Monthly Archives: August 2013

A Letter to my Son

It’s time for Mr Awesome and I to start talking with our son about puberty and the changes he will be facing. This is a collection of the thoughts that have been going through my head, ever since we raised this discussion. It is inspired, in part by the post Dear Daughter, I Hope You Have Awesome Sex.

I’m not ready for him to grow up yet. I’m not ready for the changes. I want him to be little forever.

But at the same time I don’t. I want to meet this man he will become. I want to see him find his passions, to become the person he is made to become.

It’s one of the hardest things I think I’ve ever faced, this idea that he’s going to grow up and grow away from me. And it makes me sad and excited and scared and worried and joyful and everything, all at once. I think, in some ways, his puberty is going to be harder on me than it will be on him…

So, here it goes. As always, I welcome comments, and if this resonates with you, feel free to share it.

Dear J,

When I look at you, I see the man you are starting to turn into. I see it in the bones under the skin of your skull. I see it in the gold fuzz that is beginning to cover your body. I see it in your broad, freckled shoulders, and I hear it in your laugh and in your changing voice.

But, under all of that, I still see the baby you were, ten years ago. I see your fuzzy blonde head nursing at my breast. I see you with your trucks and your Dorothy the Dinosaur and your Big Red Car. I remember the time, when you were first walking, that you fell and split your lip, the scar forever altering the line of your mouth and the curve of your smile.

And there is so much I want to tell you about the years ahead, whether I am ready for these things to happen, or not.

When you go to school this September, you’ll find some of your female friends are taller than you, and are starting to grow breasts. And some kids, most of them boys, will tease them about this. And it’s your job, as a gentleman and as my son, to stand up for these girls and to be their friend.

You’re going to find that your mind is changing. Sometimes, you won’t feel like yourself anymore. You’ll feel sad or angry sometimes, and you won’t know why. And that’s OK. It’s normal. And I hope you know that your dad and I are here to help you navigate these feelings, if you ever want to talk about it. But I understand that you probably won’t want to talk about it with us, and that’s ok too. I just hope you can find adults in our circle that you can trust, that we trust, if those feelings get overwhelming or you don’t know what to do about them.

Soon, if you haven’t already, you will discover your penis. And it will be the best toy ever. And  you are going to want to touch it. A lot. And that’s awesome. But remember, no one wants to watch, so play with your new toy in a private place, like your bedroom or the bathroom, and enjoy the hell out of it.

Take care of the girls and women in your life. Be a gentleman. Open doors for women, and be a strong shoulder for them. Never, ever hit a woman. Unless it is consensual and pre-negotiated. Then it’s between you and the lady in question, and have fun.

If she says no, or stop, or never, or back off, or any variant on these, listen to her and honor her wishes. Never ever take advantage of someone who is drunk or drugged or even just asleep and can’t make a choice for themselves. Never force yourself on someone.

Sex is amazing and one of the most pleasant ways to spend some time. But unless you are ready to deal with all the complications that comes with it, from fatherhood to STIs to emotional roller-coasters, stick to pleasuring yourself. It’s safer, saner, and easier in the long run.

STIs are real and can range from mildly annoying to deadly. They can happen to anyone at anytime, and many people don’t show any symptoms. Pregnancies can happen, too, even the first time, even if you don’t ejaculate. So wrap it up, every time you play, even if she says she’s on the Pill. We keep a variety of condoms in the upper drawer of dad’s dresser. Help yourself. We’d rather buy more condoms than have a grandchild when you are too young to be a parent, or have the devastation and medical bills of an STI.

And don’t stick your dick in crazy. Even if the crazy is insanely attractive. Not even once. It’s not worth the drama.

Don’t be a player. Have as many partners as you want, have them concurrently if you want, but only if everyone you are involved with is being communicated with and is ok with the arrangement. There is nothing sinful, shameful, or wrong about having multiple partners, unless you are doing it without the knowledge and consent of all involved.

