Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter egg party

I actually had a nice day today, but a crap weekend with Puck. Really don't feel like going into all the negative details, that's more private journal stuff. I don't vent in my blog the way Bonnie does. But there were definitely times this weekend when I was very close to suggesting changes to our relationship. As it is, we're just going to try and do better, and maybe give each other some more space for a while.

Today I went to a Ukrainian Easter egg party hosted by Storm, one of my long-time friends I met years ago when I first started the Poly Women's Group. She commandeered her ex Jonathan's apartment on the Upper West Side for the party - his place is amazing! It's a huge (by NYC standards) apartment with a large living room that holds a piano, a dining room, kitchen, bedrooms, etc. In fact, one of his roommates literally lives in the kitchen pantry! He's gay, so the joke is that he comes out of the closet every morning.

The bookshelves are full of old books (the place belonged to his grandparents) and there are all kinds of decorative items everywhere, and original art on the walls. Everything is so old and antique, so different from my modern furnishings (since nearly everything I own except my stuffed animals is less than five years old).

To make the eggs we used the wax resist method, which is complex and time-consuming. We used tools made from copper on wooden sticks that were much like fountain pen nibs. We scraped beeswax into the reservoir and melted the wax with a candle so it would flow through a tiny hole in the reservoir and we could draw designs on the egg.

Then we dunk the egg in an intense dye, starting with lighter colors like yellow and orange. The areas covered with wax retain the base colors through repeated dyeing with darker and darker colors. Then we had to melt the wax off by holding the egg itself near the candle and carefully wiping the wax away. I worked on my egg for more than three hours, drawing a meticulous Faberge egg-inspired design, but it didn't quite turn out the way I'd planned. Still, it wasn't bad for a first try.

Easter egg

After my egg was done, I sat in the living room and listened to a group of musicians practice, a string quartet and a vocalist. They played some very avant garde music, like early Laurie Anderson but more classically inspired. It was quite interesting and entertaining.

Storm and I didn't get to talk much about personal stuff, but it was pleasant to see her again. And it's interesting hanging out in a room of people who work in theater and other creative fields, speak several languages and discuss philosophy, art and culture instead of current TV shows.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Musical memories

While I was in Texas, my office hired a new person in the pod so they moved me to the opposite corner of the building. There’s good points and bad points about this. I have to walk about 120 steps each way to get back to the pod, and I’m no longer by the cafĂ©, so if I want a Diet Mountain Dew, I have to trek over there for that.

Being away from Lori and Meredith and sitting next to Erik means I miss some of what’s going on, but it’s also easier for me to focus on doing my own tasks. Since I don’t have to have my antennae up all the time, sometimes I put my iPod on to drown out the chatter so I can work.

Yesterday I was listening to Paramore’s first album, “All We Know Is Falling” and I was transported back to when I first discovered them on Stephenie Meyer’s blog when “Decode” was announced as the first single for the Twilight movie. You know how you get that visceral reaction when you hear music you haven’t heard for a long time, and it belongs of a time that is very different from your current reality?

I still remember that time period (“Twilight music” – Oct. 7, 2008) when I first bought that album. I was working in midtown Manhattan for Agent K. I actually had to leave my office for lunch, which I don’t do anymore. I just started seeing Puck, and it was the time period when I was starting to fall for them. It was also the start of my musical explorations independent from Tara. All in all, a period of great changes in my life.

I’ve been feeling surprisingly outgoing and energetic for the past 48 hours or so. Maybe it’s from all the activity that’s going on in the next few weeks. Softball practice tonight, Poly Women’s Group tomorrow night, then Puck and I hang out Saturday for ice cream in the afternoon, Leon's birthday party in the evening at River NYC and a FetLife rumble late (where we might also bump into Piper). Tuesday is Open Love NY where I’ll be leading a member discussion.

The entire week of May 9, I’ll be traveling for work – to Carlsbad, California for a couple days to help with a spill drill, then back and straight to Maryland for two nights at the companywide softball tournament, the first time I’ve been invited to play. So I hope this newfound energy and enthusiasm lasts.

Oh, so Seder dinner – it was fine. Susan and her son Joey from Puck’s shul came – I’d met them before. Different from last year when it was all family, but it’s always nice to be with Puck on special occasions. I love the way they tuck me into bed at night.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Passover preparations

So it was a fairly eventful and interesting weekend for me. Puck and I finalized plans for Tuesday night's seder with the family after some uncertainty earlier this week. Puck and I talked about it on Saturday night over the phone and Sunday when I went to their home for a visit. This episode rattles me because after the progress I feel we made last Thanksgiving and Christmas, it feels like a setback. It rattled them because rarely do the parents confront them so directly with their disapproval as they did on Thursday. But hopefully these episodes will diminish as Puck gains more independence in the coming years.

I’m still concerned that I will someday not be welcome at future holiday celebrations and put in a position where Puck has to choose between birth family and chosen family, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. For now, it’s enough that we continue to communicate our feelings, intentions and desires to keep our relationship healthy and open.

