3 weeks to go

That’s it. Just three weeks, and it’ll be The Day. I don’t even know if I’m going to get all the wedding prep done in time. I still have so much to do. I don’t know if the entire wedding party will be there. The Queen of Honor is in the hospital (again) and I have no clue when he’ll be out, and as far as I know still hasn’t bought his plane ticket out from California. His health is way more important than my wedding, and I’m seriously worried about him. But the part of me in the background that is worrying about the wedding wants to just know if he’s going to be able to make it or not. Just a definitive answer, one way or the other. But I don’t ask, because I don’t want to seem like I value this even over his health. I don’t. I just… need to know and not knowing is stressing me out on top of being stressed out over how he’s doing.

I want a smoke SO badly right now. Almost like I just quit yesterday instead of July of last year. Stress.

I’ve got to finish the bouquets. I’ve got to crochet and assemble the boutonnieres. I’ve got to find shoes, since the ones I ordered don’t work, and get the lace I made attached to them. I’ve got to construct the headpieces for myself and the bridesmaids. I’ve got to go and get the bridesmaids gifts and the Maid/Queen of Honor gift. I’ve got to confirm things with the officiant, pay off the rest of the balance due to the photographer and set up the pre-wedding consult with her, figure out musics and get that to the DJ along with the rest of HIS payment, get the headcount to the venue and select the menu and bar options and figure out room setup and turnover, get a plumber in to look at the clogged sink upstairs, get the lights fixed in the upstairs bathroom, pick up various bridal party members and origami them into this house, figure out what the hell I’m doing with my hair and makeup, and and and…

Is it too late to just elope? >.<

Wedding prep marches on

The dress was bought long ago. The venue is booked. The officiant has been booked. The photographer has been chosen, and I just await her emailing me the link to the booking contract/form and deposit to have her officially booked. Mike is working on the DJ. The processional music has been chosen, and it’s even my music, a short piece for 2 violins, 2 violas, and 2 cellos that I wrote a couple years ago. I’ve finished crocheting the Irish lace bits for the bridal headpiece I’m working on and the headpieces for Courtney and Angel as my bridesmaids. Some of the Irish lace I want to make to decorate my shoes is done. I’ve got a bunch of crocheted flowers and leaves for my bridal bouquet, but have more to go, and still have the bouquets for my bridesmaids to make. I have boutonnieres to make for Mike and his groomsmen, my Queen of Honor, and Courtney’s Brian, since he’ll be giving me away. If I have time, I have sashes to crochet for the bridesmaids and myself. If I don’t have time, it’ll be a stop at David’s bridal for the embellished sashes I had my eye on before crochet invaded my life. The invitations have gone out, and we’re getting replies back. As expected, my side is going to be very anemic, since every single person I know has to travel here from another state. I hope we get enough to make our food and beverage minimum required for having the venue. We need to do more cake tasting to figure out what combination of cake and filling to go with for the second tier (poor us, having to eat more cake from Zingerman’s) and get them booked to make our cake once that’s settled. The design for it has already been figured out. Just stuck on tier flavors.

And, after waiting for so many years, it’s hard to believe that it’s almost here. June 19, 2014. Considering Mike and I met in April of 2008, we certainly can’t be accused of rushing into this.

I’m not even sure anymore

I’ve never thought of myself as particularly girly. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a tomboy or a “butch” or whatever term people want to use to refer to women who display what seems to them to be masculine traits. I was just never all that stereotypical girly-girl femme, either. I generally have cared more for what’s comfortable than frills and jewelry and makeup and hairdos and nesting (beyond having a comfy place to sit and a comfy place to sleep). It’s never been my thing.

Some girliness sometimes creeps in when I’m in a relationship and happy. I suddenly go from wearing a skirt once in a great while, and somewhat under protest, to enjoying wearing one occasionally. I at least consider doing my hair up in something other than whatever-it-wants-can’t-be-bothered or get-this-off-my-neck-too-hot-in-here-now, even if I never actually go beyond considering it.

But now. Oh, now.

I haven’t done anything much. I haven’t bought anything much. But I have suddenly acquired a small makeup collection. Other than costume parties, I haven’t worn makeup since my mid-20s. I’m looking at hairstyles. I’m planning how I’m going to finish decorating each room of my house, and going through Better Homes and Gardens and design sites and pinning decor that interests me like made. I also have a board on Pinterest that has pretty things I might like to own someday, and as it expands, it is filling up with jewelry and frills and lace and dresses and shoes and WHO IS THIS PERSON WHO HAS TAKEN OVER MY BODY.

It isn’t a bad thing, really. Or a good thing. It’s just a… thing. That I noticed. And am vaguely baffled/surprised by. I didn’t know I had this fiercely girly, housewife-ish, homemaking-obsessed, loving fairies and glitter and lots of color hiding inside the mostly-a-Goth, prefer dark velvets or silks tyvm, can’t be bothered with makeup anymore, give me those Haunted Portrait things and fake spiderwebs to decorate with, person I’ve always been and identified as. I always wanted to be Morticia Addams when I grew up. I wished I was part of the Addams family, even as a kid. I still want that now… but I want the other half the family (and the house) to be all pretty sparkly fairies. and flowers and lace.

Who knew that finding the guy who thrills and pleases me as thoroughly as Gomez does Morticia would suddenly turn me into someone I halfway don’t recognize?

It’s just… odd. Weird. Taking some getting used to, even as I continue girly-ing it up in here. I thought I knew who and what I was and had for years. But now… not sure any longer.

