Friday, December 29, 2006

Rassle, Frassle, Scrabble...

Words, words, words. Have you ever noticed as you check the blogs of expectant couples how one person in the couple seems to be just bursting with thoughts, ideas and entries while the other person, once in a greeeaaaaat whiiiiiile might post? (This sometimes actually occurs when the persistent blogger is giving birth and the non-birth mom or dad has to say something to the blogosphere!)

Anyway, the thought that comes to my mind is that although Susanne is naturally much quieter than I am, and will write much shorter and to the point paragraphs, contrary to popular belief, she is FULL of words. Case in point. Scrabble. We spent some time every day playing Scrabble with Su’s mom in South Carolina. And guess who always won? Susanne. I’d like to point out that Su’s mom is a brilliant PhD who regularly kicks both of our butts with crossword puzzles, but when it comes to Scrabble Su beats her too. But how? Is her brain wired to “see” words that I don’t?

She always ends up getting an inordinate number of those multiple word words (like can take a down word and an across word and somehow bridge things to make a whole new word that gets her all the total points.) And triple word scores? On our board those squares should just read “Susanne’s”. Did you know that if you use all seven of your letters you get 50 extra points? How is that not pouring salt into the wounds of people like me who come up with words like “not” and on the next turn go for the killer “knot”? (Hey there’s 5 points for a “K” you know.)

Anyway, Su’s mom is really excellent and always beats me too (and German is her first language!). It’s all so, so, well…it’s actually quite fun. I’m an eternal optimist and dream of the day when I shall be victorious! (Can you imagine how many points I could get for the word VICTORIOUS?)

I was just e-mailing with my friend Amy this morning and I suddenly remembered that brother Jim is a REALLY GREAT player who won the 2006 U.S. Scrabble Open (who knew there was a National Scrabble Association?) Hmmm…Amy’s coming to visit us next month. Perhaps we should see if her brother might tag along…? (evil right?)

Happy New Year everyone! -Monica

Thursday, December 28, 2006

We’eeeere Back!

We had a restful Christmas with Su’s mom in South Carolina and got back on the road to DC early yesterday morning. Our northbound traffic on I-95 moved along at a good clip but the other direction was another story. At around 9 am an accident involving some semi-trucks really backed up the southbound traffic for about 10 miles. Hopefully everyone was okay. All the vehicles seemed intact but there was stuff all over the place. Traffic was being rerouted by police onto a side road thus the really bad back up. Several miles from the crash where the cars were bumper to bumper we saw something rather unexpected. One person stuck in the jam decided to try a u-turn across a deep and wet median strip but unfortunately the vehicle just got completely stuck in the muddy mess.

I was really struck by how incredibly embarrassed that driver must have felt. There were hundreds of people stuck there watching the whole thing. Mired in muck, and nothing to be done about it until a tow truck could arrive. But then the more I thought about it the more I realized that I had no idea how the driver felt. In other words, just because my reaction would have been one of sheer horror at everyone gawking at what an idiot I was, perhaps other people in that same situation wouldn’t have been embarrassed at all. This is giving me something to think about. I also assumed that every other person witnessing this from both sides of the highway must have been thinking “what an idiot” but then again, maybe they didn’t think that at all. So my reaction would have been to what I assumed others thought. Again, something to think about.

Anyway, we brought our little kitties Harley and CJ back with us. They seemed to enjoy their 4 week vacation at grandma’s (we went there at Thanksgiving too and instead of transporting the cats 4 total times we left them there so they’d only be subjected to the 8 hour trip two times.)

Did you know that cats can operate the windows on cars? Or at least we learned Harley can. We don't leave them in their carriers for the whole time so they were sort of like "free range" cats at times. The window went down around an inch and Su heard the rushing wind right away. I think he was more scared than we were. Fortunately using the control buttons on the driver's side, I was able to return the rear window to its secure and upright postion, and the window lock button was quickly engaged. Susanne and I filed away another lesson learned for travel with cats (and children). They are both happy to be home, and last evening we were not too surpried to hear a familiar crashing sound. Our curious cats. Yeah, they’re back and it's a good thing our house is cat-proofed!

Susanne is doing well—she’s at week 16 now and even though some people can begin to feel the quickening at 16 weeks we are figuring it will take a few weeks longer. I love watching how her body shape is slowly changing. Sometimes she seems to look obviously pregnant and other times she looks the same as always. She is still wearing her favorite jeans, but not too much longer we expect. But that doesn’t mean anything. After this week of delicious meals and desserts my jeans aren’t fitting so well either! -Monica

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Steam Weaver

Anyone else out there who thinks that a screaming tea kettle sounds a lot like an insistent child? I miss the days when Susanne loved her morning coffee. Coffee makers are just so patient aren't they? They quietly wait for you to wander over when you feel like it. Tea pots? A totally different temperament (and yes, I do see the irony.) -Monica

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My Susannax

“What is it sweetie?” I asked with alarm. Just last night Su and I were watching Jeopardy when she made a funny “argh” sound and stopped chewing mid-bite (and it was her favorite “Farmer’s Breakfast” which I’d just made with fried potatoes, ham, pickles and eggs.)

“Is it something you smell? A taste? A sound? “Sound” she said. We live in a row house with neighbors who we sometimes here rattling around but never too much. I asked that series of questions because since Su has been pregnant, things definitely smell and taste different and I thought it might just be that.

Now alarmed, I muted the TV and listened intently upstairs to hear if there could be someone in the house. About a million thoughts (all bad) flashed through my mind in a fraction of a second. Next thing I knew though Su was calmly removing a not so tiny bit of egg shell from her mouth. “Egg shell?” I asked with disbelief. “Honey that is not a sound!” Au contraire. Apparently when one bites down real hard on an egg shell it IS a sound (to them at least). Sheeessssh…. Wow, I felt a tremendous sense of relief.

I see now why both Alprazolam and Xanax both appear in Google’s top 10 “What is” searches this year (they are both the same thing by the way. Alprazolam is the generic of Xanax).

Fortunately since I’ve had my Susanne (er Susannax) in my life, I’ve not needed to use my prescription medication very often any more to help me cope with my sometimes painful anxieties. But my mind does like to spin out fabulous scenarios and probably always will. People with anxiety are not terribly bothered by the past, are fabulous at dealing with the present and are terrified of the future. I just have to keep reminding myself that when the future arrives, whatever it brings, I'll be in the present. And I'm fabulous in the present. But I think I'll hold on to my perpetual prescription to Susannax! Ahhh.... -Monica

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Gay? Christian? Why is the very idea that people can be both, so confusing to so many— particularly the leadership of the Catholic Church? A bit of disclosure here. I was born and raised Roman Catholic, and remember vowing never to leave. I stayed for years after realizing I was gay, hoping to effect some change. After all, a Church isn’t some buildings or nameless, faceless entity. It’s people. And, darn it! I was committed to changing people’s hearts, one person at a time if necessary.

Well, in retrospect I did not leave the Catholic Church. It left me.

Let me share with you a letter I sent to my priest in May of 2005. (I’ve removed identifying details.)

Dear Monsignor (Name),

It is with great regret that I write today to withdraw from (Name) Parish. I’ve been struggling for a long time trying to reconcile my identity as a Roman Catholic with my identity as a gay person. I have decided that I can no longer subject myself to internalized self-hatred that only festers and grows when one is constantly barraged with negative words and attitudes. I realized this yesterday when it was announced that the new pope would be former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. I knew deep in my heart at that moment that there would be no movement away from statements like the following from a Directive prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (Ratzinger) in July 2003 and signed off on by Pope John Paul II:

“There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family ... Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Where they already exist, work towards repealing them. Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development,'' it said.

Perhaps I had naively clung to the hope that a new “administration” at the Vatican would signal positive changes regarding such hateful positions. It will not. I realized yesterday that my continued faithfulness to the Catholic Church makes no sense. I’ve missed Mass many times in the past year, partly because I’ve been volunteering with a hospice program to care for a dying woman so her daughter could go to her own church to receive spiritual nourishment, but partly I’ve missed because I’ve been so angry.

Angry at this Church--what I'd always thought was MY CHURCH--which has basically damned me and my partner Susanne and any children we may one day raise. Where is the spiritual nourishment for us?

If I were an infant and helpless I would of course stay with an abusive parent because I wouldn’t have the comprehension, resources, maturity or freedom to leave. I look at leaving the Catholic Church at this time as a step away remaining a helpless infant. Sadly if I didn’t have an abusive “parent” in this Church I’d never want nor need to leave.

My biggest regret is withdrawing the money that we donate each month to the ministry of (Name) Church. Susanne and I will join another church and donate to their charitable works. Susanne is not Catholic but has supported me through this painful struggle like only a loving spouse could. Perhaps there is a reason I attended a Lutheran college for 4 years? Maybe God knew that one day I’d have to draw a line and begin my own personal “protest” as a Protestant.

My faith in God our heavenly father, Jesus his beloved son and my savior and the power of the Holy Spirit are unwavering. As always my desire is to love and serve God in all that I say and do. My intentions are pure, my pain real. I don’t know if the sudden withdrawal of financial support by me (and others?) will send any sort of message to the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy, but clearly we must put our money where our mouths are.

