Head Down

May. 11th, 2017 08:18 pm
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In Fort. First week of work. Busy getting up to speed, there's a bunch of learning curve around many things, both mind and body. Househunting, but don't have anything to come home to right now, so my days are mostly focused on work. Hobbies will come when I have a space for them and have settled in. It's nice, in a way, to be able to focus so much. It would be nicer to have someone waiting at home to distract me.

Josh is keeping himself very busy on the coast fixing up a new boat; there's a six or seven week span where I'm seeing him only for a single day. Tucker is coming up one week a month, but this is not that week. No new dogs till I have a home for them. I am getting my rabbits in two weekends, which will be excellent. My current landlady is really great to talk to and live with, but not the same as someone waiting to snuggle me.

More about work and houses when I know.

How do you decide if a house is the right house?
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Figured I'd post pre-Wednesday meltdown just to change it up a bit.

There's an industry group I'm part of that has monthly meetings. It's been a really fantastic way for me to, well, network; not only do I meet people I think are neat or who can teach me a lot about the profession in a ton of different ways, but sometimes I also just have time to chat with people I've formally met but wouldn't enter casual conversation with otherwise.

So, tonight I did some networking about ethical tropical forestry. Now, last week I also followed up on this, trying to figure out where and how I could work somewhere warm, doing interesting work, without terrorizing indigenous ecosystems or populations. From that I deduce that I might want to do this sometime, just to try, maybe mainly because I want to live somewhere I can grow fruit year round and yes it's winter here, how can you tell?

Chatted for awhile with head of alumni relations, which was an interesting conversation as well.

Also got to gesticulate a lot about urban forestry, then see another one of my people doing a presentation on it, in a lot of ways overlapping what I'd have said. On the other hand, same dude said some pretty terrible stuff about homeless people and I didn't know what to do as an audience member. Perhaps I should ask my ethics prof and see how she responds to a real-world situation. She's been keeping class away from those for the most part.

I've been eating a ton of veggies from the local Persia Market, because it's cheap and a joy to shop in and they're fresh. I say this as a lead-in to mentioning that they have seville oranges and they would make a lovely marmalade mead, and my goodness I'm making a lot of booze this year. It is definitely a stress relief valve. I really have need for the future these days, just as something to hold onto.

I miss my rabbits, I just haven't been home to interact much. Still loving this set of housemates; it wouldn't be long-term sustainable but is truly lovely for this timeframe. They remain a good channel to my mental health: when I came home this evening I found myself saying "you look so cute, is that so I'll keep loving you? I'd love you anyhow, you know".

Anyhow, don't have much time, but thought I'd touch in before Wednesdaypocalypse, which is pretty reliably awful and doesn't give a representative sample.

And yes, I ran yesterday.

Edited to add: apparently I posted yesterday and forgot. Memory is terrible lately. Oh well, overlap.
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I'm running still. It's good. My body likes it. It does seem to take years to build this level of... comfort? ...even if those years are intermittent. That's reassuring. I never thought I'd be able to run this well (slowly, continuously, for half an hour without it being even very difficult).

I'm passing classes in school, hitting my target grades on average (90 or above I'm misusing my time, 70-80 is about right). This contempt for the knowledge offered me is not coming easy, but school's contempt for my time and individuality is fuel enough to keep me in balance. Note that my professors are not, for the most part, to blame. It's simply that the terrible edifice of higher education is designed to suck people in, grind them up, and spit them out cheaply and efficiently.

I guess I have one more term left.

I've been cidering this fall, and it's very good for me. I'm hoping to get persimmon wine up too. Anything I put up this year will hopefully be done for my housewarming.

I have feelings towards my property that maybe other people have towards being married? I mean, I've felt these warm/expectant/partner/solid/trust/love/dependable feelings before for people, but never for long enough that I could continue to feel them on the lead-up to entering into a contract about them. But my land, in the future? Yes. And the delay doesn't make me doubt them, it makes me merely gently impatient (sometimes less than gently) for When The Time Is Right.

Relationship-wise I am definitely overextended. I'm waiting. I don't trust anyone really to follow me to Fort; I love the people in my life now; I'm sort of holding the space precariously to see who shows up there, who keeps up with the distance, who will remain in my life. I guess it's defaulting to letting other folks make choices instead of making them myself. That's a thought.

I'm pretty excited about my job next May. It looks like I'll be doing more complex, challenging, higher-level work than I originally expected, working directly with someone overseeing a systems change. I mean, it might not be so much working directly with ecosystems, but... well, we'll see. I'm impatient to start that too. I want to see what it's like. I should start poking a budget for that time, and I'm planning to talk to a financial adviser. Sounds so grown-up, no?

The last couple years a lot of the richness of my life came from my work and my involvement in life systems. Now there's some relationship richness, sometimes the dirty messy kind, and also there will be the outdoors. I wonder how those will balance?

Abundance

Oct. 12th, 2016 06:40 pm
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Well now, here I am again, and so soon.

I guess I have some things to say.

I guess I have some work to do.

I'm at one of those places in my life where everything is pointing me to working through something, making some mindful decisions, but where I'm scared because I don't think I can get what I want and I'd hate to choose a thing mindfully and then be left bereft.

Going to school was a risk like that, where I knew I could take my life up in my hands and shape it to get the things I wanted: a home, a permanent garden, some assurance for the future that wasn't dependent on friends liking me and thusly being supportive. I went back to school. I started going away for the summers. I did these things to further my own life. As happens when I work strongly on my life, other things changed. A relationship ended because there was no future for it with this new plan of mine. I met someone else. I met another someone else. And I have met another someone else.

Now.

What can I do with this, and what do I want to do with this?

The most recent someone is a conversationalist. We talk, we overanalyse, we pick things apart. In short, we do a lot of that internal work that I can only do if I'm writing or talking. I haven't been writing lately, but I have been talking. I've been poking around in there.

He posted something the other day about his wife, a fragment of poetry by Elsse Matthessen

"Only another fifty years,"
I say, "and then I promise
to let you go."

It has undone me. It's a couple words that have brought me to the heart of a thing that's been ravelling for awhile.

I have people who have been around for a long time, but the people who have been around forever have moved on, and the people that I meet recently come near and then drift away again, or sometimes are forcibly ejected. Either way, I have not found continuity in relationships. I have not found a relationship that could be made to fit actual-me forward into the future, one where I would not need to make myself smaller or resentful to maintain closeness. I have loved a lot of people; I still do. I enjoy time with people. I like knowing them deeply. But.

