Adrift. Again.

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Forgive me. It’s been four weeks since my last post.

Not a lot has changed since last I wrote, O Great Internet. I’m maintaining my weight (still ~250 pounds); I’m not losing, but I’m also not gaining. I’ve tried making better food choices, and that seems to be going well. I’ve been snacking on healthier things (oranges and strawberries lately, with some popcorn if I crave salty snacks). Hell, I even had a salad with dinner tonight. I haven’t been to the gym in two months, and I probably won’t go this week, since the Resolutioners are there, and I hate the thought of being seen as one of them.

I’ve been doing a lot of sitting on the couch and watching Netflix. I went through the entire run of White Collar and Hot in Cleveland. We’ve also watched the full first season of Game of Thrones and all of Star Trek: Enterprise. Fun shows, for very different reasons. I need to get the first part of this season of White Collar so I can catch up very soon, and I need to get the second season of Game of Thrones in a format I can watch on my large TV from my very comfortable couch instead of on my good-sized computer monitor from a mostly comfortable computer chair. I’m working my way through Burn Notice right now; I’m not completely sold on it yet. Though, honestly, I do love the glitter out of Ms. Sharon Gless. She makes me happy; I’d listen to the woman read the phone book. (And, dammit, I can get Cagney & Lacey on Netflix DVD but not streaming. WHY DO YOU HATE ME, NETFLIX??)

I haven’t just been sitting there, though; I’ve been knitting like a crazy man. I finished a double-sized (meaning ten repeats instead of the five in the pattern) Citron in a gorgeous pewter and amethyst for The Sister, and I’m just a bind-off away from finishing Anna for the same Sister. The Citron was mindless and made for a great traveling project, but by the final increase section, I was over 900 stitches, and knitting or purling that many stitches makes you want to stab your eyes out with the needles. Anna, on the other hand, takes a little more paying attention, and it’s paying off. It’s gorgeous, it’s in a 70/30 merino/silk blend, and it’s a fantastic deep blue-green colorway called Kenai. I’ll admit that part of the reason I picked that colorway was the name. Kenai was the name of the main character in Brother Bear, so it’s appropriate that it’s going to my sister. (And yes, I know it’s also a city in Alaska; there’s no emotional attachment there. Yet. One never knows, I may end up on a trip there at some point.)

There hasn’t been a lot of movement in the last month on my video game alter-egos. I haven’t been in the mood to play much, sadly, but I’ve got a ton of screenshots from before the end of City of Heroes (though, warning, that link makes COHers very sad), and I’ll turn them into blog posts at some point, I hope. I’m also still doing some hellacious rep grinding on World of Warcraft. It takes FOR.EV.ER. but I’ll get what I want. OH YES I WILL. Guild Wars 2 is fun, as well. My little Asuran Engineer hit level 40 a while back, and my Sylvari Elementalist (named Shadow Glitter) is also a hell of a lot of fun to play.

Not much to report on the job front. I’ve had a few interviews, but nothing’s come of them. I’ve got one on Monday, and I hope that it goes well. It could be a very large turning point for us if I get it. I’ll ask for more job mojo and leave it at that. I also think I need a new interview outfit, but we’ll see what happens with that.

Aside from that, O Great Internet, there’s not much to report. Same goals from last year stand: eat better, exercise more, lose weight, read more, pray more, blog more, be most smartest (though, if you need to click that link, how are we even friends?), be more authentic to myself. I realize that there are a lot of people out there who really couldn’t care less about me because they’ve made up their minds about me without, y’know, really getting to know me or caring if I’ve even changed who they think I am, and that’s their own issue, one that I refuse to make mine. There will be no shoving me into their molds; if someone doesn’t like who I am, well, they can waltz themselves right out of my life.

Here’s to a massive ass-kicking to 2012. You deserve it for sucking so badly. 2013, you’ve got a pretty low bar to get over. Perhaps you should get to it.

Much love. Blessed be.

Happy Place

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I’m listening to the playlist I made for the Art of Ritual Class November Daily Meditations. I just hit Brothers Beautiful by Jeffrey Altergott. I miss all you beautiful bitches. You know who you are.

Oh, and now I’m going to cry. Again. You Raise Me Up by Celtic Woman. Oh, and then Fuckin’ Perfect by P!nk.

