Sunday, February 25, 2007

Will you still love me when I'm 64

Perhaps it is an gnawing awareness of my advancing age but I have been thinking a lot about sexuality and aging. Maybe it's just I like thinking about sex. Whatever.

As someone who has a rather large repertoire of fantasies, activities and such, I wonder how physical age impacts things like, oh flexibility of limbs and stamina. But also, it feels easy to suspend reality now, preferring to get a thrill out of TGF's steadfast proclamations that butches flirt with me right and left, some day, real flirtations or (mostly) imagined, that will dwindle to nothing and I will be invisible. Now, it's easy to role play being a oversexed teen but will it become unbelievable even to the two of us twenty years from now? Will different fantasies replace them, do fantasies age with us or in contradiction to the sags, the wrinkles, and a youth that is scores away.

My sexuality is a powerful force in how I view myself in the world and I am wondering how that may change when my juiciness fades literally (hello menopause), or perspectively by becoming less noticeable to others because while I "walk around with it", I do rely on others' noticing, which I believe a lot of us do. I do think as mentioned in the above link, I will keep my sense of humour, inner poise and it is highly unlikely my sizable ass will ever be lost (because lord knows I've tried a hundred times to lose that thing!), there is a more intangible "it" that is related to allure, sex appeal, seductiveness that it hard to find examples in "a woman of a certain age" (at least in this country, if one believes the link, which inspired dreams of becoming an ex-patriot in Paris in my later years), and that is what I worry about disappearing.

In many ways my sexuality is at an all time high in terms of its rawness, accessibility and expression because TGF and I work so hard to explore boundaries, push limits, expose our emotional life to each other with depth and honesty which results in an incredibly hot and often vulnerable relationship. Perhaps that is part of why I am thinking about these things because I am want to hold on to this thrall, I want to hold on to the intimacy we have been building, and there are about a hundred fantasies I still want to act on, and I suspect many will be repeated. That's a lot of sex in my future.

I suspect in a few years, what will change for certain and for true is I will be spending a lot more money of lubricants.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It's a yarn entry - beware GWF

It's been awhile since I posted about knitting, just a little line here or there so without further ado....

My first official finished in 2007 project was the scarf that had a matching hat - both for my mother-out-law.
n: Creative Knitting, January 2007 issue
Yarn: Cascade 220 Heather in Mallard, and regular Cascade 220 in a nice deep gray.
Needles: straight aluminum, vintage size 10
I might make it again as it is an easy pattern and interesting to look at.

Several posts ago I mention fighting with yarn, again. Hanks of yarn and I do not seem to get along very well. I started winding this yarn before I left for my school conference and finished long after.
Here it is less than midway through. Jennie says I need a swift, though I know that doesn't always help. Yet again, I do not care to think how many hours I spent untangling yarn.

It looks lovely on the winder, no?
I have two good size balls of this yarn which I am guessing is a rayon boucle
, perhaps with a bit silk though I have no way of knowing. It looks a lot like Fiesta Rayon Boucle, though none of the coloursways are a match for what I have in my stash. If anyone has a good idea for gauging the yardage please let me know! I am guessing anywhere between 350-600 yards. In glancing around the web for potential patterns the new issue of Interweave Knits has a shawl pattern called Clementine that might look lovely in this yarn.

I have been plodding along with my secret project, though now that I have new (read borrowed) needles from Jennie the work goes faster. I have to say that I {heart} this yarn. For a minute or two I thought I would have enough left over to make socks with it but I am rethinking my math. Fearless Fibers has won my heart with the superwash sock yarn, I yearn to try other yarns. I see more purchases in my future. Yes, yes, I know you can't see anything really, but look at the colours! They absolutely make my heart sing. Once the recipient has ooh'ed and ahh'ed over it I promise better photos.

