.and then everything went quiet for a very long time.

I have no idea where the last 6 months went.

I remember, about three months ago, Grant asked me why I hadn’t blogged recently and I said, “I just haven’t had much to say.  I should get back to it, though.”  And then another three months went by, and no blogging, and now it feels like I’m writing from beneath a whole lot of accumulated dust.  But now I guess I’m back.  (Warning: there may be sneezing.  Bear with me.)

The last 6 months have been eventful, but not in any sort of big, What I Did on My Summer Vacation kind of way.  That is, I’m not sure what to write to catch up.  Mostly I’m kicking myself because I don’t remember much, and if I had been writing it down as I went (the whole POINT of this blog in the first place!) then it would all already be there.  But it isn’t.

Finn and I are great.  She went to Indonesia for 2 months (last long trip for a while, she’s promised) which was… long… but she’s back and things are just really, really good with us.  We didn’t get married in the last 6 months, but we did spend an excessive amount of mental energy negotiating what our ceremony should look like, if any, and what our party should look like, if any.  We even went to therapy for a while, and paid a not-small sum of money to a neutral third party to weigh in.  And we still haven’t got it all figured out.  Mostly we’ve worked out the ceremony and celebration issues, actually – now it’s mostly a matter of timing.  At this point, we’re both so sick of it that we just want to be MARRIED already, but it’s never quite that easy…

(I’m told straight people have more wedding drama than this, even, and I’m beginning to think it’s amazing that anyone, anywhere, ever, gets married.)

Work is good.  Like most jobs, I think, it has its pros and cons.  Pros: job security, good pay, good benefits, flexible schedule, low stress, solid group of friends.  Cons: boring, boring, so so boring, and not the kind of law I really want to be practicing.  It’s the kind of job where the days are long and the weeks fly by.  My work-friends and I have learned to solve this problem with multiple coffee breaks per day, which seems to keep us in good enough spirits that we muddle through.  Despite the cons, I think I’m going to be at this job for a LONG time.  It’s the golden handcuffs problem – how can I leave a steady job that pays well and is low-stress, just because I don’t find it exciting enough?  So here I am.  And I’m grateful for it.

Oh, and did you see what I wrote up there?  Work-friends – I have friends!  Put out into the universe that I needed them, and suddenly Finn and I are surrounded by good people on all sides.  So at least that last blog entry came full circle.

On the other hand, my family is insane.  This was not a good Christmas – the first not-good Christmas I can remember (which I suppose I should also be thankful for).  Lots of fighting.  Some just normal big-family-fighting, some a little more serious.  Nothing to do with me, thank God, but I think it’s only a matter of time before shit hits the fan and things start to get messy around here.  There were definitely some things that happened this Christmas that crossed lines that can’t be uncrossed, and now we’re just kind of waiting for the fallout.  Everyone’s keeping it together for the holiday, but I’m not really looking forward to what the New Year is bringing on this front.  I don’t think it’s going to be good.

Yeah, cryptic.

Okay, so that part of next year might suck, but otherwise I do have really high hopes.  I am in a much better place – emotionally, financially – hell, with my gym membership, even physically – than I was this time last year.  I love my girlfriend, I love my friends, I love where I live.  So, here’s to a really good 2011.  And hopefully, to less radio silence and more blogging…

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Filed under anticipation, eagle death roll, Finn, Grant, love, manythanks, marriage, navel-gazing, new leaf, The Fam

.how do grown ups make friends?.

I just had dinner with an old high school friend of mine.  After all the requisite catching-up (and a few margaritas) we kind of cut to the chase.  She doesn’t have many friends where she is.  I don’t have many friends where I am.

How do grown ups make friends?

Okay, yes, so I know the standard answers: take a class.  Go to a meetup.  Join a [church/club/organization].

But what about those of us who are introverts, and who find the idea of going to a class/meetup/club all by oneself kind of overwhelming and scary?  And really – are there tons of BFFs walking around who met in adult ed classes?  Honestly.

