Thursday, May 29, 2008

Curry recipe

I'm rather proud of the curry chicken and onion dish I made last night. I think it's my best ever, sort of a fusion of Indian, Thai and Malaysian influences.

Here's the recipe that I made up - it's not very exact.

4-5 large onions, cut into eighths
2 1/2 pounds of chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
16 oz. jar of Indian curry cooking sauce
12 oz. can of chicken stock
4 tablespoons of chopped garlic
6-8 jalapeno peppers, sliced
2 large limes, quartered and squeezed
2 tablespoons of Indian lime pickle (or relish, as it's sometimes called)
1 tablespoon of sambal oelek
1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
Coarse sea salt to taste
Olive oil

In a large saucepan on high heat, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic and onions until translucent. In a large pot, heat the curry sauce and chicken stock until simmering, add the chicken and boil for 10-12 minutes until just cooked. Add the onions and garlic, limes and juice of the limes, jalapeno peppers, lime relish, sambal oelek, red pepper flakes and sea salt to taste. Stir over heat until thoroughly mixed and serve over white rice. Serves 8-10.

I'm also enjoying a little renaissance of 80's music, especially of the electronic variety. I downloaded some New Order songs like "Bizarre Love Triangle (remix)" and "Shellshock", and I was lucky to find the Pet Shop Boys' album Very in the used bin at CD World last week. Listen to this glowing review from

Ask people what their favorite Pet Shop Boys album is, and their answers will vary--but ask people what the most important Pet Shop Boys album is, and 9 out of 10 West End girls will say Very. The snide ambiguities that churned behind prior PSB posturings were ripped away on this release, with Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe finally pulling more than punches. Self-awareness is one of the major themes on Very, with "Yesterday When I Was Mad," showing the band could send up themselves as well as their friends and lovers; meanwhile, "I Wouldn't Normally Do This Type of Thing" both carries one of the Boys' best melody lines and serves as one of their most literal confessions. There's also a more threatening, foreboding tone to the record as set by the opening "Can You Forgive Her" and the closing Village People cover, "Go West." Originally an anthem leading gay men to San Francisco's promised land, the Pet Shop Boys' version is delivered from the beleaguered trenches in the war against AIDS. The results are as ominous as they are brilliant. -- Steve Gdula

This is one seriously fun album, with some of the most melodic electronic music to come out of the 80s, in my opinion. If nothing else, can anyone name another band that has been able to cover a tune by the Village People and not make total fools of themselves? Case closed - it's currently on the heavy rotation list on my iPod.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Deciding to decide

I've been thinking a lot about my last post about my poly anniversary. After I wrote it Sunday morning, Tara came over and we had a long, sometimes difficult talk about the events of June and July 2007, specifically regarding the breakup of our triad. Our talk ended well, and we ended up having a decent evening. I took her and Bee to the diner and we had a nice meal (a wonderful seafood paella for me) and then we went to see Speed Racer at the movie theater, which was a lot better than the box office grosses would suggest.

What I've been thinking about since Sunday is how to get past that breakup, which still has repercussions for Tara and to a lesser degree for Bee and Bug, although I never actually had a chance to address what happened with either of them directly. And what I've come to realize is that the events of last year really could not have happened any other way. We were not ready to be a poly family back then, and frankly, we have a lot of work to do yet, if we even decide we want that anymore.

But back in 2007, I had just suffered my second fire in less than two years, plus I was only six months recovered from major surgery. When the fire happened in March, I stayed with my family for a week until I could get a new apartment and start rebuilding my home. Despite this, I was growing increasingly distant from Tara because of the secrecy surrounding our relationship, and her own issues at home. Then in May, everything changed when she told Bee and Bug what was going on between us, that we were in love and having an intimate physical relationship. That month was also the first time Tara and I made love, and a first time ever for me in some ways.

It was two weeks later in the midst of all this upheaval when the poly relationship started, before any of us even really knew what polyamory was, or whether we truly wanted it or not. Looking back, I can say with all certainty that a poly relationship started under these circumstances, and among people who have never heard the word "polyamory" before, has no right to be a successful one.

