when you're done voting to LesbianDad, would it kill you to vote for Liza at Liza Was Here, too?

12.12.2006

An extra special post about some extra special cupcakes

We have some friends. These friends have not yet abandoned us like so many of our other friends have done. No, these friends are steadfast if a bit flaky. I’ll call them Ursula and Lola to spare the innocent. Me. The innocent would be me, because they would hurt me, hurt me bad, if they knew I was posting this story (maybe there's a reason our friends keep abandoning us...). I’m sparing myself pain by disguising their identities. So. Ursula and Lola. Lovely names.

Once upon a time Ursula and Lola had a miscommunication with a friend of theirs that resulted in their getting a large amount of a certain kind of herb left on their front porch. They had wanted just a small amount of that herb… enough, say, to give a weekend evening a little joie de vivre, but the amount they ended up with was enough to add joie every weekend for the rest of their vivre. Or close to it. They were a bit overwhelmed and stuck the box in their big freezer. I mean, what else were they supposed to do with it? We, of course, have never been in this position before (being good girls and thus completely unacquainted with the substance in question…) so we had no advice for them.

So, months pass. Several of them, in fact, with the herbal package just sitting in their freezer calling out for discovery or use. Then another month passes. This month is a terrible, horrible month, a month that most people call “November” but that wise souls know better as “Calamitember”. During this month both Ursula and Lola caught terrible chest colds. Hell, they probably caught them from us as we bring pestilence and plague wherever we go. But that’s no never mind. The fact is, they caught them, and it screwed up their breathing to no end. And in the midst of all this hardship all they wanted to do was to take some of their frozen herb and forget their troubles in a cloud of fragrant bliss. And who would deny them that? But unfortunately the whole “severe difficulty breathing” thing was putting a crimp in their plans. That’s when Lola decided to get creative.

She decided one night that she was going to make cupcakes. Now, Ursula and Lola have two small children. And they knew that if the smell of chocolate cake was going to infiltrate their house then they would need to have some cake to give the kids. So they spent some time discussing Lola's plan and trying to figure out how best to make “medicated” cupcakes as well as some plain jane cupcakes without getting the two mixed up (which would really have given Calamitember a spectacular ending, no?) So they deliberated and discussed various options… making a little cake and a couple of special cupcakes… making a couple of cupcakes and a special cake… in the end Lola started to get the cupcake pan ready and she got out the cupcake cups, and noticed that they were different colors. “Ah ha!” she thought, “I’ll make the special cupcakes in differently colored paper cups! It’s brilliant!” And Ursula agreed that it was, indeed, brilliant. So they made the regular cupcakes in pink paper and put the special batter in the green cups. And then baked them all at once, satisfied that all would be well.

After the timer went off, and the cupcakes were done, Lola pulled them out of the oven and let them cool. Then she decided that it was time for her treat. (the kids had been asleep for hours at this point) She pulled a cupcake out of the pan to check the color of the paper and… the paper cup was a greasy tan color. What the hell? She pulled another cupcake out of the pan… its cup was ALSO a greasy tan color. She pulled all the cupcakes out of the pan… all of their cupcake papers were the same damn color. It was a little like that fellow that captured the leprechaun and made the creature show him the tree that marked a fabulous treasure and then the guy puts a mark on the tree and makes the leprechaun promise not to touch the mark on the tree, but then when he comes back with a shovel to get the treasure ALL the trees are marked similarly and so he digs and digs and digs at all the trees and still he can’t find the treasure.

Well, in this case there were only 12 trees under which to dig. Both Lola and Ursula poked and prodded the cupcakes. They tried to recreate the pouring of the two different batters to determine which cupcakes were the special ones. They argued between themselves over just whose great idea was it anyway to bake all the cupcakes in the same damn pan at the same damn time. They held cupcakes up to the light hoping that perhaps the thc crystals would glow. They tore the paper cups to see if the fibers had retained a trace of their original colors. Eventually they were pretty sure that they had figured out where three out of the 4 were, but that last one was a kicker. They didn’t dare let the kids eat a possibly enhanced cupcake. And they didn’t want to just throw all the cupcakes out. So Lola ate one of the cupcakes that they were sure was enhanced. Just to be sure, you know? And it was. And she was happy. So now they knew for sure what an enhanced cupcake looked like. And then Ursula volunteered to eat one of the uncertain ones, just to see. She thought she might have seen a bit of a plant in the one she ate, but she couldn’t be certain. After 20 minutes had passed with no effect, she decided to eat another one of the uncertain cupcakes… and then another one… by the time she had eaten all 4 of the large German chocolate cupcakes that were under suspicion, she was forced to consider the fact that perhaps the first one had been enhanced after all, and this was just the munchies disguised as a laudable impulse to keep her children untouched by the ganja.

