Almost 20 Years? Really???

Just cute baby Otis, the inspiration behind Dog Dharma.

Just cute baby Otis, the inspiration behind Dog Dharma.

Otis saved my life.  She’s the inspiration behind DogDharma.  If she was still on this earth, she’d have just turned 17 years old.  But…

I really can’t believe it’s been almost 20 years since Kim moved from Michigan to Bethesda, MD, to be with me.  We had known each other for many years via the intrepid lesbian list-serves and IRC that sprang to life when the Internet was still young.  What had been a long-distance friendship turned into a romance, and so when Kim finished her master’s program in social work, I persuaded her to move to the DC area and give our romance a 1-year chance.  I won’t say that things were perfect or that I wasn’t hurt in the end (and probably the same in reverse), but damn we had some good times and some good memories.

We lived together in Bethesda, and then got our condo in DC.  Kim advanced in her career, and I advanced in mine.  When we bought the condo, we were able to get little Otis.  Yes, there were rough spots, but we traveled to Arkansas, Michigan, California, Delaware, Florida, and other closer road trips.  We got Henry so Otis could have a playmate.  We visited her family and we visited mine.

For all the things that went sadly wrong, Kim got me through the episode with the psychopathic intern, and she stood by me during my transitioning from female to male.  She was there for me when I had to have emergency gall bladder surgery … but we won’t talk about what she did when I broke my foot.  No, things weren’t perfect by a long shot, but they were a hell of a lot better than they were with my so-called “marriage.”  So this post is dedicated to Kim, and I hope you enjoy the smattering of photos I’ve scanned and uploaded.  (They are not in chronological order; I’m too lazy.)

Dupont Circle metro station in Washington, DC.  Many good times had in Dupont Circle, especially before the lesbian bookstore, Lammas, closed, and before the gay bookstore, Lambda Rising, closed.

Dupont Circle metro station in Washington, DC. Many good times had in Dupont Circle, especially before the lesbian bookstore, Lammas, closed, and before the gay bookstore, Lambda Rising, closed.

Kim and Otis on pontoon boat on Gulf of Mexico.

Kim and Otis on pontoon boat on Gulf of Mexico.

Kim and Otis on pontoon boat on Gulf of Mexico.

Kim and Otis on pontoon boat on Gulf of Mexico.

Kim and Otis on "Dog Beach" near Bradenton, FL.

Kim and Otis on “Dog Beach” near Bradenton, FL.

Kim and Otis on "Dog Beach" near Bradenton, FL.

Kim and Otis on “Dog Beach” near Bradenton, FL.

Me and Kim and baby Otis.

Me and Kim and baby Otis.

Kim in front of the Old State House in Little Rock, AR.

Kim in front of the Old State House in Little Rock, AR.

Poor Otis broke her little elbow, and Kim and I had to take her to a veterinary orthopedist for surgery.  These are her healing stitches.

Poor Otis broke her little elbow, and Kim and I had to take her to a veterinary orthopedist for surgery. These are her healing stitches.

Here is Otis on "Dog Beach" near Bradenton, FL.

Here is Otis on “Dog Beach” near Bradenton, FL.

The Saugatuck Bear -- special gift from Kim on our trip to Michigan, stolen by Paula.

The Saugatuck Bear — special gift from Kim on our trip to Michigan, stolen by Paula.

I have to comment on the above photo as well.  I have collected stuffed animals since forever — well at least since my great-aunt gave me a sock money I named Toppy when I was about 4 years old.  When I moved to the UK to be with Paula, I had the equivalent of what would fit in 4 garbage bags, of stuffed animals.  All given to me over the years by people who were special to me.  One of them went all the way back to my time with my first partner, Dee, from the 1970s.  I had to to pare them down to the most precious few, because obviously I couldn’t take all of them to England.  Paula herself gave me two teddy bears.  But when I fled the UK after Otis was “destroyed,” Paula kept everything except one of the bears she’d given me.  😦

A photo of me inside Luray Caverns in Virgina.  (I'll bet you anything my friend, L, has something to say about this!!)

A photo of me inside Luray Caverns in Virgina. (I’ll bet you anything my friend, L, has something to say about this!!)

Another shot of me relishing the Pacific Ocean on our trip to San Francisco.

Another shot of me relishing the Pacific Ocean on our trip to San Francisco.

0 Terry and Faux Champagne for Kim - Bethesda - 1996

The above photo needs comment, along with one a little further down.  I was so excited when Kim was moving to be with me that I dressed up Coke bottles to look like champagne and cooked her a meal.  Anyone who knows me knows that cooking for someone is the greatest signifier of love I can do.  Me and cooking don’t mix!

