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.