29 December 2009

The Old Dog

I’ve got a hard decision to make and I’ve been putting it off.

Cookie is our 14 year old dog. She is a golden retriever and border collie mix, most likely. She has been a great, if stubborn, family companion all these years. She has kept us company, taken us on long walks, warned me when the newspaper hit the porch, driven squirrels out of the yard. She once, with the help of our cat, caught and killed a rat in the street. She has defended me against all Y chromosomes, suffering only a few to cross our threshold.

Her big brown eyes are blue with cataracts now. She is so deaf that we have to clap our hands loudly to get her attention. I can let her out front off the leash because she can’t physically run off. She is so stiff and creaky that I beg her to sleep downstairs but she limps her way upstairs at bedtime because she can’t imagine sleeping anywhere other than my bedside.

And now she has days when she can’t get up off the floor. Her back end has gotten so weak that standing is a challenge if she is on the hardwood floor. If the young dog bumps into her, she falls down with her legs splayed out in four directions. I got one of those rear lift harnesses to try and help her get up, but it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Some days I have to roll her onto a blanket and drag her to the back door. Then I can get her up on her feet and she only has a couple of steps to get outside. Once she is outside with the grass and dirt underfoot, she is a bit steadier on her pins. She’ll make her rounds, peeing and sniffing, and then stagger back up the stairs to come in.

She is on pain meds now and has good days and not so good days. I’ve been putting off making the decision because she keeps rallying. She’ll have a bad couple of days and I’ll think, yes, it’s time and then she rallies and gets her mojo back and is clearly enjoying life. She loves hanging out with her people and loves her treats. It takes half an hour to get around the block, but she loves her walks. She is still loving life.

I know that I need to call the housecall vet to let him know that the time is getting near. I can’t bear to take her to the clinic because she hates it so much and I don’t want her last moments on earth to be there. Dr Carroll will come to the house when it is time.

17 December 2009

Clearing the Air

It’s been a month, almost 5 weeks, actually, of smoke-free living at our house. So far, so good!

It’s a much harder challenge for T than for me. I smoked, on average, about two cigarettes a day during the week and maybe four or five on the weekend days. T has pretty much smoked a pack a day for 30 years. She did quit for a couple of years once but went back to smoking when she hooked up with her last, loser girlfriend.

For some reason nicotine doesn’t seem to be as addictive to me as it to most people. I can pick up a pack of cigarettes and smoke them at parties or around smoker friends and then put them in a bag in the freezer for a few months. Before T moved in it would take me about six months to go through a pack. When we quit, I was up to about a pack a week.

But, T decided that she didn’t want to be an old woman smoker. We both turned 50 this year and that was her cut off date. She took the drug Chantix for two weeks – a week before she quit and for the first week. The side effects were bothering her though, so she quit the medication. She has been working through it with sunflower seeds, suckers and gum. She is worried about the extra weight she is putting on, but it’s a worthwhile trade off. We’ve only had a couple of outbreaks of nasty behavior, for which I am grateful, and overall it has been pretty smooth. It's a big change and I hope she sticks to it.

02 December 2009

Pink Glove Dance

Maybe you've already seen this ~ I hope so!

This is the hospital across town from me (wish it were mine!). It is also the hospital where my mom had her bilateral mastectomy. Call me sappy, and you wouldn't be the first to do so, but it brought tears to my eyes.

Have a lovely Wednesday everyone!

01 December 2009

Back but Not Ready

I took the week of Thanksgiving off work. It was the November birthday week in my family and what with birthdays and the holiday it just seemed like a good time to be at home. Now, however, I’m back at work and struggling to give a shit.

T’s birthday went pretty well. She got what she wanted most: undivided attention and time. We worked on the house some, hung out a bit, took the dogs for walks, had a couples massage, drank mimosas, soaked in the hot tub. All good stuff.

For her big 5-0 birthday I got her a few things. Some fairly ordinary, wifely type things (underwear, candles, sweats and long sleeve t-shirts). And two things that she wasn’t expecting and really liked. A dog training treat pouch for dog walks, with some treats, of course; and a New Orleans Saints hoodie.

During the week I hardly logged on to the computer. Didn’t check my facebook page, didn’t read my usual blogs, barely checked my email and then only on the crackberry. I pretty much went without the electronics for a week. It was fine. The earth did not stop spinning. Amazing! T, however, has developed an addiction for one of those idiotic facebook games: Farmville. She is harvesting her damned crops all the time. It has started to become a bit obsessive. She was on it last night at bedtime, calculating what she could plant based on when the harvest would be. Oh, whatever, it’s not like I care if she plays a game. But, she missed some of the Saints game last night so that she could run upstairs and harvest something.

Coming back to work after time off is hard. It’s been a slog lately and the break was very welcome. I did ok yesterday, Monday, but today I really don’t feel like being here. I’m restless, and alternating between bored and antsy. I’d like to get out of the office and walk home, but I need to be here and I don’t have the time for that long of a walk today. Instead, I’m looking out the window at the rare winter sunshine. People are calling and emailing with issues and problems and I just can’t find the energy or interest to care. That sounds bad, I know. I also know that it will pass, eventually.

13 November 2009


My gf has a birthday coming up this month. Not just any birthday, either, it's the big 5-0!

Several months ago she had thought that it would be pretty great to go to Hawai'i for her birthday. Well, hell yes, it would be! And, it would have the added bonus of getting us out of town during the Thanksgiving holiday. No worries about hosting the dinner or whose house to go to, just us on a white sand beach. Well, she decided that she didn't want to do that after all.

I suggested just a weekend at the beach or the mountains or the Columbia Gorge. Stay at a nice hotel or B&B and just chill for a weekend. She thought about that for a few days and decided that no, she didn't want to do that either.

Well, how about just a night downtown in a fancy hotel and dinner somewhere swanky? No, she actually doesn't want to go anywhere. She doesn't want to leave the pets, especially the kittens (but wait, I said, we went to the beach a month or so ago and they were fine!). Nope. Doesn't want to go.

OK. I can accept that. We'll stay home. But, she doesn't want a party either. Now, I had a big party for my 50th in the spring. And had a smashingly good time. But, she is not as social as I am and the idea doesn't appeal at all. What about just a few close friends? No. Well, can we go out to dinner with our close friends? No. But maybe we can meet up with them after dinner. Finally! Finally getting some answers here!

So, it looks like we'll have dinner out and then maybe, just maybe, meet some friends and go to a club. Maybe some dancing, maybe some pool. She is being fairly difficult over this one!

I have a few ideas for gifts but haven't come up with anything that feels just right. That's where you all come in! I'm open to suggestions. So far I have purchased a New Orleans Saints hoodie, and a gift coupon for a massage. I'm going to pick up some shirts at Old Navy. I'm also getting her a planer ~ a woodworking tool ~ which I know she wants.

What to get the butch who has most everything she desires? Anyone have any brilliant ideas?

12 November 2009

Public Transportation

I have started a dozen blog posts but been unable to finish anything. So, to give myself an encouraging boost, I’ll keep this short and reach the end.

I’ve written before about the trials and tribulations of the bus commute. One of my pet peeves is with people who let their stuff occupy a seat while other people stand. Yesterday afternoon a guy reached a new, unheard of depth in seat hogging.

He was sitting in the aisle seat and left the window seat next to him vacant. Typical. I walked down the aisle, drippy from the rain, breathless from running to catch the #77, and saw an empty pair of seats in front of this guy. As I reached the vacant spot, I saw that there was a backpack and a pair of gloves lying there. I looked back to the front of the bus, thinking that maybe the passenger who was talking to the driver was coming back to this seat. No. The guy in the seat behind reached over and picked them up. He was using four seats! Four! One for his lazy ass and three for his stuff! Argh! It’s public transportation, buddy, not your personal coach service. Jerk.

22 October 2009

Old and Odd

My girlfriend has a stalker. And, boy is that irritating!

We live in a neighborhood with a pretty decent number of people like us. Our next door neighbor is a big ol’ gay man with a stable of pretty boys. Around the corner are a couple of lesbian couples, and down the block is a great combination of two gay men with kids and two lesbians with kids who live next door to each other and share yards and toys. There are more than that but those are the ones I see the most.

For a while, the guy next door had an older lesbian living in the house with him. He travels a lot and she was a sort of housekeeper/pet sitter for him. Apparently they have been friends for years and have lived with this kind of arrangement before. Joan has since moved to a different house in the neighborhood but we still see her over there.

Because we live in the city, our yards are visible from the neighboring houses. So, anytime they are at their kitchen sink, they are looking into our back yard. Last summer T and I built a deck. They watched the progress with neighborly interest and would wave occasionally or holler out, “Looks good!” That’s fine. A little encouragement is friendly. Eventually though, it became intrusive. Joan began making a habit of offering unsolicited advice.

After finishing the deck, T started on a landscaping project. She would be on her hands and knees laying a brick pathway and every time she turned around, there was Joan, watching her from the window. If T went out to mow the grass in the front, out came Joan to walk her dogs. When there are neighborhood functions, she’ll be standing apart, scanning the crowd, until T shows up and then she makes a bee line over to say hi. Creepy.

Now, I know that my girlfriend is attractive and that she has a personality that draws people to her. All of her clients adore her. Sometimes they are irritating with it, like when they call repeatedly to ask her advice about paint, or to change their minds about a remodel. Mostly though, they respect her privacy. Except Joan.

T was next door working on a project last month when Joan and Rick arrived. They chatted for a few minutes and T mentioned that we had won tickets to see Bonnie Raitt. Joan, of course, LOVES Bonnie Raitt and would LOVE to go to the concert! T said something like, oh, too bad it’s sold out. You think that stopped her? Hell no! She was on Craigslist that day and got tickets.

