June 30, 2004
The games are in the early evening and may as well be on the moon considering how long it takes to get from here to there during rush hour. But it's right near her office so it works out just fine for her. Last Monday were the final "late" night games starting at 8 and 9 pm. Since we could leave home after rush hour on the Beltway, Dudley and I decided to head up to lend our support and see our girl play ball.
As soon as I pulled out his harness (no collar for Dud, he pulls on the leash too much) he started going apeshit. This was expected. And there's nothing more amusing than a basset going apeshit. Unless you are trying to put his harness on of course. Then it's frustrating. He finally sat still long enough for me to put his clothes on and hook up his leash. Off we went. Cosi seemed a bit miffed at being left behind but Detail didn't seem to care. Dud had the back seat all to himself. At the ballfield, we perched on a hill on the first base side of the field. He was aware of Wendy out there playing first base and every time he heard her voice, he'd perk.
A perked basset hound is just about the cutest thing on the face of the earth. He sits up straight, gets an intense look on his face, his ears on high alert. He looks around purposefully to find the source of his perkiness and then stares intently. Cute. Really.
So the Biohazards didn't fare too well that evening. 0-2. The other team had some serious batters, including two guys that hit the ball over the fence three times. Geez. But Wendy played well and was happy to have us there. She kissed me in the parking lot in front of everyone. She kissed Dud too but the kiss I got was better.
Dudley was exhausted by the end of game 2 and slept in the back seat all the way home. It takes a lot of energy to perk, after all. Arriving home, he immediately dragged his tired self to the bed and didn't stir again until morning. It's a hard life, that of a basset.
June 29, 2004
Or maybe it was the food. I know it was not alcohol-induced (it's much too early in the evening for that!). But it could have been the food.
Whatever it was. Writing or eating. It's all good.
What sent me into my head this time around was a friend asking why I didn't get more involved and active in making change if I did not like what was happening.
Oh shit. Now there's a loaded question. Hit me hard and wrong and I immediately felt seriously strong resentment. And this was AFTER I had requested we not discuss politics because I was uncomfortable with the feelings I knew such discussion would inspire. The question was not posed maliciously, but rather innocently. And somehow that made it even worse.
While I've always been a take-care-of-things kind of gal, I do not want to have to take care of this. I do not want to have to become an activist and champion the cause of gay rights in America. I feel my life as I live it should champion the cause enough. It should be enough. But it's not. Because that's not the way things work. So I give money to organizations that support "our cause". I take time to know the politicians for whom I vote and take care to select those that support my own beliefs, or as a minimum compromise, those that are not blatantly anti-gay. I try to be a good American. No, I am a good American. And it's just not enough.
What I'm really wrestling with is my growing resentment of friends and family who say they disagree with how Virginia and current American political leadership are handling the whole gay marriage thing. These very folks, who are quite dear to me personally and declare that I am dear to them also, give lip service to how wrong it all is. They smile and nod sympathetically while continuing their lives status quo. Then they ask me why I don't do more. Or they ask when Wendy and I are going to get married. I'm like, WTF?!
But so what? Does it really matter? After all, there has always been room in my heart for people who feel differently than I. That's the beauty of life. That's the beauty of America. How boring it would be if we all felt the same. But I always thought, despite their differing political views, that I mattered to them. And things that affected me, their friend, mattered to them too. However I now cannot escape the reality of their duplicity. And it pisses me off.
Don't profess to be my friend if you continue to support those working to limit MY rights under our laws and our Constitution. You know who you are. I know who you are. You know who I am. I am a lesbian and you, through those whom you continue to support, are working feverishly to take away MY right to live free. And I'm not talking about the religious side of the issue because I respect your freedom of religious belief. I'm talking about American civil liberties. Unfortunately, the middle ground on which we both happily perched while our friendships developed is being eroded away by current events---driven by the very politicians you and yours continue to support.
I'm losing my objectivity. I may well be losing my friends. But really, how friendly are they if it's okay with them for me and other people like me to be relegated permanently into second class citizenship?
This is twisting my head and my heart. I know I should suck it up and quit feeling sorry for myself. But I'm not there yet because it hurts. Blech.
After our chat with The Boy the other day, we decided we are long overdue for a visit. It's far too easy to let daily life get in the way of what really matters. Work will be here when we return. The house project schedule will not suffer irreparably from a short delay. Our wonderful neighbor can be recruited to tend the animals for a day or two. It will do all of our hearts good.
So reservations have been made. Leave has been authorized. I'll take my own damned car to the Jiffy Lube for the preparatory oil change. Next week we shall head south and see The Boy in his summer environment! We'll buy him groceries (and toiletries I'm sure), meet his new friends, grimace at the state of his shared apartment, admire his tan, see him perform, feed him and then feed him again, and, most importantly, hug him as much as he'll tolerate.
And I'll not be the one to say "uncle" first, even if my ribs crack.
June 28, 2004
It's never been a good place to be gay. But is there really any place in America where it is good to be gay? One can look at the debates regarding gay marriage and civil unions and such and believe that change is happening in America. Being an eternal optimist, I'll even be so bold as to call it progress.
Virginia, however, is about to become the WORST place in America to be gay. We, as a Commonwealth, are moving backward. Our General Assembly in their infinite wisdom passed HR 751, The Affirmation of Marriage Act. It takes effect July 1.
It's not particularly surprising to me for Virginia to outlaw any form of civil union or partnership benefits between members of the same sex. Really not surprising at all. Virginia is a very conservative state. But this bill does more than just ban same sex unions or recognition of same sex unions from other states. Due to it's broad language, it can be interpreted to declare null and void ANY contractual agreements between members of the same sex---ANY legal agreements, including medical powers of attorney or contracts to share assets. Any contract between two members of the same sex can be called into question.
