Thursday, December 28, 2006

HNT: Favorite of 2006

The good Os, founder of HNT_1, set us the task of finding our favorite HNT from the past year, no matter how short or how long we have been joining the gang. Hands down, my Grandma wins. I get so much more pleasure from looking at her than at me. When I see her hair, I remember visiting her hairdresser with her at an age before I understood that her hair would naturally be grey but the hairdresser kept it dark. When I see her hand, I see her ring and I am reminded of her long comfortable relationship with my Grandpa, but that after his death she became her own person again, and she seemed to enjoy that. Her papery wrinkles remind me of the many years of my life she has blessed with her love. The old Vaseline jar reminds me of her house filled with large and small mementos of a life and a family, my family. I am reminded of how soon she will die, and her family...her daughters, her grandchildren (including me) will sort through the remains of her life, and how hard it will be to throw away such things, even as we say, "Ew."

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But, if I have to pick one of myself, I would pick the one from the week of the Boobiethon. Meant to be a hint of the photos to be found there, I liked this cropping, as did other HNT folks:

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Happy HNT all, and Happy New Year.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Polyamory is not more work

A monogamous friend of mine responded to my post on Steve's and my declaration of unconditional love for each other. I asked my friend if I could quote him, because he sparked a response in me. He said, "Try to be kind. I'm off the cuff."

So my friend said:

I am so glad you had the epiphany regarding Steve and being "stuck" in town on Monday night. A lot of folks would tell you that you wouldn't reach that loving understanding unless you were monogamous. But see, you can as a polyamorous couple too- if your intentions are pure. I think we monogs tend to view the polys as sluts looking for a lay, or as people looking for acceptance through multiple sexual encounters- so why get married? Well, I think you answered that question admirably- just seems like a lot of work to come back to realize you have what you want right there in front of you.

I am so glad you had the epiphany regarding Steve and being "stuck" in town on Monday night.

This is just a tangent (or is it?) but it wasn't really an epiphany. I think we both knew this, and we were finally getting a chance to say it to each other. Lest people think we didn't have time to say it because we're too busy with other people, not true. It's Steve's job that is the whore (I kid) keeping him from spending time with me, and with Krissy. Regardless, when we do have the chance to spend time together like this, quiet, sharing, undistracted, it is a treasure. There's something to be said for yearning for more time together, rather than too much time together.

A lot of folks would tell you that you wouldn't reach that loving understanding unless you were monogamous.

And here I was trying to convey my theory that I don't think we could have achieved this depth of understanding if monogamous. There are various reasons my first marriage did not reach this depth of love, but I know my first wanted this condition on my love, that I not look at other men as desirable or attractive.

My love with Steve has been tested through all that. I have fallen in love with other people, I have made mistakes many people make when giddy in love. Any fears I may have had, residuals from that first jealous marriage, melted away when I experienced this one loving me through it all. Any fears either of us may have had that love for others could lessen our love for each other fell away when we found this love only got deeper and stronger.

Indeed what I was trying to say that with each new experience of love I have found the capacity of my heart grow bigger. New doorways open in my heart, and because they are not secret or closed off, my internal heart house just keeps expanding. I have loved some who I would have turned away from if I expected them to be my one and only. I have learned it is possible to love more intimately those who I do not get naked this friend. My precious moments I find to spend with Steve inform my attitude toward those precious moments I spend with my platonic friends that I have loved for much longer.

These things are possible in monogamy, but I witness many monogs riding on the coattails of expectations. Many monogamous relationships wither and die or become bitter or worse because people expect the form to carry them through, not the effort that any relationship takes. There is no guarantee that love gets deeper, and I'm not quite sure why folks think monogamy brings this depth of love about, in and of itself.

But see, you can as a polyamorous couple too- if your intentions are pure. I think we monogs tend to view the polys as sluts looking for a lay, or as people looking for acceptance through multiple sexual encounters- so why get married?

So many sad judgments and assumptions found in this. Not only that poly people are sluts, but that it's bad to be a slut. That it's bad to want sex for sex's sake, that it's bad to feel good about one's self through sexual encounters, that seeking multiple sexual encounters means you feel incomplete. Saddest assumption of all, that marriage is defined by sexual commitment, and not a love and compatibility that includes sexual attraction. Certain monogs think of polys this way because this is where they focus their attention. Yes, my friend, I have noticed you like to hear about my sexcapades. I like to please, so those are the stories you get.

Similar things can be observed about some monogs: they are looking for a guaranteed lay; they seek acceptance through the appearance of a lifelong commitment; they don't trust that someone can be committed unless that someone has sex with them exclusively.

Monogamous people see polyamorous people as indulgent because that's how they view sex with more than one in their framework. Sex outside a commitment means betraying that commitment. It means making a mistake and coming back to the default, monogamous. If they have not experienced honest open relationships, they cannot know that it takes more responsibility.

In the framework of polyamory, sex outside a relationship is not a mistake, it is an affirmation. Love for more than one enhances, doesn't take away, from pre-existing loves. Sex is not a commodity, but an intimacy that can be shared as meaningfully as confessions. It can be a gift. It can be a sharing of wealth.

Love need not be withheld due to unworthiness of monogamy. I have learned there can be a certain stinginess to love in monogamous thinking, and I learned that because that stinginess clung to my experiences in loving others, causing mistakes that I could have avoided if I simply allowed the love to be what it would be.

My understanding of the Buddhist precept 'do not misuse sexuality' has been profoundly informed by my experience as a poly person. For me to expect others' sexuality to conform to my own as the more righteous form, that would be misusing sexuality. For me to hold the sexuality of another bound to me and me alone, that would be stealing their autonomy, their right to decide what they can do with their own body. To me, that is indulgent.

Well, I think you answered that question admirably- just seems like a lot of work to come back to realize you have what you want right there in front of you.

It may be a roller-coaster ride at times, my friend, but it is not work. Ultimately, it is a joy. Steve said the work is in convincing people like you that this works just fine, thanks. I find the work has been getting over the traps set for me by monogamous thinking, and well-meaning monogamous mentors. I hope I have convinced you that my joy in my love with Steve comes from my heart-opening experiences in polyamory. While I cannot know for sure I could have come to this without that...that is another lifeline some other Heidi in some parallel universe has experienced...and while it's possible me being me I might have got there eventually...I truly believe that this is the graduate school of the heart. The more practice at loving with various people I get to have, the better I am at choosing love, simply love, without conditions and with wisdom.

Love you!

Christmas Cookies

Today I had my second annual cookie-making fest with my friends, the family of my Little Sister in Big Brothers Big Sisters. All the girls, me, and Mom. This year though, the sister who loves to snap photos wasn't there. All I have is this that I took after everybody left:

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I liked the way the frosting dried in the bowls with this cool snowflake pattern. The scotty dog looking cookie started out as a reindeer, but he lost his antlers.

I'd recorded Christmas specials on the Tivo in case any of the girls needed to chill in the living room. I turned out to be the 'cookie captain' making sure we got this rolled out or that cut out or the other thing washed so we could keep feeding trays of cookies to the oven. We made a double batch of cut-outs...I use the Christmas Bell recipe in the Betty Crocker cookie book. (All of these came from there.) Mom's and my favorite are the toffee squares. Brown sugary crust with chocolate chips melted on top. mmmm. We also made Russian Tea Cakes, but to this family, Daddy being from Mexico, they are known as Mexican Wedding Cakes.

Oldest sister fell asleep on the couch. Youngest sister wanted to get to the presents, until Mom said she wouldn't get to open them at all if she heard "present" one more time. So then youngest sister started saying, "I'm bored." Since I was so busy Captaining I didn't pick up on that until my Little Sister friend clued me in. We all, except the one who slept through it, had a blast frosting the cookies when we finally got to that. Little round sprinkles everywhere, and very red frosting. Oh, and we made Chocolate Crinkles, also one of my favorites as a kid, but I should have made my grandma's recipe rather than Betty' grandma's calls for more eggs so they're denser and more like brownies. (I made almost all the dough last with the Kitchen Aid I am so happy that Steve bought a couple of years ago.)

Making Christmas cookies with my mom was one of those very special memories that I was sad I couldn't create with kids of my own, having none. This way I have a whole family to create these memories with. This was a happy day. Tiring, but happy.

