Category Archives: other

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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The winner….

The winner of the Amazing Ellie Leonardsmith Photo Giveaway, chosen using the first thing that came up when I searched for Random Number Generator, was contestant number 4!

Which was this comment:

Key words here are “I wish I could win this.”  Sadly, she can’t, because she is way more than an hour outside of Boston.  Sorry Kristine (and Shiva 😦  ).

So our second pick, via random number generator?  As luck would have it, she’s also several hours away (um, on the other side of the country), but coming to Boston soon.

I suspect this is how she feels about her prize:

Yay Ele! Get in touch with Ellie and have a spectacular photoshoot!



Filed under other

I wish I could win it, but instead I’ll give it to you (or you, or you)

You may have noticed that I have some affection for our wedding photographer. Let me tell you a little bit about her.

us & our wives

I met her in college when one of my roommates was all, “My friend and her girlfriend are coming over for dinner, cool?” and I was all, “Cool.” And then we started hanging out more and playing boardgames and living a few blocks away from each other and then living a few states away from each other and now living a few towns away from each other. She introduced me to roller derby and I took care of her dog once.

Both the dogs, coexisting (this is a more informal pet-picture, but there are more on her website)

Sometimes she comes to visit us and takes our pictures.

and she makes us look really cute! AND! She makes it feel really natural and fun.

Why, might you ask, am I telling you these perhaps seemingly-random facts about Amazing Photographer Ellie Leonardsmith? Well, it’s because today, she’s doing An Awesome Photography Giveaway.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Winner gets 1 hour of free photoshooting with Ellie! Pick your poison: she’ll take pictures of you in your wedding clothes, in your street clothes, running naked through the streets… what I mean is, whatever you want to wear, she’s willing to take pictures of you in it.  She’s also happy to hang out at your house or a park or around town and just take pictures of you being awesome by yourself, with your friends, or with puppies.  Kittens are also acceptable.  And babies!  Happy to photograph babies, too.

  2. How to win: comment here and tell us about your most valued picture and why it matters to you (for example, I have a picture of my dad and me on the dock up at camp when I was maybe 4 years old.  I’m wrapped in a towel and probably shivering, and we have the exact same profile.  I love that picture.).
  3. I will use a random number generator to pick the winner!
  4. Deadline to comment is 5pm EST Monday January 24th.
  5. You must be within or willing to meet within an hour of Boston; specifics to be worked out with Awesome Photographer Ellie.
  6. Photoshoot is free, and afterwards CD of images, prints, or albums can all be purchased through her.

You can see examples of Ellie’s work all over my blogs, but also on her website.

Also, I get nothing out of doing this, except her gratitude and excitement that I get to give my awesome readers something that I think is really awesome!  I say awesome a lot.  Now, comment away!


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Yes, I am technically comparing myself to the dog

Back when I first got Daphne, I suddenly realized that I had no idea what I was doing.  Like, yes, I did know how to have a dog, essentially: you feed it, you walk it, you teach it to behave the way you want it to.  This is sort of like saying I know how to have a baby: you feed it, you change it, you try to figure out why it’s crying and how to make it stop.  I still don’t have a baby, so I have no idea how accurate that is, but I suspect it’s an understatement.

In order to figure out how to have a dog and that I wasn’t Doing It All Wrong, I started to read a ton of dog books.  My all time favorite is Jon Katz’s book Katz on Dogs.  Okay, it’s a corny title, but I love me some Jon Katz.  He has written a ton of books about dogs; the first one I read was The New Work of Dogs. Basically, this guy gets that dogs are really important, but also that they are not people, they are dogs.

