Posts Tagged ‘lbgt’

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.

The Corn Chowder Story, part 1.

May 19, 2010

So, another three parter written by Opposite Gender Soulmate (OGS) in 2003. This was a term he coined for us shortly after we met – in fact, the first night we met he told me that if he was straight, he would have proposed. This made me feel so cherished and loved and understood and giddy. He was and is a funny, smart, cocky, talented man – the boy I  met caused me to fall into friendship with no qualifications or conditions.

This story about a time when we lived together features me at about age 19 or 20. I don’t think it’s flattering of me, or always literally true, but it is a very honest portrait of who I was at the time, in relation to my mother. My very, very homophobic mother. And of who we were – OGS, me, and our flamboyant roommate J – three scared, but proud, young adults who just happened to be gay.

Please read and enjoy.


chow·der (chou’dar) n. 1. A thick soup containing fish or shellfish, especially clams, and vegetables, such as potatoes and onions, in a milk or tomato base. 2. A soup similar to this seafood dish: corn chowder.

In the winter of 1999 I was on the verge of suicide. It is strangely liberating to admit something like this out loud today, only a few years later, and without the experience of extensive therapy or six months in a psych ward to validate the depth of my depression, or to comfort my readers. The hopeless sleepwalking through the last, bitter-cold days of that dead season I can vividly recall. It was me, who had learned to halt the grinding vitality of anxiety with lethargic exercise; I smothered the choking pain and confusion like a heavy, wet blanket over the mouth and nose. I emerged from near-death in April, without professional help, which is at least superficially disconcerting now because self-help comes without a guarantee against relapse. How can I claim recovery when there are are no prescription bottles in my cabinet and the shoes are still in my closet?

My salvation was a big-breasted lesbian who, the first time I locked eyes with her, looked at me like I was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. And she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. And I remember that moment every time someone says “love at first sight” because of how instantly it began, the most valuable friendship I’ve ever known.

And that summer we rejoiced in knowing eachother, in the almost immediate familiarity of each other. And I was saved by the bliss of having found a soulmate.

And in the fall I became her roommate out of the necessity to rebuild my life. Sleeping on her couch, sometimes beside her, working 60 hours a week to recover from two years of debt I had acrued with my eyes closed, hands tied behind my back (she helped me to untie them). And as frightening a time as this was, I had never felt so much at home in myself or with another person; I had never felt so safe.

I was smoking nearly two packs of Marlboros a day then, and I’d spend my me-time sitting on Existere’s slim concrete patio throwing consecutive cigarette butts onto the lawn below while scribling frantically in a diary I have long since ripped to shreds and burned. Our life together became functional very quickly, generally looking out for each other, and involving each other daily in the details, extravagant and shameful, of our whole lives up to that point. We traded clothes and shoes. We watched horrible soap operas and sobbed through made-for-TV movies together. And we shared everything.

Well, almost everything.

Some things were off limits. We did not, for instance, share our bodies intimately. We also did not share the delicious food July would sometimes leave in giant pots in the refrigerator.

July is Existere’s mother. July is a nurse. July shows concern and pride in her children in such a manner that reminds me of the mother bear in Old Yeller who attacks little Arliss.

And one day, while Existere was napping, I sauntered into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator to find such a giant pot, with a small note carefully scripted and posted on the front of it with Scotch tape.

“For Existere only.”

But I could smell the contents of the pot in the refrigerator even with its cover on tight. And it smelled good. And there was a lot of it.

Another notable thing about that fall was the preponderance of things like Chef Boyardee ravioli and Taco Bell bean burritos in my diet. I distinctly remember being excited about corned-beef hash one night. “Home-cooked meal” was something I had almost forgotten about. I suddenly wanted whatever was in this pot, desperately.

And so, as was my habit that fall whenever the mood struck, I skipped down the hall into Existere’s room to wake her up. She’d had a long weekend and was exhausted, but I was lusting after her private stash of home-cooking—and besides, what are soulmates for?

She growled groggily and tried to slap me when I used both hands to forcibly roll her over and out of the bed onto my lap.

