anarchist_nomad: (Default)
( Aug. 13th, 2017 10:37 am)
Speaking of important anniversaries, this weekend is the other super-important August anniversary -- that of mine & Chesh's relationship!

Technically, the anniversary itself was yesterday (12th August)... but since the original start of our relationship was a four day [long] weekend long affair, we are celebrating throughout the whole of this weekend.

That said, this year's festivities take a different form than most. In recent years, we have generally commemorated our anniversary with some sort of travel adventure. For instance, in 2015 we celebrated with a half-month road trip around Ireland; the year before that we took a two-week Mediterranean cruise.

This year is our first anniversary since we bought the House of the Red Roses. So we are doing something a little different. We are staying in and working on improvements to the house, using the time to build up our hearth and make an even-more-lovely home. We have been turning our energies inwards this time around to build something more lasting than another travel adventure.[*]

Of course, a little fun is also mandated on such a special occasion. Especially when the weather is this perfect -- something we have learned not to take for granted! Yesterday, we went out for breakfast at the new vegetarian cafe in our old neighbourhood (Crookes), and Chesh led a lovely Lammas ritual in a warm & sunny conservatory. In the evening, we also took a road trip through the nearby Peak District to appreciate the heather in all its blooming glory!

Today, the trend continues. There are books to unload on the recently-build bookcases. The kitchen needs to be restored / reorganised now that the paint is dry. And so forth. As a reward for all our hard work, we have a nice anniversary dinner to look forward to tonight -- followed by cards and gifts, of course!

The only thing I really have difficulty wrapping my head around is the number '23'. How in the world did so many years go by so fast? Although it is still too soon to make definite plans, we are starting to brainstorm ideas for how we want to celebrate our Silver Anniversary in 2019.


[*] Interestingly enough, I think the cost of our 'staycation' is comparable to many of our travel anniversaries. Over the past week or so, there has been painting done, new furniture purchased, an overhaul of the garden, et cetera.
anarchist_nomad: (Doctor Nomad)
( Aug. 8th, 2017 11:38 pm)
The icon photo for this entry was taken fourteen years ago today. August 8th 2003. That was the day that I successfully defended my PhD thesis, and Nomad evolved into Doctor Nomad.

Fourteen years. Wow.

Fast-forward to the present: Today, I have three PhD students of my own (with a fourth starting in October).

Life is good.
anarchist_nomad: (Loch Ness Monster)
( Mar. 26th, 2017 12:47 pm)
Eleven years ago right now, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I were in Heathrow Airport, having just landed from Chicago to begin a new life in the United Kingdom. Other than my new contract as a two-year postdoc at Oxford University, visas, and four 75 lb suitcases[*] full of stuff, we had nothing else in our new country -- not even a place to live![**]

Eleven years later, I have a permanent faculty position at the University of Sheffield, and [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat has her own business. We own our own home, the House of the Red Roses, in one of the best neighbourhoods in England[***]. We are naturalised British citizens with all the rights that come with that, including the ability to vote and have our say in matters that affect our adopted nation. We even have a British kitty (Giles) to keep our USAmerican kitty (Stumpy) "company".

As the minute of our landing arrived at 11:55 this morning, I celebrated quietly, standing in the conservatory and watching the ornate bird feeder in our back garden. Then I pet Stumpy for a moment, who was sprawled in the conservatory chair and basking in the sunlight[****].

By coincidence, the calendar for 2017 is the same as it was for 2006. Indeed, it is the first year since 2006 to do so! Thus, I welcomed this anniversary in the Spring sun on the first day of British Summer Time[*****], just as our original landing coincided with the start of BST in 2006.

The past eleven years have had their ups and downs, their challenges and losses and triumphs. Overall, though, I am happy to say that these years have been good to us. As we move forward into an uncertain political climate, I very much hope that we can continue to stay in our adopted country[******] and that I will be writing an entry eleven years from today to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of our move to the United Kingdom.


[*] Back then, international flights permitted two free pieces of checked baggage... and each piece could weigh up to 75 lbs. So that is 150 lbs of free baggage per person. These days, such flights permit only one free piece of checked baggage, with a weight limit of 50 lbs. So the airlines have cut the free baggage allowance by a factor of three. Greedy &*£$%!

[**] Oxford University permitted us on-campus accommodation at St. John's College at a reasonable price (£35 per night) for one week. Nothing more.

[***] According to the government's 2015 deprivation index, our neighbourhood ranks in the 4% least deprived places in the country -- out of 32,844 areas considered.

