Update!

May. 24th, 2017 03:38 pm
jianantonic: (Default)
Bartender guy texted last night.

We had a mild flirt.

He announced he has a girlfriend and is monogamous, but that he wants to friendzone me if I'm open to it because he likes me from listening to me host trivia every week. (I'm paraphrasing.) (And actually I hate that term and am only using it flippantly.) (Sometimes I think I overuse parentheticals.)

We have plans to hang out next week. I'm really psyched, but also kinda bummed he's not *available.* I will not be making any move to try and change his mind, though. My lifestyle is different, but my moral code is still pretty strong. It's just a shame because this is the first crush I've had in like 2 years, and I guess it's going to have to flame out.
jianantonic: (Default)
I did a thing I've never done tonight.

I gave a guy at a bar my number. I host trivia at the same bar every Tuesday night, and the bartender is the kind of awkwardish-looking that I find absolutely irresistible. I've had a crush on him since starting there, despite very limited interaction. Every once in a while he walks by my table and takes a guess at a question. Tonight it was really slow, so I had a chance to chat with him between rounds for just a bit. He's funny. I like him more now.

So, on my way out, I slipped him my number. Like a desperate hussy! The best part is that the only paper I had on me was a bridge pickup slip. He'll probably be like WTF is this thing? But anyway the bar was slammed by the time I was leaving, so he won't have a chance to get in touch for a while, if he decides he's going to.

I texted my bridge partner, Joe, and told him what I'd done. He's been in the bar biz for like 15 years and he told me that I probably made the guy's night, but he won't call. He says bartenders know better than to pick up customers. I reminded him that I am not a customer. But it could still be weird. Anyway all I really want is to make out with him in the back room for a few minutes, then I'll feel better. But Joe seems to think that's unlikely to happen. FINE.

I guess I'll just have to settle for making out with my perfect boyfriend, who is perfect. So perfect he wouldn't even mind if I picked up a bartender every once in a while.
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We've been doing better as the week progresses. We made one KO semifinal for a nice big chunk of points for Zac -- he was shocked that we got 11 all at once like that. Today we're playing in a playoff for 3rd place in a 3-session KO (they didn't get enough teams to do a full final KO). Then tomorrow I fly home to my sweet boyfriend and devil kitten. I've had a great week and I'm really looking forward to getting home, too.

Last night, we played against Val and his sponsor, Carol. Early in the match, Zac jokingly told me to fuck off. Carol, a woman at least in her 70's, was very shocked, and Zac spent the rest of the match apologizing for his language. As we got up to leave the table at halftime, Zac said once more to her, "Again, I'm so sorry about my language." She goes "I don't give a fuck!" It was my favorite moment of the week.

They annihilated us in the second half after we kept it close in the first, so Val offered to buy my drinks at the hotel bar. It was the first time we hung around after, and we ended up shooting the shit with Steve Weinstein and Bobby Levin. It's such a small tournament, they're some of the only pros here, and we were the only people around to hang out with them. That was a good time. It made me feel like one of the cool kids.

I also witnessed the most awful human behavior I've ever seen yesterday. I've already told this story all over Facebook, but I'll put it here for a more permanent record. In the first bit of the first session yesterday, a woman playing in the small room (7 tables) with us fainted. Everyone in the room stopped playing as we waited, concerned, for her to wake up. Paramedics were called, but her husband assured us that she has a fainting disorder and this is not uncommon. She's probably fine. She wakes up and the color starts returning to her face, and she says she's okay. The surrounding tables continue their play. The paramedics arrive, lift her off the ground and back into her chair, and begin to evaluate her. Then a woman (JH) gets up and walks over to the patient and paramedics and says "could you please take this outside? It's really bothering me."

What. The. Fuck.

Like, seriously, I know bridge players are selfish assholes, but that was a spectacular new low. God damn.

Anyway, one more day of fun-filled excitement, then home to my love. It's been a great week :)

Also Happy Fucking Birthday to my little sister today! I dunno if she still reads here now that I'm not on LJ and she has an infant to wrangle, but I've wished her happy birthday in several other places as well. (Hi Em! Are you still with me here?)
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Mixed results in the first few sessions with the team -- Zac is my partner, Max and Dee at the other table. Zac seems to be loving his first tournament and I don't think he's really gunning for all the wins or anything, but I still wanted to have something good to show for our time here; something to get him excited about playing more. We started a new KO this afternoon and won both our sessions, so we're officially in the PENIS (aka semifinals), and we'll have a nice masterpoint haul no matter how we finish the event. So that's exciting! Zac's first pigmented points are gold! That's kind of rare.

