Category Archives: mi familía

All I want for Christmas is owl puke

owl-puke

…so my seven-year-old nephew apparently told Santa.

Actually, I’ve put it this way for dramatic effect.  He actually told Santa he wanted “owl pellets” and then went into a lot of detail about how owls eat their prey whole and then vomit up fuzzy pellets made up of said preys’ bones and fur.  From there, he told Santa, he wanted to get the pellets and dissect them, counting the bones to find out what the owl had been eating.

Santa was apparently really grossed out, so my sister tells me.  So is she actually. Santa then made the mistake of questioning whether this would be a safe present so he then got to hear how the pellets are heat sterilized. Fortunately the line was long or this might have been the first case of a kid making Santa cry.

Where did he come up with this ever-so-sweet Christmas wish? Why from the kids’ Smithsonian catalog, bless their little hearts.   My sister may be grossed out but I’m thrilled.  I’ve got a copy of the book “Owl Puke” (it’s out of print but I found a new, unwrapped copy online from a used bookseller in the UK) and “pellet dissection kit” complete with wrapped sterilized pellets sitting on my entry way table waiting to be shipped to a seven-year-old scientist.

What a cool kid!

Holidays: Weekend With Dad

After whining about my father living with us, I sort of feel like I need to write this for a bit of balance.  The fact is, stressful though it may be, I love spending time with my dad, especially when, like this weekend, I want to be busy but don't have a lot of direction in terms of what I want to do.  

Last week was stressful.  I found out at the last minute about a post-doc I wanted to apply for and basically spent every waking moment between Monday and Wednesday night writing a research proposal for it.  Thursday and Friday were recovery days as I'd stressed myself past all comfortable limits.  It's a real long shot but it'll be awesome if I get it. I'm just vaguely proud of myself for getting the proposal in at all.

This weekend my dad and I spent pretty much every waking moment together.  I got up early on Saturday, made coffee for us both.  We then went to visit my great-aunt who's recovering for surgery for sinus cancer.  After a late breakfast with her went went shopping for supplies for soup and over to visit my brother who was home watching the Oregon games.  When we got home, I made nachos, dad made tuna salad and we watched the USC / UCLA game.  Sunday I slept in until 9, then dad made me bacon and eggs for breakfast.  I turned on the computer and researched making cocido (a traditional Mexican soup).  He took me to the pharmacy then did some work for a couple hours.  We made soup, went for a walk and made Christmas plans.  In the evening I helped him find gifts online for his clients.  Finally we watched Time Team and then Antique Roadshow before I collapsed into bed.  

I had a great weekend.  Everything was fun, I felt productive and wasn't worried that either my father or I were driving Paul (who spent a lot of the weekend working) too crazy.  Most satisfying?  I heard from my mom that my dad had had a great weekend and was enthusing to her how much he'd enjoyed spending time with me. 

Next weekend Dad will be in Oregon with my mom.  After that they'll both be here until early January.  As much as I love having time alone and alone with Paul, I'm looking forward to being surrounded by my family at Christmas — especially at having my brother and his family and my parents over to our apartment for Christmas Eve.  It feels happy and right.

Holiday Meme: Question 3

Favourite childhood holiday memory?

When I was nine years old, I wanted a telescope for Christmas.  This was an expensive gift to ask for — not on par with a bike (we got those every 4 – 5 years as we outgrew them) but a lot more than was usually spent at Christmas.  Little did I know that my parents saw this as me asking for an educational present and felt they had to get it.  I didn't believe in Santa at this point and really didn't expect to get one, it was more a wish than a request as far as I was concerned.

But when we got back from midnight mass, when Santa traditionally came in our house (though I didn't believe, my six year old sister was another matter), there it was, all shiny black and white, already set up next to the tree with a red bow around it.  I remember standing in my robe and pajamas looking at the suddenly nearby moon, my dad next to me trying to see if we could see Venus (I'm not sure we ever did).  