We made better time than we expected, so we all 5 played a quick game of Yahtzee. The youngest sister won with her magical throwing of a yahtzee, a bonus yahtzee, and a large straight.

I said "I love you" to my Little Sister when she called me after they got home. She said, "I know." I think that's the first time I actually said that to her. She's growing up, my little friend. We've been matched over 4 years. I'm the only Big Sister in Portland who has stuck with a match that long. As I told her and her family, she's got me for life.

Friday, December 15, 2006

New York: Brooklyn

On this my fourth day of vacation in New York it was a little harder to get moving. Not sleeping well without my own bed, a backache, not really being able to relax. I begin to feel old, not much made for prolonged travelling. So, my companion was slow to find his way from Brooklyn, and that was ok because I was slow to get my creaky body out the door and down the street four blocks to Starbucks for that daily coffee. Let's not forget noon in New York is 9 am my time.

So I was late getting to Brooklyn to see the Art Museum there, and the Brooklyn Library a block away.

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Yeah, I'd have been better off going to the Met, but I wanted to see the library where my former big boss was wooed to, Ginny Cooper. (She's now been hired in Washington DC, where our current library director, Molly Raphael, came from.)

I found the Brooklyn Library getting a face lift. The front entrance was closed, and we could enter at the side through the children's library. Now that was a noisy library, about 3 times noisier than my busy library branch, even if the busiest in the nation. There were moms with their kids waiting for a program or a storytime. There were about a dozen teens at the tables in the back. A security guard was discussing a conflict that had arisen between the teens. I heard that same "but he did this..." "but she..." thing that I'd heard from teens when I worked on the reference desk.

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I wanted to check my email and check in for my flight the next day. I'd found when I went to Wisconsin checking in online is almost absolutely necessary...airlines are cancelling flights that aren't full enough. I found that I could either get a library card or get a guest card that cost $2. I got the guest card, which expired in an hour and gave me a half hour or so of internet access, but I didn't have to do any registering. (I wasn't able to check in online after all. Something odd happened to my e-ticket. When I got to LaGuardia I rushed about in the wrong line here and there and finally got my boarding pass and through security and got to the gate just as they began to board passengers.)

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I found the section called the Popular Library. I wonder if it has always been called that, or Ginny Cooper changed the name. In our Popular Library we have fiction, recorded books, teen materials, dvds and videos, and a few internet computers. This one seems only to have media and computers. While I was there a couple of teens managed to accidentally topple one of the bookshelves standing next to the information desk, cd jewel cases snapping and shattering like they wanted to be glass houses but couldn't find the noise. I couldn't imagine that happening in one of our libraries. The safety czars would never allow freestanding tall furniture like that.

My friend was supposed to meet me, but called when he couldn't get through to me in the thick-walled building, so he gave up and went home. Yeah, well.

On my way back to Flushing, people were flooding the subway for the final Mets game of the season. I realized later that my friend probably wanted to watch the game with greater baseball fans, thus he blew me off. I tuned in to the game on the radio for the tension-filled bases loaded, two outs moment. Here's a little something I wrote in response to a baseball lover on one of my email lists:

that was sad about the mets.

i was on the subway headed back to my hotel when people were getting off the train at shea stadium.

what a neat time to be on that train.

two young men had their tallboys in paper sacks, sitting across from me. they were getting a head start.

the operator annouced "shea stadium. ....shea stadium? i believe that is the word of the day....shea stadium!" (cheers)

as people got off a lengthier salute, well-spoken. more cheers.

later, in flushing's chinatown, people in sportsgear shop, people in bubble tea cafe, eyes glued to television.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

HNT #9: Tree Santa

I've always liked Os's peek-a-boo photo from behind the plant, so I took this one for the HNT theme of Christmas Trees. My father-in-law carves these goofy santas every year for his family. There's one where Santa is flying on a giant duck. On the um, err, tall and err, shapeless Santa he painted the names of all the recipients of the carvings that year. I fuzzed those out, don't want to volunteer other people's names for this half-nekkid thing. He carves somewhere around 20 a year, I'm not sure. He inspired his granddaughter to start carving.

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Sometimes there are angels. I really like the snowman. Not so crazy about the egg-shaped Santa (not shown) that holds a stars-and-stripes decorated shield. I was trying to get more of my hair in this photo, but this was the best I could do. I like that the photo of my Buddha shows up in the background. That was taken for a local paper's article and people's home altars.

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Visit more Half Nekkid Thursday folks here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Few Notes on Libraries

Web-searchable card catalogs
Casey Bisson just noticed and commented on my post from back in May on his take on the google economy. He said it just showed up in technorati. I think that's because I just added labels (ie tags) and re-published almost all my posts. So I tootled on over to his website, and I find he's won the Mellon Award. Mr. Bisson talked that day about his software application that allows library collections to be searchable on the web. He works at PSU, that's Plymouth State University...not PSU, Portland State University.

Wireless in Libraries? People have been asking...
Free wireless is now available in Portland. Right now just close in to downtown. It's possible people will be able to connect from within the Central Library. I learned from a library memo that we are seeking ways to make it work inside buildings, as well as bring wireless to the non-Portland MCL branches. Meanwhile, the Personal Telco Project continues to work on blanketing the city with ad-free wireless.

Satisfied Customers
According to the County Auditor's Survey, people are very satisfied with the Multnomah County Library. Our director said her favorite stat was that "81% of those surveyed said that they were "very satisfied" with the "assistance provided by library staff". Add to that another 16% who were "somewhat satisfied" and you will see a 97% total satisfaction rating." No wonder we're the busiest public library in the nation for the 4th year in a row.

American Library in Burma
The New York Times recently had an article about the library provided by the American Center in Burma. The junta tolerates it even though the US is their enemy. There used to be more such libraries in many countries. It seems they were a cold war weapon, and after that ended, they were dismantled. In 'war on terror' countries, the libraries must hide behind protective walls. Burma seems to be in that diplomatic grey area where the library is still needed, but still safe to be openly available. The library staff person that brought this to our collective attention had herself witnessed the "thirst for books" in Burma, with people sharing books two readers at a time.

Library E-News
Local readers, have you signed up for your MCL library E-Newsletter yet? Here's where you can do that.

Oh, and one more thing. You can now rate books in our card catalog. Some people are using that as a way to remember what books they want to place on hold, because a person's ratings are attached to the library card account. Personally I've always wondered how useful online ratings could be, since they aren't random samples, but people who care enough to share their opinion. But this, this could be useful for personal booklists.

Movies Seen

The L-Word

OK, not a movie, but as good as. I watched the first 2 seasons on DVD. Lesbians. Love. Los Angeles. A Lot of sex, and not just lesbian sex. Shane is the player, everybody sleeps with Shane, Shane doesn't do relationships, and everybody, but everybody, wants to get in her pants. One character finally explains it as that wanting of the unattainable. Somehow, she is the sexiest, most desirable of the characters, my favorite. Perhaps it is also her androgyny. Jennifer Beals is sexier now than her Flashdance days, and she alludes to the bad fashion from that time in the DVD bonus features.

The Mudge Boy

A woman with two full flats of eggs in her basket pedals a bike uphill on a gravel road. She gets off the bike to walk, and flops over dead. Later we find out she is the mother of an odd boy who is just beginning to be sexually aware. Country boys in big trucks rattle through while I as viewer cringe at his vulnerability. The boy finds a way into their circle (money for beer) but the tension of barely contained uncaring violence skirts around the edges. This is a movie about straddling that thin edge where things could go horribly wrong, or things could be all right.

Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train

Howard Zinn became an historian with the understanding that the people's experience of history in the making would not necessarily be the history in the books. He found this out as a young adult during his experience as a labor organizer in the Brooklyn shipyards. After WWII he got his degrees and went to work at a black college....just when the Civil Rights movement was gaining momentum. He was right there with his students.

I was impressed with their civil disobedience in a court in which the judge attempted to retain 'separate but equal'. Howard sat on the black side, his students on the white side. The judge ordered them to move. They did not. Howard stood up and said, "The Supreme Court has ruled that it's illegal to segregate in any courtroom in the United States. Would you mind following the law of the supreme court?" And the judge did.

