March 8, 2014

We All Start as Strangers

This paragraph is from a piece written by Brianna Wiest found here in its entirety.  It makes me think AND feel, a delightful combination. 
"We all start as strangers. The choices we make in terms of love are usually ones that seem inevitable anyway. We find people irrationally compelling. We find souls made of the same stuff ours are. We find classmates and partners and neighbors and family friends and cousins and sisters and our lives intersect in a way that makes them feel like they couldn’t have ever been separate. And this is lovely. But the ease and access isn’t what we crave. It isn’t what I’m writing about right now. It isn’t what we revolve around after it’s gone. We are all just waiting for another universe to collide with ours, to change what we can’t ourselves. To fill us, to make us whole. It’s interesting how afterwards, we realize that the storm returns to calm, but the stars are always changed and we don’t choose whose collisions change us. We all start as strangers, but we often forget that we choose who ends up a stranger too."

July 3, 2013

Mysterious Melon Matter

Where:  Grocery store, produce section
When:  Sunday morning, half past bright and early
Who:  Me, shopping
          Two store employees, one stocking mangoes, the other passing by
What:  Eavesdropping and cantaloupes

Passing By Guy (animated):  "Man, I heard what happened with the cantaloupes yesterday!"

Mango Stocker (nodding eagerly with raised eyebrows):  "That sure was something!"

Me (eavesdropping, looking around for cantaloupes, seeing none, wondering WTF happened with the cantaloupes yesterday).

I'm still wondering.

July 1, 2013


Long ago and far away, my dear sister moved to Sedona, Arizona. I can't recall the exact year, it seems another lifetime. Sedona, way out west, in the mountains, those amazing red rocks, so foreign to the terrain of home, where we were raised, where I still live. Flashback: She and I were out to a casual dinner at a TGI Fridays in Woodbridge, Virginia when she dropped that bomb. She was leaving. The moment is frozen in my memory. I cried. Tears. In public. She was unabashedly delighted at my atypical display of emotion. I know she remembers it too.

My sister softens my sharp emotional edges. Of late, hormones have wiped out any residual resistance. Nowadays my tears fall freely, whenever, wherever. Lovely.

So I didn't want her to go but she did anyway. It was the right thing. My sister flourishes there. Visits since have been precious. This month brings what I am calling and what will certainly be A Grand Adventure. Ten days of sisterly togetherness, first reveling in her Sedona spaces followed by transcontinental travel via automobile with views of America neither of us have seen.

I am alive with anticipation.
A road trip with my sister!
Buckle the fuck up!

May 21, 2013

Feeling in Color

It's been odd times.  Ditching the anger of last year has let other emotions come to the surface that I'm actually allowing myself to recognize and process.  Self-awareness and analysis has always been more of my sister's forte.  Me, I'm logical, less driven by emotions, practical and strong living in a black and white world.  

Sure. Sure I am.

Right and wrong seem clear. Black and white. Ha. I'm such a fool. Me attempting to make it so is akin to shoving the round peg into the square hole.  With the anger aside, I can see that.  Doesn't mean I've stopped doing it though.

But I'd like to. Stop.

Such rigidity makes it difficult to be my friend. I ask people to make hard decisions, to be honest, oh how I crave honesty and cherish the opportunity to give it in return.

This year, so far, I've had two very dear friends give up on me. And it's only May! I hope their decisions were hard, because damn their actions hurt and oh how I wish they'd chosen differently. Perhaps the honesty I crave is not what I should be demanding.  Definitely not of those two.  Yet I can't imagine living with anything else.

I need to acknowledge to myself just how much it does hurt. Oh yes, the stories are complex and anything but black and white and maybe I gave up on them first. One of them I definitely did. The rights and wrongs of that situation all but demanded it of one who feels in black and white.

The other sent me this poem before she gave up on me. (I haven't given up on her but I doubt she sees it that way.) It's so perfect and it breaks my heart.

I look forward to the day it doesn't break my heart.

Sure.  Sure I do.

This feeling in color takes some getting used to.

May 10, 2013

The truth is I can't seem to sit still and when I do, I vegetate versus ruminate.  

I miss the historical nature of blogging.  I appreciate the possibility of looking back at a place in time to be reminded the who what when where why and how of that moment.  It's a primary motivation for me to try again.  I have hopes of finding a rhythm.

Meanwhile I'll leave this moment to look back on:  two of my best girls sharing the love.

April 2, 2013

Livingston Street NW

The next wave has arrived.  Here.  Have a glimpse.

March 29, 2013

Marriage. Marriage? Marriage!