That wonderful present should have an amazing story about how I grew up with an understanding of astronomy or physics, but it doesn't.  I was a bookish child and my love would always be literature.  But I still remember the beauty of the moon on that bright cold Christmas night.  It was a perfect moment.

Life With Father – A Whine

life-with-father
In an economic time when so many adult children are moving back in with their parents, I’m experiencing the opposite. My dad has now lived with Paul and me for six months.  While he stayed with us two years ago for some months, this is the longest stint and one with no end in sight.

How did this happen?  Economics mostly.  My parents moved to Oregon eight years ago for work reasons. Three years ago my dad was transferred back, just as the real estate market tanked. They can’t sell their house in Oregon, though my mom is living there, trying her best to sell it.  My dad? Well, he stayed with us for a bit, then rented a place in LA for a while.  The cost of maintaining two residences was just impossible to sustain.  Besides that, he doesn’t live alone well and needs someone to look after him.  Needs a reason to come home from work at the end of the day and not stay in the office until 8 or 9 at night.

This is not a situation like the one my parents faced when my grandparents moved in with them.  My father is in good health and works — works longer hours than me most days. He takes out the trash, brings home food, sometimes drives me around. I’m not “taking care of him” in the sense of being his caregiver.  But I do find that I somehow have become his companion, much the way my mother is when she’s in town (she’s coming tomorrow).  My father is the oldest of seven children.  He has never lived alone, likes being around people, likes doing things all the time.  It’s hard to tell someone like that you want to sit on the sofa and stare into space for a couple hours.

On a day-to-day basis it’s okay — and honestly the burden of entertaining him was also there when he had his own place and my mom was away.  He doesn’t like being alone and doesn’t do well in solitude.

More detail.

Paul and I don’t live in a big house.  In fact, we don’t live in a house.  We rent a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment.  Usually one bedroom is for us, the other is a study and guest room.  The apartment is just the right size — for the two of us.  With three adults (and for the next two weeks, four adults) the apartment seems a bit too small.  Showers and even trips to the bathroom become matters of good natured negotiation.  Working from home is a lot more difficult, something that matters because Paul always works from home and I do two days a week.

Even that’s not the worst of it however.  I realized yesterday with a jolt of panic that, with my mom coming tomorrow  for a two week stay, I would likely not be alone much at all between now and the end of August when we leave for Shadow Lane. I’m not getting enough time by myself which makes me feel anxious and cranky.

Nor do Paul and I get enough time alone together.  Sure we can go into our room and close the door. But I still know he’s there or know he’s going to come home.  We can’t really pull out our play stuff.  It’s not that he isn’t respectful of our privacy — I mean, we’re pretty sure he did walk in on Paul spanking me in the living room and was polite enough to re-lock the door and disappear for a half hour — but it’s hard to really relax when I know we’re not alone. (I recognize that this isn’t anything new for people who have kids.  But the thing is, we don’t have kids .)

Meanwhile my sister and her family may need to move into the house in Portland and live there with my mom.  On the one hand I want it for them as it would mean my sister-in-law, who is currently unemployed, would have landed a great job.  On the other hand, this could mean a year or more of my dad staying with us.  I’m not sure we / I can take it.

So why haven’t I told him?

::sigh:: He’s my father.

He’d do the same for Paul and me without a thought.  He moved my grandparents in with him and my mom, again without a thought.  He tries so hard not to be in the way. Further, and this is hard to write, he takes better care of himself when he’s not alone.  This matters to me as both his parents (and their siblings) died young.  His father of a heart attack at 50, his mother of a stroke at 67.  My dad is 64 and is the oldest male member of his family, save one who’s had two quadruple bypass surgeries.  While his health is good, I know that his chances of making it much past 70 are statistically low.

How will I feel about adding stress to his life and sending him away if something happens to him? I can’t do it.

