Sunday, December 25, 2011

happy holidays

I hope that everyone is having a good holiday season. Our family is having a nice, low key holiday. We had my mother in law and father in law over for lunch today. Not a huge meal but nice.

Leo has been great today. Quite calm for an 8 year old with ADHD on Christmas day. He liked the gifts that he received and thanked us several times throughout the day. He seems to enjoy his new, warmer hoodie, his nerf disc-shooting gun, and his solar powered robot the most. I said before he was born that I would not buy him a gun, but he was using a stick and pretending it was a gun, plus the two brothers down the street that he plays the most with had guns and were shooting him, so we got him a gun to keep up.

Christopher saved the day with the nerf gun. We didn't realize that it required batteries when we bought it, only to realize today that it required six large batteries. He looked around and found two in the cabinet. Later he came downstairs with four more and put all six in the nerf gun. He remembered that we have a ... I'll call it an adult sex toy that uses four batteries. As he said to me "We just won't tell him where we got them." So the sex toy rescued Christmas.

You might wonder why I celebrate Christmas, not being Christian (and not having much good to say about the church that I was raised in.) But to me Christmas was always about getting together with the family (OK, and the presents when I was younger.) My grandmother routinely fed 20+ people at the holidays. Our family gatherings are much smaller now but still special to me.

Leo has been especially affectionate lately. He spontaneously hugs me and Christopher, and he joins us when I hug Christopher in the mornings as I leave for work and turns it into a family hug. He has also been telling us that we're good parents and that he is glad that we are his parents. I wonder if part of that is that he realizes that since he is adopted that he might not have ended up with us as parents. He gave us interesting gifts - a homemade coupon book with things that he will do for us. Mine includes "dish cleaning", a cup of homemade tea, and a car wash. He's a sweet kid that I love very much.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


So last night at about 9:30 PM Pacific time was the winter solstice. Although that is the official start of winter, to me winter started in early December and ends about February 1st when I see the first blooms on fruit trees around here. But we are supposed to have a hard freeze tonight, which may damage my orange trees. That was one thing that I insisted on when we put in our backyard, that we have some orange trees. I had never lived anywhere that citrus would grow until I moved to California.

Leo decided that he wanted to change his hairstyle with his last haircut, and he got it "buzzed" or cut very short as one of his friends has. It took a day or two to get used to. He liked to run his fingers through it and wants me to do the same. I'm glad to see him expressing his own opinions about his hair. Before he was born I told myself that hair isn't important and I would always let a child choose his or her own hairstyle. I guess my years of Catholic schools with mandatory short hair helped me realize that hair doesn't really matter.

We're having a low key Christmas. Just the three of us and Christopher's parents over for dinner. The "extended" family, which just adds Christopher's aunt and stepgrandmother got together last weekend. I miss my grandmother's large family get togethers when I was a kid - easily 20 people or more. Five just isn't the same.

My 92 year old great aunt died last weekend. No one was surprised. But of course, family drama had to occur. My great aunt left everything to Heather, a great niece who had lived with her and helped care for her the last several years. One of Heather's aunts accused Heather of "brainwashing" my great aunt to get her house and estate. No, she was there providing help, where were you? There is only one surviving sibling of any of my grandparents, and she is 90.

Friday, December 16, 2011

unusual things in our home

If you were to visit our home you might see some unusual things. Here are a few that I noticed in the last few days. First are the handcuffs on the handle of the door of the oven. No, we're not into BDSM (and even if we were, not in the kitchen), they belong to my son Leo. I have no idea why he put them on the oven, but I often don't understand why he does what he does. Next you might notice the tooth sitting on a paper towel on my dresser. Leo pulled out another tooth last night, his seventh he thinks. We now owe him $5 he reminded me today. We never did the tooth fairy fantasy, so we just give him $5 per tooth. The next unusual thing would be the house key that was found in a container of leftover cake. It is my son's house key, which he couldn't find for a while. I asked why it was with the cake and he responded "I don't know, I lost it." OK, but why put it with the cake in the first place? No answer to that.

