In transit

I’m in an airport, between planes. I’ll finish this up on the last leg home and post it tonight.


My fiancée went out West last week.

She started and runs her company. She’s turned over day-to-day management to her partners. So she can come and go as she pleases.

I had to go to Asia for work, but I’m free for the next month.


We will be married at my fiancée’s family’s ranch. It’s spectacularly beautiful, especially at this time of year. It’s in a valley bounded on both sides by untouched mountain wilderness. The sun will be going down over the mountains to the west during our ceremony.

Her family has spent the last year restoring the ranch house and sprucing up the yards and outbuildings.

Her great-great grandfather received the land as a grant for his service in the Civil War. He was an inveterate improver, innovator and experimenter.

My fiancée’s great-grandmother kept a scrapbook of newspaper articles about her father. Almost every edition of the county weekly newspaper had an article about one or another of his innovations – the electric generator and banks of batteries to light and power the ranch, the irrigation system that still waters the ranch, the various machines he bought. There are also articles about his lawsuits against mining companies for polluting the stream that waters the ranch.

He built the house in a grand style for his family of nine children.


We’ll be married in a field. The forecast is for beautiful weather. If it rains, we’ll be married in one of the old barns.


My fiancée will pick me up at the airport. We’ll have dinner at the restaurant where we met. Last year, we had dinner there on the first anniversary of our meeting. This year, it’s a little earlier. We have a more pressing engagement for the actual anniversary.

We’re going to have our rehearsal dinner at the restaurant Friday night. The ranch is 75 miles away, but the restaurant is in the nearest town large enough to have an adequate supply of hotel rooms.

Tonight, my fiancée and I will be staying at the B&B where we stayed after our anniversary dinner last year. Tomorrow, we’ll go to church at the church I used to attend, then each to her parents’ homes. I want to spend a few days with my family before starting a new life.

Anniversary dinner

The last two weeks have been eventful.


Friday, 14 August, I flew home for a week of vacation.

Flying home from New York is an all-day affair. There are no direct flights. Even with a 6AM first leg and picking up two hours with time zones, it was mid-afternoon by the time I arrived.


I first met my Love one year, to the day, before.

For our first anniversary, we reserved a table at the restaurant where we met.


Growing up, this was The City. Now that I’ve seen New York, London and Singapore, well, it’s a town. But it’s a delightful town. Someday, I want to have one of the 19-aught houses with a yard for a half-dozen wild kids. Ozzie, the girl mathematician entrepreneur. Harriet the girl engineer.

I reserved a room in a bed & breakfast in one of those 19-aught houses. When I made the reservation, I delicately asked the owner if she would be comfortable hosting a lesbian couple. She laughed and told me that they had just hosted a gay wedding.

I checked in and took a little nap. I got up, soaked in a hot bath with my Love’s favorite oil. I made myself as pretty as I could.

I took a car to the restaurant. Last year, she was there first, waiting for me. This year, I was there long before she arrived. I wanted to savor her entrance.

She came in. The world narrowed to her. She wore the same dress, the same pearls, the same studs as last year.

I stood up.

She saw me and smiled. My world exploded. I felt what I felt last year, when she first touched my cheek. That I would never draw another breath. And that would be fine.

She is tall. Slender. She moves with exquisite grace. Her dress moved with her. Every eye was on her. All conversation stopped.

Last year, we didn’t touch. I didn’t dare. I was deeply in the closet.

This year we kissed. Not a public display of affection. Just a, “Hello, sweetie,” kiss. But we were radiating such happiness that no one would doubt what we were to each other.


Last year, she hadn’t had trout in a year, so she had trout. I had rabbit.

This year, I hadn’t had trout in six months, so I had trout. She had rabbit.

We are firm believers in swapping bites.


In the mountains, trout tastes sweet. I tried it once in New York. It wasn’t sweet. It tasted odd.

I’ve gotten accustomed to Atlantic fish – other than Atlantic salmon. I love Pacific salmon. But Atlantic salmon tastes rancid to me.

The trout was pan seared and served in almond shavings and tarragon butter. It was as sweet as I remembered.


The rabbit – in a rosemary-mushroom reduction – was a warm note on a cool summer night.

An elegant light Willamette pinot.

Dinner conversation was New York heat and humidity, Western wildfires, putting up hay, hay yield, calf yield, food, wedding plans, the next day’s cookout.

She gave me background on the parts of her family I would meet for the first time at the cookout. A warning that we would be the first lesbians some of them had ever met. She wasn’t sure how open-minded some of the distant cousins would be. I could tolerate some pleasant bigotry, and even a suggestion or two that I was headed to Hell. Still, I suggested that – for the sake of inter-family harmony – we keep any doubtful relatives away from my mother.


The chef came out of the kitchen with three glasses and a half-bottle of Sauternes to toast us over a deep dish berry crisp.


The B&B was romantic and gay-friendly. Very romantic. Very gay-friendly.

It’s not the heat …

Now I understand the line,

It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.

The last few days, the heat in New York City has been brutal. Yesterday, the high was 96 F (36 C). It’s much hotter on the subway platform. The subway cars are air conditioned, but that just means pumping the heat out of the car and into the stations and tunnels.


Back home, it gets hot in the summer. 90 F (32 C) to 100 (38 C) – or hotter – during the day.

The air is thin. Cloud cover is normally, at most, lovely little puffs that march in a lattice across the impossibly blue sky. The shadows race across the valleys.

It doesn’t rain much. The summer rain tends to be in thunderstorms, which can be violent.


I don’t mind that heat back home.

It’s hot, but it’s dry. Sweat evaporates quickly, leaving me feeling clean and cool. Here, sweat is just sticky.


Even on the hottest days back home, it gets cool in the evening. On a 90 F (32 C) day, it will usually be 50 F (10 C) or cooler in the evening.

I love to sleep with the windows open, with the breeze just tickling the curtains. When I was a little girl, I loved to wake up just as the sun was coming in the window, the cicadas starting to make noise, the curtains rustling, the warmth on my back, the smell of the clean air.


I hate air conditioning. I hate the processed taste of the air. I hate the noise of the compressor and fan.

The only times I used air conditioning back home were in job site trailers, to keep the dust down.

I don’t have air conditioning in my apartment. My Love has a couple of window units, which were inadequate to cool even a single room the last few nights.

We’d both rather turn them off and open the windows, even on the hottest nights. Her bedroom has a big ceiling fan, which is wonderful.


The heat is an incentive to work late – Stay in the office air conditioning; avoid the crush on the subway platform.

It’s also an incentive to go to the beach house. It’s normally 10 F (5 C) to 20 F (11 C) cooler, with a nice breeze and (surprising to me) less humidity.

My Love has been working from our rental house on Fridays and Mondays. She goes up Friday morning and picks me up at the train on Friday afternoon. She drops me at the train early Monday morning and drives down on the afternoon.

I didn’t want to do that – I thought it would send the wrong message to the senior guys in my firm. But they all work from their weekend houses on Fridays (and some of them on Mondays, too). They told me I’m crazy to be in the office on Fridays. I’m going to take them at their word.

So we’re both going up tonight and coming back on Monday night.