Archive for May, 2010

What’s up, doc? Can I CALL you doc?

May 30, 2010

I am feeling deliciously lazy and brain dead, due to over consumption of Dawson’s Creek today. I know I have a formspring account, but also: make life easy for me. Is there anything you wanna know?

How old was I when I got married?

When did I know I was gay?

What the fuck does TMD stand for, again?

How did we pick the names of our babies?

Ask anything in the comments section. I am a chronic oversharer, so you are unlikely to ask something I will refuse to answer. Or feel uncomfortable about being asked. You ask the questions, and you make my diary writing easy on this lovely bank holiday weekend.

I’ll answer any questions in the next entry or two.

You can be anonymous if you want.

Now everyone PLEASE ask questions so I don’t look like a total tool for writing this entry and having nothing to respond to!! You, uh, owe it to yourself because if you read the diary of a tool….guess what, you are a tool. (Except when you are reading the diary of your best friend’s ex who is a tool but you need good spying material to laugh about behind their back. Then you aren’t a tool….or wait, maybe you still are. Hell, who am I kidding. Maybe I am. So help untool me, because for the love of tool, I can’t seem to stop tooling saying that tool of a word.)


Update to the Cheesy! Veggie! Nuggets! And more about raising twins, post the nasty nine month mark!!!

May 29, 2010

I am a crazy person. TMD responded to a comment last night, offering more specifics about how she cheesyveggienuggets it up.

I was all, Oh, shit! Should I add this to the original entry? Then people might miss it. Or write a new entry, and then add to the old one? OH MY GOD! THE RESPONSIBILITY IS KILLING ME!!

So I’ve decided to just put their little convo up here, and then you guys can edit the recipe yourself.

PottyMouthMommy (hi!) says:

You are my hero and I am SOOOOO going to make these now… I’m drooling just thinking of them…

Just a question though: what type of frozen veggies work best? I’m thinking probably a broccoli/cauliflower mix but would peas and carrots work too?? hmmmm maybe time for some kitchen experimentation for me!!!

TMD says:

Hi, this is TMD. I think any old veg would be fine… I tend to use el cheapo mixed veg which is heavy on the carrots, sometimes add some extra peas and once added leftover green beans so they wouldn’t get wasted.

Ratio I use is – 4oz bread crumbs, 4oz grated cheese, 8oz veg but accuracy is not really a necessity. Extra breadcrumbs for coating… I never leave enough!! Let me know what other veg combos are good!

So. This is my contribution to your life.


Catsandcradles says:

So, um, do I have to have a baby to make these? Because they sound kind of tasty for grown-ups too.

I say (here but not in the old comments section, see my aforementioned horror at the responsibility of it all):

I wish you hadn’t told me you were going to make these. I now have a responsibility to report you to the appropriate….oh, wait. You guys are pregnant!! That totally counts. Make ’em.


Seriously, folks, the other recipe I want to share??? Fucking cheese & broccoli MUFFINS.  There is also goats cheese and cauliflower muffins. We haven’t made either of these things yet, but I guess you could make them and then tell TMD how great they are so she will make them, too.

In other news, I woke up before 6:30 am this morning and had nachos for breakfast. With a mug full of diet coke.

Why? Because I no longer eat dinner or brush my teeth at night. I simply don’t have the energy.

All the happy clappy crap about how easy twins are? I’m over it. Twins are easy till they hit 9 months, and then the next thing you know you’re calling a national helpline about whether or not the Sudocrem (nappy cream) your baby ate is going to poison him. Or you are lunging to catch your baby girl as she falls headfirst toward the floor, because you failed to snap her correctly into her Handy Sitt. (twice!)

Or they are chewing on cords pulsing with electricity, or following you to the stairgates and screaming when you leave the room, banging on the stairgates. Or they appear to be at different developmental stages and naptimes are no longer tandem, or in fact, make any kind of sense.

Yes, twins are hard.

(But so fucking CUTE!)

This is so good I crawl around on the floor under the table afterwards and eat the scraps. No joke.

May 28, 2010

And I present Cheesy! Veggie! Nuggets! to all you crazy baby led weaning peeps. Cherish them.

The added ‘cook’s notes’ belong entirely to a lovely mama who posted this recipe on the BEST BLW site:  They have an entire section of the forum devoted to recipes!