Next you might notice the vomit on the Christmas tree skirt. This can't be blamed on Leo but on our cat Miss Otis (named after the Cole Porter song). Christopher noticed it first and commented on it, so I decided if he saw it first he should clean it up. Petty, I know, but why talk about it if you don't take care of it?

The last somewhat bizarre thing you might see is a grape on our bedroom floor. Leo apparently had grapes at school and put a few in his pants pocket to eat later. Of course then forgot about them and didn't eat them or take them out of his pocket. Somehow one grape made it through the washer and dryer, and when he picked the pants up and put them on his shoulder before putting them on the grape fell out. Well, he must inherit that from Christopher, who regularly leaves his Chapstick in his pants pockets. They melt in the dryer but thankfully don't make a mess.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm ashamed of my city and university

I live in Davis, California and did graduate studies at UC Davis. UC Davis has been in the news lately for the infamous pepper spraying of students for peacefully protesting and refusing to leave. You may have heard about this or seen the video. I haven't been able to watch the video. This is so unlike Davis and UC Davis. But the administration must feel threatened by protesters and overreacted. UC Davis has a history of permitting protests, so what happened this time? The chancellor of UCD is Greek, and according to a fellow Greek professor, Greece has a long history of accepting student protests, so she should understand that students protest and that's normal. A violent reaction to a non-violent protest is outrageous. In the 1960s during the student protests throughout the country, the chancellor at that time met with the students, talked with them, arranged meetings to hear their grievances and never over-reacted. I signed a petition asking the chancellor to resign and I encourage others to sign one as well.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

another step on Prop 8

Today the California State Supreme Court ruled that the backers of Prop 8 do have state standing to defend Prop 8 in court. So the case goes back to the Ninth Circuit court for a hearing on December 8. As I understand it, the judges will decide if the backers of Prop 8 have federal standing and will also decide on the merits of the case. Legal matters seem to take forever.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Leo has had a busy day today."

That was how the lady working the desk in the principal's office in Leo's school greeted Christopher when he went to pick Leo up yesterday. (He was picking Leo up for an appointment, and the school policy is that the parent goes to the principal's office and the staff call the classroom to have the child sent to the office.) As all parents would when hearing that comment from the school office, Christopher braced himself for bad news, thinking "What has he done?" Well, it turns out that it wasn't anything bad at all. Leo had dragged one of the ladies from the cafeteria to the principal's office with him and wanted to complain about the choices in the cafeteria. (How did he convince the "lunch lady" as he calls her to come with him? He is persuasive though.) He wants to bring back the pesto pasta salad that he says all the kids like and get rid of some onion dish that has replaced it. So the office told him to start a petition to change the lunch options and have others sign it, which he did. He told me that he had 60 kids sign the petition, while Christopher says that he only saw 25 signatures on the petition. Either way, the office staff, Christopher and I are all proud of his determination. I encourage him to change the world when he can. Maybe he is an activist. Will I soon see him joining Occupy Wall Street?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Respect for Marriage Act

Yesterday the US Senate's Judiciary Committee approved the Respect for Marriage Act, which will repeal the section of the inappropriately named Defense of Marriage Act that prevents the federal government from recognizing valid same sex marriages. It was a 10 to 8 party line vote in the committee, with the Democrats voting for it and the Republicans opposed. I am proud that Dianne Feinstein of California sponsored the bill. The arguments that the Republicans made were offensive and lame. The bill will probably not come up for a vote in the full Senate, but this is a positive step. I want my government to acknowledge my marriage.

Also in the elections on Tuesday in a state Senate race in Iowa the Democrat won, thus continuing the Democratic control of the chamber. This is important because the majority leader, Mike Gronstal, has promised not to allow the Constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality to come to a vote while he is the majority leader.

On a personal note, my son Leo advanced from level 6 to level 7 in his swim lessons. In this level he will learn the butterfly. I'm proud of his accomplishment, since he now swims better than I do.

I also didn't realize how long it had been since I posted here. I'll try to check in more often.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Leo returns, Don't Ask Don't Tell leaves

I talked with my husband Christopher the other day about my blog. He asked that I remove our son's name and use a pseudonym again. Apparently internet security and safety recommendations are to not use children's names. So I changed his name in a post from a while back to Leo. Jay, I couldn't remove Leo's true name from your post without removing the entire post so I had to delete your comment. Sorry.

