Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Weird, odd, slightly unnerving, and certainly not serene.

Weirder and weirder, and more complicated by the moment.


Firstly the less-explainable things. No, I don't claim to have any idea what's going on. Yes, I know it all sounds strange and occasionally improbable.

Wednesday before last, I came home from work early because of a stomachache, and promptly passed out on the couch for several hours. I did figure that at some point Tim would come over and wake me up, but he didn't, and I woke up in time to see him, Ray, and Dwen pulling out of the parking lot, presumably on their way to dinner. Relieved that nobody was going to require me to be social, I immediately passed out again.

While I was asleep the first time, though, I had...a dream, sort of, except not, that Tim was over checking on me. I remember (without a memory of actually seeing him) him standing outside, looking in the sliding glass door; seeing I was asleep, and walking away. This was reassuring and a little odd, and I figured I'd heard him or something in my sleep, and incorporated it into my dreaming.

The next morning I asked him over IM if he had, indeed, walked over to make sure I was okay. He answered, rather diffidently, that he had not...physically. He'd simply cast his mind my way to check on me. Upon comparing notes, we discovered that our experiences pretty well matched up.

Now, I've always wanted to believe in magic, and never found any evidence of it. Could this be coincidence? Absolutely; there's no proof that anything truly odd happened. Nothing my old, skeptical, no-faith self would have put any credence into. Now? Now, I feel sure that I know what happened, even as I scramble towards more mundane explanations.

Still awfully, awfully strange.

For the last couple weeks I've been very emotionally up-and-down (not surprising, what with one thing and another) and also very ... sensitive, I suppose. I'm not sure how else to put it. Background noise makes me twitchy; scents too faint for most people to even smell make me feel sick. I'm hungry all the time, except when I'm stuffed, but I have to find just the right thing to eat or I can't make myself eat it, no matter how hungry I am. And half the time even if it feels like the right thing I wind up with a stomachache.

Even soft clothing chafes. Shoes drive me nuts. I get barefoot at the slightest opportunity; I'm naked as often as I can manage it. I have the music at work turned low enough that nobody else can even hear it, and it's still a little loud for me. A truck driving past Tim's place, several hundred feet away and not using jake brakes or anything, and I have to plug my ears. I've gone from perhaps one headache every couple years to one most every day.

Last Friday Tim, Ray and I went to a restaurant, planning to meet a friend of ours. He showed up quite late and immediately disappeared into the bathroom for an inordinate amount of time; when Ray got worried and proposed to check on him, I said 'don't worry, the toilet just flushed, he's on his way out'. Forty feet across the (not empty) restaurant and around a corner, through the door, with several tables full of people talking between it and us. I have average hearing at best; I should not have been able to hear that.

Saturday Tim and I went up into the mountains and spent several hours walking around, climbing rocks, and taking pictures. It was the calmest I've been in weeks, up in the quiet with only the rushing water and the wind in the trees, Tim's calm the only human emotion impinging on me. When we got back I promptly stripped naked and sprawled around in his room while he played computer games -- too hot, too sticky, and my clothing just itched. I could smell myself, not surprising after the day we'd had; but despite no physical contact other than a kiss or two and a hand offered to help balance on a rock, I could smell him on me, too, strongly enough that it almost overwhelmed my own scent.

At one point that same day, I found myself physically incapable of going on -- into a little-known section near the falls, a cove in the river with trees arching over and rocks just so -- without taking off my shoes. One does not, after all, wear shoes on holy ground.

At work, the lack of customers and the slowly-increasing despair of everyone who works here is such that even on the best of days, I arrive and immediately become depressed. I've been meaning to blog this for over a week and when I get here, I cannot write. Can't even focus on the screen, read and comprehend anything more complicated than a blog post.

And there's my experience of the Eucharist week before last. It was huge, powerful, it left me shaken. I'm still shaken.

I feel as if I have been pumped full of energy that I plain don't know how to deal with. I feel jerky, twitchy, like someone who's just discovered that yes, that is an electric fence. My attention span is nil, my tolerance for the unusual, the loud, the abrasive, nearly as bad.

