Sunday, January 31, 2016

Birthday Tea at LTR

Today is my baby sister's birthday and she requested tea.  There was only one real destination for a birthday tea, The London Tea Room (  We love the LTR and have celebrated many things within the walls of this establishment.  Maybe it is the good tea or maybe the scones or maybe it has become a tradition with us, who knows, but today for baby sister's birthday we arrived ready to celebrate. 

I will always celebrate the birth of someone I love so deeply.  The last thing I expected at 20 was another sister, but fate gave me a second chance at a sibling and I am lucky to have the bonus sibling.  Part of the problem is I dislike the siblings I grew up with.  I have tried over the years to fix the differences between my other siblings and myself, but some things are just too broken and I am human after all,  I can forgive, but I am incapable of forgetting.  Baby sister gave me the opportunity to start with a clean slate not marred with pain and for that I will always be grateful.  She challenges me to stay connected to someone a generation younger than I am, and for that I am also grateful.

The day of her birth I was with her birth mother up until the moment of her arrival.  I fled unable to bring myself to witness the miracle of life.  I regret that choice, wishing I could go back and be there when baby sister made her entrance into the world.  I remember she was small, redheaded, beautiful, and loud when we meet for the first time.  It would take my parents 3 years, several legal hoops, and a chunk of change to get through the process of adopting my baby sister, but know she was ours from the beginning.

Being the much older sister comes with lots of responsibilities and sometimes I am not always up to challenge, but I am also lucky that Natalie took up the challenge too.  She has also supplemented the big sister duties with her own brand of love and practicality. Baby sister has always known that Natalie was my partner and spouse and for her this meant more love.

I am not trying to say everything is always perfect, but know having a much younger baby sister goes on my list of things that make my life (most of the time that is) more.  So to my baby sister I wish her a wonder birthday and I look forward to sharing many more birthdays with her.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


Had a tough week at work.  Actually, work has become stressful.  It always amazes me how one bad co-worker can truly f*** up a work environment.  Anyway, I asked for help from my boss and he not only helped, but gave me an inspiring pep talk. I almost cried from the support.  As I look at my up coming 3 year anniversary at the jail, I do not regret changing jobs.  A good boss is worth everything to me, everything but winning the lottery, that is.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hat Season

Knitted Slouchy Hat with Color Changing Flowers
I have been knitting a lot of hats lately. I think it is because it is hat season, or maybe I just wanted to knit up a few patterns that caught my fancy. I have found hats to be one of the most difficult things to get right and I have complained about them before (  It is always the band I have a hard time getting right, they are either too tight or mostly too loose.  I have gotten smarter using a smaller size needle than the pattern suggests, which helps, but I still jokingly call them hates.

The Lovely Leana Hat
2 of the 3 turned out better than expected, but one require some extra effort on my part.  The Jacques Cousteau hat ( was a straight forward ribbed hat, which knitted up really nice once I got the gauge right.  The Cousteau hat was gifted to a friend and I am hoping it is keeping his head warm.  The Leana hat was knitted up with this great yarn called Leana by Schachenmayr.  I love how it striped up and the band is perfect on this hat.  I kind of love how this hat looks on me.  The third hat was a pattern I picked up on the yarn crawl last summer at the Bead Place in Illnois.  The gimmick with this knitted slouchy hat is the crocheted flowers turn colors.
Jacques Cousteau Hat
The knitted slouchy hat was a little bit of a challenge.  The band had a weird construction which included a hem and was still too loose.  Some carefully placed elastic made the band fit.  The original pattern had one crocheted flower, but I had enough yarn and crocheted 2 more.  The flowers with the buttons made the hat kind of heavy, but again the elastic did the trick.  I feel kind of over the top in the hat, but you know what I kind of like that feeling.

Crochet Flowers Turn Lavender in the Sunlight

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Alan Rickman Departs

I am stunned to lose 2 great celebrity forces in one week.  I have loved Alan Rickman since I first saw him tragically killed on screen by the very mediocre Kevin Costner.  From Truly, Madly, Deeply to Chaos Theory I have watched his films with the devotion of a fan.  I have even said if I could have a celebrity best friend it would be Alan.  Now he is gone and I can only wish him well in the next life and condolences to his loved ones.  The man could act and tangoed like a dream.   I will miss him.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Good Bye David


Today they announced that David Bowie died yesterday.  This news made me feel sad, like I had lost someone I knew, but of course I did not.  The thing is my grandmother talked about him all the time.  She followed him in the tabloids, with Rhoda Barrett on the news, and regularly would watch him on the Midnight Special.  She would talk about how he and his wife both looked like girls, he was seen wearing a purse, and he had on full make-up while performing on TV.  One night she even let me stay up and watch him perform a number on Midnight Special.  He was gloriously beautiful.  My grandmother talked about him so much, I thought she must know him. 

