Saturday, July 29, 2006

Today’s baby dykes have it made. They have the internet, with its availability of information and the ease of finding other dykes to chat with or even meet. And even though we are still fighting for simple civil rights (they are NOT special rights, so don’t even think that!), there is much more acceptance of queers today than there was 30 something years ago. If there had been this wealth of information years ago, when I was growing up, I think that my life would have been quite different. When I was growing up, I had major crushes on my friends who were girls. In fact, I had a “best friend” named Denise, from third grade until sixth grade, when she moved to another city (and broke my heart). We were never apart. We were in the same class at school. We walked to her house after school, where I stayed until my mother picked me up in the evenings. On the weekends, we spent the nights together, and back in the age where we didn’t realize that there were predators lurking out there, we spent all day together on Saturday and Sunday, riding our bikes all over town, seeing what we could find to get into. At some point, we decided that we needed to “practice" kissing, so that when we eventually got boyfriends, we would know how to kiss. I’m not sure who thought of this, but it was a brilliant idea! So we spent a great deal of time “practicing”, and I was in heaven. After she moved, I had several other friends and we all needed to practice as well (OK, I know whose idea it was these times). Finally we just got too old to call it “practicing” any more (and by then, we had real boyfriends to kiss), so that came to an end. Fast forward to college. When I got to college, I heard that there were lesbians living in my dorm. Ooh…. I needed to find them. Just to see them, that's all. I roamed the halls, looking for any sign that indicated “dykes in area” (Damn! Where were the rainbows when I needed them?). I was like the dog chasing the car…I had absolutely no idea what I would do with them if I caught them, but I definitely wanted to catch them. I was an art major, and there were some REALLY gay guys who hung out at the art building. I was no expert, and hadn’t developed gaydar yet, but anyone could have picked them out of a crowd. I wanted to talk to them so badly, but I didn’t know how to approach them. Another strike out. Then came the phone call…… It was the night before the end of finals. My roommate had already finished her finals and gone home. I was alone in the room, and the phone rang. “May I speak to Debbie?” Now, at this time, Debbie was an extremely common name. Everyone my age probably knew at least five Debbies. So, I assumed that he meant my roommate. I told him that she had already gone home. That’s all he needed. He proceeded to tell me all about how she was his friend and about how she had told him all the things that she wanted to do with me, but she was scared to approach me. Funny, I had never gotten that impression-as a matter of fact, she was engaged. But I bought into it. I listened for about 10 minutes, as he continued to get more and more involved (and more and more breathless). Finally, the climax of the story came (and so did he) and I realized that I had been listening to an obscene phone call. But I didn’t feel violated, I felt disappointed. So that meant that he didn’t really know her, that she had never said those things about me? Damn! You know, this should have been a clue. But back then, people didn’t really talk about being gay. So I never found any lesbians, never got any information about being a homosexual. I dated a lot of “pretty” boys, the prettier the better. (This was in the early 70's, there were long-haired boys aplenty.) I had posters of rock stars like David Bowie and Marc Bolan and other “glam rockers” on my walls. Still no clue. Instead, I did what I was supposed to do. I met a nice boy who treated me well and that I could get along with. I married him, and I went on with my life. (More about this part of my life in a future post) Since then I have thought about it, and I truly believe that I am one of the ones who, had I had access to the information and the acceptance that we have today, would have been out by the time I was 18 years old. It wouldn't have taken me 44 years to find the love of my life and to finally be "home". It wouldn't have taken me so long to finally be in the place where I should have been all along. But, if I had realized that I was a lesbian at 18, my life would have been much different. I wouldn’t have married the nice boy, I wouldn’t have been blessed with a wonderful mother-in-law and father-in-law (who are still like my own parents, but even better), and most importantly, I wouldn’t have my son. Maybe it took me longer than it should have for me to get to where I am supposed to be, but I think that the detour was worth it. And you know, I might have started the battle to destroy heterosexual marriage a little late, but I'm in the fight now. Heterosexuals, be ready to defend your marriages! We're in love, we're happy, we're totally devoted to each other...I can feel those heterosexual unions crumbling even as I speak!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Why do lesbians and gay men always get grouped together? This is something that has perplexed me for years. Our magazines, our newspapers, our protests, our parades, you name it, we are all grouped together. I suppose that it’s because 10% of the population is a small demographic, and without each other, it would be an even teeny tinier niche market. If we want power in numbers, we have to be counted together. But if you really look at it, who has LESS in common than lesbians and gay men?

Now, I must add a disclaimer here. I am by no means saying that all gay men fit into this description, nor do all lesbians. We are all individuals. This post is meant to be amusing. So please, don’t take it personally. I do not mean to offend anyone. I’ve just worked the stereotypes left and right. But, when you read it, you’ll know that I’m right at least part of the time.

Let's examine the question... Who has LESS in common than lesbians and gay men? OK, gay men like other men. In fact, they love other men…but they do not seem to care very much for women (except for fag hags, because fag hags adore them and find them endlessly fascinating). Now, I can’t say that ALL gay men do not care much for women, but I’ve been called a “fish” by enough of them to say that a large percentage of them feel that way. At best, I think that most gay men tolerate women. And I suspect that lesbians fall a little lower down on gay men’s list of favorites than straight women do, especially if the straight woman in question is fashionable and/or glamorous. Gay men usually have a keen sense of fashion, they know the designers, they know what is hot and what is not. They take great pride in their appearance. And its no secret that dykes, for the most part are NOT glamorous or fashionable. We are more comfortable than fashionable. We prefer comfortable clothing such as shorts, jeans and t-shirts, comfortable shoes such as running shoes and Birkenstocks, easy care hair, little or no makeup. We don’t know the names of designers, and we don’t intend to learn them. About as close to designer labels as we get is ordering something from the L. L. Bean catalog. No frills and sequins for us! But gay men love glamorous women. If you don’t believe me, let's take a look at Cher and Rosie O’Donnell. Which one is the gay icon? You don’t see the queens up on the stage in a t shirt, shorts and Nike Cross Trainers belting out a song from “Grease”.

