Saturday, June 30, 2007

Eight Things About Me



I’ve been tagged again. I’m a good sport so I’ll play, however, this is a bigger problem than I realized. I mean, I’ve put most everything out there already, but Lori has tagged me so I’ll give it a shot.

The rules:

Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

People who are tagged need to write in their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

Don't forget to leave them a comment in their blog telling them they've been tagged, and to read your blog.

And here we go…………………….

1. I like my dogs better than most people. Yeah, I’m one of those crazy ladies who treats their animals like kids. I mean I don’t dress them up or take them for rides in strollers or any nutty stuff, but the reality is, they ARE my kids. Fur-kids who can’t talk and won’t live as long as I do, but kids, nonetheless. Fur-kids who totally depend on me, love me and would do anything for me. It’s hard to find people who are as reliable, dependable, loyal, loving, care taking, playful, enjoyable and fun as my dogs. How many people think I’m the greatest thing that ever walked the earth, that I am perfect, that I always look good, that I always smell good, that I always do the right thing, that never question me, never argue with me, always want to cuddle and kiss at any time of the day or night, will protect me and would lay down their lives for me? Not too many humans applying for that job. But my dogs? They are so there.

2. Every week I get a professional massage. I know it’s decadent but I don’t care. It helps my arthritis and we submit the bills to our flexible spending account and get reimbursed. I also know that I’m deluding myself about the reimbursement thing. We’re taking money from the left pocket and putting it in the right pocket, but somehow, it makes me feel better.

3. I used to do lots of canning. Tomatoes, peaches, green beans, jams….all kinds of things. I had all the supplies: millions of jars and rings and seals, a canner and on and on. I don’t do it anymore. Too much work. But during those years, we sure had good green beans in the middle of winter.

4. I’ve had one heck of a lot of jobs in my lifetime. I’ve been a secretary, clerk typist, policy typist, medical transcriber, administrative assistant, medical insurance biller, office manager, sales person, shelf stocker, health administrator, planning analyst, project manager, veterinary assistant, student, receptionist, telephone operator, tutor, auto mechanic, babysitter, gardener and, finally, college professor. There’s probably a few more, but I can’t think of them right now.

5. I’ve had severe sunburn, sun stroke and sun poisoning, all three of which have needed doctor’s care at various times in my life. You’d think I would learn after a while that my skin and the sun don’t get along well together. But no, I had to fall asleep on the diving board over the pool in Palm Springs and spend the day on the beach with no sunscreen protection, among numerous other idiotic adventures. The blisters were truly impressive. Think watery pancake sized pain. Nowadays, I use my sun screen faithfully, work hard at staying cool, primarily on the golf course, and also work hard at remembering I’m not 20 years old anymore and skin cancer is a real possibility. I truly have difficulty remembering that I’m an old fart with sensitive skin. I tend to think I’m tough as nails, which is a joke.

6. I’ve narrowly avoided jail on several occasions. The details are irrelevant, but suffice it to say, that “walking on the wild side” has always had a certain appeal to me. Fortunately, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve also gotten wiser. I DO NOT wish to follow in Paris Hilton’s footsteps. Therefore, nowadays, I am a law abiding citizen and a good girl. I’m not ready to pay the consequences for being otherwise.

7. I used to be an avid square dancer. Loved it and was quite good at it, if I do say so myself. I got rhythm!! Finally quit after a few years because of the knees and because I was tired of “beating off the guys”. When I put on that big ole circle skirt with all those petticoats, matching top, ruffled panties and dancing shoes, the guys just went wild. Go figure. They always want what they can’t have.

8. Back in my errant youth, I was on a woman’s pool team. Pool, as in cue stick and eight ball. I was pretty good and I used to have lots of trophies. We played against teams from other bars and won money. Because I was good, I hustled guys for amusement. They had no business being in a woman’s bar in the first place, so I never felt bad about taking their money. They never believed a woman could play pool. At least they didn’t believe it until I ran the table, called the pocket, dropped the eight ball and took their money. Then they believed it. They didn’t always take being “whipped” with good grace. I once had a guy come after me with his pool stick. I stood up to him and mouthed off and he backed down. I was very impressed with myself until I looked behind me and realized I had an entire bar full of women, cue sticks in hand, at my back. He didn’t want to take us all on. Sisterhood. Ain’t it grand?

Okay, there’s my eight things and whew! I had to work hard to think of them. There’s only so much “interesting” stuff about me, you know?? And, who says this stuff is even interesting?

Anyway, since I agreed to play along, I’ll tag Askalesbian, Big Mama, Blogs are Stupid, Fairly Odd Mother, From The Back Nine, Green Eggs and Pam, Joy Unexpected and My Minivan is Faster Than Yours. I’ll lay off my poor family for a while. I always tag them for stuff and they’re probably getting sick of it.




Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Age is Just a Number


I am only 28 years old…………….at least I am in my mind. My body is a whole other story. My body is at least 112 years old and is rotting away fast. My hair has turned gray (in my 30’s no less); the old fillings in my teeth are cracking, splitting and falling out and the dentist has become my new best friend; my bones are rotting and disintegrating in my body and if not for the rheumatologist, I hate to think where I’d be; my eyesight is failing and I use glasses for reading, glasses for distance and a squint for when I forgot both pairs; my earlobes and feet just keep growing; my muscles, which used to be so strong and athletic are now weak and atrophying; and my lovely boobs, my hefty rack that has always given me a nice cleavage, is now saying hello to my knees. My nipples no longer look forward and pave the way for the day, they are examining the ground at my feet and declaring they can’t believe how big my feet have gotten. At age 20 I wore a size 8½ shoe. I now wear a 9½ and am rapidly approaching a size 10. When will my feet stop growing? Ever? Will I be a size 12 one of these days?? What a depressing thought. I am a shoe queen and the choices in size 12 for women are limited.

