Jan. 1st, 2017 08:40 pm
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Just realized, perhaps it should have been obvious, that I am very very cautious about being happy around folks who are not either deeply trusted or strangers. Happiness is when I'm vulnerable, when anyone can step in with a cutting remark and actually cut me, and when there is actually something valuable to be taken away.

I avoid being happy around a lot of folks for this reason.

Dry Land

Apr. 30th, 2011 11:08 pm
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Today we went to Whonnock Lake (among other places) with class, and went out into a bog that was slowly claiming the lake as land. We walked out as far as we could, me in sneakers along with a couple other people, until we were ankle-deep on the yielding ring-raft of floating, living vegetation that included spicy-smelling labrador tea, spaghnum moss, and hardhack. We stood there listening to lecture for 45 minutes and doing some measurements (the temp was between 10-12 degrees in the water, the pH was about 5 but in the spaghnum clusters was as low as 3.7) and it was glorious. A paid of bald eagles flew overhead; one perched on a nearby snag and watched for fish. Soon the whole lake will be eaten; it will be only bog, then slowly become swamp, then forest. This is a very slow process. My feet are still tingly and warm and happy from the long immersion, and my pyjamas are extra comfy.

Soon there will be chili in the crock pot.

I came home to my own bed in the bedroom instead of the one I've shared with Angus. The closet isn't yet empty, so I can't put up my clothes, and the house is hardly sorted, but this was pretty symbolic. We've got some dates set up next week because, well, we're now operating in that paradigm; tonight was supposed to be one of those but we both fell asleep. This happens frequently to us. Co-napping is comfy. I have the excuse of my schedule, but I worry about him. He's lost a lot of weight and I don't know how far that can keep going, and he's lethargic many days.

I think about mortality sometimes, following that arc of thought, and it hurts me beyond all things.

Tonight I've been using the time during the rest of his nap to answer craigslist ads for housing. There's one with a fire pit for eco-friendly people! Actually a bunch of them are exciting today, I'm glad I've had both time to answer them and a day (Monday) off-ish in the near future to go looking at the places I've written to. It's frustrating to not be able to get there to see places.

Looks like there may be a new, safely self-limiting connection in my life made at SMF. My dance card is so happily full right now that I'm cautious, but my life is nothing if not a kaleidoscope of little shiny bits squeezed in here and there.

Music is particularly making me happy today.

Now for chili. Be well, y'all.
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So my classes have been aimed at improving my model of the physical world. That is, directly (by teaching me how the world works) and indirectly (by showing me how to use tools which offer more information on how the world works) the simulation of the world in my head has been refined and now better approaches some theoretical consensus of objective reality which seems to map pretty closely to observable outcomes.

The scope of this model is pretty broad. It covers a great deal of the world: the sky (not astronomy, but some climatology), the ground and the bits that make it up (geology, which is the study of the more-or-less solid bits: how they formed and what they're doing and what makes them up and how to recognise them; earth science, which is the study of the loose bits at the top and how they move and what *they're* doing and how they formed and how to recognise distinctive parts of them and what that means), and this funny layer in between which contains a number of biotic elements (plants, animals, soil, water to an extent) and some of the processes involved (like fire). The tools at my disposal range from imap (which is an incredible tool) to statistical analysis to digging a hole and putting a bit of dirt between my teeth or noticing the shape of pebbles or a hillside. Some are very low tech or just very old and unappreciated tech; some are very high tech.

This doesn't mean I don't make errors in how I think about the natural or physical world. It means I am more likely to be right in the first place, more likely to think to check my assumptions, and more likely to know how to check those assumptions against the world effectively.

At the same time in the last couple of years -- let's call it three or four -- I've been making a lot of progress on refining my model of myself. I'm admitting to things, like my very strong drive for multiple partners, my need for certain kinds of independence, my better flourishing with certain kinds of food and sex and friends in my life, my sub-superhuman limitations on some hands and my nearly limitless capacity on others, and my ambitions, all of which are not necessarily convenient for me but which allow me to live a better life as myself. And I am myself. Not much I can do about that; I evolve, but I don't evolve unless I am unfolding in a direction which draws me.

This doesn't mean I don't make errors in infusing my life with meaning and joy. It means I am more likely to be right in the first place, more likely to think about a course of action, and more likely to know how to check that it's the best course of action for me. And like everyone, of course, sometimes I am just indifferent to the correctness of a course of action.

Then-- you know, the world has a human element. You know this; you're part of it. Today I'm having trouble with that human element. I have no consistent model for it. I have been learning how to make and keep friends and how to choose kind and caring lovers; meanwhile bad things happen to little girls in the states and to women in Canada and everything in-between and is to a certain extent condoned by this human element. My home country makes a mockery of democracy, etc and my adopted country isn't much better and sometimes seems plain crazy but at least, you know, isn't engaged in an all-out war with itself on my reproductive health with a side of making women in some places into Handmaid's Tale-style incubators and here too and all that sort of thing.

I don't know if it's that I'm becoming better at dealing with these other things in my life and so this human element is a problem by comparison, if we really are living in the end of times as was suggested in a comment on the post below, if I need an outlet for adversity, I could put a million possible explanations in here and it wouldn't change that I just don't know. I don't know if things are getting worse or better. I don't know if they will ever directly affect me, though I expect so. Any way you look at it, this portion of my world is a jumble and I don't know how to order, organise, and empower myself around it. I am tempted to flee, but there are people in my life I love too much and I have some sense of responsibility.

I'm going to put a cut here because the meat of this post is my musing about my sexuality, rape in the real world, consensual rape play, and how I feel about all this stuff, and people have kindly taught me that they appreciate the ability to avoid that sort of thing.

