Tuesday, October 27, 2009


We've been back from our NW trip for a few days.  The dogs are back, the puppy has already soiled the rug and I feel the stress of our everyday lives slowly creeping back into my shoulders which are inching their way back up around my ears.  After five days in a quite little house in SE Portland we've realized that our street is very loud and that our lives are very hectic.

We left for our trip riding a epic wave of stress. On the drive we talked a lot about simplifying our lives. At the Applebee's in Medford, OR simplicity didn't seem so great.  If leading a simple life means going to my neighborhood Applebee's for drinks on a Friday night, I'll figure out how to make complicated work.

Portland, however, was something different.  Our friends are renting a house that could eat ours for $1100 a month.  Food is cheap, good and the food carts, oh the food carts!  Not once did I feel dumpy, dowdy or horribly out of fashion.  It was really freakin' comfortable.

Then I thought about our current lives, our future lives, living in NYC, figuring out what we're going to do with our house when we move, how we're going to pay our property taxes and I felt scared.  Really scared.  Panic-y almost.

Are we doing the right thing?  We are hoping to make our lives work in the one place that could possibly prove more complex.

I don't really want to move to Portland.  I really want to move to NYC, but I don't want to move to NYC and flounder.  I want to move to NYC and kick some ass!!!!  Realize my dreams.  Finally feel like I'm doing the right thing.

Not quite ready to embark on the journey,

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Great NW Roadtrip

Part of our NY plans involve saying a proper goodbye to the West Coast. When you're just living your life day-to-day it can be difficult to remember to enjoy the many, many amazing things that are within your reach. Our first mini-trip was to Mt. Diablo. It was so beautiful and it's in Walnut Creek. Walnut Creek! If you're not from the Bay Area, we're talking about a twenty minute trip to the entrance of the park. Why did it take us so long to visit???

The other major trip that we wanted to take was to the pacific northwest - specifically Portland. Wifey lived here years ago when she was young and prone to doing things like egging restaurants. (I married a restaurant egger!!!) She has friends from those days who are now also married and have spouses and children that she's never met. We thought that our chances of making it up there were better from the same coast than from 3,000 miles to the east.

I haven't had much chance to write and this is our third day, so I thought I'd give you the high(low)lights.

1. After carefully planning to leave at 12:30, we pulled out of the driveway at 3:00pm. Wifey and I both had MUCH work drama and were stressed out of our minds. On the bright side, however, I came to an epiphany of sorts in the drive-thru of Taco Bell - because inspiration can strike at any time. (More on that epiphany later!)

2. We stopped in Medford, OR to spend the night. The Hampton Inn, if you ignore the suspicious looking, rather sticky spot, at the foot of the bed, was pretty cute. The kid loved the hot tub and I worked out for 20 minutes in the fitness room while watching ANTM. A win-win situation!

3. Before leaving Medford, we stopped to see Wifey's sister who had just had surgery the day before. The grumpy hospital people practically bit our heads off when we walked into the hospital with the kid. They had decided to not allow children into the hospital because of H1N1 concerns, but they didn't actually tell us this, they just kid of barked until we backed out of the building.

4. The drive as you approach Mt. Shasta is beautiful and as we descended out of the hills on the other side, the colors on the trees were just gorgeous! There are trees that are so red that they look like they are on fire.

5. Portland is cool and there is coffee on every corner. We're staying in the SE section of the city about three blocks from Stumptown Coffee Roasters. We've been here for two days and we've been there four times already!

6. We went to a rad pupkin patch with Wifey's friend and his family. I think that I have only been to antiseptic city pumpkin patches before. I was mystified when the hayride drove us out into the fields, dropped us off in the actual pumpkin patch where we rooted around in the field for pumpkins and then got back on the next hay ride, tractor thing. Country livin'!

7. There is an entire store devoted entirely to clogs. The kid tried on a pair of lime green clogs. Clogs on kids have to be the cutest thing ever, but unfortunately, she was not into them at all.

8. We found out this morning that a co-worker of Wifey's died, likely by suicide. Considering that they have a boss in common, this was doubly ominous news.

