Monthly Archives: January 2015

Peanut-butter Whiskers

It was a beautiful day and we decided it was the perfect sunshine day to expose Marbles to the busy sights and sounds of Waterfront Park. He had his second round of puppy shots yesterday and as long as we kept him from eating poo our vet assured us that the mostly concrete Waterfront park would be a great place to expand his experiences. We thought it would also be a great way to get him good and tired before his Wonder Puppy little tikes WoGo play group.

Taken right from the Wonder Puppy website: WoGo classes combine controlled playtime with relaxation and essential socialization exercises. There is an emphasis on parent education that teaches you how to read body language and what to do if your puppy becomes nervous or overly-excited in situations. First-time attendees receive a free socialization assessment and will be given a copy to take home.

Marbles was fast asleep in his back seat puppy haven of the car when we arrived, but he perked right up once we got inside. He played with all four paws on the floor except when he didn’t and then we redirected him. He did well when we rounded him up, which is what they say when ending a play time, so the puppy’s energy is regulated and doesn’t get too amped up.

Once the hour play/training session was over we gave Marbles a peanut-butter bone we prepared in advance to keep his attention directed away from the other puppies so he could calm down. He laid on the floor with hyper focus on that peanut-butter. When we were dismissed he stood up and headed for the door. As we were walking outside I noticed he had evidence of that yummy treat all over his face. It was the cutest thing. I said, “Ok, peanut-butter whiskers let’s get in the car”. It was a great day.

20150125-192115-69675676.jpg

Twisted Knickers

Sometimes when I read a general post on FB that feels insensitive to me personally, I do my very best to ignore it. Simply for the fact that I am vey selfish about the way that I feel. I am NOT willing to sacrifice my feelings of well being long enough to write an opposing comment. I’m not going to do that.

FB is a huge public forum and everyone is allowed to post their own thoughts and feelings or repost thoughts and feelings of others in which they identify. Not everyone feels the same way about everything. I know! Don’t freak out, but it’s true.

My advice, don’t take shit so seriously. It’s not a personal attack, so don’t get your knickers in a twist. Unless, of course, you are being personally attacked. In that case, just remember, opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one, and get on with your day.

Puppy Parenting 101

Welcome to puppy patenting! Where the nights are short and the days are long. The food is over cooked and often a little bit cold.

Puppy parenting, where your Friday night date is a Wonder Puppy play date and your pockets are littered with stinky puppy treat crumbs.

Puppy parenting, where the main topic of conversation is the color, consistency and frequency of his poop.

Welcome to puppy parenting, where you get stopped every 3 -5 feet on a walk because he is so unbelievably adorable and where you discover it’s all worth it because of the unconditional love you’ll receive every single day for the rest of his life.

20150125-194300-70980349.jpg

Hoping for a Break Through Today

Have you ever noticed that sometimes when someone very close to you, who undoubtedly loves you very much is giving you advice, somehow, it’s often overlooked. It’s like you can hear them talking, and you’re shaking your head yes, as if you are agreeing, but you’re not really listening. It’s not intentional really, because you do really want resolution. But it’s just not sinking in. I’m not sure why this happens, but what I do know is that it’s true.

I know it’s true because I have observed it in my own life with my wife and my son. Even in myself! I’ve been frustrated in the past with something and was trying to work it out. Talking over the details with Keri and she, of course, overs solutions, but for some reason I remained in that stuck place.

Then, I’d hear someone else say just about the same thing and all of a sudden it just clicked. It may be the exact same thing that Keri had been saying, but just a slightly different inflection on a certain word or slight rephrasing by some one else, turns that stuck place into an “A-HA! moment”.

Usually what happens next is I come home all happy to report my new found clarity and I’m just chatting away about how it occurred and she’ll say, “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you”. It’s happened to both of us and it’s happened with Garrison too. I am just so glad that we’re able to be happy for each other once clarity arrives and we don’t get wrapped up in our egos.

