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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just because I'm amazing like that.

Yesterday as I was leaving a rehearsal, I looked up and noticed a number of hawks soaring above the lot where I had parked my car. I continued to watch them as I approached my parking spot--looping and diving and twirling in the air. They're beautiful.

And then, in broad daylight, I saw an explosion of stars.

I'm thinking I need to sue the person who placed a parking meter right where I would run into it while watching hawks.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


No. I'm not. Darrin is.

There are different types of sick people:
Sick Person One: This person feels awful, goes to bed, asks not to be disturbed and no one really knows they're around. They take care of themselves and get better. If a doctor needs to be called, they do it. If they need help, they request it politely and return to bed. They try to be cheerful and will sometimes smile even when they feel miserable. Often, the degree of illness is misunderstood by those nearby because the sick person doesn't project that they don't feel well.

Sick Person Two: This person is a whiner. They like company--but only because they want to be coddled and comforted. They need to be waited on and will ask for things in a submissive, aggravating, wheedle that makes everyone around them want to run away. This is the the sick person who is often asked, "Don't you think you'd be more comfortable in your nice, warm bed, in your quiet, peaceful bedroom--WITH THE DOOR CLOSED????"

Sick Person Three: This is the person who is palpably able to broadcast how they feel. When they're angry, the room seems to change color. When they're happy, it's contagious. When they're sad, the whole world seems to weep. This person is undemanding, but their very presence, when they're sick, seems to aggravate everyone in the room. They don't ask for things--but the not asking seems to be a demand in and of itself. They don't DO anything except lie quietly and hack loudly. But simply being with this person when they're ill, will suck the life out of every person in the room.

Darrin is sick person number three. And he has been sick for four days now.

Four days.

Add to this the fact that nights are no better than days. I don't sleep because he's broadcasting how miserable he is even when he's unconscious.

I work at home. Normally this is a peaceful place. I enjoy it.

Currently I take the kids to seminary in the morning, then I return home and sit in my driveway contemplating whether or not I have the stamina to face the cesspool of misery in my house all because a tiny virus has entered my husband's body and turned him into a joy-sucking black hole.

If' you've met me, you'll know that it's almost impossible to depress me. Most of the time I'm energetic and more giggly than I should be. I smile. A lot. "...smiling's my favorite!"

However, if I do not get out of my house today, I'm not sure I'll remember how to smile anymore. I adore my husband--but I cannot be around him when he's sick. He effectively makes me believe that the apocalypse is just around the corner, that life is filled with phlegm and mucous, and that tomorrow will be worse than today.

So I'm leaving. I'm going for a run, taking a shower, packing my computer and going to my dad's office to work the rest of today.

But just so you know:
1. I bought him soup and grape juice and pain killer and throat lozenges.
2. I'll make sure he's still breathing when I leave.
3. I'll kiss him good-bye and check in on him every couple of hours.

See--I really do love him. I just have to go somewhere and find myself again.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sorta Creepy

Today was a music festival (one down--two to go). I had to travel about an hour to reach it and I left a little before seven o'clock this morning. Following the festival I searched for a ladies room, found it full of young ladies between the ages of 14 and 18 and opted to stop at a rest area rather than brave the sea of incessantly talking feminine teens.

So I did.

I stopped at the rest area, locked my car, and began to walk inside. I found myself accompanied by a man who looked as though he'd been living at the rest area for a few days. He was very happy I stopped. Apparently, I'm great company for homeless men.

I indicated my need to go to the restroom. He continued chatting and escorted me to the door--and proceeded to follow me inside. I saw him enter, turned around, brushed past him and headed back to my car.  I ran to it, got inside and locked the doors just in time to see him exit the ladies room, look at the door, point at the sign and begin to laugh.

I drove to the first McDonald's I could find and relieved myself there.

Then I threw up.

Clearly I am still haunted by being molested in the restroom. It happened a million years ago. It didn't happen today. Probably the very friendly man didn't even plan to harm me.

Still, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't terrified.

And I've made a new rule: Scary, homeless-looking men, regardless of friendliness, should not follow me into the bathroom. Ever.