I hate to go out on such a somber note, but that's it for now. On tap for the rest of the week is a trip to the movies (Where the Wild Things Are), ice skating (the kid's first time), Powell's, maybe the Zoo and more coffee than you can shake a wooden stir stick at.

Keeping it real in flannel,

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Elsie's Northwest Adventure!

We're packing up and leaving for a week-long road trip to Portland, OR.  It will be awesome.  We've got the first Harry Potter on CD for the ride up, we've got built in family drama and I have a mission. 

Nutria hunting.  Ok, not with a gun or anything - Elise doesn't do firearms - but ever since I discovered these overgrown rats, I've been dying to see one.  Apparently you can find them along the Willamette River, which conveniently runs through downtown Portland.  I'll been looking for you! 

This little jaunt does actually relate to our NYC move, but I've got to do some actual work before we hit the road - always have to go out looking good on the job! 

Until then.....

Isn't it awesome!

Ready for the rodents,

Another Small Victory

Wifey reached her own small milestone on our long list of things to accomplish before moving....the perfect t-shirt in celebration of Oakland.

 Our cups runneth over.

Progress, is progress,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Focus People

Help.  This is our list of things that we considered vital to accomplish before trying to get pregnant; thus making us "move ready".  In other words, important shit.  

The stuff in black is the original list that was created back in August. It mostly reflects things associated with getting our house in shape to rent and reducing our clutter.  The current status of each line item is in red. 

  • finish border around tree in front yard  (OMG, a task completed.)
  • mulch yard (I started on this, but grossly underestimated the amount of mulch we'd need.  Haven't been back to the nursery to get more.)
  • backyard - weed and add border to flower beds (I got the river rocks - all 600 pounds of them - and even laid out where they will go, but haven't actually dug anything.)
  • find new home for slide/teeter totter  (Friends said that they would take it, but yet, they are still in our yard. Going to e-mail them right now.)
  • repair BBQ (Ha!)
  • Drip watering system for container plants (I toyed around with some 2 liter bottles and quickly lost interest.)
  • new plantings for empty pots (We've got the potting soil, and I got the Japanese maple and flowering maple planted. Three pots to go.)  
  • photograph items to sell
  • place ads on Craigslist (Got the first round out, but there is still so much random junk that is just too overwhelming.)
  • donations (Took a trunk load of stuff, but I'm sure that there is more.)
  • make any repairs necessary
  • reduce, reduce, reduce (I'm trying, I'm trying.)
  • shred old files (These are starting to accumulate, but that's about it.)
  • consolidate bills into one filing system
  • purchase filing cabinet  (Purchased and assembled by Wifey in 29 minutes. Yes, we timed it.)
Living Areas
  • continue to purge
  • bookshelf -cover books that we're keeping
  • paint  (Wifey was inspired one morning and painted three walls on-the-fly. While a definite improvement, we still have to finish.)

    I feel like a loser.  We've fully completed two tasks.  Two!!!!  How are we going to move?  Are we trying to sabotage our efforts to move?  Are we not ready to make the necessary sacrifices to do this?  We're going on a week long road trip next week, should we stay home and clean instead?  How do you maintain focus in a life that you're trying to escape because it's, well, too complicated.  How do you motivate yourself to expend extra energy when you're so fucking depressed all the time?  When your job is a joy-drainer?  When you're constantly worried about money? 

    AAAAAAAGGH! Maybe we should be moving to Duluth instead of New York. 

    Please, someone tell me how to do this. 

    Sitting a little puddle of doubt and self-pity,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Every Little Victory Counts

This little experiment of mine is all about taking chances, right? 

Today I rocked the legwarmers like it was 1984.

I rocked them tucked into the boot, over the boot, pulled high and slouched low.  I felt so fashion forward. These legwarmers have been floating around in my sock drawer for seven years. I bought them for the three months that I decided that ballet was going to be my new form of exercise, never used them, but could never quite bring myself to part with them either.  They're DKNY for Pete's sake! 

