Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Waffle Day!

Today is a magical day.

Four years ago today, someone named Folsom and someone named Walsh, inspired by the sweet news that GW Bush had changed domestic partnership taxation on public employees, hastily joined themselves together in sweet monkey matrimony to become the WaFols tribe forever more. (Wafols. Geddit?)

Here is a recreation of the beautiful moment when we decided to entwine our lives and taxable incomes together forever more:

Him: CRAP!

Me: What?

Him: I just got this notice that I have to pay taxes on all the domestic partnership benefits my work gave you that were untaxed all year! CRAP!

Me: Suck!

Him: OR...we could get married and the benefits would become nontaxable spousal benefits.

Me: So it's December. Couldn't they have told you earlier in the tax year? Effers. Whatever. I guess let's do it. (to Milo) Sorry little buddy. I guess we can't legitimately call you our little bastard any more...

See? We've always had that secret, romantic je ne sais quoi.

Last night, Jamie and I went out a day early (because when you get married on New Years Eve, every day is a holiday. Also, babysitters on NYE? Ha!) and celebrated with the alcohol and the raw fish and the reminiscence, reflecting upon all the words we now use only ironically. Like "romantic" and "privacy".

And we also did some good couple bonding and threatening. can never die/divorce me/something-else-unforeseeable because we are In. This. Together. Like it or not, damnit, baby!

Because that? Is hot sweet magical monkey love. Baby.

Happy New Year/Waffle Monkey Love Day to you all!

DISLCAIMER: Our sitters are awesome and would probably totally have sat for us tonight. Just so's you knows. 

PS: Thank you tremendously for all the love about my sister. Here's hoping for a healing 2009! 

PPS: So....sometimes I'm a bit harsher than is strictly necessary. And even though the above is all more-or-less true, it doesn't capture the fact that we are a pretty nauseatingly happy-together couple who are delighted to find ourselves where we are. And even if GW hadn't been evil, babies not in our picture, and privacy something we could say without snorting, we might be in precisely exactly the same place. There, Jamie. I lub you and I may not be particularly publically mushy, but it's ALL MUSH ALL THE TIME in our reality. (OK, not always, but sometimes).

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sweet and sour

Things have been a bit weird in Waffle land.

We had what was, with blinders on, a delightful holiday weekend. We didn't give or recieve a lot of presents, but what we did and had was meaningful.

We got to spend part of the 'smas with our favorite Naked Monkey friends.

On Boxing Day Jamie's sister and her daughter, who live in France, and a friend of theirs from Oregon, came for a visit and truly added to the pleasure of sharing in the best of Christmas spirit.

Minimal drama at home/maximum warmth. Lots of cooking, game playing and sweet, cozy times. In a normal world, the biggest blot on my horizon would be that the garbage pick-up didn't happen due to bad weather. Because? Chicken bones+wrapping-paper+boxes=Crap!

However, from an inner perspective, my holiday was...well, the suck. And typing this out makes my hands shake.

My oldest sister, easily one of the most vital, life-force-filled people I've ever known, collapsed on 12/22. Doctors found a mass in her pelvis and did a colonoscopy which found that her colon is riddled with tumors. Her liver shows some masses as well.

There are some good things to add, like her lungs are clear and the initial colon biopsy came back as precancerous. But basically, each phone call home delivered news that was/is more and more somber. By Christmas I was a wet wreck.

I don't know what to add to that. That she has 7 kids, the youngest of whom is 5? FIVE! That she JUST became a grandmother this year and needs to see him grow up? That she, more than any of my living family members, made the greatest impact on me as a person and I want her to keep doing that for a LOT MORE YEARS? That she talks more animatedly than anybody I've ever known and that a phone call to her is the most fascinating roller coaster about nutrition, green-living, education, and 45 other random topics which interest her at a given moment?

She's intense and a force of nature and SO opinionated. She loves books. She loves music. She loves helping people experience the best of things, particularly with regards to health and nutrition.

I don't believe in God, which is good for God and good for me, because I'd be SO FUCKING RADICALLY RABIDLY CRAZY if I thought there was a being anywhere in the universe who could change what is happening to my sister. Which is to say, I held it together for Christmas. Had fun with the kids. Was loving and loved. And now I'm trying to figure out all the random intricacies of being a supporter of someone with cancer.

How does anybody do this?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cowboy kittens sapped my will to live

Thanks to Captain Dumbass, I was reminded of something: I'm lame. Here's why:

About 3 years ago, we moved to a neighborhood on the edge of Portland's SE industrial district: "Brooklyn" - known for many years (although less so lately) as "porn town" due to the many - now defunct - porn theaters/clubs in it's business district. Porn-town was a step up for us.

