…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy these Reviews, Responses, Works of Fiction, and Retellings brought to you by one who hopes to someday join the ranks of those who have written something worth reading.
(Kaylia Metcalfe)

Review: We Are Water / Lamb

I recently read "We Are Water" by Wally Lamb.

This book is huge in scope and page number. It is also heavy in terms of characters and subject matter.
I am so glad I read it.

The story is far reaching and profound full of unforgettable characters... almost too many, but thankfully Lamb skirts past that line time and time again. While the "off screen" aspects of the novel's actions (showcased often by flashbacks and the use of italics) could sometimes be overdone, on the whole I really enjoyed the highs and lows of the very complex and beautiful story.

The main characters are sympathetic although complex and the variety of supporting characters are given enough attention as to make them three dimensional in their own rights.

I will say that getting into a character's head can be a dark and uncomfortable thing and there was one character who's portion I had to skim with half closed eyes because of how disturbing I found his part of the story.  There is also a very well written and horrific scene of a baby dying that left me shaken and in need of a break despite the fact that I had known it was coming for over a hundred pages.

I think what sets this story apart from other long intertwined sagas is the attention to detail and Lamb's willingness to grapple with the character's motivations as opposed to simply letting us watch the drama unfold.

I'm not sure I will ever reread this book, but it was compelling and worth the word count.

TLDR: Not for the fain to heart or those needing Trigger Warnings: a saga story about how past trauma can really fudge up the present.

Back to school.... and the gym

Yes, it is that time again. Our social media is inundated with photos of adorable children posing next to walls, doors, gates, and signs holding backpacks, chalkboards, or lunch bags.

Back to school.

Image result for brace yourself back to school photos are coming

It's a rite of passage preparing us for the upcoming onslaught of kids in pumpkin patches... and then kids in holiday PJs.... and then posts about going back to the gym...

I have decided, because I am a giver, to combine a few things. You know, to save time and such.

So, yes, today was Kiddo's first day of Kinder...

zomg she is the cutest thing EVER

It is also the day I dust off my work out DVD (serious dust), find my hand weights, join Weight Watchers, and vow (again) to get serious about eating healthy and getting a decent amount of exercise.

Not cute, but sweaty and that's almost as important! 

My goals are simple... nothing says setting yourself up for disappointment like trying to have lofty goals you have never ever met before. This time I am aiming for more realistic goals.

Goal The First: Get back into wearing my size 8 clothes comfortably.  I can get into my size 8s..... mostly. And with only a bit of squeezing but there is always that risk that today will be the day when they won't fit. And some days they don't. I am far more comfy in my size 10s, but I have vastly more clothing in the size of 8 and thus, this goal is practical as well as vain. I want to be comfy in my size 8s. I do not want to have to buy more 10s.

Image result for michelle obama arms
One can dream though...
Goal the Second: I would like (some) muscle definition in my arms so that wearing sleeveless things doesn't make me cringe at the mirror. I don't need to go to the "gun show" but I would like a bit more tone.

Goal the Third: I would like my muffin top to be more of this:

Image result for mini muffin
MINI Muffin

Rather than this:

Image result for panera muffie
"Muffy"... All top, no bottom! 

I don't think that is too much to ask. Seems like kicking up my exercise a bit, making healthy choices regarding food,  and doing some weight training will get me there.

It's not like I am trying to turn into a super model... and I have finally moved past the number on the scale. It has been over a year since I have weighed myself.

Anyway, there you have it: First Day of School and New School Year Resolutions all in one post!

You're welcome!

Virginia State of Mind

What the hell.

What the HELL!?

I'm not going to go over it again, by now we all know that Nazis held a rally complete with torches, chanting KKK slogans, and surrounding a church, then another rally this time with a counter protest where one of their members killed a counter protester. Straight up murdered her.

This isn't the 60s. Trust me, I double checked.

This is now and it is disgusting.

Tonight I attended a vigil for Heather Heyer on the Fresno State Campus.

Before I went, I told someone about it... and the response of "Why would you go, it doesn't affect you?" made me sick.