It’s just that in high school, I had a handful of superclosefriends, and a rather large collection of acquaintances.  In college, same.  In law school, I had fewer acquaintances, but a pretty solid core of people I adored.  Thing is, many of them have moved.  So now… I’m kind of running on empty, in the friend department.  I mean, I’m crazy about the ones who are still around in the day-to-day, don’t get me wrong.  (And of course I still dearly love the ones who’ve moved, or are otherwise not a part of my everyday.)  But when I’m feeling lonely or bored or excited or sad or giggly and I need someone to MEET ME FOR DINNER RIGHT NOW… well, there’s a pretty short list of people I can call on for that.  And that kind of sucks.  Sigh.

(Yeah, I know, what happened to that calm contented girl who was blogging yesterday?)

So, alright, there’s a lesson in everything, yes?  I’ve already said that this feels like a more solitary time, a time for recharging, for purging and clearing out and airing and making space.  So maybe the lesson is in embracing that.

Or, of course, the lesson could just as easily be in learning how to fight through the solitude and make friends.  (This is the problem with lessons from the universe.  You never get to see the damn lesson plans.)

Maybe it’s just a lesson in chilling the fuck out and not drinking so many margaritas that I get all schmoopy about not having friends.

I guess that’s good enough, for now.

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Last weekend Olive was ordained in the United Church of Christ.  It was a really moving ceremony and such a good example of the way that people are truly called to things.  I cried like a baby.

My world has felt smaller and more full lately.  I think I’m in a paring-down phase – just give me the windows thrown open and a gentle breeze.  I’ve had the urge to throw lots of things away, just move some stuff out.  I do this every once in a while.  It’s a quiet time, a still time.  But I’m just riding it.  I wonder what I’m making room for.

I haven’t been writing much lately.  Just haven’t felt like it, haven’t felt inspired.  Not blocked, exactly, just – well, it probably goes hand-in-hand with the paring phase.  I’m just setting it down for a while.  Trying not to pressure myself into guilt about it.

I’ve been reading a lot more.  Trying to catch up on my sleep.  Last night we went out for dinner with Finn’s midwifery partner and her husband for their 11th anniversary.  They’re only a few years older than us, but we told them they’re our relationship role models, which is the truth.  They’re so obviously in love and solid and drama-free and they just genuinely enjoy one another.  They’re good people and have a great, close-knit family.  It’s pretty awesome to be around.  We went to a fancy-schmancy steakhouse (yeah, I had the steak) and spent way too much money and had a great time.  Worth it.

I feel really peaceful right now.  We just had brunch at our place with Cali and her lady, and Gem.  I feel so lucky to have friends who come over and bring all this random stuff that they have laying around their kitchens and create these delicious simple meals.  We had blueberry buckwheat waffles, an asparagus and bell pepper frittata, rosemary potatoes, bread, coffee.

Off to play the piano for a while…

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Filed under Cali, Finn, Gem, new leaf, Olive, sunshine, the beauty of the in-between

.i’m okay, you’re okay.

Well, hello.  Long time no see.

About a year ago, I was talking to my mom about what I had been like as a child.  What did she remember about me?  Did she think I was generally a good kid?  Was I tough to parent?  She thought for a few seconds, and then said, “What I remember about you is that you were always much harder on yourself than we ever were on you.  That’s the kind of kid you were – you’d get a B on a test, and when we’d congratulate you, you’d burst into tears because you weren’t satisfied with a B.  With you, it always had to be an A.”

Here’s the thing about having a blog – when I ignore it for a while, I feel guilty.  I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I do.  And then blogging becomes this thing that I should be doing, a chore, instead of something that I do simply because I want to.  This, of course, leads me to… ignore it even more.  All of which is ridiculous, I know, because it’s not like I have all that many readers in the first place, and the ones I have are mostly friends who couldn’t care less whether or not I’m regularly updating my blog.  But it doesn’t matter.  I started this blog to keep a record of what was going on in my life, because I have a terrible memory and I’d like to be able to look back and see what was going on at various times.  So I’m not satisfied unless I’m doing it often, because I set a goal for myself, dammit, and I’d like to see it through.

This tendency to have high expectations for myself isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  For instance, it pushes me to work hard and distinguish myself at work.  It motivates me to write and re-write and revise and write some more, even on days when I don’t feel like writing.  This characteristic is why I get shit done, and I can recognize that that’s a good thing.