But.

I've always wanted someone who knows my context; someone with whom I share my day-to-day until the patterns come clear to both of us; someone I learn to read and who reads me, and who can communicate volumes with a glance across a crowded room with that knowledge. I want... daily routine, not every day but often enough, and mutual caretaking, and the kind of trust that's built on years. I want that, and I thought I had it with Kynnin when I was fourteen, and many of my relationships since I've been hopeful about it.

I am well loved right now. I am so well loved. It feels impossible to turn down a gift like that, and yet I think it's what's giving me the space here to think about what I want.

Maybe thinking about what I want isn't good. I can think it to pieces, after all, and I *want* everything: Josh and our greenhouses and making a pizza oven and a still together and that lovely house (but not Josh who doesn't want other people in his space and cares for me very much but just cannot say yes unless he's sure of logistics when I want someone who is willing to bend logistics for me the way I do for other people?), James who loves me so much and a supportive, nourishing home full of the feeling of family and kindness (but not James who is dependent on me as his whole support network in a northern town and who prefers to background in the world rather than reaching his power out into it when I want someone who proactively creates their life and with whom I perhaps do not share so many activities as all that?), Tucker and who knows what yet with words and poetry and his way of catching the nuances of my meaning and his interest in opening up my insides (but not Tucker who is otherwise committed to his wife and life in Vancouver and who, well, honestly is so new to me I don't even know what else yet but that is a pretty big start). I want someone who takes joy in my poly-ness and who can communicate their needs in a household. I want someone I can hook into for a long time and who puts just as much shoulder against the universe, who pushes hard enough to change it, just like I do: but I want them to do it for me.

And I am not willing to give so much of myself up now as I was, so maybe the cracks will show sooner now, or at least I can't put as much hope in any on thing as I did. I am not willing to take a terrible job I dislike. I am not willing to give up my other loves. I am not willing to sacrifice a home that is open, hospitable, and welcoming. I am not willing to sacrifice my land where I plant trees from which I will, in my lifetime, harvest the fruit. These things are me, and to be permanently partnered would require these things to be loved *as* me, to be accepted as extensions of my actual-self.

I don't know. I mean, I do know. I'm that person for myself, I am my own person. Other people come and go but I am my own heart. I suppose that's sad and huge all at once. I know I haven't met anyone else who would have been as fully up to the task as I have been.

There's more work to be done on this, but this is as far as I can go for now.

it had something to do
with death . . . it had something
to do with love.
-Li-Young Lee
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Well. Back in school. Best Forestry Student In Canada, according to one metric (it's on a medal and everything). Proud of it, I guess? But here's the thing. Good-student-ness and happiness don't coexist well for me. I was originally a good student because I was terrified as well as innately curious. I've retained my innate curiosity, perhaps currently my most valued trait (it's only in the last couple years I've considered anything more than "a machine made for loving things" to be my most valued trait), I'm still attuned to details. School requires a particular ability to create absolutely nothing, though, to make something that will be sent down a black hole and never seen again, and when I'm not seeking approval to convince myself I'm allowed to exist (kinda done with that) I find that hard to stomach.

But! I have discovered that if I ignore that part of school by alloting myself a very short amount of time for that stuff (think "I am being paid hourly for half an hour of work here" mindset) I can go on and enjoy things. I am currently both in school and enjoying things. What am I enjoying?

I am enjoying asking my instructors questions about First Nations (Canada) vs American Indian situations, and about what to do in particularly ethically sticky work situations I've encountered.

I am enjoying volunteering with a Canadian forestry organization in what is also a student rep/student council position and thus meeting folks like the Chief Forester (who is a woman for the first time and who is delightful in person) and older folks in the forest industry who are technically retired and have lots of stories and young women with whom I feel some level of comradeship.

I am enjoying my people, so many people I love so much.

I am enjoying plotting this fall's boozemaking when the apples are pressed (three cysers, maybe?) and also tasting some of the things I made two years ago at this time.

I am enjoying living in the same room as my rabbits, being more intimate with them after a summer of not-so-much contact.

I am enjoying having my own bed, both to lounge in alone and to invite people into it as I see fit.

I am enjoying proximity to my mom.

I am enjoying Suhaylah, my SUV, who affords me the ability to travel despite increasingly awful transit systems in Vancouver which often make me sick even if they're not overcrowded or late or taking an hour and a half to two hours to get somewhere.

I am enjoying anticipation of having a home, a real home where I could live and put things and maybe stay there for more than eight months at a time. I've been looking at houses in Fort and I can do that there.

I want to go into detail about people, but it's long past my bedtime and I'd be here for hours. I haven't seen half the people I need to see, but I *can* and that is wonderful.

So anyhow, my overwhelming experience right now is not that of school, it's that of my life around school, which is excellent. School is a problem when it's my focus.

Conifex in Fort St James has said they want me back after I graduate, so I'm tryins g to treat this window as the last, most extended vacation I'll have down south. It's working so far.

Moving twice a year for school is very difficult, worse than moving twice a year for the rest of my life because there is such a long distance at play. My nail clippers are currently in Williams Lake and my bedside lamp has been missing in the stack of boxes for two years (I hate typing with long nails). It's hard to do hobbies, I'm tired of setting up my computer, I didn't get to tuck my garden in for the winter nor do I get to ever live near that garden again, the air always feels to dry or too damp, and I miss my bed which I haven't got out of the storage locker yet.

I always live my life for the next day, or the day after that. The trick seems to be including short as well as long term in "the next day". Use long term to pull myself through short term; use short term to recharge my soul so it's strong enough to be pulled.

Anyhow, tired. Missed you, felt lonely. Late to bed now. Be well. A couple years and you can come visit me and stay in a guest cabin I made you with my own hands. How lovely will that be?
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It has been a very hard week, and now I'm happy again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So that's James.

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

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

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

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

I can get through this summer.

Talk to you soon.
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I went flying. A co-worker is a hobby pilot, and took me and Dave in a tiny plane from Vanderhoof to Smithers to Terrace to Burns Lake and back. Looking down at the land changing from a low open valley to gravel-spike snowy mountains, watching the rivers meander and crash and the patchwork quilts of green, it hammered me with the same emotion love always drives into me: a frantic restlessness, a need to do or prove as if the love can't just exist without action. This is dragon-slaying love, questing love, poetry-writing love. It is not lying together and feeling breath and heartbeat love. I look forward to its maturation.

This land. Love. And here I am in it. I never know what to do with what I want when I get it, though I am so good at getting it.