When we were in line waiting to get into the venue here came Joan walking to the end of the line and searching for T. As soon as she saw us, she called out and came over to stand next to us. T was beyond irritated. In fact, we left the line and went to drink a beer in one of the bars rather than wait in the blazing sun with the crazy old broad. It’s open seating at the Edgefield and we made sure that we couldn’t see her anywhere when we sat down. At the intermission, we went to smoke a cigarette with some friends and were standing away from the crowd behind some trees. Surprise, surprise, here comes Joan, looking for T! She’s not a smoker so she doesn’t need to be standing around with all the reprobates. She must have realized that there was no good reason for her to be there because she turned around and left.

And me? I’m not sure she remembers my name. I know she thinks I’m not good enough for T. When I see her in the grocery store she doesn’t say hi, she asks me what T is working on now. Tells me how lucky I am to have such a hard working and productive partner, and so attractive too! Wow. Really? You think you need to school me in how to appreciate my partner? Fuck the hell off, bitch.

I’m glad she isn’t living next door anymore, but she is still in the neighborhood. I swear she only walks her dogs on our street, our block even. It’s pretty annoying but hopefully that’s as escalated as it will get.

13 October 2009

What the ...

I got home from work yesterday to find that the women's health clinic had rescheduled T's appointment. Pushed it back a week. I think that they had scheduled her in the resident clinic and then read the report and thought they might as well start with a faculty doctor since she would have to be seen by faculty anyway. That's fine. It'll end up saving a needless trip to the stirrup table.

I also had a piece of mail waiting for me from the mammography department. I need to go back in for additional views ~ it seems there are some suspicious calcifications that they want to look at more thoroughly. I'm going to try and get in there today.

Honestly, my stomach is a little queasy. Too much medical stuff! Do Not Want!!!!!!

12 October 2009

Doctor Visit

I am fortunate enough to have an employer that allows me to have my partner covered on my health insurance. There. That’s a positive start!

So, T had an appointment on Friday to see the family practice doctor. She mainly went in because she has chronic back pain and it has been bothering her lately. But, while I was making the appointment for her they suggested an annual exam and yes, it had been awhile, so we threw that fun time in too.

Now, before I ramble on about the appointment, I have to say that the night before we got into a huge argument. I left in a stony silence in the morning. About a half hour before the appointment I called her at home to ask where I should meet her. I generally go with her to her appointments because she is a big baby when it comes to anything medical, and really, it’s better to have your advocate at your side asking the questions anyway. So, we tersely decided to meet in the lobby.

I got there ahead of her and we rode up to the 9th floor, again in silence. Checked in at the desk and prepared for the customary long wait. They actually called her back one minute ahead of schedule.

We both went in the exam room. Sometimes the provider is disconcerted by that, other times not. So, they went over the history and physical, wrote down all of the notes, etc. We had a little fun with the questions about safe sex… gotta get a laugh when you can in those situations.

So, I had asked T beforehand if I could look while she got the Pap smear. Cuz, you know, I’ve seen the outside as thoroughly as possible, I was curious about what the inside of her pussy looked like. Who wouldn’t be?! She rolled her eyes and said ok. Might have called me a perv, but whatever.

So, the doctor gets out the speculum and I step behind her to take a peek. She used an average sized speculum which was too big for T. She was clearly in pain. I had to give up my vantage point to go hold her hand. The doc switched to a smaller speculum and tried again. I popped back around to get my once in a lifetime view.

I just barely got a glimpse when the doctor pulled out the speculum, jumped up, and said, “I’ll be right back. There is an unusual lesion there and I want to ask one of my colleagues about it.” She pretty much bolted out of there.

OK, I don’t know about you but when the doctor is scared, the patient is scared. We were left in the exam room staring at each other thinking all the worst possible diagnoses. Lesion? Unusual?

After a couple of minutes the doctor came back in and (somewhat feebly) reassured us that it was probably fine but that she would put in an order for T to be seen in the ObGyn clinic. But first, she wanted us to go downstairs for an ultrasound.

We go for the ultrasound, and since that’s part of my department, we get in right away. We have about 15 sonographers in the department and all but two are women. Naturally we got the one dude who was on duty that week. He’s cool though, and about as low testosterone and nonthreatening as a hetero guy can be. So, he’s scanning her lower abdomen and not getting a very good view. He tells her he is going to have to do the transvaginal view as well. That probe is a lot smaller than a dildo, thank god! She’s already traumatized.

He found a vascular polyp that originates in her uterus and grew down and out of her cervix. The pictures are pretty weird looking. When he turned on the Doppler, we could see that there is a lot of blood flow to the damned thing. There was actually one view where it looked like it had a face. Creepy!

One of my radiologists told me not to worry, that it will not be a big ordeal to get it removed. Still, it was a nerve wracking couple of hours, let me tell you. She has a follow up appointment on Thursday with the gynecologist.

As I walked her to the car in the parking garage, I said, “You’re going all out to make sure I’m not mad at you anymore.” She said, “Did it work?”

05 October 2009

Friday afternoon

My phone buzzed while I was in the exam room.

T: What are you doing?

Me: I can’t talk right now, I’m having my boobs squeezed.

T: WHAT?!?!?!

Me: A mammogram, duh!

T: What? You’re having a mammogram? Why didn’t you tell me this morning?

Me: They had a cancellation so I just walked over… but, let me call you back. Really.

What can I say, it gave me a little pleasure to tease her like that. And, when you can get pleasure out of a mammogram, I say go for it!

30 September 2009


I wrote a long blog post about our trip to the beach and posted it on my family blog. I thought about cross posting it here but the things I didn’t say in my family blog are the things I want to write about here. The family blog post boils down to this: we went to the beach, saw some stuff, ate some stuff, walked the dogs, had fun, went home.

What I didn’t write about is sex.

Sometimes I think the world should be divided into those who like sex and want it and those who don’t and don’t. Unfortunately, T and I are in opposing camps on this one.

I like sex. I would like to have more than I am currently getting. I think once a week would be great, or even once every two weeks. I think that once a month is not nearly enough and anything longer than that is way too long.

My girlfriend seems to be less and less interested. When we got together she was ardent enough and we had lots of good sex. Fake out! Her interest and willingness have been steadily declining. When we talk about it and I ask why she says, it’s too much work, she’s too tired, she’s rarely in the mood, etc.

For awhile it was a big bone of contention. She felt like I was pressuring her, I felt like she was holding out on me. So, I said that I wouldn’t ask or start anything but that didn’t mean that I didn’t want to. After about a month she asked me why I didn’t find her attractive anymore. WTF?!?!?!! Good lord, woman! You didn’t want me to pressure you! I’m not bringing it up because you don’t want it! ARGH!!!

We sorted that out. We are settling into what I can only describe as middle-aged complacency. It’s not enough for me but compared to the many years that I lived alone and wasn’t dating, it’s tolerable.

So, last weekend we were going to the beach. About a month before we went I said something about getting frisky at the beach. Then a week before I mentioned the frisky factor again. A couple of days before we were sitting on the couch and I curled up next to T and said, ‘How about a little sumpin, sumpin at the beach, baby?’ She laughed and said that sounded good. So, here I am, laying the ground work, making the reminder calls, maybe (hopefully) not being overbearing but letting her know that I desire her and find her attractive and sexy.

And, what’s missing from the beach trip? Sex. Ok, Friday night, no worries. It’s been a long week and we’re both tired. Saturday night? Perfect time, right? Well, there we are in bed, I’m rubbing up against her and she’s watching Happy Feet on tv. We kissed for a few minutes and then fell asleep. Sunday morning (morning is not my favorite time but I’ll take what I can get) she reaches over, starts playing around down there and then gets up and takes a shower.

That’s where the petulant part comes in. I could have behaved better. I could have just let it go and figured, eh, next time. But, no, not me. I was sullen. I was silent. I was petulant. I was badly disappointed! I had been looking forward to it for weeks. I tried for civility but it was a quiet and subdued civility.

On the Long Beach, Washington peninsula there is a place called Cape Disappointment. We stopped and looked at the lighthouse there. My camera batteries were dead but I said, oh we need a picture of Cape Disappointment! All I got was a look.

When we got home she said, you’re not getting enough sugar, are you baby? I said, no, you know I’m not.

The good news is that she broke down finally on Sunday night and we had a nice roll in the hay.

I’m not sure if this is something I am blowing out of proportion; if it is simply a matter of different levels of sexual desire. I am not willing to be one of the statistics for Lesbian Bed Death. I like sex. I think it’s normal and healthy to have sex. I start to get worried and my self esteem drops if we don’t have sex. Because, of course, she doesn’t find me attractive anymore… because I’m too short, and chunky, and not girly enough, and not a good enough lover. You know, like that.

At one point, some months ago, T said that if I wasn’t getting enough sex I could go outside the relationship. Ok, she didn’t actually mean it. And, I can’t imagine doing that. The emotional bonds are too strong and I’m just not the play the field type. One woman at a time is enough for me. She withdrew the offer not long after she made it. Occasionally I’ll mention it, just to get a reaction from her.

Another factor is menopause. I’m done (YAY!) and T is in that unsettling totally random phase where you just can’t predict when you will have a period or how heavy/light it will be, or how long it will last, or any of that. And, I know that women’s bodies change a lot during “The Change.” But, shouldn’t the relative increase in testosterone make us more horny? I can guarantee that she isn’t drying up, so that’s not a factor (plus, hello, lube!).

From what I know of her young adult days, she was quite into sex back then. I feel a little cheated, honestly. I thought she had a healthy libido, cuz she sure gave me that impression when we first started going out. It’s been slowing down ever since.

There might not be anything I can do about it. I don’t like being a petulant brat but I also don’t like being left hanging like that. I know I can get myself off, but it’s just not the same. Plus, I really desire this woman. For someone who is about to turn 50 she has the most amazing breasts! Beautiful! And sometimes, when we’re driving I’ll look over at her long legs and just be filled with lust! And she is beautiful and has the most amazing cheekbones! She is physically very attractive to me and I would like to fuck her every day. Maybe not every day, but every other day…

24 September 2009

What's it Worth?

