Thursday, June 29, 2006

This is the end.... my only friend... the end...

Just got the word that the seventh and final Harry Potter ("HP," to those in the know) book may involve the death of my daughter's favorite book character.  That's HP himself, of course, the misfit genius and fatherless waif. She knows every detail of every book, and can almost quote chapters verbatim.  I'm not kidding.
I wonder if there'll be a mass depression among tweens?  Grief-stricken forays into impulsive relationships with Lemony Snicket, or Bruce Coville, or Philip Pullman?
Yikes!  And we have only just now been able to not weep daily at the demise of our kitty Taz.  I better line up the therapist now.  (Ms. Rowling, can I send you the bill?)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

An Open Letter to My Very Special Neighbors

Dear Loudsex Neighbors,
Well!  I feel like I know you already, even though we've never met.  As your neighbor (and, as such, auditory participant in your nocturnal activities) I wanted to drop you a line and offer some feedback on last night's performance.
First, I suppose, congratulations are in order.  You seem to have been able to take personal intimate performance to new, pornoriffic levels.  Wow!  I'm really impressed!  Forty-five minutes is a very long time to be able to continue such strenuous activity, and you should really be proud of yourselves for your level of physical fitness. 
Although a passing jet tragically obscured what I'm sure was a most spectacular conclusion to your encounter, I trust that it was satisfactory for all involved, and that--despite the manic squeaking of what I assume was your bed--no furniture collapsed or otherwise harmed you.
Now, I understand that you were a little distracted, but I just wanted to take a moment to speak with you about your kind sharing of what appears to be your favorite activity.  Hobbies are great!  But now that the summer months are upon us, your open window--located just thirty unobstructed feet from my own--does allow me slightly more unfettered access to your romantic pursuits than I would generally be inclined to have. 
Although your enthusiastic vocalizations provide an interesting harmonic addition to the constant sound of cars rushing by, I have to say that your contributions to the neighborhood soundscape have not always been as aesthetically enjoyable for me as they sound like they have been for you.
I know that you care deeply about the emotional health of the community which surrounds you, so I wanted to gently remind you of a few things.  Perhaps you have forgotten that it has been longer than I care to mention since such encounters have been a part of my own repertoire of activities.  While some people might be content with vicariously participating in your frequent and joyful exertions, I have not been moved to do so--perhaps because I have been unable to obtain a full and uninterrupted night's sleep since the two of you began to share your extraordinary exercises. 
Also, I wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to discuss the situation when my daughter--upon hearing your joyful noise through her bedroom window--asked if you were OK.
Thanks for being so understanding--and remember to stay hydrated!
Your Neighbor

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

CSI: My Life

Here's the evidence:
Slightly less than 3 1/2 hours sleep.
I can still smell Southern Comfort.
Grin so big I think the top of my head might just fall off.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Macaroni Collage in the Trash

I am a big fan of this monthly column by Michael Chabon.  This month's reflects tenderly and honestly on the politics of throwing your children's artwork away.  I agonize about this, and I'm glad someone else does too.
My favorite quote from the piece:
Only it's not just her artwork that I'm busy throwing away. Almost every hour that I spend with my children is disposed of just as surely, tossed aside, burned like money by a man on a spree.
Ah, true and lovely.
(And can you tell that I'm spending a week without my daughter, and that I am misty and nostalgic and missing her?  Next week I will be irritated and chafing for personal space.)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Eat More Liver

I have been trapped in doctors' office and insurance beaurocracy hell for a few weeks.
Even the short version of the story is not really worth telling, since anyone who's ever had to deal with an insurance company knows exactly what kind of rage ensues when, after being transferred three times and being on hold for a cumulative twenty minutes, you're told that you have to call another department/doctor/office/supervisor, and no, they can't transfer you.
I am not an exceptionally emotive person (damn those Puritan ancestors, they just won't leave me frickin' alone).  But this week-long series of phone calls left me so frustrated yesterday that I emitted a loud and deep growl/wail in the middle of my office as I slammed the phone down.  It made my throat sore for three hours and made my co-workers look at me like I might pull out some kind of weapon and start waving it around.
Also, I can't get my prescription for iron pills filled because the pharmacy sells some other kind of iron pills. Their suggestion?  Eat more broccoli and liver. 

