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

Friday, September 22, 2006

You've been what?

The title of my last post "We've been linked, we've been linked" is still cracking me up. And if my good friend Gerri up in NY ever reads this blog she's cracking up too. Why you may ask? Well it's all about a woman named L. You see, about 15 years ago I met Gerri and L. when they started their first year at college. I'd already done Peace Corps and was in grad school in the area, so I got a great gig as a Resident Coordinator/Director. Gerri and I became fast friends (and are to this day). L. was her roommate and she was a very dramatic, very effusive, very funny woman from Mexico. Her English was pretty darn good know how it goes. When one uses a second language, some funny things can happen.

Well one day at the cafeteria L's tray wobbled and her glass of milk splashed all over her shirt. Being that she was, again, quite dramatic L. jumped up and in her loudest voice began squealing "I've been milked, I've been milked." Of course she accompanied this by frantically pawing at her now wet t-shirt much to the delight of the whole cafeteria. "L., sit down, shhhhhhh....SHHHHHHSH" Gerri and I tried to calm her down. "What, what?" she demanded to know why we wanted her to be quiet. "I was egged this weekend when we went trick or treating and now look at me---I've been milked, I'VE BEEN MILKED!." I can still hear her voice ;-)

Of course L. also loved to burst into song when ever she was in an elevator--mostly"Love in an Elevator, living it up while I'm going down!" She had no idea what she was singing (or did she?) Ah...memories. Too funny I say! -M

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

We've been linked! We've been linked!

You may notice that we have a blog on the side of our webpage called Lesbian Families. The story behind it is that our friends A and S had their beautiful daughter A about 3 months ago. Su was trying like mad to search for their blog to find out what was going on. So when she put in dad's full name suddenly she came up with a site about these two women who had a son and kept a very fun blog. A's name showed up because the writer had mentioned him in an entry. Turns out they've been friends for a long time. Boy, for being a straight couple they sure have a bunch of lesbian friends I say!

Anyway, later the blog writer decided to do this cool compilation site called Lesbian Families. Su put their link on our page, and I guess since we linked to them, they linked to us. How fun! Gosh, do we have to be wittier now? Or more profound? Or maybe always use spell check? Gosh, what pressure.

Not really. We are delighted. For those of you who follow our saga, we are indeed now in the midst of our second attempt to have a child via artificial insemination. Just yesterday, I thought for some reason it might be interesting to put our sperm donor's number and the name of the cryobank into Google to see if there were any hits. Was that a good idea? I'm just so curious sometimes. What I found was the blog of a lesbian couple who say they are years away from thinking of having kids were just searching around and really liked that this particular donor's profile was a lot like one of the women (same education, hair color, eye color etc...). They listed his number and description in a post. I guess a part of me knows that our child could have 1/2 siblings out there but it's still kind of odd. I'm glad they aren't trying now for some reason.

What I really wondered was if any of the donors themselves ever post their numbers on their own blogs hoping someone will find them. We have an anonymous donor because we definitely like the idea of this child being ours without any triangulation, but who knows? With technology the way it is maybe everyone will know everybody one day.

For my birthday Su got me what I really wanted. My kit to participate in the National Geographic Society's Genographic Project! It's so cool. I had to do a DNA swab and send it in and as soon as they process it I'll be able to use my password to learn more about where the genetic markers I have on my mom's side migrated in the world. There just had to be something before Ireland I'm sure of it!

Alrighty then. I've got to head home now. Wish us good luck--we've got to wait another 13 days or so before we'll know for sure. I've got a good feeling about this! -M

Monday, September 18, 2006

Weekend fun!

What’s new you ask? Irises that were once crammed together in our front yard are now replanted with plenty of room around them to grow (great job honey!). Our basement moved one step closer to being finished with the acquisition of some cool tiles for the fireplace and the first coat of wall paint applied. And on Sunday we attended a baseball game in the DC Councilmember’s box that brought us great joy for two reasons. First of all, the Nationals won 6-1 on a gorgeous fall day. And secondly we got to sit three seats down from our Ward 5 council member Vincent Orange, who in his mayoral race declared he was the only person morally fit to be mayor of DC since he alone opposed gay marriage. It was really fun to hold hands and whisper sweet nothings in each others ears, much we hope to his mortification/chagrin! (Oh, and we got free food and beverages—an overall fantastic afternoon.)

Su had a very mysterious bug bite incident this weekend though that I’m afraid I wasn’t very sympathetic to until I saw all the welts. We still don’t know what happened. Bugs just love my Susi those bas$*&@ards!

We are excited to get together with our other “Mamas” from our Maybe Baby class and watch a football game at M & Ks next weekend, and then plan our camping trip (we’ll bring a lot of bug spray!) By the time camping rolls around, Su and I should have some idea as to whether our second try at letting our “adopted” sperm show its stuff was successful. It’s all good.

My thought for the day today has to do with paint rollers. Have you ever tried to wash out a paint roller? It’s darn near impossible to ever get the paint out. No matter how long you rinse it, and no matter how clean it looks, one more squeeze results in only one thing. More paint flowing out. There has got to be a way to use technology to apply this concept to food. Just think! We could feed all the hungry! Wouldn’t that be awesome! Okay, onward and upward! -Monica

P.S. Hey M, best of luck with the new job possibility. That would be AWESOME!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Don't you love cool days and nights?