Be gentle in your breakups and when turning down a person who doesn’t float your goat. Sometimes, a person who wasn’t a good match as a partner can turn into a close friend. But only if you are kind and thoughtful in your refusals.

Play with whatever gender strikes your fancy. Women. Men. The beautiful people who are neither or both. All of the above. Humans are humans and body parts are just parts, and not a thing to get hung up on or feel ashamed for fancying. Be willing to defend your choices, because someone else will always have a problem with a person who confidently goes their own way.

Your father and I have sex. Sometimes a lot of sex. Sometimes not a lot of sex. Usually with each other, but often with other partners. This will squick you out. And that’s normal. But one of these days, you are going to understand all our dirty jokes and word games. I can’t wait for that day, for I will laugh at you… But I feel for your embarrassment as well. Because nothing is more disconcerting than realizing that your folks are merely human animals, too.

Your body is awesome, and capable of awesome things. Treat it well, and treat others well, and have an amazing time out there. Marry, or don’t marry, have a dozen children or one or none at all… Live your life as you have started it these past ten years, to the beat of your own drum, and above all things, love the people in your life, and let them know you love them.

I love you so much. My little man, my baby boy. My JJ, my monster-man, my sweet pea.

My baby. Always. Even when I have to look up to look you in the eye.


Out of the Woods

finally figured out what the hole in the chair's armrest was for.

Crocheting in the wilderness. I’m working on a Gryffindor scarf for a client.

I’m back. Again. I bet you didn’t even realize I was gone. That’s the amazing thing about this modern age. We didn’t get the cool hover-skateboard thingies but we can connect to almost anyone, at almost any time.

So, it’s been one of those summers where I feel like I’ve been gone more than I’ve been home. I feel like I have gotten home just long enough, most weeks, to can or freeze whatever my garden grew while I was gone, and then leave again. Our camping gear has been in a permanent pile in the garage, and my trusty backpack smells like those Blue Diamond roasted, salted almonds.

I think I’ve been camping more this summer than in the entire rest of my life, combined.

This last trip was, indeed, the last trip. We are now home for the last few weeks of summer vacation. We went to Fort Stevens, which is on the Northernmost corner of Oregon, bordered on one side by the Pacific, and on the other by the Columbia River.

We had a glorious day at the beach. It was 75 and calm and sunny, a rare trifecta on the Northern coast. We brought Regigas, our trusty black mutt-dog, and let him be free to be all doggish and chase seagulls and bark at Mr Awesome’s stunt kite. The kids built a gigantic sand castle with their grandparents and we ate peanut butter sandwiches while sitting on a piece of driftwood and watching the surf.

The kids and I spent one peaceful afternoon picking huckleberries in the empty campsites in our loop. Lil D made a new friend and, not unsurprisingly, got lost. Actually, she wasn’t lost. She knew exactly where she was. She just didn’t tell us she was going to the playground with her new friend. So, to be more accurate, we lost her.

I learned to make pizza pockets over an open fire. I rode my bike for the first time this summer. I did a small amount of writing and took a few pictures. I met a charming, chatty older gentleman from Texas, and I beat Mr Awesome at a few hands of Gin.

It was a lovely way to close out summer.

And now we are home. Home to the garden and apples and plums. Soccer practice has started for both kids, and class assignments came out last week. Lil D starts kindergarten on Sept 16th. The Boychild starts 5th grade on Sept 9th. It’s raining while I write this, and this morning I dug out my wool socks and made a hot breakfast for everyone.

I’ve had a lot of stuff going on this summer. Travelling, even to familiar places, leave you feeling different from you were when you left. There are things I can’t talk about here, not yet, but I’m still writing about them in hope of sharing them later. There are feelings I need to process before I put them in words, and the last push of summer to get through before I get my days back, before I get the time to sit with my coffee and my iPad and just write.

I’m looking forward to fall… pumpkin lattes and sweaters and boots. The time of year when I can go Steampunk pretty much whenever I want, and not roast. Both kids in school, and time for me to dust of my creative self.