After far too much pondering over patterns and techniques, even asking for guidance from my knit list, and great apprehensio
n on my part I have cast on for socks. I knew that I wanted to do a "toe-up" pattern, but I wanted something a little bit more exciting than stockinette stitch for the leg but nothing to complex for my brain or interfere with the self-striping yarn (Regia Surf cotton, in Purple). I will either use this pattern or this one. Previously I had done a crochet provisional cast on square toe but I wanted to learn a new technique - one that used nothing extra. Using larger needles than I would ultimately need and spare yarn I practiced the Magic 8 cast-on. Convinced for no reason that I needed size 2 double points, I searched my home high and low for such creatures, only to find that 1- I had none, and 2 - I needed size 1 anyway. Finally I began the first sock only to make an error that bothered me. I looked at the sock and pronounced it "ungraceful", to which TGF scoffed and replied, "It's a sock. It doesn't need to be graceful." What does she know? The problem was that I had not been doing a regular knit row between the increase rows. It was ghastly I tell you. Frogging ensued until, well I had to start over completely. The second toe has an error but I decided it was okay, not perfect and I have to live with that as I remember it is the first time I am attempting this technique, and one has to start somewhere. Unfortunately somewhere is not perfection. I am enjoying the process however.

With two projects that will take some time given how little I have been knitting lately I wanted something quick, using large needles and thicker yarn. Casting about (ha ha) my stash I dug out the remainder of the Lion Brand Wool in midnight blue that I used for my father's cabled beanie. TGF really seemed to like that colour and I thought it would look great against her skin, so a Calorimetry was begun. It became apparent that there was not enough of the yarn so once again a dash through the stash was in order to find something that ideally was wool, similar weight, and a good colour match. I used some of the Brown Sheep superwash in Japanese Plum leftover from the beret I made for Sunny two years ago. It seemed best to double the yarn to make the best match and would keep my beloved's head warmer. There has been talk about the gauge being odd for this project and though my gauge matched the pattern it does seem a tad big, so I placed the button a bit up from the point. It is a large improvement in terms of warmth and coverage over that first tiny little headband I made over two years ago. It is a satisfying little project and may consider making myself one someday but I will cast on fewer stitches next time around.

The wrong time

I started out half watching as I often do, playing on the computer but the music not surprisingly sucked me in, the music is one of the key characters of this series. Until very recently I never gave Cold Case any attention but somehow, one day it sunk in. Sure the premise that they can solve cases that are decades old let alone one from just five years previous is stretching things.

Tonight's repeat, "Best Friends" was so incredibly sad, perhaps more so because it hit on so many of societies biases - race and sexuality. At first I thought the actress that played Billie was too feminine to be convincing as a butch, but it didn't really matter as the story grew, not one bit. I have been fortunate that my family and friends did not turn away when I came out, I have friends who have had much harder roads. But I have experienced peoples' distaste when I was with people of colour, or another woman. When it was both, I felt attacked from all sides with attitude.

The other thing that struck me was Rose's feelings about never forgetting Billie. I realize the circumstances in the episode (no spoiler here) that of course she would but so many shows create the story of first or early loves being so wonderful, perpetually seen through rose tinted glasses. That idea is so foreign to me. The closest I got to that was with Marz when I was in my early twenties, but the rosy glowed ended long before the relationship did. It was the first, perhaps only time, I understood at all the notion of "falling in love", that rush, the grand hope attached, throwing all caution to the wind. Yes, I was filled with cliches in those early days. Well as filled as I can get, which isn't very really. Poetic license and all that, reflecting back on that time for the purposes of well, poetic license. I never bought the prince charming stories, I never believed in forever, but what about the forever of love of someone even if you aren't with them anymore? I have exes i still ove regardless of the extent of our contact, but I harbour any illusions of what might have been, or what if's about reunions. I know some people do, Rose in the storyline certainly does which suits the purposes of hitting all those poignant notes.

