Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Child of the 2010s

"I hope I don't have a nightmare.  I had a nightmare that there was a gun and bullets.  I hid, so I didn't get dead.  All the kids have to hide.  Some kids didn't hide and they got bullets [insert list of kids who hid or didn't hide].  Teachers don't have to hide, they're magic.  They don't get bullets.  Kids aren't magic, they have to hide."

"I hope I dream about a unicorn, about riding a unicorn, and I ride the unicorn wherever it wants to go."

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Giving Thanks

My first holiday without my little big girl.  I felt her absence, but I was okay.  And helped along by a jewish/french/korean extravaganza with lots of wine.  And dinner at North on Wednesday night.  If you visit Providence, eat at North, it's amazing.

And then LB and I hung out from Friday to Monday:

Playing and having a pre-holiday pastry:

A visit to the Children's Museum, which was fine but not entirely successful.  In unfamiliar situations, I realize how reticent LB is.  I think things would have gone better with a friend:

Followed by exhaustion:

The next day we went with a good friend to visit a good friend on a farm-with a horse, and cows, and chickens, and a fat cat named Hunter!

Then on Sunday, an improptu playdate at the park, and then the first night of advent:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Year Without Tamir

This morning LB woke up next to me, "Mama, it's morning, it's morning." "Why don't you get up and play, I'll be up in a minute." And she did, I got up a half hour later, and she was dressed, waiting expectantly with a stuffed unicorn under her arm-only five hours early for our playdate.  I made breakfast.  I argued about the number of shows a child should watch.

What didn't I do this morning? I didn't wonder if she would be safe on our playground.  I live in the world of white mothers.

In another world, Samaria Rice should be arguing with her son about church clothes, or telling him not to eat so fast.

In this world, she is mourning a child she will never hold again.

Tamir Rice, a black child murdered on a playground by a police officer.  A family mourning.  A child buried.  But no charges. No trial.

If we don't disrupt this world, we perpetuate it.  We raise our white children to perpetuate the structures of racism, and to make the choices that leave a black child dead on a playground.

Petition: Justice for Tamir Rice

"A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi. Meanwhile, a Mississippi Mother Burns the Bacon."

Showing Up For Racial Jusice

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


No time to compose, so I'm just going for it.

Providence doesn't really seem to celebrate Veterans' Day in any big public way.  That seems like a shame.  I thought there would be a parade I could take LB to.

I figured out to check out e-books from the library to my phone, which means I've been reading much more.  Best so far, A Little Life. I'm not sure I can exactly recommend it, because it really is devastating and has graphic scenes of horrible abuse.  But it's also an amazing story of friendship, which I feel like gets short shrift compared to romantic love.

Locally, a school resource officer took down a student at Tolman High School in Pawtucket, a few weeks before the SRO took down the student in South Caroline.  And then, protesters in Pawtucket, mostly students, were pepper sprayed by police.  Even locally, the issue doesn't seem to have gotten much traction.  The ACLU has complained, and I guess that and $2.00 will by you a coffee at Dunkin Donuts (which will not say #blacklivesmatter). I don't really know what to do, but I guess I'll settle for writing a letter to our new interim Superintendent of Providence about student discipline and cops in schools.

LB went for her annual check up today.  3ft 5in and 33.5lbs. And I got a referral to a child psychologist (although maybe a parenting coach is what we need) because, yes, it's that bad.  And, she seems to have stopped eating fruits and vegetables.  I got her to eat 5 frozen blueberries tonight.  And she wouldn't have anything to do with the shrimp I made a special stop to get.

It was a long wet slog to the doctor, and for some reason I thought it would be better to just take LB to work with me (officially I had the day off) than slog her back to school and then me in the opposite direction to work.  But then all my co-workers came to work, and it was a long round trip walk.

My parents visited and left their usual odd assortment of foods, including a huge bag of frozen waffles. I was too cheap to buy strawberries, so I sauteed some pie apples in butter, added brown sugar and half/half and vanilla, and I'm planning to do waffles with apples and whipped cream.

I've started writing class again, which is awesome, but we got a vicious assignment this week, involving translating a passage from a novel we love and then writing letters to the (dead) author.

I've been looking for some good coverage of MU.  Too much of what I've seen, reduces the issue to a response to racial slurs on campus, and clearly there is much more going on.  I'm so impressed that Ferguson and #blacklivesmatter has given activists, and the dissatisfied but not yet activists a vocabulary to express what's been wrong for so long, and a path forward.  The kids are alright.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Yesterday was LB's birthday, and I spent a lot of it crying.  Because I didn't wake up with my daughter.  Because 5 is so old.  Because my only child is 5.  Because all of the celebrations I spend with my daughter include the person who treated me so terribly.

The good: LB had a fun party with a tiny bouncy house, and the theme was chaos, and there was a hello kitty ice cream cake, and fun was had.  LB was good at being a five year old and blew out all her candles.