What I've also come to realize is that, as goal-oriented as I am usually perceived as being, I have never actually stated my intentions with Tara. Part of the reason is her dislike of such declarations, but what I now understand is that in our situation, when the typical fairy tale ending simply isn't an option and therefore cannot be the expected default outcome, without such a declaration of love and commitment, there is too much uncertainty in the relationship to avoid constant vertigo and drama outbreaks.

So last night I told her there are two facts about us that we both agree on. First is that we are both very much in love with each other. Second is that, despite our efforts in the past, we are incapable of being just platonic friends. If we accept these two facts as truth, then the only thing that remains is to decide what to do about it, given our current situation. And last night I told her I had made the decision to figure out what to do about these two facts being true, and that is what I'm going to do. I'm going to decide how I want our relationship to look like, and propose (it) to her.

I'm not expecting this to be a simple "yes-no" like a marriage proposal, because it's not just about the two of us, and there will probably be some details I'd bring up that will need to be talked about and agreed upon. But the point is, if our love is as strong as we say it is, and if we truly want to be together in the long term, affirming our commitment publicly and taking the option of abandonment off the table will go a long way toward building a more solid foundation for whatever comes later. Speaking only for myself, as much as I love Tara, it's time for me to get serious and stop pretending like I don't want to spend the rest of my life with her.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Poly anniversary

There are some anniversaries that should be celebrated that are universally positive, like birthdays and first kisses and such. Other anniversaries are less about celebrating than about marking the passage of time and the changes in our lives. Today is one of the latter.

One year ago on Memorial Day weekend, Bee, Tara and I made love together for the first time and started our poly triad relationship that lasted for six weeks in 2007. Today, we form what is called a "V" in poly parlance, where Tara has separate relationships with both myself and Bee, but we don't talk about intimacy outside of those one-on-one connections.

I still remember that first night with the three of us, when we stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, all talking together, and naturally progressing to touching, kissing and eventually being intimate together on the living room floor. I think I remember leaving their house at around 5 a.m., with the sky just starting to get light from the dawn.

And the truth is, I don't really think about the sex too often, because Tara and I still have wonderful sex regularly and we are learning more each week about how to please each other. I'm a lot more comfortable emotionally with sharing my body than I was last year, and more adept at giving and receiving sexual pleasure. But it's easier when there's only one person in the bed because my sexual response seems to be very specific and it's taken months for Tara and I to figure it out together.

What I really miss about being in a poly triad is the communication and openness that seems to have gone missing in my family, at least with me around. I can't fully understand or explain why things have changed in the past 12 months because we've stopped talking about these deep relationship issues since last summer, with the exception of one instance earlier this year when Bee and I were building bookshelves together.

All I know is that no relationship can survive without communication, and repeated disappointments on my part to improve things will cause me to slowly slide into indifference. I am starting to realize that love can be a wonderful and magical thing, but the strength of your love does not necessarily translate into the strength of your relationship with others. Sometimes you can love someone with all your heart, but you can't overcome the very real obstacles that keep you from giving and receiving all you want and need from each other in a relationship. For poly people, we give ourselves the option of not giving up on that kind of love, despite those limitations. But those kinds of relationships are complicated, and not being able to communicate is the equivalent of neglect.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Boring Balls of Fury

Surprisingly, I don't really feel like blogging today, as I'm struggling with some family issues under the surface. But since my family is trying to be more consistent in blogging, far be it for me to drag the ship down, so here goes.

Friday night I watched Balls of Fury on my big screen alone, which is probably a good thing because it was the most un-funny comedy I've seen in a long time. I had such high hopes for it because Christopher Walken is in it (Bee's favorite actor) and ping pong is, of course, in my blood.

I used to be a pretty serious ping pong, or table tennis, player. We had a table in a dedicated play room above our garage in the house I grew up in, and we'd host ping pong parties every Friday for years. All the men would play upstairs while the women would sit around the table and socialize. Except for this one woman who was a good player and looked very butch. I think I overheard my parents say that she had a hormone imbalance that caused her to be more masculine - in any case, she would usually play with the men instead of hanging out with the women. But anyway - Balls of Fury - just take a pass on this one.

