Thursday, June 17, 2010

new trechnology

OK, so I am not a big fan of new technology. Some of you knew that, and others I am sure could guess. Last night a friend gave me a new(ish) laptop. It is smaller and more lightweight than the big gray beast that I am typing this on now. It has cool political/sexual outlaw stickers on it. He loaded all kinds of necessary things onto it for me. Got me set up on a new gmail account, switched my email over from the old Outlook Express to gmail, did all the things I am rumored to need done to boldly step into the 21st century, and it was all very exciting.

Only there's a hitch.

Setting things up, he asked "so, what's your password for this account?"


"Yeah. You have a password."

"Oh. (long pause) Are you sure?"

See, my brain is filled with lots of important things, and is unable to remember passwords. For even 60 seconds, it seems.

OK, it wants you to re-enter your password.

I forget it.


I forget it.

But you just made it and typed it in.

I know. But I can't remember what I made it.



You see, my head is filled with other things. Things like studs go 16 inches on center and it is important for things to be plumb and level and square and how to make them those things if they aren't and how to work around it if they refuse, how to measure and cut irregular trapezoids out of sheetrock to fit in a particular space and where the plumbers need to put vent pipes and how many holes the electrician will need to drill in my firewall and song lyrics to every hit record from the 1970s. And 1980s. And a fair number from the 1960s and 1990s, too. And all those little words at the top of the Budweiser label.

That's what's clogging up my brain. And somehow, I cannot dislodge any of it to make enough room to store a few passwords. Like to facebook. And to this blogger account. Oh, it will send my password to my Yahoo! account. Only I don't use my Ya-hell account any more and have no idea -- you guessed it! -- what my password is to get into it.


I have tried all of the normal passwords that I use for such things. I had them all written down on a sticky note once, but have not seen it in ages. I am screwed. I wish I could just plug this computer into that computer and transfer all of the data I want from old to new.

It is a given, of course, that the friend who helped me out with all of this is younger than I. That's fine. But it is frustrating that I am unable to master a thing. I used to be the one to do that stuff. I was the one "old people" asked to hook up stereos and electronics and such. Only with computers, I am out of my league. I am the "old person" now. I have not a clue what happens inside these things. I only know I want to turn it on and go where I want -- much like when I get in a motor vehicle. Turn the key, put it in drive and GO! I do not have to me a mechanic to drive my car. I should not have to be a software engineer to check my damned email or make a new blog post. Grr.

Anyway, that's my grumble for today. I am hoping that I can get this thing figured out, even if it means I have to resort to old-school technology and actually CALL some kind of customer support place to get it straightened around. Wish me luck. And as always, thank you for your patience.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Yesterday was a pretty long day. I went to a meeting, saw my sponsor and got a hug, took myself to lunch and then went to Andrew's graduation. It was interminably long, but mostly not terrible. When his name was announced and he got is diploma, a fair number of us cheered and that was nice. Afterwards, friends and advisers were met, dinner reservations made and met, and chat of politics, feminism, unions and music from the 1960s to 1980s was discussed. Andrew was part mortified that I could banter so with his friends and part relieved, I think. I was able to provide a distraction so that he was not 100% of the focus of every one's attention, and I think he was very grateful.

A friend later described me as "a COA parent" and that threw me a bit.

To Andrew, I am one of his "old" friends, which means that I am a friend of his who is old, not that we've known and liked each other a long time.

Certainly, I am old enough to be Andrew's mother, at least chronologically. He is 22. I am 44. Yes, I could have been his parent. Only our friendship does not feel like that kind of parent-offspring relationship, at least not any that I have seen or experienced. I don't think I fit in the "favorite auntie" kind of category, either. Andrew is cool. We hang out. I don't ask anything of him beyond that he eat now and then when I make food, and that he not trash my place and not clean it up. I tell stories about the dark ages (1980s and 90s) of lgbt politics and he looks at me like I am a museum exhibit, and then tells me of queer youth street theater troupes in Boston and Los Angeles. We have very different lives.

He works with autistic children and I build stuff. I think we both look at each other's work and marvel, but we don't get too freaked out about it. He can do stuff I can't. I can do stuff he can't. That's fair.

I guess I play some sort of mentor role, but that seems odd, too. I don't think he really needs a mentor, so I try not to bury him with advice and direction. I offer what I think and know that he can (and will) take it or leave it as he sees fit. I don't get too terribly bent when he ignores my wisdom. Sometimes it's wisdom, after all, and sometimes it's not. And he's a way better judge of that then I tend to be.

So how is it that I felt a kind of parental pride when I heard his name announced and saw him walk across the stage to get his degree? I don't know. Honestly, I have only known Andrew for less than a year. We both worked on the No On 1 campaign, but barely saw each other then. We joined the church together in January. I guess that's when our independent friendship began. I think that was it. I was the 12-step person who wasn't a jerk to him. And the gray-haired person who didn't try to run his world.