What has brought on all this gloom and doom and examination of my fat, graying, atrophying, growing body you might ask? My birthday is in just a few days and, (I can hardly believe I am writing this), if I were so inclined, I could start drawing Social Security. OMG!! Social Security. That’s something for OLD people. Some money that the government gives out to old farts as a reward for still being alive. I can’t possibly be old enough for Social Security. That’s something for my grandmother, for my mother, but not for me. I’m just a kid. I’m in my prime. I’ve finally gotten smart about money (sorta) and I finally have enough of it most of the time. I’m finally at a point where I’m comfortable in my own skin, a point where I can do what the hell I want and not care what others think. I never did care much what they thought, but I care even less now – if you don’t like who I am, fuck you – it took a lot of years to develop that bravado and swagger and now, I really mean it. I don’t care what others think. I am my own person and if you don’t like me or mine, it’s your problem, not mine. That kind of attitude and feeling and reality does not come easily. I said it at 20 but I believe it at 60. A world of difference.

The old saw about life not being fair is actually quite true. Just when I’ve gotten smart enough and wise enough to do most things “right”, my body is falling apart and I don’t have the energy to do those “things”. Just when I have enough money to travel, my knees hurt too much to do a lot of walking and touring. Just when I have all the time I want to read, I can’t find my reading glasses. Just when I’m at my peak, well educated, well read, smart, experienced, nobody wants to hire me because I’m too old. They’d rather have a callow youth with no brains because they’ll accept less salary and have lower health care costs. How is that fair? It isn’t fair, but it’s reality.

I am a college professor and I have come to love my work. However, I am a college professor by default. The corporate world said I was too old and don’t let the door hit me in the ass on the way out. They said I should hit the road. Corporate America turns the best and most experienced brains out to pasture and hands over the reins to the kids. That doesn’t seem fair. It also doesn’t seem very smart.

So I turned to academia and they embraced me and said I was wonderful and now I wonder why I didn’t go there years and years and years ago. It really is wonderful to have the summers off, to be off over Christmas, to have a Spring Break, but I’m still pissed at Corporate America. They dumped me when I thought I was in my prime. They thought I was over the hill. They were wrong. It’s their loss but I’m still angry. Even if it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s hard to give up the anger.

So Happy Birthday to me. I won’t be drawing Social Security for a while. I’ll wait until my full retirement age simply because I’ll get a lot more money by waiting and I can wait, so I will. Some are not so lucky. They need that SS money because they’ve been dumped. The world says they are too old to be useful and the person foolishly believes them and retires. I am NOT too old for anything. Just like you I wake up each morning, enjoy the day, eat, drink, travel, read, copulate, play, golf, shop, cook, clean and on and on. Age is just a number. It does not define who you are or what you can do.

I do wish our society was not so youth oriented. It is truly illogical. If money equals power, then us Boomers should be the most desired demographic around. But we’re not. The 18-49 demographic is the most desirable TV audience, the most desirable advertising audience, the most desirable movie audience, etc. etc. ad nauseum. It makes no sense. At least not to me. I have money, I have power, hear me ROAR! However, nobody’s listening.

So my body says I’m an old fart, my head says I’m not. Right now my head is winning but it’s definitely an unfair race.

As the poor, old, gray haired lady hobbled to the finish line, she was heard to be singing “Bye-bye Miss American Pie, drove the Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry……………………….”

Monday, June 25, 2007

Decisions, Decisions..............Part 2

This is the true chocolate brown color of the carpet
















Not sure why carpet looks so light...because of flash??















I am pleased to report that the new carpet has arrived, has been installed and is now being admired and enjoyed. It looks good, The Spouse likes it, it feel great on bare feet and, overall, the whole “buying new carpet” thing was not so bad at all. I have learned a lot and lived through the process.

But, of course, it wouldn’t be an interesting post if that’s all there was to it. I’m just sure you would like to know the “pre-installation” joys and problems that have transpired over the last week.

First the carpet people called and said the carpet was in and we had to find a suitable date for them to come and install it. What with my incredibly busy and important life doing things like going to Las Vegas, playing golf and shopping for new shoes, it was a week or so before we could get a date scheduled. Knowing that I would need this entire week to get the room ready to receive the new carpet, I, of course, immediately began sorting, organizing, throwing away and cleaning this room. Okay, that’s a lie. I left and went to Las Vegas leaving THE room completely untouched and unready.

What, you might say, has to be done? The carpet people will move the furniture so what’s the big deal? Well, start with the fact that The Spouse and I are both packrats and readers. Add in the fact that this is THE room we live in more than any other room in the house, so the computers are in there, the TV, DVD player and DVR are in there. The stereo is in there, my desk and file cabinets are in there, several bookcases, full of books, are in there and on and on into the night. They will move the furniture. They will not and cannot move our “stuff”. We have to get it out of the way.

So, the night before the carpet people were to come and lay the new rug, The Spouse was working and I was recovering from too much Las Vegas partying and playing. A few things got done, but, honestly, not too much. Therefore, the morning of installation, I got up at 5 AM and started in with a vengeance. I put on some serious work clothes, my good walking shoes and I dug in. I didn’t sit down for 5 hours and by the time the installers rang the doorbell, the room was ready for them. They moved the empty bookcases, my empty desk, the unbelievably heavy file cabinets, the empty entertainment unit and the recliners out onto the patio. They laid the carpet quickly and efficiently, put the furniture back and were on their way to the next job.

Meanwhile I was lying in the corner whimpering, completely, totally, and absolutely whipped to the bone. I had stripped a room to the walls in those few hours and had packed books, unhooked computers, stereos, speakers, TVs and all other electronics. I had taken everything off my desk (not an easy feat for a packrat), removed knick knacks, school work, TV trays, computer cases, end tables, dog beds, lamps, catalogs, a 5 gallon water jug half full of change, dozens of pictures and framed photos, throw pillows, afghans, a fireplace utensil set and ebay sale items. I cleaned the fireplace and thoroughly vacuumed the old rug. (God forbid three workman who I will never see again should see a dirty fireplace or pull up a rug with dust in the corners) To say I was tired would be a minor understatement. When the installers were finished, I walked out into the center of the room, laid down on the new rug and took a nap.

And now? I have to put it all back.

