Category Archives: Romantic

The start of the pomegranate days

This pomegranate was a Solstice gift from Jag, to celebrate our decision to become parents... Let's hope it increased my fertility like it's meant to!

I was off work today, and so finally took the plunge: I called the local fertility centre.  “My partner and I are interested in becoming clients of your clinic, to conceive using donor sperm,” I said.  “What are our next steps?”

I gotta tell you, readers, my heart was beating super fast. All the research in the world did nothing to prepare me for how it felt to actually move forward on this queer baby making project.

So it turns out that I need a referral.  Not having my own doctor , I’ll have to go to a walk-in clinic and ask for it.  For some reason, I find this funny.  I mean, it’s not like there’s anything wrong with my reproductive stuff (that we now of!), yet I still need to go to a walk-in clinic and say Hi-I’m-gay-and-I-want-a-baby-please.  Wouldn’t it make more sense for me to go straight to the fertility centre and say the same thing? It’s not really a mystery, my reasons for requiring their services.

“And your partner will need to get one too,” said the receptionist.  I actually laughed. “Well, she won’t be the gestational parent, I will,” I told her, “Is that still necessary?”

It’s just how they usually do it, I was told: They treat both women as a couple, and the referral is so that blood tests and other parts of the process are covered by the provincial health care system.

“Are you sure she won’t be carrying…?” Asked the receptionist. “And you won’t be using her eggs?”

No, that won’t be happening, I assured her. We’re quite certain. The receptionist agreed that in that case, it’d be silly for Oats to get a referral too… Let alone go through the blood work and whatever else is required.  I’m glad she was as amused by this as I was.

I called Oats and gave her the update.  She had her own news:  She saw her own doctor this morning, regarding some unfortunate health problems, and his solution was to put her on the Pill.  Ha!  So, depending on how this all goes, we’re looking to be a right mess of hormones at our house in the upcoming year.  Good times, good times.

Update on the grand scheme of things

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How could I choose to move away from this...?

An update on the grand scheme of things: We’re no longer planning on moving to someplace cheaper, and Oats is no longer applying to graduate school for her MFA. I like to think that both of these  goals will again be on the table in the future, but for now neither of them are the focus of our life plan. Instead, we’re staying here and having a baby.

When I write it like that, it makes it sound so easy and tidy, so maybe I’ll rephrase: We’re staying here and trying to make a kid in a biological fashion of some sort, though also thinking that our kid(s) may potentially come to us through other legal means instead, and we’re not certain how any of this will happen, only that we’re committing to working on it.

Oats and I have been discussing this change-in-focus for the past couple months, and our decision was so gradual, that I’ve been forgetting to tell my friends… Until they ask for an update on Oats’ university applications, and I’m all like: “Huh?”

Why the change?  It’s so pragmatic, it hurts.  I mean, I’m excited and eager and all that, but my romantic nature is still off in la-la land while big decisions are being made.  The main points are: We both have secure unionized jobs, we have a 3 bedroom apartment that is owned by our closest friends, and we have the family-style support of said closest friends plus Jag, who is also only a stone’s throw from our door, not to mention a bevy of other excellent friends and chosen family.  To top it off, I’m 30 years old and if my reproductive system is gonna do anything useful, now is a good time to start asking.

Anyway.  Yeah.  So that’s what’s been on my mind lately.  I don’t really have much else to say about it, except all the boring details: Any pregnancy would be carried by me, not Oats; we would use an anonymous donor via a sperm bank, not a known donor; we haven’t yet chosen a bank or donors, or looked into getting a home study for adoption, or consulted a lawyer, or really many of the other little tasks we’re going to take on.  And no, we don’t really have a spare $2000 each month, but are certainly closer to being financially stable than ever before. All we’ve actually *done* is read through the info from the local fertility clinic, a couple books, and researched a little in an attempt to understand the insanity of Health Canada regulations around sperm. (They consider it a drug.  I KID YOU NOT.)

Also, me being me, I’ve become addicted to lurking on a message board where baby-making queers from around the world are chatting about their current tries at conception.  And of course, I’m also charting my basal body temperature every day… Just like I used to years ago, when I had a male, sperm-producing partner, and was trying to avoid pregnancy!  Except back then it was crazy stressful, and now I’m just really stoked about the fun science-experiment-aspect of it.  I recently spat onto a scrap of glass, let it dry, then looked at it through my microscope and was able to predict my upcoming ovulation based on the crystalized patterns of my estrogen-enriched saliva… Science!

The main thing is, we’re off on a bit of an adventure here, different from what we’ve done in the past and from what we’d thought we might be doing.  It’s exciting, and a little crazy, and I guess that’s probably a totally excellent place to be.