Porn-town Waffle house is 100+ years old. It has "character" and also, weird decorating choices made by previous tenants. When we moved in, we had many many good intentions: First up? Rip out wallpaper! Including: Giant pansies! Beers of the world! (seriously, wallpaper comprised of international beer labels) And, my favorite, COWBOY KITTENS!
I spent long hours ripping out carpets only to find day-glo orange and turquoise painted wooden floors beneath them. I then sanded carpet glue that had been laid directly on top of the painted fir floors. We scraped yards of wallpaper and then I painted. Sealed. Paint paint paint.

In about a week, the 2 bedrooms and office were shiny and awesome. Except for...Cowboy Kittens. The bathroom. It needed a full overhaul, as not only were the walls covered in kittens AND faux burlap AND baby-poop-painted trim, but the cheap linoleum tile was coming up, the sink leaked and the shower had been put in not according to code and required some work just to make it functional.

Here is the sucking part: I suck at finishing projects. Seriously. Suck. Just ask my backsplash tiling project, my red-barrel project, my doll-making project. They'll tell you: SUCK!

Jamie sucks too, in this way, so together we're just one, loving, sucking couple. Fine...except? Cowboy Kittens (and the yard, and the garage, and the basement...) To date? One wall is wallpaper-free, and the other walls are covered in the results of haphazard, occasional picking at the ends of wallpaper while the picker is in the bathroom.

Some day, as Wizard is my witness, we will defeat those kittens...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Rhymes with schmomygodMiloisfiiiieeeve

Once upon a time,THIS:

Became THIS: And then THIS: And about 5 minutes later, THIS:

Today is Milo's fifth birthday, and, like the day he was born, it's Thanksgiving. A sappy but perfect coincidence, because I can't think of anything I'm more grateful for.

Oh, Milo...since the first time you kicked me (from the inside!) so hard I could see your foot through my abdomen, since we tossed our planned home birth to the curb, since before your first word was "nuh uh" and your second words were "make me", we knew that all of our rosy, born-of-inexperience-and-fantasy-plans for parenting were in for some major renovation.

You are a strong-willed, smart, funny, sweeet, clowny little boy and an amazing big brother; a constant source of entertainment and, oh, such a love. A force of nature and love.

Happy birthday, sweet firstborn!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Vampires, parts 2-infinity...

So...I tried, not all that valiantly, to get through the other 3 Twilight books.

I mean, you know, I read a LOT, so it shouldn't have been that hard. But it was, and it took me over a month of eye-rolling to finally do it.

So, when we left off, klutzy teen girl had moved somewhere cold, wet and rainy for reasons not very well explained. And she hates the rain and can't seem to stop talking about that. Or falling down. Then she meets a mysterious, smouldering boy and for three hundred+ pages, she wonders why he's so hostile and keeps disappearing and scowling and then maybe she thinks he likes her and does he? and what's his deal anyway? and wait, is there something weird about him? and, omg! he's a vampire! A smouldery sparkly vampire! Dang, does he like her enough? Some? Does he hate her? What's up? Does he love her? Does his family hate her? Finally, for about 5 pages, a plot happens. And then they go to prom. The end.

Book 2: Depressed. Edward left. Bella is very very depressed. So depressed. Depressed. Very. unhappy. Jacob is a werewolf? Whatever. Still depressed. Bella gets a MOTORCYCLE! Probably she'll have an accident and die (she doesn't). She jumps off a cliff, maybe she'll die! (she doesn't). More. Depressed. And then, for like 30 pages, after 500+ pages of, you know, depressed, Edward-thinks-bella-is-dead-and-tries-to-kill-himself-in-italy-can-bella-and-alice-get-there-in-time-to-save-him? Yes they can. Tourists die. Whatever. Edward loves her. The end.

Book 3, which I just read, I can't even remember. Mysterious murders offscreen. Jacob and a lot of his tribe are werewolves. He loves wannabe vampire girl. She doesn't love him. Yes she does. No she doesn't. Yes. No. Yes, but not enough. But MAINLY, vampire boy and wannabe-vampire-girl argue about: I want to be a vampire! (no) should we have sex? (no) Where should we go to college? Are you sure you love me? Sure? For realsies sure? Should we get married? And wheeeeennnnnn will you turn the wannabe into a vampire? Please please please? (no). Then the murderers offscreen turn out to be vampires. 20 pages of vampire-and-werewolf-on-vampire fighting. Good guys win! The end. Dang.