What is it about the fall? Maybe I like it so much because my birthday is in the fall. Or maybe I just love the way that you get to cuddle up in a warm sweater or blanket, or best of all cuddle up with the one person in the world who makes you feel total peace.

I think that the power of human touch is amazing. I was single for many, many years so I know what it's like to live alone, sleep alone, feel alone. I think I probably had a lot of fears of getting too close to anyone (which most likely was all related to my lack of understanding about my sexual orientation.) But all that changed when I met Susanne. God willing, I can look forward to my sweetie's wonderful embraces every day. Yes, her touch is like music, or magic or maybe mystical, mindblowing....(enough with the alliterations already right!)

Speaking of touch, I remember once when I was teaching high school kids at a Catholic school, one student told me that her favorite part of Mass was the sign of peace. "Why is that?" I asked her. "Well for some people it's the only time all week that anyone touches them." I felt overwhelmed by her insight. I'm guessing she'd heard that said before and I'm also guessing that it was her mom who said it (just knowing her mom.)

Parents are just a tremendous influence on kids. It has been said that our behaviors are "caught" not "taught." I believe that. I hope that when Susanne and I become parents that we can impart good and sweet things on our children. Yeah, we can do that! Ciao bellas! -Monica

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Time is flying!

Greetings! It sure has been a while since we posted. Su put up one of our pictures from the Mautner Project Gala in our last post--we had so much fun. The Mautner Project does education, advocacy and hospice care for lesbian women with cancer. It's great to know that by attending and being table captains we helped them raise money. We got a few things at the silent auction too. This weekend we'll be attending a National's Baseball game in Councilmember David Catania's box. Free food AND beverages! And I'm most excited about a poster we spied that was signed by author Judy Chicago. It has the words of a poem we had incorporated into our wedding last year and gosh, it's gonna look so great when we get it reframed. Read it for yourself to see how wonderful "And Then" is. I was very psyched when I saw that we'd also snagged that in the silent auction.

We are both so busy at work lately. And we're getting our porch repainted and slogging on with our basement project. A "carpet" guy came by last night and we ordered some great stuff that is green in more ways than one. It's literally green, (sage I'd call it) and it's made from recycled coke bottles. It's virtually impossible to stain or damage. And best of all it's really comfy and soft. Who knew! So we are pleased with that and now have 3 more weekends of work to do before we've scheduled them to come and lay that in. Yeah!!! Alrighty then. Back to work I go. Have a great day y'all! -M

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Our mamas are SO COOL!

If you haven't yet noticed, we have a few favorite blogs listed on the side of this space. "Maverick Mama" and "Our Little Honey". We try to keep sort of anonymous so I won't say their names, but both are written by friends we met in our Maybe Baby class last spring. One friend is a single soon-to-be mom and the other is written by a woman who is partnered (is that a verb?) who is also pregnant. The thing about both of these blogs is the raw emotion that sort of spews or leaks out of them. In both blogs our authors share parts of themselves and their lives that are very deep and almost primeval I think. There is a lot of courage in their words, and hopefully a lot of catharsis.

Being gay is not easy in this society. Deciding to parent a child in this society is not easy either, but you know what? Too bad. This is our reality. We are blessed to know these friends because when we read their blogs we have the added benefit of "seeing" them and "hearing" them and in some ways viscerally feel their celebrations and their pain. And they do the same for us. So O. and M. and K (and A. and I. for that matter) we want you to know that we consider it a blessing and a gift to share in the parts of your life you choose to share though your blogs.

Our neighbor Melissa gave us a fun gift recently--a box of camping stick matches that are called "Smart Women" matches. On the box it says "Smart Women Light the Way." Keep that in mind will you ladies? Have a wonderful and blessed day. -Monica and Susanne

Monday, September 04, 2006

whose teasing?

The Mamas accused us of teasing with our previous entries about whether or not to spill the beans about being pregnant right away or not... But really we were the ones being teased -- testing negative but yet not having my period to show for it. There I was ready to put the not pregnant plan into practice with a nice bottle of Pino Grigio during our Shenandoah getaway weekend...why Virginia (our hostess with the mostest) even had a couple of Coronas in the fridge and we had the lime! Now, don't think I'm a terrible drunk or anything, but I really liked the plan that M & K had come up with to celebrate a negative with a nice bottle of wine...a consolation prize of sorts. So when Friday hit and we were still negative I figured it was going to be a nice weekend for two women and our wine. But Friday, Saturday, Sunday... (Skip ahead boys!) I was a bit crampy and nothing. By Sunday, of course we had to find a drugstore because the curiosity was killing us. You know that part on the pregnancy test instructions where they say it doesn't matter if one blue line is faint? I think that sort of induced some sort of halucination for us. Nevertheless we remained only cautiously optimistic and after Monica finished that second Corona I joked with her that now would be the time for my period to start. And of course, it did. So after three days of teasing we're now sure that we'll have to give it another go in a couple of weeks. Luckily there is a Trader Joe's (home of cheap wine) on the way home.