Category Archives: family

My Grandmother

Upon hearing that my wife and I are splitting up, and that I might possibly someday want to consider going back to school to become a Rabbi. She said, “K will always be apart of our family, because you loved her and because we love her.” I know Grandma. I love her too, we just can’t be together. She said “Of course you can be a Rabbi, this is not such a crazy idea.”

So we talk. Then last night a few hours after our lunch, she sends me two emails, with one link in each email, no other text the first one is this:
http://www.reformjudaism.org/blog/2013/07/15/profiling-first-generation-transgender-rabbis
and the second one is this:
http://www.reformjudaism.org/blog/2013/07/19/fight-equality-life-changing-experience-alabama

Now, I don’t know if my grandmother ever knew that I thought for a time I might be trans, or if she just knows Queer Judaism are as intertwined into my soul as anything. She’s not one for big heart-to-hearts but she is my liberal southern Grandma and I love her with all my heart.

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Filed under Divorce?, family, gender, Politics is Personal, Religion

3 Years Blogging. 25 Before 25.

This post will probably take me quite a while to write. Maybe I shouldn’t put everything all in one post, and maybe I will end up splitting this up at some point, but for now, here goes nothing.

I have had this blog for going on three years. I suppose I started it around the same time I decided I was to propose to my then girlfriend, now domestic partner. Oh boy did we not expect to be where we are today three years ago. We have been through so much.

What I really want to talk about though, is this: In about a week and a half, I will be 24. Three months after that, my father will turn 50 and that, my dear mathematicians means that next year, when I turn 25 and finally getting my BA/starting my Masters? my father will be  exactly twice my age and I will be the age he was when I was born. It seems like that should be such a bizarre concept to me, but really, it makes sense. My dad was definitely a mid-twenties/early thirties kind of dad. In that, I mean I never felt like he was soooo much older than me. We had intellectual discussions, he allowed me to make my own decisions, even if he fought them the whole way. He grew as I grew, and we grow together. What does feel weird is that I’m not there yet. I’m not where he was when he was 24, of course in some ways I’m past where he was I suppose.

When he was 24 he was living in a co-op household attic, my mother was almost five years older than him, and lived right across the attic. He had just graduated with his BA in Environmental Studies and was working on a farm. I think I’ve told this story before, but just in case we need a refresher… His father was dying and his girlfriend (my mother) found out she was pregnant, the same week. They moved up to Mendocino with dreams of starting a blueberry farm, but instead lived in a little one-room cottage with no electricity and my mother, pregnant and living with an incurable disease that causes really poor circulation to extremities, absolutely hating every second of the cold. My dad’s best friend – his dog midnight, was stolen one night while they were eating dinner, and eventually they had had enough. They moved back to their community, rented a little house, I was born. He got a job with the county as a planner and six months later they got married. Typical early 90s life right? Two years later they were divorced. I don’t want to be divorced before I turn 30.

I don’t want to be divorced period.

Don’t get me wrong. I am so happy for the people I have gained in my life because my parents divorced. But generally, divorces are not so easy. For my parents, well, my family is unique. Divorce in my family seems to just mean an addition to the family, no retractions, but still. I don’t want to get divorced.

I wound up so off track I have to remind myself to rein it in.

I wanted this post to be about the things I want to do or accomplish before I turn 25 because I know the year will flash by in a hurry or seem to drag on until it is over. I so badly wanted to put “create life”, “have a baby” on this list of mine. It’s been on my “to do before, or at 25” for as long as I can remember. I guess I just assumed somewhere in my head that would be the natural progression… I get married at 24-25 and then have kids immediately. That’s not what my parents drilled into me, the opposite is true, but I somehow just assumed that would be my life. Reflection is an interesting and dangerous thing. We have solid plans now and that makes my heart rest a little easier, having the goals, the stepping-stones that have to be crossed. Of course the best laid plans right? Such is life, especially our life.

dance

Here goes 25, before 25:

