8.31.2003

I have a cold, courtesy of IKEA. It's been so crowded, it's unreal. While I like my job, don't mind my co-workers and naturally have an interest in home furnishings, it's also absolutely exhausting. It's like working at Disneyland on opening day. People were lined up around the store in front trying to get in all day yesterday.

Jesus Christ, people, it's just furniture! But please keep buying and returning it, I like a steady income.

8.26.2003

Me! On the Seals. OMG. 3 years ago, I couldn't skate, didn't know shit about hockey, was at least 20 lbs heavier. Today, I'm on the B team (i.e. not the best) of the Seals, the best women's hockey team in the bay area. Me! ME!!!

I JUST MADE THE SEALS!!!

The letters announcing whether or not I made the Seals are going out today. I'm so nervous, I'm calm. If that makes any sense.

8.25.2003

Since leaving the high-tech workforce in January, I've come to realize that I just don't give a crap about the latest technology anymore.

Started grad school today. Except that it's not quite grad school. Today's only class was a fiction writing class of undergrad english and art majors. I went, hoping to add it and got lucky. The teacher was very nice and allowed me to join. Woo. We have no textbook, no final and no midterm. Our only task is to crank out at least 10 pages of fiction for each time we meet. I'm nervous and excited at the same time.

My track record in fiction is largely awful. I don't do character development well and I tend to say too much about the small things, ignoring the big things while I'm busy describing. Hopefully this class will improve my skills or at least make me think differently.

8.20.2003

Where I've Been
Working a few shifts at IKEA in Emeryville while I learn my trade as a Returns Co-Worker.
Entertaining my parents, who had a too-brief but good visit and left yesterday. I actually cried when they left. Look at me, magically transformed into a grownup.
Going to one more Seals tryout. I continued to hold my own and returned to my women's league with a more agressive sense of play (though I didn't get any penalties). I have one more tryout this Friday, then I'll hear in the middle of next week whether or not I'm on the team. It's very expensive but if I need to sell plasma to pay my way, I will.
Being part of the A-Team's historic advancement to the second round of playoffs. We beat the Lightning 5-1 and will play ACME Sunday at 7:15.
Starting to strip our kitchen cabinets. They've been some nasty ass colors throughout the years.

8.14.2003

Sitting here, lamenting our ever-decreasing in quality computer, I am forced to listen to music the old fashioned way -- on the fine boombox on the table. It's far away and only holds 3 CD's but is oddly comforting. I dug out kd lang's Inginue, one of the 2 CD's my first girlfriend and I played ad naseum (the other? Melissa Ethridge's Yes I Am) as we became experts at being lesbians. Well, not experts, but very interested newbies.

Anyway. Listening to kd doesn't so much remind me of her anymore, but of a different, equally piviotal night. I spent the spring and summer of 1997 searching for my birthmother. I'd gotten as far as I could and that September, gave what information I had (a lot, it turned out) to a very nice searcher named Jaymie, who did my dirty work.

At that point, dirty work meant calling all of the people with my birth last name in the Columbus area and pretending to be a long-lost relative doing a dissertation on the family. I had a lot of so-called 'non-identifying information,' tidbits of my history that were enough to keep my mind wandering but not enough to tell me who I really came from. I'd had these pieces since I was 18, read and re-read the papers, looking for clues about anything and everything.

My efforts that summer had unearthed my birth name, the gift my birthmom gave me before I was sent off to become Liz Doughty. Knowing that she'd taken the time to think of a name for a baby that was to become a ghost hit me harder than you'd imagine. All these years, she'd thought of me as that baby, with that name, that ghost in the shadows of her past. I couldn't and still can't fathom the selflessness it took to give me that name, lay it on me like a sweet kiss that had to last through forever, then trust the nuns, the social workers and God to find the right place for me to go and walk back to her life knowing she would never be the same.

Name in hand, I was ready to put the pieces together. I knew there was no way I could make those calls myself. The idea of starting a relationship with my grandparents with such a lie, even in the best of faith, was not something I could do. Truth is something I hold above almost everything, it would be utterly out of character for me to make that call. So I paid someone else to do it.