The money that has been automatically sent from our bank to (Name) Church on the first of every month has been cancelled. On a personal note Monsignor (Name), I want to tell you how much I appreciate your kind words and support over this past year. You are a blessing to so many who hunger for love and acceptance. I pray that God will continue to bless you and everyone at (Name) Church. Sincerely and sadly. -Monica

Violence against our children? Give me a break! Perhaps the Catholic Church could spend more time and energy focusing on true violence to children, like the violence that occurs in abusive homes and in families where crippling poverty and hunger are every day realities. I have never regretted for one minute sending that note.

In the spring of 2006 Susanne and I joined a welcoming and affirming ELCA Lutheran Church called Luther Place and it has been wonderful. Meanwhile, just last month, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement called: "Ministry to Persons With a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care."

You can read it for yourself. I’m still shaking my head. This paragraph in particular really burned me up.

“For some persons, revealing their homosexual tendencies to certain close friends, family members, a spiritual director, confessor or members of a Church support group may provide some spiritual and emotional help and aid them in their growth in the Christian life. In the context of parish life, however, general public self-disclosures are not helpful and should not be encouraged.”
Do you think blogs count as general public self-disclosure? Do you really think having a person deny their true self and identity is healthy? Did the Catholic Church completely forget their own teaching of Primacy of Conscience? Once again, I'm just shaking my head. -Monica

Monday, December 18, 2006

June is Busting Out all Over...

It's not only a song from Carousel, it's also what appears to be happening with our little June baby. In the last 3 or 4 days I swear that Susanne's little belly is bumping out before our very eyes. And when we cuddle on the couch I feel like I'm being nudged off over the side (and this after me losing 15 lbs. this year!) So it's all very exciting and new.

In a few short weeks I may actually feel myself being kicked off the couch. And not by Susanne. Too fun! -Monica

Friday, December 15, 2006

Babymoon on the Brain

Su had her 14 week check up with the midwives at the Birthing Center this morning and everything is looking good. We heard Junior's heartbeat again and it was strong and steady. We'll have another appointment there in about 5 weeks followed by the famous 20 week ultrasound. Should be great fun!

So this picture was taken a few short years ago when Su and I went with our moms on a wonderful trip to Germany and Ireland (where this shot was taken on a ferry boat.) I post it because I am totally in "babymoon" mode and have vacation on the brain. We think March may be our optimal time to go and if we plan right we could celebrate Su's birthday in some warm and sunny place.

This weekend we'll host our neighbors for one hour of a traditional block "progressive dinner". I love to see everyone but the only problem is the self-induced stress I experience around making sure the house is as clean as it can be. We are pretty neat so it's not like there is a ton to do, but I still can physically feel the worry that is only solved by doing something. Ask Susanne. This morning I was up at 5 am with this thought that we had to get the Christmas letters out by Dec. 15 as promised (well to ourselves anyway). I started pulling one of those big tape contraptions around one of the packages we were sending off (which really did sound like a very unhappy cat) when I heard this plaintive wail of "can you just come back to bed?" Oops... See, I get a bit compulsive when I'm anxious.

Anyway, on this topic of housecleaning, we were watching the Simpson's a few nights ago and Marge got ticked off and made everybody clean the house. Homer was down the basement on his knees screaming up the stairs "ARE WE SO VAIN?" That just totally cracked me up. So in summary. I don't think we are vain. I do think the party will be fun. I do get a little compulsive sometimes. I LOVE my beautiful wife (she's the one in the yellow raincoat), and...what else, what else? Oh, I REALLY WANT TO GO ON A BABYMOON. Have a great weekend everybody! -Monica

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

"Oh, Henry "(or shall I say "Oh, Neily")

So my side of the family in recent years has adopted a pretty good system of having the adults (and spouses/partners) pick names for our Christmas gift exchange, and our only obligation for the adults is to get one $25 gift for the person we pick. (Kids still get gifts from everyone so believe me there is still lots of fun shopping to be had!)

About the gift exchange though, I learned the hard way that it's not how much the item costs you, it's what you SPENT! In other words I last year got my specially selected brother a really nice dress shirt that normally sold for $50 but sort of let it slip that I'd gotten it for $18. You see being able to spot bargains is usually something that gains kudos in my family, but NOT with this $25 Christmas gift exchange. I was actually $7 in arrears and boy did I ever hear about it! (Ummm, mom doesn't read this blog does she guys?)

Anyway we picked names this fall when most of us were assembled in MN. I got my brother Neil who happens to work for Sears as an HVAC repairman and he gets a discount when he shops at there. That made it a no brainer. Before I even left MN I picked up a $25 gift card and left it for him with my mom who is sort of our all purpose utility arranger/gift wrapper/organizer.

So when my sister's boyfriend had dinner with Su and me in DC tonight so we could do the gift handoff" (he comes to DC every December for work and we traditionally send stuff back with him and get our stuff) he had this big grin on his face. "You're gonna love this" he said. Out came a $25 gift card from--you guessed it--Neil. And it was from Sears. I was so reminded of that "Oh Henry" story about the woman selling her locks of hair to buy her husband a watch fob while he sold his watch to buy pins for her lovely hair. (Hey...wait one minute here. Do you think that Neil had to pay a full $25 for that card with his Sears employee discount? "Oh, moooommmmyyyy!")

So all's well that ends well. I can get the Land's End stuff that Sears sells that I wanted anyway, and Uncle Neily can get whatever his heart desires. I guess we could have cut out the "middle man" and told each other to just not get each other a present. But it's way more fun this way don't you think? Merry Christmas baby brother and thank you! (And just in case your wondering, our "secret Santa's" never stay very secret for long. We're sort of talkers so suffice to say that Neil and I knew we had coincidentally picked each other pretty early on.)

Oh, well, off to sleep I go. I'm taking a Project Management course this week and am almost done with my Master's Certificate. I think I'll buy my graduation present at Sears! Happy Holidays everyone. Hasta la proxima! -Monica

P.S. Shhhh....if you see Susanne, tell her not to look in the front hall closet. No reason...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Brilliant idea!

Greetings one and all. Su and I had a wonderful dinner on Saturday night with our friends Laura and Elisa. Lara and Susanne are both pregnant now and since Elisa is the proud mom of two little ones, we were all ears as to her insights on everything "baby."

She told us that she and her husband had taken turns with night feedings (she breastfed while he fed the babies milk she'd expressed earlier.) They somehow came up with a brilliant idea to make sure their babies would stay asleep once they were ready to put back in the crib. They filled a hot water bottle (not too hot mind you) and whenever they took the baby out of the crib for a feeding they'd place it on the cribsheet. When it came time to put the baby back down, out came the water bottle and in settled the baby with a contented (and very importantly--still quite asleep) sigh.

I really think this makes a lot of sense. Either that or we are going to have to make a recording of Su's heartbeat and hide the recorder somewhere in the mattress (just kidding! That in no way sounds safe!) Anyway, as I told Elisa, their idea is definitely "blogworthy" so here it is!

Maybe I'll start doing that water bottle thing for Su as her nocturnal trips to the bathroom become more frequent in the months to come. Wait...keeping Susanne warm is my job! Brilliant I say. Brilliant! -Monica

Friday, December 08, 2006

Musings of a mom to be

Yesterday I had two experiences that really struck me in terms of our future motherhood. I was talking with a receptionist on the phone at a pediatrician’s office that we'll most likely go to once the baby arrives. Anyway we were sort of scheduling when Susanne and I should come for the first time. As I was talking to her I was putting appointments in my electronic calendar and I realized that I’d not yet put any entry into our due date of June 11th. Well of course we don’t know exactly when the baby will arrive so it’s not like we can really schedule anything, but I was just struck by how concrete it was to put something in the calendar regarding our baby. So this was kind of cool. I did put an entry on June 11th about "tentative arrival" or something like that. It just seemed really fascinating to me somehow.

Then on the Metro ride home I heard someone asking someone else if she had children. (The woman had been playing peek-a-boo with the other one’s toddler so it was a perfectly fine question.) They proceeded to chat away about their children and the whole conversation really made me think about the times in my life when I’ve been asked that question. The answer has always been “no, but I have lots of nieces blah, blah, blah etc….” That is still true or course, but come June, God willing, I’ll be able to start answering that affirmatively. I can imagine future me saying “You betcha, our little boy is 1 now” or “Why yes, I have a three year old daughter” or something to that effect. That seems really neat to me. We are going to be moms!

I bet that our baby’s biological mom, my sweet Susanne, wishes that we could take turns every other day or so with this carrying the baby business. Today she’s not feeling very well at all and, believe me, if I could give her a break from all the work she’s putting into gestating this little one I surely would. As it is, I’ll just keep doing my best to support her in any way she needs.

We are looking forward to a fun weekend. On Saturday we’ll see a friend of Su’s who lives in California but is in DC now supervising a field trip. Gosh she’s going to be exhausted I bet. It will be fun I'm sure. The rest of the weekend we’ll spend working on our annual holiday letter and visiting with Su’s dad. Should be pretty relaxed I think. Oh, and we’re going to put our Christmas lights up. And we’re going to finish plastering the guest room. And we have to wrap my family’s gifts. And…did I say relaxed? -Monica

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Knock, knock?

