Sunday, September 5, 2010

Auntie duty

I took this picture with my phone last evening on the cliffs near Thunder Hole. The surf was pretty spectacular as high tide approached, and the crowd was pretty good about obeying rangers' warnings to stay off the rocks where the waves were crashing. Last year a little girl and her father were swept off the rocks and into the sea while they were watching the waves after a hurricane. Emergency personnel were able to rescue the father, but the little girl perished. We found out later that the crowd on that day did not heed rangers' warnings, surging back out onto the rocks after officials repeatedly asked them to move back. The story of that day traveled up and down the crowd of people at the path's edge yesterday, and when rangers said to move back, the people did.

I am providing ... I'm not sure what - recreational opportunity? educational adventure? weekend away from UN-cool parents? A couple of days' respite for the 15-year-old daughter of a friend. Kid came out as bi a couple years ago and mom is doing her best to make sure her daughter has all of the role models/resources/non-parental supports a queer kid could want or need growing up. Somehow, the kid likes me, and I seem to get along pretty well with her, so she's here. Why this all is, I have no idea. She's a geeky semi-goth girl in skinny jeans with long hair and a decidedly feminine style. What I might have to offer her is a mystery to me, but she was excited to come for a visit, so here we are.

I taught her how to make sushi rolls Friday night (her request) and Saturday we had planned a day of adventure at the Blue Hill Fair, but when we awoke to a torrential downpour, I nixed that idea in favor of a drive around Acadia to see the surf and the stupid people who want to go stand in it.

After noon, the rain stopped and the sun came out and we had a marvelous day puttering around the island. The summit of Cadillac was mobbed with three motor coaches filled with Japanese tourists, but we were able to walk the paths around the summit area and see the white surf pounding the windward sides of EVERYTHING as far as the eye could see. We had lunch at a table in the sunshine on the lawn at the the Jordan Pond House and then toured some of the shops in downtown Bar Harbor before going back to Thunder Hole for the incoming tide (high tide was at approximately 8 pm) as it was pretty but not magnificent when we visited the first time at around noon.

We returned home tired and dusted with salt from the spray, and I made some seafood newburg with eggs from some hens kept by friends. Hand-raised, corn-fed chickens produce the YELLOWEST yolks of any eggs I have ever seen in my life. The newburg was like something from a box of crayons. It was YELLOW. Like school bus yellow. Yikes. My young charge had never had newburg before, so she was unaware of the nature of its alarming appearance and just ate it and liked it. I am still disturbed by the color of the stuff now stored in plastic tubs in my refrigerator.

This morning our plan is to attend church where a friend is preaching and then go to the fair in Blue Hill. The women's frying pan toss is at 4 pm and is the highlight of the afternoon's offerings. No, really. The grandstand is packed well in advance of the first pitch and the crowd cheers heartily for each woman in all of the age groups. The occasional wild toss (straight in the air, landing behind the thrower, or careening near the grandstand) will bring howls of alarm and delight from the crowd. It is a good time for everyone. While we are at the fair, her mother will meet up with us, we shall watch my young friend and her sister go on some of the rides, and she will travel home with her family. I expect to come home and collapse.

I have a new respect for parents, particularly single parents. This kid is pretty much self-contained and self-propelled. She has her own laptop, her own cell phone and her own money. She looks to me only for "this is ok, right?" kind of approval, not "may I please have an ice cream cone?" kind. I cannot imagine the work involved with supervising little ones. Holy crap.

This morning I got up and made banana nut bread with chocolate chips. It is still baking and the house is beginning to smell heavenly. I just woke the kid so she could see four huge, full-grown turkeys that were in the yard, gobbling and poking among the tall grass looking for their breakfast. Now we are up and each on our computers in companionable silence, me at the kitchen table with my coffee, she sitting cross-legged on the fold-out couch, flanked by a small dog and a large cat.