All the dust

Wow, it’s been a long time since I wrote here. Virtual dust piled an inch thick on every digital corner. After Morris, I just didn’t have the heart to for a while. And by the time I could consider it, I was far too busy to have the chance.

Mike came out to visit in Delano for Christmas and New Year’s, and that took up my time. And then the almost year-long extravaganza of selling houses in California, buying a house in Michigan, getting the house packed, driving cross-country, and getting unpacked and settled in at the other end started. And then it was my birthdayThanksgivingMom’sBirthdayMike’sBirthdayChristmasNewYear’s again. Seriously, at least one of us should have made sure to be born around late May or early June just so we’d have a break in there to catch our collective breath.

And it’s still pretty busy, since we’re now in the run-up to Mike’s and my wedding. The venue is tentatively reserved (and as soon as we have a day relatively free of both snow and chores, we’ll need to take the reservation form in and lock that down), the original artwork for the invitations done and sent off to be printed so we can get those mailed out. We want to give everyone a decent amount of time to figure out if and how they’re getting here, since everyone in the bridal party and all the people from my circle of friends who are being invited are coming from out of state. The only people I know here are Adam and his wife, and Mike’s parents. So plenty of time to figure out vacation time and plane tickets and if it’s even feasible is needed for all those California, Colorado, Florida, Texas, and Mississippi people. Plus one from over in Europe.

In spite of all of this, plus the stuff still to be accomplished in regard to the wedding, I hope to start posting here at least semi-regularly again. I’ve had this going for a very long time now, if originally over on Livejournal. Seems kind of sad to just entirely let it die.


Meantime, I’m here in Michigan now, and even with the snow we’ve had and my snow aversion, and the massive polar vortex that brought polar cold down here and gave us record low temperatures (-14.2 here! And that’s not even somewhat close to some of the lows across the US.) I’m still ridiculously happy here. The Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area, 25 square miles surrounded by reality, is amazing and I love it. I’m ecstatic to finally be out of Delano with all its misery and issues. And best of all, the happiest thing of all after waiting more than five years for it, I’m here with Mike at last, and we can have the life together we’ve dreamed of for so long.


Over the last year, my cat Morris has had a number of health problems. He was old, so it was to be expected. I knew he couldn’t live forever, and when he had three organ systems start to fail in the last year, I knew he wouldn’t be with me much longer.

Knowing that it’s coming doesn’t make it easier. We had to tell the vet to put him down today. It was obvious he wasn’t going to bounce back this time, now that heart failure was added to the renal insufficiency we’ve been treating for the last six months, and the removal of his thyroid at the beginning of the year. I’ve been crying since we made the call.

I miss my fuzzy little orange son. I miss him so much, and it’s only been a couple hours since the call was made. He would only suffer, so it was the right thing to do. But there’s a gaping hole now where he used to be, and I miss him.

Marriage meanderings

I didn’t grow up with good examples of what marriage could be.

My father was my mom’s second marriage. The first was pretty disastrous. The one to my father was also bad, just in a different way. My father lied and stole and then ran away to hide in Mexico and leave my mom on the hook to pay back what he’d taken, under threat of being arrested herself as an accomplice even though she hadn’t known he’d done these things until the police showed up on the doorstep. She worked long and hard at her job, and in spite of that, in large part thanks to my father, friends wound up contributing toward diapers and baby formula for infant me so I wouldn’t have to go hungry even when she was. Women of her generation were still being taught that a large part of their value as women depended on being married, so when he came back from Mexico she took him back, and had years and years of misery, culminating in him putting her in debt again through credit card fraud. She had to declare bankruptcy and finally left him for good. I was in my early 20s by then.

My paternal grandparents were horrible people. They were self-centered, self-absorbed, lacking in empathy and conscience, physically and verbally abusive. They were miserable with each other, but devoutly Catholic and would not divorce because that’s a sin. They made their children miserable and warped in terrible ways. My grandfather did things like come home from work in a bad mood, and order one of the kids to hold their arms straight up over their heads and keep them that way. He’d demand they do that for an hour or more at a time. If their arms lowered at all as the muscles got exhausted – and of course, he kept them in that position long enough that it would inevitably happen – he beat them for disobeying his orders. He wasn’t any kinder to his wife. His wife, in turn, powerless against her husband, took out her powerlessness on the kids herself.

I never really knew my maternal grandfather. He and my grandmother had been long divorced by the time I was born, and had pretty much abandoned his daughter by then. I only met him once that I was old enough to remember. He made little impression on me, other than that I apparently inherited the ability to control certain muscles connected to the ears that are atrophied in most people, that let me wiggle my ears without all the facial contortions that most people go through. A minor and useless talent.

My maternal grandmother and the man I’d thought was my mother’s father until I was about 8 were miserable by the time I was born. I have heard stories about their marriage having been a happy one, but by the time I was around, my step-grandfather had been long affected by an abscess that had gotten into his brain. The abscess was removed, but it left him partially paralyzed, bitter, angry, and verbally abusive. My grandmother had been subjected to years and years of his verbal abuse, and had been racist to some degree all her life. She despised me for not being pure Caucasian. It was never stated out loud that she hated me partly for being the product of her white daughter and a Hispanic man. But there were many times that she told me that my mother never should have gotten involved with a Mexican and that nothing good ever came from their marriage. By the time I was 15/16, she had taught me that my very existence was a burden on everyone who had any contact with me, and that everyone would have been better off if I’d never been born. When I went about unlearning this lesson she’d drilled into me all my life, my mom told me stories about who my grandmother and step-grandfather had been once upon a time, and placed all the blame for who my grandmother was on the years of bitterness, anger, and abuse that my step-grandfather had piled on her for decades after the abscess.