I am so glad I went/
It was moving and important. We held space, sat in silence, sang and prayed together,.... we shared from out own lives and vowed to work to stamp out bigotry and fascism here in Fresno (starting with the removal of the current Fresno Board of Education president Brooke Ashjian after he went on record as a bigoted anti LGBT rights scumbag.)

As I left I couldn't help but think of the UU chant:

If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?

Summer Wind Down / Where I Toot My Own Horn

I made a decision at the start of this summer that I am feeling darn proud of right about now.

I scheduled the crap out of us in June.
I scheduled us to be fairly busy in July.
I left the first two weeks of August TOTALLY EMPTY so we could recover and rest before school starts on the 14th.

It is working out great.

Kiddo did three different camps this summer, UU Chalice Camp, River Camp, and Zoo Camp. We hosted a mini family reunion (5 adults and 1 baby). We hosted another mini reunion (2 adults, 2 kids) There were also swim lessons, trips to the library, going to the Jungle Play place, going to the park, regular playdates, and an early summer slumber party.

And now we get to just lounge around for two weeks watching movies in our PJs and organizing the house for the start of school.

Kiddo has also read over 200 books this summer and done seven workbooks. So... yeah... we have earned ourselves some mindless movie watching!

Well done us!

Announcement: GCV Closing Down

It became official yesterday.

We announced the closure of the Fresno LGBT Community Center and the impending disolving of Gay Central Valley as an organization.

Statement from the Board can be read here.

I am so sad that is has come to this. When I gave my notice back in June, I knew it would cause added workload and stress to the remaining 4 board members. I even knew that one member was probably going to leave after the summer... but I also knew of a community member who was interested in joining the board... and the board has been rebuilt in the past.

So, I was gobsmacked when not one, but TWO fellow board members quit earlier this month with no notice and no phase out plan. This legitimately left us with 3 people, 1 on the way out (me) and 1 quite possibly leaving as well.

I know people will think that we are shutting down due to funding. And while, yes, fundraising is a pain the ass and we have talked about if our money going toward the center every month couldn't possibly be better used to fund other projects... we have money and support. What we don't have is a leadership team. To run a nonprofit, you need a dedicated GROUP of people... a team of multiple people... it cannot rest solely on the shoulders of one or two individuals.

I am honestly feeling very guilty. If I hadn't quit, even if these other two had, we would still have a semi working team and could have possibly recruited more...

but then I remember that I am not being selfish to work toward my own goals. And I remember that my vision (while doing good now) is a limited time sort of thing. And I remember that Chris also has a medical issue and really needs to be stepping back for the sake of his eyes and health.

It is so frustrating but it couldn't be helped.

Lots of feelings tonight.

And I got my notice that I was accepted into UCSD's extension program... so going back to school is no longer a pipe dream; it is really happening.

Trying to focus on the future...

Happy Fourth!

However you celebrated the Fourth of July... I hope you had a good time.

For years, years, the Man has wanted to take the Kid to see fireworks.

And for years, years, I have dragged my feet because I am totally chicken and HATE fireworks.

Yeah, I know (intellectually) that they are really high up. I know they can't hurt me.


... I have no depth perception. None. So to my eyes/head/heart/self they are RIGHT HERE INT FRONT OF MY FACE ABOUT TO BURN ME!

Image result for fireworks


This year, he took her... and I stayed home with a really stupid movie and a tub of chocolate chip cookie dough.

The main character holding a tablet
like I said... reallllllly dumb..... 

I think I got he better end of the deal... no crowds! No praying over loudspeakers! no sunburning! No traffic!

And best of all... no fireworks!

They had fun too.

Saying Goodbye to GCV

This evening I formally resign from Gay Central Valley effective September 2017.

It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this organization for the past six years. I have grown as an organizer, an advocate, and a person. I am so very grateful for the chance to write for the blog, organize events, participate in fund development campaigns, collaborate on cultural competency training seminars, learn about website building, and gain experience through so many other projects and adventures all while enjoying the fellowship of my Fresno LGBT community.

It is time, however, for me to put my passion and creative spark to other uses. I will, of course, continue to be a friend to the organization. I believe in the work that GCV has done and I strongly support the GCV leadership. 

