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There's a ghost in the machine. I'd forgotten.

I've been busy for the last couple years. School-- there's always something to do or to think about, something that should be done. I still have a couple things that should be done, in fact, on that front.

This was the first week of work and it's a learning curve. I'd managed to forget how much I liked learning; the knowledge of it was obliterated by the awfulness of huge classes; terribly planned timelines; arbitrary structure; and useless, required, and strictly measured outcomes. I couldn't remember how I'd come to start this whole path, couldn't recall the girl who liked learning so much she worked through a two-year diploma program just to gather the knowledge it offered.

Well, this week and for the easily forseeable future I'll be learning a lot. It's a whole mix of things from physically driving gravel roads and seeing precisely through a forestry prism to the liminal skills of pacing and awareness through to complexities like achieving the correct sampling error for lowest man-hours when double-sampling across multiple blocks where some are pretty far from the road and others are more heterogenous. I was a little nervous about it, but I think I can learn it, and I'm enjoying learning it. My current boss is an exceptional teacher, I know pretty well how I learn, and it's so nice to be figuring out a thing in the world rather than accepting an expert's word on something without any ability to fiddle with it myself.

That's not what this post is about.

I put an offer on a house today. I was originally going to put an offer on a different house, but the expenses of weird incidentals on that house was very high (heat, but also housing insurance and internet and property taxes and basically all the little things that *could* add up) and I got nervous about my budget so instead I went for one that is significantly more modest, on a nice 7 acre chunk. I will grow out of this house if I don't add on or put in lots of outbuildings, but for now that's okay. I have some debt to pay off and I'll be able to do that expediently this way, and if something goes sideways with my career and american politics (see also: softwood lumber) then I'm not as worried as I could be. I put in the one offer previously, for a lot that had a pretty run-down house but also a gorgeous gorgeous garden. This house is better, the garden will take more work. We'll see.

I feel much better about spending a little less right now.

That's not what this post is about.

Last weekend I was arriving here, this week I worked a lot, and this morning I ran around looking at homes and finalising my offer on the house. This morning I also went to look at a farm and talked for hours to the two women who ran it for twenty years: they retired into it and now are too old to keep it up. We spoke about orchards and brewing and bees and deep-mulch gardening and cows and fungus dyes and a ton of stuff and I loved their company and they offered me tea and seemed to enjoy mine. On the way to the realtor's place, driving, I waved to people in cars as they passed.

And now I'm done for a bit. I can feel myself slowing down. I can feel myself looking at things: the strawberry bed, the river. I feel like I'm becoming a person again, a being with *awareness* rather than merely an automaton doing all the things I'm supposed to do. Both partners keep talking about how happy I seem up here, even just this week. I suspect I haven't even begun to dip into the community here and how happy it makes me, and beyond that there's my life waiting, and how happy *that* makes me. And I may, soon, even be a person who's being happy, instead of a fleeting sensation on my way to doing the next thing.

I took time to email my mom.

I am lazily contemplating dinner.

I could wash my bedsheets or tidy up.

I could search the internet for more potential dogs or goats.

Or I could write, here, because I have the luxury of knowing what's going on in my life well enough to write about it. So here I am.

It's very good.

That's what this post is about.
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I guess there's a theme to this week. It's a theme I'm already aware of, but that's particularly highlighted by recent goings-on.

For instance, I'd been having some fairly rough motivation/mental health times this last few months. Got back into yoga, have set myself a 30 days/30 yoga classes goal, may add some running back into that, and my body is doing much better, as is my motivation to do, well, anything except the terrible arbitrary class at school. This is the one with no marking rubric, no feedback on what is supposed to be in the final product, and no grounding in the real world. I remember, now, that when my mental health gets back into normal levels, it rejects things that are bad for me: just pushes them out of my life so I can get back to doing proper life things. And school is bad for me, at least this course is. Means I need to put a lid on wellness enough to be externally motivated by school (ugh) but keep myself well enough to make it through (just a few more months).

