Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jukebox Challenge

I think we're through the thick of it.

Power still here. Internet still pumping.

As tempting as a run in the cold drizzle is (it isn't) I think I'll just wait for the Y to reopen at noon today. Either way, the streak is safe.

M and I are set up in our home offices. The beauty and the curse of being able to work remotely. You still have to work.

We're not too stir crazy since we snuck out last night for a beer and a jukebox set where all songs had to contain the word rain in them. Not terribly original, but fun nonetheless. Even if I got teary when someone selected Box of Rain by the Grateful Dead.

My dad, neither a music lover nor someone particularly fond of hippies or their ilk, heard this when he was driving me home from college one break and I had control of the radio. He actually asked me to make him a copy of the song. That guy, he could surprise you every once in a while.

So, here are some tunes from last night:
  • Walking in the Rain - Oran Jones
  • I'm Only Happy When It Rains - Garbage
  • I Can't Stand the Rain - Missy Elliot
  • I Love a Rainy Night - Eddie Rabbit
  • November Rain - Guns-N-Roses (M's choice, not mine)
Clearly, clearly, tons more options here but I only had five bucks. Tell me what you would have played. Maybe I'll even dig up a prize from my days as a paid blogger. Oh sigh, the days....

Monday, October 29, 2012

I Heard that Sandy is a Real B.....

So then, a big ass storm's a'coming.

And apparently planning to linger over my 'hood for a day or two. We're always reasonably well stocked, so no worries there. Water check. Food check. Camp stove ready. The only panic point yesterday was realizing our wine cabinet was dangerously empty.

It's not often that I feel one with my fellow man, but yesterday at the crowded state store was one of those moments. All of us right here, we nodded to each other, we've got our priorities straight.

Laundry done, trash down, dishes washed. If I'm stranded for a few days without electricity ("Count on it" say emails and phone alerts from our electric company, PEMA and the governor himself) we might as well start with a clean slate, as it were.

Batches of soup are on the stove. Including this gorgeous, velvety roasted carrot concoction from A half-baked Life. Now if only I could find the damn duck/duct tape. I am going crazy about the duck tape. Like Mel, I get a little tweaky when I can't locate something, especially if my last remembrance of that object is me putting it away thinking, this makes sense to me now, but am I ever going to remember I put it here.

Obviously, I can't.

M thinks this is all hilarious. All of it. Tell me again why we need duck tape?

So, maybe the wine wasn't the only panic point I had yesterday. Out of nowhere, I had this awful thought: I wonder if our windows will be able to sustain the winds....

I love our apartment. Love it. It is perfect in a million ways. Our building is sturdy. Views lovely. entrances are secure - zombie-proof, even. but these windows, Oy. they might be the one thing in this grand old structure that's never been replaced. They're the kind that lose a little bit more of the wood supporting them every time you open and close them. It just crumbles in your hands as you creak them up. Half of them have to be wedged open and propped because the ropes that keep them up have frayed; the other half don't open...Ok, know what? I'm just not going to think about the windows.

Which gives me time to wonder how in the world I'm going to keep The Streak going if running along the river is not an option, my YMCA shuts down, and the treadmill in my in-law's basement is inaccessible.

This morning, day 106, I pounded out an extra mile on the Y's treadmill, because who knows when the next chance will be. I came home and took an extra long, extra hot shower, because who knows when the next chance will be. I made an extra large pot of tea, because....you know where this is going, right? Funny how the littlest of comforts can take on such meaning if you've been told you won't have them again for a bit.

The shower, the tea, all of that can be managed. But the streak, man. The streak.

My hallway is long, but not that long, to trot up a mile would definitely have my downstairs neighbor ready to kill me. I suppose I could run in place? The only other option I can think of is to run the stairs of the building.  Up and back. 76 times.

Sweet Jeebus, please stay open YMCA....

Mom is here, staying with her sister. We're not sure if her Delaware neighborhood has been evacuated, but I think I'll probably follow her back down later this week to be sure her house is where she left it. While I'm slightly concerned about my windows, I am more than slightly bothered by the tall, old, dying pines hovering over the roofs of mom and her pals' little homes. They've begged to have them removed before one falls on its own. I'm hoping this is not the week they're proven right.


The one thing I am not worried about is sweet baby2b. S/he and baby mama are safe, far far away from Sandy's path. 18 weeks and one day today. I honestly, never, ever saw surrogacy as something that might be described as comforting. But this journey continues to surprise and amaze me.


