Friday, October 28, 2005

Professionally Speaking

Isn’t it odd that we are faced with so many decisions each and every day that we make without even really thinking about them? We get so engulfed in routines that you address the simple decisions just by shooting from the hip.

We get wrapped up in the idea that we know who we are, what we want, what we will and won’t accept. We’ve been raised to be a certain type of person whether you’re a ‘path of least resistance’ person or confrontational; quiet or outspoken; angry or happy; honest or dishonest; taking or giving.

We are the product of our parents, our environment, what we’ve been taught, our life experiences. These things all make us who we are at the core. You reach a point in your life where it’s up to you to complete who you are meant to be.

For many of us, that is a journey that will be unfulfilled in this lifetime. Not sadly so, because I am pleased with the person I’ve become and I look forward to all I have left to learn. I wouldn’t trade the fact that I’m 42 for anything (okay maybe 10 years for a certain someone who has an age hang-up…). I have the privilege of life experience and I am thrilled I have it.

Often times I have sage advice to offer my friends when they need it. It’s advice I could not have given 15 years ago. I like that about me. I like that I am able to look at the big picture in life and weigh everything out. Not always successful, but most of the time. Again, it’s a journey.

Today I was driving into work thinking about some of the day-to-day decisions I make. I’ve gotten into such a routine of perhaps making the same or similar decisions about how I deal with Aries or the choices I make at work, etc., that I realized it’s entirely possible that I’ve created an energy that’s a not productive.

Let me explain. As a parent, I deal with Aries a certain way. A way that’s familiar, a way that she’s come to expect. And I agree that consistency is good. But with her getting older and smarter, I should think outside the box a little more. I should think of different approaches that help her think and grow – that give her different choices.

Though she is thriving, as her Mother I will only grow so much if I limit myself to one style, one way. If I expand my thinking it will by default expand hers. And my only job in this lifetime is helping her become a balanced, accepting, loving, decent human being. If I don’t help her grow emotionally (and correctly), who will?

Work is a whole other ball game. I am liked by everyone with whom I work. I have excellent relationships with various departments, teams, management. I am knowledgeable about how to get things done, who to go to when you need something, what process works and what doesn’t and more importantly what back door to seek when all else fails.

I was the only Unix System Administrator for almost seven years for a mechanical contractor. All things IT went through me. I was critical in that role.

I was the Technical Lead managing a team of nine guys for Fred Meyer Corporate supporting 380 Unix servers. I trained Microsucks geeks in Unix. There, too, I was an important component.

I came to Company X as a Senior Unix Engineer. I become a Certified IBM Specialist. I worked on what was at the time the biggest project Company X had ever rolled out. I was the only person on call 24/7 for over a year supporting the 26 IBM servers that I had built for that project. I handled calls from developers in India in the middle of the night, every night, for over a year. I was critical to that project.

When I tried to get off that project, I couldn’t ever successfully move to another project because I kept getting pulled back into the old one. It didn’t pay to have that knowledge – it ended up sabotaging me. There was no easy way to transition out.

I left the Unix team after three years and went into IT Security. A well thought out plan. I ended up being sexually harassed for the first year while on that team and paid for it. Being the victim of that bullshit had so much backlash, my career never got off the ground. (That person no longer is part of our team).

I spent the next year reaching out, project after project, trying to be successful. I was promised the Lead position and then it was given to someone else. I was trying desperately to take my power back. I went from working for someone who took friendship too far to working for a different manager who told me I should put my lifestyle under the covers and not be so open. This same manager tells me I need to “soften the moxy” because I’m too forthright with people.

Confrontational does not always equal bad. At least people know where I stand and walk away from conversations with me not wondering if they got their questions answered.

During a meeting this week with my manager I find out he is “worried about me” because I haven’t a project that I can call my own. I haven’t anything that I can “take ownership of and be proud and look forward to coming to work each day for.” Well, gee, ya think?! He said he “hasn’t seen the tiger in Marilyn in a long time.”

All I could do was agree and for a brief moment feel excited that he realizes I have more to contribute than I have been. Ahhh, a light at the end of the “I made a bad choice coming to this team” tunnel.

Then I heard him offer to help me find another job on another team if that’s what it took to make me happy. Shit, I realized I’ve been too much for him to handle. I’m the odd man out. I have spent two and a half years in Security spinning my gawd damn wheels and have become the one person on the team who is more expendable than everyone else.

At least that’s how it felt.

I’ve never been in this position before. I’m the go-to guy. I’m the backbone. I’m the key to success, baby! Seriously, what the fuck has happened here? Am I being punished for being the way I am? Is it dealing with me too complicated? Is my personality too strong? My honesty offensive?

The bigger question, which is why I wrote this blog today, is what could I have done differently? I am 100% responsible for my 50% of this situation. Did I stop being accountable? Did I stop caring?

Each day I come into work and I do similar things – I make similar decisions – those made instinctually. At what point in my decision-making process with regard to my success here, did things go awry?

Each day I should come into Company X and treat it the way I do my life. How can I be a contributing [professional] today? What did I do yesterday that I would change? What can I do today that will push me [and my technical skill set]? Am I becoming complacent? If I am bored, change it.

I’ve stopped asking myself those questions professionally which is a huge failing on my part.

I feel like I’ve been so gawd damned beaten up on this team that maybe it’s true, maybe I stopped caring. Other people get away with shitty work ethics, poor performance, lack of knowledge (not specifically this team but in general) and they are rewarded for that behavior. My old manager couldn’t find her ass with both hands and kept getting promoted.