The internal/external sufficiency is coming up in relationship stuff too. With Josh we're pretty hands-off about each other's stuff: help if we're able, but the default isn't leaning on each other. The newer relationship is a little different than that, and it's been running in a weird pattern the last several weeks: we've had big chunks of time, then big chunks of apart. I'm having a lot of trouble switching between being comforted/buoyed by someone else being here, and being happy/comforted by my home and my self after stressful days. Everything seems to run fine if I alternate days, but not if I alternate longer multi-day stretches. Part of the issue is that I set a default as to who to talk to about interesting/important things (myself via LJ, home partner, friends network, whatever) and have trouble switching that back and forth quickly.

And, of course, my future is a very large dependency/independence question: dependent on the job, independent in a house of my own, etc. It's pretty scary to be talking to mortgage brokers and thinking about making big decisions like this on my own. I want people to talk to about it, but so many of the people I know have a very different experience than I do. How do you weigh intangibles against each other?

But, time for yoga shortly. There's lots to say but maybe not enough of a pattern to write it out yet.


Mar. 11th, 2014 08:38 am
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TS Eliot nailed it: "...a hundred visions and revisions, ... For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse."

That's where I am right there. Nailed it indeed.

I am moving for the end of this month.

I am offered a place in the west end, slightly too small for me and with no deck and no dishwasher but with lovely floors and east windows and Stanley Park and the beach right there and the world outside my front door and in an apartment building so fully autonomous.

I am offered a place at Main x 41st, huge, beautiful and new, dishwasher and yard, but with a family above with kids. It's not the noise I'm worried about; it's the lack of loud sex. Close to Tenay and her family, who could share meals. This list of positives looks longer, doesn't it?

Price isn't a big difference between them. They are both the same distance to UBC biking-wise. I like both landlords.

This is a lifestyle choice. No question. Will I live more out in the world, at the park and the beach and at school, or will I nest up in my home with my hobbies? Will I have folks over a few at a time or in bigger groups? Will I fergodsakes have to rent a storage locker for my booze that needs aging? Even... will I eat more rice or more western/mediterranean (oh dear gods, middle earth, why did I just now see that?)?

I think I will take the west end one, but I am... not sure. No smoking meat. No all-grain brewing. I don't know. This feeling is the meaning of the word torn.

And no matter how torn I am, here's me walking into the future.
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You've held me for years now. I came to you in the dark, going into winter, and it's coming out of winter into the chinese new year, the one set during the first real feel of spring, that I'll leave you.

There were days in there where I thought we'd never leave but just go on wearing our comfortable habits each into each until we fit perfectly. I've never been the only person who gets to make that choice, though.

People come and go and come again and go, again. My moods, my goals, my desires: they shift and double down on themselves and fade like cream just poured into coffee, swirling and spinning and blending finally one into the other. You are distinct from those. You've been there when I've wanted you, protective and never startling, a shell to keep the storms and the bright sun off in equal measure when shelter was needed. You've been there when I would have rejected you. When I doubted my own sufficiency you challenged me and, when I met that challenge, gave me something at least I could do well enough in my life for someone or something.

I am never too much for you, nor too little. I never worry that I'll do or say something wrong in regards to you, because you are supremely mine in a way no person can be. We dress up together sometimes, or dress down and have a party, maybe with friends and waffles and cartoons or maybe just with tea and muffins as the rising sun crawls through the room.

I know your secrets, you see. I know how at certain times of year, when the sun is low and there is so much dark in the world, you let light all the way inside just for a few minutes every morning to dance across the furthest recesses of your kitchen. I know how during the summer you hunker down and barely let the high sun in at all, but shoot strong cool breezes at that one courtyard window that will chill down the whole house if I work with you. I know the knocking sound of your fireplace starting up and the ticking of gas feeding the flames and the way pools of warm and cool air collect, each in its own room.

I can walk through you at night with my eyes closed and never miss a step.

But: you have always been another's, and it is to that other you will return. My beer and bookshelves will vanish, replaced by her potpourri scents and framed photos. Your kitchen will fall silent. You will recede into memory, fading finally into part of the person who comes after me as you are part of me now. I in turn will go on and fit my skin into another space, will bless another set of walls with my music and my tears, will expand into another shell that will eventually hold me as you do now.

Thank you for everything. You have been very good to me. May it go as well for us both as it has so far, if not better.