I feel raw. Sad.  So thankful to have a living child.  Everyday I'm thankful. So sad to have a child that I love fulltime, but can only hold half the time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

PRONK 2015

I enjoyed a full weekend of marching brass bands this past weekend-visiting friends in Boston (Somerville really) for HONK, and then taking LB to PRONK in Providence on Monday.  Both HONK and PRONK are alternatives to Columbus Day-without the denial of Columbus's legacy of mass death.  Both are joyous.  HONK is bigger and great, but I do love our little PRONK.  This year it started in Burnside Park with performances, and then the parade marched across the river and down South Water to the hurricane barrier.  It was lovely, marching with the sun setting over the power plant-which doesn't sound lovely but it was.

LB had a great time dancing, and then cried because her friends didn't want to dance, and then rallied, and then face planted.  But all in all it was a great time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

5 minutes of heaven

That is, the 5 minutes between now and when I start getting ready for work.  The small child is off-site. After I complained about too many perfect sunny days in a row, today is lovely and misty.

B and I have been negotiating over holidays, and my future reality sucks.  Has a psychologist described this cycle: I want to be with my baby, I'm going to miss half the years, how did this happen to me, my ex wife's lover will spend as many holidays with my child as I will, why, why, why.

I'm trying to channel the fatalism and acceptance of many faith and cultural traditions: life isn't fair, life is suffering, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, sinners in the hands of an angry God-and all that.  I was joking with my lady friend that I should offer LB's room that she never sleeps in to a Syrian refugee family, and then every day I could look across the kitchen table and realize how good I have it.

And life is good, but it's hard to turn around that cruise ship of expectation on which I spent every holiday with my child and my spouse.  It's hard to accept without anger that we are all flawed and selfish and stupid, and that just is, and all my anger and sadness won't change what is.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Lb and I went camping! Mostly thanks to the kindness of friends who drove us and provided all our gear. Despite our inexperience, our basicness saw us through.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Well of Loneliness

A. Is that dramatic enough for you?
B. I've never read that book, but I hear it's really depressing.

Never having gotten divorced before, I had ideas about this process that were not quite accurate.  A year out from the suffering of living in the same house with a cheating spouse and hoping we might reconcile, life is better.  And a year ago, I remember telling myself everyday, "by this time next year it will be better."  Since then I've done a lot of pushups, run a lot of miles, written a lot of words, got my own place, went to divorce court, went on probably more actual dates than I've ever been on in my life.  I don't wake up in the morning with a sense of dread.  I don't feel like I'm going to puke.  But my sadness, my sense that everything I thought was true has been upended, that I have been betrayed is only stronger.  In that first survival stage, I didn't let myself feel all the emotions.  Even now, I guess I could shut it down, but I have some instinctive sense that the only way for this experience to mean something is to let myself feel what I need to feel.  And it sucks.

When I was first thinking about dating, everyone was somewhere on the spectrum between mildly encouraging and insistent that it was a good idea.  I thought that it would feel like a healing process.  And, in the first stage it was.  There are, apparently, a lot of people who will date a middle aged lady.  But, dating a little more seriously makes me realize how broken I feel.  How distrusting of my own feelings, desires, and emotions.  And it sucks.

But in better news LB and I are headed out with friends for our first-ever camping trip.  I'll have to put together a tent, but what could go wrong, right?  Two little girls are currently tearing up my torn up house, work is out of control, life is life.  I was writing a letter the other day to someone I hate, a letter that was honest, but not kind.  And then the lyrics to Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" got inexplicably stuck in my head.  And it didn't make the words I needed to write in the letter any more kind, but I felt some of my anger dissipating with each word.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

When Last I Left You...

I was missing LB who was off on vacation with her other mom.  Since then LB had her first friend sleepover, we went to the beach a couple times, we took the train to visit a friend in Boston, and did all the usual summer things.

And LB started pre-K, and, unlike other years, seems pretty good with the transition.  The striped dress pic is real first day of pre-k, but since I didn't get to participate, I took my own pictures on my first day bringing LB to her new class.

And, in a true Labor Day miracle, my wonderful friends brought me a receiver and speakers, and hooked the whole shabang up, so that I have music!  I'm listening to some Waylon right now.

Oh yeah, and I had divorce court, which is 15 minutes of my life that I will never get back.  And IT IS DONE, except the processing of the paperwork, which will take another month or so.  And, I went on perhaps too many dates, some of which were very enjoyable.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I miss my Bug

LB is on vacation with her other mom for almost 2 weeks.  Apparently I can deal without seeing my child for 6 days, and then I ache to see her.  I've been keeping busy-work, projects, dates, trips, friends, and for the first 6 days that was good, but now I miss her.

This morning I woke before my alarm.  The sky was dark yellow and there was thunder and lightening in the distance.  I reached across the bed where LB would usually be sleeping, and I would usually re-cover her with her special blanket.  And maybe I would hold her hand, and she would wake a bit and smile at me.  As I got up to put on the coffee, the sky went dark with wind and rain and lightening and thunder.  By the time I left for my morning meeting it was clear and lovely.  All seemed good, until I came upon two giant trees crashed across Benefit Street, and my meeting was canceled and the power was out and the coffee shop was closed.

I miss that little girl, she anchors me to something I can't define.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Posting a Post

It's not that I haven't been wanting to post, but I haven't been able to commit to a post.

