Postings are in chronological order, with the most recent entry at the top.

Dec. 2001

Hey, Oliver Sacks has a website!

Some people dream of great accomplishments - getting the Nobel Prize, curing cancer, meeting the person they admire most - I'd like to be one of Oliver Sacks' patients. I saw him talk once - he's way geeky and has a throng of women who flock to him who also want to be his patients. Must be a curious following...

I don't know if this posting could be related to the amount of exposure I've had to my family recently...

Nifty transgender radio show that has a website and indexed shows that you can listen in on with Real Player:

When good mice die:

Something my meditation teacher's always on about is impermanence. How nothing lasts and we might as well get used to it or we're going to suffer extra and that doesn't do much of anybody any good.

I think impermanence is difficult for Americans to grapple with. Americans of my generation anyway. Stuff ending just isn't acceptible. That's why we have sequels, that's why we have Classic Coke, that's why we have Dick Clark.

My mother was kind of Zen in her approach to impermanence. Whenever I was having trouble with something she'd pull out her ace in the hole-type saying, "This too shall pass." It's pretty handy as sayings go and got us through my difficult moment that was High School, but it ran out of gas when I came out of the closet. It became my mother's mantra then, but like I said, out of gas. Serves her right for trying to get me through adolescence on a four word phrase.

I know I pick on my mother a lot here in the Seen. She passed away a while back and it seems that my way of handling the loss (that impermanence thing again) is to pick on her relentlessly. She'd be thrilled, I assure you. But she'd also recognize it as a sign of true Brulee affection.

Impermanence is part of life. It's all over the place. We can delude ourselves into believeing that it's not, that forever is possible and then feel the severe blow when that glass house comes tumbling down - or we can accept it and nod sagely when our favorite tv show goes off the air and say, "This too has passed. And hopefully won't suffer the humiliating quasi-death of Gilligan's Island..." Better to accept the reality of impermanence gracefully, no?

So when my mouse died last week (the one attached to my computer, not the one shacking up with the detergent under the kitchen cabinet), I was prepared. They've got a built in model for impermanence in the computer industry - "planned obsolescence"... What I was less prepared for was the effect that mouse had on my system on the way out. There I was, crunching a major deadline and the stuff onscreen started doing this very odd strobe type thing and ceased functioning in any way that might be efficacious in the whole deadline scenario. Fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I had once had a keyboard die on me and the symptoms were vaguely familiar. Too bad this occurred to me after wasting a chunk of time running every test I could think of on the damned thing to figure out what the problem was. And, because computer equipment has given me such stellar opportunities to practice and work with impermanence in the past... I just happened to have another mouse onhand (again, not the one from under the kitchen cabinet - but a spare computer one).

I met the deadline. It was nice as deadlines go, sort of brusque, not very talkative... The new mouse shows great promise, but I'm not getting overly attached or anything. It too shall pass.

'Tiz the season, baby!
To adjust the meds and dodge the rest.
Ume and I wish you all a joyous,
and peaceful holiday season.

If not in mind, then in spirit.

Peace - truly.

Lesbian Bed Death: A Study

This quote is excerpted from the notes of "Sexing the Body" by Anne Fausto-Sterling p. 288 n.122.

"Magee and Mileer 1997, p.19. See also Fuss 1993 and Magid 1993. There is an alternate theory of male homosexuality as hypermasculinity (Senegoopta 1998). According to some, such hypermasculinity explains why gay men in the modern U.S. are so sexually active. By analogy, lesbians may overexpress female sexuality, seen as a lack of sexual desire. This viewpoint has been used to explain so-called lesbian bed death (Symons 1979).

Lesbian bed death? Sounds serious. Probably brought on by an over-indulgence in cuddling and sharing of underwear. Like a creeping, inevitable force (known in places southern as Kudzu) - these things will eek their way into a lesbian relationship. Resist, I say! Hence with your cuddling and socialist underwear sharing tendencies! Keep sex alive!