The touched now separated from the untouched, Ursula and Lola had an enjoyable night (though Ursula did feel a bit bloated) and they were able to give their kids the last two cupcakes the next day with no fear.

And the moral of this story is? If you’re going to be making special cupcakes, don’t bother to make some unspecial ones for the kids, you’re going to eat them all, anyway, enhancements or not.

And this concludes the story of some friends of ours and the ill-fated German chocolate Cupcakes.

12.11.2006

Christmas Pictures


All she wanted was that "ball"
Originally uploaded by Temmerling.
She's smiling like that because she won the power struggle to get her hands on that giant golden ball...

Click on the picture to go to my flickr page and see the rest.

Damn and Blast this Winter

Sick again. Monster cold. Blah, but I have so much to saaaaaaaay. I haven't forgotten my list from last week. I'm going to get to it this week. I promise. I also promise an editorial piece about the whole Cheney baby thing will appear on LesbianFamily.org this week, too. And, finally, I promise that a review of a pretty amazing product will appear on these hallowed pages this week, too. Next week at the latest...

Oh, and the maybe good news about my job: They want to make me permanent instead of contractual. But in order to do that they have to post my job as a permanent job opening, and I have to reapply. As a consequence of this many other people may apply for my job, and I have been warned that if any qualified people apply then my boss will be obligated to give them intereviews... So, I guess the good news is that they want to make me permanent, the bad news is that I may lose my job over this... probably not, but who knows? Maybe Super Secretary will apply and my boss will have no recourse but to hire her immediately. Once someone has been picked for my job (whether it's me or not) my contract is cancelled. I'm telling myself two things... 1) I can't possibly do worse than my original interview for this position and yet they hired me that time... and
2) If I don't get the job then that's a bummer, but probably one of those Hidden In A Crap-load of Shit Blessings In Disguise since I don't really like my job anyway and would prefer to be doing something that fed my soul.

So that's that.

Now for the real part of this post:

Scene from Saturday Morning.

Me: in pajamas, unshowered, mouth-breathing, unable to hear much or smell anything. Been up for hours and now I'm buffing the leather couches to a shine after cleaning and conditioning them.

Kristin: just getting up (don't think bad about her, it's only 10 AM and Saturdays are her days to sleep in as late as she wants to)


Kristin: Wow. You've been busy. It's looking really good out here.
Me (panting between words): I've cleaned the floors. I've dusted. I've done the dishes. I've been working on de-cluttering, I've cleaned the glass table tops, and now I'm just finishing up buffing this couch.
Kristin: You don't look good. You should go lie down.
Me: I've got too much to do. The house is filthy.
Kristin: Ok, now I know you're seriously sick. You only clean this irrationally when you're sick.
Me: The house must be clean before we put up the Christmas decorations.
Kristin: Did the couches need to be conditioned and shined before putting up the tree?
Me: They looked bad.
Kristin: Are you on meth?
Me: Close. Drixoral. 12 hour. Plus some blue pills that I found in the medicine cabinet. I'm pretty sure they're expectorant.
Kristin: You should go back to bed. You should rest.
Me: I still have to vacuum...
Kristin: Why are you doing this now?
Me (gasping for breath): I. Want. Our. Christmas. Tree. Up. This. Weekend! And. The. House. Must. Be. Clean. Before. We. Put. It. Up.
(and then I collapsed in a pool of leather conditioner and my own mucus)

The Christmas Tree is still not up. It's important to me to get it up before the solstice, but I had to admit defeat this weekend. Too many other things to do... like get family pictures taken. Yes. You read that right. We had to get them taken this weekend. Hopefully after my nap I'll get enough energy to post them...