My uncle was married to a woman who did everything she could to provoke his anger, and he had anger management issues. I have a couple memories of being there when he was physically abusing her. I also have a memory of being abused myself by him. He isn’t that person now, but that was what I grew up with.

Once I got past all the hatred of myself that I had been taught and began to develop at least a modicum of self-esteem, I still carried one lesson with me. That lesson was that marriage was a miserable state, a trap that put people in unrelenting misery, which extended to their kids if they had any. I grew up determined to never, ever marry or have children. When I was a teen, I didn’t even want to date or have a boyfriend. I developed crushes, but didn’t want those to develop into something more. Unrequited love was safer and less painful than a relationship.

When I graduated from high school and went off to college at 17, I did eventually start dating and have a few boyfriends. Because I had not yet unlearned hatred of myself (that wouldn’t come for a over decade more) I thought that what I deserved was abuse, and superficially charming men who used their charm to lightly gloss over the predator underneath. I looked for men to hurt me as I thought I deserved to be, since I was so ugly and such a failure, and boy did I find them. And since I’d grown up with examples all around me of how a relationship meant being hurt over and over, mentally, emotionally, verbally, and sometimes physically, I didn’t know that this was not how it was supposed to be. This was just normal, and the price you had to pay for the rare moments of feeling loved any at all. I even became engaged twice during that time. Not because I wanted to spend my life with those men. Only because they asked, and that was enough to make me feel wanted and say yes, because I wanted so much to be wanted. It made me, briefly, stop hating myself the way I’d been taught to, and that was enough for me to shove aside for a time my conviction that marriage was nothing but pain and misery.

Eventually, I began to unlearn that I was a horrible person who destroyed everything they even touched, was a burden on everyone who had any contact with me, and deserved to be treated like dirt. I got involved with a couple men who treated me well. We were incompatible in most deep and meaningful ways, but I was so overwhelmed by being treated as a feeling, thinking human being that this was all I saw. I didn’t see how, in the long run, we were not a good match. So when these men recognized that and the relationships ended, all I saw was that if I was miserable, relationships would last, but the happier I was, the sooner they were over. I finally decided that it wasn’t worth the pain to get involved with anyone ever again. It took years for the blinders to come off and for me to see what those ex-boyfriends recognized in weeks or months.

And then, about four and a half years ago, I met Yar. I was firmly in the camp that if I ever felt attracted to anyone ever again, I was running away from it as fast as I could. I tried to when I first got attracted to Yar, before he even knew that I was. I couldn’t stay away. I was drawn to him in powerful ways I couldn’t fight. It was far stronger than my fear of getting hurt yet again and overpowered my conviction that even if I was happy, it’d be over fast and I’d be devastated again. It’s the only time I was ever truly the pursuer rather than the chased. Once we were together, I was still convinced that I would never marry, even though I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I was afraid that marriage would somehow change it from happiness to misery. I was still convinced that’s all that marriage was or could be.

But being with Yar these years has caused even that conviction to change. I have come to actively want us to be husband and wife. Not that I think it will somehow enhance my commitment to a lifetime with Yar, or I’ll suddenly, magically love him more somehow. Not really for any specific reason that I can put my finger on. I just want it, with my whole being, the acknowledgement and celebration of our love for and commitment to each other. I want the belonging. I want the official declaration of what we already are, a union, two people who are in some ways one unit to take on both the good and bad in the future together. In my heart, I already feel married to him, what marriage is touted as and supposed to be rather than the reality I’ve experienced all my life. I want the celebration of that, and sharing the celebration of that with the family and friends we love. I know it won’t be all roses and song. I know there’ll be times we’ll butt heads, rub each other the wrong way, bicker. But I want that every bit as much as I want the good times. I want all of it, good or bad, and I want it with him.

It’s October already?

How did that happen? Wasn’t it just August like two days ago?

I’m glad October is finally here. The area I live in doesn’t start cooling off from the 90s and 100s until around now. It’s finally starting to hit temperatures I can stand.

It’s also not that long until I turn 44, which just boggles me. I think I felt about 44 when I was 16. But now Yar makes me feel about 16, and I’m turning 44. My mental age and my real age never meet. And given the reason for that the last four years, I’m more than okay with that. I just wish I could spend my birthday actually with Yar when it rolls around in a couple weeks.

When I was in elementary school, we learned a song about October. In the years since, the imagery was such that the song stuck in my head. I did eventually lose one line of it, but otherwise always remembered it. It became how I picture the arrival of October.

October is a gypsy lass

Who dances through our town

Scarlet is her flying scarf

Many-hued her gown

On her dusky hair she wears

A crown of bittersweet

Maples spread a golden carpet

For her dancing feet

I found the lyrics online a few days ago, so I have the missing line back (the line about the scarlet scarf). And it inspired me to work on a picture of the dancing gypsy lass. I’ve got the bare sketch down, and a little bit of shading and highlighting done. It’s a big (for me) picture and will take a while. But thus far I am pleased. I’ve had this picture in some form in my head since somewhere around the third grade or so. It’s about time it got realized.