If you make these, let me know what you think of them…

7oz bread. whizzed in the processor to make crumbs,
8oz veg, used mixed frozen, cooked and drained, (I’ll probably add just a couple of oz more next time)
3-4oz cheese
1 tblsp, or slightly less, of olive oil.
(I didn’t put any baking powder in as then they just seemed to taste entirely of baking powder when I did.)

Grease a baking sheet and preheat the oven to GM5/200 degrees. Take 3 oz of the breadcrumbs out of the food processor and leave in a bowl. Put the rest of the ingredients in and whizz untill all mushed up (I didn’t bother adding water as I didn’t bother draning the veg too well- yay for lazy cooking!).

Divide into 8, scoop out, roll into a ball, roll into the breadcrumbs in the bowl and flatten into nugget shape and pop onto baking sheet. Repeat with the rest. You probably don’t need to spread them out quite as much as they hold their shape when coated it seems, but I’m not sure if you don’t want to coat them.

Bake for about 30 mins (they need longer as they’re thicker), take out and leave to cool for a mo so they harden a little before getting them out. Seem to have done the trick and Sweetpea likes them.

These cheesy veggie nuggets go down a massive TREAT with Snort and Coconut….and me, the family dog.

TMD makes these, among other things, on the weekend and freezes them. I pop them on a baking tray lined with non-stick paper – and I probably don’t cook them for the whole 30 minutes. I also don’t flip them.

I leave them for a few minutes on the tray when they’re done, then slide them onto a plate as I think they cool down faster this way. They are so good my pelvis jerks all over the place and I have to staple my lips together to avoid eating all them right up before serving them to the babies.

We had these yesterday and I actually just left the heaped plate in the middle of the table and Snort just helped himself to another one whenever he finished the one he’d been working on!


Guest post, you ungrateful humans. Kow tow NOW.

May 27, 2010

I am writing this all with my right hand, as the other cradles Coconut. I feel normal again today.

The last two days of awfulness? All me. The babies weren’t doing anything differently – changing Snort’s nappy is always like wrestling a rhino, and Coconut is always a writhing hyper girl before naps.

I’ve come to believe…wait, what the, get the fuck away from me, you little freak!!

Hi! I’m Pooh!
It’s a pleasure to meet you. Did you know I am capable of causing the downfall of society? I will crush anyone who gets in my way. Hee hee! Let’s be friends!

My best friend is Coconut. She keeps me tethered to this family I live with, but that doesn’t mean I can’t practice my domineering skills here. Take Coconut, for example – or more specifically, her mama.

If I hide somewhere her mama cannot find me, Coconut gets too lonely to sleep. Hell, that’s the reason she went crazy yesterday!!! MUHAHAHA.

Generally, though, I don’t like hurting my best friend’s feelings too much. She is nice to me, though it’s no picnic lugging around wet tags – she likes sucking my ass….I mean, my tags.

But I control everyone in this place.

I pick the tv shows we watch.

I subjugate all the other animals. This purple bunny is a real pain in my ass because Coconut likes him a lot. I waited till she was sleeping yesterday and showed that motherfucker who is BOSS!

Having no legs does not disadvantage me in any way, and you don’t hear me moaning about it. It means I get whole body hugs when Coco holds me…unless she is holding one of my arms and sucking her thumb. She likes that.

I think she is my girlfriend!!

Anyway, I got my own ride. I cruise this joint and make sure no countermovements for control are starting up.

Check this shit out – my ride is sweeeeeeeeeeet.

I certainly don’t take any of this for granted, though I won’t deny a certain sense of entitlement. I’ll explain more about that in a minute.

But first, you see that Mama lady needs to be crushed. Coco cuddles her entirely too much, and all threats must be neutralized. She complains about writing an entry with one hand?? Bitch, I’m like a living pogo stick hopping around this keyboard and typing with my ASS.

Anyway, word to the wise: i shall inherit this earth. I have links with the Mayans and am humanity’s only tenuous link to possible salvation come to 2012.

What, you want proof?

I vibrate on a higher PLANE, people.

So keep me sweet if you wanna be Saved. I can destroy you.

Or even worse, I can stop your child from napping as you frantically throw aside other toys, pillows, blankets, EVERYTHING in your utter desperation to find me.

Your baby loves me, so you must love me too.

End of.

It has happened: I have cracked. I am now a normal woman.