Read more... )

There's nothing more to write.
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 Tonight I wrote this <i>I also think I like/want to be myself with much more depth&complexity than any other person is capable of. I used to fear this.</i>

That's the limit of twitter's 140-character thing.

What did I mean? I meant that when I was twelve, or fourteen, or nineteen, there were certain things that I held in esteem in people. I prized people who were able to throw off the chains of social conformity and stand out from the crowd. I valued turning the searchlight of intellect on something and reducing it beyond its component parts. I worshipped independence, but-- it's not something I wanted for myself. I hadn't yet experienced being close with someone, not really.

I may still not have, depending on how close we want to talk about and how much you need an "I" to be close, but I have more breadth of experience from which to draw now.

I feel like I'm a much more distinct shape than I used to be.  I have more presence in the world, I'm more solid, less defined by who is looking at me or in what context I'm seen. This is not to be confused with constancy because my life remains a whirlpool of change, but the "me" that drives it all casts a larger shadow.

Oh, I never can put this into words.

So now that I'm less worried about individuality, about the actuality of <i>being</i>, I spend more attention on the quality of being.  But-- this comes only because I have achieved my individuality more than I ever dared dream I could. I walk the web nowadays, my life is a mesh of interconnected warmths and caretakings and givings and love. When I was nineteen, this would have seemed hopelessly insecure, to live this way without nailing things down. Now I slake that insecurity with habit-- with watching West Wing with Michael or Burn Notice with Andrew, texting Angus to say I love him, taking myself to a restaurant if I need. I give myself routine and challenge and care as I need them, and it is more than enough most times. I don't need some other human always there to lean on or to even tell if things aren't going well.

So now I'm worried about the quality of being, and it's people who live well that I find myself drawn to. I like people who can successfully navigate social situations of all kinds-- who are kind and giving without letting people melt on them, who are reliable without locking themselves into a cage of other people's expectations, who are moral without being overbearing, who can be close without losing their boundaries.

I used to worry that, if I didn't meet the right person when I was young enough, no one would ever completely understand me because too much complex history would have passed, and that was what I wanted more than anything else. I wanted to be seen, to be known, from top to bottom-- and to be good enough for someone to want to know me so thoroughly.

Now I don't see myself so much as a product of my history as I do of a manifestation of my potential. I am a strong enough person in my own right that I'm the only person I need to know myself entirely, and even that isn't necessary. The <i>knowing</i> doesn't make me who I am. The living of it does.

I never knew that was possible. And I never knew it was possible for so many actions and motivations and feelings to swirl along, more-or-less harmoniously, in the shell of one single human being.

I think that complexity and unexpectedness is the most glorious thing about people. I love it in myself. I love it in others. And it's better than I could ever have expected.
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It was an interesting week.

Once again, finally, my options are opening out before me. I spoke to my ecology professor about my practicum, and am thinking about what direction to point next year's school. I've been exploring some possible sex/fooling-around type options. Work is getting interesting-- it's spring, and also we're working with a new client and a new installation.

I'm in the position to refine or undefine some of the web of relation/friendships I'm in right now.

I can make a lot of decisions. A lot of how my life looks in the next little while will hinge on this time, so I can leave things open as long as I can and see what direction they drift in, or I can steer with a heavier or a lighter hand depending on how I feel. I'm generally in favour of allowing situations to develop rather than forcing them-- it takes less energy and they end up more stable-- but I do also enjoy a good challenge.

I make decisions a lot like I walk through a room in the dark. There's a lot of edge-of-senses intuition involved, usually; that's how I add the element of what I *want* rather than just paying attention to what might be most functional, most reasonable, most socially acceptable, etc. This sort of thinking keeps the back of my brain really busy, so I need to keep my conscious areas distracted but not too overloaded while the processes work back there.

Work is perfect for this. Movie night tonight will also be good.

Now, some sewing and a nap.
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I'm not with all you new years' people as much as all that. For me the Chinese New Year feels more like spring; it's when the winter's back breaks, when I begin to sense something stirring deep in there. Still, it's reflection time right now and as everyone is turning inwards I turn inwards too.

I also don't do resolutions; if something needs doing I'm too impatient to wait, and if it doesn't need doing, well, what's the point? Having said that, family dinner has started again, which fills basically a spiritual void I was holding. I am remembering to spend time with many different friends and that makes my life noticeably, measurably better-- both for everyone else, I think, and for myself. I need to keep my home clean enough to have company over without notice. Finally, I need to remember to be nice to my body both in terms of food and exercise, and if necessary set up structures that enforce that (paid yoga classes on campus, buddies for exercise, a skipping rope close to hand at home for the five-minute brain-breaks during homework).

Having been through the first semester of school, I think I can maintain all these things at better levels than I did before, since I have formed enough school-type habits and created enough school-type efficiencies to leave my attention free to manage new habit creation.

So that's where I'm at right now.

Oh, also I fucking love cooking. I mean, I love cooking -for- people, a la family dinner, but I also just really enjoy the cooking process. I'd forgotten that. I bought myself this smoked turkey and I'm making soup stock with the carcass and it may be the best thing I've made within sensory memory. Seriously. Awesome.
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Human Beauty

If you write a poem about love ...
the love is a bird,

the poem is an origami bird.
If you write a poem about death ...

the death is a terrible fire,
the poem is an offering of paper cutout flames

you feed to the fire.
We can see, in these, the space between

our gestures and the power they address
—an insufficiency. And yet a kind of beauty,

a distinctly human beauty. When a winter storm
from out of nowhere hit New York one night

in 1892, the crew at a theater was caught
unloading props: a box

of paper snow for the Christmas scene got dropped
and broken open, and that flash of white

confetti was lost
inside what it was a praise of

by Albert Goldbarth

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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Dear people who felt, when I was writing about the breakup time with Michael, that you would have liked to see your name here more often,

It's pretty clear at this point that I use school and work as excuses, as reasons to explain why I can't do enough of what you want me to for you to be satisfied with me. It's something I can point to and say see, here, the other things that I'm spending my time on are worthwhile too so it's not my fault.