Oh, and for those of you who may have been wondering:

Saw my RE on Friday. He says that the spotting must have been my period. Must have been. So, that means that today is CD20 (wow, that cycle went fast!) I'm trying not to be disappointed that I spent my ovulation this past cycle thinking that I might be pregnant... what's done is done. I now have a prescription for Femara with 3 refills, the RE's email address, and a green light for follicle monitoring ultrasounds, but only if I want them. I think my RE likes me. I made him laugh. We were sitting in his office (first time I have EVER met a doctor in an office and not an examining room). We go over my cycle (he says that for the three months we've been monitoring I've been ovulating just fine, it's just that my body signals the different phases of my cycle differently -- for instance, I never get a positive on an OPK -- and that I'm cycling much quicker than many people, but that I've had a pretty consistent 13 day luteal phase, so at this point he's not worried), he talks to me about Femara, and then he tells me good luck and to call or email him him if I need any betas or if I have any questions or any strange symptoms. And I'm thinking to myself, that's it? So hands off? You're going to just take my word for it that our donor is uber-potent, you're not going to be monitoring my every blood-hormone fluctuation? You're not going to push for trigger shots and IUIs? This is unlike any other RE I've ever heard of! Outwardly I said,

"I really hate to be pushy. I don't want you to think that I'm a super-needy patient. But, do you think, is there a way that I could possibly get at least one ultrasound before I ovulate just so I can SEE the follicles and know that they're really there?" He just stared at me for a moment like he was dumbstruck. I continued, "Is that possible? Am I crazy to want that? I just think I need to see them..." and that's when he started laughing.

"No, you're not crazy. You can have ultrasounds if you like. I'm just trying to be hands off and respectful of your process. You and your partner have done this before, you know what you're doing. You don't need much from me, but anything you want you can have." So, how about that? An RE who's willing to let the patient call the shots, who doesn't sit on his Tower of Medical Knowledge and dictate to the Smaller Creatures around him, and who's respectful of a lesbian couple's process... and he seems to genuinely like me. Cool.

Now, if you'll excuse me. The house still isn't clean enough for the Christmas tree and I have some carpets to shampoo before the Drixoral wears off...

12.07.2006

Got My Toes Wet

My first post at LesbianFamily.org is up...

When Liza asked me if I wanted to contribute to LesbianFamily.org I gave her a resounding “yes!” because I think LesbianFamily.org can become a nexus for the lesbian family blogosphere. I think it can be the thing to pull in our disparate voices and let each be heard. I think it can be a place of vibrant discussion and connection. And with all that, I want to stand here in the center and hold up a mirror and reflect you back to yourselves. I want discussion to swirl around me, your words to fill me up.


Just so you know...

The Pooplicious Fondue Party

Julia’s shit smells like… well, shit. It can’t remain in the house any longer. The diaper genie? Not so genius. Regular garbage can with a lid? Still pretty stinky. We’re having to take each poopy diaper directly to the can outside. In the finer weather this wasn’t a problem: open kitchen door, take a quick glance around to make certain no neighbor is casting their eyes in your general direction so as to be disturbed by the sight of you en dishabille (or completely nude depending on the time of day) and make a dash to the big garbage can. Now, however, as the bitter winter settles deep into our valley, that 8 foot dash to the garbage can is fraught with hazard: cold, ice, sleet, snow, slippery leaves, Deadly Horse Chestnut Casings of Doom… More often than not, of late, the poopy diapers were getting left in a little odiferous pile on the counter by the door (Kristin will probably appreciate my pointing out that it was never HER leaving the diapers by the door. Oh no. That would be me. But it’s been cold enough to freeze your nipples off lately, and I’m rather fond of my nipples, so…)

But we are not stinky people. And we are not the type to let stinking feces lie. Something had to be done. Especially since we had invited another couple over for fondue and fried shrimp. We could not have them eating fondue in a house that smelled of poop. So I thought and thought and thought. What to do? What to do? It seemed the best solution would be to get another garbage pail and put it on the back steps within arm’s reach of the door. But the dogs… the dogs… they might knock it down and get at the treasure within.

I bought a small garbage pail with a spring-action lid that requires fingers to operate (dog noses don’t count) and some strong bungee cords. I bungeed the garbage pail to the iron railing and post and tested to make certain that the spring action lid still worked. The dogs watched me suspiciously as I opened and closed the lid. I’m brilliant, I thought to myself as I sat back and admired my handiwork. Then I went into the warm house, grabbed the day’s pyramid of poopiness that had accumulated on the counter, (we’ve been feeding Julia Odwalla’s Superfood to promote regularity and good golly it’s worked!) and deposited them in their new receptacle. Oscar and Oliver circled the treasure chest and plotted, but I was not worried; I am a genius and I had flummoxed them!

