The Falling Game

Last week, my partners and I made our first “out” outing. We went to a baseball game, which I suppose is all full of outs, and innings. And switch hitters, and home runs. Anyway, I digress…

My girl was playing, and her whole team seemed to be “in the know” because while my guy and I sat in the bleachers with their darling three year old cheering mommy on, we were getting lots of curious stares. Nothing malicious, a few nervous smiles, some genuine warm greetings and conversation, but definitely more attention than we would have attracted under other circumstances.

That’s not the point of this story though.

While the ball game was being played, I witnessed another game unfold. My partner would scoot his little girl’s feet so her toes were just meeting the edge of the bleachers, and then he’d have her put her arms out, and close her eyes. As she trembled with anticipation, he would then give her a little push, and then immediately catch her as she erupted in fits of giggles. She demanded he do this over and over, and when he asked her if she was afraid she said “No daddy! You never drop me! Not ever!!”.

I was so moved by this.

My father was the kind of dad who, as I imagine was the case with most of his generation, treated child-rearing like it was my mother and grandmother’s job. (I grew up in a three-parent household). He was pretty hands off, and not really very affectionate. We had some good bonding experiences over music, but to the best of my memory, there were very few hugs, or snuggles, or kisses. As a result, it’s always been strange, and perhaps even a little uncomfortable for me to witness modern daddies being as affectionate as mommies are with their kidlets. Maybe my dad was terrified of being perceived as doing something inappropriate?

At any rate, this falling game filled me with such a strange mixture of joy and sorrow. Joy because I realized that this simple, silly exercise was in fact building layers of trust so deep that this little lady would never even really know where they came from; trust in men, trust in other people, trust in her daddy, trust in taking risks. My sadness came from realizing there was no such equivalent in my own childhood experience.

I loved my partner so fiercely in that moment for having such finely-honed paternal instincts.

It’s been almost 24 hours since I hit ‘send’ on the very difficult, very heartfelt email I composed for my dad after my mom outed me to him. I haven’t heard a peep. I thought about calling, but it just feels too raw, and too hard to form the words. We’ve never really been able to talk about personal things, and I just don’t even know where to begin with this. I feel like the reality of who I am, and the choices I am makingĀ  have taken him to a whole new level of uncomfortable where his little girl is concerned.

My mom suggested that I give him space to digest all of the information, and of course I understand this, and respect it. I’m just scared that things will never be the same, and that the special voice that he reserves only for me will be something I never hear again.

I can count on one hand the times I’ve seen my father display a lot of emotion. The first was the week that my Nana, his mom, died. He found her in cardiac arrest in her room downstairs as he returned from his night shift. He attempted to resuscitate her while the paramedics came, but it was too late. After the funeral, we were in the kitchen, and I was in the fridge getting some milk to go with our chocolate chip cookies. He was musing about growing up as an only child, and how his dad died when he was only twelve. He said “I guess your mom and you kids are all I have left now.” The warble in his voice made my throat clench up so hard that I spent an extra five minutes poking around the cheese and condiments to I wouldn’t have to see him cry.

The second moment was when he was about to walk me down the aisle. That moment is the proudest and happiest I’ve ever seen him in relation to me. He suddenly turned to me, squeezed my hand, and whispered fiercely with shining eyes. “I LOVE you.”

I’m still the same me daddy. Somewhere in all of the grown up stuff that’s been layered on is the little girl who used to fall asleep listening to your old records with your giant headphones. I’m still the duck-faced social butterfly who could delight shop keepers with my precocious vocabulary. (A snow-suited six year old me, when told by the variety store lady that I looked adorable declared “I look RIDICK U LEEZ!”) I’m still excited about watching nature documentaries and old Next Generation re-runs together. I still think you’re the funniest, smartest man I know.

I hope you still love me, and will come to embrace everyone else who loves me too.

Poly. Want a Cracker?

Fiesta Party Pack - Best Served With Tequila

Fiesta Party Pack - Best Served With Tequila

Last night was one of the most lovely, multi-layered social gatherings I’ve ever been a part of. A backyard concert, gypsy jazz style, with delicious treats to pass around and lots of family and familiar faces. And lots of first-time introductions.