Sep. 29th, 2013 02:03 pm
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Mom's moving, and I got some stuff from the old boat that won't fit in the new boat to take home. Among them are things I'd thought were lost from childhood; grandma's stand mixer, a chair, odds and ends. I also got a rug for the front of the fireplace, and some rugs for the rabbit run and for by the door or something, and a coffee grinder for spices. A bathroom cabinet my brother made in grade 10. Homey things. Then I went to the hardware store to get hooks for my pretty skirts to put them on the wall (I was asked what art I had on my walls the other day, where the answer is really 'between books and hangings and windows, what walls?') and some snips to break down the rat cage that now the lady who was going to buy it does not want. I was so looking forward to having it out of my hair, too.

I was gone for two overnights; I left lateish Friday night, returned early Sunday morning. It was too long to be away; I'm learning these things now, through trial and error. Taoshi was angry at me, she'd jumped the 3-food enclosure right before I got home (no cords damaged) and rattled the bars for hours after I got here. I laid down my carpet and ate, but have yet to start any of my projects. I'd quite like to

o clear off and move the coffee table so I can get the soft chair from Kelsey
o clean the corner by the deep freeze and throw out basically everything
o hang the oak shelves
o hang the new bathroom cabinet
o disassemble the giant Martins' cage
o wash the kitchen and near-kitchen livingroom walls
o wash the bathroom walls
o polish the bathroom light fixture and arrange the light bulbs in it

It's not a terrible amount of work to do, but I'm disinclined to do it just now. Instead I'm listening to Loscil's Plume and watching the trees dance in the wind and toasting myself at the fireplace.

I spent both nights and the intervening day with crushy architect okcupid boy (let's just call him Dave) brewing beer and cooking roast chicken and sourdough biscuits and fucking in his pretty awesome but sometimes overwhelming communal home. Two nights in a row, which a whole day between, is a LOT of time to spend with someone. It was too much for both of us, I think, which is definitely for the best. I don't really have that kind of time to give up out of my life.

I'm given to wonder, though-- what is it that made it so sticky for me, so hard to just leave the final evening before bed? It felt so very good to get home, feels so good to be in my house, and although I like him very much I wasn't feeling that body-longing to be close to him the second night, you know where it feels your soul is tearing itself in two to leave? Is it just habit? Is it the fear of losing the thing forever when I walk out the door, because although he enjoys my company he clearly does not need or love me and I don't trust liking to be enough? I need to watch that. I need to practice leaving, often, so I can teach myself that people are there when I return.

Though of course, he's a mono boy in-between big things, so one day he won't be there when I return.

His household was a very special kind of beautiful, too. One of his housemates was a father with a seven-year-old, one of the sweeter men I've ever met. Sitting in the breakfast nook listening to the two of them talk out in the kitchen in the morning was... I felt like a shrivelled winter plant with the first rays of spring sunshine on me. I absolutely have no words.

Turn a hundred eighty degrees and there's Graydon, opposite in every way to Dave: loving, reassuring, unconfident, living in a spare tidy nest in the sky and so isolated he might as well be a star. Recently he's uprooted from his well of pain and given himself permission to connect, and in responding to that I've found a love of play that is surprising and exhilarating. He's so private that I find myself closing up around him just through mirrored behaviour. These words here don't come easy.

So many things are new and dangerous. I'm playing with all kinds of fire at once. This is a very good set of fires.

Another hundred and eighty degrees (because how many aspects of a human are there, after all?) and there's Andrew like a small sun, constant, open, communicative, loving-- not a romantic relationship at all but kindred, family, reliable. And, yes, there's sex; he takes care of me, and loves it. I feel like, for the first time, I can participate in this incredibly unconventional exchange without guilt or hesitancy. Autonomy is pretty great.

So I guess that's a rundown of, maybe, the three anchors in my dating constellation right now. There are other people but I am holding back on all those, nervous of some things, avoidant of others. They are not where my energy runs. My friend constellation is huger and looser -- there's no one way to define a friend, so I'm so excited about seeing Trevor (it's been so many years) soon, and happy and content to know that Kynnin cares for me in the background, or that I can gossip with Sofia or hash stuff out with Kelsey and/or...

