Category Archives: True Stories

Anecdotes from my past and present.

Early morning sightings

Posted on December 9, 2010 by

I saw a skunk on Wednesday on my way to the cafe. It was six in the morning, raining hard and very dark–so, no chance of a photo. That, combined with the fact that it was a skunk, meant I didn’t even try to give chase. I was nevertheless delighted to see him waddling down Woodland in high gear, wavering between the west side of the street–and the fenced-in safety of a Terasen work site that is popular with a lot of the urban wildlife–and the garbage dumps of Greyhound Cate’s alley on the east. I don’t see skunks that often, and it has been at least a year. I took it for a good sign.

Yes, out and about at six. My timetable has shifted slightly, and now every day starts with an early fiction-writing session at the cafe. It used to start at half-past eight on Monday to Friday, and then early on Saturday-Sunday. Now it’s all crack of dawn, all the time. As an Xtreme Morning Person, this suits me… but every change has effects, and some have been hard to quantify.

Still, there’s been some “Mmm, must eat this meal at this point in the day now,” and a bit of “Gotta figure out when I’m getting to the pet store,” and “Hey, the frozen food run is sooo much more convenient!” I didn’t count on having to slot in a replacement for the semi-conscious woolgathering I used to do at five in the morning, five days a week. ( I’m not waking up any earlier, in general; I’ve just shifted around the daily must-do list in a way that’s been mostly pleasing.)

A thousand tiny consequences, some to be sorted; some, savored. The weekends are glorious, because K and I are on exactly the same clock, and we’ve already spent a couple long, delicious days together, reading and hanging out. Saturday when we went to the opera, we had a leisurely two hour window to get there… for ten! There was also a fit of self-indulgence wherein we destroyed the living room’s fitness for visitors by arranging the couch and our armchairs back-to-back, to maximize TV viewing comfort on the former and fireside-reading in the latter.

We are still muddling through the process of figuring out when and how to hang out with people when one runs out of brain at seven and goes to bed at nine.

Early bedtime has also proved to be the final nail for choir rehearsals. After the January 22 concert, I am planning to become a non-singing volunteer: meaning I’ll finish out my term on the Board and continue to run the website, but for the first time since 2003 I won’t be rehearsing or performing.

Violent homophobia, TV style

Posted on December 6, 2010 by

This week my Favorite thing Ever is gay marriage, by way of a ramble through Fame, Glee and the laugh-riot topic of gaybashing. It’s a bit of a weird essay, perhaps; I had mixed feelings about season two of Glee even before they embarked on a certain Kurt storyline.

Glee has so many great things going for it, and the events of “Furt” are very Toobworthy. I don’t care for very special episodes and one thing that’s good about this storyline is it isn’t some self-contained boo boo kiss. McKinley High has been bully heaven since the show hit the airwaves, and Kurt was always the target of choice for its scariest thuggizens. I like that nobody pretends that teachers or school boards or parents can fix the part of human nature that makes mean kids prowl around seeking out weak kids and selectively terrorizing those least likely to get support or sympathy.

This is also why I admire the It Gets Better videos that are popping up on my Facebook and Twitter feeds with such regularity; the soul-destroying abuse of queer kids in schools is on people’s minds and that is great, totally amazing.

My friend Jay Lake, as many of you know, has a stunningly honest and revealing blog about his life and, lately, about his battle with cancer. I admire Jay’s openness, but I don’t aspire to it. Oh, I’ll happily post images of every square inch of Vancouver or anywhere else I happen to go. I’ll tell you about writing, and reading, and teaching and other bits and pieces. But I conceive of and then discard a stunning number of posts that deal with the nuts and bolts of my day to day life, because I suspect a lot of it of being kinda dull, and because I am a fairly private person.

That said, I don’t have much use for closets or coyness. I’ve been always been out online, made it known that I’m proudly queer and genderqueer, and I’ve even occasionally made reference in my blog to having been gay-bashed in my teens. I do this because there’s a difference between privacy and pretense. While I almost never go looking for big conversations or comment streams full of virtual hugs, I’m not gonna lie to avoid ’em.


So, anyway. The part of the Glee episode “Furt,” the bit that poked my gaybash button, was the vivid depiction of one kid causing another to live in abject abject terror. Wow. That was so my life for awhile! Complete with the thing where you forget for a second, and let start feeling something other than fear, and WHAM!

I haven’t ever seen the mirror held up, on a TV show, with such clarity. There was heebie and jeebie, folks.