I’m finding as I work on it, and the comic I’m doing, and the sword and sorcery picture that I’m also doing currently, that I have really recaptured a lot of the skill I lost when my hand was injured and I couldn’t do much artwork at all for years and years. I am so happy to be getting it back. It was hard to lose the ability to do much artwork. I not only had the need to create, but had also had a self-identity as “artist” for most of my life. Having that taken away, especially through the abuse of someone who claimed to love me, was one of the hardest things I’ve gone through. Harder in some ways than being raped (by the same man, even). But the way this picture of October as a dancing gypsy is coming out so far shows me that some of the last, lingering effects from that relationship more than 20 years ago are finally over. I’ll always have visible evidence of it – the injuries to my hand are visible if you know what you’re looking for – but it no longer stops me. I hadn’t thought that it was possible to heal from it, but here I am, finally back to being able to do the kind of work I did back then. It has been quite the cause for joy as I’ve been working on projects the last month or so and noticed the vast improvement.

Now I just need to keep the discipline I have been trying to train into myself, and not keep starting new projects before old ones are finished. That was my biggest problem before my hand was hurt. I always had a zillion partially finished things, and a zillion more I was rushing off to start on, because my brain never stops having ideas. I’ve been trying to train myself to dash off a quick sketch of a new idea, rather than run off to start drawing it fully, only to leave that unfinished when the next round of “OMG, I must do this new thing *now*! It is imperative!” hits.

Ugh. Blargh.

As far as I can tell, the only real purpose of car alarms is to piss off all your neighbors at 5:30 in the morning. I’m reminded of a friend I had in the late 80s, who had an alarm on her car, and lived on a block where everyone else also had car alarms. A large percentage of these people, including my friend, were also cat owners. The cats seemed to take a special glee in leaping onto cars at 4 in the morning to trigger the car alarms, and then watch an entire block full of people come shambling out like a bunch of sleep-rumpled zombies to see whose car it was that woke the whole neighborhood this time. I still think that the offending owner should have had his brains eaten by the groaning, shambling horde that had risen from the grave… errr… bed.

There. 14 minutes of sitting here being annoyed awake, and the thing finally woke its owner and the owner reset it.

Right. Back to sleep, assuming the sleep disorders cooperate for a second time in a single night.


I’m not complaining. Not in the least. I’m just surprised.

I still catch myself after a while and realize that I just spent the last twenty minutes, or thirty, or an hour, staring into space picturing Yar’s face, daydreaming about him. I’m still in the throes of giddy teenage girl lost in new love or at least crush-dom. I sometimes forget my age. Just now I had to really think to figure out what age I am, because inside I am a teenager all over again. Still. 40-something makes no sense. Inside, I’m about 15 or 16 at the oldest. Which is especially strange since I was much older than 15 or 16 even when I actually was 15 or 16. Like most children from severely dysfunctional families, children of addicts, I had to grow up young and fast because there were times I had to be more the parent than at least one or both parents. So I’m not entirely sure how to deal with an interior landscape where I’m suddenly a teenager and can’t even remember my own age because it is so foreign to how I feel.

And it’s not even actual teenager, other than the getting lost in a crush. It’s idealized teenager, the kind of thing we like to picture being a kid and a teen. Some degree of innocence. A lack of the cynicism we like to believe really began once we became adults. A simpler, happier time that never truly existed except in the imagination and the “memories” of those who mostly don’t remember what it’s really like to be a kid or a teen.

Somehow, Yar has awarded me all the good things I missed when I was the age most people would think was appropriate to experience them. Without all the peer pressure, ostracization, angst, confusion, humiliation, cliques, rebellion, lack of foresight, crappy attitude, and lousy decision-making of an actual teenager. And it’s been going on for a while now. Four years come January that we’ll have been together. When I realized what was going on, I was sure this feeling would have been long over by now, and I’d have settled into a more adult interior landscape in relation to my relationship.

I’ve said before that I wonder sometimes if I’ll ever lose this. And if I don’t? I’m absolutely okay with that. Touching this kind of unalloyed joy for the rest of my life is definitely something I can get behind.


Maybe you should unpack and take a good hard look at your own assumptions of bad faith on my part before getting passive-aggressively pissy about what you regard as my assumptions about bad faith on yours, especially after I have already admitted that I misunderstood and apologized for the the comment I made. Just sayin’.


I can normally keep myself entertained. I have never been the kind to get easily bored. That has been a big advantage living here in Hellano, since there really isn’t anything at all to do here, unless going out to a bar and getting roaring drunk is it. That’s just not my style.

Once in a while, I do get hit by boredom. I’ve read and re-read every book I’ve got a zillion times, I’m sick of the computer games and TV, I’m uninspired to paint or draw or work on computer graphics or even to finish the ones I’ve already got going, and working on the song I’m trying to write is currently frustrating at best. I want to do something else. I want to do something not here in the house, really, and there’s nothing in this hickburg to do. I guess what I really am bored with is being stuck inside the same set of walls day in and day out. Even if all I did was to go sit for an hour at a cafe, drink blackberry lemonade, and peoplewatch, it’d be something and I wouldn’t be bored.  The only cafe kind of place here is the Starbuck’s that finally opened up a couple years ago, and mostly what I’d see is the line of cars going through the drive-through if I went there. People don’t spend much time walking around here, and that’s entirely understandable with triple digit heat. But it does rather put a crimp in trying to peoplewatch.

I didn’t have this kind of boredom when I had a job or was going back to college. It got me out of the house for a while and presented some challenges. But since I had to drop out to take care of my grandmother and my mom after my mom’s stroke, I haven’t had that. That’s been four years this month. I guess one day of boredom out of four years says a lot for my powers of finding a way to keep myself amused, but it doesn’t much help when that day of boredom finally arrives.

Never woulda thunk it

I’ve spent years and years talking about how much I hate the “icky cold white stuff” and saying I’d never live anywhere it snows again. Not that I have a particular problem with cold. I’m actually happier too cold than too hot. No, it’s the whole driving on or walking on something slippery that I don’t like. I don’t deal well with lack of traction.

