Friday, December 27, 2013

Personality, Personally.

     The MBTI has been very useful to me personally.  There are arguments against its usefulness, based in large part on problems with the tests that are supposed to determine personality type.  I don't believe that a test can determine one's type nearly as well as prolonged, and honest, observation.  The tests are filled out by people who want to figure out what type they are, those people have personal biases for and against various personality traits, and how one gauges one's behavior is often influenced by what one has been doing recently.  If all a person wants is a set of four letters, and puts as much stock into the importance of those letters as I do into an astrological sign, then the test will suffice.

     But if you want to figure out how you operate, how other people operate, and how you can better operate together, then it takes work.  It takes honesty, and it takes the ability to acknowledge and set aside those biases that tell us that we "should" be more Thinker, or more Feeler, or what have you.  I very often see people who consistently make decisions based on Feeling judgements, decide that they are Thinking types, because they feel that they are supposed to be Thinking types... rarely do I see Thinkers make the corollary mistake.  The same can be said for Sensing types having a bias toward trying to fit into the N-mold.  It's generally considered better for women to be Feelers, and men to be Thinkers, but overall, the types people tend to view as the "best" are INTJ and ENTP, in my experience, so they will gravitate toward those on tests.

     All that to say that, like anything related to who we are and how we work, it takes honest examination to gain anything actually useful.

     My mother is an INFJ, and not the healthy sort.  When I was growing up, and still to a certain extent, she consistently pointed out my personality flaws; namely, that I wasn't sensitive enough, and that I was wrong because I wasn't more like her.  If she lied, and I pointed out the lie, I was being mean.  If she was mistaken about a concrete fact, and she didn't like the way the fact felt as much as her mistaken idea, I was being mean.  If I did not take people's feelings about everything as the primary value when I made decisions, I was being mean.  If I pointed out that my brother and sister were her children, and not mine, or that her husband was away on drinking binges more than he was at "home," I was being mean.  To the point where I was kicked out of her house at 17, because I wasn't nice about it when he beat her and neglected his children.

     I grew up being consistently bullied for my personality, and that was not enough to change it.  I still generally value honesty over "a nice lie" and I still generally value accuracy over "a nice story."  I spent a lot of years, though, believing that I was a bad person, because I wasn't more like my mom.  My first husband was much the same way, and similarly berated me for the way I thought... since I had always been taught that I was wrong, because I was less sensitive, I didn't think there was anything wrong with what he said and believed.

     A couple of years after we separated, I discovered the MBTI.  I read about the various types, I observed and stripped away my biases, and I uncovered my ISTP nature.  I finally had something that taught me that my way of operating was just one of many valid ways of operating.  I had some semblance of validation for who I was, and why I couldn't just mold myself to be more of who the people around me wanted me to be. No matter how hard they pushed, and how much I didn't like myself.

     Because of this, I started a lot of subtle changes which snowballed into a me who is much happier, and content with who I am.  I stopped feeling guilty for failing at my first job, as a telemarketer, and found the job I have now, which suits me so well.  I realized that while I wasn't wrong for being less sensitive, I probably shouldn't get into relationships with more sensitive people in the future.  At that point, I went ahead and married Thoth, because he was the epitome of not-so-sensitive; he didn't really care about much of anything.

     Present day, I have ended up with Ptah, who is an ISFJ, and Horus, who is an INFP.  Ptah and I don't have issues with sensitivity, or the lack thereof, but Horus and I do.

     When I met Horus, he had an outer shell which matched more what I was looking for in a partner.  He'd spent much of his life idealizing a version of "what a man should be," (which is actually pretty close to ISTP) and that was what he presented in the beginning of our relationship.  It didn't take very long for me to see that there was more to him than that, but by then we were very much emotionally involved.  Since shortly after we moved in together, when the shell became to difficult to maintain, it's been a hard, but mostly rewarding, road. 

     The biggest issue is that I am generally not sensitive enough, then my intent is assumed to be something it's not, then Horus reacts to what he assumes my intent is, and I am angry for being inaccurately misrepresented in a negative way... You see, it is very rare that a more sensitive person will assume Good Things when they misinterpret a less sensitive person.  We recently had one such event turn pretty serious.  Especially after other people felt the need to weigh in and defend Horus for crap they really have no idea about.  But that's understandable, when people don't actually know me at all, are sensitive, and assume the worst. 

     One of the funny parts is that it was explained to me by a friend that there's a negative vibe when they're at our house, because Horus is unhappy.  When I talked to Horus about the situation, he did not have the same perspective.  But imposing upon other people, one's own assumptions about a situation based on one's own Feelings and sensitivities, is something I've been the recipient of many times.

     When you are less sensitive, people assume that they are right and you are wrong, when they have feelings about a situation.  They think nothing of telling you all of your personality flaws, especially if one of your personality flaws is "being nitpicky."  The irony of this escapes them, even if they spend hours pointing out your flaws to you, and asking you multiple times why you don't just change.

     When you are less sensitive, explaining that the thing they're complaining about is a part of your personality, and one which has been valued by many other people in your life, is pointless, because they are usually making complaints based on their feelings.

     And when you are less sensitive, the whole point is that you are wrong, because you aren't considering people's feelings enough.

     When you are less sensitive, it never occurs to people that personal attacks might actually have an effect.  They tend to assume that they can tell you how mean and wrong you are, without end.  This is partly because, being the more sensitive party, they feel justified, but also because it just doesn't occur to them to care about the feelings of the less sensitive person.  The irony of this escapes them as well.  Everyone has feelings, just like everyone thinks, but if you're not always hurting over some incident real or imagined, people tend to think they don't need to care about your feelings.  Because they are busy caring about the feelings of whoever is more sensitive, and telling you how important that person's feelings are.

