I'm the other mother - or Momma Deb. Our family is pretty much like every other family in suburbia. The girls go to school, one mom is on the PTA boards of elementary and middle school. The other mom goes to work, paints, writes, and tries to just have a good time raising kids with her partner. This is my third attempt at blogging...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Uptown Girls

How quickly they grow up.

Katie is our girly-girl. While she has always disdained dolls, the color pink, and other accouterments of pink-girlhood, she is still through and through a girl extraordinaire. She runs with a girl-waggle, and she says she can't help it. She is so creative with her hair - and it always looks fabulous, for a twelve year old. She was born with beautiful nails - nails I would have killed for as a teen. I still would, if it mattered to me any longer. When she and her friends try on make-up - she seems to have an in-born skill to putting it on.

I am telling you, my friends, she is a force of nature. This is in-born. This is not from either of us, and certainly not from Kandy. Ahem.

So, when our neighbor Lori let us know that she and another Mom were trying to get a few of the girls together to go to a Team Glamour Class at
UpTown Girls, downtown today, Kandy and I thought, "Hmmmm... this would be right up her alley - AND would give her some skills that we certainly do not have!"

So, she pranced out the door, skipping down the stairs to Lori's car, already brimming with twelve year old girls. Off they went to learn how to make the most of what they were born with.

While none of us puts a lot of stock into appearance, it is a fact of life that how you present yourself to the world has a huge effect on how you're perceived and received. I think a warm, sincere smile can go a long ways. It doesn't hurt to enhance your other features, either.

She came home, her eyes all a-glitter, her hair curled. To tell you the truth, I do not think she looks all that much different, nor do I think she learned a lot about applying make-up. But, she did have fun.

I asked Megan if she wanted to go to a glamor class. Her reply?


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spotting Spot

Sometimes we lose track of Spot. So, then we're off trying to spot Spot. He is not always easy to find. Especially at night. Unless you happened to have a flashlight (or camera?).

Why is Spot named, "Spot" you might ask. He had a brother named "Bandit" whose similar markings made them hard to distinguish at a distance. Both had white socks, but Spot was so named because of a spot on his foot that could be seen from a distance. It's actually shaped somewhat like a heart.

∴ His name be "Spot."

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Long Time, No See, Hear, Write...

I've been absent of late from the blog-o-sphere. When that happens, I always feel a little unfinished. Like, when dropping off to sleep there's a little nagging feeling that there was just one more thing I should have done today. But then, I am so exhausted and sore that my weariness overcomes that nagging little voice and I'm off to La-La Land. (No, I do not mean Los Angeles!)

The Powers That Be at work have sent out notification that they're laying off 500+ employees. I just don't know what we would do in this economy if I got laid off. I'm over 50, female, and I do NOT want to start over again. What I really want to do is my best work, and eventually retire. I don't need the added angst of trying to sell a house if I can't get work, what will I do about medical care, my kids, money?

Just seven years ago I weathered the dot com layoffs. I was laid off, but was able to get gainful employment within a couple of months to where I am today. It seemed quite safe until late last year. Then the wheels of change tossed everything I had worked for out the door. It certainly changed my UC retirement package. And, now, with the upcoming layoffs, I am really scared - mostly because it is completely beyond my control.

So I work hard, very hard. I try to make myself valuable and indispensable. All I can do is hope that will be enough.

And, as Lula points out in her comment on this post, at the same time, there are 500 people at risk. Just like that. If not me, it will be someone else. That hurts so much. I do not want to imagine. I can't imagine. Reality is too close.

This post is a bit on the down-side, I admit. It won't become a habit, I promise. I just had to lay out the fears so I could banish them.

Thanks for your support!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

So, Tax Day has Com & Gone. What's Left?


I hate this time of year. Filing taxes shows you all the money you make, and then how much you give to the State and then to the Fed. After mortgage (yes, we live in suburbia), bills, car payment... Well, let's just say there ain't a whole lot of scratch left for having fun.


