May 31, 2006

A Whole New World

We sleep on a seventeen-year-old mattress.
True comfort has been lacking for a long while.

Monday we shopped for, and purchased, a new one.
It'll be delivered Thursday.

I may never get out of bed again.


May 30, 2006

Suburban Sammich

  1. Two slices of fresh oatmeal bread carefully arranged so that the edges will match when sandwiched.

  2. A thick layer of mayonnaise spread evenly across both slices.

  3. Bright leaves of crispy iceberg lettuce.

  4. Vine-ripened tomatoes purchased at a roadside stand in rural Virginia, sliced semi-thick with a very sharp knife.

  5. Salt and pepper generously sprinkled on said tomato slices.

  6. Six pieces of pepper bacon cooked just right, not too limp, not too crispy.

Put it together and what do you get?
A sammich to die for.

I should have taken a picture.
It was a work of art.


May 27, 2006

Odd Day

I felt spacey and out-of-sorts Friday. But I was as good a girl can be and metroed downtown per my schedule, then returned home where I promptly changed into my pajamas and crawled between the sheets. It was 4:00 pm. (Yes, I do things like that. Not even a twinge of guilt. Don't hate me. I've done my time.)

There I lay, nursing my undefined misery with a dose of an illicit pleasure: watching one of those People's Court-type shows. Eh. I am inexplicably drawn to programs of that ilk. Today it was Judge Mathis. Stupid fucking people with stupid fucking problems. Maybe I watch because it makes me feel evolved.

As I nestled into bed I was reminded of how the day had begun.

Note to self: When your thoughtful girlfriend brings your morning cup of coffee to you in bed, do NOT drowse off while holding the full, steamy mug in your hand.

Mmmmm. Coffee scented linens. Nope. I didn't change the sheets after my rude re-awakening that morning. I half-heartedly sopped the mess with a towel that was now crumbled in a heap on the floor next to our bed. Eh. Did I mention I was spacey and out-of-sorts?

30 minutes passed with me in my zombie state, remote control loosely grasped in my right hand, a coffee-stained pillow bunched up under my head and a dog snuggled on either side.

The phone rang.
Caller ID identified my mother.
I let it go to voicemail.
Would call her later.
Haven't given myself that leeway since December.
Guilt twinge.

20 minutes passed.
The phone rang.
Caller ID identified Wendy's cell.
I answered.
Traffic not heavy, looking good, see you soonest my love!

Ten minutes passed.
The phone rang.
Caller ID identified my mother.
Again so soon?
I answered.

Because who am I kidding? I may have done my time, but now I'm doing time of a different nature. And I'll keep on doing it until it's time to do something else.

Because that's what I do.

Don't you?


May 26, 2006

Hank Hill Adores Propane

I was still stumbling around in my early morning haze when the phone rang. It was Wendy in the midst of her morning commute. She suggested, since the weather was so gorgeous, that I defrost something for us to grill for dinner.

That well-timed thought spawned a fabulous evening feast.

We've always been a charcoal-grilling household but we recently absorbed a gas grill when my mother downsized.

I'm a bit leary of switching teams. I've heard grilling with gas is not really grilling at all, that real barbeque flavor comes from the charcoal. Yet the convenience appeals to me.

I mean really. Gas grills require significantly less effort. With a charcoal grill, one must arrange the briquettes, set them ablaze and patiently wait for them to gray to a perfect emberly glow, said perfection dependent on what is being grilled. There is no science to determining when the coals are ready; it's a guessing game with many different answers but only one right one.

But a gas grill? Press the ignition button and bam! Ready to grill. Fire too hot? Turn the knob right. Fire too cool? Turn the knob left. Simple in theory, the same in practice?

It seems appropriate on the eve of this Memorial Day weekend to solicit opinions on advantages and/or disadvantages of grilling with gas. Hints? Tips? Tricks? Traps? Do, don't, must, musn't?

Clue me in, folks.
The perfect burger may be riding on your response.


May 25, 2006

I Lost the Pool, But I Still Scored

Back in March, I blogged about the American Idol betting pool we joined with friends. We had 28 people participating, four of whom still had a chance to win depending on which of the two remaining contestants reigned supreme during the final round of voting. At $5 at head, there was $140 riding on the outcome.

I will boast that I, yours truly, yes moi, was one of the four. But I was tied with two others. If Katharine had won, the pot would have been split three ways. Only one of our friends predicted Taylor to win. That same friend had also correctly predicted the exit order of two others in the top five. She deserved to win and, with her first baby on the way, can certainly use the money.

As for me, well. Taylor's okay, but Katharine is my winner. I mean, hello! Have you seen her in this dress? Yow!

Oh. And I truly enjoy her voice and performance style. That's the gravy for a shallow woman like me.