What to write about today? What to write about today? Do you think if I keep writing this question then I’ll think of something to write about today? Let’s see? Su is doing well. She’s getting a tiny bit of the “baby bump” as they call it, but she also explained that it’s more like just losing the ability to “suck in” her gut in the way that non pregnant women can in group pics that require you to sort of stand in profile.

We are suddenly really, really busy with holiday parties. We’re hosting a party for the folks who live on our block in DC one upcoming Sunday and we just got an e-vite to go to a friend’s house in Baltimore the same day. No problem. Is it wrong to want to do everything?

We’ll be having our annual dinner with "Santa" on Tuesday which is really dinner with my sister’s boyfriend who comes to Washington for work frequently. Dave brings us a bag of gifts from my family in Minnesota and we send home a bag of gifts with him for them. We’ve been doing this for years! Dave is the king of silly jokes, so we are ready for him. “Knock, knock?” “Who’s there?” “Scott” “Scott who?” “Scott to be a better knock, knock joke than this one this year!” Hardy, har, har. I know. Stop it already. Okay, okay.

Whoops. Will you look at the time? I’ve got to run. Hasta la vista everybody! -Monica

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I was thinking about the story in this morning’s Washington Post about how VP Cheney’s daughter Mary is pregnant and how she and her partner Heather are going to be moms next spring. They live in Virginia. Wow. They couldn’t have picked a more gay-unfriendly place in the whole United States to live in if they want Heather to be the baby’s legal mom too.

I wonder if they have lesbian friends who are also pregnant? Su and I met some wonderful people in our “Maybe Baby” classes last winter (offered to gay couples who want to learn about all their options for becoming parents.) It was wonderful making new friends who were thinking about the same issues we were. Even though we are all in different circumstances, several of us are expecting right now, and we've created a neat little support network in my opinion. I don't know if Ms. Cheney and Ms. Poe went to any sort of “Maybe Baby” classes but if they did, they would have heard loud and clear that if they could choose not to live in Virginia before having their child that would be a very good idea.

As much as I detest the policies of this administration I wish this couple well in their quest to become moms. It would be really great if something positive comes out of it for all gay families. -Monica

Monday, December 04, 2006


I was thinking today about one of the readings we chose for our wedding, and how it spoke of the family Susanne and I hoped to have one day. Our wedding planning was just like all the planning that we do. United. Together. We found this reading one day and just knew that it was perfect for what we wanted to say. The fact that is spoke of children that we might have some day, to me, sounded like something that would happen far in the future, and yet here we are today expecting. Each day as Su progresses in her pregnancy I am more and more in awe of the miracle that is happening inside of her--inside of both of us really.

Here is the reading that our dear friends, a beautiful married couple, read aloud as we stood united before those we hold most dear in our lives. Parents, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, neighbors, friends, co-workers--they were all there for that glorious day. This reading speaks better than I ever could of the love that we have in our hearts, not only for each other, but for all of the pepole we love who grace our hearts and lives. We are so very blessed.


“These are the hands of your best friend, warm and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.

These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.

These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children, the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.

And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.”

I love you Susanne. You do comfort me like no other--what a beautiful gift you are to me and all who are lucky enough to know you. -Your Monica

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Friends (how sweet they are)

Well December is finally upon us (at least temperature-wise). It’s been downright warm over the past week but these last two days it’s been chillier. Now if we’d only get a little bit of snow. I remember one Christmas Eve here in Washington about 4 years ago driving friends to National Airport, and on the way home a beautiful snow started to fall. I was crossing the Memorial Bridge back into the city and all of the monuments were lit and it was simply magical. I grew up in Minnesota where the snow came often and furiously at times and my memories of both Thanksgiving and Christmas always involved snow. It’s a bit more hit or miss in that regard here in DC but it certainly can get cold enough for some flakes. Maybe if we get the Christmas lights up today we’ll get snow? That’s not magical thinking is it? ;-)

Susanne is resting in bed this morning. She’s been feeling pretty miserable and nauseous recently and this morning is no exception. Her headache is taking turns bothering her right side one day and her left side the next and today it’s settled right behind her right eye. My poor baby. I keep bringing her water and checking in to see what she is hungry for. Sometimes I just rub her back. I feel a bit helpless when she’s sick. I’m just glad I can comfort her in any way I can.

At least I have one secret weapon against all of her food aversions. The “Country Breakfast”. I forget how you say it in German but I do know that it’s a dish made with fried potatoes, pickles, ham and eggs. It has always been her favorite dish and her mom make it the best! But since Mutti's not here I’m going to head on downstairs and whip up a batch. It really is quite delicious. And actually a good source of proteins and carbs. We could eat stuff A LOT worse for us!

We got some fun news yesterday that we are going to “inherit” a wonderful crib that a dear friend bought originally for her two girls. P. and I met at grad school in Boston in 1989 and became great friends. I was still in Boston when her first child was born and although I’d moved away by the time daughter number 2 came along I we always stayed in touch and visited. I later moved to DC and about two year later so did they which was FANTASTIC.

Ah yes… the crib. P. later sent it to another grad school friend back in Boston, and since that friend isn’t planning to have more than her one son we are free to use it. Best of all, P. is going to pick the crib up when she and her family travel to Boston for Christmas. Psych! I know it was a very nice crib and it also has a very special connection to this wonderful family. It’s no coincidence that we live in the same neighborhood in DC. When I went looking to buy my first house 4 years ago (before I even met Susanne) I knew I wanted to be close to P. and her husband and girls. It’s funny. We don’t see them too, too often, but it’s like we all know that we are instantly available if either family needs anything. P. also officiated our wedding ceremony—yet another wonderful connection.

Now that their oldest daughter is a teenager, I think that we may be able to count on an outstanding babysitter. I used to babysit the two girl and we have lots of fond memories of watching Wallace and Gromit on their fold out couch waiting for mom and dad to come home. They thought is was fun like going camping or something and loved being right there in the living room when their parents came home and carried them up to bed.

It’s funny, I started this post talking about driving friends to the airport. It was P. and her family. I hadn’t really identified them when I started and then sort of segued in talking more about them. So on some level I must really be thinking about them. Even though we just talked on the phone yesterday, I think it’s time to drop by the house. As soon as my sweetie feels a little better. Ciao everybody! -Monica

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Spices of Life...

So do you ever watch those shows on the Food Network? Like the ones with like Rachel Ray and Gina Lollabrigida or whatever the Italian lady's name is? Well, I try my best to cook like they do. I take out the recipe and review it first. I even pull out a few implements and ingredients and then, just like on the shows, I fire up that frying pan and get started.

But while they merrily chat away about this or that, what I find is that suddenly the onions or whatever is heating in my pan up are already DONE and I've hardly gotten a jump on cutting anything else up or measuring out any spices. I'm dumping cumin or corriander or basil or bay leaves or whatever spice is closest into the pan and hoping for the best. And another thing...on the show, Rachel Ray always starts filling up a big pot of water and then walks away for like 5 minutes to got fetch some EVOO (don't ask) from her pantry and when she finally remembers the pot it's not even overflowing. I however am not so lucky. Truly, when I set out to cook something I feel my stress levels start to spin out. Instead of chatting merrily with my sweetie, I'm like an overzealous surgeon in the ER barking "honey, I need a glass of white wine STAT!"

Now Susanne on the other hand is a wonderul cook and she actually has fun during the process of cooking. (I tend to have my most fun during the process of eating.) So although we both cook, my best case scenario is to let her cook away and I clean up. This works out great because the cleaning up isn't so much fun when one is a creative cook. All of this talk about food is just making me hungry though. Ymmmmmm....gotta go! -Monica

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Plugging along

Our trip back home from South Carolina after Thankgiving was no problem despite our concerns about traffic. We left at 5 in the morning for the 8 hour drive and were very psyched to see that the HOV lanes were open to northbound traffic as we hit DC. We basically never got stuck in stopped traffic once! That was cool.

Our cats have been on pretty good behavior we hear from my mother-in-law. Except for the knocked over flower vase and the furball. She thinks they miss us because they laid around and slept all day. We let her know that this is what they do. Sleep all day. I definitely want to be a cat in my next life.

Susanne is feeling fine. We'll be through week 11 soon and enter trimester 2 in a few days. She's not as tired as before but she definitely makes more trips to the bathroom. I guess our fig sized little one is exerting his or her right to space in Su's abdomen--bladder be damned right?

I'm up very early this morning because I had to send what I hope is a final draft of a voluntary agreement our neighborhood has been negotiating with a "coffee shop" that wants a liquor licence that will allow it to be open until 2 in the morning most nights and 3 in the morning on weekends. They've requested what's called a "tavern" license and to make a long story short we've been in negotiations with them for over 6 months over this thing. They insist there won't be any problems. It will be a calm, quiet and relaxing place. Our houses are steps away and we worry that it will be a late night watering hole. Or shall I say a late night rowdy watering hole? Anyway, we built in a provision to the agreement that will allow us to go back fairly quickly and protest the hours if there are disturbances to "peace, quiet and order".

I guess I feel like before that liquor license appeared it WAS peaceful and calm here and now it just seems like there has just been so much energy put into this. I agreed to represent the neighborhood because there is a part of me that will always be an advocate. The neighbors have been great helping, but I'm sick of all of this and hope to God that they are right--that all of our concerns are for naught.

