Thursday, March 30, 2006

So long, farewell...

In a mere 3 hours, Petunia, Clary B., and I will be off like a herd of turtles for the wilds of suburban Connecticut. Oh, the freedom! The glamour! The excitement!

Seriously, I love these conferences. While Petunia busies herself with meetings and presentations and awards, I read, swim, watch TV, paint my toenails, shop, and Just Relax. I can't wait to get going!

I'm going to be computer-free for the next few days, so I'll say goodbye now. Y'all have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend.


Virtual bookworm

Okay, so I went ahead and set up a site for our new online book club. Aren't we a bunch of big ol' dorks? I love it!

If you hate the name or template or anything else, or if you expressed interest in playing book club with us and didn't receive an invite to join the party, please let me know and I'll fix you right up. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

She graduated summa cum laude

We just received a newsletter from Josephine's alma mater, the Medfield Animal Shelter. I love their newsletter with its alumni updates and Current Residents page! They really get you, too, because they don't focus on all the gloom and doom you'd usually associate with animal shelters. Instead, they tell sweet stories about alumni and their "forever families." I got all teary reading about a foxhound named Patrick, though not as teary as I got when I saw that damn Breast Cancer 3-Day commercial before work this morning. Gah! Damn hormones!

Bookworms wanted

PK suggested we form an online book club, and I quite agree. Let's do it! If you want to play along at home, please tell me your preferences re: book selection and we can go from there. Any takers?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Call waiting

You know what? It's been over a month since my mother said those nasty things to me about our adoption, and we haven't really talked since then. I thought it had only been a couple of weeks, but I just went back and reread my original post. It's been over a full month. I sure wish she'd call and apologize.

When I told my brother what she'd said, he was v. upset. Fortunately, Orca's sense of humor saved the day--he made a few jokes about how I couldn't knit so much anymore because I needed to work on my "adoption project," and I felt about a million times better. I'd been feeling terrible about the whole incident, but his reaction reinforced what I'd already been thinking: what she said was mean and wrong.

I'm sort of surprised at my own reaction to all of this. Generally, I'm able to rationalize my mother's behavior. "She's in pain," I think. "She doesn't mean to be hurtful, she's just trying to make herself feel better." Somehow, though, this time it's different. I'm finding that as much as I'd like to be in touch with her about silly day-to-day things, I can't justify what she said. She was completely wrong to say those things about us and about Hester Willa. She meant to hurt me, and she hasn't taken responsibility for doing so.

Pedal pushing

I think it's telling that we packed the liquor cabinet first. (I packed it in a bulk baby wipes box from BJs--is that wrong?) Petunia and I aren't big drinkers, but we're planning to go all out for this weekend's conference. Also planned for this weekend: a day trip to New York, a visit to the New Haven Ikea, dancing at a '70s bar, and lots of lounging, reading, and sleeping. Oh yeah, and the actual conference stuff. I guess I forgot that part.

We usually travel lightly, but not this time. No ma'am! In addition to the 9 bottles of liquor (+ martini shaker) sloshing around in the trunk, Clara has a huge bag all her own. Well, the poor critter's gotta eat! Of course, I also got her new treats for the hotel, so we'll be packing them along with her toys, leash and harnesses, special citronella collar, and 2-liter jug of water. I wonder if there'll be room for Petunia's conference duds after I add my lounging gear to the mix?

We'll leave immediately after work on Thursday. Can you tell how excited I am? I haven't had a day off since President's Day and I won't have another till Memorial Day, so I'm making the most of this mini-break. Fire up the Cavalier, y'all--I'm gettin' the hell out of dodge!

Plant porn

Today I have all four of the kids, and I'm just a leetle stressed out. By the end of lunch, my right jaw was so tight it popped each time I opened my mouth. I tell ya, it's a good thing I'm off on Friday to go to Petunia's conference. I could really use a break.

In other news, check out our first spring blooms! This is the same patch I posted on Friday. I'm SO glad it's getting to be spring--I can't handle much more cold weather. I'm really looking forward to getting my hands dirty in our gardens.

Monday, March 27, 2006

No steps forward; three steps back


Our state rep has refused to meet with us.

The pastor of a local church--organizer of the original meeting, which I wrote about here--emailed us today with his refusal. Apparently, he's so scared of a group of 30 LGBT people and allies that he can only handle us 1 on 1. He told the pastor that he "will not be repeating last week's meeting" and said to "feel free to refer them to my office hours." I could spit, I'm so angry.

What to do, what to do?