After the session, we were talking with Bruce Ferguson, an older pro who's been around forever and is just a really cool guy. He told Zac that I am "the most erotic, exotic, perfect woman there is." I mean, not *entirely* what I'm going for at the bridge table (erotic?), but I accept this compliment.

My least favorite person in the entire world is here this week, too, unfortunately, but he's had the good sense not to try to speak to me, and he's playing pairs all week, so I won't ever play against him.

People here have been super nice and I'm really glad that we chose this tournament to be Zac's debut. It's a gentle introduction, and we're still playing pretty high-level competition. I've really missed traveling for regionals. But I also really miss my Toby and my kitten.
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Last night while I was playing bridge online, a friend fb messaged me and asked if I wanted to hear a funny McKenzie story. I said "No, and thanks for checking with me first." I've just had a lot going on that has my Z-related anger pretty close to the surface, and didn't want to have my mind on him at all. But then the friend goes, "Well, it's not really about him at all. I wanna tell it." And then he tells the story. I reacted exactly as I thought I would -- some anger bubbled up and I had some word vomit about it, and then I kind of shut down. I really wasn't interested in that conversation. Friend keeps talking. I respond sparingly. Eventually I tell him I'm going to go to bed. He's like "OK, but you should think about messaging me sometime. It sucks that I'm the only one who ever starts conversations."

First of all, not true. I do message this friend from time to time. Second of all, thanks for the guilt trip right after you made me feel like shit. I think I won't be messaging you any time soon.

I met up with my friend Dan for happy hour last night. (Not my ex Dan.) He's possibly getting divorced, so I reached out to him thinking he might need a friend, and I missed him 'cause it had been a while. He's actually doing really well. He says the emotional fuckery of the split with his wife was only really bad for a couple of months, but he's not really hurting anymore, and he's so much happier. He seemed to be telling the truth about that. Having been through this myself, I know that it comes and goes -- I got teary talking about my own divorce with him last night, and it's been over two years. But for now, Dan's doing well and I'm happy for him. He has a pregnant cat at home, and I'm very eager to meet the baby kittens. They are expected within a week or so.

On Sunday, I'm flying to SLC to play bridge with Zac on a team with Max and Dee at the regional there. It's Zac's first tournament ever, and one of my first since my big hiatus, so we're all very excited. I should be able to see my friend Veronica while I'm there, too. I have no idea why so many great people choose to live in a state like Utah, but they're the only reason I'm excited to go there. And the bridge, I guess. My understanding is that this is a pretty tiny tournament, so even though Zac and Dee combine for maybe just a couple hundred masterpoints, we'll probably be in Bracket I all week. Well, I hope we win it all. Why not?

I lost another 1.6 pounds this week, for a total of 6 pounds in three weeks. That's pretty good, but now I'm all kinds of anxious about keeping up with the program while I'm in Utah...I'll probably be largely sedentary and won't have a lot of food options...but in any case, I probably won't gain back all 6 pounds...fingers crossed I have the energy and opportunity to get some exercise, at least.
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I was so lazy this morning and afternoon -- I got out of bed around 1 to have some lunch, then got back in bed until like 3:30. I just couldn't muster an ounce of energy. It's supposed to be a running day, but that was not going to happen. I had plans to meet my friend Eric at 6:30 for a walk in the park near my house, so I knew I'd do SOME moving, but I didn't feel like trading a 5-mile run for a little stroll was something I could feel good about. So I finally pulled myself out of bed and got on my bike. I didn't have any errands to run, so I decided to bike to the gym. It's about a 4-mile ride, nothing too challenging. So I get there and then I'm like, well, what can I do here that won't make my ride home awful? So I did some arm stuff and then got on an elliptical for a while to play some bridge. I biked over to pita pit to grab dinner before meeting Eric, and he texted me while I was there that he was done early, so he came and met me. We decided since we were both there already, we'd just walk through the central Beaverton neighborhood. We meandered for a while, and eventually found ourselves at Josh & Mary's street, so we meandered up to their front door and said hi.

They informed me that Gwen had announced today that I am her favorite person. That's pretty exciting for me! I'm a big fan of hers, too.

