Such A Big Day

Saturday, we got Val up early so she could march in a little teeny
parade. It was celebrating founder's day of a neighboring town. Since
we go to gymnastics in that town, we got invited to march.

When I told Val about it, I couldn't tell if she was listening but about
2 minutes later she told her stuffed animal 'you have to follow
directions so you can march in the parade.'

We borrowed Soosan's wagon and headed out. Andrea dropped us off at the
start, then brought her car to the end for convenient pickup

Val had The Best Time. She waved like a mad fool, she waved her loaner
pom poms and smiled when she wasn't concentrating really hard on her pom
poms. At the very end, Andrea joined us and pulled the wagon. I
grabbed Val and ran ahead, plunking her down so she could march without
holding up the group of older kids doing handstands behind us.

She marched like a pro, there in her green leopard print leotard, purple
sandals and Minnie Mouse hat. When we were done, she wanted to do it


It's Been A While Since I Posted A Link

So I offer you http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com. I'll make it an actual
link later since for some reason when I send HTML code from the sidekick
my brackets get turned into special characters. For now you'll have to
copy and paste but I assure you, it's worth it.


While I'm Sort Of Talking About Politics

I'm always sort of offended by people assuming that I vote or feel a
certain way just because I'm gay or whatever box suits the situation.
For the record, I don't really mean you people here, or anyone I know in
real life. No, it's the fervent posters on lesbian-themed mailing lists
I'm on (more than one, I like to cover all of my homosexual bases) or
groups that have bought my name from some organization that sells names
of fine lesbians such as myself.

Those emails, those flyers are full of assumptions. That I'll always
vote Democrat. That I'm pro-choice. That I automatically assume the
Republican candidates are ginormous a-holes.

That I'll be more than willing to cast my vote their way or write them a
check, just because I'm gay.

It's just such horseshit. Being one thing doesn't automatically shove
my (anyone's) ideologies into a tidy box that you can lobby to. Please
don't speak to me as if I think exactly like you just because we both
date women. That demeans us both.

No, I'm not running out to volunteer at McCain's local office, I'm just
saying that it's not right that anyone or any organization should assume
they have my support, especially when I'm feeling less and less
represented by the candidates.

This stems from a lot of things: the many stupid emails about those evil
Republicans (I prefer the term pesky myself), other things I can't
remember right now because I spent too much time being amused at using
the word pesky, imagining the chuckles of the pesky, but wonderful
Republicans in my life as they read this.

It pisses me off that Obama is against gay marriage. How can he assume
he has my vote if he thinks civil unions ought to be enough.

Because they're sure as hell not.

If nothing else, I beg of you California readers: Vote No On 8.

I think I'll remind you all of that every day between now and election
day. The good people manning that effort, well they can be safe in
assuming they have my vote. I hope they have yours, too.


Since Val started preschool, we've found ourselves with a little extra time after I pick her up at the end of the day. Me being me and Val being not unlike me, we don't find simply going home to do nothing the most satisfying option.

So, Mondays, we go to gymnastics class #2, where Val is now the oldest kid in the class. She's also the only potty-trained one and that makes me a bit smug at times*.

I decided that wasn't enough so today we hit our local library for the first time, spurred on by a tightening budget and an overflow of books in our house.

It's the cutest little library, a neighborhood branch right near the world's smallest toddler playground. I don't think it's more than a couple years old so it's all shiny and new.

Val was very excited about getting a li-berry card and picking out books. They had little computers there for kids, and really, the prevalence of computers is giving me pause. I guess that implies that computers are as much a part of literacy as books.

Anyhoo, we got cards for the both of us, then set out to look! At! Books! Val got sidetracked by the not-really-working kiddie computer stations but eventually we got to the books. She picked one up and 'read' it to me, telling me the story for every page. Then I read it to her twice.

Heading over to the adult section, Val grabbed her book and held it in front of her, flipping through the pages as we walked, reciting back to me the text I'd just read to her.

Blue pots!Red pots!Lots of pots!Spots on pots!