As I may have mentioned a time or twenty, my partner was laid off last year. She has had a couple of crappy jobs since then, but has not found anything good in her field. This has had a negative effect on her state of mind, of course.

But, she has been working for herself pretty steadily over the past couple of months and is now earning more like what she should be earning. What a difference in how she feels about herself! She has taken me out to dinner a couple of times recently and this weekend we are headed to the beach. Yay for the beach! She is insisting on paying for everything and I’ll let her pay for the hotel for sure, and the gas to get there and back, but I’m not letting her pay for everything.

This morning I had to drive to work instead of riding my bike and it costs $10 to park. She very happily whipped ten bucks out of her wallet as I was getting ready to leave. She had a big grin on her face and said, “Daddy’s back!” How cute is that?!

Beach. Beach. Beach. Beach. Beach. Beach. Beach.

18 September 2009

Race for the Cure

This Sunday is Race for the Cure day in Portland. I’ll be there with my girlfriend and, thankfully, my mom. My daughter will be sleeping in for the cure, in Des Moines.

Ten years ago, maybe eleven now, my mom was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma. Her primary care doctor scolded her for not getting a mammogram that year and insisted that she do so in the following week. Thank you, Dr Zelko! They found a tiny white speck on her films that, upon biopsy, was indeed cancerous. She had a bilateral mastectomy within the month.

The doctors had said that they didn’t need to take both of her breasts since the cancer was only on one side. She told them that she had no need for them anymore and to just take them both off. “Besides” she said, “odds are it will come back in ten years and I don’t intend to do this again when I’m in my 70’s.”

As they wheeled her into surgery, she sat up in the gurney, lifted her gown up in front and flashed my dad. She said, “Take your last look at heaven, buster!”

Her recovery went pretty well. After she was up and about she took to walking around the house topless. She told me that she was going to go do some gardening in the front yard without a shirt on. She said, “Hey! Men get to go shirtless all the time, why can’t I? I don’t even have nipples!” I told her not to be ridiculous, with her pale skin just imagine the sunburn she’d get.

Her chest is criss-crossed with scars. She loves how flat it is. She feels liberated without those fleshy appendages. She has encouraged me to get a bilateral mastectomy ~ preventative medicine, she says. I have ambivalent feelings about my breasts and always wish they were smaller. I don’t think the insurance will pay for that, though.

I feel so lucky to still have my mom in my life. She is one of my greatest champions, always fiercely defending her family, always helping us be the best people we can, always encouraging, protecting, enlightening. My dad is right there too. I was blessed to born into a loving family.

When we step out tomorrow and head downtown for the Race, we’ll be doing it at mom’s pace. We usually stroll for the cure. Some years we only go a few blocks and she says, “Let’s go get a cup of coffee and a pastry.” So we do. Of course we do. We’ll amble through the tents and vendor displays, we’ll get our souvenir scarf, we’ll mingle with the throng of women in pink and then we’ll go home and watch football and drink mimosas. I got some pink champagne for the occasion.

11 September 2009

Turning it around

Work has been super busy lately with all sorts of new requests and new requirements. We laid off a team member early this year and everyone is working harder than ever. Since I am in charge, I have the option of delegating new assignments, but I don’t feel like I can dump any more work on any of the rest of the group. I’m going to have to eventually, because I can’t keep doing all of the extra work myself.

I’ve also had too much stuff scheduled on the weekends lately and the lack of down time really drains me. Plus, I look out at the garden and know that I should be starting the fall clean up chores; I look at the building projects and know that I should be putting more time in on them; I look at the house and know that it shouldn’t be this messy… you get the picture.

Last night a self defense class that I teach to student nurses started. Actually, it started last week and one of my teammates covered for me because it was the same night as the Bonnie Raitt concert. So, last night was my first night with the class. I got home from work feeling tired, a little out of sorts, and not in any mood to put on my uniform, schlep my gear across town, turn on the energy, and teach. But of course I did. Of course I did. And I am so glad!

The class was great! The women are all very enthusiastic and willing to try all sorts of stuff that is out of their comfort zone. They were excited to be hitting the pads and were hitting HARD! They were using their voice, they were using their stance and body language, they were dropping their breath. Everything I asked of them, they participated fully. What a wonderful group! I left there feeling so much better than when I arrived. It’s amazing how transformative physical activity can be. Especially when it is directed in a positive and empowering way.

The neighborhood where these women go to school is in a part of downtown Portland that has its share of trouble. It’s not a “bad” neighborhood, by any stretch. But, lately there has been a predator on the loose, and he has attacked several women late at night. We talked about that in class, of course, and all of the students are aware of it and are taking the class because of it. I’m so glad they are there! The skills that we teach are simple to learn and highly effective and go a long way in building confidence and increasing awareness. I wish we could teach the entire student body because really, everyone needs to know how to protect themselves.

I’ve got another busy weekend coming up, and the one after that as well. But, I’m doing my damnedest to keep the last week of the month free and my goal is for me and T to get to the beach that weekend. Fingers crossed!

Happy Friday!

10 September 2009

Today is...

I'm tired. I'm busy. I'm overly committed.

08 September 2009

Weekend Round-up

I took Friday off so that I had a four day weekend instead of just three. Greedy? No. Just needed a break. But it wasn’t all spent lying on the couch ignoring the world. Here’s what went down:

Friday ~ errands and a little shopping. My friend Peg came over and did some errands with me. Mostly just so that we could chat. T’s friend Chris came over and installed a printer. I went out to Lewis and Clark with Katherine, Abi and Annie. We were teaching a self defense course there on Sunday and wanted to see the room and figure stuff out ahead of time.

Saturday ~ No classes! The school was closed for the weekend. So instead I did a bunch of laundry and various household chores. Didn’t feel obligated to get anything done, which is a rarity. Watched a couple of movies. Mall Cop, which was silly and innocent and Fight Night, which was poorly written and woodenly acted. Bought a new seat for the bike and T put it on for me. Super comfy!

Sunday ~ Futzed around during the morning. Went back to Lewis and Clark to teach from 2 to 5. We were supposed to have 100 incoming freshmen women but only got 35 signed up. Of those, about half showed up for the course. Our goal is that next year it will be a requirement for all incoming fresh(wo)men.

Monday ~ went to Home Depot for supplies and then came home and insulated the floor of the sun porch – where the hot tub lives. Yeah, that’s a lot of fun, crawling around under a building with fiberglass insulation. OK, I’m not complaining because T did most of the crawling and I did most of the cutting. It felt good to get it done before the temperatures drop. We also got some Tyvek up on the outside of the porch. We hope to have the siding completed within a couple of weeks. I want it to blend into the rest of the house and not stick out like a sore thumb… as it is currently doing.

Now I’m back at work. Almost done for the day and I haven’t even caught up on my blog reading! My daughter has started a new blog about buying a house, and my good friend RR has started yet another “pop culture” blog. I’ve got to add those to my list.

Tonight I am teaching a class about Intimate Partner Violence. Also known as domestic violence, spouse abuse, etc. It’s pretty grim, but if people have information about it maybe, just maybe it will help them recognize it and strategize ways of escaping. The class I’m teaching tonight is at my martial art school so we have a captive audience there. This is part of my apprenticeship. We reach more people when we teach in the community. It’s good practice, though. I feel like I need more time to prepare, but it'll be fine.

03 September 2009

Bike Update, etc

Ok, I rode home again yesterday. Two things:

1) My butt hurts! I need a new seat, for sure. One of those wide, padded, “lady” seats. Oh yes I do. I got off the tram yesterday, tucked my pant leg into my sock and swung my leg over the bike. OUCH! When I sat down, I stood right back up. I had to ride a couple blocks putting most of my weight on the pedals until my butt bones stopped complaining. I’m taking Friday off and I’ll be shopping for a comfy seat that day.

2) My timing is off. I said that it took me 40 minutes the first day, well, it took 50 minutes the second day and that just can’t be right. I didn’t wander around in RiverPlace, AND I rode up that short steep hill – which has to be faster than walking, right? I’m not sure how my timing got all wonky, but I’m still hoping to shave ten (or twenty) minutes off my time. I hope to get home in half an hour. I think I’ll be able to eventually.

So, part of my ride along the waterfront goes by a hangout zone for the homeless. It’s just a pleasant part of the park a little distance away from the businessy part of downtown (close to the Steel Bridge, by the cherry trees, if you know where I mean). Yesterday there were several people sprawled around in the grass and sitting on the benches. I noticed that there were also lots of pigeons taking a little rest there as well. I wondered, do the homeless ever catch and eat pigeons? They are certainly plentiful (I mean the birds), and surely, surely, they taste somewhat like chicken. But, then, I’ve wondered the same thing about squirrels. Why aren’t hungry people eating them? I’ve never had squirrel before but in my imagination it is a lean, dark meat. I asked T what she thought about that and she said, “Why go to all that trouble when you can panhandle a dollar and go to Wendy’s for a crispy chicken sandwich?” She does have a point there.

In other news, the concert tickets that we won are for tonight. Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal at the Edgefield! Very much looking forward to it! Gates open at 5, general admission seating on the grass, so we’ll be there on time. Really, really hoping that the rain holds off until tomorrow!

02 September 2009

Bike Commute Challenge

Yay for me! I rode my bike home from work yesterday for the first time!

So, we’ve got this thing called the Bike Commute Challenge. Maybe it’s going on in your town? Maybe it’s just an Oregon thing… Different businesses compete to have the greatest percentage of employees riding their bikes to work during the month of September. I don’t think you win anything but bragging rights, and all of the actual benefits like better health, less pollution, etc.
For the past year and a half I have been carpooling with T. Since her last layoff, however, she has just been driving me to work and picking me up. I know, I know, how very wasteful that is! I have been talking about riding my bike to work but hadn’t gotten up the courage or motivation to do it. The bike challenge was the impetus I needed.

