27 December 2010

Holiday giving

We survived the holiday.  It was touch and go a few times, but we made it.  The very best part?  Walking dogs at the animal shelter at 6am on Christmas morning.

My girlfriend volunteers at the county animal shelter, walking and bathing dogs, and occasionally driving them to a new shelter or rescue outfit.  Her regular walk day is Saturday, at 6am.  It's the shift called potty walk for very good reason.  So, with the holiday falling on a Saturday, we weren't sure how many people would show up.  I offered to go with her and help out.  It's overwhelming but the dogs are so damned grateful to get out of the kennel for a few minutes.

We took them little chunks of cheese and various dog treats.  They were wonderful, adorable and heartbreaking.  T knows that she can't bring anymore home, but she would love to.  It's hard not to!

It was definitely the best part of the day.

21 December 2010

Holiday Greeting Cards

Does anyone send holiday greeting cards anymore?  Also known as Christmas cards?  Do you?

I remember when my bff, Lisa, lived with us and between her set of friends and acquaintances and mine we had dozens and dozens of cards.  Not a day would go by in December without a card or several in the mailbox.  I have a box of small, gold colored paper clips that I used to string together and pin up along the wainscoting.  We would hang the cards along this shiny garland.  In the heyday of cards we would have the whole living room swagged with holiday greetings.

This year, I have received five so far.  Five.  Sadly, one of them is from the store where I bought my bike!  It's pretty, though, so I'm keeping it up.  There are too few to string up the paperclip chains so they are sharing the mantel with some other decorations.  There's plenty of room for the five of them!  In the old days, only the photo cards were on the mantel.

In case you were going to ask, yes, I did send out cards.  Not as early as Miss Georgiana, whose card arrived the day after Thanksgiving, but early-ish in the month.  

Is this just a thing of the past?  Are the days of sending cards made of paper through the postal service over?  If so, that's kinda sad.  It's a holdover from the time before email.  It's hard to display an e-card on the mantel.  

14 December 2010


Partly, I think, it was the way I was raised.  My parents didn’t fight much and never in front of us kids.  They may have been tense around us occasionally, but there was never shouting, or even bickering for that matter. 

And, then I was married to a crazy man for several years and learned more than I ever should have about fighting.  And running.

So, to me, when there is shouting and slamming of doors and attitude and petulance and throwing things and bad behavior; to me, it signals the end.  It means that we are on that one way path to goodbye.

Mind you, this was between T and the teenager.  I can’t blame it all on the teenager, either.  But, it’s her family and she is surely used to the way they are by now.  I’m the innocent bystander in this latest round of family drama. 

I’m tired of it.  I’m tired of their family histrionics.  I’m tired of it affecting my life.

I’m being supportive of my partner, and attempting to help her get this kid through her freshman year of high school.  And, when the kid misbehaves and drama ensues, I am being supportive of my partner by explaining things like consequences.  Behavior X results in Consequence X.  A parent must be consistent and reasonable in addressing behavior.  Tell her what the consequence of her behavior is and then stick to it.  Once the kid has chosen to behave badly there is no room for negotiation. 

T is just at the beginning of this rough voyage through parental waters.  I hope her ship doesn’t capsize.  I hope I don’t throw them both overboard.  I have been tempted.

10 December 2010

A Holiday of Sorts

My daughter came for a visit last weekend.  Being the lowest on the seniority list, she couldn’t get either of the official holidays off, so we celebrated last weekend instead.  It was fantastic to see her.  It definitely wasn’t enough time, since she was only here Friday through Monday, but I’ll take what I can get.

She and I spent most of Friday running around shopping and getting stuff together for our little family holiday.  I don’t know what to call it ~ it wasn’t Thanksgiving, and it wasn’t Christmas or Hanukah (or Kwanzaa, for that matter).  It was too early for the Solstice.  I’ll have to settle on Zoe-mas. 

On Saturday we had dinner at my parent’s house.  My mentally ill brother was there, which is very rare.  He came over because, like the rest of us, he loves and misses the Kid.  She is such a ray of sunshine that even the depressed feel cheery.  We opened up gifts and had pie and it felt very festive. 

Sunday we did a few things that she wanted to do in Portland, like a visit to Powell’s (surely one of the best bookstores of all time).  We walked the dogs, and petted the cats, we played a few games with the teenager, and basically just enjoyed each other’s company.  Went back over to the grandparent’s house to hang out with them again. 

Then on Monday, she was gone. 

Not surprisingly, I’ve been depressed all week.  T thinks that if she can be relentlessly cheerful around me I’ll ‘snap out of it.’  She doesn’t understand but I know that she is motivated by compassion.  I told her (fairly gently) that it would be better to just leave me alone to wallow in it for a couple of days and I’ll recover.  She likes to solve things though, so that’s hard for her. 

We’ve got a busy weekend coming up.  On Saturday I’m subbing for a friend who is out of town, then another friend is having her 40th birthday party.  We’re getting our tree on Sunday.  I guess we are still getting ready for Christmas, although the part that matters to me is over.  Oh, I’ll suck it up and act appropriately, but I confess to feeling indifferent to the rest of the holiday season.

It doesn’t help my mood that it has been dark and rainy since the Kid left.  We had some lovely crisp, sunny days while she was here, but it’s been raining hard ever since.  Just the weather for a bout of depression.

Sorry to be so gloomy, but my usual Pollyanna nature is hiding under the covers and refuses to come out.

01 December 2010

More Adventures in Lesboland

If you are a lesbian who has lived in Portland during the last 15 years, chances are good that you have checked out a bar called The Egyptian Room, commonly known as the E Room. 

It’s a dark labyrinth of a bar, with a room for karaoke, a room for dancing, a room for video poker and pool, a room for special events and a full service bar in every room.  There are big bull dyke bouncers at the door and snarky, aloof bartenders serving drinks.  Attitude runs rampant at the E Room.

