Thursday, July 31, 2008

here comes the rain again

today's weathuh:



Mostly cloudy. A 60 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms this morning...then showers and thunderstorms likely this afternoon. Highs in the upper 70s. Light and variable winds...becoming southeast around 10 mph this afternoon. Chance of rain 70 percent.

unbelievably, this the first overcast day since Darlene's Big Vacation began. and i love it. i can smell the rain...and it makes me happy.

cozying up at home. wine chillin'. nag champa burnin'. candles lit.

today's book:




tonight's flick:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

the in-between spaces

i went to the water empty-handed today, but not with an empty head. i felt a tugging, a pull, something heavy inside of me when i woke this morning. and a down-to-the-bone yearning for a wide open space without distraction. i did not bring a book. no pen or paper, no journal to write in furiously. left the cell phone in the car and walked the path to the backside of fort williams. stood at the top of the cliff and looked down, scanned the rocks for the biggest sprays of water, finally seeing exactly the spot, and slowly navigated the rocks down to it. sat as close as i could to the waters edge, near enough that i felt the occasional cold splash on my feet, but high enough so that i wouldn't be drenched completely by the spray. the sea was rougher today than yesterday, and the breeze coming off the water was strong and ocean-air cool...when the sun went behind the clouds, i would find myself shivering and wishing that i had brought a sweatshirt with me. and then the sun would peek out again and i would cloak its warmth around me like a blanket.

i watched the waves roll in, the smaller ones splashing gently against the rocks, the bigger ones that always followed pounding so hard the spray would shoot 20 feet in the air, pushing the water all around me, white surf turning luminescent green. i got lost in it all, felt hypnotized, gave my mind permission to become empty of any thought and held myself completely still. i must have sat like that for an hour, not moving, lulled to almost-sleep by the water i sometimes desperately crave and so much of the time have to be near.

after a time, my mind began to stir, to wake from meditation. and i thought about the lovely bones and ann sebold's version of heaven. if heaven exists, i want it to be exactly as she described it, how we are given, in our heavens, our simplest dreams, how they are created by what comforts us and by what we desire. if that's heaven, then mine will look something like shapleigh sitting on top of the backside of monhegan island, and it will be filled with everyone i've loved and lost and who made the journey before me, and it will be recognizable to the people i leave behind so that when they make their own journey they will find me easily. i will see them coming and i will wait for them, holding chocolate and flowers and then i will cover them with kisses and we will release the longing and the heartache that only comes from what you believed in your head was a separation that would last an eternity.

and i want so much to believe that we can stand in some beautiful spot there, and with no effort we can follow the lives of those we left behind. that we can sit next to them. visit them in their dreams. and that if we are gentle enough so that we do not frighten them, there might just be a moment or two when they understand we are there. and that in those fleeting seconds the longing and the missing will disappear for them. replaced by comfort. and grace. and a sense of being held closely. how beautiful that would be, what a gift.

i thought of these things as i sat and stared at the water, and then my mind, suddenly and with no warning, was filled and then overflowing with Betty. if i am honest i can say that she has been on the very edge of my thoughts lately, maybe because this book reminded me so much of her. the heaviness revealing itself. maybe i want so much to believe in sebold's heaven because then i will know that Betty is with me, watching, following me, just out of my reach but still there, just in a different way.

during the first year following her death, i was certain she visited me. i would have long, colorful dreams at night and we would walk together in fields of lavender and sometimes we would talk, and sometimes we wouldn't. and in those dreams i could feel her arms wrapped around me. i could lay my head on her shoulder and rest there awhile. there would be days when i would sit outside at my old house in scarborough, and the wind would kick up a certain way, and the chimes would ring and i would know, know deep down in my bones, that she was sitting right next to me. those were the days when grief sat in my belly like a brick. i don't remember if the grief made my heart hard like a stone, or if it made it fragile, too soft, like powder, or dust in my hands. i only remember that the ache was constant, that it seared through me like a knife, and that it made breathing difficult. i remember so often feeling as though i just. could. not. breathe.

i don't feel her like that anymore. she does not visit me in my dreams. sometimes i forget what she looks like, and when that happens i have to run into the livingroom and pull her picture off the shelf. and i make myself stare at it, long and hard, so that i can memorize her face all over again. i wonder if this is what happens when the grief subsides, when we begin to let go of the dead and go back to those who are still alive. do the dead understand this? do they feel our letting go and then also feel their pull on us fading away?

yet even as she seemingly fades away, there are still moments when i miss her so much that it burns my skin like fire, moments when i just want, for one tiny moment, to feel her hands clasped around my mine, to see her smile, hear her laughter. and somehow, this feeling of missing her is comforting to me because it means she has not left me altogether. i do not want her to disappear completely, i do not think i could bear it.

these were the thoughts that consumed me out on those rocks today. i kept willing Betty to show her face, in a wave, in the wind, in the reflection of the sun on the wet rocks, in anything, anything at all. i waited and waited. i was surprised to feel the water running down my cheeks, surprised to taste the salt, and i was not oblivious to the irony of water and salt, ocean and tears. we crave the ocean because we have bodies that are exactly like the ocean.

i waited and waited, and she did not come.

and so i stood. wiped my face. whispered i miss you to the wind. and then, i'm going to go home and write about you. turned my back to the water and climbed my way to the top again and did not look back. walked into the open field and looked up at the blue sky and saw the kites, again, kites everywhere, floating through the air like giant pieces of confetti.

you are nowhere and i need you to be everywhere.

with much effort, i moved away from the in-between spaces in my mind where ghosts keep company with the living, and into the place where Betty does not live anymore. but where i still do. walked to lady bug's car, opened the door, rolled down the windows. sat there, hands on the steering wheel, doing what i could to push the sadness away. was finally able, after a time, to take in a long breath that did not feel like a hot poker pressing against my lungs. started the car, and drove her home.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

susie salmon

as mentioned earlier, i am on vacation and trying to keep the blood pressure down and the headaches to a minimum, and therefore am avoiding rants of any kind. the good news: i am in such a wonderful current state-of-mind that i simply cannot think of one thing to rant about. true story. this has been the best. vacation. ever. and i still have seven full days to soak it all in. i have not logged on to my work email, which is a small miracle in and of itself since i usually check it compulsively, even on weekends. i'm beautifully out-of-the-loop. i'm pretty sure that the 1913 law was officially overturned today in MA, which is of course great news, but i only know this because of the Pam's House Blend headline on my blog feed. for real, i haven't even clicked onto the story to read about it. if i do, i will inevitably find something on there that pisses me off and i will feel the urge to write a Slant Rant. this morning's post was a close call after reading just one article from NYT headlines, and i felt myself shifting dangerously near Work Mode. so i am staying away from that edge, which now includes reading anything beyond headlines, until i'm sitting at my desk next Wednesday. ignorance is my current bliss, people.

i had a great day at Two Lights...got lucky and found the perfect rock-chair close to the water, and perched myself there for about 4 hours. got even luckier and watched two seals spend a solid 30 minutes fishing and swimming and acting all, well, seal-like. i have often thought that in my next life, i want to come back as a well-loved cat, but being a seal might not be such a bad gig either. they certainly appeared to be having incredible amounts of fun. i ate lunch, wrote in my journal, and occasionally checked the trajectories of the rogue waves crashing on the rocks, their spray moving ever closer to my spot. around 3:00 the wind shifted and i could literally feel the tide turning. the rogue waves got bigger, the sprays higher, and i was gently persuaded by the tide to move further and further up the rocks. when i finally left around 4:00, my original seat was completely submerged. and all night, i have had that wonderful, faint taste of salt on my lips. i have seen the ocean every single day of my vacation so far. for this aquarian, that is simply as good as it gets.

and i finished Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones , and now have a new literary heroine to add to my short list (currently Scout Finch and Ellen Foster sit at the top): Susie, "last name Salmon, like the fish." my god, what an amazing and beautiful book--and a stunning meditation on life and death.

i don't know how Sebold did it...her first novel and she decides to write a story narrated by a dead girl who's hanging out in heaven and watching the events on earth unfold after her death. it sounds almost ridiculous and at the very least utterly depressing. but this ain't no mitch albom "the five people you meet in heaven" (bleh). and while the first chapter is nearly impossible to get through, if you hang in there, you will be richly rewarded. somehow Sebold manages to tell an incredible coming-of-age story about a funny, sweet girl who we know from the very first sentence will never grow up. it's just truly an astonishing book and i savored every single word.