On other topics, Don't Ask, Don't Tell ended yesterday. It is a big step. I dated a few guys who were in the military when I was younger, and it wasn't fun to have to hide when we went out. One more brick removed from the wall of inequality for gays and lesbians in this country.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Prop 8, again

I watched the recording of the California Supreme Court's recent hearing on Prop 8, the state Constitutional amendment that outlawed same sex marriages. The legal issue this time is a question from the United States Ninth Circuit court asking if under California law the proponents of Prop 8 can defend the law in court since the governor and state attorney general said that Prop 8 was unconstitutional and refused to defend it. It was interesting to watch. The Prop 8 proponents argue that if they are unable to defend propositions the governor and attorney general can essentially nullify a law in federal court by refusing to defend it. I can see their point, and I think that the court will agree with them. But in my opinion the legal argument by Ted Olson, the anti-Prop 8 lawyer, was much better. The California Constitution specifically says that the people have legislative power through the initiative process to propose and pass laws, as happened with Prop 8, but there is no executive branch power to defend the law in court. That power is expressly given only to the governor and attorney general. Olson argued that giving that power to the proponents would violate the separation of powers in the Constitution. It will be interesting to see what the court decides. Ultimately, even if the court says that the proponents do have "standing" to defend the law under California law, that does not mean that the meet the federal standards to defend it in federal court. If they do not have standing, Prop 8 would be unconstitutional and marriage equality would return to California. That would be great, but I really want all Americans to have marriage equality. My best case scenario would be for this case to reach the US Supreme Court and have Prop 8 and all laws that forbid marriage equality declared unconstitutional. Then I might feel like a full citizen with all the rights that other Americans have.

Friday, September 2, 2011

who my husband is

Since I shared who I am, or at least my first name, I'll tell you about my husband. His name is Christopher Koehler, and he is an author and editor. His first book, Rocking the Boat, was published earlier this year. It's a male-male romance, although that doesn't really describe it well. It's about two guys who fall in love, but is that a romance? It seems like a novel to me. Yes there are a few sex scenes, but life does have sex. I do recommend it, having read it through rewrites and edits. At least I don't show up in this one - he did model a minor character in an earlier story on me - it was a shock to be reading in bed one night and realize "Hey, that's me!" His second novel, Tipping the Balance, is coming out in less than 2 weeks. So if you haven't read a male-male romance/novel/love story, you can give one a try. It is an entire genre of books, which I didn't realize.

Friday, August 26, 2011

new glasses...what was I thinking?

First, I want to thank everyone for their kind comments on my last post. I was overdue for being honest with my name.

Every two years I can get a discount on new glasses through work. My last pair has been sliding down my nose when I look down for the past year, and they fall off if my face is sweaty or I bend over in just the wrong way - the glasses seem to fall off most when I'm scooping out the cat box - really gross, I know. So I got my new pair today. I was excited about them, came home wearing them, and Leo's comment when he saw me wearing them was "You look like a fool." They are kinda Harry Potter-ish, tortoise shell colored plastic frames with round lenses. I looked in the mirror after Leo went to bed and realized... I don't really like them. I'm on the small side, and my eyes are closely set, so most glasses are too big for me. The center of my eyes are not at the center of the lenses of most glasses, and this pair is no exception. I dug out the old pair that was my favorite - very small round lenses in a thin wire frame. They look better on me, but two problems with them - they aren't comfortable, and the lenses are too small for my "progressive" lenses since I need bifocals. So should I go for style or comfort in glasses? Which would you choose?