“Hey! Wake up!” I yelled while using the thumbs and index fingers of both hands to forcibly pry open her eyelids. I had already removed a bowl from the bowl cupboard and a spoon from the spoon drawer and they were sitting on the counter next to the refrigerator on top of a napkin I had carefully folded into a triangle. She grumbled and strugled with one hand to pull the blankets off the bed so she could sleep there, on the floor. With the other hand she continued to try to slap me.

“What’s in the pot in the refrigerator? Can I have some?”

And she layed still for a moment without saying anything, and just as I could feel her understanding what I had said, she sat up, fully awake.

“You didn’t eat any of it, did you?” She asked, alarmed.

“No.” I said. “But there’s a lot of it, and I thought you might want to share.”

“It’s corn chowder and My Mother put my special medicine in it, so I have to eat it all.” In those days July was only ever referred to as “My Mother” for dramatic effect. (She was referred to as “July” for a different kind of dramatic effect.) “And if ayone else eats it, they will be made sick by my special medicine.”

Existere’s “Special Medicine,” I’ve learned, imbues any consumable substance Existere wants to keep to herself. It allows her to be selfish without being selfish. It’s not my fault My Mother puts the medicine in it. How, exactly, does the girl at McDonalds know to coat Existere’s Chicken McNuggets with the special medicine? I’ve often wondered.

And suddenly, spurred on by my inquiry, Existere herself was hungry for a dose of medicine and squirmed out of the tangle of covers. I followed her into the kitchen like a scolded puppy who has not yet given up on begging. I watched her greedily scoop the yellow porridge-like substance into the bowl I had prepared. Its smell blossomed in my nostrils, sweet and hearty. In the microwave the bowl rotated and the thick liquid bubbled. It was a soup that eats like a meal.

I sat at the table and watched as she spooned the chowder into her mouth and told me about how it was her favorite thing that Her Mother makes and that she was so happy Her Mother had made it for her. “I love it SOOOO much.” She sang emphatically, the soup gurgling a little in her throat. I was resting my chin on my hands, hoping that if she got full, her resolve to keep all the corn chowder to herself would weaken. “And it’s one of the only things that My Mother makes that I can still eat now that I’m a veget…” She was speaking with her mouth full and stopped suddenly. Her head was hanging over the bowl, her mouth was open, and chunky corn chowder was dripping out of it. Her reaction was quiet, astonished. I could hear the wet pre-vomit cluck starting in the back of her throat, and she spit the rest of the food out of her mouth into the bowl as carefully as possible, trying to avoid the sensation of the liquid on her tongue and lips. Ready to perform the Heimlich Maneuver if it would be necessary, I put my hand on her back. Her whole body was trembling.

She spoke, her voice was cold and stoney. “July… put… chicken… in… this.”

July is Existere’s mother. July is the only only other person I’ve ever met who can stand up next to Existere in a shouting match, the only other woman whose blazing fury burns as hot.

…to be continued.


September 14, 2008

This weekend was full of good things: sex, pizza, gardening (ie ‘surgical intervention’), rosehip bath oil, and…Flight of the Conchords. One of TMD’s friends from work introduced her, and we spent an embarassing amount of time watching all their shit on YouTube.

TMD’s fave:

My fave:

Be more constructive with your criticism!

TMD would also recommend watching ‘Business Time.’ To my glee, I have found that there is tons of Flight of the Conchords flair.

While I would like to be a Dar Williams or an Ani DiFranco, I’m fairly certain I’m actually Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords. In case you’re wondering which one he is, he’s the supercute nerdy one that simply HAS to be queer, or else my gaydar is misfunctioning terribly.

Also, how the fuck do I get YouTube stuff right into my blog?

For quarter lady:

September 8, 2008

Natural cycle IUI

This is when a woman just has her ordinary menstrual cycle. Just before ovulation, sperm are inserted into the uterous (bypassing the cervix). These are specially prepared and live only 6 hours, so timing is quite crucial. Nothing is required except the one trip to the clinic for the insemination. This costs about 1100/1200. Success rates at our clinic are 10% per cycle.