Saturday was a busy and interesting day. I started by going to the doctor for extra allergy shots since it's allergy season, and then stopping by the pharmacy for my pills. Then I drove into the city to meet up with a pagan group I joined on - they were going to meet on the steps of the American Museum of Natural History. Since I have a museum membership, it was the perfect time to meet the group in person for the first time. Unfortunately, whoever showed up didn't see or recognize me, so we missed each other. Apparently my "witch-dar" is as bad as my "gay-dar" because I didn't recognize anyone on the steps who look remotely like the people I was trying to meet up with.

Since I didn't meet my group, I just walked around a street fair that was happening at the back of the museum and waited until my next meeting, which I'd arranged to meet a couple that I'd connected with through my poly group, Alex and Michelle. We met outside the museum and went to Uno's for a late lunch. They are exploring opening their relationship to poly, and we had a nice talk about my background and the challenges of being poly. Unfortunately, I didn't take a photo of them for the blog, but maybe I will next time we get together. I will note that Michelle is almost as tall as I am - when she's wearing four-inch heels as she was on Saturday.

Saturday night was not our usual dinner and a movie because Tara's cat got sick and had to go to the emergency room. Tara was freaking out so much that I offered to take her to dinner just to get her out of the house and get her mind off what was happening. The cat has had serious health issues so she was afraid for the worst. Everybody was so relieved that it was "just" an ear infection. So dinner did not go quite as planned, but we managed to make the best of it, and Tara and I had a nice quiet meal at Fuddruckers. After everyone got home we watched Bull Durham at their house, which put a nice cap on the evening. Nobody had seen it but me, and we're all big baseball fans. Plus, that is a funny comedy and a quality movie, despite Kevin Costner's trademark wooden acting.

Sunday we all went to see The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian in the afternoon, and then watched the first part of the Yankees-Mets subway series game that evening. It was pouring rain most of the day, so the only other thing I did was buy some books at Borders - one on buying a house and also Stephanie Meyer's vampire tale Twilight, which Bug has highly recommended.

That's all for now - I'm looking forward to a nice, long holiday weekend.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Go west, young men!

Good news out of California today - the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality for gays, making it the second state in the U.S. (besides Massachussetts) to allow legal gay marriage.

California Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Marriage Equality!

Here's a statement from the email from GLAD:

The California court affirmed what we already know: that a society pledged to equality and fairness simply cannot deny same-sex couples access to the respect and security that marriage provides.

The Goodridge decision in Massachusetts broke a historic barrier and forever changed the standard by which all future efforts to treat LGBT citizens fairly will be judged. This decision solidifies that victory and we congratulate our colleagues at NCLR, Lambda Legal and the ACLU.
All eyes now turn to Connecticut where a decision could come out any day. California signals a rising tide of equality and other victories are within reach. GLAD is working with our New England Marriage Campaign allies to bring full and equal marriage to every state in New England.

We need your help. The momentum from this win will give a huge boost to GLAD's New England Marriage Campaign. Your generous gift of $35, $50, $100 or as much as you can give will keep marriage moving forward.

Give now, so the next state can join the fold!

I know, I'm not the biggest fan of marriage, but good news nevertheless for all my GLBT friends who might want to tie the knot someday.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Neti pot

Here is an interesting article in the New York Times on using a neti pot, something that Bee got me into and has become a fairly regular part of my bedtime routine, especially with allergy season in full swing.

"Short, Stout, Has a Handle on Colds" - Jan. 3, 2008

Not much else to talk about today. I stayed home last night and spent time in my gym downstairs, then cooked a huge pot of Indian chicken and onions in a stew to be served over rice. Then took out all the garbage and picked up a comforter someone was throwing away (it hadn't been thrown in the compactor yet) and washed it for use in Yoshi. Sometimes the girls get cold on long trips when Tara blasts the air conditioning.

