Change your bookmarks and come visit QSA!

We’ve moved!

I know I announced that a little while ago, but I’ve noticed a ton of people are still visiting me over here… and I am so grateful for that! It is awfully quiet around Roughing It, though, because I’m not writing here anymore, but I am writing (week)daily over at Queer Skies Ahead. Please change your bookmarks, your reader, your whatever, and come say hello! Thanks for stopping by 🙂


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Queer Skies Ahead

So I’ve been really bad at responding to people’s comments the past couple of days, and my dog blog is sitting untouched in its little corner of the internet.  Is it because I got a job?  Well, sort of, but not really. Is it because I’m suddenly very busy?  Why yes, yes it is.  Busy piecing together (read “fighting with”) my own domain name and website!

Why “Queer Skies Ahead”?  I have no real, clever answer for that besides that it’s cute and it’s hopeful.  We did the wedding thing and know we’re doing and will continue to do the marriage thing, and hopefully we’re looking at clear skies ahead: but at the very least, they’ll be queer skies ahead.  Or if you want to read the URL differently, it’s more of a warning: Watch out! Queerskies Ahead! Not sure what Queerskies are, but they’re probably cute and entertaining.

I am for sure no web guru, but I do like to stick with what I know, so if you read this current blog on its actual website, you may notice the new one looks remarkably similar.  I’m tweaking things here and there until my resident internet expert and awesome friend appears to make it all Super Amazing, but in the meantime, please come visit over there, change your bookmarks, do whatever it is you do to keep being my friend, because I really enjoy having you, Internet Friend, and if you’re still here now, you probably enjoy me, too.  Fingers crossed.  And once I know people are over there I can stop stressing about how to get it looking pretty enough for people to be over there, and then I’ll write about actual stuff.  It’ll be great.


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On affairs, breakups, and reopening old wounds

Several years ago, I started dating someone I’ll call N..  N. was really pretty and really different from anyone I’d dated before.  She was 1. Smoking Hot (no offense to anyone else I’d dated before) and 2. taught me I could move in ways I had never before thought possible.  She encouraged me and pushed me in a way that felt fulfilling and truly inspiring.  But, you know, relationships and all that.  She lived far away, and I didn’t have a car.  Bits of tension crept in over silly things, and ultimately I decided that it wasn’t working out.  We ended things on good terms.

A year or so after that, I met B..  You thought N. was hot?  Well.  Anyway, I met B., we chatted, we talked about setting up a time to get together, and then Daphne came into the picture.  You read that right – the dog came into my life, and I decided that trying to learn to live with and train my first dog was not the ideal time to start a new relationship, even if it was just coffee dates, and so, once again, I called things off.

In the meantime, other things came into and out of my life.  And then, another year later, I crossed paths with B. again.  And this time, you know, something clicked.  True lesbian-relationship style, I fell madly in love, head over heels, and if I could have moved in with her, I probably would have.  Unfortunately, that really wasn’t an option at the time, but we spent a lot of time together, gazing into each other’s eyes, having grand adventures.  Yes, the adventures were so awesome I am willing to call them Grand Adventures.

In retrospect, it should have been a big warning sign that B. was openly dating other women. Several other women.  This was never a secret, but for some reason I really thought that in the end she would choose me.  And guess what?  She didn’t.  I was crushed. Oh, my, the tears; I think the only time I cried that much beforehand was when my very first girlfriend and I broke up and I was like, “Oh, so this is what people mean when they talk about heartbreak.” After B., I decided I was never dating anyone, ever again.  If this is what these relationships were like, I wanted none of it.

Well, last night, I saw N. again.  I don’t really know how to describe my feelings around all of this.  We held hands; we sat really close to each other.  No kissing, and only a little bit of ass-grabbing.

What do you do when you break up with someone you really, really love, and then someone else you once really loved wants you back?  Do you want them back?  Is it worth the risk again?  Do you hope that someone totally different will come along?  Because, sure, there are other people out there, but they’re different and maybe don’t have the qualities you are looking for.

I suppose this is a good time to note that I am not talking about actual people.  You may have noticed I’m actually married, I think I mentioned it once or twice, and it’s not really an open relationship (except in the case of roller derby?).  I spent my first year on a roller derby league having just moved to Boston; I had no friends, no girlfriend, and roller derby was pretty much my whole life (that was N., in case you were wondering).  I routinely said that roller derby was my girlfriend.  And it’s funny, now, how much it feels like an old relationship coming back. I went to tryouts last night for the league that I started skating with way back when it was a baby league.  I started skating with them before I knew how to skate, and when they were only a few weeks old.  Now I have gone through two skate upgrades, actually played roller derby, and this league is so real that they are having real life tryouts.

I’m excited.  I know how much derby means to me, and how much it can change my life.  But I’m also so wary.  I’m not ready for this heartbreak yet again.


Filed under Relationships, Roller Derby

Marriage is always Sunshine and Rainbows. Duh.

One of my Weddingbee friends wrote yesterday about realizing how damn hard marriage is, and that post went up around the same time other people were discussing how marriage changes your relationship.  Turtle and I were sitting on the couch together, my eyes glued to the screen, my mind deep in thought, so I turned to her and said, “What do you think has changed the most since we got married?”