The problem is, I’ve been wielding this aspect of my character like a mallet, when it’s really best handled with laser precision.  I’ve been demanding perfection from myself in everything, even things that don’t matter very much (such as, yes, whether or not I post regularly on my blog).  But it’s not just that.  I’ve been beating myself up recently over the fact that I don’t have more hobbies, don’t have more friends, don’t have a cleaner house, don’t have my debt paid down.  That I’m not more successful, more motivated.  That I haven’t published a book or learned Spanish.  That I don’t network.  That I haven’t done, well, anything of note in my life.  That I’m not the best at anything.  That I haven’t distinguished myself at anything that matters.

I took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test a few months ago and came up an INFJ, which could not be more right-on.  (For those of you whose Myers-Briggs-speak is a bit rusty, INFJ stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging).  Here’s a pretty relevant part of the description of your average INFJ: “INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves – there’s always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don’t often take time to revel in their accomplishments.”

Huh.  Y’don’t say.

So.  In light of the guilt, and my recognition that it’s so often unnecessary… I’m going to try something new.  I’m going to try and use my own high expectations for myself like a laser instead of a mallet.  I’m going to give myself the freedom to be imperfect.

I’m going to give myself permission to be tired and overwhelmed sometimes.  I’m going to let myself sleep in on a Saturday without tempering my enjoyment with guilt.  I’m going to cut myself some slack on the hobbies, the friends, the debt – or at least from feeling like I need to address them all at once.  I can try and work on a few things at a time.  Everything does not have to be running at 100% for me to be okay, be accomplished, be a worthwhile human being.

I’m going to try and use my perfectionism to my benefit, instead of letting it guilt me into inaction.  Turn it on a few things that really matter and motivate myself to work hard and well at some things, rather than shining a giant, judgmental spotlight onto my whole life and berating myself for coming up short.

So yeah, I haven’t blogged in a while.  It hasn’t been a priority.  And that’s okay.  I’ll try and write more often, because I really would like to have a record of what I’m doing.  But if I don’t, I don’t.  AND THAT’S OKAY.

So, with the navel-gazing portion of this post over – on to the actual what-when-where that I intended in the first place.

Not that I need an excuse after everything I just said, but part of the reason I haven’t blogged in a while is that things have been so effing busy!  Mostly in a good way.  I’ve been working late basically every night for the last couple of months, banking credit hours which I can then use to take days off when we have guests.  And oh, have we had guests.

First, Finn’s parents came into town for a week at the end of April.  (I had just purchased a new camera, so brace yourselves for an illustrated post.)

We hitched Ophelia onto her leash and let her out onto the porch to play.  Finn’s parents were a bit dubious of her at first, but she really grew on them.

Ophelia, checking out birds in the rafters of our porch

The weather was gorgeous while they were here, so we went on lots of walks.  Before they left we threw them a big party so they could meet some of our friends, including Finn’s midwifery partner, her husband, and their FOUR BOYS under the age of NINE.  (Great, great, wonderful, adorable kids, and absolutely insane.)

View from the porch, where most of the party happened – photo by one of the 4boysunder9, all of whom wanted a turn with the camera

This is the table at the party, loaded down with food.  Please note that when I say we threw a party, I mean that Finn’s dad, who is an AMAZING cook, cooked us a ton of food, which we promptly snarfed.

A few days after her parents left, Finn’s friend Gina and her 2 year old Chester came for the weekend.  I won’t put pics of them up, because that seems weird, but we had a good time.  I re-discovered that toddlers love me.

The weekend after Gina left, Olive came into town for a few days.  She was doing her final pre-ordination meetings and vote before she becomes ordained as a minister in the UCC church.  It all went well, and so she’s getting ordained in 2 weeks! I’m so thrilled for her.

The day after Olive left, Finn’s brother and sister-in-law and our niece came to visit from Hawaii.  They were here for about 7 days, and I was able to use up 3 days worth of the credit hours I’d been saving up at work to hang out and play with them in the middle of the week.  We went on lots of walks, visited the Children’s Museum, went window-shopping on the main street in our lil neighborhood, hung out at the pond near our house, and spent quite a bit of time at the playground down the street.

Learning about tools at the Children’s Museum

Finn’s brother and the kiddo at the pond

This weekend, we have no guests and no responsibilities.  We’re probably going to the beach tomorrow, and then out to dinner with some friends.  Oh, and later this week we’re going to a baseball game, which is pretty rad.