On the list:

#blacklivesmatter, #sayhername

How to be a useful person in this world where we find ourselves.  I've been thinking about starting a social justice book club, open to all but targeted at white folks with plenty of formal education and a liberal bent who want to learn more about the history of race in the US and the path forward.

Vocal fry.  I've definitely got it, I'm not sure how bad.  That must be what people mean when they say "you sound like you should be on NPR." Indeed.

LB. A love, a terror, a love.  Today we went to the farmer's market, saw about a million people we knew, and came home and washed a stuffed duck.

LB. Leaving for Oregon for a week+.  I am not a fan.

Dating.  I've got some stories, and I totally want to share the funny ones (#dealbreakers), but then I also want to protect the privacy of those who aren't just a punchline.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Play Pretend

LB has long been into imaginary play, but since we moved to two homes, she has amped up several games.

When we first moved, she would repetitively play a game where she was Elsa hiding in her ice palace.  I was Anna and had to go find her and knock on the door and say: "Elsa, come out of the castle, we need you in Arandale.  We miss you Elsa." Elsa would run out of her castle and down the hallway and collapse on the floor.  I would chase after her and hug her on the floor to "unfreeze" her.  The "I miss you, I love you, come home" themes seemed important to LB as she got used to living in two places.

Lately, it's been Mama Cat/Baby Cat.  Baby Cat (played by LB) doesn't have a home and wanders around lost and crying.  Mama Cat finds Baby Cat and says "Baby Cat, are you lost, don't you have a mama?  You can come live with me in my house and I'll be your Mama Cat." The Mama helps Baby build a cozy nest.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


There's nothing like 5 hours in transit with a little person to show you how much she's grown in the past year.  Regional travel from Providence to Southern Maine with a 4.5 year old was great.  We left on a rainy Sunday and LB managed the walk, city bus, walk, regional bus, regional bus, taxi, ferry, taxi like a champ and even walked on wet ground without complaining.  I wish that we could get all the way to Maine without transferring, but I have only good things to say about Concord Trailways if you are traveling down the Maine Coast.  When they have more people, they put on more buses.  Genius.  On the way home we took the commuter rail from Boston the Providence, which was actually much harder than taking the bus.  I didn't realize what a pain it would be to hustle LB and all our stuff out to the platform and then navigate the stairs on the train.  And I told LB to step across the gap onto the train by herself and then had a moment of terror that she would fall.  But we made it.

My parents kept LB busy and happy in Maine, and she finally seemed to really enjoy the beach.  She also made friends will a little girl staying next door and they were very cute together. We have one bug bite related swollen foot that we are watching, and we took one visit to the island clinic. I got to go into town and see friends and eat noodles, have a drink at fizz, and go to Standard Baking Company and Two Fat Cats.  And my friends also trekked out to the island.  And I walked/ran around the island every day.  I actually feel refreshed.

Our last night in Maine, LB got philosophical and hit me with: "But, will I die someday?" "Will you always be my mama" and "What if a person ate another person." What to say?  I love that little/ big girl.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Posted from my phone on the library wifi.

Summer in Maine!

Running by the ocean.

Rocky beach.

Grandmom's kitchen.

Check me out on VillageQ! No link provided, but I know you can search it.

Friday, June 19, 2015


"Did you know that sometimes people are mean to other people just because those people have brown skin?"
"I have light skin, like Elsa! Mama has light skin.  Mommy has light skin.  L has brown skin. M has brown skin. C has brown skin. Miss T has brown skin.  Miss J has brown skin.  Lots of people have brown skin."
"Do you know that sometimes people with light skin hurt people with brown skin, just because they have brown skin?"
"That's mean. You can't hit someone because they have brown skin.  If someone hits me I say "NO!" and if they don't stop I tell the teacher. It's not nice to hit."
"You're right Lovie, I'm glad you know all that."

Friday, June 12, 2015

Providence International Arts Festival

So the Providence International Arts Festival is this weekend, and if you are nearby or up for a bus, train, or drive, you should check it out!

In my experience (Chicago) urban arts festivals are a mediocre assortment of street vendors selling things carved from wood and carts selling chewy chicken satay skewers.  Not something I would leave the house for.  BUT, I think this one is a whole different thing.  Really amazing murals and street art have been going up all over downtown.  I think this thing is legit! This fish mural (made of tape) isn't the most impressive art, but I was totally impressed because it went up suddenly on a corporate building.  There are going to be performances and a parade at 5:00 downtown on Saturday.  I plan to attend with LB-and it best not rain.  Let me know if you're coming to town, maybe we can meet up!

Check out the schedule here:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Lesbians and Non-Binary Queer Folks Getting Divorced

This morning finds me not waking up to a small child smiling and reaching to pat my shoulder, not waking to a small child yelling angrily "Mama, I want cereal." Instead I'm drinking my coffee black because I forgot to buy milk, chopping parsley for tabouli, checking OKC.  What did we do before the internet? I'm part of a group for divorced lesbian moms, and on the whole it is a good thing.  People who have been there, people to give advice and support, but in some cases these women are doing to their partners the very thing that was done to me.  That's hard.  Sometimes the group makes me feel incredibly lucky to have a good, mature co-parenting relationship, sometimes it just makes feel bummed out about our inevitable failures as human beings.