We stayed to play a game of Dixit, then headed out so that I could beat the sunset home on my bike. Made it just in time. So after being a lazy fucker until almost 4pm, I did spend the next 5 hours being moderately active the whole time, so I guess I salvaged my self-respect for the day.
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I am so sick of all the disrespect I get at the bridge table. I'm too mentally exhausted to go into the whole story from today, but it has a happy ending, anyway. My team won. We're a hodgepodge team thrown together to fill out the event, and we fully expected to be bottomfeeders, but we were solid today and tomorrow we'll play against Dave's team for the district championship. I feel like I'm playing some of my best bridge ever, and while I don't think our team is better than theirs, I think we could win. I would like that very much.

The thing I hate the most, though, is that when I complain about being disrespected, most (older white men) think I'm overreacting. The older white men in charge of ruling the game (and handing out zero tolerance penalties) don't think any of the transgressions that bother me warrant a ZT. (Then why call it ZERO tolerance if you'll tolerate MILD abuse?) But get fucking disrespected every goddamn time you play, and the littlest things eat at your soul. I just wish the directors would have my back here. Or that I could stand up for myself without looking like a whiner or some kind of tattletale.

But you know what?

Scoreboard, motherfuckers.
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Friday is my weigh-in day at Weight Watchers, in the three weeks that I've been going back now. I haven't been attending meetings again yet...dunno if I will...I don't feel like I get much out of them because they're mostly about tips for cooking, which I don't do, or how to get started exercising, and I already do a lot of that, so...meh. They're pretty boring. And I know the program. But maybe the extra boost of accountability would be good for me.

Anyway, I was down 1.6 pounds this week. That's good! But...I was disappointed it wasn't more. A few reasons. One, I feel like I really stuck to the program closely this week, and therefore it *should* be a nice big loss, whereas last week, I didn't start tracking until the middle of the week, but lost more weight. Two, I've got so far to go before I feel good about my body again, I just want it to go faster. I know there are natural ebbs and flows with a woman's metabolism, so the fact that I was "better" this week but lost less isn't that big a deal, really, and I still lost almost 2 pounds, which is the high end of healthy weight loss for a week. I just wanted it to be more. Like...30 pounds. Is that so much to ask? Yeah, yeah, okay. Honestly, I'd like to lose 40 pounds from where I am right now. Realistically, my body just may not be able to maintain that low a weight anymore. The best I've been able to maintain in my 30's is about 35 pounds below my current weight. That was before my car accident and before I switched from Prozac to Effexor. The lowest I've ever been as an adult is 50 pounds below my current weight. If I get that low again, it'll be because I'm very ill. But anyway, doing the math, if I can sustain what is really a fast weight loss pace of about a pound and a half per week, I'll meet my goal by, like...the end of summer. Which feels so far off. And that's if I do this quickly. Sigh. I wish I could be genuinely happy at any size...I DO believe I'm beautiful at my current size. I know Toby thinks I'm gorgeous. But I just don't like my body like this. I'm not as strong, not as fit, and my clothes don't look as good. So...onward.
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Birthday week has been fantastic! Let's back up to last weekend. On Saturday, Toby and I went to Seaside and played a weekend of bridge. The weather was crap, but the tournament was a good time. It was Toby's first real bridge against decent competition, and we did about as well as a pair can be expected to do in such cases...45% and 41%. Sure I'm disappointed we didn't scratch on Saturday, but that wasn't really even remotely expected. On Sunday, Joe and Amy joined us for the Swiss teams. I have too many points for the team to compete in the limited games, so we were in the A/X field, which was 6 9-board rounds. Any bozo can win short rounds, but 9-board rounds are pretty tough. It's generally long enough for the better team to win, and with one complete novice on our team, the expectations were not high. But we won 3 out of the 6 matches! And all but one of our losses was a close one! All in all it was very good, and we actually tied for 2nd in X, which was worth a little more than our match awards were. So Toby has his first silver points and I'm very proud :)

On Wednesday, I had one of my biggest crowds ever at trivia -- it was standing room only at the Jolly Roger with 10 teams playing. It was awesome to have such a big crowd, and it meant I actually got some kinda decent tips.