"When I opened my eyes, the window across from us was dark red and I could feel that there was not much time left. Outside, the world I had watched for so long was living and breathing on the same earth I now was. But I knew I could not go out. I had taken this time to fall in love instead--in love with the sort of helplessness I had not felt in death--the helplessness of being alive, the dark bright pity of being human--feeling as you went, groping in corners and opening your arms to light--all of it part of navigating the unknown."

the lovely bones is, in a word, lovely. and highly recommended by The Slant.

this feels a little like work to me

i am on a self-imposed break from all things work-like, and for me, that includes making any sweeping commentary (aka rants) about anything other than Lindsay Lohan's ditching of her Lesbian Luh-vah Samantha or Brangelina's twins (was it in vitro, or wasn't it?). you'll notice that the scant slant posts of late have been decidedly non-political and/or not of rabble-rousing nature. this is by design, people. this dyke also known as The Homosexual Rights Movement (a title bestowed upon me by One of the Michaels) needs a break. badly.

because of this, i have resisted posting anything about the shooting in Knoxville, Tennessee. i know that if i start, i won't be able to stop, and then my head will start aching and i'll feel that tension in my muscles and the rising of blood pressure and then i might as well just drive the femmemobile to the office and put in a hard day's work.

instead, i'm going to pack a lunch, the lovely bones (which i've nearly finished, and which is...well... astounding), and some sunscreen (i seem to be molting uncontrollably and have shed 5 layers of skin from a sunburned nose...bleh) and head to the beach. i am not going to think about knoxville, or the fact that the New York Times confirmed today what most people have already suspected was the motive for this whack job (read below). i am going to resist the temptation to write about how the hateful rhetoric of some will inevitably incite acts of violence in others because i've done that already (read: words, February 13, 2008).

i'm. not. going. to. do. it.

i'll just post the NYT story, and be done with it. and you can talk amongst yourselves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
New York Times
July 29, 2008

Hate for Liberals and Gay People Drove Gunman, Police Say

By SHAILA DEWAN

A man who the police say entered a Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville, Tenn., on Sunday and shot eight people, killing two, was motivated by a hatred for liberals and gay people, Chief Sterling P. Owen IV of the Knoxville Police Department said Monday.

“It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that, and his stated hatred for the liberal movement,” Chief Owen said of the suspect, Jim D. Adkisson, 58. “We have recovered a four-page letter in which he describes his feelings and the reason that he claims he committed these offenses.”

According to a search warrant for Mr. Adkisson’s house filed by the police, during interrogation Mr. Adkisson admitted to the shooting and said “he had targeted the church because of its liberal leanings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country.”

rest of the story HERE.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

in the cd player...

jagged little pill, alanis morissette.

and this one pretty much sums up my current state of mind as i enter day 3 of vacation. it's good. it's all good.

for you, a thousand times over

i can cross one item off my vacation to-do list. i finished reading The Kite Runner last night. it would be inaccurate to say i 'enjoyed' it...it was far too violent and sad and heartbreaking for that. i can say that it was disturbingly beautiful. unforgettable. i imagine it's going to sit inside me for a good long time.

my favorite passage:

"I slipped the picture back where I had found it. Then I realized something: That last thought had brought no sting to it. Closing Sohrab's door, I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night."

lovely.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

the kite runner

my first vacation-celebration purchase was a copy of Khaled Hosseini's "The Kite Runner". i've wanted to read it for a good long time, and yet, i was a little afraid of it, knowing that it would likely break my heart in two. M. convinced me it was a story worthy of a little heartache, and besides, every book she's ever recommended to me ends up on my 'favorite' shelf so it was likely that i would enjoy it. and here i am again, the nerdy little bookworm, wanting to do nothing but find a comfortable place to sit and read, utterly in love with a book that pulled me deep inside its world the very minute i read the first paragraph:

"I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it's wrong what they say about the past, I've learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years."

this is most beautifully written book i have read in years, right up there with 'fall on your knees'. it is wrapped in horrific and almost unspeakable violence, and yet told with love and extraordinary tenderness. it is really, i think, a love story about afghanistan, a love story of two little boys and their haunting friendship, a love story of fathers and sons. and while i can't be certain because i've not turned the last page yet, i suspect it will also be about redemption. at least i hope so because at this point, i'm not sure i could bear any other ending.

this book is...difficult to read sometimes. it will light fire to every emotion imagineable inside of you. it is so unbelievably heartwrenching at times that i have to simply put the book aside to catch my breath. i have cried more than once and have been amazed at the way Hosseini is able to reach deep inside his readers and pull so hard at the heart. his prose is simple--no flourishing words or sweeping metaphors or grandiose, complicated imagery. and yet...the sentences have a rhythm, a voice, that reads like poetry. like music. sad, haunting, lovely music.

i was tucked in bed late last night...burning incense...and completely lost in this story. two times i finished a chapter, put the book on the nightstand, and thought, 'okay, time to sleep.' turned out the light, and lay in the darkness, my mind unable to shut off these complicated, beautiful characters. and then turned the light back on, and read more. finally, at 2 am, my eyes got the best of me and i had to tuck away hassan and amir and baba and ali for the night.

i'll be heading to Fort Williams soon...book in hand, of this you can be sure.




Thursday, July 24, 2008

i am a sappy one

i mentioned in today's earlier post that sometimes i am a total sap. this is a true story.

ray & connie just sent me this youtube video, and yep, i got all mushed out. turn off the volume (unless you can deal with whitney houston singing "i will always love you", something that i simply cannot. do. bleh.) and the little 'heartwarming' message at the end is just too cheeseball for me. but still--the footage of this lion and his reunion with a couple of friends is just so sweet to watch.

and don't make fun. sappiness can be very adorable at the right moments.

12 days

in a little less than nine hours, i will officially Be On Vacation. twelve days. good freaking gawd. i've not had this kind of time off since, hmmmm...well, since my restaurant days before i became a Professional Queer. for twelve days in a row, my Google Calendar will send me a message that says: you have no events today. i am ridiculously excited. and thinking i need a list of Things I Want To Do.

this is *not* a run-schedule, Monique-ee.

but still. a random list is better than nothing, right? in a perfect world, and in no particular order, i would love to....

  • read The Kite Runner and The Lovely Bones

  • organize the 500 pages of Slant Posts i printed off because it will make me feel as though i've actually written a book. i understand this likely makes me sound sorta....well....geeky. but still. i've never written 500 pages of anything before. and maybe there are the beginnings of a novel in there somewhere. you just. never. know.

  • see the ocean at least five times

  • Sleep. In.

  • remove "professional" from my Queer Status for the entire vacation.
  • hang in shapleigh for two days

  • spend time with the posse. i am so Posse Deprived.

  • tool around in lady bug's car just to get reactions from people
  • go to cele and ann's annual birthday party. and drink frozen margaritas.

  • write. write. write. write.
  • go camping for three days (and not in central park. ahem.) hermit island. yeah baby.

  • meditate twice a day, every day

  • visit friends

  • catch J up on a few episodes of The Wire, Season 4. it's sooooo good.

  • give willie a haircut (don't ask. it's complicated. and admittedly, a little bit like work. but still. he's got...some issues.)