To make the glasses situation worse, Christopher went with me and got new glasses as well. He picked out a nice wire frame very similar to his current glasses. As I was getting my glasses measured and whatever else they do, he changed his mind and picked another pair that are almost identical to mine, although I didn't realize that at the time. Now our glasses are too similar. For some reason I don't think that a gay couple should have nearly identical glasses. It reminds me of the time one Easter when we visited my grandmother and without realizing it were wearing almost identical outfits. We totally freaked out the teenage friend that my much younger cousin brought to that Easter dinner - I don't think the kid had ever seen a gay couple before, and the fact that we were dressed nearly identically seemed to make his head explode - he kept staring at us but would look away if we looked at him.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

who I really am

When I started this blog, most of the other blogs that I read were anonymous. I started by reading the now infamous Mikey blog that turned out to be a hoax. So I didn't include my name. But I have no reason not to put my name out there. I've been out for many years now, so why not?

My first name is Burch. Yeah, I know, a weird name. I was named after my father, who was given the last name of a family friend as his first name. I decided not to include my last name here, not because I'm not out, but because I'm a physician and I don't want my patients who do a Google search on me to find this blog first. This blog is about my personal thoughts and events in my personal life, not my professional life.

My husband's name is Christopher, not the pseudonym David that I gave him. Christopher would prefer to keep our son's name off of the blog, so I'll continue to call him Leo

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'm still here

I've been gone a long time - just got busy with other things.

We were in San Diego last week for vacation. We offered Leo a Disney trip but he preferred to return to San Diego again, mostly to go to Legoland. We stayed in a condo very close to the convention center, so we were there for the end of ComicCon. I noticed people wearing unusual outfits/costumes before I realized what was happening. We did the usual kid things, but didn't go to Sea World this time. I can only take a few days of amusement parks before I overdose on them.

When we rented a car at the airport, we were offered a Hummer. I never thought that I would get in a Hummer, and I didn't. We had reserved a small SUV (David's idea, not mine) but they gave us a huge one instead. What we didn't realize was that the parking space under the condo complex was very small, and getting that boat into the space was difficult to put it mildly. David scraped one door handle the first time that we did it.

We drove up to Orange County to have lunch with a friend of David's in San Juan Capistrano. (She's a liberal Mormon, if that isn't an oxymoron, and refers to entering Orange County as going "behind the orange curtain", a reference to the old Iron Curtain across Europe for those too young to understand.) We toured the old Spanish mission there after lunch. I was surprised by the San Onofre nuclear reactor. I knew that it was along the coast but it's just right there between the beach and I5, where a terrorist with a car or 18 wheeler full of explosives could take it out and spread radioactivity for many miles. And why put a nuclear reactor in an earthquake zone and in a place that could have a tsunami? The disaster in Japan could have happened there.

I'm really angry at Obama and the Democrats for caving to the crazies in the Republican party over the debt limit. Grow a spine and tell the loonies no and then stick to it! I am seriously thinking of joining the Green Party. I actually agree with them more than the Democrats, but after the Ralph Nader debacle in 2000 I feel like a vote for the Greens is a vote taken away from the Democrats, which is essentially the same as voting for a Republican.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

who will my son marry?

On Sunday I took my son Leo to his school to play on the playground. During school the playground is separated by grade - the kindergartners have a separate playground, one for first and second graders, and one for 3rd through 6th graders. Since Leo is at the end of second grade (two more days left), he has wanted to play on the "big kids" playground since he was a kindergartner. As we were walking up, he made some negative remark about girls. I told him that he would change in mind about girls and would most likely marry one. He immediately said no, that he was going to marry a boy. I smiled to myself, thinking that he was imitating his own family. And chances are he is heterosexual and will marry a woman. When I mentioned this to my husband David, he said that I shouldn't dismiss Leo's statement so quickly. David said that at Leo's age, 7, that David knew that he was interested in other boys, but without role models in either his life or the media he didn't have an understanding or vocabulary to express it. I guess that is possible, but nothing about Leo has set off my "gaydar." I am curious though - of the people who read this who are gay or lesbian, did you know at age 7 that you were attracted to people of the same sex?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

tobacco still kills

One of my nicest patients died last week. She always asked about Leo and how he was doing. She smoked for many years, and last year had an episode of blood in her urine. The workup showed cancer of her ureter, the tube from the kidney to the bladder. She had to have the ureter and kidney removed, then had lots of complications, including a wound infection, sepsis (the infection spread to her blood and all over her body.) She was able to be discharged and went home for a while, but she was too weak to take care of herself so went into a nursing home. Then she developed pneumonia. She did not want to be intubated (put on a ventilator), so she died of the pneumonia. But it was the tobacco induced cancer that caused her death. Some patients have been surprised that smoking can cause bladder or ureteral cancer, but some of the toxins from tobacco end up in the urine, and the ureter and bladder are constantly exposed to the toxins, and cancer is the result.