I really don’t care how you get to a clear, true, knowing moment in your life. I’m simply pleased for the clarity. The truth is we’re all connected and contributing members of each others lives. Perhaps hearing the same advice from a loved one over and over is preparing us for actually hearing it from someone else. There is the fact that it takes multiple times of hearing something before it sinks in.

Why am I writing about this today? Well, to be honest, it’s because my hope and my desire is that today just might be the day that someone is reading this and is actually hearing something slightly different than they’ve been hearing it in the past. Perhaps today is the day that something clicks.

So here ya’ go. The connection that you’ve been looking for is not in a whiskey bottle or a personal ad. The connection you seek is not in that all elusive relationship you’ve been so tirelessly chasing. The connection you’re after is much closer than you might think and as long as you continue to look outside yourself, you’ll continue to find yourself coming up empty handed.

Sure alcohol, sex, a relationship and many other things can distract you from the feeling of being disconnected, but when the bottle is empty, your lover is gone and your relationship ends that feeling of disconnection will still be sitting there, right in the middle of your heart waiting for you. Yes, waiting for you to wake up and realize the connection you are looking for is not somewhere outside of you, but right there within yourself.

All distraction methods are actually working against you and keeping you distracted from getting to know the real you. It’s a grim depiction, I understand, but it’s the truth about how it feels to be disconnected. Yes, distraction methods are easier because they help to disassociate from pain and feelings of loneliness, but they will never provide the satisfaction you will find in facing those tough feelings and working through to a place of healing and self love.

You are worthy of the time and effort it takes to feel the satisfaction of self love and self acceptance.

Stress! Who Wants It???

What an amazing realization!!! It feels so amazing to learn and grow!!! Do you know that stress can be a VERY good thing? Yes!!! It can. Check it out,…

You’re be-bopping along through your day and all of a sudden you find yourself in a situation that makes you feel anxious because you feel you are unequipped to handle that situation. You feel the tension in your shoulders, you can feel things going on in your body stirring and prepping you to get the hell out!!! But wait!!!

You stop for a minute and take a deep breath, say to yourself, “This situation is uncomfortable for me. Why? because I don’t know how to handle it”. What does that really mean? Does it mean you truly are inept?

No! It doesn’t,… unless you believe that you are in fact inept. However, if you believe that you can learn and grow this stress feeling is a signal to you that you are currently in an amazing position of opportunity.

Amazing opportunity? Are you crazy? Who really feels like a stressful situation is an amazing opportunity. Uhhh,… ME!!! That’s who.

When you feel stress you have an opportunity to turn tail and run the other direction OR you can take that stress and allow it to fuel your desire to grow and change. You can overcome that particular stress by learning new skills.

When you learn new skills and overcome stressful situations you become more confident, you feel more freedom. The feeling of freedom allows you to follow your dreams, live your passion and inspire others.

Department Heads Agree

Life is like a raft. If you intend to get anywhere you need a certain amount of balance.

My raft is a shared raft and is usually pretty balanced. Keri and I have agreements that keep us balanced for the most part. I’ll oar and she will rest and vice versa or we’ll oar together if we want to get somewhere quicker.

We’ve been at this shared raft business for awhile now and we pretty much know what to expect from each other. We hit some rapids every now and then, but we’ve managed to stay afloat and continue to oar in the same direction. It’s true that we’ve made a few course corrections along the way, but being flexible is a big part of the balance.

We know that Keri is the head of the research department and I am the head of the experiment department. It’s good that we know these things about each other because it helps us to understand how and why the other one operates the way that they do.

Recently, as you probably know, we brought aboard a new member of our shared raft. This adorable little fur ball, named Marbles, has disrupted our balance just a bit. We are acclimating rather well, all three of us.

However, the sleep deprivation has added an extra challenge. Lack of sleep causes the experiment department to be less receptive to guidance from the research department. Luckily, these two departments have worked well with each other for quite some time and are aware of what’s intended.