When work and school disappear, or even just school, then something happens. The excuses are gone. I do the things that I want to do, and it becomes clear that those things are not what you want me to be doing.

You want me to be spending more time with you. You know how I deal with you? By destroying your expectations.

I am not reliable. I cannot serve in anyone's life as their sole source of comfort, of love, of snuggles, of venting, of conversation, of anything at all. If you need something so badly that you will collapse into a sucking black hole of misery if you don't get it, do not look to get it from me. Even if I would ordinarily give it to you gladly, even if I would ordinarily be completely unburdened through this transaction, if I suspect you are leaning wholeheartedly on me in some regard I will drop your heart.

This is because I can't stand your disappointed expectations. When it becomes clear that, more often than not, you are disappointed rather than happy with our interactions, those interactions will cease.

It happens to everyone. God knows, it's happened to my own damn self, but I've spent long enough at this that I know what to ask for from myself.

You see, the breaking is an alchemical process. I stop trying to give you what you want, you fall, you break. The world ends for a little bit, then it resumes. If there was something between us that meant more than the leaning, you will learn to trust me to do the things I do for people: I love people, like crazy. I am there to hold you through the midnight crazy voices. I make a good tea partner, and I'm good to talk with. We can take walks through the back doors of your mind or of mine. I see beauty in you, and I take joy in your flight across the world.

You will have learned, through bitter experience, not to trust me where I cannot be trusted: I am not consistent. I do not emotionally distance well. I do not reliably see the dark or the light side of something as you need. And I am never a replacement for your own sense of self-worth, for your ability to find love in other people in the world, for parents or siblings, for financial support or your right hand in bed or your right and need to comfort yourself and walk yourself through your own difficulties and griefs.

Michael never loved me in the first place. There was no freighting of expectations on our time together; he obviously didn't need me. Can you imagine how much I needed that? Can you imagine how much I need to feel people close sometimes without knowing that they'll think I failed them, if not right that second, then within a day or two? Can you believe I could write about him without that act disappointing him because of the way it was phrased, because it did or didn't include the right topics, because there was or wasn't enough of a tone or a particular subject or connection?

Maybe you and I can make something together out of what happens after I break your expectations or maybe we can't, but it'll be all that's left. It's what you get.

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Well. I've spoken a lot about dramatic relationship stuff on here lately. That's basically sorted: I have a thing or two to learn in that regard about patience and remembering to enjoy the other things in my life but I've put a lid on it for now.

Yesterday I spent the day doing things that made me happy: I went for very good dim sum with some friends, including a couple I hadn't seen in a long time or didn't know very well; I snuggled and drank tea and chatted with people all day; the snuggling and chatting flowed into a group sushi event which was, again, very good. During dim sum, as we're all paying slightly more attention to the food than to each other but still discussing things, I realised I was happy again. It's been a long time, weeks really, and happiness is foreign to me again. I didn't start crying in the middle of food, though that was my first impulse, and I rode out the rest of the day well.

I also started getting my grades back. I got a mark in math which was barely short of miraculous--- I must have done incredibly well on the exam despite the whole weird thing around that --and I'm doing well enough, though I'd love to get all the numbers in.

So I have my first eight courses and five certifications under my belt. My mental energy is definitely coming back, though I'm still losing words when I try to speak.

I'm also really very sick. This weekend I made the conscious decision to attend social events, albeit in a low-key way, because sitting at home being lonely would fix me less well than being low-key somewhere maybe colder and less comfortable but where there were friends. It was the right decision, but now I have to head in to work shortly and I'm really wishing this could be over.

I've spoken lately about how boring I feel: all I talk about is school, work, or that breakup thing. I'm going to inflict a tiny bit more school on you. Here are the courses I've finished:

-Applied mathematics for sustainable resource management
-Earth science
-Ecology I - Plants
-Field Safety I (this was ATV, WHMIS, worksafe, first aid, and first aid transportation endorsement certifications)
-Intro to geology
-Map and aerial photo interpretation
-Natural resource field survey ("surveying")
-Sustainable resource management I (the sustainable issues course)
-Technical communication for sustainable resource management I (the eng/comm distance course they couldn't fit into the timetable except by distance ed, where we wrote collections and rejection letters, etc)

Whew. Next up:

-Fire control (!)
-Environmental climatology (!)
-Ecology II - fish and wildlife
-Ecology III - ecosystem classifications of bc (I expect this to be the biogeoclimactic zone class)
-Intro to computer applications and GPS
-Intro to soils (!)
-Statistics I for sustainable resource management
-Sustainable resource management II
-Technical communication II for sustainable resource management

I start the term off with fire control (but not till Jan 31), climatology, comp & gps, statistics, and soils.

It will be interesting.


Nov. 21st, 2010 08:31 pm
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I've spent this weekend popping on and off [ profile] chimera_fancies's journal in an effort to gift myself with pretties that she makes. I have successfully done this. These are beautiful, and I'm eager to get them into my hands-- and inspired-feeling.

If I had the time I'd make a set of leaf mail with lines from TS Eliot's The Waste Land enameled on each scale so the whole suit was the poem.

Juggler has a silk-screening kit that I might play with some. I should set up my sewing machine. I will have all this incredible weekend time-- well, it feels like all this time, really it should be exam-studying time, but if I collect my inspirations now I can attend to them over Christmas.

