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SITM: Yearning for Flatland

New post up at Somewhere in the Middle: Yearning for Flatland about my recent visit to Dr. Brownstein.

Comment here, there, or anywhere, I love comments.


Not!Morning Page: Resolutions

I've always looked at New Years Resolutions as basically culturally sanctioned opportunities for failure and guilt. Ways you set yourself up to not live up to your own and other people's expectations.

And yet.

And yet I always make them. And then I feel guilty when life causes me to change my plans. But you know, I think that's the wrong attitude to take. I think one of my strengths is adaptability. (Don't argue with me yet, let me persist in the delusion a little.) I'm one of those people who likes to leave things to the last minute. Who is perfectly happy making plans a half hour before carrying them out. Who gets a little anxious having things in the calendar too far in advance.

I roll with the punches and come up fighting, or at least I like to think I do. So if I make some resolutions that involve behavior changes, and then a few weeks or months down the line something happens in my life and I stop doing the thing I resolved to do, well, is that necessarily a sign that I'm an inferior person who lacks dedication and willpower, or is it a sign that I adapt to changing conditions and don't get locked into old plans when new circumstances demand different responses?

Of course there's part of me saying yeah, you know what else you're really good at? Rationalization.

Anyway. I made a few resolutions:
  1. Exercise more
  2. Eat more vegetables and protein
  3. Rededicate myself to writing
  4. Be more present in my relationships
  5. Cut myself some slack

For point three, I want to work on my solo fiction at least once a week, put together a collection of poetry for publication, and get back in the habit of writing Morning Pages, of which this is one. But I'm not going to write them in the morning, because I have this other thing I'm doing in the morning now, which pertains to point one: exercising.

I'm getting up at the ungodly hour of 0640 and hiking with my housemate DK every morning. We're starting easy with a 2.4 mile round-trip hike from our front door that follows the coast south to the Bootleggers Steps up Mori Point. There are 186 steps to the top of the cliff. So far we've managed it every day since the first, but the weather has cooperated magnificently. I'm worried how we'll manage when the rains come.

So far we have enjoyed sunrise more than we thought we would, seen some wildlife, and developed a keen appreciation for ibuprofen. I now understand how Achilles was killed by his calf tendons, as mine are most definitely killing me. I'm also feeling ridiculously good about myself for getting up when I don't want to and exercising when it's painful because I know it's good for me. It's really, really helpful to have a partner for this.

I've failed pretty spectacularly at point two so far, but that doesn't mean it's not worth trying. Also, see how I'm implementing point five here, and not castigating myself too severely for my dinner of mac and cheese?

As for point four. I don't know. I'll try.

Anyway. That's the morning page. Written at night. I should probably call it a night page. Or a daily page. Or an almost-daily page. Whatever. Who cares? Point Five.

SITM: Lenda

New post up at Somewhere in the Middle: Lenda, about my mom's passing.

Now maybe I can get back to making regular updates.


Dear Tommyknocker Brewery People,

I found Tommyknocker Almond Creme Soda once, just once, while I was visiting my family in Nashville, Tennessee, a good four or more years ago. On every subsequent trip (and there have been many), I've returned to that grocery store (a Harris Teeter in Hillsboro Village), searching in vain for that awesome almond soda of my memory, with no success. I've searched my home environs just as thoroughly, here in the San Francisco Bay Area, combing the aisles at grocery chains, health food stores, fancy-shmancy high-living foodie stores, and the cavernous reaches of World Market and BevMo.

No luck.

No luck, and I had to conclude that, sadly, the awesome almond soda (the name of which I couldn't remember) must have been a trial market thing that failed to take off. I resigned myself to a life without almond creme soda. I even began to suspect I'd dreamed the whole thing, like when you read the Best Novel Ever in a dream but can't remember it clearly when you wake up. You only know that you are disappointed not to get to finish it.

Disappointed not to get to drink it again.

And then today I found a remarkable beverage review website that allowed for a search by flavor, so hoping against hope, I searched for almond. And found it! They'd reviewed my beloved almond creme soda, and recently! It was still in production! Maybe, just maybe, for Christmas or New Years or my upcoming birthday, I could acquire some.