His wife Roslyn Zinn was there throughout, a wonderful presence. She was always the first to read his books, editing with the eye of a lay person and a reader.

When Howard received an award in France, in his speech he said, "I don't want to invent victories for people's movements but to think that history writing must simply recapitulate the failures that dominate the past is to make historians collaborators in an endless cycle of defeat. Now if history is to be creative, if it is to anticipate a possible future without denying the past, it should, I think, emphasize real possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes in the past when even if in brief flashes people showed the ability to resist, occasionally to win. I'm supposing, perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past's fugitive moments of compassion rather than the solid centuries of warfare."

Just like that moment in the courtroom, I would say.

I've been inspired by this documentary to actually read my People's History, a little bit at a time.

(Just a side note: I don't know why I didn't make this connection before...Jon Kabot-Zinn is the son-in-law of Howard. JKZ was instrumental in bringing Buddhist mindfulness meditation to American medicine.)

Van Helsing

Vampire hunter meets Indiana Jones with a little bit of 007 mixed in.

Off the Map

A girl grows up in the sticks of New Mexico. Her parents live simply, while she wants what she hasn't got. I kept seeing my cousin Jo in Mrs. Grodin, the same weathered stretched-back smile, the same hint of expansive internal landscape. Jo lived much of her adult life in that enchanting land of northern New Mexico.

Scene from movie, the jewel through which the whole can be seen:

"It was like the cornerstone of my childhood...the event upon which I built everything was pulled and everything is toppled. The only thing I can hold on to, right now, Mrs. Grodin...the only thing I know to be my love for you."
"Mr. Gibbs."
"New Mexico is a very powerful place. Often when people first get here it's a little overwhelming."
"Oh. Ah. Well. I do feel a little...displaced."
"You're welcome to stay here, with us. As long as you like, until you get your bearings."

Sunday, December 10, 2006


guaranteed enlightenment experience....

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Oregon Coast Journal

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Our day was beset with obstacles. Steve had some errands to run before we came to the coast. We managed to get up and going by noon, but then the errands took longer than expected. He met up with a former co-worker in a store, someone he'd 'shared the trenches' with, someone he didn't want to blow off and say, "I'm in a hurry." Then he almost didn't go to the battery place, but he did because he wanted to get the alternator checked, and sure enough, it wasn't working at all. He was just running on the juice of the battery. They fixed that, took him over an hour at that. At both Jiffy Lube and Les Schwab they told him the alt was ok. We were relieved that we didn't attempt a drive to the coast without a working alternator.

But then after he got home he still had packing to do. He wanted to pack his computer and see if he could set up wireless here, hitch a ride on somebody's connection. We didn't take off till after 6:30, and we needed dinner.

We got Subway sandwiches in Hillsboro after he picked up some new allergy meds. We started seeing emergency vehicles everywhere. Overpasses icy, accidents everywhere. We kept wondering if we should keep going, each not wanting to disappoint the other. We probably went further than we should have, went about 10 miles on icy roads. Skating rinks, really. Finally we turned back. We got back home at about 8 pm.

We spent a quiet night talking, packing those things we'd forgot. We played Rummikub. Steve told me how much it meant to him that I love him unconditionally, I confirmed that I do. And I told him too how I felt he too loves me unconditionally. "It's incredible," I said. He said, "Yes." I can't convey what was contained in those words, what was conveyed in that exchange. How do I share the timbre of our voices, the message contained in the fullness of the notes, the love that we could indeed confirm in the deep honesty. How can I convey the naked honesty as our eyes meet and hold and say these things? We say we love each other so often, in a lesser relationship we might wonder if we are trying to convince ourselves, but as we confirm beyond the words, it is an attempt to express our delight at this incredible love we have for each other. I doubt we could know the depths of this love if we were not polyamorous. Whether other loves come or go, stay or leave, they increase the capacity of our hearts, and there are no walls in the heart. There is not a compartment for Krissy, for Steve, for Brent, for my closest friends, but that heart capacity just keeps growing, and the fullness is available for each one of our loves. My love for my friends is richer for this love with Steve, and with Steve, richer for the openness allowed through love without limits, polyamory.

What did it matter that we were not at the coast? We might have played another game there, same as here, and we might have had that same quiet time together. Even though we missed the road deadline, this night at home together was just right.


The next day we got going at a decent hour. We didn't have to pack after all. It was then we realized what a gift it was, the necessity to turn back the night before. Even without those obstacles, without the icy roads blocking our way, we would still have had to make the 2 hour drive in the dark. This way we made the drive in daylight, and the snow-covered vistas were breathtaking. I do not miss the days and weeks of snow in Wisconsin, but it fills me with a childlike freshness to see that unspoiled snow on evergreens.

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We stopped at a rest area where I began to see the snow splash from the branches. Little tufts of white making that dive to the white ground below. White running from green, meeting white, so delicate, so perfect.

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We could not have had this the night before. Mid-afternoon we made it to Cannon Beach, where we stopped at the Wayfarer Inn where we've been before. Late lunch, early dinner...for a bit we were the only ones there. Deep fried avocado fingers and stuffed mushroom caps...heavenly. One of the waiters remembered us from a year before. He must have an eye for customers, he said he got in trouble the week before because a woman said he was handing her a line.


I had a leisurely day. Woke up after a full nights sleep at 11:30 am, made coffee, ate Krispy Kreme donuts and sipped cream-laden coffee while watching the ocean. I woke Steve up and we watched the dogs romp: strangers meet each other, kiss noses, wag tails, pee and sniff, and run exuberantly up the beach and to meet other newcomers. It was such a delight to watch these creatures so enjoying the free space of the beach, and to see how they clearly enjoyed it more for having other dog companions.

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The brush mower came along while we were sitting there. The mower part looked like an upside down scoop, inside chains dangled that spun around when the mower was cutting. I saw the roadwork sign when I first sat down, but no mower. Back and forth the tractor moved. Raising the arm to shred the brambles on the banks. Finally the driver carefully trimmed close to a 6-8 inch pipe sticking out of the ground, then backed up and picked up the sign, which I could now see said, "MOWER AHEAD". He strapped it on the back and took off. I figured he must have been on a lunch break when I first came on the scene, as he only did a portion of the bank in front of our windows.

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While we were sitting there I told Steve about my phone call in the afternoon. He told me he was thinking of driving back to Portland and back. Why? Because he forgot his CPAP machine. He managed to keep this secret from me. Me, I could never keep that quiet.

So it took him about 3 hours to get back to Portland, still ice and snow in the mountains. Coming back, he took a longer route so he could avoid possible freezing rain and the icy roads on the higher elevations. My poor Steve, spending so much time driving in nerve wracking conditions. Again it took much longer, and he had to stop less than an hour away to stay at a hotel. The fog was too thick, and roads getting icy.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I've been tagged

According to the rules....

Each player of this game starts with the “6 weird things about you." People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says “you are tagged” in their comments and tell them to read your blog. I was tagged by Regal.

1. I believe I was around 12 years old when I received a chain letter somehow. I was supposed to send a dollar to the first person on the list, send the letter to 100 people, and put my name on the bottom. I did that. My mom wasn't encouraging, but she helped me out by taking me to the library so I could make 100 copies of the letter. (That was the only place one could get a xerox back then.) I sent it to my few friends, to schoolmates I could barely call friends, to relatives I barely knew. I don't remember how I found that many people to send it to. Of course I didn't get any money, and I'm sure somebody told me "chainletters are illegal." I don't know why I'm doing this now....yes I do...because Regal is sweet. I'm not sure I know 6 bloggers I dare to tag this on.

2. I wear men's Ecco boots with skirts. Hey, I need really good shoes to support my weight and keep my ankles straight, and I look good in a skirt. I no longer wear pants, except on the rare occasion I join an exercise class.

3. I do not get jealous. Not only do I not get jealous, I love to help out with the relationships of my relationships.

4. I have had my hair cut by a hair stylist once in the last 20 years. That was not the time I had my hair cut short....I did that myself on a whim just before I turned 30, and my husband at the time helped me trim it neatly. Within 6 months we were divorced. I kept my hair short that year: one length to just under my chin. Within a year I met my love Steve. I stopped cutting my hair short. I didn't plan it that way. Now I joke, "Beware when a woman cuts her hair."

