I married a poet

15 Feb

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Every other year I can remember since becoming older and a somewhat jaded person (this happened right after grade school I think) this day has meant two things. One, my sister’s birthday is today (and my cousin Susan and good friend Colleen’s birthday was the day before VD). And two, why in the sam-hell do we celebrate this stupid holiday?  One day to celebrate love? Cripes, come on, that is not enough and it is all too much all at once.

I love love. All forms and sizes, in all the ways we package and do it up. I love the idea of it, I love watching it blossom in others. I love expressing it, in words and—ahem—other ways. My friends who have known me for a while would tell you that I have rarely been single. I have been perpetually falling in love with someone or another since 4th grade, Mark Beaver, my first true love. In 2004, that one true kind of crazy love hit me like a Mack truck booming down the highway of is-this-all-there-is? and set me free of my wanderlust. That one kind of crazy is she who is known here on this blog as Sweetie, my forever hot pants, my work out partner, my love and lover.

But damn, this holiday has a lot of hype and expectation. I hate it because it creates a lot of pressure to perform. It contains a time bomb of expectations: getting the right card, having the right meal, make sure the day is absolutely perfect. You know what isn’t perfect? Me. You. Them. Anything. Not one good god-damn thing is perfect. I just cannot get on board with expectations of perfection. I always fail. But also, I hate being wrong. And friends I am wrong about Valentine’s Day this year. This year, the first one I’ve been legally married for, was a game changer.

You know the saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” well, it is my belief that perfection is as well. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. Perfection is possible, given the ability to see it and receive it, the desire to attempt it. It may not be perfection to the giver, but to its recipient, ohhhhhhh. Yesterday, I received it, the perfect valentine, from the perfect partner. How can she be perfect? Because in all of her humanity, I know that she is perfect for ME, for us. How can it be the perfect gift? Maybe it won’t be for you, but for me, I received it beautiful and amazing. It made me burst with tears. Amaze-ing, as in I am amazed. How did she do this? How amazing is her mind to notice, to see such beauty in me, in us? I don’t know how, but she did. She does. I am lucky.

A poem from my love, my very own poet laureate, Karen “Ratchet” Mattison

Restaurant Workers Come Home Late

The midnight water is quiet when you slip
your body into the home port of our bed.
Anchor down, clothes peeled off and clumping on the floor
still with the shapes of your elbows, knees, and heels.

You are careful not to wake me, but likely hope that I’ll stir—
(it’s nice to be greeted after a long voyage).
Nightly I fight to float up from the bottom
of sleep’s ocean to hail my sailor
my mouth full of water and dreams.

We are not ships that pass in the night
shining a light in greeting and sliding by.
We are each other’s ship and harbor
mainsail and kedge
sail and sleep
adventure and rest.
Our cats jump like fish at the edge of the sheets.

Our midnight water is quiet when you slip
your body around mine as a ship’s hawser whorls the wharf’s bollard:
your twisted working rope spooled around my solid dock’s spur
secured but loose,
gently bobbing on the ripples of the moon’s whim.


So happy Valentine’s Day friends, yesterday, today and always. Go beauty! Go perfection! GO LOVE.


22 Oct




The weather is turning cold here in Minnesota; its been 40 degrees and the air has that chill, the one that gets into your bones and won’t let you loose. If you are from around here you know what this means: it’s sweater weather. Now, if you have followed my journey over at the other blog at all (don’t worry if you haven’t, like this space its been a little dormant too), you’ll know that I don’t have any sweaters to break out this season—you see—all of my cold weather clothes are too large for me now. That is except for this little number. 

Heather, light and dark, a plunging V-neck, with horizontal stripes. Yep, horizontal. Stripes.

 Do you remember when someone told you what you couldn’t do and you did it anyway, because you thought you could, hell for that matter, you should? Not like when you were four, but like when you started to become a grown up? I do.

When I was a pre-teen my mom told me that there were two rules I could not break. One: do not ever go to the video arcade, that is where all the “druggies and losers” hang out. Two: don’t wear red. Whores wear red. When Sweetie and I first got together, there were essentially two colors in my wardrobe, black and some variation on black. No color, and certainly no red. Somehow though, in all of my moving and traveling around that time, a red hued outfit made its way into my wardrobe, and I wore it. On a date, with her. Well my heavens to murgatroyd if she didn’t declare me the most beautiful woman in the world—and not in that whore-ish way—upon first glance in my hot-sy tot-sy outfit. 

When I was first finding my way back to the church after a long young adult sabbatical of sorts, I had been out for a few years already, and quite comfortably so. I was in a relationship with a man, but everyone in my life at the time knew I was bi—except my new church community. I did what I thought was best, I went through the process of coming out again. To me, this was no big deal. I was comfortable in who I was, but knowing the climate of the church at the time (ummmm… read, not progressive, at all) I thought it best if I put all my cards on the table. I met with my pastors, my prayer group, my friends and finally my favorite youth pastor from when I was a kid. Do you know what he told me? It went something like this: You had better never tell anyone else this while you are involved in youth ministry. It will kill your career. People don’t approve and will not understand. I came out anyway. I kept telling people anyway. Because it just felt good and right. Turns out he was right, but so was I.