And I passed a check-cruise this week, so I'm officially up to standard at my job, and I'm not always so far behind anymore, and I'm not exhausted at the end of each day. We're on easy ground this week, so that likely helps, but I'm no longer feeling like work is impossible and I'm no good. It's gonna be ok.
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So I've been habitually posting on weekends. Then Dave came up for a weekend, then I went to a music festival for a weekend. This coming weekend my mom is coming to visit, and the one following that I'm going to hang out with a new um-maybe-friend in Williams Lake and eat oysters and see what physical proximity does to our interaction, then the one following that I'm heading to the Mission Folk Fest, and then to the other side of Canada for the first time to visit Nova Scotia with Dave. So there's a lot to catch up on, obviously, and I may not update lots.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don't know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope all is as well with all y'all.
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So, my plan did not involve canning or brewing up here. I brought my bow, I was going to practice, and I was going to work a lot.

Well, I'm working a lot.

There is such abundance of foraging foods here, though; I guess that's what you get when you're not really in a city. There are so many dandelions and spruce buds everywhere that I've got supplies to do a small batch of dandelion jelly, one of pickled dandelion buds, and one of spruce tip syrup or jelly (likely the former). The Amelanchier alnifolia is in full bloom, promising a great crop in the summer. I suspect I'll do something about that too. I'll need to haul everything back down to Vancouver when I'm done here, but it's good for my soul to make these things.

I'm also cooking meals a lot. I have a lovely source of local beef, there are lots of greens growing around, I'm stocked up on flour and butter and bacon and potatoes. I've been making myself the kind of traditional meals that have different parts: a meat component, a starch component, a veggie component. I've never really eaten that way before, since so much of what I make has been single-pot foods like stews or soups or casseroles. I think the grill helps with this, since I can grill my meat and bannock or potatoes, and then just make veggies to go on the side.

This was my first full week of bush work at work. That is, every day (it was a short week because of the long weekend, so just four days in a row) I put on heavy spiked caulk boots, headscarf, vest full of equipment, and hard hat and walked multiple kilometers in straight lines through a mix of underbrush, standing, and fallen trees. I am covered in sweat after the first ten minutes, which continues until I get back to the truck. The moose tracks never really went in the direction I was going. The work when we got to the plots was not particularly hard, though it too involved some climbing, but getting there is one of the more trenuous things I've done. There are tangles of trees that go on for great distances, so I need to walk on logs (thus the spiked boots) which is nice, or climb over them crosswise through spiky dead branches which is not so nice. There are swamps or thick underbrush areas that require high-kneed steps and have considerably more drag than walking through water. There are puddles of ephemeral orchids and green things unfurling and soon there will be flowers. Everything smells like pine and fir and spruce. There are so many bugs: flies that bomb past but can't get at me because I'm entirely covered except for my face, mosquitoes that make it hard to concentrate and stay away from my sprayed clothing so I just have to worry about them on my wrists and face, and these awful terrible bugs that fly straight into the eyes and stay there until they're pulled out. I imagine, awfully, that they are laying eggs. Believe me, it's a lot harder to walk on a log three to six feet up with no handholds when there are things shooting into your eyes. I don't walk on logs higher than that, or the really narrow ones, though I suspect that will come with time.

I am covered in bruises from the waist down, where I hit short sharp branch stubs while climbing over trees. I am full of thorn scratches. I have bug bites on my hands and to a lesser extent on my feet from when I take my boots off for the way home. I am tired a lot as I build strength. Last night, Friday night, I came home and showered and the feeling of being clean was astonishing. I am, however, very happy. I'm reminded that in order for my life to feel meaningful and fulfilling I don't need to necessarily do any particular moral thing, I just need to be outside for three to seven hours doing heavy work four days a week. I really miss people. I really miss physical contact. There are plenty of things I'd like to be doing but all I have time for is cooking, eating, sleeping, and working. But, I am happy.

I also have a feeling I haven't had much before: I feel completely unsexualized, but at the same time very pretty. I'm not sure how to describe this. No one is looking at me. I am covered head to tow in shapeless garments with equipment strapped over. Even my hair and throat are covered. My form, including the tan on my face, is a direct expression of the function I am fulfilling and is completely secondary to it. I do not view myself through the lens of desirability, do not think of it. When I look in the mirror I see myself happy, I am nearly always smiling (I pretty much only look in a mirror in the truck as I'm leaving the field and right after work to see how much dirt I need to scrape off each day), and I feel like a part of the outdoors I've been working in. That is beautiful. I really do feel like I'm outside the trap of sexiness.

I am not entirely outside the trap of surface though. I am meeting strangers all the time. I am careful what I say to them, especially in regards to poly etc. There are office politics. I do not feel completely comfy with anyone, and I am not sure I should. I am not always sure how to act. So though I am more comfortable with myself, I am also more watchful. This doesn't mean I don't enjoy the company of people up here, it just means I am always thinking, a little bit, about how I should be behaving.

It's hard and frustrating to be learning a whole new set of skills. I've been landscaping for a long time; I haven't had to learn a whole job from the ground up for a long time. I am literally learning from walking on up with this one. It's been thee weeks (admittedly only one and a bit in the field) and I feel like I should be competent. I am not. I want to feel productive and useful. Sometimes I'm not the one responsible for a lack of productivity -- a new GPS and software system mandated by the ministry for what I do is responsible for at least a week and a half of downtime as it gets implemented, other people forget to charge their equipment, etc -- but I like the feeling of making good progress and I'm not doing that right now.

It is beautiful here. I miss Dave. I get to eat outside. The earth is generous. So many feelings. Now, though, I will go make chimichurri sauce and pick dandelion flowers and stop thinking about it and just enjoy.

Week 2

May. 18th, 2015 08:41 pm
greenstorm: (Default)
Well.

My language is shifting to match people here. Speech is slowing down, my accent is altering. I'm such a chameleon that way.

Two notable things have happened this week: I've been let out into the bush to work, and Dave came to visit for the long weekend.

I was/am hired to work out in the woods, but in order to do that I need to be trained; I have more-or-less no idea what I'm doing. The work itself is conceptually pretty easy, mostly measuring, a little bit of tree and fungus ID. I could learn that pretty quick. The catch is, I'm doing this in the bush. I could call it trackless wilderness, but that would be misleading; there are plenty of moose tracks, sometimes bear, occasionally wolf. The tracks aren't useful to me, since I need to move in a straight line from one place to another while navigating from random sample plot to random sample plot. Moving through the forest -- heavy with underbrush and blowdown, since it's territory where the pine beetle came through and left dead standing trees 10-15 years ago and half of them fell over and the other half had no canopy so the underbrush wasn't light-limited and came right up, densely in some places -- that's another thing.

