My Mother Always Said

My mother always told me that being a left-handed Aries made me walk through the world differently than anyone else. Being an Aries, she said, made me hardheaded and stubborn as a mule. Being left-handed meant that my trip from point A to point B was going to take a different, harder route than the rest of the world. There was a time that I vehemently disagreed with her assessment, but in looking back over my life, I can’t do that anymore.

If anyone happened to read two posts back, my letter to Roman Reigns, then you know what’s gone on and why I haven’t been here blogging. Right now, life is a daily struggle to get through.

I actually sent Roman the link to that post, and believe it or not, he responded to me privately. He called me brave, among other things. I’m not going to post his response here; it’s something I keep close to my heart. Suffice it to say, he has a fan for life in me. He has his haters and his doubters, but I’m staunch in my loyalties, and he has mine.

As I said, life is a daily struggle nowadays. I miss my crafting, but I simply don’t have time right now. Math and science have never been my strong points, and here I’ve chosen a career path in which they both figure prominently, so I’m struggling just to barely maintain a C average. In most schools, 65 is a D, and is a passing grade. In my school, there is no D. There are A, B, C, and F. A C is 77. I’m trying to look at it the way someone told me to: a 77 means that I’ve learned 3/4 of what I’ll need to know to be a vet tech. The rest will come as I’m working in the profession. It’s a good way to look at it.

As far as family life goes, Bryony has started full-time school. Kindergarten is all day, and she attends the same school as Aneira. There has been some acting out on her part since school has started, and I don’t know, honestly, how much of it is due to a whole new environment and people, and how much of it is due to the changing dynamics at home. Both girls are aware of their dad’s preferences, and it doesn’t appear to bother them at all. Things have changed for them, but not as much as for me. For them, dad is still dad, and he still treats them the same way he always has. The only difference is that he’s now extremely feminine. More often than not, they refer to him as Dad-mom, or Mom 2.

For me, it’s like another person that looks just like my other half has moved into my life. Everything has changed. His entire personality is different. Foods that he used to like, he now hates. Television shows he used to watch are now no longer worthy of his time. The things he likes to do have changed a little too.

Not all the changes are bad. He’s closer to the kids now, and more patient with them than he was before, and that’s a good thing. Still, for me, it’s like putting on a different skin. I don’t know this person, and I’m not completely comfortable with him yet. I don’t know if I ever will be. Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad he’s comfortable enough now to openly be himself. But I never planned, never expected, this.

For me, everything is in upheaval. I had a plan for my life, for my relationship with a man. I wanted the hand-holding, the ring, the traditional wedding. I have to come to terms with the fact that these things are not going to happen with the man I’ve spent so many years loving. I’ve even had to work on my body language, so that when we’re out together, my body language doesn’t scream “These two are a couple”, while his says “Oh, that guy is a hottie!”

There’s a part of me that’s angry, so angry with him for destroying what I thought we had. There’s another part that says it’s not his fault, and it really isn’t. Being gay isn’t a choice. Rationally, I know that. Emotionally, though, I’ve withdrawn from him a bit. Okay, a lot. He’s still my friend, but I need to protect my heart now. From him. How sad is that?

He wants us to stay together. He’s stated that he would be extremely jealous if I found someone else. I don’t really understand either sentiment, nor do I see staying together as really feasible, but I’ve agreed for the time being. It’s weird. He doesn’t understand why I’m no longer attracted to him, but in my mind he is now as much a girl as I am, and I’m very much heterosexual. I like guys, and he’s no longer in the club.

It’s scary to have your life turned completely upside down. For all these years, everything has been “we”, and now it’s back to “him” and “I”. There’s a separation there now. I can’t help it.

We’re muddling through, though, and trying to keep life as they know it as normal as possible for the girls. Ye gods, did I really just use the word “normal” in reference to my life?

