I Didn’t Expect to Care about DOMA

I didn’t expect to care one way or another about the DOMA ruling by SCOTUS. Some of you will be surprised because I have been in a relationship with the most amazing woman in the world for a dozen years give or take. Some of you know that “Marriage is a tool of the patriarchy” is a slogan and a life at this house and that still stands.

Denise and Me

If my children want a wedding like party to mark a commitment to relationship, a coming of age as an adult, or just they want twinkle lights in mason jars with everyone they know to come and celebrate them–they know I am all for that–even without marriage. I don’t want my kids to get married in order to have a wedding. They know that. I will Martha Stewart the hell out of it. I will even pay attention to Pinterest in a way that I don’t now. I love that sort of thing. The girls also know that I want to be with them to choose their wedding dress. wedding(and when they give birth but yeah, I know I have to be more negotiable about that one but it will be really hard)


In any case, back to DOMA. The Federal protections given to married couples now seem to be given to all legally married couples, regardless of whether they are same-sex marriages or heterosexual marriages. There are a good number of states (mine not included) that recognize same sex marriages. We’ve never considered it. See above: patriarchy.

So, I didn’t think I cared. I didn’t even really follow any of the flurry of articles, posts, general babble about it in the past few months and years. I wanted something different, more equal, so that all people are treated the same under the law, whether they choose to marry or not.

This morning I walked in from trying to coax the dogs into the flooded back yard and Denise said “DOMA was struck down.” The morning had just started. I hadn’t been holding my breath. I think I responded with an “oh.” I know so many people–allies and people with a dog in this fight that probably greeted it with jubilant cheers. I didn’t. I didn’t expect to care too much about DOMA and Prop 8 except happy for friends who’ve invested a lot of emotion and money into it. I didn’t expect to feel anything when DADT fell until I saw the Happy GLBT Pride Month sign in front of the VA hospital.

Then I sat down to work and to surf the news to figure out just what had happened. There were a lot of versions of “win/lose” and all of that is yet to be determined. The ruling didn’t really mean every gay/lesbian couple in America can run out to get married during Pride month and enjoy all the benefits thereof. That’s something that the Supreme Court didn’t say.

But the more I read, the more I thought, the more chills and goosebumps I had. It reminded me of the Berlin Wall coming down. No, it isn’t the same at all. Just the way I feel is the same. This whole one little rock came down, then another, then another feeling. This historical ruling, the moment, the just wow of it.

Will we marry? Maybe. I never thought I would say maybe. But here I am, saying maybe. Let’s see how the rest of the wall falls.





That little dog with the beautiful grandson is Koto. Koto was my mother’s dog. Well, he was my sister’s dog, a therapy dog (though I never saw him in seizure detecting action. It became clear not long after he moved in with us that he was retired.) He moved in with us when my mother did. We’d heard stories from my older sister, (not a fan) my mother and sister (Koto’s two biggest fans) before he moved here. We knew he was spoiled. “a vegetarian” He “needed” pumpkin and special moist food, expensive moist food. When we noticed that he was having no trouble with Jake’s food, we quickly ditched the expensive food. He came to us with a list of issues from separation anxiety, fears, stomach problems, leg problems, and a heart problem. He did occasionally have a leg problem–probably from leaping off the bed to the floor–a big jump for a little dog.

Mostly  the problem with Koto is that he looked at you. I remember calling Denise from the road. HE IS LOOKING AT ME. She mocked me. He had a troublesome underbite. And a more troublesome habit of LOOKING AT YOU. It didn’t take long for Denise to note this disturbing habit. He was a Shih Tzu. (or a shit it is you!) He had a Napoleon complex. He bit me several times. Hard. Usually while I was prying something inedible out of his mouth. (He had a fabulous habit of shredding toilet paper and incontinence pads.)  He yipped. He had full on freak outs when it stormed. He needed grooming constantly but hated it being done. In the last year, I had finally settled on a cut that I could deal with for him–super short all over with a fluffy tail. It kept the goo off his face and made him smell better. My mother hated it though. She wanted him to have a “skirt” but usually by the time he got to the groomers he had gotten too dirty and matted to consider it. Other than running after my mother, yipping and barking, he had settled into old man doghood pretty well.

Then we brought Skeeter home. He and Skeeter had their tiffs. But, Skeeter was good for him. Koto was more active, more alert, less bossy (because he had Skeeter to boss around). But I noticed once we had Skeeter that we really didn’t need to put Koto out on the lead while we stood watching them. He would stay in the yard. He was slowing down.