Well, I should say that attitude ran rampant at the E Room.  It closed a month or two ago, leaving the Portland lesbo crowd with one less watering hole.  It has been transformed into something called “Weird Bar.”  Apparently the owners decided that the lesbian crowd could not sustain them any longer and wanted to open it up to all ‘weird’ walks of life.  I won’t bore you with the details of the fallout that caused.  Suffice it to say that many lesbians are looking for a new place to drink.

I was never a fan of the E Room and only went there on rare occasions.  Too much of the aforementioned attitude.  Too many youngsters and their dramas.  Too dark and stinky and… sticky. 

Last weekend T and I took a chance on a gay bar that is right around the corner from the house.  It is decidedly male.  I’ve been in there a couple of time over the years, but the service and attitude were very hostile to women and who needs that?  But, it was Saturday night and we wanted to go somewhere quiet and have a drink and hold hands.  We had walked to a local restaurant and wanted to continue our evening on foot and not have to drive or take the bus downtown.

We went in to Joq’s and the first thing I noticed was that it was a lot cleaner and had undergone a makeover.  We were greeted warmly by the bartender and even though we were the only women in there we didn’t feel awkward at all.  The guys weren’t unfriendly but left us alone.  Well, all except the one straight guy in the place.  He said hello, which I responded to, but then he wanted to challenge us to a game of pool, which we were not interested in playing.  After I turned my back towards him he shut up.  For a while.  A bit later a couple of younger guys came in and were sitting near us.  Mr Irritating Straight Man said hello to them and then asked them if they wanted to play pool.  They declined.  Then he said, “You’re weenies.  You’re just a couple of weenies.  Weenie, weenie, weenie.”  The bartender was in the back and didn’t hear any of that, but we heard it and my brave and beautiful girlfriend called him on it.  She looked over at him and said, “That’s not a nice thing to say.  You need to stop.”  When he started to argue with her, she said, “Just leave them alone.  They don’t want to play pool with you.  And don’t call anyone names, it’s not nice.”  What a champion!  She made a couple of friends that night.

16 November 2010


I rode the bus in to work late this morning.  I will spare you the scenes of domestic drama that necessitated the lateness; suffice it to say: the teenager.  At any rate, it meant that I was riding with a completely different set of passengers.

A pair of young lesbians got on and quickly surveyed the seating choices.  There were no spots with two seats together.   As they came to the back of the bus, one sat down in an aisle-side seat and, rather than sit across the aisle from her girlfriend, the other one stood right next to the first.  It looked very chivalrous, as if she were protecting her gf from a potential random encounter.  It might have been just that she liked leaning in and getting a little extra closeness before they had to start their day.  At any rate, it was pretty sweet and it made me smile.

11 November 2010

Of no importance whatsoever

I don't care which way the toilet paper goes on the holder: over or under, doesn't matter to me.  What bugs me is when the last square or two of tp doesn't come off the cardboard tube neatly.  Now, that is irritating.

05 November 2010

0prah and Gay1e

Ok, I’ll admit it, sometimes I like to watch 0prah when I get home from work.  Not all the time, but she often has interesting guests and she’s just so… out there.  I’d watch Ellen if I could (gotta support the team), but she is on too early. 

This week, 0prah devoted a couple of shows to the camping trip that she and Gay1e took to Yosemite.  As they were heading into the pop-up trailer at bed time, Gay1e said something like: this will add to those lesbian rumors! We got a chuckle out of that.

I’m of two minds on the whole 0prah and Gay1e thing.  Here’s what I think:

1) They are gay and 0prah is building up to the big reveal at the end of this, her final season.  She has been having a lot of openly gay people on the show talking about coming out.  She could be preparing, laying the ground work, getting her audience ready.  But she could also be building compassion for others, participating in her own way in the ‘It Gets Better’ movement.  I mean, 0prah has been an advocate for the gays for a long time.  But, why?  Because she is a good and accepting person or because she is gay but can’t risk her reputation?  Could go either way, right?

2) They are not gay.  They are best friends who have lived together, traveled together, had all kinds of adventures together but, because they are single, middle-aged women, well, they must be gay.  This attitude is prevalent and it makes me mad.  Why can’t two women just be friends?  Why can’t two middle-aged, single, lifelong pals be just that… friends through thick and thin, but not lovers.  My best friend of over 35 years is straight.  We have lived together, traveled together, had all kinds of adventures together but never been lovers.  How can this be?

I used to try to explain to people, when they assumed that Lisa and I were girlfriends, that no, we were just friends.  They would say, “Oh no, I didn’t think that!” while their faces said, ‘why is she hiding it?  It’s obvious that she’s gay’.  Well, yes, I am gay, but my best friend is not.  Too bad for her, but that’s how it goes.  Even my own grandmother assumed that Lisa was my girlfriend, which was sweet in an accepting kind of way, but incorrect. 

So, two women who choose each other’s company over that of a man’s are suspect.  How dare we not need them!  The patriarchy is threatened by all of this woman power stuff.  How tedious, how tired, how last century is all that?  Didn’t we already fight that battle?  Yes, we did, and we still are fighting it, and we have never won and it’s not over. 

What am I trying to say here?  Well, first of all, I’m saying that I don’t care if 0prah and Gay1e are gay.  I hope for their sakes that they are and that they can come out but that’s just my pro-gay bias.  Mostly, I am trying to say that old patterns of thought need to change and people need to quit judging by whatever archaic standards they were taught in the previous millennium.  It’s time to stop with the attitude folks!  I’m not going to go into my feminist diatribe ~ but believe me, I could!  I am just fed up with this old, useless crap.  Women can be friends with each other and it has absolutely nothing to do with men.  Don’t get your feelings hurt fellows, it’s just not about you all the time.

04 November 2010

Blog Blast for Peace

Dona Nobis Pacem

From my family to yours...

02 November 2010

Helen meets Mr Darcy

Our friend Chris rode her new bike over last weekend to watch a football game with us.  Look how pretty Mr Darcy is!  He and Helen look very well together!  That's Helen on the right, with the basket.

They both have the green/brown color scheme, and they are almost exactly the same color!

We like our bikes!

