I was talking with my girlfriend Squee this morning, something I do most mornings.  I really miss her.  

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She misses me, too.

This morning we were flirting with one another.  It was a funny sort of flirting.  Was there intimate, sexy stuff to it? Yes.  But also just... comfort and company.  We love being immersed in one another's everything.

It feels so good to crave and to be craved.

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
Categories365 Gratitude

So this morning, I'm talking with my girlfriend Alissa...

Which is something we do just about every morning.  We were catching up on the past couple of days, and talking about our today.  She was having a plumber over, to fix her kitchen sink.

Which is when something small, that's something really big actually happened.

My brain, like some oddball cotton candy machine, dredged the big churning plastic paddles (go with my here, it's a complex food metaphor) through the pink sugary goo that is my long-term memory.

There was a noise on her end of the call, a chip clip clacking together.  It sounded kind of like a knock at the door.  To which I quipped some joke about how "It's the plumber, he's here to fix the sink."

She said, "um, what?"  And I couldn't quite honestly tell her why I said it.  Maybe it was some game or joke I played as a kid?  So I sat and concentrated on it real hard.  And then I looked it up on Google.

And I found this:

It's a little cartoon short, made in 1971, from a children's program called The Electric Company.  1971 happens to also be the year something else was made: me.  TEC was a sort of companion program, or maybe competition for Sesame Street.  I absolutely loved it when I was a kid.  (Especially because they had little short features with Spider-man, like this one.)

Anyhow, this short used to absolutely destroy me when I was little.  I thought it was one of the funniest things I ever saw.  Guess what?  Still pretty darn funny.

Why am I so grateful for this?  Because it's yet another profound insight about mindfulness.  Forty-six years ago this little video came out on television, and I did, at a hospital.  Then maybe five years later I saw it, and loved it.  And then forty-one years after that, I'm loving it all over again.

I think it's a profound commentary on loss, and our own perspective.  Things happen, they become a part of our life, our self, and then they get packed away, tamped down into our memory and our character by all the subsequent stuff that comes after.  

Every so often one of these returning guest stars pops up and is front and center again.  It's kind of amazing.  We don't really lose anything, do we?

 

 

 

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesgratitudeNow

So, if I haven't mentioned it before (I have), I'm not just a teensy bit polyamorous, I'm a whole lot poly. 

What I mean by that is that I have a bunch of relationships in my life, of varying ages. I've been part of the Ghidrah for more than a decade, been married for almost that long, and have relationships that are deeply meaningful to me besides those, many of which go back for years.

Along the way I've learned some special guidelines and even new words that are useful in navigating the fulfilling but often complex life of being a polyamorist.

One of those is FRUBBLE, a silly informal variant of COMPERSION.  That's the pleasure you get from when your partner is happy doing something that doesn't directly involve you. 

Another thing you learn when you are poly is to use tools, to help manage the finite resource of time, and facilitate communication, which are problems for everybody but most especially us non-monogamous folks.

Shared calendars are your friend.

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I had this awesome frubble moment this morning because of another piece of tech, GeoZilla.

It's kind of like the Weasley Family Clock from Harry Potter, as a mobile app.

My girlfriend Squee, my wife Missy, and Squee's other partner Moliére (who is also one of my closest friends on earth, and whom I consider to be family), all use this thing.

Moliére is out in Chicago visiting Squee.  They're going kinky camping. This is a big deal, because their relationship is in this new hot phase, and there's a whole bunch of really great things going on that are good for them, and which in turn make me ecstatically happy.

Frubble.  It's awesome.

Anyhow, I wasn't completely up on the details of when he was flying out. I didn't need to be, so no big deal. But when he landed this morning and checked in, I opened up GeoZilla, saw they were together, and instantly got this warm, schmoopy feeling of joy. 

Then I called them, and we talked all the way through my commute in this morning.  And that might not have happened without us being bionically frubble assisted. 

Totally cool.

