Looking for love in between

rainbow white house

Enraged by two men kissing.

That’s what early reports suggest was the last straw for the monster who perpetrated the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

I have been out as a bisexual for a relatively limited amount of time compared to the number of years I’ve been alive, though I have been bi since I became aware of my sexuality, playfully fighting with a male friend at childhood day camp for the attentions and affections of one of our attractive, female counselors, Miss Sarah. I was only 6 or 7 when my friend and I won the Foosball championship at camp, and with our team, all we hoped was to get Miss Sarah’s congrats. We good-naturedly fought for her attention. It all seemed normal.

My first sexual experiences were with females, space that was that safe and not invasive.

I’ve always loved men, of course. Men are the cream in my coffee, the yin to my yang. The posters on my walls growing up were of Shaun and David Cassidy, though I wanted Farrah up there as well. I crushed on Sam Jones as Flash Gordon in 1980, though it was Timothy Dalton’s dark, brooding visage I really wanted. In my life, I’ve gravitated more often than not to men. My place on the Kinsey scale puts me on that side of life. We are all at different places on that spectrum.

I have had amazing girlfriends who wanted to live the rest of their life with me, and have been fortunate to have a number of men who thought I was the bees knees enough to want the same. To have anyone want to pledge the rest of their life to being beside you pretty much every day is an incredible thing, and, as a bisexual, I guess I’ve been blessed with twice the opportunity, ha.

To think that anyone could think me kissing a boyfriend, fiancee or husband would anger them enough in thinking it is so wrong we deserve to be shot to death is something few straight women can understand. They would think it’s crazy and wrong.

It’s as normal feeling to me as it was to my foosball buddy as a kid, who never thought anything of our shared appreciation for Miss Sarah. Hatred is learned. Do not teach your children this hate.

To think that anyone could think me kissing a girlfriend, fiancee or wife would anger them enough in thinking it is so wrong we deserve to die is something that most of us on the LGBTQ spectrum understand, prepare for, anticipate, but never really understand it, either. But there remain some who think it’s crazy and wrong. This is what we have to fix.

How can it be wrong to love someone?

How is love wrong?

It can only be wrong if you have hate in your heart for those who are different. A hate that comes from fear.

If you hate people who are different, we should not be friends. In any way. Please release me from your life, your contact, your sphere. I do not wish to associate with you.



You can’t really function


Driving home from summer camp yesterday, my 7 y.o. son asked if teachers were bosses of parents. No, I said, the principal is the boss of teachers, just like he has a boss, the superintendent over all the schools. Pretty much everyone at work has a boss.

“Who is your boss?” he said. I told him the names of the people I currently report to, and, since he knew a lot more people at my old job, talked about some of the people there who were my boss. I said actually at that job, we all worked for the lawyers, so I had almost 400 bosses, really.

He laughed, derisively, and said, “You’re just like the lowest level. You’re at the bottom, and aren’t even the boss of anyone!”

I hid the sting and explained that not everyone wants to be a boss. Being the boss often involves working a lot of nights and weekends, not being available to do fun stuff with your family, and it’s a lot of responsibility and pressure. Some of us, including your Dad, I added, just want to go to work, come home when the day is over and spend the rest of our time with our friends and family and doing what we love, not on work problems.

I also pointed out that I have had jobs where I manage or train people, and described those positions. I said I’ve actively sought out positions where I don’t have to manage people because my time away from work is really important to me, and I’d rather not have the demands and pressures being in management requires.

For him to challenge me when I’m already fragile – with regards to my job, and, as a result, mentally as well, wasn’t really the best way to start off the evening. I have to say, texting is a great thing when you can do it at home from an easy chair while your kid is watching TV and he doesn’t even know you are freaking out about being a failure. Friends are great.

I tried to talk to him a bit more, about how managers are important but nothing gets done unless workers show up every day to do their jobs. We wouldn’t have electricity if people who were not managers didn’t show up to put the wires on the poles and buildings. Nobody would be around to make our food in restaurants if everyone was a manager. Nobody could fix my car, like the people did a couple of weeks ago who fixed my engine, if everyone was a manager. The world runs on smart, reliable, skilled workers.

