Monday, March 31, 2008

Tara's birthday

This weekend was Tara's birthday, and we had a blast. I got a membership at the Museum of Modern Art, which paid off handsomely when we saw the line for tickets when we arrived - they had set up a queue outside on the sidewalk because people could not fit in the lobby ticket line. But since we were now members, we went straight to a completely uncrowded membership desk to get our guest passes, and also bypassed the long public coat check line to drop our coats at the members' coat check. Considering regular admission for the four of us would have been $80, and the one-year membership and guest tickets only cost a total of $90, it was totally worth it not to have to stand in those horrendous lines.

After MOMA we stopped by the public library and Tara got a poster of the Winnie the Pooh exhibit that we had hoped to see, but had been unexpectedly moved earlier to the main branch at 42nd and 5th. So we walked back to the car and headed out to Palisades Center to have an early dinner at our favorite hamburger restaurant, a place called Cheeburger Cheeburger. I know, funny name, but they do have some tasty burgers.

After dinner Bug started feeling a little ill, but we managed to get through that and take Tara to Robot Galaxy, sort of a Build-A-Bear store for robots. She built and programmed two robots, each standing about a foot high. After dropping those off in the car, we went to see the U2 3D IMAX movie once more before it left the theater, and it was awesome again. We came home and opened a ton of presents, and had birthday cupcakes. She was very happy, and said it was the best birthday in many years, and I was happy to be a part of it after missing last year's birthday because of work and recovering from surgery.

But do you know what part of the day really made me happy, and that sticks out in my mind about the day? It's the memory of all of us sharing affection and love in public, from the four of us having group hugs at MOMA to walking through the mall holding hands or locking arms in twos and threes (it's hard to walk with four people holding hands because it takes up too much space). I didn't really think about it at the time because I was enjoying the moment, but how many times do you see a group of adults being cuddly in public? Couples, yes, and families with children, but rarely do you see three adults holding hands while walking down the street. And it just underscores how special our relationship is, and how lucky I feel that we are growing into the family I've always wanted to be a part of.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Poly article

I'm very busy at work today, so I don't have time to write much. However, I wanted to share this article in the Staten Island Advance on polyamory. The reporter, Elise McIntosh, contacted one of my poly groups asking for volunteers to contribute to her story, and apparently found a good one, with an interesting story to tell.

Since I'm relatively new to poly, I don't have much of a story to tell yet, but even if I did, my family is way too private to share our story in a newspaper. In fact, Tara and I talked about this last night, how she enjoys the hermit life, and I cultivate a more public life. Obviously, it's a lot easier for me to accept her lifestyle than it is for her to accept mine, because she doesn't want noise to be introduced to our lives through me. It's one of the issues we're working our way through.

So here's the article - enjoy!

"Married, with several relationships on the side" - March 25, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

Poly family update

Wow, it's been more than a week since my last update! That's probably a record for my modern blogging history. I can't remember the last time I let it go for more than a week.

The upside is that life is good right now, and as periodically happens, I've been too involved in actually living life to have much time to document it. Since March 10 when Bee and I had our talk while putting bookshelves together, my family has continued growing closer again, as we were last year when Tara and I first told everyone we were in love. Both Bee and Bug have always been wonderfully supportive of our relationship through all its ups and downs, and I have always tried to be supportive of their respective relationships with Tara as well.

As far as my relationship with Tara is concerned, things could not be better, and probably have never been better. The only thing that spoils our present happiness is having to retreat to separate living spaces at the end of the night (which lately has been in the wee hours of the morning). We've been having some discussion about the possibility of us all buying a house together someday (which it seems these days you need four people to afford a house) and last night, Tara and I both said we are starting to think about having some kind of commitment ceremony at some point in time.

This is all, of course, very preliminary, but it's quite a change for someone who if you asked two years ago would have sworn she would never be "married" again (that person being me). And while we can't get any kind of legal recognition of either our union or our poly family status, I am allowing myself to start thinking about what would be an appropriate way to recognize the commitment we wish to make to each other that would be meaningful to us. As I often say, there's no roadmap for being poly so we're making it up as we go.

I attended our regular PolyNYC meeting on Wednesday and we had an excellent speaker who keeps a library at the Kinsey Institute devoted to polyamory. His presentation centered around the 12 Pillars of Polyamory, which I'll briefly recap here from my notes:

1. Authenticity - knowing your own love needs, triggers, hot buttons, kinks and being able to share those with your partners up front
2. Choice - you are free to choose your path in life, and watch out for people who want to control these choices
3. Transparency - there are no secrets between poly people, especially when it comes to sex
4. Trust - you must believe your partners will honor agreements and do what they say (poly is sometimes called "responsible non-monogamy" emphasis on "responsible")
5. Gender equality - in other words, what's good for the goose is good for the gander
6. Honesty - we can handle anything but deceit
7. Communicative - you must have open discussion with all your partners all the time
8. Consensual - everybody must agree or else it's cheating
9. Non-possessive - all partners have complete autonomy to create and sustain relationships that work for them
10. Sex-positive - being open to experimentation, communicating your desires to partners, accepting their sexual kinks
11. Accepting of self-determination - you have little control of others' behaviors, but you must tell them your likes and dislikes
12. Compersion - the love we feel when others feel love, pleasure we feel when others feel pleasure, autonomy (not control) is the way of the lover