Alrighty then. I can smell the coffee brewing in the kitchen so I must leave you now. Have a great day everybody! -Monica

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Cats (not the musical)

So, Susanne and I got a good sense of what it will be like to be parents yesterday. We left the house at 4:00 am with our 5 year old and 2 year old cats and the little one didn't really like it one bit. We started out with the two of them in their carriers and as soon as we started driving an incessant "meow, meow, meow" began eminating from CJ's carrier.

Hmmmm....maybe she'll feel better if she can get out? Big mistake. We released both cats and Harley our older cat comfortably ensconced himself on Su's lap but CJ began to mix howls in with her meows. No matter how often we reassured her that "everything's okay baby" "shhhh don't cry CJ" she just continued crying. As I was saying, I think we might experience this with Junior someday no?

Apparently from the window of our house everything moves predictably and slowly, and now the whole world was just whizzing by for CJ. I think it was all the headlights on the cars that really got to her. At first she was trying to follow them with her head and got frustrated. Su coaxed her up front and she decided she wanted to lay flat on the dashboard which was really not okay. She sort of hunkered down and Susanne and I were both cracking up as she tried to simultaneously drag CJ over to her side while preventing Harley from heading down to the nice warm floor where the fun brake pedal and gas pedal were.

Did I mention that they are going to stay with Su's mom until we return for Christmas break? This is probably a good idea. Both cats are now happy as can be, and we are delighted that the weather is clearing up in SC and we can get outside and enjoy the sun on this beautiful Thanksgiving day. Alrighty then, we send peace and love and joy to all. Happy Day of Thanks! -Monica (and Susanne)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

'Cuz you light up my...

Well well. Apparently the diagnosis was incorrect. Or the treatment was sub-par. What am I talking about? Our perpetual tail light. You see, about 4 days ago Susanne realized that our Subaru brake light was staying on even when she wasn’t touching the brake. If she sort of lifted the brake pedal when exiting the car it seemed to solve the problem. Of course we knew that we’d have to deal with our mechanic sooner rather than later about this. Then 3 days ago she backed it in at work and after a long day called me to say she was on her way. Then she called back about 2 minutes later to say that the battery was dead. So I took the Metro down to where she works and after AAA jumped the car we drove it around to charge up and then took it home making sure the brake light did not stay on.

After going across town to our prenatal appt. on Friday morning we joined friends for lunch, again making sure the brake light was off. It was. But upon our return it was mysteriously on again. Rats. So this morning before taking Metro down to participate in the Help the Homeless Walkathon in DC we took it to our favorite local mechanic. An $80 switch was replaced and we were good to go--or so we thought. I just looked out the window and I couldn’t believe it. The mystery light was on again. Now we are back to using our #10 wrench to disconnect the battery so that it doesn’t drain. I guess we’ll be back to visit our favorite mechanic Monday morning. Shesshhh.

This morning at the Walkathon we joined many of Susanne’s co-workers from Bread for the City and were very happy to see a co-worker who is out on maternity leave. She and her husband brought their 4 month old daughter and they also brought an friend who put together a wonderful compilation site for Lesbian blogs called Lesbian Families (see link on sidebar). It was so cool to meet her and the funny thing was that at first she didn’t make the connection that we were the authors of one of the blogs on her site. When we told her our blog was Susanica she got all excited. We spent the whole 5K walking with her and her son Noah and found ourselves talking about different blogs that we read. It almost felt like we knew people. Too funny.

She was telling me that the person who runs a site called Babes in Blogland which has straight and gay blogs on it sometimes gets sort of negative comments from people who sort of happen onto gay/lesbian blogs. What a shame. It reminded me of a story about two little kids on a playground where one says that she has two moms and her little friend replies “I have two moms too!” They were both so delighted. Turns out that one of them had two lesbian moms and the other one came from a blended family and actually had a mom and a step-mom. It all seemed good to the both of them. I think it’s the adults that get everything all charged with negativity. Kids see love. Smart kids!

Our first prenatal visit to the birthing center where Su will deliver our baby went well. The midwife used a Doppler to search for the baby’s heartbeat and after a bit of wandering around Su’s belly we learned that Su’s digestive tract is in great shape and the baby’s heart is beating away at 160 bpm which is within the normal range. It was really awesome when she finally found the spot where we could really hear that heart. We were at 10 weeks and 4 days so it was not for sure that she’d be able to detect it. Let’s see…what else is new?

Oh, our cats Harley and CJ get to go on vacation to sunny South Carolina! We are going to visit Su’s mom for both Thanksgiving and Christmas and since it’s an 8 hour drive we thought it might be easier to leave our kitties with “Gross Mutti” between the two holidays. She thought that was fine. Now the only question is how will we wake up in the morning without our “alarm cat” Harley? He always scratches on our door at 6:15 on the dot. I think we’ll manage—maybe we’ll use an alarm clock ;-). Alrighty then. I’m scraping cracks in our guest room wall so we can patch and paint that to convert it into an office/guest room and then eventually get started on our nursery. Hey there Gross Papi, if you read this you are more than welcome to come scrape with me ;-)

Oh by the way, Susanne mentioned to me that she hasn’t actually blogged since we found out we were pregnant. I knew it has been a while, but I think it’s time for her to say a few words. Don’t you, gentle readers? -Monica

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I had lunch the other day with some very nice women who I'm on a working group with, and anyway at lunch we got to talking about motherhood. (They were very excited to hear our great news!) Anyway, one friend told about how her son would have a predictable screaming fit every night at around 5:30 and that she and her husband would take turns holding him while the other made dinner. She then went on to explain that the little guy would get stiff as a board and the parent doing the comforting would basically hold on to both ankles with the little guy ramrod stiff across the shoulder screaming his head off. They even have pictures to prove it! She assured us that they’d checked for every possible illness and/or abnormality, but the kid was perfectly fine. That was just how he cried. And he only cried for about 15 minutes, stiff as a board the whole time, and then he’d stop. Kids!

This all of course makes me wonder what our son or daughter will be like. Of course I'll let you know my verdict on the nature-nurture thing once I see how our kid likes his or her toast buttered. (Apparently it's important to butter every single bit of the toast particularly the edges. Well it's important to one of our baby's moms ;-)

I do know that Susanne is going to be a fabulous mom. You should see her with people. Whether it’s a mentally ill client who needs calming down, or a neighbor who needs help, or a co-worker who needs information, or a little kid, Susanne is just very gifted at listening and responding to people. She can communicate more in 5 words than I can in 50. That’s pretty good I say. (See, she would have just said “that’s good”.) See what I mean! Gosh, I can’t wait until next June! -Monica

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Singing in the Rain

Well we’ve reached week 10 and Su’s been doing well. We have our first prenatal appt. with our group of midwives on Friday which should be interesting. We are looking forward to it.

Tomorrow I get to perform in our Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) talent show. I’m going to bring my guitar and sing the old Leonard Cohen song called Suzanne. Rather fitting that I married a woman named Susanne eh? I think it’s perfect. We do a talent show at our agency every year to try and encourage people to give. I think most people who come to it have already given which makes it sort of “preaching to the choir” but it’s still fun. I’ve only every performed singing with my guitar once—at a church where I used to sing in a choir. I don’t feel nervous about the singing because that’s easy. But I’m not a great guitar player so as long as I can remember what chords to go to I’ll be okay.

After the show I have to dash out the door to go to a funeral. I’ve been a volunteer at Capital Hospice since 2004 and mostly what I do is get assigned to a person who is terminally ill and visit them once a week or so—whatever they desire—just to chat, spend time etc… It’s certainly not the kind of volunteer work that everybody would want to do, but for me I just feel that it’s such a gift to me to be able to share in someone’s life as they near “end of life”. When my dad died in 2002 a friend gave me a book called “Final Gifts” which was written by two hospice nurses about the journeys that their patients went on and it made so much sense to me. So I decided to become a volunteer.

Tomorrow I’ll attend the funeral of a woman I’ll call Mrs. M. I met her about 1 ½ years ago when she was first admitted to hospice (most hospice patients are still in their own homes as she was). To be in hospice you have to have decided to give up aggressive treatments to prolong life. Well, when I met Ms. M she was in hospice but then she and her two sons decided to start her on cancer treatments. Technically she was no longer in the hospice program (but could come back to it at any time,) and I was faced with the choice of going on leave from the program to continue to visit her or to take on a new patient. I decided to stay. I had established a relationship with her and her family and it didn’t seem logical to me to just stop going to see her. She was still dying after all. I had neither idea how long she’s survive, nor whether her treatment were the best thing, but I completely respected her decision.

Her two sons who are in their 40s are saints in my mind. I’ve never seen such caring and devotion. It was beautiful. They took turns staying with her and taking her to appointments. Last spring they invited me to a wonderful surprise party they’d planned for her 76th birthday. She thought she was going to lunch with friends but she walked in to a ballroom packed with over 100 people who loved her. It was amazing. So many people told wonderful stories and her extended family all paraded from the back carrying 76 roses. Mrs. M was so tired but so thrilled. She spoke at the end and mixed in her memories, her advice, her thoughts and her pride for her family. Although I’ll attend her funeral tomorrow, I think she had the best eulogy ever that day 6 months ago. I really enjoyed visiting Ms. M. The stories she told me of growing up in the south. The day I asked her what the yellowed newspaper on her dresser was and she spent the next hour telling me all about how she’d been impaneled on a grand jury in the 1970s. There was even a photo in that newspaper with her and her colleagues being led furtively out of the courtroom. What stories she had!

