Tuesday, February 26, 2008

February Injections

a snow kiss on lake huron

We’ve been injecting like mad since Sunday night. KK thinks she only really has one toilet paper wipe of fertile mucus, and she believes that wipe happened on Saturday while we were up in Cheboygan Memorial Hospital.

But we know the surge happened yesterday morning and was still continuing this morning. We injected Sunday night, Monday night, and Tuesday morning. This may seem like overkill, but we want one of the thousands to stick.

Bio-dad seems to have virile loads every time. He is still averaging 3CCs on a regular basis. This morning was almost 2CCs and that was after a full 3CCs 12 hours earlier.

So, in spite of the pancreatic cancer diagnosis that grandma c received yesterday—yes it is for sure cancer—we came home from up north and tried, tried yet again to get pregnant. We need a little life giving energy amidst the illness happening around us.

Update on Grandma C: she was doing quite well on Sunday morning after a rough Saturday of vomit and nausea. She was able to eat some ice cream and heftier soup for lunch before we left. She will most likely be released from the hospital in the next few days and then she will need to see a cancer doctor to talk about what’s up with treatment/end-of-life decisions…

Update on Northern MI in winter: lots of snow, lots of snowmobiles, lots of frozen water, lots of fishing shanties on bodies of frozen water, and for us this past weekend lots of sun (which was a glorious gift).

standing on snow shoes on lake huron

fishing in winter on burt lake

snowmobile parked next to our car in hospital parking lot

Thursday, February 21, 2008

the lunar eclipse and the suckiness called cancer

I wanted to wake this morning to a red stain on the sky—a remembrance of the lunar eclipse that graced this universe last night.

But there was only sunshine which is color enough when I think about the dark days of this winter and its seemingly never ending grip on the land and the people living here.

We stood outside in freezing cold temperatures and took in the shadow of this planet spreading browns and reds over the surface of the moon. As we stood there looking up into a perfectly clear night sky, I could not help but think about kk’s grandma C and the reality that she will not be here the next time a lunar eclipse unfolds in December 2010.

On Tuesday, K’s grandma went into the hospital cause her stomach was in serious pain. On Wednesday the doctors determined it was her gall bladder, so they operated. Her gall bladder had spewed out stones into her abdominal cavity, so the surgeon poked around and happened upon a huge mass in her pancreas. He took a biopsy of it, but let the family know that it is most likely cancer, and no matter what it is, it is inoperable.

So, once again cancer comes a calling kk’s family. Her dad is so sad and pissed. His immediate family consists/ed of two kids, a wife, a brother, and a mama. His wife gets cancer and dies; his brother gets cancer and dies; his ma gets cancer and then will die. She is old, but does it have to be fucking cancer? A family can only take so much of the disease. Why not a heart attack or a car wreck?

Kk is so sad cause she wanted to have a child that her grandma actually got to hold… Maybe just maybe by some miracle (I only believe in them about 1% of the time) that can still happen. But tumors on pancreases don’t make for long life spans, able bodies, or holding.

We are heading up to Cheboygan, MI tomorrow morning to hang with kk’s dad, brother, aunt, and grandma c. Mostly, we are going for her dad, at this point, cause grandma c is all doped up and out of it and her dad needs us.

At least the lunar eclipse was like a divine intervention last night. It loomed above us--a red shadow creeping slowly across the brightness of the earth’s moon; a beauteous reminder of our ant-like size amidst a vast and sprawling universe; a reminder of my thankfulness for life and being able to get mad at diseases and death and still being able to come back to the acceptance of this cycle of life we are bound to.

(We are trying to make it back by Sunday morning to inject some sperms, but with the stress of impending death of dear loved one hanging over our hearts, perhaps we should not even try this time around…)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Haab's, Bicycles, and Fertility

one of the horses at Haab's on friday--picture courtesy of macbook's photobooth. My kk wants these paintings for our living room.

Haab's is our favorite local place to go for happy hour--they have $2.00 drinks (drinks include cocktails, wine, draft and bottled beer and they have good beers on draft like Dragonmead ) and $2.00 appetizers from 5-7 M-F. We often celebrate the end of the work week with friends (many happen to be our neighbors) at this fine old establishment.

This past friday we met some friends at Haab's and worked on a letter that we will be sending to organizations and bike shops; we will be asking a bunch of different folks and orgs to participate in our Bike Ypsi Expo on May 4, 2008--a community cycling day full up of various rides, fun, and all things bicycle--small bbq included (veg and real hot dogs). So, we had our computers with us and two of us screwed off with photobooth--but just for a little bit.

