Am I Suddenly 15?
And no, I don't mean when I call my mom and she continues to call me Elizabeth even though I have gone by Liz SINCE I WAS 12. 12. No, it's not that. It's the fact that my face is totally breaking out like it only did when I was young and hormonal. What will Mickey think?

Why Vacations Are Great
Yes, yes, we've taken a number of trips this past year -- to tournaments and a very sad one to both a funeral and a tournament (I don't suggest combining the two if you can help it) but not even a night away without some sort of agenda (e.g. sperminating earlier this summer).

But tomorrow, we'll go on a vacation sans tournament wrangling (yes, I love being in charge but even Julie your cruise director took a tour off every now and then) and sans funeral. Just us and the Mouse and some nice dinners. I think everyone deserves that every now and then.

What The F?
Normally, our office has a sort of dull-to-medium murmur to it, sort of loud but not so loud that you can't drown out the noise with some showtunes on your ipod. But today, holy shit, it is apparently Loud Tuesday because EVERYONE is TALKING AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS, then LAUGHING FOREVER.

No, I'm not announcing a pregnancy. Y'all know we're on Sperm Hiatus. But, the first HOLY SHIT is that last night, I dragged my ass to the school library and did research. You know, for my thesis. I found a nice chunk of what I was looking for, some older stuff that leads into the newer theory I'm basing my study on. I emerged triumphant with actual books in my backpack and a stack of journal articles sent to my inbox. Things are now copied, printed and ready for our plane trip tomorrow.

And speaking of that plane trip -- IT'S TOMORROW! We leave for Orlando in the morning and I am SO SO SO SO ready to not go to work for a week, to just relax and do fun stuff for 6 days in a row. Woo us!



Because I love tests

And Speaking Of Loss
I just found this picture and realized that all of the dogs in it, Northrup, Alice and Ellie are all gone.

Well, That Was Fast
Thomas moved the biggest pieces of his furniture out yesterday. What's amazing is the sheer volume of stuff that's left behind in his room. I guess he got the keys to their new pad last week, his mom is due back in town sometime this week. We think. Details are sketchy about that.

I'd write more about the whole deal, from start to finish, but it just doesn't seem wise. I'm just glad he'll have some parental supervision in his life again, I hope that he figures out the right path for himself and that we hear from him once in a while.

Another Year...
On this day in 1988, my dear friend Jos was killed in a car crash. Because she wasn't wearing her seatbelt. She was amazing, funny, and oh so very wise beyond her years, which is good since she only ended up getting 17.9 of them in all.

Losing her was the first time I was really faced with death. Yes, my grandfather had died when I was 9, but that was a dramatically different experience than losing someone my age, a teenager with nothing but the promise of a life ahead of her, rather than the sweet memories of a full life well-lived that my grandfather left this world with.

She had written a strangely prophetic poem about wanting purple and black balloons at her funeral, so that day balloons were handed out and eventually, we all let them go. Then my car promptly got lost on the way to the cemetary, we got caught up with a different funeral procession and we're 1/2 way out to the Catholic cemetary where my grandfather (and yes, now my grandmother. Just writing that breaks my heart in ways I still don't understand) is buried before we realized that we'd found the wrong funeral.

We got to the right cemetary eventually, just in time to see her casket being lowered into the ground. I totally lost it in time for a cameraman from the local news to capture that moment of raw grief, the first such moment I'd ever known. I don't know if they aired that moment or not but I'll never forget the shock of that camera lens reflecting my grief back at me.

Since I lost Jos, I've gained and lost so much else that in some ways, the anniversary of her death leaves me kind of numb. But I won't forget her, won't forget what I learned from her both when she was alive and now, it seems, more significantly, from grieving through her death.

Here's to you Jos. I haven't forgotten.

Website Drama
Remember how I was all worked up because someone else built a website for the beagle rescue group I used to work with before talking to me? Okay, that annoyed the shit out of me but I figured that the new site would be crazy good, would contain scads of exciting new content and would make the world a better place.

I finally looked and it's just the same old content I used to have (e.g. the words I wrote) and half the links point to 'Under Construction.'

Now, seriously, if you're going to take something over and it's going to be GREAT! BETTER THAN YOURS! then please, make it that way instead of what I'm seeing now.


We Are The Champions!
The A-Team 2 has gone from the little team that could to the little team that did!! We won the championship, which was best 2 out of 3 games in only 2 games. We won 2-1!!!

We've had a somewhat rocky relationship with the other team all season and tonight was no exception. They had a rowdy bunch of fans who started chanting at Corey, '35, YOU SUCK!' over and over until finally the refs gave them a warning, then kicked one of them out of the game. Crazy shit, considering it was the EEE (e.g. the LOWEST LEVEL) game. Championship, yes, but still. We'll see them next season, which starts all over again in a couple of week.

Our win was still terrific despite the rowdy pack of fans, we won through teamwork all around, just like we have all season. No matter what happened tonight, I'm still insanely proud to be part of this group. WOO HOOOO A-TEAM 2!!!

With about 5 minutes left in the 3rd, I started hearing Queen's We are the champions in my head, then quickly pushed it out, lest I jinx anything. Afterwards, Jena called me to say hello! to a champion and I said hello! to a champion back. Woot!


Do I Look Like An Asshole To You?
On this one episode of Dead Like Me, Mandy Pitikin's character is standing in a seemingly endless line at the post office. While he's there, a very uppity looking suburban mom type comes in, sees the huge line, then sees someone she sort of knows standing in that line. Rather than taking the correct place at the back of the line, the uptight mother attempts to ditch by standing right next to her pseudo-friend.