29 October 2010

Equal time

Lately I have been complaining about my girlfriend and her issues around jealousy. In the interest of fairness I have to say that I have my own issues that drive her crazy.

I’m really struggling.

The big one for me is communication. Specifically, I don’t call and let her know where I am and when I am coming home. I have been working on this one and doing better ~ until last night.

I taught my usual two classes and afterwards went to our other school to watch and participate in a test. A couple of my favorite teammates were testing for their next rank and I wanted to be there. I had told T that I would be doing this. Apparently, I also told her that I would call her on my way to the other school. I don’t remember saying that, but I could have. I also told her, and I do remember this, that I would stay for about an hour at the test.

Well, it didn’t work out that way. I stayed much longer. And, the bad thing is, I never called. I didn’t call on the way there; I didn’t call when I got there; I didn’t call to say I would be staying later.

It’s very inconsiderate behavior. I know that. It’s not intentional on my part. I just didn’t think about it. There are no clocks in the training hall during a test, so I didn’t have that visual reminder of time slipping away, but I should have realized how much later it was getting.

I’m not sure why this is such a struggle for me. I like think it’s a couple of things. One, I was not in a committed relationship for many years and I haven’t had to check in with anyone. And, two, I hate the feeling of being on a leash.

These explanations don’t really work all that well, though. For one thing, T and I have been together for nearly three years and you’d think I’d be somewhat used to it by now. And the leash thing? Yeah, she’s not saying don’t go, she’s just saying let me know. That’s not unreasonable.

So, I don’t know why this is such a huge stumbling block for me. It’s come up in our counseling sessions before and trust me, it will again… we have an appointment tonight so I’ll have to go over it all in detail. Now, there’s something to look forward to. I hope that we can talk about it and get it over with and get on with the rest of the weekend. One good thing about T is that she doesn’t hold onto that kind of negative feeling very long. Here’s hoping!

18 October 2010

What a weekend

Some weekends make one glad to go back to work. This past weekend was one of those.

The worst part:
On Monday, T's youngest niece died. No, not the one that lives with us. This little girl was only 7 years old and her entire life was a tragedy. She was profoundly autistic, and had both a seizure disorder and a bleeding disorder among her various medical issues. She has been wearing a helmet for the past year or so to protect her head during the seizures. Horrible story short: subdural hematoma that couldn't be fixed. Poor, poor little thing. The funeral was Saturday.

The rest of it:
The niece that lives with us was away for the weekend ~ a volleyball tournament that her cousin was competing in on the other side of the state. So, we decide that Friday would be date night. Got some takeout, rented some lesbo flicks and went home to canoodle. T decided to watch a tv program that she likes first and I said, sure, I'll check my email while you are doing that. She is reading over my shoulder and demands to know what one particular friend of mine was emailing me about. I reminded her that we had invited this couple over for dinner and we are trying to pick a date. She became irrationally jealous and demanded to see the email. I refused. I've been hooked up with crazy before and nobody runs my life but me. No, you may not read my email. Either you love me, trust me and want to be with me or you don't. It's actually pretty simple.

Eventually the shouting died down. The evening was ruined.

T's best friend came over to watch football with us on Sunday morning. That was pleasant. The Seahawks scraped a win over Chicago, the Saints won but we didn't get to see that game.

Happy to have a job that pays the bills, and somewhere to go 5 days a week.

I need to get my life back.

13 October 2010

I don't get it

I just don't understand why the gender of the person I sleep with is of any interest to anyone. Why does it matter? Seriously, who the hell cares? We are good people, charitable and kind, pay our taxes, don't cause trouble, pick up after our dogs, contribute to our communities... what difference can it possibly make to anyone if we are both women?

08 October 2010

Where is eb?

eb? are you still around? how come your blog won't render in any of my browsers???

hope everything is ok...

07 October 2010

Google Ads

Why does Google ads keep asking me if I am "Still a Girl Hunter"? Damn it, I'm in a committed relationship!

29 September 2010

I swear I thought I saw...

a squirrel riding a raft down the Willamette River yesterday. A little raft, just a squirrel sized raft. No paddle, no sail, just a couple of pieces of wood lashed together.

I wonder; where was he going?

Teenagers. Go figure.

Come Monday it all turned around. I don’t know if she still wants to move back to Gramma’s house, but her sullen attitude has disappeared and she is back to her good natured self. That’s a relief. I wasn’t looking forward to kicking her and T out of the house. Much.

27 September 2010


Well, after busting our butts to make everything work out for the niece, she wants to move back to Gramma’s house. Sheesh.

She spent the weekend with her grandmother, T’s mom. On Friday afternoon she didn’t want to go at all. But, her granny misses her and we were going out on Saturday night, and it just seemed like a good time to have her spend the weekend over there. So, even though she was dragging her feet, she was hauled over the river for the weekend.

When we picked her up yesterday afternoon, wow, did we ever get the attitude! We walked in the door, she glared at us and said, “I’m not ready.” Ok. Fine. Finish what you are doing and we’ll go when you are ready.

Gramma had treated her like visiting royalty, apparently. Bought her new outfits, took her for a haircut, let her skip church, basically let her do whatever she wanted. I know that since she has grown up there, Gramma’s house is her comfort zone. But, Gramma was on her best behavior and not treating her like she ordinarily does. Ordinary is bossing her around but never letting her make a decision; lots of yelling but very little communication; never going anywhere but Walmart (unless it’s Costco). Gramma also sent her home with bags of junk food ~ a giant box of pop tarts, a giant bag of candy corn, bags of chips. We are not starving the girl by any stretch, but we don’t keep candy or pop tarts in the house and chips are a treat, not a staple.

She is also extremely good at manipulating Gramma and her dad and brother. She is smarter than her dad and brother and knows it and runs them pretty mercilessly. And, since Grandma is nearly deaf, A sasses her all the time and Gramma can’t hear it.

She has also decided that the mainstream classes she fought to get into are too hard and she doesn’t want to go anymore.