On top of all that, I'm apparently becoming one of those people who talks to strangers about their health issues. 
I should just stop plucking the hairs that grow out of my moles and start wearing house slippers and talking to my cats, because it's all downhill from here, folks.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Not Another Oblique 1984 Reference, In Case You Were Wondering

Some time ago I signed up with Sitemeter to find out how many people visit this little blog, and I just have to say that I find the little statistics incredibly fascinating. Apologies to experienced bloggers, for whom these details became uninteresting back at around the same time that Madonna did.

But anyway, for example:

Recent Visitors by Location
United StatesBiddeford, Maine
United StatesBiddeford, Maine
United StatesBiddeford, Maine
United StatesFalmouth, Maine
United StatesBoston, Massachusetts
United StatesBiddeford, Maine
United StatesPortland, Maine
United StatesBiddeford, Maine
United StatesFalmouth, Maine
United StatesBiddeford, Maine
United States
United StatesBiddeford, Maine
United StatesRedwood City, California
United StatesBiddeford, Maine
United StatesBiddeford, Maine
United StatesBiddeford, Maine
United StatesFalmouth, Maine
United StatesBoston, Massachusetts
United StatesBiddeford, Maine
IrelandRathcoole, Dublin

I know the Dublin visit is prob'ly my goodbuddy bec, who is cutting the shit out of some sod and marching all over the countryside when she's not reading my blog... and Portland, well, clearly... but apparently I have some friends (or people whose servers are located) in Biddeford.

Hello, Biddeford friends! I like to say it Biddifid. How about you?

I also got hits when someone was looking for info about the Dyke March (hope I could help) and several because I link to the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest (which is almost the coolest thing ever. Almost.)

Fascinating. Just fascinating.

Maybe someday something exciting will happen in my life and then I can write about that instead.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Big Gay Weekend

I was too busy being gay this weekend to post... but now that I am back at work, I can take the time to report on the Big Gay Festivities.
Here are my observations from the weekend--
1: Only 2 people from the CCL showed up, as far as anyone knows.  They were documenting away, but looked a little lonely (wistful?).
2: Dykes on bykes rule, but tend to want to drive more quickly than drag queens in heels can march.
3: Beer drunk quickly causes a worse hangover than bourbon sipped slowly.
4: You can see other people's pictures of the day here, here, and here (thanks to the photogs)
5: Contrary to popular belief, wearing an orange mesh vest and directing traffic around the big gay parade is not a great way to meet girls.  It is, however, a really good way to be the target of animosity from irritated drivers and to get a funky-shaped sunburn on the one spot on your shoulder that you missed with the sunscreen.
6: Seeing 90% of your exes in one day can be draining.
7: BIGGEST PARADE EVER--now with dyke features!
8: I heart bellydancers.
9: Friends who will be your surrogate girlfriend for the evening so you don't have to be lonely are the best.
10: The weekend does have to end sometime, even if you stay up really late Sunday night trying to pretend that it doesn't.

Friday, June 16, 2006


I am an outspoken supporter of "sun days" to complement the winter's "snow days."  In this state, the good weather is as precious as maple syrup (and almost as much work, if you look at the proportion of cold days to warm ones) and I firmly believe that, occasionally, the entire state should shut down because its citizens are not getting any work done anyway.
Case in point: today.  I keep looking at the sunshine, thinking about tonight's dyke march (7:30 pm, Post Office Park, be there), tomorrow's gay good times... I've only been useful for cruising the internet and cramming in a little work in between.  All of the directors are out of the office, too, so it's just the support staff ( a.k.a. secretaries) left... it's very tempting.  And judging by the relatively few number of phone calls we've gotten today, I'm thinking that everybody else in this whole city feels the same way. 
Sunshine!  Hey you!  Wait for me--I'll just be a few more hours.  OK?
Happy Pride, everyone.  Yeah, it's cheesy, it's corporate, it's homogenizing.  But-- I get to walk down the middle of Congress Street and have people cheer me just because I'm queer.  I don't have to wonder whether I need to come out.  And I get to see every-freaking-body I ever knew (and their lovers).  And drag queens.  Woop woop.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Point Of View