I suppose this goes back a bit to my valentine's day post - romantic love being a transient state and overvalued. This is not to say that I do not feel romantic toward TGF because I do, but it is not a perpetual euphoria any more than the early days of endless sex is perpetual which overall is a good thing or else the animals at Casa de Cedar would rebel loudly from lack of food and attention. However the public message is that love is supposed to romantic and all consuming as well as problem free. Love takes work there are smooth days and ones that are bumpier than road riddled with frost heaves in Vermont. Rose and Billy never got that far, like many couples of all ilks but somehow their tales, and the rose tinted versions of couple celebrating 30 years together become the standard we struggle to measure up to.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A rose is a rose is sometimes a peony

Today I noticed something interesting while driving in the hell traffic of 80/580 from the Bulb to avoid the San Pablo Avenue stop and go traffic. That worked really well. Not. Glancing up from my sock knitting (going slow in size 1 needles) I see a bright blue Mini-Cooper with a customized license plate. Not too long ago TGF had mentioned that she didn't see a lot of personalized plates in California and I posited that it could be that license plates stay with cars in this state. At least that's what I heard once upon a time. Struck me as silly especially since states usually charge extra for plates like ASTI4EVR (an actual plate). But this Cooper had one of those plates with the icons, in this case the heart icon with these letters afterwards Y-O-N-I (The link may not be considered work-safe for many folks though it is artistic.) My immediate thought was 1- how ballsy (no pun intended), 2 - must belong to a dyke. Yes I was stereotyping but seriously.

I mention the plate to TGF who turns to me with a bewildered look on her face. It occurs to me that she has never heard of yoni. Given my excursions into early lesbian/feminist writings, and my later explorations of eastern religions I was very familiar with both the spiritual as well as the more "we womyn are so peaceful and vegetarian, and sing folk music" (yep another stereotype but work with me here).

Once again I marveled at how different our exposure was to various lesbian cultural language, experiences, and readings. I devoured Lesbian Poetry, a book I have no recollection of buying but obviously I got it somewhere. It is still on my book shelf upstairs I believe. Quite the classic, I assure and nothing TGF would have ever read so really no surprise that the license plate was meaningless to her.

As the wikipedia entry points out yoni really means something different than vagina but the word has moved, in a fashion, from the sacred to the profane
(a book from my undergrad days that may also still be on my bookshelf) in meaning. Of course there is also the possibility that it means something else entirely for the owner of that car. But still. It's like Chevy Nova not working in Spanish language countries since no va means it won't go. Not a great label for a car. Akin to the Ford acronym created but anti Henry folks- FoundOnRoadDead. I used to have a file of all those car acronyms for car makes - cracked me up. Bet it's still on the web somewhere. But I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, at how different the cultural references can be even inside of a subset of society, like lesbianism. TGF is not the first person who is a peer regarding age, age at coming out, etc with whom I had different reference points with. Music, writings, magazine, festivals can all differ even with several points in common. Fascinating, no? Okay, maybe just to me.

I grew up reading Ms. magazine while TGF probably barely even heard the word feminist even whispered in the hallways of home or school. I never went to Michigan Women's Festival but not because it was beyond my knowledge base or desire. TGF? I am pretty sure she found out about it around the same time I did, maybe even sooner, but so not her scene. She was far from the only young woman she knew who was sleeping with women in high school. None of my friends copped to it. Alix Dobkin is unknown to her, whereas I spent the night at her ex-husband's house, made friends with her daughter and heard her perform at some festival or other. I love learning where she and I intersect, where our cultural references are new pieces of information for the other one.

The driver, by the way, was apparently male.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hardly what I would call a holiday

It can't be an ordinary day because everywhere you turn there is a reminder that you are supposed to expect or provide romance, jewels, or at least a roll in the hay, especially if you usually don't roll. But it really is an ordinary day that should only be remarkable if one is truly inspired not because the calendar tells you marking your love is important today, like a "one day sale". Although given the date is in honour of two Catholic martyrs perhaps it is a form of sweet justice that so many rush around, feeling stress, and others have expectations unmet.

The day became associated with romantic love in the High Middle Ages when courtly love was popular. Courtly love. Elitist much? No wonder there is so much emphasis on spending money for this "holiday". I have been single, miserably partnered, and happily partnered on this day, depending on the year. In my relationships I have never stressed the importance of this day, preferring that the everyday, random display, the one that comes because my lover is simply moved to act is compelling, more romantic. Does this mean I am not charmed and immensely pleased on the chance that the someone happens to chose to display their affection on February 14th? No, it's a special treat, but only because I have conditioned to think so, not because it actually is a treat. The treat is in the act, not the date.