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
I didn't draw this - and it's not the right number of kids, but it's got the general idea right.  My poly family is a family!

I didn't draw this - and it's not the right number of kids, but it's got the general idea right.  My poly family is a family!

This past weekend was a big deal.  My girlfriend Alissa (Squee) and her kids came to visit us for Easter, and to be a part of Missy's confirmation at church.  

There's so much to say about it all, I almost don't know where to begin.  

First off, there was the way even the prospect of the visit swept us all up in excitement and planning, at both our houses.  There were discussions about the best and most viable ways to travel (via a rented car), and schedule (travel all day Thursday and Monday), and time off (Friday for Missy and myself.)

And then the easter-bunnitizing.  Missy, Alissa, and I spent a whole bunch of time talking about ways to celebrate Easter.  We wanted stuff for the kids to enjoy, that wasn't all about getting stuff, but still let them really immerse themselves.  It involved a whole bunch of discussions about things that work well for them, and things that don't.  

Sparkly egg is sparkly

Sparkly egg is sparkly

We really made a family project out of it.  Missy and Marybeth shopped for days, looking for the right Easter Basket stuff, and for eggs for the egg hunt.  Me, I'm very-not-obvious about encouraging the kids to co-operate, not compete, so I searched for a way to make the egg hunt into a shared thing.

Here's what I ultimately came up with.  Missy got a bunch of sparkly, shiny empty plastic eggs.  I filled with a series of puzzle messages in a hidden code, based on a cipher key.  I also hid pieces of the cipher in other eggs.  The messages looked kind of like this:

If you really want to figure this out, do a search for the "pigpen cipher", and you'll be able to.

If you really want to figure this out, do a search for the "pigpen cipher", and you'll be able to.

Originally the message-puzzle was going to lead the kids to a hidden stash of pumpkin hand-pies I made for them.  And while I did in fact make them a bunch of those things (which they are all absolutely mad for), I had the better idea of having them search for the presents that were originally going to go in their easter baskets.  (Because scheduling, and food freshness, and the VERY HARD TASK of sneaking around three children to hide things.  You think linear algebra or organic chemistry is hard? It's piffle next to hiding presents from children.)

The special presents that were originally going to go in said easter baskets weren't super expensive things, just thoughtful ones.  Each had meaning to each kid because of inside jokes, games we play together as a family, or special interests they have.

We also looked for a super fun thing to do.  We ended up going to this escape room thing about an hour north of where we live.  It was hilariously awesome.  There was a fair amount of family-wrangling involved in our trying to get there for Friday, and we sort of blew it, because of holiday traffic.  But we made it work for us.  We wandered around the touristy town we were going to go to in the first place, having a great meal out, and just sort of wandering.

The next day, Alissa and the kids and I went back there, while Missy went to a confirmation rehearsal.  We got there totally early which was awesome.  All of the kids (and both grownups) were totally excited to get to do this thing.  Things have a way of working out.  Not only did we solve all the puzzles and escape the room, we did it with eight whole minutes to spare.

That's because we're a smart family.

That whole we-can-solve-puzzles-thing totally came back as an awesome "this is who we are" moment on Sunday morning, when the kids woke up, came downstairs, found their baskets and then the first sparkly egg.  S., the youngest cracked open the egg, saw a coded message and said, "Oh this is just like the escape room.  We can totally do this."  

Then all four grownups watched, delighted as the three kids tore through that egg hunt in short order.  L. the oldest, was sharp-eyed, and saw each egg before either of his sisters, and gently, lovingly, and bluntly-not-obviously gave them verbal clues to help them find them, like "I'm so on the fence about where the next one might be."

He's a great kid.  I love him so much.

Soon they had them all assembled, and put their heads together, and worked out the whole thing in minutes.  It was honestly, utterly and totally badass impressive.  

That sort of family co-operative thing was very much at play all weekend long.  We cooked meals together, set and cleaned the table together.  We supported one another, both when we were all together (like for meal times, or Missy's confirmation), and when we split off into groups.