I had T drop me and my bike off yesterday and today. I feel ok about that. It cut the car commute in half. Next week I aim to ride both directions.

It’s only 5 miles from my house to my work, but it’s through the city, across the river and up a steep hill. Truth be told, I’m not doing the steep hill – not up or down it. Instead, I’m taking the tram up and down. It just feels safer and more doable for me. I made it home in 40 minutes yesterday, which is about 20 minutes faster than the bus. I know I’ll be able to shave a good 10 minutes off that time; I wasted a few minutes riding around one neighborhood looking for the bike path. Also, there’s one short but steep hill that my legs weren’t up to yesterday. It’s only 2 or 3 blocks long but I walked my bike up it yesterday. By next week I hope to ride the whole thing.

It really felt great to be getting home via my own power. Empowering! I’ve walked home before and that felt pretty good, too, but zipping along on my bike was great. And, the whole time I was pedaling I was thinking about how much better my pants would fit in a few weeks. I haven’t been working out for quite a while now and I have gained an unacceptable amount of weight and I just don’t feel good. This will definitely improve my physical and mental well-being.

The unknown so far is how the weather will affect my commute. Portland is known for the rainy weather, and it’s coming. I’m going to check out some rain pants and see if I can stick it out in the upcoming wet weather.

Wish me luck!

26 August 2009

We are Winners!

No, not Powerball, dang it! I will however be buying a ticket this afternoon for that faint hope.

A friend of ours is on a winning softball team and her team is headed to Madison for the ASANA Softball World Series! Woo Hoo!

Of course, they have to hold a fundraiser in order to get there. So she texts all of us to ask if we’ll join her team at Hot Flash (a big lesbo dance in Portland). Well, we don’t mind going out and dancing, and for a good cause? Oh yeah.

We got there and bought raffle tickets and didn’t win. Looked all over for our friend and didn’t see her. She finally showed up (after a game and in her dusty uniform). She said that her team wasn’t involved in this raffle but were running a separate one and did we want to buy a ticket? T and I gave her $30 and said, sure put us down for however many that buys.

After that we just danced and drank and socialized and had a good time. I forgot all about the raffle. It was held yesterday and we got an excited phone call from the team captain letting us know that we had won. Wow! Not only had we won, but we won the grand prize! Holy smokes! We get two tickets to see Bonnie Raitt in a couple of weeks and a variety of other great stuff! How cool is that?!

In the meantime, Go Swingers!

20 August 2009

The Daughter's boyfriend

So, last night my daughter called. We chatted about inconsequentials for a few minutes and then she broke the news that they were not going to move back to the Pacific Northwest after all. Instead they were going to move to Dallas. As in Texas. As in Dallas fucking Texas and not Portland or Seattle.

I am so disappointed.

A few months ago she called to say that they had decided to move back to the northwest, probably Seattle. I was ecstatic! So was she! She and the boyfriend are living in Des Moines. Yeah, the one in Iowa. Why, you may ask? Well, the boyfriend got a job there so of course she went with him. They had been living in a Seattle suburb and he couldn’t find a job that he liked that also paid him what he thought was an adequate salary. He does some kind of IT work. Thinks he’s a big shot. So, since he got turned down for the few jobs he deemed worthy of receiving his application, he contacted a recruiter to find him a job. In Des Moines, Iowa, because he has family there. His favorite brother and his least favorite brother live in Des Moines and now his mom does too. So, he wanted to be near his family and wanted Zoe away from hers.

Of course the recruiter was delighted to find him a job in Des Moines. I get the idea that few people are clamoring to move to the center of the country.

So off they go. Yes, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth round here. My parents and I drove up to Bellevue to help them pack the apartment and load the truck. He was of no use whatsoever. Sat around complaining about how hard it is to move yourself. As if he would know since he wasn’t lifting a finger. No, he left it to me and my seventy something year old father to do the heavy lifting. Oh, he has a bad back… or a bad knee… or both, probably, since he is morbidly obese. Anyway! Off they went.

They stayed in Des Moines for about a year. Then he was dissatisfied with his job and found one in Lansing, Michigan. They upped sticks and moved to Lansing. For a total of six months. Then, guess what, he didn’t like his job so they moved back to Des Moines. They’ve been there about a year, again, this time.

Now he has found a job in Dallas. He spent a lot of years in Dallas. That’s where his ex-wife lives (if she is truly an ex, my suspicion is that they aren’t really divorced). He has friends in Dallas. My daughter? No. She doesn’t have friends in Dallas, she doesn’t have family in Dallas, she doesn’t have a job in Dallas. She doesn’t have shit in Dallas. All she’s got is this lame-ass loser boyfriend in Dallas.

It’s just breaking my heart to see her following this guy around the country. What happened to her dreams? Her goals? She is 25 and he is about 10 years older. They have been together for about 4 years. I can’t tell you one single good thing about him. He is ugly inside and out. He is one of the most selfish people I have ever met. Add to that lazy, cheap with everyone but himself, arrogant, patronizing. Oh, ok, here’s a good thing: he is too selfish to want children. Thankfully. So when she wakes up and gets away from him she won’t be tied to him by that connection.

I could write reams about how thoroughly I loathe this person, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that if he dropped dead tomorrow, I would not shed a tear. Instead, I am shedding many tears about my daughter wasting her young adulthood on someone unworthy. I’m shedding tears over her dropping out of college to trail around after him. I hate the fact that she is squandering her precious self on someone who doesn’t appreciate what a treasure she is. It’s breaking my heart. And it kills me that there is nothing I can do about it.

19 August 2009

It Never Ends

Just when I think the family onslaught is over, something (someone) totally unexpected pops up.

My brother and his gang left on Saturday. Yay! Then, out of the clear blue sky, T’s long lost half brother blows into town. Turns out his grandmother had died and he wanted to come and pay his respects. He took a bus from Florida to Washington ~ yeah, Washington State. That’s a long damn way.

So, long story medium, he’s out of work and T has a side job that she wants to finish quickly (a bonus for early completion). She has hired him to work with her for the week. That’s all fine, he’s a hard worker and it’s a nice change for her to work with someone instead of on her own. But, he is making noises like he wouldn’t mind sticking around for a month or two to “help her out”. Well, there is not enough work to go around. T has been scraping by, just barely making her bills every month. Honestly, if she wasn’t shacked up with me she’d be in trouble financially. There’s no way that she can keep herself and the old boy busy.

Thankfully, she told him from the get go that he couldn’t stay with us. Yes, we have the space, and yes, we just had my brother and family here, but we are tired. She told him that everyone gets on her nerves and she rather work with him than have him stay. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Because, o.m.g, the man is a talker.

One a side note, he has been telling her some interesting family stories about the old days. Wowser! Talk about ammunition! She’s got some good stuff on her sister now.

I think what we need is a weekend away. It’ll take some organizing, and some money, but it would be worth it. We are both tired and frazzled and need a break. A little sea air would feel good right about now. Excuse me, the beach is calling!

14 August 2009


My brother, his wife and their 3 kids are visiting this week. Good times! Well, reasonable times, anyway. They are good houseguests, all things considered, partly because they are spending most of their time with my parents. In fact, my brother and his wife and the youngest kid, a 6 year old boy, are staying at my house and the two girls (ages 12 and 10) are staying with my parents. It’s more of an adventure for the girls that way, and one of them is allergic to cats. We’ve got three.

The days have been going something like this: I get up at 4:45 and take a shower. My brother gets up at 4:55 and goes downstairs to work remotely from his laptop. I get dressed and go downstairs to make the coffee. T gets up and takes her shower. I drink coffee and eat toast and read the parts of the paper that I like for about a half hour. Make my lunch, go upstairs to brush my teeth. T gives me a ride to work. In the afternoon, we get home, have a beer and a cigarette, pet the pets, do a little of this and that. We make and eat dinner. About 8:30 or 9:00 the family shows up, chats for a few minutes and then they go to bed. Very low impact house guests!

Still, having extra people in the house is an exercise in patience and tolerance. First thing in the morning my brother is sitting at the dining room table where I am accustomed to sitting ~ by. my. self. Thankfully, he doesn’t talk much ~ I really prefer not to carry on a conversation until I’ve had a cup or two of coffee. After that, fine. Also, he and his son leave the toilet seat up which drives T crazy. I say better up than peed on. Still, it’s bugging her.

They are also using my car for the week. That’s ok with me because we have two vehicles and I can also take public transportation to and from work. It’s just occasionally inconvenient. But not really a big deal. A funny difference between the girlfriend and me: I would never, ever, park in someone’s driveway unless specifically told that I should. She (and all of her family) would rather park in the driveway even if it blocks the car that’s already there. Even if, like my driveway, the only spot to park in was at a ridiculous slant that makes getting in and out of the car a contortionist’s trick. The first night my brother had the car there was no parking in front of the house so he parked around the corner. T actually went out and moved the car ~ parked it in the driveway. Where she thinks it belongs. We all have our little idiosyncrasies, I guess. My brother and I were raised by a parking fiend. Our dad is a nut about courteous parking. We were never allowed to park in front of someone else’s house. We had to orchestrate our comings and goings so that all of the cars were in the driveway or in front of the house. It makes me crazy when T’s brother comes over and has their mom in the car and parks on the slope of my driveway. First of all, don’t park in the damned driveway, second of all, it’s extremely difficult for your seventy-something year old mother to get in and out at that angle! Argh!

I’ve enjoyed hanging out with my sister-in-law. We spent some quality time, without the kids or my brother, going to fabric stores. Of course they have fabric stores in northern Virginia, but she wanted a variety, something a little different. Their daughters compete in gymnastics and she actually makes their leotards. She is quite a seamstress! I, well, I am a quilter and not a fancy one. But, I found lots of good stuff in the remnants section. Don’t tell T how much I spent; she would be shocked! I need to incorporate it into the fabric collection which will make it pretty much undetectable… not that I need to justify or rationalize my fabric expenditures, I’d just rather not discuss them at all!