It is one the events on our calendar that stresses the primacy of couplehood versus being single. I have a number of friends who are single, usually relatively happily so but yet the fourteenth of February leaves many of them and other uncoupled folks grumpy, claiming to hate this day, or even dare I say expressing bitterness. Really I can't blame them, especially because I recognize myself in their utterances. Today I am in a good, strong relationship but that doesn't mean there isn't a part of me sitting in that room with those single people because society places an unfair burden of explaining of their state because the norm for this culture is to be partnered. It treasures romantic love above all other forms, except probably parental love.

This is a discussion that occurred on an email list I am on several months ago. It stemmed from the final episode of Will and Grace which showed their friendship crumbled and in the past while each were happily married.
Not surprisingly we did not come to any paradigm shifting conclusions but a lot of interesting things were said. Recently there was a thread on soul mates: do they exist, does the concept harm us, can we have more than one, more than one kind. I think they do exist, I know I have more than one, and more than one kind. My friend Greg is definitely a soul mate. Sometimes I have met someone and felt an instant connection, a sense of "knowing" them previously. They were a type of soul mate in that I was meant to meet up with this person. Forever? Probably not for most of them.

There is a bit of that sense with TGF in that our connection was so deep, so fast. We met via an email list, not a hook up site at all. After a few short months we met in person and though it's hard to convey my visceral response I will try. Her face did not surprise me. Yes we had sent a few photos (how else do you meet a stranger in an airport?) but it wasn't that. It was her facial expressions, the way she looked at me - I felt naked in a very emotional way that weekend. I felt like I knew her. Those few days took me though more emotions than I usually experience in a month. Does that make her my soul mate? It is not a label I have used to describe though after writing the above, I wonder why not.

My friends are extremely important to my well-being, just as is TGF. Maybe next year I will have party on valentine's day that is all about friends and love but not romantic pairings, celebrate the other relationships that are just as important to feeding our souls. Being one half a romantic pair is not the only reality out there but it often feels like that is the only thing admirable. Especially today.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Perfection is in the eye of the beholder

I feel the need to expand on something I wrote in my last post as I feel it might have been misunderstood, or worse caused some hurt feelings. The idea of the "perfect post" nomination is a nice bolster in the sometimes silent halls of blogosphere. I have only come across the concept, I believe, on Something Blue Baby's site, which is how the link was found. It is possible, even likely I have stumbled upon a reference to it elsewhere but I don't remember it. I wondered from whence it came, how one got a post dubbed PP but never enough to investigate.

Pattie, who wrote the linked perfect post noted yesterday, commented here for the first time, though I hope she finds reason to visit again. I liked the idea of her post, because as I think it does touch something that I believe a lot of us experience, which is what makes something a "perfect post" piece as Something Blue wrote in her comment - it touches us, it sparks a memory. It is true that I was using her post, and the knowledge of the PP as a jumping off point for a post that I thought was pretty near perfect. The world is incredibly subjective.

There is a bit of vanity in blogging thus creating a desire for comments, to have our work praised. But the nature of this arena also lends to critiques as well. Would l like to have a piece of my writing considered perfect? Do swans honk? Even posts that I think are really strong, I do not think of as perfect but rather their flaws haunt me as think how a different writer could do so much more than me with the story. I see every place where I rushed, where I did not paint a picture as much as simply told facts (which has it's place), where my language lacked depth. I am frequently moved by other blogger's creativity, writing style, sense of humour, ability to turn the mundane into a work of art.

Something Blue and Pattie, I hope to meet you again in these halls.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Alphas, omegas and beyond

Somewhere in Blogland there exists the concept, complete with the ubiquitous button, of the "perfect post". I first came across it here, and read the friendship post linked. It was a good post, but perfect? Not in my humble opinion. Okay, I do not always think my opinions are humbly served up to whoever is listening, it is true. Very good concept in the post, but the telling gets rushed, a little cliche in places (a fate that I know I suffer from as well which may partially explain my less than impressed opinion). Today I stumbled on a post which blew me away on a subject most are probably mocking, pitying, curbside psychoanalyzing or relegating to fluff. I read it aloud to TGF who was equally impressed.

