Thursday, May 31, 2007

National Donut Day

No more excuses! June 1 is National Donut Day, and I expect each and every one of you to chomp on some deep-fried goodness.

I recommend the molasses donuts at Tony's. Or the occasional Krispy Kreme. Best of all, the donuts that my friend Jessie's grandma used to make. Mmm.... donuts....

You can also read about donuts, and wear them if you like (on fingers, toes, on chains around your neck, whatever).

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Sleeping, originally uploaded by jennyjeez.

This is my newest... erm, only... niece. She was two days old when this picture was taken, which was yesterday.

I tell you what, hanging out with this little pooter and her mama was a heckuva lot better than any old parade.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Reason I've Been Absent, Sort Of

EDIT 5/28: Fixed the links... and apparently the Portland Dyke March website isn't up yet, but stay tuned. Should be working soon.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

OK, The Marriage Issue

Today my Stonecoast professor and former mentor Leslea Newman, has an op-ed article about gay marriage in The Republican, a Massachusetts newspaper. She beautifully describes the scene on the day that gay marriage became legal in MA:

...I wouldn't have missed this historic day for anything, and it was clear from the crowd that many others felt the same. A woman walked down the line of about-to-be married couples looping plastic rainbow-colored Hawaiian leis around their necks. A man stood in the parking lot waving a banner that read, "And they lived equally ever after." The woman next to him held a sign that simply said, "It's about time." A child wearing a T-shirt imprinted with the words, "I love my two mommies" handed out bubble blowers shaped like miniature wedding cakes. Slices of an actual wedding cake donated by an anonymous baker were passed about. A musical group called the Raging Grannies sang "Here Come the Brides." Even the reporters and newscasters, those staunch upholders of professional detachment, had tears in their eyes.

To be clear, I am not really a fan of "the marriage issue." I don't like that it's taken the forefront of gay activism, because I think that there are some more pressing issues (hello, civil rights? violence and hate crimes? most of the middle states? texas?).

Marriage needs an overhaul. It's too easy to get into--for straight folks, of course--and too hard to get out of. Maybe it made sense to make a lifelong commitment when it was mostly a financial arrangement, but now that we (mostly) claim love as our reason for marrying, we should recognize that hearts can change and grow over the course of a lifetime. Plus, let's not even get into how it supports the patriarchy and capitalism.

Mostly, though, I don't like the "we're just like you" message, because the folks who say that in the publicity materials are middle-class white gay men and lesbians who want to get married "because they're in love." This message excludes some of the vibrant and diverse populations that make up our queer communities. Where are the "leather daddies for marriage" commercials? Or the "militant bi's for full equality?" I think that it is more useful for people to talk about different types of relationships and see marriage as one option among many.

Plus, we're not "just like you." We are discriminated against, ridiculed, and beaten. We have a resilient community that has put into practice some viable alternatives in reaction to the indifference of mainstream culture, like our "families of choice" when our biological families aren't accepting, or the AIDS activism of the 1980's and '90's that set the standard for everything that came after.

As a parent, I keenly understand the need to create legal responsibilities and commitments. If I had married my daughter's father, we would not be in this weird custody neverland where I can't take her out of the country, and I might have more leverage to get child support. Of course, we might also still be legally married, since I can't seem to find the guy to serve papers on him, and chances are pretty good that I couldn't afford a divorce anyway.

Instead of focusing on marriage, let's take a look at what our community really needs, and move forward from there. Let's talk about how lesbians make less money than practically everyone else, and how we can better work for transgender rights, and why so many people in our community have substance abuse issues, and why queer youth are committing suicide and running away from home, and about second-parent adoption.

Marriage is one of those things that our community needs. But it's one of many, and we shouldn't get caught up on the one just because it easily appeals the the middle-class white people who make the laws. Rather than trying to assimilate, we should be stretching the boundaries of the mainstream, and making our own space.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Back to You, Bob

And now for some news from the "Thank God They Figured THAT Out Department:"
South Portland officials last week unanimously passed an ordinance prohibiting people from having graffiti materials like broad-tipped markers or spray cans, even if they are not caught actually using them. (from
I bet the rest of the cities feel pretty stupid now that they know that the key to stopping graffiti is to ban markers and spray paint.

But what I want to know is, are they going to bust all the folks leaving Home Depot en route to home improvement projects?

Can I still buy the "marble effect" spray paint?

How about if I get a note from my mom saying that I'm really using it to paint the filing cabinet I picked up at bulky trash?

Mom's Day

So you may have gathered that I hate mom's day. I have some issues with my own mother, who has not been much of one since I was 12, and as a single mom I always feel a little bit let down because S has always been too small to do things on her own for me, so I have to pretend to be surprised opening a present I helped S buy. Etc.