As I grew up I learned what it meant to be a celebrity and have everything you do securitized in the media.  My grandma did not know David Bowie, but in some ways I still felt like he was a distant relative.  He also stood as a beacon of what it meant to be different.  Even in the middle of nowhere I could see that individuals did exist in the world.  There was hope.

In 2014 I had the good fortune to see the David Bowie exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Modern Art ( ).  The exhibit reminded me of how iconic Bowie is.  Today the news came Bowie became a was, not an is.  I know like many I am wishing him well in the great beyond and thanking him for being something glittering and bright in my world.  Good night, sweet prince.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Worth the Fight

Over the last 31 years (yup I said 31), one of our biggest fears as a lesbian couple has been what if one of us gets sick and has to go into the hospital.  We were afraid either the hospital or our families would block us from seeing one another or worse health care decisions would be taken away from us as a couple.  In the early aughts we spent some bucks on designating each other with durable power of attorney.  Our lawyer did not want us to give each other those legal rights, but realistically it was the only way we knew to protect the other.  Over the years we have given copies of those legal documents to our doctors and have a file at home to grab in case of a medical emergency.  The things we did to protect our rights as unrecognized spouses.

Fast Forward to November 2015.  For Natalie's birthday we flew to Florida to meet our new niece.  The first night Natalie suffered a gall bladder attack so severe we ended up at the emergency room followed by admittance and removal of the offending organ.  It was a tough couple of days which ended with a flight home taking care of an uncomfortable and drugged wife.  What didn't happened was anyone questioning my right to be there for my wife.  I was treated with respect and dignity by all of the hospital staff.  Natalie has recovered and our new niece is indeed adorable.

I wish Natalie had not gotten sick and our trip had not been so stressful, but that said it was good to be treated like every other spouse.  I thanked the Supreme Court and Edie Windsor over and over again during those days in Florida.  This is what we fought for the right to be recognized as the caretakers for one another.  Thanking the staff at North Florida Regional Hospital for taking such good care of my wife and threating us any other married couple.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Casting Off 2015

As usual I did some knitting for the holidays.  I tried to keep it light, but you know sometimes I get a little too ambitious for my own good.  My friend Brooke Nico at Kirkwood Knittery is known for her lace projects.  From her needles comes some of the most gorgeous lace patterns, which for me can be daunting.  Counting beyond my 10 fingers gets complicated and many stitch markers are needed.  However, during the yarn crawl I purchased a kit from Kirkwood Knittery featuring the Chianti Cowl pattern in a luscious Black Bunny Fibers color way.  The kit color was in the red and burgundy family, hence the name, those shades do not flatter my complexion, but I knew it would look stunning on my mother.  I thought if I started knitting in August I would surely get done by Christmas.  The pattern needed my liberal arts brain to stay focused on the my stitches requiring the Chianti Cowl to stay at home.  Fortunately, I had a Blue Heron Chenille cowl I was knitting for my wife, Natalie, as a Christmas present, that cowl went anywhere she wasn't.

I knit with diligence and the chunkier Blue Heron cowl actually knitted up fairly quickly.  In fact I knit it up and sewed it together just in time to hear my wife say she did not like long cowls.  At 54 inches her cowl was going to be a long one.  I told myself she could wrap it around her neck twice, either that or I could strangle her with it (because the more you love someone the more you want to kill them).

The lacy Chianti Cowl was more of a challenge, that counting thing even with the stitch markers was slow knitting for me, but by Thanksgiving it was almost done. The frothy concoction needed to be blocked and finished with a 3 needle cast off.  Plenty of time I told myself.  Right.  There I was the week before Christmas blocking and trying to get it finished.  I spent Christmas eve casting off, but got it done.  The yarn with its merino, angora, and tencel blend turned out soft and light.  Brooke's pattern included an edging with a combination of stitches that not only blocked out flat, but stayed flat and looked stunning with the rest of the pattern.  My needlework was not perfect, but only another knitter would see, my mom not so much. 

In the end Natalie loves her new cowl with the cozy chenille yarn.  I have not heard back from my mom on the Chianti cowl.  I can only hope she loves the drape and color.  I also hope both know how much care and love went into each stitch.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Well, Hello 2016!

Leaving 2015 behind, the year of the big move, the year I felt displaced and out of my comfort zone always, the year I seemed to have lost everything I own in cardboard boxes.  Waking up to a me who quits moping about the move and starts finding her stuff and that damn power cord to my boom box.  I know it will get better.  I am also over knitting stuff for gifts right now when I want a big green poncho.  I need this poncho, I have lots of green yarn, and I know how to knit.  NYE resolutions: unpack my shit and knit that poncho.  Wish me luck.