True, I watch in exasperation some days as he spins with the drama and angst that I had at that age, but I don't take it personally. I know that it's part of his process and that he'll get through it. He complied, analyzed and presented a crapton of data for his final project. He can do the big things. And he can help an autistic child use the bathroom without getting skeeved out about it. That's pretty amazing.

So where am I in all this? I have no idea. I guess part of my brain wants to put me in a box, to define who and what I am, and to define this friendship in terms that others will be able to recognize. I think part of me is just still amazed that I know how to have friends. I didn't, for a long time. I did not have the social skills to know how to give and take, to not bully, to not manipulate, to not be passive-aggressive, to allow others the flexibility that I desired. I take up a lot of space in a room. I know that. I am a powerhouse of energy and noise and opinion and sarcasm, and not everyone can handle that or enjoy it. Some of it is the leftover stuff from when I was raised by wolves, but some of it, I must say, is me and probably here to stay, at least to some degree. I know that not everybody will like me, not everybody will be able to handle my energy level, and not everybody gets my sarcasm. I will hurt and insult people unintentionally, and they will leave. I know this and try to temper my words, but sometimes I miss. So, I am pleased when someone either sees past that stuff or else decides it's something they can work with to be my friend.

There was a time break here and I entirely lost my train of thought, so I am going to post this as is and try to be intelligent again tomorrow.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tired of loss

It has been a year of loss for me, and I am tired of it.

Last year at this time, we had six weeks of rain. It wrecked my spring earning as a contractor with jobs to do painting houses and fixing outdoor things. Then the campaign for marriage equality took over my life, with its own disappointments and losses along the way, culminating in the Nov. 3 loss at the polls. Then the holidays, which were leaner than any I have experienced in my adult life, then Laura and I split, then my life changed when I got a call to ministry. I moved (another loss of a kind) lost my minister, got sick and behind on bills, and most recently my sponsor learned that she has a particularly nasty form of breast cancer that may abbreviate her time on this earth, I quit my church for the madness it contains, and I didn't get into the divinity program at seminary.

On the up side -- and I have to remember that there is an up side -- I have learned a great deal about myself, I have clarified my sense of purpose, I have developed a truly romantic relationship with a woman who makes my stomach drop in the most remarkable way, I am learning again, or perhaps for the first time, the fine arts of flirting and romance. I am learning how to play and how to be open to pleasure and how to flirt without the heavy strings of obligation attached. It is a remarkable time.

Oh, and I did get accepted into seminary, just not in the program that I wanted. Seems the ten years of on-again-off-again, up-again-down-again grades that it took me to get my B.A. in General Studies did not inspire confidence in the review board that I might be able to handle the rigors of graduate school, so they accepted me in the M.A. program with the recommendation that I reapply for the M.Div. program after I complete 18 credits. Really? That's very fair, even though the rejection (acceptance) letter at first put me in a dead panic. That shit ain't nice to do to someone. Just sayin'.

But the title of this post is "tired of loss" and truly, that's where I am right now. In the past year, I have lost a hard-fought battle, lost my relationship with my partner, lost my home, lost money, work and financial security, lost my minister, lost my church, and am facing the prospect of losing my sponsor. Now, to be fair, I chose to tend my relationship, and I chose to move, and I chose to leave my church, but that only mitigates slightly the impact those events have collectively had on my psyche. It has been a tough year.

I am struggling now to keep out of "victim mentality" that dangerous place where hope is lost and negative thoughts breed negative results and a downward spiral ensues. I have to be mindful and find the positive in each day. Today I am healthy and able to work. Today I will attend the college graduation of a dear friend and maybe take myself out to lunch in Bar Harbor. I have to find an appropriately inappropriate card at the local bookstore and stationer's too. Hopefully something to horrify and make a young man blush. My work is cut out for me.

Last night I did some meditation, or at least I tried. I found that my mind did not want to slow down and relax. I tried to focus on my breathing, but I was distracted every few seconds. This morning it went a little better. At first I tried to concentrate on my breathing, with similar results, then I focused my attention on a single droplet of water clinging to the outside of my kitchen window. That helped focus me for a little while, and then I was able to do steps 1, 2 and 3 and the associated prayers and meditation work that go with them. I did some affirmation work, too, because I find that if I've been away from my spiritual practice for a while, the first words that come to mind are "I am not worthy" and that is not where I want or need to be. I am worthy. I do deserve good things in my life. I am as worthy as any other person. I am as worthy of life and its pleasures as the birds and animals and the grass and trees and the moon and the stars. I am a part of this world, and that's fine. I don't need to grovel in life, and I need to remember that I need not grovel in prayer as well.

So there I am. A mixture of I don't know what. But glad for this day, even though I am tired of loss. The cycle of loss and gain will come around again and I will be showered with blessings to the point of befuddlement. It all evens out. I'll be OK. For today, I will be glad. I have happy events to attend, and I must find my umbrella so that I do not get soaked in the process.