May 26, 2010

Ever since the babies have been born, people have lavished me with compliments. I’m so calm, so relaxed. Well, yeah, I thought. What’s the use in getting worked up about stuff?? They are babies.

I’ve found myself laughing in situations that would have reduced others to tears.

Well, folks, my well of maternal patience appears to have dried up. And it’s not just my loose front tooth (thanks, Coconut) this morning.

Yesterday I was mad at Snort.  I had all sorts of awful thoughts. I had to put him down on the floor at one point and go into the kitchen and just let loose a gutteral growl. Fuck, I won’t lie: I told him he was acting like a little shit. A little shit!! My blonde angel with the sloppy kisses and big earthy chuckle: a little shit.

Not my best mommy moment.

And this morning? Coconut’s ass will not sleep. Will. Not. Sleep. Naptimes are becoming a total fucking joke. This morning she’s been whiny and tired for about an hour, and no sleep. The demon mommy in me thought, ‘Okay, fuck this, dude. Time for the big guns.’ I picked her up and carried her into her room, put her in her bed, switched on The Bears (a creepy musical device that projects cheerful teddy bears with abnormally large heads onto the ceiling), and stormed back out here to write this.

And now feeling my tooth. My poor, poor tooth. Do loose teeth reattach themselves? It’s not actually wobbling, just really sore.

(No, my kids don’t generally take naps in their room during the day. We will have a discussion on why disabled mamas with more than one baby may avoid that scenario another day.)

I can hear her messing around in her room. Ugh. Maybe she’ll stay awake long enough that Snort will wake up, and then I can try to ‘help’ her to sleep. Teething is a fucking bitch, I tell you. She refuses to sleep during most naps unless she is in a sling. Once the teeth come through, she becomes normal again. There is no doubt she needs nowhere near as much sleep as Snort, but she is also getting screwed as she falls asleep about 20 minutes after him, so her naps are always cut short when he wakes up.

Feeling calmer. Glad I put her in her room, glad she’s just playing and talking to her Pooh Bear (the whoremaster that rules our lives), glad for a breather. My fucking tooth hurts like a bitch.

The thing is, this is my Period Rage. I’ve not had this since the babies were born. Maybe my hormones have shifted – explaining both my uncharacteristic lack of patience with the babies and my sudden improvement in my spd?? Of course, the medicine is probably helping too.

Do they make medicine that makes you a glorious earth mother again, the sort who kiss their babies even when there is a risk of dental damage?


May 25, 2010

Today is the two week anniversary of my SPD getting a bit better. Oh, my crotch is still singing six ways to Tuesday, but listen to today:

We went for the longest pushchair walk ever (still SHOUTING THE PRAISES of the Nipper 360 for older babies and toddlers. It’s super weird the babies are facing forward, but I do think they are old enough and the walks are short enough that it’s okay). We’re talking like an extra five minutes to our current world record.

When we got back, I was feeling really proud of myself. Pleasantly sweaty. Gave the babies a bit more milk, then started cooking lunch (cheesy veggie nuggets, spring onions, and plums). While cooking, I felt good enough to stand in the kitchen the whole time it was cooking and wash the dishes! This is big news as even when I was as fit as a fiddle, I was a lazy mofo.

But the sheer thrill of being able to stand, to do ordinary mom things like cook and clean, FUCKING WOW. Perhaps the universe gave me SPD to teach me the value and pleasure in regular things. The babies hung out and played, sometimes coming over to the stairgate to say hi.

We ate, and then I had the ‘fun’ time of crawling around on the fucking floor cleaning our new plastic lining thing that is under the table.

After all that activity, my crotch is a bit sore. But nothing like it has been in the past.

I am holding my breath and hoping this is some sort of miracle time in my life. You know, and that it continues and this isn’t some sort of reverse relapse. This is the week before my period, traditionally such an agonizing time that TMD ended up taking two days off last month because I couldn’t move.

I did a bit of googling to see if there were any major hormone changes nine months postpartum, but everything seemed to say it all happens at the three month mark. The only different thing I can think of is my crazy back-cracking, ass massaging osteo treatment the Saturday before I started feeling radically better. I’m going to call her and see what she thinks about this. We’ve officially broken up, but I’ve not called the new pilates lady yet.

I also chanted all those days ago to be better by May 1, I think. Need to go back and look at that. Or end of May? I don’t know. I’ve not continued to chant as, like everything else, I am pretty lazy and would rather sleep or read than make active strides to improve my life (except today, man, except today!). But like writing, Buddhism is a given in my life. One of the two things I know is always there, always a part of me, even when I’m not doing it.