I wish I could just enjoy this chance to be an adult with my father, to appreciate the interesting and wonderful things about him as he seems to about me.  What I feel though is a selfish longing for my old life.  The one where Paul and I live alone, together.

Okay, whine over.  Thanks for listening.

Being there

maliaA few hours ago, my brother’s first child, a beautiful baby daughter, was born. The experience was a first for me. Not because her birth made me an aunt.  This baby isn’t my first niece or nephew.   My sister has a son and Paul’s brother and sister both have families too. She is, in fact, our third niece. We’re fortunate in having 5 children altogether to call us “Aunt” and “Uncle.”  It’s a pleasure to be indulgent and (sometimes anyway) set a bad example.

And yet, her birth was a first. The other children have been born at a distance — my sister’s son in the midwest, Paul’s sibling’s children in the UK. By contrast, this time I was there to hear, in person, about the pregnancy less than a month after her conception. I got to attend the baby showers and even was able to throw one. Moreover, I’ve known my brother’s wife since she was 14 — they started going out in high school. Most wonderful of all, tonight, Paul and I got to be there at the hospital while this baby niece was born.  We heard my brother come out and call out that his parents and parents in laws were grandparents. Within an hour of her birth I got to stand next to her, look into her brown eyes and take this picture.

A minute later, those tiny, but long and strong fingers curled around mine.

Being there was such an honor.

What do I feel?

This should be an entry to remind myself that at 40 I should know better than to try and set between friends who are either disagreeing or don’t like each other.  Especially when I don’t know what’s going on.  The only thing both people could end up agreeing on is that I should mind my own business.

Why I apparently don’t know better and keep making the mistakes the got me in trouble in junior high, why I need everyone around me to get along and to love me are questions that will probably take the next 40 years to resolve. 

I can’t muse on my crazy insecurities today. 

Today I’m at work, working in bursts because the mindlessness of my job makes it an easy place to hide..

Today I’ve turned off my phones and am ignoring my email.

Today I’m trying to find the courage to walk into my boss’s office and tell her about the call I just got from my mom.  But I can’t do it.  That call which I should have been expecting has somehow ripped a hole in me.   

My grandmother is dying.  She’s been going by inches for the past year, but her inches are running out.  At 101 her life is terrible — even the smallest acts of independence are being stripped away while her mind has stayed horribly alert and aware of every loss.  Over the past year, as it’s become clear my nana can never get well, can only decline, I’ve hoped and prayed for her to pass peacefully.  Dying peacefully is the right thing for me to want here and the kindest and most merciful outcome.  I know this.

But I don’t want it and so maybe I haven’t really prayed for either.  I’m selfish and I don’t want to let her go.  At the worst moments of my life, childhood and adulthood, she’s been there for me, making me feel loved as unconditionally as it would be possible for anyone to be.  Her very existence and love for me saved my life, not just once but repeatedly, including one time when I was 10 years old and she confronted my parents about their abuse of me and threatened to take me away from them. 

When I was a child and she was taking care of me, I worried often that she would die.  Back then, 70 seemed very old and she used to play a bit with guilt, telling me when I rolled my eyes at being told to push my bangs out of my face when I read or not to bite my nails that I wouldn’t have her to bother me much longer.  One summer when I was 11, the thought of losing her made me burst into tears and in comforting me she swore she would be here with me as long as I needed her. 

That’s right.  She loved me me so much and was so distressed at having hurt me by her teasing she swore not to leave until I was sure I could let her go. 

My nana is in Portland — more than a 1000 miles away from me.  Her weight down to 65 pounds.  She has cancer that’s spread throughout her body and for which there is no treatment.  Her younger sister and older brother are both dead now.  Last summer my grandfather, her husband of 70 years, died and left her alone to mourn him.  My mom told me today Nana can’t hold down food or water.

She has always been safety and home to me and soon  I have to travel north to say goodbye.  Somehow very soon I have to let her know it’s okay for her to go, that I’ll be fine.