May 24, 2006

Lunatic Fringe?

Our alarm blared at 4:15 am yesterday. Four-freaking-fifteen, the time of day best spent in deep REM sleep. I just don't do mornings very well but can if I must. When I opened the bedroom door, The Boy was on the landing fully dressed and wide awake, laughing at my bedhead and squinty still-asleep eyes.

He had a plane to catch you see, to the opposite coast for a little mini-vacation before his summer job begins. The sun rose on my way home from dropping him at the airport.

Despite his short visit, it is always a delight to have him home. It struck me again how much he has grown in the last few years, not just physically but also in general maturity. Still, there remain plenty of signs of the kid he used to be.

Such as this photo. I didn't take it, but I adore it.

Call me crazy, but part of me is undeniably proud of having raised a man who is serious when it matters yet silly enough to pose with the waffles in the Food Lion freezer. I hope he never outgrows that side of himself.


May 23, 2006

May 22, 2006

Metro Voice

A while back I read an article in the Washington Post about Metro replacing the voice on the subway. My first thought was, "What what what?! What's wrong with the old voice? I adore the old voice!"

Of course, those types of thoughts have little to no effect on anything out there in the big wide world. They enter my head, roll around a bit, and then *poof* they are gone. Gone until I was reminded when riding the subway and hearing the new voice for the first time.

The old voice was soft and gentle, kind while firm and informative, "Doors closing. Please stand clear of the doors."

The new voice is harsh and clipped, saying "Step BACK. Doors closing!" When the doors open, she again barks "Step BACK!" followed by a lengthy discourse about "customers" moving to the center of the car as they board. I'd quote more of what she says but I can't remember it. I've banished it from my mind. The new voice talks way too much. She's more akin to a drill sergeant or that evil playground monitor back in fifth grade, shouting orders and demanding immediate compliance on penalty of "dropping and giving him 20."

Metro riders are now taunted by words that aren't really words (Escalump?! Conseaterate!? Save me!) and pummeled by a voice not easily mindblotted.

I'm pretty sure every mother develops the mindblotting skill: an ability to block out all but truly pertinent communications despite surrounding chaos. Since I'm obviously out of practice, I may resort to wearing these.

Sleek. Black. Practical.
Plus the tourists might leave me alone.
Perhaps this new voice isn't such a bad thing after all.


May 21, 2006

Homecoming Housework

Today I did housework with my hair in a ponytail on the top of my head ala Pebbles Flintstone. Why? Oh why not. The dogs don't care and Wendy already knows I'm a bit odd.

Speaking of odd. Our friends were mocking us for taking time to really clean the house before The Boy's arrival home. I think it would be odd not to do so. We like him to feel welcome and special, because he is. One way we show our love is with a clean house.

I ask you.
Is it really that odd?


May 19, 2006

New Beginnings

My mother is now comfortably, albeit not (yet) neatly, ensconced in her cute new townhome. She's a city gal now, the term "city" used loosely as she still lives, by my definition, in the middle of nowheresville Virginia.

The family manse, her previous home, is vacant, the rooms loudly echo even the softest footsteps on the hardwood floors. It's amazing how different a place looks with no furnishings. However I can recall what was displayed in the spots identified only by holes in the walls now carefully spackled. The house may appear empty, but the memories will always be there, unobtrusive and visible only to those who can and wish to remember, wafting about like Casper the Friendly Ghost offering comfort in a world that changes whether we are ready or not.

Yes, that chapter is closed and a new one begun. Fresh ink. She adores her new abode, with good friends a few doors down in both directions. Her old next-door neighbors are still her neighbors, just not quite next-door. That's right. When she told them she was moving, they decided they would move too, to the only other unit for sale in the quiet little enclave in which she now resides.

We celebrated her 70th birthday on the day of her move. I refuse to acknowledge that her husband died just nine short days following his 70th birthday. My mother is too stubborn an old bird to ever consider such nonsense. Her plan is to drop dead in her kitchen when she is 87, following the examples set by her own mother as well as her late husband's mother. Eh. Sounds like a good enough way to go, I guess.

Her birthday was also the two year anniversary of this here blog. When I consider how life has changed over those two years, I waffle between excited anticipation of the future and raw, abject terror. It's bound to be interesting, whatever it brings.

There ain't no load that I can't hold
Road so rough this I know
I'll be there when the light comes in
Just tell 'em we're survivors

Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long

---Tom Cochran


May 13, 2006

Gnome Sweet Gnome

At first it may appear Mr. Gnome is picking his nose, but a closer look will reveal he's pantomiming the universal "Shhhhhh... be very very quiet" gesture.

Revel in the silence, y'all.
The babble returns in a week.
Use your time wisely.
We'll be doing the same.