It is time to re-visit the financial planner. The price of fuel is driving up the costs of driving (who knew?), food (have you priced a gallon of milk lately?), and even clothes. And anything left over?
Property taxes are killing what little we have left.

I feel a deep depression coming on, and I'm not talking about the stock market.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Coins: The Verdict


Thanks to eb and Lula for providing me with links and possibilities! eb's links got me hooked up with Tom Oberhofer, at Eckerd College, who pointed me in the direction of Spanish coins.

Lula was kind enough to point out that there was a lovely gold coin Escudos at website called, → Wake Forest Coins. It looks remarkably like my copper coin. Afterall, the side with the cross is just about identical. The other side was pretty similar, but not exact.

I wrote an email to the site's owner, but have yet to hear back. I also found a site called, All Experts, and I wrote to Brad Swain. He wrote back this morning:

Hi Deb, it seems to be a modern reproduction of a Peruvian silver 8 reales or gold 8 escudos coin.
You may find similar pieces on Ebay.com for comparison.
A reproduction?!?? He's kidding me, right? :-(

Well, I still haven't found anything definitive. I'd love to see another reproduction. Sometimes I have seen that they can be worth a bit of money in their own right... but not like a gold piece, doncha know. ::sigh::

Ultimately, I would hope that this is some kind of genuine coin, (ie. not a reproduction). But, I have a feeling I'll be disappointed...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What Kind of Coin is This?

A few years ago an old family friend passed away. Her name was Suzanne and she was French, and during WWII she had been in the Resistance. Somewhere along the way she married and American soldier. In the 1960's, she and her husband moved into the house next door to us, and she became a good friend of my Mother's. When she died she had been in a Catholic retirement home/facility in San Francisco. Surprisingly, she left me a lot of jewelry, clothes, coats and miscellaneous things. Among the items she left me was a lot of coins and paper money from Europe and Japan (where she and her husband were once stationed).

Among the coins is a very interesting piece (pictured above). I have not been able to figure out what it is, or even how old. I don't know if it is valuable, or just something cool. I believe it is copper or bronze.

If, my readers, have any idea what this is, would you please let me know? It would scratch that curious itch I have...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sappho: Back When the Internet Was Young

Way back "when," I worked at UCSB in the 80's, the Internet was young and wild. For most people, it didn't even exist. I mean, it certainly didn't become a successful commercial entity until the mid-90's, as an extension of ArpaNet.

I was in the Electrical Engineering Dept., building digital laboratories for engineering students. I brought in a few HP mini's of the day, and in the mid to late 80's it was these kinds of tasks that got me interested in UUNET. There weren't well-defined email protocols out there yet, and my email was sent via UUCP to cooperating computers. At the same time I had pulled down news feeds from UUNet, which was your basic bulletin board-like way of communicating via email lists... or something like that - very public, and not at all private.

I was interested in connecting with other lesbians - something very daring for me. After all, in my twenties, I was most certainly not out at that time. Matter of fact, I was pretty damned closeted. It's a sad truth, I know. I am almost ashamed to admit it. But, facts are facts, and there you have it. So. Where was I? Oh yeah, connecting with others of like mindedness. Well, it's lost in the bowels of my memory axons, but somehow I came across an email list called, "Sappho." I think this must have been after the first version of Majordomo list software was released.

O. M. G. There must have been 500 women subscribed to that list from all over the world. At that time - what a concept! There was an incredible amount of email flying back and forth and all over the place. There was a LOT of inane email and one-liners interspersed with some real gems. It was like a hunt to find those gems in that high noise to gem ratio of an email list. In a way, it was a precursor to the blogs and comments of today. It is interesting to see those of like-mindedness seeking each other out to share and exchange. Somewhat like those email lists of old.