I'm not like this. I don't get headaches. I have a cast-iron stomach and can eat basically anything. Sudden loud noises elicit a shrug or, at worst, a bit of a twitch. I filter out a bad smell within a few minutes. I'm not like this.

Some of it I can easily blame on stress -- the food issues, at the very least. The rest? I don't know what's going on. I feel like all of my walls are coming down and I can't stop them, and I don't know what's coming in, other than 'everything'. And 'everything' is a hell of a lot bigger than I thought it was.


And in the outer world? Tim and Ray, when their lease is up, will be moving north, probably to Fort Collins to be near Tim's work. Ray's depression is such that he hasn't looked for a job, doesn't have an opinion on where to move to, can't keep the apartment clean, can't cook, can only do simple tasks and only when reminded. I'm deciding whether or not I want to move in with them (complicated as much for the sheer volume of cats involved as for the mechanics of three people in a relationship) or whether I'm going to get my own place up there, near them, like we are now.

Ray isn't sure he wants to move in with me; there's the possibility, he argues, that I'll do things that'll drive him nuts. And while I'll admit that's the case -- isn't it always? And I know I'm hardly perfect -- he already does things that annoy me, such as nothing, leaving Tim to do all the cooking, cleaning, dealing with the animals, bringing in all the income, taking all the responsibility for decisions for the both of them. I'm already mad at Ray for that, have held it back, have counselled him calmly to go to a doctor, get on medication, find a counsellor of some sort, at least get out of the house and do something, and he won't, he does nothing.

And then I remember when I was there. For years. Never as far down as Ray is, but certainly not the paragon I wish him (and myself) to be. I catch myself before saying to him something Lewis would have (did!) say to me. I don't want to say those things, I don't want to be Lewis. I don't want to hurt Ray the way Lewis hurt me. I want to help Ray, and I don't know how; and I've barely got the energy to help myself. I have little to spare for others.

Tim tells me not to worry, that Ray is his responsibility, but. If we're going to be a triad, then we all have to be responsible for all of us. And if I'm going to be living with Ray, I need to be able to interact with him somehow.

At the same time, I know Tim is reaching his breaking point with Ray. He's got near-infinite patience, but only near-. He knows that Ray takes their relationship less seriously than he does and it hurts him. (Ray, at 22, is not particularly ready for the kind of commitment that Tim, at 37, is looking for.) He's seeing similar things with Ray that he had problems with in his first marriage and he wonders if he's learned anything, or if he will; or if he'll always wind up the responsible partner, the one trying to fix whoever he's with, who'll one day wake up a grownup and thank Tim...and leave him to live out their life.

I find myself waiting for the two of them to break up, and pulling away from Ray so I'm not hurt when it happens. I've been hurt so much; surely it isn't a sin to try to prevent further hurt? But Jesus said 'love', not 'love when it won't hurt'.

But might it not be better to love from a distance? Or am I just trying to find the easy way out?

That left undecided, this week I started looking for jobs in Fort Collins. At the very least I want to be close to Tim.

And got a call to an interview to a place fifteen minutes south of Longmont. A small office, nice people, a job that I know I can do and with an appropriate amount of responsibility, and more pay than I thought I could hope for. The interviewer (the owner) said repeatedly that he liked me, my enthusiasm, my personality. I think that I am very likely to be offered this job. Tim has already moved his house-search south to Loveland (a fifteen minute commute for him, perhaps half an hour for me) because of this possible job, with Ray's agreement. (Is it catty to note that Tim had to ask twice to get a response?) If I'm offered it, I'll take it; I can't afford not to. And it does sound like a good job, one I'll enjoy. But so very far away from Fort Collins...

Tim made a comment several days ago, a gaming analogy, partly joking but unnervingly accurate: I mastered the level I was on, so I leveled up and the next level is harder. Another friend noted that at the same time, the new level has goodies and special stuff, and the GM is kind and lets me figure them out by myself...including the ones I didn't know I had until I'd been using them for a while.

Me, some days I'd rather just play FreeCell. Or maybe Tic-Tac-Toe.