Plus I loved one of his quotes in talking about poly as being one of many diverse ways to love: "Natures loves diversity, society hates it." Which makes a whole lot of sense when you think about it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Governor terminated

I'm sure some of you are following the Eliot Spitzer sex scandal case - he announced his resignation today in the New York Times:

"Spitzer Resigns, Citing Personal Failings" - March 12, 2008

I'm following this case closely, not because of prurient interest, but because one of my clients is a central figure in the sordid saga (I can't say who, but if you're familiar with the story, you would know the person immediately). What really strikes me about the story above is that Spitzer used the name of a close friend as an alias when he checked into the hotel for his tryst with a prostitute named Kristin (who charges $1,000 an hour, by the way). I mean, what kind of a moron does that?? Why wouldn't you use a completely made up name, or at least the name of an enemy, like political rival Joseph Bruno (NY Senate majority leader) for example? Not Spitzer - he has to drag one of his few allies into the muck with him. Nice guy, right?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


As promised, here's a picture of the Passaic Falls in Paterson from Sunday's outing. Pretty impressive, huh?

A water falls in Paterson

And here is one of my recent favorites at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a painting titled "The Lovers" by Marc Chagall.

The Lovers

The Rockets have won 19 straight games, one away from tying the second longest winning streak in NBA history. This is getting exciting!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Blizzards and waterfalls

What a crazy weekend it was - and so different than how I had planned to spend it. I suppose that speaks to the futility of planning.

Since this weekend I was going to be in Ohio, we decided to move our usual Saturday movie night up to Friday, so we had a nice dinner and finished our Star Wars trilogy with Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. I had booked a car service to the airport at 6:15 a.m., and I was up until almost 3 a.m. making last-minute preparations, so I only got a couple hours of sleep, figuring I would sleep on the plane.

I got to the airport in plenty of time to check in and get through security, and even get some breakfast. After eating, I'm walking toward the gate when I hear over the intercom that my flight to Columbus has been cancelled due to weather. I immediately turn around and head over to the customer service desk, and it turns out they are having a blizzard in Ohio, and no planes are landing in Columbus for the remainder of the day. The best they can do is get me on a flight tomorrow, which is pointless because the wedding was supposed to be Saturday. So I cancel the ticket and go sit in the Borders bookstore to make phone calls to cancel the rest of my itinerary and make sure my rewards account is being credited.

Since it's so early in the morning my family is still sleeping by the time I'm ready to leave, so I get a taxi home and crash for a few hours. In the afternoon I run my usual errands in town and then join my family on a trip to a store called National Liquidation Distributors, a closeout outlet store halfway between home and the city. I bought a cordless phone and some Mediterranean food in cans, like eggplant dip, hot lime relish and stuffed grape leaves. Tara and Bug found a facsimile of a long-discontinued cookie from their childhood.

I was planning to go home straight afterwards because I was still feeling the effects of my sleep cycle being so off, but Bee asked me to hang out that evening, alluding that she had things to share with me. She and I spent the evening assembling some bookshelves and talking about our relationship and the ups and downs we've been through in the past year while Tara shelved books in the next room and listened without participating in the talk.

Both Bee and I have had epiphanies of sorts recently. Mine occurred about six weeks ago that has drastically changed my relationship with Tara, and probably influenced her change of heart from last week. Saturday night we took the first tentative step toward developing a more honest friendship between us, and creating happier and healthier relationships with Tara.

After our talk, Bee went downstairs to do her yoga and get ready for bed, and Tara and I had a good talk as well about our relationship and where we see things going. We are still trying to figure out each other's comfort level in meeting each other's needs, and the limitations of our relationship due to circumstances continue to bother me. But I'm trying to make the best of things while recognizing that I have to be responsible for my own happiness and not rely on other people to change their lives to accommodate me.

After raining most of Friday and Saturday, Sunday dawned clear, bright and very windy, so we decided to have an outing to the Passaic River Falls in Paterson. Paterson is only about five minutes drive from my family's house, but it's a whole different world of urban decay and blight. Yet in the midst of the ghetto, there is a natural wonder - a waterfall that drops about eight stories in height among sheer rock cliffs, sending up a spray that creates rainbows on sunny days. There's a bridge across the length of the falls so you can get a really close look, especially if you don't mind getting wet. I'll post pictures tomorrow since I forgot to download them last night.

After this short trip, I went to Costco for some groceries, and to Target to return some shirts I'd bought Friday that don't fit right. The rest of the evening I stayed home and unpacked my suitcase and did several loads of laundry while watching episodes of Iron Chef America, Transamerican Love Story and Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles that I have on my DVR. I also found out that Joanna had to postpone her wedding until Sunday because the groom couldn't make it to the church in the snow. It sounds like she had to endure a much more chaotic weekend than mine, unfortunately.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Molested on the train

I got my hair colored last night. It's kind of a goth-y red that streaks through my natural black and actually quite subtle compared to the first time I did it, probably because my highlights are grown out. It's flashy enough for me though. Maybe I'll get around to taking some pictures of myself - it's been a while since I've posted any.