Ms. M (who her family called Sugar) died when her two sons were taking her to the hospital last week. I’m going to miss her. -Monica

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Deep Thoughts... (not really)

Susanne and I had a nice time last night hosting 5 other newly married couples from our church. Luther Place is a very accepting and affirming ELCA church and we love it there. Our new vicar who thought it might be great to have “newly-coupled” gathering about once a month to sort of continue with the concept of pre-marital counseling. Su and I are the only gay couple in the group and maybe it’s because we live in a very liberal city, I definitely feel like we are not considered an oddity or anything. We are just another newly married couple. We made spaghetti, garlic bread and salad with some Peanut Butter cookies for dessert. Hmmm…why am I suddenly hungry?

We are looking forward to really relaxing this weekend. A 3 day weekend is very welcome and we are not traveling anywhere for the first weekend in a long time. Yeah! Alright, thought for the day: Why do we say that things are “clean as a whistle?” Whistles are by nature sort of slobbered on and none too clean. Maybe we should say “clean as an autoclave?” Have a great weekend everybody! -Monica

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Top Ten Reasons I’m Feeling Happy Today…

10. The Democrats have taken control of the House.

9. The Democrats could take the Senate too! (Montana just picked up a Dem!) If Virginia goes to Webb instead of Allen, I can ALMOST forgive the people of Virginia for their constitutional amendment vote yesterday.

8. Susanne ate the sandwich I made her for lunch today (she’s been really hating all foods lately).

7. Sens. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., and Gordon Smith, R-Ore., introduced a bill (S. 3955) Wednesday that would allow domestic partners to benefit from federal retirement, life insurance, health insurance, workers' compensation, long-term care insurance and dental and vision benefits.

6. Donald Rumsfeld just resigned.

5. I’ve lost 15 lbs on Weight Watchers since starting in July.

4. We are having friends over for dinner tonight.

3. Friday is a federal holiday!

2. Did I mention Donald Rumsfeld just resigned?

1. Our baby is now about an inch long and Su's feeling better! Oh Happy Day!


Monday, November 06, 2006

Red Hair - (It's really orange you know...)

Hello everyone. Susanne and I send our greetings as always. We just got some wonderful news that my friend Colleen (another redhead like me) and her husband Dan out in Seattle are expecting in March. How great. Dan’s also a redhead so they are really tempting all those recessive genes to go to town! Colleen is a very special person—very spiritual and loving and I think she and Dan are going to be awesome parents. Congrats you guys.

If our baby ends up with red hair it will be pretty cool. We have less of a chance of that than Colleen and Dan, but who knows! When I was a kid my brother Joe and I were the 2 redheads out of the 7 of us. (It’s Joe’s birthday today as a matter of fact, so happy birthday little brother.)

Su and I have a dear friend Dave who I was in Peace Corps with, who also has bright red hair. He says he can remember as a boy in Iowa the little old ladies would make such a fuss over him. “You have such BEAUTIFUL red hair” they’d croon. Pretty soon Dave started thinking there must be something terribly wrong with him. After all, the blonds and kids with brown hair never got told that. So he’s start carefully agreeing—“Yes, I DO have beautiful red hair, Mrs. Peterson.” He never quite figured out what the big deal was. I can remember that too. Red hair is different and some people just love it. Susanne and I were on flight recently and the attendant could not contain his enthusiasm for the redheaded toddler in our section. I’m pretty sure the kid was thinking “Yes, yes, I DO have beautiful red hair Mr. Flight attendant”….

If we are blessed with a redheaded baby it will be interesting because then our baby, although not from the same lineage as me, would look somewhat like me. Maybe I think people will be less puzzled by me being its mom if it sort of looks like I’m the mom? Maybe I should stop giving a cr*p what other people think? After all my sister’s beautiful daughter is adopted from China and although they look nothing alike there is no doubt to anyone that they are mother and daughter.

The baby that Susanne and I have next June will be our baby regardless of any physical or other attributes. And I have to say that what I really hope is that the baby looks just like Susanne. She is beautiful and I love the idea of a “mini-she” running around our house--boy or girl I say! (In this pic taken a few years ago I am apparently trying to explain to then 2 year old great-niece Cassie that when she meets a red-head she should tell them how beautiful their red hair is...) And here is a primer for those of you who don't know...we are not "carrot tops" because the tops of carrots are green. And our hair really isn't red if you look closely. ;-)

This weekend we drove about 3 hours south west of DC to visit our friend C in Virginia which was fun and tried to send “vote no” rays into the heads of unsuspecting Virginia voters all along the way. It was a very fun and relaxing time except for… Su has definitely started to have morning sickness. And morning is when she has it. I think the most unusual thing is that she’s started really hating getting up and having to go to work. She really does like her job, but just not lately. But since she’s a real trooper, we’ve trooped her in every day. We are hoping this will pass soon. Until next time. -Monica

Friday, November 03, 2006

Bizzarro World…

So this morning I woke up at 4:30 for no good reason and was suddenly inspired to start sanding and painting a few little spots left in the basement (something I’d meant to do for weeks) and a few other mundane chores that I usually never like doing. And all I could think about was clearing out guest room so we can paint that room and then begin the real transition to having an office/bedroom and new nursery. Yes, I suddenly realized I’m NESTING.

Now from what I’ve read, NESTING happens to pregnant women right before they give birth. So I ask myself…if I’m nesting now, I must be sort of empathizing with Susanne, but in reverse. So, in 7 or 8 months I’ll start having odd food cravings and aversions like she has now. Hmmm…

I can report that Su is doing fine. She’s feeling good but of course tired a lot. That’s definitely to be expected. Lucky for me I’m generally more of a sleepy head than Susanne so I've really liked that we’ve both been drifting off into dreamland a lot earlier than ususal most nights. Maybe we are like hibernating bears trying to hoard sleep. Rumor has it that sleep is a “bit” more hard to come by when the little one comes along. Oh gosh, I’ll be honest. I plan on kissing the idea of sleep goodbye once Junior makes his or her grand entrance in June (get it, Junior/June?)

We had a wonderful get together with our friends K&M last night. They are also a lesbian couple who is expecting and will have their baby about a month and a half before we do. They really are quite wonderful and we look forward to a long and happy friendship with them and their family.

Alrighty. Time to head over to meet Su and our friend L and his band of Merry Men for our favorite Friday Happy Hour. Hmmm… I feel a bit tired…wonder why? Oh right. 4:30 am.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

For the Love of...

Yesterday in the paper, last night on the news, this morning on the radio, we heard again of the ominous threat of gay marriage. Arghhhh! When Susanne and I were married in August of 2005 in Baltimore, it was an AMAZING day filled with love and grace. Just looking at our wedding pictures on my desk make me all dreamy and happy. Our families and friends embraced us both as we experienced a powerful right of passage to begin our new family. Seriously, how does our married life together do anything but bring positive changes to us and our community?

I'd like to share something that we added to the back page of our wedding program. It speaks to this topic much more eloquently than I ever could.

When the Spanish parliament took its historic vote on June 30, 2005 legalizing both gay marriage and adoption of children by gay couples, Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who put the full prestige of his office and party behind passage of the gay human rights legislation -- made probably the most remarkable speech in favor of full equality for those with same-sex hearts ever delivered by a head of government anywhere...

"Honorable members, we are not legislating, for people far away and not known by us. We are enlarging the opportunity for happiness to our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends and, our families: at the same time we are making a more decent society, because a decent society is one that does not humiliate its members.

Today, the Spanish society answers to a group of people that during many years have been humiliated…today the Spanish society grants them the respect they deserve, recognizes their rights, restores their dignity, affirms their identity, and restores their liberty. It is true that they are only a minority, but their triumph is everyone's triumph. It is also the triumph of those who oppose this law, even though they do not know this yet: because it is the triumph of Liberty. Their victory makes all of us (even those who oppose the law) better people, it makes our society better.

Honorable members, there is no danger to marriage or to the concept of family in allowing two people of the same sex to get married. To the contrary, what happens is these set of Spanish citizens get the potential to organize their lives with the rights and privileges of marriage and family. There is no danger to the institution of marriage, but precisely the opposite: this law enhances and respects marriage.

Today, conscious that some people and institutions are in a profound disagreement with this change in our civil law, I wish to express that like other reforms to the marriage code that preceded this one, this law will generate no evil, that its only consequence will be the avoiding of senseless suffering of decent human beings. A society that avoids senseless suffering of decent human beings is a better society.

I wish to express my profound respect to those people and institutions (that oppose this law), and I also want to ask for the same respect for all of those who approve of this law. To the homosexuals that have tolerated personally the abuse and insults for many years, I ask of you that the courage you have demonstrated in your struggle for your civil rights will contribute now an example of generosity and express your happiness with respect to those who think different that you.

With the approval of this Bill, our country takes another step in the path of liberty and tolerance that was stated by the democratic change of government. Our children will look at us with incredibility if we tell them that many years ago, our mothers had less rights than our fathers, or if we tell them that people had to stay married against their will even though they were unable to share their lives. Today we can offer them a beautiful lesson: every right gained, each access to liberty has been the result of the struggle and sacrifice of many people that deserve our recognition and praise. Today we demonstrate with this Bill that societies can better themselves and can cross barriers and create tolerance by putting a stop to the unhappiness and humiliation of some of our citizens."