I know that's a lot to ask, but I think it's reasonable to want people--all people--to not be creepy scary.

The end.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Questions of the Heart

A little more than a week ago a one-man play was performed. Mr. Fob got to see it. I did not.

The play was of interest to me because the actor, Ben Abbott, who conceived it is straight, but the play is about homosexual men and women who have current or previous membership in the LDS church. The purpose was simply to represent the variety of individuals in this subgroup, not to talk about right or wrong or to make any sort of statement. From the reviews I've read, and from speaking with people who were present during the performances, I believe Ben achieved what he set out to do. I haven't spoken with Ben since the play, but I probably will in the next little while.

I contacted Ben when I heard about his project because I believed I knew a number of people who could help him. I have ties to SSA people who are currently active in the church, some who have left but feel no antagonism toward the church, and some who are adamantly opposed to it--and to religion, in general. I was intensely interested in the success of this venture because it's something I've wished for in any genre, something I wished I, myself, could do--but I recognized that because of who I am, I would be unable to achieve my goal. I am not detached enough, nor (as much as I would like to think I am) am I unbiased. This undertaking needed someone who could look at the topic, meet and interview new people, and write with clarity undisturbed by a shared past of any kind. Ben could do this.

However, in contacting Ben, I did not intend to add myself to the mix. I simply wished to help him find people whose stories would be of value to him. I did allow an interview, during which I told Ben that my story is more about recovering and learning to thrive after rape and abuse, and homosexuality is only a facet of who I am. I consider that part of my life unremarkable. Yes, I feel sexual attraction to women. Yes, my preferred mate would not be hairy, her voice would be higher, and there would definitely be breasts and no penis. However, I chose long ago to marry, instead, a person I felt I could not live without. He added to my life a depth of joy and delight I had never before found. He is definitely not feminine.

Consequently, I don't really have much to say about being homosexual. It's part of who I am. I recognize the moments when I feel drawn to someone romantically, but quite honestly, I think I would feel those feelings even if I were married to the woman of my dreams. One does not stop feeling attracted to people simply because she has fallen in love. Those feelings are continuous and are sometimes directed toward people other than our mates. It happens. We deal with it. Often, because we reject the new feelings and repeatedly return to the person we chose to spend our lives with, the bonds to our spouses become stronger and mutual trust increases.

Mr. Fob sent this email following his attendance at Ben's production:

My dear friends,

It was so great to see you all this weekend. What a coincidence that the four of us would not only be in Berkeley on the same weekend, but that we would all be there within the same body! 

Ben Abbott did a fabulous job of portraying you all. He didn't attempt to recreate your voices or mannerisms--since he doesn't know you, he just made up voices and mannerisms to distinguish each of the characters--but the essence of each of you was there in your words. It was a little surreal, actually, to see an overly effeminate man telling Tolkien Boy's stories about the Remedial Basketball League in his erudite diction; an overly masculine man in a baseball cap telling Jason's stories about losing the limp wrist and experimenting sexually (but in a PG-rated Mormon way) with his then-girlfriend, delivered via Jason's ADD-influenced going-three-ways-at-once storytelling style; and the same six-foot-plus man portraying a prim and proper woman with her head held high, boldly declaring Samantha's I-am-who-I-am-and-I-don't-care-what-you-think philosophy with a precise vocabulary that could only be Sam's. (Not to mention the eerily accurate portrayal of me, slouched back in the couch and fiddling with my wedding ring while struggling to find the right words to tell my story.) Even though Ben didn't necessarily get the superficial details right (because that wasn't his purpose), he definitely got to the core of who each of you is and I really felt like I was in the company of my friends. When the play ended (too soon), I was sad to see my friends leave. Above all, he did a great job of humanizing each of us, as well as the five other people he portrayed.

Take a look at the attached program and see if you can figure out which pseudonym belongs to you (it's not difficult), then admire the cool graphic design of the poster. And here's hoping that next time Ben puts on the show, you can be there in body as well as in spirit. 