Though I am generally pleased with my work ethic and am not one of those people, how long is a person supposed to care about their jobs when such behavior exists.

I let it get to me. I stopped looking at myself and let the surroundings get to me. I became bitter. When the reality is I am but one component of what’s supposed to be a cohesive organization. It doesn’t matter what other people are doing – I need to focus on myself and my contribution. Turn inward and remember what’s real.

I hope that my manager’s concerns are just that, concerns. But I can’t help but feel that his inability to feel comfortable working with me will be the ultimate demise of my tenure here.

I know one thing, I’m not going down without a fight.

It’s entirely possible that I am being too hard on myself today. It’s entirely possible that tomorrow I will read this post and disagree with the fact that I feel my 50% of the responsibility outweighs Company X’s 50%. But for now, I won’t make any more decisions without really thinking about them. I’ve not lived my life in a vacuum, personally or professionally, and now’s not the time to start.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

What a dick!

On Monday, October 24th I wrote a post that warrants clarification.

In that post, I spoke of a certain someone with whom I am very close who popped the wood – thanks to his boyfriend’s playfulness - while we were partying at C.C.’s Saturday night.

I ran into this certain someone last night and he essentially scolded me for being so polite when I wrote about his big, impressive hard-on.

I explained that I didn’t want to take such liberties when speaking of someone’s manhood and how maybe he would not have appreciated me implying he’s a big slut with his mass o’ meat and how he was waving it around with his head held high (pun intended).

Seriously, that thing should have its own gawd damn zip code!!!

Blogging about it for the comedic value and the visual imagery that accompanied my writing because it IS so impressive – is one thing. But I’d never, ever think about revealing his identity, ESPECIALLY on the internet.

It was at this particular moment that Pony reminded me of his own internet frivolities and laughed at the fact that I was trying to be discreet. Hot Toddy was sitting next to Pony and agreed that I should have just said it was Pony who sported such a phenomenal erection that night.

So that being said, Pony, the next time we’re in public and you get aroused…just let it go, man. You can’t hide 10 inches of erect flesh.

Matter of fact… I got 50 bucks says you do a little table dance for Mama… Oh yeah! I don’t care that you’re a gay man. It’s a thing of beauty and a person would have to be a moron not to gaze, gape, gawk – you get the idea – at something so magnificent.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Indignant...No, not me

While watching CSI last night my loving daughter, Auburn Aries, who was sitting immediately to my right announces:

AA: (with her right index finger pointing right next to my eyeball) You have CROWS FEET!

AP: (mouth falls open, head turns slowly toward Aries) They're laugh lines.

AA: No, they're not...they're crows feet.

AP: I don't know who taught you that shit, but they're LAUGH LINES and I've earned every one from a lifetime of laughter. So knock it off...they're NOT crows feet.

AA: Man, they're deep.

AP: Shut the hell up...

That's it... I'm calling a photographer to have pictures taken of me and Aries together so I can get them on my blog. Crows feet. Who does she think she is...damn kids anyway.

Apparently Mini Me has my honest-to-a-fault quality. I need to let the world see that THEY'RE LAUGH LINES. I'm serious. Old women have crows feet and I'll never be old.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Not a Dime a Dozen

I have a new housemate and youuuuu don’t. I love Hot Toddy being at the house. His energy is loving and engaging and his presence fills my house with even more love than it already has.

This weekend was our first full weekend as housemates. Saturday night we had plans to hook up with a new friend, The Professor, who’s moved here from San Francisco. And Jaden was in town and we were looking forward to meeting her as well.

Saturday night was one of those nights that mean the world to me.

Hot and I hooked up with The Math Whiz and The Lawyer at Crush for the closing party for the GLBT Film Festival. Neither of us had attended any of the film festival but what better place to people-watch our own kind than at such an event. We had such a good time talking and laughing. I was able to recount the drunken night o’ porch puking with physical comedy. It was great.

We ended up at C.C.’s and I found myself once again happily surrounded by My Boys. The Math Whiz had been joined by The Handsome Prince, Pony and Chopper showed up (after I retrieved them from a bar around the corner), The Toddtender was working and gave me my usual smooch when I arrived.

I ran into my friend, Tom, who is also my eye doctor. Our friendship materialized quickly and easily. It isn’t many people who are friends with their practitioners and I consider myself lucky to be in his inner circle. He’s always said that he believes I’m such a great catch and he can’t believe I’m single - as such he’s always on the look out for Ms. Right for me.

At one point in the evening, I stopped and took in my surroundings. There were my closest friends all talking and laughing and interacting just like we always do. It had been a while since we were all gathered together. There were no walls. No one was uncomfortable. Each of us knows the other intimately and can share our lives without fear of judgment.

There, working behind the bar, was my friend The Toddtender twisting up my Margaritas and always kind of looking out for me. He’s always taken the time to talk about real life things with me, not just bullshit bar talk. His friendship has come to mean a lot to me. Not just because I get to kiss his handsome face and soft, sweet, full lips (though if you could all see how hot he is, you’d agree it’s not a bad reason), but because his energy is very grounding for me.

I looked around at the other two other bartenders that were there, Chris who was on duty, and John who was not. They both sent me over drinks. I feel special when I am at C.C.s. The boys treat me with genuine kindness and it’s why I consider C.C.’s my home bar.

I watched our new friend, The Professor, interacting with everyone in our circle of friends and realized just how well he fit in. Being the Pisces that I am, I trust the energy read I get from a person when I first meet them and I’m generally not wrong. The Professor has a kind, gentle spirit and seems very grounded and every one thought he was great.

