Friday, June 29, 2007

Money for blogging

When I was in the 5th grade my teacher had this WONDERFUL set of creative writing cards that I absolutely loved. Getting to use these cards was such a treat. As I recall, if we finished our regular assignment, we got to pick a card from this box....could be the first assignment was from the box, too. Don't remember, but I do remember that these cards had writting assignments on them. They were little starters to get us going on writing our own story. We could either use the paragraph that was written, which was the first paragraph of a story, then we completed the story, or we could choose the list of words on the card. The list was 5-10 random words that all had to be used in the story. Either option was great fun - I loved the challenge and I usually ended up writing a 10-20 page story. One other person and I used to compete to see who would write the longest story. Back then, quantity and quality were indistinguishable :)

What does this have to do with getting money for blogging? Well, some of you may have noticed the new little icon on my web page about or that some of my posts have had some odd links in them lately. Well, this is because my wife discovered a place that pays people to blog and the only real requirement is that you use a short phrase with a link they provide. No review. No opinions. Just provide a link. This totally reminds me of the creative writing box, and is a great incentive for me to remember to blog more frequently. For instance, it is a challenge to use some of the odd phrases that I might ordinarily use in my writing, like incontinence products or drug rehab or DNA, but use them I must if I want to rise to the challenge. This is totally like having to use "magic castle," "pen," "bottle," "whiskers," and "felt" all in one story. I love it!

So, in the interest of full disclosure, yes, I am getting paid for some of the additional blogging I am doing, but this is really just providing me incentive to dig further into my life to share the good stuff, or the random weirdness in my brain, whichever pops to the surface first. Hope you will enjoy reading these posts as much as I enjoy writing them.
I'm a Lucky Non-Birth Mom

A friend of mine is a doula and she told me about a lesbian couple she is working with where the non-pregnant mom is feeling rather left out of the whole pregancy/mom-to-be process. My friend told her that she needs to be OK with grieving and feeling angry that she is not pregnant, because that is something she'd wanted for herself, so she is jealous of her partner's pregnancy. I never wanted to be pregnant. That's one count of luck. I married a woman who really wanted to be pregnant - another stroke of luck. Our friends, co-workers and family always treated us the same - as future mothers, and now, as a family.

I bonded with the babies while still in utero, talking to them and reading stories, and immediately after birth. They came out knowing my voice, and other than nursing, I was every bit as much a mother to them as their other mom, especially in the beginning, when I was able to stay home with the whole family. Now, of course, we have different roles within the family, but we are both definitely still MOMS (all caps - no denying it), just ask the kids!

Not giving birth myself was not the same as not sharing in the birth experience, and not sharing DNA with my kids does not make them any less mine. People see me with our kids and it is clear, I am Mom. I am very lucky, and I hope the couple I mentioned above and others like them, are able to get to the wonderful place that I am - 100% accepted as one of my kids' MOMS!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Stop me before I blog again!
So, I have been really busy at work this week, which is good.
I have also been busy with the previously mentioned "surprise."
Clearly, I have also been a busy blogger this week.

Well, next week is a Holiday and who knows how much will get done then? Boy child is looking forward to all the fireworks in the neighborhood. We've told him we love him too much to let him near fireworks himself, but we can set up chairs and blankets in the backyard and enjoy what others are doing. Neither of us are crazy about all the fireworks in our neighborhood. What part of letting people play with fire and explosives seems like a good idea? Add in a lot of alcohol, or a party down the street at the home of the guy who should be in drug rehab , and it just seems like a recipe for disaster, doesn't it? Our paper said there were almost 800 firework-related fires in our state last year, costing millions of dollars in damages. Great - but keep 'em legal! *sarcasm* I'm all for just allowing big, community-sponsored, public displays.