Tonight I have my second meeting of poly women at a park downtown, and we couldn't have asked for better weather. I'm just a little worried about being too cold, since I only have a denim jacket, but I'm sure I'll manage.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Attitude adjustments

I was reading this article in the New York Times about the sex-segregation in Saudi Arabia:

"Love on Girl's Side of the Saudi Divide" - May 13, 2008

One thing about reading an article like this is the challenge of thinking about this in an open-minded and non-judgmental way, the same way I ask people to think about my life as a polyamorous, pansexual pagan. And at some level, I understand that a society's religious beliefs direct such extreme (to modern-day Western eyes) practices, and if we turned it around and looked at our own culture from their eyes, we might feel their disgust at the constant barrage of sexual advertising and the high sex crime rates that could be somewhat linked to the permissiveness of our society.

A couple thoughts I had when I read about young Saudi men beaming pictures and messages via Bluetooth to any available female's cell phone in range: one, the thought that if men weren't such horndogs in general, there would be less need for such extreme measures to "protect" them from female charms; and two, that part of me would love to have some protection from such men in our society; and three, that instead of limiting the freedom of the men to keep them away from women, it's the women who are forced to curtail their freedoms, since the men are obviously unable to control their baser instincts.

It also seems a little odd that in a country that has such latitude in punishment options (as opposed to the U.S., where it's basically limited to prison, fines and community service) that the Saudis don't just enforce good behavior on the part of men toward women. For example, any man convicted of a sex crime could be chemically castrated with androcur. It seems a lot more humane than stoning women who have unacceptable contact with men, whether they were willing participants or not.

Of course, my attitudes are informed by the basic assumption that males and females have intrinsically equal rights, and that's not the case everywhere (or anywhere, as some might argue). So while I can't agree with, or even fully understand cultural practices like the Muslim way of sex-segregation, it does illustrate the challenge of understanding someone else's practices when your core beliefs are not the same, such as why the Catholics can't abide homosexuality and why most people can't tolerate polyamory.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A busy weekend

It was quite a busy weekend for me, and but well balanced with time at home as well. Friday night I took my family out so they could buy new cell phones and then we had dinner at the mall and visited the comic book store, where I got my latest issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8.

It was a soggy night, but the morning dawned clear enough for me to go to the Meadowlands flea market with Agnieszka, held each Saturday in the parking lot of Giants stadium. I like to go because there's a bakery that brings artisan bread all the way up from Brooklyn and sells there, so I get bread with olives, proscuttio, or jalapeno pepper and cheddar cheese baked into it. Agnieszka looks for antiques and things she uses for her pin-up photo projects - this week she bought a black velvet hat with a veil and an old-fashioned bellows camera.

In the afternoon Tara and I went into the city to visit MOMA and their Design and the Elastic Mind exhibit once more before it closes. Then we were going to take the subway downtown to see a gallery showing paintings by Clive Barker, but we sat in the station for almost an hour before figuring out that the V line was not running that day. So we had to walk to Rockefeller Center to get on the F train to get down there, but the reward was that once we got there, we were the only ones in the gallery, so we were able to take some nice pictures of the paintings without crowd interference. Here's a couple examples of the paintings:

Tara calls this my 'sassy' look

Paintings by Clive Barker

After seeing the paintings we came back home and met up with Bee and Bug at my place for Saturday night dinner and movies, looking at the pictures we took today, and listening to In the Name of Love: Africa Celebrates U2.

Sunday was Mother's Day, and since Tara and I don't celebrate these kinds of holidays (e.g. Easter) with our respective birth families, we spent the afternoon together in my bed having incredible sex, since she's mostly recovered from her food poisoning. Afterwards we went to Costco to get some food, and she wanted to go home, but I was being a little emotional about letting her go, which made things a bit uncomfortable. Fortunately, once everyone got home, we decided to go out and see The Forbidden Kingdom, the martial arts film which was directed by Rob Minkoff (probably best known as a co-director of Disney's The Lion King). It was actually a much better movie than most of the ones I see in the genre in terms of story, but doesn't approach the visual artistry of movies like House of Flying Daggers and Hero.