Now let's examine the other side of that coin. It seems that most lesbians don’t seem to care very much for men…no, contrary to popular belief, we don’t actually hate them, but except for our fathers, our sons and other assorted male family members, we really don’t seek them out for too much personal contact. That is kind of a shame, because many of us can talk with reasonable accuracy about power tools or the intricacies of professional sports. We could easily be Billy Bob’s new best friend. If we are in a work situation with men, we are friendly coworkers, but we secretly try to outwork them whenever we can. It adds an interesting dynamic to male/female coexistence. However, I think that lesbians would have to put gay men over straight men on their favorites list. Probably because they are witty and fun to be around, and it's just good to be friends with someone who "plays for the same team". Oh, and because a gay man will never hit on us or suggest that we go home and "party with him and his wife".

Personally, my wife and I play this little game called “That’s Reason Number 2,485”. For those of you unfamiliar with this game, it involves sighting men that make us EXTRA glad that we are lesbians. For example…we’re in Wal-Mart, and we see some man in nasty camouflage clothing, dirty, torn shirt, unshaven, greasy hair, with about four teeth in his mouth. This is where one of us says, “That’s reason number 986”. That's all there is to it! It’s a simple game, that’s why it’s so much fun to play. And the fact that you are NOT with the man in question means that you WIN EVERY TIME! One more disclaimer….lesbians do not become lesbians because of men. We are born, not made. No man has the power to turn a straight woman into a lesbian, so, straight men, get over yourselves!

Here’s another difference between lesbians and gay men. There are a lot of gay men with money out there. Men that live in fabulous homes, go to the circuit parties, hire interior designers, drive expensive cars, vacation all over the world. For the most part, you don’t see dykes with that kind of money. Well, maybe tv stars, but your run of the mill dyke does not have the means to fly out to the Dinah Shore Weekend or up to P-town on a whim. I'm not really sure why. If I ever figure it out, I'll get back to you.

Yet another difference…when gay men are “on”, they are the life of the party. They are sparkling, effervescent, witty, charming. On the other hand, dykes aren’t known for their wild sense of humor and glamorous parties. And if you are somewhere with mirrors, you will know where to find the gay men. Dykes avoid the mirrors…gay men are drawn to them like moths to a flame. And speaking of parties….could any two groups be any farther apart than gay men and lesbians on their choice of music? If you go to a gay man’s party/bar/club/store, any place where you find gay men in charge of the music that is playing, you will find the technopop, the driving beat going steady. I personally think that it is all one long song….there’s no beginning or end to it. Now, check out the lesbian music…ballads, folk music, sometimes we even get rocking with some music by Melissa Ethridge. And to be fair, there are a few new faces in lesbian music that add a little spice to it, but basically it’s a much different fare than the gay men’s music.

We have some differences, but if we have to be lumped together with any other group of people, gay men would be my group of choice. If we want power in numbers, we will have to put up with this togetherness. “Dykes on Bikes” and “Our Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” will have to peacefully coexist in the Pride Parades and be happy!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

We have a little game that we play at our house. I think that it is probably a fairly common game, as I have played the Work Edition with my coworkers on the rare days that we are working at school without any students and are allowed to leave campus for lunch. The name of the game is “Where Do You Want To Eat?®” The objective is the same, no matter where you play. You want to determine where your group (be it family or coworkers) is going to eat lunch/dinner. The Work Edition of the game is slightly trickier, because you don’t know the other player’s tastes as well, and an added complication is that you don’t know their financial means that well either. But the rules are basically the same. In Round One, the players stand around in a group and say “Where do YOU want to go for lunch?” The correct response to this is, “I don’t really care, where do YOU want to go?” To play this correctly, each person in the group must be asked the same question and must respond with the same answer (see above for correct question and response). Once the question and its response has completed this cycle, Round Two begins. Someone says, “Well, we could go to XXXX”, then pauses, “or YYYY”. The correct response to this statement is “Yeah, either one is good for me”. Notice that still no decision has been made. Round Two is completed when this cycle of statements has made it around the group. (Note: Round Three is where the Home Edition differs from the Work Edition.) In the Work Edition, Round Three goes like this… One person says, “Where is everybody else going?” another says “I’m not sure, let’s find out.” Everyone stands around while one player tries to find out from another group where they are going. Unfortunately, they are also playing the game, so they are absolutely no help whatsoever. Finally, in Work Edition Round Four, one person in the group has the courage to speak up and say “OK, lets go to XXX” Now, this takes a great deal of courage (or maybe that person is just starving and doesn’t want to waste the little time they have to eat standing around in a group deciding where to go). The reason that being the one to select the place to eat requires great courage is because if the food/service/ cost/distance from work/ temperature in the restaurant/anything else is not satisfactory, that person will feel as though he/she has personally failed their group. That person will NEVER again suggest any place to go, as they are forever marked as an unsatisfactory eatery selector. In the Work Edition, we also have a Bonus Round, (played at the end of the meal) which involves everyone looking at their watches until one person says, “It’s time to get back to work, or we’ll be late.”, thereby causing the moans and groans of everyone in the group. Another successful game of "“Where Do You Want To Eat?®” Work Edition has reached its conclusion.

