Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

Tibi gratias agimus quod nihil fumas.

It says "...freedom of...", not "...freedom from...".

Nolite te bastardes carburundorum!

"It's amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness. People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we're compassionate we'll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint." - Penn Jillette

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Just Hear Me Out

I am thinking about forgoing holiday decorations this year.

Trees are expensive. We have cats who view ornaments as their personal playthings, and a baby who will be eleven months old when the holidays roll over us in on us, and she's very...umm...grabby. And Put-it-in-my-mouth-y. There will be a tree and decorations at Mum's for Yule, and a tree and decorations at T's mother's house where the Evil Genius will celebrate Christmas. The Evil Genius will not miss out on sparkly wonderment just because there isn't any all up in our house. Sprout will not notice or remember - I love her and think her the cleverest Sprout ever, but right now she has the attention span/memory of a goldfish.

Half my lights, decorations, garland and bows for the outside of the house are trashed and I can't fix or replace 'em with wishful thinking. Wal Mart is so unreasonable - they actually want me to pay for that stuff. Imagine, a business wanting to make a profit - the nerve!

And, if I'm being honest? I ain't feelin' it. Usually, I have stuff started by now, if not done. Usually, I am feelin' it.

If I were to tart Casa de Crazy up to match my mood these days, I'd need an accelerant and an ignition source. Or a manure spreader.

Since I'm the one who puts up/takes down all that happy crap, I figure it'll keep until next year, or whenever I feel like dealing with it.

So general "poor me, I'm feeling sorry for myself" tuff aside, I can skip it, right? Does anyone really care??

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful

I have a few traditions on this day. Not many - the menu, recording the Macy's parade so I can watch it and fast-forward through all the crappy pop music, commercials, and talking heads to see the twenty minutes of balloons, floats and high school bands I'm interested in hidden among all that junk, and my list of some things for which I am thankful, in no particular order and in no way complete:

The house in which I live
The Evil Genius
Mum
Someone
Sprout
Gypsy, K, Kit, Sam-I-Am, PJ, Mizz Beth, and all of my friends who put up with me when I am most myself and therefor least likable. They are the net beneath me when I fly and fall.
Bread
The scent of leaf loam and woodsmoke in the crisp autumn air
Books, music, and art
Clean, plentiful water
Clean air
Clean clothes
Freedom
Nature and the way she finds to show me something new of herself every day
Words
Song
Dance
Adversity, that joy is all the sweeter
Every creature and plant that I consume to sustain myself, because without the life I take, there would be no life to live
Love - that it exists at all is a wonder, and I feel blessed to know it in many forms
Chocolate, gift from the Gods (yes, even the perversion called "candy bar") (Mmm...candy bar...)
Strong hands
Strong spirit
Strong will
Laughter
Cussed determination not to curl up and die just because life can sometimes be a succession of truly awful, bleak, and desolate days...but sometimes it isn't.
The Internet
You

I hope you have a blessed day, and that you the things you're thankful for outweighing the things for which you're not.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all, from us at Casa de Crazy to you out in the Blue Nowhere and beyond

Sunday, November 20, 2011

There's An Art to This

I know it's probably not as interesting to y'all who aren't in the mix, but I'm writing about the poly thing again.

Someone is learning that being poly doesn't mean a relationship and some extra nookie on the side - it's work that grows exponentially with every new facet added to the stone.

I am learning that each time there is a new interest, there's some adjusting to do. Now, don't get me wrong, it's not like there are new interests every day; so far, there are two besides me who have found a place into Someone's heart, and one of them is so new they've only met in person once. They don't know what their relationship is, yet, besides nascent.

You know how new love/attraction is, right? All that anxiety, all that drive to be together all the time, the drive to attract and hold the other - songs, flowers, poetry, prose, the showing off of one's best self.

The trouble with that is the attention and effort going into the new love/interest is time and effort NOT going into what's already there, and that can hurt.