After being on Sappho for a few years, it got tiring that so much trivia flew around, and it seemed like there were sub-conversations going on between some 10 to 20 members. We split off into another, more private list. The premise for this list was that we all loved writing and were interested in sharing our writing and ideas with one another. That focus never was very keen. Eventually, there was a rift among some list members, and again we had a split.

This list has (about) 12 women on it now. We have been "together" from the beginning - I'd say about 1988, or so. None of us has met all the members of the list. Some of us have met only one or two members. I think I have met all but two of our list members. We span the continent from Vermont to Texas to Wisconsin and out to California, and more. We have grown close over the years, surviving cancer, partner deaths, new partners, child births, job loss - everything life can throw at us over twenty years.

It's a lot like having a coffee circle of friends. A resource that we each hold very close to our hearts.

I thought to share this with you as a way of commemorating the longevity of such bonds. They seem tenuous, but they are really strong.

It is somewhat like the fibrous bonds that bloggers share. I know bloggers that have met and felt very close to their new friends. It is a lot like that.

Our world is indeed getting smaller. Our world can be our community.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

(click on the picture to see it really, really big!)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Lesbian Family dot Org

I am proud to say that this blog is now listed on LesbianFamily.org under their "Non-Bio" and "Big Kids" blogrolls. I'm jazzed. The website has had its ups and downs as it has picked up a following, but I think it has picked up some momentum now and can be a very good resource for other Lesbian families.

I must admit that they put my blog there after a little prodding by yers trewly. Hey, this blog doesn't rock and roll waving the Lesbo Flag, but, we have our own contribution to make, just the same.

We have never been the lesbians that shout out our allegiances. All who know us would agree that we are pretty low key people. We do enjoy living and contributing in our community as open, partnered lesbians with two children who are working for inclusiveness and understanding. It is the way we live, how we live, and what we contribute to the community on the daily basis that makes our family matter. It makes our community notice us, acknowledge our presence, and by so knowing, we are not unknown.

Our presence makes this community a safe place for other lesbian and gay families. We wish to make our mark by being who we are and not hiding that.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday Monday...

This Monday and next Monday morning are each being devoted to Team Building for the team I am on at work. This borders very close on the touchy-feely thing that I so dislike at work. While it gets close to that, it is actually a useful use of our time in that we learn more about each other, how to interact with one another in order to attain our team goals.

I am not particularly fond of this – I feel so - exposed. But, this time around I have a bit more vested in the process than in previous times where I have done similar work. I have been asked to be the technical lead of our infrastructure team, and the wallflower in me cringes while my ego swells.

Can you say, “Conflicted?”

So. Perhaps some of you are aware of a Personal Profile System. The front of the workbook says that this system enables you to:

  • identify your behavioral profile,
  • capitalize on your behavioral strengths,
  • increase your appreciation of different profiles, and
  • anticipate and minimize potential conflicts with others.
The participants answer a bunch of multiple choice questions and eventually come up with a DiSC score and graph: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness are graphed to give you a profile. My profile, a 4355 = Perfectionist – high S and C, but not real high. I’m actually quite middle of the road, but I need somewhere to hang my hat, I guess.

Okay, all this mumbo-jumbo does have a use. When working with people on your own team, sometimes it helps to know how the other person processes information. It also helps to know if they are more of a driver, or if they’re a follower. Someone might be an influencer, loves being around people, while others (like me) finds it hard to be around a lot of people and tends to work alone. It’s useful to have this insight into others, if in fact you care enough to get past a stumbling block to get to a common goal.

We also filled out a worksheet which helped us to figure out how we prefer to process information, visually, audibly or kinetically (see, touch, feel). I scored equally high on visual and kinetic input, audible being a little less. However, I was surprised to learn that a co-worker scored near zero on audible input, and very high on visual. She also happens to be quite hyperactive, and has learned to channel her energy quite well. She has a very hard time sitting still, and is constantly moving (I try not to sit next to her in meetings as she can be quite active…).