We had our first real storm of the season and the rain gave me a stroke of inspiration. Legwarmers.  Legwarmers would a) keep the rain out of my boots, b) make my ten year-old boots that I bought in Italy look hip and happenin', and c) prove to myself that I can take risks (even the tiniest, einsyist, fashion risk), survive and thrive. 

I don't know if anyone else liked my outfit. Actually, and I can say this with absolute certainty, I don't really care.  I felt awesome and I had a spring in my step.  Ha.

Celebrating victories whereever I can get them,


Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh, baby!

Of all the things that we hope to accomplish before we leave the Bay Area, moving with a bun in the oven is very likely the craziest. It is also our most closely guarded secret. The process of creating a baby is an emotional roller coaster when it's going well, and devastating when it's not. The last thing that we need are naysayers telling us that we're nuts, reckless, etc...

Talk to the hand 'cause my uterus ain't listenin'.

Our decision to do this pre-move is partly based on the resources available to us here in the Bay Area - a lesbian-owned sperm bank, a lesbian owned midwifery practice that offers LGBTQ childbirth classes and more lesbian families than you can shake a stick at. It's also all very familiar. We've been down this road once (with fantastic results!) and given the complexity, oh, lets be positive and call it the "richness", of our current lives, it's not something that we're willing to give up.

When we conceived our daughter five years ago, our only major source of stress was our border collie.

Now we have a mortgage.
We have to pay insanely high property taxes.
We have jobs with greater responsibilities.
We are feeling the pressure to make something spectacular happen in our lives.
We're older.
Oh, and we have a freakin' kid.

Despite these challenges, we really want our daughter to have a sibling. We want to experience the joy of babyhood one more time. To kick start the process, we went to a class last week held by those wonderful lesbian conception and childbirth educators. It was all about learning to recognize the signs of ovulation and fertility to increase your chances of conception. Great class, but what did we do the minute the class was over? We we to a bar, sat our asses down with some wine and dissected the other three couples there.

The couple on the couch? Breaking up.
That kind of butch looking chick on the end? Obviously uncomfortable with her gender identity.
That stern woman and her partner? Is-sues!! OMG, and how old is she anyway?

Terrible, I know. Why do women do this to each other? 

I've gotten off track. My point is this. We believe in our decision, no matter how nutty it might seem from a distance. I believe in my body, as the vessel that will hopefully deliver us a healthy baby, to be up to the task - I truly believe that this is just a critical as good timing.

I haven't decided yet how much I plan to share about the process. There are many, many women out there blogging about TTC. I enjoy them. I enjoy reading about what is happening and what they are thinking, but I can get obsessed, jealous and despondent. I know this about myself. I am working on it, but I'm not quite there yet.

I also don't want the TTC process to become my whole life. There is a really high chance that it won't happen the first time, or the second or maybe even the third and I need to be able to maintain some balance. I want to write about the experience, but I don't want to become it. I guess I'll just see how it unfolds.

Thinking fertile thoughts,

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Project Updates

Project #2, the CD situation, is a wrap.  Ta-Da!!!

I do realize that in the grand scheme of things, that I have no right to feel so proud of my accomplishment, but I will take my pride where I can get it.

I am proud, proud, proud, I am proud!

It is done.  The assigned task has been seen to completion.  I engaged in adult conversation with my partner to rationally discuss how we approach a shared situation.  I say that it doesn't matter that Wifey didn't really think it was that big of a deal in the first place, or that organizing our CD collection is not physically getting us one step closer to NYC, or that normal people just put their shit away on a regular basis and don't find themselves in this situation.  Whatever.  What matters is that I started this project and finished it.  Doors are closed.  Mind at ease.  So, maybe it's getting us closer to our goal after all!

Also, I have exciting news on Project #1, the garage....the refrigerator is gone!!!!  After two people flaked, and I exchanged e-mails with a half dozen others, Joel, lovely Joel with the big truck, came and took it away.  Every time I pass through the pantry I have to sneak a quick peek into the garage, just to look at the empty space.  It is so divine.

Ready to kick some ass,

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Because I'm just that mean.

Imagine watching this over and over and over and over......