I am woman enough to admit that, yeah, I want that kind of attention, too. I want songs carefully chosen for how they speak of the interest/attraction someone feels for me. I want e-mails or Facebook posts of flower photos gleaned from the Internet just because they're my favorite kind, or because they remind someone of me. I want the sweet words of longing, the poetic phrases the tell me how he sees me (which is always so much nicer than how I see myself).

It's not that I am not loved, or even loved the less because there's another woman catching Someone's eyes...it's that I am a known quantity. I am home, I am comfortable, I am the warm presence that never leaves him, wherever he may be. When he is hurt, it's I who gets the call or holds him close. When he's lost, it is I who he calls to guide him where he needs to be - usually home. If pressed to choose, there would not be a moment's though - he would choose me above all others. The others know this...not because they need to be "put in their place", but because it is the truth...just as we all know that if Lady R was made to choose between her J and our Someone, she would not think twice - it would be her J, hands down.

While I'm being honest, I wouldn't mind if I didn't have to be the one to deal with the meltdowns, the fugues, when his other loves don't call, write, message, or otherwise communicate with him when they say they will...or when they don't respond when he reaches out for them. Their silence always leads to the worst conclusions in his mind, and he is anguished, which turns to anger, guilt, and self-hatred, and those things are abundant enough in this house without others' carelessness adding to them.

So Someone had this new interest. I shall call her Lily, as that's her flower of choice and how he refers to her online.

I don't know her well enough to say if I like her or not, but I am leaning towards interest in finding out more about her, intrigue at her life and personality - she must be special to have caught his eye - and curiosity about her ethics, her ethos, who she is when no one's looking.

They can only communicate via Facebook right now as she is in an untenable domestic situation and can't openly have a love/lover, a complication that I don't like one bit because it violates our first rule of open, honest communications at all times. I understand her need for discretion, given her situation, but I am troubled by this lack of honesty that is mandated by her situation.

Through Facebook, they send each other songs all day long, songs of love and longing. They post photographs and artwork meant to express their yearning to be together. They send messages that keep the fires burning.

I was hurt by this. Was. I've had time to think about my response, and it's not that I grudge her the sweetness...it's that I grudge the loss of effort on my behalf. More than me, though, Lady R is hurting over this, and for much the same reason - all the effort he puts into Lily is effort we don't get. I hurt for Lady R...I have already been through this when she and Someone met...but she's not experienced what it's like for her lover to be interested elsewhere like this, yet.

Last night we were discussing Lady R and her pain (if I were to tally the hours spent discussing relationships, I think most of them would be dedicated to Lady R and her J, or Lady R and Someone, and lately, to Lily and her place in this puzzle, something both of us know we need to remedy - we have to work on US, too), and I told him my thoughts on all this mushy Facebook stuff: He thought he was making an effort for Lady R, but I pointed out that he's posting messages of love for all three of us at once (say, one photo addressing all of us in the post), but not individually. Individually, for every song he sends Lady R, he sends six to Lily. . For every picture of a certain color rose (Lady R's flower) he finds and posts online, he finds and posts a handful more lilies for Lily. Since we share so much music and art here in person, I am trying not to have ruffled feathers over the scarcity of such things on my behalf, but as I'm fighting social conditioning, I occasionally have a little sniff, snuffle, whimper myself.

I can't grudge them what little they get of Someone - after all, he is HERE, with ME, and happily so - but I DO think it's important to work equally at maintaining the established and the new.

It's a work in progress, this picture we're painting - sometimes, it feels like we're choosing colors in the dark, brushing them on blindly and hoping for the best.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

There Is No Prince Charming


I know, the song doesn't match the blog title...but it's the closest match I could find, and it may be apropos after all.

I can't speak for other cultures, or even for the male half of this one, but little girls in this country are raised to believe in a myth that (I believe) can be devastating - the myth of Prince Charming.

We are given frilly little dresses and shiny shoes and taught to dress up and pretend.

We are taught that our very own Prince Charming will one day sweep us off our feet, best any dragons, ogres, or sorceresses we face, and give us our happily ever after.

If we aren't popular, it's okay - Prince Charming will be along and all will be well.