Now, back to the Home Edition. As I said, the Home and Work editions of the game start the same, but often, in the Home Edition, instead of standing in a group, you actually play in the car. And since we don’t have another group to ask, the Home Edition skips right to Round Four, the round in which someone actually selects the place to eat. However, in our family, we have worked out a plan, in which each player names one or two places, then the other player(s) (sometimes there are just two of us playing) say either, “That would be ok,” or “No, I don’t feel like that”. Note that this does not actually cause a place to be selected, it merely eliminates several choices. At this point, we go into the Lightning Round, where a decision has to be made, so the driver (me) will not just be driving around town aimlessly. Sometimes we simply say, “It’s your turn to pick”, and we force one person to make a selection. The fly in the ointment with this strategy is that all players still retain the power to veto any choice. It gets terribly complicated at times. We have thought about making a spinner, with all of the restaurants that we frequent, so that we can just spin and make the decision easier. But wouldn’t that take away all of the fun and excitement of playing “Where Do You Want To Eat?®”?

Here's the top view of the "mystery" butterfly. The ones that I looked at online all had more white on them. I couldn't find anything that matched exactly. Anyone who knows the name of this butterfly, please let me know. Thank you!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Well, these photos finally loaded! The photo on the top is the butterfly that I cannot identify. I think that it looks like a Gulf Friterary, but I'm not sure. If anyone can identify it, please let me know! The inside of the wings are a dusty orange, with three little white spots on the top of each wing near the head. The photo underneath (in the middle) is the Spicebush Swallowtail and a bee that didn't mind sharing the zinnia. Its funny, because wasps at the hummingbird feeders chase the hummingbirds away, but obviously bees have better manners.
This bottom photo is the Tiger Swallowtail. At least that's what I think it is. I know that it is a Swallowtail, but I'm not positive about the Tiger part. I have a few other photos that are pretty decent (of the butterflies), and I may post them at some time in the future, so be forewarned! Butterflies are much less aware of human presence than hummingbirds, or if they are aware, they don't seem to mind. At any rate, it's fairly easy to get butterfly pictures. I hope that you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoy taking them!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Today was a “Wild Kingdom” sort of day. I mowed the both the front and the back yards and encountered a plethora of small animals/reptiles/amphibians/insects that most people probably wouldn’t even touch. I not only touch them, I love them. Along the side of the house, I found a rough earth snake .....a pretty good sized one at that (they don’t get any bigger than about a foot long). I have no idea what it was doing in the middle of the yard. They usually are found under rocks (where they can find the little bugs that they eat). I moved it to a safer location…it didn’t seem to be particularly thankful, but I was glad that I saw it before I mowed over it. In that same area, I caught a little leopard frog (see picture at the top of this post), which surprised me also, because they usually stay close to water. I also moved him to a safer place. And in the SAME area, I saw not 1, not 2, but 3 teeny tiny little anoles (The little green lizards that some people call chameleons. They are not real chameleons, but they do change color, and the males puff their red throats out). These were probably no longer than 1 ½ inches. Two inches tops. I didn’t even try to catch them, because they were so little, I was afraid I would hurt them. Around back, I saw another leopard frog, but it jumped into one of the ponds before I could move it. I also saw a teeny little preying mantis on the trellis over by the roses. It was only about 1 inch long. And I saw several interesting grasshoppers. The dragonflies were out in force, as usual, as well as the hummingbirds, and all of the other birds that come to our feeders. But the highlights of my day were the butterflies at the cottage garden. There were three… a yellow swallowtail, a spicebush swallowtail and one that I couldn't identify. I was lucky enough to get some pretty good pictures. I know that this isn’t a particularly amusing post, it’s more of a “reflect on what really matters and what is beautiful in the world” type of post. If there is one thing that I have gained from teaching young children, it’s the chance to see the “wonder’ a child has when he/she sees something for the first time. That ‘discovery” moment. As adults, we take so many things for granted. Not only take them for granted, we consider them a nuisance, something to get rid of, dismiss. We don’t appreciate what we have in nature and how perfect it all is. Spider webs, for example. We pull them down, curse their presence, and hope that the spider does not rebuild. But if we take time to look at the spider web, at its intricate design, we can appreciate how this spider has developed its web, and how it functions in our world. Interconnectedness. Everything has a place and a function in our world. I’m thankful to be a part of it, and I am thankful for the ability to recognize what I have.
The photo on the left is a green anole. Anoles change color from a grayish brown to different shades of green, to blend in with their background. The photo on the right is a rough earth snake. The rough earth snake looks bigger in this picture than they are in real life. They are usually between 8 and 12 inches long. They have a teeny little head, and couldn't bite you if they tried. Author's Note: I planned to place some photographs of the butterflies in this post, but as usual, they wouldn't load. I guess the program was just humoring me when it let me load these three pictures. I would say that 85-90% of the time I cannot load pictures when I try. But, I will keep trying, and sooner or later, I"ll get them loaded. Please check back. Does anyone else have this problem?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Well, here's my latest hummingbird picture. Unfortunately, my wife's '83 El Camino was in the background, so I got a pretty good shot of the tire. But the hummingbird is not too bad. My wife said that I ought to have some kind of software that I could use to get rid of the tire in the background, but I'm not quite that computer savvy. The flowers are 'Black and Blue Salvia'. They grow like crazy in our cottage garden (in the back yard), but for some strange reason, they die in the front yard. It's a pity, because they are really pretty. The other photograph(at the bottom of this post) is one I took of the fish in one of our ponds. It's a koi pond, but they are really just goldfish. These do very well, and they are only about 20 cents apiece, a far cry from the koi prices. And I don't care one way or the other. They are both pretty. The goldfish just don't have the little catfishy-looking whiskers that koi do. The greenish things are water lettuce and the other little beige things are floating fish food. You can see all the teeny tiny babies. That's actually why I took the picture. I really like it when we have babies. I love to work in the yard. I think that I got that from my father. There's just something that feels right about getting your hands dirty, sweat dripping off of you, making things grow. After years of gardening, there are a few things that I have noticed about working in the yard. Certain truths, so to speak. For instance, I have found that while mowing, if I am going to run out of gas, it will be when I only have a 3 foot by 8 foot section left to mow. And if there isn't any gas in the gas can to refill the mower right that minute (which will involve putting on a bra and going to the convenience store to refill the gas can), that 3ft X 8ft section will be in the FRONT yard rather than in the unseen back yard. The same holds true for trimmer line. Another truth is that if you plant two of the same plants, one in the front yard, and one in the back yard, the one in the back yard will flourish, and the one in the front yard will die (see Black and Blue Salvia, above). And still another: no matter how you stretch it, your hose will always fall 3 feet short of reaching whatever it is that you want it to reach. I was working in the yard today, weeding, and wishing that I had mulched better earlier in the summer. Living in Louisiana, our summers are hot and humid. Today we topped out at 105 °, with 92% humidity. That's pretty darn hot. If you want your garden to do well, you pretty much have to mulch your plants. And when you mulch, you should put down at least an inch to 1½ inches of mulch. Now, I HATE mulching. It's not so much the actual mulching, it's the buying the mulch and getting it home that's the real pain. In order to put down 1½ inches of mulch, you need a good many bags of mulch. I usually figure out how many bags I think I need, then double that number. Let's just say that you need 20 bags of mulch to properly insulate your garden. First, you have to go to either a Homo Depot type store or WalMart to buy your mulch. My car will hold 2 bags in the trunk and 3 in the back seat if I really cram it in there. You have to deal with going in, hauling the mulch to the checkout, standing in line, paying for the mulch and putting it in your car. Invariably, the bags will have tears in them and you will have mulch all over your car. That's another one of those truths I was talking about. So you take the five bags of mulch home, then go back for five more. Stand in line again, load it up again, get even more mulch in your car. By that time, I'm tired of WalMart or Homo Depot or any other place that sells mulch. I refuse to make two more mulch runs. But I obviously don't have enough mulch to do the job correctly. Do I spread it thinner than needed? Or do I mulch some of the garden correctly and wait on the rest of it? And how do I select which part of the garden deserves to be mulched first? As I was contemplating the choices, an idea occurred to me. Mulch Trucks. Like ice cream trucks. Except they would play something like "Farmer In The Dell". All the gardeners could run out to the truck and get their mulch. "I'll take 20 bags, sir/mam." No WalMart, no Homo Depot, no mulch in the car, no four trips to get enough mulch. Problem solved. I talked to my wife about this idea, and I think that maybe after I retire (just a few more years), we might load up that '83 El Camino of hers with mulch and give it a try. We have been looking for a job that we could work together. This just might be it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Up until very recently, my wife, son and I did not own cell phones. And we were proud of it. We didn’t NEED no stinkin’ cell phones! Not only did we not own cell phones, we thought that we were so superior to everyone else that did, because we could manage our lives without having cell phones glued to our ears. And we were horrified at the people who were rude enough to talk on their cell phones in public. But, since my son drives 100 miles every other weekend to see his dad and his grandmother, and my wife drives 30 miles several times per week to groom and ride her horse (he doesn’t live with us-he lives on a farm in the country), I worried about them when they were on the road. So the more I thought about it, the more I thought that we needed cell phones. Just for emergencies. That’s right. Oh, we don’t need any fancy phones, we all said. Just a simple phone, just in case of an emergency. We all agreed on that… just your basic phone would be just fine. We did our research, we talked to friends and coworkers who, of course, all had cell phones. We looked at brochures and the propaganda that they call commercials. We selected our plan and network. The night before we went to get the phones, I made a confession. “I’ve been thinking, and if we don’t have to pay too much, I might like a camera phone-you know, just in case I see some freaky people at WalMart, I might want to take a picture.” (This happens quite often, remember-we live in Louisiana. If you want to be entertained, go to a WalMart on a Friday or Saturday night around midnight and marvel at the way people actually go out in public. Sometimes I wonder if they have mirrors at their houses.) Anyway, I said, that’s it…no other luxuries…I don’t need text messaging or picture messaging or anything like that. Just the camera… just for emergencies. My son confessed that he had also been thinking that a camera phone might come in handy. OK, so we will look for camera phones. But plain phones except for the camera. Nothing else fancy. These are just for emergencies anyway. The next day we went to a local electronics store to purchase our phones. We surveyed the “free” phones. Well, there you go, there’s a camera phone, and its free…. it just happens to have text messaging and picture messaging and all those other fancy things that we will never use, but since we want camera phones, this one is as good as any other. So we got the phones. The ones that had the text and picture messaging, but only because they had the camera, and that’s really all that we wanted. We probably wouldn’t even use the phones. Just in case of an emergency, that’s all. Oh, and in case I saw someone freaky at WalMart. The most amazing thing to us was that we got three camera phones (with all of the totally unnecessary and obviously never-going-to-be-used extra amenities) and walked out of the store without paying a cent. Nothing. That was in itself amazing to us! Who ever heard of getting three phones with all that extra stuff for free? So we took them home and got them out of the boxes so that we could figure them out. The first thing I did was take a picture of my beautiful wife. And then I sent it to her…well, I had to at least try the picture messaging, since I had taken the picture. She sent one back. Oh…this was fun! The three of us spent the next few hours playing with our phones. We text messaged, picture messaged, downloaded ring tones, you name it, we did it. But just to try these features out to see if they worked, because remember, these phones were just for emergencies. Two days later, we left for vacation in Pensacola, Florida. Our son stayed home, by himself, to take care of the Cast of Thousands. We had numerous “emergencies” that merited photo or text messaging during our trip. We sent pictures of us on the beach, at the zoo, at the Oceanarium. We even sent a picture of a Wendy’s chicken nugget that looked like Mickey Mouse (see photo above). He sent us pictures of the dogs and the cats. We spoke several times per day (I think that he missed us). After that initiation, all bets were off. We were like “dykes gone wild” on the cell phones. When she was in meetings and couldn’t talk, we text messaged back and forth. Unfortunately, I did not see any freaky people, but I did send her pictures of my garden at my school and I even sent her a picture of the supper I had waiting for her, to encourage her to hurry home. One morning around 3 am (I am a night owl, especially when I am not working), I changed her ring tone to me saying “Honey, answer the phone…pick up the phone…answer the phone honey.”. At 3 am, doing something like that is absolutely hilarious. I am very thankful that at 10 am the next day she thought it was just as hilarious (although it confused her at first…she thought that she must have had the speaker phone on). By the way, this is one of the reasons that I love her so much. She enjoys my crazy jokes as much as I do. And surprisingly, she has not changed the ring tone back to “London Calling” yet, because she says that she likes hearing my voice imploring her to answer her phone.