Book 4: confession is that I can't make it all the way through book 4. But I got a good ways in. Enough to say that, well, mutant, hybrid, ultra-strong, rapid-gro babies (with teeth!) born at something like...20 days gestation to a mom who gets pregnant after the first time she has sex with her big old emo vampire husband...pretty much that took me as far as I could get in that series. That and they name it something I just can't not mock.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fear (aka, effed)

I've blogged a little bit about this before, but 13 years ago, the week before Thanksgiving, something completely changed my life. At the time, I was generally pretty happy-go-lucky. I was in my, um, 7th undergraduate year, having switched majors more often than I would have thought was allowable; and was living with my long-term boyfriend while still happily married to my ex-boyfriend. Ok, that sounds, but trust me when I say that everybody involved was pretty much okey-dokey with that situation. Then, in a pretty short period of time, I:
  • got the measles
  • got re-vaccinated, all at once, for all of these childhood illnesses for which I apparently had no titers
  • started having some wacky mood swings
  • started putting on weight for really the first time in my life
  • started going blind in one eye
I finally went to my optometrist about the vision problems, but he thought it was something more brain-related, so, at age 25, I made my first trip to a neurologist. Four months and about a kerjillion tests (and dollars) later, my neurologist and her team found a growth on my pituitary gland, right in the middle of my brain. The day before Thanksgiving, she called to tell me that I had a brain tumor. Before that, theories about the cause of my symptoms included ALS (Stephen Hawking's illness), MS, Diabetes, and...a couple more. I can't actually remember a lot of that time period, because getting diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 25 sort-of, oh, made a lot of white noise happen in my head. It was a very Woody Allen moment, because I'd just ASSUMED I was being a hypochondriac, only to learn that it was worse - much worse - than I thought. During those months of testing, I finally divorced my 1st ex, who was going through some personal drama of his own, and also started making plans to marry my (then) current boyfriend. I started taking anti-depressants to deal with the mood swings brought on by the pituitary changes, and then other medication to deal with some of the side effects of the anti-depressants. My weight and the mood swings sort-of stabilized, but I was much heavier and much MUCH more lethargic and generally DOWN than I'd ever been. Before I was diagnosed, when ALS was one of the most likely diagnoses, I conned my friend Boris to steal some cyanide from his job, because I was NO WAY going to live a Stephen Hawking life. That's how it was: I was planning how to die. All of this is pretty much ancient history. This was just the start (and partial catalyst) of a sucky sucky downward spiral. Lots more happened, bad, worse and VERY WORST before things finally got a little bit better, then - eventually - much, much better. 13 years later, I can see all the ways that period of time affected my entire life's trajectory and how much or little drama I decide is warranted for anything else that happens. I'd love to end this with some little placebo-quasi-inspirational nougat about how fear is nothing and you can survive bad and worse...but that's not necessarily true in my own life. I'm still ridiculously histrionic and choose to get dramatic about some really small, lame potatoes. But I also see how that experience enabled me to detach from things I might otherwise freak about. I am better at seeing how my physical life impacts my emotional life. At valuing things I might otherwise have taken for granted. I'm a little bit more prepared to think about dying and what I think that means. And...I know what I fear most, which has nothing to do with getting a brain tumor.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lie-y McLiarson's disingenuous, backdated blog post

I've been in a training session at work. And taking care of stuff at home. So I blog post backdatily to meet my Nablahblahblahpohmoh self-commitment. Does that count? Since I can't write and pretend to listen to the training session work, here's my cheaty-shameless-promotion-of-family-musicians post. These are The Mollies. My cousin Becky is the brunette and my niece Vivian is the blond. ENJOY!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A brief history of bad hair...

In the spirit of it being Monday, and me having had a full day of GAH! (in the form of a HUGE bounced payment check from this stupid 2nd job I shouldn't have taken - seriously evil karma for them, but also seriously painful for me to wait for them to just effing PAY ME! and then the boy believing that although halloween-is-over-chocolate-is-forever-so-give-me-chocolate-CHOCOLATE-NOW-NOW-NOW), well, I'm just all...not writing a blog post or including cute clogging kittens with pitchforks today. I'm all the other way today. Instead of that post? Inspired by Steenky Bee, but omitting her deep love of all things Sarah Connor, a history of hair: HS senior photo, juxtaposed with me a year ago. Oh, so beautiful 80's...

Clearly, HAIR CONTROL has always been a problem...

Is there a dog on that child's head? Dear lord, no. It's just HAIR! And then came the bangs... And the posing...oh.

The hell?

Note the so-beautiful PAISLEY JEANS in those last 2 photos. I think I was overfond of them... Hair control. I just don't have the gift. Or the posing thing. That too.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bubbling over

I've had something on my back-burner for SO LONG that it's left permanent scorch-marks. 

Finally, thanks to an article in, by THIS woman, I did something I've meant to do, oh, for the past 22 years. (And I should also note here that I'm basically plagiarizing her letter with few edits of my own).

IMO, Proposition 8 is probably nothing more than a bump in the road on the way to authentically unbiased, unprejudiced civil rights for just means it will take a bit longer to get there. And for people who might have never otherwise thought about it, this experience has hopefully made them think about whether they want to live a life exemplifying hate or love. 

However, for me, Prop 8 is significant as a catalyst for something I've needed to do for a long time:

Member Records Division, LDS Church 
50 E North Temple Rm 1372 
SLC UT 84150-5310 

This letter is my formal resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

As of November 4, 2008, I terminate my membership. 

The LDS church has participated in a hate-filled political campaign against the rights of families in California and other states, and this is the catalyst for my action. 

