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Emotional pain is icicles to the chest, full speed. It's almost cold enough to be numb, not quite, and invasive in a way that doesn't quite allow the lungs to function. It's a dull but sudden pressure, the weight of everything in the world squeezing but with no sharp edges to bring even the relief of brightness to pain.

My pain tonight is not my own. It's carried, remembered, empathized, siphoned ritualistically from those around me who hurt as if by taking their pain on I could lessen the feeling of it.

I suppose it never has worked that way, has it? Thirty two years and I'm still learning. I'll give their pain back to them, then, and tell you about my joy and my trepidation, because that's where my own life is right now. Not borrowed, but real.

I keep doing yoga. I am not moving yet. I do yoga nearly every day, and while it's not as heavy labour as bike commuting or proper landscaping it helps me a great deal. Every time it's a deliberate interaction with my body. Every time I leave seated better within myself.

It's not a linear workout progression -- are bodies ever linear? -- but it affords opportunities for practice, for improvement, for small goals within big ones. It works well for me. It demands that I listen to my body. That, too, works well for me. I always need practice listening to myself, to know what I want, what I need, what I do not want, what I must hold firmly at arm's length.

I also keep brewing. Yoga is a ritual that focuses me on the here-and-now, on what I need and can do in the moment. Brewing reminds me of my pagan ritual experiences in exactly the opposite direction: it's a set of actions planned and executed with intention for the future. I brew crazily, artsily, a backbone of research occasionally making up for my intense lack of experience. I brew like I always imagined I would paint or sing if I did those things: to capture a thought or a feeling or a mood and carry it forward to share with people. I don't expect it to be received in such a way, but it comes from that same creative place. Really what I do is more about process than the result. It's too early yet to know how my results will be.

I've brewed an apple mead that's thick and sweet like sunlight at the end of August when it just starts to go gold. I've brewed a juniper apple wine that's resinous and clean like sitting on the rock slope of a mountain where the air starts to thin and looking far down and below to the ocean. And now I've brewed a barleywine that is thick and dark and bitter like strong coffee with a little sugar, like the days right after solstice where you have to go through the darkness again to get out but viburnum and witch hazel promise that spring will come.

I have rose petals for a mead (this one following a recipe, I have had it and it's truthfully like this) that's fragrant and warm and sweet like the sleepy press of a bedmate's skin in the morning, the sensation of intimacy before any pressure from the day forces motion and thought.

So as you can see, I'm enjoying this.

I am enjoying friends, a little distant from them as my life settles into its rhythms. No one, or very few people, match me: I wake up in the morning, I go to bed in the evening, I am not awake in the late evening or the night. If my schedule is an insurmountable obstacle for someone in my life, they drift out of my life for awhile.

I am enjoying my lovers, leaning especially deeply into my connection to Dave to explore it as greedily as my life and his will allow and gently letting time with Tenay unfold as it wants to. My body stays hungry for touch most of the time, definitely also for sex, but my appetite is picky and my time and energy are limited. I'm not sure I remember a time when physical affection has been so scarce on the ground for me. It's an interesting feeling, and not as bad as the complications that can arise when I try to banish it by any means necessary. I am, therefore, practicing patience.

And I'm practicing impatience in my career, exploring my intention towards school and enjoying the uncertainty and trepidation that come with it. It will be good to have a challenge again, I think. I'm always best when I have my teeth sunk into something.

For now I need to shower, still, after yoga, and to eat. Be well, lovelies. Less of the pain to you, and more of the joy.
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Almost forgot: planted lettuce (Plato) and shinguku this morning.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.


May. 23rd, 2011 02:46 pm
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Also got:
friend gooseberry

Plato lettuce
magenta spreen
domestic purslane
edible chrysanthemum

tomatoes based on what the garden center had:
green zebra
mr stripey
cherokee purple
sweet million

Evidently I'll need to hit the farmer's market for stupice and black plum.

This is on top of yesterday's blueberry bush haul, which involves:
top hat
hardy blue

...So, I have some planting to do. Got my veggie marrow and basil in the ground, not my fancy basils yet. Also showed some restraint and didn't buy either wasabi (I need horseradish though, anyone have any they can split for me?) or citronella scented geranium but need to return for the citronella geranium because it smelled amazing.

Theoretically I grow food, but man does a nice scent turn my head.
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So I'm leaving for Spring Mysteries in a few minutes. I'm proud of the fact that I'm happy and still alive in the incredibly intense lead-up to this. I've taken one day off in the last dozen, otherwise it's all school and work. I slept 3 1/2 hours last night (about 5 each the two nights before that) and woke up next to my lover to work on my take-home exam (in bed! on my iphone!) before rocketing off to put things in order so my brother can ratsit here. I'm packed. I have homework to take with me. My right eye has stopped the ceaseless twitching it had taken up yesterday.

I'll have time to catch up on not doing anything this weekend, out of cell reception and on a beautiful coast full of mostly strangers who believe in touch, the earth and shared ritual (well, maybe someday I'll write more about that, it's not strictly true).

When I get back I've only a week before my home is back in my custody and I can make it nice.

