Friday, September 29, 2006

In honor of National Coming Out Day, October 11th, I thought that I would list some of the posts on this blog that have dealt with our queerness. If you ask me, I think that these posts are some of my most "inspired". So, if you have not read these before, or if you read them then, enjoyed reading them,and would like to read them again, here's the list. If you are straight, reading this, welcome to our world. If you are queer, I hope that you identify with and enjoy these. I have put a little description of the post next to the links, just to make it easier. And I promise, at some time during this next week I will be back with something new and exciting!

2006/07/ive-been-thinking-about-my-toaster.html (Recruiting lesbians)
2006/07/i-hate-to-fill-out-forms-of-any-kind.html (Am I single? Married? Divorced? What a dilemma!)
2006/07/doma.html (Defense of Marriage Act)
2006/07/i-guess-that-all-dykes-at-some-time-in.html (Which of us is butch or femme?)
2006/07/why-do-lesbians-and-gay-men-always-get.html (Differences between lesbians and gay men)
2006/06/is-it-just-us-we-seem-to-be-way-more.html (Our interest in other homosexuals)
2006/09/being-out-is-wonderful-thing.html (Being out)

Also, if you would like more information on coming out, or just queerness in general, click on this link to go to Human Rights Campaign-Coming Out Section.

This is my beautiful wife's cat, Sugar Pie, another of our "Cast of Thousands". Sugar Pie was originally going to be named 'Sneaky Pie', because of Rita Mae Brown's mystery book series, but my wife said that he was too sweet to be a 'Sneaky Pie', so she changed it to Sugar Pie. The first thing people say when they see him is "That is the biggest cat I have ever seen!". Well, he is big, but not the biggest cat I've ever seen. He's a Maine Coon, and they run big. Sugar Pie came into my wife's life long before I met her. He came to her door when she was living in another state with her (now ex-) husband. He wandered in, and immediately started bonding with her. Her ex said that Sugar Pie was the reincarnation my wife's mother, because her mother didn't like him, and neither did Sugar Pie. (I might add that Sugar Pie loves me!) He is a very sweet kitty. One of the cutest things he does is sit up, like a dog does, and beg, using his paws to tap you or just wave in the air. When he does this, I call him Jabba, because he looks like Jabba the Hut from Star Wars. One thing that I felt badly about (and still do) is that when I came to live with my wife, I displaced cats in the bedroom. You see, I have a pretty severe allergy to cats. But I love cats, and would never dream of asking my wife or my son to give up their cats. So, I have two requests, first, no cats sitting on me, and secondly, no cats in our bedroom. That way, when I am trying to sleep, I won't be breathing in all of the allergens, and hopefully I will sleep better, being able to breathe and all. So, the cats that slept with my beautiful wife before I moved in, were banned from the bedroom. They did not take it very well, and really, who can blame them? For the first week that I lived here, we got almost no sleep. The cats sat at the bedroom door, meowing and sticking their paws under the door. They shredded the carpet and scratched at the door. We put up a divider screen in the entrance to the hall. This did not deter them at all. So, ever the problem solvers, we bought a bi-fold door and put it at the entrance to the hall. They learned how to open it fairly quickly, and then make a mad dash down the hall to continue demolition on our bedroom door. Finally we bought a hook and eye kind of lock and started locking the door. This was the solution. (This worked well except for the one time that our son was still up when we went to bed, and I locked the door out of habit and locked him out of the hall (and his bedroom). He managed to take the top of the door out of the track and get in.) Sugar Pie is one of the sweetest kitties I have ever known, and I hate banning him from the bedroom, but I have no choice really, if I want to be able to breathe. I hope that if he really is my beautiful wife's mother (reincarnated), that he/she forgives me for banning him. And I hope that he/she knows how much I love my wife and is happy for us and for the bliss that we have found together.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Our garage and our guest room exist to torment me. Give me any nasty or difficult job. Weeding, cleaning the carpet, dredging the ponds, any task at all. Just don’t ask me to clean out the guest room or the garage. When my son and I moved in with my wife five years ago, some things ended up piled in the garage until they could be sorted out. It was almost a year before we tackled that. Well, before I tackled it. Since it was basically all of my stuff, I was the only one who could sort it out. And we had boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff. Merging households is never an easy task. You are bound to have some of the same items. You know, two microwaves, two toasters, two sets of dishes, two sets of pots and pans. And I liked my stuff. I liked my microwave, my dishes, my pots and pans. I knew their quirks (you have to set the microwave for 2 minutes and 42 seconds to get the bacon just right). And of course, we got rid of both of our old toasters, thanks to the nifty new toaster I got for converting my wife to homosexuality. So some things stayed, some went. For instance, my wife has a lot of things in the kitchen that belonged to her mother and grandmother, and she keeps these things for sentimental value. Most of them aren’t really used, but she knows that they are there. I have a lot of books and little nick-nacks that don’t do anything, but I like having them (one of my hobbies is looking for small bizarre ceramic creations from the 50's and 60's and another is collecting cheap snowglobes from the same time period). We finally managed to get our two households merged into one. My wife was very pleased that I came with a great many holiday decorations. Not just Christmas, mind you, but Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mardi Gras, and maybe a few more. Therein lies a huge difference between my wife and myself. My wife does not need cute little things to sit around the house. She led a fairly Spartan existence before I moved in. Maybe that came from moving quite often when she was married to her ex-husband. Maybe she never needed a lot of possessions. I suspect that the truth is a combination of the two. As for me, I have no earthly idea where my penchant for collecting cute, yet useless things to decorate the house came from. We didn’t decorate like this when I was growing up. Actually, I don’t think that anyone did. Life was much simpler back then. But, as I was saying, my wife was glad that I had some of those things. She said that the first year my son and I were here, it was like going shopping over and over, because everything that I pulled out of the garage for every holiday was new for her. And I think that I corrupted her, because now she actually looks for cute useless things for various holidays (mainly Christmas, but Halloween gets its fair share also).

