Friday, October 5, 2012

Yeah, Yeah, I'm Overdue. General Boring Update Time.

     Obviously, we've been moved into our new home for over a month now.  We still have some organizing and possession reduction to accomplish, but we are quite settled in.  We've been enjoying watching the deer mosey through the yard looking for apples, collecting and consuming apples ourselves, and generally existing in our cozy domicile.

     Living with Horus is going quite well.  We officially hit the six-month relationship mark in mid-September, and didn't realize it for another two weeks.  *facepalm*  Things are not always perfect, but we are constantly growing together, and that is good.  It's been so... normal otherwise, and there isn't really a whole lot to say.

     I'm still struggling to find the combination of time and energy to renew my relationship with Ptah.  We've rarely had the same schedule lately, but I think that won't be an issue much longer, as work has come to a screeching halt.  We're experiencing a severe lack of precipitation, and it seems unlikely that we will start getting rain before we start getting frost, so plants aren't really growing... and plants are my work.

     Before we moved, we cared for, and then found an organization to take, a litter of feral kittens and their mother.  The kittens were able to be socialized and put up for adoption, but their mother will likely never think much of humans, so we have kept her as a barn cat.  The lady who runs the rescue organization had another recent momcat who was wild, and was having trouble finding a home for her... so we have two barn cats.  The outside ladies seem to tolerate each other, and have been in the workshop for over a month, so home should be firmly established for them.  We'll start letting them outside any day now.

     The inside cats have completely adjusted.  They seem to like the hardwood floors (and especially the rugs on them), and the myriad of windows around the house. 

     All in all, life is rather mundane.  But life is also good.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Plan 1.0

     There have been some exciting developments in my life.  I wanted to make sure everything was actually going to work out before posting anything, but we found a house.  We'll still be renting, but the new home will be cheaper, has more useable space inside and out, and just walking into it tends to make people smile.

     It also has a third bedroom.  For Horus.
    
     ...

     Yes, that's right, the new house is going to be specifically for Ptah, Horus, and myself.  I also keep expecting something to start going horribly wrong with that, and it hasn't yet.  To be honest, I expect Horus to start worrying and stressing about living with a partner, since his prior experience with that wasn't so fantastic.  And a part of me wonders if a different part of me *wants* him to freak out, so that I can.  And then I realize that I'm just being silly and thinking myself in circles.

     The thing is, this move just makes sense.  It shouldn't; our relationship isn't six months old yet.  But time has never been a factor in our relationship decisions, and the effort that we've put into connection has had the result of making it feel like a years-long relationship.  Also, we have similar and compatible life goals, which brings me to the main reason this move is awesome.  We get to implement the first iteration of The Plan.

     The Plan is what I call the dreams Ptah and I have talked about for a couple years.  Before we became partners, in fact, it really began before I even decided on polyamory.  Some time ago, though, I decided to call them plans, rather than dreams, because dreams usually don't come true.  After that, most of those little plans got rolled up into The Plan.  And I'm sure you're wondering what that Plan is.

     Independence.  Community.  Tiny Houses.  Gardens.  Sustainability.  Goats and /or sheep.  Chickens.  Building ourselves, and building things ourselves.  Rain barrels and water efficiency.  Earning a living with our own hands.  An outside shower, and now a sauna.  That's the beginning.  Several months ago, I mentioned The Plan to Horus, and it turned out that he had been having thoughts in a similar direction.  This house, the one that we are moving into, is on an acre of land.  The owner lit up when I mentioned that we wanted to have gardens and chickens.  The house is already equipped with rain barrels.  And so, we will get to start our way on this journey.  Now.  We don't have to wait until we can buy land, we get to start now.  Sure, we won't be living in the place forever, but we will get to learn and practice and figure out what works best for us.  I am incredibly excited, when I'm not focusing on what a pain in the ass it is to move, that is. 

     Soon, I'll have to tell the story of how we found this place.  It's so full of serendipity that I started feeling extra suspicious of the universe.

     Anyway, it's bedtime.  To the future we go!
    

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Post 50!: A Poem I Wrote At Work.

Some ladies are classy, in suits and/or gowns,
This lady is grassy, not suited for town.
Some ladies are flirty, the men will adore,
This lady is dirty, that's not metaphor.
Some ladies are chic, hair perfectly done,
This lady is thick, and brown from the sun.

But when change does the world, and if there's a dearth,
It will be dirty girls, who inherit the earth.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dissolution Discussion.

     So I received my divorce paperwork the other day.  I'm pretty sure that Thoth's girlfriend (you know, the one he tried to hide from me) actually filled everything out for him, as I know it's not his handwriting, and it was definitely not done by a professional.  The return address on the envelope was also "[Thoth] c/o [Thoth's girlfriend]" so I think it's safe to say that either he lives with her, or they decided to have the paperwork sent back to her residence for some reason or another.  Considering the further information that he did not collect any dishes, or most of his furniture and decorative items, I'm going to assume that he moved in with her.  After knowing each other for a couple months.  That's going to work out well, I'm sure.

     My skepticism has less to do with the amount of time, though, and more to do with the fact that I know he's already lying to her.  The divorce paperwork makes no mention of debts, in fact states (in her handwriting) that there are no debts... and he has several thousand dollars of them from before we were married.  I have to somehow find out whether I could possibly be held accountable for those debts before I return the paperwork.  If I could be, then there is no way I am agreeing to terms which do not state that those debts are his and his alone. 

     I obviously feel a moral quandary here.  If I believe that he is lying to her (and I know from direct experience that he believes lying is justified if it makes life easier for him), and she has no way of knowing that he is lying to her about those debts until they become financially intertwined, and I have an avenue for sharing that information so that she could make a fully informed decision... well, there's a part of me that feels I should.  Of course, all it would really do would be to turn me into The Incredible Bitch in their eyes, so I suppose I will leave it alone.  Unless, of course, it is a choice between my possible liability and the truth.

     The paperwork was most likely supposed to give me sad feelings.  Between the address and feminine-but-not-professional handwriting, the opinion of a couple other people when I gave those details, and my own thoughts, I believe the paperwork is intended as a jab in my direction, but also a possessive claim by said girlfriend.  As though I regret anything in regards to the end of this relationship.