So, yeah: really can’t disagree with my mom anymore. She was right, my path through life is a lot stranger than that of the rest of the world. No denying it. It’s certainly not boring, that’s for sure. I’m not sure where we’re going from here, or where we’ll wind up. I think it’s going to take a long time before we figure it all out. I hope we can salvage our friendship, at the very least for the sake of the girls. The gods know, we aren’t the first couple to find themselves in this situation, and almost certainly won’t be the last. It’s going to be a rough ride, all the way across the board. But I’m gonna keep watching the WWE and Roman, and keep telling myself “I Can and I Will”. If for no other reason, I am a mother: first, last, and always, and for them, I can and I will do anything. So please wish us all luck, and please don’t give up on my blog here…it may be awhile, posts may be few and far between, but I will be back here. Thanks for reading, and supporting.

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Where I Was: 9/11/2001

I have never written about this before. I’ve never been able to. But I’m going to do it now. I don’t know why now, simply that I feel I should.

I’m a New Yorker. I always will be, regardless of where I actually reside. New York City was my playground. I was born there, raised in the Long Island suburbs just outside the city, lived there and in Queens for more than half my life. I had only moved to Arizona five years before the attacks took place.

I had just started my second semester of college; it was my first return to school as an adult. Chemistry was my first class of the day. I wasn’t in the habit of turning on the television or the radio before heading out the door. I generally got up in the morning with just enough time to get myself ready and run out the door. So I hadn’t heard anything when I walked into my class and into a conversation about buildings falling. Everyone was talking about it, so curiosity got the better of me and I asked what they were talking about. Someone–I can’t remember who–told me that one of the Twin Towers had fallen, but not why.

I laughed. I told them they were being ridiculous. I’m from New York, I’ve been in those towers; they’re not going anywhere. They’ve been a major part of my home skyline for what seems like forever. I was five when they were completed, so you can understand that in my memory, they’ve always been there. They survived a bombing in 1993 and still stood tall and strong. They were the icons that welcomed me home whenever I flew in, or drove in when I was in my late teens and early twenties. They were the last things I said goodbye to when I flew away for good. No, they weren’t going anywhere.

Then our teacher came in. She was in tears, and dismissed the class for the day. That was when the first fear started to rise. Something was going on.

I immediately went and called my uncle in Queens, to hear that all circuits were busy. So I then called my parents, who had moved to California three years previously, and my mother confirmed what my classmate had said: one of the towers was gone.

At that point, we still didn’t know what was going on. We had no clue.

I drove home, turned on the television, and called my roommate home from work. I didn’t want to be alone. He came home just a few minutes before the second plane plowed into the second tower. By now, we knew that what we were seeing was no accident. I sat in front of that tv for thirteen hours straight, most of it in tears. I watched people leaping from the windows, and just rocked back and forth. My cousin worked there, and the phone lines were all down into the city. We couldn’t reach any of my family to find out if she was all right. It was the next day before we got the news that she was fine. She had been late that day, arriving at work just after the first plane hit, and hadn’t been allowed into the building. She was safe.

So many other people weren’t, people that we knew, who were family and close friends. Another cousin was on her way in to work on the PATH train from NJ. The train passed either directly under or very near to the towers, and was at that point of the track when the tower went down. She survived, but I never heard that she returned to work afterward. The trauma was too much. I don’t blame her.

Every day, my mother had news of someone else we knew who died there. Police, fire, a businessman who didn’t work there but had gone there for a meeting that day. After awhile, I stopped answering the phone when I saw my parents’ number come up. I couldn’t take anymore.

My uncle told me once that in the first few months after it happened, there was no crime anywhere in New York. Police blotters were empty. No murders, no robberies, no rapes, nothing. People were just too devastated by what had happened, and apparently no one wanted to visit any more trauma on anyone.

New Yorkers are nothing if not strong. We’ve had to be; New York really is a concrete jungle, and it’s survival of the fittest. Sinatra had it right: if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. And more than a few of us wanted bin Laden dropped in the middle of Times Square. Let us handle this. Nobody would have seen a thing, even if they’d been right there.