And on top of all that, every time I stop typing and fold my hands in front of myself for a moment's contemplation, when I look down at them I see my father's hands. Slightly less work-scarred (but only slightly) and definitely with longer nails, but my father's hands.

I miss him.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Addicted to the Eucharist?

It's been...odd.

So I went to church on Sunday, having missed two weeks in a row (once for snugglings, one due to err oversleeping). Woke up in a crappy mood which promptly got worse. Instead of getting up early and getting a few things done before going, I go up late, flew around trying to get ready on time, and was frazzled and off-balance before I even left the house.

I did get here early enough to help set up before mass, which made me feel a little better. But then mass started, and I'd forgotten - Father's Day. I miss my daddy. It's been long enough that it's not the ongoing ache it was ten years ago, but it's still there.

Which led to me thinking far too hard -- Dad wasn't ever the churchgoing type. He'd show up if there was something special going on involving my sister and I -- baptisms, confirmations, and such -- and leave, slip quietly out the back, after our part was done. I never did get around to asking him his views on religion, and I regret that.

But it got me wondering what happened when he died. He was a good man. He treated us all well, he worked hard to take care of the family. He taught me a lot about working hard and gave me my first job. But he didn't believe in Jesus. And many of the people I'm currently sharing a religion with would say that when it comes to where he's gone, only the last part really matters.

I can't agree with that.

What with one thing and another, I just felt worse and worse. The sermon, about which I cannot remember a thing, was thoughtful and well-presented and only made me feel crappier. It got to where I was barely hanging on until the Eucharist.

One odd moment, though, came during the prayers, when the priest asked all the men in the congregation to stand up, and all the women to hold out their hands in blessing. (The same thing but reversed happened on Mother's Day; the congregation gets big, big points for paying as much attention to Father's Day as they do to Mother's Day. I felt pretty uncomfortable standing up for that, as I'm not and will never be a mother, and only feel like a woman maybe a quarter of the time...but more of that later.) I held up my hand with the rest, and repeated after the woman reading the prayers, and I swear I could feel the blessing going through me, all warm and tingly through my arm.


Then came the Eucharist. I barely held myself back from dashing up to the altar. I needed it.

A thing that I hadn't realized about my church until now (due to my own lack of knowledge, which I'm slowly filling in) was that the actual consecration of the Eucharist is one of the parts that the congregation says in unison. I'd been fairly firmly of the opinion that that's for the priest to do (and I still think you need one involved), but having tried it I kinda like the concept of it being participatory. And in anticipation of the time when I might be able to do it on my own, I decided to actively participate, instead of going along in a vaguely uncomfortable, this-isn't-for-me-to-do kind of way.

Some members of the congregation have always raised their hands during this part, in imitation of the priest holding aloft the paten and chalice. I did as well, this time, and said it like I meant it, and wow. Wow. I could feel it happening, and part of it was happening through me.

By the time it was done and we were lining up to partake I was intermittently shaking, hard enough that I'm surprised nobody noticed. I got back to my seat and all but collapsed in thankful prayer. And I was still shaking when I got home.

This is real. This is real. And I'm amazed and so thankful and still kinda boggled, and wondering if I'll be able to do mass myself without, y'know, fainting or I don't know what. That's some powerful juju. And some of that juju was in my hands.

That isn't supposed to be happening yet, is it?

I can't wait until next week. Or possibly tomorrow morning, Saturday evening, and Sunday morning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I've been tagged for the Eight Random Things meme by both Hedwyg and Cecilia, so I guess I'll just have to do it twice. I'm not tagging sixteen people, though!

Here's what I have to do:
  • I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
  • Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  • At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  • Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
In honour of Hedwyg's blog theme, I'm going to list Eight Random Things About Me I'm Grateful For:

1) I've gotten much better at sleeping since I moved out here -- I very rarely get insomnia.

2) I seem to have a nose for mixing cool-smelling bath salts and stuff like that.

3) I got my picture in the local paper last week (for answering a Man On the Street question, but still).

4) I have a cat who'll walk on a leash. I know I've mentioned this here before, but it's still so cool.

5) Apart from the recent toe incident, I have lucky feet -- I can wear just about any shoes, including low heels or shoes with no support, and my feet will be just fine.