  • domestic goddessificate my apartment

  • overdose on nag champa

  • go on a hike with corey
  • send a musical care package to the Big Apple.

  • listen to some live music, preferrably outdoors

  • rent The Other Boleyn Girl because I. Heart. Natalie. Portman. OH and double-feature it with Notting Hill because sometimes i'm a total sap and that is one of the sweetest. movies. ever.

  • go to boston with my baby sister and see a play. nice.

  • hope for at least one rainy day so that i can just. be. lazy. and spend that entire day in my pj's. the ones with the mice on them.

  • watch a sunrise.

  • watch a sunset.

  • see the ABBA movie and fall in love with meryl streep all over again

  • cook something. that's not in a box. or frozen. expand those culinary horizons.

i will not paint. my. bathroom. too much like work.

i will not obsessively check my eqme email. exactly like work.

8 1/2 hours and counting....


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

island out to sea

"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach--waiting for a gift from the sea." Anne Morrow Lindberg

"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can." Herman Melville

"The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace. " Kate Chopin

"Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds." Lucy Maud Montgomery

Monday, July 21, 2008

cookin' on the slant

some of my fellow bloggers, on occasion, will share their favorite recipes, providing step-by-step instructions with often colorful and dee-lish-ous lookin' photos to illustrate their points. this morning, littlestpea did it, and dawn from mdi does it All. The. Time. she's a Recipe Show-Off. of course, she's also an incredible cook, and her blog *is* called Weldable Cookies.

so i've decided that this monday morning, i am going to share with y'all how to prepare *my* specialty dish, and yep, i'm even going to include photos. hang onto your hats slant readers, and take notes. this will change your culinary life forever.

ahem.

How To Cook Pop Tarts

Step One: you need to go to your local supermarket and buy a box of Pop Tarts. i prefer the six-pack as opposed to the eight-pack, for reasons which will be discussed later in this post. warning: this can be very, very overwhelming as there are seemingly millions of choices.




make your decision wisely, because once you get them groceries bagged, there is just no. turning. back.

okay. step two. when you get home, and after you've put any perishables into their proper compartments (ie. milk and beer should go in the refrigerator section, Celeste Pizzas in the freezer), place the box of Pop Tarts on your kitchen counter. And then locate your toaster.



step three, and people, this is important, so pay close attention: Plug. The. Toaster. Into. An. Outlet. Trust me, you'll only forget to do this once and then never again. It makes for a very. long. afternoon. if you forget.

step four.

open the box, and remove Pop Tarts from the wrapping (again, you only forget to do this once.)



step five. place poptarts in toaster. and do not leave the room. this is a very critical time in your poptart preparation. you simply cannot trust that the toaster instinctively knows what it's doing (last time i checked, toasters do not have brains). if you aren't carefully watching, smelling, and overall obsessing over the cooking of the tart, if you turn your back for even a minute, the results can be...well...horrifying. Pop Tart Freaking Hell.



for real, the above photo just makes. me. weep. Pop Tart Abuse. damn.

annnnyway, step six. after carefully monitoring the toasting process, Pop The Tarts when the outer layer is a lovely light brown. and please people, be careful when pulling said tarts out of the toaster. they are very, very hot. ouch. i found a photo of burnt fingers, but honestly, it was just too gross to share. let your imagination be your guide.

finally, step seven. place the tarts on a lovely plate, smear with butter or your favorite substitute. you can even cut them in lovely triangle shapes for presentation purposes:



now, some of you may be asking "but how many pop tarts should i cook?" this is completely subjective of course, and highly dependent upon the level of your appetite. i prefer the Paula Poundstone Theory of Poptarts, based on the six-poptarts-per-box count. The Cliff Note version goes something like this:

poptarts generally come two per package, so clearly you need to eat at least two because if you don't, the other pop tart will become stale very quickly, and frankly, that's a waste.

consuming two poptarts is simply Not. A. Meal. so you've gotta do two more to meet Basic Daily Requirements.

after you've been through Round Two, you have a poptart box with just one package of poptarts in it, which seems like just a colossal waste of space, and well, cardboard. so you eat the third package just to basically Tidy Up.

and There You Have It. the first installment of Cookin' On The Slant.

next week: Mrs. Budd's Frozen Chicken Pot Pie.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

fierce femme

to illustrate how seriously i am taking dawn from mdi's challenge to push boundaries, bust stereotypes and, um, expand paradigms, i am pleased to announce that for the next several weeks, i will be driving around town in Lady Bug's sassy car.

how could that possibly bust stereotypes you ask?

well.

it's a purple car, for starters.

vanity plate? "FRCE FEM."

and while Lady Bug & i both agree that it *could* mean "fierce femINIST", there just isn't any other way to interpret the bumper sticker, which looks something like this:





i'm going to make a point of looking especially butch while driving the Femmemobile. it could turn out to be a fascinating sociological study.

plus there is the slight possibility that it will ignite some terrific rumors. which amuses me in ways i cannot describe.

talk amongst yourselves.


Friday, July 18, 2008

"how's your mom?"

last night monique, matt & i drove to bangor for the first of two community meetings we have planned (monday night we'll be in portland and if you haven't RSVP'd yet, there is still time and still room at the "inn"...) we had a terrific turnout, and jean vermette brought icecream, so really, what more can be said?

as always happens when i go up to bangor, i left feeling inspired and excited about the energy and commitment of our peeps up there. and i got to see my bangor boy kevin who was his Usual Hysterical Self. if laughter really is the best medicine, this man could perform medical miracles.

AND in a take-my-breath-away moment halfway through the meeting, the doors to the bangor uu church opened and in walked my long-lost-and-now-happily-found friend cindi which thrilled me beyond words...really, when she walked in, the whole world stopped moving for about 5 seconds and i just wanted to sprint across the room and give her a galaxy-sized hug. i could barely look at her because i knew if i did, i would lose complete and utter train-of-thought and never make it through the rest of the meeting. the moment it was over, i searched for the most direct path and gave her that hug. she smelled like rain. the past converged with the present and my friend was beside me. amazing. i just love. her. so much.

after the meeting a few of us went to a local restaurant for a late dinner, and having cindi and kevin sitting at the same table was magical. i think they've completely fallen in love with each other. this is no surprise to me and i expect that the next time i go north, the three of us are gonna paint that little town red. i cannot. wait.

so many people asked me about my mom, it was stunning. this is not an unusual thing...wherever i go lately, "how's your mom" is generally one of the first questions i'm asked. it's very, very sweet, and my mom seems to have become somewhat of a celebrity (she would love this.) someone mentioned to me last night that i should really do an update on The Slant because after following her story for the last ten weeks, people might want to know what the latest news is. again, very, very sweet.

so here it is:

she is doing just. fabulous. in fact, i don't think i've seen her looking and feeling this good in years. all of her doctors (and since her surgery on may 9th, she has a slew of them) have been amazed at her progress, particularly after the seriousness of her problems, many of which were truly life-threatening. infection--gone. IV antibiotics--done. back--healing beautifully.

she is relatively pain-free and even at this early stage of her rehabilitation, she is more mobil than she's been in 5 years. her physical therapist believes that by the end of the summer she'll be walking with just a cane as opposed to the awkward walker she pushes around now. in fact, if she continues to recover at this pace, she may be able to walk without any aid at all. um, wow. honest to gawd, it feels like a miracle. there were some horribly close calls in the last 10 weeks. we were terrified of losing her, and every day she is with us now is a gift.

so we have graduated from Cautiously Optimistic. i can talk about her health now without desperately searching for Wood To Knock On. sometimes when i call her, we can actually get through an entire conversation without talking about medication or visiting nurses or levels of pain. my dad, for the most part, has stopped following her around the house and watching Her Every Move, though she claims "he's starting to drive me a little bit crazy because he's so overprotective." i've tried to explain to her that he's probably traumatized from this whole thing. and then she'll say that as hard as it has been for her, she can't even fathom the toll it's taken on all of us, and especially him. true enough.