My brother is more-or-less moving into the neighborhood and we had a good talk like we haven't in years last night. I'm looking forward to more of that, more biking on the seawall and talking like friends with nothing to hide from Paul, Burn Notice with Andrew, gymming with Mcbain, maybe even the conversational black holes Kynnin and I fall into... friends, who I'll lean on heavily so's not to crash like a needy sledgehammer on Michael's head when I'm alone nights, and so I can find the strength to stand mostly unbowed in the storm of this change with Angus. I'd like to not desert him to heal, but instead to shift gently to wherever we're going.

Plus, school friends jumping the school/life barrier, gardens lifting, new home visioning and the move that will inevitably come--

life has promise. I've been really swingy lately, this is an upswing, but in general things are solid. They're especially solid when I'm too tired for angst, to be honest, but that's a reminder to keep my energy invested in the upward climb to... wherever it is I'm going.

See you on the flipside.


Mar. 21st, 2011 08:04 am
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Yesterday I had class outdoors; we didn't start in the classroom, we met outside, we stayed outside. I biked to class with a friend of mine, biked home with her, and then biked across the city with another friend, had dinner, biked back, had another dinner with another friend, and then basically went to sleep.

That's over 2 hrs on my bike, nice easy riding (the way to school is disappointingly flat, if briefly terrifying where there's construction on an overpass) and I really had no desire to stop. That's just over 12 hours outdoors, most in a big long chunk, and it was the cold that drove me in. It was a good day, and a glorious way to start on the official spring.

I also harvested stinging nettles while at school, just a few small first ones, and tonight will be nettle soup.

I'm happy; I'm well. I feel cared-for.

I found two poems this morning. Here they are. Then I'll wrap myself in warm textiles and waterproof things and go to work with headphones on, surrounded in comfort in every way the opposite of yesterday and good because of it.



If you were made of stone,
your kiss a fossil sealed up in your lips,
your eyes a sightless marble to my touch,
your grey hands pooling raindrops for the birds,
your long legs cold as rivers locked in ice,
if you were stone, if you were made of stone, yes, yes.

If you were made of fire,
your head a wild Medusa hissing flame,
your tongue a red-hot poker in your throat,
your heart a small coal glowing in your chest,
your fingers burning pungent brands on flesh,
if you were fire, if you were made of fire, yes, yes.

If you were made of water,
your voice a roaring, foaming waterfall,
your arms a whirlpool spinning me around,
your breast a deep, dark lake nursing the drowned,
your mouth an ocean, waves torn from your breath,
if you were water, if you were made of water, yes, yes.

If you were made of air,
your face empty and infinite as sky,
your words a wind with litter for its nouns,
your movements sudden gusts among the clouds,
your body only breeze against my dress,
if you were air, if you were made of air, yes, yes.

If you were made of air, if you were air,
if you were made of water, if you were water,
if you were made of fire, if you were fire,
if you were made of stone, if you were stone,
or if you were none of these, but really death,
the answer is yes, yes.

Carol Ann Duffy


Bella fica! (beautiful fig, fine sex) the whore said
in the back streets of Livorno, proudly slapping
her groin when the man tried to get the price down.
Braddock, the heavyweight champion of the world,
when Joe Louis was destroying him, blood spraying
and his manager between the rounds wanting to stop
the fight, said, I won the title in the ring,
I'm going to lose it in the ring. And, after more
damage, did. Therefore does the wind keep blowing
that holds this great Earth in the air.
For this the birds sing sometimes without purpose.
We value the soiled old theaters because of what
sometimes happens there. Berlin in the Thirties.
There were flowers all around Jesus in his agony
at Gethsemane. The Lord sees everything, and sees
that it is good despite everything. The manger
was filthy. The women at Dachau knew they were about
to be gassed when they pushed back the Nazi guard
who wanted to die with them, saying he must live.
And sang for a little while after the doors closed.

Jack Gilbert

Okay, one more...

Ghost Diary

Yesterday I saw the yellow skeleton of a leaf stuck to the sidewalk.

Where are you going, I ask. You say with irritation, To the store. For some bread. Already I’m seeing the tendency of things. Yes, there’s rebirth, but who cares? The new leaves have their own lives, and the old, known ones are gone.

I haven’t stopped expecting you. I hope to find you lying in stale sheets, reading a book on a weekend morning. Buying too many cheeses, watching Playtime, and complaining that your clothes don’t fit.

There was always more time. A superabundance, the warm hand of the world held out. In spring the leaves are only ideas, clenched tight as fists in the twigs of every tree.

Almost at once I began to expect you. You were the paper-slip leaves of the trees, emerging. I believed in you the way I believe in trees, in time, in what I didn’t know but was born prepared to lose.

Karen Munro


Nov. 20th, 2010 08:50 am
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I found this the other day. I wrote it when I was happy and feeling loved.

This morning I am happy and feeling loved.

It snowed last night; it was a snow-globe, a deep thick fall of big white chunks. Walking home in the night silence at 1am the snow would cover my sweater in a second so thick I couldn't see the patterns on it, just a white pile of snow when I looked down at myself. At one point a car turned into the street I was walking down and it must have been a hybrid because the white world retained its silence, the car creeping and I walking and the snow falling and falling and falling.

