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I'm settling in here a little. A desk has been cleared for me, home to my sewing machine and my desktop computer. This means my music is accessible again, especially good because I left my cell phone on top of the land cruiser when I was taking lumber off before work and it fell off in the middle of a highway of logging trucks: no more cell phone. I have another on order but it'll be awhile to get here.

Went down to Vancouver to visit James last weekend. It was really good. That's settling into me more comfortably. I feel serious about it, and slightly overwhelmed by the logistics of that plus Josh plus career, but since nothing else is settled at all in my life right now it doesn't feel imminently overwhelming.

Starting to feel angry about Dave again, incidentally. It... feels good? Feels nice to be angry at someone who could be an hour late for a date and didn't care enough about relationship ground rules to notice when he broke them, let alone apologise. Being able to feel angry about it is liberating. I suspect the reason it's taking me so long to get past the anger part and into the 'we weren't good in a relationship' stage is that I haven't devoted any space to the anger yet. Either way, here it is.

The main garden is unrolling across the lawn like a carpet. Greenhouse is built, wired to ventilate at a high enough temperature, and planted. Raspberry bed is made, rose bed is dug and planted and has ornamental patterns of lettuces and tomatoes in it. This week we should plant fruit trees. I'm very happy.

Every day I want to go back to Fort in the summer more. It's difficult for logistics but it feels astonishingly like home. Even though this city lot in Williams Lake is also feeling a little homey and every garden I plant roots me somewhere, the city is not my home.

Revisiting thoughts of kids, but that's another post. Now I go help Josh with some experimental deep-dish pizza done with a really really high hydration dough.
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It has been a very hard week, and now I'm happy again.

This post would be so different had I written it this morning; I'd thought to do so. This journal has never sought to be a dispassionate recounting of external facts, not even close, and any story I tell here would be told differently a week later, and then different again a year later, or five years. I'm glad to be telling the story now and not earlier.

I haven't been sleeping well, and I have just started bleeding. These are maybe the root of everything, especially the former. Josh hasn't lived with a partner before; I didn't really come up here with the energy or intention of settling into permanent patterns nor really thought about making patterns with him. Our sleep logistics have not worked themselves out well, and I have been spending time on James as well, and work has been running longer than I expected many days. Sleep, food, and time to think to myself are the three things I should never be without. I've been without too much sleep, and it has felt terrible. A little more of it and soon everything would feel like the end of the world.

I had a nap this afternoon, and maybe I can put these things in a way where they are not the end of the world.

Work is the first and biggest thing. The people I worked with last summer, my first forestry job, were first intriguing and then important to me. I'm having a harder time finding my way into this set of people; the summer students are diverse in personality but not so much in age, they are (we are?) very much thrown together without other people's involvement, and although I can get along with everyone ok, more-or-less, I'm having trouble finding my way into really liking or caring about them. You know me, you've been reading what I write for so long, so you know what a strange statement that is for me. I can usually like people I spend time with.

The whole office is a little bit like that, and maybe if I spent a bunch of time with the individuals it would help a bit, but there's this sense of group othering that I'm never very comfortable with. Conversations can centre around "can you believe this group of people did or said this thing?" without seeking to understand the ins and outs of why or how. I don't like those. I miss the folks from last summer. I both hope I find a way to like this place where I am now, and am giving serious thought to going back there next summer even though it is very far away from Vancouver. And from both Josh and James.

I was going to end this post with him, leave you on a beautiful note, and talk about the garden and the rabbits in the middle, but here we are and he's come up in the same way he came into my life in the last little while: abruptly, surprisingly, but at the right time. I've been embracing that.

Here's the story: over a year ago I went to a friend's... birthday party? It was near Dave's apartment, I'd just moved in for a month before moving up to Fort St James, and a handful of us ended up going for drinks and then back to Dave and my place to hang out. The apartment was all boxes halfway between being unpacked and put in storage, it's a wonder we invited people back, but there we were and it was a lovely evening. There was a person I didn't know who ended up back at the apartment with us, no doubt participating in the discussion: eye-catching long tawny-gold hair and compact assurance, quiet but expressive in face and gesture, some combination of elegant movement and solid sensibility, a little well of gravity in the corner of the apartment I spent most of the evening either looking at or looking away from. Honestly I did more of the latter: Dave and I hadn't discussed how we'd handle flirting or dating while we were both living in that one-bedroom apartment or really in small party situations like that, so I kept myself under wraps. The closer you get to a source of gravity, after all, the harder it pulls, and I was leaving the city's orbit.

