In Our Head

Musings, thoughts, experiences…

Lesbian Pillow Talk September 8, 2009

Filed under: Lesbian Life — harriettnelson @ 6:43 am
Tags: , , , ,

me: are the cats in?

her: uh-huh.  i checked.

me: thanks


her: crap! the neighbors are lighting fire crackers again.

me: sounds like it.


me: can i have some sheet?

her: you have it all already!  i don’t have any on my side.

me: well i don’t have any either.  oh, wait, there’s a huge wad in the middle.  here, pull this your way.  no, not all of it!  there, that’s better.


her: did you cut the dog’s nails?

me: i forgot.  i’ll do it tomorrow.  did you give them their eye drops?

her: yeah, i did it while you were on the phone.

me: thanks


me: do you want me to go buy a fan for the basement tomorrow?

her: yeah, that would be good.  they’re on clearance at mal-wart.  over by the pet stuff.

me: ok.  do you want risotto for dinner.

her: that sounds good.


her: gentle snore


More Signs of the Times March 24, 2009

Filed under: hard times — harriettnelson @ 9:46 pm
Tags: , , ,

I unfolded the Sunday paper and pulled out the inserts — gotta check those coupons!  An unusual looking ad drifted off the pile onto the floor.  Curious, I picked it up.  It was an advertisement for the Salvation Army thrift store. To lure new customers, they’re raffleing off two cars and offering a crack at the “treasure chest” of prizes just for walking through the door. Since when does the Salvation Army store advertise?? Apparently since now.

Monday morning, as I was feeding my pets, the phone rang. “Hello…” silence. “Hello!…”
“Hello, this is Major Davis of the Salvation Army inviting you to customer appreciation day at our store on 426 W Jones Ave. …”
I hung up. Since when does the Salvation Army make automated phone calls to advertise their thrift store? Since now, I guess.

What will be next?


Life Stages March 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — harriettnelson @ 2:58 am

Youth is, by universal agreement, divided into stages: infant, toddler, child, teen, each stage distinguished by its own developmental milestones.

Adulthood, for me, has also been progressing in distinct stages.  From my vantage point on the sidelines of mainstream America, I am a participant-observer, attending the events associated with each stage, but not moving through them in the same way myself.  First came the wedding stage.  Most of my friends got married with varying degrees of pomp and circumstance. I brought suitable gifts to Protestant, Catholic, Wiccan, and secular weddings.  For me it was the bridesmaid stage, heavily infested with bridesmaid’s dresses.

Next came the house-buying stage.  I packed and unpacked multitudes of boxes, lugged every imaginable type of furniture up or down stairs, washed acres of windows, and brought appropriate house-warming gifts to a long string of open-house parties.

Once everyone was settled, the baby stage began.  Most of my friends produced offspring, over which I dutifully oohed and aahed.  I sent onesies, Carter’s and OshKosh overalls to god-children, nieces, and swarms of other cute babies.  From my women friends, I learned more than I had ever wanted to know about pregnancy, labor, and delivery.  I even watched the video of one friend’s baby being delivered.  I had never seen my friend from that angle before, and didn’t feel I had been missing anything.

Sadly, the baby stage was followed by the divorce stage, during which a couple of husbands walked out on their families, one married person came out as gay, and several couples apparently just decided it wasn’t worth the effort any more.  This was the first stage at which gifts were not required.

Now I have reached the aging parent stage.  A few of my friends have already lost one or more parents.  All of our parents are beginning to need our help.  The tables are slowly turning, reversing our care-giving and care-receiving roles.  My own parents are selling the house I grew up in and moving to a condominium.  I applaud their decision to do this before they absolutely have to.  They are in good health and will make the move comfortably, on their own terms.  It feels odd to think that I will never be able to go home again.  My in-laws are taking the opposite approach.  Their health is quite fragile, but they are determined not to leave the large house in which they raised their four children.  They desperately need assisted living, but will not think of moving. This decision will probably hasten their deaths, but there doesn’t seem to be much we can do about it.

I’m not looking forward to the funeral stage, which I expect to follow the aging parent stage.  I’ve had a small foretaste of it already and, while it is good to see family gathered for the occasion, I do not enjoy the experience of pieces of my world being chipped away.


Why do I do it? February 2, 2009

Filed under: Dogs — harriettnelson @ 3:32 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

A good friend, and avid dog sports enthusiast, recently asked me why I participate in sports with my dogs – obedience, conformation, and weight pulling in my case.  It’s a good question.  Dog sports are expensive and time-consuming and result in no tangible benefits.  Sure, most participants pretend that the titles and trophies are important.  They may even believe it.  But really, what is the significance of the fancy ribbon my poodle won?  Will it reduce global warming?  Feed starving children?  Bring me closer to God?  Dog sports simply are not important, yet I, along with many thousands of others, am willing to invest significant amounts of time and money to participate.  Why do I do it?

I have not been able to settle on one concise reason. My reasons are many and varied, and, surprisingly, have little to do with the actual sports themselves.  My purposes are served whether or not my dog “accomplishes” anything.

Dog sports foster the human-animal bond, which is well known to have many benefits for the humans involved. Working toward a goal with my dog
helps me know my dog better and appreciate my dog’s unique qualities
more fully.