Thursday was our birthday. Toby went to work, and Nick came over for our weekly nap, lunch, and board games. I felt like walking up to Rainy Day Games just to see if there was anything new I should buy myself for a birthday present. $100 and three games later, Nick and I came back to my place to test one of them. It's called Castles of Caladale. It's Carcassonne-ish. A little faster and lighter than that. I've only played it as a 2-player game so far, but it plays up to 4. I like it. I also picked up two new expansions for Mystic Vale. It's a newer game we've been playing with our game group, and I really like it, but it's not very well balanced. It's the kind of game where a bad bit of luck can get you irretrievably behind, and then it's just a slog until it's over. But the guys at the shop said the expansions help balance it a lot, so I'm excited to try them out. Hopefully we'll give that a go at our game night tomorrow. Toby had a work team thing after work, so we moved our birthday celebration to Friday night. I'm glad it worked out that way, because we ended up getting to do a little extra partying.

Toby made reservations at Epif, a vegan South American-inspired restaurant in NE (not that there are any vegans in South America, but the food was good!). We dressed up all fancy and took transit out there so we could get our drink on if we decided we wanted to. There was a gelato place right next to the restaurant, so naturally we went there for dessert. We decided to go back downtown to the Barrel Room, where I used to host trivia, for some drinks before heading home. It's a really fun dueling piano bar on weekends, and the show was just revving up when we arrived. We didn't really intend to stay long, but we got sucked in -- it's just such a fun atmosphere. I texted our friends Jared and Auburn, who are usually out on the town on Friday nights, and sure enough, they were nearby and were happy to join us.

For some reason last night, the bar was serving all cocktails in solo cups, so I got a nearly-full solo cup of martini. Hilarity ensued. Well, really just a lot of drunken dancing. But then at the end of the night, I made out with Auburn a little bit. I'd never kissed a girl before. Felt like the thing to do. :)

Toby and I rode the last Max home, and we did the things couples do when celebrating birthdays, followed by sleep.

I had plans to play bridge with Joe today at the club at the south waterfront at 1, but I had no intention of waking up sooner than noon. Somehow, though, both Toby and I were awake by 10, and the weather was splendid, so we decided to go for a bike ride. We rode a few miles and got breakfast, then rode to the train. We trained into Portland, and I rode another couple of miles from the Max stop to the bridge club, all along the river. It was beautiful. Joe and I had a nice game, and I reversed the ride for the way home. Lots of good exercise on a beautiful day. I've been super tired since bridge, though, and will probably fall asleep early tonight.

Also yesterday, I made it back to Weight Watchers for my first weigh-in since returning to the program a week ago. I was down almost 3 pounds! I gained a frightfully discouraging amount of weight in the clinical drug trial I was in, so I've got a long way to go before I'm happy with my body again, but it was nice to start with a good week. I hope I can keep it up! Toby and I are sticking with the 100 pushups program, too. I've repeated a few weeks along the way, but will be starting week 5 tomorrow. I can definitely see a difference in my arms. Just gotta keep on with it. Tomorrow will be a running day. After sleeping in.
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It really hurts my heart when people say they struggle with depression but don't want to try prescriptions. I have a few friends on Facebook who are saying this very thing right now, and it just makes me sad. When I first went on antidepressants, I expressed concern to my psychiatrist. What if it makes me empty inside? Or I don't feel like myself anymore? She said that if that happens, it's the wrong medicine for me, and there are plenty of other meds out there that we can try until we find the right one. That's why they require follow-up visits after prescribing. That put me at ease, and luckily I have had a relatively easy time adjusting to medication. I am infinitely better off because I take these pills, and they do have some negative side effects (weight gain, difficulty orgasming, lower libido), but the benefits are so worth it. And those negative side effects are all things I've been able to overcome with varying degrees of success. It just takes some time to adjust.

It just makes me want to scream when people know they need help and know medication exists but don't want to try it. It's like the simplest thing a person can do to improve their life the most, and yet so many people just create reasons in their heads that it's not worth it. Or they have a bad experience with one medication (maybe not even antidepressants) and swear off prescriptions forever. I just...ARGH.

Fine, I guess. Your body, your choice. But it sucks to be here watching someone self-destruct when the solution is so simple and obvious. Especially when they post to Facebook "what should I do about this?"
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I went back to Weight Watchers today. I promised my therapist this was the week. Of course I waited until Friday. Afternoon.

For those not in the know, I was in a clinical drug trial for the last year. The last six months of the trial, I was put on a drug that made me gain weight like mad. Super fast, lots of weight. 30-40 pounds in six months? Didn't help that with my various injuries, it's been hard to keep in a regular fitness routine. But the trial is over now so there's no chemical reason I shouldn't be able to lose this weight. I stopped gaining weight, but since the trial ended, I haven't really lost any, either, despite my attempts at better habits. I knew I needed to go back to WW. The plan has always worked really well for me. It's just a matter of staying on it. So I guess starting today, I'm back on it. The shitty thing is that even if I do really well, it'll take many months to shed the weight I put on, and that's really discouraging. I also hate when people see me who haven't seen me in a while because I look like I REALLY let myself go. And I want to be like "it was for science!"