But the problem with having all of this stuff is that you have to find a place to put it. Luckily for me, we keep the outside garage door closed all of the time because of the cats. Their litter boxes are in the garage, on the far wall, pretty much out of smell range from the rest of the house. That meant that I could leave my junk in the garage and go through it when I had more time. I did go through it the next summer, and cut my amount of boxes other than holiday boxes down to six. These six hold most of my sentimental keepsakes. Things that I just was not ready to get rid of, like the clippings of my parent’s deaths, souvenirs of places I visited when I was a child. old photographs of unidentified people. (Somehow the original owners of these photographs did not feel the need to identify the people in the photographs. I know that these people are kin to me in some way, but I have no idea who they are or how they are kin to me, and now I have no one to ask.) The garage, though, is the least of my worries, clutter-wise, since we don’t need to go in there very often, usually just to retrieve boxes for whatever holiday is coming up, and because we have left a series of paths, so getting to whatever you are looking for is not that difficult. No, for me, the most dreaded, cluttered beyond belief, place is …the guest room. The guest room. Just saying those three words sends chills down my spine. The guest room. I really am waiting to tackle the guest room until I am able to purchase mountain climbing gear. It started simply enough. I didn’t have enough room to put all of my clothes (year-round) in my closet. So I put the ones that I am wearing at this point in time (Louisiana summer) in my closet. The other clothes (for when it gets a little cooler around here-Louisiana winter) live in the guest room closet. The problem with this is that switching out is not all at once and that you have to keep summer clothing handy at all times. You never know when, in January, you might have a few 80º+ days. Hot humid, sticky 80º+ days. So you see, there is a need for summer clothes year round in Louisiana.
I also have clothes that do not fit in the closet of the guest room. So they live on the bed in the guest room. For some reason, I have the inability to get rid of clothes. For example, I know that I will never wear a size 10 ever again. This is one thing that I am sure of in life. But I don’t want to get rid of those size 10 clothes. Just in case. Never mind that if, by some miracle, I DO lose enough weight to fit in a size 10 again, I would use this as an excuse to buy NEW size 10 clothing. I just don't want to get rid of the clothes. Here is a list of some of the things in our guest room. A set of my wife’s 80 year old aunt’s china, a silver aluminum Christmas tree, that we paid too much for to put in the garage, the color wheel that goes with the aluminum tree, boxes of things that we find during the year that will eventually be Christmas presents, two cat carriers (for visits to the vet), some notebook paper, miscellaneous school supplies, a couple boxes of books, video tapes that I don’t want to get rid of yet, a fan, a sewing machine, a box of thread and other sewing equipment, a box of gift wrap and ribbons, a computer monitor and printer, a lamp, a DVD player, at least one aquarium, some purses, things that were just too good of deals to pass up, but that we don’t know what to do with yet, boxes that we put Christmas gifts for my students in (All year round, if we see a really good deal on something for them, for example, simple puzzles or books, we purchase 12 of it, because I never have had over 12 students by Christmas, so we figure that 12 will be enough..better to have some left over than not enough.). You can see that our guest room is not a very neat place. I swear that I am going to clean it all out, and then somehow it doesn't get done. And I admit it, the mess in there is 95% my fault. And again, I am the one who will have to clean it out. Every now and then I do a little straightening in there (after Christmas is fairly easy, because we have taken out the tree, revolving light, and Christmas gifts.) So we semi-straighten it up, only to have it junked up yet again in a few weeks. One day, I will get it all cleaned out, so that someone could actually sleep in the guest room. That might be what I need to get me moving on it. I don't know. But I will definitely get it done before we move to our dream house. Or at least I think I will.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