I’ve enjoyed seeing the family ~ and yes, I’ll enjoy waving good bye. One thing that leaves me a little wistful is that my daughter wasn’t able to come out this summer. We had the Virginians last summer as well, and Zoe came out for a quick weekend visit. That was a year ago and I haven’t seen her since. Too long! I’ve already started campaigning for one of the upcoming winter holidays. I don’t care if it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas, I want her at home for one of them. Or both! Or moving back in to her old room! I may be getting a little ahead of myself there, but I really would like that :-) At least, I would like it if she moved back without the boyfriend. But, that’s another story and one I don’t want to get started on now.

So, I think we’ll all have dinner together tonight and they are leaving on Saturday and then we will have our house back. Back to naked hot tubbing! Back to showering together! Back to the toilet seat being down all the time! Ah, family ~ gotta love ‘em!

05 August 2009

This is why I like my job

Sometimes, I see the better side of people instead of the worse. Today, I was walking down a corridor and passed a mom, grandma and young toddler. The toddler was fussy and wanted to be carried. The mom reached down and picked her up. Then the youngster wanted down. Up, down, up, down. Finally, to distract the kiddo, the mom and the grandma started singing “She’ll be coming round the mountain” at full volume with the little girl chiming in. Mind you, we’re in a public hallway connecting a couple of big hospital wards. Most people walking by just ignored them and carried on with their business.

It made me smile. And sing.

31 July 2009

First Impression

I caught a glimpse of deep red and silver high up in a Doug fir tree. My first thought was that it was a robe; a magical person had swooped into the tree and hung their robe on a branch! The breeze turned it back and forth and I realized; it was a deflated mylar balloon.

23 July 2009


I woke up in a cranky mood today. I suppose it’s a combination of causes. We slept in the guest room last night, for one thing, and I just didn’t sleep all that well. The kittens kept alternating between snuggling and attacking. I’m not keen about the alarm clock in that room and it’s on the other side of the bed. Add to that the fact that I was irritated with T when we went to bed, and she with me. And that, I suppose, is at the heart of it all.

She was irritated because I was out later than I said I would be. I went over to a teammate’s house so that we could practice a couple of things. We are teaching a class together on Saturday and wanted to iron out who was doing which section. That took a little while. We also went over two forms that she is showing at her upcoming 2nd degree black belt test, for which I am attacking. That took a while too. And, my friend is kind of the chatty type so we wasted some time just… chatting.

Now, I asked T if she wanted to come with me. She didn’t, even though she knows this couple and likes both of them. She was tired and wanted to stay home and watch tv. She also wanted to get in the hot tub for a bit and ease her achy muscles. That’s fine. I’m not insisting that she come when she really would rather not. For crying out loud woman, do what you want to do!

BUT, don’t be petty when I want to do my thing!

Yes, it took longer than I thought it would. So what?! We are not joined at the hip. I refuse to have the kind of relationship where we are in each other’s pocket. I have my outside activities that I was doing before we met and there is no way in the world I’m going to give them up. If she doesn’t have enough stuff going on, too bad. Get something going on. I’ve invited her to train my martial art ~ she is not interested. And, that’s ok. I would love it if she did, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker if she doesn’t.

Partly it’s because T is a real homebody. And, when it comes down to it, so am I. But, I do have an active social life, a wide circle of friends, many interests and some passions. T has a smaller circle of friends and she doesn’t get together with them as often as I do with mine. I think she is used to the kind of relationship where you just revolve around each other. I find that claustrophobic. And boring. Her last girlfriend didn’t live with her but stopped by her house every day after work and spent an hour or two before going home to her three kids. My impression is that T made sure she was home in time for the gf to stop by, always had a cocktail ready, often made her dinner, and never just said something like, “Hey, I’m going out with X and Y after work. I’ll see you tomorrow.” That seems so sad to me.

Also, I’ve been out of a relationship more than in one for many years. I’ve had a few unimportant ones in the last ten or fifteen years, but long stretches of time where I was single. When you are perpetually single, you find things to do. T has been in one relationship after another. Probably should have spent a little time in self-reflection…

I think that I need to educate this woman of mine. I know that she understands intellectually that we can and should have outside interests; she has said as much to me. She has to believe it, though. She has to be happy for me that I have stuff going on that I enjoy. If she is bitter or grudging, or pissy that I have stuff to do, then that is a deal breaker.

15 July 2009

Attitude adjustment

2/7 vs 5/7. How much of your life do you enjoy? How much of your time is spent waiting or wishing for a different time?

I’ve been thinking lately about the work week vs the weekend and how sad it is to spend five sevenths of one’s time in anticipation of the remaining two sevenths. Those are not good numbers!

The work week is necessary. Work gives structure and purpose to our days and keeps us from becoming sloths. Those are good things. If you are lucky, your work is something you enjoy; something that brings you satisfaction as well as the income needed to sustain life.

I don’t love my job but I do appreciate it. I make a decent wage, not a great wage by any stretch, but enough to live on and carefully thrive (I would like to be able to save more but that hasn’t been happening lately, ahem, hot tub). I have adequate benefits. My coworkers are mostly tolerable and some even more than that. I have an office with a window. Sometimes I even feel like the work we do makes a positive difference in the world.

I work in a teaching hospital. I’m a low level administrator on the school of medicine side. We educate doctors and that has a certain value.

I have been working at my job for a little more than 10 years. Before that I had a different job at the same place. Altogether I’ve been with this employer for 15 years. That’s a long damned time! Considering that when I took the original job I thought I would be there for about two years. Ha! Life sneaks up on you that way, I guess.

I don’t generally torture myself over things like wage disparity but it did come to my attention the other day when I was filling out a reimbursement request for one of my doctors. She gave me a copy of her bank statement to show that she had paid for some books. Her biweekly direct deposit was over $10,000. Yeah. Ten grand twice a month… and she needs reimbursed for books? Fuck.

About ten years ago, one of the previous doctors I worked for was complaining about having his three kids in private school and how expensive it was. I told him that what he earned in a month took me almost all year to earn. I also told him that he better not ever again complain to me about not making enough money, that the disparity between us was so great that the only way he could make up for it was to pay for my daughter’s education as well as his own kids…

OK, this isn’t really about the fact that doctors make more money than I do. It’s not really about money at all. It’s about spending the majority of one’s life doing something that feeds the belly but not the soul. It’s about spending Monday through Friday wishing for Saturday and Sunday.

So, my goal is to appreciate the work that I do. To be present in the moment ~ even though that sounds like hippy dippy mumbo jumbo. To make today as worthwhile as tomorrow. I don’t want to wish away that much of the time I have. And look, I’m at work and managing to find time to ponder these kinds of questions, write about them, and post to my blog!

14 July 2009

Tub Time

The hot tub works! T finished the last of the cross-bracing and we filled it when we got home last night. Turned it on around 6:30pm. Had just a few moments of not-quite-panic when the jets wouldn’t kick in. We called the spa guy and asked what to do. First he said to turn the jets to high then low a few times and see if that fixed it. Nope. Called him back and he explained to T how to let the air out of the lines at the pump. Did that. Turned it back on and Hallelujah! Frothy water!

It took several hours to get warm. We kept going outside to check it and saying, “another hour.” Finally got in around 10pm, when we should have been getting ready for bed. But, how could we not get in the damned thing?! It was grand! T wanted to just sit and be pummeled by the jets but I couldn’t sit still. I tried floating, sat on the shallower seat (it’s a 3-person, triangular tub), turned all the knobs, turned the light on and off, played footsie with her, ran my hand up her leg, you know ~ immature new toy behavior. What can I say? It was exciting! I’ve never had a hot tub before. We kept looking at each other and grinning and chuckling.

Really, one of the best things about it won’t last long, and that is the fact that it is outside. The wind in the cherry tree was beautiful both visually and aurally. A cool breeze while soaking in hot water is a delicious contrast. But, while being outside has wonderful qualities, it is also too exposed. Not too exposed to the elements, although come fall and winter it would be, but too exposed to the neighbors. Two sets of neighbors can look right into our hot tub. No naked tubbing for us, at least not until we build the sunroom around it.

Note to the Crow: I will not be drowning the brother-in-law in the hot tub ~ no boys allowed!

13 July 2009

Good Things

Good thing number one: the dishwasher is in and working! Yay, Yay, Yay!!! My quality time with the dishes will shrink back down to a reasonable level.

I spent the extra money for a dishwasher that can take stemware in the upper or lower racks. Very much worth the price, in my view. We drink a lot of mimosas ~ or, in my case, just plain champagne. Well, right now it’s champagne with either raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries since they are all in season. We don’t generally drink out of flutes unless we have company. We have some glasses that are more like pilsner glasses than flutes ~ very tall and thin. They don’t hold much more than say, a short tumbler, but they are just the right shape for mimosas. But, they didn’t fit well in the old dishwasher so I am pretty happy about that upgrade.

Good thing number two: the hot tub is in! Ok, it’s in place and wired. T’s uncle is an electrician and came over yesterday to put in a new circuit, new GFI box, and wire it up. T finished the deck that it sits on and only has a little bit of cross-bracing to do before we fill it up and turn it on. We’re doing that after work today! I don’t know how long it will take to heat up; I’m guessing several hours. So, we may or may not be able to sit in it tonight. I sure hope so!!! The weather has been cool and either cloudy or rainy for the last few days. So, if the tub doesn’t warm up enough before bedtime it’ll have to be tomorrow.

The sunroom isn’t built yet, so it looks like a deck with a hot tub sitting right outside our living room. It does actually look a little odd. And, I suppose it will look odd to our neighbors for awhile. We live in one of those close in neighborhoods where we can generally see into each other’s yards but are mostly too polite to do so. We will, however, have to wear bathing suits until the room is built and there are blinds on the windows. But, one thing at a time, and right now it’s the tub being hooked up. Yay!