My fondue was fabulous. It was a bit grainy as I threw in some cotija we had and the cotija didn’t melt well. And because I’d used some Porter Cheddar and an extra dark lager as the base, the color was a bit… off. (One of the guests remarked on the fondue’s remarkable resemblance to baby poo…) But still. Fabuloso Delicioso! And I successfully deep fried panko breaded shrimp and sweet potato tempura under the admiring gazes of our guests. The evening was going splendidly: Kristin and I were coming off as cultured, accomplished, and (as it had only been a few days since the advent of the housekeeper, AND as the odor of the poop pyramid had dissipated) admirably clean & tidy in the face of unspeakable odds. It was heavenly.

We were all still dipping into the fondue pot as we prepared to begin the ritual slaughter of fuzzy woodland creatures, when Brian decided to smoke a cigarette. Strangely, we didn’t hear the dogs jump all over him as he went outside. In fact, they’d been unusually quiet and well-behaved out there all evening. Normally when we have guests the dogs spend their time whining at the door to be let in, and mauling our guests if someone is foolish enough to take pity on them and open the door (the routine mauling of our guests is why they are banished outside or to the sunroom when we entertain).

La di da di daaaaa…. I’m cleaning up and Kristin and Psarah (yes, that’s really how she spells her name, but it’s pronounced “Sarah” – don’t ask) are getting the bunnies ready to kill and be killed. And suddenly someone needs some information from Brian. So, I open the door to ask this vitally important question that I have now forgotten. And when I open the door my eyes behold a scene of singular horror…

The dogs… the dogs… THE DOGS HAD GOTTEN THE LID COMPLETELY OFF THE POOP RECEPTACLE… and had spread shredded diapers, chewed up diapers, eviscerated diapers ALL OVER THE BACK PORCH. It was a feces fiasco: poop and poop-infused absorbent gel rubbed into our new doormat, feces flecking the fur of our resident demons, getting licked off their teeth as I watched them in horror, an ankle-high drift of fragrant brown-and-yellow “snow” piled up in front of our kitchen door and being blown down the steps. And on the far side of it all, calmly smoking, Brian.

“WHY ARE YOU SO CALM?” I shrieked at him. “WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SOMETHING WHEN YOU OPENED THE DOOR AND WAS CONFRONTED BY A PILE OF FLUFFY SHIT AND COPROLITE-CRAZED CANINES*?!?”

He shrugged. “I wasn’t sure it was a problem that you would want to or need to address so immediately.”

“What, do you think we’re the kind of people who can be nonchalant about a pile of shredded shitty diapers being spread all over our yard? Do you think something like that wouldn’t FREAK THE SHIT OUT OF US?”

“Well, now that you put it that way…”

“Hey, the fondue really is the color of baby shit.” [this from Psarah, peeking out the door as I pushed past her to get latex gloves and a trash bag and Kristin struggled to keep the crappy dogs from entering the kitchen – where they would, of course, if allowed, shake their fur to better spread the joy]

And that, my friends, was the pooplicious fondue party.

Would you believe that it took 3 more doggie raids on the poop receptacle before I realized that there was going to be NO WAY to secure the lid from the ravening animals as long as said lid was at dog-eye level and so figured out a way to securely bungee the can to the pole up about 5 feet off the ground.


* In my distress I may not have used that exact term, but of course in hindsight I am always just that witty

12.06.2006

Getting Back on Track

Yesterday I received an email from Lauri. In it she told me that she really liked my "weird" post yesterday. Mostly she liked it because I talked about her and her special abilities, and she's just that vain. But she also liked it because she said that I sounded like myself again. No sadness. No stress. No worry.

And I thought about it. She's right. I haven't talked about her in a long time. Some of my newer readers might not even know who she is. So, for their edification, I would like to direct you all to my long ago, long forgotten, and never completed FAQ project in which I answer the burning question: just who is this Lauri chick and why should I care? I would also like to point out that I would be linking to her blog in this post, except that she never posts on her blog. She tells me that she writes lots of posts, but then just saves them as drafts and never publishes them. I think that's a little weird. And maybe I should have tagged her yesterday, so I'm tagging her right now. Lauri, I think everyone would like to read 6 weird things about you.