     I've mentioned before that I did/do appreciate things that this relationship gave to me.  The autonomy I had to find my own paths and develop my own self, the discovery and exploration of polyamory, some of the friends I still have... and those are big things.  The benefits I gained are in no way cancelled by the more challenging or outright bad aspects of that relationship.  I still appreciate them.  And I hope that Thoth will retain some of the good things he gained.  But I do have regrets.

     There was deception on his part from the beginning of our relationship, and signs of some of the other things which ultimately drove me to call an end to it.  I wish I had listened to myself more, had more confidence in myself, and been more realistic about what those things meant.  I wish I had had a clearer idea of what construed a dealbreaker for me, and known that I was valuable enough to not have to accept those things.  I was lied to about many things, large and small.  I was attacked by him any time anyone else had a problem with me; we were not on the same team much of the time.  I was very rarely told that I was loved, or appreciated, or even shown without words.  Every time I made it clear that I had a need, minimal effort was put in. 

     I tried so hard for most of those six years to be a good partner, and I encouraged his growth in so many ways.  He never really tried unless it was absolutely necessary to keep me around.  I fulfilled his needs, and mine were ignored. 

     It's enough to give a person pause when reflecting on a (nearly) six-year relationship.  Was there ever any actual love on his part? Or did I just fulfill the need for a maid and a warm body? I cleaned up his house, literally, and financially.  When we met, he was living in a house he couldn't afford, living on credit cards and fast food, with trash and clutter everywhere, and I helped him change all of that.  I know he is better off than he was when we met.  He might have less stuff, but he couldn't have sustained that life anyway... his credit cards were all maxed out a few months after we started spending time together.

     So do I have regrets? Yes.  I regret that I did not value myself more.  I regret that I did not demand to be valued by my partner.  I honestly hope that this new person in his life will bring new good things to him, and he to her.  I hope that he will grow in the ways he couldn't with me, and live a happy, fulfilling life.  I hope that he comes to recognize how terribly wrong he was in his treatment of our relationship, and learns from that, too.  I wish him well, really.

     But I'm glad it's almost over for good.

     Will I ever get married again? Maybe... well, probably, as long as our society rewards us for signing those papers.  I could mainly see doing it for health insurance, or other security-based reasons.  But also, I do like being married, and I am sort of an optimist in that regard.  I should probably know better by now.

    

Monday, July 2, 2012

I Want...

I want time.
Time enough to take care of the things that need to be done,
Time enough to do the things I wish to do.
Time to care for my partners as they deserve,
Time to finally grieve for the end of the relationship I no longer have.
Time to shave my legs and make gallons of iced tea.
Time to deshed the cats and put art on the walls of my room.
Time to reconnect with Ptah.
Time to really rest.

I want affection.
Affection unmitigated by the moods I've been in lately,
Affection free to be enjoyed.
Affection that does not cause guilt because I'm not fit to return it properly,
Affection which only gives good things.
Affection of the physical sort, and the emotional.
Affection from partners and from friends.
Affection for others.
Affection for myself.

I want security.
Security in my needs being met, basic and otherwise,
Security in my relationships.
Security in the knowledge that the car will keep running,
Security that there will still be work.
Security in my bank account and in the future.
Security in my ability to handle things and even prosper.
Security in my ability to do the right thing.
Security in myself.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Best Viewed Large

 

     After the phone/Thoth debacle, Ptah and I just got ourselves a plan of our own.  Which happened to come with phones equipped with 8 megapixel cameras.  I enjoy the details ever so much.  This photo has been manipulated a bit as far as contrast, gamma correction, and just a hint of color saturation, to bring out the bubbles and splashing bits a little more.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

These Batteries Must Be In The Wrong Way.

     I've been having a difficult time feeling positive lately.  I've been physically drained because of work, going through the emotional process of recognizing just how much I did not know Thoth and how little everything meant to him, feeling guilty that my relationship with Ptah has been set on the back burner while I deal with everything else, and fear that the joy I find in my relationship with Horus will feel too much like pressure and expectation.  I feel like I have no real purpose currently, no concrete goals, no forward movement.  I don't have the time and the energy concurrently to pursue my more fulfilling creative endeavors, or to spend the time exploring the world that I would like.  I can't afford to take road trips. 

     Blah blah blah, I don't have this, and I can't do that, I'm so pitiful, whiny whine whine.

     I knew something had to change when I found myself thinking that I should end one of my relationships, just because I was being and feeling difficult.  That's old thinking, from way back when I was a much less happy and healthy person.  I don't think like that anymore... or so I thought, anyway.  When people are in times of intense emotional distress, they tend to revert to old patterns, or to act based on their cognitive and emotional weaknesses, rather than their strengths.

     When people I am close to get like this, I have an exercise I use with them, to try to help them enter a more positive state of mind.  I basically just ask them to list positive things; either about their life in general, or about themselves.  If they are stuck in a dark place and can't do so, I ask them to look for positivity externally: with relationships or other people, possibly even environmental subjects.  Anyway, I suppose it's time to do this exercise with myself.  So, no qualifiers, no negative addenda, no minimizing of anything in the list is allowed.  Only the positive.

Positive things in my life:
     -I have a comfortable place to live, with a lovely yard and view.
     -I have enough to eat on a daily basis.
     -I have work which I find fulfilling and pays better than anything else I could expect to do with no experience.
     -My relationship with Ptah, which I know will be stable and secure now and in the future, even if the nature of it evolves with time. 
     -My relationship with Horus, which I know will leave me with much in the way of growth and knowledge of myself, even should it end.
     -I have cats who know when I'm feeling down, and stay close to me.  They provide a surprising amount of companionship, with very little in the way of demand.
     -We have a vehicle which functions.

Positive things about myself:
     -I nurture people.  I help them grow in a safe environment.
     -I endeavor to express my feelings for others.
     -I constantly work on being the person I want to be.
     -I am skilled at my work.
     -I accept that which most consider physical flaws, and in fact, find joy in exploring them.
     -I cook tasty food.
     -I often bring new sensual (relating to the senses) pleasures to people.
     -I am highly intelligent and practically creative.
     -I am empathic by nature, and have learned many other skills based on that.
     -I am good with colors; such as combining fabrics, smearing pastels, or painting.
     -I am good at eye contact.
     -I am honest and trustworthy.
     -I am generally a good companion for the right person.
     -I care deeply about humanity.
    
     I think that's a decent list to get my mental ball rolling.  Some other things I'm thinking about now include the qualities belonging to Ptah and Horus, The Plan (for the future, which I'll have to write about soon), my intangible goals... I think this did help a bit.
    