First of all, I think a letter to the editor is in order. I also suggested this to the pastor, since she's even more of a hothead than I am. Second of all, I think I need to write a personal letter to this odious man. I'm through with meeting with him personally, since he's so disrespectful and nasty, but I can definitely add some bulk to his constituent mail. I wonder if a letter a week would make any difference whatsoever, if only to tie up his office resources? Third of all, I need to do something about this anger. I'M SO MAD! I'm furious. I need to figure out a good outlet for this rage. Fourth of all, it's time to call MassEquality and let them know what's been going on. Maybe they have some constructive ideas for us.

GRRR, I'm so pissed off.

Thirty before thirty

So, I'm just over a year away from the big 3-0. Wowza! To honor the end of my Saturn Return and close up my roarin' 20s, I thought I'd make a list of thirty things I want to do before I turn thirty. (FYI, Petunia posted her list of 40 by 40 on her own blog.) Here goes:

Clementine's Thirty Before Thirty

1. CleanSweep, baby! Go through clothes and determine what to keep and what to give away. Be brutal.
Done. CleanSweep done 9/15/06. Many smaller CleanSweeps done since then as well.

2. Go to East Heaven Hot Tubs at least once. Don't cheap out--get a rooftop tub.
Done. Went there 9/23/06. We paid for a half hour, but they let us stay for a full hour!

3. Go to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard.
Done. Went to Martha's Vineyard 8/12/06.

4. See a show at Tanglewood.
Done. Saw Bach/Handel concert 8/11/06.

5. Grow a cinderella pumpkin.
Done. Harvested pumpkin end of 9/06.

6. Join a book club.
Done. Started 3/06; currently defunct.

7. Buy a cooking thermometer and steam milk at home.
Done. Got thermometer 10/7/06. Used it all winter to make hot chocolate.

8. Write at least one letter to every friend in my address book.
Done. This is as done as it wants to be.

9. Walk or bike the Norwottuck Rail Trail.
Done. Walked trail 10/8/06.

10. Stay at that tacky hotel with the champagne hot tubs.
Done. Vacationed there end of 5/06.

11. Set up a weekly date night with Petunia. Stick to it this time.
Progress. We're doing pretty well with this, but I can't claim total victory.

12. Take a ballroom dance class with Petunia.
Complete failure. We didn't even walk past a ballroom dance studio.

13. Find a local church.
More failure. However, we reconnected with folks at our old church in metro Boston.

14. Start the adoption process, for real this time.
Done. Began MAPP class 7/11/06.

15. Buy nicer underwear.
Maybe I can sneak this in under the wire.

16. Spend more QT with Clary B.
Done. She's such a good dog!

17. Be more assertive, even if it's hard and it means being rude.
Done. I'm proud of myself for this one.

18. Submit a couple of articles to Connections.
Done. One article published 7/3/06, but the newsletter folded shortly thereafter.

19. Make at least 2 new friends in central MA.
Progress. I have one new friend. The whole "making friends" thing is proving to be v. difficult.

20. Find a good eye cream and use it.
Done. Been using eye cream since end of 4/06.

21. Work hard to replace John Fresolo with a pro-equal marriage state rep.
Done. Primary was 9/19/06. Update as of 9/25/06: He was reelected. Fucking bastard.

22. Keep up the good work with fruits/vegetables and water consumption.
Total failure.

23. Find the perfect match for my squirrel patch (see above).
Done--it's on my LL Bean tote bag.

24. Go to New York at least twice.
Progress. Went once 4/06.

25. Visit Orca in Galveston.
Done. Visited him 10/26-30/06.

26. Have monthly dates with JPP.
Progress. I love seeing her more often!

27. Figure out a plan for my pencil collection (don't ask).

28. Stick to my budget.

29. Finish sensory blanket for Hester Willa.
Done. I hate it, though.

30. Keep posting.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Club of doom

We just got back from another fun trip to BJs Wholesale Club. Dude, could it be any less of a club? I hate each and every person who shops at the Auburn store, and I know it's mutual. People at BJs piss me off royally with their sudden stops to exclaim over jumbo-sized jars of pickled eggs and their willingness to shove their carts directly into my jumbo-sized ass. The last time that happened, someone almost got knocked in the head with a jumbo-sized jar of salsa. It took me a jumbo-sized amount of self-control not to get violent in the condiments aisle. They should give members a complimentary jumbo-sized packet of blood pressure medication for the drive home.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Page 19: Fat Replacers; Page 20: High Volume Meat Pumps

I am SO freaking out right now! Who sent us a subscription to THE SAUSAGE MAKER CATALOG? Petunia's vegetarian and I only eat poultry, so someone's got a sick sense of humor. I want to vom just looking at the cover, but then I opened up the catalog to read this helpful tip (retyped as printed, errors and all):

Casings Troubleshooting Guide: Natural Casings
1. When your natural casing first arrive there maybe some gas built up in the container. This can smell pretty strong. They are not spoiled, simply wash and use them.