Trust her to be in the same mental place I am, right?  Um, no, wrong.  She looked at the dog at our feet and the cats, one on either end of the couch, and then at me: “Uh, our animals started getting along better?”

true love/mild tolerance

For us, so far, marriage hasn’t been Super Especially Hard, or at least not harder than we expected.  But I wonder how much of this is because we sort of expected marriage to be really hard.  Several months before we got married, someone on APW (I can’t find the exact post) mentioned that she’s been told marriage isn’t about getting through hard days or hard weeks – marriage can be about getting through hard years.  And at our premarital counseling stuff, our minister sat across from us and laughed and said, “Sometimes you really just don’t even like each other.” She laughed like, you know, she knew what she was talking about, like she’d been there.  “Sometimes,” she said, “You just want your mom.”

moms will help you fight the world, if you need them to.

And then the other part of it is that so much of what sealed our decision to get married was the Hard Stuff.  It was that Turtle could handle my sitting in the kitchen, just sobbing and not being able to stop; it was that I could handle her losing her job and subsequent depression.  It was that we figured out how to talk about the really big stuff or how to say “we need to talk about the really big stuff.”

The third part of it that I’m toying with is that there has also been so much other life stuff happening; if we needed something to be angry or anxious or stressed out about, let’s try job stuff or family stuff or sick and/or neurotic animal stuff.  I think that maybe all of this circumstantial difficulty has given us the option of falling apart or deciding How Our Marriage Is Going To Work.

The answer, again, is goats. Goats help our marriage work. (honey, can I get a goat?)

Guys, I am super duper for sure NOT saying we have it all worked out.  I am not saying we have answers or that our marriage is winning (though, ahem, it is winning for us!).  I am just thinking about why it hasn’t been as hard for us as other people (or as easy for us as some other people).  It sure hasn’t been sunshine and roses… but instead of waking up and being (as we saw on Mad Men yesterday) all, “WOW, someone is making me dinner and it will be waiting for me when I get home! Marriage is awesome!” we’re all, “Wow, this hard thing is happening but there are arms to hold me and ears to listen when I get home because that’s what it means for us that we are married.”  That, and also we are silly a lot.  There is a lot of giggling.

Has marriage been harder than you expected? Easier?  Are you expecting sunshine and roses or big changes or no changes at all? Who had a honeymoon period beyond their honeymoon? ANSWER ALL MY QUESTIONS.  Just kidding, you can answer just four of them.


Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement

Identity Crisis, but I still love your dog

I have a separate dog blog now, which you may have heard about once or twice, and I do want to talk about dogs right now, but not in the way I do there. I’m not going to talk about how awesome my own dog is or isn’t, or about the training we’re working on; if you’re interested in that, head over there.

What I want to talk about is my identity as a dog person.

I’m still trying to figure out exactly what it is, and what I mean when I say I am a dog person.  I am, for sure, a Dog Person.  I think I have a sixth sense about dogs; I will notice a dog two blocks away and be able to tell you the breed and probably predict the majority of its medical conditions, if applicable.  I can read most dogs’ moods pretty quickly.  I can talk about dogs quite extensively; I started the Flying Dingo so that I can stop talking the ears off of people who don’t especially care about dogs.

But the thing is, I am not a squealer.  I am not a Get Up In Your Dog’s Face and Be Happy That It’s Licking My Face.  Do you know where that tongue has been?  I am not a fan of dogs in costumes, or Cute Overload, or anything where we just sit around oooh-ing and aaaah-ing over the cuteness of these animals.

okay, yeah, so i do let her lick my face sometimes

On Monday I went to an open house for a Master’s program in Animals and Public Policy.  It’s not a professional degree; it’s not like how you go to dentist school and then you’re a dentist, or law school and then you’re a lawyer.  Kids, you don’t go to Animals and Public Policy school and become an Animals and Public Policy-ist.    But the program did sound really exciting, and got me thinking more about what I want to do.  Is it just behavior? I’m not sure that it’s just behavior.  I think it’s bigger parts than that: it’s how do we live with our dogs and our neighbors?  How do we live, happily, with healthy, well-exercised dogs in our society?

I don’t want to hug your dog.  Well, that might be a little bit of a lie: if your dog comes running over, tail wagging and ears happy, I might (read: will definitely) try to find your dog’s favorite scratching spot.  I will enjoy rubbing behind your dog’s ears.  I might talk in a voice reserved for these situations.  But also? I want to talk to you about your dog.  I want to know about what you think of training, about how you live your lives together, about how you ended up with this here dog and what it does for you.

other people's dogs: Macaroni

Um, somehow this can be something I do professionally? Someone please tell me yes.

I’m trying to find a place in blogland where I can be a Dog Person, without the costumes and with the interest.  And I’m also trying to figure out how to write my damn personal essay.

Dog owners, what are your thoughts?  Are you costume-dog people?  Are you dog-people at all, or are you the “I only love my dog and no one else’s” type?  Please discuss.