[****] This may be why I had to stand.

[*****] Or "Daylight Savings Time" to you yanks!

[******] As citizens, we cannot be legally forced out, any more than any other British citizen can. However, if the political situation here becomes intolerable, we may need to move to somewhere more humane. Hard to know what the future holds anywhere right now, but particularly for the US and the UK.

anarchist_nomad: (Doctor Nomad)
»

Two

( Feb. 10th, 2017 01:28 am)
It was two years ago today that I applied for a job at the University of Sheffield. Disheartened and ready to give up on my career, I put barely any effort into it -- literally recycling an old application.

Goodness, how my world has changed since -- and how grateful I am to two-years-ago-me for taking one last chance.

I realise that I've become a much more boring person over the past year and a half. Less social, with fewer adventures to write about. Do I regret this? Nope. Having finally obtained my dream job, I have thrown myself into it wholeheartedly.

Sometimes I get asked what the research / teaching balance in my role is. I smile and say: "My contract is 35 hours per week... so I do 35 hours of teaching, and 35 hours of research." It's a joke, except that it isn't. That is pretty close to accurate, actually. Some weeks[*] end up being quite a bit more, others can sometimes be a bit less, but 70 hours per week is probably a realistic average.

I organised my first international conference last year: The 11th Conference on the Identification of Dark Matter. My first conference as lead organiser is coming up in two months: The Institute of Physics annual Astro-Particle Physics and High Energy Particle Physics conference.

People keep forgetting that I've been in the role for only 1.X years. I've bedded into the department, the faculty, and the university so well, it seems like I've been there a lot longer. We have a couple of lecturers hired after me; one was rather surprised to learn I'd only been in the department a year longer than him. It's going well enough that I'm looking to complete probation -- effectively equivalent of 'making tenure' in the USA -- this Summer, a year earlier than normal. (Then it's on to Senior Lecturer -- equivalent to an Associate Professor in the USA as quickly as possible!)

Despite only teaching for three semesters, I have already won an award for "Sustained Excellence in Teaching". (Those of you who have heard me do outreach talks will not be surprised. No false modesty here; I am very good at teaching.) In addition to my undergraduate teaching in the department at Sheffield, I also co-teach science communication to Masters students at the Faculty of Science level and teach at our new outpost in Nanjing. And I was tagged by the Faculty Director of Teaching to be part of a new educational leadership exchange programme.

Meanwhile, I have PhD students on three continents right now -- one is presenting his work on supernovae in Japan next week, one is building hardware in Switzerland this month, and one is living at Fermilab and rocking the Accelerator Neutrino-Nucleus Interaction Experiment (or ANNIE). I'm kinda psyched for 2019, when my very first PhD student graduates. I was super proud introducing him to CK last year, who was my PhD supervisor. In academic-speak, I was introducing my "son" to his "grandfather".

It's not just my department or my faculty. I've thrown myself into the wider univeristy as well. Last Summer, I walked a personal record of 130 miles as part of The Big Walk to raise money for refugee students. Thanks to our efforts, six refugees will be brought to the University to do postgraduate degrees -- fully funded, with maintenance money. The refugee crisis is overwhelming, but I'm proud to have done some small part to alleviate it.

(By the way, if you want to donate, my JustGiving page is still open until the end of March -- just click here!)

And, of course, the research proceeds apace. I'm involved in a number of experiments in both Japan and at Fermilab... plus I recently joined the WATCHMAN project -- that's the WATer CHerenkov Monitor for AntiNeutrinos. It's not a particle physics experiment -- it is applied particle physics. The goal is to use antineutrinos for nuclear non-proliferation and threat reduction. Right now, I'm pushing hard on the effort to get the WATCHMAN prototype built here in Yorkshire.

So, yeah, that's my life. Toldja I had become boring. In a typical week, whatever time doesn't go into the job goes into the House of the Red Roses. Or my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat. Or Stumpy & Giles, who make sure to demand their share of attention.[**]

I'll try to LJ more in 2017, though. At the very least, I should make it so my landing page of most recent 20 entries is all from the same year! Maybe next time, I should post some pics of the House of the Red Roses.[***]

Meanwhile, on this anniversary of my application, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on just how lucky I am, and how grateful for this opportunity. Also glad that so many of you are actually still on LJ -- huzzah for the faithful!

Right. Bedtime now. I've a lecture on time-dependent quantum states to deliver in the morning, followed by conference organising, then running an analysis meeting. Whee!