Lots of things have thorns in this forest. Roses, gooseberries, other roses, raspberries all have mild scratchy thorns that leave my thighs looking like I washed a cat with them. Devil's club thorns go in and cause infection, they need to be pulled out but they break off pretty easily. Stubs of branches on dead pines aren't meant to be thorns, but they gouge and bruise pretty good when you need to climb over a pile of a couple trunks or more (this happens often in some areas).There are mosquitoes that get at me when I'm counting hair-width tree rings (I'm pretty well covered otherwise). I'm sleeping lots, getting sun, eating well, and pretty happy, so I'm healing really fast, but I sure do look pretty beat up at the end of it all.

I wear caulk boots in the bush, that's logging boots with spikes on the bottom so I can walk on logs without slipping. They're great, but I need to re-map surfaces in my brain: bare logs or bark are stable surfaces on which I can balance amazingly well but dry rocks are slippery. I suspect it wont take me long to be walking along logs high up from the ground; right now a tree lying 3' up is about as high as I can walk along. Walking along logs is great, though, because it's a quick, smooth path across the bush if you can find a tree going the way you want to go, and don't let me get started about swamps.

So the skill I'm learning is walking quickly and safely through the bush. I have been practicing it two days. By the end of each day I feel like I can barely lift my feet on those boots, let alone lift them to climb over the frequent 3' high tree trunks or tangles of tree trunks that block my path. I am so. Slow. It's been a long time since I had to learn a brand-new skill, and it's frustrating. I want to be past this part and actually able to help contribute rather than slowing everything down.

But... I get to be outside. In the woods. I have figured out how to dress comfortably (3L hydration pack in the vest that holds my many lbs of equipment, headscarf down my back under my hard hat for mosquitoes, long light men's dress shirt for mosquitoes and sun, light gloves, I wonder if they have thorn-proof kevlar I can put on the front of my army pants?). I see moose tracks every day. I eat sitting on a log surrounded by only the sounds of the forest. I get to see the understory proceed into spring one day at a time, leaves unfurling out of the litter, flowers starting up on the stems, the way I understand time passing in my bones. I come home smelling like pine and "balsam". I sleep well. I smile often. Walking around the office after work feels good in my legs and my hips.

I am making friends with this place.

And so I was very happy for Dave to come up and see it, for him to visit and learn what kind of place I'm staying. I wanted him to meet the woman I live with, who's lived here all her life and is friendly and independently interdependent and interesting. I wanted him to se my smile when I got off work. I wanted to show him the woods and the lake.

He came up. We slept a lot, went out and bought beef from the ranch up the hill, used the BBQ every night, had a fire and got too tired waiting for the stars to come out so we went to bed by 11pm, had lots of sex, made s'mores, got slightly but not seriously lost in the woods and bitten by mosquitoes, snuggled, fit into the little shower together, tried to make plans with my supervisor/colleague and never succeeded, walked on the beach in the heavy cold wind, and drank a milkshake. It was pretty close to perfect.

I love him a lot.

Then he went home, and I can feel his absence pretty strongly tonight after even just a few nights sleeping together. It's better for me to be here alone right now, it's what I want, but I miss him. I like how the rhythms of our lives intersect and influence each other.

So it's bedtime here anyway, and I don't feel like writing too much about it, so I'll go down to bed now and curl myself around the warmth that he leaves inside me and read wildcrafting books and smell the smoke left in my hair from last night.

Be well.
greenstorm: (Default)
Well, here I am in Fort St James.

It's my first weekend up here -- I got to Prince George via a 12-hour overnight bus last Saturday, got picked up on the Sunday, and got in to town Sunday evening. A pretty full work week started in which I tried to catch up on my sleep, so I did pretty much nothing ecept work, feed myself, and sleep.

That doesn't sound too different from my routine in town, but it's been much more relaxing than it would have been in Vancouver. To start, I'm not particularly mobile at the moment, and there aren't many places to eat out. This has meant a lot more cooking, and improvising from the same set of ingredients since I'm cooking from one again and it makes no sense to fully stock a kitchen for the summer. I'm staying at a house a little out of town, on the lake (or maybe the river that flows out of the lake) so there's lots of green and quiet and birdsong and flowing water around me. I'm going to bed between 8 and 9:30 most nights, with a little bit of reading before sleep.

I've been iterating on potatoes and eggs and cabbage and butter, and have just added bacon and flour to my available ingredients.

I have few demands on my time outside work.

I *am* going to look at a place in town I might stay, later today. In town would have benefits in terms of getting to the post office and going shopping, and being on the swimming beach and close to carpool rides to work. Where I am now has the benefit of having an amazing patio overlooking the water on which to eat breakfast, a very social homeowner who knows everyone in town, and room to do archery. There's less privacy here than there would be in town, though, and the bedroom situation isn't ideal.

I am content here right now. I miss Dave really a lot, not painfully but in the same way that you miss fireplaces when you move to a house with central heating; I guess it's the aliveness an the warmth of him. I've been calling him my partner, which is significant, and that doesn't feel like its gone away at all. We've been taking turns being a little jealous of each other; he is jealous of the excitement of my going away and having advenures, I'm jealous of the latitude he has to do interesting city things and also to take vacation time.

But, yes, content. I have time to think, and to listen. I have time to soak in my environment, and I can do that instead of constantly having to shut off a stream of unpleasant sensory input. When I look out the window there's water moving, and when the leaves come out there will be aspen leaves sparkling and tossing in the tiniest breeze (their petioles are designed to toss the leaves like this). It's quiet: clock ticking, birds, the sound of a very distant boat's motor but no traffic or people yelling or playing music.

We've been doing training for the last few days, the whole forestry office, and some of us went to the Northern Interior Cruising Convention on Wednesday and Thursday. That was the first time my work ever paid for a hotel for me. NICC was a great start to learning my job, but the training has been especially good. It's been a chance for me to get to know everyone at the office before I pair off for the summer for bush work. It's been a chance for me to brush up on things like ATV use. And... I like these people.