At which point, Rube (MP's character) goes up to the woman and says 'do I look like an asshole to you?' then explains that unless the lady really thinks everyone in that room is an asshole that she'd better put her pretty ass at the back of the line.

When he's finished, everyone in the room claps and she slinks back to the back of the line.

Don't you wish the real world worked like that?

Thanks Mom
Mom just called to tell me that Jodie Foster has a new movie coming out soon and to give me a brief plot synopsis of said movie.

It Wasn't Supposed To Be This Easy
No, I'm not talking about getting pregnant the first try with unfrozen caveman sperm, we all know that didn't happen. But getting dining reservations at Disney World is supposed to be challenging. The message boards and computer internet web sites all say to call 8000 days in advance to get your preferred time and date at the restaurant of your choice, that if you call any later your trip will be fraught with disappointment and your party will be filled with despair at the idea of yet ANOTHER burger. Oh wait, that was our last trip there, which while super duper fun, was a serious gastronomic disappointment because I hadn't done a lot of food homework and didn't full understand how complicated eating in The World can be.

So this time, we're staying off property and have a fine rental car, which means we can eat those burgers outside of The World at a significantly lower cost and with less drama about getting a table. But for the hell of it, I thought, hey let's eat at one nice place inside The World.

So I called this morning, a mere 7 days before I wanted my first reservation and got decent times at BOTH restaurants of our choice (Boma and Chefs De France, got any suggestions for other decent places to grub in The World? Leave a comment, we're all (mouse) ears). I was even told that we'll be travelling to Boma via a motorcoach, i.e. bus.

Right on, motorcoach fans!


Nick Of Time
Looks like a tropical storm is making its way through Florida as we speak, a mere 5 days before we're heading there to see our friend Walt (Disney). This is a little scary, because 1. we don't really have good raincoats and 2. what if el storm is still blowing it's way through the area when we're there?

The upside is that, assuming the storm moves through the area this weekend and is done by early next week, I'm willing to bet a lot of people who don't like rain are going to cancel their trips, leaving MORE FOR US!

Worst case scenario: we end up holed up in our spacious (though not all that luxurious) hotel room for a couple of days, watching TV and napping. Or, if the power goes out, just napping and eating non-perishable food. At this point, I'm so ready for a little downtime that this scenario sounds just as appealing.


Oh. Crap.
I'll start this by saying that in our basement, a mere 20 odd paces from my bedroom lies a perfectly good alarm clock that features two alarm times. I guess it was designed for couples who get up at different times, but right now, while I'm waking up at 7 ish every day to take my temperature, it would really come in handy. But that would require me remembering that it's down there when I'm not in bed for the night, then going down and getting it. So far those two things have yet to collide.

Because Andrea was getting sick of setting her alarm for me, for my real wake up time so I've been trying to modify my alarm setting to wake me up twice. This is all practice for when and if we actually have a baby in our house, right? Anyway, this morning I got up, took my temp, re-set the alarm for an hour later and sort of promptly went back to sleep.

And slept for an additional 2 hours because apparently my half-awake alarm-setting skills just aren't what you'd hope for. I woke up at 9:18 to Andrea going 'aren't you getting up today?'


Oh Thank God
Thomas informed us that he'll be starting to move out in two weeks. Apparently his mother has decided that she'd rather be here in CA (who can argue with that) and is headed back this way, pronto.

When he moved in, it took him like 3 weeks to get all of his crap in so I suspect it will take just as long to get it back out but that's fine. I told him he doesn't have to pay rent in September and he told me he'll take good care of the dogs while we're with Walt in Orlando next week. I appreciate that.

I suspect that after he moves out, we won't see much of him, and even less (i.e. none) of his mom. I wish him all the best but I'm so glad that he'll be back with his actual parent instead of us or friends or a girlfriend.

I think we'll leave the room empty for a while, to remind us how very much we like not sharing our house with another semi-adult person.


A week from tomorrow at this time, we'll be on our way to the mighty world of our friend Walt. Disney, that is, though we hope to head back to Phoenix to see our other friend Walt at some point.

I am so totally ready for this vacation, even if our hotel isn't conveniently located near the skiff dock like last time, it sure costs a shitload less and is actually more adjacent to most of the parks. Because, if nothing else, it means that I don't have to go to work for an entire week, that I'll have 7 days of leisure! Whoop! Whoop!

Tuesday Haiku
A-Team 2 -- fuck yeah!
Playing to be champions!
Love this team. FUCK YEAH!

The Good
My friend Elizabeth is still utterly broken hearted about having lost Renton a few weeks back. That won't change, not for a while, not not ever fully.

But, Ellie, their amazing beagle, is now at peace again because she has a new brother, Nigel. See exhibit A below:

The Really Bad
Our friend Melinda is about to say goodbye to her sweet greyhound Pele, who for reasons I cannot explain, I've always called Jake. He's the nicest boy ever, he's been with her for at least 8 years and now he's about to leave this world. We all know it's the right thing to do but that sure as hell doesn't make it any easier.

Please take a moment and ask the intake people in heaven to make this passage easy for Pele, for him to be surrounded by loved ones as soon as he arrives. I picture Mabel, Marabelle, Margo, Alice, Ellie and Pele's lone male friend, Buddy all gathered round to welcome him home.