     Because I am less sensitive, Horus let other people say negative things about me to him, doesn't feel the need to say positive things about me to anyone, and felt fine telling me how many other people feel sorry for him because I'm not sensitive.  Things that he would never find acceptable if I were more sensitive, or if they were being done to him.

     It is not in my nature to consider people's feelings before anything else, though I do consider people's feelings when it makes sense to me to do so.  It is not in my nature to engage in sentimentality for sentimentality's sake, or to keep people in my life if we don't bring good things to each other.  (This Christmas was the first time I had seen my mother in a few years, because I won't put up with the way she's always treated me anymore.)  It is not in my nature to always know how to interact with more sensitive people, so assuming the worst from me until it all comes out in an attack, isn't the best way to handle me, either.

     The fact that I am less sensitive does not mean that it is solely my job to keep relationships smooth, or that I am always wrong when it comes to a matter of feelings.  It is not solely my job to figure out how to handle other people better.  Because I am not automatically wrong.

     I am glad I found the MBTI, because if I hadn't, I would still think that my personality is objectively wrong, that all of the issues between Horus and me were solely my fault, and that it was okay for me to accept those ideas from other people.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Birthday 2013

     After last year, I kind of decided to make a thing out of going somewhere for my birthday.  At the end of November, most of the summer tourist spots have lost their crowds, and the winter tourist spots don't have the huge crowds yet.  Thanks to Groupon, I was able to get a good deal on a hotel room in Friday Harbor.  I'd never been there before, so even the ferry ride out was part of the fun.  Both Horus and Ptah were able to go this year, so it was good "family" time.  Have some pictures!


 The weather wasn't the best for our ferry ride out to San Juan Island.  I didn't exactly expect it to be, and the scenery was still amazing. 


It was dark by the time we got to the hotel, unloaded, and walked around Friday Harbor.  Holiday decorations were just starting to get put up; I imagine that soon, all of those buildings will sparkle.


Much of our Sunday adventuring was spent at the San Juan Island Sculpture Park, and this was one of my favorite things there.


Usually, when one sees ivy, it's a tangled mess. The single vine struck me as interesting.


If I had named this sculpture, I would have named it "Screw Up."  The artist chose something less punny, but more respectable... and I don't remember what that was.


These Oregon Grape were blooming on December 1st.  This is highly unusual.


Out on one of the prairies, we spent too much time watching this wild cat.


For those of us who like rocks, the San Juan islands are pretty interesting.  This quartz formation was just sticking out of the ground in the middle of the prairie.


The guys and I took many pictures of, and around, this lighthouse.

As our last day on the Island was winding down, the weather was winding up. 


On the boat, heading toward home.


    Goodbye, San Juan Island.  I hope we'll see each other again soon.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Not-So-Random Thoughts from Recent Events.

-"Well, my primary relationship is still intact, so I'm good at being poly." is neither an accurate or kind sentiment. 

-Especially if you're ignoring or pretending to be okay with stuff your primary partner is doing to try to hold onto that relationship.

-Getting confirmation from people who clearly don't care about how their actions and circumstances affect their partners, and using that to show one of your side partners that disregarding them is totally okay... is not okay.

-Breaking up with someone, but stringing them along, then using their unhappiness with the situation as an excuse for why you disregard them doesn't actually make you right.  Or a decent person.

-I'm certainly never going to be involved with people who only allow their primary partners to have feelings again.

-In fact, I still think hierarchical relationships are bullshit.  I didn't get into poly to act like a mono person, and I certainly am not aiming to have relationships "in addition to..." so that I can excuse disregarding people's feelings.  I do this to have relationships which are whole unto themselves. 

-I hadn't had a relationship end as a unilateral decision since, like, high school.  Yes, I realize this is weird, but all of my adult relationships ended with either a mutual decision, or finally admitting what had been obvious for a long time. 

-No, I don't think this makes me somehow inferior at relationships, or ending them. 

-It does mean that I am inexperienced in unwanted breakups, though.  I haven't built up callouses to rejection.  And I have a feeling that people who expect that I should, don't really get it either.

-It's cool, though.  I've really come to terms with the fact that I wouldn't want to be with someone who broke up with me for bullshit reasons, anyway.  I never wanted the relationship back, I just wanted some acknowledgement that jerky behavior was jerky behavior.

-I'm not sure I'd want to get involved with someone relatively inexperienced in polyamory again.  It would have to be a convincing situation.

-One of the really fun things about polyamory is that when you decide to break up with a person in a jerky way, you also break your friendships with your former metamours.  So they get do deal with that, in addition to helping their partner deal with their emotional stuff.

-This is one reason it's good to have awesome partners.

-Awesome partners don't give up so easily.

Friday, November 8, 2013

OKCupid Chronicles: II

     So I have a fair amount of text in my profile.  I try to give people a good idea of who I am, and though I feel like I might be too wordy, I constantly think of things that I feel I should include, so it remains wordy.  Lately, I've struck up a few new conversations, and that's been good.  I was talking to someone particular for a while, and we met in person, and it was good, but I'm not seeing any sparks.  Of course, I usually have to have spark initiated, because of all my buckets of self-doubt, but... *shrug*

     One of the bits of text I have in my profile is this:
"I am sometimes accused of being a robot, and if you have a hard time hearing someone say that people are systems with known and often predictable responses, you will probably find me not sensitive enough. I am not emotionless, though, and deeply care about people on a theoretical, as well as individual, level." And that is what the writer below was responding to.