So much love. I miss my brothers, badly. For one glorious week a year, I feel as if I’m part of something amazing, even just tangentially or just on the outskirts. I know what some of my friends will say, that I’m not tangential or on the outside looking in. It feels that way a great deal, though. I know that it’s important for this event to happen, and I know that I’m a big part of making it happen. It still doesn’t stop me from feeling that way during the event. It’s why I retreat to my tent so often. I can’t talk about it while I’m there, though. Seems like nobody wants to hear me be all Debbie Downer. So I keep it to myself. I’m not okay with it, but I don’t want to bring anyone else down while I’m there. And I know it’s my deal, and I need to figure out how to fix it.

I figure if I keep playing songs like this, they’ll work as affirmations, and eventually, I won’t feel so broken. Eventually. Not today, though. Still broken.

This is my family.
I found it, all on my own.
Is little, and broken, but still good.
Yeah, still good.

Preach it, Brother Stitch.

I Have a Sad

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A lot of people don’t get me. I’m kind of prickly (kind of like a pufferfish is kind of prickly) and I’m kind of sarcastic (kind of like the Pacific Ocean is a bit of a puddle), but it’s all an enormous defense mechanism. I’m incredibly insecure and unsure of myself in a great many ways. As such, I tend to get hurt more easily than people expect.

Also germane to the rest of this post and for those who don’t know, Leon and I are poly. It comes from different places, but it is what it is. It works for us; if it doesn’t work for you, well, then, don’t judge me on mine.

It’s rare that I find anyone that I’m interested in dating, and it’s even more rare to find someone who’s interested in coming into everything that poly is, means, and represents. I never force the issue, but if someone’s interested and can get past society’s diadic mindset, I’m usually open to it.

I found out today that someone who was on that incredibly short list found a boyfriend. I’m happy for him, really I am. It’s what he wants, and he doesn’t have to share. I’m just very sad for me, and I think it’s fair of me to feel that way. Part of the poly mindset is to be able to talk about your feelings and not feel awkward.

This is new for me, the sadness thing. I’m not real keen on it. But I plan to feel it, at least for a short while. And then I will get over it and myself and move on. But until then, you can’t have the happy without the sad.

Crafty Love

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Note: I wrote this three years ago, about two years after we moved to Ohio. If some of the numbers seem a bit off, that’s why. There’s a website, The Family Trunk Project, that has the option to pay for their patterns with stories instead of money. There was a pattern I wanted, but we didn’t have the money to spend on things like patterns. So, I wrote this story instead. A few days later, I had the Jessie Lambdin shawl pattern. This is my story.

I come from two families of crafters.

When I was born, one of my paternal great-grandmothers gifted me with a handmade quilt. It was a simple patchwork quilt that was hand-stitched. It was my blanket, something that I took with me if we were going to be away from home for more than a couple of hours. I had that blanket, threadbare as it was, until I was eleven, when my younger sister was born. By that time, I no longer needed it, and she did. There were places where it was slightly torn and my mother sewed it back together. It eventually moved on to my youngest brother a few years later and then, after him, to my youngest sister. When she was six, it was so ragged that it had to be thrown away. I was 22 by then, and wasn’t interested in such things anymore. More the fool, I.

When I was nine, my mother taught me to cross-stitch. She and my aunt Heidi, her younger sister, had been sitting together, stitching, when I asked to be taught. Mom and Heidi both smiled and indulged me. For Christmas that year, they both got small samplers, not very detailed but still handmade by me. My mom still has hers, and I assume that Heidi has hers as well. I cross-stitched as my sole crafting outlet until my mid-20s, when I ventured into other crafts. I remember spending hours during the summer, poring over my mom’s collection of Cross Stitch & Country Crafts magazines, wanting to make some of those patterns, never having the money or ambition to sit down and actually do it.

When I was fifteen, my paternal grandmother asked what I wanted for Christmas. I had a twin-sized quilt that she’d made when I was about seven or eight, and I had grown into a bigger bed since then, so I asked for a quilt. She got very quiet and asked why that. I told her that my favorite blanket was the one she made me when I was younger, but I was outgrowing the clowns on it. She smiled and got a little teary-eyed. For Christmas, I got a patchwork quilt in dark blues. My younger brother got one in light blues. Last week, when my partner and I were going through boxes to consolidate things for our upcoming move, we came across them. For some reason, I have both of them. I couldn’t bear to get rid of them, so they’re coming with us. He understood.

When I was 21, my mother ordered – mail-ordered, from a catalog – a circular knitting needle so she could knit my dad a Voyageur hat for Christmas. The hat was made of bright red Red Heart yarn, and he still treasures it. I remember vividly watching her knit it, but never having the desire to learn to knit.