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Right Now...

I'm thinking one of those thoughts I never would have thought I would think.
I need my dominant.
I need steady, I need strength, I need to be told certain things. Later, I'll be able to ask for words, and that will have to do... But it won't be as fulfilling, or as helpful, as being held would be.
Not that I don't feel fortunate to get even just the words.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Skipping Milestones

     I haven't been writing much lately, obviously.  Part of that has been a lack of time and energy due to it being our busy season at work.  But also, as I like to say, I am a creature of inertia.  When I start writing a lot, it is easy for me to continue writing a lot.  But when I stall... it's hard to get going again.

     In short, though, the month has been full of milestones.

     Thoth has moved most of his things out.  He still has a bit of furniture, some decorative items, and four plastic totes to pick up.  He requested last week that Ptah and I pack the rest of the stuff into the basement for him to collect a day or two later, and then never came for them.  Of course, we haven't gathered the items either, but seriously... I packed much of his stuff for him already.  I'm kind of annoyed at being expected to do so, especially since he apparently believes he can just show up whenever he wants to collect it.  He also had my phone shut off (and my sister's) with no warning.  I'm fine with having to get my own account, in fact I'd planned on it, and I was planning on pitching in on the bill until I could do so.  But a few days' notice would have been the respectful thing to do... I rely on my phone for work purposes much of the time; to have to go without phone service has been a minor nightmare.

     But then, the past few months have been full of nothing but childish behavior from him, so I'm not exactly surprised.  I admit that this whole debacle hurts a bit.  To think that someone I spent almost six years of my life with can just turn around and be so callous... well, I only feel more correct in my decision to end things as time passes.  That doesn't mean that I wanted it to end so stupidly.  That was his choice. 

     Earlier this month, Ptah and I celebrated one year together.  Well, we acknowledged it, anyway.  I had to work a long day on the date, and our work schedules have been preventing us from celebrating properly.  So May 10th was Beach Day (Official), and the next day we have off together and can plan a beach adventure will be Beach Day (Observed).  The lack of time and energy to put into our relationship has caused a little unhappiness, but we've talked about it, and we both know that the future will still be there for us.  We'll get that time when we get that time, and there's no reason to suffer in frustration until then. 

     On the 13th, Horus and I celebrated two months of official relationship titles.  I had requested that he find the sappiest way to acknowledge the day that he could, and so we went camping.  At midnight, his watch beeped and he turned to me and said "Happy anniversary."  I was too grumpy (due to other things) to properly state my appreciation at the time, but I was tickled.  In the morning I woke first and got to spend a good chunk of time alone, with nothing to do but stare at the mountains and watch the birds and sit in the morning sun.  It was good... especially after a long work week plus. 

     Then it got hot, and I got grumpy and tired.  So we played at the river, and sent burning moss downstream.  Okay, I suppose one had to be there to fully appreciate it.  But seriously, it was some of the most fun I'd had in a long time. 

     Horus and I are acquiring quite a collection of rocks from our time together.  From the day we met in person, the majority of our time in the outdoors together has resulted in at least a few interesting rocks being picked up and pocketed.  Finding them in various pockets and random places always brings back some pleasant time together.  Each one represents some moment, some milestone.  Because, really, all of the moments spent with anyone we really care about are important. 

     Even the small quiet ones. 

     Even the ones with no words, no apparent significance.  Sometimes, the biggest moments are those which just involve being, and knowing that the person next to us is there because they want to be.

     With Ptah, those moments are what hold us together when there's no time for much else.  Our relationship started with a quiet and deep friendship, and that is still there.  Perhaps it always will be.

     With Horus, those moments are few and far between, but I appreciate them no less.  And the rocks we gather are a visible representation of the important times we've had.  It's still a relatively small collection, but I think it's likely to get much bigger in the future.  I look forward to collecting those moments. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Phone Pictures and Reflection Time.

(General life update: Thoth informed Ptah and myself that he could not pay rent because he had been paying the cell phone bill, which he had apparently gotten a few months behind on, without help.  I had to inform him that he hadn't been paying his share of the other household bills, which would have been more than twice as much as my share of the phone bill, so he could either help pay rent, or consider himself no longer living here.  I have no idea what he's been doing with his money, other than eating out constantly and hanging out with his girlfriend, but his poor money management does not mean that he gets to take advantage of us.  For at least the two previous months, he's made more money than Ptah and me combined, and we weren't complaining about the bills until he expected us to carry him completely and pay for his mistakes.  He came, packed a bag, and still hasn't said a word in response.  So soon, if he does not collect his things, I will be packing them up and putting them in the basement, except for the things which might be damaged by being stored there.  I may be angry, but I'm not going to be mean.  I just refuse to be taken for granted anymore.)

**********

It's now May, and the last time I posted phone pictures was around the end of December.  I wanted partly to immortalize some of the better photos I've taken, but also to reflect on some of the good times I've had over the past few months.



We had some really great snow in January, and the cats all found it just fascinating.

 
Deception Pass in the snow.

 
The first fire of the year.  Which happened to be the first time Horus came to the house.  We ambled on the beach in town and picked up some rocks, came back to the house and had a fire.  Later, I made curry, tried to explain synesthesia, and tried to figure out my interest level.  We ended up spending a few hours talking outside, because it was nigh impossible to say goodbye.  I figured out later that I was being silly, I was interested, and suggested that we do that "dating" thing that people seem to like to figure out what sort of potential there was between us.

 
The box contained my leftovers from our first "date."  Which was technically the first date I ever really had.  We had sammiches, played in some parks, and pretty thoroughly connected.  In fact, when I got out of the car in the parking lot, and saw him walking toward me, my autonomic functions missed a beat and I knew I was doomed.  What I did not know was that shortly after I took this picture, a branch from the tree I was pruning would hit me squarely in the forehead and give me my first concussion.


For our second date, we had Indian food in the rain at a place which deserves the name Make-Out Point, if any place ever has.  After being out in the rain for a while, we steamed up the windows in the car, and I came away looking like I had been mauled by a pack of kittens.  Or thoroughly enjoyed some sensation play, whatever.  Horus brought me home, Ptah called me adorable, and I got all sorts of embarrassed.

 
Ptah and I were running some errands one day, and decided to stop for lunch.  We had completely forgotten that it was Valentine's day, and so we both ended up inadvertently having our first Valentine's Day celebration... together.