I don't know why I feel compelled to compile posts about lesbians divorcing, but here they are:

Susan, "Two Moms, Two Boys, Two Homes."

Casey has a few relevant posts, but I'm going to link to, "I won't tell you I miss you."  I actually do say "I miss you when you aren't here," to LB, but in the context of "I miss you when you aren't here, but I always know I'll see you soon."  My feeling is that LB will feel sadness/wistfullness/loss, so I want to model those emotions and how to manage those emotions.  That said, I really appreciate how Casey talks about being a positive parent when you aren't feeling positive inside.

Cheryl, "When Marriage Equality Activists Break Up."   This post really gets at the special guilt that comes with being gay-married and then gay-divorced.

J has been blogging her long journey surviving infidelity, divorce, and now building a new blended family.  Many of her more recent posts are password protected, but you can read back about her divorce and healing.  This post, "Loyalty," is representative of the journey.

And an article about lesbian divorce from 1992, in case you've forgotten that the only thing worse that getting divorced is not being able to get divorced.

Monday, June 1, 2015

#queermutiny (a blogging for LGBTQ Families Day post)

There's a new kid in LB's class.  Sometimes Estelle seems happy, sometimes she seems sad.  Last week her mom carried her into school crying, and said to me "when do they adjust, because I can't take this!" Over the weekend I reminded LB to ask Estelle to play.  "I ask her, but sometimes she just cries." "Well, ask her again. It makes people happy when they have friends to play with. You used to cry at school, but now you have friends and you play all the time."

When I picked LB up today I got a report from her teacher that "LB was a very kind friend today and played with Estelle." I am so proud of that Sweetapuss!

A year ago, almost to the day, I was at home trying to balance mom-ing and working while my wife was away on business and, unbeknownst to me, turning her emotional affair into a full-on affair.  Today at work I got served with divorce papers.  I knew it was coming, but that didn't make standing in the rain signing off on paperwork with a kindly older gentleman who said, with feeling, "I'm wishing you all the best," any easier.

Since I found out I've run a lot of miles. I've done a lot of pushups. I spend some months trying to save my marriage.  I found a new place to live. I've made new friends. I've reconnected with old friends. I've gone to therapy. I've bonded with my daughter. I've been given so much materially, emotionally, and socially.

If you've read this blog before, you know I don't have much time for queer respectability-the idea that gays and friends are "just like everybody else" or even have a responsibility to strive to be "just like everybody else."  I spent a couple months this past year waking up every morning and telling myself "the only thing you have to do today is be a decent person."

This year has stripped away many of my trappings of respectability and forced me to think about what matters to me as a divorcee, a queer mom, a daughter, a friend-to love and be loved, to engage with the world, to live by my own values.  That's not necessarily a gay thing, but it is because some twenty or twenty five years ago I felt like being gay freed me from the trap of respectability and here I am again.

Many thanks to Mombian for hosting the 10th Annual Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day! I hope you'll click over here all the posts!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

15 Minutes

15 minutes is all I've got, so I'll see what I can get through.

I joined Shape Up Rhode Island with some people at work and I got a pedometer.  Yesterday I walked 15,400 steps. No wonder I'm freaking tired.

Mood: sad.  Not angry/sad, which for me is depression.  Not doesn't enjoy activities sad-I don't feel sad while distracted with friends or activities.  I spent a great weekend with friends, and was happily distracted.  I go back and forth between thinking that I need to sit with this sadness, and just really wanting it to go away.

Thoughts: I've been feeling like a loser.  I've been lucky to be a person who has achieved much more than anyone ever expected of me, the downside being that I have so many super conventionally successful friends.  So by someone else's measure, I suck, and then I judge myself for using someone else's measure of my own success.  That's no way to go through life.

LBisms: "Mama, what's personal space?" What a little sweetapuss.  I picked her up at daycare yesterday and she was sitting in wood chips glowering at two little friends on the swings.  LB was mad that she wasn't having a turn on the swings and the story ranged from she was mad to be waiting to the other little girls were being mean and telling her she could never have a turn.  I've been thinking about teaching emotional resilience.  I'm trying to place a positive script in LB's mind.  She definitely feels her perceived injustices very strongly, and instead of distracting herself will sit glowering or go throw herself dramatically on the ground.  Working on it.

My house: I like it, but I need to do the final push and finish painting and acquiring.  My bedroom walls are scuffed and marked.  Of course I left my room until last and now, every morning, when I look at the walls, I think the marks must be a sign that I"m not valuing myself enough.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

"I pride myself on being an amazing mother"

When I see this picture, I imagine LB in another 15 years, wearing a hemp necklace and barefoot, hula hooping on the street.

That quote was actually written by someone in one of the big private online lesbian mom groups I'm part of.  And that, my friends, is what I love about the internet.  In my travels through '70s back-to-the-land/old school taciturn New England, and 1980s lower middle class New England, and some 25 years of urban America from Boston to Seattle to Boston to Chicago to Baltimore and now Providence, it never occurred to me that the above was something a person could think or say.