When we got home from BlogHer Food, I expected he would be more yippy and bouncy when we picked Skeeter up from the kennel. Since Mama stayed here, we hadn’t boarded Koto. But we had a lot of storms during the week. I suspected he was worn out from being on guard duty with Mama and then staying up with the storms.

Friday night (after of course the vet was closed) Mama said “Something is wrong with Koto. He isn’t eating and he is drinking a lot.” Me: “He has been into Skeeter’s puppy kibble. (He had hadn’t he? I thought so then. Last night when I lifted his weak body, I wasn’t sure.)” Both dogs are drinking a lot. It is hot”

I wasn’t really worried. He needed grooming but he looked ok. Mama tended to worry a lot about Koto.

Saturday he didn’t look as ok. But I just mentally thought “we will take him in Monday if he isn’t better” Saturday she said he is really sick Tarrant, come take a look at him. Is there something we can do? I went and checked him out. I remembered that we had some dog pain killers leftover and thought I would give him one. It wouldn’t hurt. It might help him be more comfortable. In any case, they would have helped Mama feel like we were doing something. Koto promptly bit the hell out of my thumb. Cue much cursing. No meds.

Saturday? Sunday really–just after midnight, Koto started vomiting. It was brown and horrible–not coffee grounds. But that vomit of a very sick dog. “We can take him to emergency care, but that will be expensive”

Sunday morning he looked worse. All day we talked about what to do about him. I would take him out to use the bathroom. He would and then he would lay down out there. Skeeter would nose him but she wouldn’t bother him. When that happened I got really worried.

Mama was worried. I was worried. I had cursed the damn dog a million times, but as I told Mama last night, he is a horrible damn dog, but he is our horrible damn dog.

Last night, Skeeter came in to Mama’s room, where she is never allowed. It is Koto’s domain. Koto didn’t leave his bed. Skeeter started to approach,but she sniffed the air, she looked at him. She whined and left. That was when Mama started to believe what I was saying, this wasn’t something that would be easily cured with some pills, an iv, and a different food. We talked about taking him in. She was thinking she wanted to, she didn’t want him to die at home. I asked her why. She had no good answer. She didn’t want him to suffer. Koto didn’t seem to be suffering, just shutting down, confused, tired. I got up to leave her. He got up to follow me out. I took him outside. He didn’t want to attempt the stairs, so I carried him out. I sat him down. He took a few steps and curled up on the ground, looking at me with dull eyes. The new puppy next door barked. Skeeter immediately stood in her pointy look there is a dog stance, but Koto didn’t bark, so she didn’t. She kept looking at him confused. He stood up and wandered behind the bush nearer to the neighbor’s house but didn’t bark. Skeeter looked defeated. So did Koto. I carried Koto in and put him back in his bed. I told mama to get some rest but she stayed up with him all night. He passed away at 5 am. He didn’t suffer other than I think he would have really had rather made like an old cat and just vanished rather than have his people see him so poorly.

I’ve cleaned Mama’s room. I dealt with Koto’s body. I have thrown away his bed and stuff. (She asked me to do so)  He was an old guy. The house is quieter. Skeeter keeps looking for her dog. My thumb is grotesque and hurts. It doesn’t hurt quite as much as my heart. No, I wasn’t a Koto fan. Denise and the kids weren’t fans. But, he was much loved especially by my mother and sister. He loved them back. He came when I called and would follow me. I won’t be working and realize there are eyes LOOKING AT ME. I won’t have the easy knowledge that if something happens to mama on the other end of the house that the little dog will come get me. My heart misses a dog I didn’t even like that much. Darn dogs. I feel guilty because everyone on Facebook is sharing their condolences for a dog I know I have complained about there and here. Even now.On the other hand, maybe I didn’t like the fluffy spoiled little dog who yipped and stared, but I loved him and miss him. And so does my dog. And my mother and sister. Hurting my mom and my sister is so hard even if I am pretty sure that Dr Google is right and there wasn’t anything we could have afforded to do and even if…would have put the pup through pain, fear and suffering.

Seventh Inning? Lucky Seven? Working on a Baker’s Dozen?

Happy Sock Day everyone. Really, just Happy Sock Day to Denise.

Unsure about Sock Day? It is far easier just to say it is an anniversary or that it is a blogiversary. You see today marks twelve years since the first “I love you.” and seven years since the first incarnation of this blog.

Onto the marshmallow portion:

So, seven. Seven is your favorite number or so you will say. Maybe your favorite as much as green is your mother’s favorite color.

The blog has been reworked as is tradition for the day. I growled at you for saying you never look at my blog the other day. Of course, I don’t either which is probably how I ended up with such a major remodel.