--Mr. Fob

I didn't attach the program here, and I haven't responded to the email because I have mixed feelings about being included in the final product. I know that's weird--I interviewed, I gave permission, quite frankly, I'm not hiding any of my story because it's right here and in a now dead but still public blog. I told my story simply because I was tired of being silent, and thought of that story being of interest to anyone is a foreign one. I don't champion causes, or fight for rights, or become politically involved in anything. I have no agenda. My role is to be the faded wallpaper behind those who have something controversial or interesting to say. 

This is related, I suppose, to the feeling I have that when I am not present, I am never thought of. When I leave someone, I cease to exist for that person until they happen onto my green chat dot, or my blog post shows up in their reader, or I happen to email or call them. Then they say, "Oh! Yes! That's Sam. Sometimes she's around and we talk."

Now that the waterworks inside me have been released, I cry about pretty much everything, so naturally I've been crying about this particular nonsense since Mr. Fob sent his email. And it's stupid because I don't know why I'm crying. I don't know what to feel. I'm very confused about who I am and how I fit in the lives of other people. This inclusion in Ben's play compounded those feelings.

I see myself as an escapee, I suppose. I had horrific experiences--but I got away. And I learned to survive by running (literally and figuratively). And people became alluring but scary entities. I needed them, but I could not trust them--not even the ones I fell in love with, which is saying a lot because I fall in love with people all the time. And now there are people in my life who care about me, who tell me they think of me sometimes, who wish to spend time with me occasionally...and I don't know how to process this. 

For a long time I blamed this emotional disarray on PTSD. I know now that it's not even connected. This is all me. I don't know how to be anything but incidental. I understand being left behind. I understand being forgotten. I understand being hurt and abused. Those things make complete sense to me. These understandings are not conscious, but lurk quietly, gently reminding me of my "role" in human interaction, which is to be delightful and warm and then go away and not bother people.

But that's not how it's supposed to be, maybe. Possibly people think about me in the same way I think of them? And now I'm weeping again because my guts are all confused. I think I have emotional brain damage.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I have interesting phone calls.

Today the phone rang and I had this conversation:

me: Hello?
Phone Person: Hi. Um...I'm your mailman, (gives name which I can't remember).
me: Okay?
Phone Person: Yeah. I know you have a son who works for our credit union, and I know this is weird, but his boss is my neighbor and her dogs are out and her front door is wide open. I'm trying to catch the dogs (mastiffs), but does your son have any way to contact his boss and let her know what's happening?
me: I don't know, I'll ask him.

So I called DJ, and DJ called his boss and said, "Hi. My parents' mailman is your neighbor and he called them to see if I could contact you to let you know your front door is open and the dogs are out."

Then he drove out to her house to see if he could help, and they caught the dogs and everyone lived happily ever after.

I'm guessing this isn't something that happens a lot in larger communities.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

When the Moon Shines Over the Cow Shed...

Currently, clarity of expression is not my forte. This is a normal occurrence during the months of April-June. I'm feeling stressed to get taxes finished for my clients (and myself), I'm usually accompanying numerous soloists and music groups for festivals and competitions, as well as for juries, recitals, and concerts, and I usually have a recital of my own in May. Often I adjudicate for festivals and/or present workshops, as well. I get caught up in work and tucking in a bazillion practices and rehearsals and ultimately lose the power of speech. I'm not sure why this happens, but I think my brain says, "Hey! Enough! I can't juggle everything! Don't you dare add one more thing or I'm not speaking to you anymore!" Naturally, I don't listen--I never do--one more thing is added and my brain goes on communication hiatus. Fortunately it's a forgiving body part. We're usually back on speaking terms by July.

Earlier this week I witnessed an accident involving a car and a prairie dog. I don't think the car knows about it yet, and it made me giggle (please--do not judge--everyone knows the line between tragedy and comedy is so fine as to be nearly nonexistent). It happened this way:

Two young prairie dogs were out playing near the side of the road even though their mother had told them millions of times not to do so. Mother was busy with the other twenty-two siblings and can be forgiven for not noticing the errant two who were disregarding her repeated warnings. One delinquent prairie dog said to the the other, "We run pretty fast. I'll bet we can get to the other side of the road before those fast wheelie things come back." The other DPD said, "Well, of course we can, don't be ridiculous," and immediately propelled himself onto the pavement. The DPD sibling, not to be outdone, ran to catch up and nearly did so--just in time to see the first DPD pop 18 inches into the air after being flattened by one of those fast wheelie things. The still-alive DPD stopped short, paused for a nanosecond, then turned and ran back to the roadside thinking, "Hmmm...maybe we're not as fast as we thought we were."