This decision was not made lightly. Tonight is very hard, but I feel that I am doing the right thing.

I am excited about the next chapters of my life (Girl Scouts, Being the mom to a Kinder, Returning to school myself, Focusing on my writing / editing work, etc).

This is definitely bittersweet.

First day as a volunteer at the Fresno LGBT Community Center, spring 2011

Parent Real Talk

No, this isn't a post about poop or fits or misguided expectations.

Nope, this is a post about the random mundane things you find yourself doing because you a)have latent control issues and b) love your kid.

My daughter found me on the floor the other day sorting rubber bands. 


Big ones, medium ones, tiny ones, clips, headbands.... Soon they would all be organized in little containers making my life so much easier when it came time to do her hair.

My daughter has a lot of hair.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, hat, tree and outdoor

And she is still learning how to do it.

I braid it in either one braid or two braids every day. And then I fight the ongoing war with her bang-like hair that won't go into braids but magically foils all attempts by any sort of clip to hold it in place.

But she is four and the various hair things get lost and dropped and there is never a tiny rubber band when/where you need it most.

Thus, the organizing.

Ahh yes, I said to myself as I organized... this is the true mommy life...

And then she found me.

And then she found the broken rubber band I was planning on throwing away.

And then the tears came.

you see... it was her FAVORITE rubber band. It didn't matter that there six to eight other exactly the same rubber bands in the box, THIS one was special and unique and LOVED.

And so she cried, and hugged it, and threw it away with all the pomp and circumstance of a dead pet. There was a eulogy and a few more tears.

(Side note: no, we do not have a pet and no we do not want a pet and yes this might be a small part of why that is the case)

Ahhh yes, I said to myself, rocking my sad but brave little daughter... this is the mommy life... 

Really though, the mommy life is a good one. 

Fresno Pride 2017

Had a wonderful time at Pride the other day!

Yeah... that's me dancing like a freak.

Very proud of the GCV BOD and all our volunteers for our parade and booth this year. Really hit it out of the park!

Of course I am looking forward to the day when we don't NEED a Pride... but until then, just give me some flags and point me to the crowd!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, sky and outdoor

See NKOTB In Concert? CHECK

Got to mark another item off my bucket list last week thanks to my sister and her epic gift giving.

That's right. 

I'm 36 years old and I screamed and danced my way through a nostalgia filled evening with Boys II Men, Paula Freakin' Abdul and NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

As a kid, I was left out of a lot of stuff because we didn't have a TV, my parents were super strict, I was a nerd before being nerd was cool, or at least enough of a thing that you could find fellow nerds. Nope, back in the days of my childhood and the teeny tiny private school I attended... you had maybe three options for friends because there were literally only 9 kids in your fifth grade 

I'm not joking.

So when the other three girls started talking about The New Kids on the Block and how great they were... you bet I jumped on that bandwagon. To be precise, I flagged it down, clambered aboard and duct taped myself to the back bumper.

Image result for new kids on the block first album

I was a NKOTB fan even after no one else was... because for a while, I was IN... I borrowed magazines and tapes and I knew things! I knew their names! I knew thier ages. At one point I knew thier favorite colors and pizza toppings. (Thakfully age has robed me of these things.)

And yeah... I had a favorite. 


Partly because he wore a hat. Partly because he was (and still is) the cutest. Partly because he sang all my favorite songs.

Image result for new kids on the block young Donnie

ANYWAY... by 8th grade I only listened to them in secret. By 15, I pretended that I had never listened to them. Bu in my late 20s I reclaimed my inner weirdo and refused to have shame when I blasted their albums while dance cleaning.

And now... now at 36 I got to see them in CONCERT!

It was... amazing. They were silly, self depreciating, and sweet. They were obviously having a great time and so was the crowd. Again, I was IN. I was a part of this mass of people (women and men) who wanted to dance to silly white boy pop and giggle at the floating phallus symbols projected on the stage. We all wanted to reclaim a bit of our youth, where music was magical because  it was slightly hard to come by and hearing *your song* on the radio was a sign that the universe loved you. The early 90s were a simpler time... and it was damn fun to revisit them as an adult, even if for only a few hours.