Sports are fun! Both humans and dogs have an inherent need for play.
Playing together is just plain enjoyable. Sports also support mental
and physical health for both dogs and humans. The socialization, and
the mental and physical activity, are all beneficial to both me and my dog.

My dogs are happier when they have a job to do. Sure, they love
lounging on the sofa, but they love working with me more!  Because I love my dogs, making them happy makes me happy.

Dog people are some of the finest folks in the world. It’s a crowd I
can really enjoy hanging around with.  Most people at a canine sporting event are ready to put aside religious, political, and socio-economic differences just to have a good time together with their dogs.  It’s refreshing.

I like dog sports for the same reason I like dogs.  They make me happy.


Signs of the Times

Filed under: hard times — harriettnelson @ 3:18 am
Tags: , , , ,

As we slide into Depression, the pundits cite grim statistics daily: 100,000 jobs lost last week, new unemployment claims at an all-time high, Gross National Product down 3.8%.  But I notice more personal signs of the times.

The latest LL Bean catalog mentions what a great value their products are on almost every page, and points out numerous items whose price has not changed since 19xx.  Our jeweler, a family business where we have gotten our watches repaired for many years, has closed.  On television, Rachel Ray is plugging a new program about budget-conscious cooking.  For the first time I can remember, almost every new car advertisement is focused on gas mileage, and dealers hasten to assure the public, “We’ll be here for you, now and in the future.”  Our local public radio station added an extra week of fundraising in January to make up for the shortfall in their usual fall campaign.

Most telling of all;  our local grocery store chain has begun advertising low prices on potatoes, onions, and milk. In Michigan, the Depression appears to have arrived.


On Love January 21, 2009

Filed under: Old Folks — heidi @ 10:15 pm

My doctor’s waiting room is a busy, bustling place, a sort of grand central for a huge group of docs. It is generic and impersonal, with forgettable blue chairs and crumpled magazines. When there, I fixate on my Blackberry and let the world around me dissolve into background noise.

The other day was different. Forced by a waning battery to find other amusements, and too afraid of germs to touch anything, I sat back and took in my surroundings: a young woman tried to calm a crying infant; a man with long legs nodded off; two women whispered and laughed.

And then there was the elderly couple. A stooped man with white hair and a pronounced limp, he pushed a woman in a wheelchair toward my area of the waiting room. After securing the parking brake on her chair, he lowered himself into a seat beside her. Seconds later, the woman began to babble. While her face remained expressionless, her incoherent chatter grew in volume and urgency. Her distress was unmistakable.

The old man turned toward the woman and began stroking her cheek. He didn’t say anything, he just stroked, his palm brushing ever so gently over her pale skin. He gazed intently at her, never once looking away. She, in turn, stared ahead at some faraway spot – or perhaps she wasn’t seeing at all.

Gradually, the woman’s babbling subsided. Like a sated, content infant, she cooed and gurgled softly. And the man continued to stroke.

I had to force myself to look away, to give these people the privacy they deserved. But I desperately wanted to continue watching. The man’s simple gesture was the purest, most beautiful expression of love I’d ever witnessed. Two withered beings, though the capacity to think and reason had clearly left one of them, remained so powerfully connected as to transcend words.

When my name was called, I cast one last look at the man and woman, she cooing, he stroking. Their image stayed with me long after I’d left the doctor’s office. It is with me still.


The Gap January 20, 2009

What is your reaction to an adult with missing teeth?

It’s not positive, is it?

Homeless people, drug addicts and alcoholics, people who don’t practice appropriate self-care, people who smell bad, battered wives and barroom brawlers, people who are irresponsible and careless and on welfare – those are the ones who don’t have all their teeth.

Respectable, well-educated, hard-working, middle-class, normal people have full sets of teeth.  If some have been removed by a dentist, it doesn’t show because they have been neatly replaced by dentures or implants.

Recently my complacent assumptions, my tidy categorizations, were disturbed.  All bets are off now while I readjust my thinking.  I am missing a tooth.

About 25 years ago, I had some work done on my tooth #11.  That’s the third one on the upper left.  The procedure went smoothly and I thought no more about it – until a couple of months ago when, biting down on a piece of toast, I heard and felt a CRACK.  I tasted blood, spat out my toast, and began to investigate.  Tooth # 11 had broken off and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.  Examination of the evidence revealed that the internal parts of the tooth were mostly gone.  Apparently there is a phenomenon known as internal resorption that can do that.  Nobody knows why.

Once the bleeding stopped, I reached for the phone to call the dentist and arrange to have things taken care of at the dentist’s earliest convenience.  Just in time, I stopped.  I am unemployed and can’t afford to pay my dentist.  What to do?

I remembered that our county has a dental clinic for low-income residents.  That certainly includes me right now, so I called.  They do extractions.  Only extractions.  Got a problem?  Yank it out.  Medieval dentistry in the 21st century.  I didn’t think I needed an extraction since the tooth was already gone.  Thanks anyway.

What to do?  I got on the web.  Aha!  A charity clinic for low-income residents of my county.  Perfect.  According to their website, they offer quite a variety of services.  Feeling hopeful once again, I called.  They were very sorry, but their waiting list was over a year long and they weren’t accepting any new patients.

So here I am, having exhausted all available resources, with a gap in my smile and not a thing I can do about it, wondering what affect it will have on my job search.