5. I think the TV show "My Name Is Earl" is quite profound.

6. I love kids but I don't have any, nor will I.

Who should I tag?

You're it: Nacho, Sinister Dexterity, Thomas Paine, Chez Bez. Gah, that's all I know. I can't even tag Steve, cuz he's on hiatus, or Krissy cuz I'm not sure she wants these worlds colliding. It's like that chain letter all over again...who have I spoken two words to in the blogging world and won't say "Who's Heidi and why is she sending me a chain letter?"

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Email from Antarctica

I got email and photos sent to me from McMurdo Station in Antarctica. My friend Tina shared that she just finished survival school. This mom, adventurer, scientist, pacifist...I could go on...said, "The weather was very fine, clear skies and around - 9 C so we had plenty of opportunity for recreation, thus Amie and I built the meditation maze."

antarctica meditation maze

That and this next one are my favorite pictures she sent. The only way you know who's inside is by the name patch. That tickles me for some reason.

Tina in antarctica

She confirmed for me that her patch says "United States Antarctic Program National Science Foundation." She said, "The local nickname for the parka is 'big red,' as in "you can use your big red as an extra insulating layer over your sleeping bag." She's using snowmobiles and airplanes to travel to different camps, and has email when at McMurdo, unlike her last expedition 14 years ago.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

New York: Erotica in Chinatown

It just so happened that while I was in New York, a free reading of erotica was happening in Chinatown, so I went. I've liked reading Lusty Lady's column in Village Voice, and she hosts this monthly reading series at Happy Ending Lounge. My companion and I went different ways after seeing Wicked, he to check up on his 'stepson', me to find the library so I could look up just where the erotica reading was. For some oddball flaky pms-y scatterbrain reason I left the printout that I carried all the way with me from Portland back in the hotel room. This was a trip full of obstacles. Some would say the cosmos was trying to tell me something, or at least my subconscious. He said he would call me to find out where we would meet. (He didn't. Why couldn't he just say he didn't want to go? I could tell that, but he still acted like he would meet me. Sheesh.) Before he went the other direction, he pointed me to the library at Bryant Park. (Now I know that the entrance with the lions I found on my last NY visit is temporarily closed. This time I found the right door.)

That was an experience. Here in my Multnomah County Library visitors get a guest pass good for an hour. This was a research library of the NYPL system, and they simply gave me a card good for three years, compete with photo.

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You sign up on the computer, are given a computer and a time, and a receipt prints so you don't forget. The guy before me leaves a few minutes early so I gain a few minutes. I go to the Village Voice website. The sex columns are blocked! Good grief, thanks to CIPA, this research library that needs federal funds, in which I don't see anybody under 25 years, has filtered web access. With a little creative googling, I find out the actual name of the reading series, and the blogspot page for In the Flesh is not filtered. Hallelujah. I guess that's what they mean when they say there are ways around the filters.

Now I knew where I was going and what subway to take and I only had about an hour to get there. I almost missed the door. This Chinatown was grungier and dirtier than Flushing Chinatown. The address led me down a narrow alley with the closed metal doors everywhere. I almost walked by, but I did see the address on the awning. I looked closer at the 2-way mirror doors. Was that a bar? Here in Portland the only places I know of with doors like that are the dirty movie theater and the dirty bookstores. Closer, closer, in tiny print, grey on silver, Happy Ending Lounge. The gatekeeper opened the door for me.

A dark hallway lined with candles led me to a tiny bar, hardly bigger than my living room, I thought. The walls were lined with velvety red cloth, padded. Three or four half-circle booths to my left, curved benches and little ottomans for seats. To my right, a curved wall with bench, little low tables and more ottomans. I asked a pretty blond with drink and open binder notebook if the seat next to her was taken. She gladly bade me sit next to her, and introduced herself as Christen, one of the writers. She was having trouble deciding what to read, because her book Baby Love wasn't exactly erotica, but did have some sexy passages. She was working on her first drink. I figured I'd better get one, since the show was free. Ten bucks, another buck for a tip. I decided since I wasn't really interested in drinking I would nurse that ten buck drink through the evening.

Christen was buoyantly hopping up and returning to her seat: to the restroom; to greet other people; to talk to the host, Rachel. Each time she returned, I picked up her binder notebook and handed it back to her, which earned me a "You're so sweet!" (Takes one to know one.) We developed a comfortable table-mate camaraderie. Her reading turned out to be last, and she admitted right up front that she'd had a couple of drinks so she didn't quite know how it would work out. She was fabulous, quite a performer, and had a funny sexy story about facing her libido's shyness by preparing to masturbate while nursing...but then the fedex guy rang the doorbell.

When I first arrived I wondered how few people they expected, since the room was so small, but we got cosy. There were 6-8 people on our wall bench, where I thought there would be 3 or 4. There were about a dozen people standing near the restrooms. So I would say there were around 50 people in the space, everybody happy and sexually charged by the readings. It didn't hurt that Rachel scored free cupcakes for us, and handed out books she'd got for review. I scored a whodunit mystery with lesbian romance...I can't remember the title because I read it on the plane, and when I finished it I donated it to the Friends of the Library.

Some of the writers were simply readers, some with really great writing, some just ok. Some were performers. I was especially impressed with Mo Beasley and his team of performance poets, as were we all. Christen and I shared a moment of lustiness for Mr. Beasley. He was so fine...and talented. I was thinking it was a good thing my companion didn't show after all. Should I ever visit New York again, I would look for the Urban Erotika performers.

I also especially liked the writing of Stephen Elliott and Jami Attenberg. I told Christen I couldn't believe this was free! I was happy I had the chance to sit next to her.

HNT #8: Sleep Apnea and the View

I'm still watching The View after a month and a half. I understand the show's ratings have gone way up since Rosie O'Donnell joined the show. love her! My favorite part of the show is the Hot Topics section. Get any 4 women together around a table and a cup of coffee or tea, and will the talk not inevitably turn to sex in some way? More on that on The View, later.

I am more hooked on Rosie's blog. Towards the beginning of my reading it, a couple of her fans mentioned her snoring and urged her to get checked for sleep apnea. Rosie said she could never fall asleep in a clinic. Another fan mentioned she could get it done at home. So Rosie finally did that, and they covered it on the show. Indeed she has sleep apnea, and sounds just as buoyant and amazed at how good she feels as I did when I got my CPAP machine. Rosie and her doctor worked with the Sleep Doctor, a sleep expert on WebMD. He was able to hawk his book, Good Night. Rosie seemed to want to blame her weight for the sleep apnea (good grief) but he, the good doctor that he is, managed to squeeze in that people who aren't overweight have it too, and to convey that sleep apnea can cause weight issues. It can also cause death.

People who snore, especially loudly with a snort, must get that checked in a sleep clinic. Don't be embarrassed! Rosie talked about how she was embarrassed and wouldn't go to the doctor. Steve and I think too that because a person's brain is addled from sleep and oxygen deprivation, there is a weird denial that happens.

So here I am, showing my naked medically treated self at night, wearing my mask that blows air from my CPAP machine into my throat, keeping the airway open while I sleep. I call the notion of sleep without my CPAP "fake sleep" because when your airway closes, you never fall asleep deeply enough for REM sleep. Happy and well-rested HNT all!

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Babysitting Toddlers.

Last week I had twin boys for guests while their dad went to an appointment. Their mom is in Antarctica, part of her job as a glaciologist at Portland State University. It is my hope I will be among the 'favorite aunties'. These two year olds are climbers and explorers, but they've been quite respectful so far when they come to visit. Their daddy was surprised they didn't try to go after the cat, but Tim and Sam remembered the kitty could get scared easily.

The boys also remembered "the drawer". (They've only visited my house once before.) In my library I have a telephone chaise. The built-in end table has a drawer where I have stashed all my little toys I've collected here and there. Silly putty, little canisters of play-doh, party noisemakers, prizes from the Wunderland arcade. They especially like the little cars and trucks that are the fragile plastic prizes found in Kinder Surprise Eggs.