But this year ended up being really great. Props to K who, despite the many complications and pitfalls of the day, ended up doing exactly the right thing.

The (annotated) day's events were as follows:

7am: I am awoken to a breakfast of egg-in-the-hole-in-the-toast, bacon, coffee, and strawberries in bed. I think that K and S waited as long as they possibly could to bring it to me (I heard them up before 6); it was still a bit early considering I'd been up finishing my thesis until 2am, but everything was still delicious. And they had picked the only tulip growing in our wasteland of a yard and placed it nicely in a vase that S made for me at school. With a home made card.

7:30am: Back to sleep.

9:00am: I wake up to my alarm and get up. More coffee. We all get ready to go out to the Winter Cache farm in Cumberland with S, K, and S's best friend J.

9:45am: More coffee at my favorite coffee shop's India Street location. Mmm... dark roast.

10:00am: Meet many friends in front of the People's Free Space, who all wish me a happy mom's day. We drive in a big caravan out to the farm.

11:00am-2:00pm: Farming, including moving a very heavy mower (my shoulders are still stiff today), touching composted goat poop with my bare hands and living through it, watering, and tidying the greenhouse. Much fun! I can't wait to eat these veggies.

2:30pm: Back in Portland, we drive around my neighborhood looking at the bulky trash waiting for pickup. I decide to pick up three drawers to use as containers for some flowers and veggies I want to grow in our desolate wasteland of a yard. There are leftovers in the fridge, so nobody has to cook lunch.

3:30pm: We drop S's friend off at his house, and since it's near the water, we go down to the beach to shovel up some gravel for drainage in the containers. There is a TON of sea glass from the Patriot's Day hurricane thing. We all fill our pockets with it, and get the gravel.

4:00 pm: I cook rice and beans for dinner, and two of our good friends come over to share it. We talk and hang out until...

9:00pm: I collapse into bed, sunburned, exhausted, and very happy. I got many well-wishes and hugs and text messages and phone messages, and got treated like royalty all day. It was the nicest one I've ever had.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day News Postponed...

... to allow you to check out this hot restaurant review at (It's the article titled "A Star is Born" halfway down the page).

That's right. Superstar.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

For Moments Like This

As a third semester student at Stonecoast, I am required to spend this semester working on a critical project. Most people write papers--research papers or English Lit-type papers that focus on one or two aspects of a writer's work, or a branch of critical theory, etc--some people do projects and then write papers.

I opted for a research paper about writing groups in prisons and shelters, because I'm interested, and because I would like to do some of that--for money--after I graduate, and the research may come in handy for things like grant-writing and convincing administrators that the work needs to happen. I think having an MFA is suddenly justification for me to demand to get paid for doing the things I love to do.

Anyway, it's been a trying semester because it's not my favorite kind of writing. I did manage to slide in some creative bits by interspersing the research/expository sections with personal narrative about my own experiences facilitating a writing group in a shelter.

But the best news is, I just sent in my final draft to my mentor (the very talented and patient-with-my-delays Alan Davis), which means that I get to spend this last semester working on fiction. As long as he agrees that it's actually a final draft.

I just sent K down to the store for a bottle of ginger ale** to celebrate, and I may smoke a cigarette. It's hot times in the old town tonight, folks.

If you want to read it, drop me a note and I'll send it out like the fucking flowers are sending out millions of tiny pieces of pollen to irritate my entire face (that is, with fervor and profligacy). I'll put my email address in the comments section***.

More on Mother's Day tomorrow.

**for reasons of poverty, not any kind of abstinent behavior. Don't worry, Stonecoasters, I'll be singing in the streets of Brunswick post-Joshua's soon enough.

***I think that has something to do with avoiding spam, but really I'm just copying other people who do it because it seems like a good idea.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Scoop

I heard a pretty reliable rumor that there will be a *free* Darien Brahms/Erin McKeown show in Monument Square on July 26.

Sweet. And how many lovely ladies will be attending? All of them, I'm guessing.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bad Dialogue

FRIEND: But I don't understand. Why do you hate Mother's Day so much?

WOMAN: I cant.... [sob] I just can't. [turns away] You'd never understand.

FRIEND: I understand that I want to help you. Why can't you just trust me a little? Tell me. [puts hands on MOTHER's shoulders] You can tell me.

WOMAN: [shakes off FRIEND's hands] How could you know? You and your... your perfect spouse. You have everything. [turns to face FRIEND, closeup of her tear-stained face] And I-- I have nothing.

FRIEND: I don't understand.

WOMAN: Don't you see? Mother's day is not a day of joy for people like me. I'll say it--for single mothers like me. All year long we have to be mother and father, and then on the one day of the year that is for us, we... we... [sobs]

FRIEND: There, there.

