Saturday, February 28, 2009

Limerancing through life

After a few days at home and not feeling my best, I decided to shake the doldrums and head into the city for some solo adventures. Yesterday I went to visit MOMA and then met up with Lori for a little bit to tell her the news about Tara and do some grocery shopping. Then I met up with my friend Kyle at the Thursday night polyamory meeting at a Chinese restaurant in the East Village. I met some people there who knew me and Polina from PolyNYC, but mostly they were new faces, and many of them older folks. Some of them were old enough to be my grandparents. I guess I know where I'll seek out poly company 20 years from now.

Tonight I met up with Angel, one of the women I met at the pansexual women's Meetup group, the one who works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the finance department. We met down in the lobby after she got off work and toured the special exhibit entitled Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C.. We walked through some of the other galleries before we headed up to her office so she could get her stuff, check her messages and shut down her computer. Then we walked to Madison Avenue to a small cafe and had a slice of pizza before she had to leave for her night job at a theater. She seems like a nice enough person, but probably not my type for anything more than a friend.

Tomorrow Tara and I are going to Connecticut for the day so she can have a band rehearsal before her gig on March 6, her band's first concert performance in more than a year. We need Yoshi to pack her drumkit and take it back home. It will also be the first time we've seen each other since last Saturday night, although we've been talking a lot on the phone each day since. Being apart hasn't been easy on either of us, and we're both dealing with it in our own ways.

I found this wonderful poem while Googling the word "limerancing" - something Penny is doing right now, celebrating life and love in Argentina. I love what this poem says about life, about love, and dance.


i am most definitely

i am an incurable

yet again
i am in
first stage
of mad attraction
all my
hormones engaged and flowing
and things feel oh so right!

limerancing is such an awesome gift of the soul

a beautiful dance of dna

the melding of emotions and body and soul

it is ku panta!

some warn about it

they warn that it is painful
they warn that it rarely lasts

all this can be said of life
in any one of its manifestations

few of us give up on life
because we know it will end in death

and in the same way
i will not give up limerance
because it ends with a good-bye

instead, i live in the moment
enjoy the moment
enjoy the journey

i choose
to be intoxicated
with life
intoxicated with love
not to
on what is sad

all hail limerance!
all hail the dance!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Movies and music

I filed my income tax returns for federal, New York and New Jersey today - it's the first time I've done my own returns in decades. Of course, the last couple of years have been a bit complicated due to my shifting life circumstances, so I preferred to get professional help. In 2008, as I've said, my life has been reasonably stable, so I thought it would be nice to save some money on tax filing.

Yesterday I went out to the movies by myself and saw Slumdog Millionaire, the Best Picture Oscar winner this year. The only thing I can say is that it's a good movie, but it reminds me so much of Forrest Gump, but set in India. It's a tale of an extraordinary life, a lifelong love, and overcoming the obstacles set in our path. It's an enjoyable ride, but not really the kind of movie that I'd see over and over again.

I've also made plans to go down to Fort Washington outside of Philadelphia on March 1-2 for the Second National Polyamory Leadership Summit. It's a follow-up to a meeting in New York that I was invited to help moderate back in October following PolyPride, but I couldn't attend because we had plans to visit MOMA that day. We're expecting about 40-50 poly leaders from all around the country to discuss the future of the movement and how we want to move forward with a unified purpose.

I've been listening a lot to my live concerts of Linkin Park and Muse that I got for Christmas, and it's inspired me to think about putting together a mix of live concert music from different bands. Those bands, plus U2, Rush, Porcupine Tree, Peter Gabriel and Jeff Buckley, have incredible performances on DVD that deserve to be heard as much as their studio recordings. The trick is to capture those performances on mp3 so I can put them on a CD. I have the equipment to do it, but wiring it all up is a bit daunting, so it's something I'll let marinate for a bit.

I also pre-ordered the Borders special edition of Twilight on DVD which comes out March 21 which includes a bonus disc and postcards. That will be kind of neat to see again on my home theater.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Unconditional love

Tara and I woke up yesterday and had a long, serious talk over breakfast, and decided to make a change in our relationship. I wouldn't exactly say we "broke up" because that implies a more formal structure than we work within - that, and we still love each other. But I think we're both finally coming to the realization that we've grown apart in the last 18-20 months and our relationship isn't giving either of us what we want out of life at this point.

These things are always a lot more complicated than can be explained in a single blog post, but the crux of the matter is that for Tara, dealing with my polyamorous nature and activities makes her miserable. For my part, I didn't like having to hide or defend things related to it, like my feelings for Penny and my growing role with Polyamorous NYC.