So, we head back to the house and she is silent the whole way. Comes in the house, picks up the laptop and marches straight up to her room. Won’t exchange a word with us. T goes up to her room to talk to her and it’s the typical pulling of teeth to get anything from her. Then, the usual method of handling any conflict in their family begins. T calls her sister, and then calls her mom. Mom says, don’t get your sister involved. T calls her sister back and says let’s leave it alone for right now. T goes upstairs to talk to A. Calls back her sister. Her sister then calls the teenager. Round and round and round.

And me? I’m watching football. I don’t care about the Jets or the Dolphins but I’ll find anything engrossing enough to stay out of that mess.

I leave for work before A gets up, so I don’t know how the morning went. I’m sure I’ll get an earful this afternoon, though.

Remind me; why are we doing this?

24 September 2010

Because it’s not always about us… thankfully!

T stuck her nose in someone else’s business last weekend. Not usually a good idea and she almost got it bitten off this time.

T has had a couple of relationships end because of cheating. The most painful was with a woman she really thought she would spend the rest of her life with. And the worst thing? Yep, her girlfriend left her for a man. Ugh. She’s pretty sensitive about the whole issue.

So, last weekend we were supposed to go to a party at an old friend’s house. T has known this woman for decades but had fallen out of touch over the last 5 or 6 years. They reconnected early this year and have been hanging out a little and just having a good time reminiscing about days gone by.

This old gal, Buck and her girlfriend, Tiffany, have been together for about a dozen years. They are an odd pair, but pretty well suited. They like some pretty kinky stuff and it can’t be that easy to find a partner who goes in for that kind of … pleasure.

T called Tiffany on Friday to ask what we should bring to the party and got an earful! It seems that Buck had taken off for the beach with another mutual friend. Not only that, but left with her strap and toys packed to go. She even had the nerve to tell Tiffany to go out and buy a new strap for when she got home! [Insert stunned expression here.]

T immediately called Buck’s cell phone and left a message. Then she left a text for Pam, the mutual “friend.” Both had posted something on their FB walls and T commented on both of them. Ok, here’s my confession: when T read to me what Pam had written, I offered a comment. But, really it was because I thought it sounded more poetic.
Pam said, “What a great day!”
T’s comment, “A beautiful day for betrayal.” That was mine. T was going to say something like: you are a nasty, trashy ho and I hope you drown in the ocean.

Then T called Tiffany back and they talked for quite some time about how horrible it all was. There was some more back and forthing with the cheaters (I’ll just add that Pam is both married to a man and has a steady girlfriend) and with Tiff and eventually Tiffany told T to butt out and let her fight her own battles. Buck and Pam both defriended T on FB.

Now, all of that is just ugly and sordid bad behavior. And who cares, right? T is worried now, though, because tomorrow night we are going to the once-a-month Old Gals dance downtown and she is pretty sure that Buck and Pam will be there. She is such a weenie, she is afraid that they will be mean to her. I find that hilarious. First of all, I’m a black belt and tough little scrapper and not afraid to fight. I know they won’t try anything physical, but if they did I would actually enjoy that. We so rarely get to use our skills! Second of all, what are they going to do? Glare at us? Call us names? I’m sorry but that just doesn’t scare me. And it won’t hurt my feelings, either.

What a bunch of stupid dyke drama. And at our age, for crying out loud! They all need to just grow the hell up. Acting like a bunch of teenagers is not attractive.

23 September 2010

September is Bike Commute Challenge!

I participated last year, but this year I am committed to riding 100% of the month. I rode about half of July and all but one day in August, and so far I have ridden every work day in September. I was wavering one morning last week when the rain was pouring down but one of my coworkers texted me and asked if she could ride with me. What could I say? “Meet me at Multnomah and 16th.” And off we went into the watery world of the Pacific Northwest.

Here are just a few observations from my ride.

I don’t wear makeup and it’s a good thing. The morning of the downpour I reached up to wipe the streaming rain off my chin and could feel the moisturizer running down my neck.

It’s good to wear contacts in the rain. Without windshield wipers for your glasses, it’s a pretty blurry ride.

Men don’t have enough opportunities to wear skin-tight clothing. The fully outfitted, spandex-clad gear heads make up a large part of the biking public around here. I have noticed that men particularly like to wear those full-on bike outfits; you know the ones, with the sport logo jerseys and the skin-tight pants. When they are walking their bikes through a pedestrian area, they can often be seen stroking their legs and prancing just a little. I believe that they like the feel of their legs encased in smooth, clingy fabric. If men were ‘allowed’ to wear clingy fabrics in their every day lives, they would be more likely to bike in ordinary clothes.

I love my bike. Love, love, love my bike. LOVE. MY. BIKE!

My bike is the most elegant thing I own. I don’t wear elegant clothes; I don’t drive an elegant car… when you look at me you are more likely to think ‘practical’ rather than elegant. But my bike, ahh, she is lovely. I’ve named her Helen M*rren because she is elegant, beautiful and tough (and sessy!). She is a Trek Allant, the green women’s version. She has two full fenders, which are essential in this climate. She came with a frame for a front basket and I have found one that suits her just right. My mom is going to give me her collapsible rear baskets but I am hesitating to put them on because I don’t want to mar her beauty. I will put them on eventually though. It’s that practical side of me coming out.

I feel strong when I stand up and pedal. I feel strong and young(ish) and urban. I thought it would be terrifying to ride in downtown traffic but it is not. I feel quite capable and savvy wheeling through the city streets.

I love going fast and taking a corner leaning into the angle. Well, as long as there is not too much gravel on the street.

I wear my helmet all the time, even though I would really rather not.

I don’t think I have lost any weight, dang it, but my thighs are definitely thinner. Those little pouchy saddlebags on the sides are dwindling.

I am kind of a slow rider; I rarely pass anyone. But that’s ok with me. I’m not training for the Tour d’France.

15 September 2010

Weekend round up

A little late, but a weekend round up.