Dude: You can't say you care about someone deeply then say its on a theoretical level. Its jaded people like you who give polyamory its bad reputation.


Me: Wow. I'm so not jaded... Do you even know what that word means? I care about humans. People I've never met, and never will. People of whose existence I will never even be aware. I care about humanity. Hence, I care about people on a theoretical level.

Dude: (No response.)

     So, yeah, I think my response to Dude sums up my feelings about that part pretty well.  But I find it pretty amazing that, not only did this guy take the time to read my profile, but also to send me a petty message.  This is so clearly one of those things that says more about the other person than it does me.  And if I had received a response, I likely would have continued conversation... this is a wounded person.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Letter to My Past: You Were a Poet.

     You and I knew each other first as friends, as is not entirely uncommon for me.  In the beginning we were, what, seventeen? It was nearly half a life ago.  I found you inspiring.  You encouraged me to be more creative, more open, happier.  Of course I was drawn to that.

     I was also drawn to the security that I perceived was inherent in my relationship with my first husband.  I hadn't had a lot of security in my teen years, and I didn't think anything of his emotional bullying, since that was what I was accustomed to.  I also, of course, thought that I was so grown up at eighteen.

     When things between you and me shifted, I remember a lot of happiness mixed in with the guilt and confusion.  I knew that I shouldn't have kept letting it progress... but I wanted to follow that happiness.  I wanted things to work out.  I don't remember how long we managed to carry on our secret affair, but I do remember that I held out hope up until the bitter end that everything could work out happily and honestly.

     One of the things that has always stuck in my mind from that bitter end was that you were really the only one who stood up for me.  When First Husband said that I had to choose between the two of you, you were the only one who said I shouldn't have to.  That the loving action would be to not make me choose... but to let me be happy. 

     Of course, it was only several years later that I learned of, then finally embraced polyamory.  I have a feeling that if we had been aware at the time that this is a thing people do, everything would have turned out so much differently.  But as it was, I had to make a choice between the freedom you were offering me, and the security that he was.  I literally did not know how you and I would get by.  We had no money, nowhere else to live, no real prospects for the future.  I was purely driven by fear.

     I have thought about you on occasion throughout the years, but lately you've been on my mind constantly.  Several days ago, I drove by the place where we had that conversation.  On a wall, in the rain, I told you of my choice... and I could see that you lost a certain amount of respect for me in that moment.  I didn't blame you for that, as I certainly wasn't proud of myself.  Of course, it wasn't the last time we saw each other... You grew bitter, and I couldn't blame you for that, either. 

     I've looked you up a few times over the years, and as far as I know you live about an hour and a half from me.  I wonder if you ever recovered from your bitterness, or if it merely served to sharpen your words.  I wonder if you still think of me, and if so, do you remember the good at all? Mostly, I wonder if you would be proud of me now.  If you would recognize that I have made the other choice many times since you knew me.  I wonder if we would recognize each other if we passed on the street.  I wonder if the years have been good to you... I hope they have been.  Better than I was.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Well... that was fast.

     So Zeno broke up with me.

     I'm not particularly ready to talk about it.  But having to change this, and my OKCupid profile, and deal with all of the little reminders... it's not fun.  I'm not handling it well.

     *sigh*

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Economy of Affection.

     There is a saying which is pretty prevalent in the poly community: "Love is infinite, but time and energy are not."

     I don't actually buy that.  I don't believe that love is infinite.  Sure, I can love all humans in a general, theoretical, sense.  But to actually be capable of loving all humans the way I love my partners? I don't think that is a real possibility.  And really, even if I accepted that it theoretically was possible, there is no practical application for that theory.  So as far as practice, and reality, love is not infinite.

     Love takes time.  It takes energy.  Each relationship has its own needs, as far as time and energy, but it is necessary to invest some amount of both to maintain a relationship.  Sure, I can spend time with someone I haven't seen in months or years, and we can still have a good connection.  But chances are, we spent a lot of time and energy building that relationship previously, and built that connection which was able to stand time apart. 

     For me personally, romantic love wanes as I spend less time and energy with someone.  Quality Time and Physical Touch are the Love Languages I speak best, so I require more presence than someone who values, say, Receiving Gifts and Words of Affirmation.  So... since I require time in a person's presence to feel love, and I can't possibly spend that kind of time with infinite people, love is not infinite.  Since I'm sure that assuring that love is not infinite will offend someone, we can pretend that I think it's just not infinite for me.  :)

     So, having accepted this theory for myself, we then come to the practical application of "How much love can I reasonably experience?" Which I'd prefer to have some idea of before it actually becomes an issue, because a miscalculation can conceivably result in a reduced amount of affection on all fronts.  And as I value maintaining the relationships already in my care, I do not wish to create a starvation economy by overextending myself.

      If I take into account the things I have to do, like work, and the time I need to have free to do whatever I want, in addition to my relationships and the time and energy they take from me... then I can possibly support one more relationship.  This relationship would have to fit into my existing life, and into theirs as well.  The idea of "the right person" hasn't disappeared for me with polyamory, it's just that the parameters of what that means have changed.

     I'm not closed to new possibilities, I'm just open with caveats.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Post 63: An Open Letter to My Future Partners.

     I want you to know that, while I do not prescribe to the "rules and regulations" version of polyamory, there are some basic guidelines I follow.  Both for you, and for me.  I will not tell you how to behave, but I will be free to react to your actions as I see fit.

     I will expect the same from you.

     When we decide to engage in a relationship together, I will do my best to keep you apprised of my life, and particularly changes which will have a direct or indirect effect on you.  I will not wait until some arbitrary amount of time has passed, or a particular level of interaction.  When I decide to be in a relationship, I decide to share my life.