Alternate ending 1: The still-alive DPD stopped short, paused for a nanosecond, then turned and ran back to the roadside thinking, "One down, twenty-two to go!"

Alternate ending 2: The still-alive DPD stopped short, paused for a nanosecond, then turned and ran back to the roadside thinking, "I'm going to need my superhero cape for this."

See...this is simply a case of live (or not) and learn.

My garden is a riot of bright yellow dandelions interspersed with gorgeous deep purple pansies. Darrin keeps threatening to kill it. I've put up signs that say, "Please do not kill the pretty yellow noxious weeds." He doesn't think it's funny. Neither do his allergies, which means I shall have to concede so Darrin can breathe again. But I think if I ever have to get married again (because Darrin will die of allergy), I'm marrying someone who can enjoy dandelions without getting stuffed up and looking like a martyr all day. Also, I want new-and-improved-spouse to be able to go running with me and not snore loudly at night and not have high cholesterol and blood pressure, poor liver and kidney function, and thyroid problems. I don't think this is too much to ask. I don't have those things, I don't snore, and I don't have allergies.

Sigh...I suppose a better solution would be to get rid of the dandelions and keep the Darrin. He's a lot more fun and actually smells better (dandelions do not smell nice).

Adam keeps trying to sleep in the entry way of our house, which sort of grosses me out because this is not an area that gets mopped often enough. The first time I found him there I thought it was odd, but Adam is growing and sleeps all the time now, so I figured maybe he was going outside but decided he was too tired and took a nap instead. But last night he went to sleep there again and this time he brought his alarm clock. Obviously this was a planned adventure. I'm going to have to talk to him to find out why he's acting like a weirdo when he has a perfectly good bed in his room (and floor, if that's what he prefers). I am seriously considering selling the boy.

And now I must go play with the ledger of one of my clients--such fun!!

Oh! And ten points to anyone who can tell me where the title of this post comes from.


Thursday, April 7, 2011


Adam: I've seen the one at Little America. It has couches and chairs and lots of mirrors. Why? Why do the women's restrooms have things men's restrooms don't?

Tabitha: Because men's restrooms have things women's restrooms don't.

Adam: What? Condom machines?

Tabitha: No. Urinals. Women's restrooms have condom machines, too.

Adam: What would women do with urinals? They don't need them.

Tabitha: And men don't need couches in their restrooms.

Adam: Also, why do you need individual stalls? Why can't you just sit and pee together, like men stand and pee together? Why do you need privacy?

Tabitha: We don't. It's just an illusion. Behind the stall doors there are no walls. We sit and pee and chat together. That's why it takes us so long.

Adam: Tabitha. I've been in the women's restroom. I know what's in there.

Tabitha: Why were you in a women's restroom?

Adam: My friend pushed me inside during a school trip.

Tabitha: You're old enough you could get arrested for that. Voyeurism, you know.

Adam: How do you know about voyeurism?

Tabitha: How do you know about voyeurism?

Adam: Right. Let's leave that alone.

Tabitha: Good idea.

Adam: Anyway, you still have couches.

Tabitha: I'll tell you what: you bleed from your genitals for one week out of every month for the next forty years of your life, and I'll make sure every men's bathroom has a couch in it, just for you.

Long pause....

Adam: I think it's okay for girls to have couches in their bathrooms.

Tabitha: And I'm okay with guys having exclusive rights to urinals. Want to go make smoothies?

Adam: Yeah--but no spinach this time.

Tabitha: Mom's the only one who puts spinach in smoothies. I thought you liked it.

Adam: I do, but it's ugly.