Part of training was setting up a fire pump in the corner of the lake. We were all in boots, and went in the lake a little, and... it was warm, maybe a degree or two warmer than the ocean right at the edge there. Apparently the ice has been off it for a bunch of weeks now. With the days we've been having, hot during the afternoon and cool at night, it's so inviting. I'm looking forward to making the lake's acquaintance, maybe practicing swimming some. I've always been a little nervous of lakes, so this is a place to start.

Air and water are both very different here. The city is supplied by a well, I don't believe it's treated. The house I'm at now has a water softener, which makes what I consider to be delicious water, though I like the local water either way. No one local likes the local water, and from what I've seen a big water cooler is a standard feature of most places. I suspect I will not have my electrolyte issues this summer. The air is much drier than at home, and honestly I've never experienced anything quite like it. Even after being nervous or active or even indoors for a day I don't feel sticky and coated in weirdness like I do in Vancouver. Water spilled will dry. Lotion will undoubtedly be pretty important as the summer progresses.

So. I'm sure you'll get more later, but that's about where I'm at right now.
greenstorm: (Default)
I've been doing a crazy amount of learning lately, and I've been surging forward full speed on a bunch of decisions. Let's see if I can get some of it down.

Sunshine + exercise + food == happy Greenie. This is no news to me or anyone. However, I'd been depending on work for the exercise and sunlight, and work right now is a source of stress and not a source of any of those other things. I had been (have been) having a rough winter; I've got a lot of changes going on, much of the outcomes outside my experience or control, and I can't afford to let this stuff slide. So, I've let my competitive instinct kick in and started doing hot yoga like Dave, just... more often. Every single day I do it I feel better for hours afterwards. I am keeping an eye on overtraining issues and not doing absolutely every single say, but it's good so far. It levels my head so well and is conveniently close. I may keep this up even after I start bike commuting.

Sunshine was really forthcoming this fall until sometime in December, which is when I started to nosedive. Exercise can compensate to some degree for light, especially since I'm being kept too busy at work to get out into the light during the week. Ugh.

I'm getting real good at eating enough, and at asking for help when I'm having trouble. It helps that my neighbour is always up for eating together and I can use her presence to put myself into a better place for food. This all gets difficult when I'm financially stressed, though the meat box and farm stuff really helps.

Sex is a problem in a bunch of different ways. I thought I had this figured out; I thought that by taking back my bodily autonomy so I didn't have to ask folks permission before making choices around sex I would fix everything. Instead I only began a learning curve totally different from the one I've been on most of my life. How do I decide who to have sex with and when? How do I deal with humans when I decide to have or not to have sex with them in general? Per instance? How do I deal with the fact that in people's eyes when I don't have a primary partner I am always on some level available no matter how much I protest to the contrary? How do I let people know the ways in which I am more available than suspected, and how less? How do I deal with not having enough sex, or with feeling subtle coercion around sex? How do I deal with sex that I want beforehand but don't want in the moment? How do I calibrate desire vs complexity and work? How much do I like emotions involved in sex and what kind of sex do I like, anyhow?

I imagine you folks who weren't in serious relationships most of your life are laughing at me about now.

I'm learning that I probably want to have sex with fewer people less often than I thought I did, because the complexities that come with it are just not worth it. I'm also learning how sexual compatibility and emotional intimacy work together for me, and how they don't always go together regardless of how much I might want them to. I think I'm learning that when something works, I should let it work, and when I need to push and work hard on something, I should probably drop the sexual aspect of it.

I don't know that my original interpretation of solo poly will end up being what I choose, after all. Especially with the time and energy I'm putting elsewhere, it may just not be worth it.

Romantic relationships aren't enough. In fact, even non-romantic relationships aren't enough. I've made huge strides lately in learning to have friends, people with whom I'm close in non-romantic, non-partnery long-term and very intimate ways. That enriches my life immensely. I've been treating my home, careful selection and upkeep of my house, with as much attention as I have in the past given major relationships. I really enjoy the result. I have decided to add my career to the mix of important stuff to give that much time and attention to.

This has resulted in my making some information-gathering dates with folks at my old school, formulating a career path, and now doing some more information-gathering from folks in the field I want to head into and (this is scary) applying to, not a technical college, but a formal huge sprawling university-temple of academia. I'm formulating a support team (emotional, physical, logistical, motivational) which I can do really well based on my previous experience with working through my diploma. I actually feel pretty confident about this path of mine, though it's me against huge and arbitrary machines within machines, which is never easy for me to deal with.

I may not be in Vancouver forever. I may stay in the Valley forever or I may not, but a million tiny roots are shaking themselves and working their way loose. I had never thought to leave, before, but in a couple of years I will be able to if I so choose.
greenstorm: (Default)
I've been beset by flashes of an odd feeling lately: not quite at loose ends, not quite bored, but waiting. I have a million things I'd like to do, that I would quite enjoy, but instead of actually doing them I find activities to kill time (and no, not just the internet). I wonder if it's just my organizing-mind burnt out from work and extra-busy scheduling, so I have no energy left over to schedule my solo time?

I had a truly lovely weekend surrounded by all sorts of folks. Now I feel the need for quality time with myself, not just waiting but doing unconstrained by the thousand subtle pieces of compromise and sharing that happen when others are around. I need to put myself in experimental space, to stretch, to challenge. I don't do that with people much except maybe with climbing. I do it alone, subject only to my own judgements.

What does my list of desirable things look like? Perhaps just writing it down is the first step.

o fix pottery wheel & get clay
o brewing 8 top up kousa wine & rack *apple-juniper wine (or cider, for Dec 7 party?) *sweet mead *another (stronger?) batch of graff to be ready for Dec 7 party?
o sewing *stripy skirts *bloomers *stretch long tops
o knitting *cast on in the round (armwarmers)
o biking *scout a 10k loop from my house
o foraging *find a chickweed patch by my home *chestnuts?
o body *I want to climb, actually, but it's annoying to do so before I move. Running? Yoga?
o costuming for Andrew's memorial & wine & cheese

Hm. I'm noticing my enthusiasm for cooking is waning again, and I'm really not up for gardening much right now, though design is fun. I'm probably pretty burnt out in general. It seems like there are some changes afoot at work but it's hard to see how that will fall out in the longer term. My bosses really, really want to keep me, it seems.

Oh well. Take your changes a few at a time, Greenie. Don't look too far down that road.
greenstorm: (Default)
Failure is rarely an option for me nowadays. I've lived a bunch of my life gently, allowing myself weakness when I have it, sometimes perhaps over-indulging in things like calling in sick to have sex or backing out of interpersonal confrontations.

I still try to live the relationship side of my life gently now that I've learned how, spending time with people who are good for my soul.