Despite this, I could deal with all that if Tara could have met me halfway and we had a "don't ask, don't tell" kind of policy, as some poly/mono couples do. But concealment (as opposed to outright deception, which is never an option) isn't the ideal for either of us in a relationship, and she simply couldn't deal with knowing that I'm polyamorous and what that could entail now and in the future. And while I wasn't nearly so unhappy with her, I couldn't continue to profess to love someone while knowing that being in a relationship with me was making her miserable.

I have been telling her for several months now that if she truly couldn't accept me as I am and I was really hurting her so much, she needed to let me go. Neither of us wanted to end the relationship, but we just couldn't find a way to overcome the fact that our natures are so incompatible. I think up until yesterday, Tara held out hope that we could somehow recapture what we had in May-June 2007, when we were closer to being a real poly family that ever before or since. But it's not worth all this pain and drama to just wait and see if things change, especially since I'm not sure anybody wants it as much as she does, and our family dynamics in terms of discussing options and goals are so complicated.

Regardless of what she thinks of me, I still love Tara, and I always will. But for me, part of loving someone unconditionally is knowing that if being who you are drives that person crazy, you might have to let them go for their own good. For me, love is all about making the other person happy, not about me. Possibly that's why I end up getting hurt by love a lot, but many people suffer worse for their beliefs. I can't honestly say to myself I love someone if I don't think I'm good for them, or I put my own interests above theirs. I think we've tried very hard to overcome these obstacles, but in the end, we both have to be true to ourselves and our convictions, and hers do not include acceptance of polyamory as a sustainable and legitimate lifestyle choice.

So where does that leave us now? We had a reasonably normal Saturday night dinner with Bee and Bug, although there were some uncomfortable silences at the dinner table. Our card games livened things up a bit, with Bee and Tara trading fortunes after last week's Valentine's Day massacre, then we watched two episodes of Heroes, which seems to be regaining some lost momentum. Tara and I are going to give each other some space and see how we handle being apart. Also, I think we both need some time to grieve over what we've lost, although I still have hope that the goddess will someday bring us back together to stay.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

An evening with Anne Rice

I'm taking a bit of breather today after a busy two-day stretch of poly meetings. Every other month my two poly meetings fall on the same week, so on Tuesday I went to my women's poly group and Wednesday I had my co-ed PolyNYC meeting at the LGBT Center.

While I was waiting for the PolyNYC meeting last night, I went upstairs to browse the used book sale and found that someone had given away their entire collection of hardcover Anne Rice books, about a dozen books altogether. I picked up a copy of her seminal novel, Interview with the Vampire, for one dollar. The dust jacket is missing, but otherwise it's in pristine order. This is the third time I've bought this book, and that's an interesting story.

My first exposure to Anne Rice was through one of those book clubs that sends you new books every month unless you tell them not to, and I received a copy of The Vampire Lestat (the second in The Vampire Chronicles). I didn't read it right away, and it sat in my collection for a long time before I actually got interested in the author.

A friend in college named Lara Schultz (one of two redheads in my life from that time period) took me to a book reading at Rice University in Houston where Ms. Rice was a featured guest. I think she was promoting the upcoming Queen of the Damned, the third novel in the series. But since she hadn't quite gotten hit her popularity wave among the goth and gay crowds, or maybe because it was an ill-publicized event, the attendance was very manageable, unlike any of her appearances today. There wasn't even a line at the authors table, so I purchased a paperback copy of Interview and brought it to her to sign, and chatted with her for a while.

Later I loaned that copy of the book to a friend named Michelle Gardner (my predecessor as opinion editor at the college newspaper) who then graduated and skipped town without returning it. I later bought a hardcover edition that I lost in the fire of 2005, but ever since losing my signed copy more than 20 years ago, I've been extremely reluctant to loan books out, as you might imagine. I can probably count on one hand the number of books I've loaned to people in that time period, although important people like my ex (who I lived with and therefore merged book collections) and Tara (who has the same rule) don't factor into that. This year Penny has proven herself trustworthy enough to break that rule, as she has nearly as much reverence for books as I do, although no one can possibly compare with Tara in that respect.

Even though I don't read Ms. Rice's stuff anymore, it's nice having a copy of this first influential book in my collection, since it's the wellspring for a lot of the stories I've been reading lately - The Twilight Saga, Anita Blake Vampire Hunter and the Sookie Stackhouse series, plus I'm watching Joss Whedon's "vampire with a soul" TV series Angel on DVD. What Rice did in 1976 was take the Bram Stoker model and inject a modern and seductive homoerotic element, plus introduce or embellish concepts like "good" vampires, child vampires, the Old World vampire in modern day angle and the first-person narrative to the classic horror story. Even if that woman can never finish a story, her contribution to the vampire mythos will never be discounted.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Second piercings

My maintenance man woke me up early this morning to come fix a few things around the apartment, so I'm actually awake before noon, which is pretty unusual for me these days. I'm listening to my recordings of No-Man, the group started by Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson while my super works in the kitchen.

