Day In, Day Out

Yesterday, Owen was eating pancakes with lemon and powdered sugar for breakfast when he called me over to the table in great excitement.

“Mom, I just had a really sour bite, then I took a sip of my tea and it was a flavor explosion!”

I laughed and told him that’s why some people like lemon and sugar in their tea, it makes a lovely combination. My sensuous guy is always feeling the world full on like that, and it’s a joy to watch.

Today, a friend and colleague told me she’s getting some medical tests and is too preoccupied and busy holding steady just in her family life to continue the community organizing work we’ve been doing together. I wrote the date of her MRI in my schedule book so I can send her loving thoughts.

Today when Erika* picked up Owen, she was standing outside her car listening to NPR really loud and looking more dyke-y than I’ve seen her since a million years ago when we were dating. That was an interesting feeling!

Today I called and talked with my 80-year old parents, all the way on the other side of the continent. They sounded fine. I miss them.

Today I made my husband my super-special famous granola. She always has it for a snack before bedtime and is very forlorn if she runs out.

Today I returned some jeans I had bought for Seth that weren’t the right style. He had a sore throat this morning, but he went in to school anyway, since they were taking the practice PSAT and he didn’t want to miss it.

Last night I dreamed that the president had died. We are of an age, he and I, and it made me sad in the dream that he had left us so early. (Just fyi I really don’t think this was any kind of premonition dream, just an indication of how stressed out and worried I am about this election.) I’ve been wanting to talk with Tex about a Plan B for what to do if Romney wins, and if Scott Brown wins here in MA. I can’t come up with anything, though, other than keep on. Keep on working with the kids in the QSA and the kids in the GSA and the folks at church who are interested in LGBTQ equality and social justice. Keep making the connections between equal rights for queers and equal rights for everybody, including the planet (which, unlike corporations, really is a person, or at least a complex being of sorts that we’ve been oppressing for centuries). Whoever gets elected, there is still going to be social justice work that needs to be done right here on my own block.

The whole house smells like granola. It’s been a good day.


*My ex and the boys’ other parent gets a different pseudonym every post.


Granola a la The Total Femme

3 cups rolled oats

½ cup chopped almonds

¼ cup sesame seeds

2/3 cup maple syrup

2/3 cup canola or coconut oil

2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cardamom

pinch of salt


Mix everything together and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 until evenly browned to your satisfaction (1/2 to 1 hour). Stir every now and again. Store in a mason jar (watch the lid!). Keeps for a week or more.



Penis Lite and Alphabet Soup and National Coming Out Day

My spouse, Tex, is in grad school. It is not the easiest prospect for her, for me, for our whole family. She’s tired and always needing to study, always feeling behind, either in her school work or her work work, or, usually, in both. It’s hard! And I need to take up even more slack than usual around the house, keeping things relatively clean, making sure meals are on the table, children have done homework and chores and gotten to soccerpractice-orthodonticappointmentsschoolchoirpracticechurchyouthgroup on time. I’m also supposed to be concentrating at least a bit of time on my writing (look, I’m writing!) and taking care of myself so I don’t pop off my head, as a wee Seth used to say about feeling frustrated. All this to say that yesterday I had a pedicure.

I thought maybe this new manicurist had a queer vibe last time I saw her, and sure enough, it came out as we were chatting yesterday that she is indeed queer. Bi, to be exact. I had said something about my spouse, and soon thereafter, the manicurist, who I will call Roxanne, encouraged me to come in next time with my “wife” for a double treatment. I laughed and said my spouse was much too butch for that, and Roxanne scrunched up her nose and said something about how she never understood butch, how she herself just wasn’t interested in penis lite. Penis lite? I was so astonished that I could do nothing other than mumble that butch certainly works for me, and the conversation moved on, with Roxanne continuing to refer to Tex as my “wife” despite me always saying, “my spouse”.

Currently, as far as I can tell, there are perhaps as many as 8 letters in the string of letters attempting to define we non-straight folks:  LGBTQQIT-S. (That’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex and Two-Spirit.) There may well be more, it’s hard to keep track. As much as I appreciate the attempt to define as many varieties of non-straight as possible and give us an arena in which we can perhaps group together, have strength in numbers, and effect positive change, the thing is, we aren’t really all that alike. (And some folks in there might actually identify as straight, to boot). Our concerns and issues, apart from those having to do with basic human rights, just aren’t always that similar, and truthfully, there can be quite a divide between us.

If a straight person referred to my relationship with my butch Husband as having anything to do with penis lite, I would have to deck them. But perhaps it’s a little more excusable – they are straight, after all, and presumably just ignorant. There’s a very weird disconnect that happens when another queer completely disappears me like that, though. At first I tried to excuse Roxanne in my mind, just made all these contortions, like, ok, did she really say that? Maybe I heard her wrong. Maybe that’s not what she meant. Like that. And to her credit, she sort of came back around to it, didn’t exactly apologize, but made some effort to explain herself a little. I think she did get some inkling of how much it shocked me for her to have said that.