     I will expect the same from you.

     I will work in our relationship for mutual benefit, until there is no mutual benefit left.  I will also not abandon our relationship the moment there is a perception that the mutual benefit has ended.  I will work further to fix issues that are fixable, for as long as it makes sense to do so.

     I will expect the same from you.

     Your happiness will be important to me.  I will aim to do what I can to ensure both your happiness and my own.  Sometimes that will be more difficult than others, and sometimes we will deal with difficult emotional content.  Sometimes it will be difficult to reach a resolution which will ensure happiness.  In such cases, I will make an effort to make the best of things, even if that means temporarily giving up some of my wants.  I will not subsume my own needs for yours, but I will put in a good effort to make things work.

     I will expect the same from you.

     I also value fun.  I value silly things, and I value naked enjoyment of the stuff relationships have to offer.  I will not try to impress you, I will not pretend to be someone I'm not to attract you.

     I will expect the same from you.

     Relationships cannot grow, or be stable, without a certain amount of time spent together.  That time will vary for each relationship, and I will make every effort to figure out what the time needs are for our relationship, and to make sure that time happens.

     I will expect the same from you.

     I will engage in honest communication, and make my best effort to use kind language.  I may not always be as sensitive as I could be, but I will not intend to harm with my words.

     I will expect the same from you. 

     In my opinion, it is not reasonable to tell someone that they must not pursue a new relationship, in theory or reality.  But I will do my best to consider your wants and needs, and whether I can continue to contribute to our relationship before I begin a new one.  I will prefer to ensure that our relationship is in a stable place before I do things that will most likely put strain on it.  I will also do my best to honestly evaluate whether I can pursue a new relationship and still be capable of caring for myself.  I cannot promise that things will not change, but I can promise that I will do my best to ensure that you continue to feel valued.

     I will expect the same from you.

     Regardless of the extent of our interaction, whether we've just met, or have spent months or years together.  Whether we see each other on occasion, or a regular basis.  Whatever the scope of our relationship, I will treat you like a valuable human being.  I will not make you "earn" the right to be treated as one.

     I will expect the same from you.

Monday, September 30, 2013

OKCupid Chronicles: I

     So I've been on OKCupid for like four years now.  I joined the site because I wanted to meet other poly people when I was newly into my poly journey.  I specifically chose OKC because it allows people to blatantly state that they are looking for various forms of relationships other than strictly romantic dating.  I've had many, many conversations there, some amazing, and some amazingly insipid/dull/take your pick of negative adjectives. 

     But then, last year, I met Horus there.  And this year, I met Zeno there.  These are clearly good things, and firmly put OKCupid into the category of "one of the best things to ever happen in my life."

     HOWEVER, I still get messages like the one I'm about to relay.  I don't know why it never occurred to me to share these before. 


Dude: Hey!

Me: Yes?

Dude: @;-)
Dude: Online sucks ,hey like kicking if trees or love water

Me: I'm an introvert; I like online communication.
And I have no idea what you were trying to say with "kicking if trees or love water."

Dude: ?
Dude: Live in Washington water and tree.s


     I seriously have no idea what he was trying to say, or how it could have possibly made sense to him.  For the most part, conversations like these give me more amusement than annoyance, and since I'm not giving any identifying details, I don't think my sharing is in any way harmful. 

     I'm definitely making this a regular thing.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Crap, I forgot to think of a clever title. I'm leaning toward Zenosaga.

     Camping was good.  All parties enjoyed each other's company, and it was a lovely way to spend time together, as well as celebrate Horus' birthday.  It rained a good portion of the time, but we enjoyed the weekend anyway.  I have pictures!










It rained enough that even the elk had a difficult time navigating the muddy banks.

**********

     So a couple of posts ago (which was just over a month, in reality), I mentioned that I was having a difficult time figuring out some feelings about a person/situation.  From my last post, one might have been able to infer that I resolved those feelings.

    Thus, into my story enters Zeno.

     We started conversation online back in February, and through a series of things that didn't work out, and a lot of life distractions, didn't actually meet in person until the weekend before The Wall post.  Which wasn't necessarily helpful as far as trying to assess compatibility, since it was actually a party that Ptah, Horus, and I hosted.  (The party, by the way, was great.)  So the next weekend, the day after The Wall post actually, we had what could reasonably be called a date.

     You might assume that it went well.  And I suppose it did, really, but I felt so nervous and awkward I was sure I couldn't have possibly been making anything resembling a good impression.  And yet somehow, things have progressed rather quickly from there.  And I have continually been pleasantly surprised.

     Some difficult things have come up, and been handled.  Despite my initial feelings of awkwardness, various levels of intimacy have proven comfortable and easy.  I like my metamour.  Social time is good. 

     Yesterday morning, in an especially lovely moment, he told me he loved me.  I keep grinning over it.

     Like all relationships, I'm sure there are still learning experiences ahead.  But I'm always happy to collect more data.  :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Right Now...

I am getting ready to go camping. Partly in celebration of Horus' birthday, and partly to allow everyone to get to know each other. All my guys will be there, as well as my new metamour.
Clearly I have some typing to do. But not now. Now I will take a bath. Then I will run around like a headless chicken for a few hours, trying to make sure I have everything.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Wall.

     Most people have a series of emotional walls.  Those walls surround certain feelings, certain activities, and certain vulnerabilities.  This is perfectly normal; nearly a requirement of being human and interacting with other humans.  And through the course of time, we learn how to lower those walls, one by one, for certain people and situations.  It's widely considered the paragon of a healthy relationship when we can lower all of our walls for one person.