Talking Heads agree it is most likely unenforceable under Federal laws. Gee how special. But our Assembly in their infinite wisdom went ahead and passed it anyway. Surely Virginia taxpayers (of which I am one) won't mind their tax dollars spent to defend legal challenges to this law. After all, it's the principle of the thing isn't it? We Virginians are far too moral to ever allow such an atrocity as equal rights for all citizens in our state.
Why isn't being a good citizen enough? Why isn't being a good person enough? Why is it that paying taxes and voting and being a caring citizen and raising responsible children and being active in my community is not enough to afford my partner and I equal rights under and access to the law? I might even be satisfied just with the right to just be left alone. Okay, so don't allow gay marriage in Virginia. BUT DON'T TAKE AWAY RIGHTS GIVEN TO ANY OTHER VIRGINIAN JUST BECAUSE I HAPPEN TO SHARE MY LIFE WITH ANOTHER WOMAN.
I just don't get it and it makes me crazy to think about it. Just how un-American can Virginia become?
I can't really describe the sense of peace I feel after chatting with him. And while I don't understand it fully, I'm embracing it like my long lost blankie. It's like a leak in my comfort bubble has been patched.
God bless Alexander Graham Bell.
June 27, 2004
We arrived home rather late, like around 1:00am, then sat and messed around on our computers while winding down. It was around 2:00 when we finally headed for bed. I woke up this morning around 7:00 because Cosine was click-clicking around asking for something. So I blearily let them all out and back in, filled their food dishes and cocooned myself once again in the still warm sheets where my snuggly girlfriend still dozed.
And that's when I had this really weird dream. I was somewhere, still on earth but a part of earth I did not recognize. There were quite a few people with me, none that I knew except for my friend Tina. We preparing for a huge halloweenish type parade or something. Well we weren't in the parade, but we were part of the parade route. There was a long series of buildings that had lots of twists and turns and odd hallways with unusually shaped rooms.
We were working feverishly to put up decorations and other such party-like preparations all throughout the maze-like structure. Tina kept disappearing. As the time neared for the parade to approach, she came back with a bunch of new decorations and such which required all the work that had already been done to be re-done. And it had to be done her way. I remember feeling frustrated and a bit perturbed. She was quite excited and happy, either clueless to how I felt or choosing to ignore it. I'm not sure which.
Anyway, the parade came through and people were swarming all around enjoying the festivities. That's when I woke up.
No wonder I'm still tired. It's not that we stayed up way too late, rather that I spent several hours of what could have been restful sleep running around putting up party decorations one way and then re-doing them another way. It would exhaust me even further to attempt to analyze this dream, so I don't think I'll bother. I rarely do. Bother with dreams that is.
It's kind of an Aztec theme, with ancient temples and such. The player (that would be me) is a frog in the middle of the screen and with a left-click I spit out balls of various colors. There is a track along which run other balls of various colors. The tracks change length and configuration depending on the level of play. Some of the tracks are pretty crazy, looping back and forth and going through tunnels. New colors of balls are added in as levels progress and the speed of the balls racing around the track increases. The object is to make chains of at least three balls of the same color. Toss in "special" balls: explosion, backward, accuracy, slowdown. Every so often a coin will appear off to the side and if I can hit it with a ball, I get extra points. Another object is to not let the balls reach the end of the path and get gobbled up by the Dreaded Gaping Mouth. Because then the game is lost. The gaping mouth is to be avoided at all costs.
And as a player advances deeper into the temple, the Zuma speaks:
As for me it is not possible to believe! Your power namely that is large! But there is one more temple which you do not find, that the Zuma deeply buried under the land. It was hidden. It is the Temple of Secret! You the final temple must fight in order to take the cover of position of my jail!Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? My mind seeks a tenuous parallel between the game of Zuma and life. The object of Zuma is quite clear. The who what where when why and how are laid out in an orderly progression and one must but decide which colored ball to send in which direction while relying on instinct and reaction to succeed. Sometimes you make a good shot and other times it goes completely awry. Can you sense the parallel also or is it just me?
Wendy and I have side by side computers where we sit and each do whatever needs doing and/or whatever our desires decide needs doing and at times discuss whatever it is we are doing while we are doing it. Works for us.
June 26, 2004
Figero's test results were again clean and he is now officially off steroids. No more medicinal dosing torture! We're supposed to keep a close eye on him and bring him back before we go on vacation at the end of next month for another test to ensure his blood continues to be parasite free. Easy enough.
Detail we took in just to have another set of eyes look him over. Because we see him day in and day out, it's difficult to be objective about how far he has deteriorated physically. He's lost another seven pounds since April and now weighs in at just over one half of his weight before he got sick. Yikes. He really IS just skin and bones. He doesn't eat his regular chow much anymore. He still drinks plenty of water and enjoys treats and human food, however. Of late, interaction with him has always been instigated by us which is evidently yet another sign of his decline. During our discussion with the vet, I was sitting on the floor and Detail climbed into my lap. He's so sweet, our skinny Fat Boy. We are his protectors. Made me feel guilty as we calmly and rationally discussed his fate. I think he may have known what we were saying. I hope he knows we love him.
We now have official medical authorization to feed him as many treats as he cares to have. Now all we have to do is find a discrete way to slip them to him so the other dogs don't demand treats of their own. They are already getting fat enough from eating his share of regular meals.
It's the sound when a bat makes contact with a ball. Oh sure, there is something to hear when the ball is hit. But in the CWS it's a "tink" rather than the ever-so-satisfying-wow-that-ball-is-going-somewhere "crack" of a wooden bat hitting the ball. It's those damned aluminum bats. Tink. Doesn't matter if the ball is sailing over the right field fence or dribbling down the third base line or finding the gap between left and center or just going foul. Tink. It's just wrong.
June 25, 2004
What does it eat? Where does it live? Does it have friends? Is it here on vacation? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it Supermoth?
Whatever it is, I think it's pretty cool. As long as it keeps its' distance.