She's also right about something else: I haven't been myself for a very long time. I feel like I've been lost and drowning, but I think I'm finding my way back, and I'm coughing the liquid from my lungs and clearing my throat. And I'm remembering all the things that I meant to blog about and then didn't. And so I have composed the following list of Things I Meant to Blog:

1) The pooplicious fondue party
2) The completion of phase 3 of Making Julia a Lesbian
3) Semi good news about my job
4) A story about some friends of ours and some ill-fated German Chocolate cupcakes
5) Mormon Housewife Politics and the Disappointing Aftermath
6) The worst movies in the history of the entire movie industry

Please email or leave comments about which of these stories you'd like to hear first.

Actually, because it's short, I'll give you The Completion of Phase 3 of Making Julia a Lesbian first.

I've talked about my magnificent rack before. Too many times to link, actually. The consequence of this is that I manage to have cleavage even when wearing turtlenecks. I swear it's true. Turns out this is a good thing for Julia's sake. Now that it's winter, it's drafty in our house and we keep Julia bundled up in layers for warmth. But her little hands are always cold especially since she won't wear mittens. No matter, she's found an ingenious way of keeping them warm. Nowadays whenever I pick her up, if she feels her hands could use a warm-up, she shoves them down my cleavage. Not only is it unpleasant to have little blocks of hand-shaped ice invade one's warm bosom, but it's a bit disconcerting when she does this in front of guests (in the case of cold hands at home) and strangers (in the case of cold hands abroad), especially since she's not a nursing baby and I was never a nursing mama. But it's all in a day's work and both Kristin and I can feel good that Phase 3 of Making Julia a Lesbian (Learning How to Cop a Feel) has been completed so successfully.

12.05.2006

Administrative Proceedings and An Announcement

Did you hear the news? I'm going to be writing regularly for LesbianFamily.org!

I am so honored to be asked to contribute to LesbianFamily.org. The other contributors are amazing writers and I feel like I'm in illustrious company. And you know, and when I say that you know I'm not just sucking up so they'll say nice things about me, I mean, one of them is published (in a book! in paper! that people buy! that I bought!), and one of them has, like, a googlillion subscribers on bloglines alone (well, maybe not a googlillion, but a lot more than me) and she earns those subscribers because she's such a good writer and a fantastic photographer, and the other one, the one who started it all, was interviewed for a real article where her blogging was called "fabulous" by someone who was neither related to her nor getting paid by her! And then there's me. [sound of crickets chirping in the vast silence]

But I've got some exciting ideas of things I'd like to see happen over there. There's going to be weekly round-ups of some of the spectacular posts around the Lesbian Family blogroll, and I'm hoping we can organize a carnival to sponsor some interactive linkage action. I'd also like to do a series of interviews with various bloggers on the blogroll. And I might write about various issues on occassion. If you've got any tips for me, things you'd like to see me post over there, or bloggers you're just dying to read more about, please email me at anaccidentofhope [at] inbox [dot] com.

So, now for the administrative proceeding. I've redone my links. In line with my new priority of getting people to use LesbianFamily.org as an invaluable gateway to lesbian family bloggers, I've replaced most of the individual links with one link to the LesbianFamily.org blogroll. The individual links I've left are those of people that I have some connection with other than cyberly, or that wouldn't be found on LesbianFamily.org, or that I have some nefarious plan for. I'm really hoping that this move doesn't offend anyone, but really, my links were getting out of control. If you're not listed on LesbianFamily.org and your link has disappeared, please let me know and I'll put it back, as I really do want everyone to be able to find anyone that has ever read my blog even just once. And especially if you left a kind comment. Then I definitely want people to find you so they can leave kind comments in return.

Ok? Ok.

I'll let you all know when my first post over at LesbianFamily.org is up. Not that I should have to tell you, since you're all regular readers already, right? Right?

Right.

weird

I’ve been tagged. By Griffin over there at Wheel Revolution. It surprised me since I don’t comment there very often, and I don’t think she’s ever commented here, but we have mutual linkage going on… and she’s got an amazing experiment in car-less living in process. Click the link to see how much stuff this woman is capable of fitting on her bike and her garden is very possibly the coolest thing I have ever seen! Anyway, I think Griffin is trying to give me a subtle hint that I should be talking about something other than depression and despair and a missing period. And she would be right.