I went so far as to get him on facebook and that was a month of job-seeking, packing, exams, rough times with Dave, little energy, and then I was out of town. The next year I was mostly absent; away in Fort, and also emotionally absent when I came back to school. The source of gravity was still there, a tiny trickle of awareness across facebook when I looked at it, a little temptation which I had no energy to meet. When my exams were almost done I suddenly came alive again and there he was, as apparently eager for a date as I was, less than a week before I left town. The whole thing moved at... I was going to say 'my speed' but it was remarkably mutual, and so here I am up in Williams Lake living delightedly with Josh and putting in a garden but with, again, a long distance relationship. A joyful, loving, competent-with-the-internet, visiting-soon, who knows what will happen next? long distance relationship.

I am very pleased. I am (when I don't get enough sleep) drowned in poly guilt but sometimes clear-headedly ok. I am putting in work when I can. I am happy. He is wonderful in every way I could want.

So that's James.

Josh and I are putting in the garden still; it's slow and we have less time and energy than expected, but the plastic is going up on the greenhouse today. We haven't had our last frost yet and so many plants get hauled into the garage when the temperature is forecast low; we may finally be able to move just to floating row cover for the tender things until we get the beds in the greenhouse built. We have been enabling each other buying things that grow; lately iris and daylily and roses in addition to the veggies we've started from seed. We have fruit trees to plant. My soul feels good.

Mella has bonded to the baby rabbits, and they don't fight at all. They lie around snuggled all up together sometimes, or groom each other, and when I'm petting Mella, Odin will come up to be petted and Juniper will come up to lick her in the spots my petting has missed. The little ones have un-litter-trained Mella, but that can be dealt with. It's good to have them with me.

Next weekend Josh and I are going camping at Chilko Lake, which is "out west." From Williams Lake everything is "out west," "out east," "down south," or rarely "up north". The coast doesn't really exist in this dry land except as a mythic place. It is sort of its own centre for the surrounding smaller towns; neither Prince George nor Vancouver really has a pull, though Kelowna is perhaps the metropolitan centre it orbits.

It's dinner time now, grilled hamburgers and salad and contemplating the garden-to-be. I'm ok. I will try to sleep more; I will keep switching strategies until I find one that works. I like being happy, and my afternoon nap gave that back to me after a week without.

I can get through this summer.

Talk to you soon.
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So I've been habitually posting on weekends. Then Dave came up for a weekend, then I went to a music festival for a weekend. This coming weekend my mom is coming to visit, and the one following that I'm going to hang out with a new um-maybe-friend in Williams Lake and eat oysters and see what physical proximity does to our interaction, then the one following that I'm heading to the Mission Folk Fest, and then to the other side of Canada for the first time to visit Nova Scotia with Dave. So there's a lot to catch up on, obviously, and I may not update lots.

I do, however, have lots of things going on in my head.

The level of casual friendly to strangers here is about the same as the level of casual friendly in Vancouver to someone you've been introduced to through a friend but not previously spoken to much. It's turned up a notch from Vancouver-stranger. I like it. It's ok to talk to folks, coworkers are more invite-able to things, every interaction is just a little bit closer or at least allows for more than the equivalent one in the city.

One of the fun/frustrating things about sex is that you basically reinvent it with each person (unless I guess you wanna follow the standard het escalator vanilla template?). You never quite know what's coming down that pipe.

The Smithers music festival was fun; it had more different types of music than I was expecting. I went up with two co-workers, Jeremy who was the instigator and who's my fellow summer hire, and Brett. It was nice to hang out with them some; they definitely viewed it as a drinking/hanging around experience, and were maybe slightly distressed that I wouldn't accept drinks. Thy hung out in a group together; I realized I'm maybe more independent than I think I am, an definitely moreso than my twenty-year-old self could have understood. I danced a bunch and stayed in a tent. It was really, really good for me. I discovered a couple local bands, one called Black Spruce Bog who write about things like salmon and who might play over here in Fort St James in the fall.

Instead of getting a ride home with my co-workers, I caught a ride with the okc person I met a couple weeks ago. It was basically an excuse to talk, and talk we did... and then the next night we spoke on the phone pretty late too. He lives about four hours away, towards Vancouver, so he's not entirely local, but he's close enough for visits. I'm enjoying the feeling of spark with someone. We'll see where this goes.

Interest in someone else is definitely making me miss Dave extra-much-a lot. Poly is always like this for me; my desire for long-term/current partners always flares up when I find a new connection elsewhere. I love how contrasts highlight each person's individuality. So even though Dave was just here, the separation is hard right now. I just got extended at work, so I'll be here, likely, till November. That's a long time to be away, and I guess that's also hitting me.

I have no idea what will happen in the future. My original goal taking co-op at school was to do a co-op term in a different place each time, to get to know different parts of BC and see where I wanted to end up. I really like it up here, though, I like the company I work for and I like the town. I likely could come back next summer no problem; it wouldn't let me go work on the coast or Vancouver Island to check them out. It's really far to visit.