I know what you're thinking, someone still lied to those people for me. That's true, I can't deny it, nor will I waste words trying to justify it. I still feel like shit about that and always will on some level.

Thursday was the day I'd turned my information over to Jaymie. A nail-biting, heart-wrenching couple of days followed with a phone call I'll never forget late Friday. Jaymie asked 'is your birthmother (x) tall? does she weigh (x) pounds?' She'd made those phone calls, and eventually was lead to my birthmom's DMV record. That meant she had a name. A name! I rolled her name over and over my tongue and my heart, trying to see if it fit, if it had been there in my heart all along, a shadow of knowledge that had just become clear. In truth, no. I'd always thought her name was Sarah. It's not.

That night, I was a mess. Jaymie was trying to track down a current address and phone number and I was supposed to just wait. Our friend Carl had extra tickets to a kd lang show in Oakland and we were smart enough to take him up on it. We met these random people for a dinner I can't remember and went to the most amazing show ever. kd is a performer unlike any other (save Bette Midler, who is every bit the diva) and that night she rocked my world. Those tickets kept my mind (sort of) off the changes that were about to come. Hearing kd brings me back to that breathless time, to the calm nervousness that plagued me in that period.

What happened next? Jaymie came up with a phone number and while I'd always imagined writing a letter, I found myself up early Sunday morning, phone in hand. Lucky for me, the number was out of service. I cannot imagine the shock that would have put her through 'um, hi, remember me?' on the PHONE? Sheesh. That's just not cool.

We went to Stanford mall with my friend Heather (also a reunited adoptee, who was invaluable to me through all this) to find the perfect paper to write the perfect letter. It took 3 stationary stores, but I found it. I couldn't wait to get home and write the letter I'd dreamed of writing my whole life. I put sort of generic details in it, lest her new family not know about me. That way she'd know I was okay, was grateful, would understand if she chose not to write back. I said everything I needed to and sent it priority mail (they tell you that registered mail draws too much attention, in the end the priority part did too but I couldn't wait much longer at that point) along with a few photos of me now. They tell you not to send baby pics, as that can be too traumatic. I dropped it in the mail knowing that the letter I just sent may have to be enough, that it could very well be all the contact I'd ever have with her.

3 days later, I got fired from my job and while I sat at home crying, flowers came to my door. From her. From her!

Thanks to Brandon for buying a little piece of history.

8.13.2003

Quietly, in the background
I've done some Good Things lately. First of all, I managed to eek out a C in statistics. It was the bane of my existance for 6 weeks but I once again proved that heart counts as much as skill and stuck it out, studying diligently and attending every dreaded class until one day it kinda made sense. Sense enough for the C I needed.

I also attended a tryout for the Oakland Seals last Friday. They're undeniably the best women's hockey team in the Bay Area. Since I heard about tryouts last year, it was my goal to try out this year. Not just to try out, but to at least have a chance at making their B level team. I wasn't that nervous going into it, I now know a lot of the folks on the A team (amazing skaters, I can't fully describe their skill, grace and accuracy) and told myself it was just a practice with Bridget, Suzi and Heidi. And some other really amazing players.

But that's beside the point.

We started off with crossover drills, where you skate around the edge of a faceoff circle forwards, stepping over as you go. This is a drill I do just fine in my regular women's league, I'm usually one of the faster folks going around. Not with the Seals. It was faster than I've ever done that drill and the women around me were going lightning fast. But I kept up, only getting passed by 1 person. I never gave up and just did my own best, not worrying about the little Ms. Speedy Gonzales' flying by.

We did the same drill backwards (another drill I usually stand out in the other league, most folks don't work on or use their backwards skating skills as much as I do) and again, the speed was insane. Insane. Loco. Nuts. 3 lovely beauties passed me this time but I stuck with it, digging in deep for those backward crossovers I'd worked so hard to learn.