As you may know, some people (we call them rednecks) have cars up on blocks in their front yards. Although we live in Louisiana, we do not have cars on blocks in the front yard. Actually, we have a couple of extra cars in our back yard, but not in the front, and they are not up on blocks. They are merely biding time there, fairly inconspicuously, unseen from the street. We would put them in the garage, but there is no room in the garage for cars. But although we don't have cars on blocks in the front yard, we have something better. Much better. We have vacuums in the foyer. As you can see from the photograph, we have an abundance of vacuum cleaners. In fact, we are rich in vacuum cleaners. How did this happen, you ask? Well, there's a fairly simple explanation to this question. You see, when my son and I moved in with my wife, I owned a vacuum. And she owned a vacuum. They were almost the same vacuum, one being a little newer than the other one. The one that I owned was approximately 6 years old, and still was a good vacuum. It did what vacuums are supposed to do, and did it well. Hers was a little less effective, so we decided to use mine. Hers was relegated to the garage (which is one reason that the garage does not have room for cars). We have been together for over 5 years. About a year ago, my vacuum started getting pretty tired. I mean, it was over 10 years old. It was ready for retirement. So we put it out on the curb for some southern recycling. (Why throw it away when it could find a home with someone who doesn't have such stringent vacuuming standards?) I'm sure that some of you are appalled that we would just put something out on the curb, but in Louisiana, this is a common practice. In fact, most of us do a little wagering on how long it will be before whatever we put out there is gone. Some things go very rapidly, some take a few hours. Put a hot water heater out there and you'd better move out of the way, they'll knock you down to get to it. Anyway, we started using her vacuum, which had been resting for four years. We used this vacuum for a little over a year, and it started looking like it was time to retire also. So we had to go vacuum shopping. I remembered that I was the one who had messed up with the towel shopping strategy, so I told my wife that SHE needed to pick out the new vacuum. I was not having any part in the selection part of this purchase, since I didn't have the best track record in this area. So we went to Wal-Mart and my wife picked out a vacuum that she thought would be acceptable. We marveled at how inexpensive vacuums had gotten in the 10 or so years since either one of us had bought one. We brought our new vacuum home, and I did something very uncharacteristic for me. I took it out of the box, and threw the box away. I NEVER do that! I save boxes for years (yet another reason the cars cannot live in the garage), just to be on the safe side. But not this one. We tried the vacuum out. For some reason, it left little trails of something. I'm not even sure what it was. White pet hair? Powder carpet freshener/deodorizer stuff from years of cleaning up behind stinky pets? I didn't know what it was. But I knew that the carpet looked terrible. We worked with the vacuum, tried different things, but nothing worked. And we discovered we didn't like bagless vacuums at all. Having no bag meant reaching up in the filter to get all of the pet hair out. That was just plain nasty. Well, since we threw the box away (my wife NEVER keeps any box, so I can say we-if I were not here, there would not be a single box in the garage, and maybe we could park those extra cars in it), we were stuck with this vacuum. But we HAD to have a vacuum that worked. With all of these pets, a vacuum is an essential appliance. (Come to think of it, I should have held out for a vacuum, when I got my toaster for converting my wife! Oh well, I guess hindsight is 20/20.) So we went back to the store to look for a different vacuum. My wife picked out another vacuum. It is a very pretty vacuum cleaner, but you know, pretty doesn't get your floor clean. This vacuum did the same thing as the other vacuum that we had just purchased. Is it that we are all incompetent at vacuuming? I would like to think that we have a little sense. At least enough sense to vacuum. But obviously not. I'm sure there is something that we are doing wrong. But I have no idea what it is. So, we're back to the old vacuum. The other two sit there. One waits to go back to the store (I kept the box this time). The other waits for some destiny that we have not figured out yet. And the one that was pressed back into service just when it thought it was reaching retirement is not happy. If anyone reading this knows why these vacuums are not vacuuming correctly (I guess I could call that Dyson guy, he seems to know a lot about vacuums), please let me know. I don't really want a fourth vacuum in our foyer.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

