My Families

Since I’m going to be talking about my family a lot more than previously, it’s probably time I actually lay out who-all is in my family.

I know family life is always complicated, but mine is a bit more complicated than most, having two families-of-origin and a sprawling overlap of chosen family/polyamorous network.

My families of origin probably won’t be showing up that often, if only because (due to various kinds of distance) they just aren’t an active part of my life these days. Which is a sad.

Family of Origin 1

My birth family, including father, mother (recent deceased), 5 siblings, an aunt, a grandfather, a sister-in-law, and a sort-of uncle (my mother’s brother-of-choice) who I tend to forget exists half the time. (Sorry!)

Family of Origin 2

My adoptive family, including father (deceased), mother, brother, assorted aunts, uncles, and cousins, and apparently soon a sister-in-law.

Chosen Family/Polyam Network

Several of these folks will be coming up regularly. Especially in relation to generational household and old ‘woman’, but also sometimes also the farm. Often enough and enough detail that I went around and asked a bunch of them if they were okay being talked about and what name I should use for them.

  1. Michael — nesting partner, father of two of my children, my BDSM submissive & pet (24/7). They/them. Patronus is a demon.
  2. Michon — cuilmate, mother of two of my children, co-dom to Michael, head of family. Ze/hir. Patronus is a dragon.
  3. Dilip Numitor Amalia Chetana Waller — father of two of my children, Michon’s live-in co-parent, still figuring out where he fits in our weirdness. He/him. Told me to come up with a pseudonym for him, so I used my favorite random name generator. Now he’s stuck with it.
  4. C — girlfriend, LDR. She/her. Patronus is a cat.
  5. Ericka — Michael’s girlfriend & BDSM submissive, my friend. She/her. Patronus is probably a cat.
  6. B — sister-of-choice, auntie to two of my kids, mother to a kid of her own. She/her

Other folks who will also get mention from time to time:

  • The five kids Tween, Kid 1, Kid 2, Kidling, and Kidlet. For those who have been following the blog a while, none of these were part of the custody battle I was involved in several years ago. Tween is B’s kid. The others are mine by birth or by choice.
  • Michael’s brother-by-choice (J)
  • J’s mom, whose become mom-by-choice to me and Michael (MB)
  • Ericka’s Nana

Safer Sex for the Non-Monogamous is Available for Pre-Order! (sort of)

safer sex for the non-monogamous coverSafer Sex for the Non-Monogamous is now available for pre-order in ebook on Amazon. Ebook only, because Amazon is annoying like that.

The paperback version is be available as soon as Amazon gets it’s thumb out, supposedly sometime before Thursday.

Paperbook version is now available on Amazon and whatever other etailers KDP does print-on-demand for. Because of Amazon weirdness, the paperbook can be ordered now while the ebook is on pre-order. Meh.

The ebook will be available on other etailers Thursday.

The Farm: Lifetime Resolutions

The sad truth is that to some extent (and I’m not sure how much), I was taken in by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s romanticization of farm life as a child. And the more I learn about both the reality of farming and of Wilder, the more that disturbs me. But if that was the seed to my desire to have a farm, it grew into a very different thing based on experience.

Down on the… Backyard

Not much experience, true. But for most of my middle school and teen years, my father and I kept a small vegetable garden in our backyard. Strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli once — that we didn’t harvest soon enough and went to seed.

And I loved it. I loved almost every part of it — picking out the baby plants or seeds at the store, preparing the ground, watching them grow, watering… okay, not the weeding… but I also loved how the stuff we bought at the supermarket never tasted as good as what we grew ourselves.

Supermarket strawberries were more sour than sweet. Our strawberries were a delicious button of sweetness with just a hint of sour. Store cucumbers were watery and tasteless. Our cucumbers, while still milder than I’d prefer, were crunchy and had a light flavor I could enjoy once in a while. And lettuce. I don’t know what lettuce Mom was buying at the store, but it never tasted anything like fresh picked from out back. We grew leaf lettuce, so instead of harvesting a whole head at a time, I could pick just enough leaves for salad or sandwiches.