Friday afternoon we went to a high school football game. The niece is attending the same high school that my daughter went to and it continues to be a funny kind of redux to go through all of this again. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that we won the game. :-)

Friday night I went to my book group. I have been in this group for 18 years. Wow. Time just slips by. Not all of the members have kids, but about half of us have daughters the same age who all went to school together. We get the monthly update of what everyone’s kids are doing and although we don’t see them often it’s great to stay connected. We are a very lax and accepting book group and usually only half of us have read the book. Someone once suggested that we call ourselves the Book Admirers. We like the name!

Saturday morning taught a couple of little kids martial art classes, then went back to the school in the afternoon to teach a women and teen girls self defense class. There were several teenagers who were getting ready to go off to college and their moms had insisted that they take the class before they go. Thank god for moms. The teenagers never want to be there, but almost always end up enjoying it and feeling empowered. I had my usual struggle with overwhelming emotion but was able to keep moving through it. Some day the past will lose its hold over me but in the meantime I will just have to keep working at it.

On Saturday night we went to the neighborhood party that occurs at the end of summer. We live in a small neighborhood and instead of individual block parties we have one big one. We definitely wanted to go and introduce the niece to various people. She absolutely amazed me on Saturday! She is ordinarily a shy person, but at the party she really stepped out of her comfort zone. A woman I know came over to say hi and I introduced her to T and the niece. I asked her if she knew any kids who were freshmen at the same high school. She said that her twin boys were freshmen but going to different schools. She then said that there were three girls over at the house and two of them went to A’s school and would she like to come over and meet them. Amazingly, A said yes, looked at us for confirmation, and off she went. (I will add that the house was across the street from where we were sitting and the kids in full view in the living room.) I was very surprised and very proud of her for going.

Sunday we stayed home and did chores. While it’s nice to have an extra hand at the clean up, there’s more need for that extra hand in the amount of clutter, laundry, dishes, etc. But, we have divided up the chores into a rotating duty roster and everyone will get a turn to do something they don’t like. :-)

All in all it was a pretty good weekend. Not enough down time for me and I am still feeling a little beset by their family. I really must work on finding ways to create some solitude for myself. Just haven’t figured that out yet.

09 September 2010

The First Week

Here’s where I confess that I am not perfect.*

T and the niece are driving me crazy! It’s not anything specific that either of them are doing, it’s just that they are so very… there. T has a big personality and I’ve pretty much adjusted to her. But, she is unsure of herself in this new role as parent, and that is making her question me constantly about whether or not she should do this, that, or the other. Just because I have raised one kid doesn’t make me an expert! Sure, she turned out pretty well, but I made plenty of mistakes.

And the niece. She has this habit of standing right behind us. I’ve actually turned around in the kitchen and bumped into her, she was so close. I understand that she is in a new environment, that she doesn’t know me all that well, that everything in her life has changed, but please child, give me some room! She is following me around like a puppy.

And then there’s the rest of the family! T’s sister is on the phone every day and has been over to the house several times. T’s mom and brother and nephew have been over. Of course they miss the girl and want to see her room and all of that stuff, and it’s all good in general, but there is just no break from them. I feel like it’s ten thousand of them versus one of me. I’m outnumbered!

The topper? T offered to dog-sit for an ex of hers this week. We have an elderly miniature dachshund underfoot as well. ARGH! One that is pampered and treated like a baby and expects to sleep IN the BED with me and T. Under the covers! And came to our house stinky and with FLEAS! It’s too much.

One week down, three years and fifty one weeks to go…

*Just for the record, I do not think that I am perfect. I am a flawed individual who is showing signs of strain.

26 August 2010

What's new?

What’s new with me, you ask? Well, pull up a chair!

My mom is having a skin cancer removed today. I’m waiting anxiously to hear how it goes. Of course, the lab work won’t be done for several days and as we all know, the waiting is the hardest part. I’m actually nervous as hell, because she survived breast cancer a dozen years ago but still smokes. Stubborn old thing. I’m holding the good thought.

Last weekend I completed my apprenticeship as a self defense instructor. Yay! Whew! I am so glad that is done! It’s been a long two years, but I finished. So, what happens now? I continue teaching self defense, but now I get paid for it. There isn’t enough work for me to quit my day job, but my long term plan is to reduce my job to part time and teach self defense on the other days. We’ll see how that will play out.

My partner’s niece is moving in with us next week. I am deeply ambivalent about this, but on balance I know it’s the right thing to do. Still, what middle aged, retired-from-parenting, hard working, busy, menopausal woman would be jumping for joy over this? The girl has been living with her grandmother (T’s mom) for over ten years and while she was young it was an acceptable arrangement. Now that she is an adolescent, however, it’s not working. Grandma is tired and cranky. She is also nearly completely deaf. Oh my god, the shouting at their house! I can’t stand it. They are all loud talkers anyway, but now that their mom’s hearing has gone, it is just too damned loud.

Angela is fifteen and starting as a freshman this year. She is one year behind her peers chronologically, but many years behind academically. She definitely has a learning disability and has been in special ed for the last few years, but I have to disagree with the diagnosis on her IEP. They have labeled her as mentally retarded, but I think she needs to be retested. We have an appointment next week with the school counselor and will be able to ask all the questions then. She is currently reading the fourth Twilight book, so she isn’t “typically” mentally retarded.

It’s been a fair amount of work getting ready for her to move in. I’m giving up my sewing room/guest room. I took a week off work to clear it out and sort through stuff and I need another week to deal with it all. I didn’t realize we had so many blankets and pillows! The homeless shelters will be getting extra bedding from us. All of the other stuff is going to charity. Some things went to the basement to spend the next four years.

It’s just a lot of change. We’ll manage, of course, but the selfish part of me wants to say NO. I’m overriding that part and doing the right thing, but I’m still ambivalent about it.

26 July 2010

A Random Update from My Crazy Life

Good: I’ve been riding my bike to work for the past few weeks. It feels so good! I got a new bike for my birthday (thanks baby!) and it is such a pleasure to ride. My route is about 5 miles long, across the river and through downtown. Portland is a pretty good place for bicyclists. There are lots of bike lanes and by and large drivers are pretty aware of bikes.