I spoke to Jaden and was equally impressed with her. Though the women she brought with her didn’t seem too keen on the boy porn. And if you’ve read any of my posts about C.C.’s you’d know that boy porn is one of the reasons I go there. I made sure to point out the well-endowed men just so I could watch them blush and giggle.

I saw a certain friend of mine with a hard-on invoked by his boyfriend. I am so close to this individual that when I saw his huge package straining the denim in his pant leg, I had to tease him about it. It was at this point he jokingly tried to adjust himself upward, when I said, “Yeah, that’ll work” and quickly lifted up his shirt tail exposing several inches of his manhood sticking up beyond his jeans (yes, near his bellybutton). We laughed…what more could you do.

I stood there and watched and felt the energy of each of my friends. I am so thankful for each and every one of them. I don’t know that I will ever be able to convey the depth of love I have for them. I am so blessed. I can only hope that other people are given the gift of friendship like I have been given because to live without it would truly be the worst fate.

We all left the bar headed for The Vortex. Toddy and I were looking forward to the rendezvous. Unfortunately for me, I got a headache before we left the bar. I wasn’t sure if it’s the lack of top shelf tequila or the cigarette smoke or whether it was just my turn to have one such headache, but as I drove across the river, I realized how piercing the oncoming headlights were and couldn’t escape the fact that this slight headache was turning into a full-blown migraine very quickly.

Toddy offered to drive and took me home thus sacrificing The Vortex. I headed into my bedroom and took off my earrings and watch and realized the evil migraine was about to turn my body inside out.

There, on my knees in my bathroom, I fell victim to its hatefulness. In between my desperate attempts to try and get control, a voice from outside the door spoke. “Do you want me to hold your hair back?” All I could do was laugh. Even in the throes of puking, Hot Toddy can still find humor. You see, I have short hair. There’s nothing to hold back.

Once I was able to get my composure, I opened the bathroom door and looked up at Toddy. “Thanks for the offer, Sweetie… I know you love me enough to hold my hair back...if I had any.” He brought me Advil, a couple bottles of water and a big bowl just in case I got sick again. He put me into bed and covered me up and made sure I was okay.

We laid around on Sunday and watched On Demand season two of Sex and the City and Weeds. I fought my headache all day long but it was still a great day spent with my dearest friend. Sick or not, I’m the luckiest person on the planet, and I know it.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Put the Toaster Oven Over Here...

I made a big decision.

It’s true. It’s a ginormic, hugantic decision that will affect everyone. Okay, maybe not everyone..

I’ve decided to keep my big-ass, mondo house and Hot Toddy will be moving in with me and Auburn Aries this week.

I spoke to Daddy D last week and told her of my struggle of whether or not to keep the house acknowledging that it’s not my dream house but that it has a lot of equity -or- sell it knowing that my original intent was to find something that was less maintenance.

Her advice to me was to go out looking at houses. She, being the double Virgo that she is makes every decision logically – as does Virgo Fairy Godmother (who is generally much more successful in her endeavors than Daddy D).

Daddy D also pointed out that being the double Pisces that I am, I make my decisions based on emotion. She knew I wouldn’t know my decision until I saw another house that struck my fancy. I know it’s not the best way to do most things, but it’s the way I’m built. Thank Goddess I’m surrounded by Virgos for just such input. Between she and Godmother I was getting my logic in bulk.

Fairy Godmother reminded me that unless I was going to downsize from 3,000 square feet, there was no need to bother selling it.

I went out with a realtor and looked around and am just not willing to give up my house for what’s out there. It could be the realtor I used just wasn’t showing me what I needed to see or that I wasn’t open to it or that I’m meant to live with Toddy.

Any way you look at it, I’ve decided to stay put.

Having Todd move in is a big deal for me for several reasons. These are not in any particular order…

He is my family.

Auburn Aries adores him.

I trust him.

Having his energy is the house will fill the emptiness downstairs that I detest so much.

We can have our many, many talks on the deck while looking at the Butte, enjoying a beverage without that annoying wait time while he’s on his way over.

He makes me laugh, oftentimes until I practically pee my pants.

He understands me and my lifestyle and my choices.

He vomits on my porch.

He loves me unconditionally.

He takes Aries for ice cream when they’re together.

He will be helping me out monetarily.

He wears grandpa undies which are SO hot.

He loves my kid.

On a more serious note - he needs us, his family, right now. Todd is going through a time of evaluation. He's taking time to think clearly about many things. Though he has been very strong in Thor’s absence and is rolling with the punches, there comes a time when you have to think about what is really important in your life.

His accident the other night didn’t help matters any. I was grateful that he had me to turn to. He was very rattled by the whole thing. It happened just blocks from my house. I was able to get him settled and keep him grounded as best I could. And I tried to comfort him as he cried because his emotional plate feels so full this was just one more thing that he didn’t need.

Sometimes a person can be in a crowded room and be the loneliest person there. I don’t like that Todd or any of my friends feel lonely. I don’t like it when they feel their lives are lacking when there is so much for which to be grateful. I don’t like for Todd or any of my friends to feel they need to talk to someone even though they don’t know what they need to say, but there’s no one there to listen.

Life is complicated enough just by its very nature. Having added stress and emotional strain only makes it unbearable at times.