I don't know.

An 8 month/4 month lifestyle split between locations is maybe even possible for awhile. Do I want that? It's early to tell. I need to sit with it. But, it's definitely in my mind as a possibility.

We'll also see how I feel about the town and the job in six months when I'm not flush with the novelty of it, or when the winter comes. If I'm here during snow, I've promised myself I'll learn to cross-country ski on the lake. How out of character is that?

Everyone here is really outdoorsy, not the Vancouver weekend-outdoorsy but they all seem to play on multiple sports teams and kayak and hike and camp all the time, not just once in awhile. And everyone means everyone.

And there are so many places that are logging-road or boat access only that you can go and there are trees and water and no people.

Yeah, typical poly dilemma of always feeling like, even when some things you love are here, others are distant. It's not like I'm any different with places than with people.

I want to write more, I may tonight, but now I have to (get this) clean my room for my mom. Ha. Since I'm going to install her here when she gets here, it likely shouldn't have clothes and sex toys in her way.

I'm really happy here. It's miraculous how repeatable and reliable the method for making me happy is. Outdoors all day, some space, some people, enough sleep.

Be well, folks. Love you.
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This is a busy weekend. I had plans for it, or rather, I have plans for it.

Today I'm meeting someone from okcupid; we were going to meet at the beach and bbq some food but it's raining.

I was going to go to a coworkers' and have a fire and do meat and wine around it tonight for Solstice I'm not sure if he knows it's for solstice), but it's raining.

It rained on us at work on Thursday for the last half of the day, and Friday all day, and that was comfortable and felt like home. It was the first time I've been in the bush and got rained on, and the folks I was out with seemed a little less comfortable with it than I was, so that was something. It felt good to be able to use one skill, at least, that I already have.

Incidentally, I'd made a shepherd's pie the night before and been suffused with the glow you get when you know you'll come in out of a long, cold, wet workday and get fed really well for minimal work, then got back to the office and there were hamburgers waiting for us. My fridge is getting very well-stocked.

I'm not sure what's going on with my plans today, though. They are all outdoor plans, and the outdoors doesn't seem super conducive right now. I guess we'll see what happens. What I really want is a hot tub to sit in, out in the rain, and listen to the sound of falling raindrops on the lake.

Other than that, Dave will be up here within a week, so that's awesome. Tomorrow is national aboriginal day as well as solstice, so there should be things going on around town; I believe there are fireworks.

The garden is still pouring out cucumbers, and it's about to start pouring out spinach and swiss chard too. That's pretty exciting. There's also a ton of raspberry leaves for tea, and likely strawberries as soon as the rain turns off and the sun turns back on.

I've been bidding on/buying a few vintage kimonos on ebay lately; they're beautiful, and although I can't indulge myself in many of them they are a nice thing to collect intermittently as long as I'm careful about only getting things that I both really love and that are below my entertainment budget threshold. I love the landscape-patterned ones, full of trees and bridges and people and boats and houses. There are some absolutely breathtaking ones that are ink-wash painted misty mountain- and sea-scapes, which I can't afford but can enjoy looking at, too.

Over the week a couple of my coworkers went up to camp; I dogsat for one of them, and got taken out for a walk by a very energetic terrier in the rain. It was nice. I'm certainly not ready for full dog ownership with my life the way it is, but I might try to see if there are any organizations that hook walkers up with seniors or other folks who keep a dog but can't quite manage the physicality of a walk. I know there are organizations like that in the UK.

...or maybe I shouldn't add anything else to my plate?

Registration at UBC starts on the 30th. I'm trying to get my work situation sorted by then, to figure out whether I'm staying for another (part-)term or whether I'll be back in school for September. I've gone through all the correct hoops at work, I'm just waiting on my supervisor to figure out how much work there will be. I guess I can always register and then drop courses, come to think of it.

I definitely always feel better the day after (or the same day that) I go outside for work. Right now I'm feeling comfy and cozy and lazy and enjoying being indoors while the rain is out there. It doesn't hurt that hanging out with folks today is on the horizon.

Hope all is as well with all y'all.
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Swing, swing, swing. My mood is all out of kilter lately. I'm going to blame total lack of physical contact. I think I may prioritize seeking out a snuggle/sex person up here over, say, making rosepetal jam or sewing; fewer (the correct number of) hours in a work-week mean I do have some time to decide with.

I guess I've found myself in a distance relationship. I haven't been in a proper one since way back, when I was seeing Jan. I dug up the album Jan gave me then, downloaded it and looked at it in the music player and felt the sharpest and most physical manifestation of pain and quickly put on a different song by a different musician. That was a couple of hours ago, while Dave was out on a date and I was about to shower after my weekly two hours' lawn-mowing. Just now, as I sat down to write, I put on one of those songs and everything feels familiar.