I think this is a brief interlude before the babies need feeding or sleeping, so going to sign off. But can you feel how good I feel??

The aching pains in the area are so different than the electric, grinding horror I have never managed to get used to. This level of pain? I suspect this may be what other pregnant women consider ‘bad’ spd, but to me it feels like flying. Like ordinary aches and pains. Like a normal woman living a normal life – and to me, you can’t get more extraordinary than that.

Deep thoughts, by Jack Handy…I mean, me.

May 24, 2010

Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe there are only 144,000 places in heaven?

If that is so, why do they keep going around trying to convert people? Because surely every person converted is one less chance for they, themselves, to get into heaven.

If I was the Queen of that religion, I would stop all this door-to-door shit. Especially the older people walking around in this heat, that ain’t right, yo. Then the next thing I would  do would be to start kicking people out for minor infringements.

You know, those who had Bibles older than, say, 5 years. (I would also possibly start my own Bible printing company.) Those who were still trying to convert others on the sly. Hell no!

The more people I could get out, the closer my name would be to the top of that 144,000. Because, let’s face it, the world has been around a long time and there have surely been some deserving people. The number of available slots must be decreasing.

Now, on the other hand, I would not want to be a minion. Queen or nothing. Because there must have been an awful lot of the old JW through the years, and clearly just being in the gang does not ensure your ass is going above the clouds when you die.

This has been a public service announcement.

Three jam packed days. And two action packed kids.

May 23, 2010

I have so much to say. On Friday, Snort learned new tricks: waving (at Coconut, of course!), getting from tummy to sitting, crawling, and blowing raspberries on Coco’s tummy.

Then yesterday morning TMD took the babies out so I could have some alone time. I realised that in the last 9.5 months, I have been on my own two times – once in town for a couple of hours, and once at home long enough to almost watch a full scary movie.  I’d not had any alone time in the last five months, though. I needed some me time, you know??

Unfortunately, my new-to-me box set of Dawson’s Creek (oh, yeaaaaaaaah) hadn’t arrived yet, but I had time enough to watch three episodes of Glee.

Then we spent the afternoon in the garden – when I actually saw Snort move from tummy to sitting. And he looked so delighted with his accomplishment, and started clapping!! Not sure where he got that from, as we are not clappers, but it was so cute I may become a clapper.

And on the Coconut front? Still the cutest baby girl on the planet. She is getting so good at imitating people – if I open and shut my mouth and make a smacking sound, she immediately does it. She has also discovered tongue clicking all on her own. She also knows now that the response to a verbal ‘hi!’ is to wave. She is so, so, so happy that she can communicate with us a bit more – really a very sociable little girl. She is also reliably and repeatedly saying ‘cat’ and ‘mama/mum mum’!

And of course, they both love initiating the taking-turns-to-blow-raspberries at each other (and us!) game. It is a BIG HIT. We call it ‘having a family conference’ round these here parts.

Both babies are terrifyingly mobile – in the last week, I have rescued babies from pulling out electrical cords from outlets, chewing on cords, dumping the cat’s water (except I lose more than win), yanking the DVD player so hard the scart disconnects and the whole thing falls on the floor, and on and on. Stairgates are now up over the two doorways in our lounge, and we need to buy a big one for the patio doors. Because, you know, Snort tried to get outside on his own the other day. As you do. When you are nine months old.

They are also utterly in love with each other. We’re talking non-stop playing, patting, looking at toys together, following each other around, wrestling, more face patting, reaching, grabbing, chewing, laughing, hand slappin’ with each other. They are often to be found glued to each other, bodies pressed up as close as possible, giggling and smiling.

Today was my favourite, though. My SPD (please knock on wood HARD before you continue reading) has been pretty good for the last two weeks, so we decided to go to our local park/lakes for a walk. No babywearing – and needing the pelvic belt and crutches – but it was awesome. We went on a superlong walk, looked at geese and their babies, the lakes, dogs swimming in the creek, big shaded rustic paths (TMD was fucking cursing me as it was very rough and uneven ground in the fucking wilderness, but I can say with confidence our new double pushchair is amazing!! As is my ability to use my crutches to hold aside stinging nettles so no baby legs got stung).