I went eagerly to your website, and found, much to my dismay, that it's not sold in California, and the link to order directly from you is "coming soon." Sadness. Sadness indeed.

Is there hope for me? Is ordering from you really coming soon? Is there a way I can actually procure the magic elixir (that doesn't involve me traveling to Colorado), or must I continue to fondly remember it as the Best Soda Pop Ever?

Yours with Good Wishes for the Coming New Year

Fly Away Home

Lenda DuBose
Lenda Bates DuBose
July 21, 1943 - December 6, 2011

Like me, Mom was a night owl. True to her nature, she finally took flight at three minutes to midnight on Tuesday, December 6, 2011. My sister was with her. I was just arriving back at the hospital to take over the night shift, pulling int the parking lot when my sister called. It was as peaceful and easy an end as there could have been: Mom had been pausing between breaths, deeply asleep. She just took one last breath and then didn't take another.

The memorial service is scheduled for Monday afternoon, December 12, at 4:30 at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN. The service will be followed by a reception that will include a small show of her work.

In lieu of flowers, my family is asking for donations in Lenda DuBose's name to either Heifer International, or to The Friends of Warner Parks, 50 Vaughn Road, Nashville, TN 37221-3706, to benefit the Nature Center.


Keeping a Vigil

Some of this is from Saturday. Something was wrong with LJ so I couldn't post it.

I'm back in Nashville. My friend and housemate DK came with me this time, thinking we were just coming for a weekend visit. We arrived Friday late afternoon, rented a car, checked into a motel, got some dinner, and then went over to the hospital. (We didn't go straight to the hospital because Mom was indisposed when we called when we arrived, and told us to go get dinner first.) Friday night Mom was awake, alert, and happy to see us. She was glad to meet DK, and didn't want me to leave when it was time to say good night.

Saturday morning my sister called a little before eight and said the Hospice had called her: Mom was having a lot of difficulty breathing and wanted her family to come down immediately. DK and I arrived at the hospital around 8:30, and mom was mostly unconscious, laboring for breath. My sister and stepdad had also just arrived, and my aunt (mom's sister) and uncle arrived a little later. All day and night we sat by Mom's bedside.

They are giving her morphine and medication for anxiety, and while her breathing was labored, with long pauses between breaths, she didn't seem to be in pain. She opened her eyes once or twice, enough to recognize that we were there. For the most part she slept all day. The medical staff said they thought she would probably die within hours or days, although they have been proved wrong before.

Sunday was worse. We stayed all Saturday night, with me, the night-owl of the bunch taking the night watch. I stayed awake in a chair next to mom's bed, my stepdad, sister, and mom's sister all slept in chairs and cots in Mom's room, and DK slept on a cot in the family waiting room. By then we'd learned to recognize when Mom was uncomfortable, and I was careful to make sure that as soon as Mom's breathing sounded more labored or her eyebrows creased, I called the nurses for more morphine.

As the sun rose, with my other family members waking to take over, DK and I headed back to the hotel to get some sleep and shower and shave. When we got back to the hospital around one, Mom was worse. She was more uncomfortable and more awake. They put in a morphine pump in addition to the anti-nausea pump she's on. She continued to deteriorate all afternoon, retching and miserable briefly, then drifting into unconsciousness, only to repeat the cycle. The doctor called in an increase in her anti-nausea and pain meds, and the nurses were fantastic, really caring and kind.

My stepdad came in around five, just after they'd increased all her meds, and asked for private time with Mom, so DK and I went out and got some dinner. When we got back, Mom was much more peaceful. She's pretty much non-responsive at this point, but given the alternative, that's for the best. Teri, the wonderful RN who has been our guide through all of this (and also has blue hair — we bonded over this) said she thought it was unlikely Mom would regain consciousness, and that she expected the end to come soon.

I was able to spend a little time with Mom alone tonight. I told her how much I loved her, and thanked her for all she has done for me. I promised her I would be okay — that I would ache with missing her, but that she would always be within me, a part of the Divine Spark, and that whenever she was ready to return to the source and leave her body behind, it was okay for her to go. I told her that we would meet again, and probably laugh about her having chosen to be the mother and me the son this go-round. then I sang to her: hymns and Christmas songs, and a lullaby.