Back to work today - bleh.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Mid-week recap

I got all dressed up in my suit for court today, and the judge canceled the hearing, so I have some time to blog at work. I really need to get a lighter suit, because it's getting hot these days (not by Houston standards, but they rarely wear suits down there) and I think I'll be going to court quite a bit in the next several months for my high-profile client.

Monday night Tara and I had our usual private time, which I've been sorely missing since she's been sick. We still couldn't do all the things we usually do because of her physical condition, but it was fun nevertheless. We also watched an old movie that I recently bought on DVD, Flash Gordon, something we both knew from our younger days. Some of you may know the theme song sung by Queen (FLASH!! AH-AHHHH! is all I'm going to say, because the rest of the lyrics are too silly to see in print). So yes, we reveled in our girly geekiness for one night, although Tara thought I was doing a nice Princess Aura imitation because I was molesting her on the couch while she was trying to watch the movie.

Tuesday a girl named Michelle contacted me online through one of my poly groups and we started an email conversation about poly. Her boyfriend is poly and she's trying to learn more about it. They live in Brooklyn, where I have a couple other friends that I don't get to see enough, so maybe someday I'll spend a weekend there visiting everybody.

After work, I met my friend Lori at the library and we hung out and talked while she ripped library CDs to her laptop computer. I also checked out Volume 3 of Strangers in Paradise, a comic strip set in Houston that revolves around the relationships of two girls and a guy in a love triangle (at least that's the way it appears at the moment because I haven't read the whole series). The whole concept of the love triangle takes on a whole new meaning when viewed through a poly lens. At one point, a character screams, "Why can't I have both of you?" and of course, I'm thinking, "You can!" It all depends on whether you measure love by how exclusively you experience it, or by some other measure (like whether the person is making you happy or not).

Anyway, I'm off to get some lunch, and perhaps get my nails done. Enjoy the day everybody!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Iron Man

I had a lovely time with my family this weekend, the best we've had in quite a while, actually. It didn't start off that well. Friday I felt like I was coming down with a cold, so I took off work early and came home for a nap that turned into an early bedtime. I went to sleep at 8 p.m. and work up at 4:30 a.m., which caused Tara some concern because I missed our usual goodnight call. I also skipped dinner, my evening dosage of meds and washing the makeup off my face. But the extra rest probably did me good, because I'm fully recovered now.

Saturday we went into the city for Free Comic Book Day, an annual tradition at Midtown Comics. We stood in line for about an hour before we were allowed up to the store and were each handed a bag of 40+ free comics and a little plastic Iron Man toy. I also bought a Justice League graphic novel called The Lightning Saga, and volume 2 of the Lucifer books written by Mike Carey, just to support the free comic effort. Bee couldn't come because of work, so we stopped by our local comic store in New Jersey to pick up another bag for her before coming home.

The line at Midtown Comics

Afterward I ran my errands and watched some baseball with Tara because my tailor screwed up and didn't have a skirt alteration ready when it was supposed to be. Later in the evening, we had our regular Saturday night dinner and movie, which we all seemed to barely make it through because we were all tired for one reason or another.

Sunday I not only slept in late, but also took a midday nap so I was fresh to see Iron Man at the theater with my family. We've all been waiting eagerly for this first big superhero movie of the summer, and it did not disappoint. For those of you who haven't seen it yet, I'll just say one thing - make sure you stay for the end past the credits. There is a key scene tacked on that elicited loud squeals of geekdom from all the fanboys and fangirls (especially Tara) left in the theater.

After the movie, my family dropped me off and I was deciding what to do with the rest of the evening when they called me and invited me over to barbeque, our first backyard grilling of the year. I brought over my last remaining salmon burger and grilled that with Indian hot lime relish on top - yummy! Bee also tried my stuffed grape leaves and didn't like them, but enjoyed the guacamole-flavored tortilla chips I also brought. Bug made some beans, and she and Bee had their veggie burgers and veggie dogs, while Tara had her usual hot dogs and shared one with me. Afterwards, Bug went grocery shopping, and Bee, Tara and I sat on the couch and read our books quietly until it was time for me to go home.

