Monday, June 29, 2009

Culmination or Gay Themed Week in Review

The week began with a trip to Chinatown, where I met up with some lesbian adventurers to partake of a Chinese dim sum brunch. It was my first foray into the land of dim sum and I found it to be both adventuresome and fun, much like the company.

After work on Tuesday I trekked to the north end of town to attend an open mic hosted by a local bookstore. The event, booked as an annual pride celebration featured some GLBTQ authors. A few of the dim sum adventurers were in attendance as were some others from the group that I had yet to meet.

Among the notable lines were, all I want for breakfast is coffee and sex, coffee and sex, coffee and sex and Do I touch her deeper than the surface of her pleasure?* We heard one author pondering what she'd do if she had a Harley and yet another read from his book detailing his stripper days . Needless to say it was both adventuresome and fun, much like the company.

Chicago's 40th Annual Pride parade was held this past Sunday. Yours truly was one of the tens of thousands in attendance. I was to meet with one of the women from the group (we'd arranged the get together following the reading, while schmoozing and noshing on pita chips, hummus, grape leaves and wine) who has attended the last several years, securing the 'perfect' parade viewing spot. There was also talk of a trip to the beach.

As it happens I didn't meet up with my new friend J until after the parade, but never fear. I was in the company of some fabulous folks who shared Bloody Marys, vodka and cranberry concoctions, and more. We danced, laughed, competed for beads and other parade 'swag' and had a party hearty good time.

I met J after the parade. We walked about the neighborhood still buzzing with energetic gay pride-filled folks. After a bit of dinner and a little more walking to further soak in the ambiance we parted ways, both looking forward to the next opportunity to meet.

Though I never made it to the beach, the parade and all related experiences capped a week of amazingly true adventures of this nearly 49 year-old, rather newbie lesbian.
*oddly enough there was no microphone at the open mic, so I didn't hear all the introductions, otherwise I certainly would credit the two authors referenced here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Night, Day and Night Again

Last night we suffered our first power outage of the summer season. Earlier in the day a storm had torn through town, ripping up trees and though I hadn't heard specifically, I presume some lines were downed in the process.

I suspect that the various crews cleaning up the aftermath of the summer storm factored in the big boom and then...pfft. No electricity. No lights. No computer. No TV. It was still light when the power failed, so I decided to go for a bike ride. One to exert some energy and two, to survey the extent of the outage, if I could.

The ride around town and into a neighboring village revealed that though sporadic, the outage was extensive. Several blocks in one direction dark while the next several not, then dark and then, not. The last leg of ride home was in total darkness, street lights out and only businesses with alternative sources of power (McD's) operating. Our building was dark, save the emergency lights. Once back inside I find Danielle gone. She does not do well without her creature comforts, I'm with Blythe, they have electricity, I'm charging my phone so went a subsequent conversation.

So, I'm alone with the D dog and "the boys." The boys, as you might imagine took to being in near total darkness in stride. I think Buttah was more bothered by the heat than the dark. I found out on the ride that temps were still in the upper 80's range. D dog was particularly skittish. Barking at every sound and finding it hard to settle down. She tended to stay even closer.

I settled in for a long night, the power company estimated restoration of power around 2 AM. Gathering my power outage survival kit, tuning the radio to a local classical music station, enjoying a couple (or more) of cold ones and later engaging in a little inebriated, power outage texting and LOLing with a friend.

Today has been a typical summer day. Sunny, temps in the upper 80's with a heat index making it feel like 90 or more. Thunder and severe storm warnings have been issued for some areas of the state as have flood warnings (there has been a hella rain round these parts). It is my hope the fixes hold and we don't lose power again. If we do, I have fresh(er) batteries and more...provisions.

And oh, by the way, the power was restored at three this morning and for the record I don't have A/C. Danielle has a window unit in her bedroom, but I make do with a box and ceiling fans. And going without a shirt.

Hot fun in the summertime.

Monday, June 22, 2009

June. Pride.