The practice was 2 hard hours long, ending in a scrimmage. Once I realized that a few B team folks were there also, and that I fit in with them, skill and speed-wise, I felt much better. I could make this team and if I do, I can totally hang with my teammates. Not bad for someone who couldn't skate 3 years ago.

In other news.... I ended my goal scoring drought tonight by putting a very nice wrist shot about 8 inches in the air, aimed right at the small pocket between the goalie's leg and the far post. It's a shot I work on a lot and tonight, it finally went in. I also got an assist and played center without any glaring errors (another first).

I also landed a part-time web contract, working from home. I rolled into the interview knowing that I could use the cash but wasn't desperate for the job. I calmly sold myself and so far, my new boss is very pleased with my work. Soon, I will be very pleased with the money and the experience.

I'm sure the sky will come crashing down now. Things are going a little too well. But I am grateful for it and will do my best to enjoy them.

8.05.2003

I have just completed my second day as a member of the IKEA team. My tenure started at 7 am yesterday, when I was part of an employee rally inside the bowels of the new store where I'll be working. It's very much under construction and I felt naked without the sporty hardhats everyone else was wearing. They sang many songs for us (I-K-E-A, to the tune of Y-M-C-A), told us fun facts about IKEA (the catalog is the second most printed publication in the world, after the Bible and Lingenberries are actually blueberries, colored red). Mostly we sweated our asses off (or like cows as my new favorite co-worker, Boni said, moo!) and mocked the silly songs and the ketchup dance. Much to my delight, I was greeted by a smiling row of 3 Poangs when I emerged from the parking garage into the Self-Service Area.

I tried to sneak off for one of the donuts that had been promised us, but my path was blocked by a nice lesbian in a jaunty hard hat. I mention her gayness because the staff seems to be very gay overall. I'd say at least 50% of us are one with our gayness. Looking around the room, the staff is the rainbow colatition, all races, walks of life and degrees of heterosexuality. So far I'm enjoying my group of queenie co-workers very much. At lunch today, Stan ordered a 'number 4, plus a cocko' at Taco Bell.

We got our sporty uniforms and badges today, including the all-important 'Warmth Component,' or sweatshirt. I got 5 shirts, 3 almost cool pairs of pants, the Warmth Component and a long sleeve shirt, all blazoned with the magic word, IKEA.

Speaking of the magic word, it stands for Ingvar Kampvar (sp?) E (long Swedish name of the town he came from) A (farm he hails from). There was so much mention of Ingvar yesterday, I found myself wondering 'What Would Ingvar Do?' though I'm not interested in getting a bracelet or lanyard with WWID on it to remind myself of that all-important question.

Another critical information piece is "BTI" or Breath Taking Item. This is an attractive item priced so low that it simply takes your breath away. We have named ourselves "Team BTI," fitting for our fan-tabulous little group. Yes, very gay, and very fun (we have already gotten a lot of mileage out of the sexual harassment discussion (there is no way 'inappropriate touching' is not funny in discussion, not to mention, hooting, sucking or wolf whistles) not to mention the 'cocko' incident. We are, naturally, the Best and the Brightest of the Mighty Returns department.

This leads me to Some People. These people have entertained us with questions like "what is HR?" and "where do we go next (asked not 1 minute after the manager said 'stay here'). Questions like this I dont' mind so much, but I do mind the following:

  • people answering their cell phone without leaving the room 5 times a day when we're all being lectured to by the management. I'm sure that this woman will do the same thing on the job.
  • this woman isn't just a chronic answerer, she's Not Very Nice. She told me 'you need a large' when I'd already tried on the medium shirt and it fits fine, thankyouverymuch. She then stood there, trying to see which size I'd gotten, preparing to say again 'you need a large' but I wouldn't let her see.
  • a manager type telling us 'i thought i told you to wait there patiently (there being the unairconditioned hallway outside the uniform room) rifle through those boxes' as if we were children and as if his uniform-dispensing counterpart hadn't just said 'go ahead and get your shirts, that will save time.'
  • managment having no idea when we need to be where. Though this does make it easy to get out of things.
  • people who simply aren't very bright and/or make no effort to pay attention.
If I can avoid letting Some People get to me and just hang out with Team BTI I think I'll do very well. The key will be keeping my mouth shut around Some People.