Part of both that splitting off process and the larger group stuff was bonding.

Missy and Marybeth got girl-time with the girls, braiding hair.

Missy and Alissa spent quiet time together, cuddling and watching Moana.

Alissa and Marybeth got bonding time talking together about shared-life-experience stuff.  

Missy read stories to the kids at night, from The Great Brain books which she loves so much.

The kids and I did that co-op thing big time, playing this awesome silly videogame called Overcooked.

Yang even "helped" some with that.

Yang even "helped" some with that.

And there was plenty of alone-time and intimacy, too.  Alissa and I have a big rule that's super important to us, that when we're together, I don't dress or undress myself.  That's for her to do. We kept to it, too.  I goofed it a few times, and got spanked for it, too.  I was in diapers for bed every night, also.  And we made time for the intimacy with one another that we crave so much.

That wasn't weird or shoehorned in, either.  It fit organically into everything we did.  There was always at least one grownup looking out for, and utterly enjoying time with the kids. 

One of the highlights of the whole weekend was playing some of the games we play together across the internet together in our living room.  We played some QuipLash, and some drawful.

At one point, E., the oldest daughter drew this:

"Melodrama"

"Melodrama"

But I ventured the guess "accidental fart poops", which made pretty much everyone collapse in laughter.  

We all smiled at one another, basking in the warm glow of how very much we all love one another.

Because we're a family.

I was telling my friend Moliére last night that I'm feeling particularly blessed lately.  My relationships are great with my partners, things are going well at my day job, I've got not one but two side projects going, one I'm actively working on now, and the other I've got plans in the works to begin writing code for this summer.

All this activity and goodness does come with a price: I'm really busy.  I don't watch much television these days, take rare breaks for the occasional video game, and I have to watch my time management like a hawk.

It's not a code problem.. it's an opportunity to learn to do it better.

It's not a code problem.. it's an opportunity to learn to do it better.

Case in point:  So this morning I'm working on the prototype for my business, which I just decided I will call Project Drummond here in the blog.  I started working around 7:30, and felt my creative juices really kick in about 15 minutes later.  I begin creating a new javascript library, refactor a function I used on a previous page to be more flexible, create a new controller action, realize I need to customize a modal before I can proceed further, and begin doing that, and then.. WHAM.

I realize I'm basically out of time to keep going this morning.  Why?

Here's the scoop - I can't not do this, if I want to be able to sit.

Here's the scoop - I can't not do this, if I want to be able to sit.

Well, first of all, one of my household chores is to clean my cats litter box every single day.  It keeps them happy and healthy, makes the downstairs/guest/cat bathroom a pleasant room to be in, and prevents the dreaded "angry-cat-potty-elsewhere non-accident."   I typically do that just before I get out the door.

I let that go some the past few days, and got a right hard spanking for it, which I well deserved.

Sitting in traffic is total shit.

Sitting in traffic is total shit.

Second, while I'm fortunate that my day job is pretty flexible about my time, and lets me set my own schedule, work variable days, blah blah blah, there's still this other shit I have to deal with: traffic.  It's pretty bad around here, and if I don't want it to eat my day, I have to get on the road, really, no later than 9:30am to have a decently scheduled day.

As I was lamenting this first-world-not-a-terrible-problem problem of mine, I got a nice big gratitude epiphany, like a lightning bolt.  These are wonderful problems to have.  I have to juggle taking care of my delightful cats, living up to the responsibilities my loving and discipline minded Mommy and Aunty set for me, so I can have the energy to go to my really terrific job, while balancing the work of my very promising side business.

It's not like I'm crawling on my hands and knees over broken glass for thirty miles to get a dixie cup of water to bring back to the village, so they can water our one remaining Yak.  

Yes, dealing with shit like litter (actual shit), and traffic (shitty), and time being a finite quantity (shitty truth) are difficult, but they're great difficulties to have.

I'm grateful.

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
Categories365 Gratitude