I also did my second bike ride in two days. Just rode home from the shop where I'd had it tuned up, about a 3-mile ride. My crotch is sore from the saddle, but I think if I make sure to ride regularly over the next week or two, that should go away, and I'll be able to handle longer rides.

Tomorrow, I leave bright and early for Seaside with Toby. We're staying at a hotel and playing the team game on Sunday as well. In my mind, I'll wake up early Sunday and go for a run on the boardwalk. But the possibility of actually doing that is probably pretty slim. I'll pack running gear just in case...writing it down here just boosted the likelihood that I'll go by at least 40%.

Poly Hate

Apr. 20th, 2017 12:23 am
jianantonic: (Default)
Lately, I've been feeling really *confronted* by anti-polyamory attitudes. I say confronted rather than annoyed because while it is annoying, I don't give it that kind of power. I scoff at and I pity those who can't wrap their heads around my lifestyle. I've never been a polyvangelist -- it is SO not for everyone, at least not given the societal conditioning we've all had. I'm not saying my way is the best way and everyone should do it. It's just best for me. But so many people are either offended by the way I live (because it affects you...how?) or unnecessarily concerned for my well-being. Even many of my good friends encourage me to force Toby to give up his other relationship and be monogamous. That people seem to think I'm wrong about what makes me happy is just...weird.

Except for our nation's leadership and the almost certain destruction of our planet, I'm the happiest I've ever been. Aside from Dan, who was not a good fit for me for other reasons, this is the only serious relationship I've ever been in -- EVER -- where I am not being abused, either physically, emotionally, or both. And yet many people would be more comfortable to see me living inauthentically, perhaps even in an abusive relationship, because at least it's heteronormative. I'm not saying my friends wish abuse on me. I'm just saying I wish people would really think about what they're saying when they suggest to me that my current choice in relationship structure is harmful to me. I'm happy! That's the point, right?

I think what it boils down to is the insecurity of others. People who are uncertain about their own choices only find validation when everyone around them makes the same choices. Getting married and having kids are two big ones. But the idea that people can be happily non-monogamous seems to really rattle people even more than the idea that a woman of childbearing age may not want to use her uterus that way, or that two people can be committed to each other without being married. I do want to marry Toby. Obviously, I'm the marrying type. I keep doing it. So many of my friends have suggested that Toby and I will "settle down" when we have rings on or something. I mean it's not like our non-monogamy is somehow wild. We're pretty settled down as it is. And he's pretty settled down with Candace, too. We have learned about ourselves, through various means of discovery, that we are not likely to ever focus 100% of our romantic love in one place. I never have been able to, so it's nice to have a partner who will not expect me to. Anyone who thinks Toby and I love each other less than monogamous couples because of our lifestyle obviously hasn't spent much time with us. (The only friends of mine who suggest I would be happier if Toby and I were exclusive are the ones who have not spent much or any time with him.)

The funny thing is, since breaking up with Dan, Toby has been my only partner, and I'm happy with that. I've gone on a few dates, and I've made some romantic-ish connections, but right now, I'm happy with Toby when he's here, and being alone or with platonic friends when he's not. But that doesn't mean I'd be happy closing off our relationship. For one thing, Toby loves Candace. I don't have any desire for him to end that. Second, my schedule and priorities will change over time. Maybe I will stumble into another relationship even without looking for it. I don't want to close that door for myself. There is no one way to be polyamorous. People who try to live by a definition end up really unhappy. You and your partner(s) are never going to want exactly the same things, but it's important to choose partners who accept what you need and want without pushing your boundaries with regard to their needs and wants.