Now, I have been through two other DiSC sessions in my 7 years here, and I have noticed one constant. There is always at least one person in the group who feels that his or her time is being wasted, and “all this matters on your mood” when you take the test, and “if I took the test next week, my answers will most likely be different,” ad nauseum.

IMHO - what these people fail to understand is that it is a tool, a means for getting past obstacles, forming working groups, group structure, etc. I have often heard this person lament that he cannot understand why "no one listens to me." I wonder if perhaps it really just the opposite – he is not listening to them.

I think that new dimensions, new stretches are what keeps a person alive and active. The same would hold true for the day-to-day work and achieving short and long term goals.

So I put it to you all:
  1. Have you ever had training of this nature?
  2. What did you think about it?
  3. Did it help you?
  4. Did it help your fellow workers?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Meme for a Sunday Afternoon

I thought I might escaped being tagged, but Lula tagged me for this one. I thought Zirelda or Maria did this one, too, but I can't find the pertinent posts. I think it's a conspiracy. They're hiding those posts from me. They must be. My memory can't be that bad, can it?

Okay here it is (brace yourselves):

1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 (or more) pages.
Oh boy. This is not exciting at all. I can't help it if I'm a nerd. It is who I am. That said, the nearest book here at my desk is "Unix Power Tools." This is a reference that I use at work occasionally. It is over 1100 pages, and I don't need it very often any more, but it does come in handy when I have a brain freeze.

2. Open the book to page 123 and find the 5th sentence.
Uh-oh. Again I'm in trouble. Page 123 is actually just a title page for Part Two of the book, "Let the Computer Do the Dirty Work." There are less than five sentences, but the last one reads,

What is it they say? "Time spent sailing is not subtracted from your life." I don't know about that, but I do know that time spent learning the intricacies of the shell is seldom wasted. - Tim O'Reilly
Please don't ask me what that means, I have no idea. Yes, we're in trouble now.

3. Post the following 3 sentences
Okay, I must apologize in advance. The next three sentences are going to put you to sleep. It's not my fault, really. I can't help it if I'm a nerd. You know that, right? Okay, here we go. Hang on to your hat:
As we've said, the shell is just another program. It's responsible for interpreting the commands you type; there are three or four commonly used shells, and several other variants kicking around. Interpreting your commands might seem simple enough, but a lot of things happen between the time you press RETURN and thie time the computer actually does what you want.
Please don't turn me in to the blogging police. I really didn't mean to torture my readers. I suppose I could have lied and found a decent book with something succinct or witty to say. Maybe I should have. I am not sure there is a purpose to this meme except to maime and humiliate the blogger who consents to do it.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Show Must Go On!

Last night was opening night to Katie's Middle School musical, "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown." (Click the link for a video of the opening number by the company.) For her first foray into the dramatic arts, Katie chose to be in the crew backstage rather than try out for a singing/acting part. I think that she made a wise choice. She's not a jump-into-the-deep-end kinda girl. She has enjoyed the whole experience. She has made a lot of new friends, learned most of the lines of all the actors, and has pretty much had an overall positive experience.

Opening night was a wonderful, adrenaline filled evening for all the kids. The performances are being given at our Livermore High School, where there is a
theatre available for these venues. Not just some stinky multi-purpose room. There is even an orchestra pit. These middle school kids pulled off a pretty wonderful performance. Of course, being a musical, they all had to sing and dance. There were some very good singers, and some not so very good singers (kinda hard on the ears, but oh, well - they're just kids!). It all evens out when sweetened by the fact that these are kids in our community. We saw our elementary school principle and her partner there, as well as many, many parents with whom we have become acquainted over the past school year.

Katie's middle school PTA sponsored the event providing the money for costumes, props and any other expenses associated with the production. Kandy, my partner, is VP on the PTA, so she was quite thrilled to see their support come to such fruition.