There's this person here, who believes there is an application process to join our ranks. That's an idea I'll put on par with a license to reproduce (something I've thought of often), but it's really not the most practical idea. After all, do we need more regulation? And heck, what if I applied and was rejected? Where the hell would I be then? She did, however, put together an interesting list of 10 reasons she should become a lesbian. She left the most important reason off her list. Anyone want to take a guess at what that may be?
Or this person here, who expresses concern because she heard the car she drives is a favorite ride of lesbians. Personally I don't know any lesbians who drive a CRV, but then again I've already admitted not knowing too many lesbians despite being one myself. And even if it is true, I wonder why it is a cause for distress?
Or here, where this woman doesn't want to "sound" like a lesbian. Worry not, bloggette. Admiring a woman's breasts could actually make you sound more like a man than a lesbian (not that lesbians don't admire other women's breasts... we do... well I do!). Neither comparison is anything to be feared.
I did come across this blog, a site I'll be keeping up with maybe out of jealousy or more likely to vicariously re-live my own parenting experiences and to savor the memories.
And then this woman wrote a touching tribute to her lesbian mother on Father's Day. Well it's not obvious her mother is a lesbian from that particular post, but that fact is documented as Number 4 on her 100 Things list.
I don't intend to ever specifically look for lesbian blogs. Sometimes it's more rewarding just to stumble around blindly.
Not sure how it happened but it did. If I wasn't ashamed to admit it, I'd acknowledge it happened because I did not return my books on time. But $80 of not returning books on time? That them there represents A LOT of lateness! The same thing used to happen with video rentals (well not $80 worth, but consistent lateness), but now that we use Netflix we don't have that problem. Is there such a service for books? Maybe there should be.
Back when I was a child, every so often the library (the same library I go to now) would offer "Amnesty Day" when all fines were forgiven as long as the books had been returned. Ah the good old days. When I asked a librarian about that a while back, she looked down her nose at me and said "oh, we don't do that any more!" She was kind of snotty. No, actually she was really snotty. I personally think librarians should be open and friendly and welcoming.
I've made a recent resolution to pay off my fines this summer. I really want to go back and hover around the new releases shelves and peruse new offerings and try authors I've never read before. The other patrons sometimes offer up opinions that lead to interesting discussions about books they've already read. Then maybe I'll go back to the other shelves and wander up and down refreshing my memory of things I've read before and maybe even reading them again.
Am I too old to turn over a new leaf and be a more responsible library-book-checker-outer? I think not... I really want to try.
June 24, 2004
Maybe a nap will help.
We had a really cool moonbounce. It was divided into sections with a ladder and a slide connecting the rooms. Mad fun. The kids were adorable. One can tell quite a bit about people by watching them interact with children.
I was responsible for bringing deviled eggs and water balloons (among other things). The night before, Wendy peeled three dozen hard boiled eggs for me---no small task (she's the best!). She and I took turns filling up balloons until we had a huge cooler full. I think the adults had even more fun than the kids did with the balloons. I know I did.
My favorite memory of this particular picnic, however, was seeing my vegetarian boss surreptitiously gnawing on one of the delicious barbequed ribs. Rules are meant to be broken, after all.
June 23, 2004
It got me thinking about this time last year. Our lives were so different. It's been a difficult year, wrought with change. And while has been a difficult year for many folks besides myself, I'm writing this from my point of view so it is my difficult year to which I refer.
Last year at this time The Boy had just graduated high school. He had secured a summer job working at a local water park as a lifeguard. He had the little blue pickup truck for transportation. He had a wonderful girlfriend he'd been dating since the summer before. The decision on which college to attend had been made and funding was in place. The future then (as does now) stretched out before him like a road paved in gold. Strong, handsome, smart, talented, healthy and kind. I was (and still am) so very proud of him.
During his last year of high school we were so busy I could easily postpone considering what life would be like without The Boy around every day. It was easy enough to put off because I knew I'd have plenty of time to experience it after he left. Oh sure, I'd seen other parents go through it. Most seemed fine, professing to miss their little darlings while luxuriating in their Glow of Newfound Freedom.
Uh, hello? It's been almost a year! Anyone? Where is MY glow? I'm still anxiously awaiting delivery of My Glow of Newfound Freedom dammit! Hrumph. Maybe this is one of those things that Must Be Done By Oneself. Maybe all this time I've been awaiting delivery of My Glow when I was supposed to go pick it up myself. Doh.
I think perhaps a good first step in Finding My Glow may be to make a list of all the good things I've experienced in the past year WITHOUT GIVING ANY CONSIDERATION to what my life was like before. Sounds simple enough. Okay. Goals are good. Now I have a new one.
June 22, 2004
I think it was right before the trip to drop him off at college when I again sent him off with my Camry, sporting it's bright rainbow stickers of course, to the Jiffy Lube. Now, he had driven my car on many other occasions because it's much more comfortable than the little pickup truck at his disposal. I'm not really sure how much thought he even gave driving our rainbow-stickered vehicles (although when we turned the little blue pickup truck over to him for his primary use, I did peel off it's rainbow). He came home from the Jiffy Lube errand with this story. Well it's not really a story and not really an event and not even particularly interesting, but it is something. I just can't pin a word on it.
One of the Jiffy Lube technicians was someone The Boy knew from high school. This fellow was like "Dude, what's up with the rainbow sticker on your car? You gay or something?" The Boy let him know that it was his mother's car and therefore her sticker. He laughed about it when he got home.
What I learned from this is not to assume that just because the car has a rainbow sticker is not necessarily an indication the occupants are gay. Maybe they just like rainbows. Or maybe they are doing a favor for their lesbian mom. Or gay dad. Or someone unrelated. Wish The Boy was home now because my car is yet again due for an oil change.
And now I find myself in that position. In a job I really don't like. It's bigger than not liking it, more that I get absolutely ZERO personal satisfaction from it. It's boring. Repetitive. Dull. Someone may take joy in the type of things I have to do at work, but it's not me. Actually it's the parts of my job that were not parts of my job when I was originally hired that have become so numbing. There were just a few of the distasteful and dull things when I first went to work there. And those I could handle because the fun things were more predominant. But we downsized a tad and someone else's tasks became mine in addition to my original tasks. And now the boring things outnumber the fun parts and dull my mind so much I don't enjoy much of anything there.