Think of me~ mimosa in hand, warm bubbly water, playing footsie with my girl… oh, yeah!

07 July 2009

Families, sheesh!

So, I survived the baby shower/family reunion. It went pretty smoothly, in fact. There was enough food to feed the county and everybody who arrived brought another 12 pack. I kept myself busy cutting strawberries for the mimosas that T and I drank… I think one other person asked for a mimosa and we were happy to share. Somehow the three of us got through 4 bottles of champagne. I’m hoping that someone else was having mimosas!

I met the eldest member of the family and she and I got along great. Great Aunt Yvonne is the last member of her generation ~ T’s grandparents are all gone. The fact that she and her husband flew out from Houston was pretty astounding. There’s a bunch of history between her and the rest of the family but it was too ancient and complicated for me to get worked up over.

The only real awkwardness for me came when T’s brother-in-law, who is a jerk, grabbed her by the neck while she was barbecuing. He was trying to put her in a choke hold for some reason. She yelled for me to come out and pull him off. Well, shoot. That puts me in a fairly awkward position. I will not let anyone rough up my girlfriend, of course. And even though I am smaller than him, I am a black belt martial artist. So, restraint was called for but no tolerance of unwanted physical contact. I pulled him off her and walked him a few feet away before letting him go. Told him, “No means no. Hands off the girl.” Boy, was he mad! I knew he would be. I knew perfectly well that being shown up by a small, middle-aged woman does not sit well with most men. Tess should have just stabbed him in the leg with the barbeque fork and left me out of it. Oh well, I’m not too worried about his opinion of me. My opinion of him is pretty darned low.

We were there for what felt like forever! Got there about 11:30 in the morning and didn’t get home until nearly 9pm. Way too long for me. And, we had been home about 20 minutes when T’s cousin and her daughter stopped by on their way wherever. Holy crapola, people! They stayed for about two hours. I was falling asleep on my feet by that time. And, irritatingly, her cousin kept calling me by the short form of my name ~ which only my own family calls me and only occasionally. That bugged me.

Now, last week I was thinking, ok, we’ve had our obligatory family get-together and it’s out of the way. We’re good until the holidays roll around. Ha!

So here’s the thing: we are building a sun room and have bought a small hot tub for it (yay!). The hot tub was supposed to be delivered on Saturday afternoon. Really? Saturday, July 4th? Yep, says the guy, it’s just another work day. OK, fine. So, we get T’s brother lined up to be here to help us lift it off the trailer and onto the deck. The delivery was supposed to be at around 4pm. Unbeknownst to us, T’s mom decides that since Mark is going to come over at 4, the whole family will come with him and we’ll have a barbeque. She lets us know of this plan on Thursday. There is no way that T can tell her mom no. She just can’t. So, ok, I’ll suck it up and be the nice girlfriend even though we just saw all these people one week ago.

Well, the hot tub guy calls and says he can be there around noon instead. Quick call to Mark, can you come over at noon? Sure, should I bring Mom and the kids? NO! We are not eating until 6pm. Do NOT bring your mom over until 4 or 4:30! Got the tub delivered, all looks good, sent Mark home, thinking a little nosh and a little rest before the family arrives, a quick shower, we’ll feel fine.

Then her Mom calls again. Oh, your cousin Roberta, her husband and their teenage daughter are on their way over. They want to see you before they go back to Arizona. So, yeah, the cousin, the husband, the daughter are there for an hour before T’s mom, brother, niece and nephew arrive. Sigh.

We’re all sitting at the table on the deck. Drinking a beer, chatting. The rest of the family arrives. I go inside to get something and when I come back, T’s mom has taken my chair and is holding forth to the table. There was nowhere left to sit on the deck so I went down into the yard and sat in the shade. If these had been my relatives, I would have made one of the teenagers get up and give an adult a chair. But apparently that doesn’t happen in this family. It actually worked out better for me because it was much cooler in the shade and I could get a few yards distance from all of them. I put the sprinkler on and the smart ones and the kids walked through it occasionally to cool off.

It was another exhausting, loud, trying day. And, since it was the 4th it wasn’t over by a long shot. Shot… ha! Get it? Doh. But, that’s enough for now. Don’t get me wrong, I really like T’s mom and most of her family. They are just fatiguing. And two weekends in a row is too much. Suffice it to say, I was glad to get back to work this week.

23 June 2009

The In-laws

Next weekend is going to be interesting. One of T’s cousins is pregnant and a big baby shower is planned for Saturday. I hate baby showers. And bridal showers. I hate those stupid games. And I especially hate showers without booze. If I am forced to attend, there really ought to be some liquid compensation for the pain and suffering.

So, T’s mom is hosting the event. Now, I gotta say, I love her mom. She is funny! And loud. And when she gets drinking she is a hoot. The first time I met Grace was at the niece’s 13th birthday party. The kids were having snacks and drinks in the family room and the adults were in the dining room having beers. The birthday girl came in and asked if they could have more punch. T’s sister looked at her mom and said incredulously, “Are you letting them drink punch in the family room?!” Her mom said, “What do I care if they spill? Cubby shits in there!” (Cubby being the dog, thankfully.) I nearly spit out the beer I was drinking. I love that ornery woman! And, since she is hosting the event, there will be alcohol.

As the weeks have unfurled, the baby shower has turned into a family reunion. Apparently relatives are coming from all over. Even old GreatAunt Whatever is flying in from Houston, for crying out loud! T hasn’t seen her since she was a teenager and T is pushing 50. I asked if the old aunt knew T was gay… she said, “Well, she will by the end of the party.” T has a lesbian cousin who lives about 4 or 5 hours away. So far she isn’t coming but she might have her arm twisted to make an appearance. I’d actually like that. A safety in numbers kind of feeling. But, if we are the only deviants there, so be it. T’s immediate family adore her and are pretty darn fond of me so I’m not worried about that.

We have to show up early to help with some of the set up. T will probably be roped into barbequing. I volunteered to keep the coolers stocked up with beer and pop. Actually, whatever Grace wants me to do, I will do. Better to stay busy at these things than sitting around looking like you want to talk to people.

I’m not sure how long we’ll have to stay. I’m hoping we can bug out fairly early ~ the Roller Derby semifinals are Saturday night and really, I’d rather go watch that.

About sinks....

I’m taking a page from Weese’s book ~ a post about cleaning.

First, in the interest of full disclosure, I am not a neatnik. We don’t live in squalor, but we can tolerate a fairly high level of disorder and dust. That being said, there are certain things that I can’t stand to have dirty. One of them is the sink.

The sink is surely the easiest thing to clean. I can never understand how people have dirty sinks. The water comes in and goes out right there… you don’t have to carry water to it, or go get fresh rinse water, or be bothered with buckets, or anything! All it takes is a sponge, some product and a little bit of rubbing. How easy is that!?

Our dishwasher broke down a couple of weeks ago, so I have been spending more quality time at the sink. After I wash the dishes (glasses, mugs, bowls, plates, silverware, pots and pans, in that order) I always scour the sink. Always. It is so easy! Your hands are already wet, the sponge is at the ready, just reach down under the sink, grab the Ajax (or cleaner of choice) sprinkle freely and start rubbing. Then a thorough rinse and voila! Shiny, clean, sanitary sink. Don’t forget the stopper and the drain area!

I house-sat for some friends once and while their house was clean, their sink was stained and nasty. The first thing I did was scrub it out. The product they used didn’t take all the stains out so I used a little bleach. Which, by the way, is good for cleaning the sponge anyway. When they got home they exclaimed over how clean the sink was. Yes, exclaimed! Asked me how I performed this miraculous transformation. I told the truth ~ scoured it and used a little bleach.

One last thing: I switched from Comet to Ajax about 25 years ago. We moved into a little rundown house and the people who were vacating were not yet completely out. I was out of Comet and when I went to the little corner store all they had was Ajax. I cleaned the sink (one of the first things I do in a new house) and it took out all of the stains. When the gal who was moving noticed the sink she asked what I used because she had been trying to get one particular stain out for a long time and she always used Comet. There you have it. My unsolicited testimonial for Ajax.

If you find cleaning or writing about cleaning boring or odious ~ my apologies. I’ll think of something more interesting next time.

22 June 2009

Money vs House vs Happiness

The love of money may be a root of evil, but lack of money causes problems too.

T lost her construction job last summer ~ along with hundreds of thousands of other people in the building trades. She has had a couple of crappy maintenance jobs since then that pay, on average, a bit less than half of what she used to make. She has been picking up side work when she can to keep some money coming in but it isn’t steady enough to count on.

This has two primary effects and many secondary effects. First, of course, is paying the bills. I can carry all the bills for the household and make my house payment. She has rented her house but the rent is not equal to the mortgage and she needs about $500 a month to make up the difference. This means that neither of us is saving any money which, at our age, is problematical.

The second primary effect is on T’s state of mind. Not contributing to the household, not having money in her wallet, not “taking care” of me; these things weigh heavy on her. In all of her previous relationships, she was the primary earner, the one with the house, the one who paid for things, the daddy. She was also, maybe not coincidentally, always older than her partners – at least by a few years.

Now, everything is upside down. We are the same age – in fact, I am a few months older. We made roughly the same amount of money before she lost her job and split the bills equally. We used to trade off paying when we went out to eat. The first time I paid the bill she was a little shocked – she’d never been with someone who simply assumed that it was fair to share in the cost. But, that was before she was laid off. Now I pay almost all of the time. And, it kills her. I can see a little part of her self-image erode every time. I feel bad about that, but not bad enough to give up eating out occasionally.

