Bionic Mamas

you're not losing a vagina, you're gaining a son


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Perfect Moments

Hey, y’all. Chez Bionique = still reeling. Happy, befuddled, occasionally panicking…never a dull moment, as they say.

Symptom watch includes mild (but not so mild that I wouldn’t take an Advil under other circumstances) cramping, some fatigue, and — I’m going to count this — the biggest MFing cold sores I have had in easily 15 years. As in, where did the left side of my upper lip go? Yuck. Dr. Baby Factory says no taking anything, even L-Lysine. (Confession: I took some before I asked. I guess I’ll not take any more. Probably.) Your miracle cures welcome.

I don’t think I’ve ever managed to participate in Weeble’s Perfect Moment Mondays, but Sunday had a couple of moments that bear recording, I think.

Here is Sugar, under the triumphal arch near our place:

A Piano At The Plaza

Piano courtesy of Play Me, I’m Yours

My father is a pianist. He played Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Bach every night of my childhood. Some of my favorite baby pictures are with him at the keyboard, in a carrier on his back or pounding the keys beside him like a real hambone. He put neon green stickers on the ends of an octave’s worth of keys to teach me their names; I don’t remember ever not knowing. For reasons related to the crippling shyness that characterized my early childhood, I never took lessons, so while I can play a little, not much, really. (Let’s not go any further down that road, lest the crying start.)

Even when we were first “dating” (misnomer for typically lesbian reasons), I was comforted to think that Sugar’s ability to play represented a kind of redemption on that count, that there would, after all, be someone to play for our children.

Which brings me to this:

RIMG1199

Yes, I surely did go out and by the pricey kind only when I already knew what it would say. What of it?


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Doing My Bit

One of the undeniable perks of big city living (and wretched, two-hour commutes) is the bottomless well of anecdotes that is public transit. Have I told you about the old Chinese lady screaming a heavily accented version of “Ehhhhh-xiiiiiihhhhht Laaaaaaaaaahhhh-fe” at 10 in the morning? How about the very cracked out individual who kept screaming at the dark-skinned lady across from her that she was, “nothing but WHITE TRASH!” much to her intended target’s confusion. (“I’m not WHITE,” she clarified after the ranter had departed.)

There are visitations of loveliness, like the mariachi band (complete with hats!) and the middle aged black men who sing gospel — they are a favorite not just because they sing so beautifully (and they DO) but because they seem such an unlikely group to be friends. One wears a very dad sweatshirt and a fishing hat and is round and smiley; one favors Cosby sweaters. The third? Looks and dresses and glowers like Snoop Dog. Starhillgirl has already written about another favorite blessing here. (The true magic that one enacts is transforming a crowded, evening rush hour 4 train of people who Do Not Have Time For This into a bunch of smiling gigglers. And he does it in just one stop.)

There are clever people, like the tumbling boys. They fly through the air while the train rocks and rumbles, surely in danger of sudden death. The littlest ones — 9 or 10 years old — do the wildest tricks, and while the scene is Dickensian and should arouse my indignation, I admit that I thrill to their flips and springs. The time I heard one hit his head — HARD — on the ceiling, I felt especially guilty for my idle, irresponsible enjoyment, and I gave more money than usual. Later I learned that this is a bit of prestidigitation of its own: apparently the older boys in charge of the boom box have found that tips go up enormously when a difficult flip is accompanied by a sharp kick to the door or the edge of a seat. I could have sworn that kid hit his head, but I’m glad he didn’t (and understand better now why he seemed so unruffled and the blank look in his eye as I hoped he was okay).

As surely as New Yorkers must grit their teeth over the gaggles of tourists herded and shushed by the harried relatives they’re visiting, knowing that our parents and aunts and cousins will visit one day, too, and that they, too, will talk too loudly and block the doors and dither in front of the staircases, we all share a civic responsibility to at times be the entertainers. Subway craziness is a co-op situation, like so many parts of city life. We must from time to time be the one who shifts a heavy bag at exactly the wrong time and falls half the length of the car. We must be the one who discovers her slipper (just one) on the floor at rush hour. (I STILL have no idea how that happened.) We must sometimes cry openly because we can’t wait for privacy.

**Pro tip: DO NOT argue theology with subway preachers. Not because they’re necessarily any better at it, but they are more shameless. And you’ll never win. And six-a.m. screaming matches are best reserved for family and close friends. (And if the crowd takes there side, you will feel like dog shit. On the other hand, you will also get plenty of room to sit down, even at rush hour. Thanks, contagious gayness.)**

Yesterday, I made my contribution on a crowded Metro North commuter train, surrounded by men in grey and navy and pinstripes and wingtips. I was as discreet as I could manage, but anyone halfway clever could have cooked up a nice story with the words I couldn’t avoid:

Vial
Donor
Andrology
Valium

You’re welcome, Mount Kisco.