It's totally in my face this week, in all of our faces. That's not a bad thing. But I feel exposed when issues so personal to me are front and center headline news. My anxiety escalates. Yet I'm more resolved these days, much more matter of fact. Shit's happening, man. Shit that affects me and mine. I am actively engaged.

I've come across people like her on the internet where they are easy to ignore. But this one is close to home. Here is her stance, loosely quoted, "Of course I believe EVERYONE is equal and GAYS deserve EQUAL rights, just not 'MARRIAGE'. They must be kept separate and apart, far far far away from that word. That's our word. Oh and an entire new legal structure needs to be created to accommodate their unions (as yet unnamed but to be called anything but 'marriage'). And the new laws should also extend to heterosexual couples who choose to live together without the marital blessing of our lord jesus christ hallowed be thy name amen. Then we'll have real EQUALITY!"

Speechless. I have a relative who actually considers that a reasonable solution and feels that view makes her a champion of equality, a friend of the GAYS. Has religion robbed her of critical thought? I shared my own opinion and tried to move on. It would be a lie to say I'm not still stunned.

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around.  Shit's happening, man. Some of it is good.

Wendy and I joined the crowd in front of the Supreme Court building on Tuesday morning. Supporters easily outnumbered the others. It felt joyful to be surrounded by people of like mind, people who understand, people who believe in the same free America that we do. I don't know what will happen, but hope is alive.

I remain obsessed with knowing where people in my life stand on the issue. Like the relative mentioned above, some folks eventually let it all hang out. I appreciate that. It's the ones who don't say anything, who express neither support nor disapproval that bug me. It's freaking stressful to be a homosexual in America right now. There is a lot on the line. We could use your support. Fair notice to those reticent to engage: based on your silence, I assume you disapprove and will approach our relationship accordingly.

Although if you wait long enough, I'm bound to ask. But why not just speak up? Hopefully for us. 

March 19, 2013


I caught a glimpse of myself in the rear view mirror while backing my car down the driveway. Oops, did I neglect to comb my hair? I ran my fingers through it, pushing it here, tucking it there. Good enough.

Saturday trip to the grocery store.  Bright sunshine, blue skies, temperatures so moderate I was overdressed in a hoodie. Window down, elbow out, Kelly Clarkson cranked on the radio ("you ain't got the right to tell me when and where to go no right to tell me").  I cannot explain why Luke Bryan took over in my head ("girl you make my speakers go boom-boom") while I pushed my cart up and down the aisles.

When The Boy flows through our kitchen as he has of late, ingredients appear. I had my eye on his quinoa. Keeper recipe:  Chicken & Green Olive Stew.  So good.

Tis the season for yard work. Trimmed things. Bagged leaves. Oogled emerging tulip tips. Marveled at daffodils in bloom.

Then the clock flipped, an hour was stolen and everything broke down.  Well.  I broke down.  Figuratively.  Stupid time change... so sleepy!  I pulled myself together again just in time for a road trip weekend to visit with my mom.


Is it wrong to toss a well-gnawed apple core into a lightly forested area of an urban park?  

I was bitter when a client relocated from downtown DC at 14th & K Streets NW to suburban Chevy Chase.  Granted it's only twice a month, but my commute doubled---drive to the Huntington Metro, Yellow Line to Gallery Place to Red Line to Friendship Heights.  It's a lengthy ride with lots of stairs up and down.  Then I walk 3/4 of a mile through a lovely neighborhood.  Driving is just not an option as routes are DC-traffic-ugly and parking impossibly inconvenient.  Nope, I'll just zone out on public transportation thank you very much.

A physical commute is multi-tasking at its best:  movement with purpose.

The first Spring after that move was a revelation. Turns out that lovely neighborhood explodes in a glorious display of Spring delight and it is about to happen again.  Evidence peeks out, green tips pushing from the soil.  The daffodils in bloom today are but the introductory wave.  I know what comes next because I've seen it before and I am EXCITED about seeing it again.

It was snowing yesterday.  But today it was sunny and temperate and I walked back to the Metro chomping an apple and absorbing signs of spring.


This coming weekend will be the first one with Wendy working longer shifts on both days, prompting the concept of discipline to cross my mind frequently in recent weeks.  I am a creature of habit, a fan of structure, a lover of routine.  When habits-structures-routines shatter as they must because that's evidently what life is all about, well, people like me need to form new ones.

So I'm making lists.  It's what I do, habitually.  Interestingly perhaps only to me in an oddly coincidental way that made me literally laugh out loud, an item on that linked list from 2004 is again on my list in 2013.  In 2004, my sophomore-in-college son was talking about the musical "The Last Five Years" and I wanted to hear the soundtrack.  In 2013, it's on the list because it is being staged at Signature, a delightful local theater and I hope to see it.