Three years ago this month I told the blog community that I was a Lesbian. I'm happy and quite proud of that fact. I. Am. A. Lesbian. That said, this June...this month of P R I D E, only a few days away from Chicago's celebratory festival and parade, hasn't been the UP-filled time I was hoping for.

A year ago, June Neta was arriving and then she was here. We attended the parade (my first ever) and had a glorious time before, during, and well after. We visited the next few days, dropping in on the Taste of Chicago, nearly melting in the sweltering heat, but cooling with a delectable Rainbow cone. She was in my town, in my condo, in my arms. Last year when she departed, I fully expected we'd repeat all of that, and then some this year.

But here we are this year, no longer a couple, no plans to visit. No, . . . just, no.

Anyhoo, I didn't expect to be lulled so completely and utterly into the splendor of love. But, because I was and my focus was on building and nurturing that love, I didn't have much of a chance to explore much beyond that long-distance relationship. Now with that gone, I'm back where I was three years ago June.

Well, not exactly. The time and experience have had an affect.

Still, I consider myself newbie with a community to explore, experiences to . . . experience.

Toward that end I have became a joiner this year. In addition to the walking group, which is not (much) of a social vehicle, I joined Thrifty Queer Adventurers, and Lesbians in Movieland, just to name two. There are other groups (and invites to others still) revolved around my various interests. Some are more active than others. Some offer events that are more to my liking than the others. All offer an opportunity to get out and explore, and to not be solo while doing so.

I will also continue to attend the monthly Woman Like Me meetings whenever I can, because they help me and I think might offer an opportunity for me to help someone else.

So, this June, though there is a a tremendous void in my life, around my heart, I'm out there, exploring and experiencing...the city, the gay and lesbian community, and more of myself. No, I am not as UP this June, but I'm more OUT.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Progress? Why Yes, Some

What with all the walking talk I thought I'd let you in on where all the walking has and will continue to lead this determined Deborah.

You know about the quest. As you'll recall and as declared to my co-piggies my goal was to lose 40 pounds by July 6th. Like I said over there* a little bit ago, I won't make it, not by July 6th anyway. The last update has me at a total loss of 21 pounds. There was another one gone at the beginning of this week, which means 18 to go by July 6th. No, I won't make it, but that will not deter me.

I set the bar particularly high because I needed the motivation. I joined the groups because I needed the motivation.

I'll admit here and now that I haven't done much more than much more walking. I toyed with dancing to dvds, and various other work out regimes not the least of which was riding my bicycle across a few towns. But weather, a downstairs neighbor, more work responsibilities, mood swings, and other factors kept me from being consistent in anything but the walking.

As a result of the relative in-activity I didn't lost loads of poundage over the course of any of the given, recent weeks. But that does not deter me. I will not be deterred. For as I said, not only do I intend to lose the forty, but I intend to lose more. More than that though, I intend to maintain a healthful life that will lead to maintaining the weight that is my goal.

And if I can take the words from my own mouth fingers: I’ve learned some things along this journey. I’ve learned that I can’t lose without moving. I’ve learned that I can’t lose unless a move much. I’ve learned that the rah-rahs, atta girls, and positive reinforcements are important to and for me. I’ve learned that I can. I’ve grown to learn that I will.

One of my iGoogle home-page gadgets is a to-do list. The first and only item on the list is: get off your ass.

So there.

*you'll note that over there, I said July 1st, should be the 6th.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Walking, Too

Most of us figure out how to do it within the first couple of years of our existence. As we grow out of infancy, we begin to become aware of our extremities and start testing. We grasp with our pudgy fingers, using our rubbery arms to pull ourselves up on wobbly legs to a very shaky stance.

Then it happens. We toddle. A process that includes more falling than anything resembling walking.

Eventually, we grow more confident, stronger and before we know it we’re walking, running, and heck, some of us are even jumping.

I don’t know about you but I never gave much thought to the process of walking. It was just something you did. It wasn’t like learning how to ride a bike, or even learning how to roller skate. With those activities there were instructions, rules even, to follow.

About the only things I ever heard about walking was, “walk, don’t run!” or “be careful where you walk” or even, "walk this way" which, I guess can be construed as instruction.