Next weekend I’m off to a funeral for my aunt, who died suddenly and unexpectedly last week.  I’m still not really ready to talk about that.  The weekend after that, Olive is getting ordained, and she and her sig other, KC, are staying with us for the week.  Then the weekend after THAT, my brother and his girlfriend are coming into town for a week.  Annnnnd that gets us til the end of June!  Phew.

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Filed under anticipation, anxiety, crazy cat lady: ur doin it rite, eagle death roll, Finn, love, navel-gazing, new leaf, Olive, pictures, The Fam, type A personality: check, vacation all i ever wanted

.happiness is two kinds of ice cream.

This is me.

Happy.  :)

Work is going well.  Really well, actually.  Chief Judge telling me “You’re already better than half the attorneys on staff and I think you should think seriously about becoming a Judge in a few years” kind of well.

The windows are open, the weather is gorgeous.  I hope it holds.  Finn and I splurged on some patio furniture for our deck, which should be arriving this week or next, and I am pumped.  I have this dream of waking up Saturday mornings, taking my tea onto the deck, and whiling away the day reading.  Also, we’re planning on lots of outdoor dinners, and it’ll be great when we have friends or family over.  We’ve been here for 7 months, but we’re finally getting into gear and making this place feel more like a home.

Finn’s brother and sister-in-law and the baby (who I should probably start referring to as “the toddler,” because (a) she walks and talks and (b) she’s SO TALL for her age) are coming in a few weeks.  I think one of my brothers and his girlfriend and her son (also young-but-not-a-baby) are coming in June.  July is my birthday.  We’ve got a wedding in late July, and another in early August to attend.  (What about our wedding, you ask?  Excellent question; no answers forthcoming.  We’ll get to it eventually, we’re in no rush.)  Anyway, what I mean to say is: there is a lot to look forward to.  Things are good.  I am happy.

Sometimes it’s hard to post when you’re happy – and busy – but I’m still here, alive and well.  Hoping the same for you, wherever you are!

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Filed under Finn, love, manythanks, marriage, new leaf, ohmygod i'm a lawyer, stuff pomegranates like, sunshine, the beauty of the in-between, The Fam

.out of the darkness and into the workforce.

Yup: I am, once again, joining the ranks of the full-time employed!  As those of you who have followed my sad little unemployment saga know, this is a HEE-YUGE relief.  March brings us to Month Seven of my unemployment, and it was beginning to feel like I would never get a job… I was okay at fending off discouragement most days, but I’m not sure how much deeper that well of optimism ran.  Suffice to say, this is awesome timing.

I’ll be working for the federal government, which will be an interesting turn for the girl who has only ever done legal services work.  It being the Fed, I probably won’t give too many details about my job, but I think it’ll be interesting work that keeps me challenged and interested.  (Now if we could just get Congress to overturn DOMA so that when Finn and I get married she could be on my health insurance, that’d be greaaaat.  Obama’s executive order stopped just short of that, and I am not happy.  You hear me, Mr. President?  Not.  Happy. At. All.)

But today is not the day to let discrimination rain on my parade.  I am employed, it is a job I think I’ll enjoy, and I no longer have to live in a state of constant fear that I’m not going to be able to pay my bills.  It’s a good day.

Before I go, I’d like to give a slow-clap shoutout to everyone who helped keep me emotionally afloat the last 6 months.  (In particular, I’m looking at you Finn / Rev – particularly with your well-timed reminder of J.K. Rowling’s discussion of the benefits of failure / Cali / Rala… I don’t know what I would have done without you.)


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Filed under anticipation, Cali, Finn, if you call it "funemployment" i will smack you, manythanks, new leaf, Obama, ohmygod i'm a lawyer, queering the binary, Rala, Rev, righteous rage

.blog something something.

Today was a day full of writing and bopping around to music and making NaniBirds while listening to multiple episodes of This American Life.  Not a bad day.  (And NaniBirds are all kinds of awesome if you happen to have a printer and scissors and a glue stick and you like to do things with your hands while you listen to multiple episodes of This American Life, by the by.  Plus, super cute and/or something for your cats to stalk and nom.  Everyone wins!)

I had some kind of plan for what I was going to say in this blog entry when I started typing that paragraph, but I don’t remember what it was anymore.  This does not bode well for my brain.