K had her first acupuncture appointment on valentine's day. she really loves the acupuncturist and is positive her services can help with something or other regarding her fertility. K's luteal phase may be a bit whacked and acupuncture cannot help with luteal phase problems--she may need progesterone or something like that. Next time around she will take an in-depth look at her chart with the acu-woman and hopefully they can get to the bottom of what is up with kk's cycle.

We start another round of injecting at the end of this week. I like to hope, but, as of late, I've kind of just left it in the air which is far different from hoping.

We will see.

In the meantime, I'll keep busying up my life with fun community things that are bicycle and beer centric, friends, and adventures at neat little places in ypsi--the places that keep me loving it here. Cause, come a kid, all things will change...

Friday, February 15, 2008

my homosexual desire

There are moments when my sexual orientation—ah such a funny phrase—bashes me over the head and wakes up those private, special parts in not-so-private places.

Yesterday, kk and I were working out at the gym, and I could not keep my eyes off of her back and arms and head and legs—she was such a hottie there on that bike busting out a sweat and making me bust a non-existent nut in my pants.

Of course, I then had to start thinking about the eruption of lust that was permeating my body and its origins and its homo—ness and its total rightness and the perceived wrongness that so many people and doctrines construct up around lust and longing and sex between same-gendered and/or same-sexed people.

Thinking then squelched the fire in my loins, for the time being.

The point of this story is this: most days I go through life not thinking twice about my queerness—not thinking a thing about the fact that I love a woman and have amazing sex with her and that I am attracted to people with genitalia that resembles mine…but some days my queerness surfaces and is so right there in my face and I get this strange sort of happiness from knowing that I am living my life the way that I want and that I am able to desire the way that I want and that no one can do a goddamn thing to stop it.

Yes world, my body got all hot—not just temperature wise—from watching my lover exercise, yesterday!

[I’ve had work off the last few days—a lot of time to sit and think…and write]

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Remembering American Legion Post 282--injector style

Almost 2 years ago kk gave me a surprise 30th birthday party. She planned every detail of it behind my back. She formed a committee of friends and family who helped her get it all together and in turn I was given the bestest party ever.

Well on Sunday the place where she had this fantastic bash burned to the ground.

In 2006, K got my dad in on the planning for the party—he is an army vet—so he was able to join the American Legion. And kk then booked the basement of American Legion Post 282 in Ypsilanti for the festivities.

My dad called me today to tell me that he had been out to the Taylor American Legion Post to give them a roof estimate and that they informed him Post 282 had been destroyed by fire. Unbeknownst to me or kk, my dad had been keeping up his membership with the Legion since my party and just yesterday he had received his 2008 member card in the mail…He thought it all very coincidental. I had found out about the blaze via the newspaper, but my daddy’s continuation of his membership news really is sticking with me.

Ypsi Fire Fighters at work...photo credit All Things Ypsilanti

I am so sad about the burnage.

The day of my party kk had told me that we were heading down to Detroit to eat dinner with a small, intimate group of friends for my birthday. Then I got this call from my good friend t, who was going to come with us to Detroit, she was a bit frantic, “the saab broke down, and R (her girl-who was also going to come with) and I had it out and I am stuck in the parking lot of the American Legion on Huron. Can you come get me? Do you know where it is?”

My response, “um, yeah, I think I know where it is, and yes, I am on my way to get you.”

I drove into the parking lot and R (T’s girl) was there—I should have been suspicious, but I was oblivious—with the hood of the old saab all propped up. R said, “some old guy down in the basement has some jumper cables; will you come down there with me to get them.”

I said, “yes, let’s go get em.”

Then we traversed through the whole Legion—the back bar area with big screen TVs, photos of Legion members in uniform plastered to the walls, and well-stocked cheap liquor shelved immaculately behind a long, always used bar—through some more, non-descript doors and down some stairs to a basement full up of friends and family screaming out, “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise.”

Boy, was I surprised. Post 282 reminded me of the Fellowship Hall of the church I was raised up in. The place within the church where all kinds of events were held and where my family spent way too much time attending wedding showers, baby showers, church potlucks, large Sunday school classes.

The Basement Hall--waiting for me to arrive...