At the same time I have a rigorous schedule that leaves no leeway for my humanity.

For instance, I've been working and going to school both near full-time and keeping the rats and two boyfriends and something of a social life on the go. That translates to between 20 and 30 classroom hours per week, 12-15 hours of commuting per week, 30-ish to 35 hours of work per week, plus one day per week rat cage cleaning and whatever the people stuff adds up to, plus of course all the cleaning stuff.

I keep myself going in a number of ways. Some are gentle: I put something shiny in the next week or so, and I work hard to get through the week to it; I support myself and encourage myself and tell myself that I'm awesome and accomplish a lot; I pay attention to beautiful things around me and let them inform me of my right and fitting place in the struggles of this world. Often this is all it takes.

Some ways I get through are less gentle: I tell myself how badly people will be let down if I don't do something; I give myself a little time to break down and then remind myself that no one's interested in interacting with me if I cry and whine all the time; mostly I just keep working, through the dark part, through irritation to mental fury, through my brain spitting bile and insults at every contact, through fantasies of great pain or bodily harm to myself or people around me, through everything my mind can send at me I just go from task to task to task. I get things done and let my mind gibber.

There's sometimes a price for being harsh on myself. I begin to lose faith in the givingness of the world. I begin to forget what happiness tastes like and why I would desire any sort of human connection. Finally, pushed too far, my mind short-circuits and leaves me suspended and hanging in an abyss of static, snarling at any intrusion of consciousness.

Things fix this. Time to myself abates it; time with people I love, touching and being touched, talking and being talked to, draws me back into the wonderful parts of the world and gives me reasons for continuing on this path. I can recover quickly, especially if I haven't pushed too far, but I do need time to recover.

This month it feels like I don't have time to recover. I think I have a total of three or maybe 4 days that don't contain work, school, or most often a combination of both. Many of these are 14-hour days. There just isn't enough space.

I'm coming to my computer as a blank screen, to livejournal as a space that doesn't talk back. My own voice will heal me, I hope, that first increment so I can reach out to people for a little more contact. It seems to be working; allowing these feelings and these words to be of value, even if only to myself, is pushing me erratically from blankness through furious anger and towards tears.

It's a funny balance there, actually, seesawing between anger and compassion at myself for this barren painful feeling. It wobbles back and forth from one second to the next. I let it happen, no sense wishing it was some other thing.

That's enough writing for now, I suppose.
greenstorm: (Default)
Put this on repeat if you like.

I don't have anything to write except a mood. I'll start as always with the story, but it isn't much of a story, and I can't remember how to begin my life neatly for it: the weekend was lovely, my temples of flesh and green are all being returned to me and I am a creature of worship. I love things again, less gray, less numb. My fingers are not bound by skin, not appendages to be used, but rather windows with which to explore the world. That indefinable space in my chest and especially in the back of my head and in my throat reaches out towards others.

My class has begun to cohere. We went for beers the other afternoon, I suppose it was Saturday after class, and there were a bunch of us. We exchanged numbers finally and plotted to get the kids to come with us-- how do you include people too young to drink, or who need to drive home to PoCo afterwards? I got to chat with people I didn't know much, and I like everyone I talked to. The restraints or professionalism are giving way to tentative friendship, or, at least, buddyship.

Last night was firefighting class, which is being taught by a guy the year ahead of us in the program, but who's been fighting fires for seven years. The person who normally teaches it is out for surgery, but it's fun to have this guy there, fun to watch him teach for the first time. He imitates BCIT teacher structure well, and he's knowledgeable, and the curriculum is really nailed down by the ministry anyhow. I'm daydreaming of running away for the summer to firefight and making money thereby. Maybe I'll do it the year following school, and accumulate some loan debt. It would be so nice to take the weight off-- I feel this especially now, while spring is rushing and rattling from the earth to the sky and back again right through my bones and shaking me around like a ragdoll. It's a powerful spring, this one. It's my spring, the beginning of the first year in which I am really awakening to my own agency.

The plants at work got fertilized last week and the week before, depending on where they were in the rotation, and they are happy to see me when I go in. They've stopped dropping leaves, and I only lost one this winter. That's really good. It's spring pruning time and I can't tell you why or how-- it's just the right time to get out the pruners. Some things, mahoganies, I cut back by 50%. It's so good to prune a plant properly-- half jigsaw puzzle, half life-saving surgery.

I took a boot camp fitness class for an hour on Monday before class. It will continue till April. A classmate I particularly wanted to get to know better is in it. My body is the good kind of sore from it.

And then there's tonight, a final for climatology. I didn't do well on it, mostly because I spent a total of fifteen minutes reading and reviewing half the material, and the other half I hadn't seen for over a week. I'm fine with that, and in fact chose it because I prioritized looking up my ecology prof and talking with him about the hands-on exam. I'm doing well in climatology, I can absorb a hit to the grade on that one test if it means doing better on the soils practical. But-- a final means off early.

And so I was off early, and here I am at home, and here's the thing.

It's spring. I'm awakening to my body as I have not for awhile. I'm awakening to the world as I haven't for awhile. I can see during the daytime, it gets fully light out! I am beginning to be aware of myself as a creature in the present, rather than just racing from one task to the next. It is a joy, perhaps, but I'm also returning to volatility. I thought keeping myself this busy would mean I had no energy for that. I've taken up a latin course online as well as everything else, just to edge further into the ridiculous, you know.

And maybe it works, but when I'm on safe ground I explore the edges, I look back into my shadows, I look over things and analyse and try to disentangle things which is always a two-steps-forward-one-step-back process.

And so here are the tangles:

I love Angus particularly much lately. He's a little more emotionally erratic than is comfortable, and has just initiated a real job search effort finally. It swings me around some. Change is happening in his life and I don't know where that will leave us when this is done. He needs support right now and I can give him some of that but I worry, is this enabling? How long can I do this? When someone does anything you ask, what do you say?

Michael has been especially sweet to me lately. We've settled into basically a once-per-week routine, mostly overnights, and I do love routine. It settles me. This hadn't worked well when I was with Juggler but Michael is not Juggler. It took me some time to figure that out-- also that he's not Kynnin. Ha. And so I love him, as I do, and I hold this space where it is. I push a little, when it's important, and he's accepting of that, and the rest of the time I hold myself self-contained. And it's good. It's very, very good. But sometimes I daydream about going firefighting for the summer and coming back in the fall and going up the stairs, dropping onto his couch and staying for a week of relaxed breakfasts and livingroom-picnic lunches and just... I don't know. Just existing unscheduled and unwalled.