Why am I writing about this on my real blog instead of my dog blog (um, haha, remember when I said I would stop plugging my dog blog soon?  I guess it’s not soon yet.)?  Because there’s one thing he wrote about that I keep thinking about.  I can’t find the exact quote, but he basically says that crate training your dog gives it a job to do.  The dog knows that while she’s in her crate, her job is to sleep or to chew the chew toy in her crate.  If you leave her home alone outside of her crate, she has no idea what her “job” is, and that’s when she gets destructive.  Maybe her job is taking apart your dining room table, one sliver of wood at a time; maybe it’s trying to find what components make up the soles of your favorite shoes.  The idea is that dogs aren’t destructive just because they like ruining your stuff, but because they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing; they need the rules and structure (and quiet time) that a crate provides.

You guys, I need a crate.  I really, really need a crate. I’ve enjoyed this time of unemployment, but I’m finding myself suddenly feeling a little bit lost, a little drifty.  I need structure, rules.  Someone, tell me what to do?

I had my great How to Be Unemployed Tips last week, and I maintain that they are good ones.  But I’m also discovering that they are not enough for me.  How can I have Time Off if I don’t have some hardcore Time On?  So here’s my public declaration: starting Monday, I will Do Better.  If no one else is giving me structure, I will make some myself.  Remember, world (and self), the time you spend being unemployed is finite, and you will miss it when it’s gone.

What are your tips for keeping your sanity?  Does anyone want to plan my days for me?  Yes?


Filed under Home, other

Snow day!

Snow Day at the Turtle-Bird Homestead

I have few sassy things to say today, but here’s what I do have:

  • My wife is really pretty and has been the most supportive partner I could ask for over the last couple of weeks/months/years.  I’ve been dealing with some weird anxiety stuff, and she’s 100% here, making sure all is being taken care of.
  • My dog is very entertaining and gives me a reason to get my unemployed ass out of the house every single day.  Thanks, Daphne. (Also, daily posts about her at Flying Dingo. Have I said that already? I’ll stop soon.)
  • We have big plans for today: there’s already 15 inches of snow on the ground here, but we did our Ikea shopping trip last night so we have lots of projects to tackle. Fun!
  • Oh and I’m on APW today!  And I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on boyfriend/girlfriend vs. partner vs. spouse vs. husband/wife.  Comment there or come back here and tell me what you think!

Hope some of you are having a wonderful snow day and others of you are warm wherever you are.  Nothing like 1 foot + of snow to remind me how grateful I am to have a home.


Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement, other, Relationships

Staying on the Road, or Moral Superiority

Here is something I’ve been struggling with as of late: our damned car.

I bought the car almost a year ago, and since then, there have been many, many times that I have been incredibly grateful for it. See: the time Daphne got suddenly sick and we had to rush her to the hospital, or the time my dad ended up in the hospital and we wanted to be able to visit him without having to reserve a car for certain hours. See also: all the times that we were able to spontaneously go up to Camp for a weekend or even just take Daph for an off-leash romp in the woods in the next town over (off-leash is illegal in my town).  Not to mention the fact that owning a car has made possible the majority of the petsitting that I do…

car for to has driving all the dogs around! ALL THE DOGS.

But I have major car-owning guilt.  We lived car-free for almost two years; Turtle has been car-free for 15 years.  I was always so proud to be the one bicycling everywhere, and was also a fan of the occasional feeling of superiority it gave me (“Yes, you are a good environmentalist, but you drive the 1.5 miles to work, and I bike.  VICTORY IS MINE.”).  I recognize that a feeling of superiority in this context is sort of ridiculous, but I’m trying to be honest here.

Now, though, it’s January in Boston, and it is cold.  It’s cold and my car is warm.  My car can hep me run lots of errands at the same time without having to put on eighteen layers.  And I think it’s reasonable to drive five miles to do something… but that doesn’t really help my guilt.  Because, you guys, it’s also reasonable to bicycle five miles to do something, and afterwards, you feel good, you haven’t spent any money on gas, and, most importantly, you are morally superior to everyone else.

I was sort of joking about that last part.

I just keep considering whether I should be bicycling everywhere, and articles about awesome winter bicyclists do nothing to appease my driver guilt.  Even when I’m not afraid of the cold, though, I am nervous about the ice and the narrower roads and the fact that drivers just don’t expect to see bicyclists out in this weather.  Where is the line between personal comfort and environmental responsibility?  I sometimes wish we had never bought the car so that I wouldn’t have the option of doing anything other than walking, bicycling, or taking public transportation, but we did, and I do.  Where do you draw your lines?


Filed under other

In which I answer some questions

Apparently, I’m taking the Pet Blogger Challenge:

The Challenge, as I understand it, is a time for bloggers to reflect on their blogs, why and how they write them, and… share?

At first, I though this was silly, because I don’t really care about why other people write, I just want to read their entertaining, witty, educational, interesting work.  So obviously you don’t care either (because I generally assume that I’m writing for an audience of me).  But then I noticed a lot of really interesting answers popping up on the blogs I read, and while I’m not yet a “pet blogger” (I think), I did start thinking about what my answers would be.

1. When did you begin your blog?

I started last January. And just to double check, I looked at my first post – happy belated birthday, blog! I started writing here on January 8th of last year.

the first picture I posted on the blog

2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?

Turtle and I had gotten engaged a few months before and I had been reading wedding blogs for awhile.  There was a lot that I was thinking about weddings and wedding culture and I really wanted somewhere to participate in the conversation.  At the time, I didn’t find a lot of writing that resonated with me; I couldn’t find anything written for the audience of me (planning a small, gay, non-WIC wedding), so I decided to be that writer.

3. Is your current purpose the same?

I am trying to remember that purpose when I feel like I’m in a slump.  Like, does anyone else really care what specific method I used to teach my dog to go into her crate?  Well, the answer is that I would care, so yes.  But I really don’t care about the sewing pattern you used for something – that just is not my thing.  Please don’t expect to see any sewing patterns shared here.

4. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?

I started blogging when I felt like it, which was anywhere from daily to weekly.  Since participating in NaBloPoMo and writing daily in November, I realized I do enjoy a regular schedule. I also enjoy reading blogs that I know post regularly, so I’m trying to follow their example.  Realistically?  I am not going to be able to post every day, but I think I can handle every weekday, so that’s what I’m aiming for.  Since starting Flying Dingo, this may change.

5. Are you generating income from your blog?

If so, how (e.g. sponsor ads, affiliate relationships, spokesperson opportunities)?   If not currently, do you hope to in the future — and how?

6. What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular (bragging is good!)?

I love having somewhere to dump my thoughts, to be sassy if I want to, and to have such awesome support from readers!  It’s really created an important community for me here. I look forward the comments and the ensuing conversations.  I love finding out that someone whose blog I love is reading my blog.  I love when people I know in real life say hi and sort of mumble, “I stalk your blog.”  I know, it’s sort of awkward, but it makes my day.  You know me and you like my writing?! Super extra happy points.

7. What do you like least?

I have a hard time when I’m not inspired to write something, but I feel like I *should* write anyway.  I love knowing that posts on some of my favorite sites will be up by 7 am, and I want to provide the same thing; what is hard is when I’m not inspired until mid-morning.  Really, I know 3 hours doesn’t make a huge difference, but I feel bad about it.  Sorry.

8. How do you see your blog changing or growing in 2011?

I hope to find a little more direction this year.  Now that the wedding is over, I need something to focus on; it seems to be The Beast these days, but I’ve turned to Flying Dingo for that, and I hope to keep writing here about terribly entertaining things like how we keep the heat at 50 degrees during the day (yes, my fingers are freezing right now) and how I reffed my first roller derby scrimmage last night.  What, I didn’t mention I was considering joining the ref team?  I’m sure I’ll have more to say about that later.

this is me blogging, right now. and by blogging I mean defending my lap from Jake. Yes, it's 53 degrees in the house now, and the warmest spot around is on my lap where the computer is cozy.

Thanks, all of you, for reading and commenting and saying hello!  You’re the best. For serious.


Filed under other