I didn't used to like snow, but it makes Angus so happy and excited that I can't help but think of him standing in the white smiling in through windows with the light spilling out into the night and now I get excited too-- like Christmas, I imagine. The Writer likes it too, and so really I haven's much choice.

I was talking, last night, about using trite metaphors in conversation-- especially metaphors with which you have no direct experience. I don't really get excited at Christmastime, or I don't get presents and I make family dinner so it's not really a thing, and it's silly to use something I don't know anything about to explain the snow-feeling which I'm familiar with.

I was feeling such a thirst for conversation recently and now the heavens have opened and granted me a wealth of it: I met a conversational partner online (thank goodness for skype), [ profile] dark_sphere hauled me out to talk last night, the Writer was feeling especially talkative, and tonight I have even more conversational plans. Life is very sweet to me.

I've been catching up on calories too. I was out in the cold for hours yesterday, occasionally snowed on, with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as breakfast and lunch. As a consequence when I got home I double-dinnered and it was good.

Now I'm curled up in the bedroom in a deeply-blanketted bed with a boy, waiting for cornbread to come out of the oven and waiting for 9am so [ profile] chimera_fancies posts a second batch of shiny things and I can maybe get dibs on one. And... this is only the first day of the weekend. I have some super nice, super comfy plans.

The last two consecutive days I had off school and not out of town were Oct 16 and 17th. This is really nice.
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This morning is, again, rather rough. Yesterday morning was rough but I had to get moving so early, and then I was nervous about class, and then I was on a machine, and then it was evening. There was no time to worry about it until it was better.

This morning is rough and I don't need to work today.

I always sit down and try to define the problem. Today is rough because this has happened lately, that has happened, and something else is a factor too. I like to understand myself, to know what makes me tick. The problem is that while I can sometimes predict myself, I can never pin myself down. There's no set of circumstances that's always going to make me happy-- wait, no, a plant walk with my ecology prof actually always would-- and life is too complicated to make use of much of the past information. So I gather this data, pore over it, write it down, and I'm still not happy. It's a lot of work for little return: all I can do is avoid a couple things I know won't go over well.

For the longest time people made me happy. Spending time with my people was what I wanted to do; I did it and I was happy, more-or-less.

Now school makes me happy. It's a lot of offscreen work, I guess like a boy who demands flowers and a new poem written for him every time I go to see him. Maybe that's why I like it: I love a challenge. I love sinking work into school, making it like me, making it notice me. That metaphor is hardly any stretch at all. We have long conversational lectures and we learn new skills together. Yesterday school taught me to use an ATV and we went riding in the woods. As for testing, well-- everyone has difficult days where the challenge is to make sure everyone walks away happy.

So if I'm honeymooning with a new lover, what happens to the old ones? What happens to my friends? I see them, but my mind is elsewhere. I talk about school all the time. I don't make enough of the kind of time I need for myself in my life. I am restless when not involved in schoolwork. I cease to identify and acknowledge my own needs, instead focusing on what school needs or wants from me.

Everything else in life has flashes of brilliance, but as a whole ceases to satisfy.

I have a natural relationship span of very approximately three years. That's how long it takes before a relationship becomes work instead of honeymoon for me, more-or-less, circumstances depending, etc. Most things tend to crumble about then. This program I'm in is two years, with the degree option another year tacked on.

It really seems like a good fit for me. In this context, using this metaphor, I'm doing absolutely the right thing. The only question is, what about the rest of my life? What about my people? The things I do can often be put on a shelf. People? Not so much. And when I do shelve them, and I have been lately, I feel disconnected and unwanted and on-the-outside of everything. I don't like that, so I get avoidant, and away the whole thing goes.

You can tell I'm writing this from a dark spot. I'm writing this sitting in bed at 7:30 on a Sunday morning, wishing I could have one day of waking up in one place with one person and not having to leave either that place or that person all day-- wishing I didn't have to chop and ration everything into an hour there, a move of some sort, a couple of hours here, change scenes again, shift gears again, and now we're doing something completely different.

Just as I was about to write 'hey guys, ignore this, it's all babble that will burn off if the sun ever rises today,' Angus wanders through in a towel, looks at my expression, his face falls, and he does little things to try to make me happy. I don't know if it's lightened my mood any, it doesn't feel like it has, but I'm going to stop writing now. This is more than enough of this.

Noted for recordkeeping: this is the second day of real blood, like the fourth blood day or so.


Oct. 5th, 2010 08:34 am
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It seems to me fall and early winter have more memories than any other time of year. I can feel them around me today: the past shellacked into clear layers that get only slightly murkier as they recede in time. Today and last night so many of them are crowding around; I suppose the first night I sleep with the windows basically closed and the heat on is such a visceral feeling that things that happen in association with it sink in.

Climbing out of bed happens in stages; it's a sensory experience, coming up out of the warm womb of the covers and into the cooler embrace of the room's; stepping outside is the same again but more, a transition from almost-chilly to the slap of cold and goosebumpy prickles on my arms.