Holy Crap!
The tiny but mighty A-Team 2 has found ourselves one game away from being the EEE Champions! We've had a really fun season and no matter where we ended up, it would have been a success, but....

We've now had not one but two crazy-ass all-teamwork nothing-but-grit playoff wins. I'm just thrilled, beaming. Go team!

The little team that could has become the little team that can. The other cool part is that the games have all been pretty even, which means that the league is actually balanced. Even better.


I Am Not Alone
In my mourning of Six Feet Under. Crazyus is also feeling the loss. Because the Fishers are so very real, so very close to the way things really are, and yet, better written and more attractive.

The End Of An Era
The final, oh so very final episode of Six Feet Under was last night. I knew it was coming but somehow that didn't make it any easier to watch, knowing all the while that next Sunday night, we'd come home to a Fisher-free Tivo, that really, we'd probably cancel our HBO subscription since we don't have the patience to watch movies at home and without Six Feet Under, HBO has nothing we want to watch. Unlike Showtime, which is the master of placating us, offering a different show as soon as one season ends.

They did an amazing job of wrapping up loose ends, of helping us say goodbye to the family, both the living and the dead. I cried like I was losing my best friends through the whole thing. When Claire packed up her car and headed off to her very uncertain future across the country, I didn't see her, I saw me. That's the way I left Ohio in 1994, in a withered and weary Toyota van that was packed to the gills with the few things I'd determined to be important. Except that Claire had a reliable car and a trust fund. I had that rickety car, a few hundred bucks and blind faith in life's ability to work things out.

That summer, Dan and I drove through the night to get to my exciting new life with my brand-new girlfriend in Oregon. We'd met in Ohio, had 3 weeks of Big Fun (and yes, lots of the sex), then she left and I decided to go with her. Looking back now, it's pretty safe to say that I knew it wouldn't last -- we'd talk about getting a dog but both of us would stop, knowing that even a dog was way more responsibility than our fragile-from-the-start relationship could bear.

Though I knew it wouldn't last, that we'd never have that lifetime of wedded bliss together, I went anyway. Transferred college for the second time, quit my job, left my few friends, and wrestled with two demons -- leaving behind Daisy, our family beagle who was getting up there in years and more importantly, leaving Grandma, taking away my ability to see her every week or more -- whenever the urge struck me. I talked to Grandma about the move more than once and though I can't remember it exactly, I'm certain she said something wise about doing what I needed to do for me, to not worry about her, though of course I did and of course over the years my heart ached to be near her.

I never fully explained to her why I was going (for the sex, of course), never really came out to her about my ex. I said she was a friend and we left it at that. Later, when I visited Grandma with Andrea in tow, Grandma said she never liked that Marcia, that she was kind of stuck up. Grandma thought Andrea was much nicer, and funnier too. Both counts, true. Only after Andrea remained a regular part of my life did Grandma and I discuss the nuances of me being gay, which for her meant knowing who cooked, who cleaned the bathroom and the critical lifestyle determinant -- who took out the trash. Once she had all that squared away in her mind, she embraced Andrea with the same love and generosity she embraced everyone with.

But that night, in the summer of 1994, I knew none of this. I had no inkling that my old van would overheat somewhere in Wyoming, that we'd spend the better part of 1200 miles worrying about when, where and if it would konk out for good. Dan and I fought over the stupidest things, his broken heart was just too raw for that kind of close quarters and everything reminded him of his ex. By the time we arrived in Oregon, we were barely speaking. It took some years to return to our natural easy-going relationship but I'm glad we got back to that point.

That night, I cried many buckets of tears, left my parents house, then drove to Grandma's house for a last stop before I left town. We stood in her doorway for a long time, hugging and kissing. I must have told her I loved her a thousand times and each time she told me that she loved me too, that I should go, to get where I was going. Her house was the last place I stopped as an Ohio resident, though my mom didn't know about that stop until just last week.

I've always been glad that she was the last person I talked to that night, that it was her arms I left in the end, that I started the journey of 2500 miles right there, from Grandma's driveway while she waved goodbye. When the Fisher family gathered on the porch to wave goodbye to Claire, I didn't really see them, I saw only Grandma waving me on, toward the future that she knew I had to find.

For a time, that future was sketchy. Things quickly fell apart with Marcia and visits home had me crying as I boarded the plane. But I stayed out here, out west, because I knew deep in my heart that this is the place where I belong. Finally, when I met Andrea, the journey that started there on Suffolk Road became clear. Though it's by no means finished, my life is finally on the path that Grandma imagined, the path where I'm safe, sound, loved and happy, here in our little house in California, where I am more often than not lulled back to sleep by the gentle sound of my love, of my past, present and future breathing softly beside me.


On Call
Here at El Office, we had a push go out last night. Part of the usual push extravaganza means that mostly everyone in my group takes a turn at babysitting our little corner of the codebase for the few days after launch. Since I'd volunteered for the last 12 pushes and we have a bunch of crap going on outside of my exciting work life, I decided to take this push off.

Which is all well and good, until your bosses boss signs you up for the 2-10 pm slot on Friday. So I'm here, doing my normal work stuff while waiting for the sky to fall instead of just only doing my normal work stuff.

Last night I was telling Andrea about this push excitement and with it, trying to remember what the hell I'd worked on for this push, besides bugs. I couldn't come up with anything and that was confirmed when I checked my trusty not rusty file cabinet this morning and saw that the folder for this particular push was empty.