The library is the cat's hiding place when anyone comes to visit. We were very very quiet when we went in there to check out the drawer. The cat did a cat-slink out the door and cowered in the next room near my desk. Funny thing was, the boy that Daddy thought would miss him didn't say a thing. The other said several times, "When's Daddy coming?" I assured him Daddy would be back soon. When Daddy finally came back, he didn't want to leave.
They also like to pull things out of my coffee table. Since I tend to cover all vertical surfaces with nests of paper and things, this glass-topped table works out fairly well. I get to display my (and Steve's) little doodads, and I have reason to keep the top surface fairly clear. I just put the bowl and the incense burner with sand up out of the way and let the boys check it out. Funny thing: I've been nervous they could break the glass, but around the time they left, I set something down near the edge and clinked the glass just right so I was the one who chipped the edge.

I'm thinking I'll have to make a trip to Lippman's, the local party supply store, and pick up a few new toys for 'the drawer.' Interestingly, they did not check out these drawers in the coffee table. I imagine I'm living on borrowed time there. Also with the climbing...they haven't yet tried climbing my kitchen drawers.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

New York: Wicked, and Flushing Chinatown

I disappointed my buddy because I didn't remember who played Elphaba in Wicked. He was horrified when he thought for a moment that I didn't remember which character that was. (This is the friend who told me several times he would take me to see Wicked in Portland, but then he didn't. won't stop pouting...) For the record, Elphaba was performed by Ana Gasteyer but as I told my friend, I thought Glinda was better, Kate Reinders. I would have to say the highlight of my October visit to New York was the Museum of Natural History, but this came a close second. It could well be my favorite Broadway musical so far, so it is pretty neat that I first saw it on Broadway. (ok ok, I guess I can stop pouting...though it would have been nice to see it twice) My NY friend (friend?) also thought Glinda was the best. I finally gave my Portland friend the black Wicked sweatshirt I purchased by request for his lovely wife.

Before we entered the theater for the matinee showing, we had lunch at the restaurant right next door, Azalea. I had a yummy salad with watercress, avocado, artichoke hearts and a lemon dressing. The Parmesan cracker was amazing, gotta love melted and hardened cheese, but too much even for me. He had a salad with fresh mozzarella and grilled zucchini, and a rum and coke, "Since you're buying" he said. While walking earlier through Times Square he pulled out some coupons for Subway. I wasn't going to eat something I could get anywhere, and wasn't going to eat in front of him while he salivated, so I offered. Sad thing about Times Square, most of what you saw were places like Subway, MacDonald's, and S'barro. Steve and I talked about that later, how it must be that those are the only kind of food places that can afford the real estate. I was glad to find this place right next to the theater, or I was going to be starving by the time we got out. My companion shared a taste of his mozzerella. I told him it was possibly the best I'd had. He told me cheese in New York is like drugs, or a secret society. You have to go to the back of the store and ask for it and they don't give it up easy.

Part of my vacation turned into a pilgrimage of sorts. I stayed in Flushing Chinatown in Queens.

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A few short blocks away I found buildings from early Quaker history in the New World. In the mid-1600s Flushing was known as Vlissengen, and was part of New Netherlands. The Society of Friends were jailed for holding meetings, yet they persisted. I came across the Bowne House, built in 1661 and the first meeting place for the Friends.

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John Bowne refused to pay the fine when arrested for the offense of hosting the Meeting of Friends, and he also refused the opportunity to escape jail. His civil disobedience and subsequent petition in Holland to the Dutch West India Company earned the Quakers the freedom to practice their religion in New Netherlands. In 1692 John Bowne donated land for a graveyard and a meeting house site. The Meeting House, established in 1694, is still in use by the Society of Friends Meeting for Worship. I found out these places existed from the yellow pages.

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The Society of Friends holds a special place in my spiritual history. When I first moved here to Portland, my first husband and I attended Meeting For Worship. An elder led a class series on a study of Buddhism, and she entered my dreams as a member of my Teacher pantheon.

Around the corner from my hotel I found the Happy Buddha Vegetarian Restaurant.

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Brown-robed monks congregated in the back for their dinner. I missed them, but my companion saw them. We got a platter of appetizers with faux eel, faux duck, tofu in disguise, and very good spring rolls. He got sticky rice, and I wish I had. It included some tasty mushrooms. I could have gone back to try more of the intriguing vegetarian menu.

Next to the restaurant, the Happy Buddha Condominiums, and three doors down, the Temple of Mercy Charity.

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I was urged to step inside to bow and to snap my picture by a sweet Chinese lady.

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Books Read

(these book lists are really to help me remember i read them. ah for the younger days when i remembered the things i read.)

Bloody Bones by Laurell K Hamilton

An Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novel. Still has those sexy BDSM undertones. I imagine I'd find a certain type of person at the scifi conventions who just loves these books and mostly goes there to get laid. There's a really neat afterword by the author, written 10 years later. She looks back and sees how this book really changed the direction of the relationship between Anita (vampire hunter) and Jean-Claude (vampire master of the city). She also talks about how she sees her own personal process through her writing. She also points out how this book is the first one with an actual sex scene and how some readers don't notice it (I did) perhaps because it wasn't the main characters. It was very SM-laden.

Find Me by Rosie O'Donnell that covered

Tithe by Holly Black

I read this before, but I checked it out because I wanted to skim and remind myself of the story before I start on Valient, the sequel. I skimmed for about 5 pages, then found myself simply reading. It's a teen fantasy skating along that dark edge of faerie. Great for those social outcasts, which are, well, all teens. It has a little bit of romance, fairy tale ending of course, a little bit of adventure, and the most important ingredient of all, special powers and magic.

Witch and Curse, books 1 and 2 of the series Wicked by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

Purely witch fantasy escape fiction. Holly comes from a long line of powerful witches but she doesn't know it. Her parents and best friend die because of it, and a Montague/Capulet battle ensues along with a doomed (or is it...more books may tell) Romeo/Juliet love story. Epic magic battles rage on land and sea, seen as great storms and killer whales by the regular folk. I read this because I found it while looking for fantasies for teens as I was working reference. Of course what I found was the 2nd book, and I had to send away for the 1st. There are better books like this out there (confirming my reluctance to read books by 2 authors) but if someone is already hooked on this genre, it's good. The series Sweep by Cate Tiernan probably a better example of the genre. It certainly seems to have a greater fan base.

Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold

Came across this from someone on my college alumni list. Straight science fiction about orbiting space stations and the humans engineered genetically to live in such places. Many of those books written by men miss some of the subtle interconnected details that are implied by these future worlds. This one includes a rather condemning outcome from capitalist amorality. Very classic, with the main character a crusty engineer type.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

HNT #7: Headed to Bed

Osbasso, creator of Half Nekkid Thursday, featured his fresh-out-of- Bed Head today. Mine is what the mirror sees as I get ready for bed, brushing my teeth, etc. No one else sees that, really, though some people might get a similar view for other reasons. See how my hair is in a braid? When I was younger I used to braid my hair to get it up off my neck when hot. Now I wind it up in a bun. Often while at work at the library the handiest hairstick is a pencil. (pencils work the best, too) How librarian-ish is that?

Now, I braid my hair just for bed. I have to, and have been doing so since I was about 18. My hair is a tangled mess in the morning if I don't. Sometimes I remember the show Little House on the Prairie when I do that. Ma Ingalls had her hair up in a bun during the day, and her very long hair in a braid at night.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Find Me

On the plane to New York, I read Rosie O'Donnell's book Find Me. I'm still watching The View because of her, and am addicted to reading her blog. How'd she get to be so wise? I had to know.

In this book, Rosie talks about believing things happen for a reason, and how sometimes she just knows things. Other times, not as deep, but profound, she has spingles. Spine tingles. When she recognizes those significant times, she feels compelled to follow up. In Find Me she tells of an obsessive quest to help a young woman. She recognizes a certain narcissism in wanting to be a superhero, sometimes to the detriment of her own family.

All the while reading this, I found myself thinking, but of course you're a bodhisattva! I found myself composing the short emails to her blog, thinking if it was meant to be, she would find me among the thousands of other messages. How I would tell her a bodhisattva is an enlightened codependent. She says several times in the book that she is not easy to love, with this obsessive superhero complex. I have to wonder though, if that has changed, or really, what her love Kelli would say to that.