 
Mojito on the beach after a long and muddy day at work.


Rhododendron and bee.  I was never a big fan of the rhodies before I started this job.  But they bloom at different times, some multiple times a year, have green foliage all year long, and require minimal maintenance to look this good.  This particular plant was a treat in the gloom of February.


Ptah bought a car.  If you ever get stuck in the trunk for some reason, there are instructions on how to get out.  I just love the icons.



Ptah has had a few opportunities to work with me this year.  He's been able to see me at some of my best.  I'm good at my work, and I know it.  I'm happy and confident, and I'm glad he's been able to work with me.  He's a quick study, and has been a pleasure to work with.

 
We had an ice storm one day.  It left a good sized layer of ice chunks all over everything, and looked awesome.  It took hours to fully melt.

 
There's a local Chinese restaurant which will make pretty much any dish gluten free.  They're a little pricy, so we've only been there a couple of times, but Ptah and I enjoy it quite a bit.

 
I walked into the basement one day, and almost stepped on this frog.  It kept trying to hop away from me, and was getting wood shavings all over itself, so I picked it up and took it to show to the guys.  Ptah was kind enough to hold it so that I could take pictures.  I then took it to a part of our yard where water collects, and it hopped away.

 
My hair being dominated.  It's mostly an inside joke between Horus and myself.  In the beginning, I found myself asking him whether I should put my hair up or down, among other things.  And since he likes to brush it (well, and pull on it), I made the comment that he apparently owns my hair.  Some time later, photographic evidence.  Seriously, it's more joke than actual perception of ownership.

 
...And then we come to my lead.  I made it myself.  Horus gave me the webbing, and some red satin ribbon.  I essentially made fun of the kink community for its attachment to red and black (with the occasional black and purple allowed), and said that I wasn't really into cliche.  So I found this awesome rainbow ribbon I had already, and Horus agreed that it would work.  I made a blindfold as well, but a few mistakes happened which will be remedied in the revised version.  I'm actually rather pleased with the engineering and functionality that went into it, I just should have made a mock-up first.

 
Ptah and I found these amazing tomatoes at the grocery store.  Yes, we get excited about the small stuff.

 
I took some pictures of Horus and myself on the beach one day.  He was finding and chopping wood for our firepit, and I liked the way this turned out.

 
To celebrate one month of official relationship titles, Horus and I went to watch the sunset. 

 
We found some four-leaf clovers at a job one day.  I picked these two, then my boss found a whole bunch located in one patch.  I suspect that that particular patch of clover carries a genetic mutation or something, as no other patches of clover in the same yard had such a preponderance of four-leaf clovers.


Flowering cherry tree blossoms.  These particular trees do not produce any fruit, but have really beautiful flowers.  I love the spring time.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Post 42: If Only the Answers Were That Simple.

     Why?

     It's the hardest question to answer, and the one that's on my mind the most lately.
          -Why did Thoth decide to so thoroughly burn the bridge we shared?
          -Why did I accept an unfulfilling relationship for so long?
          -Why do I feel mostly responsible for that duration of unhappiness?
         
     Actually, those are rather easy.  1) Probably because he felt hurt that I broke up with him, couldn't handle his feelings in a constructive way, and didn't really care to put any effort into maintaining any kind of relationship.  That last, after all, is why I gave up in the first place.  2) Simple.  Because I had hope that it would get better.  3) Because I've had a life full of responsibility, and I've known all along that if anything were to change, I would have to be the one to initiate it. 
    
     There are greater, and much more complicated, questions swirling around in my head lately, though.
          -Why am I a poly person?
          -Why do I enjoy the dynamic between Horus and myself?

     Okay, so the general answer to the first question is because I want to be a poly person.  The middle-ground reason is that I find fulfillment in forming and maintaining multiple relationships with the knowledge and consent of all involved parties.  The real, foundational reason I am/feel this way? I don't know.  I honestly have no idea.  I can list all of the benefits and challenges of polyamory I want, and I can expound on the philosophical reasons I have chosen this path to whoever will listen, but as to why, at my core, I am this way?  I HAVE NO FUCKING CLUE.  This disconcerts me.  There is no event in my upbringing which led me to "need" this relationship choice, there is no psychological *reason* for me to feel/be this way.  And I don't like that not knowing.  I think it's entirely possible that I was born wired this way (It's a debate even amongst poly people whether that's actually possible.  I see saying that it's not possible as akin to saying that people aren't born homosexual, i.e., ridiculous.), which would still leave the question of why I was born this way, and many other people were not.  Most of the answers I have read postulated by others feel like half-truths at best.

     The last question? I believe that will deserve an entire post unto itself... when I am ready. 

**********

     Most of that was written over a week ago, and I never got around to finishing the post.  It's hardest for me to write when I need it the most.  I was actually going to just post a bunch more phone pictures as a cop-out, but I couldn't throw away the opportunity to make a nerdy reference to my number of posts.  Even though I wasn't a huge fan of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

     I suppose I should give a general update, though. 

     Thoth is still living here, even though he told Ptah about four weeks ago that he would be moving out "in a couple weeks."  I have no idea when he will be leaving, as he is still utterly uncommunicative, and I don't think I can ask without it turning ugly.  The atmosphere in the house is terribly uncomfortable, and I can't wait for him to move out.  I still think it will be good for him, and that is still important to me, but my anger at the whole "lying to make things easier on himself with no regard to anyone else" thing is still in existence, and likely will be for some time.  I also have some sadness at this stupid end to a relationship that lasted almost six years.  I've been trying not to dwell on it, and not to bring that negative energy to the guys who still act like they care about me. 

     Apparently it hasn't been working, a fact which was brought up by Horus a few days ago.  And so I started feeling bad about that, in addition to facing some of my feelings with the Thoth situation.  Yay for a minor depression? Right...

     We had our first SCA event of the season last weekend, which was also a source of much sadness.  I got to see one of my favorite people, which is always good, but for the most part I saw from afar many people who used to be my friends.  None of whom have ever bothered to ask me for my side of the reasons they think they can't be my friends anymore.  I also had a major headache for the majority of the event, so it really wasn't any fun at all.