If we are the girl in the corner, the one in the shadows, the one who is not invited to dances or parties, the one who is awkward or not as pretty as the others, the overlooked one, the shy one, the fat one, the gawky one, the tomboy, the one the boys walk past to get to her friend or the girl beside/behind her, it's okay - Prince Charming will see us and in his eyes we will be beautiful, wonderful, perfect.

So we wait for him. We sit in our corners, watch from a distance as others laugh and love, smile when the man we were interested in walks past us to get to another, try not to show our hurt when he doesn't even see us there, and we cling to the idea that our very own Prince Charming will soon be along and we'll get our day in the sun.

What we aren't taught is that we don't need Prince Charming to rescue us and the idea of happily ever after is a fairy tale, nothing more. Don't get me wrong - I believe that we can be happy in our lives, but forever? In that storied kind of way? No...no I don't.

We also aren't taught that sometimes Prince Charming doesn't come along...or that he, too, will pass us over...or that he's gay. We aren't taught that love comes along every day, in many ways...aren't taught how to recognize and honor it. We don't know what to do when we get older and older and our own Prince Charming is nowhere to be seen...so we sit and wait to be rescued and flounder in our lives and wonder what's wrong with us...why does everyone else have what we long for...when will we be seen?

I will not be teaching Sprout about Prince Charming. I will, instead, teach her that princesses (and Sprouts) can damn well rescue themselves. I will (I hope) raise her not to depend on some mythical One True Love, but rather to take joy and pleasure in even the smallest loves. I hope she will learn that she is visible, even if she's hiding in the shadows, and that it's okay to be seen and be different, to be her wonderful self without worrying about whether or not someone - male or female - comes along to notice her. I hope that she will believe that she doesn't have to have a partner, lover, husband, or wife to be fulfilled, that as long as she is living the life she loves, society's definition of happiness is moot.

If I can teach her those things, maybe I will come to believe them myself - but as for Prince Charming...I'm done believing in/hoping for him; I love and most of the time even manage to believe that I am loved, and that's more than enough for me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Work

These relationship things are work, I tell ya.

When you open them up to polyamory, it raises the stakes, and the workload, considerably.

This is why we need communication, even when we'd really like to crawl in a hole and lick our wounds. Silence fosters negative thoughts - it's the perfect growing medium for fear and doubt, kind of like the jack-o-lanterns on our steps are for growing funky red mold.

Add to that the fact that it is sometimes difficult to separate where we have issues - it it because of a new/other relationship, or is it something internal? And can we really separate them, after all? Is the issue mine, yours, or someone else's? If it's someone else's, are they working with us to find a resolution, or just dumping it on our laps and letting us do the work?

Sigh.

Open, honest communications at all time and with all involved. Not negotiable.

Part of what has caused some hurt around here in the last few days is a lack of communication, complicated by a veil of misunderstanding and hurt that alters everything we hear and experience. Because Someone and I both have quite a bit of negative history from before we met, we have to be aware of this filter and work extra hard not to take things at their worst. Most of the time, we do fine...but now and then one, or the other, or both of us, will be in a bad headspace and take everything wrong. It all becomes a judgement of how worthless we are.

We've had a sort of perfect storm of that kind of thing here at the Casa. We're recovering, but only because neither of us is willing to let anger or hurt break us. We're still a little prickly, a little sensitive, but we're getting better by the minute.

Even when we want to hide from it, even when we really don't want to get into the murky darkness and feel around for what's really hurting us, we put our big-kid panties on, hitch up our britches, and (eventually) wade in...because yeah, it's work, sometimes nasty work, but it's absolutely worth it to know that there is nothing left to question, that we know where we stand - side by side.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

There Are Not Words

I wish I had the words. I just don't. I'm out of words. They have proven useless, anyway, impotent. The words that were once valued, prized, lauded, are now ashes and dust to be swept away, unheeded. I wish I could convince you that I am honest, and true, that I do love you and that I am happy that you love - me, other women, our daughter. I wish you believed in me.