And then I realize how deeply ensnared I am in "the trap". I am paid extremely well. And enjoy the benefits of full-time employment while working only three days a week. All the trimmings. Paid health care, both short and long term disability, parking, life insurance, guaranteed 401(k) contribution, bonuses, vacation, sick and TWELVE paid holidays a year. How many companies give you July 4th Friday and Monday off? Few. Very. And it's but an easy ten mile commute from my home---which really means something in this locale. I don't have to fill in a timesheet. Did I mention I can wear jeans and sneakers to work whenever the mood strikes?
But wait! There's more! Toss in some truly interesting people to work with. Folks I've come to respect and admire. Their business acumen and ethics as well as personally. Genuinely good people.
It's a true conundrum. I feel like a whore. Well not a whore-whore, but a proverbial whore. You know what I mean? I fear for my spirit.
June 21, 2004
First, it wasn't at Wolftrap this year. We instead had to drive all the way to Merriweather Post Pavilion (our Maryland compatriots considered that a bit of a bonus). The two venues, while similar in that they are pavilions that offer lawn seating, have different rules. At Wolftrap, patrons can bring in whatever they desire: coolers, food, any beverage in any container, whatever. Merriweather only allows you to bring in unopened plastic bottles of water. They are, however, more than happy to sell you an assortment of food and beverages, such as a 16-ounce beer for $8. How special. So we all arrived early and had a picnic in the parking area as a compromise.
And while the usual suspects joined us for this traditional summer outing, we had some new faces join our group. Our friend Jackie came along as did Sherri, a co-worker of Wendy's (both of them first time Indigo Girls concert-goers). We missed Katie and Rob and Elena and Susie who were not able to come this year because Katie and Rob have a new son, Elena has a new brother and Susie has a new grandson (you figure out the connection). We did have a new male representative: Mary's boyfriend! He was not made aware that he would be the sole male person among our group, but he handled it just fine. None of us had met him before and I hope we did not overwhelm him. (I did refrain from telling him he'd best treat Mary as well as she deserves to be treated or he'd suffer our wrath. And he would, so he'd better.) He seems nice and they make a cute couple.
The cell phone activity was interesting also. The Boy caught up with us in the parking lot on Wendy's cell, rather indignant at the difficulty he'd had at getting in touch with us (inadvertent paybacks perhaps but it would make me really happy to have an uninterrupted quiet phone session with him just to listen to his adventures). Mary called Hillary who was also somewhere at the concert so she could hook up with us. Jenny called her boyfriend Tom who was supposed to be hanging out with MariSusan's husband Paul but was not, reason unknown. Wendy called her mother to confirm that the Riverwalk in San Antonio was indeed on the San Antonio River. And Jackie called someone twice, once during Closer to Fine and again during Galileo. But who? Who was she calling? And why? Ah intrigue. I may have to make up a story about that someday, but not today.
Their set list was fabulous. A great mix of old and new, and much to Wendy's delight they played their rendition of Dylan's Tangled Up in Blue. There was a big video screen that we folks on the lawn could watch and Emily has something going on with her face that is icky. Amy looked pretty rough, but then she usually does (Wendy opined that she had great arms though, and she does but Wendy's are better). They sounded incredible, so I reminded myself again (as I do each morning when I look in the mirror?) that looks are not everything.
Rockin' evening it was. You should have been there.
June 20, 2004
I kneel on the floor and hang my head. This causes a great level of consternation among the dogs because their humans typically do not kneel on the floor and hang their heads. My puppers gather round and start by poking me with their noses. They click-clack all around me in circles. Dudley always gets a little whine going on. Cosi tosses in a bark or two or three. They head butt my torso and attempt to lift my chin with their big doggie heads. Oh, and a tail whipping from Dudley is part of the experience (the other two have cropped tails which are too short to whip with). I sit there and just laugh. I wrap it up by gathering them in my arms for a great big group hug.
Simple pleasures. Good stuff!
June 19, 2004
The Boy called his aunt Sherab last night and chatted for 30 minutes! She reported to us this morning knowing we'd like to know he'd called. She said he sounds great, has a really busy schedule and, something we had not yet heard, has landed an understudy role in the production. Coolest. It also is heartening to know he is keeping in touch with her. She adores him. Like the rest of us. He did report, however, that performing in the heat in the sweat-inducing period costumes (wool and leather? egad!) is making it difficult for him to keep on weight. (Note to self: send more calorie-laden foods to The Boy.)
This second hand conversation almost makes up for us missing his phone calls all week. Almost... kinda sorta... but not really.
Yikes! That is SO not me. While mildly entertaining (heavy stress on the mildly keeping in mind I'm easily amused), those results are contradictory and unsatisfying. How uninspired? So I, with some help from Wendy, created an acroynm that suits me better:
Yes, that's better. Much.
So have at it, folks. Maybe it'll get you right?
Name Acronym Generator
June 18, 2004
So I'm cruising along a highway in New Jersey (the Garden State Parkway if memory serves). I was driving my old gray Toyota station wagon proudly displaying my rainbow sticker. Both Cosine and Detail were with me (summer on the lake in Maine is also great for dogs). It was a glorious day in New Jersey and I had the window open with my elbow hanging out speeding down the highway singing along with the cassette tape, thinking about nothing except the joy of being alive in the space I currently occupied.
Suddenly my reverie was broken as a car came speeding up out of nowhere, passing on the left and honking madly. I looked up and the driver, a young lady, was wildly waving at me and displaying the thumbs-up sign as she careened by. I smiled at her. I wondered why she was honking and waving and such but then took note of the rainbow sticker on her own bumper.