You'll wake up one morning and see your lover (that's what you called her before the bed death happened and you decided that "partner" had a better ring to it) looking at your dresser with a pensive expression.

"What's wrong?" You'll ask, still groggy with sleep and possibly fatigue because she'd fucked your brains out the night before (back before the bed death happened, you never "made love").

"Well, we forgot to do the laundry last night because you attacked me when I got in from work. And now I'm out of underwear, do you have any?"

You're still groggy and not entirely compus mental because the part of your brain that's functioning is preoccupied with how you're going to limber up enough to get her back into bed and make something of it, so you say, "Dunno, look."

And then she does. She finds a pair. Walks over to the bed and starts talking to you. "So," she says, slipping them on. "What are we going to do today?" (It's Saturday - the lesbian day of sex - what else does she think you're going to do?)

"Dunno," you answer. Wondering that if you tilt your head just so, she may accidentally sit on your face.

"Come on, wake up!" She insists, crawling back into the bed to rouse you.

Before you know it, she's wrapped her arms around you and come in close, so very close. She says, "Someone's awfully sleepy. Did I tire you out, poor thing?" And she tucks your head under her chin and embraces you with her warmth. It's a lovely sensation and your groggy brain is comforted, eased... appeased. And you drift off to sleep.

You wake to a new reality. You're in bed, she's in bed. No one's had sex. She's wearing your underwear. You think, "Shouldn't she have showered before she put those on?"

Presto. Your bed is deader than a doornail. Not a damn thing you can do to revive it. It's got lesbian bed death, baby. Throw that sucker out or you're not getting any for another day in your damn life.

Speaking of bed death, we're lesbians, we ran out of clean clothes - our bed died. We have to get another one. It's an urgent state of affairs... or lack thereof. Heh.

Before I get a bunch of smart-assed condolence notes - I'll just tell you that I was employing my literary license, in a liberal fashion (what else?), to segue into my next startling observation...

Buying a bed is a complex undertaking.

We're buying a new mattress/boxspring type deal.

I hadn't thought it would be complex. It's a bed. You lie on it. What's so complicated?

I'm glad you asked.

I've told you about the massage therapist who tortures me every now and again - well, he's pro bed. Pro - expensive, high-tech, supportive bedding (such things exist, trust me). And he thinks that Ume and I need just such an item. Maybe she's been complaining about the cuddling and underwear to him behind my back, I don't know, but he's been adamant that it's the thing for us to do.

And if I must be truthful... our futon is as dead as a corpse that was shot and dragged after exhumation. What can I say? We were once the kind of people who thought that a real bed was suspect. Of what, I'm not certain... but of something, for sure... like, maybe if we got a whole night's comfortable sleep, we'd wake up as normal as other folk and start liking Anne Heche 'cause she's so spunky and stuff like that. As it turns out, Anne Heche could use a good night's sleep and has probably got a futon of her own she should chuck out.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the bed shop. There are environments that challenge my carefully crafted public persona. The bed shop is an example of such a challenge. We walk in and there are all of these beds (I'd expected that) - and the only way you're going to find out if you like them or not, is to lie on them (I hadn't really thought about that). And the only way you can figure out if they are uncomfortable with another person on them is to have another person on them with you. That means, either asking the friendly bed shop guy to jump in the sac with you, or coming out to the bed shop guy (who just got a whole lot less comfortable while watching you and your partner hit the sac a deux). Well, aren't I a narrow minded, full of assumptions, oppressed minority? Not only was our bed shop tour guide, Stu, a terrifically knowledgeable sleep technician, he was also the kind of people-person who could see, from just looking at me, that I had all kinds of issues about getting comfortable in his bed shop. He was having none of 'em. Queer or no, Stu encouraged us to take off our coats and try every bed until we found one that worked right for "us". No matter how comfortable he thought we should be (comfort is not my middle, next to last or even hyphenated name), it wasn't likely to happen in this lifetime - but I appreciated his efforts on my/our behalf.