In the course of one week, both my parents are now in the know about the fact that I’m bisexual. And now, I suppose, so are the rest of you.

In kindergarten, I got busted trying very hard to see what was up Mrs. Squires’ skirt during story time, and this curiosity has played out in games of doctor, tickle fight, show and tell, spin the bottle, and I’m in art school so why-the-fuck-not until I was entirely aware that it wasn’t ever going to go away. At 33, I’d only ever made it to second base with another woman, and then, finally single for an extended period, I admitted that I could not go the rest of my life never really knowing just how gay I am.

This year, I finally found the girl for me. I’m her first full-fledged foray into the land of Sapphic delights too, and I’m happy to say that I’m now a card-carrying member of the bisexual community, and have discarded my bi-curious training wheels once and for all.

I believe, in my case, that it is part of my genetic make up. I don’t think I chose this, I think it chose me, back in the zygote days. Also, from the time I started preschool, I demonstrated an openness and acceptance that was rare in children in the Catholic school system. I’m positive that I had gay friends long before any of us knew what gay was.

Being a bisexual in a heterosexual, monogamous relationship is impossible. My love of girl parts goes a long way to relieving my fear that I would never be able to have a “normal” relationship with a man, marry again, or have babies. As it turns out, I don’t want to. Have a “normal” relationship, that is. That model just doesn’t work for me.

Around the same time I met my girl, I also met an extraordinary man. One of the sexiest men I’ve ever known in fact. I was captivated, and more than a little afraid of a very powerful attraction that I thought I had hidden quite well.

Somehow, I had met both an incredible attractive woman, and an incredibly attractive man who share my love of life, of living in the moment, finding beauty everywhere in the world, and my love of tradition and family. True sensualists, they both love food, art, great music, books, travel…they are brilliant and inspiring, and they each happen to love me in all my Schnooie goodness, exactly as I am.

The best part of this story? They were a package deal. I met them as an existing couple, who have been together for many years. Who have a beautiful home, and a beautiful family, and our friendship blossomed into something most extraordinary.

I write this today, on the tail end of telling the closest members of my family about this decision. About this relationship that I am committed to pursuing. I’ve decided to write about our experience here, because I’m comfortable sharing so much of myself, and because I hope that this will be useful to anyone else who has chosen a similar path.

This window into Schnooville has always been an exploration of life, and love, and my own pursuit of happiness, and this next chapter will be no different. I just feel it’s important to let you know that there are a few more characters in the story now.

When I stopped looking, I realized that everything I wanted was here all along. Now social gatherings, and soirees are spent deciding how to cleverly introduce each other to our loved ones, and to whom we will disclose our relationship over tapenade or cracked pepper chevre spread.

High fives all around, Universe.

My Tribe


Everyone I know and love is having babies.

Ok, not EVERYONE, but close. While sharing in their joy and excitement, this also leaves me feeling a little bit like the last unicorn.

The last year and a half in Schnooville has been an incredible exercise in learning my independence, and really growing very happy standing on my own. I’m happy with the woman I am, and satisfied with my life, and I’ve decided that I never want to feel like I need someone else in order to have the kind of life that I want.

As a result, I began to think about how I might complete the rest of the puzzle without anyone else, if for no other reason to stop feeling like I’m waiting for someone to fall into my life. I stopped looking. I began imagining single-parent scenarios, and made a list of all the people I knew I could count on for support if I decided to go down that road.

Then something extraordinary happened.

Is there a “right” way to have a family? Is the conventional two-parent, heterosexual model the only one? In this day of two mommy and two daddy families, can we really believe that only a mommy and a daddy can create a positive, loving home in which to raise a family?

Not in Schnooville. Here, we’re looking beyond the traditional Western model. The vast and mysterious universe has served up an order I wouldn’t have even thought to place, and now I’m turning my world around and examining each corner and each line to see how everything I thought I knew about life and love can be renovated and remodeled for a bigger, better reality.

I hope to be able to share more of this wonderful story here, but first there are big decisions to make, and very important people to share these decisions with. There will be no immediate pitter patter either. A lot of love and groundwork must be laid down first. What I wish to impart is that life will give you wonderful things if you open up your heart and trust in powers that are greater than us all.