Stimulated cycle IUI

Same as above, except a bit more invasive. There are injections every other day of a low dose of hormones, as well as regular scans to make sure the follicle (what the egg is in) develops nicely. A day or so before the insemination, another injection is given to induce ovulation. This cuts down on timing problems. This requires medication and multiple trips to the clinic. This costs about 1400. Success rates are 15-20% per cycle.


IVF is when a woman’s normal hormones are ‘turned off’ by medication. This allows multiple eggs to develop, which are then harvested in an operation. I would be having ICSI, which is when a sperm is injected directly into each egg. The embryos are then monitored to see if they have fertilised, how they are developing, etc. The two best quality ones are places back into the womb. This requires medication in the cycle before the woman plans to conceive, daily injections in the conception cycle, and (probably) scans. I know the least about this timeline as we haven’t had the consult yet. This is very, very expensive. If I am willing to share my eggs with a woman who needs them, it costs 1050 per cycle. Success rates are 50-55%, more towards the 55% due to my young age.

We are leaning towards IVF because of the very high success rate. We have extremely limited funds, so we would only have enough money for a couple of tries before switching to IVF. I think we would rather put our money into IVF as the chances of success are much higher, the price is lower, etc. Yes, it’s invasive, but I don’t think I really mind that bit at all.

DN, want to tell me more about your insemination? Either by email, facebook, or here. I’ve been feeling hopeless about the low success rates of IUI, but sort of wishing we had loads of money so we cuold do natural cycle first. Still, IVF makes me feel much, much more hopeFUL. I welcome more info, please!!

PS – Just in case you don’t read my response to the comment you made on a previous entry a bit ago, I said that I wished you lived near me. I would take you someplace slightly funky, with a nice atmosphere (perhaps a bit dim), where we could talk and talk. It would, of course, involve tasty food and things. How funny that you live so close to where I used to live, before this big old ocean got in the way.

Ever rising dips.

September 8, 2008

Well, I want to write about my conversation with Kleinette and what a fucked up backward coincidence it all was, but it feels like a private thing because I don’t want to spread her shit on the net. I know none of you even know her real name (and most don’t know mine!), but still.

It was (almost) enough that I called TMD to tell her about it. Funny how life works sometimes. Have not managed to sort a session, will ring her in a few weeks. I am feeling like the crisis has already resolved – for the minute, anyway.

Have spent time on some messageboards dealing with IVF. I found a thread that was a ten question thing for women who had conceived. There are almost 300 replies. I’ve read the first 35 pages, and the vast majority of women conceived in the first or second cycle. This has me feeling hopeful again.

I’ve booked an evening info session with another clinic in a few weeks time, just to compare and contrast. Our couples counselling session at OUR clinic is next week, my doctor’s appointment for blood test referrals is this week, hopefully I’ll get the bloods done on Friday morning. Things still seem to be ticking along very nicely.

I would really REALLY like to try in November. All the time off needed will be gross, but I am already taking a lot of time off when my mother is here, and I wonder if that will coincide with when I would need egg retrival and stuff. That would be too, too perfect.


I’m cheering up slightly. Don’t feel as heavy or as gloomy. And still want to write about my birthday!!

This time next year…

September 8, 2008

Feeling all mixed up – am I upset about donating eggs? IVF? Uncertainty? Postponing things?

My head feels very full and heavy, and my body is slow like molasses. I woke up this morning and the thoughts were immediately whizzing through my head – should I do this? Is this REALLY want I want? Am I the only one upset here?

This was after a night of IVF dreams. Busy, busy head.

I am making plans to go forward with IVF, one step at a time. Booked an appointment to see one of my normal doctors – the pregnancy friendly one. Hopefully I will be able to get her to refer me to blood testing – I need more comprehensive tests if I am to donate eggs to another woman. These are expensive tests, and if my doctor sorts it out they will be free. Cross your fingers for free and timely!!