So I never would have thought that I would come to a point in my life where I’d be looking forward to and actively excited at the prospect of leaving California and moving to a giant mitten that spends a good chunk of each year full of snow.

That Yar. He causes weird changes in my brain. So I stop minding snow, smile pretty much all the time, and forget that I’m constantly pissy. I only remember these things when not actually around him. It all disappears the minute I see him. I’ve spent years now living on anger at the minimum and often escalating into rage. It kept me from despair most of the time. I didn’t have time for despair, I was too busy fantasizing about pulling people over with fake cop lights on my car and slapping them for being stupid on the road. It was my armor against falling back into victimhood when around the people in my family whose verbal and physical abuse when I was a teen turned me into a self-loathing doormat. Pissyness, anger, outright rage, bitterness, and cynicism is how I have kept going through a lot of things that were Not Good. I’m not sure I really know how to have a day to day life without them.

And then I get around Yar and forget that I’m a pissy kind of person, or how to even *get* pissy over something in the first place. Even under some provocation, such as quitting smoking *and* being in the midst of fairly heavy hormone-driven moodswings from PMS (which then led to a very heavy, crampy period that lasted much of the time I was seeing Yar this last trip.) So quitting, hormonal craziness, a zillion mosquito bites, and an allergic reaction to some kind of plantlife that caused a rash on my shins and ankles. Yet all I could do, even on the day that all these things combined at once, was shrug about it all, say something about “Oh well, there’s always tomorrow!” and then spend the rest of the night smiling happily at Yar.  Too joyous being with him for there to be room for the more typical of me griping, grumbling, ranting, contemplating throwing things, yelling, bitching, and glowering. None of those things happen. And I even get excited about living in the midst of my great white nemesis, snow.

Someone who’s accustomed to me being the grumbliest grumbly that ever grumbled has asked me who I am and what I did with the real me. Well, given all the changes Yar has caused, I’ve found myself asking myself that as well, more or less.

Not that this is a bad thing. I’m just having to adjust to this whole not living on rage thing. As well as adjusting to this whole intensely satisfied, content, and deeply happy thing that goes on nonstop when Yar’s around.

Happy on the horizon

On the 25th, I’m off again to Michigan to see Yar. We’ll wander around Ann Arbor for a few days, catch a showing of Ghostbusters at the free outdoor movie at the Ann Arbor summer festival, maybe some of the free concerts as well. Then off to spend a couple days at Yar’s house on the lake, maybe a trip to Lansing to see the fireworks there on the 4th, and back to Ann Arbor on the 5th to see most of the original MST3K cast doing Cinematic Titanic. Back home on the sixth, which I know will feel like nanoseconds after I arrived. The time spent with Yar is always like that.

Thanks to some amazing news last week, it also looks like these years of loving each other from more than 2000 miles apart and seeing each other when we can will finally be coming to a close. I couldn’t abandon my duties to my mom as her caretaker since her stroke four years ago, just about the time Yar and I were first starting to talk about us as a serious thing. She and I couldn’t have abandoned my grandmother, who needed us so much before she took the final slide into Alzheimer’s and her care was taken out of our hands. And while I could probably have afforded to move on my own if need be, we couldn’t afford for both my mom and I to move. She wouldn’t have been able to even feed herself without me after the stroke, and the horrible level of unemployment in this town did not make it a viable place for Yar to come live and find a job.

But my uncle, as executor of my grandmother’s estate now that she has been declared incompetent, has decided that he wants to – and is even eager to – sell the rental properties and then this house we live in, and split the proceeds of them among my grandmother’s three heirs.

When my mom go email from him saying this, she, on a whim, plugged in an estimated amount of what we might reasonably see from the sale of my grandmother’s properties. It was an amount that might get us a tiny two bedroom, one bath house in a not so good neighborhood here in California. That same amount was popping up 5-bedroom, 4 bath houses on 2 1/2 acres of land in Michigan. Which means that the 3-bedroom, 2-bath we would like to find is doable with enough left over to make the move on.

There are already people interested in the rental properties, so they could be sold in a matter of months. My grandmother’s old home, where my mom and I have been living, does not already have someone interested in it. And we would need time to sort through everything to figure out what we’re taking, what we’re leaving behind, get rid of what we don’t want, etc. But this does mean that I could possibly be moving to Michigan, and finally have my life with Yar, around this time next year. Much as I hate snow, I’m even willing to deal with the snow and ice of Michigan winters if it means I can start building my life with Yar.

I have an assignment during my trip to Ann Arbor. I’m to talk with realtors there, find what the general price range on houses in that area (since the search on the MI realty sites my mom did turned up properties all over the state), maybe travel to some of them and get some pictures to bring home and show my mom. Not that any of those properties would necessarily be available when we finally are ready to move out of here, but it would be good to have an idea what to expect. And I’m so in love with the Ann Arbor area. It would be wonderful to live there.

As my mom said when we were discussing this, it’s the first time that she’s taken me off to an adventure in moving that I have actively looked forward to. I’ve never been the gypsy at heart that she is. I always wanted to stay in one place and put down some roots. Before this bout of life as caregiver in Delano – 9 years this September since I moved here to help my mom care for my grandmother as she failed – I never lived in one place more than five years, and often much less.

But this time I’m excited. It’s not like the other moves, where I was going someplace completely unknown and leaving behind local friends and support. I hate Delano. I have no friends here, despite trying to make friends during these almost 9 years. I have Yar to look forward to being with. I have wanted to move to Ann Arbor since the first time Yar took me there.