As I was looking for my own books, Val found her way to a circle that had been cut out of the wall for a little resting spot. She laid there reading her books and telling me 'you go back to your own books, Mommy!**'

When we were ready to go, she helped me with the self-checkout, sliding first her card then her books under the barcode reader. The reader was very kind, allowing for Val's rather un-gentle motion under the wobbly red light. We emerged from the li-berry victorious, with only a total of 5 books between us.

Across the street from the library is a school with a field. There was a soccer class going on, full of little kids who could have been Vals age so I wandered over and asked how old they were. Sadly, those kids are 4+ so Val's too young. But I got a lead on where we could find some soccer action for the 2 year old set (the local YMCA, in case you're wondering).

Until our lives become filled with a myriad of other activities, I'm so glad there's time for Val and I to do this kind of fun stuff together. Because it's only a matter of time until I'm uninteresting to her. I'm taking every minute of her attention that I can get.

* I say this with a full awareness of the fact that should we ever manage to get pregnant again and should we ever actually have a 2nd kid, that kid will potty train in kindergarten. That kid will also speak late, refuse to breastfeed and rebel against extended rear-facing in the carseat. I know all this already so you can feel free to remind me of this potty-trained-at-two smugness.

** this isn't one of those 'the kid talks and only the parent can understand them' kind of things. She speaks pretty clearly. Again, I understand that #2, should that child decide to grace our family with her/his (herm) presence, will not speak until herm is 5.

This Should Be A Longer, More Thought-Provoking Post

But I'm a little short on time right now, so I'll ask you this: do
people who forward links to internet polls about presidential candidates
honestly think that getting x amount of people to click one way or the
other will impact the election?


Seems to me it's about as accurate as the poll I heard about yesterday
where out of 700 or so rural folks polled, 50something percent said
they'd vote for McCain. Is 700 really a good sample and does an
internet poll actually mean anything?

I don't generally talk about politics much because it's so inflammatory
and because these days so many of the people I hold dear vote in a very
different way than I do. But I will say that this year is especially
tough when it comes to making a decision.

With a cascade of less and less inspiring candidates every time, it
seems like a crappy situation either way. Besides, Hillary was SO


Of Toddler Beds And Baby Steps
We'd been talking about moving Val out of her crib for a while now. Not because she was a climber, no the walls of her crib did not inspire her to climb their peaks, but it seemed like she was ready for a bit more freedom in her world. Plus, we have this vain hope that new bed=easier bedtime routine, possibly one that does not involve us sitting with her until she falls asleep.

I know, that kind of change, it does not come automatically with the new bed. We would've made the switch a long time ago if that was the case.

On vacation, she'd slept on a twin mattress on the floor. Each morning, she found her way into our room on her own, more than once scaring the crap of Andrea as she seemed to float into the room and say 'hi' or 'mommy.' That made us realize she was probably as ready as she's ever going to be so when we saw a bed we liked this weekend, we went for it.

I should add that I've been trolling craig's list for a while now, trying to get a good deal on a used one. The one I liked the most, I wrote to the person and they never wrote back. Not only that, they posted the damn thing 3 times so I dunno what they're hoping to have happen if they don't respond to people. So we went new. It has a cute little drawer underneath but is pretty simple, light wood.

While Val and Andrea napped in my room Saturday, I put it together. It wasn't that bad, though the instructions were a bit lacking. Things like 'put this side together first' would have been helpful at literally every step of the way. Also 'these holes are for the guard rails so please install the side rail with these pointed at the headboard,' that would've helped too.

But I did it, got the thing together, got her crib mattress and stuffed animals moved over and had time to take the crib down before Val woke up. Taking the crib down wasn't as emotional as I'd thought it might be. Sure, when we bought the crib from Jesus, lo those not even 3 years ago, we were of course full of hope. We had no idea how lucky we were to be Val's parents (though at that point, she had not yet been named), how amazing she would be, how lucky we were to have gotten pregnant so easily and what was to come. But for us, very little of that was wrapped up in the crib.