As for the rest of the weekend – Friday night Angel invited me out to the Stonewall Inn in the West Village, the historic birthplace of the gay rights movement, for Friday night karaoke with a couple other friends. Angel and I did a duet of “Take Me For What I Am” from Rent, part of a suite of several Rent songs that night. It was a bit of a mismatch since she’s an amateur opera singer, but fun nevertheless.

Saturday, I ventured out to do some shopping with coupons I’d collected – makeup at Sephora, the new Fables book at Borders, and some bed pillows at Macy’s. Sunday I took the train down to my office in Princeton to pick up Yoshi and drove to Staten Island to visit Puck and the family, who were cleaning house for Passover. Puck helped me sign up for FetLife so I can connect with people and events in the kink space, like Piper, Ryan, Beth, Dark, Ardella and other people Puck and I both know. In the evening we did the formal search for chametz (leavened breadstuffs) using a candle and flashlights and Puck and I started the next chapter of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I find it quite telling that today, separately and unbeknownst to each other, Tara and I both got excited about the Enterprise space shuttle coming to the Intrepid Museum in Manhattan. Puck and I are already thinking about going to see it when it gets here. Maybe we'll bump into Tara and Bug there this summer...

I've been feeling the need to hide a bit from the world. I think the Houston trip took more out of me than I care to admit. Possibly there's other complications on my mind. But I'm definitely trying to pull back a bit and focus more on living with intention, rather than just accepting what comes.

For example, Poly Cocktails was Monday, and I really didn't feel like going. Yes, I had the weekend at home, and yes, Puck came to visit on Sunday and we had nice times together to make up a bit for missing each other Friday night. But if I didn't have to bring nametags and flyers for the event, I would have stayed home.

But since I had to follow through on my commitments as OLNY president, I decided it was going to be a hug-free visit. So instead of customary hugs, I just shook hands with everyone, which definitely threw some people off who are used to being greeted with hugs. But besides my own defensive feelings at the moment, it also served as a useful reminder about our verbal consent rules.

I discovered last time that it really irks me when I hug someone and they plant a kiss on me, usually on the cheek or neck. For me, that's overstepping boundaries when I'm hugging you. So no more casual hugging, which means I'm only going to hug people I have a genuine emotional connection to.

I don't have any more social obligations this week, and Passover is next week, so I'm looking forward to some family time, which has been absent since the holidays. We'll see how I feel after that.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Ok, where to begin?

My trip to Houston was fine. None of the jitters from last time, and less of that feeling of time travel, like being in the TARDIS. I didn't really visit places that remind me specifically of my old life. What was nice was to have the freedom of driving around and I did a lot of shopping this time, as chronicled before.

The tough part was in Dallas, the day before the event. I was up until 3 am working on stuff, assembling press kits, getting the news release ready to go at 6:30 am.

Friday was the day of the event, but I had planned to attend Anna's birthday party with Puck and Ryan that night in Brooklyn, so I caught an early flight out of Dallas. Unfortunately, the plane was delayed getting into Dallas, so we took off about 45 minutes late to Milwaukee, and missed our transfer to Newark. So instead of getting to Newark at 4 pm, which would have given me time to go home and change before meeting Puck at Penn Station, I had to get on a later flight to La Guardia that didn't land until 6:30 pm. After a bus trip through Queens and Harlem and a subway ride I was finally home around 7:30 pm and too exhausted and frustrated to contemplate going all the way to Brooklyn via mass transit by myself.

So despite all my plans to do so and not staying to see the event to completion, I didn’t get to attend my reason for leaving early in the first place. It reminds me of Alan Moore’s landmark Batman story, “The Killing Joke,” except I didn’t turn into a homicidal maniac. It was enough of a reward just being home after 10 days in Texas, and having a full weekend to recover. If I’d stayed in Dallas for the event, I might not have made it home until Saturday.

Spending all this time in airports, I watched the entire Firefly series once again over the past week. That always makes me happy. But it also makes me think about wanting to be part of a more interconnected group, like the crew of the Serenity. I also realize that, to a large extent, my life is a lot less adventuresome than it was during transition. In a lot of ways that’s good, but I’m wary of being too comfortable, too settled. I left Houston partly because I didn’t want to live my whole life in one place. Maybe someday another opportunity to move will appear – I just hope it doesn’t involve a fire.

Thursday, April 07, 2011


Here's some photos from recent events that I'm getting around to posting now. First there's me courtside at the Rockets game, taken by Mark, the Microsoft guy sitting behind me.

Courtside seats

Before the game, I talked with former Rockets player Matt Bullard, now a TV color commentator. I told him I've been a fan since they went to the Finals in 1985, and he said I wasn't old enough to be a fan that long - isn't that sweet? Such a charmer, but he can still shoot the 3 ball (he is 6-foot-10, by the way).

Me and Air Bullard

Finally, here's a picture of me and Linda at the 59 Diner, taken by our charming waitress.

Lunch with Linda

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Vamp it up

Three of my favorite vampire franchises have new content this year, which I’m greatly looking forward to reading and watching. First up is the new Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead Reckoning, by Charlaine Harris, which comes out May 3. I’m going to have to re-read the last couple books to remember what’s been happening in that world.