Please remove the name Rebekah Waffle (birth date: March 16, 1970) from the records of the LDS Church immediately — as dictated in the General Handbook of instructions. I understand that my resignation from the church cancels the effect of baptism, withdraws the priesthood (not applicable to me as a woman), and revokes temple blessings. I hereby withdraw my consent to being treated as a member and any tacit consent membership implies that I might be subject to church rules, policies, beliefs and disciplines. As I am no longer a member, I want my name permanently and immediately removed from the membership rolls of the LDS church. 

Please promptly complete the form “Request for Administrative Action”, and forward it to the appropriate Stake President. You will need to send me a letter telling me that you have done so. Further, I formally demand that the 30-day holding period be waived, and that the Stake President forward this letter and the form to the Office of the First Presidency as soon as he receives it. 

I will not participate in church court or disciplinary council, as I am no longer a member. I do not wish to be contacted by anyone except by mail confirming that my name has been removed from the records. This includes home teachers, visiting teachers or any church leadership attempting to visit my home or contact me by telephone.

I do not condone your church’s overt encouragement of members to campaign against the civil rights of others. While I have other beliefs at odds with Mormon teachings, it is this issue which has finally given me the push I needed to withdraw my membership. 

Rebekah Waffle
November 15, 2008

I should add here that I have a large adoptive family. I am the only non-Mormon out of my parents, 3 siblings, their spouses, 20 nieces and nephews, their spouses (the ones who are married) and 2 great-nephews. My parents are old and love their church. My siblings and their kids are not old and love their church. 

At least one member of my family reads this blog semi-regularly, so whenever I post about my whole round-and-round about God, Mormons, dinosaurs and wizards and peepstones and loving everybody no matter who THEY love, I know that I've got at least one person from that world who might (repeatedly and consistently) be offended by me. And, goatess, I love your support and the fact that you never huff off and don't return. It's important to me to work through what I need to work through, even in a public forum, but I always feel bummed that it might seem unkind or ungrateful to a family I genuinely love. This matter, though. I'm not sure how it will be taken. 

In my mind, it's a formality. I haven't been much of a Mormon for the past 20+ years other than my obsession with how that's shaped my worldview. I can't see it as making much difference, but sometimes I'm surprised by what matters to other people and what doesn't. Maybe they'll see it as a way to make change, or start a dialog. Or maybe they'll see it as a gross insult. Hard to know. And it may not come up at all. But, for what it's worth, it's the sole thing that's held me back until now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


(aka fun with my crappy Photshop skillz) You always wonder where you might have ended up, don't you? Don't you? Do you? Well...I do. Because, as I've already established, I live in the past, I often think about all the paths I took but reverted. Or messed up. Or just barely went one way instead of another. Let's just see what that might have looked like, had I not changed majors and divorced and then divorced and changed majors...and then moved to Oregon: Here's one: Mormon mom. How do you know she's Mormon? White shirts. Because? Are you kidding? Who puts kids in white?...There's a whole life averted in this picture.
Or this is totally cute: OK, frankly, I've never quite been here. A couple of protests that could have gone awry, but...mainly no. I did date a couple of future felons though. And made some poor roommate choices in college which could have gotten me here.

[Note: when your parents offer to pay for religious college, which you acquiesce to under duress and out of poverty, because you drank too much didn't study hard enough to keep your full-ride scholarship at the state school; and then your religious-college roommate says she's "bucking the system" at said college by "dealing a little", DON'T try to "be cool" by letting it slide. Get out!]

Fortunately, she never got caught (while you lived with her). Unfortunately, you live in your car for a while because you get freaked out by the company she keeps (and she totally steals all your clothes while you are doing this). During a Utah winter. Before you FINALLY realize you will pay for your own college, drop out of BYU and go live with non-drug-dealers-not-in-your-car, thank you.]

Anyway, I never got arrested.

All right. I was also never a mermaid, nor going to be a mermaid. But I did used to have cartoonishly perky boobs.
Singer! My first college major: opera! But primarily I did an enormous amount of bad or mediocre community theater. Right before I married the Evil Mad Scientist, I gave it all up and have (almost) never looked back.
Smoker!.Well...passively. I lived with an active smoker and sometimes held ciggarettes (is that how you spell that) just to fit in:
Kashmiri bride: I may not have mentioned that the Evil Mad Scientist was of Pakistani descent, but he was, and once upon a time, I really truly did this, so I guess it's a path actually taken, but reverted. We stayed married for about .2 minutes after this, but at least I'll always have Pakistan...
Nomadic Hiker: Husband #1 was this sort-of restless, gypsy-ish nomad guy. My life could have looked like this, but mainly it looked like being alone, since he was usually off doing his own thing.

Alterna-babe: Even though I am a product of my generation, I have no tattoos. A couple of nose rings, yes. It's the path I didn't take, but I'm right next door... I'm an alt-dot-neighbor!
My birth father is an ex-Hell's Angel. Can't you see it? It's in my bloooood!
And finally, of course, this. I was SO close to becoming her. But chose instead to use my powers to remove dangling participles armed with nothing but a keyboard. (I kept my lasso, though).