Yesterday I got a second ear piercing at Pleasureable Piercings in Hawthorne, NJ, the first time I've been back there since I got my first piercings on my first trip to New Jersey in October 2005. That trip was the first time I met my family in person, and a big milestone in our lives that we still celebrate to this day.

Yesterday I went back by myself and picked out an cerulean blue stone set in a stainless steel stud that is normally used for oral piercings, but they didn't have the blue topaz in white gold ear stud that I had wanted, and I didn't want to wait for them to make it. The oral stud has an advantage in that it has a flat screw-in back, so it doesn't poke me when I'm sleeping. The downside is that the post is about three times thicker, so the needle used for the piercing was a lot bigger. Seriously, I felt like the guy was jamming a big piece of lumber through my ear, and I could hear/feel the pop of the needle breaking through my skin much more than last time. Although that possibly could be because it was higher on my ear and therefore closer to my eardrum.

So I picked blue because my favorite glasses that I wear have clear blue accents on the sides of the lenses, so I thought it would be cool to have that picked up on my ears, regardless of what other earrings I choose to wear. I only have one pair of predominantly blue earrings, and I wouldn't want to wear them as often as I wear my glasses. Once the piercings heal, maybe I'll get some pink studs to match my fuschia glasses that Tara prefers.

I would have posted pictures of my new piercings and my glasses, but as I've just gotten up and don't have any makeup on, I thought I'd spare you the sight of the huge pores on my face this early in the morning when I take macro-closeup photos of myself. Maybe next time :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day

You would think that a poly person would have a bit of a hard time on Valentine's Day, but it wasn't an issue for me, mainly because Penny had other plans and doesn't believe in making a big deal about celebrating love on arbitrary days like V-Day. My family does like to celebrate anniversaries and other holidays, but we've always been a little skittish about V-Day and holidays involving birth families. This year though, if there were any difficulties, they were kept shielded from me, so I made the day as enjoyable as I could.

Tara and I woke up early together Saturday morning and had some extended time in bed, as I was feeling in need of some extra cuddling. We had our usual breakfast of pancakes and bacon (although we both did an extra-fine job of cooking this week) with a beautiful bouquet of red roses on the table. I think it's the most perfect dozen of roses I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot over the years, mostly of the white variety.

We went to IKEA after breakfast to buy a bookshelf because we needed Yoshi to carry such a long, oversize item home. After I dropped her off, everyone came over in the evening and we all shared some Valentine candy, and I added some bags of Valentine M&M's as betting chips to our poker game. It certainly amped up the game, and the highlight for me was a hand of five-card draw where I got four 10's, plus a wild card to beat Bee's full house. However, at the end of the night, I came in second to Tara, who was the big winner in both chips and candy.

As you might guess, I'm feeling down about Penny leaving for Argentina today. The best I can do is to try and stay occupied and live in the moment. That's not to say I'm trying to hide my feelings, as I have been so good at doing in my past life. I don't need to learn that lesson again.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Until we meet again

I've spent a lot of time in the past week thinking about my relationship with Penny, since in less than four days she's leaving for Argentina for two months. Truly, up until now, I haven't spent a lot of time analyzing the relationship, knowing that this forced separation was coming up. To do so would be against my philosophy of living in the moment, and loving unconditionally. But in her absence, I do have a chance to take a step back and ponder (borrowing her term) about whether I want to continue deepening my relationship with her once she returns in April.

I know I've grown and changed a lot since the last time I had my heart broken, and unlike the last time, at least I know she's coming back in two months. But it seems that love is never easy for me, and it's a tricky balance between honoring my feelings and being afraid of getting hurt. This is something I will be pondering about, and talking through with people I trust, for the next two months.

Last Thursday afternoon we met up in the East Village, and I walked with her as she completed her afternoon delivery duties. Then we went to a nearby magick shop, where we picked out a pagan amulet for her trip. We stopped for hot chocolate and a quick exchange of books and music before heading down to Union Square, where she took me to her yoga studio to meet her instructors and so she could say her farewells.

We left the studio and met up with Lori outside Whole Foods briefly before Penny had to catch a bus home to Staten Island. Lori and I then met with four of Lori's friends for dinner and dessert at Max Brenner. Lori has a very diverse group of friends - two were Asian, one from India and the other from Turkey. Lori and I split a chocolate toffee crepe, along with two cups of their famous Swiss hot chocolate.