WOMAN: I'm sorry, I got some snot on your shoulder.

FRIEND: That's gross.

WOMAN: I'm sorry, I'm sorry. [wipes at eyes] I guess what I'm trying to say is that the only way I'll ever get brunch on that day is if I make the reservations myself and put it on my own credit card. And you don't know the pain... the mind-wrenching pain... [shakes fist at sky] of trying to pick out a bouquet to surprise myself.

FRIEND: This snot looks like a snail trail.

WOMAN: I'd rather smoke cigarettes and drink bourbon while my kids watch disney channel all day. At least that way we'd both be happy instead of trying to live up to some overrated standard for a holiday that can only be celebrated by a nu--- nuclear family [sobs again].

FRIEND: So what are you saying?

WOMAN: I'm saying, where's the guy in that coffee commercial who gets up early to help the kids make me breakfast in bed? Where's my tasty fresh omelette?

FRIEND: I have no idea what you mean.

WOMAN: I wish the hallmark people would just die. And the coffee people too.

FRIEND: Whoah. That's a little harsh, don't you think?

WOMAN: I guess. I mean, we're all just victims of the capitalist heterosexist patriarchy anyway, right? [blows nose, wipes eyes, sighs] Got a light?


WOMAN: Thanks.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

It's Always Funny

More entertainment via the hometown police log.

In Waterville, on Saturday:
2:07 p.m., three juveniles reportedly set a fire in Couture Field. Fire fighters quickly extinguished the flames before any damage was done. The juveniles told police they were trying to dispose of old gasoline.
(Why, back when I was a kid, we called that a normal Saturday afternoon.)

10:30 a.m., employees at Hannaford Supermarket told police a van suspiciously parks in front of the store between the hours of 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. every day.
(Good lord! Parking? In a parking lot?! It's a good thing they called the police!!!)


10:16 p.m., police checked on a vehicle parked in front of the Pine Grove Cemetery on Grove Street. The car’s passengers told police they were photographing the cemetery to see if they could document paranormal activity on the film when it is developed.

I couldn't make this shit up. And I'll take it any day over the usual run of domestic violence, drunk driving, and petty theft that usually make up the police log in rural Maine.

Friday, May 04, 2007

April Book Roundup

Since I spend as much time reading as doing practically anything else, I'm going to make it a goal to share what I've been reading. I did a lot of it in April, because I was rewarding myself for finishing the first draft of my critical thesis. Don't ask me what my excuse is these days.

And I'm not going to rate them with stars or anything because I am a notorious book slut and I like just about any book that I can finish. Ahem.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Hark Haddon (Fiction): This book is often suggested to me when I'm having conversations about protagonist voice. I can see why; it has a unique and well-done pov.

My Year of Meats by Ruth L. Ozeki (Fiction): Japanese-American beef politics, mass marketing, slaughterhouses, and domestic violence.

Sand Dollar Summer by Kimberly K. Jones (Young Adult): Only slightly overdramatic coming-of-age story on a Maine beach by someone from Away. Points off, though, for stereotyped all-wise, all-accepting, self-sacrificing, precognitive Native American character.

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson (Young Adult): Feminist homesteading in the 1940s. A little bit of a YA treatment of this (sexuality seems almost censored).

Burn by James Patrick Kelly (SciFi): Sweet. Reading this felt like a magic spell in which I'm reading a delicious short story and wish it was longer and then, shazam, it is. I read it in one sitting. Yum.

The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster (Fiction): Complicated and slightly slow but ultimately rewarding story of aging, utopia, and second chances. Bonus points for treatment of homosexuality as a non-issue.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Even Less than the Minimum

This is appropriate, given the looming approaching Mother's Day holiday:
Women's unwaged labor. (There's a lot of it) (via feministing)
The typical mother puts in a 92-hour work week, the company concluded, and works at least 10 jobs. In order of hours spent on them per week, these are: housekeeper, day-care center teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, chief executive officer and psychologist. By figuring out the median salaries for each position, and calculating the average number of hours worked at each, the firm came up with $138,095 -- three percent higher than last year's results.

Even mothers who work full-time jobs outside the home put in $85,939 worth of work as mothers, according to

Yeh. Tell me about it.

Anyway, I gotta go. The laundry needs to be switched before I pick up folks from work and afterschool activities. Later.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


S may well spontaneously combust when she sees this happening. In Portland.

She doesn't know yet that I've signed us up to volunteer. It's the best. secret. ever.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Pronunciation Guide

How would you pronounce this word: queerbie

(Children of the nineties, do you remember this particular bon mot? Used in junior high to describe anything uncool and impossibly lame. Meaning me, more often than not.)


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