Double woosh.  Why not.

March 6, 2013

Unzipped Lips

I was angry during much of 2012.  It came to a head the day after the Presidential election. 

My mother and I talk often, but we did not discuss politics in the run up to the election.  My anger got in the way, something we both figured out pretty quickly and care was taken to avoid the topic.  I know now that was a mistake.

I received an email from her the day after the election:  "Congrats on your candidate's win.  I sincerely hope I am wrong about what is going to happen to our country and our future.  I am glad I am on the downside of my life." 

Instant RAGE!  I snapped back, "We survived Bush, you'll survive Obama.  Perhaps you can take some comfort in the fact that your children and their families may actually one day have equal access to the protections and benefits offered to heterosexual Americans.  It breaks my heart that it is seemingly okay with you for my family to be treated as second class citizens, that you feel our country can grow and move forward with such injustice as the status quo.  I am proud the majority of our country did not support the far right social agenda on which your candidate campaigned."

That email exchange led to an emotional conversation where I clued her in to how our lives and our financial health have been and continue to be negatively impacted by not being allowed access to marriage, how the issue being politicized makes it that much more disheartening and humiliating, how DOMA impacts gays legally married in states that allow it.

Her response surprised me greatly.  She said, "You never told me!  How was I to know?!"

I no longer assume people pay attention to or understand the issues homosexuals face in today's America.  I've also become rather obsessed with knowing where people in my life stand on the issue of marriage equality.  I speak up when the topic arises, at times bringing it up myself.  I share how the issues affect me and my family with people who know us in whatever capacity.

I may not change any minds, but my anger has dissipated.  That's a welcome improvement.

March 2, 2013

What what?

I'm home alone on a Saturday. Not really alone; Pixie and Lucy are here. This is my new reality for the foreseeable future.

Last post here was in 2009. Much has changed in the ensuing years. The boots in that last post have been re-soled twice.

I turned 50 a few months ago. I now wear glasses full time. I haven't had a period in well over a year. I work the same jobs. Wendy is in the midst of a significant career change. The Boy is a full-on Man. Dudley died, Lucy joined us. We don't smoke cigarettes. I drink less beer but more liquor. Our five year plan has become a ten year plan. I still love to cook and watch football. Tuesday night Pilates class is a joyful habit. I've lost some very dear friends and gained others.

The issue of marriage equality has wended its way to the Supreme Court. Not surprisingly, that issue means a lot to my family. I no longer have patience for people who stand against it. Evolve, or get the fuck out of the way.

I'm still full of words waiting to get out. I may let them.


October 2, 2009

Happy Feet

It was a weeknight in October 1998. The evening was clear with a definite chill in the air. Weather perfection. I had a date, a cliched meeting for coffee. At Starbucks even. Decaf for me. I didn't know her well enough to know what choice she may make.

My hair was freshly coiffed and cooperating. I wasn't smoking at the time, so I smelled like a girl is supposed to smell. I chose seasonal clothes for versatile comfort: bluejeans and a black turtleneck topped with a black wool blazer. I wore at least two gold bangle bracelets on my left wrist, a watch on my right. No earrings. My shoes were boots, my black cowboy boots, with a fresh shine. Cash in pocket, $10.

I set forth that evening of my first date with Wendy unaware I was about to be handily conquered, smitten even, by a deer-in-the-headlights look and an eyebrow waggle. Had I even suspected, I may have stayed home. Wendy doesn't believe. She claims I made her work much, much harder and made her wait much, much longer. The truth is somewhere in between. Or perhaps it is as I say? (The best of times, my dear. From then til now and onward.)

But back to my boots. I adored those boots. The miles eventually wore them out beyond repair and I bid them farewell. Wendy enlightened me to the joys of being a shoe whore. (An afternoon spent together at DSW is a hot date. We need bigger closets.)

I ain't no cowboy, but I did miss them boots and kept a casual lookout for replacements. It took me a while to pull the trigger, but last year I acquired a new pair. Via the internetz. Point and shoot. From Made in Mexico to my feet in a mere two days. Free postage. Tony Lama's. Size 10. Just in time for autumn.

This fall is even better: them boots already be broken in.

I still get a thrill every time Wendy waggles her eyebrows in my direction. You should be so lucky.


September 30, 2009

September 22, 2009

September 15, 2009

The Postman Always Rings Twice

I subscribe to Sports Illustrated magazine.
I have for years.
I enjoy the magazine.
A lot.