I am wearing horizontal stripes today. I know the rules, and I haven’t lost all the weight I’d like to yet either. But it’s cold, and I am feeling cute. Hello fall. Hello friends.

it is possible to change?

10 Jul

tp accidentThere are many reasons I love social media, one of them being the exchange of opinions on some of the most intimate and personal of topics. Every once in a while something will pop up that I feel every so strongly about that I think to myself “how could ANYone think the other way is right?” Same sex marriage, a womans right to choose, the death penalty and so on.

Enter how to appropriately hang toilet paper. Now, everyone knows that over is the much preferred hang than the under. No need to google it; it is prettier, cleaner, and well, it’s just right.  Well it is—that is—until it isn’t.

The picture seen here was texted to me the other night just before coming home. “Look what your children did …” was the text that accompanied the photo. The new kitties have discovered the unbridled joy of a roll of TP. Now we’ve had a few stumbling blocks to being new kitty mamas; what they like to eat, where they like to be pet and all that, but this was a whole new naughty ball game. Tigger never ever touched the stuff.

To remedy the situation we tried a few things: moving the TP holder around, but still in comfortable reach for a human. Fail. We tried keeping the roll on the back of the tank, but that just makes us sad, not to mention I think it’s gross. We let them rip it up and we re-rolled by hand, hoping the new-found TP toy might lose its charm. All, as I am sure you have guessed, with no happy solution for humans AND kitties. Until … *gasp*

What if we hung the toilet paper UNDER instead of OVER? What if—even though everything in my life, experience, and reading has taught me that OVER is clearly the right and meet way to hang the TP—this not necessarily true? How could this happen?

Friends, I am telling you it IS true. For the 3rd day in a row our TP is in tact, and hanging in the under position. The kitties are still amazing and adorable, and I can still wipe. The world has not ended. I changed my mind about a deeply held belief I never thought could be changed. There is hope. Hallelujah, amen.

my ordination

17 Jun

legacyordinationA few minutes ago I was ordained. Yes, sitting here in the kitchen with a kitty at my feet and my gmail, facebook and bank  tabs open, I followed in the footsteps of my father and pointed and clicked my way to ordination in the Universal Life Church.

I’ll never forget when he did it. I was knee deep in church culture, and was on a first name basis with lots of so called “movers and shakers” in the church. I would go on about this bishop and that author and he would pretend to be impressed, but I knew he was just trying to make me feel as important as I thought I should feel. One day over lunch he told me “you know you don’t have to go through all that bullshit to be ordained and important in the church honey. Joe Soucheray mentioned you can get ordained online on the radio today and I just did it.” It felt like a playful, sarcastic smack on my church-ey, holy hocus-pocus, apostolic succession havin’, Jesus-lovin’ nerd-pants. No, I am not proud of my self-important, show off ways and a lot has changed since then.

What has changed? Well, me.

First, my dad died. A lot changes in the way your brain and memory works when someone is gone. I know this because after being gone for 14 plus years my mother is officially being petitioned for sainthood in my dreams. The further I get from her being here on earth, the more I can only recall her heavenly qualities. And trust me, not all of her qualities were heavenly. Likewise, the distance of loss that grief offers helps me see and experience my father in a whole new light. Instead of bucking his authority, I now seek his wisdom. He had a lot to teach while he was here, and like most of my first periods of senior year, I am late to his master class.

Second, I am no longer immersed in church culture. It took a massive depressive breakdown to realize that I can love God and love God’s people, but I don’t have to prove my love or worth to either of them. God knows my heart, and God’s people, they are going to love me, hurt me, lie and steal from me, show me grace and kindness whether I am emergent, episcopalian, holistically Jesus centered, missional or not. In short, I’ve said fuck it and just started to love God and love people.

Most importantly I’ve noticed the older I get the more I settle into the soft spaces of me. I have begun to practice (and practice and practice) self compassion. I’ve begun whittling away the log in my own eye, my need to know and worse, my need to be right and traded it in for a clean pair of eyes. Love has taken over most of the spaces of my life, and where love isn’t, grace is.

A few months ago a friend from Solomon’s Porch asked if I would be interested in performing a wedding for some friends of his. I was one of the only people he could think of that might really “get” his friends needs. The friends are a lovely lesbian couple who just moved to Minnesota. And in case you hadn’t heard, starting August 1, these ladies can actually legally wed. So can I (more on that later).