[*] Like this one -- being the start of a new semester!

[**] Like Stumpy is actually doing right at this very moment, looking to hop in my lap! (ETA: Now in my lap! Which makes it hard to type...)

[***] Those of you for whom I have an address may have already seen it with the Yule cards we sent out in December.
anarchist_nomad: (Loch Ness Monster)
»

Ten

( Mar. 26th, 2016 11:04 am)
Need I say more?

Of course, I am celebrating by leaving; I write this entry from Manchester Airport, en route to Japan.[*]

My, what a decade it has been! Ups and downs, to be sure... but mostly ups. In fact, I have described the year just ended[**] as my best so far!

Looking forward to the next decade, my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I are currently house hunting and putting down roots in Sheffield, whilst I am planning for my next triathlon and my first marathon, plus have grand schemes for both my research and teaching.

Here's to the next ten years!


[*] The pre-celebration happened Wednesday evening, when I repeated the same journey from O'Hare to Heathrow -- these days en route to Sheffield, not Oxford -- but still. Speaking of which, it was lovely seeing many of you at the birthday party on Monday!

[**] By which I mean February 2nd 2015 through February 1st 2016. Not exactly the conventional calendar year, but since when did I hew to convention? These dates bookend a year, but are not arbitrary. It starts with the job advertisement for my faculty post and ends with the news that the chemo was successful and my father's cancer is in remission. Much more in-between, but that is more fitting for a separate post than a footnote.

anarchist_nomad: (Loch Ness Monster)
( Mar. 26th, 2015 08:13 pm)
Nine years ago today, my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I arrived in Merry Olde England. It wasn't my first time, having been twice before... but the date is significant because that was when we arrived to make our home here.

Seriously? How has it been nine years?? Still the proof is there -- see for yourself!

I don't have much to say today, given that I've made length entries in each of the past three days[*], but I thought that this was an anniversary worth noting.

We spent the first night in London, so tomorrow will be nine years since the very first time we set foot in Oxford. I still remember the two of us arriving at the train station, four 75 pound suitcases in tow, and not knowing where anything at all was located.


[*] Four consecutive days of LJ entries? Wowza, that's like old times!

anarchist_nomad: (Sunset over Key West)
( Jan. 11th, 2014 12:23 pm)
Dear friends, today is a very special day. Literally a once-in-a-lifetime occasion.

For lack of a better term, today is my "halflife-versary" -- or merely "halflife" for short -- with my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat.

Not familiar with the term? I'm not surprised, as I coined it myself. Allow me to explain:

My relationship with [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat began on August 12th 1994. I was 7092 days old. Today is January 11th 2014, and my relationship with [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat is 7092 days old. (Not coincidentally, I am now 14,184 days old) As you can see, today marks the day where I have been with my dearest life partner for half my life.

If you think about it, this is somewhat of a "lopsided" celebration. I mean, birthdays are clearly about one person -- the birthday "boy" or "girl" -- and relationship anniversaries are generally about a couple. This "halflife" anniversary involves elements of both. The relationship lasting 7092 days is an achievement of both [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and myself... but the "half my life" status is particular to just me.[*]

By the way: If you are aware of an existing term to describe such a day, gentle readers, do feel free to let me know. Otherwise, I am going to continue to use my own makeshift terminology, calling this my "halflife" celebration.

Today is a day that I have been looking forward to for several years, and it marks a significant milestone. After all, from here on, I have spent more of my life in a relationship with [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat than not. Not quite sure how to express that transition in words, but it feels like a Big DealTM to me.

This is also an achievement that I am rather proud of. It is not unheard of by any means, and I know others who have achieved the same. But not many others. And especially not many who passed this point whilst still in their thirties. So yay for us! Huzzah!

To celebrate, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I will be heading into London for dinner in the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall, followed by a performance of Cirque du Soleil's "Quidam".

Thus, I will sign off now to spend the rest of the day with the aforementioned [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat. I wish all of my dear friends a very lovely Saturday!


[*] We will have a different halflife celebration in a couple of years when we reach the point where we have been together for half of [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat's life.
anarchist_nomad: (Loch Ness Monster)
( Oct. 25th, 2013 12:50 am)
Haven't spend much time on LJ of late -- mea culpa, my friends! Methinks tis a combination of being very busy with other hobbies and the general relaxed atmosphere around here now that the tumbleweed is rolling down the corridors. Still, the lack of posting means I'm part of the problem; I count this as only my third entry for this month.