I don’t mean to undervalue the attack at the Pentagon, or the brave passengers who took down their own plane in order to avoid killing others. Not at all. But seeing my home turned into a copy of Beirut, seeing devastation of such scale in my home, had a profound effect on me. The sheer number of lives lost, especially the children, scarred me. The loss of the buildings, while far less devastating than the deaths, scarred me as well. They were part of my life as far back as I can remember, and their absence is as much a reminder of the attacks.

I am the daughter of a pilot, and I no longer fly happily. Just something else taken by the attacks. I don’t willingly get on a plane like I used to.

Thirteen years have passed, but I can write this exactly as it happened, see it in my memory exactly as it happened. It would be impossible to forget, even if I wanted to. I send my regards and my respect to the families of all those who fell that day. Never, never, will your loved ones be forgotten.

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I Can. I Will. Believe That. (An Open Letter to Roman Reigns)

We don’t know each other. We’ve never met, and the most likely scenario is that we never will, and that’s fine. We each have lives to live.

But at the same time, I need to tell you, I need you to know, that your catchphrase makes a difference in my life.

There are those that laugh at me when I say that. I’m too old to let my life be influenced by a celebrity and have stars in my eyes like some teenager mooning over a poster. But truth is truth.

Life has been hell for the last little while. I chose to go back to school for both my own sake and that of my family, so I could do more for them. I chose to study veterinary technology, knowing that math and science have always been my two worst subjects and that I was going to really have to dig in to make it work. But working with animals has always been what I wanted to do. There was no plan B.

Over the time since this decision was made, life has imploded. My children’s father, my partner of nearly fifteen years, came out of the closet, and a few weeks ago, his therapist told him that he had to tell me the truth about why we got together in the first place, and if I was a true friend, I would understand and work it out with him. His confession was that love had nothing to do with us getting together. He didn’t want to be outed as gay, and he wanted kids.


The arguments since then have been epic. He’s Chicago, and I’m New York. Neither of us is familiar with the word “quiet”.

To add to the mix, three months ago, the girls and I were in a car accident. My truck, with only three payments left on her, was totaled. Thankfully, my children were not hurt. I wound up in a splint for several weeks, and the aftermath of the accident resulted in my failing two classes. I also had to buy a new truck. Well, new to me, anyway. This meant a whole new auto loan.

And the kicker–I lost my job this past Tuesday.

Throughout all of this, there were so many times I sat in a corner and cried, so many times I wanted to quit, so many times I wanted to lay it all down, so many times when I thought. “I can’t.”

And then I would think of you, up on the announce table after spearing Mark Henry, saying “To hell with ‘I can’t’: I can, and I will! Believe that!”

It got me through. It’s getting me through. The splint is gone. I’m going to repeat my classes and pass them. My family is working out new dynamics and figuring out how things are going to go now. I’ll find another job.

Life isn’t sunshine and roses yet. It’s going to take time, probably a long time. But I’m going to manage, because of you, someone I’ve never met and never will. Yet somehow, your mantra makes me feel like there really is a Superman, and he’s my friend, and he’s in my corner.

I say all this to say thank you. Thank you for being the person you are, the superstar you are. And when I graduate in April, I’ll send you an invitation. I know you can’t come, and that’s okay. You’re a busy man with a family of your own and huge demands on your time. But I want to send it anyway, so that if ever you find yourself feeling down, you have a tangible reminder of a life you helped. Because you did. I’m going to make it through.

I Can.

I Will.

Believe THAT!!!