Here I was travelling to New York on the basis of one of those spingle moments, thinking that if this man and I met for a reason, I was going to find out. I couldn't turn away, I had to investigate, and here I was reading about someone else's ability to obsess, turn it over into greater understanding, and come through it with a meaningful friendship. I hoped I would too.

Last Sunday I met two of my best friends for lunch. We'd all missed each other this summer, since my work on Sundays kept me away from our rendezvous. My homie asked me how my New York trip was. "A mixed bag." I managed to say it without a quaver. I wasn't quite ready to talk about it I thought.

But my homie wasn't going to let me get away with that. I told her about the confusion and hurt when he said he'd meet me, but wouldn't show up. About the constipation when the toilet wouldn't work and I had to put the brakes on my emotions. My other friend advised kindness for myself. I told them about reaching the understanding that if I chose to be angry and bitter it would make me a smaller person, stunted, but that if I chose to keep my heart open to love I could continue to expand my self, embrace love, love all. All three of us teared up in the noisy restaurant, a small bubble of intimacy among strangers. I was glad my friends could understand that was my kindness to myself. We laughed over my starting out wanting to tell them of the 'good things' like the musical "Wicked" and the erotica reading and the Museum of Natural History, but that the 'bad things' turned out actually to be the 'good things' of the trip.

Yesterday I talked to my homie again about a dream I had. I confessed that as I do with strong feelings, I'd been requesting my dreams to tell me what's up with this. Why did I persist? Why the strong connection? All that time, I could not remember my dreams. I haven't been sleeping well due to back pain and allergy issues. That night, I didn't ask that I could remember, but yesterday morning I had a long dream that I knew was significant. My friend is going through a profound transformation of her own right now, and I asked for her help with her wide open state of mind. Together we realized that

1. I put myself out there in the world as my real self, knowingly. Even if I felt like covering up, cleaning up that messy self, that way is closed to me. [I was walking in the mall in my bathrobe. I knew and didn't care. But then it occurred to me that I might be smelly and my robe dirty and I didn't want to bother others with that so I decided to buy some clothes to wear home. Too late the gates were pulled down on the stores, the mall was closing.]

2. I am making a practice of this love of all, seeing where it leads even with someone far away, but I didn't do that with my family. I got out of Wisconsin, away from my birth family. I had to. I'm sure I knew on some level that it might be easier to chase love far away than to chase love on my own childhood's doorstep, but I confessed to her I probably didn't want to know that. [In the dream I went from the mall in a giant pickup truck that is my brother's, and he is with me when I get to the hilly neighborhood with winding curvy streets. We come across a time traveller (I am a time traveller too) in the body of a dog, too late I realize my nephew Zac was time traveling too and the dog was trying to warn him. My brother and I turned to the dog, too late. Something happened to my nephew and he is dead, injury irreversible in time travel.]

My friend commented it was too bad I couldn't extend this practice of love closer to this home. I said I am, but that in this man's case the love found me and I couldn't turn away, that I have managed to walk that fine edge of remaining open to love but not falling head over heels into love. I was glad that made sense to her, and that she accepts that I am capable of both and many kinds of love.

I could and I do need to make greater effort to reach out to my nephews. That is a long distance love it has been too easy to take for granted, and I need to take care, at least as good a care as I do for this stranger in New York. I have not come out to my birth family as polyamorous and bisexual. In some ways, many ways, they are strangers to me. That was another lifetime, and my nephews grew up without me. It has been vital to me to be honest with a stranger who I would be sexual with, but it has not been vital to me to reveal this truth to my family. No need to shock my grandma, and probably not my mom. If I knew my nephews better, perhaps they need to know me better...something for me to think about.

Incidentally, in Find Me, Rosie transforms some deep scars regarding her mother's death through her obsessive superheroish love. Today on The View her best friend from the age of 3 said that what people might not know about Rosie is how generous Rosie is. When cohost Joy said, "The world does know," Jackie said, "No, you don't." Rosie shushed her. She doesn't want the world to know what a tremendous superhero giver she is. Another bodhisattva clue, I would say. She sees the selfishness in her love, as I do mine, but she keeps turning it over for the benefit of the world, as I try to do mine. She doesn't want the accolades for giving, she doesn't do it to feed her narcissist self.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

HNT #6: Eyeglasses

I was feeling sort of narcissistic and silly about posting another HNT, but I clicked through the 122 HNTers before me, and I felt better about it. What is blogging but at times silly and narcissistic? Certainly some of my resistance may be because I feel like hiding a little, still licking my wounds a little. But, looking through the others, I am inspired to be silly and to come out of hiding.

I got new glasses this week. Another HNTer posted eyeglass pics here, so I thought, why not, we've got our mini-theme for the week. It took me a couple of days to get used to the ground appearing closer to my face. My vision took on that warpy feeling like when you're just starting to get tipsy. I could see individual leaves at the tops of trees. My prescription didn't change much, they say. In fact it's wobbled back and forth the last ten years. I've wondered if there's really been no change, and it just depended on how awake I was at the time of the vision test.

My frames have also wobbled back and forth for the last 5 years. You see, in 2002 I discovered rhinestones. I felt the need for a peace pin, being surrounded by so many flags on lapels, cars, windows, homes, etc. I found a rhinestone peace pin on ebay. Peace pins weren't easy to find at that time, apparently others had the same idea. The sparkle caught my eye in the mirror one day, and I had to get more. Who knew I had some crow in me, I don't really wear jewelry.

So then I found vintage unused frames on ebay, the first pair black. Two years later, the same seller still had some. The second pair same style but brown:

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I figured he was going to run out soon, so I bid on another pair, black again, this one a quarter inch smaller. (I paid less than $25 for each unused frame.) Sometimes I think maybe I'll turn into one of those old ladies that still has her same eyeglass frames from the fifties, or the seventies. People won't be able to recognize me if I actually change my frames. Shouldn't I branch out, change my style? I work half-time in a library, and I would say at least a couple times a month somebody tells me, "I love your glasses." A couple more times a month, some stranger on the street says the same. So I keep them. I glanced around at the eyeglass shop. All the frames looked exactly alike. Who's going to say "I love your glasses" to that? Nobody notices the switch, black to brown, to black:

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The first photo is cropped from this in my hotel in Flushing, Queens. Do I look sad, or just serious?

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Felicityattheling with her artwork inspired me to start talking about it here. This is what I do, get emotionally naked. So often we humans carry around our despair, our unhappiness, our fears, our anxieties, all alone, and we think we're alone in our experience. In the past I hid from others and myself, this out of fear. I came out of hiding among the right people and in the right place, and that fear lost its grip on me. I resonated with Felicity's art: I too felt the fear of being alone. I felt what I thought was love, but really it kept me from loving fully. When I no longer was afraid to be alone, that is, when I had enough confidence and love in my own self, that fear no longer blocked my full loving potential.

Now, many years later, I love to love. Each new experience teaches me how I can love without expectation, without conditions. If violence begets violence, love can only beget more love. I have faith in that. So when I met someone in New York that seemed to have the possibility of a deeper connection, I couldn't turn away even though I am wary of long distance relationships. Well, I hadn't seen all I could see in NY either. And airfare was so cheap. So I went. And he spent some time with me, but he blew hot and cold. He would say he would meet me, and not show after all. That evening I had a choice, to become angry and bitter over being hurt, or keep my heart open to love. I chose love. The moment we met we touched something greater than either of us. I would not spoil that by closing off my heart. I wouldn't let him either. At the Polyween party, Darklady pointed out that people are skittish when encountering polyamory for the first time. I was forgetting while I wasn't completely trusting him, he is probably not trusting me either. She counseled patience.