Several things are going on that could be either positive or negative, depending on how you look at them:
1.  Mike Heath is again taking up space in my thoughts, thanks to his recent promise to protest at Pride this weekend.  The good: His recent actions will remind everyone what a frickin nutcase he is.  The bad: Mike Heath & his minions will bring their hatred and ugly signs to a joyful celebration.  And, he's taking up space in my thoughts.  I would rather think about almost anything else.  Pink elephant.  PINK ELEPHANT!
2. I once again have to consider my own identity categories.  Hello, pomo.
3. I now have 100% more information about my agency's fundraising software, thanks to the training I've been at for the past 3 days.  Unfortunately, I'll probably be leaving to pursue loftier goals & accrue more student loans before I get a chance to use said information.
4. I'm going to four going-away parties in the next two weeks.  Parties: fun.  Goodbye: not fun.
Maybe I'll just sit quietly and hum until things settle down.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


It's still raining.
I do have one thing to say (and please sit down before you read on, because it's pretty shocking news): I met a queer person today.  Who lives in Portland.  Who I never met before. 
Since I've lived here for five years, I have pretty much reached saturation point with most of the queers-my-age-ish folks, meaning that I don't meet any new ones, or if I do we have so many connections that we might as well know each other.  Occasionally new people move to town, but within months we have so many connections (etc, etc.)  Same goes for the activists.  Hence the lack of romantic activity.
So this new queer was really nice, but is moving away soon.
It's still raining.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Scared Silly

I've been doing a lot of reading in preparation for my July grad school residency.  One of the seminars is using crime fiction to look at... uh... something... (see how invested I am in this?), so I got a bunch of crime novels that are on the reading list and settled down to read last night.  Now, I don't usually read crime or horror fiction because my imagination is just too darn good, and I scare the pants off myself every single time I think it's a good idea to read them. 
The one I chose to start with was Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island. Cleverly, I decided to start reading it after I put my daughter to bed, when the house is silent and dark.  
So I'm sitting on the couch, completely absorbed in this really well-written book (this is definitely not the pulp type).  And it gets darker, and darker.  And I realize I'm hearing strange sounds (what was that crack?  sounded like a popping knuckle), so I get up to look, and see that the front door is open.  Did I leave that open?  I start to get paranoid.  Someone could have come in when I was in the basement dealing with the laundry, and I'd never know.  Then I get ahold of myself for a minute, and (sensibly) decide that I'm getting paranoid, and what I need to do is go to bed.
I timidly check all the closets, lock the doors, close the windows, and scurry to my room through the darkened apartment.  Stupidly, I bring the book with me.  I'm not sleepy because my heart is pounding so hard, so I decide to read a little more until I feel ready to fall asleep.
Three hours later, my eyes bloodshot and my hands tense on the book, I have to shut it, because I suspect the narrator is about to describe the murder of his children, and I don't want to read it.  I want to go get a drink of water but I'd have to walk into the dark kitchen, and I'm terrified, and that bulging bladder will just have to wait until the morning.  And what was that noise?  I check my closet again and close the bedroom door firmly, feeling guilty that I am giving myself this protection that I'm not offering my daughter.  Should I wake her up and bring her into bed with me?  But that would also require a trip into darkened rooms, and I'm all quivery inside.  And was that a creak on the floorboard outside my room? 
Eventually I fell asleep in my favorite childhood pose for protection from nighttime beasties: lights on, blanket wrapped firmly around my head with a passage for fresh air in the the vicinity of my nose (but not exposing any skin, goodness no, they see skin as a vulnerability).  I woke up exhausted, with a crick in my neck from all that tension. 
And I'm wicked anxious to finish the book tonight, so I can finally find out what happens.  Congratulations, Mr. Lehane; mission accomplished.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Agony Of...