And, at last, it looks like it will be happening!

And, depending on how well we save money after the move, our wedding probably a year or so after I get there.

I almost can’t believe it’s finally possible. I had thought that it might possibly be years yet before there would be a light at the end of this particular tunnel. There have been times that I despaired of it ever happening at all, and wondered if my relationship with Yar could survive year after year of only seeing each other twice a year for about two weeks each time, with no end in sight. I wanted to say of course we would, we love each other that much, and love will conquer. But the cold reality, in spite of what I would like to believe, is that distance would eventually kill the relationship, one or both of us drifting away from it, if it went on long enough.

Luckily, risking the best relationship with the most amazing man I’ve ever met is being taken off the table.

I am so happy to finally be able to start taking steps toward what I’ve wanted so much these four years.


It’s been some months since the whole insane thing with Danny and the lovely little cards he sent to my mom for her birthday and the both of us for Christmas. Maybe it was shock numbing me before now, but in the last couple weeks I’ve suddenly had more difficulty dealing with the venom and betrayal than I did at the time it happened. Then, I was more angry than anything. Now it’s begun to really hurt.

Intellectually I know that he was no longer the Danny I’d known. He’d become someone else, someone that I’d have no desire to get to know even if he were willing. He’s not the man I knew all my life, not the guy that was often more of a supportive, caring, and loving dad than my actual father was. I know that. But on the emotional level, I’ve suddenly started reacting to the way things were in the last few months he lived here with the deep hurt and betrayal of a child that had never been abused, the first time the parent they love beats them bloody over nothing and everything descends into the hell of being a battered child of abuse. It’s like the world suddenly got yanked out from under me.

I’m forty-fucking-three. I am a survivor of abuse. I should be able to fucking deal with this better. But I’m scrambling not to slide right into victimhood and back into all the behaviors of the battered.

Even before Danny chose to move in with us a year ago last January, I’d been planning for the eventuality that he might, and that he might thereafter be with us for good. Planning up to and including the point of possibly giving up another chunk of my life and my independence to become his caregiver if something happened to make him need such. For him I was willing to do this despite the way I sometimes feel trapped and like my life is not and will never be my own since I had to take on being caregiver for my mother and grandmother. I no longer have to care for my grandmother since my uncle and his wife took that on when she made the slide the rest of the way into Alzheimer’s. It was a huge burden off my shoulders when I no longer had to take care of two special needs adults, one of whom has disliked me at best all my life and was often abusive. But for Danny I’d have taken that added burden on again if there ever came a day when he could no longer care for himself. There is no one other than my mom or Yar that I would even consider committing myself to that point for. Not even Jim, as much as I love him and as much as he has been my best friend for so many years, could probably have convinced me to put my own life on hold yet again to take care of someone else. But I was there and willing and even planning around the “what-if” though I hoped it’d never come to that with Danny, and I was doing it unasked. Just to be prepared if he ever needed me in that way.

Before he went so crazy, I’d even opened up and talked about things with him that I don’t usually talk about with anyone. Things that still often tie me up in knots, that I can’t talk about in much detail because I wind up sobbing incoherently. I dealt those things out in bits and pieces, just tiny chunks that wouldn’t trigger that reaction. Even those tiny chunks were hard to talk about. But I trusted him so much since he’d been there for me all my life that I felt able to talk about these things. The only other person I trust that thoroughly is Yar, and I don’t generally bring those things up with him because he’s heard enough bad stuff from me already. It doesn’t seem fair to burden him all the time even though he’s more than willing to listen and support me through anything.

In the end, after all the trust I’d put in Danny and all the love, after all the talking and bonding we did over painful pasts, and all my confiding in him things I haven’t said to anyone in any real detail, he threw it all in my face. He did not say “You’re a lying bitch.” But he made it quite clear that he thought I was lying about it all in the last of the lovely cards he sent at the end of last year. It was such a slap in the face to see that he did not believe for a second the things I’d said about being beaten and sexually, verbally, and emotionally abused by my own relatives. Some of this I’ve told a little to others. But never in detail, and never all of it. I talked about the most hurtful things with him, things that can still hurt me to this day if I let myself remember them. That is the hardest part, that one little bit in the card where he said that I’d never been abused. For me, there was a lot of betrayal in what he said and did, but that one thing is the part that hurts the worst. That is the part that keeps me awake at night, or that I have cried until I fall asleep from sheer emotional exhaustion. Maybe it wouldn’t be a big deal for some, but for me it is apparently as painful and shattering as the abuse I suffered from relatives and ex-boyfriends. Perhaps made more so because I had no defenses at all with Danny anymore. Not when he’d been there, often more my dad than my dad even considered being, for all my life. I had trusted him so completely, in a way I normally never let myself. So there was nothing to even blunt it when he decided to plunge in the emotional knife.

I’ll get past this, I know that. And that I just need time to heal, I know that too. But right at this moment, most especially at night when I’m alone and my mind starts picking at this particular wound again no matter how I try to think of other things and distract myself, I’m pretty devastated. At night, somewhere inside me, I’m a little kid, cowering in a corner of her room, bruised and bloody and wondering what kind of monster she must be to have caused someone she loved and trusted to knock her to the ground and then kick her over and over.

Ugh. Blah.

Stupid hormones. Stupid moodswings. Just got hit with a feeling of sadness for no reason whatsoever. No reason other than the time of month, anyway.