We are hoping for good weather so we can camp in the backyard this weekend as a kick-off the 4th of July Holiday. That will be fun for a day or two, then back to work Monday and Tuesday, and a Holiday Wednesday. Fun to break up the week like that with family time! I can't believe all the good family time we are getting in. Love the summer!
Obsessive Behavior

You ever get on one of those rolls where you are really obsessed with something? For instance, a few weeks back I was listening to the "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover" video of Melissa Etheridge and Sophie B. Hawkins. It is out of my system for the time being and I've not watched it in probably two weeks.

Sometimes it is a particular candy bar - for me it used to be Three Musketeers, but lately it has been Reece's Peanut Butter Cups. OK, I'm not totally obsessing yet, but I could see how it would happen. You eat one, and you really have to eat the second one in the pack and then later in the day you remember how good it was and you pass by the candy at the grocery store and pick another one up....and well, the next thing you know your up to a 4 or 6 cup a day habit and your family wants you to seek addiction treatment. It could happen.

My latest obsession is a surprise for my wife. *grin*

(I know - I have your attention now, don't I, Sweetie?)

I can't say anything about it really, other than that she is going to LOVE it. It's not a trip, or a raise or anything like that, but it is a nice gift. (I am evil mixed with good, yes?)
Law School Gear v Summer Gear
I was walking to my car yesterday, enjoying the sunshine and wondering what to make for dinner when I realized how bogged down I was NOT. I had a small messenger-style bag slung across my body. It had my empty lunch bag, wallet, cell phone, a few files with my resume and networking contact info and other minor essentials in it. It was light weight! During the school year I am in constant contact with my rolling backpack. It goes everywhere with me - work, school, home. It contains everything my messenger bag would carry, plus the law-student's lifeline: my laptop. (Oh, I can fit a book or two in there, as well.) It always feels heavy and is somewhat of a burden to travel with - but still - it's saving grace is it's ability to carry my laptop. I love my laptop. It is not the most expensive, fancy, particulary large or small, exceptionally fast or slow, but it is mine and it works perfectly for my needs.

My laptop. Hard to believe that for the entire school year barely a day goes by that I do not open it (except family days, generally Sundays, and Saturday, too, depending on my schedule.) Now, I've not seen my dear friend since May 10th when I took my last final. No, not quite true - I had to open it since then to delete the finals that we are only allowed to keep a few days - long enough for the school to contact us in case there was a problem printing out the final from the disk handed in. Still....I see it all the time, and then, BOOM - stuck away in the garage until the end of August. Maybe I should be nicer to it.

I take notes on my laptop. I use on-line statutes rather than the expensive books I was required to buy. (Much easier to cut and paste into my notes that way!) I IM with my wife and son and 1 or 2 friends. I keep personal photos, projects, and sometimes work stuff on my laptop. I surf the internet on my laptop.

Last year, when my laptop was out of commission and I had to have power supply repair done, after being without my computer for a week, we went out and bought a back-up. I couldn't handle the thought of being so far behind that I had to transcribe more than one week of hand-written notes into my computer while still keeping up with current assignments. Of course, my computer arrived two days after that purchase! Now I have the peace-of-mind that comes from knowing I have a spare should I ever need it, and my wife has her own laptop computer now. She used it a great deal when living in the hotel in Seattle while spending time with her dying mother. She created a wonderful slideshow memorial to her mother's life, featuring her mom from a very young age, marrying her father, then all of their children as they grew up and had children. A great investment, that spare laptop!

Maybe I will visit it would probably like to come out of the garage and play!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My job is safe.
*whew* That is a small, tentative sigh of relief.

I was told yesterday that my position is remaining and my co-worker is being laid off. We are in a union. We are in the same classification. He has been around longer and could possibly bump me, not necessarily knowing it is me. My position is still being classified as .80, which is what I want, and my co-worker wants full time work. So, I think I am safe as long as he refuses part-time work. He had a great job interview yesterday. We are all (many co-workers) hoping he gets it. It's hard for me to feel good about keeping my job knowing that my teammate is being kicked out. If he lands in an even better position, then I can be happy. Don't get me wrong - I am grateful to be safe and employed. Really grateful. While I had been kind of hoping to move into the environmental field sooner than later, I had come to the conclusion that not moving was my top choice. This will allow me the flexibility I need to take the classes I want, while working not-quite full time in a position that is not terribly taxing so I can save some brain-power for classes.