I like to think I am smart, reliable, skilled. You know, just in case you are looking for a worker.

Walked A Mile Just To Find The Edge

sandy feet

Last week I lost my mind.

Lucky for me, I have an amazing support network, and they saved me.

You know how you’re supposed to have this enormous amount of money in savings so that you can deal with an unexpected emergency, but pretty much almost nobody in America does? I don’t have that either.

But I am rich. Rich with friends, with support. With offers of help when it is desperately needed. Friends who call and check on you, and mean it. Friends who will listen to you cry and rant. Friends near and far who promise you will get through this, change is for the better, you are not a bad person, and other kind words. Friends who send you resources and ideas, pretty pillows and bourbon.

I’m generally a fairly stable person, I like to think. When I have, on occasion, lost my mind temporarily, it’s been for damned good reasons, and I know I am fortunate that these episodes are so few in my life they can be counted on with one hand. I am also fortunate to have such an amazing network of people who genuinely care about me, and I know it.

The crisis, for now, has passed and become manageable for me in the short-term. Like when I was on food stamps, and I used the system without shame when I really needed it, and then gradually weaned myself off of it through changes to my life which made things better for me. That’s just what I’m going to do here, as well.

But I’ll never wean myself off my friends. I couldn’t bear to, for I will always need them, and want to be there when they need me, too.

The beach helps put things in perspective. The friends keep me from drowning.

And so we continue with this complicated, complex, challenging and interesting 2016.

I Get What I Need


It has been a busy and full holiday weekend.

Friday was the last day my son was a first grader. Onward and upward. It has been a long school year. Mounds of paper came home. Projects, art work, homework, knick knacks and doo dads and pipe cleaner, construction paper and googly eyes and magnifying glasses and photos. We went through all of it. A good bit of it has to go, there’s just no room or reason to keep every single paper. But some is quite beautiful, entertaining and illustrative, and I will have to make room. One cannot throw away their son’s journal that includes details about a fun Thanksgiving, a weekend where the child went to the playground and recounted it fondly, and especially, that alien attack at the school in March. Must have missed the note home about that incident.

Saturday was jam-packed. The kid didn’t pass another swim class and will be forced to take it with peers at camp this summer. Hoping this will make a big difference, he really needs to learn and just isn’t getting it, and it’s been a long time to pay for classes. It’s not the instructor’s fault. I watch. He’s trying. He’s just not there yet. That’s ok.

We went to the first big Greek festival of the season with my Mom, which was enjoyable. I miss going to festivals at night and the dancing and revelry, but Mom and the little kid aren’t much up for late-night revelry. Rocky River’s festival is next, in June. Then the Broadview Heights one, which really has the best food. We never seem to make it over to the East side’s festival anymore. The lines are always so long, and so is the drive, and it’s not enjoyable. I remember going as a family to the huge festival in Columbus every year. There is a famous story about how, one day, we were there so long, back in the days when I was young and ran track and had a fantastic metabolism that kept me under 100 pounds, where I ate six quarter-chicken dinners throughout the day. That would be ill-advised in many respects these days.

I spent yesterday with friends, which is always a great way to spend a gorgeous, leisurely day, in the company of people with whom you can say or do just about anything and they like you anyway.

In the evening, I started to break in my new running shoes, with a 4-mile interval deal, mostly walking but jogging about a mile and a half. It was more contemplative than exercise.

Oh yeah – after almost a full year of daily, excruciating pain, I have managed, in about a 48-hour period, to almost completely cure my plantar fasciitis. This is basically a miracle, a gift, and all the other words you could use to describe something awesome. I am in terrible, terrible cardio shape, as I have only been able to run about once a month all winter due to foot pain, and have not yet (re-)adjusted to running in hot, humid weather, and there is a race next weekend. So my time will be terrible, but I DO NOT CARE, BECAUSE I CAN WALK ALMOST COMPLETELY WITHOUT PAIN. I will be doing these particular exercises that cured this problem virtually overnight basically every fucking day from now on, thank you. I’m hoping to spend June getting into better running shape the remainder of the races I plan to do, including a long race that ends with beer, and the Put-In-Bay 5K, which I like to do every year.