Phew. It's not that I can't remember, it's that there's nothing to remember. Of course our next push is so packed with excitement that my head has been spinning for weeks.

I Should Be Better At This
But somehow, though I dutifully head to bed at a decent hour, I still wind up pretty damn exhausted all the time. What's that about?


The Truth
Part of me wants to be totally lenient with the T man. After all, he's been through a shitload of changes this summer and found himself between a rock and a hard place. I guess I'm glad we're the soft spot to land on between that rock and hard place. But it's really hard for me. The man is 100% teenager, and 100% male, which means that many basic life skills that are critical to me matter very little to him.

So, sometimes, we're at odds and I find myself with 2 choices: say nothing about (whatever it is) and fume or say something and risk being just another voice barking at him. I've chosen the path of sanity, which means that sometimes I lay down the law and though the panicked look on his face when I say 'dude, we have to talk' breaks my heart a little, I know in the end it's better for both him and for us if we call him out on the things that need to be fixed.

Because, you know, it's our house too and it was our house first.

Things May Have Gone Too Far
One of my favorite message boards is having an in-depth discussion on the merits of checking cervical positions to determine fertility and instead of running away, screaming, I'm wondering if they'd like to see pictures.

Backyard Treasures
Right now, Andrea's home, working on our fab-u-lous patio. That includes some digging, which is always a bit of a risky proposition in our yard, since the house dates back to the time when people would bury their trash instead of throwing it away.

I know, I know. Where did they think the stuff would go? Well, into the dirt, so the 2005 inhabitants of the house can find it! We've found toy cars that seem really old, broken glass, bricks, oil cans and more broken glass. But Andrea seems to have stumbled on the best piece yet -- A RUG!

That's right, someone took the time to BURY A RUG IN OUR BACKYARD. Apparently it's some variety of green shag rug. Nice!

Some Days
I marvel at how much I know about XML, Clear(asmud)Case, UNIX and all the other nerdy stuff I use to do my job.

And other days, I wake up scratching my head, saying 'XM-wha?' Today is one of the second types of days, though I did chalk up a couple of huge victories recently, my brain still hurts.

And yet, I'm still here, fighting the good fight and (you guessed it!) fixing bugs.

Wondering What I Did Last Night?
Visited the babies and took a shitload of pictures.


Sammi, using puzzle pieces like they're phones.

Riley, just being her bad self.

Looking for Susan when she went outside for a minuet.

Then, later at home, I enjoyed the digital camera a little too much....

Me and my friend, the Pringles.

Andrea made me laugh so hard, I cried. Here's proof of the whole thing.

I also took a very funny movie of Riley as she escapes from the box their new potties came in.

Eric, The Miracle Man
I just got what could be the best news ever from Eric's mom:

Now, for the current info: (Written Wednesday, 8/18/05)

I settled in for a brief nap today while Eric went to therapy and was awakened by him standing beside me, tapping on my shoulder. He then proceeded to walk, unassisted, across the room ~15 feet to the chair!! Such joy!!!

The last seven (or so) weeks have been full of nothing but progress. Though Eric was often unable to recognize it, he has made steady and significant progress every single day. Many times I sat down to write an update, and by the time I was ready to finish it (the next day), everything I'd written was "old news" and I'd feel I had to start again. Today, though, there's no stopping. In fact, the feat of walking can only be bested by walking out the door of Club VMC (aka the hospital).

Also, today, Eric had his PIC (Peripherally Inserted Central) line removed and was cleared for transfers from his wheelchair into the car. This means that he'll be able to go on family outings with us... to dinner, the movies.. the video game store... the possibilities are abundant. His first car outing was to the movies this evening.

Speaking of video games, Eric ended his therapy session by standing while he connected his PS2 system to the TV. He has fulfilled two of his greatest wishes - walking and video games. The last big hurdle is climbing stairs. After that, it's all about refinement.

Eric is also quite excited that Ben (the rehab doc) told him that if his counts are good (CD4s 390 this week) next week, he may be able to have his trach removed. Doing so will make it possible for Eric to do therapy in the pool as soon as the hole is closed.


That's right, I just don't have anything much to say. Work is crazy, life is fine but that's all I got. Sorry, you three.


Confession: I Like TV
I fully recognize that many less brain-dead people are able to go home and read dense non-fiction books, do puzzles, play games or talk physics at night, but my ass is usually so wiped out from being sorta smart at work and from being in grad school for the last couple of years that all I can do is go home and park my ass in front of the TV.

That said, the last couple of weeks have kinda sucked. Queer as Folk ended last week and I'm sure I'll go on and on about that soon enough since it was one of 2 shows about vaguely realistic gay people in vaguely realistic relationships, though they sure partied a lot. I'm not a gay man, I don't know for sure but I do know that potlucks and ballroom dancing were quite underrepresented, though the show did reflect more about what being gay is really like than Will y Graace or Queer I does.

But I digress. Six Feets Under is about to end, this week will be the last episode and I cannot explain how brokenhearted I am about the whole thing. The characters are like friends at this point, to think that they won't be coming into our home anymore breaks my heart a little.

In the first episode of the show, 5ish years ago, Ruth (the mother) loses it at her husband's graveside, making a sound that can only be described as keening. Apparently, they did a number of takes for that shot and the actress sat there, doing her thing through all of them. Impressive. But what I remember is that raw emotion and thinking 'oh, so that's what keening sounds like,' since I'd never keened before.