6) I have a job interview at a local acupuncture college Thursday. Did I mention I'm terrified of needles?

7) I can walk any dog ever. (Okay, not one who's trying to kill me, but dogs who pull? Not a problem.)

8) I live a ten-minute drive from the mountains.

And for Cecilia, a music-themed Random Eight:

1) In school I played (in order) recorder, violin, piano, flute, bass drum, french horn, and alto sax. None of them well.

2) I've sung parts from 2nd tenor to low soprano.

3) Currently listening to a random mix at work that my boss put together, and fast-forwarding through all the rap.

4) I'm not fast-forwarding through the rap so much for my sake (it's not my favourite but I don't mind it) but because it's got bad words in it, and, well, retail.

5) I have, at home, music ranging from filk to techno, classical to country.

6) Also a flute and something like five recorders. Still awful at all of them.

7) Plus a bunch of madrigal music.

8) And when I sing, the cats run from the room.


Chris+ at Even the Devils Believe
Just Plain Foolish
Rae at Rae's Ramblings
Wulfila at The Lonely Goth's Guide to Independent Catholocism
Hilbert a The Nerdiest of the Nerds
Mrs. M at The Kitchen Door
Mary Beth at Terrapin Station
Canine Diamond over at Thee, Hannah

Enjoy y'all!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

New look!

I was going to do a gratuitous 'new look' post, but Mother Laura has already beat me to it in comments. So enjoy. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Dreams and history

I had a dream several nights ago, and I've been vaguely sick to my stomach ever since. In the hopes of making that stop, I'm going to post it, and then talk about it a bit. Might me triggery for some folks, and there's language involved.


I'd gone to an SCA event back in the East Kingdom (the northeast US, more or less). Which is fine and something I plan to do when I can get back there, but for some reason I'd had to go to the event with Lewis (The ex). The fact made me feel vaguely ill and I spent as little of the actual event with him as I could.

Which was fine, except that we had to pack up together, and go home together. Packing up after an event was very rarely pleasant with him, and this time was no exception: there was grumbling and cursing and a lot of me not getting out of his way quickly enough, or not anticipating what he wanted quickly enough. And then I had to wait in the van until he was actually ready to go, since of course he'd suddenly remembered five things he had to go before we could go.

So I sat in the van, and laid down after a bit, and wished, with all my heart, that I were back in Colorado. Or indeed just about anywhere other than where I was. Somehow this morphed into me being in bed (I may have partially woken up here, because I remember very vividly thinking about missing Chocolate, who was sleeping next to me at the time). But it was Lewis's bed, and I couldn't leave, and I knew he was going to come in and lie down next to me soon. And probably want to have sex.

And while I knew I could say no, I also knew that I wouldn't, because it was just easier to put up with it.


He never physically forced me into sex. I want to be absolutely clear on that.

At the same time, sex slowly became, over the years, one of the things we fought about most. More accurately, one of the things he yelled at me most about; fighting requires two people and I never really got a chance to give an answer back to any of his accusations other than 'I'll try to do better' and 'I'm sorry'.

He accepted no blame for my lack of libido; that was all my fault. And he couldn't understand that getting yelled at about it was possibly part of the cause. (My depression was another, certainly; but telling me that I should have sex with him because it would make me feel better, when pressure to have sex was part of the problem, wasn't any help either.)

I remember one time vividly. We were lying in bed, talking and, I thought, having a relatively nice conversation. He apparently decided that we were going to have sex right then and, with no preliminaries, reached directly for my pink bits. I was actually in the middle of a sentence at the time.

I was less afraid back then and, rather annoyedly, moved his hand away from where it was and asked him if perhaps he could wait until we were done talking. Or at least until I wasn't in the middle of a sentence. Well, he got up and stomped off, and when I rushed after him to apologize, shouted at me that I was a frigid fucking bitch.

In the course of the conversation that followed (and I use that word advisedly) he made his position clear: any resistance to sex when he wanted it, regardless of side issues like me being in the middle of doing something else, was a deficiency of mine, a statement that I didn't want him. And me not wanting him meant that I didn't love him, didn't in fact care about him.


