Friday, October 31, 2008

"was it some strange fabrication of my mind?"

I woke up before my alarm this morning, my body fully awake despite coming out of a dream and in this dream I had been in the basement of the house I grew up in with its mauve carpeting and the mildew stained Ikea bookshelves. I had been searching for baby photo albums because I wanted to take them back to New York and show Ms. K. In an old cardboard box I found photos from the two years we spent living in Michigan, the state of my birth. I also found an album that I had never seen before, its white plastic cover dusty. Inside were a trove of secret images of my mother, artful black and white shots of her nude that dated back to the late 1970s. I slapped the album close with a shameful gasp. Then I woke up.

Even though it was a dream, I still felt strange to see my mother naked -- even if it was a subconscious creation that drew on images of her onetime Dorothy Hamill haircut and her body as it was before two children took their toll. Was it a memory or was it some strange fabrication of my mind?

My alarm went off and Ms. K was wrapped an arm around my waist to pull me closer. She kissed my back and I felt her warmth. The image of the dream started to fade as the room grew slowly lighter with the rising sun.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"You are my favorite person to hang out with and have too many drinks."

When I said "suck it" in my previous entry, I did mean that all the love and humility in the world possible. Forgive me, but it's nice to revel in my own good fortune because I can think back to the days of Operation Find The Lesbians and remember every disappointment wrought upon me as I searched the Universe (or rather Brooklyn) for a sane, well adjusted, smart, single lesbian who thought I was pretty and wanted make gingerbread for me. The irony is that I got bisexual Manhattanite, but good goddamn she makes the best margaritas ever. Yes, I shall keep her.

Speaking of margaritas, I had two last night unfortunately. Unfortunately because I had like four glasses of fresh made apple ginger vodka punch, a glass of Chianti, and a whiskey sour previous to these two margaritas. All at home. I don't know what happened, but Ms. K and I started drinking over dinner and then proceeded to blow through the better part of a bottle of Ketel One. Then we started watching episodes of Queer as Folk and Ms. K assailed me with chants of "¡Uno mas!"

One more episode. One more drink.

At one point, after we finished off the punch and after she peer pressured me into switching to margaritas, I slurred to her, "I'm officially seeing double."

That was always my body's way of telling me to switch to water. Message received, body. Loud and clear.

"¡Uno mas!"

Body, I would like to introduce you to Peer Pressure. She's pretty. Oh and there's two of her!

By 2 am (this is a work night, mind you) we dragged our drinks and the laptop into bed to finish watching an episode of The Folk. Ms. K smoked hand rolled cigarettes out the window and I tried not to pass out while clutching my margarita against my chest. The glass was a mess of melting ice cubes, pulpy bits of homemade sour mix, sticky finger prints, and flecks of kosher salt. I must have passed out because I awoke suddenly to the cold spread of a liquid across me -- I had fallen asleep and the glass had rolled out of my hand and into the bed, thankfully missing the laptop. I vaguely remember my ineffectual attempt to clean it up with a dish towel, but I do know that Ms. K and I passed out sometime after 2 am -- she in her clothes and I in my underwear.

Obviously we were both a wreck in the morning. There were mascara smudges under my eyes and face looked waxy. The bed was still soaked with margarita and the dog looked at us with disapproval since he needed to go o-u-t and we were holding up the show. Ms. K curled up in a ball on my side of the bed -- the dry side -- while I attempted to get ready, which involved crashing around a lot. Later, when Ms. K got up to brush her teeth, I found her naked and sitting on top of the closed lid of the toilet. She was moving the tooth brush slowly, dejectedly across her bottom teeth with all the energy she could muster through the hangover. She looked at me all dressed and ready to leave for work and her eyes were plaintive.

"Don't you want to stay home with me so we can be hungover together?" she asked?

"Sorry, honey. I have to go to work. I'm already late."

"Why aren't you in worse shape?!" she remarked with a scowl as I ran down the list of drinks I had had the night previous. My attitude towards mixing alcohols had been so cavalier, so by any right I should have been in worse shape. "You're the old one! You should be hungover more!"

I playfully gave her the finger. "No need to be ugly." And then I gave her a kiss on her toothpaste flecked mouth before leaving for work.

"I want to treat you nice."

"Hey," Ms. K called from the living room where she had the laptop propped open in front of her as she ate dinner. On the screen was the familiar sight of my blog. "I thought you were going to write a blog entry about how I treat you nice?"

It's true, I was going to write a counter point to entry I wrote about the two times she and I broke up, explaining that she's an awesome girlfriend who likes to do nice things for me. Ms. K felt that she had come off as a jerk in that entry. Nevermind that I had painted myself in a less than flattering light with my confession that I was the douche who had broken up with her via email. At least she had the grace to dive all the way from Pennsylvania to break up with me in person.