Today has been lovely and relaxed and domestic. This whole weekend has been relaxed. Today was the day where I cooked and cleaned in procrastination on my homework-- as a result I 'pulled' a chicken (Angus' suggestion-- pulled pork but with a chicken. Lotta food!), boiled the stock I was going to make risotto with dry and ruined it, started an apple-cinnamon-wildrice dressing, and assembled five meals for the fridge in addition to dinner.

I really do need to make my map for surveying though. Pre-final tutorial's tuesday.

I miss making pretty things. Most of that energy has been going into fancy dress-up, but somethign more enduring is likely in order. I just don't like making nonfunctional objects lately-- I'd do a teapot or a jingly belt but not something to put on the wall.
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So I know my abilities grow through constant challenge. When I take myself out to the edge I always find that I survive it in the strictest sense. I learn what dies and what's shed when I push myself in different ways. I learn what's worth it: to go there again in exchange for something becomes an option, not an unknown to be feared.

My life is one of constant challenge. I don't sit on things long. I get bored, I move around, I try new things. I'm giving up on saying I want it any other way; these choices have always been my own and I have made them consistently throughout most of my adult life.

I get tired. I get discouraged. I plan things and the world throws me what everyone calls curve balls (I don't play whatever game they're referring to). People don't do what I need. Things don't do what I want.

I get through. I enjoy myself most of the time. I get stronger, and my strength comes as often from self-knowledge and a solid grasp of where I should and shouldn't venture as it does an ability to bull through something.

I love people like crazy. I pay attention to things I like. I try to figure out how things work and why. I look for patterns in everything from weather to people's behaviour, obsessively, but refuse to commit to cause and effect on those patterns without scientific backing. I love to help people but hate being taken for granted. I love being asked for help because it's so hard to help another human being in this world.

At night I come home and I'm tired and lonely sometimes. Sometimes I've ground myself down to the point where I walk in the door and wither stare glassily at the wall for god knows how long or I burst into tears. When I spend the night with Angus he almost always falls asleep before I'm done all the things I need to do for the day. When I spend the night with the Writer I almost always wake up three or four hours before him. My life has been disconnected from partnerships and has settled instead into oases of closeness between sometimes very long periods where I spend a lot of time relying on and thus coming to trust myself.

I trust myself.

When I feel something I pay attention to it. When I need something I can advocate for that. When I want something I can often ask for it. I'm starting to be able to treat myself as I would treat an ideal partner: driving hard a lot of the time, but offering softness and haven when it's really the best idea.

I take joy in introspection and in analysis. I like thinking about things, breaking them down and putting back together. I like being silly. I like the longest conversations that meander until the sun rises. I interrogate people about themselves because I'm curious.

My fury I reserve for things that hurt and deceive the people I love, which is sometimes all people. I am protective -- to a fault. I am empathic -- to a fault. I overload on people's bad feelings easily and take them into myself. I easily feel excluded, and convince myself I am unwanted when no such barrier exists. Less often lately, but still fairly often, other people's joys make me feel excluded and I kick reflexively or withdraw like a wounded thing. I hate that.

I believe in everyone's right to joy and pleasure in the world, and the right to bury yourself in that pleasure, to luxuriate in that joy. That is not an earned right. It's a birthright given to us by some interaction between the world and our humanity, and we shouldn't throw it away or scorn it in favour of 'earned joy' of some kind. That's spitting in your mother's face when she hands you a Christmas present, it's pissing on the college money your father saved up to give you-- disrespect of the worst kind. If you like, and I recommend it, you can also do things to earn feelings of self-respect and accomplishment, but that pure joy in being is given to us free at the start. Whatever it takes to make that happen in you, whether it's looking at a sunset or eating a carrot you just pulled out of the ground or jumping off a cliff with wings made of plastic cloth or paying slow and careful attention to the slide of cock into cunt, you should do those things. You owe it to yourself and to your sentience, to your ability to appreciate.

I hate puritanism that says if you don't work for something it means less.

I hate laziness that says settling for something is better than reaching for that thing which best fits your unique personality and human shape.

I hate fear. I hate how many people, myself included, never do things because we're afraid to start.

I love when people trust me enough to tell me their secrets. I love the way people smile when they finally, incredulously, begin the negotiation process with the world which results in their finding/carving a niche that fits them in particular. I love seeing people transcendently happy as much as I hate when people joyously gather into conversational groups to tear other groups down.

I have trouble putting myself on the inside of groups. When people are talking about 'them' I am always 'them' whether or not I have the right religion or the right colour skin or the right mannerisms. I always want to stick up for the immediate underdog. I always want to argue against a position of absolute certainty. I always want to draw certainty out of a lack of conviction.

I think everything that exists is beautiful. The people I love are the most beautiful of all, and until the distancing I've experienced while going to school just recently I couldn't see the faces of people I loved, just my thought/feeling/personality projection of my experience of their psychic shape.

Language is my playground and my solace, but if I had to limit myself to one kind of language I would prefer always to think in questions.

I would write like this forever but I'm tired and hungry. I need to eat, and wake Angus up, and go to bed.

I would love for you to tell me who you are and what you believe and what you like and want and everything like that. What's important to you about you?

Be well.

Loose end

Oct. 28th, 2010 03:42 pm
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For the most part things turn out better than I expect them to.

That's another way of saying that I'm really pessimistic or really cautious about a lot of things.

I'm also -- you know, people said 'things will change when you get to University' when I was in high school. 'You won't be the smartest person in the room' they warned me 'you'll have to work at it'.

Well, I went to UBC and some of it was too hard and some of it was too easy and nobody gave a fuck about me or about the classes they were teaching. I never did any work there. I also didn't do very well. I also didn't do it for long.