For Todd, Auburn Aries and I will be his safe place to fall. My house is my sanctuary – it’s where I find peace and where I get grounded. It’s where I can shut the world out and just feel safe. It’s my controlled environment. Todd hasn’t had that sanctuary in a while nor has he felt safe and loved in the way he needs or deserves to be.

So together we’ll get through this stage of life and be there for each other – through all the men and the women and the drama and the confusion and the hurt and the tears and the desperate need to understand when you have nothing to go on.

I will help him be strong when he needs it because that’s what you do when you love someone. You put your own needs aside and reach out. Which when you’re dealing with Todd, can be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have because the love you get back is ten fold. I haven’t lost sight of what’s real and true in this life and I will always be there for him.

So come home, Hot Toddy. We’re waiting for you with open arms.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

It's not too late

As I pulled into the downtown parking structure where I work, I couldn’t help but notice several police cars, police tape and reporters everywhere.

Scattered along the streets, the front steps and sidewalk of Company X, stood onlookers. There weren’t droves of them, but enough to realize something serious had happened.

As I handed over my valet key to the parking guy, he told me that one of window washers fell fatally to his death this morning. I was shocked. He fell from one of the six-story buildings on our campus here in Portland.

I stopped and looked up at the building. The ropes lay silently against the rain-soaked building. Ropes that we’ve all seen hold a man’s life in the balance every day were vacant. At the foot of the ropes in the foliage that surrounds the building lie a man’s body sheltered with yellow plastic.

Authority figures gathered in clusters, talking. OSHA was present, Policemen guarded the young window washer’s body, and the coroner had arrived.

Reporters hungry for a story moved from spot to spot searching for the best angle. They felt like a nuisance to me. This situation had nothing to do with me, yet I was pissed off and wanted them to back off. I worried that this young man’s family had not been contacted.

Death penetrated the area much the same way rain had soaked our streets all morning. It was everywhere and there was no avoiding it. There was no crack in the darkness.

Hot Toddy and I pulled into the parking structure at the same time. We stood there in shock talking about it.

This young guy whose face we all know, got up for work this morning thinking it was just another day. He probably drug his ass out of bed wishing he could have slept a little longer just like all the rest of us do. He was going to work to do a job that he had done hundreds of times before and just like that his life ended.

We spoke of how awful it would be to fall to your death. We talked about those last seconds of your life spent praying to your higher power. We wondered what his last thoughts were and know that fear had to have completely saturated him.

Was this his destiny today? What would have happened if he had hit the snooze just one more time? Would it have truly offset the chain of events that comprised his life today? Did he see his life flash before him? Did he have time to tell his wife that he loved her as he fell?

I’ve always kind of believed that a person’s spirit is only supposed to be as old as they are when they die. To keep someone alive or dodge death changes your course. Perhaps it’s because of my belief system that our lives are like a spiral that is small at the base and gets larger as you progress in the outward motion of the spiral. The spiral begins when we are born and you travel through your life in this existence to a certain point on the spiral. When your life here ends, you’re reincarnated and pick up your life at that same place on the spiral and progress a little farther. You repeat this process until you’ve gotten everything out of it you are supposed to.

I know many of you may think it’s a lot of hocus pocus… more Pagan mumbo jumbo. But it’s my thought process. To think one is restricted to only *this* lifetime is far too limiting to buy into for me.

This young man’s death this morning has affected me a great deal.

The most basic of reasons is that he is still here. His spirit isn’t released. I can still feel him here. His presence is strong. This is one of those times that on the surface I wish I couldn’t feel so much energy from people. Conversely, I am blessed because I have this ability.

Today I have been reminded of how precious life is. And how short it is. It could end tomorrow for any of us. If one could truly live each day of your life like it’s your last imagine how enriched your life would be. You’d live each day doing that which is truly important to you. Your life would be full and never lacking.

You’d love who you wanted to – regardless of age or race or sex and do so knowing you were being true to your heart. You’d see sharing love as a true gift not to be taken for granted.

You’d realize that argument you had with that person who means so much to you was unnecessary and you could have communicated your point without heated words. Or you could have taken a breath and let them speak their heart knowing that always being the one to be heard isn’t the most important thing.

You’d understand though compromising can really suck, it’s all give and take and somehow it always works out.

You’d feel every kiss you’re given. You’d no longer throw a quick peck on the lips of your Significant Other prior to blasting out the door to run off to work or the grocery store or the gym. Instead you’d take the five seconds it takes to really kiss them and tell them I Love You in a tone that conveys you truly do.

Each touch and every embrace would remind you how blessed you are in your life.

You’d realize the time for healing is now.

You’d be reminded that you are dealt a hand of cards when you are born (each card representing the big events in your life) and you can choose to hold those cards in your hand your entire life or you can choose to throw down the cards that burden you and pick up new ones.

You’d understand how holding onto the past keeps you there and that you can’t move forward without letting some things go.

You’d live your life with conviction and sincerity and passion.

You’d take a breath every time your kid drives you crazy and imagine for a second your world without that little life that depends so wholly on you and perhaps take a gentler path in dealing with him or her.

You’d let down your walls and open your heart.

You’d take a look at the world and the path it’s on and realize though it’s on a difficult path of destruction, we still have each other and are stronger when together than we are when we’re apart.

Or just maybe we could seize this opportunity right now to stop living our lives on the fast track and take time to really live. Though we may not have the means monetarily to live our lives as though each day is our last, we can do so on an emotional level and be thankful. Perhaps start telling your friends that you love them before you hang up the phone. Take the time to listen when someone is speaking to you and needs your help. Just start being the loving, decent people we are meant to be.