Now I'm not one to honk and wave when I see another car with a rainbow sticker. I will glance over and if eye contact is made, I'll smile and maybe nod my head. But I did enjoy being honked at that day in New Jersey. Kindred spirits on the open freeway, passing in the night so to speak, but sharing a bond nonetheless. It made the day even brighter.
Sound advice for any given day.
June 17, 2004
by Hermann Hesse
You simply don't know what to believe, but you're willing to try anything once. Western values, Eastern values, hedonism and minimalism, you've spent some time in every camp. But you still don't have any idea what camp you belong in. This makes you an individualist of the highest order, but also really lonely. It's time to chill out under a tree. And realize that at least you believe in ferries.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
So why is this freaky? Well I'll tell ya why. To the right you'll see a link referencing my sister the Buddhist nun. She really is a Buddhist nun. And she really is my sister. She once gave my son a book about Siddhartha and from my memory, Siddhartha is actually a buddha. I would NEVER deign to compare myself to a buddha! It's just wrong. But maybe it's okay to be compared to a book about a buddha. I'll have to ask Sherab about it. But for now, I still find it unnerving.
If I were to be a book, I'd hope to be a hardcover edition. One with a good heft and quality paper. I'd like to be in a well-kept library, dusted often and taken off the shelf occasionally to have my pages caressed lovingly while my contents were absorbed and appreciated.
June 16, 2004
Back in the day, The Boy attended a private Montessori school here in Mount Vernon. (It was long enough ago that The Boy could now rightfully be called The Man.) During those years, I had a rainbow sticker on my car along with a "hate is not a family value" sticker. The school had a u-shaped driveway and each morning and afternoon parents waited patiently in a line to drop off or pick up their children. A friendly staff member was there to help extricate them from the automobile. And even though I broadcast my gayness with my bumper stickers, I always felt welcome. Some folks were a bit standoffish but that could have just been their nature, having nothing to do with my sexuality. I've always tried to give folks the benefit of the doubt.
The Boy, being a bright spongelike student, did very well at school. The teachers never gave any bad reports: he got along well with others, did his work and behaved like a gentleman. I did my part, in addition to my other parts, by ensuring he was properly attired in the required uniform, prepared with requisite materials, and toting a healthy lunch. I provided class snacks on rotation and often accompanied his class as a chaperone on field trips. (I also trained him to bring me a cup of coffee each morning after he woke up. Much more effective and pleasant than an alarm clock for me. And really for him too. Like I said, bright. Spongelike.)
One of my favorite field trips was when we went to Helmlock Overlook for an overnight "team building" program. There was hiking, a ropes course, and a diverse bunch of activities the kids had to complete using teamwork. Fascinating to watch them problem-solve. There were at least half a dozen other mothers who came along and we all shared a cabin. At bedtime, one of the moms fell asleep almost immediately and began snoring like I've never heard anyone snore before. For some reason this struck me as hysterical and gave me a fit of the giggles. Maybe it was the unusual way the snore sounded, or maybe I was just tired and feeling giddy. Either way, my giggles quickly spread around the cabin and soon those who were not sleeping were unsuccessfully stifling giggles of their own. It felt rather like a slumber party back when I was a kid. You know what I mean. The next day, every time I caught sight of the Snoring Mother I had to stifle the giggles again. Good times, good times.
And the other parents, while aware of me being gay, didn't seem to have a problem with it (or if they did I was blissfully unaware). It may sound pompous, but I've often felt like an emissary of sorts, setting an example in a hetero world that gay folks are just people too. I still feel that way.
During his last year there, 7th grade, I co-coached the Odyssey of the Mind program for his class. I became very good friends with my co-coach Margaret. Our sons were already friends. Their family kind of adopted The Boy and me, often inviting us home to share a meal or just hang out. We spent ALOT of time with the OM team (the entire seventh grade class--all 7 of them) and grew quite close to the students. I still run into one every now and again and treasure seeing how they've grown into such wonderful young adults.
After the OM competition was over, Margaret and I remained friends. They lived (still do) in The Land of the Big House, as I call the richer neighborhoods around here with the lavish landscaping and humongous McMansion homes. They also had a swimming pool and frequently hosted the students for parties and such. With the class being so small, the students and their parents all bonded into an extended family of sorts. It was a great time in our lives. While me being gay surely subjected The Boy to some teasing, the tight group of friends and the assortment of trusted adults helped form a comfortable world in which he could be himself and not be ostracized because his mother was "different". (I hoped. I think it worked out okay.)
One afternoon Margaret and I took our sons ice skating at the local rink. After skating for a while, she and I sat down on the benches to watch the boys do their thing. She started a conversation about me being gay which caught me completely off guard. I tried very hard not to freeze up. It was not a typical topic between us, rather an "I know and I know you know I know but I don't feel the need to discuss it" thing made easier because I was single at the time. But then she shared with me a rumor she had heard going around the school that I was HIV positive. WTF? Bear in mind this was a small school. By then, The Boy had been a student there for eight years. I knew everyone and thought they knew me. But because I was gay, someone decided I must also be HIV positive and other folks were talking about it too! WTF? This really threw me for a loop, because it brought into question my relationship with everyone at the school. How can educated people be such idiots? Strike that. How can PEOPLE be such idiots? So much for my emissary status. I had been reduced to gossip fodder in the lowest possible way.
Margaret later apologized for telling me once she saw how it affected me. But I really didn't mind knowing. It served to remind me that while acceptance may be apparent, under the surface may still reside the basest instincts of human nature. This is something that now stays in the back of my mind at all times. I still go about my life as I did before, but I keep in mind that what is on the face may well not be what is in the heart. Good life lesson I suppose, but one I wish no one had to learn. There's comfort in naivete.
June 15, 2004
What's happening to my Birds? *sigh*
The Parkway has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, they used to close off the northbound lanes from Mount Vernon to Alexandria every so often for the public to ride their bikes. My family used to take many bike rides together as a weekend activity. Riding on the Parkway was always special because it was awesome to have whole lanes to occupy and it just felt cool. In 1973, a bike trail was constructed so kids today don't get the opportunity to swerve madly across the lanes and enjoy the bumpity-bump-bump of the seams in the concrete pavement.
