Monthly Archives: March 2013

Introducing Wash

The Other Woman was the first to point it out, and the next time I saw The New Boy, I gave him a good look and decided she was right. Since then, other people, including the New Boy himself, have agreed. It seems he gets the comparison a lot.

He resembles Alan Tudyk, the actor who played Wash on Firefly. If Alan Tudyk wasn’t blond, but more of a gingery brown. And if he wore glasses.

And, since he’s been around since December, I’m starting to feel silly calling him the New Boy, so I’m going to start calling him Wash.

Because more people need to be named after Firefly characters. Too bad I’m not as drop-dead sexy as Zoe.


Today, I mentioned I wasn’t feeling well and was alone with the kids all day, and he offered to make the long drive to my place to give me a bubble bath, back rub, and cuddles. I might keep him around for a while.



I’m writing these words on a cool March evening, from a hotel room high above the town of Seaside OR. I don’t come here much as an adult. It’s busy and crowded and noisy here, and I usually prefer the quieter, funkier coastal communities. But, we had a chance to borrow our friend’s time-share, so here we are.

From my window, I see miles of beautiful coastline. Dunes covered with grass. The sun is starting to set. I see hotels, and lots of tiny beach houses. I can hear the sounds of the Tilt-A-Whirl below me, and the voices of kids on Spring Break.

It wasn’t Spring Break when we would come here, mid-90’s kids in flannel and flowered thermal t-shirts. The hotel I am currently in had not been built yet. I am trying to remember what was on this corner, above the Lewis and Clark statue, but my mind is blank. The sand dunes, they were there, then, and a little beach house was there. It had stood quietly at the North end of town for generations, and belonged to the family of one of my fellow volunteers.

We’d go on retreat there. A dozen children, aged 14-18, the first Teen Speakers group for Cascade AIDs project. There were only a few adults with us. I remember riding down from Portland in a car full of boys. The next year, I drove myself, in the white Mazda my mother and I shared.

I remember doing jigsaw puzzles late into the night with a boy named Justin. We did some actual work there, too, practicing “I” messages and turning condoms into balloons. We played Frisbee on the beach and one year I got terribly, painfully sunburned. I remember a kid named Sam -I think it was his family who owned the place- doing log rolls down the dunes, wallet chains and dread locks flying.

I remember a man named Paul, and how sad he made me feel. Those were the days that AIDs was a guaranteed death sentence. And his was the first face of AIDs I’d ever encountered, making it personal, making it real.

I remember nights around a campfire. Sticky smores, charred hot dogs, hot fire melting the bottoms of my Chucks one time. Huddled around the heat in defiance of the cold air off the Pacific Ocean.

I remember feeling like I was part of something very important, the war on AIDS. Teaching 12 year olds about dental dams and mucous membranes, communication and STD testing. It was fun work. Busy. Easy. We travelled to area schools and taught other kids about HIV and sex and how to stay safer. We played with condoms and dildos and ate Cheetos by the case. It was a lovely, happy place for me. A place where I could let go and start to explore my own identity.

At the same time, in my other life, my father was beginning his own painful death by inches, and in these other outcast kids who wanted to fix the whole world, I found my first safe place. I found a group of kids willing to let me float along as I was. I took my wordless rage at the cancer eating my father and forged it into something useful and good. I learned to eat in front of other people. I learned to embrace new things. I learning that being queer was ok.

I learned to breathe. And in those precious first breaths, I started learning how to be myself.


Good-night, Gracie

It’s a Sunday afternoon here in the NW, and our mild spring weather has turned back to cold and rainy. I’ve spent my day knitting and napping. Husband and the kids have been playing video games.

I’m trying to come up with something profound to write, but I can’t.

I’m feeling tired and a little disconnected. Content and sleepy. My mind and heart are both full.

Boyfriend stayed over last night, while Husband and the Other Woman were out at a play party. We’re the introverted half of our quad. We like our quiet time, our evenings in. We played Munchkin with the kids and had a delicious supper of risotto and Italian Sausage. We cuddled up together after the kids went to bed, and we enjoyed some alone time.

We both slept reasonably well, which is all either of us insomniacs can ask for.

This morning, after cuddles from the kids, we met Husband and the Other Woman at a cafe for breakfast. The old joke is that we were “Meeting on neutral ground to exchange hostages.”

I enjoyed myself. It’s been a good weekend, and the time with Boyfriend was badly needed.

But I feel I must be honest with myself, and others. I’ve never been a fan of overnight visits. I still feel conflicted about them. They are, on one hand, wonderful chances to connect with people. It is lovely to wake up and see the face of a dearly loved person next to you in bed. But on the other hand, they are an energy drain, something I cannot do often, and something I cannot do with someone unless I trust them fully and am fully comfortable with them.

This seems to shock many people. But there it is.

I keep looking at the whys of this. There are many reasons. I worry about the kids, and what they will think of a person who isn’t their parent being there when they wake up in the morning. I worry about my mother seeing said person at that early morning, because she lives in an apartment on our property, and we are not out to her (that is a whole other blog post).

But I think the main reason is, I don’t share well.