And then Alice died and I discovered that not only can I keen, I can keen a lot, especially when alone in my car.

Last season, David's innocent belief in the goodness of the world was shattered not too terribly long after mine was. Watching that episode took everything I had. And this season, when Claire worked in the most stuffy office you can imagine, the details about office life were right on. When a co-worker excitedly told me about unexpected pastries in the breakroom, I couldn't help but think of Claire's co-workers and how very much she hated her panty hose.

Losing that show is like losing a group of amazing friends, friends who I will miss dearly each Sunday night. I guess that's the hallmark of a job well done but in the end, for those of us who came to count on the Fishers, it marks a very sad day.


That Can NOT Be What You Meant
A while back, a woman I know, mother of two pre-teenagers told me all about how her day had been long already (this must have been late morning), how she'd had to get up early to take child X to somethingortheother, how child Y had needed some different sort of schlepping somewhere else. Details are sketchy now, but I'm sure there were treats for the other kids at activity X to be made or ponies to be bought, I don't know.

But it all added up to a very long morning for this woman, who finished her description by saying "Now, are you sure you still want to be a parent?"

Huh? Because you have two very active children who are involved in activites that you signed them up for? And because those activities take place outside of your home? Huh?

Lady, I'd give my left arm to have those problems in a few years. Let's hope I can enter parenthood with both arms intact.

"Oh, congratulations on your decision to start a family."

Saw This Bumper Sticker
That said "sex with you would suck." And at first I thought, ha, that's kind of funny. And then I thought, well, aren't you an angry motherfucker? And then, wouldn't you like to know?

Just heard that Zawod got the new job he was trying for. And it could be Big Bucks. HOORAY ZAWOOD! Your lane really is ready!

Streak: Ended
Had another offer for sperm donation yesterday, ending an almost 2 week streak without such offers. This time Andrea was able to explain the legal issues around accepting that offer and finally, our well-meaning friend seems to understand why that's not our choice. I hope.

I also had a different friend offer to put us in touch with some random friend of hers for said services. I explained the whole story about why we're not doing that route and I do not think she'll ever make a comment like that again.

I am seriously willing to bet that friends of straight women who have non-sperm producing husbands do not make these kinds of offers. Or hell, maybe they do but afterwards, everyone is so mortified they don't speak of it again.

But, based on the sheer volume I see people reporting on their blogs out here on the computer internet, it's looking like I'm not alone in that.

Damn, people. Creating children is hard, emotional work. Please trust every potential parent's ability to make the right decisions and then, SHUT UP! All you EVER have to say is 'Oh, congratulations on your decision to start a family.' That's it, I swear. You can NOT go wrong with that phrase. No matter what you saw on Oprah or read in Newsweak about infertility or those nice lesbians having babies, you are by no means obligated to pass that along.

Repeat after me: 'Oh, congratulations on your decision to start a family.' Lather, rinse, repeat.

I Want To Live Here
In the town of Fucking, Austria, which was apparently founded by the Fuck family. Wow.

What would you name your kids? Shit and piss? Or just the traditional Oh, so they'd be Oh Fuck. Or You Little? Hard to say.

My Weekend
I'm sure you're dying to know what I was up to all weekend, when I was away from this desk and from the three of you. Well, I was playing a shitload of hockey and having a great time.

Say what you like about fad diets and sweatin' to the oldies as weight-loss mechanisms, but I tell you what, there's nothing like playing 6 games of hockey in 2 days to make your ass a little smaller.

Thank you, Jesus, for my temporarily smaller ass and for the oh-so-very-good kind of tired that I'm feeling right now. And for the extra room in my shorts.

My stats for the weekend: 1 goal (a lovely run-up on D, for which my teammate yelled at me b/c I didn't pass instead of running and then scoring) 2 assists and 0 penalties. Satisfying wins: 1 (A-Team over the Monkeys, only because their goalie got so cocky he came out to the blue line for a face off and shouted at us. In the 3rd, he let in one dumb goal and I knew the game was ours. What was a 0-0 game in the 3rd ended as a 6-3 whallop victory that put the Monkeys out of the playoffs). Extremely satisfying tie: 1 (A-Team 2, securing our stellar 3rd place finish for the season and playoff spot against the Hounds) and as the capper of the weekend: extremely oh-so-very satisfying wins: 1 (Mudskippers over that other team with the loud coach). Viv and I subbed for the Mudskippers and man, it was fun. We all played our hearts out and came up big, winning 4-1 over a stunned team that had kicked the Mudskippers asses many times throughout the season.

Highlights included: me levelling Margie (sorry, Marge), me telling another of their players if I felt her hook me again, she'd be falling down, Andrea and the rest of us laughing at Sam when she fell down because a puck hit her skate then all of us getting a stern talking-to from the loud coach about how "you shouldn't laugh when someone falls down. It's not funny," which led me and Viv to talk endlessly about how so many things in life are simply not funny. Jessica shouting "WAY TO GO MUDSKIPPERS" at the top of her lungs for Every. Single. Face Off for the Entire. Game.

Fun, fun, fun all around. If we had won or lost, the fun level would have been the same. I guess that's why they're The Fun Team. But it sure felt great to help them have that kind of a win.

And now, I start the week tired, in the best possible way.


Feeding Frenzy
Word on the street is, there's a store at my company's other campus that sells company-themed items like apparel and other gift-type items. Dunno, I've only set foot on that campus once, when I went for Orientation, though I wave at it and wonder if my badge works there when we're out and about, usually on our way to get tacos.