Another patient was brought in last week for a change in her personality, inability to sit still with near constant twitching, and muttering. I thought that she might have a movement disorder and sent her to a neurologist. The workup showed two masses in her brain that were likely metastatic cancer from somewhere else. Further scans showed a lung mass, so it is likely lung cancer from her smoking. The patient is now very confused and can barely get out of bed, so I suspect that she won't live much longer.

How much longer is this going to continue? Tobacco is a known carcinogen, as is second and third hand smoke. (Second hand is what others breathe in while someone is smoking, third hand is the residual left that others breathe in later - yes, that "tobacco smell" is cancer causing.) So why does our and nearly every other government let tobacco sales continue? In this country it is the tobacco lobby paying off our elected officials to continue this corporate murder. If I am every made ruler of the world, tobacco will be gone very quickly (but after equal rights for gays, lesbians, transgendered and women are written into law.)

Monday, May 23, 2011

parsnips and cherries and the bomb and the end of the world

Recently I added parsnips to the grocery list. Do most people even know what parsnips are? Could you find them in the grocery store if they weren't labeled? They look like large white carrots. I put them in a parsnip and split pea stew that I make, and it is tasty - I see that look of doubt on your face. But David, my husband, couldn't read my handwriting and bought papayas instead. Needless to say, I made another trip to the grocery store since papayas would not have worked in the stew. Then David complained about my handwriting. This is from the man who once put "hairs not" on the grocery list. This was in the early 1990s when we were first living together, long before cell phones were common. I got to the store and had no idea what he wanted. When I got home I asked him and his answer was "It doesn't say 'hairs not', it says 'hair snot'". Oh, thanks for the clarification. He called the hair gel that he used then "hair snot" and that was what he wanted me to buy.

Since I'm on a roll with food, David bought the first cherries of the season last week. Fresh cherries are great - one of the things that I look forward to in late spring and early summer. Now that I think about it, I like almost all fruit. (I know, insert your favorite gay joke here. I once joked that I brought the ideal food to a lesbian and gay mixer - fruit salad.)

One of my patients emailed me today to thank me for refilling her medication. She said that I was "the bomb." Hmmm, I'm pretty sure that's a compliment, but I've never called anyone "the bomb" before. The patient is older than I am, so I am guessing that she picked it up from her 20 something kids.

Oh, and the world didn't end on Saturday. Will these doomsday cults never end? I guess that I shouldn't say more about religion so that I won't offend people.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm back

After over 2 months I am finally back. I wasn't planning to take a long break but it just seemed to happen. Work got very busy, family life was busy, you know how it goes.

My son and I took a vacation to visit my parents during his spring break. My dad annoys my husband too much for David to come along. The two of us had a good trip, but I left Leo's favorite bathing suit - the one that is too small - at home and he decided that he didn't want to go to the beach, which is normally one of his favorite places, in the other bathing suit. I got to spend some time with my sister, brother in law and my niece, who is 16 months old. She never got used to me and wouldn't let me hold her. It's also amazing to me how much she looks like my sister. I'm enough older than my sister to remember what she looked like as a kid, and my niece looks like a clone of her. What's really strange is that my niece looked just like her father and not at all like my sister when she was born. Someone commented that it is adaptive for children to look like their fathers at birth - it confirms that the father is indeed the father and strengthens father-child bonds. I guess that I had not thought of it in Darwinian terms like that.