But I digress.

"I was," I explained from the kitchen, "but I didn't want to come across as schmaltzy." Because, you know, writing numerous blog entries about why my girlfriend is awesome could get old real fast. But since she is awesome I will regale you with one quick example.

A couple days ago over email, while ironing out a shopping list (and a budget!) of what we needed from Fairway, she asked me if there was anything I wanted to add to the list. I said that I had been having a big craving for spice cake and something with sage in it -- two things she does not like. In fact she said for emphasis, "I don't like sage! I don't like spice cake!"

So I was vetoed and I took my craving, with a dramatic sigh, to Epicurious where I looked at gingerbread recipes figuring I would just make something for myself.

That night Ms. K made dinner with her Fairway purchases (tostadas!) and when I got home I was met with a wave of warmth and the smell of roasted garlic from the kitchen. But I was also met with the smell of something else. I sniffed the air like my dog likes too when he detects something although not sure of what. I sniffed again. The apartment smelled like gingerbread? Gingerbread?!

She had gone ahead, even though she doesn't like it, and made me the Dark Gingerbread Pear Cake recipe from Gourmet. Why? Because she loves me.

So that's why my girlfriend is better than yours. Suck it!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"You used to make me cry in the night."

I guess what I was trying to say with my previous blog entry is that after a wobbly start, my relationship with Ms. K finally found some solid ground at the end of 2007. It's funny to think that I had had my doubts about the seriousness of the relationship considering that now we live together and find joy in the simple pleasure of cooking dinner together and looking at paint samples. How very lesbian of us.

I don't know, guys. What happens when you get into a serious long term relationship? This is a little bit new to me . . . or maybe not so new since I was with my first girlfriend for almost three years and my second for a year and a half. But I think I blocked those years out. Well I didn't block everything out since I remember my second ex-girlfriend having a rage fueled breakdown involving a hammer and a bookcase.

That's another story for another time.

Monday, October 27, 2008

"Did you ever want to break up with me?"

Laying in bed one night recently, Ms. K was pressed against my back. With her arm hooked around my waist, she was, as she likes to call it, a big spoon to my little spoon. Content and warm, I began to drift off into the gentle waves of my unconscious only to hear her ask,

"Did you ever want to break up with me?"

Jerked back awake, I hesitated to answer -- not because there were times when I had secretly considered ending the relationship, but because the question was far too loaded for pre-bedtime conversation. No, I cautiously answered, not apart from the two times we actually did break up.

(Consider this post some relationship DVD extras. Or rather a missing part of the narrative.)

The first break up came a little over a month after we started dating. For those who were reading at the time, I was enjoying myself. Highly. I wasn't taking things very seriously because for the first time in a very long time I was having fun. There was booze, hot sex, and staying out late on a work night to be had. But at the same time I had my Lesbian Red Flag Detector set to kill and with each successive date I proceeded to interrogate the shit out of Ms. K. In hindsight I feel bad because I probably came across more as a member of the CIA than a fun date, but the point is that alcohol makes for good truth serum and I learned far more than I needed to know -- far more than was relevant.

Armed with too much information I came to the conclusion to break things off and sometime in late August 2007, after blowing her off a little, I sent her an email outlining why I thought continuing dating was not in my best interest.

"Anyone else I would have told to fuck off," Ms. K later said about my email. Instead she wrote a strong rebuttal and told me why I was wrong and why I should give things another chance. She made a convincing point and the burgeoning relationship lived to see another day. Actually what she said was, "I can completely understand why you don't want to get involved with someone carrying around a lot of baggage . . . . I feel like maybe it's possible that because of what you've been through with other women, you really aren't giving me the benefit of the doubt."

(I found out much later that my initial email had not only been mean, but had caused her to cry while at a her family's Thanksgiving, Summer Edition. Yes, I am an asshole.)

Speaking of mean . . . this brings me to the second time Ms. K and I broke up, which was last December.

To simplify a long story, let's just say that Ms. K had enough of my bitchy snark. (Hey, it's a defense mechanism!) She met me after work one night in Union Square and as we huddled under the awning of a subway entrance trying to stay out of the steady drizzle, I watched her nervously pick at the the hole in her brown striped cashmere glove. She obviously had something to tell me, but her mouth was having a hard time forming the words.

"I . . . don't think I can do this anymore," she finally said after more than a few halting starts.

Oh, no way. No way she's breaking up with ME, I thought.

We stood there for a long time, conspicuously positioned by the entrance of a busy subway station. Intervals of people pushed by us, umbrellas opened and closed, a German tourist asked us for directions, unaware that it was Not A Good Time.