It's dark out earlier and later, and the air carries sound differently. The angle of the sun is greater so there are long, long shadows for so much of the morning. They always slant past my windows instead of in through them. The birdsong stands out as a strong textural element in the air.

That's not what I wanted to write about. I wanted to write that I am queen of ambivalence.

I remember first becoming sharply aware of the difference between ambivalence and words such as 'uncertain' or 'indifferent' on a sunny day at my permaculture course; a friend was talking about how he was ambivalent about a girl-- he both really wanted her and he really didn't. He lived at the extremes without inhabiting the middle ground in between.

I also live at the extremes. I am certain about every contradictory thing at once. I want things that are certainly at odds with each other, and I want them at the same time. This may be merely human, a desire to pick and choose my consequences, but in me it may go a little further.

I find myself gravitating towards situations that are inherently contradictory in nature, or if they are not innately so I will find a way to inject ambivalence into them. When presented with something that is clear and sure, I will often run in the other direction.

I was going to talk about the particular situations I find myself in right now; I was going to write them down in plain English and see if they felt just as heartbreaking here as they do to me from the inside. I was going to say, 'see, this is what I go after, and I have so many options for surety and safety and comfort and I choose to tear myself apart'.

I'm not going to do that now. Something fell apart in my head when I was describing fall; all those years and this, too, will one day be a footnote in my history and so no matter how much I care about it now any entry would just be another slew of words that I may never revisit.

Ambivalence? Maybe I'll allow myself to lapse, just briefly, into apathy. I'll drink tea and nurse my cold and the world will still be there when I come back to it.


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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I have been given such precious things in the last week. My life is composed of nothing but stories, and I do not want to lose these stories. These are my guides when next I travel through darkness. These are the seeds of my rebirth.

The other night I was lying in bed with him and he was touching my tattoo. He asked if there was a story behind it. I told him there was, and I paused-- it is an awkward story to tell. After a little bit I told it to him, and as I did the poet's curve of his fingers stayed tracing those lines, and even afterwards he did not move his hand. Sometimes when my defenses are assaulted I can hear things shattering, but this time it was as easy and uneventful as tearing wet kleenex. I said, "when I tell that to you and you keep touching it, I feel loved."

He didn't pull his hand back. He smiled.


The other night I was walking down Broadway with him after an evening of catching up. I had learned that he had been a permaculturalist, but shelved it to pursue other interests-- I'm not sure you *can* shelve being a real permaculturalist, but I will admit to the possibility. He is always very correct, very proper in his speech patterns-- a British private school accent would not be out of place on him. "...I really really like you," he ended, "and love is just really really liking someone, right?"

"You're squirming!" I accused him, "verbally squirming!"

He looked off to one side as we walked, and he was smiling.


There are roots, as well:

The other night I was lying on his bed with him and he turned away, curling into a fetal position as he cried. I reached out my hand for him and he turned into me, letting me hold him, letting me pet his face as if I had always been there. His cheekbones felt just like they had four years ago.

The next day we spent the day together and we were children and co-conspirators, poking and writing notes and making faces at each other all day. When I peed he held my stuff. We split a second helping of lunch. We shared the ride partway home. When I got off the bus and looked back at him, already busy with his phone, he was smiling.


My life has always been a cycle, a pattern of death and of rebirth. It's slowed some lately, and as anyone who lives around here knows, we didn't really have a winter this year. Spring started after fall and it's gone on and on and on. You know why it's a really bad aphid year outside? It's because there was no snow to kill them off (and because last year it was cold enough to wreak havoc with predators, but that doesn't forward my metaphor).

My life is so full right now. It's past brimming over; there is so much light and love in my life that it has burst through my skin, and it's blinding me and choking my breath. I don't know what to do with it; I don't eat much, I don't sleep much, and I can't settle. The veil feels thin and sometimes I feel I might start crying any moment, or my chest might burst open, or I might ascend or transcend or whatever it is that people do when holiness devours your soul.

And in the midst of this (very gentle) storm, I am a person still. I go to work and push my bucket around, I tend the plants, and I think about how nearly everyone I loved has come as an invader, because left to my own devices I wall up so tight that I forget that other people even exist as anything other than cyphers to react to when there's no other choice. I think about how long it's been since anyone's walked along that field just inside the walls, I picture the new footprints in rich brown soil there, with the spring light slanting low-angled to cast shadows in the heelprints. I imagine a sculpture made from pencils as bones and gears as joints: a pair of hands formed into a heart shape and within them a real heart beating. I picture myself as that field and warm rain falling and getting swallowed up without pause. I think of the thousand hiding places of idealism and it breaks my heart.

It's time for the cycle again. It's time to walk back out of the sunshine, to traverse the dusty dark places in my soul, to surrender what I have that is so much more than what I can carry easily, and time to leave myself free to take what comes. Things always do come. Joy always does come. Love always does come. So does grief, so does darkness: these come to all of us. This is being human.