i've got some vacation time coming up in 7 days, 18 hours, 26 minutes (not that i'm counting) and i plan on spending at least a few days sitting on the deck in shapleigh with my mom. we're going to drink iced tea, play some cribbage, gossip about our crazy relatives, watch the grass grow. honestly, i will be completely content if all i do is just sit beside her. it's going to be most precious.

my mother. is. healthy.

i cannot begin to describe how it just felt to type that sentence.

life is good.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

skimping on the posts

my professional life is about to sweep me away from cyberspace, potentially for six days (and on the seventh, Darlene Will Rest.) Rest...hmmm...that's one of those words that if you stare at it long enough it stops looking like a word. yeah. whatever.

getting to the point: posts on the slant may be infrequent until next wednesday. i know this is devastating news for y'all, and i may surprise you with a late-night and/or early-morning ramble or two. you just. never. know.

in the meantime, what the hell are you doing inside, anyway? it's july. summer time, baby. Most of You Live In Vacationland. get off that swivel chair and catch yourself some rays.

note: this post has been edited, thanks to the keen eyes of Dawn from MDI. Maine is *not* Vactionland. I have no flipping idea what a *vaction* actually is, but honestly, it does not sound pleasure-inducing. at all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

tagged

i never, ever do MEMEs, but i am making an exception for mr. macrum over at lost in the bozone. like dawn on mdi, i have very few "blogging" friends, and the few i have, like jenny jeez, and well, dawn and mr. macrum, have been cancelled out for obvious reasons. so if you're a blogger reading this blog, um, tag, you're it.

i have about five minutes to answer these questions. it's gonna be short and sweet.

1) What is your favorite quotable line from a Movie?

being the movie freak that i am, there are many. but like i said, five minutes. so i'll pick my favorite exchange from The Princess Bride:

Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.

Inigo Montoya: What's that?

Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.

ask me this question in three hours, i'll probably have a new answer.

2) Who is the most famous person you have spoken to?

i am a political junkie, so who i consider famous most people have never heard of. i remember the first time i met mary bonauto. she introduced herself to me and she said "it's so nice to finally meet you, and i'm so grateful for all your hard work." i almost peed my pants. even though i now consider her a friend, i still have to pinch myself sometimes when i'm around her. my job allows me to meet all kinds of a sort-of famous political folk...you know, the usual suspects, Maine's washington delegation, the governor, etc. etc.

i had a beer with stephen king back in my u-maine days. i made a smart cocktail for glenn close once. i've met bonnie raitt. the indigo girls. donna rose.

mary's still my highlight though. bar none.

3) How many bags/boxes of Potato Chips are consumed at your place in a month?

i'm one of those people that requires something crunchy with a sandwich. or pizza. i also need a handful of salty chips after consuming something sweet, especially if it's icecream. or a brownie. so my estimate is two bags per month. sun chips are my favorite. the french onion kind. mmm-mmm-good. i also love cheetos but get irritated by the orange fingers i sport after eating them.

4) Who is your all time favorite Cartoon Character?

betty freakin' boop. or josie and all her pussy cats.

5) What foreign food Dish do you prepare from scratch and Serve?

that's just not funny. it's a well-known fact that i don't cook. i heat-up a mean Amy's Cheese Enchilada.

6) What is your favorite section of the Supermarket?

due to reasons discussed in answer #5, i am partial to the frozen foods section. i also love the fruit and vegetable section. i think it's the colorful array that attracts me. or something.

7) What was your high school teams mascot and what were the school's colors?

we were the Massabesic Mustangs and our colors were kelly green and white.

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i feel like i've gained immeasurable positive karmic points for doing this.

happy wednesday y'all.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

how to definitely win a beer bet

thanks to nanci over at gaynet for providing me with an opportunity to enhance my already superb procrastination skills by sending out a link to Video Jug: Life Explained. On Film.

warning: this website is, well, kind of addicting. just sayin'.

i've spent the last 20 minutes there. ssssh. don't tell The Executive Director of the radical homosexual rights lobbying group.

my three favorites (so far):

how to definitely win a beer bet

how to stop laughing at an inappropriate time

how to get off the phone with someone who won't shut up

have. fun.

Monday, July 14, 2008

happy birthday z, wherever you may be

Morning Song

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

Sylvia Plath

Sunday, July 13, 2008

most ridiculous week ever

okay, okay, the post title is a blatant rip-off of after.ellen.com's Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. which i am pretty sure was a blatant rip-off of VH 1's Best Week Ever which was probably a blatant rip-off of something else. come on people, there are only so many letters in the alphabet and only so many notes on the scale and only so many colors on the palette. let's all hold hands and pretend we're having a good time (blatant ani difranco rip-off, right. there.). it is sunday, the official day of, um, rest, so cut me a little slack and let's get on with it already.

if i sound grumpy, well, dammit i am. in a previous post, i mentioned spending some of my 'stimulus' check on must-have medicine for my mom. the other half of it was supposed to help me purchase 100 gallons of heating oil. in what i can only describe as a protest against buying heating oil during a heatwave, i spent the money on things like a bad ass new pair of chuck taylors and new books and a t-shirt from life is good. fast forward to this past friday, when i jumped in the shower and midway through it the water turned ice. cold. my screams of agony could be heard on both Munjoy Hill and the West End and very possibly the Falmouth Peninsula. outta oil. and i could really use another stimulus check, george w. just sayin'. so my grumpiness stems from three days of taking cold showers. yeah.

annnnyway. back to the most. ridiculous. week. ever. i have hand-picked four nominations. i am by no means endorsing the notion that other ridiculousness did not occur this week and/or in previous weeks. or that better ridiculousness is not soon to follow. and what i consider ridiculous may be common sensical to the rest of y'all. whatever. it's my blog so deal with it. or get your own blog and make your own damn list (eh. there's the grumpiness rearing its ugly head. sorry about that. oil is being delivered on tuesday and i'm gonna wash that grumpiness right outta my hair.)

ahem. focus huntress.

without further ado, and in absolutely no particular order, my Top Four Nominations.

drum roll, pah-leeeeze.

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i ran out of oil this week. okay, so i already mentioned that. i'm just. very. unhappy about it.

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in what is becoming just a mind-boggling phenomenon, another anti-gay rightwing nutcase has been caught having a gay affair. this time, beautifully, it's the Attorney General of Alabama, Troy King. something about his photo makes my gaydar go ding ding ding, or beep beep beep, or whatever sound gaydars make when they spot family. maybe it's the hair, which coincidentally reminds me of the quaff sported by a certain Maine christian conservative anti-gay pesky leader whose name shall not be mentioned but whose photo, um, shall be. and don't get your panties twisted MH, this is all done in good ole private-citizen-not-wearing-my-work-hat lesbian fun.






now of course these are all rumors and innuendos, but still, somebody in John McSame's camp is taking them seriously enough to remove all references to Mr. Queen, oops, I mean Mr. King from the JohnMcCain.com website. check out a diary post over at Pam's House Blend for the fully delicious details.