I'm running out of steam here and accomplishing very little household stuff, so I'll leave you with this semi-incoherent mishmash and go do something else, productive or no.

Be well.
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Getting past the angst for a bit, I want to say that getting my house back in order, extending my skin out to the walls again and shaping it to fit me, is an excellent challenge for me right now. There is SO MUCH to do, so it feels incredibly frustrating sometimes, but there are enough tiny pieces that I can usually do *something* and feel accomplished.

And I can do a bunch of things and see measurable progress: house doesn't smell bad anymore, I can see the floor, computer is in a useable location, etc. And then I can make a list of concrete things I can do to make it better: clear off the diningroom table, wash the windows, wash the walls, empty the fridge, sort the fabric stash. And if all else fails, I can do a load of laundry and stare at a wall and make some sort of a dent.

It's great therapy for me.


Jul. 14th, 2008 07:33 pm
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I bale promix.
1 concord grape.
1 buffalo grape.
2 multi-blue clematis (one on sale $5)
1 duchess of edinburgh clematis (on sale $5!!!!!)
1 etoile de malicorne clematis (also on the $5 rack)
1 malabar spinach
1 amazingly brightly variegated white-and-green peppermint
1 lavender thyme (smells like heaven, I walked around with my nose buried in it)
1 phyllostachys rubro-marginata bamboo
1 bag fertilizer
1 sink-tap-to-garden-hose adapter
1 roll teflon tape (to make it fit that last fraction of a millimeter)
1 roll double-sided green velcro tape (this stuff is the best)

I did not buy, but wanted to: butterflies magnolia from home depot (I adore yellow magnolias!), blueberries (Elliot and earlicrop) from same, any kiwis from Gardenworks (they only had female, though they still have like ten varieties, and I figured I can start more vines later), Greengage plums, and the fucking amazing water demon fountain that was $550 (though a slightly less cool one along the same theme was only $65, but of course just not as nice). I also did not buy a mister. I did buy sweetgrass mats to roll down in front of the windows from outside. I did not buy fishing line to train vines up, oops!

Also done:
got learner's license
replaced lightbulbs in chandelier
got bolt for pottery wheel and fixed it
got big 1L summer glases (about time)
got more kitten food for babies and mums (helps grow em big)
dishes clean

Still to do:
organise balcony to two distinct seating areas and pot up new plants
test hose
hang livingroom chandelier
deal with corner'o'crap (I found a cardboard dumpster)
buy fishing line
get seat-hammocks
get narrow coffee table

More garden news: lots of baby tomatoes out there. I inherited some thunbergia and some jasmine from the masquerade, the former of which needs continuous water so it needs to betransplanted to something larger. That's a lot of vines for my deck this summer, I'm excited! I can't wait for the screen to, well, screen from that awful sun. ;) West-facing decks definitely want dappled shade for the seating area in the evening, trust me.

Bamboo has done some shooting. Phyllostachys aurea is a VERY HARDY bamboo and I recommend it.

My lettuce is more-or-less the size where I start making salad from it. Happy! Also my magenta spreen is looking lovely.

The okra I started early never did anything, I think it was too cold for it for too long. In fact it never seemed very hardy in general, unlike the red and evergreen huckleberries which are hanging in there despite kind of sucky soil and a frying spot.

I badly need to get the last tomatoes in decent sized pots along with my last flowers, and now I have the soil for it.

Pinup begonias remain teh sex.

My basil is starting to take up a little space. My watercress is absolutely breathtaking, full of frothy white flowers. It needs a fountain of cascading bowls to live in, or a birdbath of some description (there is this dryad-lady birdbath at Gardenworks... but again, I have expensive taste, so plants first, then furniture, then statuary I think).

By the way, those of you who I haven't told about the awesome lifecycle of bamboo should read about it. You know, it's fun to read about mysterious stuff.

I also planted my wheat Saturday morning.
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...yeah, well, what do you expect with me drinking hot chocolate and eating kettle corn all evening for the last two nights?

