Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I know, I've been a blogging slacker. I swear I will have some things to rant and rave about soon. But, I am in the process of a search for a new employee at work (well the person will be the only other employee besides me in our office) and it seems to take up all of my time.

In the meantime, I just wanted to let you all in on a not-so-little-secret. K and I are having an UNWEDDING.

After 10 long years we decided it was time to make a public display of our love and possibly our affection (ya, a little ass grabbing and booby brushing might take place).

Below are the words in our invite:

We decided 10 years (that is 3,650 days) was a long time. A longer time than many folks stay in relationships at all and a way longer time than what most people, who are able to get married (in the legal sense of the word), wait before tying the knot. Every one of those thousands of days has passed without a day of formal or public recognition—every day has been our unwedding.

We thought it was time to demonstrate in a public kind of way our love, our commitment, and our gratitude for the last ten years we have spent together.

We think that love and commitment is much more than vows and convention. We actually believe in many of the points raised in the Beyond Marriage ( statement that was originally released in 2006. Some of the points from the executive summary are listed below:

Marriage is not the only worthy form of family or relationship, and it should not be legally and economically privileged above all others. A majority of people – whatever their sexual and gender identities – do not live in traditional nuclear families. They stand to gain from alternative forms of household recognition beyond one-size-fits-all marriage. For example:

· Single parent households
· Senior citizens living together and serving as each other’s caregivers (think Golden Girls)
· Blended and extended families
· Children being raised in multiple households or by unmarried parents
· Adult children living with and caring for their parents
· Senior citizens who are the primary caregivers to their grandchildren or other relatives
· Close friends or siblings living in non-conjugal relationships and serving as each other’s primary support and caregivers
· Care-giving relationships that provide support to those living with extended illness such as HIV/AIDS.

With all of that being said, we love to throw a good party and after ten strong, lovely, hard, and amazing years, we woke up one morning, not too many days ago, and thought we should throw a big she-bang. A big, fat UNWEDDING.

Cause still while we can rant on about how things should be, in reality things are still messed up, and we cannot jointly adopt and if one of us ended up hurt and incapable of making decisions for herself in some ass-backwards conservative county in Michigan or Florida, the unhurt one could be kept from the bedside (perhaps the deathbed) of the hurt one. And when one of us dies all that we have paid into social security our whole working lives will not be able to be designated to the other.

So, a party with a purpose. Before all of you we would like to state that the other is our life-long companion, beloved, mate, best friend—we desire to be together always and when one of us is having trouble walking the other will be there to carry her.

Legally or not.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

cold fingers; cold toes; cold ass

there is something to waking up to a cold house and then layering your clothes to get ready for a cold bicycle ride and then venturing out the door in the morning to a brisk wind and the chill that it brings and then being in that cold for a good 50 minutes.

a cup of tea, and then another and another and another and another--maybe ten in total throughout the day--once at work--helps to warm the ass and fingers and toes. Because those are the extremities that get cold. Your core, this is your chest and upper and lower abdomen stay hot and toasty and even sweaty while riding in the winter in michigan. This is, of course, dependent on proper layering. Which I am quite a pro at now.

Anyhow, our boiler busted last Friday. It up and quit on us; the old thing had no life left in it. It had rusted through so badly on the bottom grate that burn marks had started to develop up the sides of the metal box inside. All in all, it is a good thing it died, cause we didn't burn up in our ancient wooden house.

See one time this wrinkled, old man who drove a beat up mini van with George Bush Senior Stickers coating the rear of it--like 25 identical stickers--came to our house to give us some advice on how we might convert our coal burner (no longer functioning) to a wood stove and also how much it would cost to re-line the chimney. His estimate was way high--like $3,000, but he did offer us a warning. He said, "you girls should have safety ladders in the bedrooms upstairs cause if your house ever catches on fire you will not escape using the stairway. the flames will draw up the stairs and you will be trapped up there."

I stood wide jawed and thanked him for his advice. I already have a chain linked ladder in our bedroom, but damn that was some scary advice.

Thus far, we have avoided death by boiler fire and have frozen our fannies off for a total of 6 days. After forking over $3,850, we will soon have heat via a new boiler system. I can no longer type this post cause my fingers are too cold...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My meditation

Taking care of our chickens is my daily (or every other day) meditation time.

The meditation goes like this:
While still inside in the semi-warmth of our kitchen, fill three or two containers with warmish water.
Set outside on back porch.
Dress in large winter jacket and warm hat (usually forget to wear gloves, because I like my hands to be nimble not clumsy)
Make sure my feet have socks on them.
If I am missing socks, go put a pair of socks on cold feet. (kk constantly gets on me about going barefoot in the middle of winter. I’ve lost count of how many times she has placed a pair of slippers in front of me and given me the finger wag and look).

Slip into boots (usually k’s green mucks are perfectly placed on the back porch).

Walk down treacherous steps and through backyard to coop/run.
Greet our ladies with a, “hi lovely girls. How are you this morning?”

Pull snow tarp back and open door.
If we will be home, keep door ajar
If we will be gone, shut myself into the run with the hens

Monitor feed bucket
If feed refill is needed, unclip feed bucket
If no feed is needed, leave feed bucket in place
unclip rubber, water bucket from chain

exit run
with bucket/s in hand

Beat on rubber bucket until ice water releases
Depending on the temperature, sometimes must run hot water over bucket then kick it/ throw it until ice releases

Take bucket/s on back porch.
Fill emptied water bucket with warmish water
Fill feed bucket with feed and oyster shell mix

Walk back down treacherous steps and through backyard to coop
Re-enter run
Hang up the water and feed

exit run

If we have special scraps, retrieve them from porch or kitchen

Back to run.
Feed the ladies the scraps.

