Let’s catch up, and oh, my family

an example of urban art in Toronto

Toronto photo — on Dupont Avenue

So, shall I catch you up? I (we) got married. But that’s not the point of the story.

A few days later, I told my family. And each one I told was amazingly supportive and happy for me. Except for one.

I told her in the new school way: by text.

“Hey J. Hope all is well with you guys. Am texting to let you know we got married.”

Her response?

“I thought you guys broke up.”

“What!?”

“I heard you split up.”

“We didn’t.”

“Oh, ok.  Congrats. Don’t forget to do a prenup. Ya never know.”

“What?!!?”

“Well, there’s the house, insurance, car and dogs and ya just never know, lol.”

My mind was reeling.  Where on earth was this coming from? And who uses lol anymore except people who are waaaay behind on social media language?

Ever since my recent adventures in chemotherapy, my brain requires more time and space to process things that are emotionally confusing or are mathematical. Looking to find solid ground, my mind started formulating some probable hypotheses:

  • she was drunk
  • she didn’t support same-sex marriage and was letting me know it
  • she had suffered a brain injury and I didn’t know about it
  • she was shocked and said whatever came into her head.

I took a breath and decided to NOT respond for a while. This was a sister who wasn’t always accepting or tolerant. I wasn’t going to get anywhere fussing about it. I went to bed.

The alarm went off and I woke up with a nagging feeling in the base of my brain.  Over coffee, I checked my sister’s contact information.

Two numbers — one old, one new. I texted the wrong number. My upset, while emotionally and physiologically real, was constructed by my imagination.

The pit of my stomach held an acidic stew of embarrassment, shame, and “oh-no!-ness” while my head and heart were heavy with disappointment for making assumptions and jumping to conclusions about my sister.

I did the only thing I could do: call my sister at the right number. She laughed at my mistake, offering many congrats on getting married, saying stuff that sisters say when they’re happy that you’re happy.

Next, I texted the person who advised me to get a prenup:

“Sorry, wrong number.”

“I figured.”

“I’ll delete your number from my contact list. Please delete my number.”

“Sure thing.”

I put the phone down and sat with the dogs, explaining to them the dangers of jumping to conclusions and acting from assumptions. Little Gia reminded me that it is a lifelong lesson and that she, with terrier blood, could give classes on the subject.  Piper poodle thought that she could give classes too and because they are the kind of love-hate sisters they argued about it, and I said we could give classes together and things settled as we imagined what the curriculum would look like. The world was back to normal.

Then my brother called.

“Hey there. Guess what?”

What?

“I bought you a wedding gift.”

My brother is generous with his gift-giving, and let me say this about that: sometimes his gift choice is curious, if you catch my meaning.

“You did?”

“Uh-huh.”

I blinked. “That’s very kind of you, P. You didn’t have to do that.”

“I know, but I wanted to. It’s really cool.”

That concerned me. My definition of cool and my brother’s definition of cool are not exactly aligned.

“That’s sweet of you. We weren’t really expecting any gifts.”

“Well, you know I’m a gadget guy, right?

“Right.” Actually, I didn’t know that.

“So i got you a bidet that hooks into the existing waterline.”

Wait a second, Brain, let’s process what Ears just heard: P — my brother — is giving us a bidet. As a wedding gift.

A bidet, as a wedding gift.

I did not know what to say.  Okay, Mind, do NOT go into over-thinking this. Do NOT go into interpretation mode.  And do not go into comedy routine mode either. 

“Oh.” I said.

“I’ll bring it tonight after work.”

“Okay.”

I’d like to say that me and my wife can’t wait, but that wouldn’t be the truth.

 

 

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What now?

courage

What now? Well, I could talk about BC/DC/RFCT, (Before Cancer /During Cancer/Recovering From Cancer Treatment) but I am not ready to do that yet.

So I’ll be my Canadian self for a few minutes and talk about the weather.  And dogs. And mention lesbian because this is a lesbian blog written by a lesbian and the noun lesbian ought to be sprinkled freely throughout.

~~

It’s the morning of a cold-alert day in Toronto. Cold alert or not, the dogs need to go out and it occurs to me (in that anthropomorphic flight of fancy thinking thing that I do) that it’s unlikely the weather gives a hoot that I’m a lesbian. Or the weather gods and goddesses. Or the dogs. I’m certain they don’t care.

They sit on the landing of the stairs and wait somewhat patiently as I get ready to face, in Canadian-weather reality, a fair-to-middling freeze. For a real deep freeze, I’d need to be in the Prairies, or in Nunavut or somewhere well into Northern Ontario.  I am not in any of those places, nevertheless, -20C with 40K wind gusts is freekin’ cold.

I would not go out given the choice, but I don’t have a choice. If you have dogs you know the cliché: no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate dress. Even for lesbians who have dogs. And so I get ready, talking quietly to the dogs. They tilt their heads in unison seeming to understand when I say, “just a few more minutes,” as I pile on the protection: two pairs of thermal leggings, lined winter pants, two wool sweaters — cashmere, of course — scarf, wool hat, a super-warm hooded coat, lined boots, a pair of thin wool gloves that slip easily into fleece-lined wool gloves.

Mindful awareness: the small of my back starts to sweat.

The dogs are standing. They know I’m almost ready for this winter trek. But I need more time to fill my coat pockets with the necessities: specially made bags to pick up after the dogs, my phone, water bottle. I need another hand with all the stuff I have to haul around with me.

We step out onto the porch. The teeny tiny hairs in my nose freeze immediately.  The wind takes my breath away.  We’re tough the three of us.  Well, maybe the old terriermix rescue dog is tough. Poodle regards me in a way that I interpret — then translate into Canadian English — as, “are you nuts?”

Down the steps we go. My extreme cold-weather mantra playing silently in my head. I try to say it silently + loudly to drown out the constant buzz in my head; a maddening side-effect of chemotherapy that is slowly driving me insane. It doesn’t work. But I digress — Focus. Focus on mantra.

  • In-breath: I love my dogs I love my dogs I love my dogs.
  • Hold a moment, and
  • Out-breath: Fuck! It’s cold. OOPS!! I mean, I love my dogs I love my dogs I love my dogs.

Bundled up and walking with two dogs on a Toronto street, no one would be able to tell that I’m a card-carrying lesbian. And it doesn’t matter that they can’t. Not one itsy-bitsy bit. Because right now, I am in my winter armour braving the weather with my head down against the wind as the dogs’ ears flap and flip about with each gust.

It’s a good thing that people can’t tell by looking at me that I’m a lesbian. I fly under the radar. Which is useful, because, well, here’s why: the lesbian plot that I am brewing to take over the world and encourage women to get educated, receive equal pay for equal work, and to dress comfortably with an edge of oh, so cool and amazing (in stark contrast to an enforced 1950s throwback to stereotype, fashion-editorial model style and department store mannequin wear — is on hold. For now. I need more energy.  Or minions.

As we walk, I notice that people are not saying, “oh, there goes that crazy lesbian again.” No, they are not. But I notice that they are thinking.  Wait a sec: they are saying — because in an alternate lesbian universe I have telepathic powers — “those poor dogs! They should be inside.”

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Some things just don’t make sense

Hate will NEver win 2

 

I watched the news.

First the Canadian. Then the American. Then the British.

And I listened hard. Keeping my feet flat on the floor. Remembering to breathe, and, to avoid jumping to conclusions.

But I had a conclusion. It crawled up my spine. It said, “this is shocking. Remember? This is what that awful sinking shock feeling feels like.”

I can hold that conclusion for the rest of my life.

 

 

 

 

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