Assuming the nurses are right and Mom passes within the next day or two, the memorial service will be at the end of the week or next weekend, so we'll stay here until then. Of course if that changes, so will our plans.

It is so strange to sit there in the hospice room with my family, waiting for Mom to die. We talk to one another like it was just another day, in some ways, but alert to the pauses in Mom's breaths, wondering if she will take another one.

I appreciate the love and support all y'all have given me. According to the nurse, Mom was talking about her spiritual journey a lot yesterday, and she asked several times when I was arriving. It seems like she was waiting for me to get here.

In lieu of flowers, my family is asking for donations in Lenda DuBose's name to either Heifer International, or to The Friends of Warner Park (50 Vaughn Road, Nashville, TN 37221-3706) to benefit the Nature Center

Back in Limbo

It's a good thing I bought the suit.

I arrived in Nashville Friday a week ago, when Mom was moved to the Alive Hospice Ward at St. Thomas Hospital. It's very comfortable there. She has a large private room with wooden floors, attractive wingback visitor chairs, artwork from home, and a view of the tree-covered hills to the northwest. The staff is lovely and caring, and it's clearly the right place for Mom to be now, but there's a terrible sadness in knowing she will probably never go home again.

They aren't giving us a timeline, but it seems that the end will come soon: maybe only a week or two, maybe a little longer. The fluid continues to accumulate in the plural space in her chest, and she is no longer strong enough for surgery to implant a drain. Even if she could tolerate surgery, she would be losing so much protein and sugar in the drained fluid that it would be nearly impossible to make up for it, especially since she has almost no appetite and is eating very little.

They are keeping her comfortable with breathing treatments and morphine, but she is tired. I can see that it's slowly getting worse, little bit by little bit. I'm glad it's slow. I'm glad she's doing as well as she is, because the day I caught my flight out here we thought it was going to be a matter of days, not weeks, but it's hard living in limbo, not knowing when the end is coming, not knowing when I'll be back in California.

It's hard watching Mom decline.

I've been able to sit and talk with her in the evenings when all my early-to-rise family and Mom's friends have left. We've talked about our relationship, the future, and the fact that she is dying. She's sad and disappointed that her life is ending already. She said she feels tricked, and so do I. Cheated. Robbed. She's not ready to die, not in her heart or mind, but her body is operating on its own schedule.

We're trying to leave mornings to my stepfather to have alone time with Mom. My sister and Mom's sister both need some alone time with her, too, and the visitors just keep coming. Too many, sometimes. It's hard to tell Mom's friends and more distant family to limit their visits, especially because Mom wants to see them, but she wears herself out acting bright and perky, and then when they go she's exhausted and breathless.

I'm staying with my aunt and uncle for now, though if that becomes a strain on them I will probably go to a hotel or maybe find a cheap room to rent on Craigslist.

Most of the time I'm okay. Most of the time I have enough strength and peace to sustain me, but every now and again the grief hits me like a sucker punch to the gut. But at least I know that at this point there is no unfinished business between us. There's nothing important left unsaid, no lingering hurts or unresolved issues. I don't want to lose her and she doesn't want to go, but we both have peace and sureness in our love for one another.

It's not clear, though, what's coming. Mom had a good day today: her color was better, her coughing less severe, her appetite a little increased. They've added a narcotic patch at a very low dose, so she will have continuous relief from pain and breathlessness — narcotics are very good for coughing and breathlessness — and won't have to remember to ask the nurse for a dose when she starts coughing. The doctor even mentioned the possibility that she could be transferred to the residential hospice facility, out of the acute care ward, if she continues to hold her own.

Mom thinks maybe I should go back to California for a little while. Part of me wants to. I want to go home and be with my pets and my friends and go to my own church and be in my own bedroom. I want to have Thanksgiving with my friends. It's been so long since I was with my blood relatives for Thanksgiving it feels more natural to spend it with my California "family of choice".