P.S. While writing this post, one of my darling dogs threw up on the new carpet. The carpet has now been baptized and thoroughly indoctrinated into the ways of this family. I wasn’t kidding when I told the salesman, we needed a “rug of iron that will stand up to anything”. It handled this first test quite nicely.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Greed and Other Things


We just returned from Sin City. We had our usual good time in Las Vegas. Met some friends, gambled, ate, acted crazy, a good time was had by all.

On two different occasions we went to all-you-can-eat buffets, one for dinner and one for breakfast. These are a specialty in Las Vegas. I don’t much care for them because I simply have no self control, but the others in the group wanted to go, so I went along.

When we go to these places, it’s like I HAVE to get my money’s worth, so I eat like I’ve never seen food before and will never see it again. I don’t understand this about myself. I know I have “issues” with food, but this is insanity.

The evening meal was a seafood buffet. The pile of shrimp skins and cracked crab legs on the table was monumental. As I looked around the restaurant, I realized that I didn’t have this problem all by myself. The waiters and waitresses were hauling away the piles of oyster and clam shells and shrimp skins and crab legs by the wheelbarrow full from every table.

What is it about a buffet that makes me (us?) eat like we will never see food again? I really don’t understand the phenomenon.

On another note, the gods of blackjack were good to me. In the last couple hours of the last day I had a “run” on the blackjack table. You know that feeling when you can do no wrong, when every card is exactly what you want, when you split and double down and the right cards just keep coming. You just keep doubling the bet and it gets bigger and bigger until you are holding your breath and waiting for the fall. That fall was a long time coming and I won a lot of money and then was FORCED to leave the casino, get in the car and leave the state. We had to get home on a specific time schedule because of other obligations. Because I won right at the end of our trip, the money came home with us, so that’s a blessing. If I had won earlier in the trip, that money would still be in Las Vegas. That’s another phenomenon I don’t understand. Why is it when you win, it’s never quite enough. If the opportunity is there, you just have to keep trying to win more and more and more.

But I left Nevada so I preserved my winnings. Good for me. Until next time.

For the three days we were gone, the dogs stayed in the kennel. We have a good place to take them with people we trust. When they came home, the younger dog had a cut/scrape/bite like place on her face. Not pretty. I didn’t notice it until after we were home, so I just talked to the kennel people this morning to find out if they knew what had happened.

It seems the two girls got in a fight. We were shocked. They have never fought, ever. They are both gentle souls and seem to get along so well. However, I suppose the stress of being kenneled just boiled over and the puppy’s rambunctious obnoxiousness just got to the older dog and she let her have it. They put them in separate kennels to make sure it didn’t happen again. The two girls have still not made up.

On a normal morning, after a night in their own beds, they usually join us in our bed for morning cuddling and snuggling. This morning the older dog, Lucy, got up on our bed and was being loved. When the puppy joined us, Lucy got up and left and refused to come back. This is totally out of character and I didn’t know what was wrong. Now, after talking to the kennel, I can see that they still have some bad feelings between them.

Lucy is pissed off about something Meg did and she hasn’t forgiven her yet. I have to wonder if she’s angry because Meg isn’t Bessie. If so, poor Meg. I do hope she’s able to measure up one of these days. She does have some very large pawprints to fill. Lucy and Bess were unbelievably close.

These two are currently laying in two different rooms, far away from each other. This isn’t good. I hope they mend their differences soon.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Hot Summer Day

PLEEEZZZEEE Throw My Toy!!















Patiently Waiting..................















C'mon! You Know You Want To Play.


















I KNEW You'd Throw It!!!!!!!

















Dive! Dive! Dive!

















WHERE is That Darn Toy?!?!












SUCCESS!!!













Throw it Again! Throw it Again!

















I'm Not Sure I Like This Game!?!?!?!?!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ramblings - 4

My head is full of “stuff” tonight. All kinds of thoughts rolling around. Since I can’t seem to pin down a specific topic for a post, I thought I’d just share what’s rolling around in there.

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My niece (Optimistically Waiting) and her husband are doing IVF and tomorrow she is having her eggs harvested. The entire family is so very excited that they are taking this step. If all goes well, this means in just a couple of weeks, she could be pregnant! Since they want children so much and have been trying for a long while, this is very big and very exciting news. Apparently they implant 3 embryos at the same time, so there is a possibility of twins or triplets! How cool would that be?? My sister-in-law (niece’s mother) is over the moon with all this since she is hot-to-trot to become a grandmother. I’m so thrilled for all of them. I can’t wait to become a great aunt again!! Read her blog for a blow by blow of all these activities. We all think it’s incredibly interesting, but then we’re family.

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Dooce, (found here), one of the blogs I read regularly, takes a picture everyday of her dog. Since I’m a dog person, I enjoy this little feature and some of the pictures are hysterical. It inspires me to try to take “creative” pictures of my hounds. How’s this?


Carrot Anyone?
















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The new carpet has arrived at the store. (see carpet post here) They called today. They will be installing it next week. I’ve gotten past the how will it look, is it going to be okay stage and now, I’m just overwhelmed with the amount of work that will be involved to get ready for the carpet to be laid. I might have neglected to mention that I am a pack rat. My sister and I are exact opposites on this point as she saves nothing and I save everything. After all, I might need it at some point. Hence, getting this room ready for the carpet guys will involve major cleaning, sorting, throwing away, furniture moving, etc. etc. The books, oh the books, they’re everywhere. The catalogs, the piles of vitally important papers on my desk, the covered table by my chair, the filing waiting to get done, all the many pictures that are all over every piece of furniture in the room, etc. etc. This will not be fun.

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I went to the doctor’s office today. I had an appointment at 11:30 this morning. At least I was under the impression that I had an appointment. Apparently, I was wrong. In my calendar, today’s date said I should be there, so, I was. However, the appointment had been changed to another day. When looking back over the appointment book, I had the new appointment in the correct place, I had just neglected to erase the old appointment. Hence, I showed up on the wrong day. This would not be such a big deal except for the fact that my doctor’s office is a nice hefty drive of 50 miles away from here. Wasted gas, wasted time, wasted energy, what a pain. I could see a doctor that is much closer, but after 30+ years with the same guy, I’m not changing at this stage of my life. I’ll just drive. However, hopefully in the future, I will drive all that way on the correct day. Geeeeezzz……………..