I like sports.
Baseball and football primarily, but others too.
I like them a lot.
I like to watch them, read about them, discuss them.

Imagine my heart filling with joy.
That's how much I adore sports.

Recently I answered the phone. The caller ID screamed UNKNOWN but I picked it up it anyway, not my traditional modus operandi. I don't know what got into me.

"Hello?" I said.

"Hello, is Mr. or Mrs. my-butchered-last-name available?" asked a young man's polite voice.

"No." I said automatically and mechanically while regretting my uncharacteristic compulsion to answer a mystery call. Nothing good ever comes from such behavior. I considered just hanging up, but instead foolishly blurted "Who's calling please?" while wondering why I asked and why I was still on the phone.

"This is Robert from Sports Illustrated. Do you know when they will be available? I'd prefer to speak to the man of the house."

My jaw dropped.
I gaped.
I was speechless.

"Man of the house? Are you serious? It's 2009 for Pete's sake, not 1954. Dude." This I said in the treacliest of voices, soft and kind, oozing patience.

There's a reason I don't answer UNKNOWN calls.
My impulse control needs work.


September 13, 2009

Figs Again

This past week has been all about figs here in the 'burbs.

Fresh figs have a very short shelf life. Once plucked from the tree, they cease ripening; daily harvesting is desirable to capture them at prime goodness. The luscious fruits maintain freshness for but a few days, even refrigerated. Timing is everything with fresh figs.

My mind always turns to my grandparents during fig season. From my grandfather, I learned how to determine ripeness, pick them gently, and appreciate the delight of eating them right off the tree. And while I never saw my grandmother "put up" figs, I devoured my fair share of her output. My sister preferred the squished variety while I was drawn to the whole fig preserves.

Whole figs. Preserved in sweet, sweet syrup. Smashed on buttered toast. Or, omg, on a soft biscuit! Or gripped by the hint of stem and dangled right from the jar over my mouth, the sweet syrup dripping on my tongue (and sometimes my chin and, yeah okay, my shirt) just before my teeth sank into the plump rich figgy goodness.

Such are my thoughts during fig season. This year, however, those thoughts were accompanied by an irresistible wild hair to "put up" some figs of my own, Grandmommy style.

Yeah, I know. WTF?

A problem immediately arose. I had never "put up" anything. Sure I understand the basic premise, but canning is serious business. Do it wrong and people get sick. Plus it requires implements. I didn't know exactly what implements, but I was pretty sure I didn't own them. More urgently, it requires knowledge and experience. Knowledge I can get from the OGAPI but experience requires doing. I needed a teacher!

Fortunately I knew just the person. An old friend, a woman who knows about many things I don't, such as the ins and outs of the art of canning. An email exchange later, enthusiasm abounded. While having never canned figs, plenty of other fruits and vegetables met their fate in jars by her hand. She was willing to try something new and had the tools. A date was made, details discussed, duties assigned. Bonus? Canning takes time. Extended boiling is involved, followed by more boiling. We would be hanging out for hours. The perfect script wrote itself. The performance brought a standing ovation.

I did it just now. Dangled a juicy, dripping preserved fig over my mouth and devoured it. Memory Lane is an awesome road to wander.

Thanks, Kerry!


September 8, 2009

My Afternoon Snack

My grandfather on my mother's side introduced me on to eating fresh figs this way. They had several trees in their yard and I used to help him pick the fruit. Breakfast during those visits often included this very dish in this very dish. Yup, we still use my grandparent's everyday dishes.

In a rare stroke of good fortune, we learned after buying this house that our neighbor has a large fig tree. We neighbors step up each year to help her devour the bountiful crop. Such a sacrifice. Today she even hooked me up with some half-n-half. Hence my trip down memory lane. Good times. Great neighbor.


September 7, 2009


Am I the only blogger with draft posts that never see the light of day? I was rummaging thru my 287 unposted drafts and came across this oldie written in October 2007. Was this a meme? I don't remember.