She gave me a great pedicure and my toes look extremely cute and sexy. But my feelings are still bruised. So today, on National Coming Out Day 2012, I want to remember that it’s not enough to come out to straight people; we queers also have to work on coming out to each other. In hindsight, I wish I had said to Roxanne, “Tex is my spouse, not my wife. I’m the wife and I’m the girl! Also, we identify as femme and butch, and I’m not sure what you meant by mentioning penis lite, but it kind of hurt my feelings, because it felt dismissive of our identities and not very respectful. Probably you didn’t mean it that way, so can I answer any questions you have about femme and butch so you feel like you understand us a bit better? And while we’re at it, maybe you can talk a little about your identity as a bi?” Obviously, I wasn’t that swift on my feet, but there’s always next time. With identity shit this complicated, you can be sure that there will always be a next time!

I will close by wishing a Happy National Coming Out Day to us all, however we identify, and here’s to continuing to reach out to each other as we splash around in that rich, savory, complex and delicious alphabet soup we call home.

Published in: on October 11, 2012 at 2:27 PM  Comments (2)  
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Sweet Summer

Gosh, I just realized that I left off in June with a sort of sad post, or anyway, one where I was feeling pretty fed up, people. In case you were just a little bit worried, let me assure you that I had a really sweet summer, got in a lot of R & R and am more or less going strong for the crazy fall, with everyone but me back in school on top of  the usual chaos. Just thought you might like to know! And mmmmwwwwaaaaah to you, darlings!

Published in: on October 3, 2012 at 1:24 PM  Leave a Comment  

A Queer In Need…

Yesterday I went to a new doctor’s office for an intake visit, since my old doctor is leaving her practice for reasons of her own to which I am not privy. No doctor is perfect, but mine had two very good qualities: she was really nice, and she was a lesbian. I guess I sort of forgot how important both these things are, being used to extreme compromise when it comes to medical personnel, and I was just buzzing along through my intake yesterday: buxom, young, straight blonde receptionist, check, slightly alternative straight brunette rocker chick turned nurse, check, buxom, young, straight blonde PA, check. And then, as I was leaving, I saw the one male staff member, an adorable Latino gay boy, who gave me an adorable gay boy touch on my arm as he showed me where to exit the office, and do you know? My spirits were lifted to on high. It’s so funny. You don’t realize what you’re missing until you’re shown that things can be different. Now that I’ve been intook, I won’t get to meet the actual doctor until sometime in December, but I feel so much more hopeful about the whole practice now that I’ve been touched by a fellow queer who works there. Which leads me to my new haircut.

For quite some time, my (complicated and curly) hair has been in such a state that I could only wear it in a ponytail. I was mired in indecision about getting it cut. Tex doesn’t want it to be too short, and neither of us thinks a bob is in order and I’m so tired of getting this boring layered thing that looks ok on the day of the cut when the stylist blow dries it to a fare-thee-well but just goes blah the next day that I just kept raking it back into a pony tail. I’m just not one of those femmes who drops everything until she looks perfect; I’d rather be reading a book. Anyway, I finally forced myself to go over to a local salon a friend recommended and a very nice young, straight Turkish woman gave me this cut that at first made me cry. But then…it turned out it looks amazing! And may actually be the cut I’ve been looking for my whole life. One friend said I look like a bohemian writer from the 20s in a small sea village in England, and I would like to add “lesbian” to that description, one who wears long skirts and sturdy boots and strides about on long tramps through the landscape, rain or shine, with some very nice dogs at her heels.

At church the Sunday after I got my cut, this butch lesbian I admire came up and hugged me and said in my ear, “You look beautiful! I love your haircut!” Not only did her words completely melt me, I realized that I have the capacity to cheer up my fellow queers just by looking cute. God knows, seeing other queers when I’m out and about lifts my spirits and gives me the strength to carry on. I would like to do my part! And of course, looking cute as much as possible is most satisfying for ye ol’ spouse, as well.

When I first came home with the haircut, Seth (who has undergone a sort of sea change lately) said it looked “very you, Mom, kind of nutty in a good way”.  Looking good for other queers and for one’s family is very different from having to look good for men, something I rebelled strongly against as a young woman. Tripping about with cute hair and my new, pulled together style of sexy, femme, updated Virginia Wolf/Gertrude Stein long skirt and vest sort of ensemble – hey! Cheer up! You aren’t alone out here.

Published in: on October 3, 2012 at 1:15 PM  Comments (1)  
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