There doesn't seem to be a lot happening in gay and lesbian news lately. Next month there is a hearing in the Prop 8 trial. The pro-Prop 8 side is claiming that Judge Walker was biased because he is gay. I don't think that will work too well. Then several more months until the California Supreme Court considers whether the Prop 8 backers have standing to appeal the district court's decision. I don't think that they do, and California Attorney General Kamala Harris agreed in her amicus brief. I also hope that New York can pass marriage equality legislation. But Rhode Island failed to and seems to be headed toward Domestic Partnerships instead. And Minnesota may have a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality in 2012. More evidence of why I have never been able to trust a Republican politician.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

game over? I hope so

I live just outside Sacramento, California, and Sacramento has one major league sports team, the Sacramento Kings of the NBA. Their arena has been open since the 1980s, and the team wants a new arena (built at taxpayer expense, of course) with more seats and more high priced boxes for people crazy enough to pay for them. The team asked for money from the city sometime in the 1990s, and over the objections of most of the citizen, the city loaned the team $70 million, which is slowly being repaid. The owners are the Maloof brothers, who "earned" their millions or billions from casinos in Las Vegas. The city has tried to build a new arena, but like most cities now there is just no money. The city asked the voters in 2006 to raise taxes for a new arena and the citizens had the wisdom to overwhelmingly vote no. And the citizens were dumb enough to elect Kevin Johnson, a local man who formerly played in the NBA, mayor a few years ago. (What is it with Californians that so many will elect movie "stars" such as Reagan or Schwarzenegger (however that is spelled) to elected office?) So now the Maloofs are working to move the team to Anaheim. Billboards have sprung up saying "Game over?" with a photo of a partially deflated basketball. I say let them go. The city has spend way too much time and money trying to build an arena for a team that won't finance an arena themselves. And I can't count how many players and coaches have been arrested for domestic violence, drunk driving, weapons violations, etc. I would really like to get rid of all professional sports. They just seem to be a way to give people entertainment to distract them from important issues that should be dealt with.

Monday, February 28, 2011

my romantic Valentine's Day gift

Sorry that I've been gone so long. I seem to write here in spurts, with breaks in between.

Valentine's Day was two weeks ago, and it is also one of our three anniversaries. We were married in San Francisco on Valentine's Day 2004 when Gavin Newsome was mayor and authorized same sex marriages. That marriage was later declared "null and void" by the California Supreme Court, but we married in August 2008 when it was legal. We also celebrate the date of our first date in July 1991.

So David bought me the most romantic Valentine's Day gift that you can imagine... a composter. Yes, that's right, a kitchen scraps composter. You plug it in, add your kitchen scraps, some sawdust pellets (for the "browns" to go along with the kitchen "greens"), the machine turns the stuff every four hours, and it just a few days you have steaming (literally) compost. I had tried worm composting in the past, and I now realize that the environment in the box wasn't right, because all the worms wanted out, and we found them all over the garage - David was not happy about that. I'll report back how the compost turns out. The first batch should be ready soon.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Leo loses another tooth

Last night when I came home my 7 year old son Leo was in the shower. David, my husband, told me that Leo had something to show me. David was getting a five dollar bill out of his wallet, and said that I could probably figure out what Leo had to show me based on the $5, but that gave me no clue. Leo told me to look on the counter when I went in the bathroom and I saw another of his teeth there. (We don't do the Tooth Fairy thing with him, we just give him $5 and keep the tooth.) I congratulated Leo on losing another tooth. He told me how he removed the tooth. "It wouldn't come out, so this is how I got it out." He then made a fist and mimicked punching himself in the face. I was very surprised and asked if that is really how he got it out, since he had just pulled the last 3 out. Both he and David agreed that he had indeed punched himself in the mouth. "There was blood everywhere" David added. It is logical I guess, at least to a 7 year old.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

first flowers of spring

Over the weekend I saw the first tree in bloom this year. There is another tree that I pass on the way to work that is my guide to the end of winter, and the last two days it has been blooming. It's some kind of fruit tree I believe, and it usually blooms around February 1st, so it is right on time. The days are getting longer, and I had to wear sunglasses for the first time in a long while on the way to work today. I realize that much of the Midwest and East Coast of the US are in a major snowstorm the last few days, but the first signs of spring are here in Northern California. Of course it is still cold here, and it may continue to rain, which we need, but still, spring is on the way.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

comments my son made today, and marmalade

On the way home from some time with his grandparents today, Leo asked David "Is seven odd?" David replied that yes, seven is an odd number. To which Leo replied "Then I'm odd." (since he is seven years old) David's response was "You said it, I didn't." Later he asked David "Do you have a girlfriend?" (If David did we would be having a talk right now!) David said no. We think that one of the older boys on our street was talking about having a girlfriend and Leo is working on the concept in his mind. Then while Leo was showering while David was brushing his teeth, Leo said "I'm stretching my balls. They're tight." Where did that comment come from?