But seriously, I woke up this morning. (Yeah, I did! Twice!). It's the first time in a long time I haven't slept with Angus, gotta admit, and the house is absolutely empty. There's snow outside sifting through the branches. Big house, no Bob, no Ryan, Vikki may be here but if so she's fast asleep. The kitchen, despite me doing some dishes yesterday, is once again full of ick-- I especially hate it when both sides of the double sink are filled up with dirty dishes so I have to excavate before I can clean some dishes. This is even ignoring the endless dirty cups that fill up the rest of the counter.

We have a house meeting today before I leave for work. It needs to be done. In my current state of mind (kill! kill!) it's likely bad timing. I'm pretty sure that being-alone and cleaning the kitchen (need to clean the fridge too, someone dumped water in it, and shovel the walk) will make me feel better. A clean house always does, and cleaning is soothing. Talking to people about it again will put me back in laundry-list mode (I inherited this from mom, you can see it above: I do *this* and *this* and *this* and *this*...)

This has gotta be a sucky post to read.

So anyhow, turning best music way up, contemplating trying a firelog in the fireplace, filling this too-empty space with myself-- and man, does it feel good to stretch out into it! It's nice to know that even just writing this makes me feel better when I wake up in that sort of a mood. It's nice to know that doing grown-up human things like cleaning house makes me feel good too.

It's nice to know that I *know* what makes me feel good, and I can do it when I get stuck in a bad place mentally.

Well, wasn't that a bit of a mood flip? *grin* See y'all on the other side of the dishpile.


Oct. 28th, 2007 06:45 pm
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Day spent unpacking, moving furniture, and cleaning house (in-between feeding people buckwheat pancakes and miso soup, putting summer clothes to bed for winter and bringing out my winter clothes and thank-god-for-polar-fleece long underwear).

House more livable. Kitchen more livable, livingroom more livable, bed more livable. So glad. One more day of this and I can sleep in my room!
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My toes are cold. I woke up at six thirty this morning in the dark because that's when I wake up and the house was super-warm. I turned it down to 19 and my toes are cold as I wander around looking at furniture on the internet, but I'm happy. I've settled into the idea that the house is almost finished and I can do my thing with it now. I'm afraid my thing might involve painting my room. I also need a big bookshelf for in there. I want badly to go running outside right now - it's all grey and the leaves are falling like all kinds of trapped sunlight through the now-quite-gloom. I bet it's cold.

I'm waiting for Famous to open so I can pop down and pick up some organic liver for breakfast. By the way (and this not just from someone who eats liver, but from someone who likes good food) you should immediately go get a pineapple, cut it into chunks, and fry it (hot!) in bacon fat and eat it. It's unreal good. I mean it. Do it. Now.

So yeah, I feel better now. A night spent next to Bob likely helped, a relaxed morning certainly does, the anticipation of projects like garden and bedroom and livingroom likely helps too. The anticipation of rats is a nice thing, though what a chaotic element to add before my bedroom is in place! Maybe I should paint today and bring them home tomorrow.

I need to get a rake today and do the leaves before the lawn (which is mostly moss anyhow) gets too sad from being under all the big maple plant-suppressors lying on them.

I'm reading The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt, recommended by [ profile] mocks, and though it was slow at first his reading it to me out loud definitely got me into the groove. I love hearing people talk about things they love. Almost done it now.

Anticipation of breakfast is a wonderful thing, but I might need to cheat and have a red bean cooler beforehand. I'm super-hungry, it's long past breakfast, and I still need to go buy stuff to eat.

Am trying really hard to come up with a workable scheme for the kitchen so it flows together - walnut, retro wood cupboards, retro teal arborite-with-gold-flecks counter, teal ceiling, clinical white walls. The counter's in good condition, luckily.

I also forgot how much it's important to have rocking chairs in the house. Likely they'll need to be in the back room with a little table and a couch. If I can carve four conversational spaces outta this house then I will, cause if there are four people it's important not to have to retreat to your room with guests if you don't wanna.

Yesterday my boss said, 'my brain hurts, take these bulbs and do a layout in this garden, ask me questions if you need, then plant them.' It was awesome. I love designing. I love -projects-.

I also got a tarp full of leaves for my garden out of the deal. Tucking-in will commence apace. I need four or five more tarps full, but I'll start with the front yard.


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