We have had the cell phones about six weeks now. Our first bill came about two weeks ago. WHAT??? When you text message or picture message, the person who receives the message gets charged too? That’s just not right! No one told us that! But it’s worth it, for the enjoyment it gives us. (How’s that for rationalization?)

We are now officially “cell phone users”. We keep our phones on from the moment we wake up until the time we go to bed. Our “just for emergencies” phones are now used more than our land line (which we have actually been thinking of getting rid of). And, my wife, who was the most stalwart of the “no cell phone holdouts” is experiencing ‘cell phone envy”. One of her co-workers has a RAZR, which she says is a positively beautiful thing to behold. But, you know, it seems a shame to pay that much for a phone that would be just for emergencies.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My son called me yesterday, to tell me that the Sci Fi Channel was now showing "Dead Like Me" on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm. Needless to say, I was thrilled! "Dead Like Me" is my all time favorite television show. It originally was a Showtime original series, but only ran two years. For some unknown reason, despite critical acclaim, Showtime cancelled it, and put "Fat Actress" in its place. "Fat Actress"! What were they thinking? Anyway, I am hoping that they will not only show the past episodes, but will pick up where the series left off. The only thing that might cause a problem is that Mandy Patinkin is now doing "Criminal Minds", and I think that show is doing pretty well, so he might not be available. His character (Rube) was a major character in the show, but I guess that I could get used to someone else in that role. I wouldn't like it, but to get the rest of the cast back, I would accept it. If you have never seen this fantastic show, I will try to tell you a little about it. Or, you might want to go to the web site, which will probably sum it up better than I can. .
Here's my summary:
The main character is Georgia Lass (George), an 18 year old college dropout, very unmotivated, withdrawn and moody. Her mother makes her go get a job, but the first day on the job, when she is at lunch, a toilet seat from the space station Mir falls to earth, killing her. But, rather than going on to where ever you go when you die, she becomes a "reaper" (as in grim reaper). There are reapers everywhere, it seems. They look like ordinary people, work at ordinary jobs (since they don't get paid to reap, they have to live somehow), and do ordinary things. She has issues with the idea of being a reaper, and the first several episodes deal with those issues. You get to know her fellow reapers (who also all have some kind of issues) Mason-the British screw-up, Roxy-the no-nonsense meter maid/police officer, Betty-a free spirit, Daisy-man-crazy actress from the 1930's, and Rube-gruff boss-father figure. Rube is the one that hands out the assignments, however we never see who gives him the assignments (they are slipped under his door). Every day they meet at 'Der Waffle Haus' restaurant, and Rube gives each reaper their assignment(s) (name, location and estimated time of death) for the day and it is their job to go "reap" that person. Now, they do not kill the people, they only reap their soul, hopefully seconds before they die. Then they take the person to a place where they go towards the lights and disappear. We don't see where they go either. There are also little imp-like creatures that sometimes cause the deaths, called "gravelings". No one can see them except reapers, and even they have to look out of the corners of their eyes to see them. I know that this sounds kind of complicated, but it really isn't. The show is a dark comedy, and very funny. Through the two seasons, you get to know the reapers, see their ups and downs, jobs, relationships and living arrangements. There are some serious issues too, mostly about the effect of George's death on her family. (They cannot let anyone know that they are still here on earth, or that they are reapers, and in fact, they look different from the way they looked when they were alive, so that no one will recognize them.) Well, I'm not a television or movie critic, so I don't know if this description will entice anyone to watch the show. But if you do, I think that you will like it. If you don't want to wait for the Sci Fi Channel to show all of them, or don't get the Sci Fi Channel, you can also rent the box sets at video rental stores (I'm not sure if Netflix has them). When I watched the episode today (yes, even though I have the DVDs, I watched it anyway), there was a short scene in there that was NOT in the Showtime version OR in the DVD set. That gave me hope that they might be willing to invest in this series and continue it. I would be overjoyed if they do, but if they don't, I always have my DVDs.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