I’m all over the place emotionally – just imagine how crazy I will be with IVF hormones. If you choose to read my diary during that time, you’d probably better invest in a sturdy seatbelt. I am also going to call Kleinette today. Just typing this I’m getting a little teary, so going to allow myself some time to settle into work before I scurry into another room and tell my ex-therapist I need to talk/cry/puzzle/laugh. Just one session, even.

TMD suggested it this morning, and I think it would be valuable. We have a couples session scheduled at the clinic in a couple of weeks time, but it is hard to think we will be able to relax and use the space productively. Particularly as part of this woman’s job is evaluating whether or not I am in a good head space to donate eggs and undergo IVF. I think of counselling as a non-judgmental safe space, and it’s hard to think of it as having some sort of evaluation attached to it.

Still, I know the way I am feeling and the conversations I’m having with TMD (which usually happen as we are on a walk and I am crying! Joy!) are perfectly normal and appropriate ways to be reacting to the stress of this situation. Finances are such a huge worry. I don’t want to feel that I donated eggs just to get the kickback of very cheap IVF!

How much am I willing to give up or put us through in order to have a child? I don’t know what my limits are, but I am scared I might find them.

Despite having a mild case of the crazies (and during the normally cheerful part of my cycle!), I feel really positive about the outcome of IVF. I’m young, healthy, fertile. Why SHOULDN’T I be one of the women who have successful implantation and pregnancy?

Hard to focus on work. Will no doubt be back here again throughout the day. I also still want to put down in words about the wonderful effort TMD made for my birthday.

The first risk of IVF: twins.

September 7, 2008

On the totally gross and lighthearted side of things, when we were discussing IVF, TMD said, ‘Boy, if we had twins that would really blow Niece out of the water.’

God, I feel so stressed. Picturing twins makes me feel something alternating between excitement and horror. Still, when the consultant said twins were a real risk, we just sort of looked blankly at each other. The only real risk we face is not having a baby because there’s not enough money. No baby versus two babies? Not our idea of a risk.

TMD also said, ‘Wow, if we had two babies at once it would be like bulk buying.’

It’s nice to laugh amid the  stress of it all.

Holding the faith.

September 7, 2008

Yesterday: untold stress, overwhelm, tears, then….a surprise birthday party! Had such a good time, relaxed, will write more about it tomorrow. Have relaxed today as well, but then back to thinking/reading about the things that stressed me yesterday, and am left feeling so tired and emotional. I keep thinking of ringing Kleinette and booking a one-off session, because I just need to have a good weep.

Our appointment at the fertility clinic was yesterday. We never expected IVF to be offered as a first treatment – they briefly explained all the options, and because we’ve never discussed IVF we went ahead with a more in-depth look at stimulated cycle IUI. I will write technical explanations when I don’t feel so fucked up.

At any rate, I think we are seriously considering IVF. If I am willing to donate half my eggs, I get the treatment at a hugely reduced cost – and the success rates are five times that of a natural cycle IUI. This makes IVF both more affordable and much more attractive as far as outcomes go.

I’m just overwhelmed by the idea of daily injections, suppositories, little egg-babies in a petri dish who don’t survive, little egg-babies in my womb who don’t burrow right into my uterine lining. I am in excellent health. I am not an infertile woman. All of my scans have been excellent, my hormone levels are kickin’, and there is always a chance I could conceive without going through IVF. But we only have enough money for three attempts.

IVF success rate at this clinic is 50-55%, and the consultant said because I’m so young it would be nearer to the 55% mark. I also have no reason to believe that I couldn’t support a pregnancy, as I am fertile – unlike many women who go through IVF.

Egg sharing means more tests to make sure I’m not carrying a freaky disease, which pushes the timeline back. I don’t think I mind.

Yesterday I felt so overwhelmed that when we left the clinic I started crying on the street and told TMD I don’t want to do this anymore – I just want to adopt.

I don’t know what the point of this entry is….venting, I suppose. Offloading. The sorts of things I would be saying to Kleinette if I was sitting on her couch. I don’t want to have to be logical. Logic tells me that we should definitely do IVF – and I am happy with that choice. Despite that, I still feel scared, upset, and confused.