The Great Why

I've been thinking a great deal about religion lately. Er, if "lately" can mean "since-2001-when-the-entire-United-States-seemed-to-become-in-a-flag-waving-911-backlash-frenzy-a-more-conservative,-religiously-bent-place-to-live".

I grew up in the US equivalent of Vatican City and didn't realize, until leaving Salt Lake, that most people don't get a religious analysis of world events on the nightly news. Or that most newspapers don't have a "Church News" section that's 16-20 pages long. That not everyone views their entire global experience through biblical glasses. Except, you know, many of them do.

At any rate, my attenuation to religious rightwingery is probably a bit acute and hypercritical, but not without provocation. Mainly, this comes back to my family.

I can believe that there is a world of people I don't know very well who believe things which are (to me) overtly suspect. But when it comes to my smart, analytical family, I am perplexed. And relieved, too, that I escaped that particular orthodoxy.

I think metaphysics is an important topic, and when my kids are old enough to both understand my beliefs and that they can also explore whether they share those beliefs or not, we'll talk about it more seriously. When I recently tried to explain to Milo why grandma and grandpa don't believe in dinosaurs, I had to laugh. Trying to find euphemisms he would understand, "God" became "a very powerful wizard" (like I'll never have to deconstruct THAT later...).

That might be unfair to their beliefs, but I can't feign reverence for the entire creationist package. Which is not to say that the universe in it's particular perfection doesn't awe me, but I find the concept of a sacred, cognizant, man-focused creator as likely as believing that it was all done by Santa Claus.

 I take my disbelief in invisible powerful beings (as well as salvation and sins, atonement, begatting, motes in your eyes and camels through needle eyes) pretty seriously. Even though, in the end, I think it's all just a big pile of dogma (ho ho).

And I find myself constantly wondering why, taking nearly exactly the same path, my siblings and I arrived at precisely the opposite location. From my seat, it's almost as though my entire family is mentally ill: believing in invisible entities, following directions from incendiary plant-life, a wealth of predestination, eating bread they refer to as a piece of a dead body, and, for that matter, zombie worship. So...clearly it's difficult for me to "get" religious people.

Do they really believe absolutely and more-or-less literally in all that stuff about Mohammad/Buddha/Moses/Krishna, floods, locusts, crucifixion, frogs, pale horses (and in my family's case, golden plates, peepstones, plural wives, priesthood...)??

Because that's a LONG list of complicated, conflicting stories to add to the standard list of ethics, appreciation, self-care and socialization (kindness, cleanliness, self-awareness, empathy...etc.) that everybody everywhere has to figure out.

When you add guilt and atonement and baptism and sacraments and prayer and whatnot various minor rituals and goat sacrifices and bible quoting to all the basic do they ever navigate the already difficult waters Is all that self-loathing gratifying? Can't you just forgive yourself? Can't you listen to your own voice standing up for what you feel is right or wrong? Can't you just appreciate the universe without doing what you are told by some pious talking head, let alone believing that it was created for YOUR benefit? Do you really need to eat that (proxy) dead body and drink that (pretend) blood?

Am I an atheist because I was adopted, and told from the outset by my parents that they expected me to fail at living with their piety (aka fitting in) because I was the product of sin? Am I a product of negative-wish-fulfillment on their part?

I'm grateful for the ways in which being regarded as an outsider led me to skepticism. My birth parents and their families are also ones who have left the religions of their birth (Judaism and Catholicism respectively) for more personal quests of beliefs, so maybe I inherited an innate restlessness with pigeon-holes, particularly those of a metaphysical nature.

Whatever the source, I wouldn't trade my belief that life is precious because it is our total experience for one which thinks we are infinite and ultimately destined for glory. Despite the palliative comfort in that belief, it is self-deluding.

At any rate, that's my longish off-the-cuff of today. What's the point? What, really, do people get out of being religious aside from that delusion of a luxurious, infinite afterlife? Is my entire family a bunch of self-deluded liars?