Thank you sister Kristen for an amazing night I will never forget!

Hair Today / Still Boring as Ever Hair Tomorrow

It's that time of year again! Summer!

And while many of my friends... and yeah, me too, are realizing that last year's shorts don't fit, or that our bodies are not quite swimsuit ready despite that workout routine we started in March (ok, fine, April).... it is also time for my yearly "what the heck is wrong with my hair" anxiety attack.

See, I don't do much with my hair. In fact... I am not sure you can call what I do, *doing* at all.

I wash it. I brush it. And then I put it up in a pony tail that is often tucked into itself... and then I ignore it.

Living dangerously... hair down! 

Until summer. For some reason that is the season when I start to wonder if I should cut it... or, even more daring, learn to style it.

It is like clockwork.

Last year I bought a curling iron. The year before, curlers. They gather dust under the sink. I think a family of dust bunnies lives there now.

And yeah, there have been plenty of years where I have died it, or fried it, or teased it... or chopped it... all part of me angerly bemoaning my utter lack of skills.

Not this year!

This year I am going to find a style and then come hell or high water, I am going to learn how to make MY hair look like THAT hair.

  This hair to be exact.

(I'm an optimist)

I evicted the dust bunnies.
I dusted off the curling iron.
I plugged in the heated curlers.

I googled and gossiped and took notes when my friends gave me info.

I curled and teased.  Moose-d and sprayed. Brushed. Brushed some more. And yes, burnt my fingers.


The results were... ok...

Part "done" part "electrical socket" ... quick show off cleavage so no one will notice! 

I accepted defeat / my own inherent laziness / general apathy

I put it back up in a pony tail or sometimes down under a hat (WILD)... and accepted, for another year at least, my hair limitations.

Morgan Hill Quick Trip

Had the chance to wander a bit with The Man in Morgan Hill last week.

First we posed for a serious photo because we are serious folks.

And because we are adults and awesome like that, I snapped this photo when we found a large piece of spider art on a parking garage.

It wasn't the only cool art we saw that day... check out this from the Morgan Hill Library.

And then we ended up going on a tour of a historic house and learning all sorts of interesting facts about the founders of the town.

As some of you know, we have been gathering items for our library... anachronistic items that is. We saw a lot on our tours, but sadly the tour guide was watching us like a hawk (when she wasn't asking Matthew to come give a talk about archaeology) and so this little beauty got to stay enshrined in a museum.

Yeah, I know it "belongs in a museum" even my personal archaeologist wine drinking buddy told me I should leave it alone...

but still.

Anyway, the story of Morgan hill's founding was fascinating stuff. Who needs fiction when you have stories like this? 

In 1850, Martin Murphy, Sr.'s youngest son, Daniel Murphy, married Maria Fisher, heiress of the neighboring 19,000-acre (7,700 ha) Rancho Laguna Seca, thus combining the two estates. In 1853, Martin Murphy, Sr.'s father, Bernard Murphy, died leaving the majority of the estate to Martin Murphy, Sr., but a substantial portion to a Martin Murphy, Sr.'s mother, Catherine, who then married James Dunne. By 1870, the Murphy family had acquired around 70,000 acres (28,000 ha) of the Morgan Hill area.[16] In the history of Morgan Hill, the Murphy, Dunne, and Hill families are of the most prominent significance.

In 1882, Daniel and Maria Murphy's favorite daughter, Diana Murphy, fell in love with Missouri businessman Hiram Morgan Hill. They married in secret, on account of his being a Quaker and her being from a prominent Roman Catholic family. When Daniel Murphy died, Diana and Hiram Morgan Hill inherited the 4,500 acres (1,800 ha) surrounding the original Murphy estate, near Murphy's Peak (now known as El Toro). In 1884, the Hills built their weekend estate, as the family primarily lived in San Francisco and in Nevada, dubbed Villa Mira-Monte (Italian for Mountain-View Estate).[18]

By 1886, the family chose to live primarily at the Ojo del Agua estate, as they jointly inherited 22,000 acres (8,900 ha) around the estate. However, the move was temporary, as scandal caused by the marital complications of Hiram Morgan Hill's prominent socialite sister, Sarah Althea Hill, and her husband, Senator William Sharon, made the Hills a source of social ridicule, thus causing them to start spending the majority of their time between San Francisco and Washington, D.C., thus leaving their Ojo del Agua estate untouched for long periods of time.[16]

That's the Wiki version... the tour guide had some lovely little tid bits of drama to share... but I think I might save those for either another blog post or a historical fiction book about the area.