  1. Take ME time, and US time.
  2. Run a 5k
  3. Take a walk to the beach at least once a week.
  4. Re-learn the cello
  5. Visit a country I’ve never been to
  6. Take an “electronic-free” day at least once a month.
  7. Choose 5 accomplishable tasks every week and complete them.
  8. Finish our “first year” scrapbook, almost four years later.
  9. Read two books per quarter that are not required reading.
  10. Play a duet with my partner
  11. Start a community garden near our apartment and/or Plant a garden for my grandparents
  12. Hike 7 falls again
  13. Take the kayaks out
  14. Keep our bedroom clean for a month
  15. Paint a picture
  16. Make a new friend
  17. Get a cat
  18. Find a doable volunteer position and go once a week.
  19. Fly a kite
  20. Take a dance class
  21. Visit my godson
  22. Prioritize music & friendships – Go to a friend’s show at least every other month.
  23. Minimize the STUFF (get rid of things I don’t need), de-clutter.
  24. Call my nonbio-still-completely-siblings, more frequently.
  25. Dance in the rain.

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Filed under family, friendships, growing up, Married Life, Politics is Personal, Work

Little moments, Big gestures

The past few months I felt as though my wife and I had these great little moments but our day-to-day interactions were just friendly/civil and perhaps we weren’t connecting the way we should be. I started to question why, if it was just the stress, or our inability to handle stress together, or did we suddenly just hate each other?! What the hell happened?

I realized somewhere along the way, as it was getting closer to Valentine’s Day, that I hadn’t been paying enough attention to her. Not that this was the sole issue, but I noticed. I ask her how her day is, and then butt in with how annoyed/stressful/tiring mine was and then we get on our separate computers and forget about each other for the rest of the night… Or so it seemed.

For Valentine’s Day I bought a big giant puzzle – she likes mind games, I can’t stand playing hardly any game against her because she always wins by at least 100 points, and what’s the point in playing if there is exactly ZERO chance of winning? I at least want to think I have a chance no? – I digress. I bought 1000 piece puzzle for us to do together and then frame in our new apartment. An accomplishable project for us to as a team. Then I bought some flowers and she made us a packed lunch, I met her at her office and we took off to the beach for a quick lunch in the sand. Seriously, it was so easy, we could probably do it once a week at least and it was just a nice relaxing, let’s remember why we love each other moment. Also there were about 10 other couples of all ages walking or picnicking which didn’t hurt the feeling of love in the afternoon air either.

She wrote me a really truly from the heart card, and I said some ridiculous things, as is my nature. And then I told her she was getting a full-body massage, from me. “What?! But you’ll be tired, etc etc.” No, I said. You deserve it, and I want to.

I’ve been thinking about this. I hadn’t felt very emotionally attached and whenever I can provide that relaxation and give that amount of love to her, I feel so much more connected, spiritually, emotionally, sexually.

So a few nights ago, I told her it was time at least a warm-up massage, a shortened version of the full massage I want to give her. I massaged her neck and her chest, her arms and her hands, her scalp and even her face and her ears. And then, well, this isn’t that kind of blog, but we had a really good night, and we connected more than we have in weeks.

I’m putting more effort into it, I’m thinking about why we fell in love with each other and the little things I used to do just to say that incredible smile, or make her notice me, when I notice myself doing these things again, I also notice the ways she notices, and all the ways in which I love her, and all the ways in which she loves me.

We’ve been together less than four years, and domestic partners less than a year, but we have been through so much sometimes it feels like twenty, so I am committing to remembering to do the little things, to notice, to appreciate, to touch, to care, to love.

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Filed under family, Married Life

Peace

Peace is my grandfather sleeping through the night. Peace is my grandfather eating his dinner without cursing in pain. It is him taking a nap without cursing the whole goddamned world as soon as he wakes up. Peace has been given through the sheer wonders of Medical Marijuana. For days his medication wasn’t working, we were out of his stronger meds, and finally my wife half-jokingly asked him if he wanted to smoke. He gave a hearty YES. This from a WWII vet, former engineer, civil rights worker, business owner, 89 year-old man in tremendous amounts of pain. YES. I want some. Now.