Possibility is one of the most exciting things I know. It invites imagination, dreaming, and hope in abundance. The way we embrace possibility tells us so much about the people we are, and the way we move through our lives.

This possibility is just too good to walk away from.

Solomon Says

Bow River captured by iPhone

Bow River captured by iPhone

A fine evening to end my Banff experience.

Jennifer (my boss) and I had an early supper, and then walked along the Bow River into downtown Banff. It was a beautiful, scenic stroll. Once downtown we hit the movie theatre, which was a small, sticky-floored, messy place completely unlike the megaplexes one is used to in Toronto. There was something charming about the place, and it seemed to be ruled by pimply teenagers with squeaky voices without any adult management in sight. We saw “The Time Traveler’s Wife” which is an adaptation of what might be my favourite book. It was shot beautifully, but as is always the case, the book was far more powerful an experience. That Rachel Mc Adams sure is lovely.

Walking home at dusk was most serene, and once back at The Centre we paused to take in the mountain vista. The sun was sinking slowly behind the Rockies and the sky was melting from slate blue into inky twylight. We were both silent, and I feel we were likely both saying a silent goodbye.

Mine was a silent thank you. To this place, and to the Universe that led me here. I felt my heart open up like a valley, and I invited all manner of possibility to find its way in. I whispered a prayer to the Universe to affirm that I was ready for the next great chapter of my life. To assure that I felt strong, and still, and free of the doubt and fear that have tailed me like a shadow since the end of my last relationship. Then, at the exact same moment, Jennie and I turned to each other and knew it was time to move on.

In the lobby of the Professional Development Centre, where our rooms are, we encountered a very dapper African American gentleman, who was in the company of a most elegant African American woman. We commented on the brisk temperature, and he informed us in a voice as rich and thick as molasses that he and his wife were from Atlanta. He was wearing a beautiful suit in a blue that matched the twylight sky, and a tie that looked like a silk tie from the forties in a vibrant canary yellow. He and his wife both had the most beautiful eyeglasses, wire frames with thick arms that featured intricate, die cut patterns. Jennifer inquired about what brought them to the Centre, and the gentleman locked eyes with me as he answered:

“I’m here to show how to unleash your inner power.”

He then explained that he was an inspirational speaker working with a conference for insurance people, but I had stopped listening to these details because I had a full body shiver. I glanced down at the lanyard around his neck and saw that his name was Solomon.

Solomon, for those of you who don’t know, was one of the greatest kings in biblical history, and he is a player who figures heavily in Christian, Muslim, and Jewish mythology. He was most popularly known as “Solomon the Wise”.

The name Solomon means “peace”.

“I am here to show how to unleash your inner power.”

Though I will have no exposure to Solomon’s teaching, I feel like his very presence in that very moment has started me on my path to greater self-discovery.

My catcher’s mitt is now at the ready.

Round Robins and Conversational Crows

Bad iPhone Photo of the view on the way to the restaurant

Bad iPhone Photo of the view on the way to the restaurant

A fine conference here in Banff. We ended this morning, so I am now officially on vacation. I was very proud to exchange ideas and opinions with Canada’s Opera giants in a place that has fostered some of our nation’s greatest artists.

Yesterday afternoon was particulary invigorating. We participated in something called a ‘conversation cafe’ that involved a series of group discussions, and then challenged us to commit our own ideas about the future of opera in Canada to paper. (Sidebar…simply writing the word ‘Canada’ makes me feel proud). At one point, as we were all silently writing away, two of the noisiest crows I’ve ever heard began their own dialogue. I felt like they too were sharing a universal thread, in a language not of distinct words, but shared ideas and intent. It was a really inspiring day that ended with workshop presentations of new opera works.

Tapestry is an extraordinary Toronto company that produces a season of electric new opera at affordable prices. Collectively, they knocked my socks off this weekend – both because of the charm and graciousness of their staff, and with the unbelievable excerpt they presented last night from a new opera that examines the sex trade and human trafficking. I intend to catch their season, and I hope you’ll join me. Let’s make going to the opera a hot thing to do again!

The human voice is the most primal instrument, and I believe it has the greatest power to express the human experience. If you’ve never witnessed opera live before, I would challenge you to do this, preferably with an innovative new company where you will have a more intimate encounter. Breathtaking!