Now I'm at BCIT. I'm doing a lot of things that basically I can take as far as I want to. I can sink a ton of work into them and really learn some interesting stuff, or I can squeeze an hour in here and another hour there between work and sleep and call the thing homework and it appears I do okay in both situations, and sometimes I do really really well. I have yet to figure out if my level of achievement is correlated with the level of work I put in. It doesn't appear to be. Instead it seems to be my interest in a subject that drives my ability in it. I would love to have time to spend on playing with these ideas and doing them more, cementing them in my head and also looking for the fun parts. I think I could make everything interesting if given enough time (or good enough teachers but hey, why ask lightning to strike three or four times?)

Want me to tell you a secret? I'm terrified at how well I'm doing. Every time I do okay to well with no prep, it makes me lazier for next time. Each time I do spectacularly well on something because I sorta-know my stuff, game the test, and have a meta-sense of the subject my expectations for my achievement are raised-- and I am very competitive with myself. That's why I'm the level of workaholic I am, I think.

So there've been a ton of things happening lately. Last week was the work crunch, this week was the school crunch. I've done a final exam in sustainable resources, a test in maps, and a midterm in math this week. Also a project worth 30% of my ecology grade is due in an hour and two english assignments are due today (one's finished and I'm halfway through the other-- seriously, this assignment included 'read several articles from (the ecosystem management trade journal) and you know, that is a LOT of very technical reading). Eep, I've lost myself in my parentheses.

And last night I was up late working on the plant assignment, did some more today, but work ended early and I flew through as much of English as I could without heading home and grabbing my textbook. Now I'm livejournaling from our computer lab because, er, I have two hours to kill and honest to god nothing I can do.

I talked to the financial people and need to get somethign signed by someone who isn't in.

I went to the gym but didn't want to spend the time to figure out the system and gave up after scouting it out.

I can't work on my citizenship or tax stuff because I don't have the info here.

I didn't bring my laptop because it's heavy and I had aerial lift certification today, didn't wanna haul it PLUS the plant assignment (5" binder) PLUS my schoolwork.

I could run down the batteries on my devices but what's the point?

Well, better post this and I can hunt down the prof to deliver my plants assignment to. It really is a thing of beauty. 70-odd pressed and labelled plants, all alphebetized and sorted according to structure and family. Also it's a collection of the memories of plant walks taken with my favourite prof, and a collection of mental images of little micro-environments. Because I wanted to I handwrote everything instead of printing it off on the computer. I didn't want that to get in the way.

I'll show it to youif you ask me.
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One of my most interesting personality traits is my ability to get really fucking high from just being around or doing stuff I like. I know this can happen to nearly everyone, but it's an actual factor in my life quite a bit. School is doing this to me a lot lately. Now, I do pay literally with money and emotionally with stress, but at least once a week something will happen with school that makes me want to do it forever.

This week, so far, there have been two things. One of them is homework.

I may or may not have mentioned that 30% of my total grade in Ecology is tied up in a plant collection. We've been collecting plants on every walk, pressing them when we get back (sometimes after class rather than during, thus my long Fridays) and biding our time. For the assignment we mount the specimens (I'm using photograph album sheets with the clear plastic cover) along with enough other things to make identification certain, so if I need a cone or an illustration of a flower or overall plant shape I'll grab one or draw one and put that in. Then we give the information-- elevation and location and type of site collected, family name, that sort of thing. An index, a summary of family characteristics at the end, and that's that.

It took me three hours to put the ninety plants on the photograph paper, not adding any info or anything like that. It was like Christmas but better: I was unwrapping both beautiful things and presents of memories of each location of each plant I'd picked. I got to remember every moment of those wonderful classes: that little bridge on Cypress had a mossy rill where the oak fern and goldenthread mingled and they looked so similar; this was the redcedar branch I picked to hold next to yellow cedar and compare the actual look of the scales for the first time; that was the stink currant we weren't supposed to do but someone asked what it was and he told us, and I loved the smell so much I held it to my nose for the next half-hour.

Now I wake up and I'm still high from it. I have two photograph albums packed to the gills with this incredible diversity of vegetation all from around here, all that I know. I really need to find something portable that I can take with me so that when I find a piece of a plant I don't know I can slip it between pieces of paper and into some sort of minimalist press, take it home, and continue this. I don't ever want to stop this thing. I used to do it when I was little, and when I was travelling I did the same: there are sketches of plants and pressed leaves in many of my old books.

Somewhere since I've started school I've realised that botany isn't a lost art or a dead science; people still do it. I always wanted to. I can.

I need to go to work now. I have a crazy busy day-- this week is all super long days and working through the weekend, next week is all midterms and finals. I'm floaty, though. So happy.


Oct. 9th, 2010 08:00 am
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It's the season of seperation of indoors and outdoors. I suppose this is one of my major seasonal divides when it comes right down to it: weather where you have to prep to go outside, where windows can't all be wide open, strongly affects my feelings of being connected to the world. My ties with nature, if you like, have been severed now and I'm on my own.

It's not all bad; my place is remarkably comfy. The heat is free and plentiful, and in fact the completely non-adjustable hot water system allows and even requires me to leave windows open some, without which I go crazy. The floors are hardwood and so they're welcoming to my senses. The rain is appropriately loud on the windows. There are plenty of soft places to curl up with blankets, there's a kitchen, and my bathroom is finally clean. All these are important to me.

I spent four hours hiking around the woodlot in Maple Ridge with my Ecology class yesterday; there was a test at the end. The pace was nice with lots of long stretches where I was working at heavy-breathing-but-not-panting pace. The woodlot looks mostly like this and was a paradise. There's a lodge on the property that we students, as members of the forest professionals of something something, can rent out for events. We can go to the lot whenever we want. I am doing the right thing.