If this isn't the most pukealicious thing I've read since The Jungle, I'll eat a natural sausage casing myself.

Also, I just saw my apple peeler/corer/slicer on page 52. Cuz what goes better with homemade extra-skinned sausage than sliced de-skinned apples?

I'm going to hell for wanting to send this catalog to Orca. He's been vegetarian for over a year now, and he's all PETA cosmetics and vegan shoes. Mwah ha ha--sausage, Orca?

Easy rider

I totally cracked up when I heard about Dick Cheney's diva list. I love the part about the 4 cans of Diet Sprite--way to treat yourself, Dick.

When all 3 of the kids started crying following a scuffle over the toy shopping cart, I tried to go to my Happy Place (you know, the one where I'm lying on the couch in a silent house eating Dove chocolate and drinking Diet Coke). Instead, I found myself considering what items I'd list in my own rider. As I comforted my cranky toddlers, I decided I'd need these things for the ideal diva hotel experience:

1. cable TV. Sweet! Here at home, we get ~5 channels, but only the 2 in Spanish come in clearly. Y'all know I loves me some TLC and Discovery Channel!
2. the semen-coated bedspread to be removed from the room; I don't even want to see it. (A few years ago I saw some stupid expose on the filthiness of hotel rooms, and now I'm scared of hotel bedspreads.)
3. a shitload of Diet Coke, obviously.
4. equally obviously: chocolate. I don't care what kind, as long as it's not that cheap-ass Palmer's.
5. fancy bath and beauty products so I can take a bath without having to clean the tub later.
6. at least 5 books from my request list at the Worcester Public Library. I might not read them all, but I'll rest easier knowing they're there.
7. some high-end yarn and wooden knitting needles for another scarf. Most knitters abandon Scarf World once they learn more complex garments, but I love knitting scarves. The repetition is so relaxing! If you want a scarf (and you're a friend of mine; no cyber-stalkers need apply), please let me know. I'd be happy to knit you one.

And that's it! The funny part is that Petunia and I are going away to a conference next weekend (Canada will be there, too), and I'll be packing every single item on that list from numbers 3 through 7. Sadly, I'll have to touch the jiz-soaked bedspread myself, but the cable TV will be my compensation.


Looking back, this started out as a fantasy diva rider, but it turned into a "jesus, I'm an even bigger tool than I realized" list. Good times!

What items would you list in your own diva rider?

I spy with my little eye

Last week I thought I saw the first crocus in my neighbor's yard, but it turned out to be a dirty butterscotch wrapper. This morning, however, I spied the tell-tale purple of a crocus in our very own yard. Hooray! Spring is here!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Puppy love

When we adopted 6 1/2-month old Clara from a local dog shelter, people told me she'd calm down around her 2nd birthday. I couldn't believe them. She was so nutty with barking at squirrels, patrolling the yard, and running around like a teething banshee. She couldn't sit still long enough to be pet, and she always jumped on new adults*. Petunia and I worked long and hard to teach her good manners and to manage her behavior, but for a long time, our relationship with her was filled with stress. Sometimes I even wondered whether we'd made a mistake in adding such a spirited dog to our decidedly low-energy family. Now Clara's 20 months old, and the predictions are coming true: she's turning into a real sweetheart of a dog.

*Though she never jumped on children. Clara was always good with the kids since she had been fostered with a family with twin toddlers. Thank goodness for that!

Granny: You can't beat her

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Granny Gets a Vibrator is pure genius. And for those of you who've been scared to read it at work, no worries--it's not a sex-positive treatise for the AARP set. Instead, it's a thoughtful and beautifully written blog by a 52-year old woman living in Louisiana. Liz pumps iron, grows roses, and kicks ass. She's hardcore, and she's my newest hero.

A month or so ago, Liz took one of those IMPACT self-defense classes where the instructors teach you self-defense techniques, then don padded suits and assault you. (Jenny and I took a modified version of this class when we were at Smith, and it was an experience I'll never forget.) In yesterday's post, Liz writes about how she reacted when she watched the videotape of her final class. It's absolutely heartbreaking, and it makes me sad and angry and proud, all at once.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"God loves you just the way you are, but He loves you too much to let you stay that way."