Feeling the magix,

Toenails, Tulle and Princess Movies

"Check your 'effing messages."

This terse little missive from Wifey landed around 1pm on Friday.  The two places that I do not have cell reception are at home and in my office, which as you might imagine, can be problematic if you're the one trying to get in touch with me.

I checked my messages immediately with visions of my child as roadkill dancing in my head.  Knowing that this would be my first reaction, Wifey considerately prefaced her message with, "Everything is ok...."  Ok, except that one of her toenails was currently perpendicular with her foot.  Ouch!!!

To make matters worse, this wasn't just an average Friday to be in excruciating pain.  It was a Friday in which Wifey was supposed to make a room look like a cloud (don't ask), I was preparing for a wedding shoot on Sunday and we had plans to spend two nights at a friend's house in the country.  What were we thinking???

Obviously we are not completely sane, because Wifey continued to work - climbing ladders, moving furniture, and I raced home to pick up the Kid and pack the car for our trip.  I won't leave you in suspense, the trip didn't happen.  Instead, I took Wifey to the doctor and then we ate Indian food while watching back-to-back episodes of the Winx Club.   

Yes, these are the wonderful ladies of the Winx Club to the right.  With Wifey out of commission, I had to help with some of the last minute details of the cloud birthday party for the eleven year-old at her work.  (She works for rich folks, manages their staff, calendars, properties, events,....and cloud rooms.)  While I picked out princess movies for the party, the Kid picked out the Winx.  I really should have looked at the box more carefully because if you can't tell, the Winx are, well, kind of hooch.

The next day, Saturday, we had to head to IKEA to pick up one last white rug to complete the floor of the cloud room.  As terrible as IKEA on a Saturday sounds, it wasn't nearly as bad as Wifey realizing that she had forgotten to order the cake.

Of course, it had to be a specific cake - vanilla, chocolate filling and white GROCERY STORE frosting. One thing that you have to understand about Wifey is that she is a foodie.  No, a FOODIE.  To her grocery store cake and frosting is simply gross.  The subtle differences between buttercream and whipped cream do not register.  Gross.  All of it, gross.

Luckily, grocery store cake is pretty easy to come by.  We headed out to the nearest Lucky and Wifey hobbled into the store (don't forget the toe!) and came out with a cake.  Vanilla cake, no chocolate filling, but white frosting.  She got into the car and we both stared at the cake.  Was it really the right frosting?

We sat in the parking lot going back and forth for at least 10 minutes.  We opened up the cake box and sampled a little frosting from the bottom.  I tried to explain the subtle difference between the awful, fluffy, whipped cream nonsense, and the awesomeness of stiff, sugary frosting.  Which was the kind that old people liked?  Which would an 11 year-old like?  We drove around.  We fretted.  We hemmed.  We hawed. We went back to the store.

This time I, being the expert on all things low-brow and sugar, went in.  I examined the cakes.  I hemmed.  I hawed.  I wondered why I was in a Lucky on a Saturday hemming and hawing.

Buttercream.  It had to be buttercream.  Final answer. I went to the case so excited to finally be done with the whole process, but of course there was.no 1/2 sheet vanilla cake with white buttercream frosting.  F*CK ME!!!

After a quick conference with Wifey, we opted for a 1/4 sheet of vanilla cake and a 1/4 sheet of chocolate - both with buttercream.  F*ck up?  No way!  Just making sure that all of the guests would be satisfied.

But what of the other cake you ask?

I don't know that there is anything more satisfying than digging into a sheet cake with nothing but a fork.  

By the way, it was TOTALLY the gross kind of frosting!

Trying to accept the fact that life sometimes gets in the way,

Monday, October 5, 2009

Weekend: Sweet, but kind of makes you want to barf.

And this about sums up how things went:

More to come, but I'm still reeling.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Liking this new me

The new me bakes muffins from scratch for meetings. I rock!

I will have lots to share after the weekend...a wedding shoot, the garage project inches forward, apple picking...but until then, I leave you with my favorite feel-good song of them moment. Giant, dancing teddy bear things and a snappy beat, what's not to love?

Soooo happy it's Friday,