Both departments have agreed to be more sensitive and more receptive. Research shows that well planned experiments generally end with positive results. We intend for our shared raft to continue on the course we have set out without too much detour given the added adorable member.

20150119-160557-57957924.jpg

Turns Out, Misunderstood is Not So Bad

Do you know that song, Leader of the Band, by Dan Fogelberg? I love that song. It always reminds me of a time when I was younger. I was in middle school and my favorite teacher was, Mrs. Kellert. She taught one of my all time favorite classes. Any guesses as to what that class might have been? I heard some guesses. Yes, I did really enjoy my art classes, but that’s not the one I’m thinking. Oh, yes, I loved P.E. too, but ,Leader of the Band, reminds me of my creative writing class.

One of the reasons I loved that class was because some of our homework was to keep a journal, which by the way I was already doing on my own. I also really loved it because Mrs. Kellert would often write back in the journal. It was like having a journal that gave advise on all the things I wrote about. I loved it!! It felt like Mrs. Kellert and I were connected and that she understood me. I felt special in her class.

Another reason I loved that class so much was because it was a class that was easy for me. Most of the classes at that time in my life, I was pulling a C or a D, even a F in some classes. So, to have a class I enjoyed AND was making an A in was all good.

Until one assignment came along. I don’t even remember what the objective of the assignment was, but we were to choose a song and write about it. I picked Leader of the Band. I wrote out what I thought Mrs. Kellert wanted and I felt like I had an ace in the bag.

With a great big smile on my face I reached out to receive my homework paper back and to my surprise I did not ace that homework assignment. A little red frowny face was drawn on my homework with a little red “F” and the comment that haunts my brain to this day, “I don’t think you understood the assignment”.

Oh man! I was crushed. I thought she understood me. I thought we were connected. I thought I understood the assignment perfectly. This “F” clearly indicated on this particular assignment, that was not the case. I was truly bummed out.

I must have gotten over it, because I remember being in contact with Mrs. Kellert even after high school. I don’t remember what my final grade was in that class, but I do remember how Mrs. Kellert made me feel special.

It just goes to show that saying is true, People may not remember what you do, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Thank you, Mrs. Kellert, where ever you are. You’d be proud, I’m still writing.

20150119-164819-60499916.jpg

Mind Yo’ Damn Business!!!

Why is the traffic backed up for miles? Oh, I see. There’s a police car with it’s lights on and someone has been pulled over. I really do not understand why everyone has to slow down and rubber neck this situation.

Maybe it’s a matter of principal for me, but I purposely keep my eyes focused forward when passing police activity on the highway. I can’t do anything about what other people choose to do, but I have modicum of decorum in this particular area.

Eyes on the road! Let’s get this traffic moving.

20150119-170117-61277671.jpg

Oh, Please Don’t Ask Me What I Think You’re Going to Ask

There are times in life when you are faced with a situation that creates a reaction in you similar to that of a puppy hearing a strange new noise for the first time, such as a train whistle. You stop in your tracks and pause. Tilting your head one way and then the next, as if a different position of your head could ACTUALLY create a different perspective. Sometimes, you can glean a bit of clarity in that pause and other times you just can’t quite make sense of it, so you just have to laugh.

One situation in which I was able create a bit of clarity involved my dad many years ago. I was probably about 26 years old and had recently called my dad to talk about my relationship with Keri and being gay.

Actually, to be clear, I think in this particular situation my dad was the puppy,… well at first anyway. We chatted for a bit and the conversation veered in another direction and then all of a sudden he says, “Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure Dad. What is it?”

“Which one of you is the boy?” Here’s where I turn into the puppy, tilting my head one way and then the next, kinda dumbfounded, “Huh? Wha’? Which one of us is the boy? We’re both girls Dad. That’s what makes us gay”.

He began to clarify, “No, I mean,…”. I squinted my eyes closed tight in hopes he wasn’t about to ask something I didn’t really want to answer, “which one of you,… well, I mean which one of you changes the oil?” Whew!!! With a sigh of relief and a smile on my face I replied, “Neither one of us changes the oil. We take our cars to a mechanic.”