After the kids left last night and I'd cleaned up the house, I walked down to the corner store for a supply of junk food (I've been eating too healthily lately, so I needed some Twizzlers and KC Masterpiece chips to balance out the fruits and veggies). When I got home, I fed the kitties, put on my cloud flannel PJs, poured a glass of Diet Coke, and snuggled up on the couch to watch Junebug.

Have you seen this movie yet? I LOVED it! I loved it for sentimental reasons, like the shots of the red North Carolina dirt that made me recall the feel of fire ants walking up my legs. I loved it for the performances--Amy Adams' portrayal of Ashley was too precious for words, but it was Embeth Davidtz's portrayal of Madeleine that really captured my heart (also, she looks exactly like Orca's former GF L.--so eerie!). I loved it for its quiet moments, for its realism, and for its humanity. It's a beautiful movie--y'all have to see it.

Tonight I have the house to myself again, so I'm going to do what any movie freak would do--I'll watch it again, this time with commentary. Good thing I have lots of junk food to keep me company!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Dear Representative "I'm not a hater" John Fresolo:

After meeting with you last night to discuss your upcoming vote on equal marriage, I'm furious at you. Here's why:

1. When Petunia and I met with you privately last year, you told us you'd only spoken with 1 other constituent in favor of equal marriage. Last night, we met 3 other people to whom you had told the same story. You are a liar.

2. When you walked into the room and saw our group of 30 LGBT people and allies, you started shaking. Your defensiveness did not hide your fear. You are a coward.

3. You referred to Petunia and me specifically as "the girls from South Worcester." You called us "them." You are a misogynist and a bigot.

4. After hearing 3 or 4 personal stories about equal marriage, you interrupted the meeting. "How long is this going to take?" you asked. "I have somewhere else to be." Later, you tried to leave, saying that your cell phone rang 6 times during the past half hour. You think your time is more important than anyone else's. You are arrogant and rude.

5. You accused our group of attacking you and calling you names when no one said a word against you until you'd left the building. You are a bully.

6. Not once did you acknowledge the pain in the stories you heard. Not once did you connect to a speaker's humanity. You are intolerant and apathetic.

I will not rest until you're out of office. You are a danger to my family.

Your constituent,

Monday, March 20, 2006

Long lost friends

Many years ago, I lost one of my closest friends in a painful, prolonged fight that ripped apart our circle of friends. She was a woman whose pride and self-respect paved the way for my own coming out, and her love and support during that time still mean the world to me. She was wise and funny and smart and kind, and losing her friendship is one of the few things I regret in my life. I've tried twice to repair our friendship, once 7 years ago and once this past weekend. Both times, she was polite but clear that she doesn't want me in her life.

I'm surprised again by how much this hurts, this rejection from a person I thought I'd know and love my whole life. We used to dream about how we'd still be friends at the old folks' home, talking trash and cuttin' up. We talked about writing a book together, and we said we'd always be there for each other. I miss her viscerally, in the pit of my stomach and in the marrow of my bones. To this day, I still yearn to call her when I hear certain songs on the radio or discover an author I think she'd like. I wonder if this sense of connection to her will ever lessen, though the thought of that seems almost more painful than her continued rejection of me.

I wonder if I'll ever have a friend like her again. My friendships have gotten diluted by the flotsam of daily life: I'm in touch with many friends, but aside from Petunia, there's no one I call regularly, no one who knows my daily joys and frustrations. Maybe this is how it is when you're married and all grown up; perhaps I have unrealistic expectations about friendship. All I know for sure is that I'm lonely, that I hunger for friendship the way I once hungered for love.


Petunia's brother Snapdragon* is here for a few days. He and I are almost polar opposites: I'm a planner and he's spontaneous; I'm a slug and he's a mountain climber; I'm modest and he's comfortable with nudity. He and Petunia love sci fi and fantasy, and I like memoirs and realistic fiction. He's big into seafood, and seafood makes me gag. What we do have in common, though, is that both of us think the sun rises and sets with Petunia. In the end, that fact outweighs any differences between us, and we come together to celebrate our good fortune in having Petunia in our lives.

*It's his favorite flower.

Friday, March 17, 2006

This old house

Okay. Enough moping. I have a houseguest arriving in 15 hours, and I don't have to time to be sick.

Early this morning I cut up enough vegetables to feed a small village, so the cooking is well underway. Earl Grey pots du creme, check. Ingredients prepped for spicy peanut soup, check. I still have to buy some pie crusts for the torta rustica, Petunia's favorite company dish, plus drain the spinach and chop the mushrooms. I want to make some of those Neiman Marcus cookies as well, but I'll have to see about time.