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We’re heading over to Las Vegas on Monday. Some old friends of The Spouse will be there and they want us to come and meet them. Since we rarely turn down a chance to have fun with slot machines and cards, we are so there. Thanks to our Player’s Club cards, we have free rooms and food coupons so it could be a very cheap trip. However, between the cost of gas and gambling, it won’t be. I’ll keep you posted on how I do. It is within the realm of remote possibility that I could, once again, win some money. You’ll recall my last outing to an Indian casino netted a tidy sum brought home. We’ll hope for similar results.

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On Saturday we’re going to a “welcome home” party for the son of a friend of ours. He’s been in Iraq and has returned home safe and sound. He was in the Navy but is now out and is, hopefully, a free man. I keep reading those horror stories about the government dragging back guys that are supposed to be out and making them go back to Iraq for a 2nd and 3rd and 4th tour. I hope to hell this young man is truly free and does not get nailed for a return trip to the war zone. He was a Navy corpsman and has saved many lives and helped many young soldiers when they were injured and in pain. I truly hope he is rewarded for his years of service by being allowed to stay home and build a civilian life.

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Weight Watchers is in the morning. I have my fingers crossed. It has been a fair week. I am far from perfect but I think I was more good than I was bad. The scales will tell the tale. I have such issues with food. I LOVE to eat. And it seems that so much of what I truly love is fattening. I am a carb freak and I NEED my potatoes and bread and that sweet tooth of mine is a killer. I have plenty of WW sweet treats, but sometimes that just doesn’t do the trick. All I can do is keep trying and I surely am. Slowly, slowly, slowly it is coming off. I wore a pair of shorts today that I haven’t worn since last summer and it was a good thing they had a drawstring waist. Otherwise, my pants would have fallen off. Last year they were tight. This is very encouraging. I just need to remember that next time I think I can’t live without several pieces of bread and butter.

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Speaking of shorts, what the hell is going on with the weather? It’s only the middle of June and we are SCORCHING hot around here. It was over 100 today. I never cease to find it amazing how the temperatures in the “greater Los Angeles basin” can vary. Up here in the desert suburbs, we are roasting. Down by the beach, it’s in the 70’s and 80’s. In the valleys it’s in the 90’s. We cover the range. Whatever temperature you want to experience, we can cover you. It’s 100+ during the day and down into the 50’s at night up here on our desert mountain top. Makes for good sleeping.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fate.....The Conclusion

When our story left off, we were zooming down the highway on the way to a fun weekend in Vegas…….and now, to continue:

We had a wonderful time in Las Vegas. We talked nonstop, we gambled, we ate good food, we schnoozled, we enjoyed each other most thoroughly. By the end of the weekend, we were no longer Penpals, we were soul mates who had to figure out how we were going to bring our two widely separated, very disparate lives together in order to form our family.

The first question, of course, was who was going to move? It was logical for me to go to her since she was in Kentucky, my family was in Kentucky and I had always planned to move back to Kentucky. HOWEVER, I had just started school, my student loans were all in place, classes had started and The Spouse and I were both very afraid that if I quit school, I might never get back. I was in my late 40’s and the obstacle course that I had run to reach that point in my life was not one that could easily be repeated. I had an excellent part time job, an understanding boss and I was making straight A’s. Quitting school would have truly turned my life upside down. On the other hand, The Spouse had a job that she didn’t like, that paid her unbelievably low wages and she had always wanted to come to California. Hence, the decision was made. She would come to me.

So then began the planning. A cross country move is not an easy thing under any circumstances. However, to change your entire life, give up everything you know, leave your friends behind, sell your home, quit your job and move to an unknown place when you’re almost 50 years old, can be very wrenching and overwhelming to put it mildly. We continued email and phone calls almost daily. There were a million decisions to be made. What about all her household furnishings? I had a fully furnished, overly full home with little room for anything more than her and her clothes and even the clothes were a challenge. What to do with all her belongings? What about her dogs? I already had two dogs. Did we want four? What about all the monetary aspects of the move? Was she financially able to handle all this? I was a poor, “starving” student and OMAS and I were just barely keeping our heads above water. What about her house? Did she want to sell it or rent it? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

And then, of course, there was OMAS. I told The Spouse from the get-go that I came with a lot of baggage; home, debts, dogs, cats, OMAS, etc. etc. etc. By the time you reach a certain age in your life, you are dragging a whole shit load of baggage along behind you; children, animals, failed marriages, old habits, bills, secrets, it’s not so easy to change your whole world and bring somebody new into your reality. We both knew this and thought we were ready for the challenge. We loved each other and felt that we could handle anything. We were idiots.

At one point, I went back home to Kentucky, both to see the family and to help her pack. I was both appalled and horrified to see the condition of her home. I won’t go into details because it’s no longer important, but at the time, like every foolish, neat, organized woman with a slovenly mate, that has ever lived, I thought: I can change her, I can help her, I can organize her, I can teach her. I will take care of her, etc. etc. I was an idiot.

We made a million decisions. She sold her home. We put all her stuff in storage for a while, and then later moved it to my parent’s attic. She decided to only bring one dog and found a home for the other one. And on and on and on it went. It’s hard to realize how many things you have to decide and have to figure out in order to accomplish something that is such an overwhelming feat. But we did it. Slowly and painstakingly we did it. Truthfully, she did the vast majority of it. I had classes, I had a job, I couldn’t stay away from home for long. Essentially, I sat in California and waited for her to arrive.

And her trip to California began.