Oh, the hell with it. I’m going to bed. I was gonna rant about it, but I’m too affected by both hormone-caused sadness and being fed up by hormone-caused sadness. The perfect cure would be a Yarlith to cuddle up to and fall asleep beside, because I never get these moodswings around him. Too much happy when I’m with him for the moodswings to overcome it. But maybe sleep will be enough to cure it and I won’t have these simultaneous desires to cry for no reason and to throw things because I want to cry for no reason.

Assault and cattery

Despite all the “help” I got, I finally finished the last two images I was working on, and have moved on to something else. The picture I’m doing now has my fiance in it. Midnight apparently has some ideas about how my my fiance should look.

Cat: Whatcha doooooooin?

Me: Same thing I do every night, Pinky…

Cat: Who this Pinky? I not Pinky! Who is?

Me: …Oh, never mind. I’m drawing.

Cat: Oh! Is arts! Is you drawings Pinky? *stands in front of monitor, peering closely at the screen*

Me: Dammit, cat. I do not need to see your butt again.

Cat: *sneezes all over screen, right on the face in the image*

Me: Oh, goddammit cat.

Cat: Is new kind of arts! You sends to contest, you wins!

Me: *moves cat, starts cleaning screen*

Cat: *plays with stylus for Bamboo tablet, knocks it behind desk*

Me: CAT!

Cat: *sulks*

Me: *rescues stylus, gets ready to draw again*

Cat: I sorry.

Me: I love you, but there are days…

Cat: I show you I sorry! I helps you! *places paw on top of stylus and jiggles it*

Me: …Yar doesn’t have a tattoo on his face.

Cat: Tell him to gets one! Is look good.

Me: An incomplete infinity symbol on the cheek, with partial circles spiraling across the bridge of his nose? Don’t think so.

Cat: You never likes my art.

Me: No, no I don’t.

Cat: You hurts my feelings!

Me: Sorry, cat. But I’m trying to work here.

Cat: You can make it up! Look at my butt!

Me: *moves cat*

Cat: *exasperated sigh* (Yes, he actually does this. The only cat I’ve ever met that does exasperated sighing.)

Me: *starts back to work*

Cat: *smack to the annoying artist girl’s forehead with tail*

Me: Cat…

Cat: *three more rapid smacks to the girl’s forehead, one to the eye*

Me: One more time, and you’re gonna be a pair of mittens.

Cat: But… but… I wuv you! *big, sad eyes*

Me: *already melting, but trying to hide it* Just… stop it, would you?

Cat: *leans in and whispers purrs in girl’s ear, interspersed with faint moo-like mews*

Me: Awwwww. You are too cute to stay mad at, moocat.

Cat: SUCKER! *whips tail around to smack back of girl’s head*


Cat: *hides under bed, doubtless snickering*

Help from a cat

I’m trying to get some artwork done for a contest to depict one or all of the seven deadly sins. The contest deadline is just over seven days away now. I’ve been working on it for a week. I should be much farther along than I am.

The problem is that my cat, who otherwise spends his time sleeping, eating, or running around outside, knows when I’m trying to work. He shows up and “helps” by headbutting my drawing arm or petting himself on the stylus to my Bamboo tablet while I’m trying to draw. I spend more time yelling variations on a theme of, “Goddammit, cat!” than I do working.

Him: *pets himself on stylus*

Me: Oh, dammit! CAT!

Him: What? I helps! I helping you!

Me: She’s not supposed to have a mustache! She’s even more not supposed to have a mustache on her ass!

Him: Is arts! I makes it pretty! Is looks good with swoopy thingies there!

Me: *undoes cat additions, starts repainting*

Him: *headbutts drawing arm*


Him: You no like swoopy thingies! Is not swoopy!

Me: She looks like she survived an attack by Voldemort. There’s a lightning bolt from her shoulder to her ass.

Him: Is arts AND makes reference! Is double good!

Me: You’re not ever watching a Harry Potter movie with me ever again.

Him: *sits on Bamboo tablet* You no ruin my art! Is pretty and I not lets you!

Me: *contemplates turning cat into 18 pound shotput made of fur, fang, and claw*

I’m really missing my stolen laptop right now. I could install the software on it and move to someplace he has no access to in the main house if I had it.

Of course, there are four cats in there just waiting to “help”.

Asked and answered

At the beginning of March, I went out to Michigan to spend Yar’s spring break with him. We spent the first day in Ann Arbor, and then the following day made the 2 1/2 hour drive to his place. We settled in there for most of the rest of the two weeks I was there. The first week, it was typical Michigan in March weather, so we didn’t really go anywhere. Which is fine with me. I’m quite content to lounge about the house and get some of my quota of cuddling. The second week, the weather warmed up. I mean, really warmed up. The days were in the 60s and 70s. That’s freakishly warm for that time of year there. We still didn’t go anywhere, because that week Yar’s classes were back in session, so I spent the days reading my way through a sizable chunk of his collection of Sandman comics.

Yar’s folks returned from spending the winter in Florida the same day Yar and I got to the house, and it was great to see them. While I love the alone time I usually have with Yar at the house in March, I also really like his parents. They are smart and funny and immensely kind and generous. They’re also great cooks. There are a number of things I’ve never liked, and since I started seeing Yar, his folks have cooked them and I liked them. I ate very well, and loved everything that they did. Even Sunday brunch, and I’ve been especially anti-breakfast foods all my life.

I also cooked for them for the first time. I made my Hunan hot and sour chicken, and it went over very well. I’d been wanting to cook for them for some time, partly because I like to show off my cooking skills, but mostly in thanks for all that they’ve done for me while I’m out in Michigan. I’ll have to do it again next time I have the opportunity.