I saw Kynnin the other day. He'd been through a breakup, possibly a temporary one. He and Mouse seem to still be doing poly the way they were when I chiseled away from the quad and I am so glad at the changes in my life since then. You know, Michael reminds me of Kynnin sometimes-- less often now-- but Kynnin does not remind me of Michael. It's the fifteen-year-old, the nineteen-year-old, I'm reminded of. I could try to pin down what's changed-- I will someday --but the biggest change is in our history. Leaving someone is betraying them in a very particular way that, after the first time, can never be undone. It can be wrapped around with stronger things, re-storied, scarred; it can be embroidered or enshrined but it's a change in every relationship and you can't go back to before it happened. I am not in a relationship with Kynnin in that sense. I don't-- you know, I can't even type this without crying, let alone say it --I don't even love him anymore (how is this possible? Remember this? We were, and oh the irony in this word now, inseparable. How do you stop loving someone?) but I care for him so very much. He was hurting. And, you know, I have that magnet in me, that opposite pole that orients me towards pain and pulls me into it. And so I hugged him, and I meant it, because willpower and flesh can sometimes magically heal a soul just a little. And there was no bitterness, not a touch, just so much caring-- but oh, was I aware that he had never been there for one of my oh so many endings with someone I loved. Was I ever aware of it.

And so boys have always been my trouble. I look out rather than in. Here's my mess, my tangle, but the worst of it is that it's Valentine's Day on the fourteenth and I don't care, I haven't cared since the first Valentine's day I spent with Kynnin where he got me a teddy bear holding a heart. It draws my thoughts towards that awful societal ideal that my life does not meet, though. I deliberately don't meet that ideal. To do so I would have to give up Michael, stop loving him or coerce him into something more conventional? Become bitter because he doesn't love me? Be terrified about Angus, take myself out of school and care for him for the rest of my life? Devote my paycheques to that rather than this? Make a choice between an uncomfortable home and a relationship with a person who I get along with so well in so many respects and pretend there was no third option?

And you know, all I wanted tonight was someone I care about to put my arms around, to curl up and read or watch TV with, to be with someone I trusted and be human. And I felt so open and alive. But there was no one there; people were busy, Angus is in a mood and recommended I not come home but-- it's my home, and here I am, writing and writing and writing. My back is a wall that separates me from the rest of the house. I am practically not here, removed once again to some coil inside my own mind, divorced from my body.

I don't know. There's not much more to say, I suppose. Or there's plenty, but I don't care. When I've written enough it all blurs together, I am removed from life, I am in that dissociative state which no one can break into without my permission.

Be well. I will also be well.
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I had terrible dreams this morning-- woke up at 6 and decided to go back to sleep instead of getting up. In the next hour or two I dreamt that Michael and a group of other people had taken up one of these fad "spiritual" things that comes through every once in awhile, and were spending a week not talking to anyone, not meeting anyone's eyes, and writing things that no one outside the group of people doing it was allowed to see.

Felt terribly cast-aside, left out, unimportant, etc.

It's so seldom hard to interpret my dreams.

On a totally different note, fire control class is awesome fun. At the end of it I could be a wildfire firefighter for the summer-- a contract one this year, I think. That seems like a bad second job, but oh, is it tempting.
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This is an communications assignment for school. Rough draft, and to be honest I never do polish them or tweak for readability because I don't think it changes my mark in any way, but here's to visioning. You already knew I was an idealist, right?:

Highlight your education and experience.

In addition to the variety of hands-on instruction I recieved through the BCIT sustainable resource management program, I've had many jobs which involved both problem-solving ecological issues such as indoor and outdoor landscaping with a number of companies and lots of experience doing heavy work with my hands in all weather conditions as when I landscaped through several winters or bicycle commuted to North Vancouver. I've spent a great deal of time in various sizes of teams in both a leader and support position in most of my landscaping, administrative, and volunteer positions, from horticultural team lead to VanDusen guide to client orientation, and also in working independently, most recently in my current job with Tropical Images. I love to learn, and I have a string of certifications, classes, and workshops to my name in addition to the BCIT accreditation-- particularly my Organic Master Gardener and Permaculture Design certificates, and nearly twenty classes taken through VanDusen Gardens and other organizations.


Why did you select SRMT at BCIT?

I work best when challenged to provide practical outcomes. The BCIT program offered the most breadth of hands-on experience along with professors who are absolutely grounded in their fields and bring everything home to the real world. As to why I chose this particular program, I've always loved working with plants, and as my knowledge and experience with plants grew I realised that you can't isolate one element from it's system. I find anything relating to ecosystems and especially plants riveting and intuitive, and have since I brought home my first cactus at age five. As such, an ecosystem management course is a perfect fit for me.

What criteria are you using to evaluate prospective employers?

A suitable employer's priorities in a work environment include respectful, open communication; dedication to both the environment and to employee well-being; and a level of challenge and variety to the type of work available which supports my complete focus and wholehearted effort.

What do you see yourself doing 5 years from now?

I see myself intimately involved in managing ecosystems for a purpose I consider beneficial to the environment and to nearby communities. I see myself immersing myself intimately in a project for days or weeks at a time, focusing completely, and then taking time to spend with my family or on my hobbies to recover. I would like to think I'll be working with like-minded, equally dedicated people.

How do you work under pressure?

I provide my best work under pressure, whether that's the pressure of a deadline or the pressure of an outcome which has an important affect in the world. Challenges provide me with focus, motivation, and they invite me to bring all my resources to bear on stepping up to them. My time at BCIT, taking a more-than-full course load and maintaining an A average while working just shy of full-time, is a good example of how I thrive under pressure.

What are the most important rewards you expect from your job?

I expect that, when I am done a particular piece of work, I will have the satisfaction of knowing that both people and the environment are better off because I've done it. I expect time flexibility in the workplace; I am happy to work around dates and deadlines and provide extra time and effort when needed, but in exchange I like to be able to take quantities of time to myself when it suits all parties. I expect to be paid enough, and reliably enough, that I can spend my time worrying about doing my job well rather than money-- and ideally so I can help my mother out when she retires. I expect to be able to experience and learn about a variety of ecosystems. Last but certainly not least, I expect the intellectual rewards that come from problem-solving and working with smart and dedicated colleagues.
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I finish these weeks pretty worn out. At the end of every Friday class I have this touch of panic, and an emotional drop-- I don't want to go back to the real world for the weekend, and there it waits for me. I've been in a world without physical touch, without a second's spare time, since Monday night and then everything gets dumped on its head. I'll have a couple of hours of homework, maybe a little more; I'll have likely a date with Michael that involves snuggling, some Burn Notice time planned with Andrew, and a bunch of homey type stuff with Angus. I'm not great at bridging that gap, and the transitions are a little rough. Luckily it seems to be more or less my term pattern. When changes like that are embedded in routine it becomes easier for me to deal with them: the thing has happened before a million times and no one died, so why should I worry now? Last night it only bothered me for a couple of hours.