The house is looking spiffy, too. It's generally pretty clean and neat during the week because of my business, but certain areas fall into the "out of sight, out of mind" category. Exhibit 1: our shower. Exhibit 2: our "closet" (really a curtained part of the hallway). However, both are now guest-friendly, having been cleaned and organized earlier today. I even dusted the family photos in our stairway. And you could lick our toilet seat, it's so clean. Actually, the kids probably will do just that once they wake up, so scratch that.

I always feel self-conscious about our house whenever relatives or friends from away come to visit. Our house is so small, and the housing market is so bad up here. My parents almost died when they heard how much we paid for such a tiny place, telling us we could get a 4-bedroom, 2 bath place in Charlotte for the price of our dollhouse. Even fellow New Englanders wince at our neighborhood, though it's much better since we got the crack house next door closed down last fall. I love our house's urban cottage look with its 1950s range and its bright walls, but I wonder how it looks to fresh eyes.

Sick and tired

Just in time for my brother-in-law's visit, I'm sick again. Sick, but sick and tired, too. This time it's a sore throat, runny nose, and backache. I'm pissed--I've been eating healthy foods, drinking lots of water, and getting as much rest as possible (last night I went to bed at 8pm). The germs just don't quit. Illness is the hands-down worst thing about my job.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Pardon my ignorance

I have a question for all you tech-savvy bloggers: You know how people post about how other folks found their site through word/subject searches? Well, how do they know how those folks found them?

The musical fruit

One of my kids just farted himself awake. Today's the 3rd consecutive day this has happened. On Tuesday, he woke up all 3 sleeping children. Yesterday and today, he went right back to sleep. Note to self: ix-nay on the eans-bay. Geez! At least it's warm enough to crack a window.

My body is a temple

Several years ago, I had to take steroids for a sinus infection that stopped by for the holidays and stayed until Easter. I'll just say this: if you ever see me willingly don a pair of sneakers and attempt to JOG around the neighborhood, you'll know why. I even tried to do push-ups, if you can imagine that sad, sorry sight. Once the prescription ended, I went back to my Diet Coke drinkin', Fry lovin' ways, and I was glad to be done with that temporary bout of healthy living.

So why am I now on a diet of 5 fruits/vegetable a day? Why am I now drinking 8 glasses of water between sunrise and sunset? WHO PUT STEROIDS IN MY DIET COKE? I feel completely crazy and out of sorts, and what's worse is that I chose this new lifestyle for myself (versus having it chosen for me by the dietician at a major teaching hospital, which is how I always thought I'd change my eating habits). Is this part of that goddamned Saturn Return? Is it another fad, like that summer I only ate Fruity Pebbles? Maybe the Rapture came last Friday and this is my hell. Hmm, that sounds about right.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Madge, I soaked in it!

Here at Chez AJWP, we're in the midst of a Division of Labor Summit. Because Petunia and I are stereotypical social worker-style lezzies (minus the batik silk scarves, of course), this involves a lot of "I" statements and "When you do _______, I feel _______" sentences. It would be really funny if we were discussing a lighter topic, you know?

Question: Does everyone have issues with this DoL stuff, or are we overly sensitive?

Coffee klatsch

An early morning PSA: Starbucks is giving away free tall drip coffees between 10am and noon today, so get your caffeine-addicted self over to your local Sbux and have a cup of joe. Good times!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A spring in my step

Today has a general air of gladness about it. Do you know what I mean? I have a new watch battery, the kids are in wonderful, silly moods, and spring is on its way. I've had a chance to catch up on the kids' portfolios and my filing, make chicken for dinner and red sauce for tomorrow's lunch, and work on some gifts for friends. I also learned that I'm not on call for the rape crisis center this week, so I have more free time than I thought. So far, it's a banner day.

Monday, March 13, 2006

"Pink is my signature color."

So Pregnant Neighbor found out she's having a girl. She's all about the sugar & spice & everything nice; she wants to "bring on the pretty--pink and purple and butterflies and flowers and rainbows and GIRL stuff." She says she's done with construction workers and dinosaurs and blue; she wants ballerinas and dollies instead.

Over the weekend, I decided to knit a hat for the baby, and I was so torn about the color. I wanted to use a ball of pale peach Debbie Bliss cotton/merino I'd just purchased, but I figured Pregnant Neighbor would hate it. Then I almost opted for a bright celery/lemon cotton stripe; I was set on that until Petunia showed me a ball of palest pink. I was torn: If I made the baby a pink hat, wouldn't I be giving in to traditional expectations for girls? On the other hand, what good is a handknit hat if the baby's mother hates it? The gift was meant to welcome the baby and to honor Pregnant Neighbor's excitement, not to push my own values. In the end, I made the pink hat.