I know that if my life ended tomorrow, the people in my life would know where they stood with me. Auburn Aries would know unequivocally that I loved her more than life itself and that she is every part of me. She knows that I live inside of her every second of every day.

There are things I will think about a little differently having been reminded today how short life is. I am in no way perfect. But I would die knowing I’m okay and right with the world. And there’s a lot of peace in that.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Sisterly Love

The following is an exchange that took place Friday morning between me and my sister, Skinny Girl. You can feel the love. (We weren’t serious…just so you know).


I sent out an email to close friends and coworkers to see if they would sponsor Auburn Aries in Run for the Arts.

The Email Thread:


Just wanted to check with all of you and see how you'd feel about sponsoring Auburn Aries in Young Audiences' Run for the Arts. Young Audiences is a non-profit arts in education organization that helps the school raise funding for educational arts experiences, classroom workshops, field trips, artists performances and residencies.

It's a tax deductible donation. They have 45 - 60 minutes (sorry, can't remember which) to run/walk a quarter mile track. You can make a flat donation or a pledge based on the number of laps she completes. The run is on October 21st. Donations need to be collected by November 4th.

I have the form at my desk and would be happy to add you to it if you're interested.

Auburn Pisces

Reply from Skinny Girl:

Hey bunghole - you've still not cashed the check I gave you back in February for one of Aries’ school things. It was for $14.00. What's the deal man?

AP response:

Oh hell fuzzy! What the Sam Hell is going on here?! Horse shit Julie. Like I know where that effing check is at. Add the $$ back into your account. I'm sure I covered the cost and if I find the check, I'll shred it. So what? I lose one gawd damn check and so you're sayin no, you won't sponsor a poor child hungry for the arts? What a bitch!


Listen here you whore. I have been trying to balance my effing checkbook for MONTHS and it's been hell because of YOU. You want money, I give you money, you don't use money. MAKE UP YOUR EFFING MIND!!!!!!!!! Yeah, I'll give you more money, cash this biotch.


You dirty rahhhhht. If it was a big gd deal, you'd have called my f*cking ass months ago m*therf*cker - so quit'cher belly achin. And if you'd reread the original email it asks for a GD PLEDGE YOU *SSHOLE so belly up and sponsor my bratty kid. NOW


Why you lyin' piece-o-shit. I did call your goofy ass MONTHS ago and you said.... AND I QUOTE: "Hmmm, wonder what I did with that check? I'll look for it sis and get back to you". Yep that was the last I heard about that. As usual, I got tossed to the back friggin' burner to simmer all alone. That's it. I'm sick of you sons-a-bitches treatin' me like dirt. Nice. Nice to know I'm at the top of YOUR m*therf*ckin' priority list. Family. Right. Gawd, kiss my white ass!!!


So, you're in for sponsoring her again then?!?!


Bah ha ha - okay.

Friday, October 14, 2005

No Naughty Nurses

With Halloween coming, Auburn Aries is again perplexed by what she should be. And with me not being one of those “super-Moms” with plenty of time to spare to sew a costume, I end up waiting until the last minute to help her figure it out. I hate doing this because it just creates stress.

We went over to Fairy Godmother’s house last night and Aries helped her build the life-size ghoul Godmother puts in her front window every year. Doesn’t matter how often I see them build the damn thing, every time I walk outside and look at it with the light shining up on it from the floor it freaks me out.

This is also why I don’t participate in Haunted Houses. I scare easily. It’s why when I saw What Lies Beneath in the movie theatre with Grouchy Girl, I jumped out of my seat and knocked a 32 ounce Pepsi in her lap. I can’t watch scary movies alone. I own Butterfly Effect and won’t watch it. The Grudge is playing on HBO right now and The Math Whiz told me that it scared the living shit out of him so I won’t watch that either.

There needs to be someone sitting next to me whose flesh I can claw when I’m scared. That same person needs to plan on sleeping in my bed so that even when the security alarm on the house is activated, they’ll hold me tight because of what already exists inside the house and the potential for those entities to “get me.”

Unreasonable? Perhaps. But just because I can’t SEE it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

I know there are costume shops out there but when you have an eight year old who is 4’10” it seems hard to find an age appropriate costume that will work for her. In this morning’s edition of The Oregonian it said that adults are spending 84% more on costumes this year than last, according to, and online searches for sexy costumes have jumped by 180% on that website over the past two weeks.

I know every year I hit the Halloween Shops that sprout up all over the city and find that Aries can no longer shop in the little kids section. And when we contemplate what’s out there in adult sizes, it’s so racy that I have to explain to her that she’s too young to dress like slut! Okay, I don’t say it like that but…

That same article listed the top five costumes that are best-sellers to date:

Women’s Sexy Tuxedo, 785 costumes sold
Jessica Rabbit, 527 costumes sold
Tinkerbell, 511 costumes sold
Belly dancer, 388 costumes sold
Naughty nurse, 377 costumes sold.

Don’t think for a second that theme doesn’t roll out into stores. It does. And it’s not that I don’t appreciate seeing a hot woman wearing one of these costumes. But for right now, I don’t ever want to see my daughter in one of those costumes.

The day she’s old enough to wear and buy a Naughty Nurse costume, might well be the day you find my lifeless body sitting in my car in my garage with ignition still running!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Birthday Bash Crash

Because I am a Pagan and don’t have the burden of carrying around religious guilt like someone I know, I have decided to finally write about this last weekend and Hot Toddy’s birthday. I wanted to give him a couple days to finally be able to laugh about the events that took place. Well, that time has passed.