What's worse is that this isn't going to be a particularly exciting entry, either.
With Samhain coming, I've been doing some introspection... mainly thinking back on where I am now compared to recent years at this time.

As it turns out, one year ago today was the Big One at the Event Horizon. After weeks of packing, we got the moving truck and cleaned it all out. Oy -- what a month last October was! Hard to believe it has been a year already!

Two years ago today, I got Wally -- my current car. In the past two years, I have driven him 19,356 miles, and spent £2916.23 on diesel fuel. Adjusting for the fact that he was purchased empty and is now full, I have spent £2852.23 to drive those miles -- covering 6.8 miles per pound sterling (or, if you like, spent 14.7p per mile driven). My fuel efficiency is pretty good -- 9.6 miles per liter (or 36.5 miles per US gallon) -- but the cost of fuel here is much higher than what folks back in the States are used to. On average, I have paid £1.42 per liter... which, at today's exchange rates, works out to about $8.71 per US gallon. When Stateside people complain about the supposedly high cost of fuel, I point out that I would love to pay those prices. Four bucks a gallon would be delightful!

What else is going on when I compare now to previous Octobers?

I have now been in the same job for five years. In a time of great funding uncertainty in my field, this is not something that one can take for granted. So, yes, job stability is a good thing. Huzzah!

I have now been in the same serious UK-based relationship for nearly four years.[*] Four years ago right now, my darling [livejournal.com profile] miss_amaranth and I were engaged in our pre-relationship flirting, which would last for several weeks. I was thrilled that so many of you were able to meet her earlier this month at the Sooper Sekrit October Pagan Festival! Hooray!

I have now been in the same flat for three years. Chiron Beta Prime is an improvement over the Flat With No Name in every possible way. Tis both bigger and more affordable. Yay!

And, as mentioned above, I have now owned the same car for two years. Wally has been rather reliable in that time, giving us nearly no problems whatsoever. Other than typical maintenance work -- replace the tyres, replace the brake pads -- he has needed to special care at all. Wahoo!

So, yes, many of the core aspects of my life -- relationships, job, home, car -- have all been very stable of late. This is a Good Thing. Not throwing boatloads of energy at job hunting... or relationship drama... or moving... well, it frees up that time and energy for doing things that I enjoy. Like travel... or bell ringing... or running... or theatre... or gaming... or swimming... Is good.

Thus, my dear friends, as Samhain approaches and the Dark Half of the Wheel settles in, I find myself feeling remarkable serene this year. May kick myself if I come back to re-read this in February, when I am well and truly sick & tired of the long dark nights this far North. But for now, gentle readers? Well, life is good!


[*] And, of course, my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I are in our twentieth year together... which is also super-awesome!

Two recent numbers of significance worth noting here:

First, on my most recent run -- earlier this week -- I passed the 11 km mark for the first time.

These days, my standard running workout is a five minute warm-up walk, followed by a sixty minute run, then ending with a five minute cool-down walk. When the workout is over, the running app that I use reports an average pace for each of those three parts; I ignore the walking segments but use the data for the run to work out how far I went. Previously, my best record was 5:32 per kilometer (or, if you prefer, 8:54 per mile) -- set on the 5th of August. That works out to a 10.84 kilometer run (or 6.74 miles).

When I was new to running last year, I used the NHS Couch-to-5K podcast series. The narrator, Laura, frequently reminds us that some runs will be better than others, often without clearly identifiable reason. (She also points out that a bad run is still better than no run at all -- helpful advice!) Well, I'm not sure why... but my most recent run -- the day before yesterday -- turned out to be a very good run! That was evident early on, as I just felt "in the groove" and the distance reports every five minutes were impressive, compared to my normal pace. I knew if I pushed on, I could likely set a new record... and thought I even had a chance of squeaking past the 11 km mark for the first time.

Turns out, I was doing better than I thought -- my average pace for the hour worked out to 5:19 per kilometer (or 8:33 per mile)! That's 11.28 km -- well past the 11K mark! Tis also well beyond the record set eight days earlier! Measuring in Imperial units, I ran 7.01 miles -- just barely passing the seven mile marker for the first time! As the title to this post mentions, this was indeed a literal milestone for my progress as a runner. Go me!

Next, we get more figurative. On Monday -- August 12th -- my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I celebrated our 19th anniversary! Go us!