You know this year was different, that instead of gritting my teeth and playing web designer, that I hired one. (and I shall blog about that as well in a different post) That  felt like wimping out on Sock Day. After all, the point of sock day gifts has traditionally been for me to jump head first into making something. Then I realized it isn’t at all about making something, it is about stepping out on a wire, bravery, and the negotiation of control. You’ve know the design was underway.

You know I panicked when I saw the old one broken. You know I had a lot of trouble deciding to hire rather than do another redesign that didn’t quite work. Yes, I fretted for days.

Then gah, slow. Once I decided, it should be overnight–just like every website I have built…or not. Ok, but the hard part is done. No. I had to communicate. That was hard. It still seemed like cheating to hire someone. Too easy.

But then, came the “little” things. Colors and pixels. Asking other people for help in finding words. The knowing something seemed off, but not quite being able to tweak it myself. I suddenly came to a realization. This, this hiring out of design, as big of a step out, maybe bigger than Board Q and A or the very first Retro-food or even any other site since then.

While sock day for you was stepping out on a wire, it was always me smiling at the end of it. “Look. No hands. I can do it myself.”  This year I step on the wire and ponder the dance of control in our relationship and in web design.

Still, I smile and call you to my arms. Look what I did. Look what I can do, what I imagine for me, for you, for us.

I love you. Happy Sock Day.

Old School/New School Communication

Back when I was a child, my mother received regular mail (you know–the kind that comes via the “mail lady” and had a stamp on it) from my great grandmother. (Yes, the great grandmother of the recipe cards.) This mail often mystified me with its lack of SOMETHING. You see, often there were clippings from the newspaper–recipes and obituaries. Sometimes there was a wedding or baby announcement or someone got an award. There’d be a note with my great grandmother’s fascinating-to-me handwriting. It often mentioned relatives I maybe hadn’t met or someone my mother had been friends with in school or a church lady friend of my great grandmother.

Sometimes there was other types of commentary–a bible study, a book, the doings of someone’s child, grandchild, my mother’s siblings. Then there was advice–baking, cooking, child-rearing, housekeeping. I rather wish my mother had kept these notes. As far as I know she didn’t. They were ordinary. Sure, a newspaper clipping here and there exists–but those ordinary notes do not.

There were also Sunday phone calls. These didn’t exist as much when I was super young. Long-distance was pricey. I do remember being put on the phone to speak to Nini. Yes m’am. No m’am. It was all very scripted in a way. I am sure Nini wanted more…but take a child who has trouble speaking anywhere without a “script” especially the phone, talking to a woman who couldn’t just see day-to-day life on my end; add a wee bit….ok a lot…of proper manners and decorum and you have a quick stilted conversation. I like to think that if Nini had lived longer that I would have eventually gotten the hang of it. I know that isn’t true though. I loved to speak to her in person (even if I was warned about my uterus falling out, the need to get a husband, and a lot of Nini correcting my mother on how I should learn my place.) Nini fascinated me. She still does.

Oh my, I have rambled a bit…now I will get back to my original topic. I realized yesterday that I communicate with my son the way Nini did with my mother. No, I don’t send him random newspaper clippings to college. I instead will send him a link on Facebook that I think will interest him. I will text him with random observations about his siblings, the pets, our family life. The newspaper clippings are now hyperlinks. The notes now text or gchat. The love? The recognition that a parent thinks of her child all the time and in particular when something feels like that child–the same.

It’s not just boy child–though he’s the best at communicating via Facebook/gchat/text. Last week, I started texting the girlchild in Philly. I’d seen the early graphics. (Yes, I am a weather geek and get the NHC feed in my reader.) “Do you have a flashlight? Blankets? Water? I am serious! What do you mean you are scheduled to work? STAY AWAY FROM THE RIVER!” She rolled her eyes. She knew that I know she’s an adult. She knew it was me saying, “I love you but I need to fuss and reiterate the lessons I taught you growing up.” But then, she did text her other mom today and ask about her hissing radiator in the apartment. I quickly conveyed my handyman knowledge via her other mom. (ok so I googled to double check)

My children may not get the handwritten notes in the mail. I really ought to send them some just so they can save them. But, long-distance parenting of adult children really hasn’t changed that much.

One day soon Johnny Mac Pippin will be put on the phone to have a stilted conversation with his grandmothers. He will roll his eyes when he’s called to the phone. (or computer) Right now, we just get to Facetime with him and he is young enough that no matter what he does–it is perfect. I suspect it always will be…because yes, that’s what grandmas think. We just want to hear the voice and see the wee ones.