But I don't want to miss out on the last good days with Mom. I don't want to miss out of my last chance to be with my mom while she can still smile and laugh and tell me she loves me. I don't want to fly home while she's still doing okay only to come back when she's really in her last days, barely conscious, really dying. It seems so pointless, and all I can think is how much in this moment I regret living 2700 miles away.


Buying Suits

Mom is back in the hospital, with fluid accumulating in her chest and an irregular and very rapid heartbeat. They called an ambulance this morning when her heart raced to 180 beats a minute and she couldn't get her breath. At the hospital they got her heart stabilized but the medicine caused her blood pressure to drop very low. They drained the fluid which helped her breathing, but she's still in the hospital.

They're meeting with her doctors tomorrow to discuss whether they can put a drain in her chest to keep the fluid down, and what else they can do for her. No one can give us a timeline. But they say that since the cancer cells are on her heart, it could be sudden, it could be any time.

I may be going out there sooner than I planned. Maybe in a few days, rather than in a few weeks. I was supposed to go for a visit.

I hope whenever I go it's just for a visit.

I bought a suit today. It's black with blue and white pinstripes. I got a lavender dress shirt and purple and black tie to wear with it. My mom's spirit wouldn't recognize me at her memorial service if I showed up looking like a banker in grey and light blue with a conservative tie.

I hate that I'm at the buying-a-suit stage already.



I have a lot of faults. I'm short tempered, too sensitive, easily hurt, impatient, undisciplined, self-centered, and prone to mood swings, among other things which I hope you will be too kind to mention. I think I could probably live with myself and my litany of imperfections, though, if I could just never make any mistakes.

Or if I could be rock-skinned and imperturbable when I do screw up, able to hold my head up and say look, I'm sorry about the decision I made/the course of action I took/the thing I said. I did the best I could with the information I had at the time. If I'd known differently, I'd have done differently, but what's done is done.

I can't.

I'm not like that.

And I'm sick of it.

I'm sick of having my heart yanked out of my chest by my own insecurities every time something goes wrong between me and a friend. If I had any idea how to do it I'd be someone else. Someone meaner. Someone who judges others instead of himself and expects others to forgive him when he does screw up.

It'd be easier. I'd be happier.

I'd probably be a bastard, but at least I wouldn't care.

But I'm not that guy. I'm me. I guess that kind of sucks sometimes.

SITM: Doppelganger

New post at Somewhere in the Middle: Doppelganger about seeing the me I am inside in many places except the mirror.
New post up at Somewhere in the Middle: Just When You Think It's All Going to be Okay... about the situation with my mom. It says some of what I already said here, and some new. It's a little more introspective, a little less raw.

I'd wanted to write about my gender experiences in Nashville, but somehow I found myself writing this instead.


Southern Families Cook In A Crisis

This is the frittata my aunt Georgeanne and I made on Sunday, for a brunch with my cousins and their kids. (Modified from a recipe for green chili frittata found on cooks.com)

Parmesan Frittata

1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder (might need to increase to 1 tsp, since it came out a little uneven with just the 1/2 tsp)
1 dozen eggs, beaten
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1 pint container good parmesan cheese, flaked
1-2 tsp of dried oregano
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 9 x 13 inch shallow baking dish. Mix flour and baking powder. Add eggs and butter, blending well, being careful not to cook the eggs with the warm butter. Blend in remaining ingredients. Put in baking dish. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until set.

You could add veggies. We left them out since there were young kids coming to brunch, but served asparagus on the side. Mushrooms would probably be good in this, too.


In Tenessee and All is Not Well

My mom is really, really sick. I'm in Nashville, she's in the hospital, and her cancer is slowly (please let it be slowly) killing her.

I arrived here Thursday night. She had emergency surgery a week ago for fluid build-up in the pericardium — the membrane surrounding the heart. At first it seemed like it was a relatively simple procedure, but her recovery has not gone smoothly, and the family said I should fly out. She keeps having an unsteady heart rhythm and low blood pressure, and trouble breathing.

The good news is she's improved, little bit by little bit, since I arrived. On Friday she coughed most of the time, had an oxygen mask on, and couldn't even lift her head. Today she could talk slowly, has nasal oxygen, managed to eat a little, and even walked a few feet with a walker.