I just don't think mothering/parenting is Amazing-able.  Parenting is life, and you can tell yourself that you are amazing at life, but it's just a series of triumphs and disappointment, choices and things outside your control, learning and not learning that makes up what becomes a life.

We do okay here-my new house needs a name. And I've discovered there's another name for what I call "1970s parenting," which is as close as I get to a philosophy.  "Slow parenting," who knew?  This article about having a slow parenting summer has been making the rounds. Makes sense to me, although it's a little different for working out of the house homes, because I think we feel additional pressure to make summer fun if our kids are in summer childcare that is a lot like what they experience during the school year.

I'm hoping to take LB to this amazing event: the Urban Pond Procession.  Despite being focused on ecology, it's challenging to get to on public transit from our neighborhood.  If the weather is good, we'll go, but if it's rainy, I don't think we can manage.  My alternate rain plan is to take LB to see Alice: A New Musical at the local Jr. High School.  I'm a little worried about her ability to sit through without talking.  With a four and a half year old, would you try it?  Or I could just take my own advice and we could have a quiet day. I feel like I've been over-scheduling LB a bit, just because I don't want us to fall into a sitting sad and alone in our rundown apartment, but I've definitely overcompensated.

And, just now, my four year old got the pizza box out of the fridge and served me a slice of cold pizza. I'm going to pat myself on the back for some amazing parenting.

And, finally, we got a couch!  A kind friend not only gave me the couch, but brought it to me and set it up. People are really nice sometimes.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

How Hard It Is

I've been rocking it as an over-compensating, abandoned, soon-to-be-divorced, lesbian mom.  My introverted self has been constantly busy, and when I'm busy I'm happy.  This week brought a sinus infection and terrible allergies with a tightness in my chest, and it was time to slow down.  I wasn't worried about mother's day, because it's never been a huge deal to me.  But today with no fun plans (but rather, run, work, paint if energy remains), I feel a deep sadness for what I've lost.

There's a go-getum-girl school of divorce that says the way to get over your lost relationship is to get out into the world, and I do think it's good for me to be busy, but I think that school of thought conflates the period of time after mourning with the action people take at that time.  So right now, I can take all the actions of a person not in mourning, but I'll still feel the sadness.  And it sucks.  But it's an appropriate kind of sadness that leads to emotional health. Kind of like the way exercise hurts and leads to physical health.

I've also become the Cassandra of struggling and just-okay marriages.  I just want to scream: "if you want to remain married, you aren't trying hard enough! Your marriage is struggling and you can't find two hours to spend alone with your spouse, you've got to be kidding me!" Nobody hears that person, I didn't listen to that person, until it's too late.

But despite all that there is my wonderful little girl, who got me a pink toothbrush for mother's day, who said: "If you miss me and feel sad, just look at the flowers grandmom and I got you." I'm sad, but lucky.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Or does it explode

My facebook feed has been full of two streams: anxious anticipation of the Supreme Court's hearing of a challenge to state bans on gay marriage.  This morning brings two and half hours of oral argument.  The best place to follow the action is always SCOTUS blog, and they have helpfully included some "in plain English" coverage.  Check it out here.

The other stream is the Baltimore protests/riots/uprising/as well as some kids being kids.  While I don't think of the Baltimore Sun as the best newspaper around, their coverage of present events includes important details not covered in national outlets.  The Sun has made all of their coverage freely available and it also includes timelines of the death of Freddie Gray and investigative coverage of the 5.7 million dollars the Baltimore Police Department has quietly paid out since 2011 for beating and otherwise brutalizing the citizenry of Baltimore. And if you want to know what that brutality looks like on the ground, check out Conor Friederdorf's article in the Atlantic, "The Brutality of Police Culture in Baltimore."

If you're looking for some analysis, Ta-Nehisi Coates does it again with his article "Nonviolence as Compliance." If you are watching coverage of the Baltimore protests on CNN and you're horrified and you are telling the tv "you're doing it wrong!" "why are you destroying your own city!" (I'm not even going to touch the "they are all animals!" commentary) then this article is a must read.

If like me, you feel like you're trapped in the way back machine, you can check out the Kerner Report, commissioned by LBJ in 1967 to explore the causes of riots (Watts, Newark, etc.) it was released shortly before the massive nationwide riots after the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. The famous quote from the report is "Our Nation is moving toward two societies-one black, one white-seperate and unequal." There is a lot of video of the 1968 riots available online-the most interesting thing about these videos is, once you get past seeing armed troops on the streets of an American city, they are boring.  Most of what happens is people standing in the street.  This video does illustrate the role the 1968 Baltimore riot played in the mass incarceration of black men that now decimates cities like Baltimore.  If you look at arrest rates by race historically, 1968 shows a huge bump that just keeps rising over the following decades.  Here's some NPR coverage from 2008 on the 1968 riots and their aftermath.