“Well, which one of you does the laundry?”

“We do the laundry together.” Well, we did back then because we went to the laundry mat. Honestly, Keri does most of the laundry. I do help, sometimes. I put my dirty clothes in the hamper, most of the time (embarrassed grin) and I fold.

My dad says, “You know what I mean” and in an effort to dissolve a bit of his preconceived notions about gay people and get him talking about what he believed, I replied, “No, Dad. I don’t know what you mean.” I still don’t know if he had a more specific question that we never covered and honestly I am glad the conversation never took “that” turn.

We continued our conversation in a very civil manner and he did reveal to me that he was grateful. When I asked why, he said, “If God wants me to have a child that’s gay, I can accept that, but I have to be honest. I am grateful that the child he chose was my daughter and not my son.”

Reflecting on that comment now, it seems sexist, but at the time it felt like an honest admission of a loving father who knew his perspective was in need of some broadening. In my entire relationship with my Dad, this conversation included, I never once felt an ounce of judgement or disappointment from him in me as a person. For that, I am grateful.

Our relationship was far from perfect, but I always knew without a doubt that he loved me just as I am. He was a very sweet man. He cried, tears of joy, every single time he told me about the day I was born.

20150119-162943-59383808.jpg

And the Twirling Stops

Well, I gave it my best shot. I tried for 18 months to let my hair grow long. It was frustrating as hell, and not just for me. Ask my wife. It did get pretty long, well pretty long for me. It was taking too much time and energy to style it in the morning and maintain all day. I just got tired of messing with it.

I tried cutting just a couple inches off the back to see if being off my neck would help and it did. A little bit, but it not nearly enough. It was just long enough to blow in my face and not long enough to pull back. Getting the puppy was the clincher. Up in the middle of the night for potty breaks, with no glasses in the dark and the wind was blowing my hair all in my face. I couldn’t see if he pooped or not. Did he step in it? Where is it??? OMG, THIS HAIR!!!! The sleep depravation did not help.

THAT’S IT!!!

Life is too short to be this pissed off at my stupid hair! Whew!!! Now,… my hair is too short to be pissed off at all. So nice. So easy. Big huge sigh of relief. I feel like me again.

I am really glad I went through the process of growing out my hair because when I decided to embark on that journey, I thought longer hair would help me feel more girlie. It did in fact take me to a more girlie feeling place in my life.

I felt more expressive, more animated and a little more flirty. It was as if the longer hair and all the business of having longer hair tapped me into a part of myself that had been laying dormant somewhere inside me.

The head flips to get hair out of my face, arms in the air messing with my hair, whether drying, brushing, adding product or twirling. OH MY GOD the twirling!!! Purchasing all those barrettes, pins and scarves were all part of a magical set of keys that unlocked the girlie side of me.

A funny thing I’ve realized through this process is, the way I FELT before with short hair and dressing androgynously didn’t really match at all how I was perceived. Since I’ve been dipping my toe in the “GIRL WATER” and have been vocal about my process, I have heard from numerous people that they never thought or perceived me as a butch person. I’ve been told I couldn’t be butch if I tried.

Since I’ve cut my hair, I’ve had soooo many people tell me that short hair really suits me. Which suits me just fine because it’s far less burdensome for me. I feel free. I feel like the pretty little butterfly that I am. Looking back on the process, growing out my hair felt like I was incasing myself in a long haired cocoon. I swear it was because of all that damned twirling and cutting my hair short feels like I’ve broken free. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, You can’t tether a butterfly. 🙂

The cool part is I don’t feel they way I used to feel with my hair short again. I still feel expressive, animated and flirty. I feel a confidence within myself that I didn’t feel before. So, it seems to me, the confidence was not in the longer hair it was in me, deep within me. I just had to dig it up and now that I’ve got all that extra time in the morning I can start playing with make-up. YAY!!!

I’m sure Keri is very excited.

20150118-175211-64331448.jpg