One of our cast of thousands is a bad little dog. She came to live with us three years ago. We already had two dogs, but I’m a dog person. I grew up with dogs. They were my confidants, my best friends, my buddies that would hide under the house with me when I heard my mother calling my full name. (Is there anything more terrifying to a child than hearing their full name called? Any time you hear your full name, you just know it can’t be good.) I think that I love dogs because of the unconditional love that they give you. It doesn’t matter if you leave for five minutes or five hours, dogs are always ecstatic to see you return. Don’t get me wrong, I really like cats, but I am extremely allergic to them, so I don’t encourage them to come and sit on me. Besides that, I was not allowed to have a cat as a child because “they get on the table and lick the butter” (ok, so she was right about that). Therefore I never developed that close “cat person” bond with them. In fact, I was not around cats at all until I married a cat person (my ex-husband) and finally had cats of my own. So that’s why, three years ago, even though we already had a beagle and a dalmatian, I wanted another dog. I wanted a yippy yappy, jump up and down, pick-me-up-this-very-instant little dog. You know, a little dog like the ones in the movies that jump up and get the jail keys and bravely save their masters. A little dog like the ones you see in the tabloids being carried around in fake celebrities' purses. That's the kind of dog I wanted. All I can say now is that the adage holds true…be careful what you wish for. My wife agreed to this, which shows just how much she loves me. We found this particular bad little dog at the Caddo Parish Animal Shelter. They told us that she was half Jack Russell Terrier and half Rat Terrier, but to me she looks exactly like a Fox Terrier. The people at the animal shelter also told us that her name was Emily. “What a sweet name for a sweet little dog”, we thought. A sweet little dog! Hey, that’s exactly what I wanted! We gladly gave them their $50 and hurried out of the shelter before someone else snatched such a sweet little dog away from us.
Once we got home, we soon found that she didn’t answer to Emily. We tried changing her name to Rita Mae (after Rita Mae Brown, for all you non-dykes out there). She didn’t respond to Rita Mae either. We obviously had to find a name that she could own…one that fit her and that she would be proud to acknowledge as hers. In the meantime, she was tearing up everything in the house that she could reach. She was tearing up stuff that we didn’t even know we owned. She was chasing the cats, getting up on the laundry table/24 hour cat food buffet (formerly known as an air hockey table) to eat the cat food (which is, to a cat person, a major offense). When she was outside, she would chase squirrels and birds. When you let her back in, she would fly around the room, on a circular flight path, in front of the tv, around the coffee table, up on the back of the couch, and back around the room again and again. And every time she would do these things, we would say, “Stop that, you bad little dog!”. Of course, she didn’t stop. But soon we noticed that when we said, “Stop that, you bad little dog!”, she still wouldn’t stop, but she would look at us. We knew that we had found her name. Bad Little Dog. We’ve had Bad Little Dog for three years now. She is still a bad little dog and she has not slowed down one iota, although thankfully, she is tearing up fewer things. She has refined her hunting style, and now hunts like a cat, crouching in wait for the unsuspecting doves who feed on the ground under the bird feeders, shaking her rear end and stubby little tail side to side, until she pounces on her prey, who, much to our relief, always gets away. But she is nothing if not vigilant. She goes on “lizard patrol” and can sit for hours in the daylilies and roses, watching for lizards on the walls. Unfortunately, she does manage to get a lizard on occasion. She is also an accomplished hunter of rough earth snakes. Her favorite snacks when out in the yard are ants. On the nights that it is either thundering or fireworks time, she gets to sleep in our bed. She burrows under the covers, finds a leg or foot to lick and goes to sleep. She is a handsome dog. He stomach is hairless, and feels like a piece of raw chicken. We sometimes call her "Chicken Belly", which she ignores completely. I love the Bad Little Dog, even though she would never get the keys to my prison cell and rescue me, and if I put her in my purse, she would shred it in just a few minutes. She is definitely MY dog, which is fine with my wife, since she is a cat person, and merely tolerates the dogs. Bad Little Dog will sit by me for hours, sometimes licking my leg or foot, whatever is handy. She will lick for ten or fifteen minutes, her eyes getting heavier with each lick. Towards the end, the licks will get slower, sometimes stopping with her tongue still on my leg. Then she sighs and she’s asleep. She looks so cute and sweet when she is asleep. We enjoy it while we can.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I’ve been thinking about my toaster. You know, the one I got for converting my wife to homosexuality and leading her into our “alternative lifestyle”. At the time, I was happy with the toaster. I mean, it’s a four slice toaster that holds bagels also, what’s not to like? But, as I said, I’ve been thinking about it, and it hardly seems fair. In the past, conversion to homosexuality was strictly a personal thing. It wasn’t until the Defense of Marriage Act that we were given the huge responsibility of destroying heterosexual marriage. That’s quite an ambitious project, don’t you think? That’s why I have come to the conclusion that now, since the stakes have been raised, we deserve better appliances. I’m not really sure what we should get instead, maybe it should be flexible, on a sliding scale…depending on age, level of activism, whether or not they intend to be out. Converting a young (20ish) person who would be an out activist would certainly merit a top reward, like an Ipod or maybe even a video camera (which would actually be a twofer, because of the ability to use the camera to make subversive videos and thereby use this technology to further our cause). It’s obvious why an out person and an activist person would add to your score. But I must make a clarification here…the younger, the higher level, only because this gives them potentially more years to work on the destruction of heterosexual marriage. In no way do I personally value a 20 year old more than a 60 year old. I just think that if the conversion involves an older person, say someone in their 60’s or 70s, the reward should be a little less, because in all probability they will have less time to work on our cause. And anyway, people are already used to two elderly women living together (remember the librarian and the church secretary in your home town?). If we are going to fight this Defense of Marriage Act, we’ve got to get serious about this conversion thing! We’ve got to get busy! Someone like Shane from “The L Word” could furnish their entire house in just a few months! What an incentive! I think that I should send this idea to the queer authorities, and see what happens! Don’t get me wrong, I may have come up with the idea, but I can buy my own appliances. I’m as much committed to the cause as anyone, but I will have to fight the DOMA in my own way. I don’t intend to ever collect another reward for conversion, no matter what they dangle in front of me. My wife is reward enough for me. I’ll keep my toaster, thank you!