I’ve done a lot of growing this summer.

And I’m excited and a little scared to share some of this process with my readers.

I’m getting some posts ready about my trips to Breitenbush, and Tillicum with Velah, and our latest trip to Fort Stevens. I had an amazing night of conversation with Moredena and Jirris, and I have some thoughts to polish up before I present them here. Coming up, I want to write about Poly as a choice or an orientation, trying on the triad-shaped relationship, and dealing with the impending adolescence of my son.

I welcome comments and thoughts and suggestions. If there is anything you want to hear my thoughts on, please let me know in the comments or via twitter. I’m @MsStealthSnark there.

So, How’s Wash?

“So, how’s Wash?”

My lovely friend pastelninja was visiting the other day. It’s always so awesome to see her. She has a daughter that is best friends with my Lil D, and the girls play while we visit. She’s a writer, too (you can read her blog here, if you want) and she’s smart and funny and someone I’ve known since high school

But, as I’ve said in previous posts, it’s July, and I’m crazy-busy, and it’s been a while since I’ve caught up with some people, and I know it’s been forever since I’ve written on some topics, and I realized with that one question that people may be wondering what’s going on in my crazy life.

Maybe you all aren’t. Maybe I’m just talking to the wind. But I like to think you, my readers, are following me because you think I have something interesting to say, or maybe you like hearing about someone who is making poly work and work well. So we will go with that.

So, how is Wash?

Wash is flipping fantastic. Wash laments the fact that we live an hour apart (and that’s if traffic is good), and that we only see each other once or twice a month. I lament that as well. But, we text all the time, and he calls me sometimes when he gets off work, and we get to make up for lost time when we do actually get together. When we see each other in person, we get in all the snuggles. I almost feel like I have to save it up, because I know it will be weeks before he will be physically present again. I want to bottle the rough feel of his skin and the sound of his voice echoing in his chest when we cuddle after sex. I want to record the pillow talk so I can play it back, later, when I miss him, when it’s been too long since we’ve seen each other.

I’m not normally this needy or touchy of a person, but the long-distance thing kind of brings it out in me. And it suits him fine… he is that touchy and it doesn’t get fulfilled in his other relationships.

His girlfriend that he lives with, his primary partner, is a lesbian. They don’t have an intimate life. He’s ok with that, and he says I have been very, very good for the both of them.

I’m teaching him to communicate. To tell her where he is going, and who he will be with. To be honest with me about his addictions, his struggles, his triumphs. I’m teaching him to not flake out on me, that I won’t get angry if he doesn’t have time to come over, as long as he tells me up-front and doesn’t leave me hanging. Communication is huge for me, and he’s learning that to be in my life, he has to talk to me. And this means he is learning to be this way for the girlfriend as well, and while it has been very hard for them, it also has been very healthy and good.

As far as the girlfriend? She’s doing well, as far as I know. She’s dating, and is happy with how Wash and I are doing. She and I don’t have any sort of relationship, but I’m ok with that. She’s friendly when I am over and our paths cross, and doesn’t seem to be dealing with any jealousy issues.

And as far as Wash, himself? Everything is shiny, Captain. So shiny. This experiment with a casual, no-strings-attached relationship really rather failed. And that’s ok. Because instead, I got not only an amazing lover, someone who makes my body and my soul sing.

I found a friend.

So shiny.

PS, if you’d like, you can meet Wash here and here. And, I always welcome comments.

Did I Stutter?

Well, did I?

I got the call this morning.

I had been expecting this call for weeks. And like these calls tend to go, it came at an inconvenient time.

I was picking blueberries, enjoying the warm sun and the time with just my daughter. We talked about berries and her loose tooth and how nice it was that she was helping. We were out on a little farm, near the village of Boring, Oregon. After picking, I was planning on hitting my favorite farm stand, in Boring, and then heading home to sort and process the 16 pounds of my favorite summer berry.