Ok here I go. Six weird things (other than the fact that my period's gone missing even though I had high progesterone levels earlier in the month and now have none). Let’s see…

1) I only love songs that I can sing. If I can’t sing it, or I wouldn’t want to sing it… then no matter how good a song it is, it’s only meh to me. If it’s got really good lyrics a song might rise above meh to like, but I will never puffy pink heart it. This isn’t as restrictive as it might seem at first as I have quite a range in both octaves and style, and even if I can’t normally sing a song in the particular key and/or range it’s written in, I can often figure out a harmony line that makes me happy. For example… I can sing all of Les Mis… and I can do the different voices too. It’s quite a production. And when the male voices go too low for me I’ll just transpose it up an octave or two or sing it in harmony… I actually bonded with Lauri over this ability, since she can do the same thing. Unfortunately she and I never got to sing Les Mis together because we never got drunk enough to manage to do it in front of each other and now she's gone... gone...gone to the frozen cornfields of Iowa. But one day. One day…

2) I hate onions in food. Cooked or raw, it doesn’t matter. Hate them. I will eat them to be polite if I have to, but other than that, and even when I'm eating them to be polite I'll ususally hit a limit of how many I can eat before I start picking them out and shoving them to the side of the plate… Ok, that’s not the weird thing. The weird thing is that every once in a while I’ll get a craving for French onion soup. It’s actually the cheese and bread that I’m craving, but there’s something about them being in the soup… and I love funyuns and green bean casserole with the French fried onions on top. Now THAT’s weird, right?

3) Sometimes, for no reason at all, I’ll just open my mouth and sing “la la laaaaaa.” Sometimes I even do it when people can hear. And then they look at me funny. Sometimes I think it’s funny and I’ll do it again. But most of the time I just wonder why I did that in the first place. Kristin hates it when I do that. And she tells me that I do it more when I’m stressed out or off my meds. My perception is that I do it more when I’m having happy moments during those stressful times. Like I’m so happy and content during those brief moments that the contrast between those moments and the normal stress makes me want to sing… eh. Who knows?

4) I insist that the bathroom, when the door is shut, be a “Zone of Silence”. I don’t care that the door is thin and really you can hear everything that takes place on either side. I like to pretend that you can’t hear me pee and, ahem, other things. And thus the Zone of Silence. Don’t break my bubble of denial. If you talk to me when I have the bathroom door shut I either won’t answer (because I can’t hear you, duh, it’s a Zone of Silence) or if I’m not indisposed (ie, if I don’t have my pants down) I’ll open the door and say in a really annoyed tone of voice, “What did you say? I couldn’t hear you; the door was shut.” If it’s a guest trying to talk to me, I’ll tone down the annoyed tone. But Kristin should know better, for goodness’ sake! I’ll do you the favor of not listening to you when you’re in there, too. So don’t be sitting on the porcelain throne and try to talk to me. I won’t hear you. I’m serious. I really won’t. I’ve eased up on this a bit since Julia’s arrival, since I need to be on call even when answering a call, but I still find it disconcerting.

5) I am really fascinated with variations on a theme. When I was a musician variations on a theme were always my favorite exercises. I love the establishment of a “norm” and then how little changes can make such a dramatic difference. I really love listening to the original version of a song, and then listening to covers so I can compare and contrast. And this love of mine goes beyond music, too. I love looking at different versions of the same scene or object as painted by different students in a class. I love books that tell the same story but through different perspectives and narratives. And I love collecting variations on a theme. In fact, it goes a bit further than love into a form of obsession sometimes. It’s why there are 7 different varieties of mint in my tea garden. Because they’re all different! But they’re all the same! And look! This one’s got purple leaves, but it’s still mint! I love tasting them and savoring their subtle differences. It’s why our house is cluttered with things. Because I may have elephants, (or fish, or turtles, or frogs) but I don’t have this elephant. This elephant is different, but it’s still an elephant! Wouldn’t it look great on the shelf with all the other elephants, like a little elephant commune? … I like to think that I’m like this because I’m fascinated by the differences which divide us from each other (on both personal and political levels), and the commonalities which bring us back together. But, really, that’s just a secondary justification.