I'll never understand why a lot of things appeal to people, but if they can enjoy those things with enthusiastic partners and be happy, who am I to tell them they're doing it wrong? Shrug. Relationship-wise, I have exactly what I want. I know a lot of people will never get it, but that's okay. They're not the ones I want to be with :)
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I got my taxes done yesterday (shut up), and I didn't owe nearly as much as I thought I was going to. So that's kind of like found money. Exciting :) Doing taxes always stresses me out like whoa, and I feel like, if it's this hard for me to understand, the average schmo can't possibly be doing it right, can they? I'm glad Toby was there while I worked on it. He's such a calming influence for me. Getting that done and the relief of not owing more spurred me to be very productive. I ran 3.2 miles in honor of the 32 Virginia Tech victims on the anniversary of the shooting. Toby and I also went to look at bikes, and he ended up buying one for himself (the one he owns already is a single-speed cruiser). We got a bunch of accessories for both of us, and I scheduled a tuneup of mine. I'm really looking forward to doing more biking as the weather gets nicer. We also picked out a recipe from a cookbook and shopped for the ingredients and made it. It was really good, but Toby ended up burning the garlic, which stunk up the whole house. So we took a late evening walk to the head shop a few blocks away to get some incense :)

This morning, I met my lawyer to pick up my settlement check from my accident. Nearly 3 years after the crash, that's done. Of course it's not really over. My body hasn't been the same since, and it probably never will be. But the paperwork and lawyer part is done. It's a relief.

Since I had to be downtown to get the check, I met Toby for lunch and decided to go to the gym down there. It's about a 1/2-mile walk from Toby's office. When I got there, though, it was closed. Apparently there are structural issues with the building next door, so it's a safety issue. I walked the 1/2-mile back and got on the train to go home, determined to just go to the gym in Beaverton instead. But when I got back, I could barely keep my eyes open. All I wanted was a nap. I did not, however, want the dose of self-loathing I'd get if I skipped, so I summoned 100% of my willpower and I went for a 30-minute elliptical session. Not much, but way more than a nap. I'll do pushups tonight with Toby. We're working our way through the Hundred Pushups Challenge together. It's a lot slower progress than the last time I did it, but the progress is undeniable, so I intend to stick with it.

Right now, Cleopatrick is snoozing and purring on my chest. I'll have to move him in a half hour or so so that I can get to therapy and then a showing afterwards, but for right now, I'm a very happy cat mom.
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I met up with a friend from my high school crowd tonight. I hadn't seen Tim since high school, but he remained close with Rafal, and I got back in touch with him after Rafal died. I wanted to talk to someone who knew him and knew me, and just remember. Tim and I agreed that we both remember Rafal fondly in spite of everything, and we reminded each other of a lot of old fun. Of course bad memories exist, but they don't feel important. I had a LOT of fun in high school, and I know I'm lucky to be able to say that. I told Tim how he and the gang taught me so much -- and helped shape the edgier sides of me. It was really, really nice to see him and catch up. I've had a lot of really nice times with old friends as we come together to remember Rafal, mostly virtually so far, but Tim and I discussed maybe doing a thing over Christmas when more people would be available. I'd really like to do something like that.

My visit so far has been really nice. It's great to spend time with Trevor and Emily and Chris, of course. Today I got to wear Trevor in a baby carrier for a couple of hours while Em and I walked around the neighborhood and also while she took care of some chores for her parents. He fell asleep while I sang "Gentle Arms of Eden" to him, and I remembered how much that song comforted me the last time I was afraid of our nation's leadership. Luckily, he's Canadian.

Tomorrow I'll head over to BC, as is tradition when I am back east, and then meet up with Nancy and her family for dinner on my way back over the mountain. Calling Afton Mountain "the mountain" is funny to me now that I live in the shadow of Mount Hood. The Blue Ridge are pretty in their own way, but I prefer the Cascades.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I moved to Dreamwidth. I'm going to post more there. Most of the reason I've posted so little here is because I've been uncomfortable with the whole Russia bullshit, and now with the new TOS, fuck it. I'm out.

Same username there. Let's keep in touch :)
jianantonic: (Default)
Hi! So, I'm here now. It was past time to leave LJ, and I hope now that I don't have any conflicts about the host site, I'll be more frequent in my posts again. Those who followed me at LJ know that I can be a prolific journaler. Whether it's interesting or not...I make no promises. But my grammar will always be correct.