I'm not working this summer. This is the first time in 5 years that I have not taught summer school. The only reason that I didn’t work that particular summer is that I was in the hospital. In fact, in the past 20 years, I’ve only missed 2 summers. I even taught the summer that I had carpal tunnel surgery. But this year, everyone thought I should rest. I suppose its been good for me, my hot flashes have tapered off, and my right eye has not been twitching nearly as much as it usually does. I’m not mainlining antacids either. But I miss it. So, now with a seemingly endless amount of time, I’ve had to adapt. First of all, I shouldn’t say that I am not working this summer. I’m not teaching, but I do have a summer job. I am the Doggy Doorkeeper. With three dogs, I have a lot to do. Let them out, let them in, let 2 out, let 1 back in, let 1 back out, let 2 back in, well, you can see where this is going. But I have found another pastime. Actually, it is more like a hobby. An interest. Ok, it’s an obsession. Hummingbirds. We have 12-16 hummingbirds in our yard (or maybe more-they go so fast and fly up in the trees and over the house, so its hard to keep count). They spend all day zooming around the yard; going from one feeder to another (we have four feeders at this point in time). They fuss at each other with a peculiar little squeaking sound and chase one another away from the feeders and all around the yard, sometimes getting within a few feet of us. I’ve actually spent a good deal of time wondering how much damage one would do if it hit you at full speed with that needle-like beak. Ok, watching them is fun, but I am not satisfied with sitting with my wife on the swing, enjoying the breeze, watching the hummingbird drama every afternoon. I must get a photograph. Not just any photograph. THE photograph. The absolutely best, artistically perfect, can’t wait to frame and display, award winning, magazine quality photograph. Forget that I have a fairly inexpensive, little Kodak digital camera with no extra lenses. I intend to get that photograph. So there I sit in my lawn chair (because the swing isn’t close enough to the feeders for me to get THE picture), as still as I can be, waiting for one of them to get into the exact position for that perfect photograph. But it eludes me. I will get that photograph. This is my quest. (I can hear the sounds of “The Impossible Dream” playing in the background). It might take me a while, but I will get it. And just so you will know how the project is progressing, I will post the best pictures that I have taken of the hummingbirds. And when I get THE photograph, you’ll be the first to know.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Another one of our "cast of thousands". This is Monte. He and I have a love/hate relationship. I am the human, and as the human, I am the boss. Somewhere along the line, Monte missed that lesson. His main goal in life is to escape from the hell that is the air-conditioned, comfortable couched, bottomless food bowl house that we call home. Being a teacher, I have the "teacher voice". That and a pop on the head pretty much taught him that running out the door when it is opened is not a good idea. The reason that I am such a cruel jailer is that 1) he has no fear of the street, 2) he likes to chase birds and 3) he picks fights with one of the outside cats (not Our Sister of Perpetual Aggravation-the other one, Carmen. NO ONE picks fights with Our Sister of Perpetual Aggravation). Before you cry "cat abuse!" for the remark about a pop on the head, I have to tell you that I have a minor in psychology and understand behavior modification. When I first arrived at his house and found that he was a pretty accomplished escape artist, I used continuous conditioning, popping him everytime he neared the door that I was entering or exiting. That, along with the "teacher voice" NO! a few times, and he reined in his desire to escape. He's a pretty quick learner, and soon, the pop was no longer necessary and the teacher voice alone did the trick. Occasionally, he needs a little reminder, but not very often. But even with our escape situation, he still loves me, and insists on sitting on me as much as possible, despite the fact that I am highly allergic to cats. Come to think of it....maybe he doesn't love me so much after all.