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Tips For Grooming A Woolly-Coated Siberian Husky

1. You will need a rake, a pin comb with spinning tines, a pin brush, and lots of alcohol (for you, not the dog).
2. You will need to have three hours, free of interruption. And more alcohol than you originally set on the table.
3. If your woolly is anything like mine, you will also need a leash or grooming table to prevent escapes. Also, more alcohol.
4. You will need a working knowledge of four letter words that are not suitable for young ears. If you don’t have any such knowledge, trust me, you will when you have finished grooming your dog, and you will probably have invented a few. This will happen with or without alcohol.
5. Leash the dog.
6. I start with the comb. Woollies mat like you would not believe. If you groomed him yesterday, he is matted today. Don’t believe me? Get your hands in there.
7. The left side will take an hour with the comb, from head to tail. Start drinking now.
8. In fifteen minutes, the four letter words will start coming. Coo them sweetly. No sense in traumatizing your dog. Drink some more.
9. Be ambidextrous. There is no way you will get through this one-handed. Your arms WILL get tired, and you’re just getting started. Yes, you can have another drink. Pour some for me too.
10. By the time you finish with the left side, you should have invented a few four letter words of your own. Flip the dog, or move around him.
11. Continue with the pin comb, the drinking, and the swearing on the right side. I know, you’ve never seen this much fur come off of one dog in one session in your life. Welcome to woollies.
12. You are now two hours into a three hour session. Give the dog a break, and have a really big drink for yourself. Do not share with the dog.
13. Now comes the rake. No matter how much fur you already have off to the side, your pile is about to triple in size. The comb gets a lot, but it has nothing on the rake. This will take about 45 minutes. One more drink.
14. Now you get to the tail, and the pin brush. Best of luck. Have another drink first.
15. Finish off by raking, then combing the tail. You may or may not have any alcohol left. You definitely have a beautiful dog, though he may not appreciate it. Mine doesn’t.
Congratulations! You have just groomed a woolly-coated Sibe and gained enough fur to coat two more dogs. If you have any alcohol left after this experience, enjoy it as you clean up the fur.

All this being said, in all seriousness, if you have a woolly-coated Sibe, or any other double-coated dog, please do not have him shaved because it’s summer and you think he’ll be cooler. Nothing could be further from the truth. That double coat keeps him cooler than shaving will, by trapping the air close to the skin. Also, the skin of your double-coated dog doesn’t know what the sun is except by vague description. His skin wasn’t meant to be exposed to sun, and he will very likely get sunburned. No, I am not kidding. Yeah, some of the cuts are cute, but your dog will be happier if you leave his fur alone and let him hang out in the house where it’s cooler.

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This does not stand for Men In Black. This stands for Missing In Blogging. I’d been trying to do better in keeping up on my blog, but, three weeks ago, the girls and I were involved in a car accident. I can’t really discuss it, as there are attorneys involved and such. Suffice it to say, my truck was totaled. The girls are physically fine, thanks to all benevolent gods, and I just got rid of my splint yesterday, for the most part. So I can type again, and with any luck, I’ll soon have something to blog about again! Don’t give up on me!

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The Ups and Downs of Life

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Yesterday pretty much covered that title. It was definitely an interesting day.

It began with my arrival at school. As I’m waiting to turn left into the parking lot, a woman in a Honda SUV coming from the other direction turns right into the parking lot ahead of me and parks next to the smoking area, where several of my classmates are hanging out. No big deal. I park a few spaces over and get out of my truck to walk over and join them. As I’m passing this woman’s car, she reverses into me. I’m screaming and pounding on her back window while backpedaling for all I’m worth, which isn’t nearly enough as my hip isn’t limber enough for quickstepping, and my classmates are also screaming at her. She never stopped. I finally got out from behind her, and she’s still going, continuing to back up until she bounces over the curb and very nearly takes out another classmate’s car. She looks at me as though I’ve lost my mind and drives away. ??!!! She never stopped. She never acknowledged me. Never asked if I was all right. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Amazingly, despite full-body contact with the back end of her car, I haven’t fallen over yet. I really should have, and then called an attorney. I just filed an incident report with the school and continued on with my day.