I was speaking with Graydon the other day about the persistence of self of lack thereof, about continuity of personality. The conversation was about death, but I was telling him that I don't/can't remember what it was like to be me ten or fifteen years ago. I can go read it in this journal, but I can't immerse myself in what it felt like.

I was wrong. This music and this situation can do it. I remember this feeling. I remember how many years it took me to decouple the experience of love and pain, to feel them separately and not as one singular emotion. I have not decoupled them. I have merely sought out the rare, rare circumstances where I don't feel them both at once and spent long enough there that one does not necessarily echo the other.


I want to tell you something, but I'm not sure how to word it. I guess it's this: I know what I want out of my life. That thing changes, the knowing flickers brighter and dimmer, but the things which guide my knowing remain. I know what I like when I experience it. I know what's good for me. I want the things I like, the things that are good for me.

I also want to cast things which hurt away from me. Or, back up. There are two kinds of hurt: bruises and well-used muscles, adversity that feels good. And there's suffering that doesn't feel good and leaves lingering wounds, pain to no purpose, broken hopes and disappointment and self-imposed loneliness and capricious meanness. I want to cast that second kind out of my life; I go away from it automatically a lot of the time now. But it's not always clear which is which, and it's also not always clear when a little of the latter must be endured to get the things I like or need.

I'm circling my subject. I always do that. I tell stories, speak of the conversations which initiated my thoughts, wander through generalities, and eventually I even get to the point sometimes.

I'm in a long distance relationship with Dave. I initiated that by coming up here and not ending the relationship. But, this is my job, my career, it's what I'm doing. So. I need to have a conversation with him about what happens next. I also need to have a conversation with myself about what happens next. I've thought it might be nice to have seasonal relationships, six months away makes the next six months together so much sweeter, might fit my migratory tendencies pretty well and keep me from sealing my life too closely to someone else's and drowning them too. I need to play with these ideas. I need to maybe try them more fully.

I'm proceeding on my career front up here, but I feel like I'm waiting on my home and relationship front. I'm dawdling along, existing, not pushing anything, just waiting for things to happen to me. That's not my best position to be in.

I should do something about that.
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Hi there. It's been a bit longer than expected, hasn't it?

I've been up here a month now (I guess technically the fourth is tomorrow, but I've been here four and a half weeks. I've accumulated a ton of extra hours (over and above my expected ten hour days) and the person I was supposed to accompany into the bush today called in sick, so I was given a half-day. I came home and slept; I haven't slept well the last few nights and I really needed the rest. Now I'm prepping pizza dough for the next couple days, grilling a steak for dinner (to go with my korean potatoes and sprouts that I made last night and a nice greens'n'weeds salad), and listening to music in this space for the first time since my housemate is away for the evening. Please escort me/To the end/ Of this tome/Please destroy me/And discard me...

I'm feeling bittersweet lonely, and I'm thinking about people I haven't talked to in awhile. Specifically I'm thinking about Michael -- this music always makes me think of him, as does any mention of Williams Lake -- and I'm feeling that sensation of the past being so out of reach, feeling so garbled and distant, like a movie watched when half-asleep in a foreign language. All those steps in my life to which I was so intimately tied led me here but in doing so they have altered me so those times are beyond my reach now.

I guess that's a long way of repackaging the cliche that you can never go back. You're always arriving as a different person, to a place that's changed.

Sometimes those places still love you like home. Sometimes they don't.

Maybe this music always makes me feel like this.

I'm getting better moving through the bush. I'm feeling less useless at work. With this comes the crop of issues learning to get along in the company, to work with different personalities and positions. It's a little chaotic, there's not enough scheduling to make everything run really efficiently there. The people who work there have pretty diverse personalities. I think I made the right choice, both for career and for place to be this summer, but it's not entirely easy.

I'm homesick this week, last weekend I felt too far away from you to even write.

There are things I'm really enjoying. I changed supper plans and harvested the first cucumber from the greenhouse to make my salad. I have time to cook and I haven't eaten at a restaurant (except for a milkshake with Dave) since I got here. I saw the most beautiful landscape the other day at work, walked through it actually, all blueberries and Ribes and "balsam" and Lycopodium. I keep anticipating swimming in the lake, though I haven't gone yet since it's always cooled down by the time I get home. I love the curve of the mountains. Things keep blooming like crazy. People are so friendly. My housemate is wonderful.

I miss human touch. I miss sex. I miss my stuff. I miss yoga. I miss pho and sushi. I miss the ocean, and cedar trees, and trees of reasonable size. I miss green fields.

I miss my people.

I especially miss Dave.

I miss having a home.

But here I am, and it's not so bad. I'll just be settled in before I'm gone again.

Lots of love.


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