I guess that all dykes at some time in their lives have to ask themselves this one burning I butch or femme? Where do I fit in the grand scheme of things? When my wife told her ex-husband (by the way, he was an ex-husband before I came along) that she was in love with, and marrying a woman, he asked her a derivation of the age old question..."Who wears the strap-on at your house?" My response to that question was, "Who wears the strap-on at YOUR house?" He was not amused. I thought that thinking was in the past, but I see in the gay press that it is alive and well. Actually, my wife and I discuss this "butch-femme" thing every now and then, and the funny thing is that we both want to be the "butchest of all". After discussing this for five years, we decided that the only fair thing to do is to look at the facts and decide once and for all, which one of us is butch and which one of us is femme. OK, first let's take a look at us....I have shorter hair than she does, and her hair is cute and curly (even though she does absolutely nothing to it). Put one check in the butch column for me! But wait, I wear makeup-pretty much every day, and she wears none-never. One check in the butch column for her. And, I have to confess, for the amount of makeup I wear (eye shadow, eyeliner, lipstick...the whole nine yards), I deserve TWO checks in the femme column (damn!). Neither of us wear dresses anymore, so that's a butch check for both of us. However, her footwear (she sometimes wears sandals or low pumps) is occasionally femmier than mine (I wear nothing but athletic shoes-different colors, but still athletic shoes). But, since I have heel spurs and a medical reason not to wear other type shoes, we'll call that one a draw. We both occasionally get manicures (but always with clear polish), so we can call that one a draw as well. I wear much more jewelry than she does, so I'll have to take a hit in the femme column. I think that I am leaning a little more to the femme column at this point. But let's look at the jobs we each do around the house. She does 95% of the cooking-1 femme for her, but I do 95% of the laundry-1 femme for me. I mow the yard-1 butch for me, but she edges and weedeats-1 butch for her. I sew when needed (mend garments, hem pants, sew curtains)-1 femme for me, she irons-1 femme for her. I own power tools-1 butch for me, she's the one that fixes the toilet-1 butch for her. I get between her and crazy men in WalMart (a whole other story)-1 butch for me. She cleans the bathrooms-1 femme for her, I clean and mop the kitchen-1 femme for me. This butch/femme thing is getting way to complicated for me! I heard somewhere along the way that lesbians are fluid, that we are not bound by labels anymore. Personally, I think that we are just us. We do what we like, we make it work, we're happy, and that's all that counts.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I hate to fill out forms of any kind. Trying to fit all of the necessary information into those little boxes is tedious at best. I hate explaining that I have absolutely no blood relatives (oh, you poor thing), and I hate having to justify why I list my ex-husband and my ex-mother-in-law under friends (how hard is it to understand that you still get along with your ex-husband, and that your ex-mother-in-law is like your own mother, but better?). But the trickiest question for me is the one that says 'Marital Status: Single? Divorced? Married?'. Every time I get to this question, I sit and stare at the page, trying to work out the answer. Of course, as you know, I am married. Just not legally in the state of Louisiana (at least not yet). So, if I check married, what will happen to me? Will the truth-in-marital-status police come for me? I know that I am married, the state of Louisiana just doesn't recognize that I am. I also know that I am definitely not single. I feel guilty, like I am denying my wife and our life together if I check single. There's no way that I am single. And to complicate things further, yes, I am divorced. But what does that have to do with anything? Is it their business that I am no longer married to the boy I married as a young, naive nineteen year old, fresh out of college? I think not. And please explain to me the difference between divorced and single! In either case, you are not married. Is there something special about your singleness after you have gone through costly legal wrangling to remove your check from the married box? So there I sit, trying to figure out which box to check. It would be much easier if they would just recognize our marriage legally. But since that isn't going to happen soon, maybe they could just put a box on the forms that says "in a committed relationship" or "domestic partner". Or better yet, leave the whole thing off! Yeah! What business is it of theirs what your marital status is? Let's start a movement....privacy! Leave it blank! Write in "Its none of your business"! Stand up to the powers that be! Why does the dentist need to know such personal information? No more will we be pigeonholed into the overly complex: Married? Single? Divorced?. I can see the grassroots movement growing! Who's with me on this?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

DOMA...Defense of Marriage Act. They should just call it the LNLQMA (Let's Not Let Queers Marry Act). At least then, there would be some truth in advertising. To be honest, the name 'Defense of Marriage Act" perplexes me. Is heterosexual marriage in such a fragile state that it needs defending? If it is, it isn't for lack of trying. I know people who have been married three, four, even five times. It seems like they should have gotten it down pat by the third or fourth time. Maybe its because so many heterosexual people have taken marriage for granted, broken their vows, ignored the 'til death do we part' clause, and made a mockery of marriage by marrying in haste or in a drunken stupor, only to get it annulled 24 hours later? Do they feel threatened by us because we take the rite of marriage so seriously that we face contempt of court, public outcry and ridicule just trying to get the same rights that they have, yet do not appreciate? When my wife and I got married, (we had a commitment ceremony in our UU church), we were asked, "Why are you doing this? It isn't even legal." We responded that our relationship, our commitment to each other was too important NOT to do it. To publicly proclaim our love and devotion deserved a ceremony. We knew that we would still have to legally acquire the simple protections that heterosexual couples automatically receive upon saying "I do". But our love deserved this ceremony, whether we received these same protections or not. If/when marriage for homosexuals becomes legal in our state/country, we'll be first in line. But until then, we consider ourselves married, legally or not.
In the meantime, in keeping with our most important goal in life (i.e. the destruction of heterosexual marriage), we would like to offer these three compelling reasons to destroy heterosexual marriage: 1. It would put an end to the men who approach lesbians in the gay bars and ask "do you wanna come 'party' with me and the wife?" 2. Women would not have to deal with the problem of 'male empty container syndrome' in their refrigerators and pantries.(Hey, we're just trying to help our heterosexual sisters out!) 3. It would mean that we wouldn't have to listen to straight women complain about their husbands all day long. (People think that lesbians do not like men, but if you listen to straight women fuss about their husbands, you'll know who REALLY dislikes them!) Well, back to our alternative lifestyle...I have to get a load of clothes out of the dryer! More later!

This is one of our kitties, 'Our Sister of Perpetual Aggravation' (formerly known as Harriette). She is a sweet kitty, but always looks and sounds very aggravated. (Don't worry-no animal was harmed in the making of this blog)