What hurts is not that you love others. Polyamory isn't the issue. I like Lady R, and I am sure that, given time and opportunity, I will like H as well. I don't think one should limit love, and I won't ask anyone to pretend that they can just because my feathers are ruffled.

What hurts is not that you seem to save your anger for me. I get it - I am safe, the one person who will face it, absorb it, stand toe to toe with you, show you your anger and what it does, and won't throw you out, throw you away, because you are feeling what you feel.

What hurts is not that the sweetness, the softness, are reserved for others, but not for me.

What hurts is something that comes from within me...from a place of envy, of wishing that I was the one who inspired the search for the right picture to post, for the right song to share, for the sweet words to flow. I wish I was the source for the anticipation, the giddiness, the excitement, the laughter and delight. I wish I was the one you were trying so very hard to make smile, that you so wanted to touch, taste, smell, be with. I wish I didn't feel as though all I have left is this tired old love that doesn't shine any more, but is staid and dependable and...boring.

And sometimes...if I am being honest (which I strive to do, even when it hurts and costs me dearly), sometimes I wish there was someone who looked forward to seeing me, speaking to me, the way you used to...the way you do with the new ones, but not, it seems, me any more. There isn't anyone else, though, and I don't believe there ever will be.

This is the down side to polyamory. The new beginnings that sometimes...okay, usually...leave me feeling left behind, dusty and dull and unwanted. I have no new beginnings. No one looks twice at me. Why should they when there are so many brighter blossoms to pluck?

It passes, this wistfulness. It passes when I remember that as often as you may take wing, fly away from me, you always come back...so there must be something worth coming back to. Maybe I am not exciting in that shiny, new way, but I'm where you want to be or you wouldn't return. If I can't have that new-love feeling, that bonfire conflagration, I have the long, slow heat of the hearth to call my own.

I Used to Believe That Could Be Me



I once posted this song with the admonition that one should not play it unless they meant it.

I used to hope that one day, someone would hear it and think that's how they felt about me...as if my dreams not only had meaning, but were inportant to themselves as well.

I believed. I thought music had power and meaning to it.

I loved this song...loved playing it, singing along, and I never once played it for anyone without meaning it - that I would be here, helping them reach for (and hopefully achieve) their dreams.

I still mean it...I am still striving to find ways to help people with their dreams.

I just don't think it's meant for me. I don't believe, any more, that my dreams matter. I don't believe, any more, that anything I do matters. I don't believe that anything I say matters. I truly believe, here in this moment, that what I feel absolutely doesn't matter in the slightest.

Such a happy place.

Pennies

I am sitting on the floor, surrounded by patina-ed copper circles. They click as I move them about. I am watching for any that may roll from the depressingly small heap - this is where the baby plays, and she thinks the world is something to savor in a literal sense. Choking hazard aside, I can't help thinking these little metal discs are crawling with who-knows-what kind of copper fed super germs.

Carefully I count them out, making rows of five piles of five. They're slippery in my fingers. Sometimes I drop one or two. See them fall? They land flat, or on edge. They thud, or plunk, or clack. They land back in the pile or they knock themselves into my neat rows and scatter my patient work.

They aren't all mine; I've had to raid my son's piggy bank, too. I asked him, first. He knows we're cash strapped, and we need things like nappies, wipes, toilet paper, and dish soap. He doesn't know what a maxi-pad is, but he knows Mommy needs some of those, too, because she can't quite make it through the week with six of 'em.

As I count, stack, and roll them, my fingers take on a grey tinge. I can taste copper in my mouth. It is an unpleasant tang on the edges of my tongue, and I imagine for the moment it's the taste of failure, of disappointment. It will linger long after the little rolls are spent, a reminder.

I remember when I was a little girl, going down the stairs into the living room of the town house in Florida (3522-B, Gardens East Drive, Palm Beach Gardens, Fl, I have never forgotten that address, place of so many experiences) and sitting at the low coffee table, helping Mum count, pile, and roll coins. I was in awe of her ability - she could scoop up the right number of pennies in her hand and slide them right into the roller, seemingly without effort. I couldn't manage it, and had to put one coin at a time in the paper sleeve. She always had to fold the ends, because I'd end up dropping all the pennies out one side while trying to fold the other.