Tonight an early dinner at the Raven’s Loft here at the Centre and then a stroll into town for a movie date with my boss. Tomorrow an early hike up the side of the mountain (which is less intense than it sounds) before heading back to the Calgary airport where I will meet my friends for the next leg of my Alberta adventure.

Today is the birthday of one of my favourite Canadians. I’ll give you three guesses who that is…

Sleeping with Giants

A photo I didn't take, but an accurate representation all the same.

A photo I didn't take, but an accurate representation all the same.

Last night I fell asleep cradled in the arm of the mountains.

My incredible fortune has granted me the opportunity to spend four days at the Banff Centre for the 2009 Opera Colloquium, and this place is pure magic. The Centre is a compound for artists who come for residencies and retreats to create and workshop their pieces. Imagine a small university campus devoted to creation. All of the people I’m meeting are devoted to their art, and are passionate about their work. For the next three days we’re sharing ideas about creating new opera, and the importance of opera in our modern age.

I’ve never been to Alberta. Yesterday I learned that there is nothing as beautiful as the Rocky Mountains. At least not in my experience of the world so far. Their majesty and magnitude makes me feel so safe and serene. It is a visual reminder that the world has existed for lifetimes before me, and will continue to exist long after I’m gone, her landscape ever shifting and subtly changing. I find this deeply comforting.

The air here is spectacular. With each inhalation my body feels cleaner, and more alive. Despite the cool weather, and my inappropriate packing, I want to spend all of my time outside. There are wild animals everywhere, and I can’t wait to encounter them on my walks. There is also a very famous hot spring that we intend to visit.

Meals are shared in a beautiful restaurant made entirely of glass, so you can enjoy the mountainous vistas as you dine. I’m told that the food is fantastic, and nutritious, and it’s served buffet style, so I don’t have to eat anything I don’t want.

Last night we were treated to a fabulous dinner at the home of the program director of the centre. If the food there was any indication, then I’m most certainly in good hands.

I could live here, easily. Maybe not forever, but certainly devoting a couple of years of my life to this place would be incredible. They have a creative writing workshop that happens here twice a year. It’s two weeks long, and I think I might apply for next spring. I can imagine myself here, alone, sipping coffee on the deck in the morning, wrapped in polar fleece, and pouring my heart into my laptop.

This morning I have a breakfast date with my boss. She’s a fabulous woman, and I think these next few days will be a great bonding experience for us.

The best part of this all-expense paid trip…I get to stay on for the week to visit near by friends and their beautiful new baby.

Beauty of this magnitude makes me feel like the people I love best in this world are closer to my heart than ever. I feel like an explorer, gathering samples and stories to return home with, so that everyone can taste my adventure.

Thank you Universe.

The Long, Hot Summer


Yes of course if you live anywhere near Toronto that’s a ridiculous title for this post, but the alternative is “The Dripping Wet Summer”. You can tell me which is more appealing. I’ll take either, and both. One is steam rising from the pavements sensual, and the other is the freckle-faced glory I crave during our epic winters.

It’s been a few days since I’ve been here, and I can blame this on two things:

1.) I have a show that opens on Thursday. Please see the image above.

2.) I have fallen deep into the Rabbit Hole and Wonderland is more spectacular than anyone could describe.

And so, I return to Schnooville to tell you this:

When you start to listen to what the Universe is telling you, and when you trust your own heart, it is the most profound magic you will ever know. I’m exploring some of the deepest corners of who I am, and what I want my life to be. At the end of the day, when all of the outside influences fall away, the answers seem so simple and clear. I’m challenging everything I thought that I knew about myself.

Love is not about losing yourself in someone else. It’s about finding yourself reflected in them, and looking deeply into your own soul to understand that the beauty they see in you, the beauty they love in you, is yours and yours alone, and it is the greatest gift that you have. You alone must sustain and nurture your own light so you can reflect back the love you are fortunate enough to receive.

All of the healing, understanding, acceptance, courage, strength, power, wisdom, and joy you seek are sitting there, somewhere inside you, like boxes of memories from ancient ancestors. When you finally tackle the mess, you’ll be amazed at what you begin to unearth.