     Like I said, this is for most people, though.

     I have one wall.  People outside the wall do not get to know me, and the people on the inside do.  I can be just as brave and vulnerable and open with the platonic friends inside the wall as I can with the romantic partners.  For me, how close to people I get is not a function of the relationship definition, but one of how safe I feel being myself with them.  I connect with people.  I connect with them deeply and thoroughly... when I allow it to happen.

     My one wall is four-feet thick, made of titanium.  There are no bricks to pull out, nothing to chip away.  I have a perfectly constructed pulley system, which allows me to drop it whenever I choose.  But I have to choose to do so.  When I drop my wall, you'll find an inviting path on the other side.  There are stepping stones, and mossy things underfoot.  You'll wonder to yourself how I kept such a garden on the other side of the wall.  There may occasionally be a patch of quicksand, or a pool of acid, sure, but you can avoid them if you know where to look.  As we walk, I'll even point most of them out to you, though I may have forgotten where a few of them are.

     I want to invite people through my wall.  I do not want to be closed off, I want you to know me.  This is not to say it will always be easy.  And sure, there are a few hurdles seemingly placed at random in my world.  I am not always the person I wish to be.  But I try, I try damned hard.

     When I met Horus, we talked a lot, and deeply first.  We sent thousands of words back and forth, and talked about sensitive and intimate subjects.  In person, we spent some time alone, as well as time with the other people in the house.  Still, at the end of the night, I could not tell him whether I was interested in pursuing a relationship.  The question, though, prompted standing around and talking for an additional two hours... after which I still didn't have an answer.  Later, though, as I was trying to fall asleep, I started letting my wall down, and I knew what I wanted.  From that decision forward, I had no issues with being vulnerable, emotional, desirous, and connecting with him on as many levels as possible.

     I'm going through a vaguely similar situation, and I'm having an even harder time figuring out how I feel about it.  Picturing my emotional wall, though, as a physical object, as well as thinking about the beginning of my relationship with Horus, really has been helping me feel more balanced.

     In the end, though, I know that I will end up feeling however I end up feeling.  And I can proceed accordingly from there.  That's all any of us can do, really, some of us just recognize (and overthink) it more than others.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Because every time I expect myself to blog again soon, the exact opposite happens...

     I'm not even going to pretend anymore.  I think.  I will post when I feel like posting, and that is all I should expect of myself.  You see, when I expect myself to write, I turn blogging into a huge THING in my head.  It becomes a responsibility, it becomes work, it becomes important, and it becomes difficult.  In general, I don't do well with those things.  It's why I don't have dogs (or children), it why I would never want to be a store manager, or an HR person... If I do anything with the company I own, it will just be me responsible for myself.  Because I don't abhor responsibility, I just have a hard time with being responsible for other people or things.   Anyway, while I would like to be able to set a posting schedule and stick to it, for now I will just not set myself up for failure anymore.

**********

     I injured my knee at work recently.  It's not serious, but has required several days of limited activity.  I haven't been able to work, but fortunately Ptah has been able to pick up my slack on his days off from his other job.  Horus has been attending to the other things that are currently difficult or impossible for me to do.  Sure, this situation would have been possible without polyamory, but far less probable.  It's good to have more than one person around who cares about my health and well-being.  One of the reasons I decided to try this whole poly thing in the first place was that I wanted a support system, the likes of which I've never had with family.

     One of the other big reasons, of course, is that I like having more than one relationship.  I've been feeling the desire again to try dating.  I'm not desperate to date; I will only do so if it feels right, and adds to my life while not taking anything away from my relationships.  I don't foresee that actually happening any time soon, but shifting to the mindframe of being open again has helped me feel a little better.

**********

     Horus and I had a counseling session together last week, and that was pretty good.  We don't have anything serious going on, but we have fallen into some unhealthy communication patterns, and an often negative approach when dealing with any conflict.  Part of this is due to differing personality types, and different emotional strategies.  I can often be seen as insensitive, and Horus can often be seen as sensitive... that can be a destructive combination, so we seek to understand each other better.

**********

     For the past few months, we have been eating vegetables almost exclusively from our own gardens.  Everything from the pak choi to the fava beans has been amazing.  Currently, I'm most looking forward to tomatoes, and replanting for fall and winter harvest.  We're still harvesting, but some of the early plantings are petering out.  Which is cool, because then we get to plant new things! The blackberries around our house are starting to ripen, as are the small plums.  The apple trees are putting on plenty of apples, and we know a few places to forage local berries.  I've made preserves with rose petals, and Horus made some berry syrups.  I bought some local grass-fed beef, and refuse to buy any other kind now.

     I made a frittata for the first time a couple months ago, and now it's a staple dish around here.  It's a good way to use a lot of vegetables, and I like to make a big pan, then not have to cook for a couple of days.

**********

     In June, Ptah went back to visit with family, and ended up with a fishing license.  I'd been wanting to get into fishing for some time, so I took the opportunity to make it happen.  I ordered rods and reels, bought beginner tackle and gear, and Horus and I also acquired fishing licenses.  The three of us went on a one-night camping and fishing trip, but had no luck.  Horus and I went and paddled around a local lake last week, and had no luck there, either. 

     I want to continue trying, though.  I'd like to be able to add fish to our diet, and can't really afford to pay what it costs.  Besides, being on or near water, engaging in quiet concentration, is an activity I find enjoyable. :)

     So yes, a lot of life revolves around food at this time.  I like it, though.  The things I consume now are a lot more satisfying than they used to be.  And, you know, I gotta eat.