I am sure some of you will disagree with my vote of perfection of this entry but that is what makes the world go round. Before this I have never given much thought to the subject of the post, probably taking comfort in believing myself to be more aligned with the alphas than omegas (read the post and this will make sense) because isn't that where most of us would like to see ourselves. Yes there are people who like to be outliers, I am one of them but that seems to be different than being an omega. Being different, quirky (I always wanted to emulate Goldie Hawn's ability to embody "quirk" while remaining sexy), being the dissenting opinion appealed to me, still does. But I wanted to be admired, respected, even adored for those qualities not the subject of ridicule, not to have my opinions tossed off without examination.

Clearly I am not a definitive alpha, though some would argue that I regularly compete for the title, except to my dog Wyatt. I would like to think that there is not a crew of folks snickering at my antics and struggles- if there were I would certainly be an omega. I think I am part of the group that is less identifiable by this construct. Mostly I am happy to be there. There is some invisibility in this nebulous part of society in which I inhabit. I am not known for my academic worth at school, but maybe for my inability to finish classes, being direct, and for reaching out to those in my program but not always to the larger school community. Certainly I am no raising star at The Agency but again I am direct and supportive. These are not particularly alpha qualities- compassionate honesty, empathetic support, a sharp sense of humour. Society at large really has a large percentage of folks who fall between the two poles.

Right now I am taking comfort in my belief I am not an omega, and finding satisfaction in not being an alpha because their participation in the sporting event known as "the making of an omega" does not appeal to me. I think I will indulge in my little mostly invisible role in the larger society as it better matches who I believe myself to be.

Friday, February 09, 2007

From Sunrise to Sunset

(This post is very long and medically graphic. Fair warning.)

My client went into labour, thus ending my “on-call” status which was weighing heavy on my mind. It has been nearly two years since I last attended a birth and I was struck by how being on call felt like moving through mud rather than contributing to a sense of excitement in my world. The honeymoon, it appears, is over, long over. The first baby’s who birth I assisted at turned ten years old in early December, I’m not clear, not at all where all the time went. I was hoping for some sense of redemption, to gain my devotion, or perhaps something more base like make me feel good about this work again. I wish I could say it worked.

Tuesday I thought about my client Elaine* a lot, leaving her a voicemail to touch base. It was my official fourth day of not doing school work on purpose, and trying very hard not to think about it. I spent a lot of time trying to wind a ball of yarn. Again. It’s still not done by the way. The yarn is beautiful though I have no idea of the material (I’m guessing rayon maybe with some silk) or the yardage (I’m guessing at least 350 yard but perhaps as much as 600). But I digress.

At 11p.m. I thought perhaps I ought to head to bed but in typical fashion sleep did not occur until about 12:15a.m. A noise pierced my densely dream-packed sleep jarring me awake but far from coherent at 1:35 a.m. when it came to trying to figure out how to turn off the answering machine. I never did figure it out- we hung up and I called back. Elaine’s water had broken but nothing was really happening however the hospital told her to come in very soon. She was hesitant about that advice and I certainly had never heard that without certain concerns that someone needed to come in right away. I encouraged her to do what was most comfortable to her, to listen to her instincts. Of course the right thing to do would be right back to sleep, right? Instead of slumbering my brain wove like a car driven by a drunk teenager through the streets of anxiety. Eventually by coaching myself through breathing exercises and mentally chanting I fell back to sleep only to be awaken by the ring again at about 3:20a.m. Contractions were quite regular, every four minutes or so and Elaine felt like she wanted to go in and they would call me when they wanted my presence. Once again I tried to sleep just a bit until 4:01a.m. when Dan* called requesting my presence. A quick shower, an internet search for direction because I realized I hadn’t been to the hospital since their nephew’s birth two and half years prior and getting lost would not be a good thing, I was on my way. It was still quite dark out as it was about 4:40a.m. and there was a light rain.

The couple were in a good rhythm, contraction were happily regular and taking some attention but there was an angry looking IV sticking into her hand with the fluid being pumped in viciously fast causing a bloated look to her hand and forearm. It was already done, but I couldn’t see any reason for her to even have an IV yet but I could easily imagine the conversation that transpired before I got there.