Predictable: Just when things are starting to settle down from the academic/fiscal year turnover, BAM! A new, giant project drops in my lap. One I’m not excited about. I may push it off on one of my staff…

Undecided: It’s looking more and more like my girlfriend’s niece will be moving in with us. She is spending a few days with us right now and discussions are continuing with all the adults in the family over whether or not she should move. I’m ambivalent about the whole thing, truth be told, because we would be giving up a lot of the easy parts of our daily life. We have talked about it a lot and I have told T that she is going to have to be the primary parent. She is going to have to sit down with the girl every day after school and help her with her homework. She’ll have to do the majority of the parent/teacher stuff. She’ll have to be the responsible one. Of course, I will be helping and contributing as well, but she will have to be in the driver’s seat.

We’ve had her at the house for the weekend and I’m already exhausted just by having to interact with another individual. We’ll adjust, of course, but it’s not going to be easy. Good thing she’s a pretty darned good kid. Issues, yes, but overall pretty good. I know that we will be doing a good thing by having her come and live with us, but it’ll be four years of parenting to get her through high school. Sigh.

22 June 2010

Work Plans

Here’s what I’m thinking about today: work, and how to do less of it.

So, my partner has been laid off and working only sporadically for the last year and a half. This is hard on both of us. Partly because of the money, of course, and partly because of the self esteem (for her) and the resentment (for me). I’m trying not to be resentful, really I am! It’s just that I hardly ever get to just hang around at home and I would love to do that more. I can tell you one thing for sure, if I had all the time off that she does, the house would be cleaner, the laundry would be caught up, the tv would NOT be on… but, to be fair, the grass would not be cut, the weeds would not be pulled… etc. She does the chores she likes. And, she cooks dinner about 95% of the time. Thank the goddess for that, otherwise we might starve. I hate to cook.

I have 16 years of service at my present employer. How did it rack up so high? Day by day, I guess. I was only going to work here a couple of years…. So, my thought now is that I will stick it out for 4 more years and get to 20. At that point, I would like to either work here part time, say 20 hours a week, or work somewhere entirely different. I won’t be old enough to collect retirement for a few more years, but I’ll be getting close. The more sensible thing would be to work here part time, since I’ll be accruing time off and sick leave at the highest rate and have all that seniority. I might look into a job share position. Ideally, I’d like to work two 10s.

The other option I am considering is training for medical coding. A lot of coders work from home, even those in my archaic department. Work one day in the office and a couple of days from home. That would be do-able.

Back to the girlfriend: she wants to do something different, and I think that is a good idea. She has been in construction for 30 years and it has taken a toll on her body. She is getting too old and stiff and sore to keep up that kind of physical work. And yet, she doesn’t want a sitting down job. She really is not an office worker. Her thought now is to work with animals, which would be perfect for her. She is looking into dog grooming, which at first I felt ambivalent about. But, what the hell, it’s her life and if that would make her happy and bring in enough income, what do I care? So she comes home smelling like a wet dog – that’s what showers are for.

She is also going back to community college just to explore some other options. This is huge for her. She hasn’t set foot in a classroom for a very long time. She is pretty nervous about it but willing to go. I’m very proud of her for that. Tonight is her first class!

So, I told her that she needed a 4 year plan. She needs to pick something and get it going well enough to pay the bills in the next 4 years. Then I can move to my part time plan and have a little spare time to futz around the house. We’ll both have a 4 year plan. I think it will work.

Here's to the future!

16 June 2010

Catching my breath

I've been busy of late. My work has been crazy, what with vacations (others, not my own), sick calls, maternity leave, etc. Some days there just aren't enough of us left to hold down the fort.

I've also been busy with my martial art and self defense instructing. I'm going to be able to finish my apprenticeship but just barely squeaking it in under the wire. Whew! Unfortunately, we are teaching a lot of kids classes right now since a 7 year old boy went missing over a week ago. Talk about a sick and sad feeling. I can't imagine what the families are going through.

We are in the middle of the house guest blitz and have a short lull before the next one. All of that should taper off in mid-July.

I've missed reading your blogs! If you have noticed a lack of commentary from me, it's only because I haven't had time to get on line... not because I am lacking an opinion about every damn thing! I'm trying to catch up, but some will just have to go unread (or at least uncommented).

Tonight is T's niece's 8th grade graduation. That's sure to be a good time... No rest for the weary!

03 June 2010


We spent a pleasant hour this morning counter-protesting the idiots from Westb*ro Baptist Church. They were picketing at my daughter's old high school and I'm not taking that lying down. What a bunch of lunatics! All they've done is mobilize the sane people to take a stand against them. And, just before Pride!

My camera is misbehaving lately, so I only have a couple of blurry phone pictures. I'm gonna look for some pictures online, because Portland can be pretty colorful when it comes to gay protests.

That's me with the sign saying, "Don't be a HATER".

21 April 2010

Therapy update

So, the couple’s therapy. Yeah. It’s going pretty well, I think. We like our therapist. She is very gentle with us but doesn’t let us off the hook if we try and avoid stuff. She gave us a book to read (two copies, no squabbling over who gets to read first) that is pretty interesting and has some different ways of looking at arguing. It’s called, After the Honeymoon, by Daniel B Wile…. In case you’re interested.

Last week it was my turn to talk about my past. Oof. Somehow stuff I hadn’t thought about in decades was bubbling up. That makes it a lot harder to keep it shoved down and out of sight! Yes, I know, that’s kind of the point, but still. I get along just fine without dealing with my baggage. Or do I? Argh! I am not accustomed to letting someone rummage around in my head! Fortunately, I am narcissistic enough to partly enjoy talking about myself. Only partly though, because I also prefer to keep most of my feelings and thoughts to myself. All of this revelation is exhausting!

I think that it is already having a positive effect on our communication issues. We are being more considerate of each other ~ most of the time. We haven’t resolved anything, but I think we are just more aware of our words and actions. So, that’s good.

The therapist is on vacation for the next couple of weeks. We’ll see her next the day before I leave to visit my daughter. I’m sure these next two weeks will be lovely!