The class was fantastic, though, probably worth my whole semester's tuition just in the pleasure I got out of it. Ecology ends next week with the big exam and we go on to surveying. I am particularly sad about that.

My sick is receding and it's about damn time.

It's raining right now, and it's early enough that I want to go run around in the park some. There's a track right by my house and though I don't really like running, running in the rain is relatively pleasant and I know it would help clear my head. I've been doing nothing physical lately; between relatively-sedentary work, totally sedentary class, and homework I'm in terrible shape and the muscle's finally finished falling off me. My sanity is definitely the worse for the wear: I've been spiky, irritable, swingy, and difficult lately and a lot of that is due to poor self-care in this regard.

This morning I feel like that's a problem. If I go for a run or a bike ride today it'll be good; there's no point in making promises to myself about other days right now because that's not the point.

I will also do some homework this weekend. Next week I have the Ecology exam; the following week the Math midterm. If I do the two communications assignments this weekend (9 hours total), the SRMT timeline/summary of environmental conferences (3 hours) and my maps assignment (1 hour) I can focus on Ecology during the week next week, studying instead of turning out homework. That'll be good.

You wanted to know that, right? Good.

Well, time to crack a textbook.
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So I've had reason to think about what I've to; tongue-in-cheek called "play: the grown-up kind" quite a bit lately. Specifically I'm talking about kink, BDSM, deviant shit, perversion, hurting and being hurt for pleasure and fulfillment-- whatever you'd like to call it.

First, it's something I do, and it's something I am. There are a significant number of fuzzy lines around what the particulars are, especially when I'm writing to as diverse an audience as you; this particular thing may be inside the definitional line for some, and that same thing outside for others. That's not important to these thoughts. It's indisputably true that I'm kinky; I derive real actual pleasure from hurting people. That pleasure is unmixed when I'm hurting someone who I like, who wants to be hurt, and who is going to be long-term undamaged in a mutually agreed-upon definition of the term from it. That pleasure occurs from both mental and physical pain, and from fear and apprehension. It is considerably complicated and always counterbalanced by nonconsensual situations but it does remain in those situations as an undercurrent of which I am sometimes only aware after the fact. I also derive fulfillment and peace from having such things done to me by people I trust who are acting in ways sensitive to my responses.

I take the whole thing very seriously. When Kynnin and I broke up I moved in with Tillie, who is an educator around kink and also many people's kinky fairy godmother. I absorbed a number of ground rules before I even began to explore my tastes in that regard. With a sexual relationship I expect a certain amount of give-and-take, of self-advocacy, of each-stands-up-for-themselves if need be. When I'm topping I assume responsibility for my bottom's entire well-being as much as I can determine it as well as for my own consistent ability as a caretaker. With sex you're playing with fire, no doubt about that, but with kink you're in many cases actively setting off high explosives.

None of this is to say a bottom has no responsibilities. Communication is key in every interaction, especially in heavy-duty emotional and physical button-pushing things like this. When I bottom, though, I so easily go beyond the ability to give clear and comprehensible verbal instructions that language may not even exist for me anymore. There is a whole nonverbal realm a top needs to not only be aware of but to be able to read in order to be effective without damaging and without overstepping and making the whole experience actually unpleasant. Some of this can be covered by negotiations beforehand, but not even close to all of it can be. That reading requires absolute focus for me, and that focus is part of the pleasure of a structured kink scene. A person's body is a verty complicated instrument to play, and many -- not all, maybe not most -- of these scenes are about exploring the tolerances of that instrument without breaking it.

I find that with sex the stakes are lower. There is less chance of damage, spontaneous explosion, or even boredom. It's easier to communicate during sex: a little more here, a little harder there, turn this way, I want you to say that. Yesterday I was reminded that I don't like to make gross generalisations and I have just made one there-- it's not always true, and with some activities in particular I tend to focus quite intensely indeed. Still, I don't have that same sense of owning the situation, of responsibility, that I do for my bottoms.

When I'm topping, I feel a sense almost of ownership and also of great tenderness. This person-- my whole world for the moment --is my child, toy, lover, my precious thing. In those moments there is no ambiguity and if ever there's a question every protective hackle I have is raised instantly. It's fair to say this is one of the most viscerally emotional connections I have with people; it's primal and immediate, it pushes all of the buttons that make me feel human. There may be irony in that to some.

Certainly in afterthought, only after having written this and thought about it from the point of view of someone who doesn't swing this way, it may be strange to be protective of someone I myself am hurting; it may seem ridiculous or beside the point to be intensely concerned with their well-being and, yes, enjoyment.

All that said, it may be surprising that I don't fall in love with my bottoms as a general rule. I fall in love with my lovers all the time, and especially at first in a sexual relationship the sex is decidedly less intense than a kink scene would be both emotionally and physically. I feel love, awe, and adulation freely for my tops; those feelings spill out freely in scene, and I will not scene with someone who is unworthy of those feelings even just for a short time. I can walk away from topping, though-- blood sugar is stabilized, cuddling given if necessary, a follow-up call or two arranged if it was intense enough or if it's new enough to seem to require it (and I do like follow-up calls; my world is interconnected) --but then I can go back to my life, perhaps with pleasant anticipation of the next time 'round, but without feeling emotionally sticky.

Having said what I want to say, it's time for me to go do homework. What are your thoughts?


Sep. 15th, 2010 11:09 pm
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These are full days. I am incredibly tired right now. I've finished work, class, homework, a bit of a visit, and a meal and a half today. I'm starting to drink frozen juice a can or two a day, just because I have neither time nor inclination to eat and it keeps me on my feet (yes, the juice stuff, not the sugar stuff). Homework will come to rule my life pretty soon, I can feel it.