We sat at one end of one of the lakes for a water break. Looking at my babies – they are babies, damnit – drinking from their sippy cups made my heart clutch. I thought, ‘They look like little kids now.’ Freaked me out and made me proud, all at the same time.

We ended up parking our asses under some trees next to this killer playground. It was full of the sort of adventure equipment and challenges we had at camp. Rock star shit, here, people. More water (and ice cream for the grownups, plus a wee little bit for Coconut), and TMD took them for another walk in the hopes of encouraging a snooze. I stayed on the blanket, because let’s be honest – I’d already walked probably as far as I’ve walked since they were born (with the exception of the airport) and needed to take it easy.

It was nice to spy on people, because there was a path going past where we were sitting…..down to what must be known as ‘the beach’ to the locals. I’m talking a tiny low grade sandy slope leading to the creek…that is maybe, MAYBE, a foot deep in the middle. But people were lounging around in their swimsuits, people were having picnics, and the air was full of sunblock. A bit weird, but pleasantly festive.

TMD came back and Snort was having what looked to be the best sleep of his life (jealous much, mommies??), kicking back under the trees, breeze gently wafting the muslin he had pulled over his face. Mmm mmm good.

Coconut was awake, as she is always awake, and she was a fucking star. People were gaping at her at one point, as she was upside down doing a bridge (do you remember those from being a kid??) and waving at people as they walked past. We had shit tons of fun with her, while she spent a lot of time clutching the grown up water bottle, using her pincer grasp to pick up small seeds and twigs and attempt to eat them, and stand up like a big, big, big girl.

He woke up and was so freaking happy. The kid loves it outdoors. He was fascinated by the big kids in the playground and his eyes were so big, as he was trying to take it all in.

It made me feel a bit funny to see how much fun and love they had for the park. It made me feel guilty, truth be told. Like they are definitely old enough to appreciate and enjoy these things now, but I am not in a place to offer them. I guess first up is walking again, losing weight and building strength…..and then eventually trying to get my fucking driving license over here.

All in all, though, I had the best morning I have had in, oh, ages. Possibly since they were born. I felt like we were a proper family, all out and about, hanging out in the park and loving each other. It was really special.

Not to mention, you know, all the fucking walking!!! I am terrified of this going away, but I’ve had two goodish weeks. It’s saying something that I walked as far as I did today (with lots of sitting breaks) and still feel the same as I did when we left the house. I suppose tomorrow will be the true test, but I’m feeling good!!!

Life is amazing today.

The Corn Chowder Story, part 3.

May 21, 2010

TMD has been reading this little saga right along with the rest of you, and she said it all seemed so foreign, that she didn’t recognise the characters in this little episode. ‘So much screaming,’ she said, with a grimace.

She’s right. I don’t behave like this anymore; I am more tolerant and amused, more sure of myself, less needing arguments to define myself. That being said, I recognise this girl well. I remember what it was like to feel so angry….and so afraid. So confused.

Parts one and two should really be read before this, the conclusion of one fight with my mother, but not the last. This was the start of creating a family out of friends who understood what I was going through, because they were going through it too. This was the first time in my life I’d felt that way, and so I cherish these chicken flavoured memories of a younger me.

I thank Opposite Gender Soulmate for his vivid memories and his skill with words.


We must have looked like some kind of animals. Existere ripping apart the kitchen to find a can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup so she could verify, and perhaps photograph, its contents. J cackling wildly while pulling slimy pieces of chicken out of the pot and holding them up to turn them in the light. He squinted like a jeweler; it was some kind of righteous gold. “Look at the size of this baby!” he’d scream, pushing a wet sliver of meat into our faces. And I was pacing obesely, causing the giant bookshelf that dominated the living room to rock back and forth, its menagerie of books, toys, electronic equipment, and other gimcrack artifacts of college life dangerously on the verge of landslide.

I was shaking my head, going over and over the facts, enumerating points on the tips of my fingers. These points you see, when connected, would create a complete psychological profile of July… July, the mother… July, the control freak… (This is the part where you sit down and hold your breath) July, the homophobe.