So I had this brilliant idea that I would finance my graduate school adventure with scholarships. My thinking went like this:
I'm a sometimes-grantwriter and an always-fictionwriter; I should be able to make my case with scholarship committees and get some funding.  It's all about telling a good story, right?  I can put on my poor-single-mom facade (I think it has big, glistening eyes that express silent suffering and stoic sacrifice) and talk about my goal to create social change by getting poor people to write about their lives.  No problem.
Except... I didn't get the scholarships, even though, for the record, I worked my ass off writing five (count em--FIVE) applications in May.  And now I have to face up to this (possibly) ridiculous ultimatum I gave myself that promised that I would continue with grad school only if I didn't have to go $20,000 into debt.  Which, without the scholarships, I do.  For an MFA degree that will increase my earning power not one bit.  Sigh.
Now I'm having a "what is the purpose of my life, anyway" crisis that has absolutely spoiled the one sunny day in recent history. 

Monday, June 05, 2006

I'm With the Band

My non-sexual life partner and her sexual life partner** (who is really more of a partner than me because they live and raise children together) recorded a demo this weekend and gave me a copy.  They're traveling cross-country with two friends and two kids in a van this summer. 
Sometimes I'm really jealous of them, but then I think about four adults and two kids in a van for two months, and I'm not jealous at all any more.  But I'm sure it'll be a grand adventure.
The CD, though... it's really exciting.  I remember when she wrote those songs.  Sigh. 
Sometimes I feel gifted by all the artists and creative folks in my life.  My daughter will grow up knowing that everyone in her life is an artist of some kind, and their art is all over my house: decorating my walls and windowsills and holding my morning coffee and draped gorgeously around my neck and keeping my hands warm and filling up my bookshelf. 
It's a bright spot in all this rain.  It almost makes me forget that my couch is starting to smell like the owners that had it two years ago before I rescued it from the Salvation Army warehouse.  Or that my bathroom towel hasn't completely dried in a week.
**I mean, how much more pomo can I possibly be?  Jeez.

Friday, June 02, 2006

In a Nutshell

Portland has its gay bars, but they're not like city bars. And there's no great variety: there's one for men, another for men in buttoned-up shirts, and a third for thumpa-thumpa men (which on Thursdays turns into a bar for lesbians who don't mind listening to the same five-song crappy pop-rap soundtrack for years at a time). 
via rebecca, all the way from the UK
Uh, yeah.  Although I heard a rumor that Saturday night at the thumpa-thumpa bar may become women's night.  Since I don't go to queer bars any more, I wouldn't really know. 
...actually... I don't go to any bars any more.  Although I did have a frozen margarita at Sebago last weekend (thanks again, Terri).

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Blogging for LGBT Families Day

It's funny, but I hardly think of us as an LGBT Family.  Though clearly we are.  I think in my squirrely little mind I differentiate between those queer families who knew they were queer and then decided to have kids, and folks like me, who had a child and *then* came out. 
Generally my identity as a single parent overrules my identity as a queer parent.  I'm privileged to live in Portland, where my sexual orientation has little or no bearing on my daughter in school or otherwise (as far as I know).  My big issues are those shared by other single parents, regardless of their gender: loneliness, scarcity of resources, exhaustion, a ridiculously few number of hours in the day.
Also, most of the queer parents I know have children much later in their lives than I did (I was 19), and so, if our kids are the same age, they're ten or twenty years older than me, and if we're the same age, they're having babies.  Which is great, but doesn't give us too much to talk about.
I also don't date much, so my sexual orientation lately has been: NONE. 
Although, come to think of it, my daughter has been the deciding issue in all of my long-term relationships; mostly that the partner wasn't ready to "settle down and be a parent."  Which I think is kind of funny, because I'm unsettled a lot of the time.  But really, my straight single-mom friends tend to get guys who want to rescue them from their awful situation; I get women who run in the other direction.  I think it has to do with the fact that pregnancy could be an accidental result of hetero sex at almost any time; a child is not necessarily the result of a lesbian relationship at all, ever. And especially not when you're 23 or 24 or 25... and never by accident.
But still, we deal with my family's homophobia and occasionally have to represent some soccer mom's idea of diversity, or stand for some test of how liberal a particular family it.  We are an LGBT family, in our own particular, peculiar way.


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