Mo and Otis on the pontoon boat on the Gulf of Mexico in Bradenton, FL.

Me and Otis on the pontoon boat on the Gulf of Mexico in Bradenton, FL.

Me and the "Saugatuck bear" Kim gave me when we visited Michigan.

Me and the “Saugatuck bear” Kim gave me when we visited Michigan.

Snoozing with Otis in our condo.

Snoozing with Otis in our condo.

Kim and I moved out of my tiny efficiency apartment into a much larger one, and I'm assembling some furniture so she had a place to put her computer.

Kim and I moved out of my tiny efficiency apartment into a much larger one, and I’m assembling some furniture so she had a place to put her computer.

Me standing in front of the Old State House in Little Rock, in one of our trips back to Arkansas.  This was where Bill Clinton held his celebration when he won re-election.

Me standing in front of the Old State House in Little Rock, in one of our trips back to Arkansas. This was where Bill Clinton held his celebration when he won re-election.

Me and Otis lounging in our condo in Cleveland Park.

Me and Otis lounging in our condo in Cleveland Park.

Another pic from a trip to Arkansas with Kim and dogs; me playing my dad's old piano, now covered in nicotine from my mother's smoking.

Another pic from a trip to Arkansas with Kim and dogs; me playing my dad’s old piano, now covered in nicotine from my mother’s smoking.

0 Welcome Meal Terry Made for Kim - Bethesda - 1996

The above is the meal I cooked for Kim upon her arrival in Bethesda…

This photo was taken at the 2005 inauguration of George W Bush.  I mentioned it in my post about Brittle Bird.  Dressed in black with black balloons to protest.

This photo was taken at the 2005 inauguration of George W Bush. I mentioned it in my post about Brittle Bird. Dressed in black with black balloons to protest.

The above photo is from the second Bush inauguration, mentioned in my post about Brittle Bird called I’m Not a “Mug” …Anymore.

Kim holding baby Otis.

Kim holding baby Otis.

Kim all moved into my apartment in Bethesda, preparing to cook a meal for me.

Kim all moved into my apartment in Bethesda, preparing to cook a meal for me.

Kim and dogs soaking in the sun on the porch of our cabin during our visit to Luray Caverns and Virginia.

Kim and dogs soaking in the sun on the porch of our cabin during our visit to Luray Caverns and Virginia.

This is from our trip to Rehoboth Beach, DE.

This is from our trip to Rehoboth Beach, DE.

Kim and Baby Otis - About 1998 - Washington, DC

Kim posing with Otis as she is about to leave for some important event at work.

Kim and Otis - About 1999 - Washington, DC

Kim and Otis at Rock Creek Park in DC. Otis *loved* her tennis balls, and you can see her pink one in the photo.

Probably shouldn't include this one, but everything is covered.  Otis liked to snip at the soap suds when we took a bubble bath.

Probably shouldn’t include this one, but everything is covered. Otis liked to snip at the soap suds when we took a bubble bath.

Otis loved to climb; here she is on Kim's back.

Otis loved to climb; here she is on Kim’s back.

Kim, my mother, and me on one of our trips with Otis and Henry to Arkansas.

Kim, my mother, and me on one of our trips with Otis and Henry to Arkansas.

My company sponsored a kayaking trip on the Potomac, and you see the DC skyline at sunset.  Kim was good at rowing, me not so great.  We passed by the infamous steps that are seen in the movie "The Exorcist."

My company sponsored a kayaking trip on the Potomac, and you see the DC skyline at sunset. Kim was good at rowing, me not so great. We paddled by the infamous steps that are seen in the movie “The Exorcist.”

San Francisco as it looks from Alcatraz.

San Francisco as it looks from Alcatraz.

Me at Alcatraz on our trip to San Francisco.

Me at Alcatraz on our trip to San Francisco, or was I on one of the ships that were docked in the bay?

Me being comforted by the Christmas moose.

Me being comforted by the Christmas moose.

Our first Christmas together, Kim got me a *big* moose.

Our first Christmas together, Kim got me a *big* moose.

Kim and Otis and I visited her parents in Bradenton, FL, many times.  They had a winter condo on the Gulf of Mexico and a pontoon boat.  This was in the boat on the gulf.

Kim and Otis and I visited her parents in Bradenton, FL, many times. They had a winter condo on the Gulf of Mexico and a pontoon boat. This was in the boat on the gulf.