This is my beautiful wife, jumping one of the jumps at her horse show yesterday! She won two second place ribbons, one for each event she was in. I am so proud of her, and of her horse, Speck. He loves to jump, and he can turn on a dime. She was in the Jumper Division, Power and Speed and Open Speed. This is English style riding, like in the Olympics. Arent' she and Speck wonderful to look at? And I have to add that this was her first Jumper event. She has done Hunter before, but never Jumper. So I'm extra proud of her good showing!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

OK! Here we go! THIS is the link to the article about the belly fat. I'm fairly certain that if you click on this, you will get to the article that I spoke of in a previous post. If it still doesn't work, I'm just going to give up on putting links in my posts. As always, barely computer literate. And I haven't lost ANY weight yet. I'm going to try harder, now that I've found my link to the solution to my problem (and we all know that it just isn't my fault).

Friday, September 08, 2006

I have to make an announcement....the image below, the one of the big stomach, is not me. I'm sorry to say this, because all in all, it's not a bad stomach. The shirt is just a little too small, that's all. Actually, I need to tell you that I did something wrong, because when you click on the stomach OR the link at the end of the post, you are supposed to go to the site that has the information about what is making our stomachs big. Sorry for this error. I suppose that you could just copy the information at the bottom of the post and get to it that way. I am sorry for any inconvenience and/or confusion that I might have caused. You must remember that I am barely computer literate, and I am doing good to even find my way here when I get online. Thank you for your patience.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Being out is a wonderful thing. If you can do it. I’ve been thinking about it because of National Coming Out Day, which is coming up in October. Personally, I am out to a very few coworkers (only the safest people, because of my job), a few friends and to my ex-husband’s family. That’s it for now. Oh, and to the folks at AARP. My wife, on the other hand is totally out at work, and with most people that she deals with. But not to her aunt (her only living relative). Since I've been thinking about coming out, I've been thinking of the pros and cons to being out. And since I'm obsessive-compulsive, I have sorted some of those pros and cons into what I call Personal Pros and Cons and Global Pros and Cons.
Personal Pros
Number one on this list has to be not having to think before you speak. It’s just so much easier, isn’t it? If you are out, there are no secrets to hide (at least not about your sexual orientation). My wife is out at work. Everyone knows about us and asks her about me and about our son, just like with a heterosexual marriage. I say that the people at her job deserve a huge commendation for being as open minded as they are. But I guess that since she works for the ‘liberal media’, that sort of thing is to be expected.

