I was hanging out at the preschool after classes with a klatch of moms who shared lunch while our children played. The discussion wandered from construction contracters to men in general. At one point one of the moms realized they were trashing men, paused, looked me in the eye, said, "No offence," and went right on trashing men.
This was the most blatant encounter with what I would call "The Soccer Mom Club." The SMC wasn't limited to any particular place. At other times, I could be speaking with one or two member of the SMC; but if they reached a critical mass, they would either slowly close ranks into a circle with me on the outside, or spontaneously Feel The Need to Have a Deeply Personal Discussion (which would be signaled by a demi-glare -- eye-brows down, head thrust forward, chest turned away and a shoulder aimed in my general direction, and an unspoken "why don't you run off and do your little guy-things?" -- before backs were turned toward me). If I didn't get the hint, the conversation would stall, and in the awkward silence, I would be stared at.
I could never quite tell if I was being excluded because I was a guy, or because I was gay, or both.
March 2009. Under the (non) guidance of the new(ish) settled minister, I officially withdrew my membership at the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and the UU in Eugene. I was devoting a whole lot of time to something that wasn't speaking to me. This resulted in a bitchy, sarcastic, thirty page critique of (Eugene) NeoPaganism. The Nice Version got posted to the blog.
When I think about my spirituality, I wish I could do it in a community setting, but I haven't found a community that's a good fit. My credo is that one should attempt to live in a state of dynamic balance between different modalities of being (logical, emotional, physical, spiritual) and the cosmos. OK, and I like numinous moments.
I'm still interested to some extent in group Neo-Pagan Ritual with other Gay Men, but the more I think about it, the more gender and eros seems like a mask deity wears for the benefit of human comprehension. And the less involved I become in gender and orientation identity politics, the more connecting spiritually to trees and avoiding humanoid depictions of deity makes more sense.
April 2009. Still feeling the burn of not preparing for preschool, Mark and I started looking at various kindergartens a year early. We decided that most schools are pretty much the same, that the individual teachers probably have a larger impact than the general school, and that Parent Associations are functionally the same as cults.
We were pretty sure we'd try to get into a Montessori school, mostly because we already knew some of the teaching staff there and because it was less than four blocks away from our home.
July 2009. While at the beach, The Child cut open his big toe with a clam gun. This happened at the same time that I was alone with him on the beach, on the strand, when the tide turn and inundated all the plastic pirates we'd set up in the sand.
Part of me wanted to gather all the plastic toys floating away in the surf while I slung a shrieking child onto my shoulder for the trek back to the beach house. I jogged from the surf until my breath started coming out in puffs. I walked quickly through the dunes and grasses, wondering if The Child's toe was still attached. And then I started walking, with a stitch in my side, realizing that I would be a failure if a tsunami were coming and that I was a total failure anyway because now my Child would be maimed for life because I couldn't toss him over my shoulder and run a half-mile over sand in less than three minutes. And I was an unfit parent. And a lousy gay husband for being out-of-shape.
Thankfully, Mark was at the house, because the rest of the folks there were Mostly Not Helpful.
August 2009. We're not sure if it was coming off of the water slide at the local pool the wrong way, or catching The Child a million times in the pool at my folks', but over the summer I developed Ithiopathic Adhesive Encapsulitis. Every now and then I'd have a moment where I would forgot that my shoulder and humerus were essentially fused, reach out to catch a football or open a door the wrong way, and nearly fall over from the pain.
I wound up seeing a physical therapist who seemed have gotten his certification straight out of high school (he was young). The pain meds I was taking to help me sleep through the night made me loopy and destroyed my short term memory; after a while weren't doing anything to help, so I stopped using them. I ended up doing a zillion stretches.
I was lucky, because although my shoulder Really Hurt A Lot, it didn't hurt all the time. And the PT helped. But I still couldn't lift things or get books from shelves above my head. Having a frozen shoulder made me feel ancient and useless and crippled.
Not being able to move my shoulders made dancing the Abbot's Bromely Horn dance at Shrewsbury difficult, and sleeping on the ground in a tent impossible. This was the first time in almost a decade that I hadn't camped on site at Shrewsbury -- and I didn't miss it.
Late 2009, I sold two stories to Thaumatrope, a Twitter e-zine. With a 120 character limit, these were fun to write and gratifying to see tweeted. I wrote one in thirty seconds, in the clutch of inspiration, after The Child ate a Christmas Angel Cookie's wings off. Sadly, Thaumatrope closed a year or so later.
This year was the first year where I was confronted by the limits of my body. I think I don't worry too much about getting old, but it would be really nice if I wasn't in chronic pain. Also, opening doors shouldn't be that hard.