…which is to say, IUI today. I’m having a lot of trouble feeling optimistic about my chances, but then, I know exactly what my chances are without it. (And anyway, starhillgirl promised she’d think excited thoughts so I don’t have to.)


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Who Dat?

It’s Sunday, the best day of the week for music chez Bionique. On Sundays, our speakers play nothing but the Greatest Station In The Nation: WWOZ, the listener-supported, volunteer-programmed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station. Thank you, streaming internet broadcast! I no longer know what I would do without OZ. Every day on OZ is magic, but even though there’s no “Sittin’ At The Crossroads” (whose DJ signs off “May your blues be on the radio”), there’s Gospel and Cajun & Zydeco fais do do and the inimitable Hazel The Delta Rambler.

Today of all days, even Brother Jesse can’t help adding to his mix of “Nearer My God To Thee” and “Balm In Gilead” a more-earthly praise: “When The Saints Come Marching In” has made quite a few appearances.

WHO DAT?

Listen, I’m not a football fan. I was raised in the land of basketball, and that remains the only sport I truly understand and care about (besides anything in the Olympics, but that’s another post). However, I decided some time ago that when I need to declare an allegiance, I would choose the Saints, in part because I love New Orleans* and in part because I love how New Orleans loves them. I know people in other places love their teams, too — when I lived in Chicago, I really did see tables of men at Due’s murmuring sad “Da Bears” into mugs of beer — but New Orleans loves the Saints on a whole other level.

Chris Rose writes about it in 1 Dead In Attic (which you all should really read anyway). I just started tearing up all over again looking for a good quotation to share with you, but I think I’d better choose something before I fall to reading the whole book again. This is from a piece he wrote after the first post-K game, in the Superdome that so many of us outside NOLA associate only with shame and horror but that many New Orleanians think of also with love for its life-saving shelter, however imperfect (as Rose says elsewhere, “The toilets didn’t flush and there was no cold drinking water and not enough medicine, but toilets didn’t flush anywhere and there was no ice or medicine anywhere”). See, I can’t hold myself to one quotation, and don’t even get me started on the piece about the lady with the cats. Or the piano store. Where was I? Right:

The Saints are family around here and you’re stuck with them just like you’re stuck with, well…family?

The Saints are our crazy Uncle Frank, prone to off-color remarks and broken promises and he’s certainly not the guy you send to car pool to pick up your kids when you’re stuck at the doctor’s office, but you have to admit: holiday gatherings just aren’t as much fun without him.

[…]

It’s a long road home no matter what color glasses you’re wearing today, but there is something about waking up in a community that is thinking the same thing — if only for a moment — as if we had all just accomplished something together — when actually it was a bunch of millionaires whose names we hardly know.

I’m not trying to claim that I’m a supa-dupa Saint, but I wish I were, which is more than I can say for my feelings towards any other team.

Speaking of those millionaires, here’s another reason I’ll be wearing black and gold today (assuming I make it off the couch): Scott Fujita. I’ve heard quite enough about the Tebow Focus on The Family (Well Not YOUR Family) ad (though I encourage you to watch this response from Sean James and Al Joyner, who talk about honoring their mothers and daughters by believing in their ability to make medical decisions for themselves). I want to hear more about Scott Fujita, a Saints linebacker (and transracial adoption baby — he’s white; his family is part white, part Japanese: “I have no Japanese blood in my body. But I’m Japanese at heart.”) who has decided to use his time in the spotlight to champion gay rights. The whole interview is worth reading, but here’s part I though you all might find particularly interesting:

A year ago or two years ago, I remember reading about an initiative that was proposed in the state of Arkansas. It was some kind of measure that was aimed at preventing adoptions by single parents. Now, the way I read that and the way that I translated that language was that only heterosexual, married couples could adopt children. As an adopted child that really bothered me. I asked myself, what that is really saying is that the concern with one’s sexual orientation or one’s sexual preference outweighs what’s really important, and that’s finding safe homes for children, for our children. It’s also saying that we’d rather have kids bounce around from foster home to foster home throughout the course of their childhood, than end up in a permanent home, where the parent, whether that person’s single or not, gay or straight. Either way, it doesn’t matter. It’s a home that’s going to be provided for a kid who desperately needs a home. As an adopted child, that measure really bothered me. It just boggles my mind because good, loving homes for any child are the most important thing.

Oh, and he’s straight (and married) and — did I mention — a FOOTBALL PLAYER? (Yeah, they do call him a pinko commie in the locker room; he speaks up anyway.) Scott Fujita, you are my hero.

This post is near long enough, and I’ve got stamps to carve and roux to make. In conclusion:

*Shameless-but-proceeds-to-charity plug: You can read my love letter to the city in Submerged: Tales from the Basin. Buy the book, and I’ll tell you my seekrit identity, though I need for various reasons to keep my real name the hell away from this blog. I don’t get any money if you buy it — never did get any — but several organizations working on sadly-still-necessary post-K recovery will.