May 12, 2006


We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for a semi-spontaneous moment of maternal idolization: I adore The Boy.

That is all.


May 11, 2006

Time Flies ...

... gently when one is porch sitting.

Wendy and I spent Sunday giving our screened porch a serious spring cleaning. Somewhere under the winter accumulation of dirt and heavy layer of spring pollen lay our refuge, a private place to sit and commune with nature in a decidely suburban manner. A few hours with hose and broom had the place shipshape and inviting again. A place for everything and everything in its place: Wendy beamed with satisfaction, her smile as luminescent as the sun.

Our timing was exquisite. I don't know what we did to deserve it and I don't much care. But the weather we've enjoyed the past few days was designed for quality porch sitting: sunny, clear, cool enough for my favorite sweatshirt yet warm enough for bare feet.

I had the radio tuned to a classic rock station as I sat yesterday. On came the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

Does The Boy remember me singing that to him when he was younger? When he'd ask for something and I'd say "no" and he'd ask again?
"You can't always get what you want.
But if you try sometime you just might find
You get what you need."

Words to live by.
Gold back then.
Apropos now.

Perhaps especially now.


May 9, 2006

Unconditional Surrender

I'm a suburban lesbian parent who lives life very much like any suburban heterosexual parent. For me it's a wonderful existence, not some sort of attempt to Blend In or Be Like Them. It just so happens that homosexuals and heterosexuals can have the same values, standards, dreams and aspirations. Imagine.

Sometimes I feel I do blend in. A bit too much. Through the relative quiet-tude of our suburban life, turbulent undercurrents occasionally run. Take, for example, the situation I'm about to describe. It's the nutshell version, names changed to protect the innocent, yada yada yada.

The 21-year-old daughter of A Good Friend (AGF for short) came out as a lesbian to her family over a year ago. I've known this young woman since she was in elementary school; our families have been close friends for years. Their entire family has always been extremely welcoming to Wendy and me and The Boy.

AGF is having difficulty with her daughter being a lesbian. AGF's husband is having even greater difficulty with it. AGF's daughter is having difficulty dealing with her parents having difficulty accepting her sexuality.

Oooh la la, what an awkward pickle! It's like one of those extra large deli pickles, the kind that's too fat to take an easy bite of. Ever snacked on one of those? Mmmm garlicky. But this particular pickle threatens to choke me. It's not garlicky-good at all.

I understand homosexuality can be difficult for parents to accept, that their vision of their daughter's future is shattered by her revelation, that their hopes and dreams are radically affected. I, too, am scared for her because, let's face it, life for a homosexual in America is not always easy. But what life is? At the same time, I resent them making her life all the more difficult by making their issues hers.

The daughter, I want to hug tightly, protect, and reassure all will be fine. I want to ask her to be patient and to remember her parents love her.

AGF doesn't know it, or maybe she does, but when she and I dance around the topic, my stomach clenches and I fumble for words. Yet I can imagine what she is experiencing and do my best to offer support. I want to hug her tightly also, protect and reassure all will be fine. I'd do the same for her husband if he'd let me.

At times I bite my tongue to keep from screaming, "She's your daughter dammit, the same wonderful daughter she's always been. Her sexuality is not the problem. The problems are your dashed expectations and, admit it or not, your pride. It's complicated by her perhaps naive belief you would accept her without hesitation. She has always enjoyed your unconditional love. She trusts you. So challenge yourselves, dammit. Nothing less will do."

But I've not said that to her. Out loud. I don't doubt she knows it all already. As a parent and friend, I feel her pain. It is real enough to touch. AGF is dealing not only with her own feelings but is also shouldering those of her husband and children. Such effort requires a delicate balance only a master juggler, or a mother, should attempt. Baby steps are fine. As long as steps are taken.

My fear for the family harmony is not rooted in their daughter being gay. It's rooted in what will happen if AGF and her husband do not come to terms with who their daughter is. Because really. How long do they think their daughter will call their home "home" if her significant other is never welcome and she is not accepted for who she is?

My head can't even go there, never mind my heart.


May 7, 2006

When Bloggers Collide

Okay so it wasn't actually a collision.
It was more like a collusion.

Wendy and I met eb last year when she breezed through town. This weekend she was back with her better half, Maxine.

Do you read eb? She erases her blog and starts something new almost as often as she changes her underwear. She says the current rendition isn't a blog at all: it's an Art Journal. We nod and smile and are just happy to have her unique presence on the internets.

But it's even better in person. Real people, real life. A stroll in Old Town on a cool spring evening, dinner, conversation and beer. With lesbians! Lesbians like us---happily coupled, parental, suburban, middle-aged. Lesbians we're fortunate to call friends. Although even if they were heterosexual, they'd still be people I'd enjoy. I'm flexible that way. But I'm glad they're gay.