The garden was a bit of a sore spot between me and Mom. Dad got into just because Dad liked gardening. But Mom wasn’t one for getting dirty. And she didn’t understand why when I was so picky and didn’t eat half of what we grew, I still wanted to keep growing vegetables. Though she did get into it after a few years and talked about planting a row of corn at the back so we’d have fresh all summer.

Two Goals, One Farm

Michael had always wanted a farm too, but their idea of a farm was more livestock focused. They talk about wanting chickens and goats and pigs (no) and llamas and… They also have a more commercial focus for the farm. Which, they kind of need if they are going to raise livestock. Starting with heirloom seeds or even wild plants, the cost of a large garden/small farm can be more than covered in what we save on groceries. (I have a not-so-short list of native and other wild food plants I’d like to grow.) If I have enough extra to set up a roadside stand or a small boxed-food thing, that’s a bonus.

Animals are expensive, both getting them, feeding them, and caring for them. So Michael needs the farm to be commercial in a way that I don’t. Michon is all about the animals too. Ze and Michael will get into discussions about sheep vs goats and why they don’t want guinea fowl. Honestly after ten minutes I lose interest.

I don’t have anything against raising animals, but it’s not where I want to put my time and energy. I don’t have experience or much knowledge to contribute. I’ll give my opinion if they ask for it and have occasionally put my foot down (no pigs). Michael and I both have ‘Farm’ on our list of 5 things to do with our lives. We have rather different ideas of what we want to do with the farm. If this gets off the ground, we will largely be running in parallel (while pitching in to help each other as we can).

That’s not to say I wouldn’t want the farm to be commercial. I love the idea of doing monthly boxes or similar that folks can sign up for. I spent a fun afternoon brainstorming different kinds of boxes, from basic veggies to a native foods box, to a canned and stewed box for over the winter.

But making it commercial is, for me, a nice bonus. The goal is to have the land, energy, and resources to grow food to feed my family for a good chunk of the year while saving on grocery bills.

Abuse, Franklin Veaux, and the Polyamory Communities

At this point I have almost entirely separated myself from the polyam communities. Partly, that’s been the result of my needing to get the hell off of Facebook for my own wellbeing. But another part, that I have never talked about publicly, is that I was gaslit by one polyam leader in front of a dozen or so other polyam leaders, and no one, including (I think) some of the folks on the team calling Franklin out now, spoke up*. Two people reached out me privately, one of whom wanted something from me related to the discussion, so I’ve never been sure if they would have reached out otherwise.

There isn’t a decent sized polyam group on the web that some of those people aren’t part of. So I just don’t feel safe.

No, the person who gaslit me wasn’t Franklin. No I am not going to name them at this time. Or probably ever, honestly. They did reach outout me privately about a year after the incident to offer an (I believe sincere) apology. Unfortunately, the way they apologized compounded the original harm done as well as arriving at literally the worst possible time. My reply to them was rather harsh as a result and I haven’t heard from them since.

If you read this, I am in a better place now and am still willing to talk further when you are ready.

If you were part of that community and discussion and stood by, fuck you for having a hand in driving me out of a community I loved and being too blind to even notice.

I am glad that Franklin is being called in. The more distance I gave myself from the community, the more clearly I saw the problems in his attitude and writing. I was saddened but not surprised by the post on Medium last week.

But it’s not just Franklin, okay?

Just like it wasn’t just Wes. And it won’t be just whoever is called in/out next.

I am not good at community. I substitute enthusiasm for real ability at people stuff and mostly it works well enough. But I don’t begin to know what, if anything can be done about the pervasiveness of abuse, much of which is the result of living in an abusive culture that actively teaches harmful interactions.

So I don’t have any useful suggestions or ideas. Just… be aware, okay? Be aware.

 

*Multiple people on that team were part of that community. I do not clearly recall if any were part of that specific discussion. Truth is, my PTSD brain doesn’t much care.

Cuil Press, LLC: Lifetime Resolutions

Cuil Press is the indie publishing company Michon and I started a couple years ago. It’s had a very slow and rocky start, but I think we are finally finding our stride.

This particular resolution is in many ways the weakest. Not because my commitment is lower, but because I don’t have as clear an idea of what I am trying to achieve.