So, send positive thoughts for my co-worker to get a job offer soon so that I can be safe in my position, and be happy for us both!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Floating through the morning...
You know when your head is all congested, and your mouth is cottony from breathing through it, and you can barely hear anything, and you seem to be floating in this almost alternate universe where you could just sort of space out if only people would stop expecting you to do things? That is where I am today. Actually, I am slightly less congested today than yesterday, so that is progress. This past week/weekend, Baby Girl was fighting a nasty virus that caused blisters in her mouth and throat, they were painful and would pop and taste horrible. It was very sad. She seems mostly better, though still a bit drippy in the nose. We don't know if it is still from the virus, or a cold - perhaps the one I now have, or allergies. We are experiencing a terrible allergy season this year - still into the summer, which is odd. People who do not normally experience allergy symptoms are suffering from itchy eyes, stuffy nose..etc. Baby Girl has been drippy or stuffy for maybe more than a month now.....could be allergies.

See...what kind of paragraph was that? I am clearly rambling. I was thinking I should email some of my law school friends today, but considering my state of mind, they would probably end up incoherent (the emails, not the friends), so that may not be the best idea. Well, if any of you are reading this - HI! Hope your summer is going great!

Wel, I am off to go see if I can make some sense of the piles of work on my desk. Happy Tuesday!

Friday, June 22, 2007

So ready for a vacation!
Let me be really clear, I mean a vacation where I am employed and being paid. At this time last year we'd already been to Disneyland and had a beach trip planned. This year, with the job uncertainty and our savings account rapidly dwindling, we're staying put, at least until we know more. I'd be happy to find out I am staying put and being paid full time for the rest of the summer and then can reduce my hours, as needed, when school starts. I'd be OK getting a higher paid full time job, that will allow me some scheduling flexibility. I want good news that gives us some stability and a steady source of income.

Knowing that we went to Disneyland twice last year does help since I know that extravagance was crazy and expensive and worth every penny, and now it is a lean year. I can accept that. I also LOVE to travel. I love being on vacation. I love all things vacation-related. I love spending time with my family on vacation, in fact, I love that time the most of all. So - I really am ready for a beach trip, a camping trip (thought that sounds like way too much work with the little ones, unless it involves a cabin with a bathroom, and then I'm not sure that's considered camping), a road trip, a plane trip - ANYTHING this is for our pleasure.

Until it becomes a reality, I will keep dreaming. Sending out all these positive vibes into the Universe is bound to pay off soon!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tribute to my wife

This is a quick acknowledgement that often my wife is a saint for putting up with our children. Son was in quite a mood tonight. Everything caused an argument, meltdown, whine-fest or snotty tone. We had moments of fun, then it would be ruined by a meltdown. He woke up at 5:00am and would not go to sleep, so was completely overtired. Pointing that out only caused cries of "I'm not tired." Right. I am so grateful to not have had to listen to that all day.

Thank you, Casey! You Rock!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tired of the Uncertainty
Even though I love planning things, like vacations, and my school schedule for next year, I really love spontaniety. Going with the flow of the moment and not worrying TOO much about the destination is OK with me. Life is about the journey, right?

Sure....but there comes a time when you kind of feel like getting off the rocky ship and wandering on dry land for a while. As many of you know, my current job position has been uncertain for about 2 months now. At least a couple times per week, the powers that be tell us (meaning just one other person on my team and me) that they will know more "tomorrow." Tomorrow has a very different meaning in my life than theirs it would seem. I believe it to be the day after today. Perhaps, on some philosophical level, we never get to tomorrow, because it is always today. Hmmm.....