Finally, 6) I rehearse and rehash entire conversations… out loud. Yeah, that’s right. I talk to myself. In fact, I'm talking to myself right now. I tell myself (and now you know, when I’m saying I tell myself, I’m really, actually, physically telling myself) that it’s ok, as long as I’m only playing the one part out loud. When I start speaking as someone else… that’s when I’ll have to admit that there’s a problem. Right now, at least, the other person’s voice stays in my head and I only vocalize the part that I should have said, or wish I could have said, or will say (if I’m rehearsing what will be a difficult conversation). I think this is perfectly normal, but it used to freak the fuck out of my dad -- probably still would if he could hear it.

Ok. I’m now supposed to tag 6 people in turn. I’m going to make this more of a suggestion. I would love to read 6 weird things about HD, Blue Ox, Plimco, Merr, Brooke, and Charlotte (both of those last two are people whom I think need a distraction). If I didn’t tag you it’s because a) I may have a fuzzy (and possibly incorrect) memory of you doing this meme sometime in the past, b) I don’t think you’ll do it anyway (though I’m not sure anyone I tagged will actually do it either) and/or c) I DO want to hear your 6 things, but I’m sticking to the rules and only tagging 6 people. Or, you know, of course it could also mean that I secretly hate you. I don’t, but then I’d say that, wouldn’t I, if it were a secret hate and I wanted to keep it that way?

12.04.2006

Julia Juice

I realized that it's been a while since I talked in depth about Julia. So...

Extracted and condensed for your consumption...

1) She spends her days dancing. We always have music playing and it’s like she can’t help herself, when a good beat comes on she can’t help but bounce to it. And then when she notices us smiling at her she gets more creative – adding head and arm movements, getting bigger in her bounces. And she’s usually on the beat, too. Girl’s got rhythm!

2) She sings. She walks around the house singing little unrecognizable tunes. She also sings to the radio. The first song I noticed her singing along to was Patty Griffin’s “Rowing Song” As I row, row, row going so slow, slow, slow... little row row rows and slow slow slows coming from the back seat. Then, just Saturday, we were driving around running errands, and a Swamp Mama Johnson song came on, one with some real kick-ass saxophone action, and suddenly, from the carseat in the back, came some incredible scat vocals. Holy shit! She was imitating the saxophone solo!

3) She swears like a sailor. Julia now understands the correct use of the phrase “oh shit!” Used to be when she dropped something she would say, “Uh oh, I dropped it.” I’ve been trying to get her to start saying, “Yeah, I dropped it” with a bit of a ‘tude, since her “dropping” things is rarely accidental, but she’s resistant to the substitution. However, she’s taken to saying, “Oh shit!” when she drops things on accident. We try not to laugh, because though we don’t have a problem with her swearing (I have strong feelings about restricting language use re: the swears) we really don’t want her to start doing it for the reaction it gets her. Still, it’s pretty fucking funny.

4) My God, this girl can talk. For several months now she’s been using two word phrases, but I was unclear on whether she was aware that the phrases had two different words in them, or if she just thought that the phrase was one big word. In other words, even though she was technically speaking in 2 word (or more, as in the case of “I dropped it”) phrases, was she capable of creating new ones in order to get her meaning across? That question was solved last weekend when she spontaneously identified a stuffed animal as “[Grandchild the First]’s doggie”. She’s capable of answering yes and no questions about what she wants or doesn’t want, and has begun to have a say in what she wears in the morning. She’ll also answer open-ended questions, but we often have a difficult time understanding what she’s trying to say. She’ll utter a string of syllables, and when we tell her that we don’t understand, she’ll repeat herself exactly and then look at us expectantly. There’s no doubt in our minds that she is saying something specific, something repeatable, something she expects us to be able to understand. I can’t wait until her physiology catches up with her vocabulary so that we can finally understand what she’s saying, as I’m sure whatever she’s saying is fascinating. And funny. She’s already started telling little toddler jokes. She cracks herself up.

5) Picky eater. All weekend she would eat only clementines. Why she’s sick with all that vitamin c running through her system is beyond me.

12.01.2006

Er. My dog ate my homework.

Fiiiiiiiiinally getting around to completing HD's homework assignment.