We celebrated by spending a three day weekend in London[*]. Not long ago, right here on LJ, [livejournal.com profile] acelightning had a discussion about travel, in which we noted that there are often opportunities to see interesting things without going far from home. For our anniversary this year, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I decided to do just that. Next year, for the big TWO-OH, we are planning a two week cruise -- either to Scandinavia or the Mediterranean -- so this year we decided to stay nearby and finally see some of the many things in London that we've been putting off for years because, after all, we can go anytime!

The idea was good, and our weekend was delightful -- we finally visited Westminster Abbey (seeing the graves of Newton and Dirac!), we caught a West End show, we indulged my passion for tall buildings by going up to the viewing platform at the Shard, and more. Hopefully, I can find time for a detailed entry -- with pics, of course! -- before heading out for Moscow next week! Fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, dear friends, I will share one shot from the weekend. Just because. The picture below was taken at Kensington Palace. Construction on this palace began in 1689, on the orders of William & Mary; the motivation was to construct a royal residence closer to London than either Hampton Court Palace or Windsor Castle... but further from the polluted air of the city than Whitehall Palace, which used to sit on the banks of the Thames -- William III was asthmatic and couldn't breathe well whilst at Whitehall.

Over the centuries, Kensington Palace has been home to a great many royals. Princess Di lived there, as did the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret. It is also where Queen Victoria was born and where she grew up. The picture below was taken in the so-called "Red Saloon" room at Kensington Palace, which is the room where Victoria held her first privy council on the morning where she became queen. We heard an excellent lecture in the room, and there were also costumes available for folks to play "dress-up". A common tourist attraction, I don't usually succumb... but I thought this jacket was just too good to pass up! Take a look at the pic itself (try to ignore the fact that I'm wearing shorts and sandals underneath!) and tell me if you agree:


(click for full-sized version)


Oddly enough, whilst [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat was taking this picture, one person thought I was a statue in the exhibit! He was visibly startled when the photo had been shot and I started moving and talking -- go figure!

Anyway, a very happy anniversary was had by us! Yay for nineteen years... and yay for the next nineteen years, too!


[*] Many thanks to my sweet [livejournal.com profile] miss_amaranth for looking in on our darling kitties whilst we were away. And even more thanks for the lovely card and flowers, set up to make for a wonderful surprise when we got home!

Hello, gentle readers! Happy Thursday to you!

The title of this post says it all, really. Today, your friendly neighbourhood Nomad is two thousand weeks old. Huzzah! Happy millemanae to me![*]

Oddly enough, despite being known as the Knave of Numbers, I didn't plan this one out in advance. Yesterday morning, whilst in the shower, I was thinking about how my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I will soon be celebrating our 1000 weekiversary -- something I worked out last year and have been planning for. That led me to thinking about how, in six more months, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I will celebrating being together for half my life. That one has been on our radar for years -- we already have Cirque du Soleil tickets and dinner reservations for the day!

Well, after thinking about these two upcoming days of significance -- and putting some conditioner in my voluminous hair -- some basic algebraic truths suddenly dawned on me: If we are soon to celebrate 1000 weeks together and, not long after, celebrate being together half my life..... well, then I must be turning 2000 weeks old soon. Or perhaps have done so recently!

A little later, out of the shower, I picked up what passes for Ye Olde Pocket Calculator these days and did the math(s). As it turned out, my calculations revealed that I would turn 2000 weeks old tomorrow! Of course, since I worked this out yesterday, tomorrow is today... and, dear readers, today we can celebrate 2000 weeks of everybody's favourite Nomad! Hooray!

Have to say, it's been a very interesting and exciting couple of thousand weeks! Looking forward to seeing what the next couple thousand will bring...


[*] To the best of my knowledge, there is no word to refer to a one thousand week block of time. Of course, a one thousand year block of time is a millennium, coming from the Latin mille (for thousand) and annus (for year). Thus, by way of similar construction, I give you the newly coined "millemanae" -- joining mille with the late Latin septimanae (for week). A bonus of this particular construction is that "millemanae" sounds somewhat like "Mahna Mahna" -- always a plus!

Ten years ago, my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I were living in Arizona. Whilst we lived there, we had gotten into the habit of feeding the stay cats in the area, of which there were many. It started one evening, in July 2002, when a hungry kitty followed me home. We put out a dish of food for him... and, come the morning, it was gone. We repeated this nightly and, in time, our flat got a reputation amongst the local strays. We had several regular visitors; no matter how much food we left outside, by morning, all would be devoured. That Summer, we got to know the kitties that frequented our doorstep. The original was a sweet and petite grey tiger. There was also a black mommy cat who travelled with two of her kittens, one as black as she.