But I don’t believe it.  And selfishly, in my heart, I don’t want her to leave me.

Nobody’s Mother and Somebody’s Wife

On her charming blog, A Farmwife With a Twist, Amber wrote a bit about her views of right and wrong specific to the BDSM scene in this entry.  It's interesting to read her points of view — sometimes it's easy to forget in a scene world of tolerance, of "your kink is not my kink but your kink is okay" that there are those that find our life not okay.  I've got a few acts of my own I feel that way about –for instance, I won't play with people whose partners don't know that they're playing with someone else –but that's as much an unwillingness to risk being dragged into their relationship drama.  Also, I've been cheated on and it sucks.

Anyway, as I said, Amber spells out clearly some things that bother her, writing:

I find that there's a lot room for utterly appalling moral behavior in BDSM realm, or at least from what I've learned from kinky blogs […]

Those things that steadily continue to appall me are:

-adultery

-unwillingness to have children and selfish hedonism

-polygamy/swapping partners/offering your partner to others "to use"

All of the above to me are a fundamental assault on basic human dignity and are certainly not pleasing to God […]

And there is one more thing I literally have 0 tolerance for – a weekness of character as expressed in fear of commitment to one partner for life with the purpose of starting a family.

[The dots in brackets mark places where I snipped information out just for focus (hopefully without changing the meaning.  You can go check her blog and read the whole article if you like.)]

From what I wrote above, you can probably guess I kind of agree with her about adultery.  But to me, it isn't "adultery*" when both people are honest and agree — that is, there's nothing wrong with me playing with whomever so long as P doesn't have any problem with it and vice versa.  What would be wrong (imo) would be if I did this either without regard for objections he had or somehow sneaking behind his back. 

As to the rest…

… I don't even know what would actually be an example of "selfish hedonism" in my marriage.  Staying in bed with P on a Saturday morning rather than getting up and helping my friends move?  Using all the hot water for an extra long bubble bath?  Taking all the whipped cream for my strawberries and leaving none for his? I'm not quite sure. 

Polygamy / polyamory?  I don't have a problem with that at all.  It's not my thing –I'm introverted enough that maintaining a relationship with P is about all the "primary" I can handle.  While we play with other people, they're friends (beloved friends in many cases).  But while I think poly relationships can be complicated, I don't think the idea that one can love and be committed to multiple people or that three or more adults can be a family is anything but beautiful.  From what I've seen, poly relationships can be remarkably unselfish and passionate.  In my opinion, any relationship that's honest and helps each person involved in it to be happy and grow is an honorable and a blessed one.

What I found oddest, however, on Amber's list were her statements about being appalled by people who are "unwilling" (she does make exceptions for those who are "unable") to have children and the notion that a lacking a desire to "start a family" somehow reflects an "assault on human dignity."

My first answer to that would be that P and I committed to each other and became a family years before we were married.  By then we had re-arranged our lives to be together, changed countries (in his case), lived together as much as the law allowed for several years and shared as much about ourselves as we could find to share.  In fact, I know I found things I didn't know about myself in the course of getting to know him.  While I think our relationship has deepened in the two and a bit years since we married, I think that probably would have happen anyway.  When do I think P and I started to become a family?  The first time he wrote in a whisper that he loved me.  And then 9 years ago when he came to see me for the first time.

There's nothing incomplete about our relationship now — nothing waiting for a child to somehow make it more real.

Why don't we have children?  There are a lot of reasons, but they boil down to the fact that neither of us want them.  Speaking for myself, I've never wanted to have any children– something I started telling my mom back when I was 3.  I like other people's babies and young children fine for a little while, but not enough to live with them.  I do like teens, but the odds of giving birth to a 13 year old are pretty low.  To me, what would be an "abomination"  would be someone who is pretty sure he or she (or he and she in our case)  doesn't like or want children having one on the off chance that she would 1) feel differently about one of her own and 2)hoping it would somehow deepen their marriage and somehow make them a family.