I'm off to Emeryville on Saturday for a training shift so if you're out there, stop on by and bring me back your Poang.

8.02.2003

The bad news is, I seem to have hurt my foot. I thought it was just lace bite, where your laces are too tight on an area of your foot and dig in. I'd bought a special gel pad, changed the way I wear my shin guards and was okay on Monday night. But last night, I played forward for the Bandits and it flared up again, this time to where it hurt after the game.

So right now, I'm skipping my redwood city game in hopes of fast healing in time for tomorrow's red game.

I feel like I just lost my virginity. Sort of. Last night, I played my first NCWHL game as a goalie. Most people didn't know that I've been playing in net and were quite surprised to see me there, dressed not as my usual defenseman self, but as the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, aka as a goalie. I had been super nervous about the game ever since I got the okay to play 2 days before. The night before, I woke myself up twice as I let in stupid grounders in my dreams.

Yesterday, I rested, ate early enough to prevent my stomach from getting too creative during the game and was ready. But nervous, very nervous. The game started off badly -- I let in a stupid grounder in the first 18 seconds (no, that's NOT a typo) then went on to let in 4 equally stupid goals, all in the first period. The rink was so foggy I couldn't see past the neutral zone and I was coated in a thick film of my own sweat almost immediately.

Disheartened, I changed ends after the first and was treated to a less foggy view. Instead of letting the 5-0 score get me down, I came up swinging, literally. I dove for every puck I could, planted my stick so firmly on the ground that all those stupid grounders went right into the corner the way I'd practiced and didn't let them get any more goals. I think I dive wrong because I leap at the puck, diving onto the ice like I'm running out of a burning building and into a wall of aloe vera gel. But it works, I'm there, puck under my glove and my stick in front of the glove to prevent yahoos from poking it loose beneath my trusty glove.

But I digress.

I manage to prevent ALL shots for the rest of the game from going in. After the end of the first period, there was not a single goal scored on me. Or on the other goalie but hey, I can't help that side of things.

With Red goalie tryouts less than a month away, I now feel closer to ready for them. And my first 5-on-5 game is behind me now, much like the great anticipation before virginity-losing. Now that that's behind me, it's all downhill from here.

8.01.2003

If I may steal Andrea's link Vatican launches campaign against gay marriage, says Catholic politicians have ``moral duty'' to oppose them absolutely breaks my heart. Yes, I'm gay, I can't change that any more than I could change having red hair, being 5'6" or having been adopted. But I'm also Catholic and to hear my church's leader asking people in the Catholic community that I was born into to shun me, to call my life immoral or state explicitly that I wouldn't be a good parent, that leaves me in tears.

I don't know why it seems so clear that God made the trees, the earth, the birds and bees and all the rest, but it's so confusing to people that at the same time, God made me gay. There, I said it. Don't fool yourself by thinking that I have a choice in the matter. I don't. The 'choice' is really to pretend that everything's fine, to date men knowing that something very large is missing in those relationships for me. Sure, I could've married a man, had some 'legitimate' children and lived a miserable life, lying every day and in every way to that man, to those children, to my parents, never mind myself. Is that really what God wants from people? To choose a life of lies over the 'truth' in 2 mis-interpreted lines in the Bible?

I think no. It seems to me that Jesus' message, more than telling people what they can and cannot do, more than trying to manipulate who they should or should not be was simply to love one another. That message so buried in their rhetoric of hate and ignorance that my pope cannot see it. I cannot imagine for one second that Jesus would want his leaders preaching exclusion, hatred, or shunning anyone. Was Mary Magdelene just a fluke? Were the lepers just a one-time thing? No! Jesus walked through this world, extending his arms and his words to all who would listen.

So why, then, is it okay for my pope today to tell my community that I would harm my own child or that I'm some sort of blight on humanity? It's just who I am. Why is that so hard to see?