I test drove this one model that almost cost what my car does and I'll tell you - that bed would have given our puritanical forefathers a fit. It's a dangerous temptation. How the hell would you get out of a bed that comfortable in the morning? After I'd tried it out, I was standing near it, looking at another, when a guy walked over and I warned him to not lay on it if he didn't want to be dissatisfied for the rest of his life. He glanced at me sideways and with a rebellious glint in his eye, lowered himself onto it. "Oh man!" he said. Then he scooted all of the way back on it and went spread eagle. He started laughing. We discussed the evils of high tech foams and whatnot and how we'd never get a damn 'nother thing done if we bought a bed like that. Meanwhile, Ume was over testing out the cinder-blocks that are more likely to end up under yours truly.

I decided that while I enjoy a pillow top thingy (squishy extra bedding stuff) on a firm mattress, it'd be hell in the summer unless you ran air conditioning all of the time. And besides, sadistic Massage Therapist Guy said that I need a firm mattress and Ume would just have to suffer along with me. We narrowed it down to a few and told Stu we'd come back (when he was working, because he'd darn well earned the commission), with our final decision. It was just too much to do in one go. I mean, there's a lot of pressure involved, it's a five year commitment (minimum) and hopefully ten if all the high tech stuff is doing its job. Which makes me wonder what we'll be doing on that bed in a few years, when say... we've got all our laundry done and we're awake enough to not fall into the cuddling trap.

PS. To the young and unpartnered lesbians who may be unfortunate enough to have nothing better to do than read my bloggage - do not let this story alarm you. You can avoid lesbian bed death without actually purchasing a new bed... if you want to, that is. Lesbian bed death has nothing to do with cuddling and sharing underwear - really. I was exercising that artistic license again (keepin' it in shape). I have nothing better to do with my time, apparently.

I've been surfing up articles and trying to make some sense out of all of the hell that's broken loose around us. I'm consolidating the links I've found onto a separate page...

Click here for info links

On December first I wore sandals - outside. I frolicked and whatnot with toes bared to the breeze. It was unseasonably warm for New England.

On December sixth I pranced about in a t-shirt - outside. Again, it was sunny and could have been early September for all the thermometer cared.

On December eigth I removed five inches of snow from my car.

Today, December 14th, it's 58 degrees.

I went in search of femme sites because I've been seeing a whole lot of butch glorification online and I wanted to make sure there was equal representation. I found several sites and have listed them below.

I don't qualify my sexual orientation further than cranky. I'm a cranky dyke. Though some days I'm more of a persnickity dyke.

Many people assume that I'm femme because I've got long hair - then they see Ume and they know I'm femme because she's got short hair. Bunch of Sherlock Holmeses out there, I'm tellin' ya. Introduce the public to a little lesbian culture and they think they've got it down pat. There are some way cool femmes out there, no question (Dorothy Allison is femme, or so she wrote in one of her books once). If people assume I'm femme, I'm not going to run myself ragged trying to disabuse them of the notion. I am irked, however, that many people assume that butch and femme are our only options.

I was once at a rather proper meal type affair (a rare occurrence, I assure you) and the slightly inebriated and aged gentleman next to me, who thought I was the most engaging young lesbian he'd ever met (I was probably the only out young lesbian he'd ever met), asked me (after shying away from the question once) who, in our relationship (Ume's and mine), was the man? I blinked - not willing to accept fully the nature of the question I'd been asked.

I find myself in these situations sometimes. I used to get into them more often than not because I was easily bored by small talk, and often encouraged topics less... dull? This topic wasn't what I'd had in mind when I'd answered one of his proper and vague inquiries into the lifestyle sapphicus more bluntly than he'd expected. To men, blunt leads to frank, which is sometimes construed as candid, which, apparently, is an open invitation to discuss my sex life.