Anyway, I had some more thoughts, but they've drifted away and it's time for bed.  I've probably written enough anyway.

The title of this entry is adapted from Sanda Cisneros's author description in her first book, The House On Mango Street.  In it she writes she is "nobody's mother and nobody's wife."

I'm not talking about strict Biblical law here, but rather about when the act (whether sexual or spanking) becomes immoral / unethical.

Forwarded From My Mom

Generally there are few things that I dislike more than getting forwarded jokes.  I’m not sure why exactly, but it always seems pretty close to friends sending me spam.  Most friends know me well enough not to do it, but my mom still does.  And she’s my mom, so what can I do?

Anyway, this past week I saw a forward from her in my in-box and sighed.  But when I opened it I realized it was a joke alright, but one she was just sending to me.  It said:

Subject: Parenting….

One day Mom was cleaning junior’s room and in the closet she found a bondage S&M magazine. This was highly upsetting for her. She hid the magazine until his father got home and showed it to him. He looked at it and handed it back to her with out a word.

She finally asked him, "Well what should we do about this?"

Dad looked at her and said, "Well I don’t think you should spank him."

Something I’ve written about before for the newsgroup is that yes, my mom kind of knows what it is we do.  That is, she knows where Paul and I met and she knows that we’re both into spanking.  She knows this because she told me that she and my dad do it, and have since my dad told her about his fantasy of spanking her 5 years into their marriage, and so I then told her about Paul and me.

What doesn’t she know?  She doesn’t know I / we play with other people.  She doesn’t know we go to Shadow Lane parties (though I always check carefully to make sure they’re not going to be there).  And she doesn’t know that Paul punishes me for real life stuff. 

The day after that conversation, I posted the following to soc.sexuality.spanking:

A Conversation With My Mother

A few weeks ago there was a thread on the group about coming out to a family member or friend.  And questions as to why one should or shouldn’t "come-out."  I wrote that I intended to tell my parents some day —  that I wanted them to know how Pablo and I met and that I’m not ashamed of who I am or what I  do.  And  I expressed a desire that they understand the beauty  of it — that between Pab and me this spanking / discipline /punishment is an expression of love.

Brave thoughts, but I never did anything about it.  Too scared or didn’t have the right chance.  But the other day, when my mom and I were talking, that chance came.   Not because of my courage but because of my mother’s.   

My mother came out to me.  And I came out to her.

"You know, your dad likes to paddle me.  For fun. . ."   

<blank stare from me… am I blushing?>

"And I like it too.  To give up control and have him decide.  To be totally submissive to him, makes me feel very cared for, and very free."

<nodding more. . . stammering?>

"Th-that’s a fantasy — a fantasy of mine too Mom."

"I’ve always thought it was very brave of your dad to tell me.   It was five years into our marriage.  It’s thing that is most important to him sexually you know."

<slower nod>

"I understood, or tried to.  Let him take me into the bathroom (you kids were so small we worried about noise all the time) and he carried a huge gold chair in there.  He wanted me to kneel over the arm."

<more nodding. . . am I reading this?  is my mom talking to me?  *De-lurking* to me??  Can I — should I tell her about Pablo  and me??>

"I guess, um, he’d been thinking about it a while?"

"Yes, he had to turn the chair side ways to get it in the bathroom.   We tried a lot of things over the years.  The noise you know.  And he doesn’t like to mark me.  Paddles, hand, switches… and some strange whippy thing he got somewhere.  <her voice lower, softer>  A, um, sex shop.  But mostly now switches."

"I’d wondered before about you and Dad. You know, because you have the Anne Rice Beauty book’s."

"Uh-huh.  I read them.  And The Story of O … and DeSade.  Though that was too much for me. 

"I’ve never been able to get through him."

"It sure gets really extreme at the end."