But twice a year, they trot out a sampling of the merchandise sold there and sell it here, at our fine campus. This morning I was talking to my mom when she said 'do they have (your company) t-shirts?' As a matter of fact, yes they do. And the semi-annual 'sale' starts in 14 minutes.

I had gone last year and it was utter mayhem. The room isn't big enough, there isn't enough merchandise and the sea of normally level-headed people I work with go apeshit for this stuff. Good luck seeing what size it is, good luck pushing past 8000 guys to look closer at something. You're better off picking it up then trying to get your bad self into a corner for closer inspection 'cause it's not gonna happen on the Selling Floor (aka Conference room with large tables set up).

But Mom wanted a t-shirt so WhileSeated and I headed down there. We arrived 5 minutes before it started and it's a good thing I shop fast because by the time I was done buying a shirt for mom, some fine Christmas gifts for both mom and dad, and some not-that-cute rompers for Sam and Riley (only because they have Microosoft ones and I didn't want my company to be underrepresented in their wardrobes), the line to purchase had stretched all the way around the room and was backing up into the hallway.

I guess they don't give us enough free stuff, if the lot of us go apeshit like that.

I finally went to bed early enough to get a decent night's sleep. Thank God.


No Offense Meant
But what is the deal with Cuban food? Why take a perfectly good slab of meat, then overcook it in an underspiced sauce and serve it with undercooked rice? And then charge WAY TOO MUCH for it? Huh? Why, I ask you?

I'm still crying for the wasted meat that could have been so tasty last night but instead bore a striking resemblance to shoe leather.

But the classes I'd need to take to get that Master's in English are the sort of stuff that bored the shit out of me when I got my Bachelor's in English. But... they do an exam instead of a thesis. Were that I could do an exam to finish this thesis that sits here on my desk every day, untouched and seriously unloved instead of finishing the damn thing, I would.

Who knows, but I'm going to take the fiction class again in the fall. To get those juices flowing again and because I was wondering what my character has been up to.

I just realized that I'm only 6 classes away from a Master's in English. Which, if you ask me now, was what I should have gotten in the first place.

I Had No Idea
Until Heather mentioned remembering me writing a song about ClearCase, I didn't realize just how much I've bitched about it since we first met last summer.

But the funnest part about doing that search was reading some of the really funny posts around the bitching. Man, I crack myself up.


It Kinda Weirds Me Out
When I overhear a couple of white guys calling each other 'brotha.'

Holy Crap, This Is Funny
Andrea posted first (well, among my list of blogs) and I'll boldly go where no man has gone before: to a place where I steal links from Andrea. episode iii, the backstroke of the west is so funny you will weep, or at least think of weeping.

Some days, most days, I love the computer Internet just a little too much, methinks.

Never A Dull Moment
They're doing some sort of FancyAss Photo Shoot here at work so I was greeted by this today:

I totally made a point of driving through their 'set' after a tasty lunch, hoping that Betty will make into whatever the hell they're shooting. Apparently WhileSeated pumped them for info but got nada so as far as I'm concerned, it's the Great Photo Shoot Mystery of 2005.

I think I just had a pre-meeting with myself.


Work Calamity Ensues
Got this email today, maybe I should volunteer:

I heard many people complain about the quality of or mere non-bagelness of the "bagels" we get on Wednesdays. [The truth is that, what we get on Wednesdays are bread products, not bagels :)]

The cafeteria management is willing to change the bagel vendor; but they want to meet with a focus group to discuss the need for the change, prospective vendors, and possibly other issues.

If you are one of those people who prefer their bagels boiled to be raised (not steamed) and would like to participate in a focus group to fix our bagel problem, please e-mail me. I need your support :)

It Is Impossible To Have A Moment
Late last night after an A-Team 2 tie and a really amazing A-Team 1 win that unfortunately involved someone on the other team getting knocked out cold for a second (he was okay when we left the rink after the game, though), we were all wired and crap so we sat down to watch Six Feet Under.

I'd seen the previews, I'd watched all season -- I knew it would involve a funeral of a loved one and would probably be hard to watch. But I also thought maybe it would help me have that big cry that I've managed to put off since Grandma died. Like my mom, trauma springs me into action, I make mental lists, handle details, organize myself and my family to respond to the trauma rather than sitting down and facing the very real pain that has just been introduced into our lives.

The day Grandma died, I woke up to my dad telling me it wouldn't be long now. So I sprung into action, feeding the dogs, then getting on the phone with the airline to change our reservations to get us there for the funeral, then onto Denver for our long-scheduled tournament. I spent the entire morning on the phone only to discover that they'd forgotten to get me back from Denver so I had to call back yet again and was on the phone with the airline when my dad finally called to tell me she was gone.

Talk about moments you'd like to do over...

Even on the way to Ohio, I remained the organizer, scrambling with ticket agent after ticket agent to get us from Chicago to Columbus when our flight was cancelled. I ran ahead, I calmly explained our situation and when we got the last 3 seats on a flight, ahead of a less forceful woman who was going to bury her mother, I didn't even feel that bad about it. I did my job, I got us there.

I spent that week rehearsing the words I was going to say at the funeral. It wasn't grief that woke me up every morning, it was the lines I'd written, it was envisioning myself at the podium in our church, picturing myself breathing calmly to control the shakes, it was seeing myself reading the most important words I'd ever read with the sense of calm and class that Grandma deserved.