So how about a guessing game? Which foot belongs to which woman? Or if that's too challenging, which two feet could one find playing footsie between the sheets?

Thanks for a fun evening, Elizabeth and Max.
Good times, good times indeed.


May 5, 2006

On the Big Screen

The Boy's first film debuts on the big screen tonight. The movie, an HIV/AIDS awareness saga, heterosexual-style, is funded by Project Pericles, a nonprofit organization "that encourages and facilitates commitments by colleges and universities to include education for social responsibility and participatory citizenship as an essential part of their educational programs, in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community." Whew. That's a mouthful.

He sent us a link to the movie trailer a few weeks ago. Through the years we've seen him perform a wide variety of stage roles, from the besotted Lysander in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to the saavy Pauper in "The Prince and the Pauper" to the racist minister in "The Foreigner" to Jesus in "Godspell." But our Golden Boy plays an abusive womanizer in this flick. I guess that's why they call it acting.

Before an actor takes the stage it is common to wish them luck by saying, "Break a leg!" Is there a similar wellwish for a movie premiere?

I think I'll go with, "Don't trip on the red carpet, son!"
Have fun, baby.


May 4, 2006

It Fit In My Pocket, So I Figured What the Hell?

Thanks Jennifer.

I AM not alone in the world.
I WANT another beer.
I WISH to turn the page.
I HATE. Wait. No I don't.
I MISS my life.
I FEAR this is my life.
I HEAR but do I listen?
I WONDER why I ever quit smoking.
I REGRET that I can't have a cigarette tonight.
I AM NOT strong.
I DANCE with my lover on soft cotton sheets.
I SING often.
I CRY not often enough.
I MAKE WITH MY HANDS whatever may need making.
I WRITE and hope someone reads.
I CONFUSE myself.
I NEED to focus and be productive.
I SHOULD drink less, sleep more, eat better.
I START freaking out if I think too far into the future these days.
I FINISH with a smile on my face.
I'M GLAD I'm breathing.


May 2, 2006

Wherein I Attempt to Purge My Resentment

I love my sister.
But right now, I resent the hell out of her.

I love my step-siblings. Mostly.
But right now, I resent the hell out of them.
Especially them.

Yes oh yes, I am stewing in a large kettle of resentment, best enjoyed with a shot of good tequila. Make that three shots. Three shots of tequila ought to adjust my attitude nicely.

Yet I don't resent The Boy. In fact I'd like to distance him from the painful reality that is my mother's, and subsequently my own, life right now. I don't want to lean on him. I just want him to enjoy being young. Am I cheating him out of an important developmental milestone?

Familial obligation. Where does it start and where, for the love of all that is good in the world, does it end? My greatest fear right now is that something will happen to my dad and/or his wife or to Wendy's parents. I have reached my limit---anything more and my head will assplode.

Which is where my resentment of my siblings takes root: where the fuck are they and why are they leaving Wendy and me to tend to this situation on our own? I don't give a shit about their pitiful reasons or rationale or excuses, no matter how reasonable or rational or worthy said excuses may be. Not that many have even been offered.

Fuckers. Selfish fuckers wrapped up in their own worlds unwilling to recognize or acknowledge the need to step it up and pitch in.

Eh. That's not very fair, is it? With my sister at least, I know it's not unwillingness. She is just physically unable. Horribly bad timing, yes, yet how can I resent her for that? I don't know, but I do.

Tequila. It's what's for breakfast.

"If I get it all down on paper,
it's no longer inside of me
threatening the life it belongs to" --- "Breathe" by anna nalick

There's that damned song again.
Every time I turn around it speaks to me.
But you know what?
It's offers timely advice.
I feel better already.


May 1, 2006

Hooray, hooray!
The 1st of May!

Oh yes, we all know what that means.
It was a great day for it, too.

While I was gone last week, the leaves on the trees filled out. Our neighbor's houses have once again receded behind a screen of green.

Today was dubbed The Day the Immigrants Stayed Home. It was a bit like stepping into the twilight zone at Chipotle: nothing but white middle-aged males fabricating corporate food bricks. Something about that place keeps me going back. I used to think it was the cute Latina burrito-builder with the sparkling green eyes. She always gave me an extra dollop of sour cream. Or was I only imagining that?

I appreciate the multicultural environment of America. I also appreciate people who work within the laws of our country. Can it be as simple as that? Evidently not.

Nothing's fucking simple right now. My spirited "hooray for May!" fractures into a prism of bright colors with multiple sparks. See once I survive May, it'll be June. And June holds the potential for normalcy. It may well become my new favorite month.

Normalcy, overrated as it may be, is something I currently crave more than my usual Monday burrito. Hope you enjoyed something good for lunch today.