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and speaking of John McSame, it's hard to pick out The Most Ridiculous McCain Story of the week because as usual, there are many. runners up included his new version of the old POW story in which he made some minor adjustments to satisfy the taste of local sports fans; AND the secret services' removal, at a Johnny Fundraising Event in Denver, of a very, very dangerous, um, librarian because she was holding a sign that said "McCain = Bush." but for me, the winner is a story out of the LA Times this week about one of McCain's surrogate speakers, Carly Fiorina, giving some nice political spin around insurance companies that cover Viagra and not birth-control. Fiorina said: "Let me give you a real, live example, which I've been hearing a lot about from women. There are many health insurance plans that will cover Viagra but won't cover birth control medication. Those women would like a choice."

first of all, i fucking love the ridiculousness of a McSame surrogate talking about Viagra since he's like, um, 103 years old. that said, one could imply from Fiorina's statement that Johnny supports insurance companies covering birth control, right? except that, as NARAL pointed out, Johnny twice voted AGAINST such legislation in 2002 and 2005.

but what makes this UTTERLY ridiculous (as if all of the above didn't automatically qualify) was McSame's response to Cathleen Decker, a writer for the LA Times, when she asked him about this rather glaring contradiction. check it out and Watch. Johnny. Squirm. honest to gawd, it's almost painful:




i simply cannot. wait. for the obama/mccain debates. obama is gonna whip mccain's sorry butt. for real. pop me some corn and pour me a cold one 'cause this is going to be better than color TV.
---------------


and finally...


i wrote something earlier in the week about about the American News Project, and specifically, about a report they posted called The Price Of Hunger. in related news, there was a G8 summit in Japan this week, focusing on world hunger. so, after presumably spending countless hours and immeasurable brainpower and exercising all their collective problem-solving skills discussing how to feed, say, starving Ethiopians:




they were rewarded for their efforts by being treated to...wait for it...an eighteen course meal:




it's kind of not so much ridiculous as it is, well, disgusting, and you can read the rest of the story by checking out the Daily News report HERE. if you can, for lack of a better phrase, stomach it.

so, there you have it. my version of The. Most. Ridiculous. Week. Ever.


happy sunday.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

simple minds

as you may have noticed from my sidebar gay agenda update, i've devoted a significant part of my morning and early afternoon to domestic goddessificating. i really like this new word i've invented, and i'm going to try and use some derivation of it three times in today's post, much like i did as a very nerdy bookworm kid who used to read...um...the dictionary...daily...and pick out a new "word of the day" to try and use in conversations, which, incidentally, drove my parents batshit crazy. don't make fun. reading is the gift that keeps on giving and learning is the treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. or something like that. anyway, #1 word usage has been taken care of, poof, just. like. that. (see first sentence.)

i've dusted and scrubbed and swept and mopped and hung out a fresh load of laundry on the line outside and now i'm nearing the end of my domestic goddessification (there's #2.) this means lighting nag champa in every room and generally walking around and admiring my work. i love it when the place is domestically goddessified (nice, #3). oh i do, i do, i do. it just makes me feel very grown-up and less like the slightly chaotic livin'-like-a-bachelor-type dyke that i sometimes am. there is a most delightful breeze circulating through the apartment, everything smells dee-lishhh-ous, and i still have most of the day in front of me. good times people. good times.

i was just about to turn off the radio and head out for an afternoon walk when lo and behold, one of my favorite 80's songs from one of my favorite 80's band came on. alive and kicking. simple minds. yes indeedy. this is a summer of 1984 tune. i know this because i went to a simple minds concert with my very first girlfriend on our very first date at the cumberland county civic cen-tah when they opened for the pretenders. august 1984. it was a fantastic concert and i remember thinking that my new little girlfriend must have found me completely irresistable because i was just oh so radically cool and sporting my seriously fresh 80's haircut (kinda like this)...



...and my oversized-shoulder-padded-david-byrne-from-the-talking-heads-style blazer...




good. gawd. i was a bitchin'. hot. mess.

so, back to the here-and-now.

let's just say the afternoon walk was postponed, and darlene tore it up with a five-minute-wickedly-wicked-bustin'-my-best-80's-dance-moves-while-air-drumming-and-lip-syncing-psyche-out-a-thon in the dining room. really, it was as if the band was right. there. in. my. very. apartment. there are no witnesses, thank god, but it would not be an exaggeration to say i had very. happy. feet. and THAT, my friends, is a true story.

y'all enjoy your saturday, ya hear?

zen guitarist

Without music life would be a mistake. ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche


listening to michael hedges this morning...and missing him.

Friday, July 11, 2008

to be laced, or not to be

my new Mouse Garment gift from Dawn at MDI (read her very funny version of the creation of said garment by clicking HERE) has sparked a mostly off-line discussion between me and Slant Readers about stereotypes, expanding paradigms, and pushing boundaries (among other things.) Dawn had an especially interesting take on this, though I'll let *her* share it if she so desires. Some people say the lace has to go Huntress, others say, fuck it, leave it on there.

i don't have time today to dig deep into why i think this whole lace-or-no-lace thing represents a much bigger (and maybe more complicated) concept of gender expression, and butch, and femme, and everywhere in between. i wish i did, because it could be so very, very interesting.

so i'm gonna be lazy and ask you. should i remove the lacey hem, or keep it right where it is, and why? i don't think there is any right or wrong answer. it's all about perspective. and i'm just curious what yours might be.

it will kill me if i check back on The Slant tonight and have no comments, so come on, take 5 minutes and tell me what you think. Dawn says to tread carefully because when you ask people their opinions, they might just go on ahead and give 'em to you. it's sage advice that i'm going to completely ignore, a sometimes bad habit of mine.

fire away?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

we had a gay old time

last night, Young Matthew and i took a road trip to eddington to attend a volunteer appreciation dinner hosted by the fabulous owners of Clewley Farm. random thoughts from the gay old time we had:

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in what is becoming a scary bad habit and/or a recurring nightmare, we had transportation complications. let's just say matt & i are more than a little cursed. we are like the Queer Version of planes, trains, and automobiles. last night's road trip was no exception and we had to make an emergency stop at the Waterville Enterprise to trade in the little Kia (bleh) we rented in portland. ironically, a mega-church, one of the heebie-jeebie inducing kinds if you're a queer or someone who loves one, glared at us from across the parking lot of this particular Enterprise. matt kept repeating, as if traumatized, wow that's a big church. that's just a really. big. church. it gave us both the gay shivers and we could not get out of there fast enough.

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on our way to eddington, we picked up My Bangor Gay Boyfriend For Life, Kevin. i heart him so much. he is, simply, the Funniest Human Being Alive and every time i see him i laugh so hard i'm pretty i am moments away from a brain aneurysm. i so love you baby. you are the sunshine of my life.

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there was a wonderful turnout at Clewley Farm. EqualityMaine Primary Day volunteers from Hancock and Penobscot county were treated to a yummy buffet, courtesy of the appreciative owners. it was a celebration of their truly amazing-kick-ass effort on june 10th and the staff was incredibly accomodating and so very kind to do it. i was able to visit with some of my favorite people from that neck of the woods. and had the honor of meeting many more who gave their time and effort to The Cause. Volunteers Rock My World. and a special shout out must go to Suz and Captain Kay, who organized those two regions like nobody's business.

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Dawn from MDI presented me with my girly-girl mouse garment, which turned out to be pants instead of the skirt she was threatening me with. much to my relief. they are actually kind of adorable. there is considerable wiggle room, which i and my Muffin Top Belly truly appreciate. and she has given me permission to remove the lace hem, knowing i might even wear them if i do. she advises me to use a stitch remover, something i wouldn't know how to identify much less own, so i am now putting out an all-points-bulletin to anyone who might be willing to lend me one. either that or i will just very, very carefully remove said stitches and lacey hem. being the good sport that i hope i am, i gave in to dawn's, um, gentle persuasion techniques (right) and pulled them on over my shorts to model them for the crowd. much laughter, at my expense i think, ensued. and damn, that butch can sew.

to give evidence of my good-sportiness, here's a photo dawn just sent me of the much-talked-about Mouse Garment:




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while there were many highlights to the evening, my absolute favorite moment came at the end, as we were about to leave. bob, one of the owners, one helluva hugger, and just an amazingly kind and sweet human being, walked over to me and without fanfare handed me a sizeable wad of one-dollar bills and some loose change. this is from our waitresses, their tips for the night. they want to donate it to equalitymaine because they really appreciate the work you do. it was the sweetest. thing. ever. as someone who spent almost twenty years waiting tables and tending bars, i know how freaking hard you work for a dollar bill. the gesture was overwhelming. and that is just one example of what i love about Small Towns. there ain't no better people in the world. true story.