Because they all claim to have frequent spiritual encounters with the metaphysical universe, burning bosoms (seriously) and still small voices. Which know...sounds crazy and/or liarist. And that's my perpetual conflict. I love my family. I respect that they want to pursue truth in all forms. And that for us, truth has taken on completely opposite trappings.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I've been searching unsuccessfully online for my favorite Lynda Barry cartoon ever. I have a copy of it that I clipped out of a weekly newspaper back in 1995. It's pretty ratty. At any rate, it's a typical LB creation full of words words words and her clutter of dreamy, smart, unpopular kids. This one is about botox. The line I remember best is Marlys holding up a misshapen can and saying "the thing making this can bulge will make you beautiful!" and in the last frame, an off-panel voice says "immobilized foreheads turn me on!" Someday, my jowls will fall around my mouth, and my tiny chin will be no more. My eyes will have lots of smile wrinkles around them, and the line between my eyebrows will be permanent. My hair, which has been getting fuzzier and thinner for a few years will probably look tufty and patchy. I will look OLD...but I will have character. I will look like myself. And someday, this will happen to everybody you know in some way. We'll all get stranger looking, less tidy, less snugly wrapped in our skin, and more stretchy and Martha-Grahamy in our bodies. Our necks will be loose, our arm skin will wobble, our knees will look strange and our hands will look knotty and gnarly. Our voices might shake a little when we talk. Or...we will start injecting toxins and plastic into ourselves to make it stop. I think a lot about it. Aging. Changing. Wanting to be young for my kids, but happy with this body in all of it's many permutations. Here's my girlfriend Sarah again:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

'nü-klē-ər's that day. The last day a certain special someone saying "nook ye ler" impacts me in that specific tooth-grinding way. Because even though we'll still have 10 more weeks of winter after today, lame-duck mispronunciations will sound just like "buh-bye" to my ears. And...for any fence-sitting-pronunciation enforcers out there: Meditate on that while you vote...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Stacks

What do you call someone who reads ingredients lists if nothing else is around? Textophile? Scriptomaniac? Compulsive escapist? Because that might be me. If you came to my house, you'd see something like this: every room.

And in case you think this speaks of erudition, note that I re-read the entire Harry Potter series this year back-to-back. And...a zillion kids books, some YA, thrillers, mysteries, sci-fi, pink lit, punk lit...and maybe 3 or 4 non-fiction books. Nothing much to construe as, in any way, respectable or ensmartening (see?)

This might not be something which would even occur to you, frankly. I was in college too long (9 undergraduate years - sweet!) Six incomplete majors, culminating in English theory. University people tend to think academia requires a certain...gravitas, which multiple re-readings of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle or Matilda, minus a dissertation project, probably lack.

I squeeze reading into my day in tiny increments. Baby wants to nurse? Great! Where's my book? Bathroom break? Bring a book!

I think my amassing of books is a bit...weird. I own a few books that are out of print. Books I enjoyed when I was a kid and which I want to share with my own kids. And those are possibly understandable. But...I'm aware I don't REALLY need to own books I most likely will never read again.

I've schlepped hundreds of books across the country and packed and unpacked the same 20+ far-too-heavy boxes in at least a dozen apartments and homes.

I've been scolded by a landlord for jeopardizing the structural integrity of their house by keeping too many books...(I'm not sure who is correct about this one - my sense of logic says "naaah", but my sense of my own fallibility/gullibility says...."is that possible??!!???)

So...this could be the obnoxious post subtitled "Look at meeee - Ready McReaderson". But it's really...I dunno. Confessional and 12-stepperish...

Hopefully there's a point to all the books. My kids might grow up incredibly well read (or at least literate)...and I might branch out into instructive non-fiction and general self-improvement (ugh) a bit more and turn out to develop some, up until that moment, completely amazing talent for...oh, something besides reading late into the night.

Right now, though, it seems most likely that I'd just better stay out of my own house during an earthquake...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


A couple of weeks ago, I went out to the garage to track down some files left in my filing cabinet. Because a filing cabinet, in a garage, in Oregon...a state which gets an average 8 months of rain? Not the best place to leave paper items you want to ever see again.

Like my adoption records. Or marriage certificates (and divorce papers). It was a trip, because we've moved a lot and I hadn't seen many of those files and photos and letters for about 10 years. One of the best discoveries was an entire folder full of the kindest, hardest letters, circa 1986, from my friend Chris.


"...I'm not going to kill myself. Although I sometimes think it would be nice. I felt sick all last night. And I couldn't sleep...I'm going nuts, Becky! Crazy!! I scream silently for help. I wish it would STOP!...I'm safe at school. Sort of. The feelings don't go away. It's ruining me. What do you think of me? Am I awful? What do you think of the vestle (sic) clean white boy who is all American, Mom's dream, funny all the time? Now that he's shown to be a corroding pervert and a....I can't write it. I'm so scared. It sounds terrible. The nights are worse because I'm forced to think. God is trying to help me. He is giving me confidence. I love him. Mike told Melonie that you told me that she admires me. If she only knew. If she only knew. {sigh} Goodnight, with all the love I have left, Chris."

Heartbreaking. And since you don't know Chris, you just have to take my word that you would be hard pressed to find a dearer, kinder boy. Every letter of his from this time contains some measure of that self-loathing and pain.

When we were there, in high school, in Salt Lake City, Chris & I were misfits for different reasons, but ended up in similar places. His support, constant irony, and sense of the ridiculous (and the finite nature of high school) kept me sane and optimistic.