After giving a brief explanation as to why I thought he'd asked that particular question - roles in culture, blah, blah, blah (stall, stall, stall), I finally answered, "Some nights she takes out the trash, sometimes I do." It wasn't pithy. It wasn't meant as a euphemism (though he may have taken it as one). I'd decided to go the high road and pretend I had no idea what he was talking about. He pondered my response, then chuckled, "Well, sometimes Mrs. X takes out the trash too." I was lost at that point because I suspected that neither he, nor Mrs. X, had emptied a trash receptical for themselves in years. And if he was speaking euphemistically, I didn't want to deal with the imagery involved.

We ended our chat with him telling me that I was so very delightful. Then with a somewhat sad, somewhat confounded expression he said, "Now, I have a nephew I'd just love to introduce you to." He'd rated some evolution points up 'til then, but he lost a bunch of them right there. Not for the sentiment expressed, we were surely great pals by then, it was a little truth between comrades... he lost the points, because my beloved was sitting next to me. "Hello! Object of my desire - right here in room! Has heart! Has feelings!" So I told him that I knew a young man that I'd love to introduce to his nephew. Again, he pondered my response (we'd had a bit of the grape by then) and laughed. He got it. He was trying, making a valiant effort - so he was okay in my book. I just hope his wife never figures out what we were talking about, because I bet she'd skin him alive. Proper lady, very proper lady.

Anyway, I was lookin' up the femme sites and having a good time. I ran across some stuff about femmes being all manner of superior and whatnot. Being told that women who wear makeup are inherently superior is... odd. And hardly revolutionary gender theory.

As long as people don't try to tell me how to be queer, I won't lecture them on Bolivian export statistics. It's a free love kinda deal (snort). I'm going to muddle on being a curmudgeonly dyke, a laconic lesbian, a sophomoric sapphic, and whatever else I feel like. And somehow, I'll deal with the weight of society's disapproval of all that is... Brulee.

PS. After asking me how I get myself into these conversations, Ume wanted to know why I hadn't told the guy that neither of us were the man and if we wanted a man in our relationship, we'd have one? Next time, I'll politely tap her on the shoulder and let her answer the question.

Femme culture links:

Aristasia, the Feminine Nation:

Or this page that resides within the Aristasia site:

This page was rather bold in it's femininity:

Favorite quote - spoken by my neighbor to his wife:

"Don't act like a tough girl now that you're not on probation."

Hey! I've got my own Chinese Band-Aid! It's a long story the upshot of which is that I smell like a Chinese apothecary. Or one of those very earthy cups of tea. The stuff people accuse me of drinking (twig tea is really good, I swear).

I know, I know, you're wondering what I'm on about now. I haven't the foggiest idea. The guy who massages the finely tuned catastrophe that is my body slapped this sticky thing on there and said to leave it for a couple of days. He does massage for a friend of mine and I know he'd put one on her. He said I that I too could have a "Chinese Band-Aid". As if giving it a name that would familiarize it - make it less "foreign" - would distract me from the fact I smell like something I'd likely not choose to smell like, if say, I had a nose attached to my face.

I'm relatively sure that physical time speeds up around the holidays (so there's hardly time to get things done and breathe), while emotional time barely creeps by (so there's plenty of time to hash over crud you'd usually be to preoccupied to think about when you're so busy...). I call it the Merry Paradox.

Ume's birthday. Much enjoyed.

We did the super geek thing. Birds and bookstores. And cake. Lots of cake. Nothing like this cake - white, a thin layer of custard inside with fruit slices, whipped cream frosting and lightly toasted coconut slices around the outside. We did okay. She was pleased. Except for the fact that she'd come down with a cold that gave way to a nasty virus. That, she could have done without. She's fine now. Chipper and all that. Musing on aging and all of that.

Déjà vu - Nov. - Oct. - Sept. - August - July - June - Misadventures- April

Compassion Fatigue Entries - 2001

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