     Work has been very busy lately, which is good because I'll be able to stash away some money, but bad because my relationships are suffering due to my lack of available time and energy.  The more time I spend in two relationships which are actually fulfilling, and involve time and energy investment, the more sure I am that I couldn't handle more than two and still give my relationships the care and attention they deserve.  Last night, I sacrificed sleep in the name of quality time to spend the night with Horus... it meant getting up an hour earlier than usual to get to work on time, but the net result was definitely worth it.  It's good to know that I have that option if work and living circumstances don't allow for any other way to really reconnect.  And other than my lack of time and energy, both of my relationships are continuing to go very well for all involved. 

     It's good to be loved.  And not good to be unloved.  Maybe that's all the answer I should really need.

    

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Right Now...

     I tremble with rage.
     Thoth spent a bunch of my money, so I have none and there isn't enough money in the bank to cover his rent check. He is in a new relationship, which I found out from Facebook... Which is also where I learned that he is planning on moving out.
     Because that apparently didn't seem like the kind of thing one should tell the people one lives with.
     I know many people wonder why I broke up with him, and think I'm in the wrong. Many people think I should feel bad for my decision, Thoth included. But all he's been doing is proving to me that I made the right choice... Even if not for the reasons I originally thought.
     Seeing as how I apparently don't even deserve the respect he would give a loose acquaintance, I'm done trying to maintain some semblance of friendship. I'm done being discounted and disrespected.  I'm done with deception, I'm done with the lack of communication.
     This relationship is now irrevocably broken.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Substratum

     Love is a many-splendored thing, or so they say.

     I say that love is a many-layered thing.  There are so many components which make up love, separate things which are mashed together to create one whole object.  Some of those layers are easily visible, others are more hidden from the casual observer.  Some comprise the bedrock on which the rest of our love can exist.  Depending on the particular type of love, and the particular relationship between particular people, those layers can be very different indeed, and comprise formations of varying strength and benefit. 

     To take the equation of love and geology further... If what you want is sandstone, no granite will satisfy, and vice versa.

     I'm generally pretty flexible when it comes to expectations in relationships.  I like giving what is wanted from me, and like receiving what is freely given.  I speak all of the love languages pretty well, I like figuring out what makes one person different from another... and I enjoy what makes us truly unique.  I like finding a hunk of jade in a shale formation.  That said, sometimes, people still surprise me.

     And, holy pants, Horus continues to surprise me. 

     Actually, so does Ptah, with his amazing capacity for acceptance and being happy for other people. 

     Oh, and wait, I continue to surprise myself, as well. 

     I've been in some... interesting... relationships over the years, and I've taken on many roles in those relationships.  I've been a guide, and a healer, and a teacher, and a caretaker, and a therapist, and the lady in charge, and a servant, and an owner, and a pet, and something akin to a parent (but not in a creepy way), and someone who needed to be take care of the same way.  I've never been a part of a named power dynamic before.

     In fact, I always assumed I wouldn't go for that sort of thing.  As it turns out, I just knew the wrong people. 

     Now, I did specify named power dynamic.  I've been in several that were not named.  I'm comfortable with however expressing a relationship works best for the people in it.  For me, that can often change from moment to moment, let alone over the life of said relationship.  For that reason, and several others, the prospect of entering into a named power dynamic was rather nerve-wracking for me.  Okay, it still is a little, but pretty much all of my fears have been proven irrational, so I'm ignoring them for the time being.  You know, that whole "refusing to let fear run my life" thing I'm supposed to be doing.

     Horus identifies as dominant, and is heretofore the only person I've been sure exemplifies the title in a way I can respect (and, relate to in a lot of ways).  That doesn't mean that I don't think there are others out there, it just means that I either haven't met them, or haven't seen them prove themselves worthy of my respect in this particular way.  I, of course, have no identity in this regard, since I live in context.  But the context of this situation, the particulars involved, and the person I'm dealing with all conspire to mean that I found myself comfortable saying that while I wasn't a submissive, I would be his submissive.

     Typing it still gives me a bit of nervousness.  This is not because of anything to do with the present situation, or with Horus, but is entirely due to some people in the past being assholes.  And my own perception that with the title would come a set of expectations which are not and never were there, as well as a lack of flexibility which is also not there.  Basically, it doesn't change anything for me.  I behaved a certain way before, and I behave a certain way still.  There are no changes to how I feel about him or our relationship, but calling Horus my dominant would not be possible if it wasn't for all of the other layers of relationship we have.  At least, *I* would not be comfortable doing so.

     For me, naming a power dynamic is like the sedimentary layer on top of the rest of the relationship.  It's comprised of pieces of the rest of the parts of love, even though it might look uniform and different from the other layers without close inspection.  For him, it might be closer to the bedrock.  Recognizing that difference, while accepting that we didn't necessarily have to view the importance of the titles the same way in order to view the importance of the relationship the same way, was a large part of what helped me get over my irrational fears.  That, and every concern I've had so far has been proven to either be not really a concern, or plain silliness on my part.

     For the most part, I'm happy with my choice. We take care of each other in different ways, we both encourage growth and happiness and health.  We have love and attraction, connections in many forms, and excellent communication (most of the time).  I know that if an issue comes up, it will be solved as well as possible.  We have trust.  Trust in each other, and in our relationship.

     And that, my friends, is a solid piece of ground on which to stand.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Post 39: The One in Which I Impart My (Neurotic) Hingely Wisdom.

     The highly technical term for my part in my relationships is "hinge."  Meaning, obviously, the flexible part which connects two other parts that are not otherwise joined together.  In this particular case, "hub" might be more accurate, but might bring up the image of "hubby," which is a common vernacular for "husband."  Some use "pivot" as well, but that word connotes to me "the point on which everything turns," which I do not wish to be for anyone but myself.  The "hinge" is the point which usually connects two "legs" of a "V" (or, "vee" as I believe I will use), although in my case, it might be more metaphorically fitting to call these relationships a "Y" with me at the point of intersection. 
 
     That's really up for more debate than usual, though, as the romantic portion of my relationship with Thoth is no longer active.  That said, there are many who believe (myself included) that relationships are defined by the people in them, and no one else.  And, since I consider Thoth to still be my partner in many ways, that relationship counts as well.  Some people will use other letters and shapes to give an idea of their relationship structures: an "N" or "Z" to denote a four-person unit in which two of the people share more than one connection and the other two do not.  A "triad" to denote an equilateral relationship between three people; then there are also terms like "emotional triad," which describes a relationship between three people in which they all share affection and care, but (likely only) one of the relationships does not involve romance or physical intimacy.