And in the end, I nailed those words, becoming, for a brief moment, a hero to my extended family. But that's not why I did it. I did it for her, for a woman I miss more than I'd ever imagined possible.

But through all that, I did not cry, not much. Not even as we stood by her gravesite and many of the cousins and children sprinkled holy water on her casket (though I didn't, and I can't tell you why, I just couldn't), not even as I sat her house that week, knowing she wasn't upstairs anymore.

So last night, I thought, maybe watching Six Feet Under will give me the release I need to finally have that cry. On the show, friends of the deceased got up to speak about their loved one and I remembered being that person speaking, how hard it was, how the pall on Grandma's casket looked there in the middle of the church, how I waved at her casket in a final farewell.

And just as I started to cry, to really let go, Gus decided to start hunting under the TV for a peanut Andrea had thrown to Rainie a bit earlier. The scent, the lure of the nut all of a sudden, at that precise moment, was too great and he had to go clawing at the floor for that goddamn nut.

That's life for ya. Nothing goes as planned. And though it wasn't the way I wanted it to go, I'm sure Grandma was getting a kick out of it.


Monday Morning Gus Report
Andrea ratted him out -- apparently he was growling again this morning. If this persists, we'll trot his bad self to the vet to make sure nothing is hurting him.

And speaking of vets, I think we've decided to switch to Adobe for all of the critters (except the fish, who we don't generally give a lot of veterinary attention to). During Zeus' granola adventure, he was treated so well, we were treated so well that it's hard to justify staying with our current vet, when Adobe has office hours until 8:30 pm on weekdays, is open 24 hours for emergencies, AND charges slightly less than our previous vet.

This is hard, though, because we'd been with the other vet since they opened, since we first brought Alice home. The ladies in the office still get teary-eyed when we talk about Al and for that I will always love them.

But for not being open late enough that I can go there without taking off work, and for raising their prices every time we go in, I may have to ask, where's the love?

I guess it's at Adobe for now.

Is This Mean?
And if I have to ask, then I already know the answer, but...is it mean to turn to the person next to you and say 'I'm sorry, but I'm just not interested in hearing you tell me how great you are right now. Could we reschedule?'

My team is having an offsite today. Our first chance to use our free season passes to FairlyGreat America, but I'm so tired that I'm not sure going there would be much fun.

Stupid torturous, long, drawn-out weekend that involved more heartache, pain and not a lot of sleep.

Gus' Full Name
When we first met Gus, he was a scared, skinny (yet still ginormous) thing who shook all the time for about the first month. He looked like a sweet boy, (that's turned out to be true) but he also looked a little grumpy. So I called him Gus, short for Grumpy Gus.

Most of the time, that name doesn't suit him all that well. He's pretty happy go lucky, if not the most active of guys. All he really wants is to strut around with a toy and then lay on a large doggie bed.

But this weekend, he decided to put the Grumpy back in Grumpy Gus. It all started late Friday night when Scooter, one of our old fosters, came back for a visit while his family goes to Disneeland. Apparently, Scooter's presence has really cheezed him and this cheezed-ness has been building all weekend. It exploded a little yesterday during doggie breakfast, when I went to pet Gus on the head, like I have been known to do many many times. Gus decided that Petting Was Not Allowed and growled at me.

There are many things you can do as a dog in our house (barking, the occasional indoor pee or poop incident, eating 4 fucking boxes of granola, licking incessantly, laying sprawled out on your back exposing your parts to the wind, the list is pretty long, long enough to make most dogs (especially all those dogs at the pound, people. Any one of them would trade their current residence for our house in a heartbeat.) able to behave like decent furry beings.

But we all have our moments and this weekend was Gus' set of them. First the growling at me during breakfast. If you've got the time and inclination to growl AT MOMMY which is NOT ALLOWED under any circumstances, especially not after we picked fleas off his nuts when we first met him. As far as I'm concerned, that sort of thing buys you a lifetime pass on being growled at.

But you try telling that to Gus.

So I'm petting and he's growling. I took his breakfast (mostly finished, lest you think I'm starving the man) away and had a chat with him about manners. All was fine until late last night, when Andrea and I were working as a team to get Patrick's nails trimmed. It's much easier to do this when the dogs are sacked out, unless those dogs are Zeus and then there is no easy way to do it. So we're working on Pat, who is laying near Gus, when the growling comes again. We tell Gus what's what and give him a whatfor and he stops. Until later, when he's in the kitchen and goes after Scooter.

Note to self: a dog with a mouthful of worn-down teeth and a bad sense of balance will not win any fights.

But it still scares you half to death. They stopped their interaction and Gus enjoyed his free night of accomodations in the crate. He didn't growl this morning but hey, the day is young.


I Swear To Anyone Who Is Listening
This is the LONGEST day ever.

Not Much Going On
Except that this morning, I forgot I'd opened my daily can of apple juice (yes, apple juice from a can does not taste as good as apple juice from a plastic container or from a box), so I shook it.

Oops. Sticky keyboard.


2 Cute Girls

Andrea and Riley

Because Jennie has proclaimed her love for backyard chicken raising, someone on a list we're both on sent this, backy@rd cheeckins which may well be (to me, obviously only a lover of eating cheeckins, not of raising them) one of the funniest websites I've visited in a long time.