The great thing, keeping my heart open, not closing off, I come home to my best sweetie with more love than ever.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

New York: Museum of Natural History

we arrive later than intended at the
only a couple of hours to take it in.

the first floor we explore has
dioramas of dead stuffed animals in their habitat.
he says he doesn't like to look at that.
is that for my benefit?
me the vegetarian, he the carnivore?

he says he really wants to see the dinosaurs,
that they redid those exhibits.
that's what i want to see too,
all the real bones of extinct animals.

as we wander the rooms
i take in the whole
and i look up close.
these fossilized bones,
they once gave structure to flesh.

i think about the flesh attaching to the bones
moving sinuously, gracefully, like animals do.
i think about the teeth tearing or grinding food,
about that food travelling
down the throat to the stomach.

this one must be a plant eater, this mammal.
such a big rib cage, surely it had more than one stomach.
we wander sometimes together
sometimes separately.
he has been aloof,
leaving me wanting some sign that he
does care to be there with me.

as we peer at the dinosaur relics
i tell him about holding in my hand
a bit of dinosaur skin,
that my friend told me this
just as she got me so high
and that it blew my mind that
i was holding dinosaur skin in utah.

he chuckled and said
he didn't think i was into that.
suddenly he was more friendly, flirty.
i said it opens doors. (the short version
of my pot-can-be-a-good-thing-at-
moments-in-my-life speech)

now i am getting so close,
imagining myself seeing those animals
seeing how they fought how they ate how they loved
i come upon a creature that
is sort of like a giant crocodile
i stare intently at the brown bones
and i see myself running from it,
its jaws snapping
but wait a minute i couldn't have been human then
am i another animal?

and suddenly he is there
leans in close and says
are you one with it yet?
and i turn quick to look at him
vision gone, replaced.

he moves around me and says,
i spoke too soon. i interrupted.
i could see you running from it.
i almost squeaked.
you did really?
and our eyes meet for a long second.
i wonder, how does this happen?
how does he know?
and why is he so distant,
but suddenly there's no space between us?
somehow we have a connection
in spite of ourselves.

we continue circumambulating
around the floor with the extinct animals.
now i am feeling very much alive
and wishing to confirm that vitality
through urgent eager pressing of the flesh,
a fucking, sucking, head-exploding makeout session.

i begin to feel too much like prey
among giant teeth with jaws that could
tear off my entire head and torso.
i have made them too much alive in my head
or myself too much in their time
so that i am nervous and wish to flee.

i am relieved when we round the corner
and find giant turtles,
my animal of affinity. i tell him
of my vision during meditation, long ago,
and how my friend (of pot-and-dinosaur-skin)
told me we were of the turtle clan
and that's why we clicked.
that i wasn't trying to take someone
else's spiritual tradition, but it was
an important metaphor to me.
he took my photo with the turtle in the sky.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Horse Parking

I first saw one of these in August. About 4 blocks up the street there's a toy horse tied to a ring embedded in the curb, meant to tie horses in the early 1900s.


Yesterday as I walked to the chichi bakery that landed in my neighborhood (goodbye sportsbars, hello swank restaurants) I found the horse still there, but someone has been taking care of it.


(I sent that from my cell phone to my flickr account. Did you know you could do that?)

That evening, I find out from Steve there was an article about it, and he'd been seeing them since around April. (pause while I look for it) I'd wondered if it was just one person doing that or if the idea was spreading and a bunch of people doing it, a meme. Steve thought it was just one person buying up toy horses at Goodwill and parking them around town.

Article here. Website here. Typical of me. I take a while and have to catch up.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Naked for a cause

My three photos are now up at Two are in the delicately coy free-to-view section (still not safe for work), one in the donate-to-view section. They've got the history as to why they started this fundraiser here.

You may visit there and get quite excited looking at all the beautiful barely covered boobs and think that is enough. I did. No matter what kind of boob, they're all beautiful. But then because I submitted a photo that they used in the pay-to-view section, they gave me a password so I could see. Let me tell you, that too is breathtaking. So many nipples standing at attention...why didn't I think of that? Part of what makes me so excited is the way women have managed to share their personalities in their photos, yet these are still just photos of their boobs. It really does turn me on, and I hope I turn someone else on in the same way.

But of course if you want to see the erect nipples, you have to donate money for charity, this being breast cancer awareness month.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

HNT #3: boobiethon

It is half over already, but here's a hint of what I'm submitting to the boobiethon.


IMG_0290 copy


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The next Republican meme

About a year ago I noticed Steve had his clock radio tuned to whatever hate radio station that you'll find Limbaugh because I started waking up to the lies and obfuscations of the man. Steve told me it helps him to wake up faster because he doesn't want to hear that.

It doesn't really help Steve wake up faster: either he doesn't hear it and keeps sleeping, or he keeps hitting the snooze button.

It does help me wake up faster, and I get the dubious lesson in the latest Republican meme.

A couple of months ago or so I woke up to Rush savoring some comment about the "Islamo-Fascists". He was probably ranting about anti-war folks coddling them in the same breath. That was the first I heard the term. I told Steve I figured that was going to be the next big Republican propaganda term. Sure enough, not much later I heard that W used it in a speech, and the pseudo-news was crawling with the term, and now of course the lefties are whining that it's a term that means nothing. Fascists were and are not religious extremists. But hey, if you're going to start calling religious extremists willing to allow innocent people to die for their cause 'fascists', you'd better start talking about the Christo-Fascists that have taken over this country. Or would that be Christiano-Fascists?

It was also my belief that Rush was using this term because too many of us were looking at the Bush regime as fascists. Steal the word, and detractors can't say it any more. They do this all the time. There is no other reason that Bush would say in a speech that we are a nation "addicted to oil". Go here for an interesting dialog on this nation becoming a fascist state, including my comments. They also obscure that they do this propaganda deliberately by trying to point out the first time the term was used. I read somewhere that someone first used the term 'Islamic fascist' in the 90s. Big whoop. They're deliberately marketing it now to keep some kind of support for their perpetual wars.

So, the latest meme this morning, a tried and true [not] meme the Republicans trot out just before elections. Will we never hear the end of it? Limbaugh was saying this generation coming up, weaned on 90210 and the expectation that they would get $400,000/year jobs just like that are going to be taxed all out of it and put in the poorhouse by the Democrats. Oh good grief. Democrats are going to raise taxes.

And the next generation aren't going to have their Beemers because of it. Like the robber-baron companies that tell the Decider what to decide have nothing to do with it. Like war on several fronts has nothing to do with it. Like no-bid wartime deals for those robber-baron companies have nothing to do with it. Like a lack of universal health care has nothing to do with it. Like a lack of universal access to continuing education has nothing to do with it. Like nickel and dime jobs have nothing to do with it.

Nope. Democrats are going to raise taxes, and this is the reason the economy will stink if you vote for Dems instead of Repubs. Steve turned it off. I took my shower. I came back, and Steve turned it back on to see if the mouthpiece of the robber-barons was still talking about it. He was.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Poly Role Models

A smart young poly woman encourages us to be more open about being polyamorous: In a Poly Perfect World. We do have a tendency to hide, especially with the US being taken over by conservative religious throwbacks. I am still selective about who I come out to, but go public here and there and let circumstances do what they will. I worry that some conservative Buddhists will come across my relationship status and my activities in the sex-positive world of Darklady and get upset that I've been in such a leadership role, and that I may even be asked to step down. Heh. Step down from volunteer roles. I also figure that if I do not hide who I am, that my actions and my good relations will speak for themselves.

Part of why I came out to my sangha several years ago is so that they would have my back. I thought they would. I know some of them would. I'm not so sure everyone would. If someone accuses me of being immoral and how dare I represent Buddhism, will my sangha be there for me? This is not a small fear for me. Elizabeth at poly positivity is right, we need positive polyamorous role models. It's not easy though, when even among trusted community, some will see this choice as more threatening morally than an adulterous mistake. Perhaps it won't be long and more people will understand we are not mistaken to choose this. The more we love, the more we find we have love, kindness, and compassion to give. I'm a good example. Elizabeth is. Wendy-O Matik is...the list could go on.

At some point I hope we in this poly world will especially be recognized for our skills in loving. Of course some of us will catch on better than others, and some not at all. I'm not saying we're inherently great at loving, but we definitely get to have much more practice at getting it right.

Outlaw Margarine?

Who knew margarine was illegal in Wisconsin in the 50s? My mom and my grandma both remembered this, and told me again about how it came white like shortening, and you kneaded in the red color tab.

Because Wisconsin is the dairy state, you couldn't buy margarine there. According to Wikipedia, Wisconsin the last state to lift bans on margarine. People would go down to Illinois and buy cases of it and distribute it among family and friends. It was bad if you were caught with contraband margarine. I told them how people find it funny that I grew up in the dairy state but that we always ate margarine. Now we know it is bad for you, and butter is actually better.