I had been very concerned about a woman traveling all the way across country alone. I knew she was perfectly competent but I worried anyway. There’s a lot of crazies out there. As a result of my fears, OMAS went home to visit her sister in Chicago, and then, as The Spouse was leaving Kentucky, she swung up through Illinois, picked up OMAS, and the two of them together made the cross country trip. I figured I was killing two birds with one stone. Since they were going to be living together, I felt it was vitally important that they get to know one another. Plus, The Spouse would have company on her cross country trip. I only prayed that they didn’t decide they hated each other. I didn’t think it likely since both are extremely warm, loving, good people, but one never knows. I am happy to report that the two of them, and the dog, all arrived in one piece.

At this point, I could ramble on a bit about the joys of getting together and the pleasure of once again having a regular bedmate, but the truth is, the first year was HELL. They say you never know someone until you live with them. That is, oh so true. We didn’t begin to know each other well enough to start living together and yet, when do you ever know somebody that well? If you are in love, you jump in and pray that it will work. With our situation we didn’t have the luxury of long term dating, occasional weekends together, some short trips together, all the things people do to really get to know each other. We wrote letters, we talked on the phone, we spent a weekend in Vegas and BAM! we were living under the same roof and we were, in essence, total strangers.

We fought, we cried, we made-up, we struggled, we talked and then we fought some more. We trudged forward into this relationship with our heads hanging low and both of us miserable. In the day to day routine of daily life, we were so different. I’m a morning person, she’s a night person. She can’t live without coffee. I hate coffee. She smokes. I am an ex-smoker and now hate the smell of cigarettes. I’m neat and organized. She’s a slob and unorganized. I’m Pollyana and sunshine, she suffers from clinical depression. I had a water bed and loved it. She hated the water bed. I am extremely punctual. She might show up on time or she might not show up at all. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Thank God there were just as many things that we were totally in agreement about. We both adore animals and our dogs are our fur-babies, we both have a strong work ethic, we are both readers and love movies, we both love good food and love to travel. We have similar tastes in clothing and household styles. And, most obviously, we both love our computers. Again, I could go on and on, but you get the drift.

The biggest problem that we faced was that I am an independent, hard headed, opinionated, dominating leader. The problem? So is she. We weren’t Ying and Yang. We were Ying and Ying and the personality tug of war was killing us. I don’t particularly believe in the old “butch-fem” thing as it’s really kind of silly. We’re both women and that’s that. (I went through all that role playing crap when I was in my 20’s and trying to “find myself”. I’m a child of the ‘60’s and “finding yourself” was very big back in the day.) However, even though I may not believe in role playing, we essentially had two strong, opinionated, hard headed, butch women struggling for control and we were like two bulls butting heads on a regular basis. It really was Hell.

Time passed and before we knew it, almost a year had gone by. It was a horrible year. We continued to fight. We continued to be miserable. I cried a LOT. Finally I stepped up and said what needed to be said. I told her that either we go to counseling and try to find some way that we can make this work, and we can both be happy, or else we give up and she could move out. I couldn’t go on this way. She agreed and we started marriage counseling. We both wanted it to work. That’s a good starting point.

We began seeing this incredibly wise and wonderful woman named Heidi. She was a specialist in lesbian couples counseling and really understood us. To say that she helped us is a minor understatement. She performed miracles. Of course, we were open and receptive, we WANTED it to work, we just didn’t know how to make it happen. She taught us.

We saw Heidi once a week for over a year. We talked endlessly, we were brutally honest, we cried, we yelled, we suffered and we cried some more. We learned how to fight fair. We learned how to give and how to give in. We learned that neither of us had to ALWAYS be on top (metaphorically speaking), neither of us had to always be right and we learned that sometimes it’s okay to give up control. To let somebody else be in charge. We learned to trust. To step back and let somebody else run the show was a hard lesson for both of us, but we learned.

And, over time, we changed. We both changed. I stopped trying to control the world. She stopped threatening to walk out the door every five minutes and started learning to trust me. We both grew up. By the time Heidi was finished with us, we had a marriage.

So, here we are some 14 years later. We’re still together and expect to be together for the rest of our lives. We still squabble. Life is not perfect. If you think you know people who have a perfect marriage and never fight, then you just don’t know those people too well. You never know what’s going on inside someone else’s relationship. I still yell and she still pouts but we know how to give and take. We trust each other implicitly and we love each other deeply and with those two things firmly established, everything else falls into place, albeit not always smoothly.

We got rid of the water bed and I learned to love the smell of coffee, if not the taste. I still hate her cigarettes but nowadays it’s more about her health than anything else. I do her laundry and fold her clothes because I’m the one who’s a neat freak. She has changed and learned to be much neater but the reality is, I married a slob, but I can live with it. She tells me “I’m trainable”, just tell me what you want me to do, so I tell her. We both hate housecleaning so we hired a housekeeper and she keeps us clean and tidy.

The Spouse takes care of me and I let her. I don’t need to be tough and self-reliant all the time. I take care of her and she lets me. That’s big for both of us. To allow ourselves to be dependent on someone else is not in either of our natures. It was unbelievably hard for me. I’m so damn self-reliant and independent. But I’ve learned and so has she.

Together we’ve been through the death of family (my daughter and father and her brother); the deaths, over time, of our beloved dogs; the weddings and births and joyful times of our family. We’ve traveled all over hell and back; flown many places even though we both have to have the aisle seat (we sit across the aisle from each other) and taken many road trips where we are together in the car for endless hours. And it works for us. And we’re happy. It took a lot of time and a lot of energy and a lot of work, but we made it.

We have a marriage and it’s good.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Some silly things to share about me. Found a website with all kinds of fun quizzes here


You Have Good Karma




In general, you like to do the right thing when it comes to others.

Your caring personality really shines through.

Sure, you have your moments of weakness - and occasionally act out.

But, all in all, you're karma is good... even with those few dark spots.







You Are 60% Left Brained, 40% Right Brained



The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.

Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.

If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.

Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.



The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.

Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.

If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.

Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.







Your Hidden Talent



Your natural talent is interpersonal relations and dealing with people.

You communicate well and are able to bring disparate groups together.

Your calming presence helps everything go more smoothly.

People crave your praise and complements.







Your Birthdate: July 5



You have many talents, and you are great at sharing those talents with others.