     These terms and structures can get massively complicated, depending on how the person defining them sees fit to define them.  Some people include close friendships, others only direct romantic involvement.  Some include their metamours in their personal relationship structure, others do not.  In my particular case, though, things are pretty simple since, at this point, no one I'm involved with is involved with anyone else... Yes, that is a change from recent posts.  That is not my story to tell.  How I feel about being a "hinge" in a "Y" is, though.

     In short, it is amazing and awesome and work and responsibility.

     Being who I am, I see my position as one of massive responsibility.  The job I've chosen is one which involves making sure that multiple people feel connected to me, do not feel any loss of time or affection in a negative way, feel secure in their position and relationship with me, and do not feel as though they are only getting "part" of a relationship.  I remain acutely aware that they have no one else to provide those things for them, while I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet my needs with each of them.  I have (by my own reckoning) to be the best communicator, the most secure, the most thankful, the happiest, the least needful... Yes, it is kind of ridiculous, but those are what I consider my hingely duties.

     Sometimes, I push aside my own needs and wants for reassurance and security because I feel that it isn't fair, being in the position I'm in and needing those things.  I'm the one who gets all of the benefits of the multiple relationships, right?

     Well, yes and no.  To be honest, my favorite moments in this adventure are the ones in which my partners express positive feelings toward each other.  They might not be connected if it wasn't for me, but they do share something special just by virtue of this life we've all chosen.  My partners are fantastic enough to recognize that I have these responsibilities and this work, and though I have *chosen* to take them so seriously, that is a part of what makes me who I am.  And who I am is why they choose to be with me.  They know that I don't just get a bunch of fun parts (though there are many fun parts), and they are able to appreciate that the others provide things which bring me happiness, and if I'm happy, they are able to see that as a good thing.

     My relationship preferences (the lack of rules, the lack of control, and many of the philosophies I've chosen) have sort of by accident decided their relationship preferences.  They do not expect to control my relationships, they know that I will honor my relationships (and that if I do not, they need to bring it up with me), and they recognize that they are not sharing me, but that I am choosing to share myself with them.  They do not expect me to come up with rigid schedules, or spend time with them if I don't want to (though that isn't really an issue).  They consent to my ideas of how to handle new physical relationships, my ideas of honesty and disclosure, and seem to agree on most concepts I've brought forth.  In general, I see it as my duty as a hinge to be *more* permissive with my partners than they are with me, but in reality if I were any more permissive (and honestly, if they were any more permissive with themselves), we would be getting into risky territory, and no one wants that.

     One of the ways I consider myself extremely fortunate is that no one in our current situation seems to have any conflicting ideas or philosophies on how relationships should be conducted.  That makes things at least a billion times easier for all of us.  Some of the stuff Horus and I went through, though *we* were both confident in our ability to handle and negotiate things, gave me a clearer appreciation for the easy meshing of relationship styles that has been happening in my world.  Which also brings me to the idea that one of my duties is to make sure any future relationships mesh well with the ones already in place.  I already had a vague idea that this would be important, but that has also been proven to me more thoroughly as of late.  Even if my partners get along, any discomfort or chaos in one of their lives definitely affects the other(s), because of the fact that it affects me.  Ptah handled the chaos that I inadvertently brought him well, but I am still uncomfortable with the fact that I brought it to him.  Because another thing that I see as my responsibility is the idea that I should give peace and comfort to my partners as much as possible, and uncertainty and insecurity as little as possible.

     Some of the barriers involving expression and interaction between Horus and myself have been crossed lately, and that has all been going amazingly well.  In fact, so well that I have expressed the feeling that I keep expecting something disastrous to happen between us... and while some things have not gone as well for him as one might have hoped, all of the stuff between us is just awesome.  And though I have some guilt for that (because guilt is my thing, you know), much of that is gone when I express that awesomeness to Ptah and he is genuinely happy for us.  Not just for me, but also for Horus, and for our relationship.

     So while I see being a hinge as a huge job, and not always one I'm up to, the people I've chosen to have in my life give me much peace and happiness.  They make it easy to be in my position. 

     I know you guys will read this... so thank you. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I Sing the Body Positively Charged

     I've been familiar with the concept of body positivity for a long time, since long before I had a vocabulary for it.  The earliest I can remember intentionally trying to help someone feel more comfortable with their physical self, I was around fourteen years old.  I spent a lot of time reading as a teenager, and not just fiction.  I read books on massage, so that I could learn to bring others pleasure.  I learned to pay attention to the physical responses of people, their breathing, their heart rate, the muscles that tense when I touch them a certain way or in a particular place.  I learned to intentionally pour positive energy into my hands, and to appreciate the parts of us that are often overlooked.

     I noticed that people would often say things like "The female body is beautiful, but the male body is all angles and function." And I started to wonder whether these people had ever really seen the male body the way I had, because it was sure as hell amazing and wondrous and beautiful to me.  I read things like I Sing the Body Electric, and said "Yes."

     So many of us are given shame for our bodies; shame that we even have bodies, let alone shame for how we use them, shame for our enjoyment of them, shame for talking frankly about them, shame for finding the bodies of others interesting.  Shame for the parts we were born with, shame for the way our ancestry bears out in us, shame for the blemishes we acquire through living, shame for the things that make us interesting and unique and worthy of appreciation.  I said "No." to that shame, and made a point of helping those I was intimate with learn to say "No." to it, as well.

     Except, of course, when it came to myself.

     I matured physically very early.  I had my first bra (a B cup, no less) in the third grade.  I had hips and breasts and a stereotypically desirable hourglass figure... at nine years old.  This is *not* a good thing for someone who is already starting life with self-esteem issues.  I didn't know that I looked more like a woman than a girl, I just knew that I was too big.  That idea, that I was "too big" carried through the majority of my teen years.  I looked at the other girls, who were just developing at fourteen and fifteen, and wished that I could have slender thighs like them, and that my clothes would actually fit, they way theirs did.  I always felt hideous, even while fitting pretty closely the societal idea of womanly perfection.

     Of course, it never helped that clothes are not actually made for that supposedly perfect shape.  So all I knew was that I was thicker in most places than the other girls my age, my shirts pulled too tight in various places, and I had to wear men's jeans, because women's pants went too high up for my short waist.  I found much relief when I discovered thrift store shopping.  Rather than be limited to what current trends were appealing to the slender set at the time, I found satiny camisoles and velvet jackets, button-up blouses which pulled across the chest in delicious ways, pants with wider legs, which helped me look less top-heavy... I finally started to realize that my shape wasn't all bad.