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I’m still smitten

I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned how Turtle and I originally got together, but this video reminded me of the whole thing:

Back when we were still just coworkers, we spent several weeks playing Scrabulous and sort of flirting over the little chat box they had there.  I got her to join Facebook (because I wanted to get to know her, sort of – I needed an in! But I told her it was so we could play Scrabulous.  Word games are a good way to snag a spouse?) and then I spent a lot of time looking at this picture and feeling fluttery.

Finally, one Friday night when I was supposed to watch a movie with my mom, she sent me a message; I’d just scored really high on some word and she said, “I’d be mad if I weren’t so smitten.”


From there, it all just sort of started: I saw her two days later, we had a seven hour date, and I didn’t kiss her goodnight.  Don’t worry, I made up for it the next day.  I spent the first month of our relationship not really talking; I was afraid we would run out of things to say to each other and that our relationship would be doomed: maybe we had nothing in common, maybe she was secretly a crazy cat lady, maybe our age difference would be a big deal or my friends wouldn’t like her.

Well, here’s what I have to say to that, Bird-of-the-Past: thanks for giving it a chance and finally opening your mouth.  And Turtle-of-the-Past? Thanks for speaking up, for waiting for me to finally find a voice and words and trusting the whole crazy thing.


the first picture of us as a couple, about a month after we started dating

When we first started dating, Turtle would not let me take care of her at all.  She got a cold and banned me from her apartment.  To someone who needs company and someone to make me tea and bring me tissues, this was a completely ridiculous response to getting sick.  When you are sick, you need someone to take care of you, and you let your girlfriend do that.  Turtle’s response to that: Oh HELLS no.  Leave me alone. Seriously, I think she wouldn’t even let me bring her a blanket.

Last week, as she was lying on the couch crying about how we were torturing our dog, she asked me for a box of tissues.

Look how far we’ve come, you guys.  So tell that someone you’re smitten with that you’re smitten, because smitten is a good word and it makes people fluttery and then they’ll wear makeup and those cute jeans the next time they see you and then you’ll have an awesome wedding and a cute-if-high-maintenance menagerie.  If that’s how you want it.

Who spoke up first in your relationship?


Filed under Relationships

Across the Shoreline: This is my party

After our pictures were taken, we waited anxiously outside the doors until amazing bridal brigadeer/wedding coordinator extraordinaire Laurie told us we could come in, and we were announced “Bird and Turtle TheNewLastName”!

The tables were gorgeous, with all of the beauty and simplicity we wanted.

We sat down, and the toasts began.  I don’t have a copy of everyone’s toast, but I do have my sister’s, along with her permission to share some excerpts from it.  I’ll try to include the parts that make sense even if you don’t really know us.  Let it be known that the other toasts were also amazing and tear inducing and one of the best parts of the day.  Not only do you get to stand up with your partner and hear them tell you how much they love you and how much you mean to them, and not only do you get the blessing of all of these other people who love you… but then you also get some of the other most important people in your life to do essentially the same thing.  This is a pretty powerful thing.


Turtle's best friend's toast

My mom's toast

Turtle's mom's toast (here she's describing how Turtle was willing to share fresh peas with me: a sign of her true love for me)

And then, my sister’s toast:

I just want to thank Bird and Turtle for throwing me this big party! Sometimes people get new siblings, and they don’t get a party at all. I’m pretty sure that when I was born—no party. When Alex (our brother) was born—no party. But here, Alex and I both get a new older sister, AND a party, so I’m glad you could all make it to celebrate with us.

In a round-about way, this is my party because I introduced Bird and Turtle. Well, sort of. I got Bird a job at the non-profit where I was interning, and where I had trained with Turtle. I didn’t interact much with Turtle during my internship, but I knew that there was something serious there when Bird called me to tell me about this girl she liked. I was in Russia for the semester, and Bird called me from literally across the world to tell me, in one of the happiest and most excited voices I’ve heard, about Turtle, with whom she was quite smitten.

As many of you may remember, Bird and I have not always gotten along. Like many siblings, we went through a horrible pre-teen to early-teenager phase during which we hated each other, and thereby made everyone around us hate us too. But during high school and college, and especially in the past year, we’ve grown very close, and I think have come to appreciate each other in new, more complex ways than we could have imagined not too many years ago. Bird is very passionate about many things, such as her dog, the idea of getting a new dog (it’s okay, Turtle won’t let her), bicycling, roller derby, her family, her friends, and Turtle, with whom she is creating a new family today.

When Bird sets her heart and mind on something, she will make it happen, and, if you’re lucky, you get to make it happen with her. Which I think means that Turtle has a very lucky life ahead of her.

So first, I’d like to toast Turtle. I want to thank you for the happiness that I heard in Bird’s voice from across the world and for the happiness and excitement that you have brought my sister every day since. And second, to toast Bird, my sister, and one of my best friends, who always paved the way for me strongly, gracefully, and beautifully, and who only got mad a few times that I got to do things that she couldn’t do when she was my age. I couldn’t have asked for a better sister to have asked for me, though of course now you’ll have some competition.


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