And this weekend I'm going somewhere that facilitates this cycle. I'm going somewhere where I can ride all the way down. I expect to cry all weekend and come back renewed, although who can know anything about the future?

And when I come back, my life will be waiting. I can do nothing but come back eagerly.

I have been given nothing but gifts.
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Magnolias in February Magnolias in February Olympic Snow

So it's perfectly clear that spring is here and has been for awhile, even though it's only March 5th. Not only the cherries but the pears, daffodils, forsythia, magnolias, and rhodos are out. We probably should have planted peas a month ago. You should see the bloom from my apartment, looking down over the city!

But even without the blossom, and the long-sleeve but no jacket weather, and the sunshine (!!), it is most definitely spring. I can tell because I am again vibrating. It is impossible to focus, impossible to sit still, and impossible to think straight (you should see me trying to type-- a billion words a minute, all typoes, but at least it's fast enough that I don't lose track of my sentences in the middle like I do when I'm talking). I feel like I've been speeded up. Everything makes me giddy.

I always have this more-or-less, but it's definitely much worse this year. The last time it was this bad was the year Jan came out from Germany for the first time. I remember spilling an entire cannister of iced tea powder down my pants and banning myself from the kitchen that spring.

I think all the changes-- job, home, phone #, ratstatus, and that's just this month with the first two coming a couple of months ago too --are preventing me from grounding properly, from taking time to center myself. There's too much going on, too many bits flinging around.

House hunting is particularly exciting. There are SO MANY cool places this month.

I need a bike. Maybe that would work the energy off. As is I think I will sit and stare at a wall and vibrate until I crash into a nap.

Hey look, I already have a spring livejournal tag. Reading those entries makes me feel good. So much progress! Sex, friends, social engagements and Juggler's blueberry bushes are all working out well for me. I guess this is a mini new-years review. :>
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Let's put this on in the background, set the mood for you:

It's been quite a busy time and quite a full time. I haven't had time to think much- I've been talking more than I think, and working more than I talk, which is saying something. This week I dropped turf in the rain for two days straight, and my houlders have stopped cracking when I turn my head as of this afternoon. There have been births and deaths in there, rebirths and crashes.

It's been a long, long time since I came home thinking of livejournal and sat down in front of it. It's been even longer since I've been in the mood. Rock Plaza Central seems to have done the trick; I put on that song above and the album is unfolding now. It's pulled me back into myself. I already feel better.

Since Angus moved downtown I've been living mostly at his place, stopping by my old place to do rat care and moving packing; since I moved (mostly) in to the new place I've been stopping by there instead. It's a lot more convenient, a mere ten minute bike along fast-moving downtown streets. When I find a mattress that will fit the two of us on it I'll sleep there more than the one token overnight I've done so far, and it will be good. Angus got a double bed, and I'm thinking I need one bigger than that; one of us needs to be able to take three people, after all.

So here we come to one change; we've got a lot more comfy with the open thing together-- we are both feeling respected all round, not just boundaries but feelings and joys and worries-- and are dipping our very tippy-toes into tiny bits of something a little more like poly-ish-kinda.Read more... )

That came out a bit like a rant, but I suppose it's about time, mm?

In other news, the honeymoon is over at work. Boss is still great, hours are super flexible, I enjoy the work-- but my co-worker is rapidly getting impossible to the point where I've been taking days off to avoid those awful nine-to-ten hour stretches with her and her new puppy/ Need to talk to my boss about that. Not sure how.

Rats are all wonderful, except those who are dead. Read more... )

I have been taking hooping class from Juggler's new girlfriend (maybe not so new as all that) and it makes me so happy. It's something I can do-- well and happily-- and she is a marvelous teacher. She was gone for one class and had a friend stand in, and while the friend was competent enough, she didn't have that spark. I am so pleased Juggler is with this person, and so pleased I am taking these classes. They're actually worth paying money to commit myself one night a week, and that's saying something. Normally the only thing I can commit one night per week to is plants. After going to an outdoor wedding party last weekend I've discovered that I need a hoop that can go in the car though. It's good to have a new hobby.

With work especially I've been noticing sexism/rigid media-role-ism around me a lot a lot lately. There are a bunch of pictures of improbable-looking girls in bikinis up in the shop (I'm sure they wouldn't mind if I put up beefcake pics, but that's not the point) and the creeping awareness of not only the maintenance/construction divide or the pay gap but also just my very strange and unusual:Read more... )

So that's been stressful. And when work is stressful right now, my whole life is, cause that's taking up so so much of my time. That's why hooping class is so good. I've been considering trying to do a media blackout weekend with Angus-- he's got his email on his cellphone now, so he's always checking the damned thing --and so I can just feel the grass under my feet again. I need to get into the ocean. I think I may need to seduce someone (which, given my above rant, takes some doing). I need to have a night of swapping reading poems aloud to someone.

Thank gods for my new roommates, who are perfectly comfy with nudity in the house or the back yard, and indulge themselves. They picnic in the nearby park and steal cherries from the neighbour two doors down. It's lovely.

I also had a perfect solstice night.