Nurse: So we are just going to place an IV to give you fluids

E: Really? Do I need that? I really don’t like needles.

Nurse: Well it’s protocol, and if you decide later that you want an epidural we won’t have to do it later. It’s really better if we just do it now when things are easier and your labor isn’t as hard as it will get later, ad nauseam. Thus an IV that hurts the entire time is placed.

Elaine was not tied to “going natural”, and despite medical phobias including needles, she was open to an epidural. New policy means that only one support person can be in the room and she chose Dan, quite reasonably. I hate not being in the room like that. Why? Because docs can lie, because some nurses do not comfort well. Because damn it, it’s my job to be there! The reason for the policy change is due to a freak accident. I kid you not. Since I’m usually in the room I have no idea how long it takes to do the procedure. I know that sounds odd, but I am so focused on the clients I don’t watch a clock. It took three tried until I could reenter the room. Poor Elaine, it took three tries to get the dang thing placed and then the baby didn’t like the meds or the position or something so some minor and short lasting frenzy ensued. All was well but it rankled me that I was not there during the hubbub.

Things moved along, though I can’t say quickly as the epidural slowed labour- one of the potential side affects so pitocin was added. Everyone was excited when Elaine was close to complete, and which point to just let her body work to “labour the baby down” before starting to actively push. (Some day I may rant about the pushing circus that often ensues at hospital births.) The laboring down worked in that the baby really moved down and again much happiness filled the room. Pushing in earnest began at about 5:20 p.m. This stage is exciting but can feel exceedingly slow since the distance being measured is so short but often takes some time. Once pushing begins at a hospital there is often a “clock” that starts because protocol says X act (dilation, pushing) should take Y time and if there is a variation it is a pathological situation that needs intervention. As we approached the ends of the time table the midwife brought in an obstetrician for consult. An assisted delivery was recommended which means vacuum extraction. This was upsetting news for Elaine and Dan, and yes even me. I wasn’t surprised as I could tell how limited the progress was after 2.5 hours of pushing. There were questions and answers about potential outcomes, adverse effects, and all the rest.

Elaine and Dan agreed to the procedure and suddenly the room went into overdrive, overhead lights were flicked on, ending the soft lighting and more relaxed state. People were holding about 4 different conversations; a cart filled with instruments was wheeled in and uncovered with a flourish usually reserved for beautiful artwork. I checked in with Dan who looked a bit shaken and then went to Elaine where I leaned in close, whispering to her to close her eyes for a bit, take deep breaths to center herself. I spoke about how the vacuum was an assist to her heroic efforts rather than the vacuum saving the day or doing the birthing. I told her how strong she was, how amazingly hard she was working, focused on meeting her baby.

Once everything was in place however I had a hard time doing all that I was asking of her because there was such an urgency in the ob’s voice, as if the baby was at risk which was not the case! The baby had been tolerating labour and pushing beautifully and yet everyone in a cacophony of chaos started to chant “PUSH PUSH PUSH” with intense urgency. With the first attempt I began to see just a bit of head, internally relaxing just a bit because this was a good sign that the vacuum would work and this birth would not end in the operating room. The next contraction really brought the head out but then there was a stall, leading the ob to call out “supra pubic pressure”. I knew it meant there was some dystocia freaked me out a bit even as I told Elaine the head was out, you’re doing great, your baby’s is almost here. (Even typing this out I can feel my body tighten and my breathing getting shorter.)

Suddenly the baby was out, looking limp which again scared me, she started making small little crying sounds that let me exhale. Elaine starting crying, I think Dan might have as well, I know it took everything in my power not to bawl. It is days later and I still feel that heavy cry sitting inside me. The baby pinked up beautifully. The placenta followed pretty quickly though I wasn’t near Elaine for that as I was photographing the baby. It certainly looked healthy when held up and I assured Elaine, who had asked, that yes, some people do eat it but more people plant it under a tree. Most people have the hospital discard it.