Anyway, I know it is more about getting what they want put through HR and HR pushing back. I believe they are trying to save my position. I am trying to be patient, and realistically, however long this gets pushed off, the better the chance of my teammate or I finding another job, which would leave the other of us to take over the position that should be posted that they expect us to compete for. I keep telling myself and everyone else that all will work out as it should. I truly do believe that. Due to all of the uncertainty, I've been networking my behind off and have met some incredible people in our community and it is really helping me refine what I want to do with my education and life after law school. I've met with Executive Directors, Administrative Law Judges, General Counsels, and practicing and non-practicing JD's. There are some fantastic, generous people working in the environmental and energy fields in our area, and it is a pleasure getting to know them. All of this is good. Still, I'm ready for the uncertainty to be over and for it to end in good news for me, and preferably for my teammate, too.

I have registered for classes as if I will be able to continue with my daytime flexibility and take a day class each semester. I'm applying for other jobs, but planning my life as if I will still be in my current one. I'm ready to know for sure now, and so the Universe is clear, I want GOOD news! *sending out my positive intentions in my practice of consciously creating the results that I want*

On the family front, Baby Girl has been sick, but seems on the mend. Poor wife not getting much sleep as a result. Boy is wild, but really has his sweet, grown up moments. Wife is earning a bit of money and working out (something I've not quite made the time for, but do hope to work in some walks in the gorgeous weather we are having). Family dinners are beginning to be less chaotic and more enjoyable. We're eating more fruit and veggies and are all enjoying them. Summer is a great time for that, isn't it?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Blogging Thing
I have been blogging so frequently lately, and thus increasing my visitors, that it just feels like I should post something before my three-day weekend begins. Aren't blogs fun? And strange? Here we all are - well - many of us anyway - exposing ourselves to strangers, and even worse, to the people we know. Putting out our secret thoughts and fears and daydreams, and confessions that reveal us to all be so HUMAN.

We love it though, don't we? Both reading others' blogs and sharing our own lives with the invisible masses? It connects us in a way that is both oddly intimate and totally impersonal. ANYONE could stumble across our words....we could be confessing something personal about our lives and anyone from our family, to neighbors, to Oprah - and we never know who has read our words.

I wonder how much most of us censor our posts depending on who we KNOW has us bookmarked? Do we want to gripe about our family members if we know they might read what we've written, or do we just write it and figure, they read at their own risk? Do we confess our insecurities if co-workers might be reading? Do we purposefully post messages to communicate with those we don't speak with often? That seems to be one of the key purposes of my wife's blog. We know that many friends regularly check in to see what we are up to and check our our family photos. She does a fabulous job of keeping people up-to-date on what's up with us. However, we don't have nearly as many personal friends as check on her blog daily. Every day new people discover her blog and become loyal readers. It is very cool....and a little odd to think total strangers know more about our lives that some of our local friends and family members that don't read the blog.

Well - keep reading, and I'll keep posting :)
Nothing like making confessions to strangers.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Female Heroes
First off, how many times do we put those two words together? Just think about that for a moment.

Sad, isn't it?

I've been thinking about the women I admire - thinking yesterday of my friend who is moving away, and then about my wife who somehow manages to keep sane (mostly) while staying at home with our kids full time - but those are not my role models. Where were the role models growing up - the ones who showed me what being a strong, independent woman was about? There was my mom, and she was the best mom of all time, and taught me more about being a great mom than I will probably ever understand, but a "mom" was not what I wanted to be when I grew up. So, who did I admire? The astronauts, the actors, the writers, the singers - mostly all male. The women in those categories generally did not interest me - they were "frilly straight" women, acting in a subordinate roles or singing about men, and though I did not understand it then, those messages did not speak to me at all. There were female teachers that were wonderful. OK, but like Mom, very traditional female roles they were fulfilling and not particularly inspiring. The only women I can rember admiring as a child are Harriet Tubman and The Bionic Woman.