So this has ended up being a state-of-the-Greenie post, I guess, and less the contemplative thing I had thought to begin. It's been needed, though. More sometime in the future-- I'm taking some four-day work weeks till sanity returns, and I'm contemplating getting the iphone, so there may be opportunity.

Anyone coming to the mission folk fest with me?
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It's the beginning of summer. Things are growing by leaps and bounds. This is not hyperbole, everything is several inches taller every time you see it.

I'm moving in the next two weeks to a place with some ground to garden in.

Yesterday I got two Wendell Berry books. You can find Wendell Berry in Chapters in three places: Poetry, Literary Criticism, and Fiction. You cannot find his books in any gardening section. Bookstores don't have an agriculture section; agriculture is not a pursuit you are supposed to think about that much, and certainly not one you're supposed to enjoy.

When I read Wendell Berry, or when I look him up on youtube, I go into a kind of a daze. I can't think straight, I can't think at all, the words just pour into me. There's nothing surprising to me in what he writes; it's like talking to your mom, or having that same old conversation with the lover you've been with for ten years. I don't notice the words of his essays any more than you notice body-temperature water on your skin. When I got into his poems Angus came over and asked if I was alright (I was just sitting there) and I couldn't speak until it was done, I just nodded in what I hoped was reassuring fashion. It makes me go so inwards to experience this essentially solitary part of myself outside; I go inwards because that urge to reach outwards and touch another person who is like me on this is an impossible one. There are people who are like me; they are not here. I am either afraid of them or they are far away.

And let me tell you now one of the reasons I love Angus so very much: I was watching youtube Wendell Berry and there was a comment underneath. The comment read as follows: No one can fully develop his powers in any direction without engaging in specialization. The primitive tribesman or peasant, bound to an endless round of different tasks in order to maintain himself, could have no time or resources available to pursue any particular interest to the full. He had no room to specialize, to develop whatever field he was best at or in which he was most interested.

I called Angus over to read the comment- I needed to say this to someone- and I said: There is so much irony in this comment. You see that word at the bottom, field? Every farmer's field in the world is slightly different than the next in its culture, in how best to grow things in it. If everyone were to specialise in a field the world would be so well-managed, if it were acknowledged that there could be an expert in each field and that knowledge was worthwhile knowledge, not something to be relegated to the stupid dirty bumpkins who can't succeed in business, that would be lovely. And if we thought of tending the earth as worthwhile, something to which bright people could apply innovation and can you imagine prizes for neat horticultural ideas come up with by small farmer businessmen? Then maybe people would be interested. If people could afford land... I just wanted to show you that, because there's so much irony there, and it struck me so hard.

And Angus read the comment and listened to me and as I started to talk he nodded and said: I see that. And he understood. This isn't his driving passion, but he does understand.

Note I wasn't addressing this guy's argument (but I can: I don't know which planet he's from where everyone chooses their own jobs, but I can bet anything that if we had a couple thousand less retail clerks and telemarketers and a couple thousand more permaculturally-engaged farmers per metropolitan area you wouldn't have any more issues supporting a population of neuroscientists, rocket scientists, and games programmers than you do today, and I would personally be -allowed- my choice of career instead of having to choose second-best) but just that intensely ironic use of the term 'specialise in a field' which he was endorsing but which he was, in the semantic flip, totally against.

Love. Angus.

We've got some baby rats going on. Twenty two have just gone to other homes, Roxanne has a new litter (it was a hard birth-- nine born, five made it and are hugely full of milk and the others were badly bruised in birth and damaged, I'm hoping she's expelled everything in there) and some should come home from Tacoma as soon as possible.

I am drowning in salad greens in my garden, and my peas are super tall and flowering. I'll be moving more plants than stuff.

I hung out with Adrian and Ellen yesterday. I love doing that. Ellen's getting her chickens next week, so there was work done on the chicken tractor and we put in a new bed. Hanging out with Ellen talking about garden layout and plants was probably one of the things that thinned my skin for Wendell Berry. It just feels like being me.

Also: sunshine, vegan cupcakes, need to start biking again, masquerade costume needs doing, new tattoo is in the works, I may get an iphone.

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Garden additions:
-3 pawpaws: PA Golden, NC-1, and Sunflower.
-1 camellia sinensis (tea) that I didn't have before-- not a teabreeze, but with larger leaves
-1 rhododendron decorum from VanDusen gardens, huge and leggy. I am a sucker for fragrant rhodos.
-1 rhododendron 'cotton candy'. Did I mention that I'm a sucker for fragrant rhodos?
-Several leggy/interestingly shaped rhododendron intricatum for a bonsai birdbath installation I'm considering
-2 kaffir lime plants
-5 varieties of scented geranium: attar of roses, orange, fingerbowl lemon, peppermint lace, and Aardwick cinnamon
-1 viola odorata (cause why not?)
-2 'orchid cactus'
1 tattoo
1 day lost to sleep
1 brain, MIA after tattoo
I must buy myself some scented daylilies too. Also my garden is organised and I'm most of the way through Things Fall Apart which I highly recommend to anyone living.

Now to get lunch together for tomorrow's work. Sitting down is still kinda iffy.