Most people would be jealous of your clever intellect, but you're just too likeable to elicit jealousy.

Progressive and original, you're usually thinking up cutting edge ideas.

Quick witted and fast thinking, you have difficulty finding new challenges.



Your strength: Your superhuman brainpower



Your weakness: Your susceptibility to boredom



Your power color: Tangerine



Your power symbol: Ace



Your power month: May







Your Personality Is


Guardian (SJ)




You are sensible, down to earth, and goal oriented.

Bottom line, you are good at playing by the rules.



You tend to be dominant - and you are a natural leader.

You are interested in rules and order. Morals are important to you.



A hard worker, you give your all at whatever you do.

You're very serious, and people often tell you to lighten up.



In love, you tend to take things carefully and slowly.



At work, you are suited to almost any career - but you excel in leadership positions.



With others, you tend to be polite and formal.



As far as looks go, you are traditionally attractive. You take good care of yourself.



On weekends, you tend to like to do organized activities. In fact, you often organize them!







Your Political Profile:



Overall: 40% Conservative, 60% Liberal



Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal



Personal Responsibility: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal



Fiscal Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal



Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal



Defense and Crime: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal







Your Fortune Is



Squirrel who runs up woman's leg not find nuts.


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Fate......Part 2


I am surprised to learn that various members of my family didn’t know the “how did you meet” story. I guess it’s because it’s the younger family members who were unaware, and 14 years ago they were just kids, mostly teenagers. What teenager gives a rat’s ass about how their aunt, who lives 3000 miles away, met somebody?? Now they’re interested, so the story continues……for them, and for all of you as well.

So, I decided that having her deliver flowers to my Mom for said Mom’s birthday would be a great way to get an opinion on what she looked like. I am NOT shallow and I really didn’t care what she looked like, but part of me cared a great deal. Okay, I am shallow. I wanted her to be cute and perfect. She wasn’t, but she is now (more or less). It’s amazing how love can slant how we look at people! I don’t see “her” anymore, I see the person I love and her generous heart and her sweet disposition and her great sense of humor. If she’s gray and chubby and occasionally too sensitive; if she smokes too much, is often a slob and has selective hearing, I just don’t care. The years together erase the faults that your eyes discern and you just see the love. This is a good thing or how could any of us ever stand to grow old together? As our hair thins, our waists thicken, our body parts sink lower and our medical bills grow higher, we better hope we have somebody to love us in spite of ourselves. Growing old ain’t pretty!

Anyway, to continue…..she agreed to deliver the flowers. I learned later that she was an absolute nervous wreck about meeting my mother. I suppose it’s the old “meet the parents” syndrome and she says she thought she would have a heart attack on the front porch. My parents are most assuredly not wealthy, but they are comfortable and have a beautiful home. It is the old fashioned, traditional Southern, columns on the veranda, kind of place (okay it’s Tara, but it’s home, what can I say?). As The Spouse turned into the entrance and drove down the long driveway, she wondered what in the hell she had gotten herself into. Here she was, in her mind, a “poor” little girl from the “wrong side of the tracks” heading into a meeting with Southern Gentry, to deliver some flowers, because she thought that she might be in love with their daughter, whom she’d never met. I would have been terrified too. For all she knew, my parents would launch a “kill the queer” attack and that would be that. Despite the fact that I had assured her my parents were nice, kind, gentle people, she still suffered acute anxiety. (It didn’t help that my Dad was a retired military officer also, and of a higher rank than she had been. She says she felt like a Private trying to date the General’s daughter.)

To answer your question, yes we had exchanged pictures. But hers were, so she said, old and not very good. Digital cameras were not in existence then and she had no one around to take a decent, current picture. The pictures she sent were taken from a distance and were not very good and the reality is I had very little idea what she looked like. I was truly concerned that the lack of a decent picture was intentional and that she might really be incredibly unattractive or a guy in drag or some other inexplicable thing. I just didn’t know! She says today that if I had met her in person, we would never have gotten together. But because I got to know her from the inside out, it was a whole different story. I really don’t know if she’s right or not, but maybe. I guess I am a shallow pig after all.

Anyway, so The Spouse rings the doorbell at my parent’s home and my lovely, sweet and gracious Mother answers the door. I do believe that at any time or any place, and under any circumstances, my Mother would be sweet, pleasant and ladylike. She might possibly say something tactless and off the wall, but she would be completely oblivious to her faux paus, and she would say it in the most ladylike way you can imagine. I can’t imagine her behaving otherwise. That’s just who she is. A Southern Lady to the bone. So Mother greeted her future daughter-in-law, welcomed her, asked her in and had her sit down, offered her some ice tea and made pleasant, inconsequential chit-chat. The Spouse made the flower delivery, sweated through “the interview”, made her excuses and got the hell out of there. She survived. Just a few minutes later, I called my Mother.

Me: “Hi Mom, it’s me. So, did she bring you the flowers?”

Mom: “Yes dear, she brought the flowers. They’re lovely. Thank you so much. You’re very thoughtful.”

Me: “Well, so what’s she like?”

Mom: “What do you mean dear?”

Me: “Well, what did she look like?” (I couldn’t bring myself to ask my Mom if she was hot or cute or any of the other things I really wanted to know.)

Mom: “Well, she just looked regular.”

Me: “What does that mean?”

Mom: “I don’t understand dear. What do you want to know?”

Me: “How was her hair?” (at this point I figured I’d have to get very specific or I was not going to get any information.)

Mom: “She had very nice hair.”

Me: “What is “nice” hair? Was her hair clean? Was it short or long? Did it have style or not?”

Mom: “It was short and it was cut in one of those strange new styles. You know, where the back is kind of shaved.” (I thought, oh God, what have I done?)

Me: “You mean her head was shaved, like a guy’s hair?”

Mom: “Oh no, I didn’t mean that. It was like that skater’s hair…….what’s her name? Oh yes, is it Dorothy Hamil? Where the back is just kind of cut weird and the sides aren’t even.” (I gave up on the hair)

Me: “So did you think she was cute?” (I was getting desperate.)