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one final note: The Slant is sending some serious healing thoughts to Bill in Bangor. Get well soon my friend.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

cha-cha-changes

note: by the time i hit "publish", it will be much later than when i began writing. it is officially 5:05 am. this information is critical for the reader. just sayin'.

in my professional life as The Homosexual Rights Movement, i work most closely with a fabulous field organizer that i often refer to as Young Matthew. because he's, um, young. like early 20's young. he'll sometimes send me late night (or early morning) emails that are either work-related or hysterically funny or deeply disturbing, depending on what he's doing at that very moment. i'll read them in the morning (sometimes a few hours after he sends them) and then promptly reply. yesterday afternoon he sent me an email which said, and i quote, "while i realize it must disturb you sometimes to get emails from me at 1am, it often bothers me to get emails from you at 5:30am."

yeah.

i have tried to explain to the boy that this is All About Aging. yes, indeed. as you get, er, older, your sleep patterns take strange twists and turns. you find yourself getting sleepy after the final answer is revealed on jeopardy. if you weren't fortunate enough to squeeze in a nap earlier in the day, you're doomed to fall asleep on the couch by the time The Next Show airs its "previously on...." message. you often wake up two or three times in the night, i won't say why because that's just too personal although i can tell you it has something to do with aging bladders. if you're lucky you'll fall back asleep. then you have this ridiculous internal alarm clock that goes off around, hmmm, 5:00 am, and one of the first groggy thoughts that slips into your semi-consciousness is "sweet. i didn't die in my sleep last night. time to wakey wakey." ok. it's maybe not quite that morbid. i have been known to exaggerate for entertainment purposes.

my point, and i am pretty sure i have one, is that unless you've got something stimulating and/or important to do after 8:00 pm, the older you get, the sooner you want to find your way to bed. i can stay up late with the best of 'em and sometimes do and i always feel like "woo hoo, huntress you're a freaking party animal!!" but if i've got nothing on the calendar, chances are i'm going to be tucked into bed with a good book by 8:45. true story people. i can't figure out if the early-to-bed urge is in direct response to the early-to-rise urge, or visa versa. kinda like the chicken and the egg conundrum, i do not know which came first. i'm just trying to find a way for them to peacefully co-exist.

it's just bizarre, this Aging thing. while i am fully aware that i have years to go before i am officially put out to pasture, the sometimes subtle and other times horribly obvious changes can be, hmmm, unnerving. there's all that internal stuff, like the whole Sleeping Pattern Gone Mad. with these things, you adjust and move on and hope that no one notices. but the external stuff? oh how i struggle with that. eh. it's like all the warnings i received as a young, good-lookin' and physically fit 20-something dyke are coming to fruition.

back in those Good Old Days, i had a friend, a big. ole. bull. dyke., that i simultaneously worshipped and was terrified of. i think she decided to be my Butch Mentor and we had some ridiculous times, goddamn we had fun. and she was always tossing out her Words of Wisdom to me. among other things, she'd wax poetic about tops and bottoms and neckties, oh my. i graduated to butch high school the day i realized that not all those references were fashion-related. someday if you're lucky i'll write about the night i got my Butch Diploma. it's a story for the ages.

almost every saturday night we would go drinkin' at entre nous, a lesbian bar that become a gay bar which became another gay bar which became another gay bar which, sweet jesus, became another gay bar and which is now a straight bar that is owned by, i think, two lesbians. phew. annnyway, we would drink stoli, we would smoke some weed on the roof of the bar, we would just get out and out and wickedly wasted (ah...youth) and then we'd hit Denny's at 1:30 in the morning to deal with the inevitable munchies thang. and i would just shovel. the. food. in. she would sit back, rub her big buddha-like belly, nod her head and say, "huntress, i have never seen anyone eat like you do and not gain a fucking pound. you just wait. you hit 40, and that shit is gonna come back and haunt your ass."

uncanny. it's more haunting my stomach than my ass. but still. she was right.

i used to have that athletic kinda belly, didn't have to do one damn sit-up to keep it that way, and could eat half a pan of brownies at midnight and not gain an ounce. now i see a picture of a pan of brownies and i gain five pounds. for real. i affectionately describe my abdomen area as My Muffin Top Belly (my nieces get a serious laugh outta that and now refer to me as Auntie Muffin Top. nice.) i noticed said belly the very day i turned forty. at first i thought i was either pregnant through immaculate conception or had a Belly Tumor, until it occured to me that this was the Bull Dyke's words comin' back to haunt me. damn.

so your body changes. indeed. i've never been one to exercise for the sake of exercising...blah...and i wouldn't know a sit-up if it walked into my apartment and poured me a cup of coffee. i try to do what i can...being car-less surely helps, and i walk all over this damn city, hills and all. i love to hike, and bike, which, by the way, i do not consider exercise because they both have a destination point that has nothing to do with a stair-master timer, making them more, uh, recreational than torture-inducing. i've lately started trying to "Eat Right", though that's challenging for two reasons. number one, i don't cook and number two, when you're on a tight budget, you tend to buy things like Celeste Frozen Pizzas at a buck twenty five a piece. but i'm working on it. i figure it's a losing battle, but i'm just not quite ready to surrender. i mean, i gave in to the grey hair awhile ago because i think it makes me look, um, distinguished. but i'll wage the battle of the bulge for a bit longer before i just give up completely and start buying bigger shorts.

my pal dawn from mdi has been threatening to sew me a skirt in response to my Mouse Adventure (see comments from of mice and dykes and update) and she's been HARASSING me, in an entertaining way, about what "size" i am. last night she sent me a quick little email that simply said: 28" ? i assumed she meant waist size, and my very terse response was: um, i'll be a 28" again after i've been dead for about 2 weeks.

of course, she meant inseam, and she spent the better part of the next ten minutes scratching her head and trying to figure out if your legs actually shrink, or grow, when you've been dead for two weeks. funny stuff.

anyway. this was an utter ramble. but hopefully fun and entertaining, if you find self-deprecation adorable.

stay out of the heat today. and stay away from me, unless i'm in an air-conditioned room. this humidity makes me really, really cranky. like old-lady cranky.

just sayin'.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

the price of hunger

i'm a big fan of the American News Project, a new, on-line video journalist site that claims its inspiration comes from something that Joseph Pullitzer wrote 130 years ago:

"Always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, always fight demagogues of all parties, never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare... always be drastically independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty."

from what i can tell so far, Joseph would be very, very pleased.

if you've not been to their website, you are missing out on some truly remarkable stuff. a story submitted by Garland McLaurin on June 25th about hunger really got to me, particularly since my mom and dad are dealing with this very thing right now. once my parents find their way through the monthly bills, they have $45 a week left over for groceries. this does not figure in heating oil or taxes. or the hospital bills that will most certainly be arriving soon. my mom and dad are very, very good at being poor, and as i've mentioned before, they sure taught me well too. but they've never had to face what's coming down the road, at full speed. i worry about them so much that i lose sleep over it.

i wish i had money to burn. i wish i was one of those kids that could just write a check every month and send it their way. but i got worries too...like how *i'm* going to pay for *my* heating oil in six months. i'm doing whatever i possibly can think of to help. i'm hoping to talk my mom into at least letting me pick up their grocery bill once a month, though i have a feeling i know how that's going to shake out. i'm going down to shapleigh in a few weeks, and we're going to make a visit to the York County Community Action Center, among other places. my parents paid into this system their entire lives, and i'm just hoping the system appreciates that and reciprocates. but anything i can think of still feels like i'm using a band-aid where a tourniquet is required. and my mom and dad are but two people out of the millions who are a penny or two away from catastrophe. this is the stuff that makes me wring my hands. this is the stuff that my nightmares are made of.

anyway, here's the piece on hunger. oh, and my apologies for a bit of the screen missing. that's just me, showing off my tech-savviness. (not.) helpful hints from 'puter geeks are always welcomed. until then, i suggest hitting the full screen option.

stirring the pot, also known as coffee clutch

a few queer-flavored stories: two current newsie and controversial (ahem) ones; one which should simply be categorized under W.T.F.; and then two entertainment-ish oh-i-hope-she'll-do-an-L-Word-Worthy-sex-scene film updates.

what can i say. there's nothing particularly inspiring chugging around in my head this morning.

go ahead and talk amongst yourselves.