Stay safe, friends. I'll post as electricity allows.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Diary of a Submissive - A BlogHer Book Review

When the ubiquitous Fifty Shades of Gray hit the streets (and seemingly every middle-aged woman's kindle) earlier this year. I loved it.  Not because I actually read it, but because it kept our pal S in stitches for weeks. She would giggle and titter as she explained to me and M how she would have to call her baby sister for logistical directions (and sometimes diagrams) to illustrate how exactly they were doing that. Fifty Shades came at a time when our friend needed some real diversion and relief. And it gave her exactly that. 

So when the opportunity to review Diary of a Submissive: A Modern True Tale of Sexual Awakening hit my desk, I said sure. I could use something completely different from my usual reading fare. I put on my best free spirit hat on and said bring it. WTFN.

So I opened Diary of a Submissive with a open mind. (After warning my husband that he would be in serious shit if he made fun of me.) It's research, dude. See the disclaimer.*

Alas. This whole submissive thing, I don't think it's for me.

"You don't say," says M. Who would know.

But here's the thing. I truly enjoyed the writing...when I wasn't squirming or pushing back feelings that were triggered from being in a former relationship where the lines of dominant male vs. just plain old abusive asshole were more than blurred.I found Sophie Morgan incredibly skilled at crafting scenarios, not just sexual ones. Her intro is brilliant. She uses a second person present tense narrative (not as easy as it seems) to pull the reader in as a wayward bar patron accidentally witnessing a public scene of humiliation.
There is something dark and yet compelling about it that means while normally you'd be horrified, instead you're intrigued.
And I was. I found myself pulled in despite myself. But then the triggers. Oh the triggers. I was actually more than fine with the physicality of it all. But when the name calling starts, what makes Sophie hot, gave me shivers. Not the good kind.

Stories of sexual domination and submission should come with disclaimers. Kind of like McDonald's coffee. Well yeah, sure the average person would realize, but just to be safe....

Yet Sophie, a young, independent women trying to craft her career as a journalist takes great pains to assure the reader that her experiments with submission take place within safe relationships. Friends first. Lovers next. Dominants after that. I truly started to like her first real Dominant partner Thomas so much that it pained me to read how far the experiments led. I felt betrayed the moment Sophie said she did. Yet she kept going....

So, yes, while I struggle to get my head around arousal through submission, I recognize I have my own baggage to carry. Yours might contain some ridiculously sexy handcuffs and for that, I say, get on with your bad self. I'm eager to hear and join the conversation around this book. I hope you are too.

*disclaimer: This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club, but the opinions expressed here are nothing but my own. (duh). 

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Streak

Way back before "Meatless Mondays" was a thing, my mom refused to eat meat on that particular day.

Now before you get all, oh isn't that progressive....just know that didn't mean we ate healthy; it just meant she didn't eat meat. And because she cooked for us, we didn't either. Growing up, Mondays meant fettuccine alfredo, pot cheese and noodles, pierogi, baked mac and cheese. pretty much any butter/dough/cheese combo you can think of. Come Tuesday, all bets were off. We'd come home to find a big bloody chunk of something defrosting in the sink. Quick, bring out the roast before dad passes out from his perceived starvation.

Mom didn't eat meat because this one time when my grandfather was really sick she made a deal with god and said, hey, god, if you get my dad through this, my offering to you is this... I'm paraphrasing. But I am fairly certain it went something like that.

And that time, Gig got better and mom kept her promise, and still does even though Gig has been gone for 30+ years. Except for when she forgets what day it is, which I think happens a lot after you retire.

At some point, dad became a more willing participant of the meatless Monday. I'm fairly certain it was when I got sick, but maybe that's just me being sentimental. In the beginning, mom would cook him a separate meal if the absence of meat was proving too traumatic. But after the turning point, he even helped keep her on task, "Now, now, mom, today's Monday. Don't forget...." (My dad was one of those men that called their wives "mom" which I think is freaky on a number of levels, but I digress).


You say you're going to do something and you do it. No matter how disjointed or kakamaymee or completely unrelated to anything it is. Word is bond. Even when you don't say it out loud. But especially when you say it out loud.