You Know What's Still Good?
All of Prince's Purple Rain album. Yep, even today as it reminds me of long summers at devon pool, with my phat-ass 1 speaker boombox that I schlepped around everywhere (to have my tunes, you know) on the hotass 10 speed bike I'd won (that's right, they called and gave me a FREE BIKE while I was in the middle of a huge fight with my mom that even involved me locking her in the basement (with a little teeny, very breakable hook and latch lock that I guess was a holdover from early childproofing efforts). Now that I think of it, I took the call and unlocked mom before she ever knew. Don't tell her, okay? Why ruin the mystery...) at Lay your neighbor day, our little town's annual bike race festival, which now coincides with a fancypants arts festival.

In all those summers at the pool, I never seemed to get sunburn, I almost always ate at the snackbar and even though I never seemed to have as many friends as I would have liked or the confidence to go to that pool by myself, my hot boombox and Price were still an amazing match.

That said, I'm sure I'll confess the Great Locking of 1983 (or thereabouts) to mom within the next day, just in case.

And speaking of mom confessions, a couple of years ago, I said ever so casually, oh well there was that time when I was in high school and my dr. thought I was pregnant. But it was just gas (or really from what I know now, the miracle of ovulation). Mom handled it like a pro, as if she'd known all along, nodding and patting my arm.

Yep, my mom rocks.

Why I'm Trying Not To Share Too Much
Because trying to make a baby is like writing a novel -- once people know you're trying to do it, they want to ask at random times how it's going or how I'm feeling. After the Great Heartache of attempt #1, I'm just not inclined to share any more than I already have about it.

I suppose that when and if this little experiment of ours actually works, any announcement we make about that event will be met with great joy and, no doubt, rolling fields of assvice. Which is yet another reason not to share.

Given all that, it fucking sucks that I'm such a blabbermouth.

And I Should Mention
That along with my badass free pass, there are a bunch of days when I can bring a friend for $9.99.

That's right, $9.99.

Phew, Part 2
Mrs. Sparky's Wife got her MRI results back and it looks like the cancer is cureable.

Phew, phew, phew.

Thanks to my 'outstanding performance and lasting contribution to' a ginormous project at work, I and everyone else on the team got a Grrr-eat! America Wowza pass, which means we can go for the rest of the season!

That means I can take a trip on the lazy river anytime I like, as long as I pay for parking. Woot!

Okay, Now I'm Getting Mad
Every insurance plan we have at work offers abortions at a very low cost for anyone who wants one, but NONE OF THEM cover anything for people like us, or in their terms: Artificial insemination for reasons not related to infertility.

I work for a ginormously successful, well-known company. Hell, even my Mom knows this company. A company this large and well known has the kind of lobbying power to at least raise a stink about policies like these.

Now all I have to do is track down the right person in HR about where to start making a stink.

Red state, blue state. Blue Cross, red cross. It's all the same and in the end, a whole lot of this country still doesn't like the idea of us gays getting ahead. Or, in this case, getting knocked up.

But my company will give me an adoption credit, should we go that route.

What Was I Thinking?
Talking to my mom this morning about how Grandma's house hasn't sold yet, I got inspired to look it up on the computer internet. Even though the picture of it is just like ones I've taken myself (except that it's crooked, and not in an arty way, which kind of pisses me off), this one breaks my heart because it states quite clearly that what was the center our extended family is now no longer ours.



It's been almost a week since we've been offered sperm donor services by a well-meaning friend or aquaintence (or former co-worker of said friend or aquaintence). I think we're doing pretty well.

This May Well Be
About the most heartbreaking thing I've read in a long time. This couple flew all the way to Kazahkstan to adopt their baby, only to be screamed at by some locals that all Americans want are babies, and then trot out a 3 year old who started calling them mama and dada.

WTF is wrong with people?


Did Anyone Else
Watch 6 Feets Under last night and find themselves in shock today?

Did You Forget We're At Work?
Today I'm wearing this shirt with a little rocketship on the front. I've had it for years and wear it fairly often. It's kind of jaunty, I guess. And it's spacious so here it is again. But apparently it's different somehow today because 3 people have commented on it. Cool, I guess but I'm more in the mood to blend into the wallpaper.

When yet another co-worker said something about it being a cool shirt, I mused about why it's so notable today, since I wear it pretty often. To which this person responded 'I like to keep abreast of your t-shirts,' then laughs hysterically at their own joke, muttering 'abreast' again, while I sit there, pointedly not laughing.

Am I extrasensitive to think that's not funny, or appropriate for work?

Weekends Are Simply Not Long Enough
They're just not. Yep, we had a lot of fun, played a little too much hockey (I know, how is that possible? Turns out it is...) and saw March of the Penguiins one too many times (i.e. 2, once with friends our own age and once the next day with Jennie's son, G. who was all into me and pretty much gave Andrea the youngster finger. That's totally different than usual, when he's all into her and I'm just filler). We got some knowing looks from dykey strangers who smiled at us as if we were his 2 mommies.

Watching a movie with a 5 year old is a trip. He wanted to know what was going on, and for that, I was glad I'd seen it already. About a thousand times, I reminded him to whisper, which he'd start a sentence doing, then about 2 words in, he'd START TALKING REALLY LOUDLY. But it was a kid-filled matinee and he wasn't the only one being a kid that day so who cares? All told, the man did great and was a terrific movie companion for the day.

Andrea scored not 1, but 2 goals during our game Saturday night. Awesome, just awesome. All that patience she has when she gets the puck is starting to pay off. I'm so impressed.

And I'm sort of out of stuff to say for now. Later.