“She is a Master Manipulator,” I explained to the other two, who franticly ignored me, “and she must be stopped.” Our motivation, of course, was the gratifying vision of calling July out, making her admit she was wrong, and then Rubbing It In Her Face:

Existere in a buzz cut and camouflage, holding a Ziplock bag so full of wet chicken that it looks like a lumpy, pink pillow; and J, snarling in full Christina Aguilera drag, hip jutting and limp-wristedly waving in the air a three page letter from the President of Campbell’s Soup Company; and me, flanked by the other two, delivering a rousing indictment, a Julia-Sugarbakeresque monologue. “And that, Marjorie, just so you will know, and your children will someday know, is the night the lights went out in Georgia!”

Six months before, not long after I’d met Existere, we sat at the edge of a lonely campfire, a black and unforgiving midnight pushing against our backs. With my arm wrapped around her she talked to me for the first time, in the smallest voice, about her mother. The woman she loved so much, but who—she was afraid—did not love her. Not ever, not really. It was significant, this moment of my life, to know that the fear we walked with, into and out of every day, was so simple, and yet it shook us to say it, to hear it said. Something inside of us made us vulnerable to vicious hatred, and it was something we could never change. And in Existere’s beautiful, glistening eyes that night I saw that her fear was my fear, too.

But in Existere’s face there had been rescue. Because she was so amazingly beautiful, so deserving, and she allowed me to see the same in myself. And so I stood up, for the first time in my life.

And half a year later we were still pushing—against that quiet, empty fear, and against the people in our lives before which we’d be the most vulnerable.

The phone rang. And someone handed it to Existere who was pacing now, in my place. “What?” she answered, pointedly aloof.

A pause. Existere’s eyelids beginning to twitch.

Something said into a telephone a hundred miles away ignited her. The other voice was loud enough I could almost make out what it was saying, and it threw Existere into spits of angry, frightened words.

“You are a bitch.” She accused, in a tone—a volume—that threw me back, and then she waited just long enough so a reply could begin—so she could cut it off.

“You have no concept of respect! Fuck you! Stop being so fucking stupid!”

Existere was crying through her rage, she never stammered, but gasped and choked at god-knows-what expletives and the violent denial her mother was spitting back. And I really did hurt for her. I imagined screaming at my own mother, which I’ve never done, and I realized how much I wanted to right then, to have the freedom to be so expressive. If only my mother would be guilty of such an otherwise overlookable offense, then I could let this anger and fear out. I laughed nervously with J.

“You put Fucking Chicken in corn chowder and fed it to your daughter who you Fucking-Well-Know is a vegetarian. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you.” I could tell the frantic repetition was used to block out whatever her mother was saying right then, much better (more grown-up) than fingers in the ears, eyes closed, voice chanting I can’t hear you, over and over again.

“Fucking chicken!” she shouted one last time into an angry dial tone.

July had hung up, and Existere was alone again. Something had come between the two of them, as something often did, and she looked at me with terrified frustration.

And the chicken was the thing, but we almost knew better.

In the years since the smell of corn chowder first became eternally attached in my memory to what I’ve learned was the sound of love fighting for itself, I’ve watched Existere and her mother grow into a strong relationship. I remember being so afraid for her as I watched the splitting open in anger that day, or any of the times since. But I know now that these two women, in so many ways so different, yet irrefutably linked, without the freedom to fight with such fury, would never have found each other.

Postscript: July stubbornly maintains to this day that the chowder had no chicken. And we did do everything short of getting the letter from the president of Campbell’s to prove it to her. I have to think about what conceding to the accusation (the truth) would mean for her: the pride that might be wounded (but probably not); the chance lost to have a fun little spat every now and then around the holiday table (perhaps over a bowl of piping corn chowder), or the abrogation of the sanctimonious authority that is simply allowed to be irrational sometimes. And secretly, I’m mostly glad she won’t budge.

The Corn Chowder Story, part 2.

May 20, 2010

You could consider this a guest post, though I did not ask OGS’s permission to post these. He knows, though, and doesn’t care. Muhahaha!  Anyway, read part one here. This won’t make sense without it.


When I left home at 18 I put two holes in my left ear and one in my right and I became a vegetarian for ten months. It was an assertion of independence, a way for me to imagine I had established control. I was a grown up; I was sure of it. And I lost 30 pounds that summer, effortlessly malnourishing myself with Cheetos and Pizza Hut breadsticks and leaving out all the fatty, fleshy calories that help build strong, heavy bones and muscles.

Existere ended up a vegetarian for a slightly more valid reason: sometimes meat makes her throw-up.