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Heir's adoption of lesbian lover annulled in Maine

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: July 7, 2008

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- An adult adoption involving lesbian partners and a claim to a share of a family fortune built on IBM has been annulled, bouncing the case to Maine's highest court.

At issue is whether it was legal for a judge to allow Olive Watson to adopt Patricia Spado in 1991 in Knox County, where the longtime partners spent several weeks each summer on an island in Penobscot Bay.

Watson was a daughter of Thomas Watson Jr., who took International Business Machines Corp. from punch cards into electronic computing.

The relationship between Spado and Watson ended a year after the adoption was approved, and in 2005 -- after Thomas Watson and his wife had both died -- the adoption was challenged in court by other heirs to the Watson fortune.

After Thomas Watson and his wife died, their grandchildren became eligible for cash payouts and Spado claimed the adoption made her a beneficiary.


[click here for the rest of the may-i-never-be-this-desperate-story.]

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'Pregnant Man' Gives Birth to Girl

By RUSSELL GOLDMAN and KATIE THOMSON
July 3, 2008

Thomas Beatie, the transgender man who made headlines as the so-called "pregnant man," gave birth Sunday to a healthy baby girl, ABC News has learned.

The birth, at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon, was natural, according to a source, who added that reports that Beatie had had a Caesarean section are false.

"She's really cute, really pretty,'' the source told ABC News Thursday afternoon.

[but wait, there's more and i am just not gonna comment on any of it, no way, uh-huh, NOT gonna do it]

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Want a pink slip with that shake?

Gay police in Philippines told not to sway hips — or risk being fired
The Associated Press
updated 9:28 p.m. ET, Thurs., March. 22, 2007

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine police issued a warning to gay officers not sway their hips or display other suggestive behavior while on duty — or they could risk losing their jobs.

"If they sway their hips while marching, or if they engage in lustful conduct, I think that will be a ground for separation," Philippine National Police or PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao said Thursday.

Pagdilao said the police department does not discriminate against homosexuals, but will not hesitate to fire those who misbehave.

[click here to read more about lustful conduct, Phillipine-style]

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Nicole Kidman to play Dusty Springfield
by Music-News.com - May 2 2008photo by Ros O'Gorman

Nicole Kidman will play Dusty Springfield in a forthcoming biopic.

The Oscar-winning Australian actress will play the 60s pop icon in the movie which will document Dusty's troubled life, which included problems with drugs and alcohol, and mental health issues.

The 'Son of a Preacher Man' singer was also secretly bisexual in a time when it was taboo.
Michael Cunningham, writer of 'The Hours', for which Kidman won her Oscar, is working on the screenplay for the film, and has vowed not to shy away from the controversial aspects of Dusty's life.

Cunningham said: 'Dusty was a great artist who no one knew what to do with. But she is clearly going into history with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.'

[more about my girlfriend's new project HERE]

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Lesbian Smooch For Joss Stone

SINGER JOSS STONE has landed her first major film role — as a lesbian.
March 27, 2008

The 20-year-old star has promised fans a “long, lingering French kiss” with a woman.

It also stars CAROLINE QUENTIN, 47.

Joss said yesterday: “There are things that are going to really push the boundaries — and that excites me.”


[oh, good GAWD, it excites me too Joss. In ways i cannot describe, or at least shouldn't. click here for more info. ]


Monday, July 07, 2008

it's getting complicated

[i don't want the slant to turn into some strange episodic adventure called, hmmm, "as the mouse turns" or "all my mice" or "beacon street 04103", but...]

i learned five disturbing facts last night from Jen, The Mouse Expert:

1.) i am making an assumption that this is Mr. Mouse. It could well be Ms. Mouse. shit, how would I know? i did not. get. that. close. would i even know what to look for? did i pay any attention, at all, in high school biology? (um, no, i did not. i generally traded in english essays for john campbell's biology test answers. for real. hated. biology. i mean obviously i'm clear about what to look for (and not) in human beings. but mice? not so much.)

2.) if the little squatter is indeed Ms. Mouse, there is a possibility she's also Mamma Mouse. or Mamma-To-Be Mouse. (hmmm. the rodent did seem a little heavy in the belly area.)

3.) on average, Mamma Mouses, errrr, Mamma Mice, can give birth to um, like, ten little rascals at a time. (actually, Jen originally said FIFTY, but when i began hyperventilating, she compassionately adjusted the number.)

4.) they could all be having their own post-4th of july picnic, in my walls, right this minute. (wonderful. my own fucked-up version of A Tell-Tale Heart.)

5.) if i decide to try and trap Fritz, or Fritzess, i need to transport him or her (or, sweet jesus, THEM) to a far away place. like thirty miles away in windham or something. because if i don't, they. come. back. (i'm accepting rides. right. freaking. now.)

nice. oh, and i also learned that mouse poops are small, very small, like ants or something. and yes, before you ask, i did spend the better part of 20 minutes on my hands and knees last night along the Mouse Evacuation Route looking for these ant-sized droppings.

i should also add that the adorable Ms. Mouse Expert seemed to find some enjoyment in freaking me out by sharing said information with me. her laughter was particularly loud when, each time i learned a Special New Fact, i shouted things like "shut the fuck UP, or oh-my-god that's just disgusting, or screw my Buddhist beliefs, i need to squash the little rodent like a bug." um, yeah. the humiliation never ceases.

aw, fuck it. send me that skirt dawn. i. am. coming. undone. ew. ew. ew.

it's not pretty, people. not pretty at all.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

...later that day...

i *did* find my way to the ocean today. packed a light lunch, grabbed the moon is always female, put my sunglasses on and took route 77 out to two lights. i even managed to find a quiet spot on the rocks, a fair enough distance away from other human beings that i could imagine i had the entire view of the atlantic all to myself. nibbled at my lunch and let marge piercy's words drench me. eventually closed the book and then my eyes and just...took it all in. i'm an aquarian, through and through, and nothing soothes me like the water that i was born bearing.

now i'm back home, car returned, thinking about maybe tossing a veggie burger on the grill, cracking the last boathouse brown ale in the fridge, and calling it a day. the three days off were not nearly enough to get me to that place in my head that i long to be, but they'll have to do, for the moment anyway.

i'll leave you with this fairly lengthy but unbelievably beautiful piercy poem, which captures better than i ever could the way i was feeling out on those rocks today. tumbling and tangled, indeed.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Tumbling and with tangled mane

1.

I wade in milk.
Only beige sand exists as the floor
of a slender nave before me.
Mewing fishhook cries of gulls
pierce the white from what must be up.
The fog slides over me like a trained
snake leaving salt on my lips. Somewhere
I can hear the ocean breathing.
The world is a benign jellyfish.
I float inhaling water that tastes
of iodine and thin bright blood.


2.


We squat on a sandbar digging as the tide
turns and runs to bury the crosshatched scales,
the ribs of the bottom as if the ebbing
of waters exposed that the world is really
a giant flounder. As we wade landward
the inrushing tide is so cold
my ankles ring like glass bells.
We lie belly up baking as the ocean
ambles towards us nibbling the sand.
Out to sea a fog bank stands like world's
end, the sharp place where the boats fall off.


3.


