Thursday, February 10, 2011

Job Juggling

I am not sure if I am getting any better at juggling jobs or not; I do know that I am trying to find some peace with the fact that this is just the way it is right now. I am in good company, I do know that--many Americans are working part-time jobs when they would rather be working one great full-time job. I tell myself I am lucky, I can do it, and there is opportunity in everything (that is the Stoic American talking, of course.)

As I continue my work as co-director of the Community Alliance of Lane County--a small, dynamic, 45-year-old human rights nonprofit, I am also learning the ins and outs (no pun intended) of marketing organic, all-natural adult lubrication products and sexual health books and products at Good Clean Love. Definitely no conflict of interest as I go from all the "isms" that I feel so passionate about changing in the realm of human rights to the heterosexual world of "love products." Meanwhile, in my freelance writing work, I have been getting more opportunities than I have been able to respond to. That's okay, I tell myself, this is abundance and abundance is good!

Alas, I also feel my age and switching gears so often throughout the day makes a gal feel a bit tired! Besides, there is life outside of work to: a garden to plant (We finally got the peas and cool-season stuff into our fabulously evolving veggie beds this past week), a wedding to plan, and a relationship to maintain. Juggle, juggle, juggle. I can do this...I must do this...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Loading up the Plate

First of all, this is NOT my desk--not in reality. It does feel a bit like my work load and life at present, however! I have accepted a position as a marketing and communications director, in addition to my work as co-director of the Community Alliance of Lane County and the freelance writing. Not to mention the fact that I am totally dedicated to planning a fabulous wedding.

There is a certain amount of overwhelm that I am experiencing currently and I hope that is to be expected. I still haven't figured out exactly HOW I will do all these things but I am certainly going to give it my best. Meanwhile, things are not exactly going smoothly on all fronts either...

I spent a good portion of today dredging out the downstairs office here at the nonprofit. Stacks of papers, overflowing piles of stuff that needed to be filed, dumped, recycled or, unfortunately, dealt with 2 months ago have all been sorted and sifted. it wasn't exactly what I expected to do today, but it is done.

There are grant proposals to be written, DJs to be contacted (for the wedding), taxes to be filed, articles to be written, AND, a garden that I am aching to start planting. Much to do, much to do and, like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, I already feel as though I am running terribly late.

Arts Marketing: The Post-3D Surround Sound Live Theatre Blues (with Solutions)

Arts Marketing: The Post-3D Surround Sound Live Theatre Blues (with Solutions)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I would love to say that I am an expert at personal relationships! At the almost-age of 44, who wouldn't like to think that she has mastered something as basic as the personal, intimate relationship? Well, that person is just not me...

I'm better, I'm evolving and I am still determined to continue to challenge myself to stay in the game, but I am so not perfect. I still bumble and stumble and have days where my relating skills are not much better than they were twenty years ago. Other days, I feel like I am SO ready to take on Dr. Phil!

The gift of my fifth decade is that I have an amazing and resilient partner to practice all this relating. Teri is also NOT perfect, but she continues to stay in the game as well. She demands a level of communication and closeness that I have not had before and while we sometimes miss each other on the communication path, we generally swing back around and keep trying until we land. With two peri-menopausal women, the whole "connection" and getting on the same page thing can be especially challenging. We are both trying to adjust to these new grown-up versions of ourselves that seem to be changing as well--we don't always feel like ourselves or know how to put words to what it is we are experiencing.

And yet, we keep trying. I feel incredibly lucky to have a partner who values communication and relatedness as much as I do and yet we still strive to find a common language with which to stay connected.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wedding Planning Mania

Who would have thought? I don't remember putting much "careful" planning into my teenager version of a wedding. While I had opinions and I remember picking colors, napkins and the like, I also remember having a somewhat casual approach. I definitely didn't think of it as "for life"--which says something about the decision-making of an 18/19-year old but it also says MORE about where I am in my life NOW.

Twenty years of increasingly complex event planning, partnered with the fact that I really am completely committed to Teri and cannot imagine a life without her and the result is that with the start of 2011, our wedding planning has been kicked into high gear! I have more developed organizational skills and my tastes have surely changed--not to mention that Teri has opinions, ideas and definitely preferences for how she would like to see our special day too. Strange to be at this place, at this age, and coming at it with the fabulous fresh spin of being a middle-age same-sex couple!