When I asked her why she was breaking up with me, she reluctantly explained I was mean and that I didn't make her feel good about herself.


I can't remember what I said or what sort of defense I had, but I do remember that all I wanted to do was leave that perch above the stairwell and head back to Brooklyn. I was totally done.

We stood there awkwardly some more, unsure how to leave things. Goodbye? Nice knowing you? I watched as she continued to play with the hole in her glove as another wave of commuters flooded by.

At some point there was an energy shift and Ms. K started to back track. Life force quietly seeped into the corpse of our relationship. One of her gloved hands reached into my pocket and found mine, her touch rekindling our affection for each other. The warmth of her hand felt like water after a drought.

She later said that at one point I had looked at her with hatred and that's what did it -- that's what made her regret ending things. Her heart, she confessed, would have broken if I hated her.

Suddenly exhausted from the emotional lurches, I motioned to the subway below, "Let's get out of here and find someplace to talk." Standing on the subway platform, we held each other as we waited for the Q train to take us back to Brooklyn.

Friday, October 24, 2008

"Oh noes!"

I realize I've talked a little more about politics than usual, but it's hard not too. The earth is shifting beneath our feet. The air in New York seems electrified with the gut wrenching dichotomy of progressive change and economic catastrophe. On the subway I notice people proudly wearing Obama pins affixed to their coat lapels while others talk worriedly about possibility of layoffs at their job.

It's stark.

On the personal end, Ms. K and I are trying to shore ourselves up for any earthquakes thrown our way. We cook more at home and figure out ways to save money. I don't know about her, but I'm always running crisis scenarios through my head and wondering how I would react. Job loss? Financial disaster? Zombie uprising? I feel like we've already gone through that (well, apart from the zombie uprising.) We're battle seasoned and we already have the medals for those tour of duties.

Ah, the things I have to think of now I'm an adult. Thank god I don't have kids to worry about.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"In the tank."

Larry David said waiting for November 4th -- that's Election day to those who are outside the US -- is like waiting for the results of a biopsy. What a perfect metaphor -- my foot is tapping nervously, my fingers jingling across the keyboard, my eyes darting over statistical data -- and while the doctor is pretty sure that there's nothing to worry about, there's still that chance for bad news. Very bad news.

Since there's 12 days left before the election, I want to remind you all to vote. Honor your vote. Love your vote. A lot of women protested their asses off so you and I and our daughters would get the chance to have our voices heard. And if you're registered to vote in the California, vote NO on Proposition 8. (My friend Sinclair is one of 8 bloggers uniting in a fight against a proposal to amend the California state constitution to define marriage as strictly between a man and a woman. Big nod to Dorothy Snarker too, the lady who likes to give me mad props.)

Don't let someone else dictate your future because you didn't cast that ballot.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jeez, lady. Why don't you write some blog entries?

I could. Except I've realized that my life has officially become boring. Like seriously boring, but in a refreshing hey-staying-at-home-is-vastly-underrated sort of way.

Should I remind you that your blog is subtitled Adventures in Banality? Hello!

Fair point, but I don't think people want to read about my ongoing battles with sweeping.

Probably not.

Nor my overly self aware essays on growing older.

You are a lesbian for chrissakes. You know, lesbianate or something.

Lesbianate? You made that word up.

There has to be something exciting going on? C'mon, think.

Ms. K and I are looking at lumber prices to see how cost effective it would be to build bookcases over buying them. Because we have fifteen thousand books.

I give up.

Friday, October 17, 2008

"That'll do, pig. That'll do."

Pardon me while I brag.

It's been a very very long time since I've had something to celebrate. While Ms. K and I had our anniversary back in July, it was mired in the uncertainty of a move we knew would be coming soon but not knowing exactly when. (And lord knows there was nothing celebratory about that move when it finally did come.) So when I recently completed a prestigious freelance design job, I at last felt like I had something to celebrate. Champagne was uncorked and laurels rested upon. All my hard work gave me a boost to my confidence and the professional pat on the back I craved. And feeling generous, I took Ms. K out to nice dinner at Pomme de Terre where we enjoyed our fleeting foray into modest luxury.

Yesterday I went to a lecture at New York University where the publisher I freelanced for was speaking on a panel. At the door was a stack of the magazine I had worked so hard on and I grabbed a copy, spending most of the lecture flipping through to see how everything turned out. I was pleasantly surprised to hear my new boss mention me by name to the audience in conjunct with my freelance design work. Later, after the lecture was over and people swarmed over trays of complementary smoked salmon hors d'oeuvres and glasses of Long Island wine (not an oxymoron), the publisher came up to me to tell me how happy he was that the magazine had turned out so well.