A Story
by Auburn Pisces

The day began with an 8 a.m. wake up call by blasting Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl on the stereo, and shouting that it was time to get up. Hot Toddy’s birthday celebration needed to begin.

I had invited our family over: Metro and Juju, The Handsome Prince and The Math Whiz, Pony and Chopper, and The Toddtender and made a breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and bisquits and sausage gravy. Flowing plentifully were the Mimosa’s and Bloody Mary’s. Everyone stood around and talked and laughed – it was great.

As I looked around the house at the people I have in my life, I realized how incredibly blessed I am. Having our little family of friends together felt like home and fulfilled the need I have for the love of a family that I miss so desperately.

Okay, enough girl shit. Moving on…

Fast forward through the installation of the CD player into Dolly (Todd’s car). “Man, I feel like such a grown up now, having a CD player in my car.”

Fast forward through hanging out at Pony’s new house, The Pony Palace. Fast forward through standing in Pony’s coat closet because it smells EXACTLY like Young Stud and I couldn’t get enough of the scent.

Fast forward through tacos for dinner and watching a movie. Fast forward through a 30 minute nap.

Fast forward to C.C. Slaughter’s where the real story begins.

We arrived at 9 p.m. soon thereafter joined by Pony and Chopper. The bartender brought us the usual Margarita and Maker’s neat. The Margaritas were perfect that night. I was well-rested and looking forward to a long night of partying.

The Bar-back, heretofore referred to as Built Bar-Back (BBB), came by the bar and offered Hot Toddy a couple of shots for his birthday. I believe it was BBB’s intention to assist Toddy in his birthday buzz and to watch him cringe as he surprised him with whatever concoction he put into the bucket glasses o’ buzz he was serving him.

Toddy downed the first shot and winced at the taste. Wild Turkey. Ew. On the second shot (I think it was a mix of Maker’s and Wild Turkey and Yukon) BBB gave him, Toddy hesitated.

“Drink that and I’ll rip this t-shirt right off my body and give it to you for your birthday.”

It was zero to sixty in 2.3 seconds. With a swift backward tip of Hot’s head the shot was gone. All that was left was the long, uncontrolled shudder of another nasty shot. Toddy slammed the glass back down on the bar and looked at BBB with anticipation… as did we all.

BBB reached up to the crewneck of what appeared to be a brand new t-shirt and ripped it wide open right down the center of his tan, taut torso. Geezus, this guy’s body is so tight. We all cheered. Toddy quickly bunched the shirt up and held it to his face trying to inhale whatever scent was left by BBB. Unfortunately there was no scent on the shirt. I know because I demanded Toddy share the shirt long enough for me to see what BBB smelled like as well!

Throughout the course of our visit to C.C.’s Toddy disappeared several times to take what I thought were incoming calls on his cell. Turns out he was disappearing to drunk dial people…all over America. To those of you who received the calls, yours was but a brief encounter with Drunk Toddy. Keep reading and feel my pain!

So lot’s of laughter and flirting and drinking of free shots later (it was 10:30 p.m.) I looked over at Toddy and realized that he had lost his 6’6” frame to a slumped over, one-eyed blob of man slumped over the bar. I started to laugh – not because it was funny (though it was) but because I knew at that moment, my night just got a lot longer! I had no idea how I was going to maneuver him into and out of my car or get him into the house.

BBB walked up and I pointed out the buzz level to which Toddy had fallen victim. BBB cheered that he helped Hot get fucked up on his birthday. It was at this point that I told BBB that I was going to have to kick his ass.

I began to coordinate my departure with Pony when one of the bartenders came up and told me that in as much as he didn’t want to have to do it, he was going to have to ask me to get Todd out of the bar because of his visible intoxication level. I was already on it.

I pulled my car around to the front of the bar to find The Huge Bouncer and Pony and Chopper carrying Todd out of the bar. It was like Todd had no bones! Toddy was standing there, body wrapped around a sign pole with this drunken grin on his face. The boys poured him into my car and I drove him back to my house.

All the way home, I strategized how I was going to get Todd out of my car. I’m 5’10” and well, a girl. I was no match for a drunken giant man with no bones!

I pulled into my driveway, unlocked the front door, opened the passenger door of my Camry and began my escapade.

I grabbed Toddy by his lapels – wads of coat in each fist, took a wide stance and heaved. Nothing. I took another deep breath and pulled. Still nothing. It was like I was Chicken Little trying to lug Foghorn Leghorn out of a recliner. There was no way I was going to be able to get him out of the car.

There he sat comfortably passed out in my car oblivious to my plight while I was trying to hoist him out of the car - my back arched so far back I was actually looking up at the stars!


He stirred. With arms like lead and an inability to assist my efforts, I place his hands on either side of the car door frame and on the count of three, I got him to his feet. He staggered a couple of giant steps sideways at which point I yanked him back the other direction slamming him into the side of my car.

I again grabbed his lapels pulling him toward me as I walked backwards coaching him step by step toward the front of the car. Unfortunately, the car ran out and his momentum carried him forward right into the side of my house. I let him go knowing the house would break his fall.

I stood there taking in some deep breaths contemplating my next move when all of a sudden I heard this roar. It was not the roar of a mighty lion but rather my best friend hurling his guts up all over my front walk. Seven times. Seven times people. Who has that much puke? Seriously! I kept my back to him until I was certain he was at a stopping point.