The truth is, we didn't really 'fix' her room up all that much before she was born. Hell, we didn't really alter the house much either, we just sort of made room as needed. I have no regrets about that, it let us focus on other things that we deemed important, like sitting on my ass while pregnant and later, on caring for Val.

But now that she's a 100% bonafide little person with her own opinions about things, it is time to make her room her own. So we're starting small, cleaning out a bunch of our crap and bringing some of hers in from the living room. Already Val is pleased as punch about her own space and we're pleased about the crap we got rid of thanks to our friends on Freecy.cle.

So as I took down that crib, it wasn't very emotional. No, it was a celebration of the little girl who has emerged and changed our world in the best possible way.


That Smarts A Bit

Monday, Val had a very bad day at school. Horrible dropoff, crying
throughout the day, and a potty accident to top it off. When I got
there she was wearing some of her backup shorts and a pupllup. Argh.

We have told school to keep underwear on her, even in the face of an
accident. Why? Because 1. I hate throwing clean pullups away and 2.
Because they're just a glorified diaper. Val made the big progress in
her potty training when we switched to training pants so I'm hesitant to
have her sport the glorified diaper.

So I wasn't all that pleased at how the day had gone for her but I was
less pleased when the teacher told me, with a shy smile, that Val had
told many of the teachers that there's a baby sister in my tummy.

Mother. Fucker. Of course I couldn't say *that* at the time, not at
the Christian preschool. I said, ah, no. We've been trying for about a
year (how fucking lame is that. Seriously.) And that Val's been to too
many appointments with us.

She was kind, said she was sorry to hear that and that she'd tell the
other teachers.

But really, does this mean that I am currently fat enough to look
pregnant enough to know whether we'd be having a boy or girl?

The diet has already started, thankyouverymuch.

This Mightve Been Unwise

Late Sunday night we got home from our Tour Of Fabulousness. Early
Monday, I stumbled into work, where upon trolling through my email I saw
a list of training opportunities. Being very much in a transitory state
at work, I looked for something that might be relevant and wa-la, there
it was: project management, a 2 day seminar on Tues and Wed!

There were spaces left so I checked with my boss and signed up. At 8:30
Tuesday morning, I went to our other campus (now with Hooters across the
street!). The instructor promised 2 full days of instruction and by
golly, 2 full days was what we got.

So much for getting out a little early. Nope, we went until 5 both
days. After the first day I was so tired, I grabbed Val and we sat in
bed. At 5:30 pm.

That was a lot of learning. My brain is now full to the brim with
project charts, timelines, deliverables, objectives, and other stuff I'm
not totally convinced I'll use. But now I have that background, even if
I'm totally exhausted today.


Here's A Question

If you make a will with a lawyer or using some kind of DIY thing, does
it have the same authenticity? Do the DIY versions hold less weight in
court or wherever they'd need to?

Not that I can really imagine ours getting challenged or the lot of you
fighting for my martini clock but I do wonder.


Just Kidding

We ended up having a very full day yesterday, 3 parks in one day!
Animal Kingdom for lunch (Tusker House, tasty goodness!) and a couple of
rides, then cooled off for an hour at Blizzard Beach, followed by a
little while at Epcot. That's where we visited the future in the newly
refurbished Spaceship Earth.

Todays plans include more than an hour at Blizzard Beach, then a little
visit to the Magic Kingdom. Should be a fine ending to a fabulous trip!


It Seems We've Run Out Of Disney To Do

So...we've been here a week. In that week, we've encountered almost no
lines for rides and eaten at all of our favorite restaurants. To the
point where my stomach is revolting in a pretty big way and I'm sort of
wanting to never see a buffet again.

We've visited all of the parks at least once, save Blizzard Beach. Our
visit there was thwarted by rain because, call me weird, but a waterpark
in the rain seems a little over the top in terms of wetness.

We have two more full days here and I'm not sure what's left to do. I
know, it's crazy to even consider. And yes, being in a comfy hotel bed
does absolutely beat being at work but just the same I think I've
learned that 9 days of Disney is a little too long for us.