Some women talk about establishing close relationships with other women to such an advanced degree that their physiologies begin to correspond, they menstruate at the same time and can actually feel sympathy pain for the other during physiologically stressful moments like childbirth or a breast reduction. My relationship with Existere, by this point, had advanced to a similar degree, and as I watched her eyes flood with the sour tears of nausea I felt a burble in my own stomach.

She’d dropped the spoon into the bowl of backwashed, rejected corn chowder and spit one last time and with a final nauseated shudder.

“Chicken…” she said quietly, like it was truly unimaginable, staring for a few minutes at the table, trying to make sense of what had occured: honest mistake? unforgivable betrayal? It was unclear to me what would happen next. On one hand, the nearly-full pot was still on the counter and my own nausea was starting to subside; if it truly was chicken that had ended up in this mixture, perhaps the remainder she would bequeath me and then I could eat as much of it as I wanted; I was once again ravenous. On the other hand, this was Existere, who was already scheming something behind her eyes, perhaps to photograph the soup flushing down the toilet, or flying through the window, to send the snapshots to her mother. “Thanks so much for the hearty corn chowder!” the note enclosed with the photographs would say, the word ‘hearty’ would be underlined.

When she stood up, trembling with the anger that was building inside her, I felt rage squinting my own brow into vicarious tension. I imagine this is what gang members feel right before they make good on the “I’ve got your back” promise and beat the teeth out of someone who has a fellow offended. Existere looked right through me and said, with a calm in her voice that reminded me of a kindergarten teacher or a serial killer, “Get me the phone,” and I obeyed.

Later that year, before I moved away from Existere, she called me at my Mom’s house. She asked me when I was getting back to the apartment in order to leave for our job as weekend counselors at a Girl Scout summer camp. When I told her I had decided not to work that weekend, that she would have to go without me, she screamed that if I was going to be such a “promise breaker” that I should not bother coming back to her apartment at all. We had four phone calls that day: twice she hung up on me, and twice her then-girlfriend called to say—”I swear”—Existere was not on the other line and that I could talk about anything I wanted, with perhaps the sound of a handheld taperecorder squeeking in the background.

What happened next amazed me. I watched Existere dial the phone, lick her lips, and smile sweetly. “Hi,” she said in response to what I imagined must have been her mother’s “Hello?”; their familiarity was automatic and a cordial conversation began.

“I was just having some of this corn chowder and I was wondering what all was in it.”

Her mouth puckered into a quiet suspiciousness.

“Mmmm hmmm,” she said, “What else?”

And then more pause until Existere’s eyes suddenly popped open in a precursory a-ha!

“And what do you think cream of chicken soup is made out of, July?”

“What?! You say you’re sure there’s no chicken in the chowder? And that cream of chicken soup contains no chicken?” She was repeating everything her mother said in exagerated enunciation so that I could perhaps later give testimony in front of a jury of July’s peers.

“Well, you know what July?” And then Existere’s rage blossomed once more and she screamed the most abrasive phrase anyone has ever known right into her mother’s heart, punctuating each word with a period:

Fuck. You.

And then she hung up, throwing the phone on the ground, and her hands went into the air as though to ask me “Why is my mother trying to destroy me?”

The next fifteen minutes we spent going over the facts of the situation. There had been chicken in the chowder, we had all seen it. Existere had J (the other roommate) and I touch the muscley fibers floating in her spoon just to be sure. Her mother had admitted to using Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup in the recipe, though she denied that there was any chicken in the product—”It’s just called that,” she had said. Existere was a mostly always vegetarian and her mother was well aware of this. They had even had a conversation in which Existere explained she only wanted the chowder if it was to be meat free.

It was obvious that someone was lying—perhaps, I suggested, in one last attempt to manipulate the goings-on of her daughter who had become a fiercely independent lesbian with a shaved head. Existere nodded her head painfully while crying into my shoulder.

By the time she was ready to make the second phone call, J and I had already pulled out a good quarter cup of the chicken pieces, ruining the entire batch of soup with our grimey fingers, throwing the chicken into a small Ziplock bag that would be frozen and presented later as evidence.

And then the phone rang. We all froze. We knew who was calling, because in our manic rush to build a case against the mother who then stood as a representative for all the mothers who had ever dared to frown upon homosexuality or vegetarianism, three homosexuals we were united, and we’d forgotten that this wasn’t just another mother stretching the skills of manipulation. This was July, the woman who had taught Existere everything she knows, and July had been hung up on.

To be concluded.