Chocolate Toffee Crepe at Max Brenner

Sunday I went to a new group of bisexual and pansexual women at a Japanese restaurant near the LGBT Center. It was a pretty large group, about 25 women in a small restaurant, so we really couldn’t talk to very many people because we were seated at a long table against the wall. Fortunately, I met a few women I connected with who happened to be sitting near me, including one who used to date one of my fellow PolyNYC Board members. She's a dog trainer and interior decorator. Another woman I met works in finance for the Metropolitan Museum, other is a nurse, and other is a fashion buyer. Again, quite a diverse group, and a few of us left after dinner together to visit the LGBT Center next door and browse some publications before we went home.

Tuesday night my family took me out to see Coraline in 3-D, which was terrific. I haven't read the book by Neil Gaiman, but I did read the graphic novel, and I was a little disappointed with the ending of the movie. However, the visual feast and imaginative imagery were stunning to behold. I just wish I'd known to wear contacts so that the 3-D glasses weren't such a distraction.

I wasn't really planning to see Penny again this week, but I really wanted to since we didn't get to say a very meaningful goodbye last Thursday before she had to catch her bus home. So Wednesday we met up after her yoga class so we could hang out before my PolyNYC leadership meeting and her tango dance classes in the evening. We went to her grandmother's apartment so she could drop her stuff and charge her phone, then to a Thai curry house for lunch. We planned to go shopping at Loehmann's for her sister's birthday present, but we couldn't find what we wanted. Penny talked with her mom on my phone outside the store about alternative gift ideas while I took pictures of her:


Eventually we went back to her grandma's place to pick up her stuff, and say our goodbyes in private. Then we walked to Union Square to meet briefly with Lori and browse the Barnes & Noble for alternative birthday presents for Penny's sister. After we left the bookstore we all went our separate ways and I attended my meeting, which was very cordial and productive. Afterwards, my friend Simon was feeling stressed out, so we went to watch the movie Taken at the movie theater near Penn Station before I went home.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Today I celebrated Imbolc with a special mention of the Celtic goddess Brigid in my short prayer ritual at my altar. Imbolc has always been my favorite sabbat for some reason, maybe because it's a time to set intentions for new directions in one's life. In honor of Brigid (and other fire spirits in my life), I lit my candles today - the Christianized name for Imbolc is "Candlemass", and the secular celebration for this day that marks the last day of winter and the first day of spring involves groundhogs. Unfortunately I don't have the movie Groundhog Day in my collection anymore, because that is one of the best comedies ever made.

Last night I watched my King Crimson concert video and enjoyed it very much. You might recall that we saw them in concert back in August at the Nokia Theater in Times Square ("King Crimson" - Aug. 18, 2008) and the video was very reminiscent of that concert. Watching the video inspired me to do work on a playlist of cool songs, some of my all time favorites that I'm not ashamed to say I like. A lot of the music I listen to day to day is cotton candy, that I know. But I do know good music when I hear it too.

Speaking of my cotton candy mix, I just finished a mix of music that represents what I'm listening to right now, some of it influenced by my waning Twilight fetish, other bands I'm discovering from checking out random CDs at the library. Combine that with some old favorites that I'm reacquainting myself with, and you get a pretty random mix of tunes. Here it is:

Attack - 30 Seconds to Mars
The Great Escape - Boys Like Girls
Extraordinary - Liz Phair
Crushcrushcrush - Paramore
Right Now - Van Halen
I'm No Ordinary Girl - Anika Paris
Stacy's Mom - Fountains of Wayne
Schism - Tool
Shadow of the Day - Linkin Park
What I've Done - Linkin Park
Was It A Dream? - 30 Seconds to Mars
When It Rains - Paramore
Five Minutes to Midnight - Boys Like Girls
Why Can't I? - Liz Phair
Viva La Vida - Coldplay
The Flame - Cheap Trick
I Wonder - Diffuser
To Turn You On - Roxy Music

Tara and I took a quick trip to the Met on Sunday so she could charge her new amulet, and we spent some time in the Asian wing visiting the Buddhas and Lord Ganesha. Saturday night we watched Enchanted on the big screen, which was delightful and every bit as good as the reviews made it out to be. Plus, the weekend update segment on Saturday Night Live was hysterical because it made fun of New Jersey.

I actually did watch a little bit of the Super Bowl, and saw the 100-yard touchdown play at the end of the first half because I was in the gym working out. I've been working out every day this week, trying to get my cardiovascular health back into shape. The net result is that sometimes I get sleepy early in the evening, but other times I still stay up until 4 a.m. reading my Anita Blake books.

I had a long conversation with one of the Board members of PolyNYC on Saturday, and he said they are considering asking me to join as a member of the Board. We discussed some of my reservations about that, and other positive things, but I still need to find out what the organization is going to be like moving forward before I commit to any kind of official role.