Years later, when it became apparent even to him that there were problems, I reminded him of this (he'd forgotten, of course). He did admit that he was perhaps out of line but still insisted that I should have (mentally) dropped everything I was doing and had sex with him right then. And while he understood that such repeated treatment just might have something to do with my libido problems, now that he'd admitted he might have overreacted slightly (though not, in fact, apologized) I ought to just get over it. Right then. *snaps fingers*


For quite a long time, sex was something I put up with, simply because it was easier. I still enjoyed it, physically -- I've been blessed with one might call good nerves -- but emotionally it was awful. And the least admission that I wasn't enjoying things sent him into paroxysms of 'you don't love me' and 'I need to know you want me' and other such inducements of guilt.

The feeling, in the dream, that I would once again just have to put up with it was awful; it was something I thought I'd escaped. Need to have escaped. I don't ever want anyone to have that kind of hold over me again.

I woke up before anything awful actually happened, and just spent a while, awake, snuggling my kitten, before I got up. Chocolate's purr was a big help as was the bright sunlight coming in the window, the light you just don't get on the East Coast that reassured me that I was, indeed, in Colorado. I got up and took a shower and ate something right away, to try to ground myself in reality. And I spent the rest of the day with Tim, up in the mountains that I love. It all helped. But I wonder, how long until I've really freed myself from him?

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Friday 5 hopes, visions and dreams

Been a couple weeks since I've done the Friday's hoping things have slowed enough that I can keep up with it now. I should note that I had so much fun playing with the font colours that I almost didn't get round to doing the Friday Five itself...

1. Think back to the time you left High School, what were your hopes visions and dreams for your life/ for the world?

As far as I can remember, I had no idea. The thought that I was supposed to decide, right then, what I was going to be doing for the rest of my life, scared me white. (Nobody bothered to tell me that that wasn't actually the case...) I decided on engineering as a major because I felt that that was what was expected of me, and had some vague ideas of being a scientist.

2. Have those hopes visions and dreams changed a lot, or are some of them still alive and kicking? (share one if you can)

Things are a lot more concrete now, that's for sure. :) I'm still not entirely certain I know what I want to be when I grow up, but I have a clearer idea now. I want to make things, I want to grow things. I want to create things. I want to help people get closer to God/dess, by whatever definition they want to use for same.

How I'm actually going to go about this is another question entirely, mind you.

3. Hebrews 11:1 " Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. " Comforting, challenging or frustrating?

Frustrating when I was a kid. Horrendously frustrating. I wanted faith, so very badly, and didn't have it, and reading that would just have made me feel worse (and probably did).

Now, it's comforting. I have faith (I have faith! I have faith! It's still an amazing thing to be able to say) and so I have that substance, that evidence.

4. If resources were unlimited, and you had free reign to pursue a vision what would it be?

Oh, this is a tough one.

Tim wants a farm, see, and while that's his vision not mine, I'm certainly onboard with the idea. Where my vision comes in -- and I've only just thought of this, so it'll probably change -- is a farm that's also a retreat center. A place where people, especially those who've never worked a farm (and who has, these days?) can go to take some time away from the bustle of real life, work if they wish, or not; find a quiet place to stop and think. Any food left over from what's needed to feed us and the folks at the center would, of course, go to some good cause somewhere.

5. Finally with summer upon us- and not to make this too heavy- share your dream holiday....where, when and who with...

My initial thought would be to take Tim and Ray back East with me, to show them the Cloisters and the Met and take them to a Flyers game, walk around Columcille and Evansburg Park, take them to Ikea and Merrymead dairy and Elmwood Zoo. But I have another idea...

Tim and Ray, of course (though I don't know as how Ray would find it any fun); and Adhemar, and anyone else from my SCA household who might like to go; and my sisters of the Sophia Catholic Communion (and, well, anyone else). To Europe, with banners and pack animals and proper medieval clothing (save perhaps for the shoes). A week or two exploring the sights in wherever it starts, and then the main attraction: the Compostela pilgrimage. The whole thing. On foot.

How totally cool would that be?

Course, we'll have to wait until everyone's toes heal up.