Tuesday, November 4, 2014

It's exactly the same, just different.

So.  Here it is.  A new blog.  Except not really.  All that's changed is the web address that gets you here (the old web address should still get you here, but feel free to update to the new one).  I needed a new name. I haven't been a Douglass for more than a year, and I didn't want that to be the website name any more.  I have decided to live in my summer cottage in Babylon full time.

I'm still working out a few of the kinks that come with migrating a blog.  Hopefully all the comments on old posts will be back soon, because really, the comments are my favorite part.  And my blog roll.  There's no simple way to migrate that.  It's going to require me manually adding them all. 

But otherwise, I think you'll find everything else is familiar.  Who knows, maybe I'll even start writing posts again.

In the meantime, here's a very brief update:

I have a real job.  I've been the "Executive Assistant" for a financial advisor for a year now, and I really like it.  Not finances--I don't like them, and I'm not good at them. I find the whole idea of investments and financial plans tedious.  But I'm good at the administrative stuff.  Keeping things organized, making sure rules are followed...that's right up my alley.  (Tangent: I refuse to ever use the phrase "in my wheelhouse," even though I actually know what it means and where it originated. "Right up my alley" is a much less douchey way of saying the same thing. If I ever hear you say something is in your wheelhouse, I will want to punch you in the taco.  I won't, because I don't think I could poop in a jail toilet, but I will want to.) (Yes. My biggest deterrent to committing a crime is the fear of public pooping.) 

My oldest has become a musclebound, giant man-child complete with facial hair and BO and I don't know what to do with that.  But along with the facial hair, BO, and several inches he has on me came a person who is fun to talk to and actually likes to be around me. 

We adopted a cat and it died 29 days later.  After swearing off new pets forever, we adopted another cat in July. So far he's not dead.

We've all (all eight of us) settled into our work-family balancing, splitting time between parents, six loaves of bread and five gallons of milk a week new lives.

And I feel like writing again, so hopefully you'll see me around here more. I've been holding in All The Opinions about All The Things for far too long. 

See you soon. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

"There are moments in every mans life, when he glimpses the eternal."

The rush of anger when I saw it surprised me.

It had been my favorite place.  The last time I was there was more than four years ago. I thought the memory of that night was long buried, but there it was. Sudden. Unexpected. Painful.

Sometimes it's one bite too much.  Sometimes it's something not chewed well enough.  Sometimes there's no reason at all. It just happens--the discomfort that inevitably becomes a re-visitation of everything I just ate. An unpleasant side effect of gastric bypass surgery.

It happened that night.  Soy glazed salmon.  Chinese broccoli.  Grilled bok choy with sesame oil. Then the uncomfortable foaming at the back of my throat, the pressure beneath my sternum. I left the table and went out to the car.  It seemed more discreet that way. I kept plastic bags in the seat pocket for just these occasions.

"Going there is kind of a waste of money," he said as we drove home.  "You threw up ten dollars worth of food."

Those words made me burn with a shame I can't quite explain. Yet another way I was a disappointment added to the growing pile. Another thing I enjoyed sullied by my inability to do it right.

We never went back there again.

Eventually we moved away.  I forgot about it, mostly.  I no longer thought of the words, but something inside always made me box up most of my restaurant dinners after that, even if I was still hungry.

Now, four years later, a picture.  It's right there as I scroll through my newsfeed.  The same restaurant, the same family--just a different face where mine had once been. And all the shame of that night came rushing back.  Shame and anger--anger I should have felt four years ago.

Cheeks flushed, I glance up from the screen with its picture of the memory with a new face in my spot.

She's looking at me from across the room, smiling.  Her brown eyes filled with so much love.  My anger dissipates as suddenly as it came.

I am no one's disappointment anymore.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Creamy Clam Deliciousness

If you're here looking for creamy clam deliciousness in any form other than a really good recipe,  you'll need to look elsewhere.  Sorry.

So, posting recipes isn't normally a thing I do. I love having all my recipes together on Pinterest, but to pin something on Pinterest, it has to exist on the internet and this recipe doesn't. So, I'm making it exist.

This is a recipe that was given to my mother back in the eighties by an elderly lady in Connecticut that she took care of.  And it's pure, unadulterated, unhealthy deliciousness. I rarely make it, although I don't know why.  I love it, it's cheap, it's fast and easy, and it's so rich that you barely eat any, so you have plenty of leftovers.

I know.  You're thinking, "Clams? Yuck!"  But trust me.

 I am not a food blogger.

Clam Pie

Two cans chopped clams (if you REALLY hate clams that much, you can make it with small scallops.)
8 TBS (1/2 cup) butter
1 1/2-2 cups crushed milk crackers or lightly salted Ritz (Milk crackers are a thing that exist in Connecticut.  I have never found them anywhere else, so I use Ritz.  Regular Ritz are too salty, but hunt of salt Ritz are perfect.  I use two full sleeves.)
1 cup heavy cream
Garlic powder (I just sprinkle in a generous amount)
Salt an pepper to taste
Crumbled bacon (I have never made it with this, but as I was typing up the recipe just now, I had an epiphany.  Topping it with crumbled bacon is a thing I must do sometime.)