Today I was ordained and I will make a promise to myself and all of you. I will follow in the footsteps of my father, following his golden rule: all things in moderation, except love.

today is like any other day, except …

6 Jun

Today is not yesterday because yesterday was my dad’s birthday. Yesterday Sweetie and I would have woken up, gone to thegym and then called him on our way home, singing an off-key full of love “Happy Birthday To YOU” and telling him all about how we are doing / feeling in our weight loss/feel better plan. We would have asked what his plans were for the day, what kind of art he was working on, and we would have told him I was looking forward to seeing him for a meal to celebrate him. We would have said “we love you dad.” That was yesterday, not today.

This is today. Today we were supposed to pick up our new babies—Zipper and Dilly—kitties we are adopting from Animal Ark. We are adding to our family, but are waiting until Sunday to have our gotcha day. We are giving ourselves the time and space we need to prepare to make our family bigger. Supposed to be today, but isn’t.

Today is a HUGE day where we live; it’s the first day same-sex couples can apply for marriage licences in Hennepin County. I woke up to an email from a close friend this morning asking if we’d like to go together to apply. Our friend is straight, but her and her partner decided not to marry legally (only sacramentally/spiritually like us) until all Minnesotans could. We won’t go today like so many others did, but when we do, we’ll go with them. But that isn’t happening today either.

Today a young man took refuge from whatever he was battling on my front porch. He settled himself in a rocking chair and made himself at home, talking on his cell phone and rocking back and forth. I am home, alone, working and catching up on email. I see him and go outside asking if he needs something. The stories and needs pour out of him, and I have no doubt that some of what he is saying is true. Even so, I suddenly feel my vulnerability when he asks to come inside my home “to take a piss” and opens the screen door for himself. I politely said I would be right back, shut the door and called Sweetie at work. Then I called 911. That is today.

Its a little grief-y, a little queer excitement, a little lot of fear and reality mixed up with WWJD and not at all feeling like a follower of Jesus. In a word, this is life. This is my today.

file under: my family is awesome

9 May

its timeToday is the historic vote in Minnesota where the Minnesota House of Representatives will vote on the freedom to marry legislation (HF1054). It is an exciting day for sure.

Whether this legislation passes or not (it will, it will, it will) I got this little sweet note that my mother in law wrote to her representative. She is faithful and funny, loving and honest. This is my family. I am lucky.

Subject: Support SF925/HF1054: The freedom to marry bills
Thank you for taking time to serve in the Minnesota legislature. As one of your constituents, I urge you to support SF925/HF1054 when it comes to the floor for a vote. All Minnesotans deserve the freedom to marry the person they love.

My Catholic Archbishop urged me to write to you regarding your vote, and I am happy to ask you to vote for the freedom to marry the person one loves.  My extended family will celebrate with our daughter, Karen, and her partner, Rachel, when they are able to be legally married in MN.
Do you live in Minnesota? Have you written your representative yet? There is still time. Please do.


8 Apr

I don’t dream. 

Ok, that is not exactly true. I do, but I haven’t always. Well, I haven’t always remembered them or been aware that I had them; apparently everyone dreams, whatever. When I was a little girl and my parents were divorcing I had a reoccurring nightmare—that I was a sugar cookie and a big oatmeal raisin cookie was going to envelop and overtake me—definitely a story much better told in person because uuuuummmmm … anyway, nightmares seem a totally different category than dreams.

Almost 4 years ago I gave my sweetie the ultimate gift: I quit smoking. I took Chantix (the miracle drug) and praise be, have stayed smoke free. BUT, and its a big BUT, I somehow acquired and kept the side effect of the drug “strange or unusual dreaming.” If you haven’t been a dreamer and suddenly you are, it is a strange—often twisted—middle world to learn to navigate. I am still thrown into slumber loops, trying to discern meaning and their relationship to reality.

Enter this morning. Its been a tough week at my home, and a good night of sleep has been difficult to come by. But this morning I feel like I was given a morsel of what lies ahead. I also think my little baby girl Tigger-bean and my dad who has been lurking near from the other side of the veil may have given it to me. Well, that is what I am choosing to believe.

I woke up and rolled over to see that Sweetie was reading on Facebook as she lay there crying. I asked her what was the matter, and she told me to open Facebook and see for myself. So, I did. I scrolled and scrolled and all I saw were my friends, one after another, at parties and toasting with titles on their photos like “We did it!” and “finally going to the chapel!” I looked at her again and she whispered to me that DOMA had been overturned while we were sleeping. I wondered why our friends hadn’t called us, woken us to join their celebrating, but that fleeting feeling was erased as I reached over and grabbed her hand beneath our brown blanket and smiled, nestled in and fell right back to sleep.

Sitting in front of the computer this morning I scrolled and scrolled looking for the pictures. I finally asked sweetie if it had really happened because it was so real to me, and I couldn’t believe that DOMA being overturned would be outshined by the death of Margaret Thatcher. I retold her what she did this morning, she smiled and told me to write about it.

A girl can dream right?


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