Why? Because coming here in the off-season means the lines are pretty
much non-existent. So time we might've spent waiting in those lines is
spent moving to the next attraction. It's sort of like
bloop-bloop-blooping through commercials with Tivo.

But don't be swayed by this revelation. No, no, it will only serve to
sharpen my future planning strategies (less buffets, a day or two less
of trip).

In the meantime, I will share some highlights with you:
- spending most of a week with K. It was Just Fantastic to have that
kind of time with her (this might be the biggest understatement of all
time). Val so enjoyed and you can bet your ass that we did too.
- tasty meals all around the resorts and in the parks. Dare I say I
outdid myself on the meal planning.
Except the Princess Storybook Lunch at Epcot. If you found this post
via a search, hear me now:

That shit is ridiculously expensive and so not worth it for the 2 second
character interactions. $18.99 for a goddamn kids meal. That's NOT a

That said, later in the day Val asked to have lunch with the princesses
again. I said sorry, kid, we won't be doing that again.

If I may interrupt myself, I'm by no means a fan of the whole princess
culture that my friends at Disney are so carefully cultivating right
now. The notion of always waiting for a man to save you, never mind
those infernal dresses and the poorly-made shoes that go with them, all
of this does not sit well with me. Add in the fact that the 3 major
ones are lily white, unlike my daughter, who is not and it pretty much
hits all my feminist sticking points.

So, you may ask, why go to that sort of lunch? Because, at 2, Val is
terrified of all the other characters. The princesses look like people,
i.e. they're not wearing giant furry suits and they talk so she can get
excited about seeing them. For now, we'll concede the princesses but
with some major limitations. We're not buying any merchandise, and
we're talking a lot about why we're not doing that. My answer for right
now is because, Val, those princesses don't look like you.

What that really means is, kid, don't model yourself after some white
chicks who find salvation in a man and frilly dresses just because you
see it all over the place. That doesn't make it yours. How about you
be yourself first, then look for love and your own fashion sense
wherever it may find you.

But I digress. And I suspect the princess issue will come up again in
the future.

Back to the highlights:
- the halloween party. It was so not crowded and had so many cool
things. Val's favorite was a dance floor with Lilo and Stitch where
she, Grandma and I danced ourselves into a sweat-filled frenzy. The
headless horseman led the parade, it was so cool we watched it twice.

- the weather. We managed to miss almost all rain while K was with us.
We'd get to the car after a full day, then it would start after we were
tucked into the car.

- valet parking at deluxe resorts. Pay once, park all day. We parked
for dinner at Animal Kingdom lodge, then moved the car to the
Polynesian, parked for free, and rode the monorail over for the party.
We missed all the parking-related crowds, it was awesome.

- toy story midway mania. Likely the best ride ever. K and I hit that
park early one morning and rode it 4 times!

- tower of terror is better here than at Disneyland.

- same goes for Haunted Mansion.

- watching Val play in every fountain we passed. After the first day,
we started bringing her bathing suit and a towel. I know, we're smart.

That's just a few. I'm not sure what we'll do today and I think there's
a real beauty in that.


The Best Kind Of Tired

Is what we're feeling now, after 5 days of our Fabulous Disney
Vacation/Honeymoon. My birthmom came down to spend part of the trip
with us and can I just say having her all to ourselves was just
fab-u-lous wrapped up in a blanket? She said it herself, the best role
she has is that of Grandma.

Goddamn, she's terrific with Val. And Val's crazy go nuts about her.
Plus, there's something totally rad about having 3 generations of bony
elbows under the same roof.

She went home this morning. To say that we miss her already, well,
that's an understatement.


The Wedding Day

The Wedding Day
Originally uploaded by torturedmommy
Lookit us! We're all married and stuff!
Thanks to our official photographer and excellent witness (b) Soosan for taking pictures and sharing them with the Internets. It was such a lovely day. Thanks to all, most of all my lovely wife for the amazing day and the lifetime to follow.


Val, out of nowhere: Susie's sick.
Me: No buddy, not anymore. Susie died. She's not sick now.
Val: We'll go see her, we'll fix her up!
Me: I wish.