It turns out that the baby had her left hand up by her face which technically is called a compound presentation. This is probably what held up her progress down the birth canal (Another potential rant- canal? A manmade construct for amazing path the baby travels to be born. Sheesh.) The use of vacuum also made for a fast delivery with no crowning which resulted in extensive damage to Elaine’s body. There are different degrees assigned to tears which happen in childbirth and I have never before had a client with a fourth degree. The ob spent at least an hour and a half repairing the damage, which included a long internal tear as well. This was incredibly stressful for Elaine who just wanted to be with her child.

At some point I had the baby placed on her chest so they could nuzzle together as the separation was so hard to watch. Finally it was over, some breastfeeding was attempted, Elaine was cleaned up, able to sit up for the first time since having her epidural placed nearly 12 hours previous. Family came in but I encouraged them not to stay too long and they graciously got the hint. I left shortly after that, driving home exhausted and so sad. I know Elaine is happy to not have had a cesarean but I am left here with Monday morning quarterback syndrome wondering if she would have been better off in terms of her healing and potential long term outcomes. Driving home I processed over and over again so many details. Like the midwife saying after the baby was born that she was starting to not tolerate the long pushing phase, this was not said before the decision was made – not even close. Could she have birthed a compound presentation? Possibly but there is no way to know that. Again the sky was dark and rain was falling.

I wanted my faith restored, I wanted to drink in the beauty of birth but I did not get refreshed the way I having been aching for in the past two years. This couple was not required to provide that, but they were my opportunity, my chance to recapture something. Dan’s sister is pregnant, due in about six months and she will be my first repeat client in California. I will pin the same hopes but my expectations will be even less as there are no guarantees. This is a hard path to walk- the sense of god, as in spirit not a entity in the room is so addicting, so compelling and I wanted to feel it again. At this birth I received just a whiff of it, just enough to leave me feeling like a little kid with her nose pressed against the bakery window, belly growling and the imaginary taste of sweetness dancing on my tongue.

* No real names are used and I do not identify the city or hospital for confidentiality purposes.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

In which our heroine pulls a surprise

TGF has been in the dumps a bit of late and was very much not in the spirit of things birthday-ish. A few days before the actual birthday (which was on Thursday) she spoke about how she didn't even want to celebrate. Can you imagine how that pulled at our heroine's heart strings? Given my "in debt up to my eyeballs and no work on the horizon" graduate student reality I had no funds to whisk her off to the Bellagio, or even up to a cabin on the Mendocino coast. So what's a sweetie to do? Evidently throw together a surprise gathering on four days notice, that's what!

An email was sent to a pile of people who, oh my god have lives and thus, were not available, but fortunately some were. Whew number one.

Many emails then went back and forth deciding when and where. Together we came up with a potluck at our place, great for my budget. Whew number two.

On the premise that the house was getting to me, especially if I was to be finally taking my vacation from the neverending thoughts of "I ought to be doing school work RIGHT NOW" I cleaned the house on Saturday. However not manically (though TGF kept checking if I were feeling alright. Sheesh, one would think I never clean. So not true. I even took random breaks to check email (needing to check on my peeps!) and winding yarn which was totally not related to cleaning with the vain hope it would throw her off track. House got rather tidy. Whew number three.

While checking emails it becomes clear that our friends would be coming through with awesome eats meaning I didn't have to also profess to get caught by the cooking bug as well. Whew number four.

Before leaving to do the dog walk thing she mentions something about having a "date" when we return. I reply enthusiastically but wonder how I will wiggle this out - the timing has to be just so! During our duskish walk with Ruth and Piccolo (who were both in on this plan), Ruth begged off a little early. Excellent, as TGF wanted to stop for pet food on the way home. However she also wanted to stop for a Mt. Dew and a pack of cigs. Obsessively through these adventures I am checking the time. Okay if we finish now we will get home in time for her to go out back for her sin stick before Wyatt (who always goes out with her) might smell or spy Piccolo. On the way home her stomach growls prompting her to ask about dinner options. Casually I say, Oh I'll come up with something, and now I can say if pressed let's eat before "retiring to the bedroom". Whew number five.

While biding my time at the house, after the errands my cell rings. As I rush to grab it I am trying to figure where she is, hoping she didn't hear it. Sue and Sarah checking in to say they will be a little late. I push Sarah off the phone quickly with a series of "it's fine. no problem. alright then" comments. Shortly after we are both on the couch when I get a text message. Dammit all to hell! It's Jennie asking if they can come in early because her son needs the bathroom. Quickly I punch in "yes". For some odd reason TGF doesn't really acknowledge this activity. Whew number six.