Today I went to my home town of Mansfield to say goodbye to my favorite cousin. We’re close in age and she was more like a sister growing up than a cousin, but we didn’t spend as much time together as we could – or perhaps should have. We’ve gotten very close over the last several years and I feel bad I didn’t know she was just as awesome as she actually is until we were both the age we are now, and now she is leaving, moving to another state very far away. I don’t see my own, real sister more than once or twice a year; that’s what moving to another state typically means in a family without a lot of money for travel. But hopefully she will be back here on occasion, or I will find a way to be out there, because she is lovely and I will miss her.

She was the last place I had to stay when coming to town. Now if I come in for events like funerals or reunions, I will have to get a hotel. Which is fine. The city is so changed from when I lived there. The small parts are smaller with many more vacant houses. The run-down areas are more run-down. The commercialized areas are so generic as to be an unrecognizable Anytown, with no soul or meaning.

I hardly recognized the field on which I used to march every Friday as part of the band, screaming my lungs out at football games, my Mom waiting outside to pick me up right outside the stadium so we could rush me home in time for us to watch Miami Vice.

I sat in the sun and read a book today after I got home, and watched the cicadas flying around. It’s all so weird. I cooked some rice in a pot that belonged to my cousin.

Things change slowly. But they are changing.

The Sound of a Thunder


There ought to be a word for life’s roller coaster. I have never been much for rides and roller coasters are among the worst, but life keeps putting them in front of me.

Today, a wonderful thing happened. So unlikely and unexpected, I spent most of the day in shock and awe. Any of you, my dear readers, who have owned a car know how expensive and terrible their problems are, particularly as they age. My car has been a very good car. I’ve maintained it pretty regularly, and it in turn has required almost nothing from me that’s not what it deserved. Sure, some more expensive things here and there have to be repaired or replaced, but those are routine, as the miles add up. Honestly, I’ve few complaints. It’s a 2011 Kia Optima, and this past weekend I turned 100,000 miles on it. I turned 100,000 miles on the Hyundai I owned before it. They are made by the same manufacturer, and the cars are coming out pretty solid if you ask me. More on that in an article elsewhere, perhaps. The short version is, my regular service shop, which is not the dealership, told me that I needed to get the car in to the dealer immediately during my last visit, before I turned the 100K mile mark, which would put me out of warranty for the power train. There was Something Bad Thing Wrong with the engine, they said.

The dealer wasn’t convinced. With Bad Thing, they said, you get x, y and z, and we don’t see that. Maybe there has been oil leakage because of cheap filters. We’ve documented the problem so you’re covered under warranty no matter what. Drive it 700 miles, bring it back.

So I did, last week. They did some tests, sent some information to Warranty department, sent me away while they waited for a response. I called yesterday to follow up, nervous since I actually clicked over that 100K mark and was understandably nervous. Bring it back in, they said, Warranty wants more tests. Should take 1-1.5 hours. So I went in this morning, first customer. Waited. They want another test, it will take another hour. Ok. Now they want this other test. It will take 1.5 hours or so. Ok, I said. I worked from a tiny corner in the kiddie room in the customer lounge, as that was the only outfit I could find for a long time. It was not comfortable. But then someone moved their chair and I saw another outlet, yay. Meanwhile, I’d had no breakfast, nor lunch, and it was noon. I went up to inquire about possibly getting a lift from the shuttle guy to a lunch place, and they said well, you might want to wait on that, we just heard back from Warranty and I’m going to arrange a rental car for you because WE HAVE TO COMPLETELY REPLACE YOUR ENGINE.

WE HAVE TO REPLACE THE WHOLE ENGINE. THE ENGINE. REPLACE. UNDER WARRANTY. YES, IT’S COVERED. I had to ask her a couple of times to repeat it. I felt excited like I wanted to jump up and down, like I had won the lottery, but that seemed rude, like gloating, so I didn’t do that, but I did say “Holy fuck” because wow, this like NEVER happens. She laughed and said she’d come get me when the Enterprise guy was here to take me to my car.