Giddy at the dawn

It’s the second day of winter, and I’m at home, doing laundry and making food in preparation for a feast with friends tomorrow night.  Oats and I celebrated Solstice a couple nights ago, and as our chosen family who live upstairs and across the yard will all be out of town, we’ll be spending most of the holiday weekend cat-sitting and hermiting instead of your typical merry-making.  I’m looking forward to this:  A single big dinner party, at the house of another person so that we don’t have to fuss with our own tiny home, and otherwise simply days of no obligations or distractions.  I plan on reading a lot, and sewing.

For a couple years, Oats and I volunteered for the Christmas Eve shift at the community radio station, then went out for noodles.  It was such an excellent alternative to the Christmas focus of everything… I wish I still had my membership at the station, so that we could have done it again.  At least we can still enjoy Chinese food, though… Hopefully on Christmas day, when so many other folks will be digging into their roast turkey.

Growing up, a lot of my friends didn’t do Christmas, or they did it very differently from my family, which celebrated a sort of cynical Anglicanism that erred on the socio-cultural side as opposed to the religious end of things.  Some of my friends followed religions other than Christianity, or different types of Christianity, and some simply didn’t celebrate any holidays.  I didn’t know any pagans, though, or at least that I remember:  No one ever got excited about Solstice, or even talked about the return of the light after the longest night of the year.  Now, it’s so important to me that I can’t imagine not counting down the days or feeling giddy at the dawn.  It’s such a welcome new beginning.

Walking with Mo among the garry oaks and hawthorns this morning, I was completely content, and I realized that I can’t remember the last time I felt so overall optimistic.  While things aren’t perfect, and I’m still struggling with occasional bouts of intense anxiety, my heart is lighter than it has been in ages, and I don’t feel hemmed in by fog like I have in most winters past.  The news of the world is dreary and terrifying, and I’m waking up to the fact that I’m okay.

It’s strange, and wonderful.

A happy Solstice to you, from all of us at FG HQ… May your new season be similarly filled with hope and joy!

 

Probably less alone than I’ve been in years and years

Oats is out of town, visiting our relatives back in Ontario, and I miss her like crazy. I’m resisting the urge to fill every moment of the next 5 days with social events, even as it’s a little compelling… But I used to spend so much time alone, and I want to remember what it feels like. Though, truthfully Oats and I don’t necessarily socialize with each other every day: We share meals and conversations, sure, but are both pretty focused on our own seperate projects and pass-times. It’s good, I mean. I’d go crazy if I had to always be “on”, and I like that we’re each up in our own heads a lot. Still, it feels lonely, without her here. I’m trying to savour the ache of it.

As I write this, of course, I can hear Sum and the Captain talking quietly upstairs in their apartment, and one of their nutty cats bouncing around. I also just got a text from Jag, who is only across the backyard, telling me that Mo and her spent the afternoon together. So, being “alone” is relative. My partner may not be here, but I’m still surrounded by our chosen family, probably less alone than I’ve been in years and years.

It would have been nice if both of us could have gone to see the folks back east, as we have each of the past two autumns.  However, with me only just a couple months into working at a job that pays a living wage (at last!), our budget’s still hella tight.  When it comes right down to it, my parents are more likely to make the trip out to visit us, than are Oats’, so we’ll probably see them in the next several months anyway.  Besides which, her brother and grandparents couldn’t even make it to our wedding last spring, due to health and finances.  So, it made more sense to send Oats on her own.

While in Ontario, Oats is going to Toronto for a day to see each of my sets of parents.  I suppose this is a normal sort of thing, for a daughter-in-law to visit her in-laws, but IT STILL FEELS SO WEIRD.  Not just cuz of the gay thing, though it is funny to think that its only in recent history that Oats’ relationship to my parents really is the boring ol’legal “in-law” (as opposed to outlaw!), but mostly because she’s literally the only person I’ve dated that my family really likes, and I can’t get over it.

Oh sure, they thought a couple of the others were rather nice, but the rest of them apparently have been remembered quite unfavourably, and overall every one of them was declared unsuitable. Sometimes my parents and sisters would wait until after the relationship ended to give me their evaluation. Or not.  Then they’d just make snide remarks, while it was still ongoing.  Thanks, famille.

To be clear, the gender of my dates never seemed to matter:  Instead, it was always their creativity, their social skills, their literary knowledge, their education, their life goals, their handyness… Or total lack thereof.  Yes, snobs! I am from a family of snobs, every single one of us.  Given her quiet nature and working-class background, Oats is a little taken aback, I think, by how much they all like her.  I kinda am too, though it’s also really lovely.  I try to be grateful, to not take it for granted, you know?  But I am also surprised to have a spouse so heartily claimed by my blood kin.