Mom: “Well, I don’t know. She just looked normal to me.”

Me: “Did she look clean? Was she nicely dressed? Did she have any unusual body piercings?”

Mom: “Yes, she looked nice and clean and her clothes were fine. I think she had pierced ears. Why are you asking me all this?”

Me: “I just wanted to know what you thought of her Mom. It’s no big deal, don’t worry about it.” (I gave up. Clearly I was not going to find out what I wanted to know from my mother. My big plan was a bust. However, I did find out she was clean and had strangely cut hair. I guess that’s something.)

So, our email continued, we talked on the phone and then came the day, we decided we wanted to meet in person. For some reason, (probably because I was in school and very, very poor) during these many months of correspondence, I had not been home to see my family, so we had not yet gotten our face to face meeting.

I wanted the meeting on neutral ground. Despite many months of writing and talking, this woman was still a stranger in reality. I felt if I went back to Kentucky to meet her, I would end up involved with my family and I wouldn’t get to spend the quality time with her that I wanted. So, we decided to meet in Las Vegas.

The plan was for me to drive over to LV and her to fly into LV where I would pick her up at the airport. Then, we would have a long weekend together to eat, drink, party, gamble, visit and just spend some quality face time getting to know each other better. Letters and phone calls are a whole different ballgame from in-person contact. I was a nervous wreck, so I took a couple of friends along for moral support. Besides, if she turned out to be an ax murderer, I didn’t want to be alone. (Lest you think me a beast for possibly turning a potential “ax murderer” loose on my parents, bear in mind, at that time, that my Dad was a big, strong, healthy guy with military training and I somehow had every confidence that he could handle any situation that might come up during the flower delivery scenario.)

So, the suitcases were packed and we were loading up at my house, preparatory to heading out for Las Vegas, and the phone rings. She has missed her plane. I immediately think she is flaking out. However, she swears the connection got screwed up, it’s not her fault and she desperately wants to come. However, there are no more flights to LV from her location that day. What to do?? To make a long conversation short, she flew directly to L.A. and we met her at LAX and headed to Las Vegas from there.

It actually turned out to be a bonus since we got almost 4 hours of car time together to visit and talk before we hit the bright lights of Sin City. My friends were in the back doing their own thing while I drove and we chatted. After a while, we switched with my friends and she and I were in the back while they drove. There we were, in the back of my van, with the music playing and only the quiet, moonlit, endless desert speeding by outside the window. It didn’t take long and we were fogging up the windows.

Where’s my U-Haul?


To be continued……………..


(The U-Haul reference is an inside lesbian joke. For those who are unaware of the implications, just Google “lesbian and U-haul” and it will be explained.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Fate


“How did you meet?” we are often asked, and since the story is slightly different than the “norm”, here’s the juicy details.

Did you ever think that maybe you were fated to be with the person you are with? That your whole life up to the meeting point had, more or less, been pointing you in that direction? And then, finally, one day you arrived at “X marks the spot” and suddenly there she was. Your mate. Not planned, not thought about, not even contemplated and, surprise! There she is, your lifetime companion ready and waiting. Well, it didn’t happen exactly like that, but the “fate factor” WAS very big in our meeting.

Fourteen years ago, in 1993, I was single and I was not looking. I had given up looking. After eleven years of singlehood, eleven years of dating turkeys, nutballs, idiots, weirdos and just plain strange women, I decided to hell with it. I’ll just stay single. If I am meant to meet someone, I will. If not, I’ll stay single. This would not be a fate worse than death. I have friends, I have family, I would not be alone. I knew I would LIKE to have a special someone, but I had just reached the point that it wasn’t worth wading through all the crazies trying to find her. Hence, I quit looking.

Fourteen years ago, computers and email were not as common and as much a part of everyday life as they are today. I used a computer at work for financial and billing work but I had no Internet access and I had never used email. However, I read a lot and I understood (more or less) the concept and I found it intriguing. I couldn’t wait to buy my very own personal computer, to get out on the Web, to search, to explore and to send email. I finally took the plunge, spent a small fortune (at least to me) and bought my first computer.

At this point, I was raring to go. I wanted to wander the world, see things, buy things and correspond with people, all without leaving my living room. I couldn’t wait to unleash the power of my huge computer with its 256k memory and it’s floppy drive. Problem? I didn’t know another soul who had a computer. None of my friends or family had computers or, if they did, they weren’t doing email or talking about their Web experiences with me. It’s terrible to have “the itch” to correspond and have nobody to write to. Of course, I had lots of potential snail mail correspondents, but I wanted to send email! Somehow the whole idea of email just seemed extremely cool to me. I wanted to communicate electronically in the very worst way. I just needed somebody, anybody, to communicate with.

Finally, I decided that a pen pal was the answer. How else would I find somebody to send email to? It seemed like a good idea to me. I went onto Prodigy (the AOL of its day) and after a lot of rooting around, I finally discovered an area where Prodigy members could connect. You had to choose what you were looking for, so I chose “Pen Pals” (not romance) and I chose women, just because I thought it would be easier to chat with another woman. Few men can appreciate the fine points of shoe shopping!

Once deciding that I wanted a female pen pal, then I had to decide what area code (!?) I wanted her to live in. I have no idea why Prodigy used this methodology, but they did. I can only assume they figured if pen pals got to be friends and wanted to meet, you might want to choose someone who lived nearby just in case. I decided to choose someone in an area code that was back East, in the same state as my family. Therefore, if we ever decided we wanted to meet, I could stop by and say hello while I was at home on a family visit. Since the entire state of Kentucky (at that time) had the same area code, I did realize that she might be on one end of the state and my family might be on the other, but it was as good a reason to choose someone as any other reason, so why not? I didn’t want to correspond with someone in my “back yard” because after eleven years of strange women, I was a bit leery of all strangers. It’s easier to ignore a weird stranger who is 3000 miles away than one who lives in the same city.