Oh, look at this. Pretty snazzy, mm? That's me.

Soon the school portion will end Saturday early evening and begun Monday morning. There won't be much of a transition at all because there won't be much to transition to. Those will be very full six-day weeks, plus homework and likely work on the Sunday too. Honestly I can't wait for longer days that will allow me to work later; one ten or twelve hour day per weekend would make a big difference both to how much I need to cram into a week and also to my paycheque.

Work still loves me. I still have this weird sense of inadequacy there, like at some point they'll find me out and stop liking me. The last guy or three they had in my position were pretty awful, so since I've been working there the guys' stress levels have gone way down, apparently. I get all the work that needs to be done, always, no matter what-- sometimes I flex it, sometimes i take a longer lunch one day and skip lunch the next, sometimes things bleed over from one day to the next, some days I'm very thorough and some days I squeak through pretty quickly. Those things make me feel guilty, I guess, but there's both tacit and overt approval from my bosses, and I guess as long as everything gets done and they don't ever need to worry about it that's what I'm paid for. There's always more work to do to make things perfect than I have done, though. I would like everything to always be perfect.

I have my grow lights up in my house! I know I've said that before, but my mahoganies, which were languishing, are now thriving. I need to get decent pots for them, in fact. There's so much gardening I need/want to do. I guess the thing about grow lights in my house is, I've wanted them since I was 8 or so, and at 8 they were way beyond my allowance money. Since then I've been unstable, haven't had space-- but now here I am, with them over my computer. I could start tomatoes by my computer! I need to look up when Seedy Saturday is.

Angus has a fairly solid commitment for a barback-type job weekend evenings again, which means means wondrous things. For one, though he always had rent, I was carrying or worrying about a lot of our food budget and that can back off somewhat and let me resume tuition saving (I hope). For another, it means that even if I spend one night a week with Michael, I'll have an evening to myself in my home. This is... pretty exciting, to be honest. I'm also pretty damn impressed with the way Angus went about it: I'd been offering to help him with his resume, but was busy the day he started, so I gave him the communications book from school, which has a resume section, and told him to see how far he could go. He turned out a pretty snazzy product that fits the far thing well, and I didn't have to do anything. So, yay on that front.

Likewise paid and unpaid work is trickling in for Michael, things he loves doing, not quite enough to make a living on but closer; the total drought of money is clearing up some. I'm so glad. He's happier, and there's no way to complain about that.

For that matter, even Graydon is happier than he used to be; he moved, he was a zombie for, well, a long time, and now his shell's cracking open in my presence. Some people have moved further away from me in the last several weeks, but it seems people are also moving closer, and-- I can accept that. I'm not kicking against it.

Last night I watched Kingdom of Heaven and it's given me a serious yearning to rerererererereread the Elenium and Tamuli series by David Eddings. I might do that; I haven't been reading at all lately. There's also a book called Where the Wild Asparagus Grows or something like that which should be on my list. It would be nice to actually read again. It's escapist as all hell for me, almost to pathological levels, but it's calming.

The ring I have worn since Spring Mysteries last year, that reminded me to be at peace with change in all its facets, is starting to feel uncomfortable on my finger. It's not that my fingers are larger or smaller; it's just a presence that makes itself known where for so long I didn't think about it. Early Bird registration for the festival is up. It'll be interesting to see what happens this year.

Mmm. Nice to be conversational on here again. Talk to you soon.
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First, put this on.

She said I don't know if I've ever been good enough
I'm a little bit rusty, and I think my head is caving in
And I don't know if I've ever really been loved
By a hand that's touched me, well I feel like something's gonna give
And I'm a little bit angry...




....when words explode everywhere and I practically run home. They trickle away as I come through the door, touch Angus, log in to livejournal, but there's still something there.

I start writing and ask Angus to wait. He'd be happy to engage me every moment that I'm home. And that's the thing.

I thought today, waiting for the bus after a really gruelling day, that my classmates mention how impressed they are by the pace I keep up: I get good marks, though not as good as I'm used to; I work; I keep up a network of friends and social ties. None of my friends are impressed by it, I think, nor has anyone said they're proud of me. I'd expect that to be a bitter realisation, but it isn't.

This is because, though friends are important to me, other people are not the driving force between my life. There's no one whose regard I value enough to change the major flow of my life. There are people whose views I take into consideration, but to be honest no one invests enough time in understanding exactly what I do or how much of it I do that I can trust much of that; so many things are contextual, and no one does have the context.

In a fairly recent post I mentioned how this was a terrible thought to me ten or fifteen years ago, having no one to know the whole picture of my life. Now?

Now I have a powerful regard for my own company. It may just be that everything else has been severed one time too often. It may be that the older I get, the more time I spend with people who cannot speak frankly and openly on all topics, including on their responses to all topics. It may be the weight of my life path and my priorities and choices accumulating; it really is so divergent from anyone who could possibly be reading this.

There's certainly no way to explain my life to anyone. So much is packed into a day, nowadays. There is so much drive and pull, and so much resistance, in every day. I think I'm slipping towards more solitude lately, more time spent in my own company, which in itself comes with it's own push and pull, its own logistical and emotional difficulties in the form of Angus. We've talked about living apart, and I think it would be wise while I finish school, but then there's a money push-and-pull, and the dual threat of being too busy to ever come home and of spiralling inwards and not coming up for air.

Balance, I suppose, is only ever achieved when tensions are equal on all sides. Otherwise it's either a counterbalance or a slump.

I'm getting really good at this, though. I need to get much, much better, but I use the inviolate downtimes I give myself to motivate working like hell the rest of the time. I account for time down to the two-minute chunk most of the time-- "is this use worthwhile? what about this one?" --in order to splurge when I need to.

And, every once in awhile, I walk in the door and say "not right now" and write for twenty minutes. It's the closest thing I get to downtime with only myself nowadays. And-- thank you, Greenie. It's good.

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