The first time I went out to Michigan, I met a couple of Yar’s friends. While out there this time, we spent the evening hanging out with the same couple. We had an amazing dinner (homemade pastitsio, possibly my favorite Greek dish ever). I made a peanut butter and chocolate mousse for dessert. The texture of the mousse was off, unfortunately, but at least the flavor was right. We had a good time talking, eating, and watching a movie. Yar’s friends are good people.

But the biggest thing that happened is something I’m still adjusting to. It was my own “fault” in the end, my own action, and something I wanted. But it’s still got a lot of “I’m what, now?” to it.

I’m engaged. I have a fiance. I keep saying the word fiance whenever I have reason to, because I’m still rather amazed that I do.

We’d been all cuddly all evening, and this was something that I’d been inching closer to doing for some time anyway. We’d said that if we ever even considered taking the next step (and neither of us felt that it was necessary) we would wait until we were living together. But in the last year I’d gone from “maybe we’ll get married someday, maybe not” to “I’d kinda like to marry this man” to “I really want to be married to Yar.” I kept telling myself to be patient, to stick with what we’d both agreed to, giving us a chance to live together and make sure we didn’t start having major problems then.

That night, though, I was feeling so happy, so confident that we’d do perfectly well living together, and so thoroughly in love with Yar. It all came welling up when I looked into his eyes right then. It wasn’t the most romantic proposal ever. I tend to be rather blunt, and this was no exception. Rather than saying some kind of lovely, romantic thing, what I actually said was, “Oh, the hell with being patient. Will you marry me?”

He gave me a kiss that made my toes curl in spite of the complete lack of romance in the proposal. Also, I always thought that was just a phrase, that “kiss that made my toes curl” thing. But man, my toes actually did. It left me breathless. And then he leaned his forehead against mine, and said, “Let’s find out!”

This was actually the answer I was expecting. The first two panels of this xkcd strip sounded so much like us, it was decided there and then that if we ever got engaged, this would be how the proposal had to go.

We haven’t set a date yet. We’re still playing that much of the waiting game, at least. We’re not even going to really think about planning until we can live together, start saving money for it, and all of that. Yar still has another semester, maybe two, before he gets his degree, depending on what classes are offered when. So we’re guessing a year before we even start planning, and probably a date set for a year or so after that.

I should just about be adjusted to the idea that I have a fiance by then, and then I’ll have to start adjusting to the idea I have a husband.

Mind: Blown

One of the things I’ve known about myself for as long as I can remember is that I don’t want children. I tend to refer to myself as “childless by choice” rather than the label of “childfree”, though it’s less of a mouthful. There are facets of the childfree community that I don’t want to be lumped together with.

I’ve never liked children. Even as a child, I tended to prefer the company of adults to those my own age. As I grew older, my dislike of children only grew stronger, despite all the predictions of my family that I’d get over it and want kids of my own. They didn’t really come to accept that I knew better about my preferences until I got into my 30s without any sign that I would change my mind.

Nope, no kids, not ever, and no I’m not babysitting yours either. Stop trying to force me to hold your baby because you think it’s funny to give the kid to someone who actively dislikes children. No, I will not raise my arms to hold your baby even when you threaten to just let go if I don’t. If the baby gets dropped, the fault is yours and not mine. These were some of the things I had to say repeatedly to various people in the family for most of my life before I was finally believed. Even after they finally accepted that I was never going to reproduce, they seemed to be convinced for a long time that their kid was so special that of course I’d like it despite my general aversion to children. But you know, an infant’s an infant. There isn’t that much variation. They are eating, crying, sleeping, and diaper-dirtying machines, and one is pretty much like another. Even when they’re old enough to start having something like some individuality and personality, it is generally not a personality I would choose to be around.

This has been my stance for a long time. I made the declaration for the first time when I was fairly young. Around four or five, I think. So it’s approaching 40 years since I first said it. I’m past the age my mother was when she went into menopause, so it can’t be all that much further away for me now. That was a marker I actively looked forward to pretty much from the day menses started.

So, I was surprised to the point of shocked to realize last year that I had come to regret that I didn’t meet Yar and fall for him when we were in our 20s, and not only because we’d have already been together 20 years with many more yet to come. It came on me slowly, beginning with a thought that it was in some ways too bad for him that he’d fallen for me because with someone younger and interested in a family, he would have made an amazing dad. And then in March of last year, I realized that I was not only regretful but actually even sad that we hadn’t met in our 20s because we could have had a family together if we had.

I’m not even sure when I crossed that line. It was subtle. Just suddenly, one day I realized that I was on the borderlands of menopause, which I’d looked forward to, and now wished I wasn’t and that I’d been feeling that way for a while.

It’s not even about the old saw about the biological clock or about giving myself the pseudo-immortality of having something of myself go on in a child of my own. It’s entirely about wanting something of Yar go on, because someone as wonderful as he is should have at least that pseudo immortality. Some part of him should go on beyond our lives. And I admit that I am charmed by the idea of mini-Yars running around. There are all the pictures in my head of how I know he’d be as a dad, given how I know him, and I want to see those in life.

In the most of a year since, these feelings have only grown stronger. This wasn’t a short-term aberration. It came to a head a couple nights ago, when I found that I had worked myself into tears over it. It just blew my mind that after a lifetime of wanting no children in my life and actively disliking children almost to the point of hate, I was tied up in knots because it’s really too late to have any with my boyfriend.

I never thought I’d have this change of heart. But then, I never thought it was possible to be as completely, head-over-heels in love as I am with Yar. I thought that was only found in fiction.