Pregnant Neighbor opened her gift this morning, and she was thrilled. It turns out she's never received anything handmade for any of her children, which nearly made me cry. She was so touched that she wants to use the hat for the baby's going home hat--again, cry city. But her favorite part, far and away: "It's pink!"


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Spring Bulb Show @ Smith College

Friday, March 10, 2006

Macaroni and baloney (Tuna fish, our favorite dish)

So yesterday I met Petunia in town for some pre-anniversary fried pickles at Cambridge Common. We sat down at our table, placed our orders, and took in the mid-90s vibe that saturated the place last night. As I impressed Petunia with my word-for-word knowledge of “Ain’t Nothing But a She Thing,” our pickles arrived and we started to eat. A few minutes later, we were ridiculing Right Said Fred’s “Too Sexy” when we heard a different sound break in; it was the table behind us with an acoustic guitar, a violin, and 2 idiots pinging their spoons on their water glasses. They played softly at first, but before long they were full-on jamming. I felt like I was in Fame and we were doing the “Hot Lunch Jam.” WEIRD, right? Before long, a man at another table yelled at the group to shut up, which they did. On their way out, one of the musicians complained, “We’re in a public place, and this is the way we communicate with each other.”

I didn’t snarf, but I came close.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Five years

Five years ago tomorrow, Petunia and I had our civil union in Vermont.

Picture it: Mud season, barren trees, chimney smoke, and the smell of snow. We took a photo of ourselves by the car that morning and several more at rest stops along the way. When we reached our destination, we stopped at the town hall to sign our papers, give the clerk a violet plant, and take a few more photos.

We'd chosen to stay at a B&B directly across from the town green. Lady, a big Lassie of a collie, greeted us as we pulled up by the barn, and we were welcomed warmly by Sandy and Ron, the innkeepers. When Ross, our justice of the peace, arrived at the house, the three of us chatted for a minute or two before heading into the library. We had our ceremony there, just the two of us and Ross, and I could barely get through my vows for all my tears.

When it was over and we were officially joined in civil union, Sandy met us in the library with a huge chocolate-orange angel food cake she'd made as our wedding cake. She also brought us a bottle of champagne, a wedding gift from the other B&B guest that weekend. Their generosity made our celebration even more joyous.

The next morning, Sandy made us an amazing country breakfast and told us all about the local attractions. She suggested we head up to Middlebury for a little shopping, then take the scenic highway back home. We followed her advice, and we spent a joyful day traipsing around Middlebury in search of civil union mementos. When we saw some mugs from Bennington Pottery, we bought them to remind us of our time at Sandy and Ron's. Later, we bought some hand-blown glass suncatchers, thinking they'd be a bright and happy reminder of our civil union. We took a long and winding road back to Massachusetts, and we stopped at many covered bridges along the way.

It's hard to believe that five whole years have passed since our civil union; in many ways it feels like we made that trip just a couple of weekends ago. In other ways, it feels like we've been married at least twice that long. It's funny, too--folks always want to know which of our 3 ceremonies we celebrate as our real anniversary. Petunia and I are big romantics, so we celebrate all 3: our civil union in March, our church wedding in October, and our legal marriage in May. Of all of these dates, our civil union was the first time we publicly declared our love to each other, so it will always have a special place in my heart.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Granny fan

Do y'all know Granny over at Granny Gets a Vibrator?

She's my new hero.

End the Silence, End the Violence

My hat is off to Teri Hatcher. She recently told Vanity Fair that she's a survivor of child sexual abuse, and I admire her strength and courage in talking honestly about her life.

Rape has been on my mind a lot lately. The Taking Steps Walk is coming up, plus we've had a lot of local coverage about the rape and murder of Imette St. Guillain. Also, I can't stop thinking about RapeX, that new anti-rape condom. If you haven't heard about it, here's what Bust says:

Penis Flytrap: Anti-rape Condom Puts the Hurt on Perps
by Brandy Barber, Dec./Jan. 2006 issue of Bust

"It will make men think twice," said 57-year-old South African inventor Sonette Ehlers at the August unveiling of her controversial new product--the "Rapex" anti-rape condom. Created to protect women in a country where one in nine is HIV positive and the rape rate is the highest in the world at 50,000 reported cases per year, the device is designed to be inserted like a tampon and worn regularly by women as a precautionary measure. Made of latex and held firm by shafts of sharp barbs, the Rapex attaches itself onto an attacker's ween--hook, line, and, sinker--while also functioning as a female condom, offering protection against pregnancy and infection. Once it gets its hooks in a perpetrator, the condom can only be removed surgically, ensuring that rapists can be identified and apprehended once they hit the hospital. Critics are calling Rapex barbaric, but Ehlers isn't having it. "This is not about vengeance, but about the act--that is what I hate," she says. "It's a medieval weapon for a medieval man." Huzzah!