Well said and so true. We applaud the government of Spain and look forward to a day when our marriage will be recognized by our government. -Monica (and Susanne)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Us and Ours

We had a nice night last night handing out Halloween candy and hanging out with our next door neighbors on the porch (it was a balmy 50 something last night here in DC.) They actually created a fake life-sized coffin for their front yard and even had a shovel menacingly dug into the ground next to it. Very spooky and fun!

Susanne and I were talking about how a year from now, God willing, our baby will be 4 months old! It’s sort of hard to imagine. Another neighbor with a one year old says that now it’s almost impossible to imagine what her life was without her daughter. She’ll think “gee, I remember going to Europe in 1999 but what did we do with JoJo on that trip?” “Doh!” I think we’ll probably feel the same.

I was talking to Su last night about being an expectant mom, but not being the pregnant woman in the relationship. The non-birth mom is basically identified only by the “non” or “not”. Non-birth, non-bio, not pregnant…you get the picture. So yes I’ll have a child in June, but technically I’ll really help Su deliver our child. It may just be semantics but it’s an interesting paradigm all the same. Su argues that in many respects “we” are pregnant. It just depends on how you define pregnant if you think about it. Merriam-Webster says it can mean “rich in significance or implication.” I like that!

I read a story once about 2 gay moms who went shopping shortly after their baby was born. The non-birth mom was holding the baby about 10 steps away from the birth mom and was chatting with someone. The stranger commented on how beautiful the baby was. “How old is she?” “A week old today” said the non-birth mom proudly. “Well you look absolutely wonderful” gushed the stranger. “Why thank you” non-birth mom smiled. As I recall, the birth mom who’d overheard the whole thing and felt weary and bloated was, let’s say, not pleased.

Oh yeah! This two mom thing is going to be fun! Wouldn't it have been funnier though if the stranger had said something like "don't worry dear--you'll get your shape back soon. ;-)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Anybody else play "do you know what you want honey?"

P.S. Susanne's answer yesterday to this question was a resounding "ugh". I'll try playing again today...oh sweetie????

Monday, October 30, 2006

Seeing and Hearing

On Friday Su and I visited our fertility doc one last time before starting her prenatal visits with our midwives. Through the wonders of ultrasound and really great audio, we were able to see our baby’s heart clipping along at 136 bpm and also hear the incredibly steady sound of “thump, thump, thump”. It was really something! (I shouldn't have reread Charlotte's Web this summer--all I could think was "Some Heart" and "Terrific!")

On a more serious note, I was thinking a lot about hearts and how amazing it is that they beat without ceasing our entire lives—that is of course until they don’t beat any more. We attended my Aunt Ann’s memorial service this weekend in North Carolina and I thought a lot about hearts. Ann’s family was with her when she passed away, and her daughter Rose who was resting her hand gently on her mom's chest felt it stop. That was a very visceral sign—there was no doubt. For us on Friday seeing and hearing our child’s heart beat was a very visceral sign—again there was no doubt. It’s all very powerful.

Ann’s ashes were scattered yesterday in a harbor near her home. Oh how she loved the water! It was pretty choppy, but we all hung on to the railings and sealed our goodbyes by throwing flowers into the waves. I said a special prayer for my mom who got bumped of of several flights and ended up not traveling--I know that she was praying from Minnesota for her beloved little sister.

Then when we docked and it was time for Su and me to get on the road, I was kissing my relatives goodbye and realized with a start that I was kind of looking for Ann. We were at her house after all--it just seemed odd not to see her any more. God bless you dear Ann. I guess I see that you really are home now. Love, Monica

Thursday, October 26, 2006


My sister Alice once had a book with tips on how to get organized, and it had this cute little acronym SPACE which stood for Sort, Purge, Assign a Space, Containerize and Evaluate (over and over again apparently.) Well this week when I noticed that once again my inbox at work seemed to be magically multiplying, I started thinking about SPACE. I often sort my inbox by sender so I can delete, but deleting doesn't really help. They just come back again. Yes...thinking about my newly discovered SPACE hierarchy of needs, I decided it was time now to Purge!

You see, like many of us, I somehow got on some e-mail lists. I truly don’t mind the “joke” e-mails I get from friends. I see those as a sweet way of keeping connected. Some of my “junk mail” came because I actually signed up for things like “Metro” (train) alerts, but mostly I was getting e-mails after making one stinking purchases years ago. Airlines,, 1-800-flowers—you name it. I was probably getting weekly or sometimes even daily notification of great deals. Argh….so over the past few days I’ve scrolled down to the fine print and UNSUBSCRIBED to about 8 e-mails I’ve been getting regularly! Why I didn’t do this years ago I just don’t know. I now feel a bit less overwhelmed. Heck, I’m feeling practically underwhelmed by my inbox now. (Why is underwhlemed not really a word? And why can I be inept or adept but not just ept?) I digress…

Last night Su and I found a great place to give for her to give birth. As a social worker she’s seen some different birthing situations and had a strong sense that she didn’t want a hospital setting (unless there are complications of course and then we will be whisked to a nearby hospital.) But if all goes well, she’ll have a natural birth with midwives in a maternity center. It just seems right for us. And it’s great having that decision finally made.

Su and I will drive with my mom tomorrow to NC to pay our respects to mom’s sister at her memorial service. It will be good to see Ann’s children and grandchildren and I think will help us get more closure than we’ve had. Alrighty then, back to my practically sparse inbox. (Now if I could only purge those major tasks that are required of me by my job! ;-) -Monica

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Growth Spurt!

Well, well. Here we are at the beginning of week 7. According to the literature, today the baby is about the size of a BB pellet--.16 to .2 inches. By Sunday (6 short days from now) the baby will be somewhere between .44 to .52 inches.)

As I told my sweetie yesterday, I think that’s a pretty amazing spurt no? Going from .2 to .52 would be the equivalent of me being 5’6” today (which I am) and by Sunday being something like 14 feet tall! Wow. Pretty miraculous I think. Of course now I think our child will be very tall. This must be what they mean by anchoring ;-)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Friends and Family

This weekend Su and I traveled to MN to visit my family. Today is actually my niece Janna's 9th birthday so this weekend was a fun spaghetti dinner and a trip to the "Park at the Mall of America" (formerly known as Camp Snoopy.) Janna and my 6 year old great-niece Cassie had fun except when Janna decided that some of the rides were too "babyish", oh and when she decided that I was not focusing 100% of my energy on her. Geez!

Anyway, overall it was a very fun weekend and we got to spend time with my mom who is doing better and visiting friends Amy and Matt (and their two adorable little ones) and our friend John. You know those friends who you don't see very often but when you do it's like no time has passed at all? That's how it felt this weekend. And I love it when there are inside jokes that never seem to lose their power to make us die laughing. Who knew after all that Jack London was not a British author? See, this is hysterical! Unfortunately my poor wife, like so many suffering spouses must hear these punch lines over and over again. Susanne's really a good sport about it too. What's not to laugh about hearing "please toss 12 tortillas to my dog?" Oh, my gosh. I'm dying laughing! Honey? Honey?

On to a more serious subject. Bumper cars. Taking the kids to the largest indoor amusement park in the world gave me an opportunity to see that bumper cars create an environment where small children DELIGHT in crashing into others. It all seems so fun. Little do they know that down the road there will be deductibles and estimates and gasp...points assessed to their licenses! Do you think there could be some hidden insurance company sponsorship of the bumper car industry? Hmmm.... Okay, I'm just kidding, but those kids were seriously enjoying themselves!

Our visit was short but fun. We spent some time hanging out with my sisters and brothers and niece who is also pregnant. This will be her 3rd child so she is an old pro at this. Su felt pretty good considering how much time we spent traveling. We'll be visiting a local maternity center later this week and it will be exciting to get some of those details figured out. Alrighty then. Until next time....Monica

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Magical, magical thinking...

Seems I’m rather omnipotent. Remember how I rather offhandedly commented that we were feeling pretty happy about Su's lack of morning sickness, and how we'd hoped the dreaded “headaches” would not become a problem? Well apparently the day I wrote that blog entry the headache came back (and is still with Su) and believe me, it's been a problem.

So since I have some magical mystery ability to cause things to happen, I'd like you to imagine Su and I holding hands in lovely spring meadow while bluebirds sing and butterflies dazzle us with their beauty.

Oh, oh, better yet, we are drowsily napping on a warm window seat on a perfect autumn day--the lingering warm rays of the sun make us sort of melt like a soft candle.

Oh, I’ve got it. The first cold winds of winter have descended on us and it’s a SNOWDAY! We are cuddled up on our couch in front of a soothing fire with cups of hot cocoa and each other.

If my magic is really good then we should feel nothing but calmness and joy for the next 8 months. Right? Love you sweetie. Hope you feel better soon. -Mo

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Too funny

A few months ago Susanne spotted a fabulous sale at Best Buy on a cool DVD/VHS mini-surround sound system. So this weekend one of the final steps of our basement renovation involved connecting the wires she'd put into the walls and ceiling before we completed the drywalling.