Check hen house for extra amounts of chicken shit.
Remove with small rake and throw into compost heap.
On some days, refill pine and straw in hen house.

Check for eggs in nesting box.
Lately, only 1 or 2 are there.

Collect eggs.

Walk back to house.
Slip out of boots.
Go inside the house.
Put away eggs.
Wash hands with warm water and soap.

Meditation ends.
20-30 minutes of good chicken work and quiet, cold emptying of mind and preparing for another day

Sunday, January 10, 2010

open adoption

thinking about open adoption. just thinking about it. at least i am...

we will see.

costs more than we have.

thinking, thinking, thinking.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

our year in pictures--part 1

not that a year can belong to any human, but here are some of the things we did and loved while doing it...

I did not write about it here, but after the miscarriage, etc. k and i held a special ritual to say goodbye to that which could have been and the pain of trying to conceive for so long then having it happen so quickly then losing it all at once. our friend drew our blood and then we froze it and then we mixed it with soil from our yard and lavender from my garden and we burned flames and read poems and threw it all in the river that i love--huron.

herb and corn garden with bees--sweet lovely creatures that create life giving liquid. ever thankful is my heart for their existence.

and then we had chickens.

the front of the house where we make our lives. someday, i hope to build a bike rack with a thyme bed beneath it, so that when we lock our bicycles the deep green scent of thyme comes alive.

the community garden that i am steward of--we had a lot of gardeners.

that's my mama with me. we rode to the top of a hill in northern michigan. me and k whipped my ma into agonizing leg pain. but she loved it. and so did we.

at k's dad's place up north with my wee boy nephews and girl niece. my sis and her husband and ma and dad all came on vacay with us and we had a lovely time! I am so proud of my little sister; she is a very, very good mama (and her man a very good daddy) and their children become more amazing human beings every single day.

discovering karaoke with dear friends at this strange joint and the house dog a poodle with pink and purple dyed fur.

a mantis in northern michigan. how i love this part of the planet and all the creatures that roam here.

we dug a swale during my permaculture course with mid.west permaculture. it was sweaty and delightful.

our baby, bike ypsi, kept on cyling along. we held another spring ride and another fall ride and hosted all kinds of fun rides and participated in advocacy efforts. how i love to bicycle and how i love the community cycling creates.

a thatch roof we saw during my permaculture course field trip.

threw a big thanksgiving with k and a and had all our families over!

my love; my darling; my lifemate; my best friend in the whole damn world with the big lake behind her--the lake we both love the lake that feels ancient and cold and bigger than this little living we are doing here beneath the stars.

Friday, January 1, 2010

dirty hands in 2010

every day slips by a little faster. the sun falling and then rising and the moon cracking white lines over blue black sky so many nights. then all darkness--sometimes. pink lines bend through the eastern horizon in mornings when the sun peeks out to reach us.

and by noon the ball of fire beams sends volts of light beyond measure into the trees and soil and over the tails of animals.

and we just keep going around and around on this ball of life and decay.

last year at this time i was sick with a life inside of me. this year at this time i look back on that time and think it was only a minute ago or it was so long ago or did that really happen at all?

it is like a vivid blur. too real to be hazy for always; too surreal to be entirely clear.

my body for 10 weeks was held captive by a brief curious sort of experience. many cells congregated in my womb and grew all liquidy and blood-filled and then the growing stopped and the cells busted through that supple place between my legs. i was flabbergasted throughout the life growing, then dying, then birthing the death, then bleeding a lot to eradicate the fleshy parts that had built up in my womb, and then this grieving surrounded by a cloud of panic and depression and questions.

and through all of it what i have learned is that the calling i have felt since i was fifteen needs to be gradually more realized in my life. while i do farm on my little urban plot, one day i want nothing more than to grow vegetables, nuts, fruits, animals, and bees and to do it well and do it surrounded by good community--good created family--good friends.

2009 started off with a miscarriage. it was a swooping bang of a wake up call; a kind of startling alarm orchestra blazing like a string section on speed. it told me that my body is very female. it is also very fertile and very connected to the rhythms of the moon and tides; the pulses of the seasons. I knew this already, but it raised it to a new level of realness in my heart. it made me ready to return to the soil and the roots and rhizomes that weave through her darkness. it made me more aware of the cycle of life and the deepness of decay and death connected to that life.

My desire to always be grounded to place and to establish deep roots seems to have multiplied tenfold since the miscarriage. Now, the question is where should these roots be put down. for so long i thought it would be here in ypsi. but now i keep questioning where we should be and k does too. we want to grow things together and growing on an urban lot in a city where people all too readily toss bloody bandages and burger cups and fry containers and homemade crack pipes and used condoms on the ground is a bit tougher than leasing or buying land somewhere more open and not as touched by the grimy, ill-intentioned/ignorant hands of humans.

cities need green spaces too and we have been doing it well here. chickens, bees, vegetables, trees, bicycling groups, friends--we've been growing it--many questions. few answers. we will see what 2010 brings.

i know i want my hands in the soil more hours of the day than not.

i know i want dirty hands in 2010.