Pre-heat oven to 350 (F)

Melt butter.  Mix with cracker crumbs, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Press slightly more than half into a deep pie dish. (It doesn't have to be a deep dish pie pan, but it can't be too shallow, either.)

Drain the juice from ONE can of clams.  Mix clams (and juice from the undrained can) with cream.  Pour into pie pan.

Top the cream mixture with the remaining crumbs.

Bake for 20-30 minutes (until top is lightly golden). Let cool for 10-15 minutes, then slice and serve.  And die from ecstasy.

No, seriously.  I'm not. I know you're shocked.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Girl Who Lived

 I don't have a single memory of playing house with her.

Why pretend-play the daily drudgery of life with dolls and plastic dishes?  Instead, we pretended to be spies.  Rock stars.  Animal trainers.  Explorers.

Our Barbies lived the most fabulous lives. No, really. The most. So did our My Little Ponies.  And Strawberry Shortcake dolls. And  paper dolls.  I was so bored when I played these things with anyone else.  Only with her did paper dolls and plastic ponies get caught up in international espionage while vacationing in Paris en route to a Mediterranean cruise.

One day she decided she would like to run a radio station.  Being eight wasn't going to stop her. So, WRRT was born. At least once a week for an entire summer we would stand outside on my grandmother's porch and sing the greatest hits of 1983 at the top of our lungs. I was worried the neighbors would yell at us for being too loud.  She was worried we weren't singing loud enough for them to enjoy it.

From my earliest memories of her, she lived.

No matter what the situation, she was always having more fun than anyone else in the room.

Many of us may day dream about picking up, moving halfway around the world and starting a new life on a new continent. She actually did it.
She didn't need to be given a terminal diagnosis to finally go out and live life.  She simply always lived that way. "That sounds fun--I want to do that!" was reason enough to do it. 

And as I struggled with the events of my life last year, she sent me a message reminding me that I deserve to live, too. She said, "You're happier than I've seen you since we were kids. The whole family says it. Don't waste your time feeling guilty for choosing happiness. Life is too short for that.  Spend your time making your happiness worth the pain."

I'm going to miss her so much.

 Renae Turcotte

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I should be folding laundry.

(Photo proof that I am, in fact, still alive. 
And really, I just like my new hair cut in this picture and wanted to show you.)

I have a rare day off that doesn't include an appointment somewhere or a million errands to run.  I should be using this time to catch up on laundry and dusting, but no.  I'm here. I miss this place.  A lot.  I miss all of you.  (Is anyone even still there?) 

So, the laundry can wait.

Usually I have something to say when I sit down and click "new post."  Today, not so much.  I mean, I have a million things to say.  But nothing that I can organize into a coherent post.  So, I'm just going to answer some questions I've gotten from you about life since June.

1. Are you working now?

Yes.  That's the main reason I'm never here any more.  I'm working at a store.  My employment contract says something about not talking about the company, so let's just call it The Big Red Bull's Eye.  Or, Wal Mart For People Who Never Wear Pajamas To Shop.  Or, That Place Where If You Come In Wearing A Red Shirt And Khaki Pants Someone Is Going To Ask You Where The Light Bulbs Are.

It's a good company to work for.  (Really, I'm not just saying that to avoid a law suit.)  But it's physically hard (I stock shelves 7 hours a day), mind numbing (See:  I stock shelves 7 hours a day), and most of my co-workers AND supervisors are twenty-somethings.  I have to work a lot of weekends and evenings--you know, the time when my kids and Marianne are home.  So, I'm constantly on the look out for something better.  (Please, someone hire me. I would make a kick ass administrative assistant.)

The one part I DO like is cashiering.  I could do that all day.  And then I could come home and write a book about human nature based solely on what people buy.  Friday night is condom and mint night. It is apparently impossible to buy tampons without also buying chocolate, salty snacks, or ice cream.  No one ever buys anything else with a pregnancy test. And I'm not sure why there was a correlation, but during the government shut down (I live in the DC area), I rang up more Nicorette gum in a week than I did in the previous three months combined. It fascinates me.

2.  Soooo...how is it going?  (Related:  Was it worth it? and Are you happy?)

The short answers--It's going fine, yes it was worth it, and yes I'm happy.   The long answers are more complicated.  What it is is hard.  And we expected it to be.  We both have more than a decade and a half of marriage baggage. There are seven kids and their happiness and adjustment to consider. There are mistakes we made in the past that we don't want to repeat with each other. And then throw in the (thankfully very few) bonus complications of this being a same sex relationship. It's work.  It's hard work.  But yes, absolutely worth it.  And there is happiness even in the hard parts. 

3.  You always post pictures of your houses when you move. When do we get to see your new house? (Related: Where do you put all the kids?)