It makes me wonder if that is part of why Wisconsinites eat margarine, not just for the 'diet' and the cost, but because once upon a time it was forbidden and a delicacy. Mostly I think it was the cost. My grandma still has margarine in her fridge, not butter. They still only have it at the holidays. I hope they figure out how bad it is for the 'diet'.

At some point after I got off the diet merry-go-round and actually was eating quite healthily, nearly vegan, I stopped eating margarine and started eating butter instead. I think I did so because I was told butter didn't have the same allergic effects as other parts of milk and it was right around that time that alternative health sources were beginning to say how bad margarine is for you. I hadn't yet heard the term hydrogenated oils. I lost about 30 pounds without 'dieting'. Hmmm. It was about that time I broke up with my first husband, who regretted that it was just as I was getting more attractive. Perhaps he'd be glad to know I gained it back and then some when I started eating pizza again. He's not missing out after all. Hah.

Interesting that now New York is pondering a ban of trans fats. What, no margarine allowed, again?

OK, if we go in this direction, at least let's be clear: trans fat is bad for us and gives us the bad cholesterol and makes us fat, but it does not mean that if we're fat, we've got bad cholesterol and are by definition going to die from heart disease. Obesity has not been shown to cause heart disease or diabetes, yet the majority of people seem to think so. Trans fat, on the other hand, can be linked. There's a difference. If I didn't have a job that covered my insurance, insurance wouldn't cover me because of my weight. Will they ask potential customers if they smoke, if they eat margarine, shortening, and processed foods? They'll just ask the weight.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Movies Seen


Dakota Fanning was incredible at 6 years old in I Am Sam. At age 11, she continues to shine and really makes this movie. Of course Elizabeth Shue, Kurt Russell, and Kris Kristofferson are nothing to sneeze at. So, the movie may be one giant Disney cliche (actually Dreamworks) but it works. They brought in the same horse people that worked on Seabiscuit. Great movie for girls, of course.

Born Into Brothels

A photographer goes to live in the brothels in Calcutta, India so she can get to know the people so they will trust her to photograph them. She discovers the children there, and her project changes. She gets cameras for the kids and teaches them photography. Zana Briski also formed the nonprofit Kids With Cameras, and made it her work to get the children into better schools...not an easy task. Everyone should see this movie.


Maybe I placed a hold on this at the library because it's set in Oregon, filmed in Oregon, and includes Elliott Smith in the soundtrack. A teen who still sucks his thumb tries to find his way with the help of some not-quite-real characters. Keanu Reeves with shades of a nearing-forty Ted-as-orthodontist, a girlfriend who toys with him, a teacher who crosses all kinds of boundaries. It was the absolutely perfect movie to go with Elliott Smith music.

Books Read

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead

This author is fiendishly clever. A person could start reading this book and think it's a straightforward scifi novel: imagine a city where many if not most buildings are skyscrapers, and the elevator inspectors have a crucial position of power in the city. Among those inspectors are the Empiricists, who inspect elevators in the usual way, by physically inspecting the bits and pieces and ticking things off a list, and there are the Intuitionists, who enter an elevator and 'feel' where the problem lies. Clearly this is a scifi world where people have some sort of paranormal talent, and the world of elevators is a Big Deal.

But as a person gets further into the story, she realizes that this world shares quite a bit of the history of the real world, including the rampant racism and the struggle of black people to enter competitively into the world of whites. The reader thinks, "Wait a minute, wouldn't elevators be the center of the world to an elevator inspector?" Maybe this world isn't such a scifi world after all, but a funny fishbowl look at an insular guild with all the trappings of politics, bribes, and bigotry. Funny thing is, the Intuitionists have a better track record than the empiricists. It's a quick read, but don't let that fool ya. I'm still thinking about it two weeks later. Heh, elevators as metaphors of the human race.

Grass Dancer by Susan Power

I like to read Native American authors. I must admit I grew up with a romanticized vision of American Indians that white people are prone to having. I also grew up with an unconscious racism that I hope I have rooted out and purged from my self-understanding. As with any fiction, I get an opportunity to get inside the head of a character and her life, and with this book I get a glimpse of the grass dancer. I get a glimpse of the social webs that inform attenders of a powwow, a glimpse of the real presence of ancestors in a native's life. The author warns, quoted here, "I worry too much that people read my work sometimes as History, Sociology, Ethnography, when it's really fiction, and that's all it's meant to be." And she tells a good story, albeit backwards. Most chapters step back in time, sort of like peeling off layers of quilts to find the core of the story that is the body of the ancestral archetype.

The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

Darn it, there's too many patrons at my current library who like scifi/fantasy and are making me aware of more books that I just have to read. Ah, at least they're usually quick reads. In this universe, various countries are run by magicians who get their magical power from djinni. Magicians are no great beings, but petty overlords that think of their djinni slaves as demons, and non-magicians as commoners. As is often the case with fantasy, this trilogy shows some promise in the exploration of class and bigotry.

The Blue Girl by Charles de Lint

Another take on dangerous fairies and the people who attract their attention, and outcast teens becoming something special. A girl moves to town with a past and a free spirit. I've known a couple of strong young women why got messed up around age 13 but they got past that and are now ahead of the game. Tough smart and kind this character reminds me of them. She gets to know a ghost which leads her to the slightly cruel world of fairies. The book is as much or more about her friendship with Maxine who learns to find herself again a character so thus to life

Shadows in Darkness by Elaine Cunningham

A woman must leave the police force when a drug bust goes bad. The first hint that all is not as it seems is when her dying cop friend watches her leave the scene and sees her blue halo.

Clues of corruption and deeper intrigue keep the book moving along, with sexy elven tension kicking it up a notch. Reminds me a lot of Laurell K. Hamilton but with more complex story threads.

Redefining Our Relationships by Wendy-O Matik

I could have written a lot of this book. I have discovered for myself and written a lot of the ideas of this book. I find it interesting that there are so many ways in which people who really give polyamory a fair shake with integrity come upon the same universal ideas. Those who judge it from the outside don't, and those who haven't yet experienced it, don't. This would be a great book for someone who wants to experience polyamory, but wants to know more about what it can be like.

Killing Color by Charlotte Watson Sherman

Very earthy earth mother out of Africa book of short stories. A hint of sacred sexuality enters almost every story. I like that. Every story also has this pulsing ancient wisdom coursing through the bodies of characters, a very physical spirituality. I like that too but not all the time. I didn't get the sense that the characters were different people, but more different aspects, and not very different, of one person.

History at the Kohler Design Center

The Design Center had a floor dedicated to the history of the Kohler Company. Of course the first thing Grandma did was go look to see if there was a picture or mention of Grandpa. The center had a DVD that played over and over about the history of the company, about 25 minutes. I learned that a son of the founder, Walter Kohler, built the American Club to house immigrants, which had a school where they could learn English. His father, John Michael Kohler, was an immigrant from Austria, and set up shop with his father-in-law. After his first wife died he married her little sister. Walter also became a governor of Wisconsin. What a good man, remembered his roots, took care of his workers.

Jump to Walter's grandson who was in charge in 1956. That's when my grandpa worked there and the workers went on strike. Somehow the video and the displays skipped over any mention of those years. I did not even see the word 'strike'. Interesting.


Interesting too that the art found there was this WPA style celebrating workers:


Walter set up a fifty year plan for the company and the Village of Kohler. He went to Europe to examine 'garden cities' and designed Kohler to include natural elements and to use nature to buffer the residential area from the factory. He said people should not only receive wages, they should receive roses. He clearly cared.

But by the time it got to his great grandson, Herbie Kohler Jr, the next 50 year plan included elite golf resorts. The American Club became an exclusive hotel. What a change. It made me wonder if it is inevitable, this familial decline.

What happened in that family that they lost the roots of their founder, the compassion of his son? I might not jump to that conclusion, but then why not show the bad with the good, the strike along with the philanthropy? My mom did say Herbie Kohler Jr does some philanthropic things for the community.

Originally an ironworks, Kohler made gas line fittings among other things:


Kohler was always innovative in its designs. First to bring color to its metal that could match porcelain dishes:

IMG_0255 This one is for you, Steve: