There are several tools for keeping tabs on numbers of readers, how long they are here for each time the come, if they are new or old and the country they are from.... right down to an IP address in all cases as well.
I get lots of readers in American, Canada, the UK, Australia and Brazil and then a smattering of countries in the EU. Only.... within the last month or so, I've started seeing a lot of 'referral searches' from two Russian sites based *IN* Russia.
That's a bit worrying for an openly gay blogger when Russia's government is *not* LGBTQ friendly.....
Good times.... good times.
That aside.... it's been a *busy* week. We are preparing to make some pretty major changes around here, not the least of which is that the kids and I are moving out.... and I'm registering for a night school starting in November..... I *WILL* still photograph families, babies, kids and seniors through the fall and likely into next summer.... I just need to have a *concrete* job skill that I can present to an employer because you would *think* being super good at making people look pretty or making funny signs would get me hired.... it kind of doesn't. lololol
The biggest change is our moving. This. is. HUGE.
Don't get me wrong.... it's been *great* to live with family. In the beginning it was a great way for me to have the emotional freedom to 'check out' - be silent, be angry.... cry if I needed to. And, there was another loving adult to help attend to the children if need be.
It gave me time and space to process and deal and heal.
Which... was paramountly important because it also gave the kids the time and space to do the same things. I'm entirely sure that that there is NO WAY we would be where we are emotionally if I had been juggling a job and the kids and our own places right away.
Over time.... the healing turned to new beingings and I started going out to make a new life for us. Regardless of whether or no I wanted to date men or women: I had to get out there and make new friends - *single* friends.... so that I could start dating again.
In my case... I hit up every lesbro bar in town and every gay party that Portland throws (that's dozens a month for those who want to know..... Portland quite literally has some kind of 'gay something' every night of the week..... it *THE BEST TOWN* to be gay in.) and I started making friends..... and I started going out.
Which is odd for me.
Even in my younger days, I was not the kind of person who went out every night.
As a Mom - I hardly *EVER* went out.... and if I did, I tried to be home by 10pm so El Capitan and I could catch up on the various TV Shows we watched.
So, becoming a staple at the local gay bar on Tuesday Ladies Night till well after midnight.... well: that's kind of new for me. I don't usually leave the house until after the kids are in bed - but .... I *do* tend to sleep in... lololol and that leave those other WONDERFUL adults - like The Bubbie - picking up my slack and watching after the kids.
To some degree it *needed* to happen - I had to create a whole new life for myself.
A lesbian life.
Also.... after *everything* I've been through... a little dancing was well in order, dammit. lololol
Lately though.... as much as I *LOVE* going out - as much as I *ADORE* being a part of such an AMAZING LGBTQ community...... I've been missing that whole 'family' thing that I once loved so much. Missing the family dinners and weekend outings and whatnot......
Since Hail Mary showed up.... things have been changing. She loves the kids- loves spending time with them... with *us*: so that's what we do. Going on outings and riding bikes and going to the park...and it feels really good.
So tonight I needed to pain the kids new room and Hail Mary was helping.... I was a bit nervous because this is the first 'project' we've done together and I wasn't sure how we would work together.... would we fight? Would it be miserable and end up just being me doing all the work......?
Because that's how it used to be, to be frank.
There's a reason I can assemble *anything* from Ikea in 15 minutes or less: Ten years of practice!
But there we were in our paint clothes .... painting the kids room: together.
And it was fantastic.... though I started taking over and doing too much and Hail Mary had to use her stern voice with me to tell me that we were not making the 'best use of our time' and that I should go back to doing the edging around the trim and leave her to doing the main wall area.... me doing both was inefficient.
She's right.... it was.
Later, she actually apologized for getting "snarky" over the 'time management issue' ... which had me laughing because she was right, the first place, and she was a bit grumpy may be.... but not snarky - oh... and we *started* this painting project at 9PM, so one is entitled to get grumpy for sure.
But I thought it was so sweet she was worried that she used a snarky tone with me.....
Overall.... things are getting kind of serious with Hail Mary..... may be more than kind of..... and lately I've been spending a lot of time trying to sift through the myriad of my thoughts and emotions to try to get to the nuts and bolts of how I feel about everything.... easier said that done.
When I was in my twenties, The Bubbie used to say.... "So-and-So should try to stay together - because they won't ever find a love like that again....."
And I would roll my eyes in utter annoyance becuase I was *pretty sure* that people find love in the 30s and 40s and at the very least... Hollywood was *full* of such love stories.... so what the HELL was Bubbie talking about.......?
Now, however.... I get it.
The Bubbie was right.
When I was in my 20s I was foot loose and fancy free.... I answered only to myself and I didn't yet have to think about things like taxes and retirement and mortgage payments and whatnot.... I could fall in love and chase after a start while shooting at the moon while riding rough-shot in Cupid car..... which very little abandon.
I wasn't thinking about my future so much as I was thinking about "living in the now!" and falling in love.... and literally *FALLING*. Head-Over-Mother-F*cking-Heels.... in love.
The kind of love that could well leave you flat on your ass - but you don't care... because you're young and thin and pretty and you have *time* to find another love......
And you do it over and over and over.......
In my 30s, as a single Mom.... sh*t leaves me on my ass all the time... but love takes a back seat to most of those other things. I have strong feelings for someone- but they are weighted down.... *tied* down by responsibility, being a Mom, financial concerns...... and so when my heart starts to take flight and I get that giddy feeling..... it's immediately met three-fold by worries about public school and where we're going to move.... and how I'm going to pay my bills... and *is* going to night school the right choice......?
Oh.... and then amongst that is how hot and amazing and freaking *AWESOME* Hail Mary is.... and then suddenly I'm thinking about what I'm going to do for childcare if we move away from Bubbie.... how am I going to make everything work......?
So you see.... The Bubbie was right..... You never really do love the same again.... however, since the mad, passionate love I had for El Capitan sputtered and died..... may be finding a different kind of connection, a more thoughtful love in my 30s will actually be the kind of love and relationship that will last forever..... or it won't.
So I stopped trying to compare or over think things and just take every day - every moment... every *experience* that I have with Hail Mary and truly enjoy them.... tonight I was almost (secretly) brought to tears when we were painting the kids rooms - because *this* the 'stepping in the pain can'/paint in our hair/paint on our hands/laughing/working together to make something for the kids.... THIS is the memory I wanted to have with El Capitan .... and never did. I put together Cribs.... on my own. I built bikes and Coupe Cars and loft beds and painted and whatever..... by myself for ten years.
Tonight I had a partner.... tonight I had an equal who helped me.
Tonight I had a partner .... who laughed with me.
Tonight... for the first time ever: I wasn't alone doing this kind of thing.
And it was amazing..... and isn't that was love is: amazing?
We'll see..... we'll see.......