And the household expenses – she can’t pay every other month like she used to. So, instead, she has embarked on some fabulous home repair projects. My house is old and has suffered through some decades of neglect. The house and the yard, for that matter. When she moved in the yard looked more like a jungle than a small city lot. She has completely transformed the yard and together we built a wonderful deck. She has replaced light fixtures, patched drywall, tiled a vanity, painted, powerwashed, installed a gas fireplace, replaced faucets, rehung doors, and on and on… All of which is wonderful, and believe me I am grateful, there’s just one catch. A lot of those things take money. Which puts us right back to square one.

I generally keep a household maintenance and improvement fund. I put my tax return money in there and contribute a little extra to it when I can. It had grown to a couple thousand when T moved in (since I hadn’t done anything to maintain the house). We have used it up on worthwhile projects like the deck. And all those other things. I don’t regret that one bit because the house is in better shape and we are reaping the benefit by living there. And, T feels good about contributing, which makes her a little bit happier.

The issue at hand, though, is the latest project. A sunroom. With a hot tub. Oh, yes, that will be wonderful, and we will get lots of use out of it, and it will increase the value of the house and, and, and… But, it’s not free to build a sunroom. I had some of the windows from a different project, and we bought the doors at the local low cost, recycled building materials place so we didn’t pay tons of money for them. But there is lumber, tile, electrical, roofing, plumbing, etc, to pay for and we have gone through all of the building fund. She is waiting for some money back from her federal taxes, but mine is spent. I paid for half of the hot tub out of my checking account and I am looking towards Friday anxiously.

I don’t like worrying about money. And, I don’t like my partner to feel unhappy over money. But, she is happiest when she is building or repairing something and feeling like she is contributing. I’m not sure how we’ll continue paying for everything we need to complete this project, probably end up putting some of it on credit cards. Sigh.

I know the economy will turn around one of these days. I know that T will get a good, well-paid job again. I’m holding the good thought about all of that. It’s just getting through this rough patch that is so difficult right now. Difficult and expensive. I may end up broke, but the house will be in great shape!

12 June 2009


Gay Pride is this weekend in Portland. Yay! Well, it's already begun but the big stuff is this weekend.

I was looking for various gay-themed paraphernalia at the store yesterday ~ decided that I didn't have enough rainbows in my wardrobe. My best finds were in the cheap jewelry aisle and girls accessories. Rainbows and unicorns aplenty! Of course, Tess isn't going to wear anything like that. I did find an awesome t-shirt for her in the men's clothing section. It's an Oregon State University t-shirt that loudly proclaims, "BEAVER PRIDE". That will be perfect for the Dyke March!

Happy Pride, everyone! Go get your gay on!

02 June 2009

Not this tree

Perhaps I’m overreacting, but I am incensed at my neighbors for the murder of a beautiful cottonwood tree. Incensed and devastated.

This tree provided shade to several of our yards – mine will now resemble the burning Sahara on summer afternoons – and homes to birds and squirrels. Its long, graceful limbs swayed with the breezes blowing out of the Gorge; its leaves fluttering at the slightest stir.

I’ve spent many hours watching the play of light and wind on this tree. I arranged my bedroom furniture solely to view this particular tree. I’ve written poems about and to this tree. It has given me peace of mind when I was overwhelmed by life. Sitting quietly and watching it move in the wind has been a way for me to quiet my overactive mind and regain my center.

I lost a friend yesterday.

Cottonwoods across the canyon
Beckon with graceful arms
A current of air stirs
Fluttering, their leaves twist and turn
Green and white
Green and white
Silvery and green and white
Like a reflection of a tree
Within a swift moving stream

Big sigh...


I rarely get migraines but I’ve had two in two weeks. I can’t figure out why or what’s triggering them.

DO. NOT. WANT!!!1!

29 May 2009

A week of introspection

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this week about my relationship with T. Cuz, as we all know, it takes two. I can say, “She’s this, she’s that, she’s whatever” but what am I?

Here’s how I see myself: Strong, independent, opinionated, compassionate, generous, smart, hard working, thoughtful…

I’m getting the idea that my friends aren’t seeing me the same way.

I like to think that our relationship is 50/50 in most things. In the important things, anyway. But, it’s not 50/50 if I am always letting her have her way; if I am giving in to her demands. She has a lot of insecurities. I think that I tend to overcompensate to make sure she knows that she is number one with me. But, it’s not healthy to put myself on the back burner all the time. To make sure that she gets what she needs at the expense of taking care of myself.

Oh, it’s not all one way. Don’t get that idea. I get my way plenty of times. But I definitely let her think that she is the boss.

One time, not long after we got together, she said something about being the boss and I said, “Only because I let you be the boss.” She didn’t really like that. But, that’s how the dynamic works. Only with my consent; not by right, or might, or anything else, but only because I let you.

So, here’s what I’m thinking. It’s time for me to reassert my individuality. To do the things that I like to do that have nothing to do with her. I’ve invited her numerous times to try out my martial art and she is not interested. That’s ok, I don’t need her to participate for me to continue training. But, when she complains that I don’t do things with her, it’ll just be too bad ~ cuz you could do what I’m doing but you choose not to. And, when she wants to watch some idiotic program on tv, I’ll just go upstairs and read. Cuz that’s what I like to do.

This weekend I have a bunch of stuff going on at my dojo. I’m going to be there a lot. I’ve already given her a head’s up about it. I’ll be checking for any signs of disgruntlement. I don’t really expect any because she’s got plenty to do herself this weekend. But, I think I am in the process of redefining this relationship. I’d like it work. Time will tell.

26 May 2009


Most of the time I am such a Pollyanna. I like to see the bright side of things. I prefer to be happy and think the best of people. It feels better to live that way.

Today, though, I’ve lost my rose colored glasses. Well, probably misplaced them (Pollyanna!). There is so much crap going on right now; in California, at my work, in my life.

I went to visit my two best friends for the Memorial Day weekend. We met at KA’s house in Mountain View, California. Lisa lives in Long Beach, California and I live in Portland Oregon. We have met at my house and Lisa’s more recently and it was KA’s turn. Plus, I hadn’t seen her new back patio – aka, the Lanai. She has the tiki theme going strong out there.

I got there Friday at midday. Lisa arrived in the evening. We drank champagne and toasted our long friendship. We are all turning 50 this year and have known each other since high school. That’s more years than I feel like counting. We had a great time, exchanging gifts and catching up with each other.

In the morning, my girlfriend called, hysterical. Our young cat had been hit by a car and was dead. To say she was distraught is an understatement. Now, of course I was broken up by this too. He was a wonderful kitten and would have been the best of cats had he lived. So sweet and affectionate; he liked nothing better than so sit on one of us and soak up all the loving we could give.

T has suffered the loss of a pet before, and more importantly, the loss of family members. I don’t know how she handled those occasions because we’ve only been together a little over a year and this is the first time something painful has happened. Yes, our pets are like our children, and maybe I see it differently because I also have a human child. Her grief was profound and wrenching. And loud.

T’s family rallied round. Her brother in law and nephew came over to bury the kitty. Then her mom, brother, niece and nephew came over – they had been coming anyway for a barbeque. They hung out with her for the day and her niece spent the night at the house so that she wouldn’t be alone. They are a tight knit family.

I went home early. I knew that my partner needed me. I’m not callous, or insensitive to her pain. I loved that kitten just as much as she did and keenly felt the loss. I did want to be with her to grieve his death. But what difference would it have made if I had stayed for the rest of the weekend? Would that have made me seem indifferent? I’m staying to have a good time with my friends while my partner stays home crying? Probably.

Instead, my friends are unhappy with me. A little history on that is that last summer the same friends and I and an extended group of us all met in Hawaii for one of the group’s birthday. We had a great time and yes, I went home earliest. Partly because of my gf and partly because I wanted to get home a day or two before going back to work. But, my two bff’s were unhappy and thought that I was letting myself get lost in a relationship. I didn’t think so. But, this weekend was the first time we’ve gotten together since then and to have T call and ask me to come home early confirmed their feelings.

I had a very forthright conversation with KA this morning. She doesn’t pull her punches and just said what she thought. I very much prefer that to someone pussyfooting around and not saying what they mean and quietly drawing a conclusion that may or may not be right.

So now, my two best friends think that I am in an emotionally untenable relationship. If I am completely honest with myself, I will admit that on the surface it looks that way. T doesn’t want to keep me from my family and friends, but why are things playing out that way? I have to give that some serious thought. I love her, certainly, and she loves me. But…

And, my mom was disappointed that I came home early. Hmm…

So, with all of that going on and too much to think about, when I get to work I have a request from my manager to send my updated position description to HR. That’s never a good sign. We had a round of layoffs back in January. There was talk of another round in June before the end of the fiscal year. That’s all I need right now! T was laid off from her job last summer and has been scraping by with unemployment and then a series of crappy jobs. We can’t afford for me to be laid off. I don’t really think I will be – I have a lot of seniority here. But, it doesn’t make me feel to secure.

So, I’m sitting at my desk, working on my position description and when I check my Google account, I see the headlines: California voted the wrong way. It’s incomprehensible, really. What about our fucking civil rights?!

I’m not having a good day. That’s the long and short of it. I need to spend some time thinking and prioritizing my life. I have to look within and decide if KA and Lisa are right. And then think about what I will do about it. I’ll have to leave off my rose colored glasses when I take that internal look.


07 May 2009

What a week!

My big-ass birthday party was great fun. Had just over 50 friends there. I would have enjoyed twice that many but it was sufficient. I got to chat with most and (I think) greeted everyone. T survived. She doesn’t like big parties but she rose to the occasion. Several of her friends came, which was nice. A friend of mine from New Mexico came up on the Friday and went home on the Monday ~ honestly, house guests are harder on my girlfriend than big parties. She has to do a lot of accommodating to be with me.

I had arranged ahead of time to take the following week off work. I have a big project to take care of and this was my chance to get a solid chunk of it done. It’s an odious task, really. I’ve been putting it off because I felt overwhelmed by it. Cleaning The Basement.