Partly, that may be because Cuil Press wasn’t my dream to begin with. It was Michon’s. And while I’m the one who grabbed the bull by the horns and said ‘Okay, let’s do this!’ ze is still the visionary of the Press. But a bigger part is that I’m afraid to come up with a specific goal for the Press.

I grew up watching disagreements about what direction to take a family business tear that business (and, as it appeared) family apart. It was only much later that I understood there never had been a family as I understood the term. Only people who felt stuck together by blood ties and business ownership.

Any goal I have for the Press risks coming into conflict with Michon’s vision for what it can and should be. And after what happened to the business my grandfather started, that possibility worries me more than it probably should.

So realistically, what do I want for the Press?

I want it to be bringing in enough money to pay us a reasonable amount for the time we put in and be able to offer our authors reasonable advances.

I want to be able to keep it going as a viable business, possibly even something that other people can pick up and continue after we retire.

I don’t want it to become a full-time job. (See Bookshelf)

I want to stay true to the ideas that led to us creating Cuil Press in the first place.

I think that’s enough.

Blog posts related to this resolution will be about editing, marketing, small business, the publishing industry, and other related stuff.

Generational Home: the gang’s all here

Today we’re talking about another one of those lifetime resolutions — having a generational home. I want to live with as many of my US family as possible. I don’t expect to get everyone under one roof, if only because my girlfriend is more of a loner. But we have… Call it a core group of five of us and our kids who want to all live together. And maybe others in time.

Personally, I’m flexible on the how. One big house, tiny apartment building we own together, cohousing set up, I can work with any of it. Just so we are all together.

We’re already working towards it

I’m really excited that we may be taking some big steps closer to this goal. If all goes well, by this time next year, everyone in that core group will be living in the same locality. Michael’s girlfriend and her grandmother will be moving in May, and the other night my cuilmate told me that hir goal is to move within the year, along with hir coparent and kids. (Coparent wasn’t expecting to move so soon, but is mostly on board.)

In my dreams

Ideally (there’s that word again) this would be more than the five of us. It would be (as the name says) a generational home, including girlfriend’s grandmother and my kid’s adopted grandma, Michael’s brother and Mom, and maybe others. It would continue after us. As we get older and step back, our kids or others we invite to join us will step up and, keep the space going.

Ideally, because modern society strains generational families to the breaking point, which is how we ended up with the cultural ideal of the nuclear family in the first place, but we’ll see.

This goal and the Old ‘Woman’ goal are the two that will consume my life. The others all have places where I can say, yeah, I’ve achieved this and I’m stopping now. These goals will only be finished when I pass on responsibility for them to the next generation. Assuming that day ever comes.

Interactive Kinky Fic: an experiment

No blog post today, it’s been a shit week and the grief hit hard.

But I got a bit silly this morning and put a thing up on the Fediverse:

Walking down a residential street, you come across an …. Unusual display. First, stands a sign that reads “Ask — but no touching”. Next to the sign, a naked, blindfolded person hangs from a St. Andrew’s cross.

A few feet past them…

Read the full thing here. And if you have an account on a Fediverse instance, you can reply with what ‘you’ do and see what happens.

Gonna post these interactive kink bits once a week or so for the next month and see how it goes. If there is interest I might keep going.

Safer Sex for the Non-Monogamous Cover Preview

It’ll probably be another week before I’m back to regular blogging, but I haven’t been completely idle. I finished the rough draft of the Safer Sex for the Non-Monogamous cover and thought I might share it here:

safer sex for the non-monogamous cover

Want to be the first to know?

The newsletter I started for Polyamory on Purpose isn’t entirely defunct. In fact, newsletter subscribers got to see the cover last week (okay, Friday, it was technically still last week 😛 ).

If you want first word of covers, pre-order availability, sales, etc, go ahead and sign up. I’m only sending newsletters out every couple of months, so you’re inbox won’t get cluttered with announcements and stuff.

Pausing to Grieve (and book delay)

On Wednesday the 9th, or the 3rd of Sh’vat on the Hebrew calendar which will mark my mourning year, I got a call from my sister in Israel.

I knew before I answered the phone. Had more than half been expecting. Sepsis is a nasty, nasty infection and kills more than it’s share of perfectly healthy people.

Ima hasn’t been healthy in the entire time I’ve known her. Knew her.