With the consumerist excitement of Oats splurging on a plane ticket, I confess that I did do a little shopping of my own… A congrats-to-myself-cuz-I’m-employed gift!

Heh heh… Okay, this pic is conjuring up Santa, but ignore that for a second!  Because those are new boots on the right, of the Australian variety!  Note my beloved ancient pair on the left, the ones bought secondhand-but-barely-worn in Australia… And how completely sole-less they’d become in the past year.  So, since they cost me $10 AU, and I now have a decent job, the $200 CAN or so for a new pair seemed not as bad as it did 6 months ago.  Especially since I wear them every day, and they go with everything.  Even red leggings and thick cotton socks, or so I thought when taking photos last week… I may now reconsider this.

seemingly unexciting, but then terrifically beautiful once you really look

I spent most of today, and part of yesterday, on the roof of a small office building in an industrial park outside the city. It was a sometimes interesting, often boring, and generally uncomfortable due to combinations of frost, wind, hail, and rain. The fan unit my crew was rewiring was the first of several we’ll be working on over the next while, and so required much figuring-out. As the person with the lowest-status and least amount of relevant knowledge, I pretty much just hung around and tried to keep warm.

Also, I took photos with my camera phone.

Dawn… Over the ventilation system.

Frost bloomed all over the pebbles and small growing things that cover the roof.

I was wear just a t-shirt under my down vest, and my arm hairs felt like bristles. Especially when the hail began. When the hail turned to rain, I finally gave in, and made the long trip down the ladder to get a hoodie.

This the bottom of a clump of moss, but reminds me so much of a coral.

The occasional white granite shines among the more monotone black and grey rocks.

What is this plant? I don’t know, but it’s trying hard to make it.

Likewise, this little tree: A pic that shows how desolate an ecosystem the roof is.  Exposed to all weather, including constant wind, with no real soil to hold on to.

Taking these photos, I kept thinking about the tundra.  Not that I’ve yet been to the Arctic or the Antarctic, but I’ve read a lot about them and have an idea that there might be a similar type of life there… Hard to see at first, seemingly unexciting, but then terrifically beautiful once you really look.

I’m afraid this little sprout is too tender to last much longer, with the harder and harder frosts we’ve been having each night.  Still, so green!  So hopeful.

I’m still so green and so hopeful too.  Working lots, and feeling very full.  Have little interest in sitting down at the computer when I get home, and am barely checking email.  Sometimes this bothers me, because there was a time when I really depended on all the connections I made over the internet.  I remind myself: Those were those times, and this is now.

Birthday butch, beer, books, berries, bear

It was a certain butch’s birthday this past week, and to celebrate, we went camping at what turned out to be the raddest spot ever.  It was quiet and remote, on a lake with a dock, lots of trees and a woodland trail, plus the bonus of nearby easy-to-hike logging roads into more mountainous territory!  All within a couple hours drive from our house.  Say what you will about the timber industry (and believe me, I’ve said it myself), but at least it makes for some great campsites.

My handsome companion. And her new gun.

What do dykes do in the woods?  Shoot guns, of course!

I preferred to steady my hand using my dear Audubon field guide... And the table.

Actually, there was only one gun:  An air pistol, which Oats bought with her birthday money.  I was pretty surprised, cuz she’s usually rather focused on things like art supplies and nice clothes, but then I quickly got over it… Because it turns out that I myself have an inner sniper.

Yes, we drank beer and then shot up the cans.  Classy!

I also spent many hours swinging in my hammock and reading… Got through 5 books in 4 days, which felt soooooooooooooooo good.  You’d think I’d read more, given that I’m unemployed and all, but I just don’t make the time.

What else did we do?  Oh yes, hiked.

I love a good view.

Even if it comes with sombre reminders of *why* there’s a good view… Hard to imagine how it would have been to walk up this slope before it was clearcut.  Those stumps are massive.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about this land, and how I feel about it, mostly in light of the notion that I’ll be moving to a completely different part of the country this time next year (I hope!).  I read a lot of sci-fi, and it has forever altered my ideas about spatiality and colonization, complicating all my thoughts on “here-ness” in delightfully interesting ways.  I feel like my love for this place is so deep that I can leave and be okay simply knowing that it exists.

A wild larder:  Magic!  Not this fungus, I mean… It’s a lobster mushroom, and very much so edible without causing euphoric insights.  Or at least not yet.  I still haven’t eaten more than a nibble, because I was saving them for tonight’s dinner… I’ll let you know if they get me high.

More magic: Wild fruit!  I picked just over three pounds of thimbleberries (the ones that look like raspberries), tiny native blackberries, salmonberries (the orange ones), red huckleberries (the smooth red ones), and salal berries (the smooth dark purple ones).  Today they are becoming jam, to be sent off to my more eastern relatives as solstice gifts this winter, provided we don’t eat it all first.  I would’ve picked more, but there was much evidence of others wanting the fruit too and sometimes I like to avoid competition.