I thought it was fun. I imagine she was hoping it was enough.

I love rolling change - it appeals to my inner accountant...or banker...or whatever it is that likes rolling change. I also hate it, because these days it means we're down to the wire, or well past it, and have no hope of paper money coming our way in the near future, or at least the near enough future.

So I am on the living room floor, wondering how much lower I will be sinking before I find "up" again, wishing I could just keep sinking down below ground where no one can see me or my shame at the rolled up currency that will make the cashier sigh, brighten her smile a little, and start weighing (they weigh the rolls to be certain they're right, no faith in my damned OCD and inability to mis-roll change. I've never had a short roll, ever) and cause the customer behind me to groan, sigh, shuffle their feet, glare, mumble, mutter, and give me the stink-eye because I'm slowing them down with my archaic method of payment.

The US Mint will be glad to have all those old copper pennies back, I'm sure. I hate giving them up...the new coins are not as nice, don't have the same weight or feel to them. They roll just fine, though.

Bye-bye, pennies. The jar is empty again. Time to wash my hands, try and brush the taste of this unhappy pastime from my mouth.

*In the end, I had enough fro nappies and wipes. I will have to improvise for the rest. Mother of invention, right?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Time Travellers

We are all of us travelling through time. Generally, we're doing it in an orderly, forward fashion, although some folks manage to go backwards on occasion.

Waking from a long coma must feel like having jumped through a time portal. How strange to wake up and find everything different, including one's body, when one's mind is still stuck in a time long past.

It's a human construct, this "time" thing. I don't much like it.

Then there's this clock thing, this daylight savings thing.

I never have gotten it, not really. Oh, I understand the history of it, have heard the reasoning behind it, but...nope, don't get it. If people are so concerned about using daylight, then why can't we just adjust schedules instead of mucking with clocks? Don't want to miss out on afternoon daylight? Instead of working from 8 - 5, work from 6 - 3. Whadaya mean that's not practical? And changing clocks will-he-nill-he, is?

Tell the sun what time he's rising and see if he complies. Tell the moon when she may sail through the stars and hold your breath until she minds you. You look good in blue.

Babies don't know about time in the same way we do. Babies and animals have "now". There is no tomorrow, and yesterday is some kind of hazy memory that isn't the present.

I like the book Einstein's Dreams. It's a lovely little fictional exploration of time. My favorite piece is about how there are two ways to live in time - one may abide by the clock, each day regimented into hours, each hours with its appointed purpose, or one may wake when one wakes, eat when one is hungry, love when one loves, sleep when one is tired, abiding by the more fluid time of one's own rhythm. It postulates that the two cannot ever really meet - I disagree a little, because I try to live a timeless life but I have clocks and calendars to help me when I must take part in this odd fracturing of the day called "hours" and "minutes".

We took a little jump in time this morning, didn't we? Setting clocks back, we got an hour to re-live. Here at Casa de Crazy, we set the clocks before bed (because who wants to get up at two in the morning, bleary-eyed, to set a bunch of clocks, all of which have different means of setting?), so our "gained" hour was used for sleeping.

What if we could bank this "savings"? What if we could deposit it, earn interest on it maybe, spend it when we wanted. How much would you save? What would you spend it on? Would you use it in minutes here and there, stretch out a deadline maybe, or a special moment? Or a big chunk, a sort of vacation or addition to the end times? Could you borrow against it in some way, maybe make mid-life longer so you can enjoy it more?

Could you bank more, maybe take time away from unpleasant things like illness, sorrow, or incarceration, and shorten that experience, add the time to happier things?

Often, when people ask me if there's anything I need, I answer "a winning lottery ticket", but sometimes I say "more time".

How curious it would be if we could reach in out pockets, fish out a few spare minutes or seconds, and drop them in the hat of the man on the street corner who is staring at his end and hoping to stave it off a little longer.

So tell me - how do you feel about this DST thing, and time in general?