Nice solid day spent napping while Angus played computer games. You know, I used to do that sort of thing all the itme; now it makes me feel vaguely guilty the whole time.
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...nah. I'm going to Gardenworks Burnaby instead. See if they have their woody fruiting plants in yet.

I want to run across a sharp, pretty boy with whom to have an uncomplicated but caring fling. Plants, however, will more than do.

Also, this is oldschool:

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I will have baby rats soon.

I am super-happy with my job and might grab a day or two in a garden center as well, weekend/eveninglike.

I am super happy with Angus.

I killed my body hauling soil in buckets up stairs at work all day, last hour and a half nearly jogging cause my co-worker got 'tired'.

I love my bike. I ride it hard, baybee. I need to get degreaser and maintain the drivetrain in the gritty rainy weather though.

My first tomato seeds have popped their heads above the ground, and outside I have planted greens: lamb's quarters, arugula, mustard, chard, spinach, peas. My clematis are showing their heads. I am starting lots of kinds of tomatoes (at least fifteen) and about 170 plants, some of which I will sell.

I still haven't solved the problem of watering my deck when it gets hot.

I am taking another lovely course.

Spring is getting into my bones and I don't know what to do about it. I want to roll in dirt, jump in the ocean, and eat pretty boys.

I am getting picky in my older age.

I thought I had more to write here, but obviously not.
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Yesterday was seedy saturday at VanDusen. As per the event, I spent more money on seeds and plants than I had, but less than I would have liked to. I really need to save up for this a month or three in advance next time. I keep telling myself that, then something comes up--- spring mysteries, a snowstorm, a rat show.

I've got seeds for ten varieties of tomatoes, pawpaw seeds, black elderberry cuttings, an american chestnut tree, a hops vine, some peas, some golden purslane seeds, a new variety of ground cherry (called Cossack Pineapple!) and that's about it. Everything else I already have from last year-- and in the ground they will go soon. Yay!

I should see if I can track down a grant for starting a small business and get myself a light table. The tomato plants already have buyers (fingers crossed as to their quality).

Internet continues to feel like a waste of time and be kind of annoying to get to, but I have updated my rat website, so that's good. Babies, in two or three weeks, we're hoping.

Mood swings held in check by biking lots and eating right. When I fall off the wagon, it all goes to hell-- until I next need to bike commute somewhere. Angus is patient with me thus far, which is good.

It's been the driest winter ever. This is totally ridiculous. This summer the lower mainland is going to be a desert unless we get a lot of water coming down over those mountains in the next two months or so. I'vw worn my raingear twice in the last two months-- in winter. I work nearly every day. Go figure.

There are pigeons nesting on my deck. I don't know what to do about that one-- except hope theyll be fledged by the time I need the space for tomatoes.
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Designing the Potager Garden looks awfully cool, plus it overlaps with the ID course I wanna take by only two days, and never on the same day. Hrm.

I went out and bought houseplants today. This was officially the first day of the new year as far as I'm concerned. We're lucky in Vancouver-- we're given spring days in the middle of winter to remind us that spring is really honestly coming. We get them by exchanging them for snowy days in march, but hey, it's better to have a couple of these days in winter when you really need them anyhow.

Chinese New Year parade coming up on Feb 1st. Who else is coming?
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Years later they find themselves talking
about chances, moments when their lives
might have swerved off
for the smallest reason.
What if
I hadn’t phoned, he says, that morning?
Read more... )And in the morning
I also knew it was you, but I just
answered the phone
the way anyone
answers a phone when it starts to ring,
not thinking you have a choice.

Lawrence Raab

There's something I haven't been telling you. I've been busy this week -- it's been a lovely, lovely week and I've worked hard so my body's remuscled all over. I've biked to the rubber-leg point (I've never been there before-- felt like my thighs are sheathed in fire, felt bowling balls in my calves, or weak, but never before like my bones bent ever-so-gently like stiff rubber with each pedal push. My commute home is a half-hour of uphill) and loved it. I've carried one or two cubic yards of soil up a very steep slope in buckets, dodging old shrubs and keeping my balance. I've helped disassemble, move, and rebuild two lock-block retaining walls (I've never used lock blocks before, they're easy enough that a retarded kindergardener could put them together).

I've ditched my bus pass, and may buy some more bus tickets, but not right now. So, all my commuting will be more-or-less on the bike. I want it to snow so I have an excuse to get snow tires for my baby. She's in the shop right now after a gear-shift exploded; when she comes home I'm going to take my auxillary bike apart down to the frame and put it back together to learn how. Whee!

I've been snowed on. I've watched Angus start to grow into himself, to begin to feel the personal power that we all have over ourselves and our actions but never seem to know about for the longest time. He's just beginning to be confident in his own decisions, to challenge the world around him when he knows he should, and it's beautiful. I've been looking forward to this since I hooked up with him. Perhaps because of the exercise I've felt re-empowered myself. I've discovered all sorts of cousins, bought a gift that would have had me shaking in my shoes to contemplate two years ago, and begun to win a fight with bronchitis.