Yes, that’s shit… Bear shit, to be exact, which is what I’m referring to in my previous sentence, in case it wasn’t obvious.  It wasn’t totally fresh, but new enough to make me give careful consideration of the needs of my wilderness friends.  Three pounds of berries for me seems pretty good.

 

Euphoria and memory loss

Feral sweet peas, growing on the cliffsides next to the beach near my house.

DentalFest 2011 ended a couple days ago with a real bang of a grand finale:  The extraction of an impacted wisdom tooth by an oral surgeon, for which I was put under general anaesthetic.  Awesome!  It only took 20 minutes, and I woke up to find myself  mid-conversation with a lovely assistant type person who removed my IV and nodded sweetly as I prattled on and on about all the reasons why I love my partner.  Said partner was in the waiting room, ready to pick up my prescription and drive me home to bed (and oblivious to the fact that I was waxing poetic about our relationship to a complete stranger…. Awwwww!).

I wasn’t going to take the prescription at first, thinking it’d be for Tylen0l 3, which turns my stomach.  Then Oats told me it was for Perc0set, and I was stoked:  Hurrah for euphoria and memory loss!  That beats the bloated nausea I get from the T3s, hands down.  The pain has been a lot worse with this latest removal compared to my other recent ones, and I’ve been glad for the relief provided by the pills, even if they also make me gap out a lot.  Sadly, I think the drugs can also be blamed for my writing this blog post at 3 a.m… Sometimes, it really zonks me into oblivion, but apparently can also have the opposite effect.

The shitty thing about being awake this late at night is that I’ve actually got to get up early tomorrow, in sharp contrast to my usual unemployed-haus-frau routine:  Some friends are going camping on a small island several hours north of here, and as their route takes them across another small island where my friend O has just bought a place, I’m catching a ride to visit her.  It’s the sort of sudden opportunity that makes me really love my current freedom… I can’t really make too many plans more than a week or two in advance, in case I get a job offer, but I can leap at lucky connections like these.

I asked O if I could bring anything:  I know that she and her partner are in need of a lot of stuff to get their sweet little homestead going, and though I’m not really able to toss a freezer or tractor into my backpack, I figured there oughta be something I could help with.  Surprisingly, their number one request was PROTEIN.  Ha!  Turns out they’ve had a lot of visitors since moving in a couple weeks ago, and have already blown through their month’s food budget.  They’ve got ample fruit and veg coming in, but with no grocery store on the island, meat-type things are a little lacking.

I totally remember this from when I was a kid, living my parents in northern Ontario:  City folks would turn up for multi-day visits completely out of the blue, bringing only a bottle of wine or two, like they would at any urban get together… Not realizing that the closest supermarket was actually a significant drive away, and one could not simply skip down to the corner store for a last minute block of butter.  It used to drive my mom completely bonkers!

With that in mind, I visited the local wholesaler this afternoon and bought a housewarming gift that I hope will do the trick:  A couple dozen Spicy Italian sausages, 4 cans of tuna, 3 blocks of tofu, 2 kg of dried black eyed peas, 350 g of blue cheese, and a pork butt roast (all for $40!   I love the wholesaler).  I’m also going to throw in a batch of yoghourt and bread that I made today.  Hey, I should put it all in a nice basket, add some jars of pickles and jams, and tie it all up with fancy ribbons!  Oh, the excellent ideas I get in the middle of the night… In reality, I’ll be so friggin tired tomorrow morning that I’ll be lucky if I remember it all. Making it look pretty it out of the question.

What else do I have to tell you?  Not much, really… I submitted a resume today to a local company that isn’t union but was advertising their need for electrical apprentices.  I’d prefer to work union, of course, but at this point I just want to log hours.  I also submitted a general application to another provincial utility, one that is much smaller than hydr0 and located mostly in the southern interior of BC.  They didn’t have any current job postings relevant to my work, but do hire electrical apprentices each year, and I figure that it’s good to try to get noticed.  I’m also watching the hydr0 job board like a hawk, ready to pounce on the next chance to apply for the apprenticeship (again).

To be honest, it would be kinda strange, to suddenly get a job somewhere else in the province just as Oats is figuring out her grad school stuff and we’re making plans to move our  little family across the country.  On the other hand, the utility jobs pay so well that it’d be a fantastic way of funding this big life change!  Even if I couldn’t stay in the position, out of desperate desire to be nearer to Oats as she embarks on her studies, it’d be worth it for just a short while.

On that note, I’m going to try out sleeping now, and see if it catches on.  Wish me luck.