Anyway, we got all of the speakers to work independently but were still trying to get the full "surround sound" of all the speakers together. We realized that we needed to play something that was created in Dolby Surround Sound and one of the few DVDs that we own is Winged Migration. For those who haven't seen it, it's a gorgeous documentary. The reason it's blogworthy experience for us is that we have two cats named Harley and CJ and when those multiple speakers kicked in, you've never seen two more confused cats. The sounds of birds everywhere! Outstanding for us, confounding for them. Next time we'll take pictures! -Monica

Monday, October 16, 2006

Week 6

Well Susanne continues to feel pretty well and except for the occasional food craving (that usually involves cheese) she's been feeling fine during this first part of her pregnancy. Our fertility doctor actually mentioned that by the end of week 9 most women have gotten over the worst of it so we guess it is possible that she might sneak though these next 3 weeks without incident. Su has had some terrible headaches in the past and her favorite headache medicine is a definite no no for pregnant women. It's been really awful to see her with such pain etched across her face and not be able to do much of anything to help. So far so good though, so we'll keep knocking on all the wood that we see.

I was at Tower Records near my office the other day and they were having a "going out of business sale". I found the cutest little CD with children's music on it including songs by They Might Be Giants and best of all a cute little ditty called Ladybug Picnic. We both really like ladybugs a lot--they signify good luck in Germany. So this cute song is sung by a singer named Elizabeth Mitchell whom I'd never heard of until last week when she was featured on NPR. She sang some fun kid's songs and I remembered thinking that I should try to find a CD of hers or something. When Su and I listened to the music on Saturday she asked me if the Ladybug singer Elizabeth Mitchell was the one we'd heard on NPR. Doh! I'd totally missed it. I just saw that there was a Ladybug song and got the CD. Crazy huh? It's really cool. Now if I could just get a copy of Meryl Streep singing an Irish Lullaby called the Gartar Mother's Lullaby. It's an Irish tune that I learned years ago when she recorded it on an album that was a fundraiser for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. I'm hoping that my friend Gerri who introduced me to it still has it. She's a music therapist and if anyone has it, she does. She's coming from NY to visit us next month which is going to be awesome!

Alrighty then. Enough blogging for now. I've got to think of some cheesy, well balanced and delicious dinner to make my sweetheart. Hasta luego! -Monica

Friday, October 13, 2006

Looking forward to the weekend...

Su and I excited about the fact that by the time this weekend is over, our carpeting will be completely installed and our new firplace will be grouted. (I manage to make it sound like some little fairies will be flying in.) Actually the carpet installer will take care of that part and Su and our neighbor Norman will address the grout issue. (I will of course hover nearby getting refreshments and fetching tools etc...) We got some cool slate which we cut and installed over the past few weeks and it looks really great. The room is almost done. This project has gone on for quite a while but it's been worth it. When we cuddled on the couch watching TV the other night it just felt perfect. We promise photos soon.

I'm very relieved and happy to report that my mom came home from the hospital yesterday, and although she is weak she seems to be doing better. Thank God. I slept for almost 13 hours last night which is quite remarkable. I knew I was weary, I just didn't know how weary I was. It felt good to rest.

We are looking forward to this weekend. We got some free tickets for a Washington Caps game and will be hanging out with our dear friends Emily and Zach there. Then Sunday a delightful meeting of the "Mamas" (and future mama's to be?) It will be great to see I&A and M&K. Alrighty then. Time to remove myself from this workstation and head home. That's where my heart is. Hasta la vista babies! -Monica

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Meanwhile, back in blog landia...

Well our ever helpful cat Harley has finally decided to go in seach of food or something which means he has left the keyboard for now. That's perfecly fine with me. Unfortunately he's starting to believe that his real name is "No Harley, NO!" He just doesn't realize how melting his body slowly down on the keyboard with a contented yawn can cause me big troubles.

Well let's see what's new? Su is doing great. So far so good on the morning sickness thing. On Monday we'll have our first ultrasound. I'm becoming pretty convinced we are having twins, but then again, I was also convinced that we were not pregnant this time at all. Why do I think we are having twins when there is absolutely no history of this? Um...I just FEEL like it might be true. And maybe I have experienced some signs. I'm not really much into signs, but once in a while yes. If I'm right about this I'll be happy to share my signs. And if I'm wrong, no harm, no foul.

I've continued to be very, very weary. The good news is that my mom came out of the hospital today. She sounded MUCH better today on the phone and I can't wait to see her next week when we go in for a family birthday party. If mom's strong enough she'll come east to go to her sister's memorial mass. I'm just not too sure she'll be able to do that, but I think that will be okay. My aunt's passing and mom's sudden illness have really been weighing heavily on me. I'm rather prone to anxiety and try and manage it, but sometimes I just get a bone weariness that I can't shake for a while. (Sound familiar dear sister M?) Such is life. I'm waiting now for Su to come home--my favorite part of the day. Tonight we have NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING planned. Amen to that I say. I hear once you have kids that sort of never happens again. ;-) Here's to a night of pure and unadulterated laziness. Ciao! -Monica

P.S. M&K we look forward to seeing you this weekend. O, we hope you have a most wonderful and peaceful time this weekend. Sounds like it could be pretty magical!

Me and Harley

Me and our "portly gentleman" cat named Harley are trying to do a blog entry but I have to tell you--he's not very good at it. As a matter of fact, last I checked when ever I tried to type in a new URL it just keeps bringing us back to Susanica. Ah technology. Let me post this and see if Harley and I can get out of this HTML madness! -Monica

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Now we've got a ticker, too!

Maybe I should have waited a bit longer... wow, we've got a long way to go! But now everytime you and we take a look, we'll know more or less how much longer we have until our little love bug will arrive. (Lady bugs are symbols of good luck, thus the choice for the ticker.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ta da!

We've blogged again! I think we should get some kudos for this. It appears we've been blessed with friends who are far more prolific, succinct and thoughtful than we are. Their blogs (yes you, O and M&K) are wonderful bloggers. We are just sorta, kinda mediocre.

Which doesn't mean we don't have lots going on. We try not to be "human doings" since being "human beings" seems so much more relaxing, but we still end up being very busy. And even though I thought that my with my big conference/summit finally taking place a week ago would relieve all my stress, I was wrong.

As I posted earlier, my dear Aunt Ann passed away Friday and today my mom ended up in the hospital with what could be an infection or some sort of intestinal problem. This is of course compounded very much by the stress and grief of losing Ann. I am a hospice volunteer and I know that grieving is hard work. You have to take care of yourself and eat well and everything because your body and mind are using tons of energy just to stay okay. We are all grieving. And with me being in DC while the rest of the family is in MN has been hard. She's on IV antibiotics and fluids which is a relief to me. If she ends up having surgery of any sort I'll be on the next plane out. But until then, there's not much to do but pray.

When I reached my brother Paul to let him know what had happened so he could head to the hospital, he called me back an hour later to reassure me, but also let me know that it was not very cool to be back in the same exact building where our dad lay dying in 2002. That was a very difficult time for all of us. Mom's going to be just fine is the word according to my siblings but it's still worrisome. Also, Su and I were scheduled to go to MN in 2 weeks to visit anyway but we just found out that there will be a memorial mass for my aunt in NY. So it looks like everyone is going to be coming east. I just want to see everyone, especially my mom right now.

Enough about my worries. Su is doing just fine. Not a bit of sickness YET. We are hopeful this will continue but she says she is prepared for whatever comes. All I know is that she isn't tired at all and our weekend projects continue without ceasing. Our basement looks FABULOUS by the way.

Alrighty then. Time to take care of some other stuff. I'll close with the title I saw on a cinema marquee once. It said "My Mother Wove the Morning". Cool huh? Until next time. -Monica

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Remember this in your hearts

As my beautiful Susanne wrote the other day, we can hardly believe our great fortune. We are actually having a baby! Even though I've read lots of books on lesbian parenting, and even watched Rosie's Gay Cruise documentary (its was a hoot by the way), nothing could have prepared me for the joy that I've felt these past few day. Being by nature a "little bit" of a worry wart you'd think I'd be filled with fears and racing thoughts of future, but I'm not. I find myself just feeling sort of in awe of the fact that Susanne is carrying a little ball of cells that according to all the literature has things like a rudimentary brain, a functioning heart and even a mouth! Just last night she was telling a fun group of friends that she suspects that if my genes were somehow included in the mix, our baby's little mouth would probably be talking! (She's probably right! ;-) I take no offense, I just keep on blabbing!

I keep thinking about a poem, or verse I believe was written by Martin Luther centuries ago. It went “Dear Lord Jesus for your head, I will make the softest bed. The chamber where this bed shall lie is in my heart inside of me. I will sing for you a soft and soothing lullaby, so soft that you will never cry.” I’ve always thought this was beautiful, and I see a connection between it, and the thought of Susanne’s perfect body holding the very softest bed where our baby is growing, warm, protected and so loved by both of us.