I moved away from home at 21, and it was a few years before I started doing other crafts. I learned how to etch glass. I learned how to clean and prep greenware to fire, and how to decorate the ceramic product. I made imitation stained glass with Gallery Glass. Every trip to a craft store turned into a “what if…” trip that left me wanting to do more.

My friend Scott could design and make clothing seemingly by pure desire. It was a very useful skill for a drag queen to have. Between Scott and our friend Dan, who made jewelry, the three of us were dressed to the nines whenever we went out.

When I was 30, I was on the bus, riding my way to work. In the seat in front of me, a middle-aged Chinese woman had two wooden knitting needles and a skein of yarn. She was doing some arcane cats-cradle looking manipulations with the needles and yarn. For twenty minutes, I was utterly fascinated. I called a friend who I knew knew how to knit and told her that I’d like to learn. She took me to get a set of needles and some yarn and we sat down and I learned how to cast on. Then I learned to knit. Then I learned to purl. Then cast off. It was an afternoon that would shape my life to a degree I’d never imagined.

A year and a half later, there was a call for submissions for a new online men’s knitting magazine. I decided to try my hand at it, and my first (and to date, only) pattern was accepted and published. My mother was ridiculously proud. I would later go on to teach a shadow knitting class at my local yarn shop.

A couple of months later, I joined a knitting group in San Francisco that ended up being my Monday Night Family. I learned techniques, I learned about things going on in the City that I wasn’t part of. I learned how to converse and knit at the same time and later, to read and knit at the same time.

Then we moved from California to Ohio. I was leaving my crafting family behind. It was difficult, but I knew that we had friends waiting for us in the Midwest. I searched for three months to find a group of knitters to which I could belong. I found the Mid Ohio Knitters Guild. To date, I am the only man in the group, and I’m okay with that. I also found a knitting group that has a similar sense of humor to me, and I greatly enjoy knitting with all of them.

Someone on one of my groups on Ravelry brought up just today that the board that we’re both on is more than just a group of people; we’re more of a tribe, our own little (sometimes dysfunctional) family. As I was reading posts this evening, I clued in to what she was saying. Everything from wedding favors to organ transplants to gay marriage to hypothetical comical ass-kickings for people in the group from people in the group was portrayed tonight. Our conversations wander like some polluted stream of consciousness that only other people in our little creepy tribe can follow. And that’s okay. We all get each other. It’s a sense of belonging.

In the last 36 years, handmade things and crafting have been a very strong part of my life. From quilts from my grandmothers and gifted cross-stitch samplers for my mom and aunt, up through my knitting a shawl for my mother that won a blue ribbon in the Ohio State Fair and a beautiful lace scarf for my grandmother’s 80th birthday, I can’t remember a time when there weren’t amazing things being created for my family and from my family, both genetic and chosen. There are dozens of people in my chosen crafting family who I will probably never meet. That doesn’t make them any less special to me. They’re my tribe and they get me. And I get them. That makes it all pretty damn nifty.

Cranky and hatin’ it

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For some reason, my father has been on my mind a great deal lately, and that’s probably contributing to my feelings of general unrest. I try not to think about my father very often; he’s just not a part of my life, nor has he been since 2004, when he cut me out of his life (well, except for the drunken birthday phone call I got from him in 2009). It’s been over eight years, with only the one 30 minute call where he wanted to put it all behind us.

I’m still not ready to reach out to him. I’m just not. If he wants to repair the situation, he’s more than welcome to reach out. I’m not going to force anything, not when I’m this angry.

Fuck, I’m nearly 40 years old, and I’m still trying to justify myself to this man who hasn’t been in my life for nearly a fifth of it, by his choice. I don’t think he understands that a relationship of any kind is a two-way street and that sometimes, if you want it to work, you have to actually work at it. I’m sure that he’s under the impression that this is a turn-based thing, and that since he made the last move, it’s now my turn. I’m not ready. I’m just… not. And I know that it wears on my grandmother, too, when I talk to her, because I’ll talk to anyone else in the house except for my father or stepmonster (who is an entirely different subject. She’s never liked me, I’ve never liked her, and I couldn’t give two juicy shits if I ever saw her again, religious and societal hypocrite that she is).

I dunno. I’ll get through this. It’s a matter of time. I just need to put them out of my mind. I need to figure out a way to do that. I have far better things that need my attention than this bullshit.

Yay for family drama!

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So, for those of you who don’t know my family, we’re usually pretty sane. -Ish. If you’ve ever seen You Can’t Take It With You, we’re a slightly less eccentric version of the Sycamore family. We’ve had some problems, sure, but who hasn’t? And really, if you’re not on my level of crazy, well, then, you’re the one who’s just a little disturbed, wot?