Over time we each develop our own walking form. This form is predicated on many factors. But, still, I don’t think there is much thought about the process, except of course for those folks walking competitively or those folks who learn to walk for fitness. There are rules of form related to such walking.

My concerted efforts to walk faster have resulted in me paying much more attention to form. I’ve discovered that to walk faster I must breathe differently. I’ve had to alter my gait. Not to mention adjust my posture and surprise, surprise lift my feet. In fact, my entire leg (well both of them) is fully engaged. Actually, this walking exercise is a full body experience.

Imagine that.

Anyhoo, I am so into the process now that I’m inclined to believe that the occasional trip on a sidewalk that inexplicably rises up to meet me is just me feeling nostalgic for the good old days, like March 3, 2009.

Stepping off.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Since joining the walking group, I’ve come to discover that what I was doing prior to joining the walking group was not walking. Not walking in the least.

One might have described what I was doing as strolling, or sauntering.

At some points I may have even appeared to be rambling.

But, walking? No, I certainly wasn’t walking, at least as compared to the group.

I may as well have been crawling.

Just let me say that the pace was a tad quick. And me? I’m a tad slow. In fact, I’m more than a tad slow. I am v-e-r-y slow. My nickname was “Christmas” for a time growing up, because it took me so long to finish, move. I was deliberate, is all.

I was going to have to step up my game if I had any hope of surviving staying even with this group. I mean, a woman several inches shorter, walking on the backs of her shoes due to blisters on her feet, was walking faster than me and not even breathing as hard.

How these folks can walk and talk still bugs boggles me.

Never-the-less, after some several very many outings with the group, I’m keeping relative pace. My breathing at the end of the trial and tribulation walk is not as labored these days as in the beginning.

Maybe a few more outings I will be able to talk while I walk.

Then again, maybe I’ll just focus on the walking. The quick pace further fuels the klutz factor. I haven’t tripped (too much) yet, but it’s only a matter of time, maybe.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

These Dreams

Easing into my Sunday morning while sipping java, reading blogs, news, and responding to emails from my pal, I was listening to my streaming customized Sunday morning mix. Most of the tunes were familiar, if not lyrically certainly harmonically. Tunes lending themselves to humming.

Quiet time.

Suddenly, I heard something that just seared through me.

I'd heard it before, I must have because I'd given it a thumbs up. But, I don't know that I'd heard it before Sunday.

. . . and since Sunday morning, I can't stop dreaming.

Once we were lovers

One night there were several dreams. Snippets, not very lucid. Not at all linear.

What came between us?

One night there were Planes. Trains. Automobiles. And ships? Seriously?

and sometimes at night I think I hear you calling me name

She was there. But, so too were a few of my female friends. Sometimes we were all talking, laughing. Other times we were . . . well, not. Not like an orgy. Each separate. Distinct. An event. We were always caught. We were always chagrined. We always cried and then we had wine.

Clearly, I'm lonely. But, it isn't present daily. I'm sad, but that too is fleeting. Most days I'm ok and parts of some days, I'm happy, cheerful, even. Still, I am missing. You know, the fall out of a loverly pairing is . . . well, there are songs that say it well.

For now,

. . .these dreams, they keep me going these days.

Jim Croce, These Dreams

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A Family Affair

Our biggest battles as kids were about going outside to play. Mother didn’t want us outside when she wasn’t home and Father (while he was around) didn’t want us outside (ever) I don’t think. He seemed to relish in dashing our hopes and dreams of F-U-N. During the last year of their togetherness we were rarely left in Father’s sole care. Mother had come to believe that Father was not quite dedicated to our safety.

There were incidents that caused Mother to question Father’s judgment, loudly.

Mother, the softest touch of the two held her ground on this going out to play business.

We’d ask, “Can we go outside?” and she’d reply, “May we”.

Again we’d ask, “May we go outside?” and she’d reply, “go clean your room.”

After we (re)clean the room we’d ask again. And she’d give us another chore. After completing that chore, we’d ask again and get a chore. Again and again, rinse and repeat. After forever and a million chores, she would acquiesce.