Baltimore's the only city where I've felt so freaked out walking that I turned around and went back.  And that was after years spent traversing the South Side of Chicago.  Baltimore just has such a high percentage of busted/broken/non-functional compared to the parts that do work. Despite that I've spent a good amount of time in parts of Baltimore where white ladies don't usually go, and, as is my usual experience, people have always been good to me.  Shortly before I left Baltimore for good, I was walking a group of my students through a historic old black neighborhood in Baltimore, telling the history through the architecture.  Looking at abandoned buildings, an open middle school with its huge windows thrown open and no screens, the few limping businesses.  A neighborhood still filled with apple and cherry blossoms. Wondering what the Dean would say if anything bad happened.  Nothing happened.

My Baltimore was filled with love and threat and suffering.  Filled with the friendly and loving people, who could not fix the crumbling infastructure, the massive disinvestment.  Baltimore is a colonial outpost where the wealthy extract what they can-the University studies the local population, where strong young men go to prison to work for free.  Baltimore is the most civic-minded place I have ever lived, where local people know that if you want something done you have to get your neighbors together and do it, because the city will never show up to help.  My Baltimore was one of compassion fatigue, where every educator, health care worker, law enforcement officer created a hard shell to survive in the face of so much suffering-and so did I.

B and I were once driving through some shitty neighborhood in East Baltimore-not the one that looks like London after the Blitz, a different one, with people.  I was in the passenger seat fiddling with the ipod as B pulled up to a light.  I looked out the car window and a young Black man caught my eye. As he looked a me, he moved toward the car reaching.  I looked at him and my arm moved to hit the lock on the car door.  He drew his hand back and laughed, and I laughed.  We had both played our parts pitch perfect, the way we were born to do.

Violence isn't the answer, but neither is peace.  When I see the young people of Baltimore throwing rocks, I see Palestinian children, I see the children of northern Ireland.  When you've got nothing, when you'll never have anything, when your only recourse is to gather the gleanings of the wealthy and powerful, you pick up a rock.

We are all bound together in this world.  I hope for a Supreme Court ruling that will be LGBTQ people closer to equality-closer to fundamental protections for our families and our bodies.  But even as we get more, we must remember that we are still "the least of these." Our strength as LGBTQ people is that we are a cross section of everyone.  We are rich and poor, people of all races and religions, of all genders, of all political orientations.  Our shared oppression, throughout history and in the present, can have meaning if it makes us more empathetic and compassionate to the suffering of others.  We are all bound together and our victories only have meaning if they make the world more just, more equal for all people.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Choose Happiness

LB and I made a spring tree with eggs and birds, and the apartment is slowly coming together. I am so sick of scrubbing and painting.

And then:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


I knew it was spring in New England when I walked by the Dunkin' Donuts closest to my work and they had the front door propped open with a chair.  When we lived in Baltimore I loved the mid-Atlantic spring, so soft and warm.  New England spring is thin and chilly with a stiff breeze to remind me that I've lost my hat.  LB loves to look out the windows of our new apartment and track the slow disappearance of the snow in the park across the street and the slower reappearance of people in the park.  Last night, LB was at her other home, but I listened to some raucous basketball at dusk.

We made this spring tree with dyed eggs and painted paper cranes.  The drugstore didn't have a regular egg kit with the little dye buttons, so I had to get a terrible one with dye pouches, and then mostly used food coloring because the pouches were terrible.  But we got it done, and in the pictures you can't see that the eggs are attached to the strings with scotch tape-that is some kind of metaphor for our lives.

Things are okay here.  We like the new house, and it's slowly coming together although I'm worn out from my first burst of energy.  LB seems to be working through the transition with elaborate pretend games drawn from Frozen.  But I feel sad. Now I have space for all the loss to settle and pool.  And as much as I don't want to feel sad, and sad isn't really my emotion, this seems like where I need to be.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


We have something resembling a new home. With thanks to family and friends and coworkers and even B. I got a special bloggy surprise in the mail that is going straight on the fridge. My parent stocked my pantry and fridge straight out of 1935. They are almost boomers, born in 1945, and despite their countercultural years, it shows. They will show up for their daughter's divorce with 20lbs of flour, 10lbs of rice, canned corn, and laundry soap. I love it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Darkest Before the Dawn

As spring creeps in this is the last slog of black ice and dirty snow.  I've been keeping myself too busy, which has had definite highlights, but I found myself at 7:00am the morning after spring forward, inching along an icy sidewalk on the way to a work engagement in Pawtucket and, despite the pink sunrise, it felt very lenten.  I have the keys to a new apartment.  The landlord assures me he has changed the battery in the squeaking fire alarm.  I've done a good amount of cleaning, and need to do even more painting.  And, right now, I'm lying flat on my back, wracked with body aches, chilled and nose running, wondering how it will all get done.  But it must get done, it will get done, and spring will be here again.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Misery and Kindness

Finally, I got a picture of my little girl in the big snow!  Blurry and shadowed, but I just wanted a New England picture for posterity.  But she hates to put her feet on snow.  Today was mild enough that we took the bus home from the Aurora Kiddo Dance Party (you should check it out if you live anywhere near Providence), and LB even walked a bit.

This winter has been a misery of cancelled plans and wet feet, and broken hips, collapsed roofs, and hypothermia.  This story that's been making the rounds on Boston social media is a good example of the everyday suffering of trying to function in the endless cold and snow.