Kk adapted the not so good for you mid-west/southern food theme that is frequently served up in those church basements and went all out with it. My family and friends had brought the following foods in mass:

Peanut butter and marshmallow fluff on wonder bread
Peanut butter and banana on wonder bread
Jello-fruit salad
Veggie sloppy joe with wonder-like bread buns
Potato salad
Better-maid potato chips
A chocolate fountain with all kinds of sweets for dipping
And an enormous sheet cake with a beautiful photo of the late great Johnny Cash embedded in the bright white frosting.

A keg of bud-light which we had tapped out early in the evening—so folks headed to the well-stocked liquor bar upstairs.
Followed by a fifth of Maker’s Mark to finish off the evening

Besides food, kk had arranged for a rockabilly band called the wailin elroys to play music for the evening. She had tried to book Wanda Jackson the Queen of Rockabilly but was short $3000 so instead kk arranged (at no cost) for Wanda to call me and sing to me over the phone Happy Birthday in the parking lot of Post 282. I listened to her crackily, rough twangy voice and looked out on my favorite River (the Huron ) on a beautiful april evening in Ypsilanti with the building next to me full up of the people I love dancing and eating and drinking and talking and having a real fun time (my nephews break danced to rockabilly—oh so cute).

The wailin elroys being introduced by A!

Now Post 282 is totally destroyed. I am so thankful for the memories of 30th b-day party fun at Post 282. And really happy to know that my dad’s membership can still get me into any American Legion (or so he says; he’s going to give me a photo copy of his membership card next time I see him)—so bottoms up to Post 282!

Monday, February 11, 2008

8 years together

8 years together, today.

February 11 is our official anniversary. K and I met 8 ½ years ago in a Women and Film class at Eastern Michigan University. We did not really talk all too much during that Fall semester. I was dealing with my own turmoil about my personal gender stuff and sexual identity, and it kept me pretty much to myself.

In Winter semester 2000 we had another class together, finally, K asked me to go out for a cocktail after class with a group of women. I declined. Then she asked again, and I said yes—she says she had to ask a few more times before I said yes…

After a not very tasty beer and some interesting conversation about social justice, etc, k asked me to go see boys don’t cry with her the following week. I said yes and my heart lodged itself in my throat for the first time in my life.

But that movie date does not mark the anniversary. We had a good time together; I wept through the whole movie and blew my nose and wept some more in front of this woman who I thought amazing and gorgeous and pretty much untouchable.

After the movie we drank tea, talked, and parted ways. In the following days, we made an elaborate plan to go hear Angela Davis speak. I would drive some of her friends and one of my friends, cause I had an old Honda Accord and K had no vehicle, to Wayne State University in Detroit. This driving meant planning pick up points and drop off times and all that good stuff. It was my first real experience of the kk I know so well today—the organizing magician who can pull people from many different places and backgrounds together to get something accomplished.

We made it downtown and got our seats and waited for this woman we looked up to as activist, heroine, fighter for the greatest good to speak. But, the auditorium was packed out and the overflow rooms were packed out and the organizers of the event locked the doors and the people who were outside beat on the doors and beat on the doors. It was crazy strange. Then Angela Davis spoke and my heart got all fiery and furious and achy-like because of the systems in place in this country that perpetually keep people (certain groups of people—people of color, poor people, queer people, and the list goes on…) down and marginalized and oppressed and out. I was not a prisoner rights activist, yet, but this was just one of many moments in my life that helped to lead me towards the work I have become passionate about.

How fitting and right that this speech would also mark the beginning of the unification of kk and me. After listening to a detailed and astute critique of the prison industrial complex, we headed out to eat with our carload of people and various friends we had bumped into at the talk. [the next time Angela Davis was in MI giving a talk, I was in a women’s prison co-teaching a personal narrative class and we told the women inside that she was nearby speaking about tearing down the system that held them captive]

Then I drove my carload of folks from kk’s world and my world back to their respective cars/houses, and I ended up asking k if I could use her bathroom before heading back to my apartment. I went upstairs to her place and did not leave until Monday evening (it was a Friday night). We talked and talked and made love and talked and talked and made more love and talked and talked. And i did not sleep much. I stared at kk as she slept and my heart got tangled up.

That was the beginning of this 8-year journey. This journey full up of love, adventures, complications, obstacles (year 6 of our relationship was fucking rough), good food, good friends, good community, good work.

A fortifying factor in our relationship was this decision to try to bring a child (or maybe two) into this world.

Today, on this day that marks our first coming together in both passion and the pursuit of justice, kk started her period yet again.