So excited when Kim moved to Bethesda!!  This was me helping her unpack her U-Haul.

So excited when Kim moved to Bethesda!! This was me helping her unpack her U-Haul.

There've been many trips to the National Zoo over the years.  Our condo was only a short walk from the zoo.

There’ve been many trips to the National Zoo over the years. Our condo was only a short walk from the zoo.  (Yes, I wore matching socks and t-shirt.)

Playing Scrabble!!  (The Scrabble board I'd had since I lived at home with my mother -- Paula stole it.)

Playing Scrabble!! (The Scrabble board I’d had since I lived at home with my mother — Paula stole it.)

My vintage Scrabble game was another thing stolen by Paula.  I’d had it since I was in high school.  This was one of the games I was playing with Brittle Bird.  Part of my job involved doing computer programming in the Perl language, which explains my t-shirt.

Sitting on the beach of the Pacific Ocean near San Francisco...  The sunset was stunning that day.

Sitting on the beach of the Pacific Ocean near San Francisco… The sunset was stunning that day.

This one was taken in Virginia, near Luray Caverns.  We had rented a cabin after my top surgery...

This one was taken in Virginia, near Luray Caverns. We had rented a cabin after my top surgery…

Me and Kim and our baby girl, Otis again.

Me and Kim and our baby girl, Otis again.

We went to several DC gay pride marches -- on this one, Kim had to "work" by staffing a booth.

We went to several DC gay pride marches — on this one, Kim had to “work” by staffing a booth.

Kim taking a break from her staffing duties and sitting on my knee…  She worked for a non-profit that provided support for persons with HIV/AIDS at that time.

Here we are in front of Lake Michigan with the Saugatuck bear.

Here we are in front of Lake Michigan with the Saugatuck bear.

On her first visit to meet me, Kim and I went with friends to Nags Head, NC.

On her first visit to meet me, Kim and I went with friends to Nags Head, NC.

When Kim and I (and my friends Mo and Kay, who I will post about in the future) went to Nags Head in 1996, it was the first time in my life I’d seen the ocean.  They all said I squealed like a girl!!!!  Imagine that…

Sitting on a bench somewhere... Rock Creek Park?

Sitting on a bench somewhere… Rock Creek Park?

Just a cute, snuggly picture of me and Kim.

Just a cute, snuggly picture of me and Kim.

Me and Kim and our baby girl, Otis.

Me and Kim and our baby girl, Otis.

On her first visit to the DC area, this is where I took Kim to eat.

On her first visit to the DC area, this is one of the restaurants where I took Kim to eat.

This song used to be one of mine and Paula’s, but today, I’m re-purposing it for Kim….  At least she was a real lesbian.

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About DogDharma

Dog Dharma is written by a human who loves dogs and who believes dogs have attained enlightenment. The human behind Dog Dharma came from humble origins, has faced many trials, enjoyed many adventures, and taken a path less traveled. He claims no special privilege or expertise, and remains humble. Dog Dharma‘s author has learned a few things along the way, and has much yet to learn. He has been told by many people that he has a talent for writing, and aspires to write a book, but is a little too lazy and disorganized, so his blog will suffice for now. He opens a window into his life in the hope that some of his words may be of comfort, some may be a beacon or warning, and perhaps he will connect with like-minded souls. Everything shared comes from a place of openness and honesty, but with no claim that he possesses the Truth. People and places mentioned should be taken as pseudonyms. In many cases, details may be an amalgamation of actual events disguised to protect the “innocent.” Nothing written is to be taken as actual fact, but as the author of Dharma Dog‘s limited understanding. From the mouths of the Beatles: In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make
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2 Responses to Almost 20 Years? Really???

  1. Jamie Ray says:

    Otis looks like a sweetie. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to have him taken away from you like that. It is truly heartbreaking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • DogDharma says:

      Jamie, Otis was a best sweetheart ever. Smartest dog I’ve ever known, full stop. What happened to her was one of the greatest tragedies of my life and absolutely unforgivable.

      One thing I constantly had to explain about Otis was that she was a “she.” The name was unintentional. When I was looking for a puppy, I started calling the hoped-for puppy “Otis,” and by the time I’d found the right pup, the name had stuck. She wasn’t transgendered, but I think she was butch. 🙂 And Henry, her younger “brother” in some of the photos, well, I’m sure he was gay because he was quite prissy. If I was a naughty daddy, I would have painted his toenails pink which would have gone nicely with his glossy black fur, but I didn’t want to embarrass him! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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