Old Married Lady

Thursday, Sept 4, 2008 Andrea and I tied the knot. We got up early and
went to SF City Hall to join our wedding party, all 5 of them. It was
so sweet, so low-key and over so fast I'm not totally sure what

At the moment of truth, Andrea busted out a new ring for me! From the
Shane Company, of all places. It was so damn sweet. Our day was
lovely, we had a bigger dinner at one of our favorite restaurants that
night and the next morning we got up at 4 am to head to DisneyWorld.

So here I am, married. Despite all the fears about gay marriage that
the religious right has, Andrea and I having this certificate, this very
public commitment to each other, it has not stopped the world from
spinning or done jack shit to threaten the solemnity of anyone else's

I'm just saying.


Since I Brought It Up

I thought I'd tell you about the fancypants fertility clinic we've
started going to. It's at the fancypants university near us, the one on
the sprawling hills that invite snooty bicyclists to ride all over the
surrounding areas sporting jaunty tight outfits.

The docs at Clinic de Fancypants are awesome. I've seen most of them by
now. Except the lone male doc. He's so not invited to prod at my
bits. Anyhoo, they're great. The ease with which they do the
procedures, whether it's a date with the dildocam or the IUI itself,
it's lightyears easier with these folks wielding the implements. For
that, I'm so grateful.

The nursing staff can leave a little to be desired but overall it's just
fantastic compared to going to the OB and the sperm bank. No, I'm still
not pregnant but at least shit doesn't hurt. At this point, that's a


A Little, A Lot
There's nothing like learning that your latest, and most invasive to date, pregnancy attempt (Follis.tim, an injectable medication, in case you were wondering) failed, then having your friend finally lose a long, horrible battle with cancer (and I say again and forever, cancer, you fucking suck. Suck.) in the same week to make travelling to a tournament a little tough emotionally.

Of course we went. Staying home and wallowing in anything isn't my style, to do so would not have honored Susie in any way. I know she would have skated. At least now I could skate as hard as I could, knowing that there was 0 risk of harming a fetus that once again, had not been created. And I could drink a whole half a beer and take all the Advil I need.

Which, as it turns out, is kind of a lot. My recurring shoulder injury decided to make a reappearance the night of the negative blood test. I'd been taking these awful pro.gesterone supplements, er, suppositories, and at least with the bad news, I was able to stop them. The night I stopped, I slept like shit and had a series of giant hot flashes, followed by being totally freezing in a drying pool of my own sweat. Pleasant, I know.

During that same night, I ended up cutting my hand pretty deeply and wrenching my shoulder in a whole new way. All while I was sleeping. Gee, thanks.

On Friday as I was putting Val's carseat onto the plane, I managed to wrench the same shoulder in a different spot. This made the flight down excruciating since of course that was the shoulder next to Val's carseat, giving me less room to move around.

I took a bunch of Advil and it loosened up enough for me to play sort of okay in the game that night. But it was a long weekend of Advil taking and using the icepack I'd bought in a rush when we first got there.

And can I just interrupt myself to say that the Olive Garden has gotten ridiculously expensive? $10.95 for soup and salad? Are you kidding me???

Anyhoo, I played as hard as I could but I swear, through the whole tournament the tears were right there at the corners of my eyes, waiting. Tears for Susie, who will be sorely missed, tears for the second baby who I'm not sure will ever come.

The team played our hearts out and in the end we went 1-3. That record does not for one second fully reflect the overall team effort that everyone put forth. We played 4 great games, they just didn't all fall our way. I did have fun on the ice and I hope everyone else did too.

But it was hard, so hard, to do all that knowing how much heartache we were in the midst of. We head off this week first to get married, then off to DisneyWorld for a much-needed vacation and another rest from all the fertility treatments. It is my most sincere hope that the next time I mention those treatments here, it will be in the form of a 'hey wow, we're finally pregnant' post but only time will tell if that's the case. Either way, I'll continue to remain quiet and vague about all that for the time being. It just hurts too much when people start asking.