And the names in this post haven’t been changed. It’s not tough to figure out who my family is, and while I may forgive (some of them), I do not ever forget. Some of this, I’m not terribly proud of, but you know what? I’m not sanitizing any of it just to save face. All of the misspellings are true to the original texts.

Anyway. I got a text from Mom today:

If there was any way possible, I’d put George on the next anything headed east.

Uh oh. Evidently, my youngest brother got himself in some trouble. Again. A few months ago, he went through a break-up. He’s still stuck on her, she’s moved on. He has anger management issues and has evidently been drinking a lot. He was arrested for public intoxication today. Again. The “again” was news to me, but want to help him. And we all know how I can get.

So at 4:30, I sent out the following text message to four of the five friends I have in common with Tasena (George being the one I didn’t send it to – the other four are family members: Sarah, Mom, BJ, and Clare):

If you want to help him get over her, DEFRIEND HER ON FACEBOOK. He can’t move on until all of you make him.

I heard back from Mom (“Okay”) and Sarah (“Oh hell I forgot.”). Didn’t hear anything from BJ, but I didn’t expect to. Over the course of the next hour and change, I was involved with this conversation. My texts are in the normal font, hers are in the italics.

C: What?

J: Take Tasena off your Facebook.

C: No.

J: Then you get to deal with George’s bullshit and you don’t get to bitch about it.

C: Um also no.

J: Um, yes, Princess Selfish.

C: Um, no Jeremy.

C: Acquaintences don’t tell me what to do with my life. Plus, I’m trying to keep myself alive so I’m not doing shit for anyone.

C: And you’re only Mom’s favorite cause you’re firstborn. Big woop.

J: No, I’m Mom’s favorite because I’m the only one she hasn’t had to ever worry about or cry over. FUCK YOU.

J: If you think it has anything to do with birth order, you really are as retarded as your pet hobbit.

C: Fuck off Bastard. I was civil with you.

J: Bullshit, you werw. You’ve been a self-centered selfish bitch since you started high school.

C: Like you fucking know me. If it weren’t for my “pet hobbit” I wouldn’t have lived pass high school. Go fuck an ass queer.

J: You hateful, bigoted, redneck fucking CUNT.

C: That, Jeremy, shows how much you know about me.

C: And I’m not scared of the CUNT word.

C: Its just Facebook. You think what I do there affects the real world? They really should stop living together first for him to get over her, don’t you think? George is a big boy. He doesn’t need me to hold his hand. DO NOT mistake that for apathy, I’m more than happy to be there for him. But no one tells me how to live my life or who I associate with.

J: I’m sorry, did I not make myself clear? Let me change that. I want NOTHING to do with you ever again, bigot. Stop contacting ne.

C: You’re ignorant.

J: Spoken like a true homophobic bigot. Stop contacting me.

C: Yeah the chick with the gay brother and who has had multiple girlfriends is the homophobic bigot. Spoken like a true ignorant.

C: You don’t know jack.

J: The girl who tells her gay brother to “go fuck an ass, queer” is the bigot, yes. Stop contacting me.

C: You were being a queer. And insulting me, my choice in a mate and my husband, so I insulted you. Tell me, how does this make me prejudice, intolerant, or hatefull. Ill admit I can be mean when others are mean to me.

J: Stop contacting me.

C: Coward. Make me.

C: You started this conversation first and then proceeded to insult me and my family.

C: You expect to roll over? I don’t think so. I’m a Taylor, retaliation is our tgiu.

C: *me

C: *thing

C: Seriously, go back and analyze this text thread. I just refuse to let anyone run my life.

So yeah, that’s where I stand. I’m SO VERY DONE with this shit. She’s been nothing but a spoiled, stuck-up, selfish, self-centered, overly-dramatic Jan Brady-acting fuckin’ PRINCESS since she hit puberty. She has blamed her entire family for the mess her life is in. She refuses to take responsibility for her own actions, and she refuses to accept the consequences of her own actions.

I called Mom and vented at her when all of this happened, and I apologized to her for the fact that she will never have all five of her children in the same place at the same time ever again. I told her that if I don’t walk out of wherever Clare is, I’ll be escorted out in the back of a cop car for assault and battery for punching Clare in the head.

You don’t get to call me a queer and expect that there will be no consequences. I want her nowhere near my life. I can’t wish her happiness far away from me. What I can wish for her, though, is that she get everything she deserves.

Mrs. Hansen, you just lost a brother.