V. interesting, no? I know RapeX is highly controversial, but I think it's a great invention. I've been a volunteer sexual assault counselor since 2000, and I figure the more tools we have at our disposal, the better.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The USPS is my BFF

When you work at home, you learn v. quickly about the importance of mail.

Beginning at 2:45pm each day, I check our mailbox compulsively. I try not to scare the bejesus out of Tom, our letter carrier, by flinging open the front door with a neurotic gleam in my eye. Instead, I peek around the kitchen curtains like a psycho stalker, then race for the mailbox as soon as Tom heads next door.

It almost doesn't matter what's in the mail, unless there's not a single piece addressed to me. Obviously, funny handwritten notes are preferred, but I welcome bills, catalogs, and junk mail as well. Each piece is a connection to the outside world and a tangible reminder that my life is broader than diapers and Lego. Today's haul was v. nice, as it included the following:

--1 Netflix DVD (Normal)
--1 church directory from the Episcopal church where we were married
--1 invitation to an alumni dinner at Tufts, where I went to graduate school
--1 reminder from Tufts that I need to update my info in their database
--2 junk mail pieces from CitiCard
--6 catalogs, including 1 from Crate & Barrel

See what I mean? I heart the United States Postal Service. I want to give it half of a split necklace with the words BE FRI on its part and ST ENDS on mine. I want to weave it a friendship bracelet from my stash of rainbow-hued embroidery floss. I want to make us matching tie-dyed t-shirts that announce our unwavering friendship:

Hey baby, wanna see my coin collection?

Last night, Petunia brought me the new Nevada quarter. YES, I'm still collecting state quarters, and YES, I'm a wicked tool. Adding to my nerd appeal, I keep these quarters in a tiny vinyl quarter collection book I got at the Denver Mint. The whole quarter collection thing is v. satisfying since it appeals to my Type A tendencies, plus the vinyl book itself smells pleasingly like a circa 1983 My Little Pony. Lovely!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Devil cat

I knew Reuben would like his own cat hat!

Hot & Heavy @ The Homo Depot

As Petunia reported in today's post, yesterday we installed a new kitchen faucet. It took us nearly 10 hours and 4 trips to Home Depot, but we finally did it. DIY projects are always v. stressful, but this one was especially onerous: Highlights from the day included one of us shitting in an unflushable toilet and both of us discussing nipples with a Home Depot employee.

It turns out that plumbing is completely heterosexist and v. pornographic as well. It's the "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" department of home repair. If you already knew this, I'd have appreciated a heads-up. As you might imagine, we had a steep learning curve.

Here are some tips for all you sister lezzie DIYers:

1. When it comes to plumbing, female parts cannot screw other female parts.
2. Female parts can only screw male parts.
3. If you want to screw 2 female parts, you're going to need a nipple.

Can you even believe this craziness?

Friday, March 03, 2006


I'm still trying to decide about today. It's not as hands-down awful as yesterday, but it's still pretty crappy. Too bad I can't nap while the kids are sleeping, you know? I bet the day would look better with a little more rest.

1. only 1 child today since 1 is on vacation and another is home sick
2. haystacks
3. Found by Davy Rothbart; it made me laugh during baby's morning naptime
4. kitties and Clary being v. sweet and affectionate
5. it's Friday
6. Spring Bulb Show is this weekend

1. child who's here is irritable, plus I'm worried about sick child
2. I have a low-grade fever, scratchy throat, achy back, and chills (though so far no stomach symptoms, knock on wood)
3. after mopping the floor twice yesterday, it's filthy again after Clara tracked muddy water through the house
4. Petunia has to go to urgent care tonight because her foot is messed up

See what I mean? The pluses outnumber the minuses, but the minuses outweigh the pluses.

Needle in a haystack

In an effort to reclaim the day for good, rather than evil, I just made some haystacks. The baby's asleep, I swear! It's my friend Y.'s recipe, and these suckers are divine! Just melt down a bag of butterscotch chips with 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter, then mix in a bag of chow mein noodles. Drop little globs onto a cookie sheet, wait till they harden up, and commence to eatin'.

Maybe today's worth saving after all.

Moving violation

I have this guiding theory that before 7am, the early hour can be used as an excuse for just about any crime in personal appearance. It's a need-based theory, and it gives me license to be seen in and around my neighborhood wearing insane clothing combinations and just generally looking like something the cat dragged in. (FYI, this theory only backfired once when we ran out of gas at 5:50am and I had to walk to the gas station wearing reindeer jammie pants, red wool shoes, and a pumpkin hat.) Case in point: this morning.