So, now, when I look to the women I admire, who are they, and why? Melissa Etheridge, Tret Fure, Cris Williamson, Ellen Degeneres, Ilene Chaiken, Rosie O'Donnell - what do these people have in common? Right - all performers, with the exception of Ilene Chaiken, but the connection to performers is obvious, once you realize she is the creator of The L Word. The people who I have access to - NO - who have access to influencing me - have been performers and those are the women who in my mind have made it and are successful. There are no lawyers or judges or politicians in my personal circle that I can look to and say, "Yes, I want to be like her." (Does Amy from Judging Amy count? I didn't think so.)

Maybe this isn't even as much a male/female issue as a mass media issue. My definition of success has been oddly swayed by Hollywood and the mainstream recording industry. (To be fair, Tret Fure and Cris Williamson cannot be accused of being part of the mainstream recording industry. They were pioneers for women in music, but I will save their tribute for another time.) If we throw in my all-time favorite author, Stephen King...and actually most of my favorite authors are men....mainstream publishing can be added so we cover most major entertainment outlets. THAT has been telling me how to be a successful person (man, really, but my brain has translated that message - I think). I can sit here as a fairly intelligent person, well-educated, in touch with my feelings, stable..blah, blah, blah...and realize that though I may become a successful lawyer, unless I somehow am featured on Rosie O'Donnell's next version of a talk show (or Ellen's), I may not ever think I am truly successful. Wow. That is a big confession. It is also very sick and sad and I could tell you a million reasons why that is wrong.

I think I'll not go into that now, but I will point out a positive - every one of those women is an out lesbian. I have found OUT role models that I admire, in great part, due to them being out lesbians. To them, I say, THANK YOU.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bad coffee and good friends
Note to self, the coffee that is currently in the kitchen at work, when mixed with the vanilla creamer at my desk produces a smell and leaves taste in my mouth that reminds me of walking past the elephant area at the zoo. This is a bad thing. Do not mix those two items in the future. *gag*

Today I had breakfast with a friend I've known since my first day of high school nearly 26 years ago. (Damn! Has it really been that long? Fall of 1981....yes. *gasp*) We were best friends in high school, dealing with all the highs and lows those years produce, staying in touch as we went our separate ways into college and the military, losing touch for many years as marriage, a child, and eventual divorce happened for her, and coming out, dealing with my first couple of lesbian relationships, marriage and having our first child happened to me, and eventually finding each other again now that we've become relatively stable, responsible adults. This person reminds me a lot of my wife and the two of them get along well, mainly due to a similar wicked sense of humor. We've both been busy raising a family, going to school, working full time, and have not had nearly enough time to spend together. She is an amazing, ambitious woman, and I am so grateful to have her as a friend. She's just accepted a great job in another city, fortunately not too far away, but I will miss knowing she is nearby and that we might work in a short visit during a break in our schedules.

Mieke asked a while back about lesbians and needing women friends. Yes, we all need our friends, especially those special ones that have known us forever, know all our crazy stories and love us anyway.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Off for the Summer
Funny how when I tell people that, they think it means I'm not going to school or working or anything. Ha! "Off for the summer" for this night student means I'm out of classes and experiencing a "normal" life when I go home at the end of the day and have dinner with my family. It is nice to be really, truly involved with my family again...although...damn, this parenting thing takes a lot of energy. I am never surprised when my wife tells me she is tired. Kids are exhausting! I always tell her that I did not sign up to stay home with the kids; I know I could not do it. I would have to be locked would either drive me bonkers (that is a technical term, I believe) or drive me to criminal acts. That would be bad for an attorny-in-training. I ADORE my children, but I really am much better as a weekend warrior parent :)

We had a great time at the Children's Museum on Friday. I am just a big kid at heart and had the best time in this huge pit of ground up rubber tires meant to be used like a sandbox. We played with buckets, shovels, trucks, and best of all, a conveyor belt that you could put soft rocks and the ground rubber on and then have them dump into a truck, or, as my son discovered, my head. It was pretty funny. Baby Girl and I sat at the end of the conveyor belt and let him shower us with the colorful, soft pellets, and she laughed with delight. Too cute!