Once I decided to choose a pen pal that lived in Kentucky, then I started going through the ads for that state and there were a LOT of them. One ad finally caught my eye when it said something about being retired military and having a good sense of humor. Since I’m a military brat and I think I have a good sense of humor, this stranger seemed like she might be a good choice as a likely correspondent. I dropped her a line. And so it began……….

We wrote frequently. We talked about all the BS of life. She told me about her adventures in the military, I told her about returning to school at mid-life. We both talked about our dogs. We had a lot in common. I learned that she lived in the same town as my family. (Kentucky is not a small state and there are a lot of cities, towns and villages. This seemed an amazing coincidence.) Then I learned that she lived on the same side of town as my sister. Then I learned that she lived, literally, down the street from my sister and only a few blocks over from my brother. We were amazed. Out of the entire state of Kentucky, she lived “next door” to my family.

We wrote for almost a year. That correspondence became as important to me as many of my in-person friends. We had, over time, realized that we were both the same age; we both had a major history with the military; (albeit from different angles) we were both dog lovers; were both readers; both a bit shy around strangers; both loved the movies; both loved gambling and good food. There were many, many similarities and, of course, as you the reader will undoubtedly not be surprised to learn, we were both lesbians.

Not planned, not intended, not even thought of originally, but now, here we were: thinking about moving this online relationship into the real world. I decided to send her to meet my Mother, to deliver flowers to my Mom on her birthday. I figured I would see what my Mom thought of her. I would see just how “family oriented” this dear stranger really was.

To be continued……………………..


Saturday, June 2, 2007

I'm so proud of this little girl. This came in the mail today.




















This was taken graduation night - Graduation


Decisions, Decisions


I know nothing about carpeting. Does this make me a bad person? I don’t think so. It makes me a person who rented for 30 years, so I never worried about buying carpet. It makes me a person who finally bought a house, and then said house already had great carpeting in place, so I never worried about buying carpet. It makes me a person, who, 15 years after said house was purchased, is finally, for the first time in my life, having to deal with carpet issues. The family room carpet has worn out and now it has to be replaced. The decisions surrounding this replacement are driving me out of my mind.

I am blessed in that I have brothers who know about carpet. They have given me tons of information. However, I am cursed because said brothers live far, far away in another state. All their “carpet connections” do me no good at all. All the information they have provided is of great value and I have it all written down, however, when I am finally standing in the store, looking at carpet, I find myself thinking, “wait a minute, was that nylon or polyester that is so good?”, “is it the number of thingies per inch that’s important or was it the weight of the fiber?”. “How much is a good price?” “Is this expensive or cheap?” “It sounds expensive but maybe I’m just cheap.” I break out my notes. I read them. I feel like an idiot. How could an intelligent, well educated, worldly, experienced woman know absolutely NOTHING about carpeting? Apparently it’s easy. I know nothing.

After referring to my notes, I read the label on the back of the sample and pray for wisdom. Somehow, enlightenment does not come. I try to envision, from this 2 inch square sample, how the carpet will look in my family room. I broke out the cell phone and while standing in the store, I talked to my brother. He was helpful. I still couldn’t decide. How can there be so many decisions to make? How can there be so many different kinds? So many colors? So many shades of the same color? Such a range of prices? Why not just good carpet and bad carpet? Expensive carpet and cheap carpet? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Decisions must be made.

I was at Sears originally. Did you know that Sears no longer carries carpeting? At least not in our local store. However, on the bright side, they were having a great sale and I bought some new luggage. How could I not? They were “giving it away” and I do travel a lot. However, the new luggage did not help to solve my carpet problem.

So, I went to Home Depot. Silly girl that I am, I thought I might actually get a real live salesperson to talk to me and offer me help and insight. There was one harried clerk in that department and she did not have time for me and my problems. I love big box stores but boy they sure have crappy service. If you don’t know exactly what you want and where it is, you’re out of luck. While I was in Home Depot is when I called brother on the phone. That’s when I stood there, in front of 5 million carpet samples, and attempted to make some decisions. Brother said go to a carpet store. Prices are negotiable and there will actually be someone there who might be helpful. I left Home Depot and headed for the local carpet store.

I walked in the door of the local carpet store. If I thought I had been overwhelmed by the carpet selections at Home Depot, I was clearly a novice. I’ve never seen so much carpeting in my entire life. All colors, all textures, all thicknesses, all prices. I thought of going back to the car and having a good cry but I decided I couldn’t do that. I must find some carpet I like, make sure it is good quality carpet, buy it and plan for installation. It must be done.

I had a very nice, very helpful young salesman. I overlooked the fact that he truly looked like he was an escapee from the local prison. Hispanic, shaved head, all muscles, jailhouse tattoos, chunky neck chains, wife beater skivy shirt, jeans and heavy boots. He was scary looking, but oh so nice. Sometimes I must remind myself about that old cliché “don’t judge a book by its cover”. It is really really true. None of the guys working in there fulfilled my idea of a well dressed young salesman. But I didn’t care. He helped and I was very, very appreciative.

We talked carpet at length. I told him about the heavy foot traffic, endless dog hair, dog throw-up, dog wrestling matches, heavy vacuuming, regular dousing by chlorinated pool water, food spills, coffee splashes, coca-cola accidents, ice tea drips, dog bone chewies and general wear and tear that this carpet would have to stand up to. He was very understanding. I told him I wanted all nylon ONLY (per brother). I wanted stain resistant (per me). I wanted something in the tan/cream/brown family and maybe I wanted a pattern. I wanted something that would feel good under bare feet but still be tough as iron.

We looked at samples, we touched and felt and squeezed samples, I walked on samples with bare feet. I reached a point that I didn’t care what it cost. If it was pretty, made of iron and anywhere within even a remotely reasonable price range, I would be happy. We finally found THE ONE. It is chocolate brown. (did I mention I have chocolate labs?) It is 100% nylon. It has a pattern. It is not extremely plush but it is somewhat plush and I am getting the thickest carpet pad available to help ensure comfort for bare feet. I think I am happy. I will know soon.

It is ordered. It will be delivered and installed in a week or so. Oh God, I hope it looks good. I am such a novice at some things. Please don’t let it be a disaster.