But, my mom called. Her voice was panicky. She was at the Subway near by, getting sandwiches. Lois had to be out of her house this evening. No one was available to help. Could I come?

I’d already promised my amazing daughter an ice cream cone, I told her. And I don’t care how much trouble the world is in, if I promise my kids something, I will move heaven and earth to get it to them. I’m that kind of mom. And my son was with Velah and I needed to figure out how that was going to work out…

I told her I’d call her back.

Lil D and I made our way to the Dairy Queen. We ordered some real food and some ice cream for dessert, and I collected my thoughts. I texted Velah and told her I’d pick up my boy by two instead of her dropping him off at my house, and let Mr Awesome know about the change in plans for my afternoon. I called my mom back and told her I was on my way. After we ate, I dropped the berries off at home and headed out to NE Portland to help this poor woman.

Now, let me back up a bit. A month or so ago, My Awesome and I were called in to help Lois move some books. My mother warned me that she might be “a bit of a hoarder”. Honey, she’s a bit of a hoarder like Penn Jillette is a little bit Atheist. We packed the back of my SUV and the bed of my mom’s pickup truck so tightly it was hard to get stuff back out again. Lois had inherited the mess from her husband who died a year ago, and his mom. She was living in that house and had to get out, because her brother-in-law wanted the property back. We told he we’d come back, anytime, just call. We wanted to help, for all that we never wanted to set foot in that awful, smelly, dirty place again.

She had a sewing machine on the porch. And honest-to-goodness treadle machine, something I have been lusting over for years. On Monday, Mr Awesome and I went to pick it up, and it looked like nothing in the house had been touched.


One day, I guess, Lois’s children came down from Washington and helped her move a few things.


No one, except my mom, had checked in on her. No one from her church had offered to help. No one realized this woman was drowning in her possessions, her mental illness making it seem like living in a garbage dumb was a normal thing.

When they asked if she was ok, IF THEY ASKED, she said she was fine. No one double checked.

Boys and girls, I want to say this again.

A WIDOW belonging to a CHRISTIAN church was in trouble, losing her home, drowning in her own filth WAS NEVER HELPED. Until my mother, disabled and also a widow, came to my husband and myself, people both very far from faith of any sort, and said, “Hey, I have a friend, and I think she is in trouble.”

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t the bible have a word or two to say about widows, or the elderly, or the poor?

So, today, I am on her doorstep, in my tattoos and my Tootsie Pop t-shirt, hauling fabric and plastic flowers down a narrow, slippery staircase and breathing through my mouth. I got an antique radio out of the deal, and a new Crockpot, as well as a bashed thumb and a strained hamstring. I guess two of the men of the church finally checked on her this morning; they left just before my mom arrived. I was there all of about 3 hours, and I feel like a gorram vulture for taking a little old lady’s stuff.

When I left, Lois was waiting for her neighbor to come help her with the last of it, and I felt awful for not being able to do more. I take some comfort in the idea that at least I could do a little.

I got my blueberries in the freezer tonight after dinner. I took some ibuprofen and a few beers, and that is helping the sore spots. Tomorrow is my 34th birthday.

Tomorrow, the men with the dumpsters are coming and taking away what I could not. Tomorrow, that isn’t Lois’s home anymore. Tomorrow, her stuff becomes garbage, and she starts building a new life. I hope that the folks who are supposed to help her actually do, this time. I hope she can get help for her illness, because that is what hoarding is, an illness. I hope she can get help for her depression, I hope that the new apartment means a fresh start.

And I know I beat this horse a lot, but for Bob’s sake people, love one another. Help a neighbor out. Get off your ass and do something positive for the world. Smile at someone. Do something nice for someone, and do it today. Please. It sounds cheesy but it might be more important than you realize.

If you want to read more about my journey out of faith, please read my posts Unfaithful and Missing. I would love to hear your thoughts on anything you have read… please feel free to comment below.