I was...awkward physically and socially, with parents trying to convince me college was where good, plain girls like me go to find husbands - as quickly as possible. I wanted SO MUCH more for myself than I was getting. More encouragement. More freedom. More opportunities of all kinds. More room to just figure out what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be once I was away from the constant control. Like a LOT of people, I wanted out Out OUT - NOW!!! College couldn't sweep me away soon enough!

Conversely, Chris was an absolute golden boy, and my opposite in many, many ways: Class president. Lead in all the school plays. Handsome. Perfect teeth. Perfect hair. Snappy dresser. And closeted. SUPER closeted. He wanted in In IN! FOREVER!!!!

It's hard to describe to people outside of that world all of the ways in which being a gay Mormon man is simply impossible. Not only because everyone around you subscribes to a sort-of basic fundy-homophobe-going-to-hell belief-system (and so do you, probably), but also because that is a world which in particular provides both secular and metaphysical rewards to faithful, heterosexual men.

I don't think Mormon women have it all that great. The messages they get are a mixture of subservience, polygamy-in-the-afterlife, having-babies-is-your-calling, being-a-helpmeet-is-fun. Whee. Plus bad underwear. I'm always surprised that many women are fulfilled in that world. But they are...and that's another topic.

Obedient Mormon men, however, are constantly being promoted to higher and higher echelons within that structure. They're told that faithful men are like gods, both figuratively and, in their afterlife, literally. All the wives they can support in that post-life-godhood. And greater community standing, jobs, houses, leadership roles, etc. in this life.

It's not easy to walk away from being constantly told how great and important you are, and how many gifts you will receive in this life and the one after, particularly if leaving meant existing in an unknown, chaotic world which you've been told leads to hell, misery, corruption, self-loathing and complete social ostracization by everyone you care about...

Also in the 1980's, gay=AIDS=death. It wasn't a great, promising time to come out and experience the naked panoply of hot, gay, man-love.

So Chris was suffering. A lot. And I was figuring out that, contrary to the rumors I'd heard, being gay didn't actually seem to mean all that much of anything disgusting, abnormal or corrupt, news which fit right in with my growing resentment of religious hypocrisy.

I also was figuring out that the key difference for Chris was that he'd have a hell of a lot harder road to happiness than my own average one of angst and rebellion.

Re-reading those letters was sweet. Bittersweet, sometimes, but...also moving and delightful. Today I xeroxed the entire folder and mailed the copies to New York. To Chris, who is now all fabulous, demi-famous, completely out, acting and directing edgy off-Broadway theater, living with his long-term love, Desmond, and, most importantly, loving life.

High school=sucked...but that seems to be one of it's key functions. Oppression=very sucky. Suffering=also sucky. Having your parents cut you off because you are gay/atheist/not-them=very very sucky.

Lifelong friendships+freedom+love=NOT SUCKY.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Vampires! Sexist! Sexy!

So...I caved. The hype got to me at last...and a friend loaned me her copy of the famous vampire book for teens (Twilight).

Here's my summary:

Her: Wow, it rains here. Bummer. Who is that smouldering-and-impossibly-sexy mysterious man-boy?

Him: I'm a hundred-year-old vampire with super strength, super speed, and powers beyond your dreams. I speak like a gothic romance novel and know everything. Of course, I also go to high school, because would we meet?

Her: (Thump) Dang! Woo! I just tripped. I'm so clumsy! Jeeez!

Him: Mysteriously, that just makes me feel really manly, so please trip or talk about how clumsy you are more. Also, you smell like strawberries. No, wait, heroin. You smell JUST like heroin! Are you scared of me?

Her: (tee hee) Wanna go somewhere alone in a car?

Him: How about a meadow?

Her: Keen! (thump) Gosh! I tripped again!

Him: I will save you from the danger you are to yourself! Because that's what men who don't talk much and are mysterious do!

Her: Hey! Sparkly!

Him: I just ate a grizzly bear!

Her: Wow. Your sparkly sexy magnetic manliness makes me trip over and over again. Also faint. Wait! Why don't I make some very bad decisions to show how much I need YOU to make all the decisions?

Him: You do that. Next time, let VAMPIRE MAN-BOY do it. However, I'll save you again anyway!

Her: My hero! Wanna smell me some more?

Him: (sniff sniff) We are doomed by our doomedy doomed love. But I will be here, beautiful clumsy girl. Unsleeping and nearly catatonic. Forever.

Her: Jeepers! Super neat! Ow! Aw, I tripped again!

Both laugh, smolderingly, as the sun sets over the prom...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kandinsky meets cotton

Lessons from date night: Things to NOT forget: Things to LEAVE HOME ON PURPOSE (because, you know, standing up to see a band all night - after downing 2 drinks, after driving all the way home to retrieve your license): Ow.

Things to remember: WHY you are with the one you're with. Jamie: The 80's were like...Kandinsky meets cotton

Me: Ha! But the hair was all...

J: Awesome. Like we all just stepped out of a biplane.

Me: More like an explosion.

J: Precisely! Kandinsky!