Afterward we went to Stone Cold Creamery to celebrate with scoops of creamy ice cream or sorbet. Yummy! It seemed as if everyone in the cast and crew were there with parents in tow. We kept them open about an hour after closing time, and happily, if wearily we made our way home.

This morning Katie woke up complaining that her stomach hurt. No fever. Hmmmm... Thinking that perhaps the daily doses of Naprosyn were having a detrimental effect on her stomach, i gave her some Mylanta to try and see if it helped.

It didn't help.
Can't this girl catch a break???

Becoming more concerned, but not knowing what was going on, we decided to wait and see.

Didn't have to wait long. Everything came back up. The kid has a stomach virus. So much for tonight's performance. By the time we called the director and others involved, we heard of 3 others coming down with the same thing - including the girl who plays Lucy, a central character, next to Charlie Brown himself.

No under-studies, either. Ack!

I can' t wait to hear how the show goes tonight. I hope Lucy (Jenny) can pull it off. Knowing that Katie is feeling better tonight, I hope Jenny feels well enough to sing and dance and stay upright while doing so!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Silly Life Ratings

I was a bit intrigued by one of those silly rating questionnaires that you can take, then get the results to post on your blog. I saw it over at dr. sardonicus' Poll Hill Sanitarium (sounds like a place I might need to hang out at one day - heh...). Honestly, though, I was hesitant. I'm not sure if folks take these things seriously, or not. Or, even if it matters.

Can you say, "Ambivalent?"

Okay, so here it is:

This Is My Life, Rated
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

Like the doc, I attribute the Love score to my very own spouse. There is no more wonderful a person. I don't deserve her, and often wonder what in the hell does she see in me. I am just grateful for very huge favors.

Life is good.

The Steps of Aging

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about aging.

Over on Maria's blog, Just Eat Your Cupcake, in one of her posts last month she talked about how she felt a bit out of sync with her Easter guests (my paraphrasing). I'm right there with you, Maria. We spent Easter day and evening with a family we share a lot in common, but timing isn't one of those things. Our friends, Diana and Jerry, are parents to Michael and Ryan. Diana and Jerry were both born the year I graduated high school. But Ryan is the same ages as Katie, and Michael is a few years younger than Megan.

Nearly ALL the parents we schmooze with are much, much younger than we are. I mean, our own children are the ages of what our grandchildren could have been, had we had any kids in our early twenties. Especially the lesbian parents. They are sooo young, it feels like we have so little in common.

Um. Now I really do feel old.

Once I left college (which I started when I was 25, after six years in the US Navy - another blog topic for another day...), I always felt just a little out of step with my friends and co-workers. Maybe even a little wiser, I'd think to myself very smugly. That was then.

Now, I feel as if I am always trying to keep up with these young whipper-snappers. And I’m not talking about the kids!

Tangentially, my oldest sibling is my half-brother and he is eleven years older than me. I am the youngest. The "baby." I have a brother ten years older than me - he nearly died last year. His wake-up call finally came, at 62. Now he is belatedly taking care of himself, I think he finally grew up.

Takes some of us longer than others, I guess. We have a full-sister that is younger than both my brothers, but older than me - and she was given up for adoption. (Yup. Another blog topic to explore. Anyone making a list?) She found us a few years ago. It's odd to go 50 years of life thinking I'm the only girl-child, and then learn I have a sister. Hard to wrap my sense of self so differently.

Now, parents are aging and dying. My Mom is 82 and she just keeps going and going like the Energizer Bunny. She has a hard time getting up and down stairs, but is doing okay. I do worry about her, alone in the house I grew up in, now that Dad is gone. But, she says she will stay in that house as long as she can take care of herself. She has friends look in on her, my niece and her husband keep an eye on her, my bother and I drive or fly up there whenever we can, or when we’re needed.

It makes me wonder what life for Kandy and I will be like as we age. We have no family locally. I worry a bit about that, when I’m not worrying about day to day things. I wonder if even then I’ll feel out of sync…