     See you next time!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Here, Have a Bunch of Pictures! (Part One)

  Obviously, I've taken another of my long breaks from the blog. I always feel bad about that, but I can't particularly pinpoint why. It's not like I've committed to a regular posting schedule, and no one ever bugs me for more updates. I know people are reading, since even when I don't post anything for three months, I still get a bunch of page views every week.

     As far as life progressing, Horus and I have officially been in a relationship for over a year now. The milestone passed with forgetfulness and, later, a camping weekend. We've been dealing with some unhealthy communication patterns, so we're planning on seeing a relationship counselor at some point, to help us get out of this particular rut. It's always good to know that even in the tough times, the other person in this relationship is as committed as I am.

     Our garden is well on its way to being productive, after most of our veggie starts were eaten by rabbits. We have fencing covering our garden beds, but the rabbits were able to wiggle their way under the fencing and get into the boxes. *sigh* Oh well, there are always more seeds. We've recently acquired a wood chipper for what it would have cost to rent three days... Yes, it's pretty much a necessity here. Between pruning the trees, clearing blackberry vines, and the fact that the chips make lovely paths around the garden beds, there's really no better way to go. And chipping wood is fun!

Mostly, I wanted to share pictures from the last several months.

**********


The black cat is our "barn cat." We call her Cocoa Kitty, and she moved with us from our previous
domicile. She has one eye that doesn't work so well, but she still managed to feed and keep her five kittens alive before she brought them to us last year. She runs every time we go for the door, but knows that she's safe as long as it's closed... so this is about as close as I've ever been to her. Well, other than when we brought her to our new home in a trap while she was still drowsy from her spay surgery. She's decided that she likes this place just fine, and we see her at least once a day, when she comes by for her morning canned food and l-lysine.



Cocoa and the inside cats investigate each other from opposite sides of the door, and I have yet to see them show actual aggression. Though I've caught Cocoa and Leeloo "playing" with each other with the safety of the door between them.



We occasionally see raccoons around here. Usually they're hoping to find some food still in Cocoa's bowl. We've only heard fighting once, and she was not involved. Raccoons have such lovely fur...

That was the first doughnut I'd had in years... It was gluten free, and it was genuinely delicious.


Above is one of my favorite Christmas tree finds this year. I am a pretty big fan of the non- standard anyway, but the jellyfish is also sparkly, in addition to somewhat irreverent.



This tree still had leaves, and autumn color, in friggin' JANUARY. That's how mild our late fall and early winter were. A few days after I took this picture, we finally got some real freezing temperatures, and the leaves turned brown and dropped within a week or so.


And finally, the winter weather came. Below is a piece of ice face-on, and under that the same chunk of ice from the side.




Horus acquired a riding mower for us... Sure, it's not much to look at, but the price was right and it runs. Of
course, the steering is out now, so I can't actually use it to mow. Yet.

Leeloo, on the "cat chair," in an especially humorous pose.


Hibernating bee.


There is a part of our yard which I refer to as "the mud pit." There is a definite down side to living on an island covered in clay.


This cat started hanging around our house, and trying to take Cocoa's territory. One day, I decided to just let her eat, and see if she was affectionate. She was, and clearly wasn't suited for outdoor life. So we became friends. (The pawprints all over the car hood are a result of her dancing from happiness because I was paying attention to her.) She ended up becoming hostile to all of the cats, as she saw everything as a threat. So I surrendered her to a rescue organization, which fostered her, then adopted her out to a lovely couple with a dog. The cat fell in love with the dog on sight! I'm so glad I could be a part of this kitty's happy ending.



Games! Cthulu Fluxx on the left, a D&D battle on the right. Fluxx is one of my favorite card games. It's easy to pick up, and a casual and fun way to pass the time. Of course, Dungeons and Dragons is pretty much the opposite. Still quite enjoyable, though. :)


Horus and I went to the beach one late winter day. It was one of the first real sunny days we'd had in a while.

It was only like 42 degrees.

Lens flare! I'm pretty sure that means I can be a filmmaker.

I'll be back soon with more... I spent a matter of hours over a period of days trying to make this into more of a storyboard, with neat formatting and stuff, but it didn't end up working out, so I gave up in frustration and went with a truncated post, and boring sizing and formatting.  *sigh* Oh well.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

By the Way...

     I finally slapped the "Adult Content" label on my blog.  I personally don't feel that there's anything explicit enough (at this point) that I would worry about a thirteen-year-old reading it, but other people might not feel the same.  And even though it's not like I get a huge amount of traffic, I'd rather not deal with the consequences of not having that label if it becomes a potential problem. 

     I do get a lot more traffic than my comments would indicate, though.  I always wonder what those anonymous people are thinking, and how they got here. 

I Don't Like Valentine's Day, Because I Don't Hate Men.

     Our culture's commercially celebrated holidays have never held much appeal for me.  I prefer to create my own special days, and while I realize that some people find personal meaning in following the current cultural standard, I have rarely found meaning there.  I do enjoy celebrating what I call Winter Holiday, which is for me a combination of Christmas, Yule, and Solstice, but what it means to me is based on things I find internally important.

     Out of all of the typical American celebrations, Valentine's Day has always bothered me most.  If left to my own devices, I would forget about it entirely, but it can't be avoided.  Going grocery shopping any time after Christmas, there are displays full of pink and red and hearts.  Browsing on the internet or checking my email, there are advertisements for lingerie and jewelry and "adult novelties."  Most of those ads come with slogans which basically equate to "If you please your woman on this day, she just might actually give you sex."  And so, I end up thinking about that which I try to avoid thinking about.