1. What is the most outrageous gift you'd give someone for the holidays if you had unlimited funds?

This is really hard to answer because obviously the answer changes depending on who I'm thinking about. I guess the only person that I would really want to give an outrageous gift to would be Kristin. I would give Kristin a trip to an intensive immersion Spanish school. There was one our favorite town in Nicaragua that she's mentioned longingly before. I don't know how long something like that would take, but that's what I'd do. Pay her expenses, clear her schedule, give her some spending money, and ship her off. And, since chances are she wouldn't be completely happy unless Julia and I were with her, I guess I'd have to pay my expenses, clear my schedule, and ship me (and Julia) off with her. And, though Nicaragua calls to us, it would be really cool if there were one of those programs near to where Sublime lives, so we could visit with her and she could laugh at our Spanish.

2. What is the most outrageous gift you'd WANT from someone else?

And for me? Well, what I'd LOVE would be for someone to give me the gift of a housekeeper and Oprah's chef for a year. The housekeeper would only need to come once a week, and I'd be happy if Oprah's chef just cooked healthy delicious meals for our family five days a week -- I think I could handle the weekends... I know. So domesticated. But just think of all the other things I could do with my time if these domestic tasks were taken care of. Not to mention all the cute clothes I could probably fit back into if I ate better (and really not to mention all the other, ahem, evening endeavors I'd feel more like engaging in if I felt better about my body). So really, it's a multi-faceted and exotic gift. I know, I know, I could do the better eating without Oprah's chef, but I'm just so tired whine whine whine and this is a fantasy...

3. What is your family's weirdest holiday tradition?

My father's family are immigrants from Denmark. Unfortunately, at the time that they immigrated (late 1940s) it was thought that immigrants should put aside everything from their former cultures in order to socialize properly. So the children who were born in Denmark lost their language and culture, and the children who were born here never learned it to start with. Now the only things of Denmark left are some old family recipes, an aesthetic sense in home furnishings and art, some odd phrases that pop out at odd times from our mouths, my grandmother's increasingly strong accent as she ages into dementia, a fierce pride and longing for our homeland (several of us have learned Danish to compensate for the fact that we never knew it to start with), and Christmas. Christmas is when you'll encounter the most Danish cooking, the most Danish art displayed (as ornaments and decorations), the most Danish flags (flying proudly from our trees), and hear the most Danish phrases and carols coming out of our mouths. We celebrate Christmas with a huge party on Christmas Eve (ending with the traditional Rice Pudding topped with raspberry or current sauce where everyone looks for the hidden blanched almond to win a prize). Kristin would probably nominate the fact that we all eagerly eat this pudding as our family's strangest holiday tradition, but I would say that there are two other things tied for the distinction of Strangest Holiday Tradition, and they're both oral things, so I suppose I'm redefining this to be the Strangest Holiday Oral Tradition.

In Denmark (or maybe this was peculiar to our family) on Christmas Eve, families hold hands around the Christmas tree and dance while they sing carols. Several years ago when I was very young, it was my father's oldest brother's turn to host the family party. Their house was pretty small upstairs, and the tree was very crowded with presents -- no room for dancing. But downstairs his wife had a preschool set up, lots of room to dance, but no second Christmas tree. So they took their jumparoo (a strange piece of equipment that look like a colorful metal spider surrounded by a giant, inflated innertube for jumping on) and strung it with Christmas lights. It looked a bit like this (please forgive my crookedy lines). And that, my friends, is what the family danced and sang around that year. And ever since then it is tradition to threaten carol-reluctant people, "don't make us get out the jumparoo." It's not Christmas without the threat of the Jumparoo.

The other tradition is a joke. Every year my uncle has to tell the traditional joke. We all await this joke eagerly, and the year he refused to tell it just felt like someone had pissed in my Christmas sock. His job is to tell the joke. Our job is to groad loudly and wonder aloud how he can possibly tell the same joke year after year. And here's the joke:

"I'm sorry, kids. But it looks like Rudolph isn't going to be able to lead Santa's sleigh this year. [kids (or now, adults, since none of us are kids anymore): Ooooh, why not?] Well, he picked his nose and electrocuted himself. [groans from everyone]."

And there you have it. A little bit of holiday spirit to start this month out right. I'm studiously ignoring the fact that I still don't have a period and the RE can't see me until next Friday. Oh, yeah, and Julia's sick again. AGAIN.

Photo Friday: F is for First Snow


First Snow First Light
Originally uploaded by Temmerling.
Because Cali wanted snow pictures, and because I'm behind in the Photo Friday game... I've got a GREAT idea for G, hopefully I'll get to it over the weekend or Monday...

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