So then finally the car and it was EIGHTY out and beautiful and sunny and even the parking lot at the shitty car rental place smelled like flowers and I didn’t even care that all they had to offer me was a pickup truck or a shitty little coupe with Texas plates that they had to wash first because it was grimy. And oops I forgot my car seat and had to drive back to the dealer where I was bowing and scraping realizing what they would be doing.

I realized at 1:30 I was starving, and went to a greasy spoon where the counter girl was amazing. She was loud and covered with tattoos and called me “baby” and “honey” and “sweetie.” She called everyone in the place that. Everyone was me, a fifty-something couple doing scratch-off lottery tickets, a cop and a mailman. You can’t make stuff up this good, I’m telling you. Baby Sweetie got me a wonderful greasy burger and fries and I smashed it in my face and told her about the engine, and Lotto Couple was just like “fuck, man, that’s amazing, you’re lucky.” They said I should play the lottery, of course. And I did, because why not.

I managed to get the car seat in the Texas coupe and in a while, went to pick up my kid at school. No matter how late I come to pick him up, he is never happy to see me because he’s having fun and it’s “too early.”

Today, when I got there he was walking towards the door as if he was coming to look for me. He stopped, his face all red from playing outside, and very softly said, “Yay” when he saw me. “What’s wrong?!” I told him, as I could see something was. “I think I have a fever,” he said. He was not playing outside. He didn’t feel good enough. In fact, he hadn’t felt good most of the day and had goosebumps. But he didn’t tell anyone, because I guess they are doing a lot of fun shit since it’s the last week and he doesn’t want to miss anything.

103.4 when we got home, 103.8 before Motrin and bed. And I had to send him to his Dad’s. His Dad had to come pick up that sad, hot little lethargic boy and take him away, because I have a corporate acting gig early in the morning and I can’t miss it, I can’t stay home with him and there’s nobody else to stay with him. Man, that hurts.

Maybe the high comes so you can deal with the low. Or maybe it’s just how things go, and I shouldn’t examine it so. But I can’t help it.

Flowers in the Dirt

flowers in the dirt

**This post contains trigger warnings related to infertility**

A miracle happened seven years ago, dear readers. No matter what happens, nobody can take away the miracle of science from which I benefited.

For those who don’t know, I was extremely sick as a young woman, for five years. I had to undergo some major abdominal surgeries as a result, which left me infertile due to scar tissue. After three extremely trying, expensive years, through the miracle of IVF, I had to post in my “Women over 35 Trying For First Baby” group. That post we all hated to see, that made us cry tears of pain but also happiness, as we all so loved each other and shared so much pain and loss. There was no elaboration. It was not necessary, and too painful:

It’s my turn to leave the group.

They knew why. Goodbyes were said but that was all that could be managed. I understood. I joined new groups. Women Expecting First Baby 40 or Older. Advanced Maternal Age Moms.

I gestated that baby like it was a Fabergé egg. No smoked meats for me, thanks. All the vitamins. Whatever the cravings. Ok I did allow feta, because I couldn’t believe my generations of Greek ancestors REALLY didn’t have any feta while pregnant. Considering how difficult getting pregnant had been, it was a remarkably easy pregnancy.

Then that morning, May 23, 2009. It was extremely sunny and hot. We drove to the hospital for my scheduled C-section, a requirement with my high-risk status, and I was relieved to find the anesthesiologist on duty was the guy I’d talked to during tour. We went over my allergies, worked out a code word. I wanted to watch, I said. They wouldn’t let me. I watch my own anal biopsy every year, I told them, for which I have no anesthesia; I can take it. No. The nurse, an angel, promised she’d keep me up to date every second. She’d be with me start to finish. She took my vitals, started the IV. Then time for the spinal. That’s when I got scared. A surgery veteran who has been gutted like a deer and I’m worried about a spinal? But I was suddenly terrified. She held my hand. “Squeeze as hard as you want,” she said. I remember digging her wedding rings into her hand and crying while trying to bend over my very pregnant belly, thinking, she told me as hard as I want, and I have to go hard if I’m not going to move.