I'm in Charlottesville for the week, spending time with some hometown folks, but mostly Emily and Baby Trevor. He's almost 4 months old now, and he's as cute as can be. He's got much more personality and bulk than he had when I met him at 3 weeks old, but it's still a bit early to say what kind of person he's gonna be. I'm excited about the kind of parents Em and Chris are and will be, though. Em told me I had to help teach him how to treat women and the people he will date. I'm honored to take on that responsibility, but glad I have some time yet to come up with my lesson plans. I told her for now I think the most important thing is teaching him about bodily autonomy. As he grows into his free will, letting him decide when he wants to be hugged or give hugs, things like that. Show the respect we want him to show for others, starting from the beginning. She's already on board with that, and I think she's got all the right ideas about how to raise her kid. She's not going to need me to be a leader in any of these aspects, but I'm happy to reinforce whatever she teaches, and also to be another resource for when Mom and Dad don't make sense, or he just needs an outside opinion. And of course if he wants to learn bridge...

Speaking of bridge, things have been going great with Toby's game. We've played a lot of the mentor games, and we've done pretty well there, but the field of competition is not exactly top notch. Toby is still at the point in his game where he'll get trounced by "real" players, but he's ready to at least start competing in bigger games. We're going to a sectional in Seaside the weekend after we both get home. He's in Hawaii while I'm in Virginia. We miss each other, but mostly miss the cat. We can text each other.

I spent the afternoon today walking around the Downtown Mall with Emily and Trevor. It's weird how trendy and boutiquey Charlottesville has become. It was headed that direction when I was here in my 20's, but it feels like it's really doubled down in the last few years. I guess if you can't live in the PNW, it's an alright place to be.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Lately when I get bored and can't find any new content on the internet, I've been browsing wedding rings.

Since the ACA didn't get repealed this week, the practical urgency for marriage is somewhat reduced, but...

I want to do the thing.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I called my mom this evening to get the latest from Charlottesville, and also to share the exciting news that Toby's brother and sister-in-law are expecting their first kid this September. I've only met Toby's family over video calls, but I'm still very excited about adding another nibling to the mix. I'll meet them all this summer, and then will hopefully have a chance to go back with Toby after Christmas, too. We'll see if the finances work out for two Europe trips this year.

Anyway, Mom had a really interesting and unexpected reaction.

"You know, I've been thinking, with how much you love that cat...maybe you and Toby should have one."

!!!!!!

Okay, I don't want kids and my mom knows this. She's not going to pressure me or anything -- she's got enough grandkids to be content -- but she's NEVER encouraged me to have kids before. I was really touched that she said that, even if it isn't something I want at all. It's a real vote of confidence in Toby, too. Which of course he deserves, but I don't expect my parents to give him full marks since they still love McKenzie a lot and also since I really suck at marriage. But her saying that made me feel really good about how *she* feels about Toby. Yay :)

One of my favorite things about Toby from the very start of our relationship was and is how much he adores his nieces and nephews. He is a doting uncle and they love him back. Then couple that with the fact that he doesn't want his own kids, and he's already 90% of the way to being the perfect man for me. I think it's rare you find people who are so enthusiastic and being aunts and uncles who don't want their own kids. So to find someone whose enthusiasm matches mine on both sides of the equation was really a jackpot situation. AND he loves cats. I mean, he's fucking perfect, you know?

In other news, my friend Cristal won her first national bridge championship yesterday. I'm SO happy for her, and also SO jealous. I played with her in the Portland regional and had a great time. It's what got me revved up to want to play more tournaments. She's a stronger player than I am, so I don't harbor illusions that if only I'd been at the NABC, it would've been me...but a lot of my peers have been doing very well at this NABC, and I do feel like if I were competing there, I'd be celebrating my own successes as well. I don't know when I'll get back to nationals, but it won't be this year. Sigh.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Last week, two of my friends (both the same age as me) found out that their partners have cancer. They are still learning more and/or haven't shared prognosis details, but it's still scary as hell. With Rafal's death in addition to this news, I'm even more aware of mortality than I normally am.

I'm not afraid of my own death. I'm totally at peace with the idea that one day I will be gone from this earth. But I'm terrified of losing loved ones. I've been a paranoid nag about my parents' health since I was a teenager, and I'm so grateful that they're both very healthy for their age, but their age alone scares me and I know I will lose them one day and I hate that. But the scariest thing for me right now is losing Toby.

I am not even a tiny bit worried about our relationship ending. I know I've failed at two marriages, but even in those relationships, I was never 100% sure they would last. I had lots of fear of breaking up, being left, or even my own ability to sustain my love. I don't have that at all with Toby. We're disgustingly perfect for each other and I'm 100% certain that we're in it for the long haul. I haven't had any doubts about this in a long time.