I bought the house in 1994. My daughter and I have a moderate pack rat tendency ~ we are not hoarders, and are in fact capable of throwing out old and broken stuff. Our problem is that we are very sentimental. I probably had every piece of art she ever created. And all of the cutest kid clothes that she wore. She wanted to keep every stuffed animal she ever received. And the toys and games, and, and, and…

Add to this the coincidence that when we moved into our house, my parents were moving out of theirs and one of my brothers had been storing stuff at their house. So, we had boxes of stuff from the parents, the brother, AND the roommate who was moving in with us. Some of the stuff from my parents house had actually belonged to my paternal grandmother and had been schlepped around for a decade or so. What a mess!

The biggest obstacle for me was an old couch that the roommate had left behind. When she moved in it went directly to the basement and there it stayed. It is incredibly heavy! And ugly! And long, and curved, and just plain difficult. Besides the couch, there were two large area rugs and their pads that didn’t survive house training the dog. Yes, they had been sitting down there for years! It’s shameful and embarrassing but what can I say? I’ve been busy! So, getting the couch, the rugs and pads, an old foam camping mattress, the world’s largest stuffed dinosaur (I kid you not, this thing was about 8 ft long), and various odds and ends out of the basement, into the truck, and off to the dump was my goal for Monday. I had two people to help and it nearly wasn’t enough muscle power to get it done. But, we did. I felt so relieved ~ that couch had been a plug and once it was pulled, things started flowing.

Now, when I say ‘flowing’, I mean it literally. On Tuesday, day 2 of Operation Purge, I discovered that we had a little water problem. For an old house, the basement has been remarkably dry in this wet climate. I’ve only had a leak one time (in a different part of the basement) and that was because my neighbor’s downspout was pouring into my side yard. Once he fixed it, we dried out and it’s been dry since. This time however, it was entirely different and so much worse.

We had used one half of the basement for a tv area years ago. TV and storage, of course, for all that crap we couldn’t part with. So, that part of the basement had carpet on the concrete floor. Wow! Carpet holds a lot of water! And supports the growth of fungi! The things one learns in the basement… Everything sitting on the carpet was wet. Boxes of toys, baby clothes, out of date encyclopedias, childhood art projects, stuffed animals, assorted crap, you name it ~ all wet. All going in the truck and to the dump.

Over the course of the week, I took two loads of junk and one load of recycling (free!) to the dump. I have one more load ready to go and still lots of stuff to sort through. It made me a little sad and a lot nostalgic to see all the phases of my daughter’s life in those boxes. I was really fine with throwing out stuff that should have been chucked out years ago, but some of it caught at my heartstrings. I saved photos even if they were wet, and some of her art. Plenty of stuff was not salvageable, though. I tried to be strong and very firm with myself. I had asked Zoe for a list of things she really couldn’t part with and amazingly, about 80% of what she wanted to save was in a box together and dry. That made me happy.

So, I got rid of a bunch and sorted a bunch and still have lots of work to do, but it is a much more manageable task now. The real drag of the whole project was that two days after I got the wet carpeting out and everything spread out to dry, we had some torrential rain and sure enough, the basement still leaks. But now, I didn’t have the carpet to hold the water in place so it spread out further than it ever had! Criminetly! Stuff that I had saved was now wetter than ever! Argh! I made a dam out of an old blanket which had not yet made it to the dump, and held back most of the water. Of course, we are having the wettest spring on record and I’m going down to the basement after work every night and soaking up stinky water with old towels and wringing it into a bucket.

I told a coworker about my leaking basement and he said, “Oh yeah, we call it the indoor pool!” I guess it’s a Pacific Northwest thing… ya gotta laugh ~ there’s already too much water to cry.

20 April 2009

My Heart’s Desire

As I have mentioned a few times (or so), my birthday is coming up. I’m planning a big party and looking forward to it. T was a little taken aback by the number of invitations I sent out:

T: How many people did you invite?

E: Oh, quite a few.

T: Give me a number.

E: 120

T: What ?!? I was thinking about 12 or 15 would be enough.

E: Well, I have a lot of friends and I didn’t even invite everyone. Plus, usually only half the number you invite actually come to the party, so maybe we’ll have 60. That’s not so bad.

But, I would trade every invitation for just one visit from my daughter.

I have been cherishing a secret hope, and no doubt in vain, that she will magically turn up at the party and spend the weekend with us. I keep thinking that it will play out like a sit-com surprise party: The party will be humming along and then all of a sudden there is a hush and someone yells, “Hey, Zoe’s here!” Everyone cheers! The mom cries tears of joy! I would be just about the happiest I could be if that actually happened.

A few weeks ago T asked me what I wanted for my birthday. She said, “I can’t afford to fly Zoe out for your birthday, and I know that’s what you really want, but is there something else?” There isn’t really. All I could come up with was a new bath pillow.

I have asked Zoe several times if she could come out for the party. Even just for the weekend – leave Friday and return Sunday. She says no. She has consistently said no.

So, in the face of all this rational behavior and consistently negative answers to the question, why do I persist in this futile hope that the daughter will be coming this weekend? The common sense part of my brain accepts the fact that she won’t be there. And, when friends ask if she’ll be there I give them a regretful no. I know that she won’t be there. I really do know that. But….

Deep in my heart there is that ridiculous hope. The hope that T and Zoe have planned it all out and that it is going to be the biggest and best surprise in the world. T will say something like, “I have to run some errands, I’ll be back in an hour.” I’ll be doing an ordinary party prep kind of thing like preparing hors d’oeuvres. I’ll hear the car pull into the driveway and then two car doors slam instead of one. Hmm. That’s funny. Then as I hear footsteps on the front porch there is the sound of voices, two voices. Who is T talking with? Then the key in the lock and then her voice, “Hi Mama! Surprise! Happy Birthday!” We’ll all be grinning like fools, I’ll be dancing around and jumping up and down crying out, “Yay, Yay, Yay! Zoe’s here!” and hugging her like mad.

Or maybe it plays out like this: T has been getting some mysterious phone calls and text messages. She doesn’t tell me who it is. Or maybe she tells me it’s her coworker, Michelle. Then, after one particular message, she jumps up and says, “Get your shoes on, we’ve got to run to the store.” I will say, “Oh, you go ahead. I’ve got stuff to do here.” “No, you have to come. I need your input on something.” So, I’ll go with her and then we’ll pass the store and I’ll say, “Hey, where are you going?” “We have one other stop to make.” “Where?” “You’ll see” Then, we take the road to the airport. Zoe will be waiting at the curb. Tears will well up in my eyes and I’ll say “What the…? Is that Zoe? When did you two plan this out? Thank you, thank you, thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou….”

I could spin any number of possible scenarios involving the Kid coming for a visit. I have done so.

It’s pathetic. I know that. That’s why I haven’t told anyone that I am cherishing this secret hope in the deep, labyrinthine part of my heart. It’s juvenile. It’s embarrassingly needy. It’s downright contrary to keep hoping for something that you know good and goddamn well isn’t going to happen.

But, come on, you can’t blame me for hoping...

16 April 2009

20 Question meme

GrumpyGranny http://grumpygranny.wordpress.com/ posted this meme and yeah, I'll play along!

1. My ex… is long gone.

2. Maybe I should… quit my job and do what I really want.

3. I love… the people in my life (the important ones!)

4. People would say that I’m… calm.

5. I don’t understand why… we can’t all have equal civil rights.

6. When I wake up in the morning… I make the coffee.

7. I lost my… way for awhile, but I found it again.

8. Life is full of… wonder, delight, gratitude.

9. My past… was worth it.

10. I get annoyed by… people who take up more than one seat on the bus.

11. Parties are… fun, depending on who attends.

12. I wish life was not… so short.

13. Dogs are… poop machines.

14. Cats are… shedding.

15. Tomorrow is… on its way.

16. I have a low tolerance for… arrogance.

17. If I had a million dollars… I’d get it all sorted out.

18. I’m totally terrified… when my parents go on long car trips.

19. My partner… loves me.

20. My life is… grand!

08 April 2009


I had a dream last night, or rather very early this morning. It was quite vivid, cinematic. It began suddenly, as if I dropped into a dream that was already happening, or into someone else’s dream.

In the dream, Zoe and I were driving. Well, Zoe was driving and I dropped into the passenger seat. It was dusk, and night was quickly darkening the sky. We were in the wide open west, traveling across a vast valley with dark mountains towering in the distance.

As we drove, lights came on in clusters far away from the highway. We were headed to a mountain pass through which we could just see the fading light of sunset. There was a sense of urgency in our journey, but where we were going I can’t say.

We approached the pass. Lights from houses were visible but did not illuminate their surroundings. They served as decorations to the highway, sparkling signposts with no direction. We began the climb to the summit. I could hear the engine and feel the vibration shift in the car. We wound back and forth across the face of the slope, nearer and nearer to the top.

I don’t know what was beyond the pass because, as it often happens in dreams, I awoke before reaching either the top or a conclusion. While it’s frustrating not to see the end of a story, I felt good about the dream. I felt as if I had spent time with Zoe. Her presence is so familiar, her energy so constant and reliable.

Zoe has a remarkable ability to direct her dreams. I am going to try to do so tonight, so that I can see where we are headed. I mean that literally and metaphorically. I want so much for my daughter; sometimes it seems that I want more for her than she does.

Her happiness is important to me. I realize that at age 25 her life is hers to manage. Oh! If only I had a magic wand and the perfect spells to cast! The things I would change! Voila, no more bad boyfriend! Poof, back in the Pacific Northwest! Zap, back in college!

One of the hardest things about being a parent is letting go. I've had to do so and there have been agonizing times to live through. My life is no success story which gives me the experience to say, "You don't need to go through this." But, apparently, there are lessons that must be learned first hand and slowly (painfully so from my perspective).

I miss my daughter every single day.