30: 1977
  • I was 14.
  • A freshman in high school, academic success easy.
  • I lived with my mother, my step-father and my sister in the suburban house where I grew up, in Alexandria, Virginia.
  • We had Mutt, the family dog, and two white cats, Angel (mine) and Mush (my sister's).
  • My father and stepmother lived in southern California.
  • I knew every inch of my neighborhood and beyond.
  • I rode my bicycle everywhere.
  • Except to school. There I walked, carrying my clarinet.
  • I was in the symphonic and marching bands.
  • I adored band.
  • I had yet to become a rebellious teenager.
20: 1987
  • I was 24.
  • The Boy was two.
  • I drove a cherry red 1983 Mustang GT.
  • I had what could, still to this day, be called my favorite job as the office manager for a 32-person architectural firm.
  • The Boy's father and I had been married for five years.
  • We had a husky mix named Paisan.
  • My sister lived nearby.
  • My mother and stepfather lived in Norfolk, Virginia.
  • My father and stepmother lived in Portland, Oregon.
  • We purchased our first house in the suburbs.
  • The shit, it hit the fan in 1987.
10: 1997
  • I was 34.
  • Divorced, out lesbian. Alrighty then.
  • The Boy was 12, attending his eighth year of Montessori school.
  • There were seven kids in his class. Ten years ago, it was all about those kids.
  • We lived in Woodbridge, Virginia and commuted 12 miles north to his school in Mount Vernon.
  • We had three pets: Cosine, Detail and Figero.
  • I drove a 1992 Toyota Corolla wagon.
  • My sister lived in Sedona, Arizona.
  • My mother and stepfather lived just south in rural-ish Virginia.
  • My father and stepmother lived in Portland, Oregon.
  • I was self-employed as a bookkeeper.
  • I had yet to meet Wendy, but I knew Tina.
  • I was dating someone but in hindsight, seriously, wtf what I thinking?
0: 2007
  • I am 44.
  • The Boy, 21, is a working actor and college student.
  • I live with Wendy, my partner of eight years, about five miles from where I grew up in Alexandria, Virginia and over a thousand from where she grew up in small town southeast Texas.
  • We have two dogs, Dudley and Pixie.
  • I drive a 1999 Toyota Camry.
  • My sister lives in Sedona, Arizona.
  • My mother, a widow, lives in semi-rural Virginia.
  • My father and stepmother live in semi-rural Washington State.
  • I appreciate my employer and strive to give my best.
  • I am a peri-menopausal woman recovering from empty nest syndrome.
  • Expect the unexpected. Life is gentler that way.

September 5, 2009

Time. Marching On.

My first post in nine months will be about my hair, which seems appropriate after all the whining I've done here on the subject.

I had it all cut off a couple weeks ago. That's right, it's back to the same short style I've worn most of my life. Did you know me then? I feel free.

There is tree stump a few yards from our screened porch door. The tree that once grew there has been gone for years. A proud holly she was, quite beautiful, with the unfortunate habit of blanketing her surrounds with sharp prickly leaves. A minefield 10 yards in circumference brought woe to the careless person who dared draw near with bare feet. Even the squirrels kept their distance.

The stump doesn't drop prickly leaves. It's a low and flat, not too troublesome while mowing. What passes for grass snuggles up to the edge. We call it Hal's Stump. Felling that tree was the last home project he helped us with before he died. Just a month or so before, actually. I hate surprises.

I began growing my hair out after his death. In hindsight I believe it was part of my grieving process, something I could pretend to control during a time when so much was spinning beyond me. I will say the pony tail was kinda fun. But as I sat in the salon chair, my long-time stylist Katie snipping off my long crazy curly gray locks, an almost physical sensation of lightness washed over me.

Hal will always be in my heart, but the ache has finally dissipated. I am giddy.

December 26, 2008

Goodbye 2008, Hello 2009

Happy New Year!
As usual, I'll be celebrating with sand betwixt my toes.
Wish you were here!

December 4, 2008

I Broke a Tooth Today

That is never a good thing.

It began as a delightful outing with Lunch Friend Lisa on Thursday instead of our usual Monday. I chomped, in a most lady-like fashion, a moderate bite of a roast beef sandwich. The beef, ever so tender, was sliced paper thin on a soft onion roll, its flavor enhanced by a layer of red onion marmalade and almost-but-not-quite-enough horseradish mayo. Tasty.

The sandwich is not to blame. But it set off a miserable chain reaction of events. As the headline announces, a tooth broke. In my mouth.

When I break something, I don't do it halfway. Oh no. This is not a simple break. This break is complex. This break had the dentist saying, "Oh why did you have to do this on a Thursday?!"

Restoration of my tooth will require three separate phases, the first of which will begin tomorrow. My gum line will be reshaped. Doesn't that sound pleasant? This break is going to cost us a small fortune. Yes, this tooth is that important.

The incident inspired dialogue with friends about why dental work is so damned expensive. We debated. We did not resolve. We did, however, commiserate.

Before this broken tooth debacle a friend recently queried, "I love living in a modern world, don't you?" I agreed with her then and it applies here too. Imagine being a pioneer and breaking a tooth? Let's not even go there.

Oh yeah, I'm digging.
Digging deep to find the bright side for my current condition.
I think I'm doing a damned fine job.