When a storm halts, people get into their
cars. They don't start picking up yet, the bough
that crashed on the terrace, the window
shattered. No, they rush with foot hard down
on the accelerator over the wet winding black
topped roads where pine and oak start out
normal size and get smaller till they are
forests for mice. Cars line up on the bluff
facing waves standing tall as King Kong,
skyscrapers smashed before a giant wrecking ball.
Mad water avalanches. You can't hear.
Your hair fills with wet sand. Your windshield
is being sandblasted and will blind you as the sun
burns a hold in the mist like a cigarette
through a tablecloth and sets fire to air.


4.


A dream, two hundred times the same. The shore
can be red rocks, black or grey, sand dunes
or barrier reef. The sun blazes. The sky
roars a hard blue, blue as policemen.
The water is kicking. The waves leap
at the shore like flames out of control.
The sea gnashes snow capped mountains
that hurl themselves end over end, blocking
the sky. A tidal wave eats the land. Rearing
and galloping, tumbling and with tangled
mane the horses of the surf with mad eyes,
with snorting nostrils and rattling hooves
stampede the land. I am in danger
yet I do not run. I am rooted watching
knowing that what I watch
is also me.


Making makes guilt. Cold fierce mother
who gouges deep into this pamet, who
rests her dragon's belly on the first rocks,
older than land, older than memory,
older than life, my power is so little
it makes me laugh how in my dreaming
lemur's mind making poems or tales or
revolution is this storm on a clear day.


Of course danger and power mingle in all
birthing. We die by what we live by.
Again and again that dream comes when I set
off journeying to the back of my mind,
the bottom of the library, a joust with
what is: the sun a fiery spider high
overhead, the colors bright and clear as glass,
the sea raging at the coast, always about
to overrun it, as in the eye of a hurricane
when the waves roll cascading in, undiminished
but for a moment, and in that place the air
is still, the moment of clarity out
of time at the center of an act.

celie's liberation

forecast today: partly sunny, more humid, highs 80-82.

there is something about the sunday side of a long weekend that makes me want to curl up on my couch and just do...nothing all day. with this kind of weather forecast, i'm fully aware that for at least part of the day i need to get outside and soak in some sun. i've got the smith-hoopes outback until later this afternoon, and i'm thinking about driving over to two-lights for a bit, book in hand, and have myself a little solo picnic. or maybe take a longer drive, to popham beach or something, though it is now officially july and there are likely to be tourists anywhere i decide to venture out to. (that, and the price of a precious gallon of gas combined with the overall lightness of my very butch brown leather wallet.) eh. there are so few spaces left on our lovely coast where you can really, truly be alone and most of them are too far away for me to reach today. but i should attempt to do something outdoorsy, as the next two weeks are going to be work, work, work and more work. this could be my last hurrah until the end of the month, and that is a sad but true story.

(sidenote: the aforementioned reference to my brown leather wallet was my perhaps futile attempt to regain some of the butch status i have wrecklessly lost during the whole Mr. Mouse Affair. i understand it is but a small drop of butchness to compensate for the ocean-sized bucket which appears to have sprung a serious leak. what can i say...desperate situations call for desperate measures.)

tonight i think i'm gonna give in to whole the curl-up-on-the-couch urge, and maybe watch 'the color purple'. (yep. me, willie, and oscar on the couch. and maybe fritz.) i heart this movie. and yes, like all dykes i wish that the relationship between miss celie and shug was as intimate and lesbian-oriented as it was in the book. but still, it's just a visually beautiful, brilliantly acted (go oprah!) film, and i never tire of watching it.

there are so many scenes to love, but celie's liberation has got to be my favorite. every time i watch it, i cheer out loud.

happy sunday y'all.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

update

according to the matriarch, said mouse now has a name.

fritz william huntress.

funny k. really, really funny.

and by the way, it is very, very challenging to type on my laptop while standing on my couch. likely due to lack of a lap, i suppose.

of mice and dykes

so i live on the first floor of a lovely old house in the deering area of portlandtown...lovely because it's all hardwood floors, tall ceilings, lotsa windows, working fireplace. old because it's, well, old. i don't know when the house was built, but surely it's been around for close to a century. i instinctively know that such places may indeed house a mouse on occasion, and i learned this morning that there's a little fella co-habitating with me. good freaking gawd.

like all good card-carrying dykes, i have two cats, willie and oscar, whom i've written about before on The Slant (see label: Dykes Love Their Pets.) i discovered our new roommate this morning as i was sitting on my couch sipping my first cup of coffee and watching an especially rambunctious and acrobatic willie chasing around what i sleepily thought was one of his cat toys. only this cat toy was, um...animated (when did i buy a wind-up toy, and who the hell wound it up??), and willie seemed unusually engaged with it (he normally has a very short attention span, and cat toys are interesting to him for about 2 minutes).

when the coffee finally kicked in and it dawned on me that this was not a cat toy but a real. live. mouse, i suddenly became Darlene the Wimp Dyke and went from sitting on my couch to standing on it and sort of jumping up and down (wtf?). and making noises that were likely interpreted by neighbors as Darlene-has-a-talented-overnight-guest OR Darlene-is-being-murdered. um yeah. (amazing how those two very different situations can elicit similar gutteral screams. and THAT, queers and gents, is just a whole different post altogether.) annnnnyway, i quickly shifted from screech mode to catatonic state (nice, CAT-atonic) for the next five minutes, just standing on the couch, speechless and unable to move. brilliant. once i worked myself through this short but powerful episode of post-traumatic stress syndrome, i stepped off the couch, very, very carefully, to plot My. Next. Bold. Move.

i vacillated between rooting for willie (please euthanize this little rodent) and being a good Buddhist who should save the little fella's life. only there was no way in hell i was even going to attempt to grab the damn thing myself. not gonna happen. there was a little glass bowl sitting on my dining room table, so i thought, hmmm, maybe i can trap him underneath the bowl and figure out how to slide him along the floor to the door. yeah. right.

the ensuing scene was just. utterly. ridiculous. willie and i both were clearly outmatched by the mouse. i was better equipped to follow his trail (willie is cute, but not savvy) but the mouse was very good at finding little things to hide behind. in one frantic moment, i was almost certain i had him cornered, and had my bowl in hand, ready to pounce, cover, and slide. then willie jumped in front of me, swatted a paw at the mouse and missed him by a good three feet...at which point i gave him the "what the fuck willie?" look and he gave me the "oh and you're faring so much better than me right now, asshole" look in return. and the little guy, recognizing the overall lack of a concrete plan and current infighting of his enemies, seized the moment, ran at about a buck-forty into the kitchen, and found the narrow, conveniently-mouse-sized-and-otherwise-unreachable space between my sink and counter, where i assume he is now hiding. and let me say, he seemed to know exactly where he was heading, enough so that i'm certain this was his predetermined evacuation route. i admire the smart little shit, no doubt about it. willie seems to be keeping vigil in that general area, looking defeated yet determined, but it's been 30 minutes, and no sign of Mr. Mouse.

which means there is now a mouse inside my house. in most scenarios, it would bode well for my team...two cats and a dyke, right? but i'm not sure we three are well-schooled enough to outsmart this guy. and i am more than a little disturbed by the notion that he could emerge at any time, particularly while i'm standing at the sink doing dishes or something pseudo-domestic. i cannot believe i am this intimidated by a creature no bigger than, well, a really small mouse. but i am.

what to do, what to do. co-habitation is not an option i want to consider because it's just, um, freaky to me. and it can't be sanitary. eh. i suppose i should just leave it up to the cats. but there is still that Buddhist-love-all-creatures-and-do-no-harm thang nagging at me. i wish i could figure out a way to trap him and release him to the great outdoors and wish him a happy independence day. literally.

suggestions from Slant readers are whole-heartedly welcomed. (for some reason i feel like Dawn from MDI is gonna have one hell of an entertaining comment.) in the meantime, i'll just be here, on beacon street, standing on my couch. really, i'll be fine.