Surprisingly, I’m not a huge fan of the hit show True Blood. It seems to be headed downhill after only the second season, and Bonnie already told me the third season is crap (with Sookie getting some weird superpowers that she doesn’t have in the book). If I wanted to watch people get random superpowers, I’d have stuck with NBC’s Heroes – another great series that fell off quickly and died.

Then a major new Anita Blake novel by Laurell K. Hamilton, Hit List, publishes June 6. This follows the short novella Flirt released last year, but this one really looks like something you can sink your teeth into. I still don’t understand why no one has made a TV or movie adaptation of the Anita Blake world. I love the characters so much, flawed as they are. And reading the books helps me get into that BDSM headspace that I’d like to know better.

Finally, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 opens on November 18. I’m not sure if I want to re-read BD before that, or come into it relatively cold and take the movie on its own terms. Besides, the second installment in 2012 is the one I’m really looking forward to, when Bella’s a vampire and the showdown with the Volturi happens with all of the Cullen’s allies. Seeing that world open up beyond the borders of Forks (like when they went to Volterra) will be fun to watch. I don’t know if Puck is going to let me drag them to see it, but we’ll see.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Dinner with Ben

I sent Bonnie an email Saturday night, extending an olive branch and suggesting we might end our five-month silence. I don’t think she’s going to respond. But at least I can say to myself that I tried to be friends.

Last night I had dinner with Ben, my old boss and mentor. We ate barbecue at Goode Company and talked for three hours about all sorts of things – clients, work, money, travel, relationships, colleagues and current events. He and his partner of 20 years, Bob, are going through counseling together, and apparently are doing well after a rough patch earlier in the year. He’s coming up to New York over Labor Day and staying a few blocks from my apartment, so we’ll probably see each other in a few months.

Things here are not quite as busy as last November when we did this shindig in Houston, maybe because we’ve all been through it before and a lot of the groundwork is already done. So I’ve actually been able to do a lot of other work along with helping the electric vehicle team.

The last three nights I’ve been waking up between 3 and 4 am and having trouble getting back to sleep. I think it’s a combination of too much caffeine and sleeping in an unfamiliar bed with a loud air conditioner. At least it’s much better than the inflatable bed in the hotel I stayed in last November. I also had all kinds of weird dreams last night, but they’ve faded by now. They weren’t terribly interesting, just weird. I miss being home and I miss my bed.

I’m on the final section of Winter’s Tale, and it’s getting to that sweet spot in a good book where everything is starting to fall into place, all the storylines are converging, and you can’t wait to see what happens next, but you want the end to last as long as possible. So I’m digesting it carefully one page at a time, savoring every word. I’m excited to finally finish this book after having it for so many years.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Houston trip, week one

So it’s been quite the eventful trip so far, and it’s only half over. I spent Thursday night at Loehmann’s and bought a couple things, but the big event was Friday night and going to see the Rockets game from Nearing’s floor seats, which were on the third row back from courtside.

I got there an hour before tip-off and chatted with the guy behind me, who works for Microsoft. He pointed out a 6-foot-10 woman across the court from us, and remarked that he didn’t think she was born a woman because of her height. So of course I immediately let him know I wasn’t born female either, and he hardly batted an eyelash. I’m happy about being comfortable enough with myself that these conversations are routine for me now.

So, back to the game. I’ve been a Rockets fan since 1985 when they lost to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals (the first year of the fabled Twin Towers tandem led by Olajuwon and Sampson). In all that time, I’ve never had floor seats, and it was every bit as exciting as I could have hoped for. I caught a cap from a cheerleader and touched the ball when an errant pass went into the crowd. Kyle Lowry hit a step-back jumper to tie the game with less than 4 seconds to go, sending the game to overtime where the Rockets prevailed.

Saturday I went to Half-Price Books and bought some CDs before heading to the 59 Diner to meet my pal Linda, and we had an epic catch-up talk that lasted nearly five hours. It’s been at least 10 years since we’ve seen each other, and almost 20 years since our last one-on-one face time. She’s an avid reader of my blog, and we’ve been keeping a lively correspondence for about the past year.

Today I started the day with lunch at La Madeline, one of my favorite French bistros, followed by a visit to the original Half-Price Books in the Rice Village, where I bought six more CDs. Then I went to the Rothko Chapel for some quiet time in one of my sacred places of the world.

From there I went to a very noisy Memorial City Mall and did some shopping – I got some clothes at Macy’s (finally using the gift card Polina gave me for New Year’s) and a YSL brow pencil at Sephora. I also got a tasty Cinnabon roll for an afternoon snack.

During this trip I’ve had some good Cajun food at Boudreaux’s, Mexican food at Pappasito’s, Chinese food from Feng Ling, homemade ice cream from Marble Slab and donuts from Shipley’s. Surprisingly, Krispy Kreme seems to have left town, so I guess Shipley’s put them out of business. Monday night I’m planning to have dinner with Ben, my old mentor.

Next week is going to be busy as the event approaches, and I’ll be flying to Dallas early Thursday morning, staying one night and flying home Friday morning. It’s been a good trip so far, and it’s been fun driving my Kia Soul around and visiting various places. My suitcase is gonna be a lot heavier coming back, that’s for sure.