No sperm stickage to egg this time around. I am sad, but I know we are solid together and that things will be okay. We will keep trying. I will keep hoping and then keep slapping myself for getting my hopes up, and maybe someday kk will miss her period and we will be in for a new ride.

Until the time comes when we are on the new roller coaster, I will settle back into this life that I am blessed to be living and keep striving for the greatest good for all beings and the rocks and soil and worms and fungi and trees and bodies of water that make up this ball we are spinning on.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Veggie Fried Fake!

Dear kind people who read this blog,
Below is the recipe for Veggie Fried Fake (Steak). If you make it, let me know how it turns out. Thanks to M for dreaming up such a yummy treat and to L for getting him to write it down!

Marc's Veggie Fried Fake

This is a 2-part recipe. First the fake steak.

You'll need:
mushroom-based veggie burgers
garlic powder
panko flakes (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 eggs wisked together
white flour

Start by seasoning the patties with the garlic powder, pepper and cumin to taste. Brown patties on med-high. Pull them off the heat to let them cool. Coat with white flour. Now coat with eggs, then panko flakes. Repeat egg and panko flakes if necessary to build up a substantial coating.

Pour 1/4 inch of oil in pan that you fried the patties in, without cleaning out the pan first. Fry until crisp.

Now for the gravy.

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup white flour
3/4 cup white wine
fake sausage
corn starch (add about one tablespoon to 2 tablespoon of cold water, mix thouroghly to make a thickener)
chopped onion
1 pint heavy whipping cream

Take a medium-sized sauce pan. Put in a couple of tablespoons of veg oil. Add chopped onion to taste. Fry as much fake sausage as you want in your gravy, broken up into chunks. Coat sausage heavily with pepper, while in pan frying. Pull onion and sausage out of the pan. Put in 1/4 cup veg oil. Heat it up so as not to be smoking, but warm enough to fry. Slowly whisk in white flour. The trick here is to constantly stir the mixture. You should see it slowly change from white to beige to dark brown. The intensity of flavor that you want to achieve determines when you stop cooking. The darker it is, the heavier and bolder the flavor will be. I suggest stopping when it reaches a caramel brown color. Once it reaches this color, stir in the 3/4 cup of white wine. Bring this up to a hard boil. Boil until all traces of the alcohol odor are gone. Add heavy whipping cream, as well as the sausage and onion that you previously removed from the pan. Allow the mixture to come back up to a boil while constantly stirring. Add cornstarch and water mix, stir in, reduce heat. Add salt, pepper, and sage to taste.

Friday, February 8, 2008

What if when we are dead we only hear REO Speedwagon songs in our heads?

Last night i dreamed an REO Speedwagon song. By dream a song, i mean that words and music blasted through my head and i saw no images; i saw nothing but a black void and heard the sappy lyrics of "can't fight this feeling". It was like a nightmare.

Why did it happen to me?

Is it because my friend told me his family had been playing Journey all day long in rememberance of his mama who just passed away?

Think of it--the music of a cheese-pop hair band, that relies on sweeping climaxes in both lyric and music, roaring through your head forever amidst the landscape of an enormous black space. I call it a scary version of hell.

"And I can't fight this feeling anymore.
I've forgotten what I started fighting for.
It's time to bring this ship into the shore,
And throw away the oars, forever."

did i pass my personal hell into your head too?

Monday, February 4, 2008

passing the cold, cold days with warming fun

It has been really cold these past few weeks. Today, is warmer, but the winter is starting to wear on my nerves. Last week we injected multiple times and keeping the sperm warm on the drive from bio-dad’s house to our house was tricky.

It required multiple dives down the shirt into warm cleavage directly after hand-offs. I’ve been wearing lots of layers and my big, thick green coat with the teddy bear fur hood. It’s been so cold I rarely feel like removing my coat. I want to bundle up in warm, warm blankets and sleeping bags and cushiony things and disappear until this freezing, winter subsides.

oh so romantic in my big furry coat

Over the last week, we dosed up a bunch and we think the timing was right on, so maybe, just maybe the 6th time with this donor and 8th try all together will work. The wait is on…

This weekend was fun (but cold). We left work a bit early on Friday and went to workout at our new favorite gym—washtenaw community college’s fitness center. I love it cause I can spin on a spinning bike there for as long as I want, do some weights and then go be all extravagant in the posh locker room—It is equipped with a steam room, a dry sauna, and a whirlpool—those warming devices are the only things making this frigid winter tolerable. I never participate in the spinning classes, cause I am super picky (and snotty) about music, and I detest a lot of the loud, not very good, techno they turn while pump, pump, pumping it up. Plus, too many slippery, sweaty bodies in one room make me nervous. So, I make my own mixes and spin when classes are not happening.