19 April 2010

April 19

Today is my daughter’s birthday. She is 26! She is a beautiful, intelligent, compassionate, lovely person. I miss her every single day.

I don’t get to see her today so instead I am going to have dinner with my parents and we’ll toast her on her special day and bemoan the fact that she doesn’t live closer. I’m going to visit her in early May and I can’t wait.

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl! I love you more than all the rain in the Pacific Northwest; more than all the soybeans in Iowa; more than all the fruitcake in California! You are the best thing about my life.

Yr mama

09 April 2010

Alas, poor Timmy

So, last week my girl and I went shopping for a new strap. The old one just didn’t do anything for me ~ didn’t fit right, wasn’t comfortable, just wasn’t working. I really, really like the new one and have been using it enthusiastically!

Now, I have to ask a question. Does anyone else name their dildos? Surely I’m not the only one with that particular quirk. My vibrators have also been named ~ Mr Thumb and The Armadillo. Our current dildos are Timmy, the little, swirly blue one and Jeremiah, the hefty big boy.

Tragically, on Thursday evening, we had an unexpected and alarming occurrence. We were in the groove, going to town, getting close, when I murmured, “Turn over, baby.” I sat up on my knees, started to pull out, and looked down. Holy Shit on Fire! Timmy broke off! In my girl! The only thing holding him on was the condom!

Naturally, I did what a good partner does. Kept my mouth shut, grabbed the broken end and finished the job with my hand doing the work. Then, after the moaning subsided, I confessed. We killed poor little Timmy.

We laughed about that for quite a while. It’s still bringing a smile to my lips. And, another trip to the toy store is planned for this weekend…

Happy Friday!

01 April 2010

Therapist Interviews

We interviewed three therapists yesterday and have one more today. Man, am I exhausted! I’ve never actually chosen a shrink this way before and while I think it’s much better to be able to make an informed decision, it is hard to keep going over your problems with complete strangers.

Each one was different. So far the first one is the one we liked the best. She was quite participatory in her interaction with us. We are not looking for someone to just spill our guts to and then walk away. No, not into the Freudian method of talk, talk, talk. We want someone to help us understand and change some patterns we’ve fallen into that aren’t working. We need concrete suggestions. This woman understood that. She also says that she uses a collaborative method with couples ~ just using the word “collaborative” was a plus in my opinion.

The second one was lousy and we left there feeling quite depressed. She managed to elicit only negative comments from us and we both felt that this was going to lead us in the wrong direction.

The third was ok, but she was really focused on the fact that T didn’t think we needed counseling and kept on pushing her to explore that. Plus, she has some goofy fee structure that lets her charge more for afternoon and evening appointments and less for mornings. I mean, I get that supply and demand are the forces that drive our economy, but it felt too much like a slick gym membership.

So, we’ve got one more to interview today. She’ll have to be pretty awesome to beat out therapist number one.

In between our appointments two and three yesterday we were going to stop at our favorite used house parts store and look for a window for the upstairs bathroom. On the way over there I said, “Hey, let’s stop in at that new sex toy shop! I would really like a new strap!” Well, really, our relationship can’t be that bad if we are shopping for sex toys in between shopping for therapists. Right? Yes, I did get a new one and some fancy lube, and a little bullet vibrator. Too worn out to try them last night, but I’m hopeful for this afternoon/evening…. TMI? :-)

12 March 2010


First, an apology. I’m sorry I have been so remiss in blogging! I have a lot on my plate right now and am in a bit of a funk, and that combination leaves little resource for putting coherent thoughts together. However, here are a few bullets to just scratch the surface of what’s going on in my tiny world.

• Relationship. When I told T that we needed to see a counselor, it had the effect of making us more sensitive to each other, and kinder in our communication, at least for a while. That effect has worn off, though, and we are back to our reactive patterns. My goal is to have an appointment next week and start really working on these issues.

• Work. ARGH! Still happy to be employed, but the piling on of ever more tasks is wearing me down. Also, our half-time person quit and the rest of the staff and I are taking turns doing her job one day a week. Ends up being a very unproductive day. Get this: she emailed me while she was on vacation to say that a manager in another area would be calling for a reference. Never said a word prior to that, never really turned in her notice. Brat.

• Gym. Thank god for the gym! I have only lost about 5 pounds since the beginning of the year but I know I’ve lost some girth. I can tell by the fit of my blue cords. They slip right on these days… yay! And, I just feel so good after a vigorous workout. Very good for the mental health.

• The Kid. I’m going to visit my daughter for a long weekend in May. I’m so happy about that! I haven’t seen her for a year and a half and that is just killing me. I’m only going for 4 days because I don’t want to be too much of an aggravation ~ plus, I can’t stand the boyfriend. But, she and I have some really fun gardening projects planned. We’re building some raised beds in her back yard! Another Yay!

• Deadlines. I have a deadline of June for completing my apprenticeship in the self defense instructor program. I still have several classes to teach and I am going to be pushing right up against the deadline. I can’t bear the thought of not finishing, though. I have invested a lot of time, energy and tears in this program and it means so much to me on so many levels.

• Societal despair. So damned discouraged over our country and all of the narrow minded bigots with big mouths and no brains. Will we live in a society that values all individuals… in my lifetime? I don’t know.

• Spring. The beauty of spring in Portland, and all the Pacific Northwest, is a life saver. I am appreciating it every day. Flowers, while their evolutionary purpose is to reproduce the next generation, are such a symbol of hope. I keep looking at them and feeling grateful.

• Quote. For no particular reason, let me share with you with this Akira Kurosawa quote that captures me pretty well: "I am not especially strong. I am not especially gifted. I simply do not like to show my weakness and I hate to lose, so I am a person who tries hard. That is all there is to me."

Happy Friday everyone! Happy weekend eve!

01 March 2010


Lately, my girlfriend and I have been communicating poorly. I don’t know why, but we have been getting our backs up at every little thing and getting our noses out of joint and our feelings hurt. We are taking offense at things that aren’t meant badly and are arguing way too much. I don’t like it!