So, a couple of months ago I found myself wondering if I could run every single day. I saw it as a kind of solidarity with our surrogate. As in, if she can stick a nearly 2 inch piece of metal into her butt cheek for us every morning, I can certainly crawl out of bed and jog a bit, no? I wasn't doing that, so I might as well be doing something.

So I tried it, and before you know it, more than a week was under my belt. And then two, and then three, and at some point, I typed it out loud. And then the thought makes itself known....

Well, hell, I'm running, and we seem to have a baby on the way....

All is well, so I better not stop...

Yes. I know (cognitively) that there is no correlation here. Just like M (cognitively) knows that wearing or not wearing the appropriate MCFC jersey (watching the match live or not... wearing the knee socks or not.... seeing it at our home or his dad's..... with other people or not....you get the picture) may or may not influence their win. I know that my running or not running is not going to affect the outcome of this pregnancy, but I've thought it out loud and well, there you go.

Better safe than sorry.


Today is day 78. I haven't missed a day. For a day to "count" I have to run at least one mile, at at least an 11-minute mile pace. I was easy on myself with the "rules" because I knew I was contemplating a half marathon somewhere in there and I wanted to give myself a little flex for recovery if I needed it. I didn't, but boy that mile minimum came in handy last week when I had to cut my run short due to a major. wardrobe. malfunction along a busy street (couldn't keep my pants up).

Yes, I ran right out of my pants.


I ran every day as I camped out at the hospice center last month. The first day, I was completely distracted, lost my way, ran through bee hives (no stings) and found myself a few miles beyond what I hoped to run, with no water, and no shade in the middle of the frigging day. I wondered why I was so fatigued, looked at my phone (which I had with me for any emergency) and saw it wasn't 89 degrees like I thought; it was 99.  JFC. Turns out, I was the emergency that day. I called my brother to come rescue me.

"The next time you go running, why don't you take the van with you. Heh. Heh," he said as he handed me a water and blasted the a/c.

Hardy fucking har.

The next day, there were a lot of people in and out of dad's room and we were all trying to give each other a little space, a little privacy. I took the opportunity to head out with my sneakers, much more certain of my route this time. Just to be safe, I told M and my brother where I was going. Showed them on the google map. If anything happens, come get me. I mean it. Start out in the opposite direction and just grab me off the road.  They promised.

Towards mile three I started to feel funny. It was getting to be dusk and headlights started coming on. My heart started to jump every time I saw a car turn my way. Every car looked like my altima. Every mini van looked like my mom's. This run was no longer therapeutic; it was just not over soon enough.

As I was rounding the last corner into the development where the hospice was tucked away, I checked my phone and saw, "mom wants to know when you'll be back." Shit. I called, and couldn't get any reception. I could hear my brother's girlfriend pick up the phone but not what she was trying to say to me. I got frustrated and yelled, "just wait for me! Just wait!"

As if she (or anyone) had anything to do with it.

And then I started to sprint. Like a crazy woman. Cutting through the yards and not-yet-developed lots. Praying there was no hidden rabbit hole waiting to wrench my ankle.

Wait for me. Wait for me. Wait. gasp. For. pant. Meeeeeee. Please.


And he did. He did. I tried to collect myself as I walked back into the hospice and to his room (because you are explicitly not supposed to freak the fuck out at the hospice. I think that's actually written somewhere) so I smiled. Told the reception guy I was already signed in and waited for him to chase after me. By the time I got back to dad, he was still there. Barely. Breathing heavily. Incredibly labored. We both were.

I will never forget that sound. My gasping. His gasping. Only his stopped.


I don't know how I would feel know if I missed my dad's last breath. Does that breath carry more weight than any of the others I have listened to? Does that moment define his dying more than the others (ok, technically, yes, it does) but you know what I'm asking, right?

I was certain I would make it back in time. But I was also willing to live with the consequences if I didn't. What I wasn't willing to do was forsake the streak. Not if I could help it. Because in that moment in time, it felt like the one thing that I DID have control over. Even now, it is the one thing I can choose to do, or not do. Something completely up to me, not other forces, not things beyond my comprehension or control. There is no mystery in lacing up shoes. Choosing to put one foot in front of the other. Go.

I run for me. I run for baby2b. I run filled with gratitude that I am physically able to run. I run consciously aware of my breath and do not take it for granted. I run to the trees and blow kisses and say my daughters' names out loud. I run because I do not pray. But this feels something close to it.

baby2b: 14 weeks and 1 day.
day 78 of the streak.