If I weren’t Aries’ Mom and was not used to the sounds and smells of someone else’s puking, I would have been a sympathy puker in a hot second. Instead I watched as Toddy headed for the banister around my front porch. He leaned over and hurled two more times. I wasn’t so much worried about his puking as I was about the incredibly loud gagging noises he made while he dry-heaved. I honestly expected lights in the neighborhood to start flipping on to see what the raucous was.

I grabbed the water hose and hosed off the patio and the flowerbed pushing everything to the street. By the time I was done, he was ready for round two.

I grabbed his coat again and guided him up the two steps in front of my house and then in my front door. I turned him toward the stairs and ran around behind him so he wouldn’t fall on me as I got him into the bedroom downstairs.


He extended his right leg and it landed square on the first step.


As he lifted his left leg, his pants fell down around his ankles. I started laughing and couldn’t stop. All I could think about was how unfair it was that I was the only person to see this comedy of errors happening.

“My pants! My pants fell down. Dammit! I gotta get my pants.”

“LEAVE EM!” I commanded. “Just tell me you’re wearing undies, Todd.”

He was.

Step-by-step I guided him down the stairs with his Levi’s bunched below the tops of his cowboy boots. He took little baby steps, scooting his feet like a little kid – a little drunk kid – bouncing off the counters and appliances in the downstairs kitchen like a pinball.

I got him into the bedroom and planted him at the foot of the bed, right in the very center. Assuring he was okay, I ran upstairs to pee and on my way back down heard a loud thud. Thinking he knocked over the floor lamp I rounded the corner to find Toddy laying on the floor between the bed and the wall – on his back, long-ass legs and feet in the air.

“I fell,” he slurred.

“Gee, ya think?!?!”

He had managed to get his boots and pants off and now laid before me in his shirt, undies and socks helpless, as I laughed. Having no coat to grab this time I offered the pillow and the comforter to the floor to which he agreed. In the amount of time it took me to grab the comforter he somehow found the momentum to get up onto the bed and immediately passed out.

I stood in the doorway to the bedroom and shook my head.

Now, I know I’m a good friend to people. I always try to be there for those I love. Doesn’t matter what they need, I will always try to help. I believe that Karma is a powerful thing, do unto others and all that…shit. But I’ve got to tell you, as I stood there making sure my best friend was breathing okay, I realized that my Karmic bank account was going to be full for a very, very long time!

As I walked away from the bedroom, I reminded Toddy of one last thing…”Fucker, you’re gonna owe me for a long, long time…”

Friday, October 07, 2005

Mission Impossible

Tomorrow is my best friend’s birthday. He’ll be 49. He’s a 49 year old gay boy with no life, no interests, no sense of humor, and no friends.

It’s sad.

He has a blog that no one reads. He’s terribly unattractive and none of the gay boys at CCs think he’s hot. In fact, he couldn’t find a man to love him with two hands and a flashlight.

I’ve tried and tried to be a true and loving friend to this irritating man but he doesn’t make it easy. Occasionally I like to go out and enjoy an alcoholic beverage but he drinks so little that he’s never comfortable in doing so. He’s not much of a social butterfly either. He’s very withdrawn.

Sometimes I just want to get together with a bunch of friends and go sing Karaoke (or watch, in my case) but this tragic, tragic man has no pipes and couldn’t hit a note if he had to.

And the arts. I love to go see plays but unfortunately he’s not well versed in the theatre community. And music…oh my hell…his taste in music is atrocious.

He does, however, know a LOT about cars. You can ask him just about anything and he’ll know the answer. Cars and…women. He knows a lot about women. In fact, just the other day he said to me, “I fuckin’ LOVE boobs.”

I’ll see what I can do to try and make his day special. I just don’t know how successful I’ll be – he’s very hard to please. Hmmph, some people’s kids.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

It's all better

Before I left work on Tuesday, I jumped online to see if I could find Lion King tickets for Aries and I. I wanted our time together after our rough morning to be something really amazing. I reserved what I suspect were probably the last pair of tickets that were next to each other. I believe this because the woman at the will call counter snickered when I asked if there was any way to upgrade our limited view cheap-ass seats with anything else.

I must have apologized to Aries four or five times for the seats not being better. Orchestra A, Row K… Far left hand side facing the stage. Definitely could not see the entire stage. But it didn’t matter all that much. Not initially anyway.

When the show began, all the animals of Pride Rock emerged from the wings a few rows behind us. I tapped Aries on the shoulder and told her to turn around.

Her eyes were suddenly as big as saucers, her mouth fell open. Seeing the costuming for the show was breath-taking. Seeing my daughter blown away by it all was even better.

She watched intensely for about 90 seconds, turned and faced me and threw her arms around my neck. She hugged me and held me so tightly I didn’t think she was ever going to let go. I had to remind her she was missing the animals for her to finally release her death grip.

She said later she was almost going to cry she was so overwhelmed. That was the moment I wanted. Not her crying of course but just her and I, connected. It was another of the memories I’ll have with her that will stay with me the rest of my life.

The show was amazing. Unbelievable. Aries made me promise to take her again with Toddy and sitting in seats where she can see the entire stage. I’m such a snob about seating – good seating – that I really had to swallow hard to settle for limited view seats. I actually have a broker in Seattle for Mariner tickets in case I can’t get good seats otherwise. I won’t go to a game if the seats don’t meet my snobby expectations.