Also on the Parkway is a favorite place where we often hung out during my high school years: Fort Hunt Park. Well, I hung out there at other times too, like for Girl Scout camp and other youthful gatherings. But it was hanging out there during high school when we really had adventures. The kind you don't want your parents to ever find out about, if you know what I mean. As the name suggests, the park is the home of an old fort which was originally a coastal defense built in 1897. I always enjoyed exploring the old buildings and such. Fort Washington is just across the river in Maryland and that's a fun place to explore also.
I noticed today on my way home from work the tiger lilies are in bloom. That means it's Summer. When the purple flowers bloom on the trees, it signifies to me Spring has officially arrived and there will be no more cold snaps. You can probably guess I know Fall has arrived when the leaves, well, fall. But Winter has always been my all-time favorite. The trees are bare and the river grim and icy. I find the vistas inspiring no matter what the season, but Winter on the Parkway moves me like no other. And no matter what the season, driving the Parkway means I'm close to home and it never fails to comfort me.
June 14, 2004
But I'm celebrating his special day.
Happy Birthday, Bo. And many more!
Some months (not every month, just the once-in-a-while-oh-god-stand-back-because-I'm-looking-for-a-fight-and-you're-gonna-give-it-to-me-whether-you-want-to-or-not-goddamnit months), those hormones coursing through my system make me insanely reactive. To the slightest provocation. Or maybe even no provocation at all. Like the sun getting in my eyes and me not having my shades in my purse. Or the supermarket being out of asparagus when I have a whole meal planned around asparagus. Or gas costing over $2 a gallon and my tank being empty. Everyday things that normally I just move right past, accept with grace and seek alternative solutions... well, not an alternative solution for the gas. That one I just grit my teeth and cough up the dough. Gas is, unfortunately, more important in my life than asparagus OR my shades.
There are many jokes about men and pregnancy and how they couldn't handle it. I think that the majority of men could handle pregnancy, with labor and the whole child raising thing included even. I know many men who are strong enough to handle it (well... maybe). But PMS? Every 28 days? Over and over month in and month out for over 40 years of their lives? Childbirth they may survive, but if PMS hit them every month it would drop them in their tracks.
June 13, 2004
Our weekend mugs are from Disneyland and were a gift for taking care of a teenager for a week several years ago. He was pretty low maintenance, well behaved and polite, used to being on a short leash. I'm sure he enjoyed the modicum of additional freedom while his mom was out of town. Our home was a little (most likely A LOT) more laid back than his. Our parenting style afforded a bit more independence.
When his mom came back, she brought us these mugs as a thank you. Mine is yellow inside and out with a picture of Pooh. Wendy's is off-white on the inside and black on the outside with a picture of Tigger. The mugs have a nice balance and are somewhat oversized. Not oversized in a way that makes the contents cool off faster, as some mugs can be. These are just taller than the average mug.
That's why they became our weekend mugs, necessitating fewer trips to the kitchen for refills. So firmly is their status as weekend mugs entrenched, I don't think we'd ever dare use them during the week. It would just be wrong. The Boy never used them when he lived at home either. It was an unspoken rule of sorts: keep your mitts off our weekend mugs. He was intuitive that way.
So while this day has dawned dark, gray and hazy outside, inside we are full of sunshine and happiness. The weekend mugs are filled with coffee and during this treasured weekend morning ritual, all is right in our world.
June 12, 2004
We dined at the Majestic Cafe in Old Town. Wendy and I had never been there before, but I walk past it frequently on the days I work down there. Due to the influence of our dining buddies, we started the meal with martinis. Rose sounded like she knew what she was talking about: Stoli martini, straight up with extra green olives. Appealing enough for us all to order one. Yummy.
I ate catfish cooked to moist tender perfection and topped with something crunchy. Not sure what. It came with a type of squash none of us had ever heard of before: chayote. It has a texture similar to cucumber and a very delicate flavor. Quite tasty. Wendy had a steak accompanied by some mushroom risotto patties.
Then we saw The Stepford Wives. Laughed often and it served the purpose of an entertaining distraction. Bette Midler has always been a favorite of mine.
Socialization is important: it gives perspective. Or maybe rather keeps perspective more focused. It's too easy to get wrapped up into one's self. There's a whole wide world out there full of people worth getting to know and it's nice to be a part of it.
June 11, 2004
On my way home, I pulled through the McDonald's drive-in for my favorite PMS Special: a number 9 with a bottle of water. Still had fries left when I arrived home, so I settled into The Green Chair with my flock gathered around. One fry for Detail, one for Cosi, one for Dudley, one for Figero, and several with ketchup for me. Chew, swallow, smile, and repeat.
Who knew the cat liked french fries? Fig eagerly snatched each offering from my fingers and took his prize into the kitchen to devour it in peace. Then he'd return for another. The dogs are another story. When Detail is offered a treat, one must be careful or one's whole hand will get swallowed. Cosi, being of the fairer sex, is much more delicate. Dud positions himself a bit in back of the others, ears perked, and catches each one as it is tossed his direction. They don't move away until I give the "all gone" sign.
All that's missing right now is my girlfriend, who has a real job and has to work real work days on Friday. In fact, I do believe Fridays can be some of her most difficult days.
Hang in there, my dear. Home awaits.
My hair started turning gray at the youthful age of 23, soon after The Boy was born. There is to me an obvious connection between motherhood and gray hair. I am also a natural born worrier which doomed me even faster. We'll not touch on the other things going on in my life when the change began in earnest, but those factors also played a role. My parents both waited until the regular old age factor kicked in for their hair to gray. In fact, I'm fairly certain my hair is now grayer than both of them put together. Oh, the injustice.
If I wasn't so lazy perhaps I'd dye it. But to a woman who doesn't even own a hair brush (naturally curly hair rocks!), adding any type of maintenance beyond a haircut every six weeks or so is an anathema.