Then it passed, and instead I got to thinking about the yay of my marriage to Kelly, and that’s what led to this Favorite Thing Ever post. And next week I will spin back to the Eighties and watch Sam and Al get their gay on for TOR.COM when I rewatch “Running for Honor”.

After that, who knows? Though there’s probably a 75% chance that a photograph of a bird will be involved.

Braided gloom and beauty

Posted on November 19, 2010 by

I love the bluster and inconstancy of November in the Pacific Northwest. The other day, I watched a rising column of leaves in a Bellingham parking lot. Some scraped the pavement in circles, others twirled aloft, climbing, making a visible thing of an unseen gyre of air. Then the wind lost its grip: the column broke up, fell apart, and the leaves hurtled over the cars, bullet-fast and harmless, flying every which way.

I love the frosty days and the torrential downpours, the winds and how they lash the huge trees back and forth, love the mornings after these blows, streets strewn with broken branches, sodden would-be kindling. The air is saturated with water, always, and the days change rapidly, fog giving way to brightness, rainclouds screaming in to engulf a surprise window of blue skies. Right now it’s sleet with a threat of coming snow. It’s dramatic, moody, anything-can-happen weather.

November is purple clouds, rain-slicked maple leaves, screamingly red, a spongy mash of birch underfoot, turning from coin gold to rot brown–all the colors are stunning during these last violent throes of autumn.

November is stumbling on foreboding, Gothic structures in the midst of a walk through a Portland neighborhood:
Joseph Wood Hill Park

I am always at a low ebb, physically, emotionally and creatively, at this time of year. Things have a weight, a heaviness they lack in other months. It’s one reason why I sometimes embrace Nanowrimo (a drama unto itself!), because the mad over-the-top pace of it somehow forces me to tread, to keep myself afloat.

November is, for me, a month of beauty and slog, the two intertwined so tightly that the strands are inseparable.

Attempting to be Sue

Posted on September 23, 2010 by

One of my sisters is the sort of person who can go to Istanbul, head for the bar where she has arranged to meet some friends, and then get there only to discover they aren’t there because she forgot about the International Date Line (silly International Date Line!) and is 24 hours late. Sure, you’re thinking, anyone could do that! But this sib’s particular enviable superpower is to walk a block, look around the neighborhood, choose another bar, walk in and find the friends happily sitting there. No harm, no foul–in fact, much rejoicing.

I planned to find the Walk for Life through the same kind of jovial reckoning on Sunday. I set out in plenty of time, and was even on the train with a fellow choir buddy. But I had my mind on other things, and I lost sight of her. I ended up on the wrong side of the park, and by the time I got through to Badger to ask for directions and apologize, I was kilometers away. Like almost eight kilometers away, according to the GMaps pedometer.

So… no singing for me. It was a glorious walk. I saw oodles of purple sea stars, and an especially gorgeous heron. (I didn’t have my camera with me, but here’s his stunt-double.)

Stanley Park - Heron

I guess you could say I managed the cheery laissez faire tardiness, but not so much the part where I stumble in, on time, for our next concert a day later. (I also bruised the tops of my toes because I was wearing singing shoes, not walking shoes, and I had doubled up my socks because I was afraid of being cold. How’s that for a neat trick?)

Cruising back in time… to Victoria!

Posted on August 28, 2010 by

Victoria was a bit of a pit stop, as cruise moments go… the ship was there for about four hours in the evening. With that in mind, kelly-yoyoKelly and I had decided the thing to do was make straight for Munro’s Books. My uncle came along for the hike–between one thing and another, we hadn’t spent much time together over the course of the preceding six days.

It was a pleasant and scenic walk. We saw the Legislature, naturally…
Victoria

and, in accordance with B.C. tourism laws, I took the obligatory shot of The Empress Hotel!
Victoria

We happily dropped a pile on books before Munro’s closed, and decided that was enough. (Note to any Victoria readers: I did sign the copies of Indigo Springs they had in their sf section.) Back to the ship we went, in a nice taxicab.

We used to go to Victoria from time to time, years ago. It was a handy and inexpensive tourist-type outing for us. Then life shifted, and all our trips Vancouver Island became family focused, taking us to Qualicum Beach instead. I have been wanting to go back, and it was nice to get a glimpse of the city, but a proper visit is still on the Gotta Do list. The bookstore was, of course, lovely. If I was gonna do one thing, that was the right one. No complaints there!

But there’s so much more to visit & revisit: Craigdarroch Castle and the Royal BC Museum (Where the Past Lives!), and flower-mad as I am, it’s a little crazy that I’ve never made it out to the Butchart Gardens.

Any of you have a within-reach tourist locale you’ve been meaning to get back to?