Minutes later, splayed out like on the cross, arms outstretched and tied down on boards, my body being moved for me, a heavy, numb thing below the drape. It was so cold. You forget how cold ORs are when you haven’t been in one awhile. I told the nurse, she got me a blanket. I was going to throw up, and said the code word. Anesthesia responded, then I was better, the sick-sweat fading.

Shoving. Hard pulling. What’s happening? Then that screaming and crying. Ten minutes in. A loud, loud voice, like my own. I heard everything they were doing, taking him to the side of the room, muttering. I gave the code word. Anesthesia leaned close. “APGAR” I whispered, pulling out the term from Child Psych class from Kent State years before. “MOM WANTS TO KNOW THE APGAR !” he yelled. “NINE!” they yelled back, and I knew that it was ok to die now, and got to the business of it.

There was a lot of yelling about blood loss. My ex was handed the baby. I remember the nurses taking pictures and him holding the kid and him trying to show the baby to me and all I could think was take good care of him, he’s perfect.

The next thing I knew, I heard the doctors talking about which golf course was better, and I knew I was going to be ok. They don’t talk golf unless the pt is going to survive. They called in a resident to do a plastics closure, because I’m allergic to both steri strips and nickel (staples). It took a long time but I didn’t care.

My flower had pushed through the dirt, and made it to my life.

He turns seven May 23rd.

I still stand outside more often than I care to admit and stare at nature and think, wow, how did I leave that one club I was in to join this one? I know so many who don’t. I think of them sometimes. I will never lose my connection to how that felt. I won’t ever forget. I know I was lucky.  I only had a 40% chance of success.

I remain extremely grateful to be where I am.

“Did I Ever Touch You On The Cheek

Say That You Were Mine, Thank You For The Smile,
Did I Ever Knock Upon Your Door
And Try To Get Inside?

If I Never Did It, I Was Only Waiting
For A Better Moment That Didn’t Come.
There Never Could Be A Better Moment
Than This One, This One.”


I get by


Last night, I went to the end-of-year PTA banquet for board members and committee members, which was held in a private room in a local sports bar/restaurant. I’d never been there before, and like many journeys with the PTA over my two years of involvement, I came away learning more than I expected.

I learned, for example, that one of the other Moms is divorced and remarried. And that her lucrative family vacations I’ve always been jealous of are funded out of her husband’s extremely good work in his FT job working with the disabled, and on the weekends, he is also an occupational therapist, often working every weekend if that’s when he’s needed. They are good people, and I was invited over, kid or no kid, to sit in the hot tub and drink margaritas at some point this summer.

I learned another of our group is having a lot of troubles with her pending marriage to her 2nd husband, because of the ex’s first wife, and their shared child and how to deal with attendance at the wedding, which the child is participating in.

People have a lot of problems that you don’t see on the outside, I was reminded. And it’s your community that you can draw your support from, when you might not be getting it at home. I don’t get it at home not just because I’m no longer married, but, as with most exes, we have our troubles as well related to our small child, and it’s always a journey and a struggle to try to stay positive and make the best choices for the child, even when you’re dealing with someone who hates you and isn’t always nice to you. I don’t have support at home because, ultimately, there is nobody there but me, and in the end, I’m all I have to rely upon. But there are also others, and I was reminded of that both last night and this morning.

I have a great group of friends who are never afraid to give me a straight answer, to tell me another way to think about things, to challenge me if it’s needed. They’re also the first to support me when I need it, to hold me up, reassure me, send me love, to come over or invite me to their place to hang out, drink, bitch, eat snacks, whatever, as we all need it. This is my community and this is my support. They love me. They accept me and don’t judge me. They encourage me and tell me I’m doing great, and to keep going. They understand when I need to complain and rail against how life is unfair right along beside me, just as I would do for them.

Sometimes, it’s really great to be reminded that I am not completely alone, that everyone is struggling, and we’re all just trying to get through the day together.

I have a pretty good tribe.