High fives. It felt good to be a gangsta.

When I left, I called Ms. K to tell her I was on my way home.

"Are you drunk?" she asked.

"No, I'm giddy with professional recognition. I had a small glass of wine though."

"You sound a little drunk."

Even by my standards (though not unheard of), 5 pm on a weekday is a little early to be intoxicated. I explained that I got a shout out during the lecture and a happy endorsement of my work.

"Congratulations, baby. I'm so proud of you. You got your 'That'll do, pig,'" she said.

For those who never saw the 1995 movie Babe, the blog title is a quote from the movie and is something that Ms. K says from time to time to explain that everyone craves a little pat on the back, a little recognition for their hard work. Not much, but just a gentle, "That'll do, pig. That'll do."

So there you go. I got that pat on the back I craved.

That'll do.

Monday, October 13, 2008

"The fundamentals of my life are still strong."

What does it mean to turn 30? I have 35 days and counting to contemplate this idea further. One thing I've noticed is that my energy is more focused, calmer. Some of the flamboyance of my past seems conspicuously absent. Gone are the feather boas, alcohol binges, late night drunken taxi rides home, inappropriate crushes, crippling hangovers, and periodic displays of exhibitionism. (I guess that makes for boring blog reading.)

Over the last two years I went through a chrysalis of crisis -- precisely what my Saturn Return portended. I withdrew from a lot of my friends* and from life, retreating to somewhere within so I could figure out some of the more nagging questions of my existence. I went into therapy and had epiphanies about my relationship with my mother and how that shaped my emotional thinking. And the person that emerged from this chrysalis was someone different -- not greatly though, but different enough that I feel it when I try to awkwardly connect to my old life.

Maybe this is what they call growing up?

I don't know . . . I think I'm looking forward to this whole turning 30 lark. My 20s kind of blew and I'm getting excited about the promise of a fresh decade -- one where I hope I'll make fewer stupid mistakes. And after the seismic rumblings of the last two years, I'm looking forward to increased maturity, stability, and security.

Apart from a few recently discovered gray hairs, I think another sign that I must be getting older is that I'm leaning towards a small(er) and moderately restrained birthday party -- a marked departure from previous decadent birthdays. Wow, I must really be getting older. It's bad enough that I now get hungover after a three margaritas.

* To any of my friends reading, apologies for dropping off the radar and from going from social butterfly to social hermit. Life threw a lot at me and it took me a while to process it all.

Friday, October 10, 2008

"Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world."

Okay, so maybe I have been a little too harsh on filmmaker Sue Kramer in the past (memories can be jogged here and here). She has put a out an inspiring reminder for everyone to vote. As today is the last day to register to vote before the November 4th election -- at least it is here in New York state -- I will pass along her reminder. Only 26 days left in the election.

Monday, October 06, 2008

"I have a sewing machine and a dream."

On Sunday, Ms. K and I took an important step in our relationship. We went to IKEA.

Lured by the promise of cheap household items and breezy Swedish marketing, we drove to Red Hook to round out a list of things we needed for The Apartment. We told ourselves that we could only spend $100 because, you know, all that cheap shit adds up fast and, well, it's not the best time to break the bank when the bank is already broken.

So yes, it's official -- we're domesticated. We spend our weekends on DIY projects, looking at decorating websites, and going to suburban-esque chain stores. I'm sure if we had a yard we'd be raking leaves right about now. Seriously, I can remember a time not too long ago when Sundays were spent recovering from hangovers. Now we go to Lowes and IKEA.

Oh and that $100 budget? High fives for sticking to it, but I feel like we get negative points for buying pilsener glasses, wine glasses, and cocktail glasses. Did I mention that we have enough kitchen supplies already to start a restaurant?? Maybe this is just an excuse to throw a party and try and get some of our cred back.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"Happy new year."

Until last week I hadn't had my hair cut in thirteen months. Its length had become heavy and dead, hanging in tendrils down past my collar bone. In a way my hair came to represent the deep financial stress of the last year, the austerity, and the withdrawal.

But with the move last month there was an obvious shift towards a new chapter and with that shift my hair felt increasingly claustrophobic. So I made an appointment at a Park Slope salon where my hairdresser relieved me of layers and inches and burdens. As the hair fell around my chair, something of my old self began to emerge.

Ms. K also got a much needed haircut from the same hairdresser, which she claims gave us identical haircuts. I don't think our hair is that noticeably similar. Either way the cut looks really cute on her and when we met for date night dinner last week she looked like a knock-out and I fell in love with her all over again.

In other hair news, Ms. K found my long dreaded first gray hair. Now beings the slow decline . . .