No updates on the grandma front, so I’m going to assume that silence following a heartfelt “I love you” continues to mean “I love you.”  That was hands down the strangest email I’ve ever gotten.  At first I was really freaked out, actually – I didn’t know who had been talking to her or what had been said, and although she was clearly coming from a good place, I felt very…  invaded, almost?  It was like there had been this major discussion about my life and my self and my Special Lady Friend and no one told me that they were planning on having it, and no one really warned me that it had happened after the fact.  So there I was, having a lovely day and not thinking about the fact that I’m a big homo, and suddenly I’m reminded that it’s kind of a big deal for my family, and oh, they’ve been discussing it, and OH, by the way, WE TOLD GRANDMA.

So the email was sweet and wonderful, but my reaction was a bit, um, well, a bit like that sound Tim Allen used to make on Home Improvement.  (You know the one.  Kind of a confused “AUUUUUUHHH???”)

Anywho.  Over it now.  I’m just glad she’s speaking to me.

I have all these home improvement / decorating plans that I’m hoping to implement while I’m unemployed – I’ve gotten kind of addicted to fancy & aesthetically-pleasing decorating blogs that make me all lusty for antiques and damask and paint and, I dunno, some design sense.  Or at least enough money to hire a professional decorator.  Which, considering this new fascination with decorating has come about due to unemployment, equals not gonna happen.  But hey, a girl can lust.  I think I’m gonna start with the bathroom, that’s small.  The bathroom, and getting more pictures of our loved ones up around the house. That’s actually my number one goal.

So.  It’s odd, I’ve started volunteering a few times a week at a legal services organization downtown – basically doing the same work I used to get paid for – and while it’s awesome to have clients again, and it’s nice to have a sense of purpose (and a destination in mind when I leave the house) – is it wrong to say that I really feel like it’s cutting into my time?  Ha.  I guess I just got used to waking up and having a lazy breakfast and reading the news and writing for a while and watching some TV and doing some job search stuff and feeling like my whole day was mine.  And yes, the majority of the time my “whole day” is actually incredibly boring, and I would typically give anything to have a place to be and something to do, and I pounce on Finn as soon as she walks in the door because oh my god human contact.  But now that I have somewhere to be, I kind of miss setting my own schedule.

Grass.  Greener.  Check.

I’m rambling and I still have no idea what I set out to say here.

A few more random thoughts, and then we’ll unceremoniously wrap this up:

– I am not really liking Google Buzz.  Also, it pissed me off that they unveiled it without considering the privacy concerns of, y’know, everyone.  (Like, for instance, Harriet over at Fugitivus, who is amazing and brilliant… and has blocked her blog following the outpouring of crazy following an entry titled “Fuck you, Google” where she complained that Buzz had allowed her abusive ex-husband to auto-follow her on Buzz, which also gave him access to her shared items in Google Reader, which had been private and where she had mentioned in the comments things such as her place of work.  It got picked up by the mainstream media and I assume that’s why she’s blocked her blog at the moment.  Anyway.  Not cool, Google.  Seriously very not cool at all.)  But also, privacy issues aside… it just kind of sucks.  It’s harder to read than Twitter and not as varied / interactive as Facebook.

– Our niece has officially outgrown wanting to be our dancing monkey when we Skype.  She wants to play like a regular kid and not sit around talking to her enchanted Aunties.  This makes me very sad.  But!  They’re coming to visit (from Hawaii!!!) in a few months, so that should help make up for it.

– I finally, finally, FINALLY got through this couple hundred words in the book that had been making me want to rip my hair out.  It’s amazing how I can sit down and write 3,000 words in one session sometimes, and other times it takes me 3 weeks to write 200 words.  I need to learn to power through, I suppose.

– I finished Buffy.  It was awesome.  Well, the last season sucked, but everything else was awesome.  (Not everyone will agree with my assessment re Season 7, but trust: plot holes, inconsistent characters, and general craziness.  Do Not Like.  This says it better than I could, in any case.)

Okay, there’s really no good way to end this.  I have to get up and “work” tomorrow, so I should probably head to bed anyway.  G’night moon.  G’night stars.  G’night world.

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Filed under Finn, manythanks, stuff pomegranates like, sunshine, The Fam, WTF