I think it's been a pretty good couple of days. I am exhausted, but she seems to have limitless energy. I am looking forward to the fair this afternoon, although not so much church this morning. This is the church that I used to attend and that I quit back in June. The internal dysfunction and drama were too much, they managed to run the minister out and that really pissed me off, and well, right now, I need a minister. I need to go to a church that has a minister, even a long-term sub while they find a regular one. So I plan to attend at a church about 45 minutes from here. But this morning, because my friend is preaching, I will go back into the church building I left. I will sit in the sanctuary and I will participate in the service, and when it is over, I will leave and probably be sad. I'll ride that out when I get there.

For now, I am going to drink my coffee, have a slice of banana nut bread with chocolate chips while the chips are still all ooey-gooey melty and wonderful, then a shower and we'll see what the day brings.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

new beginnings

I have had a good few days in a row. It has been brutally hot here, but my emotional well-being seems to be in pretty good shape.

Tuesday brought a phalanx of plumbers and engineers to the site, and a new batch of adjustments to be made to the project, not the least of which is that we're stopping work for a few weeks for the clients to regroup. The cost of the thing has gone way beyond what they had planned (dead raccoons and rotted sills will do that to a project) so now they're taking a breather and figuring out what they want to do next. I should know if I will have work for the fall by the end of September.

It's scary, but I have a sense of peace and faith that I will be OK. I have student loans that should come through in the next week or two. I have enough cash on hand to pay the rent and the electric bill. My car and insurance payments are taken care of, and I even have money to pay the herbalist I'll see on Monday and the therapist I will see on Tuesday. I will only need groceries and gas for the rest of September, and my larder is pretty well stocked right now, so I'm not as freaked as I might be otherwise. Which is not to say I am not nervous, I am. Just not flat-out panicked like I could be.

I can't tell if the hormones are finally working, if the cohosh and DHEA are working, if the moon has passed through whatever phase it was in that played hell with me or if this is just the normal cycle of my hormones, but I have been feeling better. I can feel tweaks during the day when I get a piece of bad news or when I get worried about this or that, but they do not lay me low with a hammer blow like they have been doing. I can't tell if that is me refusing to feel the pain, anxiety, insecurity or fear, or if it just is not hitting me like it did. This is uncharted territory. I have no point of reference, so I can't tell what is me, what is normal hormone stuff, what is pharmaceutical hormone stuff, what might be diet, or the moon. I just ride with it. Whee.

Or something.

So anyway, today is a big day for me. I am up early - 5:30 a.m. is when I rolled out of bed - and watching the sun brighten the yard as it rises over the wild meadow at the end of my road. It was dark when I woke, so I looked out and thought perhaps the clouds from Hurricane Earl had arrived early, but no, it was just not light out yet. Oops. I feel kinda like a slacker for not knowing that it's still dark at 5:30 a.m. on September 2.

Right. Big Day. Very Big.

Today I go to the seminary for my student orientation. Or, as I have heard people here in Maine say it, "I'm goin' to get orientated."

In preparation for this orientation party, I went yesterday to the little spa area in my local Hell-mart and got a haircut (1/4 inch long in the back, all bristly and soft prickles back there now) and a pedicure with a shade of red that can only be described as "that party'll cost you $800, mister."

I daresay Mary Magdalene would blush at this color. It is utterly delightful.

And didn't the facebookies have fun with it! Seems I surprised more than one with my behavior. Oh well.

I could go into the motives for getting my toes painted cheap hooker red, and I suppose there is a graduate-level thesis somewhere in there. But really? I do it because it tweaks people's preconceived notions around gender roles and gender presentation and what they might assume or think appropriate for a big, bad, butch lesbian to do. I also do it so that I don 't take my big, bad, butch lesbian self quite so seriously. I mean, I can still verbally lay someone out to whaleshit if I need to, insulting their misogynism all the way down, but it goes better if I'm gentler about it, and I am more inclined to be gentle if the world can see my bright red toenails. Because otherwise they might giggle, and that would be bad.

So, armed with a new back-to-school haircut and a pedicure, I truly think I am as ready for this seminary experience as I am likely to be. Pray for me today. I'm more than a little nervous.

(And here's a pic of the piggies in question.)