Then, after school, I got to go to work. Yes, I finally got a job, the first one I’ve had since getting pregnant with Aneira! Well…the first job outside the home anyway…I do plenty of working inside the home! It is a veterinary clinic, which is good, but it wasn’t the clinic I wanted. Still, it’s a job, and it has pretty good benefits, and I don’t have to stay there forever, but I’m going to run with it for now. The vet is pretty cool, and so is the receptionist, and I haven’t talked much to the other techs yet, so we’ll see. They seem nice, though. And gods, did my feet hurt after being on them for four hours straight! I haven’t done that in over ten years, and I’m not as young as I was then! I hobbled out to my truck, where hubby and the girls were waiting for me, and immediately went to the passenger side. I never do that. It’s my truck; if it’s moving, I’m driving, but not yesterday!! Yesterday, I just wanted my shoes off!!!

Lastly, I think I’ve got the design of the crochet hook case conquered (say that three times, fast)! So far, I’ve got two of the ten pockets done, and they fit my Crochet Lite hooks beautifully! I’m trying to write it down as I go, so I can repeat the experiment and make sure it really does work, but I’ve never written a pattern before, so we’ll see how that goes. This part is only the interior; I’ve still got to figure out what I want to do for the outer cover that won’t be a copy of someone else’s design, since I’d like to put it on Etsy if it works!

So that’s my day in a nutshell. A hell of a day, wasn’t it?!

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Design Battle

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The case from Priscilla's pattern

The case from Priscilla’s pattern

Sorry that I’ve been MIA recently; I’ve been trying my hand at designing, and it isn’t going very well!

Previously, I said that I’d bought a full set of Cornerstone Crochet Lite hooks, and the more I use them, the more I like them, though I have yet to have to use the light up feature (hubby, on the other hand, discovered them the other day and had a lovely time playing with the LED lights. Boys. Sigh). Well, I wanted to find a case for them to protect them. They’re a bit more breakable than my usual aluminum hooks, but they have those big ergonomic handles, which has presented me with a problem. Searching for cases to fit hooks with ergonomic handles has shown me that either they don’t exist, unless they come with the set to begin with, or I haven’t figured out the correct search terms. Either way, no dice.

That failure led me down another path, which was to make my own case. There are tons of patterns available for that. Unfortunately, the ones that I saw that fit the ergonomic handles didn’t have pockets, which is my preference. They always had bands, which I don’t really like. I like the security of an actual pocket.

did make one case, from a pattern by Priscilla Hewitt of priscillascrochet.net. I love the pattern, but it’s only suitable for the normal aluminum handled hooks. When I tried mashing one of the Crochet Lite hooks into the pocket, the pocket flipped the switch on the hook because it was entirely too tight. So now I’m trying to figure out a way to make a case where the pockets are wide enough to comfortably fit the hooks without turning them on every time I put them away. Never having designed anything before, this is turning out to be harder than I thought it would be, and gives me more respect for those who design a pattern and make it look easy. It is so not.

I’ve downloaded the patterns of several cases I really liked that I will probably make for my regular hooks just because they’re so pretty, not because there’s any

The almost-finished case open, filled with aluminum hooks

The almost-finished case open, filled with aluminum hooks

actual need for them. Cases are like purses to me: just because you have one purse that holds everything you want in it doesn’t mean that you don’t occasionally want to change it out for another that is equally functional but has a different look (I have a serious weakness for purses. Specifically, big shoulder bags made of nice, buttery soft leather…mmmmmmm…)!

It’s mainly figuring out how the stitching will work best, so I’m still fighting with it. Most of the patterns involved only double and single crochet, but that won’t work for my lovely hooks and their chunky handles. Treble crochet, at least with the yarn I’m working with, is far too open and has too much drape when what I need is stiffness. I’ll keep working on it. If anyone has any ideas – please, none that involve sewing! – I’d be happy to hear them!

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