We met as a family with her oncologist today — me, my mom, my sister and our stepdad. The doctor says that if Mom's heart rate and blood pressure stabilize, she can eat and has an appetite, she can keep her oxygen saturation above 90 on nasal O2, she can get to the bathroom by herself, and she's steady on her feet, she could go home. So that's still several days away, but it is very good news. He also said that once she was home, after a couple of weeks of recovery, they will restart her chemo if she is well enough, and will add a new drug, Avastin, which inhibits blood vessel creation and so starves the cancer. It also is supposed to be good at limiting effusions like Mom keeps having, of fluid in her pleural space (around the lungs.)

The surgery on her heart made a window in the pericardium, so she should not have any further pericardial effusions, but there were cancer cells on the pericardial tissue they removed. The cancer — primary peritoneal cancer, a form of ovarian cancer — has definitely spread. The oncologist said Avastin is basically the last big gun in his arsenal. If it doesn't work, or if Mom can't recover enough to resume chemo, then, well, it's just a matter of time, and that time is probably not long.

He said he'd arrange for the hospice people to get on board, not to start providing hospice care yet, but to be prepared for it when the time comes. At the moment he said we're living month-to-month. It could go well, and mom could get many more months of relatively normal life before the end. He also said we will be able to tell when that changes to a week-to-week, and a day-to-day situation. He advised I could return to California as planned on this coming Friday, and that I should probably, if I can afford it, plan monthly trips out here, for long weekends.

My sister lives here and my stepfather, and mom's sister and her husband, and their sons. There are friends and family all rallying around Mom, so she won't be alone when I leave. But all of us are grieving. Afraid. Trying to be strong.

I've been able to teach mom some breathing exercises and talk about some of the things she can't talk about to her husband or my sister, because I'm a different person than they are, and I live far away. I'm glad I can be that for her.

I'm pretty sure that at some point it's all going to hit me, but for now I'm holding on.


I used to live in a fairly nice apartment in a crappy neighborhood, with neighbors below me who burned fish on the grill and regularly assaulted me with nasty-ass weed smoke. It was hot there, so the choice was to leave the windows open and be cool but suffer the odoriferous and sometimes munchy-inducing emanations from below, or die of heat exhaustion.

Then I moved to sleepy little, time-warp enveloped Pacifica and bought a house a block from the beach, where the air comes straight in off the ocean. It's usually at least twenty degrees cooler here than inland. At least. Sometomes more like thirty. It's been 95 in San Jose and barely 65 here this summer.

But summer is about over inland, which means the fog is finally lifting and warm days are finally reaching the coast. It's warm here today, warm enough I've got the windows open to catch that sea breeze. Which has died way down, because it's September and the wind dies down about now as something or other climatological shifts gears. What can I smell instead of the fresh saltiness of the ocean breeze?

Weed. Really stinky, skunky weed from the stoner guy two houses over.


I think I need some potato chips and maybe a Slurpee and some beef jerky, and ooh, let's get some peanut M&Ms....

SITM — T is for Tenor

New post at Somewhere in the Middle — T is for Tenor, about the early vocal changes for me as a singer that I am seeing as I transition.

I need to make some recordings.


SITM — L'il Shaver

New post up at Somewhere in the Middle: L'il Shaver about watching my father shave when I was small, and learning to be a man. I wonder what he thought he was teaching me.


SITM — Medical Mayhem

New post up at Somewhere in the Middle — Medical Mayhem about medical professionals being cool about trans stuff and my visit to the ER on Sunday night.


One of these days...

I love living in my new house.
I love that I have furniture and space.
Yesterday I bought a living room rug, black with various shades of brown, which goes under the new coffee table.
I also bought a dining room table and chairs which will be delivered tomorrow.
It's a real house, and I love that.
Tomorrow my friend Jose will help me and DK install a wall mount thingy for the flat screen TV, and anchor straps for the bookcases, after which we will finally begin to unpack my books.
One of these days in the unpacking I will find the cable that connects my camera to the computer and show you the new house.
One of these days I will finish organizing the kitchen.
One of these days I will turn the office into an actual office, where I will sit and work on writing, and life will return to normal.
I hope.