Number two on the Personal Pro list is that when you sign up for AARP, and you give them your spouse’s name, they give them benefits also. We were very surprised when my AARP card came and there was also one for my wife. And she isn’t but 42! She is actually receiving AARP benefits a whole 8 years early! Can you imagine anything any more thrilling than getting AARP benefits when you are only 42? It is a bittersweet reward though, because now, what does she have to look forward to when she turns fifty? (And on a side note, in the AARP magazine, there are references to and letters from the queer community. Who knew getting old could be this affirming?)

Global Pros
Well, there is this thing about being a positive role model for the younger queers out there…generation Q. The more people that are out, the better for those coming up. Personally, I look forward to the day that I retire for good from my teaching job, tell everyone that I am a big old dyke, remind them of the good things that that they have said and/or thought about me, and see how that jives in their mind with me being a lesbian. I personally think that homophobia will not be won by mass demonstrations and showing of power. I believe that homophobia is conquered one person at a time. Every time one of us comes out, the people that we know are touched by the fact that someone that they like or love or admire or enjoy being with is a homosexual. And that is what will change the opinions of the world.

Personal Cons
Number 1 on this list: Isn’t it obvious? Loss of job, loss of income, loss of house, loss of car, loss of food etc. Here’s what goes through my mind before I think about speaking of my wife or just being queer in general. Who am I talking to? What do they know? WHO do they know? How can they use this information against me? Will they tell someone who will tell someone who will use this against me? It’s like playing Six Degrees of Queer Bashing. (You may laugh, but this actually happened to me. I slipped and introduced my wife as my wife to someone without thinking it through to the end of the equation. She told a friend, who told a friend, who works at my school. I had to go explain my position to this person and hope for the best. I was lucky, but I haven't forgotten the lesson.) I guess that even when you are out, your mind must go to such thoughts too, but maybe it just doesn’t matter. I think that one’s job would have a lot to do with the worry of being out. Some jobs are "queer friendly" and some are not. For example, I am a teacher. I work with young special education students. I do a lot of diaper changing and potty training. Some of my students can’t talk. It’s just too easy for someone who does not like homosexuals to cook up a scenario to cause me grief and maybe cost me my job. (If you think this doesn't happen, you haven't been paying attention to the news for the past 20 years.) And with only two years left before I actually go home, I don’t want anything throwing this off course. If I left now, I would be leaving behind a pretty good chunk of change, thanks to DROP. Maybe I’m imagining too much here. But I don’t want to try it and find that my worst thoughts are true. Better to wait two years than lose future financial security by taking a stand on this issue at this time. Call me a coward, but I just can’t risk it.

Personal Con Number 2: Harassment. I know that men have more to worry about than we do on this issue, but I still don’t particularly want to be harassed. Verbal harassment is fine, I can take that, but I don’t want physical harassment at my age. Remember, I have a hip just waiting to be broken!

Personal Con Number 3 -Upsetting old people. My wife has an aunt who is in her 80’s. She is fairly religious (except for the cocktails that she enjoys quite often), and really has a dislike for homosexuals. She has made this perfectly clear in the past. She is my wife’s only relative, and my wife is her only relative. She thinks that I am a very good friend of my wife and she does allow me to help her with things every now and then, if my wife is not able to help her at that time. We KNOW that coming out to her would upset her, and so we choose not to. She needs us, and we see no benefit in upsetting her and causing her to be estranged from her one relative. As far as we are concerned, she will never know. I must add that if she were a little more open-minded, we would tell her. For instance, my ex-husband’s mother (who is like my mother, but only better) knows all about us. She loves my wife, no, make that adores my wife. She is in her 70’s, but much more open minded. She calls us both her daughters (really).

Global Cons Well, I can’t think of any. And to tell the truth, my Personal Cons are really just rationalization. I know that being out is important, and I will come out. WAY out. Give me a couple of years, and I will be right out there in front leading the Pride Parade! Well, if Shreveport had a Pride Parade. OK, maybe I’ll start the first Shreveport, Louisiana Pride Parade. My wife and I could be in it, the Bad Little Dog, maybe even Pooh Dog. I can just see the Bad Little Dog in her rainbow finery, growling at bystanders. We could throw her at any protesters we might have. That would shut them up! Any suggestions for the parade? Let me know. It’s never too early to start planning!