So now I have a new mission. Find three tickets to Lion King in Portland before the show ends at the end of the month. Good Lord...this is going to require knowing someone who knows someone who isn’t going to use their tickets. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Wish I Could Take it Back

I blew my stack this morning. I came unhinged. Everything was cool right up until just about the time we were gathering things up to walk out the door - or rather I was gathering things and getting ready to walk out the door. Aries was still dinking around in the bathroom.

She wanted a braid in her hair. She kept wanting to get back to a drawing on which she was working, one that I thought she had finished the night before. She still hadn't brushed her teeth. All the while getting exasperated with me because I didn't want to use her choice of the earrings I was going to wear today. Apparently I “never value [her] opinion and never listen to [her].”

As it turns out, her class is studying the moon - New Moon to New Moon - a one month project. Each night they are to observe the moon, etc., write about it, what it made you think about, how it made you feel, any questions you may have about it and draw a quick picture to accompany your notes. The picture she stayed up late drawing last night she had completely erased because it "wasn't good enough." Unbeknownst to me, this is why she was pushing to get back to her artwork this morning.

As we walked out the door 10 minutes late (I DETEST being late) and got into the car, I could hear her taking her artwork out of her backpack. When I glanced back, that's when I realized she had erased the perfect drawing she had drawn the night before.

I lost it.

It was a combination of the chaos that became our morning and realizing that she had put herself under the gun because she's not to work on this particular project at school.

I felt my temper creep up my spine as I tried to calm myself. I tried to remind myself it wasn't all her fault. My loose boundaries and treating her like she was older than eight years old was what got me in trouble. I needed to be stern and keep her on track. I failed - which made me only more pissed off.

The word vomit started. The "dammit, this isn't happening again" speech. The "no TV in the morning until you're ready for school" speech. The "I can't believe you erased all of your artwork from the night before, what were you thinking" speech. The "7:20, Aries, I want to leave this house by 7:20" speech.

I let her have it. When all the while, I was really letting myself have it and clearly using the wrong forum to do so.

She sat in the back seat working on her drawing, taking in my words like a seasoned adult. She's seen my temper before. I hate my temper. It's short and I usually do well controlling it, but it's a trait inherent to the bloodline in my family and at times it finds its way out through the weakest point - through that one thread that has loosened itself enough to start to unravel.

I looked at her and realized my words were piercing her heart. She wasn’t displaying the pain but the hurt she was feeling struck me and wrapped around me like a hurricane wind. What the hell was I thinking. This was no way to communicate my point to my little girl.

I stopped. I couldn’t speak. I turned on the stereo in the car and listened to some Patty Griffin. I searched for a way to make it right but the damage had been done. My behavior was a disgrace. She’s eight. Hell, I work with adults at work who don’t know how to take me and here I was dumping on Aries.

I finally found the words to apologize. I explained to her that she knows how I am in the morning and this isn’t new information. That we need to work together to be successful in getting out the door in the morning.

She said nothing.

I pulled up in front of the school and she grabbed her bag. I told her to have a good day knowing damn good and well I had fucked it up for her. What started out as a good day was now smothered by me being mad at her. I am her balance. I am the one consistent thing in her life. I am the one with whom she feels truly safe and I had just been mean to her.

I was a Mean Girl. A bitch.

She shut the car door without saying a word and glanced over her left shoulder giving me the eight year old version of the “fuck you” evil eye.

I rolled down the passenger window. “Aries…Try to have a good day. I’m sorry.”

She took three steps away from the car, stopped, turned and just looked at me – her spirit broken. My heart hit the floor. I could see the emotion finding its way out. “Mommy, can I please have a hug.”

By the time I opened my car door, she was standing there with tears welled up in her green eyes. She told me she was sorry. I said the same. I tried to tell her it wasn’t all her fault and that I should have handled things differently – but that’s not how an eight year old mind works. All she knew was that I was mad and it was her fault.

I told her we’d do something special tonight, just she and I, and that everything was okay.

She headed up the stairs to her school, tears still overwhelming her.

If I could, I would take it all back. Every single quick-tempered word I spoke to her this morning. But I can’t. All I can do is exist inside this feeling of letting her down – of hurting the one person that I love more than life itself.

I want this day to be over so I can go home and hold my little girl and love her. I need to see that smile in her eyes that she always has, that one special look that I know is just for me.

Monday, October 03, 2005

It's 5 a.m., go back to sleep


AP: [steps out of the shower and runs to Aries' room] What is it, baby?

AA: I was having a bad dream.

AP: [stroking Aries' cheek and hair] Everything is okay, baby. Do you want to talk about it?

AA: Uh huh... We were in a mall and a friend of yours was getting married and couldn't afford a wedding dress and asked if you would help her pay for it, so you were buying it for her. I had to go potty so we walked to the bathroom and when I came out I couldn't find you anywhere.

AP: Aries, I would never walk away like that. I could never let anything happen to you.

AA: I know, but I walked the whole mall and looked everywhere and I couldn't find you. It was the scariest dream ever.

AP: It was just a dream, little one. You're home and safe in bed. It's 5 in the morning, so go back to sleep and I'll wake you in an hour.

AA: WAIT! That wasn't all. Then, I dreamed I was riding a giant tape dispenser [the disposable kind] like a horsie and someone stole my sausages...

AP: [WTF do I say to that?! I was fighting back laughter so hard, my shoulders were shaking. Someone stole her sausages!. Oh my hell. Riding tape like a horse made a little more sense simply because my eight and a half year old is a tape whore. But seriously...if my entire world was rocked by something this hilarious, I wouldn't need Wellbutrin!] Go back to sleep little one. Everything is okay. I love you.