So I went out and got him some marijuana, who denies a man like that some peace? Hell. Who denies this whole house some peace? Not me. I knew that marijuana could help arthritis and joint pain, but stop a cranky old man from cussing out the world? Now that’s just our little piece of paradise. Is he completely pain-free? No. But as he put it, the pain has dulled so he’s much more pleasant to be around.  If I can give him a bit of peace just by rolling him a joint, then hell yes. I will make it happen.

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For Posterity

Some days you just have to write down what happened because you can’t believe the day actually happened. That was today.

Warning: this post does not use medical language for bodily functions that may be uncomfortable. 

Last night we had to take my grandfather to the ER because he had been throwing up/diarrhea all day (I suppose it’s a good thing he wears Depends (adult diapers), with hardly any fluid intake. For an 89 year-old man this is extremely harsh on his already weak system so about 7pm we take him in. They give him some IV fluids and anti-nausea medication and he’s good to go home by about midnight, feeling much better.

Everyone gets a good night sleep, and the day starts off pretty mellow, we make breakfast, eat some good lunch, take the dogs for a nice walk, and return home.

By the time I walk into the kitchen he is saying he doesn’t feel well again. I go to get him a Gatorade from a fridge in the spare room in the back of the house where my grandmother keeps all sorts of odds and ends, only to find there is a steady line of water that seems to be coming from the refrigerator but it turns out to be actually leaking from the opposite wall. Walk down the hall and somehow notice the guest bathroom looks like someone poured a kitty pool on the floor… No such luck. The toilet had apparently overflowed, then fixed itself and was enjoying a nice bath. Clean it up, wife fixes toilet, wife flushes toilet… and then walk back to extra room “OH Sh*t!” The water seeps out of the wall when we flush the toilet. Luckily the nice on-call plumber says he’ll be right over… Long story short there’s a leak in the pipe. To get to this specific section he’s going to have to jack-hammer through the tile and concrete in the laundry room and then snake his way over to fix the leaky pipe. Because we’re noticing water coming out of the wall, that apparently means it has already saturated the ground beneath and has nowhere else to go but up. Awesome.

When shit hits the fan

He can’t do this today, maybe sometime next week he says, so we move on to the sink in the kitchen which my mother called to tell me the faucet was apparently loose when she came over for dinner yesterday and could I please also mention that to the plumber. The plumber takes a nice long look under the sink and comes out to show me the five places that could be leaking, the granite and concrete that is failing, the mold under the 5,000 things my grandmother likes to keep under the sink.

Oh yeah, remember my grandfather isn’t feeling well? I finally go to heat up some chicken soup and am pouring it into the bowl when the damn bowl breaks! These bowls apparently don’t like hot things, even though I’ve poured hundreds of bowls of soup into these very bowls. My wife sees I’m just about at my limit and tells me to take a break, says “don’t worry honey, I’ll take care of it……… OWwwww!” She sliced a good chunk of her thumb on a piece of the broken bowl and the bowl is forgotten as we go take care of her thumb. Returning to the kitchen a half-hour or so later, I realize we never finished cleaning up the broken bowl or the soup that has now dripped all over the counter and down the drawers to the floor. The inside of the drawers are soaked through with chicken soup and generally hold spices. Lots of herbs and spices. I’ve finally cleaned that up and finished the dishes and wife has put together our brand new bed (yay!) and my grandfather now has a fever of just over 100.

Have I mentioned the new semester starts tomorrow and I don’t have anything together? Or that my grandmother just finished her last chemo a week ago and the week following is usually her weakest point? Or that all I really want to do tonight is drink a cup of tea (or something much stronger) and watch tv?