The Boy occasionally called me "Q Tip", a reference of course to the color of my hair and the resemblance to the cotton on top of those little sticks. Cute perhaps, and since I was instrumental in teaching him to tease I could but laugh.
On the way home from the grocery store after re-stocking our supply of fudgesicles this week, I happened upon a PT Cruiser putzing along in the right lane. As I neared, the license plate caught my eye and brought a smile to my face. That's right. It was "Q TIP"! I knew what I would see when I glanced at the driver and sure enough, there atop her head was a poof of white hair and nothing else.
A sense of humor sure makes life easier, doesn't it?
June 10, 2004
"TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- The decomposed body of a man dressed in pajamas was discovered in an abandoned Tokyo apartment building 20 years after he is believed to have died, police said Thursday ... The man, identified only as former worker of the company that built the apartments, was in his mid-50s when he divorced his wife, left home and moved into the building in the early 1980s, the official said ... The man's remains have been returned to his ex-wife."That's where my brain started to twist. It's rather painful. Imagine:
- You are a woman.
- A Japanese woman.
- In your culture, family is everything.
- Your husband divorces you and moves out.
- You may or may not have attempted to contact him during that period, but it's been at least 20 years since you've seen or spoken to him.
- Maybe you've been raising his kids and taking care of his parents as well as your own during that time.
- The authorities find his body and return it to you.
- What in the hell do you do with it?
Here's where I really need good ole Paul Harvey. Then I'd know The Rest Of The Story.
Learn it, live it, love it.
June 9, 2004
Man, this makes me want to hop on such a bus and travel around the USA in nomadic fashion. Not a care in the world except where my next gallon of fry oil is coming from. I can envision pulling up behind the only chinese food restaurant in town and negotiating in my broken mandarin for their old cooking oil.
I'm hearing strains of The Who's Magic Bus playing in my head and I feel a grand desire to be a hippie in the sixties. But then again, some of these folks have seriously dirty feet and I'm not so sure I could handle that...
Wing Stop's Crispy Vegetable Sticks are a simple combo of carrots and celery. They are always fresh and truly the crispiest of the crisp. It's like it was designed just for Wendy and me as she doesn't much like raw carrots and I don't much like raw celery. Match made in heaven. We just ordered the regular hot variety of wings although they offer some interesting other flavors. I've not yet met a Wing Stop wing I didn't like.
There is something that invokes a primitive feeling when devouring chicken wings. Eating with one's hands and ripping into the small wings with one's teeth feels raw and primordial, but in a good way. We both like them slathered heavily with bleu cheese dressing. Nothing left but a pile of gnawed on bones devoid of flesh. Grrrowllll! Yum!
Anyway, that night I was the one to phone in the order. Sometimes we negotiate to see who's gonna go pick them up. Or one of us volunteers. Or sometimes we go together and we both like it that way.
This was not the first time we have ordered from this restaurant. We usually treat ourselves every few weeks or when the mood strikes. The last time I called Wing Stop and we arrived to retrieve the wings, instead of being under the name I gave them (Suzanne) they were under the name of Sam. How in-ter-resting.
I see many variations of my name when folks write it down. I've been Sue, Suzi, Susan (often), Suzzane (more often than is reasonable), Susanna and many aberrations of listed renditions. But never have I been Sam. I do have a rather deep voice for a woman (I prefer the term sultry rather than deep, if truth be told). It is not unusual for me to be mistaken for one of the male persuasion on the phone. Never in person, but occasionally on the phone. But Sam from Suzanne? For some reason, this time it left me feeling more than a little sensitive.
So. Fast forward to me phoning in this order. When the nice Wing Stop order-taker answered, I told her I'd like to place an order. But I upped the octave of my voice a notch or two, shy of a falsetto but significantly higher than it really is. Wendy was seated in her office chair just next to mine and her head whipped around at the sound of my voice. I was mildly embarrassed at my charade and she was majorly amused.
Silly Sam I am.
June 8, 2004
My favorite saying so far, after eating a veritable truckload of those tasty little morsels over the years, is "Maturity is knowing when and where to be immature."
By that measure, I may be rapidly approaching full maturity. Of late, I've only had to pull my foot out of my mouth and/or apologize for my behavior once or twice a month instead of once or twice a day. Progress is good?
June 7, 2004
When I misspell a word, I'm usually aware of it when it happens. Isn't everyone? It just FEELS wrong. I then take the time to jet on over to dictionary.com and confirm the proper way to spell it. How hard is that? And even if one isn't blessed with the Special Good Speller Intuition Gene: YO! SPELLCHECK! What's one more freaking mouseclick or two to preserve the sanctity of spelling?
Words deserve such respect.
June 6, 2004
And just in case anyone else is in need of a recipe, I shall graciously share this one:
1 box frozen spinach
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 15-ounce can artichoke hearts (not marinated)
- Put the cream cheese on the counter to get soft while you do the prep.
- Cook the spinach then squeeze it out, small handful by small handful until it is fairly dry.
- Open and drain the artichoke hearts. Chop them into small pieces. Squeeze them by small handfuls to get some of the moisture out.
- Holding back a little of the parmesan, mix all ingredients in a largish-bowl. Make sure the cream cheese is mashed well in with the other ingredients.
- Spread into a shallow dish (like a 6x8 casserole or a bowl works too but then it must be baked longer). Sprinkle the top with the held back parmesan.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes (or more if it's deeper dish). It's ready when it's kinda toasty on top and around the edges. It'll smell delish too.
- Serve with whatever cracker or chip strikes your fancy. We like to use garlic Ritz crackers.
- Memorize the recipe so you'll be ready when your son is away for the summer and needs it for a party. Be glad he's not bringing the beer.
So Detail's definitely on his way out. He's just waiting for us to make the determination that his quality of life is no longer worth living. I do not like playing god. It's just wrong.