We have lists, folders, and a few wonderful spread sheets (25 years ago, I did NOT have the joy of putting the guest list into Excel and manipulating it around!); there are diagrams and measurements and time schedules--NONE of these were part of my world 2 1/2 decades ago. I NOW know enough about event planning to know that 7 months is not very much time at all when it comes to tending to all the tiny little details that make an important day...unforgettable. And I would do anything to make our wedding day unforgettable for both Teri and me...

Monday, December 27, 2010


Today Teri and I finished sorting and packing away all the Christmas decor. We are simpatico when it comes to our holiday decorating calendar--everything goes up on the Friday after Thanksgiving (Decoration Day) and it comes down soon after Christmas. A month of holiday house is perfect and we can start the new year with a fresh, clean, and airy feeling home.

This was our second Christmas together in the same home. This morning, we went through the spiral notebook we use to keep all our hosting, house, and garden stuff in and looked back over the menus, guest lists and notes from the past 12 months and I have been thinking about the process of our joint homemaking ever since.

We are compatible, yet different. There have been power struggles and negotiations--more than I have ever experienced. We are still in search of the new dishes that we would like to choose together and it has been over a year since we started that quest. As we were walking out of Pier One this evening and heading across the parking lot to the Pottery Barn, Teri commented that our differences in taste and preference are not insurmountable, but they are enough to keep things interesting!

We both care very much how our home surroundings feel, smell and look. Color and composition matter to us and we both value comfort, cleanliness and a homey accessibility. I can honestly say that I have never been in a relationship with another person where I shared as much in terms of tasks, cooking, and decorating. We joke about our "candle budget" and fake fight over whose turn it is to use the vacuum, but the end result is that this feels very much like OUR home.

I do not get to have my own way, nor do I have carte blanch over where to hang the artwork (or even which artwork gets to hang on the wall) or where the furniture goes. Fortunately, we both love change and there is seldom resistance to seeing how things would look moved around or changing out the bedding or curtains. There are times, I confess, when I miss my old life where I was the sole homemaker and I could make solo purchases, decide paint colors or rearrange things on a personal whim but I had years and years of that. Sharing a home and sharing a life this time around has taken on a new depth of meaning since we truly share in every aspect of building a home and a haven together.

So a new year is upon us; a new year of decisions, life changes, challenges and adventures. Teri and I have both lived in almost two dozen "houses" each, but this process of making a home together has been unique and fulfilling in a completely new way...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You Just Never Know...

The holidays can be a rugged time for gay/queer people--I just want to put that right out there in a bold opening sentence. The truth is, many have been estranged from family and supposed loved ones for at least a portion of their post-coming-out lives, others may still be sorting through feelings of rejection, different-ness and alienation. Not to mention that there can be constant reminders of holidays, people and places PAST.

We face the precariousness and marginalization that the holiday season brings up: Will our partners be accepted by our families', kids, friends, etc? How will we merge and blend all the areas of our lives? Can we bring our partners to the office party? church party? block party? (or can we even mention their names out loud?) And how do we even know that those people who are civil to our faces aren't the very ones who are gay bashing, hate mongering and voting against anything that might provide basic rights or equality for LGBTQ people? Have you ever stopped to imagine what it is like to have to be cordial, civil and respectful to people who may not be the same way back? Or people you KNOW may walk into the next room and tell a sexist, homophobic, racist or otherwise icky "joke" or anecdote?

In my dream world, here are the very basic ways that LGBTQ folks would be treated during the holiday season:

1. Holiday cards and letters would be addressed to both partners--even if it means taking up an extra line!
2. Invitations would be extended to both partners in a respectful way.
3. Family members would refrain from bigoted comments, remarks, and "jokes" for the entire month of December.
4. Family members and supposed loved-ones would use the preferred pronouns, names, etc. for the entire month of December.
5. Refrain from bringing up painful past events: Who really needs to be reminded of the holidays he/she/they missed when Mom and Dad weren't talking to him/her/them because of coming out, moving out, or other life changes?
6. No pressure to go to church, say the prayers, attend mass, etc. so that our sinful ways can be absolved.

In the past few weeks, I have unwittingly stumbled upon hurtful, bigoted and anti-gay comments, stories, Facebook pages, etc. and I have heard the pain in others' voices as they described holiday cards where partners were obviously omitted--it is not okay, regardless of whether it is to be expected or not. Here's the thing, we KNOW you are out there, we experience the hatred and inequalities on a daily basis and many of us work tirelessly for advocacy and change because of your very attitudes and actions. Could we just have a break during the holidays and could you keep the hate, fear and ignorance for yourself for maybe four or five weeks? We have to walk the high road and put up with it every day of our lives, but in the spirit of the season, we'd like a little peace as well...