<silence —  silence — silence bursting open>

"I have to tell you something Mom.  Or rather, I want to tell you  something.  I totally understand.  Paul (that’s Pablo to all you) and I met on a  spanking newsgroup.  You  knew we met on the internet?  Well  that’s where. "

"What?" 

"We both write spanking stories.  We started e-mailing each other about them."

"Do you spank him?"

<small smile to myself and shake of the head>

"No, mostly he spanks me.   It makes me feel cared for, free, even well, beautiful."

<she nods> 

"Loved?"

"Yes.  Because as much as I want him to, he wants to.  But he respects me as his equal."

"Yes, that’s so important between your Dad and me.  He says my submission is so powerful for him because I’m so strong.  And don’t submit to anyone else."

"Paul says he always sees me as his equal because I *am* his equal.  What I’m not is the same.  I need something different from what he needs.  I — I want him to take care of me Mom.  And he wants to take care of me.  You know?"

<silence. . . nodding. . . more silence>  Of course she knows.

"Will you give me some stories to read?"

<thinks for a moment>

"Yes, I will."

I’ve never felt so close to her, and seen her as so very much my friend.  Never felt so much understanding between us, both of us seeing the other as strong, and knowing the feeling of submitting, of turning over control to another.  My hand brushed  away tears and I felt so grateful to my mother for lifting the last cobwebs of shame and secrecy from my kink.  My sister knows the truth, my mom knows.  No one in my family will ever think  Pablo spanks me for any reason other than that he loves me. 

What a Very Good Thing!

Later on the phone with Pablo. . .

<laughing>

"Guess we won’t have to worry about the noise when we stay with your parents!!"

"Yes we bloody well will worry!!!  I don’t wanna hear them and I sure don’t want them to hear me."

<more laughter>

I have to admit it seems less, um *subversive* when you know your parents  do it too!

Having my mom know is great in a lot of ways.  The downside?  I think I’m the only person other than my father that knows about what it is they do.  And so she wants to talk to me about it.  The thing is though, she’s still my mom and the man in question is my father.  So there’s some things I just don’t want to hear about. 

A couple of years ago when Secretary came out on DVD she bought and kept trying to get me to watch it with her.  We’d both already seen it, but she wanted especially to watch it with me.  I felt frantic to come up with excuses as to why I couldn’t watch it with her.  Fortunately life is pretty busy and that moment past.  It feel a bit odd sometimes to have this secret with her as for years she and I weren’t very close at all.  Good though, despite the bits of awkwardness. 

Anyway, there’s some thoughts about me and my mom.

Stamp That Man…

And call him a resident alien!

All went very well today. I feel the same way about it as I do about having had my wisdom teeth removed. At least I’ll never have to go through it again.

I’ll write more tomorrow — tonight I’m tired and wanna curl up with my sweetie.

Thanks to everyone for your kind words and wishes!

Super humiliation

Last night my dad called me. He had a reason (reminding me of my great aunt’s birthday), but was also stuck in traffic on his way home and wanted to chat. After asking me about my day and week and what I’d been doing when he called, he struck out in a new direction.

DAD: "So, do you and Paul have any plans for the Super Bowl?"

ME: "Um, no not really. I haven’t really thought too much about it."

{PAUSE} DAD: "Oh. Do you know when it is?"

ME: "This weekend? Um, Sunday?" {I thought about checking on the computer, but was afraid he’d hear me typing and laugh.}

DAD: {Laughing anyway} Do you even know who’s playing?

ME: Um, the Colts? Fortunately he was apparently stopped in traffic because after giving my answer the game show buzzer he dissolved into much laughter and then gave me the right answer (it’s the Patriots and Eagles in case you’re as out of touch as me.)

He suggested that P and I might want to consider taking a newspaper. I agreed. As I answered, I realized I’d been actively avoiding the news since the election. How long can my denial continue? Still, I was glad it provided my dad with a good laugh.