ANYway... we tooled about the town for a bit after our wine tour and found a few more entertaining things before we headed back to SJ and the kiddo.

Is it just me or is the name of this church slightly disquieting?

Not a rose. So....

Smurfs and Celebration Cake

Hello world.

First off, I might be half smurf.

Image result for smurf

See, my hand keeps turning blue. It is not always blue... and it doesn't hurt or tingle or feel cold when it is blue. But, yeah. It gets all blue and weird looing.

While they figure out if I have Raynaud's Syndrome or thoracic outlet syndrome (by way of taking more and more and MORE of my blood), I am keeping busy designing a new website for Gay Central Valley and working on all the other projects I have going on.

In light of preparing to be a bit more professional and all, I merged my multiple blogs into the one. Yay! Apparently someone else owns the rights to and even So.... while I figure out what I should name my new snazzy website I will celebrate this little factoid:

Image result for blog cake

This is my 1112th blog post!

Mmmm celebration cake...

And... yeah...this post is a little short and nononsequential but I really wanted to use that cake photo that has been in my gallery for eons.

Mmmm cake.

You know, I might be a little woozy from all the stupid blood tests. Maybe I should go eat some cake.


Yes, I should.


In my non-professional world of writing, I have done a few things recently.

First off, I wrote (another) poem about current events... or rather the past events that mirror the current ones.

Also, a vent about the school system where my spawn goes: Racist or Clueless?

And lastly, but of more interet to many, I have been working on getting "Maddie and the Too Many Mommies" ready for release on Kindle through Amazon.

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Oh, and my glacoma infused eye will need surgery but we are gong to put that off for as long as possible.

When it happens, naybe I will finally get around to attemtping to use that "voice to text" software I bought years ago... /shudder/

If it's today.

I want to take a moment and remember
The other "first days"
and "day ones"

I don't think we often know exactly.
It's more of a dawning
a creeping in of news stories
background noise that swells until it drowns us


but really, despite the fact that there have been several
in my life, there are only a handful of realizations

No formal declarations in my lifetime
That isn't how it's done anymore
Just trending topics
Hashtags and photos that need content notes
and bipartisan bickering
and of course empty promises and threats

and fear

He called me from sleep, told me to get my glasses, a tower had fallen
I didn't understand but I never got dressed that day
I sat by a rotating fan and watched TV, watched the replay for weeks
Occasionally rousing myself to finish planning the move to the new city, the new chapter of my life
It seemed wrong and yet important that we keep the plans we made
Country music swelled with hate but I prefered the "where were you when the world stopped turning" song
and sang it
without words, letting the melody carry as I packed and mourned and waited for what would happen next

The first gulf war was heralded on TV with breathless pomp
It broke into Wheel of Fortune
and we ran in, meatloaf left on plates in the dinning room
I was in 5th grade
they taught us to sing "To Everything, There is a Season" and I worried about my uncles in uniform
My cousins and I recorded a radio show on cassette tapes, where we parroted our parents
Mixed platitudes with sound bites from KGO's radio voices
And wondered why it even mattered

I was in college when the second PG war became real
I had gone to the marches,
Held the candles
Shaken my head and muttered and argued on message boards (no such thing as Facebook)
But then one day a friend called
his voice a stone on the phone
Adam was dead. Killed in uniform
And my bitching about homework and lack of diet coke at the campus deli was
wisps of smoke
I sat on my bed and sang "dust in the wind" until I couldn’t cry anymore.

Today my daughter is sick.
Today I wrote about systemic racism. I listened to podcasts. I weeded and in my zealousness I pulled out gentle dainty lily plants
Today I read about Syria

It's the begining, they say.

But we all know better.