Like every couple, we have our issues. They just happen to be flaring up and threatening to burn us to a scorched cinder. My biggest issue with her is her jealousy. Her biggest issue with me is (probably) my wanting to spend time with other people. Of course, I’m guessing about that because she hasn’t outright said that it’s her biggest issue. T is one of joined at the hip types. I am not. That’s an issue.

This weekend I suggested that we make an appointment with a therapist to get at this whole arguing, sniping, shitty attitude thing. She was shocked that I thought it was “bad enough.” Well, I’d rather deal with it now than let it get bigger and uglier. That road has one outlet ~ the breakup.

Of course, as soon as I said we needed to work on it, she jumped to the conclusion that I’ve met someone else. Gah! So frustrating! NO! I haven’t met anyone, I’m not looking to meet anyone, I want to be with her ~ it just shouldn’t be this hard.

So, this week I will be looking for a couples counselor, preferably a lesbian, and making an appointment. Sigh.

19 February 2010

Oh dear...

We were watching something on the news lately, something about archeology or anthropology, and my gf said, “Oh, he must be one of those nuts who think people came from monkeys.”

Where do I even start? Where do I go from there?

I’m starting to think that our differences could become insurmountable.

12 February 2010

Biting my Tongue

My girlfriend’s former sister-in-law was in town for a week and I’ve just about bitten my tongue completely off. They had a great time, and she’s a really nice woman, but the constant praising of the man they have in common was nauseating.

T’s brother has been dead for about ten years. I’ve heard a lot of stories about how charming and funny and persuasive he was. He was the family favorite, a jokester, a card, a cut-up, a great dancer, a good friend, could talk you out of the shirt on your back. Notice that he could talk you out of the shirt on your back, not that he would give you the shirt off his back.

He died of complications of hard living. He was a drug user for years – and I’m not talking pot, here. He used heroine for many, many years. He was clean from time to time but couldn’t stay sober. I’m not judging him on that count, though. There are too many substance abusers in my own family to point any fingers.

He was also a world class womanizer and a sex addict by all accounts. Some of the stories I have heard are beyond appalling. He drugged and raped one of T’s girlfriends; he beat up this gal who was visiting us four times before she finally decided she had had enough. Apparently he would fuck anything because I heard a story from T’s half-brother that Mike showed up at a job site once with a goat in his truck. Not sure I actually believe that one… But the rest of it is absolutely reprehensible.

He also embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from a business that he had with T. All gone – to be injected into his veins. He died leaving her holding the empty bag. It took her years to settle with the federal government and she still has a huge judgment against her in the state of Oregon. Oregon takes all of her tax refund every year in the nearly futile attempt to recoup the lost money. Now, since we are registered domestic partners, they take my tax refund too. Yes, yes, I can file an innocent spouse form… but still.

I know that we look at the people we love through rose colored glasses. I am hard pressed to find one redeeming quality or characteristic about this man. It is mind boggling to hear T and Amy go on and on about Mike as if he were some All American star. To me he sounds like the sleaziest, dirtiest, most deceitful asshole ever. I have kept my mouth shut all week while listening to them reminisce. It’s been a challenge. I am so damned glad that he was long gone by the time I met T. And I’m so glad that Amy has gone home so that the topic of conversation can be changed.

29 January 2010

Floral Report

We have had freezing temperatures, ice, snow, wind, and rain, rain, rain. Even though we are in an El Nino pattern, we have been getting plenty of rain. I mention it only because when you have a “water intrusion” as the building trades like to call it (aka a leak), you do notice the unremitting rain.

However, all is not dreary and gray! No indeed, with the above average temperatures that El Nino brings, we are starting to see early spring flowers popping up. I should be worried about them; they should be worried about themselves. It’s really too early to be bursting into bloom. February is known around here as the ice storm month for good reason. But, I am so happy to see them!

In my yard, the winter blooming jasmine is sporting sunny yellow flowers. OK, it’s a winter bloomer, not a sign of early spring, but I love it anyway. Cheers for the jasmine! Thanks for the joy!

My neighbor’s yard is rife with daphne, and they are just starting to send out their heady fragrance. Do you like the smell of daphne? It reminds me of Froot Loops cereal, so sweet!

There are bulb-borne flowers starting to push out of the ground, strong, sturdy, sword-like leaves are cleaving their way through the soil. Tulips, hyacinths, daffodils.

Even the hydrangea is showing new leaf buds on its winter scarred branches. I wasn’t sure we’d get any hydrangeas after that cold snap and snow storm. It is such a fibrous plant that it dies right back in the cold. Ours seems to have survived.

Some planting guides suggest that we can put peas in the ground now (snow peas, I’d guess), but I’m going to wait just a little longer for that. That would be tempting fate, tempting the weather gods just a little too much.

What are your favorite spring flowers? What’s blooming in your yard or neighborhood?

07 January 2010

New Year

I went to an early morning workout at my gym yesterday and wow! I am sore all over!

I'm not going to call it a New Year's resolution because that feels too compulsory to me. I have been intending to get back into better shape, lose some weight, and just feel better for some time now. I guess the turning of the year is merely a symbolic time to start.

I am not especially inactive. I teach martial arts to kids three days a week. There is always some running around in those classes. But, teaching the class is not the same as taking the class. You get a much better workout taking the class.

My job is very sedentary though. I sit in front of a computer all day long, five days a week. My home life has become rather sedentary too. Way too much time spent sitting on the couch watching tv, or sitting and reading. Don't get me wrong; I would rather read than do just about anything. But, it's not contributing to my physical wellness.

My martial art school also has a gym. I love it because you can get an amazing workout without all the spandex attitude. The first time I took a fitness class it was taught by an artistically tattooed dyke wearing cut-off plaid men's trousers and a tank top. She kicked our butts!

One of my support staff team members also works out there. I asked her last week if she would be interested in going to the early morning 'boot camp' class two days a week and carpooling to work afterward. She loved the idea. We went yesterday and we're going again tomorrow. It feels so good afterwards!