All I/we wanted was a baby. I never thought when I was growing up that it would be this fucking involved. Babymaking is, inherantly, supposed to be an intimate act that brings pleasure. I suppose I am mourning the fact that TMD and I have to do it differently.

I just wish I could know it would work.


OH. I’ll tell you one more thing, though. Nichiren Buddhism talks about something called sancho shima. I won’t pretend to be incredibly philosophical, but merely say that this means that when you are about to make a very strong step in life, life invariably throws up obstacles. Getting to the clinic yesterday was unbelieveable. We almost missed the fucking appointment, perhaps more details later.

Anyway, I was chanting in my head – the first chanting I’ve done in ages – to arrive by 12. When we finally made it into the city and got on public transport, guess who sat down across from us? A woman reading a book about Nichiren Buddhism – which has NEVER happened before.

Perhaps this is me striving to make coincidence meaningful, but it felt pretty fucking profound, I can tell you. We also made it to the clinic exactly at 12.

Thirty facts about me/my life/etc on my thirtieth birthday!

September 5, 2008

My father has borderline personality disorder,
my mother went into labour with me
on labour day,
my grandmother marched in the first
union march in the
country I was born in.

I love buying journals and have trouble
finishing them. I have five holes in my
ears and no more hole
in my tongue.
I have one crown in my mouth,
no tattoos, and
a serious distaste of earthworms.

I’m 5’8, taller than my mother (only just)
and shorter than my
father. Once, playing under a sleeping bag,
I watched my sister swallow a
I met TMD in 1998, I moved to this
country permanently in 2001 (we can
ignore the extensive visiting in 2000).

My grandfather had a huge collection
Reader’s Digest books,
and he ate popcorn every night from
a giant wooden bowl.
He and my grandmother were
first generation in my home country.

I never thought about being
from that country until I moved
far away from it, and my accent and cultural
habits made me an oddity.

I dislike cutting my toenails (because it’s
icky, not because I want long claw hooks),
I’ve worn glasses since I was eight,
I lost my virginity when I was 16. My wife
has a killer voice
and plays the guitar like a dream.

I have never met my father’s side
of my family,
I have never met my grandparents’
across-the-ocean family,
I wonder sometimes how they fared in
the Holocaust, with all those
death camps sprinkled around.

I am not German or Austrian.

I’ve slept with more boys
than girls
but been with TMD probably longer
than all other relationships combined.
I’m a serial monogomist.

I used to tap dance.
I cannot do a cartwheel.

(I think I counted correctly. Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday in one way or another. The first fact of my 31st year: I love comments on this diary. It makes me feel listened to, valued, and like someone has reached out to make a connection with me. Love to you all!)

High school romance, take one.

September 4, 2008

Jaysus Kee-rist.

The love-of-my-life-before-TMD, my first love, just friended me on Facebook. Of course I knew he existed in the Facebook world of things, because he was friends with some of my friends. I just swore to myself that no matter how badly I wanted to see his profile I would not friend him – and I wondered if he would friend me.

Of course, we can ignore me essentially asking my sister to copy and paste his profile into an email.

I listed us as having gone to high school together and skipped the ‘we dated’ option as I felt it might be a bit controversial. Especially as our last conversation was him saying he was worried he had turned me gay, and I lied and said I wasn’t. Not one of my proudest moments, but I think I still crazily thought we would get back together.

He’s a really great guy and it would be nice to send the occasional email, but don’t know if that will happen. I have decided that I am prettier than his wife, though, so that makes me happy. I won’t tell anyone (except you) that I immediately started looking through my own Facebook pictures to see if I looked monstrous or hot. I think I fall somewhere in between.

Crazy (again, a word I seem to keep repeating) that we stopped dating about twelve years ago. Old school, man, old school!

I’m glad he friended me first. This somehow makes up for the fact that he ripped my heart out, and I therefore ripped out the hearts of everyone else I dated – until TMD. I try to be gentle with hers.