SITM — Like a Kicked Coyote

New post up at Somewhere in the Middle: Like a Kicked Coyote, about a bad mood and six weeks of testosterone.

You thought I was never gonna update that thing again, didn't you?


Wherein the Hermit Emerges

You may have noticed a complete radio silence on my part since mid-June. I wish I could say that I had been abducted by aliens to fight as their champion in an intergalactic battle on whose fate the very fabric of existence rested. Obviously, if I had, then my return to you now, where you have continued to live with nary a ripple in the space-time continuum, would imply that I was victorious.

Or I suppose it could imply that I failed, but due to some complicated deus ex machina we have spawned into a parallel alternate universe where everything looks exactly the same as it did before, except that cardinals are now red. (Wait, weren't they already red? you ask. That's the beauty of a seamless shift to an alternate universe: no pesky inconsistencies here, no sir!)

In fact what I fell into was more like a tar pit of daily life. All good things, mind you. No, scratch that. Mostly good things and one or two less than good ones, but on balance life is good. Here's a not perfectly chronological overview of the last month and a half.

  • I entered into contract to buy the house. That means I gave over an ungodly sum of money as a down payment, then more money for inspectors of various stripes, then filled out reams and reams of paperwork to prove to the bank that I technically didn't need the loan I was asking for (if I was willing to cash in every available and semi-available asset I could lay my hands on), so could they please, pretty please, despite the fact that most of America is trying to default on its loans, go ahead and lend me enough to allow me to buy the house without having to liquidate every last crumb.

  • My good friend Sam had emergency surgery for a ruptured and fragmented disk in his back. I went with him and Anna (his wife) to the hospital, sat with Anna while he had the surgery, then sat with Sam late into the night while Anna went home to nurse the baby. It was looking pretty scary for a while there, but fortunately Sam is recovering, though he still has some nerve damage to contend with.

  • I started testosterone. Low dose, so as to grow my vocal cords slowly. My voice is only just starting to show any effects, but I am now singing tenor in the church choir. Thank heavens a new soprano joined recently so I don't have to feel guilty about it. Also, I now understand why Wayne wanted an "alpha tenor".

  • DK arrived from the UK to become my housemate in my tiny and overcrowded rented house. The promise of moving to the much bigger (nearly twice as big!) new house where he would have his own suite was sufficient incentive to keep him cooperative and docile in the interim.

  • The last weekend in June, DK and I went to San Francisco Pride (his first!), starting with the Trans March on Friday, then Pink Saturday in the Castro, and of course the main event on Sunday. On Sunday we ran into a photographer doing a project documenting the faces of Pride. Here's me, here's DK, and here's the two of us.

  • Inspectors reported alarming things about the house I was trying to buy, like that the main electrical junction box was rusted all to hell and the balcony was sloped poorly and needed a $3500 repair and several other things that the realtor assured me were "minor" by which she meant under $1000 each to fix. Realtors, it seems, have absolutely no concept of multiplication, whereby ten "minor" things that need work adds up to real money, especially to someone who is scraping the barrel to come up with the purchase price in the first place.

  • I got second opinions, decided which minor things could be put off (like, ok, if I don't fix the chimney flue right now we just won't use the fireplace. It's summer, who needs a fireplace?) and signed lots and lots more documents saying I'd accept the house with the various disclosed flaws, except for the ones the state required the sellers to fix, like water heater strapping and smoke and CO detectors and so forth.

  • Phi came to visit for the Fourth of July. We went to fireworks in the fog at Half Moon Bay, which was surreal and sad. You'd see these vague flashes of color in the fog, and then hear the boom, and occasionally some sparkles would drift out of the bottom of the fog bank. But the company was awesome and we had a good time. We also went with JB and her pups to the dog beach in Santa Cruz and then to the beach boardwalk. Very California summer.