     I never had a problem attracting the boys... and a few girls.  It never occurred to me that my womanly shape might be a part of that, until I was seventeen and was told as much.  Previously, and a couple of times since, I've gotten remarks about how my breasts should be perkier, or the stretchmarks on my hips (and now belly) must mean that I've been pregnant.  My butt should be rounder, my thighs (which were large even when I was slender) should be smaller, my big toes shouldn't have hair on them.  My thumbs shouldn't be so stubby, my belly (again, even when I was slender) shouldn't jiggle, I should wear more makeup, learn how to walk in heels, wear more dresses, have longer (or shorter, depending on who is judging me) hair, spend more time styling it, and paint my fingernails.

     I've spent a *lot* of time believing those things to one extent or another, even while I knew those opinions weren't worth a damn, and I didn't want to do things like wear heels, anyway.  I spent a lot of time hating my body, even while I extolled the virtues of body positivity.  I still do, really.  Mostly, though, I hate they way it's a betraying bastard at this point.  Gluten intolerance, the inability to lose weight without starvation and unhappiness, acne, joint pains, now a mystery rash which is spreading... Cluster headaches, chemical sensitivity, a nose that works too well.

     I don't exactly like how large I am now.  I don't like it at all, in fact, but I'm coming to terms with the fact that I won't *really* be able to change that.  The last time I lost any appreciable mass, I was consuming around 600 calories a day, and getting plenty of exercise.  I was unhappy, I was manic, I slept a lot... but hey, that image in the mirror is all that counts, right? Um, no.  As I am now, I am considered very overweight by most, but my blood pressure and cholesterol are good, I eat mostly real food as opposed to processed crap, and I'm happy.  I have a physical job which I love and am capable of doing.  I'm about as healthy as I'll ever be, and starving myself to lose weight would bring no benefit to me... not to mention that whatever I lost would come back as soon as I stopped starving myself.

     I've never minded extremely thin men, but I've long been disgusted by extremely thin women.  I think that has to do more with my own self-hate than anything... which I suppose should be pretty obvious.  While mega-skinny might be something I'm told to strive for, and something I could likely NEVER obtain, that's not really anyone's fault, is it? And the attitude that thin=healthy=beautiful, and everything else is bad/wrong/unattractive is *all* of us.  We all work together to perpetuate and allow this crap.  Every time someone makes a crack about how some fat person must be lazy and eat at McDonald's every day, and I say nothing, I am allowing these ideas to continue.  And the same goes for when someone makes a comment about how the skinny girl must be anorexic.

     We all have bodies.  Those bodies look and feel different.  All of those bodies are amazing things.

     The time comes when we have to ask ourselves if we'd really rather look like someone else, anyway.  I know that at this point, my body has become a part of my personality.  My squishiness is an outward symbol of my inner squishiness.  My large, soft breasts are great for comforting others and helping them feel safe and secure and loved.  (Our brains are, after all, hardwired to enjoy that sort of thing.)  I can clap a hand on my belly and get a great percussive sound... which, yes, I do enjoy doing.  This body means that most people who find me attractive will do so on the basis of my personality first. These hands, with the stubby fingers and all, have helped many people feel better about themselves.  My feet have carried me many places I've been glad to go... and away from the places I've been glad to leave.  These arms, these eyes, this brain, this torso, and these legs, all work together to complete the work which nourishes my soul. 

     The theoretical skinny girl would have her own list of benefits and challenges that come with her own body.  We *all* have those lists.  And still, every one of our bodies is worth celebrating.

     I sing the body positively charged.  Hairlines and eyebrows and hipbones and neck hollows, and that spot behind the ear, and the curl where nose meets cheek, foot arches and breastbones and elbows and ankles and knees, the insides of the wrists, and that place where trunk meets legs... pupils and irises and smile lines and lip curves, the shape of the calf muscle or the side of the neck.  The way you move when you are not conscious of yourself, only your action.  The way you move when hard at work.  The way all of your muscles and sinews and joints and bones function together to allow you to move.  The synapses which tell your lungs and heart to keep moving, so that I may know you, and you me.  The electrical impulses which form your thoughts and words and ideas and hopes and dreams.  I love them all.  I sing the body positively charged.

Monday, March 5, 2012

In Your Face and on Your Countertop.

     Okay, so from the conditioner experiment, I had some avocado pits and lime peels I didn't want to let go to waste.  Here, I will show you what I did with them.

First, grate the avocado pits.  I used a rotary grater with a small grate.  Avocado pits, just like the flesh itself, are full of those mega-awesome plant fats that are really good for our bodies.

They also start turning brown really fast.  They look more like orange peels than anything within a few minutes.  That's okay, though, they're still fine for non-eating purposes.  Add some sugar (in my case, raw sugar), and some kind of tea.  I happened to think the Moroccan Mint would do well.

Add enough oil (I used olive oil, but flaxseed would be awesome) to bind everything together and mix it up.  And you have facial scrub!

The face scrub works very well.  My face has never felt so soft... the only thing I don't like is that the avocado pits don't exactly dissolve, so there are always bits of it left in the tub and the hair-catcher.  But, you know, I have to clean that stuff out anyway, so no big deal.

**********
Next! The lime peels from the conditioner experiment went into a pot, along with the pulp and seeds I strained out.

We also had a few oranges which had been sitting in the fridge too long, and were past the point that anyone would eat them, along with a couple lemons.  And, a bunch of rosemary I trimmed off of a client's plant some months ago.  Rosemary is one of several plants which has antimicrobial properties without being ridiculously over-effective.  It doesn't smell bad, either.

After the citrus is cut into slices, and the rosemary is in small enough hunks to fit into the pot, put it all in and add a bunch of water.  Don't worry too much, this is more of an art than an exact science.
Next, cook it on the stove.  I tend to get mine to boiling, then leave it on a low simmer for a couple hours with the lid on.  This time, I then let the pot of stuff sit overnight (not heated) before dealing with the rest of the process.

And then, strain everything.  squish the liquid out of the pulp and rinds, but not too hard, or it will all fall apart, and you'll have lots of solid matter in your liquid.  Which, wouldn't necessarily be a problem if you're not going to put it in a spray bottle like I did.

Again, we need a clean and empty bottle, and a funnel.  This particular bottle came from an inherited commercial product, as you can see.