But suddenly I'm really afraid that he'll get sick. One of those illnesses that strikes without regard for how well you've cared for yourself all along or how old you are or anything. If that happens to ME, it'd probably suck, but I'd just take it as it comes and deal as necessary. Toby, though...shit...if I lose him...I just can't even imagine a future without him. I don't want to.

I know that worrying about things you can't control is a big fat waste of time. It impedes your ability to enjoy the present. I get that, and know that worrying won't change anything except my own mood. But sometimes I just get freaked out and have a hard time putting the scary thoughts aside. Now having written this down, I'm going to hope that I can put it out of my head for now.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Rafal made sure to make my birthday special. It was only a few days after Marma's death, and I was still in a very sad place, but he treated me so sweetly. I don't remember what we did or all the gifts he gave me -- but one that sticks out in my mind was this album of the Billboard top hits of 1986, I believe. I was a little confused as to why he chose that, but then he told me it was because of the song "Lady in Red." He was really into techno and hard rock, but for some reason he loved that song, and it reminded him of me. I'm not sure I ever really wore a lot of red, but that's not important. He played the CD in his car stereo and we stood in my driveway and danced to it on my birthday. I felt like royalty.

The summer after we started dating, Rafal went to Poland for a month to spend some time with his dad. That month was torture for me -- I missed him so much, and he was only able to get online once every few days. I lurked by my computer all the time, not wanting to miss a chance to IM with him. But mostly I moped. I went to basketball camp at Virginia Tech while he was away, and made some good friends, but still spent all my time talking about him and whining about how much I missed him.

He got in late one evening in July, I think, and came straight to my house. I had been up waiting for him, not sure when he'd get in. This was before the days of cell phones and tracking flights online and whatnot. I was so excited to see him, and we were both so tired when he arrived. Me from staying up into the wee hours waiting for him, and him from the travels and jetlag. He couldn't keep his languages straight -- he would accidentally speak Polish when he got very sleepy. I thought it was funny, and would go on to prank him many times later in our relationship by pretending not to understand him and claiming he was speaking Polish when he was actually speaking English. He always fell for it. But I always let him in on the joke after I'd had a good giggle.

I think he spent the night at my place that night. I'm not sure if that was the first time, or if he did in fact stay over, but as time went by, staying over would become normal. We slept in the den, where there was no lock on the door, so I guess my parents assumed that we wouldn't do anything more than cuddle and they never objected to him being there. I don't think I ever asked permission...it's just a thing that started happening. And for a while, it was innocent.

My timeline is a little fuzzy on just when certain things happened in our relationship, but I do know that very early on, I told him that I would be willing to have sex with him, but I didn't feel ready. I thought I needed to say this, because he was older, and I assumed experienced. It turned out that he was also a virgin, but I didn't know that when I planted this seed. He was respectful of my youth and unreadiness for a bit...but he got anxious for the sex, and would constantly remind me of what I'd said so early on. He did eventually pressure me quite a bit, and it was something that we fought about a lot in the first year of our relationship...but I'll get to that later.

Awkward description of teenage sex stuff )His behavior with regard to sex is probably what led me to fall out of love with him. Over time, I got disgusted with how used I felt sometimes. He would come home from college to visit me, and the first thing he'd want was sex. We still fought a lot, about I don't even know what -- we both had bad tempers and I guess it probably didn't take much to get riled up on either side. I started wanting us to fight so he'd break up with me. I was afraid to break up with him because I was afraid he'd hurt himself. I can't remember if he ever suggested he would or not, but I was very worried it would happen anyway, so I wanted to make him end it. And eventually he did, but it took a long time.

Still though, after the breakup, I wanted him back. We reconciled for a bit, and things were good for a bit, and then they weren't again. I messed around with other guys, he found out, and that was the end for us. But I wanted him back again, and tried desperately throughout the summer of 2000, but he'd already found Whitney then. He wouldn't take me back, and eventually I got over it.

It was years before I heard from him again. After I married Jeremy, word got back to him that I was married, and he reached out to me. We did a lot of apologizing back and forth, and formed a really good friendship. I began to feel very attached to him again. We spoke every day for a while and grew very close. I guess Whitney sensed what was happening, because she asked him to stop talking to me. I was hurt when that happened, but I understood. Later, when I moved back to Charlottesville, I would run into them both at the gym quite frequently. I talked to Rafal when I saw him, but it was all just superficial then. I never really connected with him again. And now I never will.
I still have more memories to share from the relationship; I'll leave those here as they come to mind and as I have time. There's still a lot more to unpack.

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