  • My rat Toto developed an abscess on his jaw, or possibly in his ear. DK and I took him to the vet, put hot compresses on his ear, gave him antibiotics and pain meds, got him through surgery to open the abscess, flushed the wound with antibiotics, coaxed him to eat, gave him more antibiotics, got him through a second surgery, and had to observe special precautions when the cultures came back showing four different, drug-resistant bacteria, including one that was necrotizing (flesh-eating) and potentially contagious to humans, especially humans like me with compromised immune systems. He took it all like a trooper, continuing to make the happy rat sound and enjoy being petted, but after a month he started dropping weight really fast. When we took him in to put an end to his suffering, the vet cried, too. We'd worked so hard, so diligently, and he was such a sweet rat. She thinks it was probably cancer driving the infection, and that's why we couldn't beat it.

  • Silver lining here: I really like Dr. Stiglich and the Linda Mar Vet Clinic. They're good people, and they treat rats really well. I kind of want to invite her to come over and hang out. I wonder if there are any issues with that, where vets can't be friends with their clients, the way doctors can't be friends with their patients.

  • DK and I scavenged boxes from the 7-11 and Safeway and some friends who moved recently, and packed like mad things in anticipation of my actually getting the loan and closing the sale, but it wasn't real yet. The house was standing vacant, but obviously we couldn't move in until all the money had changed hands, and I just couldn't quite convince myself I was really going to get it.

  • The woman I've been dating and I found ourselves getting more serious about each other. I was trying really hard not to fall for her, because she is non-monogamous and planning to go to grad school in eastern Washington, but the heart wants what the heart wants, I guess. We spent as much time together as we could, which worked out to once or twice a week. She started packing for grad school, and I helped by sharing boxes with her.

  • I had a name changing ceremony at church, and was rebaptized in my new name. My new initials are ZAM. I like this a lot, as I feel it makes me sound like a superhero. I'm using Zach now in most settings, and starting to figure out what I need to do to change my name legally. But I had to wait for the house sale to close, because you just know the bank would have choked to death on something like a name and gender change.

  • The bank decided on some last minute stupidity. They made me close my only credit card, mostly out of spite, I think. They also, when they requisitioned the last two years of my tax returns from the IRS, evidently got told by the IRS that I hadn't filed my taxes. This was nonsense, but it caused several hours of panic while I tried to find the little return receipt stickers from where I'd mailed my taxes in, made frantic calls to my tax accountant, and finally spent a long time on the phone with a Miss Smith of the IRS. She turned out to be a nice person, friendly and patient, who found my "missing" returns and faxed them over to the bank, along with a letter explaining that the IRS did indeed have my taxes. All this for two tax years in which I didn't make enough money to pay taxes anyway.

  • I liquidated a lot of assets (and boy was I relieved the Dow didn't plummet until after I'd completed those transactions) and wire transferred astronomical sums of money from my account to the escrow account. And...

  • I got the keys to my new house!

  • Several awesome friends, including amethyst73 came and helped us pack and move boxes, mostly of books and kitchen things. For someone who doesn't like to cook, I own an insane number of kitchen things. I bought a new bed for the new house — a latex foam mattress that is made of awesome — and DK's room gets my old bed (which was a pretty new, high end box-springs and pillow-top traditional mattress.) I got TV and internet and water and sewer and gas and electric all in my name. A moving van came and moved all my stuff over, and now we live here.

  • The same weekend the moving van came for my stuff, my sweetie's parents came with a U-Haul to drive her to grad school. I met her parents and her younger brother, and didn't scare them too badly. Spent one last night with her, then said a tearful goodbye. Actually I think I managed to hide my tears until I was driving away, but she'll probably read this, and she deserves to know I cried. Manly tears.

  • I hired a friend to paint some of the walls, including my bedroom (pale sky blue), both upstairs bathrooms (honeydew melon green), my office (light violet), the kitchen (darker violet), and the formerly battleship grey entryway (bright aqua and white.) It's amazing what the color does for the place. It's just so much more cheerful and feels so much more like my home.

As it stands now, the kitchen is 80% unpacked and put away, the living room is habitable and comfortable, the bedrooms are messy but usable, and the bathrooms are all fine, except I need to put up the new shower bar in my bathroom so for now I'm showering in the guest bathroom. We need to bolt the bookcases and china cupboard to the walls, and get to work unpacking books. But it's going to be an awesome home. Awesome. DK lives here and is a good housemate. We are finally getting back to having time and energy to write.

And I can hear the ocean from my living room.

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May 2014



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