Two weeks ago when I dropped Ethan off at our friends Gareth and Analisa's house to play with their son Alec, Analisa was making orange and lemon marmalade. I was intrigued. She explained briefly how she made it, and it didn't seem hard, although I've never canned anything before. But I'm thinking of giving it a try. I want to watch and help Analisa the next time that she does it. I've checked out a few recipes online, and also some chutney recipes. I realize that making marmalade or chutney seems very domestic, but I guess I'm becoming more domestic as I get older. It's not like I'm out there partying, so why not do interesting things around the house?

Friday, January 28, 2011

my mother's lesbian cousin died

My mother forwarded the online obituary for her lesbian cousin. (second cousin actually, but in my mom's large extended Irish Catholic family no one thought about that - you were just a cousin.) I was pleased to see that her partner of 27 years, who died a few years ago, was mentioned, although she was listed after the "family" members.

Lynne, the cousin, had a few interesting episodes in my parents' and my life. She dated my dad for a while. Yes, you read that right, before my dad married my mom he had dated her lesbian cousin. Their dates often consisted on one-on-one basketball on Saturday nights, and she would often defeat my father. Her obituary mentioned her athletic skills in basketball and softball, and she played when girls were limited to the old "girls rules" which was a much slower, less aggressive game from what I have heard.

Then when my sister was getting married for the first time, I was looking through the invitations as they were about to be mailed and came across Lynne's invitation, which also included her partner's name. It finally clicked in my brain, but I acted as if I didn't know what was going on and asked my mom who the second name on the invitation was. She said "That's her friend." FRIEND??? That seems to have been my mother's family's way of dealing with their gay and lesbian relatives, a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" where gay family members and their partners are always welcome, but it was never discussed. Luckily they are beyond that now, because I'm not staying silent about being gay.

The third and funniest interaction that I had with Lynne actually happened as my grandmother was dying at the hospital where Lynne worked as a radiation oncology technician. Lynne told me and David stories about other gay and lesbian family members. The funniest was about my grandmother's older cousin Joe, who had left the town where I grew up and moved to New York for a few years, then came home. He preferred younger men and had a series of boyfriends who were always welcome at family gatherings. I can imagine that he wasn't a predator but someone who took in younger guys who may have been thrown out of their homes if their parents found out that they were gay. Apparently several showed up at this funeral according to my mother, so they must have cared for him in some way. Anyway, not only did he like younger men, but he was very Catholic (I have no idea why he stuck with the church that I abandoned as a teen), and he had the reputation of having the largest penis of any gay man in the town (too bad I didn't inherit those genes). So putting a preference for younger men, Catholic, and a very large penis together, someone gave him a nickname that stuck with him the rest of his life - Mother Superior. David and I were dying laughing as Lynne told us all of this, as my grandmother was dying upstairs. I guess laughter among the tears.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm pooing versus I'm farting

Leo, being a 7 year old boy, is definitely in a potty humor phase. He offered to play checkers with me on his iPod (which has subsequently been taken away for him hitting it on the table when it wouldn't do what he wanted) the other day. He entered our "names" on the iPod as "I'm pooing" for him and "I'm farting" for me. A fart or a burp is always good for a laugh.

Work has been busy, as expected during cold and flu season. One of my patients on hospice died today. I hope that his wife is handling his death OK.

My hairstylist has convinced me to let my hair grow out. I was keeping it short to control the curl, and I'm not sure the extra length and curl will work out, but it's only hair. If I don't like it I can always get my head shaved - no I can't really, my skull has a strange shape in back.

Nothing more to say today, other than I should have posted something sooner. I think "I should write a blog entry about that" but forget about it before I get around to it.