We lucked into a renovated and upgraded town house in a great area for a very reasonable rent (seriously, we got really lucky finding this place).  It's big--bigger than my last house.  We have four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, living room, and large family room.  So far it's working for us.  The boys all share the big basement  bedroom, and have their own full bath.  The two little girls share a room, and the 12 year old has her own (tiny) room.  The three of them have their own full bath.  There's plenty of space for everyone.  There's even a room for the cat.  The downside is that we really have no yard (although the tradeoff is a huge deck off the kitchen), and three levels gets old fast.  Also, four bathrooms are fabulous until you're the one stuck cleaning them.

I didn't go all out with pictures, but here are some poorly lit, kind of blurry phone pictures of the main living area.  (The cat really wants you to know she lives here, too. Can you spot her?  She followed me around and is in all of them.)

(This is supposed to be the eat-in part of the eat in kitchen, but we decided to make it a sitting area for us. It's my favorite spot in the house.)

O.K., internets.  I've wasted enough time.  The laundry isn't going to fold itself.  I'll try not to let so much time pass before I stop in again.  In the mean time, come say hello to me the next time you're in So Many Pretty Things To Spend My Money On Mart.  I'm sure I'll be doing something fun, like stocking hemorrhoid cream.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

This isn't a real post.

Oh, Internets.  I have missed you.  I don't actually have time for a real post right now because I had to do the unthinkable.  I had to get a  job.  I'll tell you all about it (and how I know when it's Friday by the amount of condoms I scan), but for now, here's a preview.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Gay Divorcées

It's been brought to my attention recently that a certain person I know will not tolerate my "gay lifestyle", nor will she allow us to "promote being gay" at an upcoming birthday party we'll all be attending.

Well.  There goes my plan for the thirty minute gay-recruitment Powerpoint presentation before the cake is served.

As for not tolerating our gay lifestyle, I agree with her whole-heartedly. 

Let's take a look at a typical day of our Big Gay Lifestyle, shall we?

We wake up, brush our teeth and make the bed.  Children are then woken up and told to get dressed and brush their teeth. Coffee is made.  The gay cats are petted. The dishes are put away.  Kids are nagged to please get dressed and brush their teeth now.  Lunches are packed.  Breakfast is eaten.  Coffee is sipped.  When we remember, the deck garden is watered.

The kids are driven in one of two matching gay minivans to summer camp.  Marianne goes to her gay Shakespeare class.  I do household chores, the shopping, read, knit, and as of yesterday, go to work.

Marianne comes home, or if it's Wednesday, goes to work.  If she comes home, she does homework. Sometimes, if we're lucky, we run errands together.

In the evening, kids are picked up.  Dinner is cooked and eaten.  Kids are told to clean up dinner.  We relax for a few minutes in our gay matching arm chairs.  Sometimes we knit.  Kids are nagged to please clean up from dinner now.

After dinner we talk with the kids.  I talk to mine on the phone when they're with their dad.  Sometimes if we're feeling especially wild and crazy, we'll play some Uno or Sorry with the kids.  Or watch a movie with them. Or introduce them to Kevin, gay Paul, and Winnie from The Wonder Years on Netflix. Or go for a bike ride with them.  Or take them to help a friend move some boxes from her flooded basement.

At bed time, the kids are sent off to get ready for bed.  We sit and chat about our day, our schedules, the kids' schedules, what to have for dinner tomorrow, what's going on with our friends and family.  Kids are nagged to please get ready for bed now. Kids are tucked in and hugged and told that they're loved.

When the kids are in bed, we unwind on the couch with a little TV.  Sometimes Marianne has a glass of wine while watching TV.  Oh, and knitting.  We're usually knitting with wool sheared from free range gay sheep

[On rare occasion, there are no kids at home.  When that happens we eat dinner in the living room.  On the couch. In bathrobes and pajamas. Or maybe we'll have a friend or two over for dinner, where we will eat curry made from exclusively gay chicken, and talk about nothing but our kids all night.]

Then we go upstairs.  We brush our teeth.  We get into bed.  We say I love you. We go to sleep.

See what I mean about not tolerating that? That person is completely right about not tolerating that lifestyle. 


Our friend Sylwia came to visit last week (long time readers may remember her as my most interesting/controversial/infuriating commenter ever).  Though she is very Mormon and conservative, she is also usually very tolerant of those who choose a different path than her own.  But even she couldn't tolerate our Big Gay Lifestyle. After a few hours with us she announced in a very accusatory tone, "You guys are so noooorrrrrrmmmaaaalllllll. Ugh."

People are right to not tolerate our lifestyle.  You should cut us out of your lives, because odds are good that if you allow us into your home, we will talk about our kids.  And probably knit you something.  And then we'll likely even leave early so we can go home to sleep at a reasonable hour. 

I may be on the wrong side of history, but I'm taking a stand for what's right. My Big Gay Lifestyle cannot be tolerated any longer. 

Will you stand with me, America?  If not for me, then for the children. They can't be taught that this lifestyle is acceptable.

Please.  Think of the children.