Unfortunately, Tara has been having a relapse of her salmonella poisoning and hasn't been doing very well. We've been trying to get her to go to the doctor, but she has steadfastly refused so far. We'll try to have a quiet date night tonight and not get too active, so hopefully she can continue to get her rest and make a full recovery soon.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Family update

I've been thinking a lot about my family dynamic and how it's different from what I'm used to. I talked about it briefly with Tara on the way home from our celebratory dinner at Harold's Famous Deli last night - celebrating my second anniversary of arriving in New Jersey. Harold's is where we went to celebrate the night I arrived - it's where we go any time there's something to celebrate. This is the first time I've ever been there without everyone in attendance, but Bee and Bug had their own anniversary to celebrate last night, which is fine. It was nice to have some date time with Tara anyway, even though we were both not feeling our best.

Perhaps it was this first visit to Harold's without everyone in attendance that got me thinking about this topic. It's a little difficult to explain here what the subject of my thoughts are about my family dynamic, so I'm not going to go into too much detail.

Basically, I have an idea of being in a poly family where everyone is interconnected with each other, and therefore, can all talk as a group about relationships as well as practical household matters. And really, up until a few weeks ago, I thought it possible that my family could be like that someday, but lately, I've been having doubts that it will ever get to that point. That's not to say there's something "wrong" with my family's style of communication - it has worked for the three of them for 10 years before I got here. I'm just not sure it will work with me, a relative outsider, being thrown into the mix - especially in a poly context that never existed before but does now.

As I said in a previous post, I am trying to focus on the present and enjoy what I have right now. I've come to recognize the futility of trying to direct and plan change when it comes to relationships. Last year, I saw the destructive effects of putting too much effort into making a relationship work that didn't evolve organically. So this year, I'm purposely being aware of not forcing myself or anyone else to put effort into creating relationships that aren't really that important to them, which is probably the most sensible thing to do.

However, what I find is that like the second law of thermodynamics when you don't put energy into a system (i.e. a relationship) eventually you get entropy. So even though my relationship with Tara is fine because we both put in the effort to sustain it, my relationships with Bug and especially Buffy are cordial, but mostly superficial. A big part of the reason for this from my viewpoint is that we are not able to talk about real things, like I do with my friends Lori and Agnieszka when I have time to see them. Bug is better with this than Buffy right now, but we just don't spend very much time with just the two of us (like, one night a month at most). And on the rare occasions that Buffy and I spend alone time together (as we did last week at the spa), we really don't talk about personal things. I think it's because we're just not comfortable enough with each other to do so, although I really don't know why that is with all we've been through together.

I find it somewhat discouraging to know two such wonderful people as Bee and Bug are, and to have had such lovely times together in the past and yet find that we are slowly drifting apart such that I feel more comfortable spending time with either of my aforementioned close girl friends than with either of them one on one. That's not to say we don't have wonderful times together as a group with Tara, because we do.

On the other hand, if that is the way it's supposed to be, then I will just accept that we will never be the poly family that I originally hoped to be back in January. Maybe we'll be something else, but whatever happens, I'll accept that it will be the right outcome for everyone concerned. I'm not saying my original idea can't happen - Tara pointed out last night that time is not an issue, and if it happens, it could happen quickly. I'm just saying it's not happening now and maybe we're all meant for something else.

Only time will tell.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Today is May 1, Beltane to pagans and witches, and the second anniversary of my arrival in New Jersey.

Looking back on that exodus from Houston in 2006, it's probably one of the bravest things I've ever done - to pack up everything in my minivan (and separately in a moving van) and drive halfway across the country by myself to live in a new town where I only knew three people and didn't have an apartment or a job. Of course everything worked out for the best, but it was definitely the biggest risk I'd ever taken in my life in terms of jumping without a parachute. And wouldn't you know, it has also probably been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done as well.

I was going to write more, but work intercedes. Happy Beltane everybody!