In the piece Barbara Howard discusses stopping in her car to pick up and mom and child waiting late a night at a snowy bus stop.  The other side of our current suffering is our increased kindness.  Each day along my bus route, riders work to get the lady with the walker and the guy with the cane safely on and off the bus.  From the bus, I watched an older man collapse in a slippery crosswalk on a busy street at dusk.  Two drivers immediately used their cars to block him from traffic and then carried him to the sidewalk.  So many "you want to hold my arm?" to unsteady crossers, and a "at least take that guy on crutches!" to the driver of an overfull bus.

It's never easy to get around as a person with mobility issues, or as a parent with a young child and multiple bags.  But those needs are so often invisible.  Barbara Howard must have driven by moms with kids at bus stops on other late nights, but this was the night she stopped.  Because our own suffering has made us more aware of the suffering of others and more sympathetic to them.  It's a beautiful thing in this world.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The long winter

Snow. Cold. Snowbound with child who woke in the night and puked in her hair. Bar dancing child and a snowy walk home. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

New Apartment

I just signed a lease on a new apartment for March 1.  A nice, plain two bedroom in a sunny 2nd floor unit.  It's $50 a month cheaper than the kind of weird attic space with the laundry and parking issues.  It has a very sensible layout, with a bedroom on the north side for LB (nice and dark) and a bedroom on the south side for me.  The kitchen is south facing, which was a major selling point for me.  It's a smallish eat in kitchen, with standard low-budget white stove and wood laminate counters (wish they'd kept the old cabinets).  Most of the rooms have nicely redone wood floors, and the whole building seems clean and well-maintained (unlike the death trap attic space).

The neighborhood is close to where we are now, and very close to daycare.  Ten years ago it used to be pretty rough around there, but I've been in the area a lot and there doesn't seem to be anything sketchy going on now.  There's a pretty big park across the street and a corner store on the other corner.

Feels good.

And then there's the bad:

Sunday, February 1, 2015

New PW protected posts up at the other blog

And on one of them I'd misspelled the password, but now I've fixed it.  If you'd like to read the ugly you can contact me at the email address listed on this blog.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Gay Divorcee

The first state-sanctioned gay marriages in the US began in 2004. Guess who is now divorced? Hillary and Julie Goodridge, the lead plaintiffs in the Massachusetts court case that brought gay marriage to that state.  So I'm in good company?

B and I went down to get our marriage license on the first day they were offered in D.C.  It was a lot of fun with people giving out cupcakes and flowers and a long line of diverse couples.  We were couple 80-something.  And I've wondered if we are the first couple from that day to get divorced.  Probably not, probably at least one of those couples freaked out within the first year and decided to split.

And on that day we were minor gay marriage poster children.  We were on the tv news.  Funny story: so apparently it's actually quite difficult to stand outside a courthouse and figure out which people walking out the building are part of a soon-to-be gay-married couple and who are just random work friends going to lunch.  So the news crew wasn't approaching anyone until they saw us walk out, me carrying the flower that I was given in line.

The charming Jim Darling took our picture.  If you need a portrait or some wedding photography, you should look him up here.

If you've been reading here, you know I am no fan of marriage as a system of distributing rights and privilege.  Remaining married isn't an issue of moral obligation to me.  But I do think that if a couple chooses to get married by the state and make that public commitment it comes with an ethical obligation to try and stay married.  And within that framework, four years of marriage seems pretty pathetic.

B says she feels no particular shame as a gay divorcee, but I'll admit to a twinge.  I think that twinge comes from the hubris of thinking that it would never be us who would split, that somehow we were different than all the divorced straight couples we know, that we would cope every so gracefully with the pressures that face all couples.  Pride comes before fall.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


You never realize how many love letters, notes, and card you accumulate over 10 years until you have to decide what to do with them. But in happier news I've also found some charming documentation of the 1970s and 1980s:

And in random good news, my side project got an acls grant-we are so fancy!

Monday, January 26, 2015


The snow started slow this afternoon, but now it's really starting to blow out there.  And it's my first blizzard alone in ten years-mostly alone, I do have my Ladybug tucked into bed upstairs.  B and I share a love of extreme weather, and we've been through blizzards, hurricanes, and on derecho together.  Two years ago I hitched a ride from BWI with a complete stranger after my flight got cancelled, because I couldn't imagine sitting alone in Baltimore while B and LB were in the blizzard zone.  My first bloodwork when we were trying for LB involved careening through the unplowed streets of Baltimore to get to our early morning appointment.  Overall, I feel like I'm doing well. I've been really honest with my friends about the state of things, and they all seem to think I'm doing pretty well.  But this hurts.

I've also started looking at apartments.  So far I've looked at a super cheap, super rundown "loft." It would be great for 3 youths, but I was worried about filling all that space, and the heating bill, and the 2nd egress which was a trap door in the front room.  Apt 2 has more potential.  It's more than I wanted to spend, but includes all utilities, which is a big savings in New England and I'd never have to worry about getting a huge heating bill.  It's a weird attic space with lots of little rooms, but it has potential for a lot of retro cuteness, and plenty of room for me and LB and visitors.  There some weird laundry situation I didn't understand about having to pay out the first floor tenant for use of the washer, and uncertainty about the parking (for visitors because you can't park overnight on the street in Providence without a permit). We would be close to daycare, library, bus, shops (although not a grocery store), and parks.  It's a nice, safe area, which I guess should be a big sell, but I was actually hoping to move into an adjacent neighborhood that would be a little more income and race diverse.