Had a couple of fantastic moments today, most of which I am too tired to write about. My bus-friend at school continues to be my bus friend. I continue to be in an enviable place with some pretty fantastic people. I have realised I get off class such that I could go to all-you-can-eat late night sushi afterwards if I wanted, which might be a decent social event. The aches in my sides are subsiding a little bit, but now my legs are cramping and knotting from sitting so much. If I had time to get to the gym at school right before class, or actually scout my bike route getting to class (and trust my bike not to get stolen), this would be resolved.

I have equipment like it's Christmas.

You know what made me happy today? I said "I love you" and he said "yeah, yeah, yeah."

Started bleeding. Such is life.
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I am roasting a chicken right now. It's just starting to smell fabulous. I'm proud of myself; it's hard for me to make the time to actually cook a thing like that a day or two after I pull it out of the freezer; I usually end up booked up. I will reward myself with... a roast chicken.

I was out on my bike tonight-- in the dark, in the rain. It may be my favourite time to bike, or maybe the most recent time I've biked is always my favourite time, barring rush hour. A good bike feels like an extension of your body-- moving is like using the blade of your hand to push aside water when swimming, something so intuitive that it doesn't feel like it was ever taught. Walking doesn't feel intuitive after biking.

I love watching the steam of my breath drift through the beam of my headlight when I'm stopped, a second after I exhale.

There are some cute pink squeaky baby rats here. After a luckily-not-serious adventure last night, I have my girl Lady Luck with her four babies and she's also nursing four out of her eleven grandbabies. Her daughter's got the other seven. She's a trooper. It's good to have cute squeaky things around again, I had missed them and they will be lovely.

I also spent a good few hours this weekend chatting with mom about food security and advising her on the necessity of mulch for her community garden. It also occurred to me that an urban CSA which was part- or wholly-subsidized by the city, for low-income folks, would be an incredibly good and supportive idea on a lot of levels. This occurs to me partly because of this very exciting link.

I'm feeling inspired to start writing about ecology and permaculture again. Ideas are slotting into useful places, cross-connections are lighting up in my brain. I don't know where it comes from, maybe just the higher energy level associated with keeping myself running and on all the time, but it's cool.

I'm also excited about Angus going back to school. I think he's scared, obviously, but already feeling more hopeful about his future. There is nothing but good in that. I've been thinking about doing short recipe videos for youtube with him. It'd be a fun activity, he's plenty charismatic and pretty, and this laptop and my camera both have recording capability-- my camera takes gorgeous videos, actually, in HD.

Now I'm tired, I didn't sleep much at all this weekend, and my chicken is smelling better and better. I'm hoping it will ward against the tickle in my throat, and the remains will go into a soup that I will find time to make. It's stuffed with beer and bay leaves.

Well, there we go. Be well.
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The word of the evening is overwhelmed.

The only way I can clear the static in my head and write is, as John Steinbeck said, to think of one particular person and write to them. This is something I have been doing in my journal, but I want this out in public where I'm a little more analytical of what comes out.

You know who you are, reader.

So today was school. It wasn't 'real' school, it was orientation, which I'm not going to talk about because it makes me angry. That's a separate post. Suffice it to say, the thing's begun.

And... the thing is big, and stressful and time-consuming in ways I didn't expect or think about. I'm used to valuing my time very highly, having agency over what I do, and keeping my life pretty structured and scheduled. This isn't geared towards that one little bit. None of it.

And that was fine. It was stressy, but fine. I had to sort out some last-minute stuff but I could do it.

Between the time I was talking to the people at the financial aid desk at school and the time I got home this evening, though, Angus decided he's going to quit his job and go back to school full-time, on loans if his parents won't help. He's hoping to go to the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, which is the best of the best: fitting, as so's his innate talent with flavours and food, and they also incorporate flexibility about his eating weirdness. I support this decision of his completely and totally, with every bit of my being: he's good at it, he loves it, he's miserable doing what he does now, and I've been on him to do this for three years now. He's gotta do this.

It means that my plan of attack for school (do the first year with work/saved money/help from him, do the second with some loans but mostly on work) is changed. I won't be able to lean on him for help at all financially-- and so probably from here on in I'll need student loan help with tuition.

This is outside my plan. It complicates things in a lot of weird ways, and having just had to change plans I'm immediately trying to figure out what everything means and what I need to know. There is one thing I do know-- my name issue is going to get in the way, and furthermore the financial aid office at school is only open on days and during times when I'm working, so I can't get help easily.

Normally when I'm stressed about something I information-gather and it helps me feel better. The more time I spend on BCIT's website the more I notice their financial aid info hasn't been oudated since the '08/'09 school year, or links don't work, there are misleading typos, or it's just really difficult to find information (you'd think I'd be able to figure out when next term start date is, somewhere in the midst of my emails and the website, right?)

So I'm getting more and more frustrated and scared with this whole business. I need to leave it for the night, eat something, sleep well, get through work tomorrow, and maybe worry about it a different night. That will help; it'll give me time to get used to the idea.

On the plus side, I can find info about counselling on the site.


Sep. 2nd, 2010 10:29 pm
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Here I am in an empty house.

Actually, that's not true. There are a ton of rats here, and I am here, and there is an awful lot of stuff as well-- bookshelves here, a shelf of flours there, a skull-and-crossbones rack to hold two swords in another place, a couple of beds: all indicative of the two personalities at work shaping the home.

I've got halfway through cleaning rat cages, seen off two boys, totally failed to eat anything more than half a cup of soup, done some dishes, and run around petsitting in the last 24 hours. Tomorrow I make up for today by pulling a very. Long. Workday.