I also did some grocery shopping last night with my friend Lori at the organic food store. I got a bar of French-milled lavender soap for the bathroom, a bag of malt vinegar and salt potato chips, and a jar of sea salt to use with my neti pot.

I had a weird experience on the train this morning, maybe because I'm wearing men's cologne today (Cerruti 1881), and wouldn't you know, I think I got molested. It was crowded, so there was a big guy sitting in the middle seat next to me. I had my sunglasses on so I could doze, but I noticed that this guy seemed to be expanding and taking up more and more room as the trip went on. So since I didn't feel like I had to cede the space, we were pretty much pressed up against each other, which wasn't very pleasant because he was wearing a leather jacket which was cold from being outside.

Then as we were arriving at Penn Station in New York, his hand was on his thigh, and he let a couple fingers slide over to touch my leg - ewwww! I tried to shift around as much as I could, but there's not much room to go anywhere since I always sit by the window. I'm wearing a short skirt with patterned black tights, so maybe he just found them irresistible. Or it must be something about women wearing men's cologne that drives some people wild :P

Monday night I made my chili, and Tara came over for our regular Monday night date when Bee goes to yoga class. She wasn't in the mood for any of the "spiritually uplifting" movies I wanted to see, so we settled on our old favorite, Major League, to celebrate the start of baseball spring training. After some really great sex, we talked for a long time, and I shared some of my hopes and dreams for our family's future. I'd had some weird energy all day, and it did spill over when we were saying goodbye, but at the end we were able to work through it. Thank you, love.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Nice weekend

This weekend was probably one of the best I've had in a while, maybe so far in 2008. And I didn't even get to have sex with anyone.

Friday night after work I took a train to Macy's in Herald Square on 34th Street and Broadway to buy a Philips DVD Micro Theater Audio System from J&R Express in the basement. It's on sale for $99 ($150 off the regular price) so I wanted to replace the piecemeal setup I had in my bedroom. The only inconvenience was carrying the heavy box from the store two blocks to Penn Station and getting it on the train home. But I set it up and it sounds/looks great.

Saturday I ran my usual errands and went to my local Macy's in New Jersey to return a black charmeuse blouse I'd bought the week before because it's too small. I actually found the right size in red, but even though I thought it was very pretty, red is not a color I can wear too often. It looks good on me, but it's so bright that it looked like I was going to a holiday party. As much as I deride black sometimes, it is a very versatile color for both work and play. Perhaps it is that absence of color that keeps us from ascribing inappropriate or inaccurate meanings to the clothes we wear. I would have liked to find the same blouse in silver grey. And I did actually find some Alfani tops on the 80% off rack that were lovely - one was a turquoise silk top and the other was a metallic turtleneck top, both under $15, and then another top in deep purple that's a 3/4 length sleeve knit top with criss-cross fabric at the bust. And, to top it off, I found my clutch in a navy satin that goes with the skirt I'm wearing for the wedding on Saturday, so it was a very productive shopping trip.

Saturday night we had our usual family dinner and a movie night when we started a Star Wars trilogy with Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. I accidentally left the stove on and burned up a pot of my fried rice, which meant we had to air things out for a bit before starting the movie. Luckily, the smell didn't linger and no real damage was done. Bee started nodding off halfway through the movie, so she fell asleep on my bed while Tara, Bug and I finished the movie and watched actress Ellen Page host SNL.

Sunday we all went out for a museum trip, but first I wanted to do a dry run to Newark airport, since I'd never driven there before and I don't want to get lost next weekend and miss my flight. I was horrified to find out how much it costs to park a car at the airport, even for long-term parking! Now I'm trying to figure out what my transportation alternatives are for next Saturday.

We got to the Met museum around 1 pm and spent the rest of the afternoon looking at the special exhibits by Poussin, Corbet, and Jasper Johns, plus revisiting our old friends in the European and Modern wings. Plus we also saw a wonderful fashion exhibit called blog.mode: addressing fashion that featured work from well-known designers like Christian Dior, Coco Chanel and Donna Karan.

I dropped the girls off at their house afterwards so they would take care of some errands while I did my workout, showered and started cooking dinner. Then a couple hours later we were back at my place eating dinner (without the stove fire, thankfully) and watching Episode II: Attack of the Clones. We had such a good time dissecting George Lucas' screenwriting shortcomings when it comes to writing love scenes, and there was many a groan and chuckle during the movie when Anakin or Padme would say some saccharine cliche that sounded like it was lifted from a trashy romance novel. There's probably a drinking game based around that aspect of the movie.

I also got a call from my apartment manager, and apparently she's interested in buying back the living room set that I'm trying to sell so I can get a new one. She's probably looked at it already today, but I haven't heard back. Hopefully I can sell it quickly and find something more suitable for me.

So why was it such a nice weekend? Because I got to spend so much quality time with my family, and it reminded me of the magical time last summer when we became a real poly family (i.e. without secrets or hiding). Perhaps this weekend is something we can build upon - only time will tell.