If this product is going to be used for surfaces like counters and mirrors, like it will be in this house, you'll want to add some vinegar.  We happened to have this coconut vinegar, which I thought would mesh smell-wise better than apple cider vinegar.  So my bottle is about half citrus and rosemary concoction, one quarter coconut vinegar, and one quarter water.

Since I had more than enough for the one bottle, I put the rest of the citrus and rosemary stuff in other bottles we had around the house, and haven't added anything to those yet. 

The rinds, rosemary bits, and pulp that we cooked? That's right, we have a use for that, too.
Put all of the "waste" in a blender.
And blend it until well... blended.

Simmering and soaking didn't pull out nearly all of the compounds that make citrus fruits and rosemary great for cleaning.  What we have left here, combined with some baking soda, would make a really great scrubby paste for difficult cleaning jobs.  And if you really wanted to, you could eat it.  Fantastic stuff, eh?

  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Right Now...

     Thoth's mom is up for a visit.  She had already bought her plane tickets when I talked to her about our relationship situation, and they were non-refundable, and she wanted to see both of us anyway.
    
     During that phone conversation, she said that she understood, and loved me.
    
     I was still concerned that having her here might be awkward, but we just had a lovely conversation while grocery shopping. She really does understand, truly does want the best for both of us, and agrees that Thoth needs to learn how to be an adult on his own.
    
     It is good to talk to people who understand.
    
     Now if only Thoth had done his job months ago, explained the poly situation here, and I didn't have to sleep on the couch. I think it might come up before she leaves, but I didn't want to hit her with that right away. I'm sure the fact that I'm separating from her only child is enough to deal with right now.

Monday, February 27, 2012

On the Condition of Things.

      It's been a month now since Horus and I started corresponding.  It feels like at least a billion times longer (okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but still...), due in large part to the range of our communication, the fact that it's been amazingly easy due to similar communication styles, and the depth of our interaction.

     To be honest, though, the biggest boon to this interaction is probably getting to see Ptah in the best light possible.  He's been extremely valuable in this situation; our companionship allows me to feel comfortable talking about things, and Ptah's insights have helped all of us.  I also get to have conversations like:

Me: So I told Horus he could just walk in when he arrived.  I said he belongs here.
Ptah: Yeah?
Me: Yeah, I think he was pleased.
Ptah: Well good, because he does belong here.

and

Me: We've been communicating for a month now.
Ptah: Cool.
Me: It feels like so much longer.
Ptah: It really does.
Me: I think it's because he's integrated into *our* lives so well.
Ptah: Yeah, that part has been easy.
    
     Having a safe harbor to ruminate on and discuss what's been going on in the other side of this construction project has made it possible for me to even try... I think that if Ptah had the same kind of sensitivity about the situation the rest of us have been displaying, that would likely complicate the matter to the degree that it became untenable.  Not that he's responsible for the current level of success between Horus and myself, that is also due to effort and natural compatibility.... but Ptah really helps.

     Thoth and I seem to be doing okay for the moment.  He's working a lot, and I'm still taking care of enough domestic stuff to make life easier for him.  He doesn't have to talk when he doesn't want to, and I don't have to pretend to be into a relationship which hasn't been healthy for a long time.  I explained to him that this change in our relationship didn't mean that I didn't want him in my life anymore, but that I wanted him to find happiness, and I knew that wasn't really going to happen with me.  I think that helped, but that's at least partly conjecture. 

**********

     What I really wanted to post about today is an entirely different thing.

     I have some chemical sensitivities.  Many things that have strong smells (especially fruity or floral, combined with chemical) give me a terrible headache and generally make me feel like crap.  A lady wearing too much perfume at the grocery store can ruin my day.  I've had to very carefully select my self- and house-cleaning products based on the way they smell for a bunch of years.  In my early twenties I used mostly homemade cleaners around the house, concoctions I made from citrus fruits, vinegar, and rosemary.  They always worked well, and left the house smelling clean and nice instead of chemical.  I stopped doing that when the first husband and I split up, but had been thinking about making these things again for several months.

     I've also wanted to find ways to clean and condition my hair using natural products, but never found the motivation to actually do it.  Until Horus gave me motivation.  In talking, I discovered that the same things that give me headaches elicit a much worse reaction from him.  So, finally pushed properly (I like to say that I am a creature of inertia, after all), I consulted the mighty interwebs.  I found several opinions on natural conditioners, but as my hair is super prone to tangles, I figured I'd go with something a little heavier than apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.  I looked around my kitchen, and merged a few conditioner recipes to create my own.  I'm sorry some of the pictures are fuzzy; they looked good on my phone.

Step one: gather ingredients.  I used three avocados, two cans of coconut milk, some limes that were about to go bad, and some apple cider vinegar.

Step two: prepare ingredients for use.  Peel, pit, and chop avocados.  Open cans of coconut milk.  Squeeze the juice out of the limes, and measure vinegar.  I chose a quarter cup of vinegar, because I just wanted it to basically make the final product wet enough to squeeze out of a bottle.  Save the avocado pits and lime peels, we'll have other uses for those.
Step three: put all prepared ingredients in blender.
Step four: blend until completely combined.  Yes, it looks a little icky.  It's actually a pleasant color in real life, and smells kind of nice.
Step five: acquire a clean bottle and funnel to pour the concoction into.
Step six: make a giant mess, and be reminded of Slimer.
Step seven: clean up mess, and find another clean bottle to put some of the conditioner into, after realizing that you made way too much.


     It works really well.  The first time I used the conditioner, I used way too much...  Since it's made from natural products which are compatible with the human body and hair, my hair just sucked it right up, and I didn't feel like there was actually any conditioner on my hair.  After drying, though, I realized that I had conditioned *too* well.  For the first time in memory, though, I was able to brush out all of my knots within a few minutes of getting out of the shower.

     This particular concoction would not work well for every day use (or every other day, as the case is with me) over the long-term.  One of the really nice parts is that my hair, though it feels a little oily after using the conditioner, doesn't get gross after more than two days like it would before.  So basically, it feels like the day after a shower until I wash it again.  I've been using liquid castile soap with the conditioner when I know I'm going to see Horus, and my stupid mass produced crap when I know I'm not going to see him.  I frankly don't want to use the "normal" stuff anymore, but I own it, and I can't just throw it away, so that's how things are right now. 

     Soon, I'll get into what to do with those avocado pits and lime peels.