I don't mind a long workday tomorrow, though, and in fact even welcome it: my support network is basically all in another country conventioning at PAX, enjoying themselves immensely if Twitter is to be trusted, and there are precious few people I know well enough to call let alone to lean on here. Work, therefore, will be my focus tomorrow. After that I do have some people I don't see often enough lined up, I do need to finish the rat cages, and there's writing to be done.

There's you. I expect I'll be writing to you plenty since this is where my voice goes when there's no one else to listen.

It's been interesting watching myself over the last few days. It's been quite some time since I was alone, not because I'd pried a few precious minutes away from something or someone, but because no one was available. With both the Writer and Angus before we parted I felt myself closing up, pulling away, sucking up inside myself. I've always done this, since Kynnin and I were living in different cities and I saw him on weekends only through weekends or days with Juggler I've never taken that transition easily. Text messaging seems to have eased it, allowing me the daily contact I want with my lovers.

When everyone was gone and the house was quiet finally I wandered a bit, cleaned a bit, waited-- and then came the sweep of exhileration, the feeling of my self pushing out of my skin and towards the walls. It didn't last long or go far since the house is disarranged and messy enough that it's not my home right now, but it started to bubble up and it will come again. All that is part of the fun negotiation about the house going on between Angus and I right now, and may involve resorting to a storage locker for loose boxes of stuff, but that's for another post.

This weekend is super booked for animal care. I'm ratsitting both in my own house and in New West, and feeding Andrew's cat down the road. At this point I'm a little regretful that I've taken on so much, but it's all payback that I really do owe people.

Right now my head is in a fantasy space. I can't imagine PAX with my close friends, nor am I even sure I'd enjoy that situation with them, though it's always fun to see people having a good time. It would be lovely to catch up with the fragments of the old Otherspace crew that are there, though, and see who else I knew to bump into.

Next year.

This year, there's bed and work.
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Today was all about my bike. I headed to work on it, nervously-- I'm always nervous for the first few months of road riding (if you're all endorphined up, you may well type 'nervous for the first few' as merely 'new' and not notice for a moment or two because things move really /fast/). Riding a bike in traffic is dangerous, I haven't done it much at all in almost a year. It's even more dangerous when you're going downtown only an hour before rush hour, they've changed the bike baths and routine, and you don't know exactly which way you're going.

There was a little bit of annoying, but in general everything was fantastic. And when I say that, I mean really fantastic. I got to work and worked through my half-day, leaving the bike in a hotel in which I work because I'm terrified of it getting stolen, then I met up with Brendan and Paul and we went for lunch and then Paul and I took off on our bike adventure.

Now first, Brendan and Paul are good friends, and both have something I recognise as a sense of humour-- not entirely a common occurrence. Brendan is also an urban planner, and as such shares as certain awareness of cities and the planting thereof as I do-- he's more likely to be aware of architectural details and history, but he can also appreciate poor plant placement &c. He's one of the very few people I can "geek out over street trees" with, to use his term, and we also share a similar level of cynicism about urban systems and sustainability. Paul is Paul, has done a fair amount of environmental planning work in his life, has some environmental background, is mostly about the people side of the equation but is absolutely someone I can talk to as an equal about this sort of thing, and I respect his greater knowledge in some areas (as in I ask questions and expect good answers).

So lunch was great. And biking was great even though my tyres were pretty damn flat going around the park-- with that and the headwind it felt like uphill most of the way. When I finally had air in them again it was like flying-- that was after going around the park, when we stopped for creampuffs (we each ate 4, if Paul incites me to be a hooligan I'll damn well incite him to be a hedonist) and to start a wonderful discussion on evolution. Paul made an argument for some pretty extreme mass extinctions in the world of Avatar, and we kind of took it through snowball earth hypothesis and through the largest organism in the world (populus sp vs fungus) from there while we biked around Yaletown and up home.

I have to admit, keeping up with Paul on the bike took some doing. I absolutely had more speed on the flats than he did, but I'm still working on getting the new gear shift system on my bike down (if you shift the wrong way when you're going uphill, sometimes you just gotta get off and walk up the hill like an idiot), my tyres were pretty bad, and-- Paul spent a lot of the last year biking in Nepal, so any time we were in traffic he was at an advantage. I hate riding on sidewalks, switching at will from pedestrian to vehicle traffic and back (well, I love it, but I don't like to do it, on the principle that it pisses people off) but he was the supreme master of that kind of element. It was a joy to watch him and a terror to follow.

All told I was on the bike for maybe three hours or a little more today. I feel great. Now, I love biking-- I absolutely adore the feeling, like flying, like a fish in water. There's something about the way the world feels on wheels, and especially the way the weight and heft of my new bike sits between my thighs so that I steer with little shifts of weight without even thinking about it, so the bike just goes where I want it to, that is kind of transcendent. I feel neither like I'm being carried nor like I'm one with the bike, but instead there's a synergy of two organisms. Together me and the bike are more than the sum of our parts. And it's fun, it's a game the bike and I play together to go fast and play with precision of placement and just everything --I love biking, but afterwards is just as wonderful. When my body is well-used, when I push it and it listens, just living in my flesh feels like the part of a song where the choir suddenly soars out of a hush of background hubbub. Right now every bit of my body is singing to me.

Yeah, there are endorphins going on. Obviously I'm having a very good afternoon for many reasons. In addition to the mental glow, though, I just love the way my body feels.

In conclusion, I like biking and intend to keep doing it. Today was both a gift (you know who you are) and an awakened memory. I am reassured that no, I'm not just dicking around with this, I love it, and I can do it a bunch-- and I will. And now, I will go play Home by the Magnetic Zeroes over and over, and perhaps scrape some of this sweat off me.


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