     Really, I don't like the commercial formula of love.  I don't like being told what days are supposed to be important in my relationships, I don't like my partners being told to buy me things just because everyone else is doing it, and I don't like the entirety of the responsibility for maintaining a relationship to be placed on "the man's" shoulders.  Receiving gifts is not one of my primary Love Languages, but spending lots of money doesn't actually make meaning, and so is not important to people who do speak that language anyway.  And even so, I do like receiving gifts that have meaning on occasion (who doesn't?), but in my mind that meaning should be determined solely by the gift giver, and the gift receiver.  I don't know how many times I've heard a jewelery commercial, and thought about those penguins who choose mates based on who has the best shiny rock collection. 

     While there is some biological and psychological validity to choosing to mate with a partner who can provide the best stuff, we humans generally like to think we've grown past that.  And for the most part, we truly have... at least those of us who generally have our basic needs met. 

     Anyway, according to Valentine's tradition, it's the man's job to take the woman out to her favorite restaurant, provide her with some shiny (or delicious, let's not forget the chocolates and candy) things she likes, and hopefully he'll get laid, which she'll only barely allow because of those gifts.  And people think we're evolved.  I do realize that there are exceptions to this formula, as there are exceptions to everything I rant about, but they are few in our culture.  And hey, if you don't have anyone to buy shiny things for, or to buy shiny things for you, then you are made to feel bad.  Everyone knows that it's sad to not have a date on Valentine's Day, right?

     I've also heard people refer to it as Singles Awareness Day, in fact.  You might think that the primary goal of said day would be to raise awareness of the fact that single people aren't automatically less fulfilled, or missing something, or looking for a partner... but no, according to the Wikipedia article "On Singles Awareness Day, single people gather to celebrate or to commiserate in their single status. Some want to remind romantic couples that they don't need to be in a relationship to celebrate life."  So yes, the more positive association is there, but is is a distant second to the primary goal of commiseration.  I may be polyamorous, but I still take offense to the idea that singledom is inherently inferior. 

     Just as I take offense to the idea that it's the man's job to bring home the romance, and that I'm supposed to guard sex sparingly, as though it's something I hate and give only as a favor to one who has temporarily proven his worthiness.

     Just as I take offense to the idea that we need to be told when to show love, and that if we don't display it when everyone else does, it's not really love.

     Not to mention the ridiculous origins of the allegedly most romantic of days.

     If you do happen to celebrate the day, I hope you manage to do so in a way that is powerful and meaningful for you personally.  Even if what ends up being meaningful for you is the societal standard, I wish you an amazing day.  I wish for all of your days to be amazing though.  ;)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Kink. (Community)

     After getting back into a blogging-type headspace, performing my monthly-ish login at Fetlife, and actually stumbling on a few things that interested me there for once, I have a few things on my mind.

     It's pretty common for me to delve more into sexual or other intimate topics when I'm feeling antsy.  When my needs aren't really being fulfilled.  And, as the reader might have already inferred, that time would be now.  It's not really anyone's fault.  I've expressed many of the needs I've had over the past few months, but no one equipped to handle them has really been around.  I'm kind of persnickety (and abnormal amongst the freaks) when it comes to things like kink.

     There are many reasons I've stayed away from the kink community as a whole.  I started typing the reasons in a sentence, but I think a list might work better here.  Before I start ranting, I suppose I should say that I know not everyone in the kink community is like this... but if you honestly don't see any of the stuff I'm bitching about, you're probably one of the reasons I don't like the kink community to begin with.

  • The aggressive acceptance of issues which would better be solved with a psychologist than a razorblade.  I know "the community" wants us all to accept that every kink is special, healthy, and no one should ever judge what someone else is into.  Bullshit.  There are many people who engage in acts which are dangerous to their health because they have emotional issues hidden under the cloak of kink.  Not every kink is healthy.

  • The above attitude also tends to promote the lax acceptance of that danger.  If you're going to get your blood on someone, then fine.  But make damned sure your blood won't harm anyone.  The risk inherent in blood contact is often handwaved because they seem like nice people, and everyone's kink is so important we wouldn't want to risk not engaging in it. 

  • The hypocrisy.  So much talk about acceptance, and yet hardly any acceptance of submission in males, or dominance in females (at least without the "bitchprincess" image).  The same people who yammer all day long about how "No, really, when that lady over there is submissive, she's really letting her inner strength come out.  Can't you see how strong she is when I get to tell her what to do?" will then talk about how weak and unhealthy male submissives are.  Even Horus, whose opinions I generally respect in such matters, said that he didn't think male submission was as healthy by nature.  Never mind the culture (even mainstream culture) which highly values female submission while degrading male submission.  Never mind that male submissives are given few to no positive role models, but plenty of reasons to self-hate by society.

  • The general attitude of most people who claim to be dominant, which is one of looking down on others, rather than being someone worth looking up to.

  • The adherence to rigid roles.  Some people like that, but it doesn't work for me.  I am situationally switchable.  Ideally, I'd have a partner who was also capable of being so flexible, but I don't know if I've ever met anyone who was, let alone been interested in/compatible with them.  Within the kink community, it's generally okay to take on one role with one partner, and another role with another partner, or to only take on different roles in certain "scenes," but generally not okay to be inherently flexible from moment to moment.

  • The refusal to accept the reality of acting out fantasy.  There are those of us who might like to engage in certain activities, but can't because of bad knees, or eczema, or the fact that branding was actually a coping mechanism in a very unhealthy emotional time, so it's not actually healthy to engage in that particular act... Not that I know anything about that.  Anyway, those staged shots of girls all bound up (bondage which might have only lasted a few minutes to take the picture, but seemingly lasts forever, due to the nature of photography), set those of us with problems up for a lot of conversations which disappoint other people.  Gee, I'm super sorry that my real life has limitations that your fantasy does not.  I see way too many people essentially whine about that, but they're not generally the kind of people I'd want to interact with anyway.
    