Monday, September 04, 2006

See, it's not my fault! According to this article, the reason my stomach is big is that I have too much stress and too little sleep. Oh, and that I probably eat too much trans-fat. Well, that might contribute to the fat, but somehow I think that my sitting on the couch, watching tv and eating the wrong things (besides the trans-fat) contributes much more to the big belly situation than the stress and lack of sleep. Also, I have read that some of the medication that I take makes you gain weight. The problem with blaming the medicine is that I have been taking some of this medication for over thirty years, fifteen of which I was thin. But, with my new resolution to get fitter, I will keep all of this in mind. My first step will be to finish this birthday cake as soon as possible, to prevent prolonged eating of something that is obviously making me fat. (I wonder how much trans fat there is in a Baskin-Robbins ice cream cake?) Next step, try to walk around the block at least once. The gym keeps writing me little post cards, begging me to return. According to them, they have missed my dynamic personality and witty comments and things just aren't the same without me there. (Well, they DID say they missed me and wanted me to come back. I just figured that they just left the rest of that off of the postcard because there wasn't enough room.) And now that it is getting cooler (highs in the mid to upper 90's), I might be more inclined to get in the yard than I was the last part of August, when the high temperatures have hovered around 100-103 degrees. (You must remember that summer in Louisiana starts in April or so and lasts at least until Halloween.) And I will make more of an effort to take a more balanced lunch to school instead of things easily carried in a tote bag. So, my plan is in place, and hopefully I'll be a little more fit by this time next year. I'd love to end up as fit as our friend Sharon, who does triathlons, but you know, I don't see that happening. I'll settle for taking a few pounds off, being able to walk and climb stairs without having to catch my breath, and having a little more energy. Again, wish me luck!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I turned fifty-one today.** It’s a sobering number, 51. When you turn fifty, there are celebrations. You get your AARP card, your discount card to certain department stores. “Oh, you look good for fifty”, they say. They sell special napkins and cups and balloons for fifty. There was even a character on Saturday Night Live who was excited about being fifty…”I'm Sally O'Malley, and I’m fifty!” You can really get into that 50th birthday merriment! But nobody celebrates 51. Fifty one is when you come to the realization that your life is over half over. I mean, realistically, how many more years do you have once you reach fifty? It’s not the middle, or at least I doubt that it is. I am not planning on making it to 102. I suppose that is a possibility, with modern medicine the way it is, but I really doubt that I will make it to that century mark.

I have a few regrets in my fifty prior years. Most of them deal with my mother, an uncle, and an ex-husband. But my biggest regret is not meeting my beautiful wife 20 years ago. I regret that I will not have as much time as I would like to have had left to spend with her. There are so many things that I would love to have done with her. For instance, we have a lot of traveling we want to do…we have even thought about buying an RV and traveling, but I don’t think I’ll be up for that if we don’t do it pretty soon. Roughing it is for younger people who still have good backs. And some of the things we want to do would make me look pretty ridiculous. I mean, in less than 20 years, I’ll be seventy. I’ll be really slowing down at that point, I think. She’s still young (nine years younger than me), and she still looks young. I, on the other hand carry too much weight to look young. I don’t have gray hair, and not a terrible amount of wrinkles, but still I couldn’t pass for too much younger. Let’s see the two of us at a punk rock concert. I would look like someone’s grandmother trying to be cool. See what I mean? I really don’t want to be responsible for freaking out multitudes of teenagers or twenty-somethings.

I have been thinking about this for a while. I need to get more active. I know that. Maybe this birthday will be just what I need to make me get off my big rear and get moving. (Actually my rear isn’t the problem, it’s my big stomach that’s going to kill me.) Activity would help me lose this weight, strengthen these bones (like I have said before, I’m a hip just waiting to be broken), and help my heart work better. I see older people who are active, full of energy. I can do that too. Maybe by fifty-two, I’ll be a whole lot healthier. I’ll work on it, and let you know how it turns out. Wish me luck!

** OK, I admit that I did not tell the complete truth in our profile. It just seemed easier to say “two dykes in our forties” than “one of us is in her forties and the other is fifty”. Forgive me for taking liberties with the truth.