Saturday, we slept in. I got cranky and then got over it and then we had some friends over for an all veg southernesque dinner (greens, soup beans, fried potatoes, cornbread, veggie fried steak and gravy and black tea custard to top it off). We drank a growler of yummy dark beer from the local brewery and talked a lot.

A,you are a master with the food torch

Sunday, we went with two of our friends to a coffee roasting class at roos roast. It was a real fun time and the fellow who roasts the coffee, John Roos, is very, very hilarious (it was like attending a stand up comedy show and learning all about coffee at once). We drank a shit-load of extra-strong, delicious coffee, ate yummy muffins, and some smoky salmon, and got zippity, zippy on too much caffeine.

We all looked on in awe, in the cold of winter, at the homemade contraption that roasts up the best coffee around town

When we got back home from the roasting class, we watched an episode of the wire and then headed to the gym for some more exercise and a quick hot tub soak.

Then the ladies came over for some l word and popcorn and steamed pudding (that shit is delicious and i wish so bad i had a picture to share cause it was beautiful. T, sure knows how to do it up. We poured bourbon on it and yummy whip and powdered sugar and indulged)!

Nothing like friends, food, coffee, sweat, whirlpools, and warm, warm sperms to make the long winter days more tolerable--more doable--more liveable!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

finally, some justice

We spent the week injecting kk up with lots of jiz. It was a freezing few days--i mean freezing, freezing cold (wind chills well below zero), and I hope the wee ones made a warm crash, slam-dunk meeting with an egg.

In other more important news. 10 women who were sexually abused in a michigan prison throughout the 1990s (7 of the women still live in prison-many with life sentences) were awarded 15.4 million dollars (amounts varied for each plaintiff) by a jury yesterday.

On Thursday night, I dreamed that the jury came back with verdicts for each of the women that were huge and just and finally demonstrative that the abuse and torture waged on these women was heard and finally something was done about it. Because for years the MI prison system did nothing about the sexual abuse that was rampant at Scott Correctional Facility. These women were held in a sexually hostile environment and subjected to rape, assaults, misogynistic comments, sexual pat downs (that included squeezing of breasts, groping of crotches, rubbing of erections on their bodies).

In my dream the jury came back and announced compensations for the women in amounts higher than suggested by the plaintiffs' council. The people in the courtroom rose to their feet and applauded for a very long time. Everyone wept and justice was served.

That was my dream thursday, after I had sat in the courtroom listening to the plaintiffs' closing arguments and then the state's closing arguments. One of the plaintiffs' lawyers gave a compassionate, impassioned closing that focused on the humanity of the women and the brutal reality that they were forced to live in day by day (torture sanctioned by the state's silence and by the state's ambivalence and absolute tendency to deny that the people in the employment of the state do any wrong).

The state's assistant attorney general used his closing to tear the women apart. He focused on the crimes they are serving time for and called them non-credible because they did not go into vivid details of the crimes when they testified (of course, the women were not on trial for these crimes; they had all been sentenced long ago. But for some reason in this society we cannot let people escape from collective taunting for the worst things we have done--we do not forgive. Unless, you are a person in a position of power then you can commit thousands of atrocities against humanity and never ever be held accountable for your actions). He also focused on the fact that it took many years for most of the women to report the torturous experiences that they were subjected to while held captive by the state. He failed to focus on the fact that the UN, Human Rights Watch, and the Department of Justice had all investigated and reported on the fact that Scott was indeed a sexually hostile facility throughout the 1990s and nothing was being done to stop it.

Anyhow, after his closing (which i had to leave early), I was nervous that if two of those jurors had any bias in their hearts against people in prison, well then...

But then my thursday night dream came true. Not only did the jury find in favor of the women, they asked the judge to read an apology to the women on behalf of the citizens of MI and then the judge let the women talk to the jury.

Of course, the state of MI plans to appeal the verdicts. They plan to waste money and time and once again belittle the women who have already suffered way too much at their hands.

But in the mean time, finally, some justice.
Click here to read article from Detroit Free Press

Click here to read All too Familiar: Sexual Abuse of Women in U.S. State Prisons