     Even though I've never been a part of the community, kink has long been a part of me.  In the early nineties, when leather culture was first finding its way into the mainstream consciousness, and most people knew what a dominatrix was, I was twelve or thirteen.  I stumbled onto the radio show that Dan Savage used to have, called Savage Love Live.  I learned so much about the spectrum of human sexuality from that show, but the thing that stuck most with me was the idea that in a dominant/submissive relationship, the submissive is the one allowing the situation.  The dominant does only what the submissive allows.  And so, in reality, to say that the dominant person is in control is not entirely accurate at best. 

     That idea is incompatible with the way many people in the community think and act, but I carried it with me throughout the years, and through several relationships which included kink in one way or another.  I've always seen serenity in both sides of the power equation.  I never thought of it as being kinky, just as being me.  Other than knowing that I didn't want to hang out with the BDSM crowd, because I didn't fit in and probably wasn't into it enough to be a part of things, I didn't really have to articulate most of these ideas until Horus came along.  With his assumptions that I was pretty vanilla because I wasn't a part of it, and with his insistence on labels having meaning and import, I finally had to find words for so many of my thoughts on kink.  Because it *is* a very important part of who I am and how I have relationships, even if forming friendships based solely on what I like to do with my partner seems just as ridiculous as choosing my friends on how much and what kind of ice cream we like.

     I did find some more words for concepts that have been on my mind tonight.  I'm not going to get down to what is lacking in my life right now, not on my blog anyway.  Someday I might be comfortable giving out such intensely personal information, but not now.  Suffice to say that real life and real people are seldom suited to the acquisition of perfect situations.  But I'm not whining about it, I swear.  Sometimes I definitely do wish I could talk to someone about these things.  Someone who had similar views, which would mean that we probably had a lot more in common than kink, and would probably also mean that I wouldn't meet them in the community. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Why, hello there Blog. Long time no see.

     So, yeah... It's been about three months.  The past few months have been full of "not much" and "preparing for actual things."  Currently, we have many plans around here.  We've acquired the first of our seeds for planting gardens this year, Ptah has been doing quite a bit in the way of woodworking, and Horus is learning about and acquiring supplies to build a gasifier to power his truck.  Well, actually we'll probably do the riding mower first, but it's all amazing stuff.

     For those of you who don't know, I've been sort of trying to have my own business for a few years.  I have been making mostly costume clothing and accessories whenever conditions are right as far as space, time, energy, and supplies.  I decided sometime last year that this year was going to be one where I really put a lot of work into getting my business off the ground.  I had dreams of spending the winter making stock for my shop, and going to different area events this summer to sell my wares.  Then my crappy sewing machine decided to manifest issues which made that impossible.  I found an old machine for cheap at the thrift store, but it's been in the shop for some time now, and may have an unresolvable issue.  I haven't worked for close to a month, and so this would have been a prime opportunity to make all that stock, but I haven't had a sewing machine to make it possible.  Frankly, it feels like every time I think I have a good thing going, something happens to ensure it won't continue.  When I first really started to put effort into it a few years ago, Thoth and I ended up having to put all my supplies in storage and move into one room.  Now, I can't sew because I don't have an operational sewing machine.  Le sigh, I suppose.

     I do still have plans, though.  I have a list I've been working on for some time, of items I know I want to make, or would like to attempt to draft patterns for.  I do have some commercial patterns, but I only use them as a starting point for my own... if I use them at all.  I still have a room full of fabric and sewing supplies, and I still have all kinds of inspiration.  I still have a little hope that the people at the sewing machine repair place might be able to fix it for me, but if they can't... I don't know.  I guess we look for another machine.

     (And then I spent nearly two hours looking at sewing machines online.)

     The winter holiday season is always a casual affair around me.  We exchanged some gifts and did pretty much what we always do.  New Year is never a huge deal for me, as the natural cycles of the seasons are much more important to me than the ridiculous calendar we use.  I believe in self-improvement as a general philosophy, rather than something I try to do just once a year, so no "resolutions."  For my birthday, though, which was at the end of November, Horus and I were able to stay in a hotel for a couple days in Long Beach.  Washington, not California.  Of course I have some pictures to share.


We stopped and spent some time on a beach on the way down.  I was amused by how the little stream running to the ocean has worn away this rock so well.
                                                                                                              

The bedside lights in our room were interesting.  The hotel we stayed at (Adrift Hotel) is decorated with recycled materials.  They also use fragrance-free laundry soaps, so Horus could actually sleep on the bedding.  And they offer body products scented with essential oils, so I was able to use the shampoo. 



In the common sitting area on our floor, there were these lamps.  They look like viruses, and are made from recycled pipes and wood.  Above the lamp are bookshelves made from old wooden crates.


This was the view from our room.  I was glad that I paid extra for it.


We drove on the beach a bit, because... well, because we could.  The Long Beach Peninsula shoreline is a Washington State Highway.


On the way home, we visited Fort Columbia, and I took many pictures of the rust and decay there. 


I also took pictures of some things that weren't rust and decay.


I enjoy bridges in general, and the Astoria bridge is one of my favorites.Unfortunately, the view was not all that great while we were there.


In Astoria, we stopped at the only Indian restaurant in town, but it happened to be a good one.  My birthday lunch was the best Indian lunch buffet I've ever had.  A most satisfying end to a very nice three-day vacation.