Syria war: US launches missile strikes following chemical 'attack'

Racist or Clueless: You Be The Judge

Our daughter attends a neighborhood school. While the school is not the best (highest ranked school) it is also not the worst school in our area. As a public school it has its benefits and its drawbacks.

One of the drawbacks, at least in my opinion is the amount / level of parent notification. I feel like it borders on systemic racism, but that could be my liberal guilt talking.

Let’s play a game of “You tell me if this sounds messed up!”

Before the school year began we were invited to visit the classroom and have our child meet the teacher. This was to help the transition, to let the kid feel comfy at the new environment, etc. The appointment was set by the school and we were informed of our appointment by the school. They called us at 430 on a Friday afternoon to inform us that our appointment was 8:30 Monday morning.

As a work from home parent, that was fine. I was not only available to answer the phone but to attend the classroom visit. Had I a more “regular” job, my ability to do both things would have been reliant on the friendliness of my boss. How many people can just come in late on Monday with no consequences? Not a lot of notice here.

Later we were informed of a parent teacher conference appointment. Meeting times were posted outside the classroom and were  again, right in the middle of the day; 1030 am. This time we were given slightly more notice but we are still talking less than a week, a mere matter of days.

I am going to say that it is a fair assumption that there was a lot of scrambling on the parts of the parents to be able to make these appointments… and that those who didn’t have the luxury of being able to take time off of work might be missing out on getting important feedback on how their child is doing in school. Not going to say that those kids might be more in need of said conferences, but I will say that IF a kid is struggling for ANY reason, making it SUPER hard for the parent to find out about that or get feedback is certainly not going to help anyone.

Today we had another encounter with the school that left me scratching my head.

The kids had their spring pictures taken a few weeks back. Today they were sent home with a packet of prints and an order sheet.

To clarify: We have been given the pictures and an envelope telling us to attach payment for the ones we want to keep and to return the rest within a week from the date of receiving.

My issues:

First off this is a terrible / brilliant business model. Do you have any idea how much crap ends up in the backpack? Do you know how often things gets overlooked? We are going to be billed for something we didn’t ask for, that may or may not actually make it home? We will revisit this in a sec.

The instructions are only in English. This is of note since EVERY SONGLE OTHER FLIER or paperwork of ANY format from the school has been printed in both English and Spanish.  But sure, way to not easily communicate with a bunch of the population.  Way to set us up for success!

Lastly: they are asking us to return the payments within a week. Tomorrow is the last day before the kids have more than a week off for spring break. Like, for reals. Tomorrow is school. Then all of the next week and the following Monday they are off. Meaning you have to decide how much you are going to spend TONIGHT.  This makes point 1 and 2 even worse. It’s like they are setting the kids up to fail.

I called the school.

First I clarified the schedule. (Maybe I jumped the gun, maybe they are aware of the ridiculousness of the time constraint and will offer more time).  Is it true that the packets / payments are due within a week? Yes. Even though next week is spring break? Yes. So… does that mean that we pretty much only have tonight? Yes.

All righty then.

Then I asked if the instructions only came in English. (Maybe I jumped the gun, maybe they just profiled my kid as an English speaker). Yes. Apparently the photo company only provides English instruction. Do you include instructions written in Spanish? No. Why not? Well, the parents know the English. Then why has every other piece of paper come in both?

She asked my name.

My turn to say no.

How about this question: is there any negative repercussion if I keep the photos and don’t pay?

She seemed confused. You can just put the money in the envelope.

Yeah, I get that… but what if I don’t. What if I don’t do it in the time limit or do it at all. What if I don’t read English and I don’t know I am supposed to do anything? I mean, paid for pictures earlier in the year, they sent home a proof (one lone photo with a watermark) and then asked me order. This time around you just handed me ALL the photos. So, what if I don’t pay or give them back?

We are counting on the parents to be honest.

Right, ok… but will anything bad happen to my kid if I don’t?

She said they have a list.

I made a noise that was both unflattering and hard to type.

Again she asked me who I was.

Again I declined to answer.

Then she started talking to someone else in the room about a printer. The conversation was pretty much over.

Am I alone in that this all seems pretty crappy?

Ella’s photos, btw, are SUPER cute.