Tabitha: Okay. No spinach.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Deceiving others. That's what the world calls a romance." ~Oscar Wilde

With few exceptions, I hate chick flicks for the following reasons:

1. No romantic music ever begins playing when I make out with my husband.
2. The drama, tension, and resulting happily ever after is so unrealistic I want to puke, especially when infidelity is involved.
3. Watching people kiss sort of makes me shudder.
4. No one ever puts on a condom when they have sex in a chick flick, and they never talk about the resulting STD...the gift that keeps on giving...
5. The plots frustrate me. Honestly, I know it would make the movie only ten minutes long, but can't the people just say what's on their minds? Why is it fun to watch them misunderstanding each other, crying about it, and drinking themselves into a stupor so they can find the courage to say, "I love you"? And if that's the only time it's said, then it's sort of meaningless. And I do know what I'm talking about.
6. They kiss in the morning. Am I the only person who runs to the bathroom to brush my teeth when I wake up? I can guarantee that Darrin is not allowed to put his mouth near mine until we're both minty fresh. Ick!
7. There's always rain when the movie is sad. This seems a bit presumptuous. I happen to like rain.
8. No one ever does housework (although occasionally there is a romantic washing of dishes--I've never been able to understand why that's romantic) but the houses stay immaculate.
9. Even when the main characters work out, they always look sexy which proves they're not really working out. You should see me after I run. I am SCARY--sweat dripping off me, my hair nappy and big, I'm panting and that's a workout stance.
10. The fights are stupid. No one has fights like the ones in the movies. Most fights are much more intelligent--like the one Darrin and I had last night:
Darrin: I'm here to help. What can I do?
me: Open the refried beans, mix them in this bowl with the other can of black beans and some cheese, and microwave them for a few minutes.
Darrin: I'm sorry, I'm sort of tired. What did you just say?
me: Open the beans, mix them with cheese in this bowl and microwave them for a few minutes.
Darrin: Do I have to use that bowl?
me: Well, it's a microwave safe bowl and it has a vented lid.
Darrin: I'm sure we have other microwave safe bowls.
me: You know what? Use whatever bowl you want. I'm going back to work. 
(Samantha does her impression of storming out of the kitchen).
See--that's a normal fight. You won't find that in a romantic chick flick. And no, we didn't kiss and make up within the 90 minute time limit. I was mad for at least two hours.

Sigh...I really need Darrin to stop watching chick flicks. My brain hurts when he watches them.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Midlife Crisis

I think I had my first one at age 17.

I know. That's not midlife; but when one is born ancient, midlife crises are allowed to happen at any age.

It was at this point when I decided that for my own well-being I needed to be somewhere other than my home. So I left.

I went to a national park near my home, applied for a job which included room and board, and never went home again. I visited occasionally, and sometimes I spent the night, but I didn't live there. My sister moved into my room the week following my departure. As I had boxed up all my belongings and placed them in the rubbish bin behind our house to be burned, the room was empty. I was glad she wanted it. Weirdly, it made me feel that I didn't contaminate all that I touched if someone was able to occupy my bed when I left home.

I now lived in a dorm situation with all the other resort employees. This translated into a very large, warehouse sized room with partial walls which allowed the illusion of privacy, but no doors. I slept on a top bunk in a long row of bunk beds.

For a few days I felt uncomfortable and displaced--even a bit lonely. Then I felt absolutely free.

As no one knew me and I was the new girl (everyone else had been there for about a month when I arrived), people began to ask me questions. I was not prepared to tell them who I was--well, I wasn't prepared to tell them anything--so I made things up. I added a couple of years to my age, which inspired this type of commentary:

Someone: Really? You look like you could still be in high school.
me: Yeah, I get that all the time.
Someone: Well, I know you can't be as young as you look because you have to be 18 to get hired here.
me: Yup.

The being 18 part was true. And I wasn't. But I knew someone who knew someone who was able to secure the job for me anyway, based on the fact that I was a high school graduate and had a semester of college on my transcript. So I figured if I was going to be older, I'd be nineteen--turning twenty in September.

Then I decided I had been an exchange student to Ireland during my Junior year of high school. It wasn't glamorous, but I didn't speak any foreign languages fluently enough to convince someone I'd done an exchange anywhere else. I actually have no idea if one can even be an exchange student in Ireland. Neither did anyone else. This allowed me to tell many fabricated stories and be the center of attention, which is usually something I studiously avoid but since I was experiencing mid-life crisis, I allowed myself to try something new.