She was buried on the 4th of Sh’vat and our week of sitting shiva began. I wasn’t able to keep shiva as fully as I’d have liked. There’s a reason all the mourners are supposed to come together for shiva with a community around them to help them mourn. I wasn’t completely alone, my rabbi was good about staying in touch, and some friends made time to ‘sit’ with me on Discord or by phone.  But I was more alone than I would have liked.

Shiva is over now, and I’m well into the first month of mourning. And… it’s pretty much the rollercoaster I expected.

Of all weeks, Kid chose week of shiva to get serious about taking up Magic the Gathering. In some ways, that’s been good. It’s been a low-pressure thing to spend time one when I can’t do anything but need to do something to stop the bad thoughts. (Not the grieving thoughts, those are healthy and needed. But most folks with mental health problems are familiar with the way healthy sad/angry/hurting thoughts can slide into unhealthy, damaging thoughts. So distraction at the right time can be good.)

In other ways, it’s been rough because he doesn’t always understand when I need to cut short a game, or just start crying randomly.

He never had a chance to know his savta. Neither did Kidling, of course, but she’s young enough this is all going over her head. He knows what death is, we’ve had pets that died. But he hasn’t before seen the kind of deep grief and mourning that comes with this kind of death.

Anyway, I’m babbling on more than I meant to. This post is sort of a heads up.

1st, I’m getting a post up about my Resolutions blog series this week. I don’t know for sure when I’ll start it again, though I hope to get back to it next week.

2nd, After agonizing about it since shiva ended, I’m going to need to push back the publication date for Safer Sex for the Non-Monogamous. I just can’t work on it right now. So instead of February 14th (it wasn’t intentional, but I loved the idea of publishing this book on Valentines Day, damn it!) it will be out on March 14th.

3rd, there are probably going to be times over the next few months/year when this blog is going to function as a sort of grieving journal for me.

See you (hopefully) next week.

When I Grow Up I Want to Be HER

I mentioned having an identity goal a few weeks ago. This is it.

For as long as I can remember, I have an image in my head. This image is a mix of real people I have known over the years, characters who struck a chord in me, a few philosophical discussions, and, yes, some stereotypes.

I refer to her as the ‘old woman,’ partly because the majority of the people (real and fictional) who went into making her are/were women. Partly because for most of my life I thought I was a woman.

She is who I want to be when I ‘grow up.’

I don’t think I can encompass an idea I’ve built up over a lifetime in a single blog post, but I can try to hit the highlights.

The Old Woman

The first thing that would strike most people about her is her self assurance. She wears her grey hairs as the badge of life and experience they are. She knows who and what she is and is comfortable with that knowledge.

Her home is a sanctuary she has built, both for herself and others. It rings with music, is frequently filled with the smells of fresh baking, has cozy nooks for someone who needs some space to curl up with one of the many books (bookcases in every room). Outside are flower and herb and vegetable gardens ringing the house.

Her favorite thing is to have her home filled with the sounds of family and friends, but she can be content in herself when everyone is out or gone home. She isn’t very active in the local community, being content to save most physical interaction for family and friends. But she has wide-ranging correspondence with people from all over the world. And without ever leaving her locality she is able to open her young family member’s eyes to some of the true scope of the world around them.

She is one of the center-poles of her family. Organizing family events, ensuring that everyone is up-to-date on the latest changes, and folks who need help are connected with folks who can help. ONE of the center poles because she encouraged and helped others take on these roles also. She knows that if she is the only one the family will lose coherence when she needs to step down from this role.

And Me

After putting a great deal of thought into it, I do think this is someone I can become, or come close to. There is nothing in this characterization that conflicts with who I am. Not like if I, say, wanted to become a world-renowned speaker or a local community leader *shudder*. It embraces things which have always been core to me–family, connecting with and learning from people, taking care of folks I love, music, being a home-body, not liking in-person socializing. But it also challenges me to grow, not into something different, but into a more capable, confident, comfortable version of who I am now.

And since I generally like who I am now, but want to be MORE than I am now, I think that’s a good thing.

Future posts related to this goal will be varied, I’m not sure yet what topics beyond self-care and baking will come up. Just gonna see how it goes, I guess.