I've learned that my dad is dead.

Realise I haven't seen my dad since I was two or something. My rediscovered family includes a relatively eccentric bunch of people ('colourful characters' was a term invented for us). I'm breaking down into incoherency now because I have no idea how to say this, or what to say. My cousin told me the news, and it hurt like crazy for about two seconds, and now I don't know what I feel. I usually take my griefs and drag them away from the incident into the safe space of the future where I can mourn them and lick any wounds they inflict. I don't know if I'm sad or if I'm just... I don't know. I have to tell mom, but she's sick right now and I want to tell her face to face. I don't know if she'll care or not. I don't, you see, know anything.

My dad has always been a black hole. There have been a couple stories from mom, now a couple contradictory stories from my newly discovered and quite eccentric uncle, and a few stories from my cousin from when she was small. I have a couple of pictures of him (I could get a picture of him from when he was older, one that's not twenty-seven years old!) and a necklace that used to be his and I saw the weddign ring that was his and mom's once but I think it's lost (I wanted to keep it so badly when I discovered it, and now who knows where it is?). Now there's no way of knowing what he was like. My family wants me to like them, they want to justify themselves to themselves -- on both sides -- and so the stories will come out the way all of our experiences come out, slanted as to other people's thoughts and feelings and even behaviours. I'll never know my dad, never see when he smiles or what his eyes look like when he does or when he particularly doesn't. I'll never know what kind of a hugger he is.

Apparently nudism runs in my family.

I think so does fear of abandonment. And so does abandonment. And so does abuse.

I have no regrets whatsoever about being raised by my mom. I may have some regrets about my step-dad, but more for my brothers' sake than for my own; I think I can heal from any wounds I received. Hell, I talk to Angus about financial stuff easily now -- the first time I talked to Chris about money I could barely speak I was crying so hard, it felt so shameful -- and I've tromped my abandonment stuff down to a couple of days per month.

I do have regrets about the information black-hole I have, about never being able to meet my father, about never having told him I loved him.



Dec. 6th, 2008 04:00 pm
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I have a huge pot of chicken noodle soup on. I was off work sick yesterday and slept nearly all day, except for a grocery run my mom drove me on which totally exhausted me. I've more-or-less stopped coughing, picked a fight with Angus this morning, and avoided the call from my newly-discovered cousin (well, who wants to talk to someone for the first time on the phone while fighting with the boyfriend anyhow). I am so exhausted. I'm not sure why. Is it the light? Is it my stressful events index (new job starts this week: 2, family discovered: 6 cousins, illness: 2, financial issues: yes, routine disruption: high)? Am I sicker than I thought? I'm sure ovulation is involved, and possibly less sex than normal. But seriously, what's going on?

When my brain gets like this I can't even tell if my issues are legitimate or not. Things I looked forward to last week will fill me with dread this week. Are the things that are bothering me -actually- bothering me, or just excuses? Am I just regressing to sixteen years old because the spectre of my father is pulled out of the closet? My cousin writes, "I think all of the ladies that had to deal with the men in our family viewed each other as kindred spirits ... I do have to say that they always have a way of pushing away the women that they love (my brother and dad included)"

I had a very good year. Now I'm pulling out and polishing up all my bullshit again, feeling thoroughly abandoned-so-I'll-run-away-pre-emptively. That's in no way cool, but it's so dark, and I get so lonely, and so tired, sometimes. My favourite bike's rear gears exploded and so I'm not as effortlessly mobile as I was. I feel pinned down by my own weight.

You know, it's been awhile since I felt so heavy, so powerless, and so isolated. I'd been taking my rare alone-interludes as snatches of something precious. I hadn't had a lot of alone time, though. I'm supposed to be thinking about rat breeding for the Vancouver show in February, I could clean up my place more and make it more like my home, but... I don't know. I guess everyone needs a day like this once in awhile. I was super high-functioning all week, bombing around on the bike at 6am, shovelling gravel for a couple of hours in the morning, spacing and organizing plants according to the designer's plans, arranging meals and hot drinks for myself with just extra-long nights to compensate for the sick. Now? Super low-functioning.

It can be just a day, not a prediction of this winter. I'll get climbing again-- with so many people I love going, what could keep me from it? I'll find new people to eat with, or revive some of my old commensals. And this fire in me -- the thing that Angus keeps flared bright, that occasionally shifts and burns back at me when the wind turns -- will twist around the way it should be soon.

It's funny, there's that same old time-use issue that pokes up: Angus works at the bar Friday and Saturday, evening till early (or not so early) morning, and soon he'll be gone Sundays again. We don't live together, though we sleep almost every night together, and so there's that whole dance where we try to keep our own lives intact while uprooting and living in someone else's space half the time. I'm in bed early and up early. He's... erratic. He's sick a lot. I spend a week to two weeks chained to the bad side of my cycle every month. We have had so much joy together, but here we're falling into the harder parts where it takes work. Or maybe this is just me, tonight.

I want to go lie on the bare earth under the brightest sun we have right now, that low pale yellow thing, and smell the way cold soil is wet and sweet when it sleeps.


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