Father wouldn’t make us do anything, he’d just say, “No!”

One sunny day during my sixth (or seventh) year, my brothers and I were left in Father’s care. An odd occurrence, as ours had not been a particularly happy home and Father was rarely in it. To find him not only home but our care-giver for the afternoon, quite odd indeed.

The brothers and I quickly collaborated and decided that a sole Father (sacked out on the sofa) was a good thing. Best behavior and careful wording of our plaintive plea would certainly net us the grand reward, outside time.

We decided to approach him one-on-one, thinking “the baby” had the best shot. J was shot down, “no.”

The middle child went in. I plastered on my best smile, blanketed in my sweetest “daddy’s little girl” disposition and again, “no.”

The eldest was our last hope. Like trainers preparing a prize fighter for another round, little brother and I rubbed his shoulders and whispered encouragement. In he went. Time went by, so slowly.

Finally he returned with a smile splitting his face in two. “He said yes!! He said yes!!”

Woooo Hooooo!!!

I grabbed my jump rope. They grabbed whatever it is little boys grab and out the door we flew. Scrambling down the two flights of stairs and bounding onto the concrete, my brothers disappeared around the corner and I skipped a few buildings down the street to the home of my best friend Pam. She, Diane and Lei-lani were on the porch, and that’s where I planted my rear.

Not too many giggles later I hear the familiar clomp, clomp, clomp of Father’s combat boot slippers. He does not look amused. His voice backed up his look, “where are your brothers?”

Shoulder shrug. I never knew where they went, the just, poofed.

I was assigned to find them and the three of us were to report back to our second floor apartment.

After forever I find them, huffing at elder brother the entire way back, “you said, he said yes!”

For years after eldest swore Father said yes.

We got our asses whipped that sunny afternoon. Father had a specially cured razor strop for this express purpose. We had to lie according to age, across their bed, bare butt. He’d hit one, then the next and the next and so on, and so on.

On this sunny afternoon, the windows open, our friends down below heard our screams. Eldest was busy (once Mother let us back outside) for days after, kicking the ass of everybody who teased us, well, him really.

Father wasn’t with us for too many more weeks after that sunny afternoon. The events of that sunny afternoon were likely the beginnings of the end of any further collaboration between me and my brothers.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

China Comes to Chicago

The goal was to get out, meet-up with some lovely lesbians and listen to docent types talk about some visitors from China. The meet-up withe the lovely lesbians didn't happen. Boo! to that, but out I did get. I missed the talk-about, but I picked up a brochure. The talks are given often, so I can catch that another time. It was a lovely Saturday afternoon and grrrr...there was red in the square. This lovely fellow is Windy City Dinosaur. He, as you might have guessed, was quite popular with the kids. Several moms were trying to get they're young charges to pose "without the face" in front of WCD. I think several pics sported, "the face" the little tykes just couldn't help themselves.

Valiant Struggle No. 11, a pig being held by a man, who is being held by a woman, all hanging from a crane that looked like a VW bug with a rather long tongue drew much attention. Not quite as much as WCD, but the colorful grouping held the interest of many.

Jia Shan Shi No. 46 wasn't quite so popular with the kids. One, decided that it looked like a big hunk of twisted up tin foil. He was not impressed. According to the brochure the artist, Zhan Wang has become world famous for his stainless steel copies of "scholars' rocks" found in classical Chinese gardens. I found the piece calming yet forceful.
So, while I missed out on meeting-up with the lovely lesbians I was scheduled to meet, I had a lovely time in the lovely Millennium Park. In addition to seeing wonderfully provocative pieces of art, I got to help some German women find "The Bean" or rather, Cloud Gate. Though they didn't speak much English we were able to understand each other enough...I escorted them to the sculpture and they were grateful.
I wasn't able to show the two Chinese women who asked (and no, I wasn't wearing a uniform, people just ask me stuff) about the location of a bathroom. I did point out park personnel whom I assured would be pleased to assist.
All-in-all, it was a pretty good Saturday afternoon in the park.