Which sounds very strange, coming from someone who has spent her adult life sharing her husband with his other loves. But there it is…

I love his evenings out. I love my evenings alone. And I love to have him home, to rub my back and talk about our dates and our loves and all the stuff that makes up our life. It is the one place where I struggle with jealousy, and there are exactly 2 people who I don’t mind him sleeping over with. And even then, I don’t like those truly wonderful ladies sleeping over at my house (they can play here whenever they want though, just to be clear). Because they would be sleeping in my bed, and that is mine. It’s my space, my sanctuary, my nest. Never mind that half the time, I don’t sleep in it myself, preferring the couch for one reason or another. It’s still my space, and having another person sleeping in the bed I share with my husband just feels strange.

Having explored these feelings extensively, I deal a lot better with overnight visits. They used to never happen, now they are an occasional thing, and I feel less weird and stressed about them when they do happen. I am reasonably certain that I will, as time goes one, continue to be more comfortable with them.

It’s been a busy, busy week. There was a meeting on Monday for our local soccer league, and the Poly documentary on Tuesday. Wednesday, my boy turned 10. On Friday I taught. On Thursday I had a lovely date with the New Boy. We talked about writing and ate cheap Mexican food. I’m not sure where that relationship is going, but I am happy that I have, at the very least, made an awesome new friend.

And last night, I spent some family time -and some grown-up time- with my Boyfriend. This morning, I woke up to smiling black eyes on the pillow next to mine. It was lovely and wonderful and something I look forward to seeing again. The kids are used to him, comfortable and loving. Our life is normal to them because they have never known another way. My daughter gave him a good morning snuggle, my son endured a hug from him. We had a nice breakfast out, and came home for a quiet, lazy Sunday.

It’s been a very good weekend. My heart is full, and I am happy.


I Love You, and You, and You

I watched a really interesting and well-done documentary last night with my Husband, my Boyfriend, and the Other Woman. We all piled onto the couch, plopped the Teenager into the big comfy chair, and settled in.

I liked it. I liked it a lot.

Lisa Ling did a really good job of presenting our lifestyle in a non-judging manner. The families that were profiled were articulate and, best of all, very normal. There was none of the tabloid-style reporting or sensationalism I’ve seen in other portrayals of the poly life. Honestly, my strongest complaint was how simplified it was, and that is actually quite understandable. It had to fit into a 45 minute time frame. It had to present everyone’s stories.

And polyamory doesn’t simplify well.

Our lives are complicated and crazy and full. We are busy. Sometimes, diagrams are needed to untangle the connections of our relationships and partners. The very nature of our lives means we don’t quantify well. We don’t fit in pretty little boxes. And I really appreciated Ms Ling’s version of our life. I like that she included an interview with one’s family’s daughter. I like that she showed a family breakfast in Philadelphia. I like that she showed Regina and Russell figuring out their calendar and negotiating time. I liked hearing the clip from a woman about how her partners and the community came together when she was ill. And it was fun to see people I know on national TV.

I’ve seen Poly on a few other shows. Dr Phil did one a few years ago. It wasn’t a bad show, but it was about what I would expect of Dr Phil. It was over-the-top. It was sensationalized. And the families didn’t seem at all “normal”. Another show I saw was about a single woman and her many loves. It was interesting, and decently done, but didn’t show families who were trying to make it work. Penn and Teller took on Polyamory, sort of, on a Bullshit episode about Family Values. It’s worth watching for the line “marriage is not a salad bar”. And I shouldn’t have to say this, but the video link is not safe for work due to language. The Bullshit episode was the closest to a non-tabloid view of poly, but wasn’t centered entirely on poly, as it featured other alternative families.

At any rate, it was a late night, and I’m rambling. Give the show a watch. It’s worth your hour. Then come back here and tell me what you think.


Ten doesn’t seem like such a big number. At least, not most of the time.

But, this week, my Son turns 10.

And 10 seems so much larger when you relate it to children’s ages as opposed to, say, eggs.

And so we celebrated his first decade this past weekend, with a horde of third and fourth grade kids, and hot dogs, and soda, and Nerf battles, and video games, and a cake shaped like a Creeper. On Sunday we had the grandparents over for pizza and cookies.

Some of the boys that invaded my house on Saturday I have known since preschool. Then, they barely reached my waist. They had small, piping voices, and strong but tiny hands. Now, the tallest of them look me in the eye. My son comes up to my nose now, and his hands are larger than mine. The fingerprints he can’t help but leave on the wall are higher now… The shoes I trip over in living room are nearly as big as my own.

Ten years. Ten years of skinned knees and scratched fingers. One ER visit, for a broken tooth and nasty cut lip. Ten years of first steps, first falls, first laughs, first words, first days, first airplane trips… The first time he laughed, the first time he called me mama, the first time he asked me to stop calling him Sweet Pea. Ten years of dandelions stuck in jam jars on the windowsill. Ten years of toy trucks and Legos and Pokemon. Ten years of saturated soccer shoes under the heater and toast crumbs on the couch. Ten years of thinking about him, worrying about him, hoping he’s ok, being infuriated with him, loving him anyways… those years really do slip by so fast.

What do I have to show for the past ten years? An amazing young man. He’s a little quiet until you get to know him, and then he will talk your ear off. He’s an introvert like me, and loves his world of books and video games and Legos. He’s in TAG for his reading, and is very good at Math as well. He’s sweet and a little shy and very loving. He’s a wonderful big brother, and you can tell he loves his sister with everything he has. He loves animals and helps look after his grandmother. He’s an amazing goalie, and one of his teacher’s favorite students.

He’s my best boy, and I don’t want to imagine my world with out him.

Happy birthday, my Mister Monster Man. It’s been an awesome ten years, and I am looking forward to seeing what the next decade holds for us.