A few short minutes later there is a knock at the door. I pull out the "Oh, are you stopping on your way through" line (since this happened while TGF was out of town I figured it might work to divert attention). "Oh, yes. G really needs to use the bathroom, if you don't mind." TGF hasn't seen our Ms. Jennie is quite sometime and is surprised to see her but happy. So taken aback in fact that she doesn't realize that Jennie has put two bags of junk food on the dining table. We all stand around talking in the living room. When there is another knock on the door, I tell TGF to get it. It's Ruth, with Piccolo bearing cake and bbq. At was at this point that she figured out something was going on. Sue and Sarah arrived a bit later with KFC (another favorite of TGF - her friends really do know her!), an enormous bouquet of balloons, and themed party things (plates, table cloth, party hats and more!). The theme? Elmo of course! Fabulous. On the even later side (hey these are our friends and it's how they roll!) Liz and Andrea came bearing a box of Kr*spy Kremes. Totally awesome.

TGF seems very pleased. Whew number seven.

This morning as I walked into the dining room the sight of the Elmo table cloth brought quite the smile to my face. However,
I will never again...wait, never say never is the rule isn't it? I am unlikely to try to pull off a surprise party on such short notice again.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Unexpected responses

Last week I was a bit ambivalent about going to group supervision since I had almost no contact with people from my case, my client being non-responsive, so I felt I did not have a lot to offer to the meeting. But I love hearing about my colleagues' cases, seeing if there is something to learn, to suggest, to chuckle over. It was a really good session including a role play.

While the hourly rate is quite good at this site, my hours are not predictable, the structure (cognitive-behavior) wears me down, and the cases we are getting referred to The Agency are getting very challenging. I long to not work but in point of fact that does not seem like a good option give the banking statements coming through the mail slot at Casa de Cedar. I have been spending time on craigslist looking for something that is part time, pays more than $8/hour, doesn't require an hour of travel, and is something I can stand to do. Not that I'm picky or anything, really I'll do almost anything. Anything that I can stand, is part time, pays decently, and ideally is within walking distance to my house. See, quite reasonable.

Believe it or not I found a couple of possibilities (okay they are not walking distance but...) and sent off resumes. Nothing. As in nada. Then today I found an internship position for one to two days a week from now through June with a rather small stipend. But it would count for hours and do something different, use other skills maybe! One teeny tiny issue is it's in Burlingame. Not exactly close, traffic hell in fact. Within hours, I get a response. Not only have they let me know they received my resume but they have reviewed it and would like me to come for an interview. So guess where I'll be at 10:00a.m. tomorrow? Yep. Burlingame.

Later I went to group supervision and felt totally disconnected, a feeling I had thought I had gotten over with The Agency. As nice as things can be, as much fun as the bar night was, I am mostly not connected to these folks. I spend very little time touching base with my clinical supervisor (aka Jewish Santa) because mostly I don't need to or with the case supervisor (The Caz), whom I really do like. Unlike some of the folks I don't need time there going over notes, nor is it on my way to and fro very much, I do not see it as a touchstone place. I had wanted to not be working in this semester but that is not possible however it seems that somewhere in my brain I had expected to leave and perhaps that is part of my outsider feeling tonight.

Sometimes I want to feel different about the place, I wish I had more in common, or had tried to determine if there are more common bonds there but I am in such a different place then many of them. Or maybe I'm not and just cannot connect with them for some other reason. Have I dismissed potential friendships for some other reason? It's not like I feel I have so many friends I have no room for more. I really do instinctively like a few of them but any attempts to build more have been lame on my part. Again, why? Maybe it's just been so long since I have had anything like coworkers that I have lost all sense about how to do that thing that moves them to being friends. My termination report is due in less than two weeks, I will go to the county meeting that day too, but I suspect a "leave of absence" is coming soon. I certainly don't want to burn any bridges as it's a good place to fall back on for work should I need it down the road. And I will really miss a few of the people a lot.