So, I stay busy all during the school year, and now that I am "off for the summer" what am I thinking of doing? Writing children's books! I am a writer at heart, and for about a year now, I have been telling my son "little boy stories" at night. I'm considering putting some of them into print - for our family, and for general sale, too. I'm not going to go through the hassle of finding a publisher and all....been there, almost done that, and know I have no time, or patience, for that game....but would do it all myself through an on-demand publisher (really essentially a printing service). Not like I have the time or marketing budget to really go all-out to try to sell them, but could post -em on the web and see what happens. There are bound to be some families out there that wouldn't mind some fun stories about an adventurous little boy who happens to have two moms.

Hey - it's time to eat lunch! Gotta grab a bite to eat and watch that Melissa/Sophie video again! *grin*

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Kids and Cooking
Wish I had pictures to share, but our sweet 2-year old daughter and I had a great time cooking dinner together last night. I plopped her on the counter and let her start making decisions and we talked about everything we were doing. She understands so much and can already talk so well, it was quite fun. At one point I started to use a bottle of Miracle Whip that hadn't been opened and I said, "Oh, man," somewhat frustrated that I would have to figure out how to get the little plastic seal off the bottle that was not coming off easily. She looked at me very seriously, cocking her head with curiosity, and asked, "Why Oh Man?" It was so cute. I explained and she seemed to understand, and she watched as I finally was able to grasp a small tab of the plastic seal and successfully peel it off of the bottle.

When we were almost done, our 5-year-old son came into the kitchen and made final decisions on what fruit we'd have, he took napkins, milk and pears for each of us to the table. He is getting to be such a good helper! Lately he's been loving to hear about when he was a little baby, and this week, after seeing a picture of this, I told him how we used to cook together. He would sit in his high chair as I'd explain everything I was doing while preparing dinner each night. So, there have been a lot of together cooking times this week. It's been fun, and something we rarely did while I was in school. Summer is good. I know my wife is enjoying the "together cooking time" as it gets the kids off of her for a bit when I first get home. So, it really is good for all of us!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Our adorable kids!

Two posts in one day. How ever will my loyal readers keep up with this pace?

I had to share one of the great pictures that my partner and the kids had taken today. Are they cute, or what?
I see I have failed to mention how nice it is now that school is out and I am able to have dinner with my family every night and have my whole three-day weekends with them. Mostly, it is great! The not-so-great part is that about the time I am getting home, they have reached the rough part of the night - cranky, tired, not so much listening anymore. We try to navigate through those rough waters, and enjoy our family time though. Each night ends with bath, kisses, hugs, storytime, and the promise to see them at dinner the next night (or even better, in the morning if it is a "family day.")
I suspect the other picturest taken today will soon be up on the blog listed on the left as "My Partner's Blog," so check often!

Free Association...ramblings of my morning
So, this morning on the radio, I heard "Truly, Madly, Deeply" from Savage Garden, for some reason it reminded me of "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover" by Sophie B. Hawkins. From time to time, I get obsessed with finding the version of her singing this song with Melissa Etheridge. In the past, no luck, but now, with YouTube and MySpace, I have found not just one but two videos! Now, I have to say, I am a huge Melissa fan, and Sophie just oozes sexuality, put these two together on stage and it should be burning up, and it is..but...not quite with the intensity I expected from only hearing the song without the visuals. My interpretation is that Melissa was holding back or is a bit more shy about sexual suggestiveness than Sophie. Sophie is, well, not shy on stage. Damn!

Anyway, enjoy:

So, after this, I started looking at videos of Melissa, because, well, why not?

I found this great one she did where she talks about writing the song for Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. Personal, moving, relevant - gotta love this woman, and the message:

So, that's been my morning (minus the part where I did actual work - yes, still employed - don't know a lot more about my job status, but it is looking good - more on that topic eventually). A fun way to start the day!