11:30pm Edit:

Apparently I spoke too soon for the craziness to end. I would be asleep by now except after checking in with the amazing V (my relief and hero, comes three times a week and stays two nights, have I mentioned she’s amazing?) we got in bed and realized we were going to need a real blanket tonight, it was perched precariously on the very top shelf in the closet and I *somehow* forgot that earlier today I had put a small picture frame up there as well, so as I’m craning my neck and half-climbing up the drawers the frame drops… right on my septum… How the hell does something fall directly on my septum? Good question. I don’t know the answer to it, but still it gets worse.

Wife (who would apparently like a better blog name) then goes to get me an ice compress and comes back to tell me “the whole house smells like shit.” I get up to investigate to find that my grandfather has shit all the way up his back and all over the pads on the bed. Perhaps today was the only day I thanked Gd for my grandfather’s incontinence and the fact that we have to use these pads on the bed. It did not make it to the bottom sheet. I cleaned him up, got him in some fresh depends and threw the dirty (Read filled with diarrhea) bed pads in a bundle on the floor while I went to grab fresh ones. While I was in the laundry room, V discovers the grandparents’ white fluffball [a bischon frise] eating the shit. Well actually she saw him wagging his tail back and forth in the doorway, the happiest dog, and looked in to find him eating my grandfather’s shit. She spent at least ten seconds wrestling the dirty pile from the dog before he finally gave it up. By the time I got back my wife and V were laughing hysterically. We couldn’t stop laughing. After-all, I wouldn’t believe the story if I were telling it to myself. Too ridiculous to make up though. A scotch on the rocks was the perfect end to a simply bizarre weekend.

/end update

If we end up back in the er tonight I really don’t know what I’m going to do. Chalk this month up to one big bag of shit hitting the fan. Thanks January. I’m ready for something else though if you don’t mind.

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Filed under family, Married Life

Dreaming little dreams.

I have this problem that right about when it’s time to be falling asleep, connecting with dreamland, I get antsy. Or creative, or I have an idea. Lately my go-to has been looking at places for rent that keeps me from going insane here. It is time for us to venture out on our own again. Not necessarily without some housemates, but I am ready for our own furniture again, the comfort of our dishes that we bought together in our first apartment, the mugs of hot chocolate that got us through very, very cold winters, and a home that says people in their mid-twenties live here, not retirees. I am ready to schedule meals around the veggies that we once grew in our garden, I am ready to garden again. I am ready to prepare meals for friends again, and ready to keep the house below 75 degrees. I need to keep this thought alive so that I can keep caring for my grandparents as lovingly as I can muster, making plans to make sure I don’t do this forever.

Putting it out into the universe,dreamingofhome

I envision a home somewhat close to where we live, which we may share with laid back people closer to our age, perhaps a kiddo or two in the mix, space for a garden and a kitchen to share lots of meals. I envision a house that we may grow in for the next few years, a place to call our home. A place where my wife can feel free to play music with other musicians or on her own, a place like the co-op I once grew up in. Meals shared from gardens, music shared through time, art from the residents. I’m making this place-holder here. Where I am free to daydream.

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Timing

Putting my godson to bed

I haven’t posted lately because I haven’t had anything productive to say, and if I don’t have anything productive to say it starts to sound like whining rather than blogging. Right now, if I even see a baby on television or a high chair in our living room leftover from a friend visiting, my uterus aches. Physically aches. I have always wanted a child, always known I am meant to be a parent. This is different, this is painful. Knowing I can’t do anything about it, knowing I can’t be a parent yet, because we don’t have the right parts? And because we don’t have the right parts we have to be deemed “ready” by the courts and or the various agencies for adoption. I think it’s more though, it is as if my body inherently knows I’m ready. We’re not ready monetarily, we’re probably not ready as a couple, we certainly aren’t ready as far as providing for any future children, but I’m ready. No one is ever really ready I suppose, and there are so many things I am not ready for, but children? I was born so I could care for others. It is in my bones.

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Filed under family, growing up, Married Life, Politics is Personal