My alarm went off at 5:15am and I dragged my ass out of bed at 5:30am. I didn't brush my teeth, comb my hair, or wash my face; hell no! I know my role in the morning, and Part 1 is Maker of The Coffee (Part 2 = Chauffeur). So I made a pot of Ethiopia Sidamo (perfect pairing: lemon danish; actual pairing: Diet Coke) and went out to warm up the car. I paused for a second by the door, realizing that my coat was in the washer thanks to yesterday's puke-o-rama and that I had shunned PJ pants last night in favor of men's long johns. "Whatever," I thought. "It's early. If anyone sees me, they'll think I'm a runner."

So I went on with my business, starting the car and doing some laundry while Petunia got ready for work. Leaving for the commuter rail, I realized that my chauffeur uniform of the day consisted of the following: jadeite green fleece v-neck, olive green men's long john pants, white and red sparkle socks, and pink Crocs. Also hair in insane ponytail/rat's nest hybrid. Also gritty, puffy eyes and beginnings of another cough. "Does this coat cover my crotch pocket?" I asked Petunia. "Mostly," she answered, so I added a bright orange raincoat to the mix.

I am an embarrassment to everyone I love, but I have to give myself kudos for moxie.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Down for the count

Today was an absolute nightmare. My workday started with tantrums and ended with diarrhea and projectile vomiting. Also, Pregnant Neighbor and I sent a dog to the pound. The animal control officer swears it's a no-kill shelter, but you never know. As if all that wasn't traumatic enough, some poor soul tried to kill himself by walking in front of my car this evening. For real. I had to call 911 after thanking my lightning-quick reflexes for stopping in time.

I'm throwing in the towel on today. I'll try again tomorrow.

Feline fashionista

So I was having a really shitty day until I saw that cat hat.

I wonder how long it would take me to knit one for our very own Bubba D. Willix? He's the model for all of our baby hats, and he's strangely amenable to it. I wouldn't even try to put one on Josie, but Reuben actually enjoys the attention. See?

Green with envy

The person who developed this pattern is a GENIUS!

Rock the vote

Petunia and I need to get a new computer--ours is v. old and has started making ominous noises. The question is, laptop or desktop? Cast your ballot now.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Shall I show you a shallot?

For years, I wasn't sure if shallots = mollusks, so I steered clear of them. I mean, doesn't "shallot" sound like it could be in the mollusk family, like scallops? Well, I have a very pronounced dislike of foods from Under the Sea (read: barf), so anything that even whispers Shellfish gets classified in my mind as Seafood.* Usually, this is a good strategy for me: I don't have to try new foods, and I also don't have to hork up my meal. See what I mean? Win-win.

However, a couple of months ago I found my favorite soup recipe on the internet, and I discovered it contains shallots.

Me, upset: I could have sworn the menu said it was vegetarian. This says it has shallots!
Petunia, confused: Um, shallots are vegetarian.
Me, startled: What? Aren't they seafood?
Petunia, suddenly understanding: No, they're kind of like a mild onion. They're a vegetable.
Me, doubtful: Are you sure? Are you positive they're not shellfish? Are they in a jar? Where do you buy them?
Petunia, laughing at me: No, they're not shellfish! They're in the vegetable part of the grocery store.
Me, unsure: What about capers?

So I made the soup, omitting the peanut oil (too expensive) and the shallots (my mind said "not mollusk," but my stomach wasn't sure). And the soup was good, but it didn't taste like the soup at the restaurant.

Last night I decided to buy the ingredients to make the real soup, shallots and all. I quickly located the peanut oil, then headed over to the vegetable aisle to find the shallots. I looked near the papery onions: nothing. I looked near the leafy onions, the leeks and the like: nothing. I asked a shy teenager with the wispy beginnings of his first goatee if he'd seen the shallots, and he asked me what they looked like. I started thinking, "I should just ask at the fish counter. They'll know about shallots!" when an older gentleman walked up and began appraising kale. "A person who eats kale would know about shallots," I thought to myself. "Excuse me, sir--do you know what shallots are?" I asked out loud. He smiled and led me right to them. I thanked him even as my mind reeled.

Shallots really are vegetarian!

*Like capers. I know they're not actually seafood-related (I just checked on to be sure), but they're sold in scary little jars in the anchovy aisle. Also: tapioca pudding. My mom said "fish eyes" once when I was two, and it was all over for me and tapioca.