And then I started looking on craigslist and saw that there are actually a decent number of places in my price range-like also because this is a weird time of year to rent a place-so that's good.  But I'm trying decide whether I should take a place for March 1 now (and basically pay an extra month) or wait and rent something for April 1 and scramble to get out of our current place.  Option 1 would probably be much better for LB's transition, but I also don't want to throw away a month of rent (a month in which B and I could be renting 4! places).  Decisions, decisions.

Stay warm and shovel safe!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sick Day

LB was up crying and coughing last night, and I'm hoping it's just a cold and not the flu.  I'm not feeling that great either, but I can't seem to stop doing stuff.  Today doesn't need to be the day I organize my life, right?  And those homemade refried black beans and turkey stock are going to be good, but not exactly essential.  I should probably just sit my achy carcass down, right?  And be a good role model for "rest when you're sick." So easy to say, so hard to do.

As an aside, I feel like a very out-of-shape blogger, all wheezy and dead-legged, but I'm working at it.

Below, cool link to stuff by friends of mine:

Hawaii as Racial Paradise and the Bid for the Obama Presidential Library on NPR's always interesting CodeSwitch

And "The Challenges of Raising a Digital Native," which is a tedx talk.  What I really love about Devorah's stuff is that she gives useful examples for how to help kids work through their technology problems themselves (with adult guidance) and she always suggests that adults model the behavior they wish to see (easy to say, hard to do).

Sunday, January 11, 2015


All these books, including the ones you can't see in the layer behind the visible books, plus a few more shelves like these.  And the basement full of baby stuff for the 2nd baby we aren't going to have, and the closets full of craft stuff for projects I'm not going to make, and who-knows-what-else tucked here and there.  I took a paycut of about a 1/3rd at my job here it RI.  And it's a good job that I really enjoy, with the possibility of growing with the organization and/or building skills that will make me employable at another org.  But for the present, I make a low professional salary.  So my plan for the next year is to try to find a reasonably spacious 1-bed for me and LB that cost no more than 1/3 of my take home pay.  It's not going to be easy to find, but I've got a few months.  And I really need to pare down our belongings, which is exciting because I feel weighed down by a lot of this stuff, but also hard to give up some of these things that were such a part of my identify-like obscure books on obscure topics in US history.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Want a Valentine's Card? And Miscellany

After the success of project Christmas paper chain, and upon realizing the excessive amount of art supplies building in our closet, and in pursuit of cheerfulness, LB and I are going to be making a bunch of Valentine's card.  If you'd like one and you haven't recently sent me your mailing address to chronicladybug at  

Today I told myself that I'd run if the temperature went over 20, and of course when I looked at my phone it was 21.  That kind of sucked.

On my run I stopped by our local fancy kitchen shop and ordered the present I'm giving myself for my move into a new place for LB and me-that should happen in a couple/few months.

PW protected rants likely incoming, but for now I'll just share that there was someone VAPING on the bus.  Who does that?  It was bad enough that a woman who was actually smoking sat down next to me in bus shelter-but it is Rhode Island and so I expect that kind of thing.  And she did look like she need that smoke more than I need to breathe.  But really, vaping on the bus?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The GoFundMe Emergency Fund

The Motherlode column published this column about families using online giving sites like GoFundMe to fund things like rent and medical bills.  I've seen lesbian moms crowdsourcing funds for custody fights, crowdfunding to pay for divorces and related expenses, and a vociferous debate about lesbian moms and moms-to-be about the ethics and etiquette of crowdsourcing infertility treatments.

I wouldn't be surprised if there is a big structural story there about longterm unemployment and underemployment, heathcare costs, and debt.  But I wonder if crowdsourcing is just a new platform for an old practice.  People without money have always gone to people with money for help, and people with money have always given money to people in need.  Maybe crowdsourcing is symptomatic of the growing divide between those who have and those who don't?  If you don't live in an economically diverse community, you don't have people to ask directly for help, and those who would like to give don't necessarily have personal connections to those in need.  Or maybe it's a Bowling Alone issue, where people (like me) don't have a church or union or social club to go to for help.  Or maybe it's just a pragmatic response to the fact that most of us do live online, and by going online you can tap into a seemingly unlimited pool of potential donors.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Less Bitter in 2015

I threw a party-because I like parties. I made tamales and lots of people stopped by and a bunch of old friends were finally in the same place and it was fun. I was sad in the lead up-both the normal preparty jitters and sad to be prepping by myself, but in 2015 I need to be busy, and I need to make myself happy, and if I can make others happy at the same time, so much the better.

I wish I'd taken some pics of the table, but this one shows the paper chain that I made with a friend-it was so much fun to do and it looked really nice. More friends, more joy in 2025.