Figero, seemingly recovered from the blood parasite (WTF?) which just about killed him a few months ago, is still on steroids and who knows what effect that is having on his being. A cat can most likely live a very long time with no hair on his ears, so what am I worried about?
This weekend Cosine is showing signs of something not quite right. Maybe something seriously not right. We're in for more tests and trial and error treatment and who the hells knows what else. The only certainty is that our checkbooks will get a workout and Cosine will still die at some point.
Three pets nearing the end of their lives within a year of the only human child leaving for college is just piss poor planning. I pride myself on thinking ahead and laying out strategies and good plans. Why did I not consider the timing of their deaths as the decisions to have them join the family were made? I won't make that same mistake again. I'll think ahead to 10, 15, 20 years down the road and extrapolate where our lives will be as any new pet may be nearing the end of theirs. My foresight will, of course, be accurate and reliable. Fuck that "best laid plans" shit. I'm gonna get it right.
Yes I am the model of rational thinking and practicality. Emotion should remain where it belongs: secondary to the business of living.
Did I mention I'm good at fooling myself?
June 5, 2004
This is Detail and Cosine on the landing where they spend a great deal of time napping. They are obviously not napping here, rather just keeping an eye on their abode. Detail's the one with the shiny eyes. In person, his eyes look normal.
This is the infamous Green Chair. It used to belong to my grandfather. He'd sit in it and watch endless hours of football, much to my grandmother's chagrin. Now I get to sit in it and watch endless hours of football since he hasn't needed it for many many years. Isn't that green upholstery the absolutely worst thing you've ever seen? It doesn't match anything else in the room and it clashes with my favorite green sweatshirt. I still love that chair though. Memories are good. Dudley the basset hound has assumed the position he loves to assume whenever anyone sits there. Figero the cat is gracing me with his presence and demanding a stroke or two. I'm happy to oblige.
June 4, 2004
This bodes well for the weekend.
Folks, no doubt America needs new leadership. This is beyond Republican versus Democrat. Our founding fathers made separation of church and state a priority for a reason. A good one. And yeah, I think he would have rolled over. Maybe even spun out of control.
June 3, 2004
"Whenever I dwell for any length of time on my own shortcomings, they gradually begin to seem mild, harmless, rather engaging little things, not at all like the glaring defects in other people's characters."
I love my shortcomings. They are mine and mine alone. I refuse to share so don't even bother asking.
And if I had time to, I wouldn't wanna talk to you.
I don't care what you do.
I wouldn't wanna be like you.
If I was high class, I wouldn't need a buck to pass.
And if I was a fall guy, I wouldn't need no alibi.
I don't care what you do.
I wouldn't wanna be like you."
Loving that I Robot groove, I am.
June 2, 2004
When I drive in, I pay $12 plus a $1 tip to the attendant for parking. My garage of choice is located in an alley. The folks there are very nice and take good care of my car (hell, they ought to for the exorbitant price charged for few hours parking!). Despite the fact I park there infrequently, the attendants always remember my car. They see me coming and race off to retrieve it for me. How the hell do they remember what kind of car I drive? Kinda freaks me out, but in a good way.
The alley itself is an interesting microcosm of city life. There are dumpsters that occasionally smell bad. I'm not sure it could officially qualify as a city alley without the dumpsters. I often have to weave in and around delivery trucks as I walk. There is a Subway sandwich shop that vents into the alley and in the morning I can often smell the bread baking. Yum. Interesting dichotomy between the dumpster smell and the scent of the bread. This past winter, there was a homeless fellow living in one of the many dingy back entrances to the surrounding buildings. He had quite an assortment of possessions including a bicycle. While I was waiting for my car one afternoon, I watched him settle in and pull a large piece of cardboard over the entrance. Cozy enough I guess but not a place I'd like to spend a cold winter night. I saw him on several visits and then he was gone.
Sometimes I take the subway instead of driving. There are good and bad parts of a public transportation commute, but I've gotten it down to a science that eliminates much of the bad. Parking at the station can be a challenge. The best spots are reserved for carpools or folks who purchase parking passes. If I time my arrival after 9:30 a.m. when the restrictions on those spaces lift, I can get a decent spot in the garage. I also avoid paying the rush hour premium fare. All hail flex time?
One of my favorite parts of riding the Metro is that I get to read uninterrupted. I'm one of those commuters who buries her nose in a book and doesn't put it down until she reaches street level again. I take that back. I do look up during one part of the ride: when the train leaves the Pentagon station (and conversely L'Enfant Plaza on the trip home) and emerges into daylight to cross the Potomac River. I sit there grinning like an idiot surveying the various cityscapes I can see from the bridge. I like the Rosslyn skyline and the pair of towering buildings that used to be the USA Today buildings. One was still under construction when I worked in Rosslyn way back when. I don't know what they are called now.
And there is Washington, DC: the monuments, all the construction cranes and such, the cherry trees stretching along to Haines Point (breathtaking in spring), and, of course, the river itself. Being borderline superstitious and more than a little obsessive-compulsive about some things, I have a routine that must be observed. It is imperative to be watching when the Jefferson Memorial lines up in front of the Washington Monument just before the train heads back underground (or conversely just as it emerges on the trip home). It's almost phallic when they are fully aligned. No, check that. It is phallic. The one time I was too absorbed in my book (damn but that Robin Hobb can weave a tale!) to look up, my book disappeared before I got home. I lost the goddamn thing! Still don't know what happened to it, it was just gone. But now I am quite careful to take the time to pay attention to the sights when crossing the bridge and have not lost a book since.
The train bridge runs parallel to the 14th Street bridge. I will always remember the winter a plane crashed into that bridge during a massive snow storm and the adventure I had getting home from my job in Rosslyn that night. On one commute this past winter, there was a chatty tourist seated next to me on the inbound train. When I looked up and smiled my goofy grin at the ice-covered vista of the river, she asked me if it froze often. I replied yes, every winter, and blurted out how beautiful it looked to me. She nodded, seeming to agree.
Damn. Being responsible can be overrated.