The evening was good. The Mountain Goats amazing, and their opening act...loud. And reverb-y. But John Darnielle is...damn. Weird. Great. Heartbreaking. He played Song for my Stepfather about himself as a battered 5-year-old boy that made me break a little. And he closed with Love love love and This Year, which are probably my 2 favorite songs of theirs. An experience worth having, which made me reflect on all the ways last night was a precious rarity.

Annnd...the kids were asleep when we checked in at 9:30, and seemed to have a good time too. Our sitter always tells us they are the best behaved, sweetest kids she knows. certainly makes leaving them with her pleasant. In 5 years, we might try this again.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Date Night! week, I get a real, live, EVENING date with Mr. Waffle. Our sitter is going to PUT THE KIDS TO BED. Or so we hope. Even if they fall asleep in front of a video and she carries them to the bed, that's AMAZING and a FIRST in almost 5 years! We are going to hear THIS band: At NIGHT! At a BAR! A REAL, evening date without racing home by 9!!!

Wardrobe-ish (and guessing game)

A few weeks ago, two of my friends, Amy and Danielle posted about all the lovely things they would like to incorporate into their wardrobe. And it made me think how I'd love to look all SAXXY and HOT for Jamie on Date Night in awesome new duds. Except my budget calls for me to buy this: (Actually not, as barrels are REALLY pricey...which I know from recent Rain Barrel purchasing pains) But their posts about shopping and looks and stuff made me think about wardrobing... I think one of the better things about being older is that I've got an ok base wardrobe. Not awesome, but I own ample clothes which fit and which I can stand being seen in. Mostly covered in that nice mom-combination of mystery stains and boogeys, but still...I don't shop like I did when I was worried about how I had like, one pair of pants that fit my can (which, come to think of it, is rather barrel-shaped)... This past year my shopping habits have been about longing for, and occasionally squandering my money on indulging in a few, quality items. And by few, I mean not enough "one" and by quality, I mean "shitass-expensive-and-causing-minor-self-loathing". Examples? This: This:

These: This sweater (for when I want to go kick around some oversized balls of yarn): And these socks, because pirate moms in cool stockings are know, righteous!

Technically, I'm participating in Bossy's poverty party. I think that means posting about spending $$ on RIDICULOUSLY overpriced veritable couture is somewhat out-of-bounds. But I do own one of the fabulous items displayed above, and I spent my ENTIRE lunch budget for the month on it a few months ago. Guess which one?

Monday, October 13, 2008

A typical (week)day at the waffle house...**

(**Now with Chai Recipe**)
Mrs G. at Derfwad Manor is having a post-in* today.

*This is something like a pot luck for blog readers.

It's pretty easy to predict a Wafflehouse weekday, whereas weekends are a smorgasbord of chaos, kung fu and laundry. 12:00 AM-5:25 AM -
(Thanks, Lee, for this pic)
5:30 AM - alarm goes off
5:39 AM - alarm goes off
5:48 AM - alarm goes off...
5:49-6:15 AM - Shower and then dress in the dark (one of many downsides to the Family Bed not thoroughly investigated prior to implementation).

6:30 - 7:00 AM - Laundry folding. Dinner dishes washing. Start a pot of chai for myself and some breakfast food. Common options:
a) Dutch Baby
b) egg white omelettes
c) peanut butter toast and apples.

7 AM - Jamie wakes Milo without waking Zel (when possible).
Sometimes, I get to eat toast and drink my chai in the relative silence of our breakfast nook while that happens.

Usually not...

Meals are eaten here:
Because THIS is clearly not for food...'s for Legos. 8:00 AM - Preschool drop-off and commute
8:30 AM-5:00 PM - work
5:45-6:30 PM - I get home, nurse the baby, start a load of laundry, do breakfast dishes, and cook dinner
6:35 PM - Eat
7:00 PM - Commence battles...and put laundry in dryer...
8:15 PM - Bath and bed...and hopefully toothbrushing... Sometimes one chapter out of a book. Currently The Trouble with Jenny's Ear.
9:00 PM - Sometimes I get about 5 minutes of reading in before I crash...but usually by 9, it's lights out...
Chai Recipe ^
In quart+ sauce pan, heat equal parts water and milk (I prefer 2%) over high heat. For me, a heavy tea drinker, this is about 2 cups of each.
1 t-T honey (it's all about your own sweetness, baby!)
2T tea (I LOVE the Tao of Tea's Sada Chai for this, but any black tea or, well, rooibus if you must, works) equal parts (about 1/8 t): - cardamom - cinnamon - nutmeg - ginger
4-5 whole star anise stars
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t rose water
4-5 peppercorns extra cardamom (yum!)
Heat until mixture begins a rolling boil.
Turn off heat.
Pour through a strainer into mug or other mouth-delivery system.

^I used to make quasi-authentic claims that this recipe is from my ex-MIL, who is from a chai-making country. I don't think I actually remember how true-to-her-recipe this is anymore. But it IS? Delicious!