Being the center of attention also attracted a young man, oddly enough. He was loud and smiled a lot and whistled at me whenever he saw me. One of my bunk/roommates let me know how flattered I should be. And because I was going through midlife crisis, I decided I would be. So we ate meals together for a few days while he told me he was wonderful and I was lucky. And I smiled and nodded and wondered what the heck I was doing. He was 24 and working for minimum wage in the national parks. Surely someone else noticed that seemed to be a bit under-ambitious even for an outdoor enthusiast. But if anyone did, they were too busy listening to him talk about his wonderful-ness and my lucky-ness.

I was seventeen. I was going through a midlife crisis. I was a tiny bit stupid.

When Mr. Wonderful took me to a movie and tried to hold my hand, I let him. When he took me a second time and put his arm around me, I let him do that, too. When he took me a third time and started messing with the clasp of my bra, I yelled. Loudly. Right in the middle of the movie. And then I ended up on a dark road, walking back to the resort where we worked, all by myself because Mr. Wonderful called me a mean name and left me behind.

It was twenty-two miles from the movie theater to my bunk bed.

However, I'd walked long distances before and there seemed no other alternative and it was better than fighting off Mr. Wonderful.

When I'd been walking about an hour a car passed me, made a u-turn, pulled up behind me and stopped. I kept walking. I heard the door open and someone called my name. I continued walking. The car owner jogged to catch up with me and began walking beside me. He didn't say anything. We walked about a mile, then I said, "Why are you here?"

It was a young man, about 20 years old. He was slightly built and very quiet. I don't believe he had ever spoken to me before. He said, "Mr. Wonderful is my bunk/roommate. He came home angry tonight." I laughed. "I'll bet he did. He's not very nice."

Quietly, matter-of-factly, the young man said, "He's a bastard." And I agreed.

The young man told me his name and asked if I wanted a ride home. I said no. He said that was okay, and kept walking with me. After about thirty minutes I said, "Aren't you going back to your car?"

He told me he thought he'd feel better if I wasn't walking alone in the dark, and kept walking. I sighed and said, "Fine. Let's go back to your car and drive home. BUT--please do not touch me." He said, "I wouldn't dream of it."

I don't think we said anything else that night. On the long walk back to the car and the drive to the resort where we lived, we were completely silent. I was very tired.

When we got home, I said, "Thank you," and he said, "How old are you really?" and I said, "Good night."

And with that, the midlife crisis ended. I didn't recant my stories, but I did stop dating men who were seven years older than I--and who would be guilty of statutory rape in the event of any copulation. It was for their own safety--truly.

That young man never did say a whole lot, but he spent the rest of the summer with me. We ate meals together, went camping, swam in the river, went to movies (and he didn't grope me), went shopping, and sometimes we just sat on a hillside and colored in a coloring book. He mentioned that seemed more age-appropriate for me than making out and heavy petting with a 24-year-old bastard.

And then I went to college and he went on a mission and I didn't have another midlife crisis for more than a year, at which point I celebrated the crisis by getting married but not to the quiet young man.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sometimes I just don't want to:

1. Go to bed at night. I'm sleepy. I know it will be comfy and warm. I know Darrin is waiting for me. I still don't want to. And no matter how late I go to bed, I'm up in the morning with the sun. There is nothing I can do about this.

2. Take a shower. I don't know why. I hate not showering, so I do it anyway. But I don't want to. Maybe because I think showering is boring

3. Wear clothes. Mostly because I can't decide what to wear and it just seems easier not to get dressed at all. Eventually naked time has to end so I do wear clothes but I don't want to.

4. Answer the phone. And if I don't want to--I don't. It makes Darrin crazy but I refuse to be a slave to my phone and I'm pretty sure if I don't want to answer, whoever is calling would rather not talk to me in that moment. I'm just not lots of fun when I'm doing something I don't want to.

5. Take my vitamins. This is silly because there is no reason not to. But because I'm supposed to, I don't want to.

Darrin says I'm still a two-year-old at heart. I think he's probably right.