But this morning my emotions are really all twisted in a ball—not because of anything to do with our happy news, rather because last night we got a call that my beloved Aunt Ann had passed away. She was my mom’s sister and up until a month ago she was quite healthy. Then suddenly she was having some odd symptoms of forgetfulness and lethargy. She was scheduled to see a neurologist later this month. This week while visiting her adult children in NY she got very sick. She was hospitalized Monday, put on a ventilator on Wednesday and died Friday after experiencing major organ failure. My mom was flying into Washington this morning so we could drive up to NY, and we’d have seen Ann by around 4:00. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. She was surrounded by her immediately family and they say she was peaceful when she died last night.

So I’m very sad. We still don’t know why she died which is hard. I’m so sad for my mom. When we spoke again this morning she told me about the lifetime of memories that just kept spinning in her mind. They are the stories that are never told in words, they are silent words deep in one’s own self.

I was reminded of the Indigo Girls song lyrics that say “don’t take a picture; remember this in your heart.” Aunt Ann, if you can hear us up there in heaven please know that you are forever remembered and cherished in our hearts. Love you always, Monica

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Here's what giddy looks like!

You've been waiting...

Ok, it's REALLY REALLY REALLY early to be posting this, but the silence was deafening, wasn't it?


(sorry Monica, I'm beating you to this post)
Yes, it's true. I had been SOOO pessimistic this time around. And we had both been remarkably un-anxious about finding out and were able to wait to test the full two weeks. So Tuesday morning we got up and peed on the stick. I was looking at the thing with great skepticism even after Monica started jumping up and down. Ok, I guess it was really there:


Monica hasn't been that giddy since our wedding day. When she gets giddy it is SOOO cute. She gets all smiley and giggly and shrugs her shoulders and it is so cute!

So, we called the Dr's office with the good news and arranged to go in for a blood test on my way to work. Shortly before 2 pm I just missed the second of two calls on my cell. While I tried to call back my desk phone rang and there was C from the Dr's office, "Where have you been!?!" She was obviously excited to give me the news, too. Not only were we really prognant, but the blood test numbers were good. We went back to test again today -- and again, the numbers are looking good!

So like I said, it's REALLY REALLY early... but it's REALLY REALLY GREAT!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

What a day, week, month, year....(what more is there?)

Wow. They say that life has rhythms and I agree. Susanne and I had our second attempt at insemination just 9 days ago, and you'd pretty much think that this would be really preoccupying us (by the way in spanish"preocupar" means "to worry"). Anyway, rather than being worried or preoccupied, we're both just running ragged. I'm the project manager for a summit of federal IT workers that will take place next week and with several hundred people registered and coordinating all the speakers and logistics (with the help of some wonderful friends on the Federal CIO Council) I've been going about 100 miles an hour for several weeks now.

Even our wonderful birthday trip in early September to our favorite bed and breakfast was not nearly enjoyable for me as an earlier trip trip because of my propensity to wake up in the night with great ideas about how to accomplish something better, or more likely, to wake up in a cold sweat realizing the there are certain dependencies in our critical path that could make or break the final product. (By the way, I don't really talk like that right guys?) When you have a project that has a set date, you can change the scope if you want, or you can try and change the cost (good luck with that) but bottom line is that you have to deliver on the date promised. So in a big nutshell I'll be stressed out until 5:30 on October 4th.

To add to the craziness Susanne (thus me too!) has been getting up at the crack of dawn every day this week to drive from DC to Baltimore for an almost week long training on how to help homeless people apply for disability benefits. As a social worker and Representative Payee at a non-profit that serves over 10,000 people per month (free medical, legal, social services, food, clothing) she is constantly going 100 mph. I honestly don't know how she does it and am basically in awe of her energy, committment and desire to help others. As you can tell, I think my wife is amazing. add to our hectic lives, on Tuesday, Su had a fender bender. Fortunately no one was hurt and the other driver just waved that all was fine and drove away, but unfortunately our car was a bit crumpled. We hoped our local auto body guy would say he could take care of things for a pretty reasonable price but no luck. Apparently it was more than a bit crumpled. So we've both spent time on the phone with State Farm trying to get an appraisal of the damage, yada, yada, yada.

And then tonight Su called to let me know that both our cats were missing. Now, for those of you who know our cats, you know they are house cats. They are not outdoor cats. They've never been outdoors. And, it was POURING rain outside. We've had a guy over several days a week for the past few weeks painting our front and back porch and today was his last day. We quickly surmised that he'd left the door ajar. When I got the call from Su at around 6:00 I was working with a friend at her office and my friend must have thought someone died when I heard that CJ and Harley were both missing. I jumped uphalf shouting "what?." I was so shocked and scared that they'd be injured/afraid/cold/hungry/attacked by other animals/lost...the list goes on. We knew that they had their tags with our phone number but it was still pretty scary. I told her I'd be right home. (By the way I was out the door and running toward the Metro, in the pouring rain mind you, within seconds.) But to help you better understand my intense feelings about Su's call, read the entry below from our old blog. This happened in 2004...

Ode to a special little cat--Teamo
Well, lest any of you think we don't really ever write about our cats Harley and CJ, I'm going to fill you in on a secret. We've got a whole secret little blog just about them on our site. Pretty sneaky huh? We thought so. Susanne and I really do love our little kitty cats as you'll see by reading about some of their antics, but I wanted to take a moment today to tell you the story about a little cat named Teamo.
Teamo--the name actually came from the words Te Amo which means "I love you" in Spanish. Susanne and I had a funny inside joke about the name Teamo (which rhymes with Nemo) which we gave to a new little jet black kitten in we got 2003. Let me back up a bit. When Susanne and I first met, she had a wonderful little cat named Harley (who you can read all about on our aforementioned CLOG.) But I'd never had a cat before. Then we got to thinking how great it would be for Harley to have a playmate and so we went out and adopted this little guy who was about 6 months old as I recall. Gosh, they were so happy together. They'd wrestle and play all day and I remember in the mornings how Teamo would run down the stairs ahead of me and sprawl out on his back, belly up, seeming to dare me to even think about ignoring him. What a cat!
Well, last spring I was actually away for about 8 weeks working on the G8 Summit which was held in Georgia when I got a call from Susanne. Teamo had been lying behind a door all day and was listless and sick. She (and her mom who was visiting from out of town) took Teamo to the vet who gave a grim diagnosis. Teamo had been born a feral cat and appeared to have contracted a virus. He wasn't going to get better and was in pain.
I remember getting this information in a phone call and being devestated that I couldn't just fly home. Sometimes now I think I should have. The next day Susanne held Teamo as the vet put him "to sleep." I was on the phone with her through it all and it makes me cry to think about it all again now. I know that anyone who has ever lost an animal can understand how terribly painful this was for us. (Susanne's mom had to get on an overseas flight and I'll be forever grateful to our friend Emily who went with Susanne for that final time with Teamo.)
We didn't think about getting another cat for many months. But we saw how lonely and clingy Harley was and decided last fall to get a new kitty. CJ has been a delight, but every once in a while when I least expect it, I think of our little "I love you" cat who looked like he wore a permanent tuxedo and I smile inside with a bit of sadness. It's been about a year now since Teamo left us. Bye Teamo. We really do miss you. -Monica (and Susanne)

Well, as you can see, after losing Teamo we've been really happy with our Harley and CJ. So tonight's call was terrifying. But then, wonder of wonders, Su found them. They were both cowering in closets. We don't know if it was the thunderstorm, our porch painter--we just don't know, but even though they usually come in a heartbeat when called AND FED, they were both just glued to their spots for hours (oddly in different closets.)

Alright I've written enough for now. I've calmed down too. And in case you're wondering we are thinking about next Tuesday when we can test to see if we're going to be Mamas. Thanks M&K for your kind words and energy in your last blog post. And now, time to pack. We're going camping!!! -Monica

Sorry for being such bad bloggers!

Let's see. I'd write about all of the reasons that we are so busy lately that we can't seem to take a minute to write, but, hey, I don't have the time. More later. -Monica

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Weekend ramblings...

It's been a pretty productive weekend so far. Our basement is now pretty much completely painted except for the trim and Su has started building the box that will surround the new gas vent-free fireplace. Later today we'll hang out with our friends watching the Redskins most likely lose. Neither of us are big football fans, but we are both fans of spending time with our friends, so we'll enjoy this time with our "maybe baby" mamas which is always fun.

As you may recall we went through our second attempt at artificial insemination (AI) about 5 days ago. Last time I felt very optimistic right up til the moment that we knew for a fact that we (um that would be the royal we) weren't pregnant, but this time I have a stronger sense that it didn't work. Part of it is that Su also feels less than optimistic. Like last time she hasn't experienced any physical symptoms that some friends have reported. She just feels the same. Of course if we are both wrong and we are indeed pregnant there will be no happier women in the world, but on the other hand I don't think we'll be too surprised if we are not. We were talking to a friend who we ran into at the Mautner Project Gala who told us that she and her partner had done AI for 2 years before deciding to go with invitro (IVF). They are now the proud parents of twins. Gosh, two years! Can you imagine the emotional highs and lows they must have gone through? Wow. That's a long time.

I was reading an article in the Washington Post this morning about a woman who wrote a book called the Female Brain. She believes that there is good scientific evidence that men and women come with two different operating systems--not only below the belt but between the ears. It was a really interesting article called Gender It's a Gray Area. It made me think about how as a lesbian couple we probably do process things in more the same way than our straight friends do. Now the big question--blessing or curse? ;-) Oh, oh, I know! Blessing! -M