Ten years ago today, I was in Japan, getting ready to publish this paper. I received a phone call from [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat; it was five in the afternoon for me and one in the morning for her. She had called to tell me that the black mommy cat had shown up at our door, as usual, but this time something was different. She was desperate to be let in, to come out of the desert heat. She also looked like she -- in [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat's words -- had "swallowed a basketball". Clearly, there were little kitties inside, getting ready to come out. We deliberated for some time; bringing in a stray could put our two kitties -- Foxy and Totoro -- in danger if she was carrying an infectious disease like feline leukemia. On the other hand, if she gave birth outside, not all her babies would survive the heat. Finally, we decided to take her in, segregate her in the second bathroom for the night, and get her to a shelter in the morning.

Ten years ago today, I received a second phone call from [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat; I was getting ready for bed as it was one o'clock in the morning for me. I was surprised that she had called and asked her: "It is nine am there; why aren't you in class right now?" The answer was simple -- the babies had started to come out!

That's right, dear friends, ten years ago today, we went -- literally overnight -- from being a two cat household to a seven cat household. The black mommy cat had given birth to four kittens. All were fully black, same as she, leading us to suspect that her all-black kitten from a previous litter was the most likely father.

Twas our intent to keep the mother and find homes for all four kittens, once they were old enough to be separated from mom. We had great fun with a house full of kittens... but plans changed. We interviewed several people who wanted to adopt a kitten; none of them seemed like they would provide a suitable home. All too many people want a kitten when it is young and cute, not realising that adopting a cat is a lifelong commitment that can last two decades.

Five months later, we flew the black mommy cat -- who we had since named "Rocks" -- to New York, where she was adopted by the ever-awesome [livejournal.com profile] ms_redcat. The four kittens? We kept them all.

Ten years have passed since the day that my babies were born. For the first four years, all four kitties lived under the same roof, as a family, never spending a day apart. In 2006, we moved The Boy to England, along with Foxy and Totoro. He is sitting in the next room right now, as I type this. His three sisters -- Stumpy, Chirp, and Nona -- remained at the Event Horizon, my US home, with [livejournal.com profile] gyades. In 2007, we gave away one of the "kittens", Nona, to a friend; we didn't want to let her go, but Nona had chosen who her favourite person was and it seemed cruel to keep them apart. This Autumn, after we empty the Event Horizon, Stumpy and Chirp will follow in their brother's footsteps, flying to England and joining him (and Giles) here at Chiron Beta Prime.

Meanwhile, what would be the point of a post about kitties if there were no pictures to go with it? So, gentle readers, for your viewing pleasure, I now present birthday pictures and baby pictures for The Boy (and sisters). Enjoy!

THEN: The Boy (front), Chirp (back) and either Stumpy or Nona (center) at eleven weeks, sprawled on the sofa in our Arizona apartment.


NOW: The Boy and I today, celebrating his birthday on the cat tree in our Oxford flat.


THEN: Close up on The Boy -- look at that face!


NOW: Same face, nearly ten years later.


THEN: Nomad, aged twenty-seven, holds one of the baby girls for the camera.


NOW: Nomad, aged thirty-seven, holds The Boy for the camera.


So a very Happy Birthday to all four of my furry babies! It has been a delight to have these kitties for the past ten years. Very much looking forward to having them with us -- happy and healthy -- for another decade!


[*] Um, for somewhat large values of "two".

anarchist_nomad: (Loch Ness Monster)
( Aug. 15th, 2012 11:58 pm)
Last Sunday -- August 12th 2012 -- marked eighteen years since the start of my relationship with my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat. Eighteen years?! How did they fly by so quickly? There are now adults walking around who were not even born when we met for our first date!

Eighteen years. That is 6575 days... or 48.1% of my life. Wowza!

To celebrate, we took a weekend road trip to Yorkshire. Setting out after work on Friday evening, we made it up to Doncaster at a reasonable hour. Knowing that we would arrive slightly before midnight, we booked nothing more posh than a simple Travelodge. No point in splurging for the night where all we needed was a comfy bed. Even so, we were pleasantly surprised, as our hotel room window boasted some spectacular lake views.

The other advantage of our basic accommodation was that we started Saturday in close proximity to our first destination: Pontefract Castle. Originally constructed in Norman times by a man named Ilbert de Lacy, on land granted to him by the Conquerer, the castle is now in ruins. Ah, but what a history it had!

Pontefract -- or Pompret, as it was then called -- is perhaps best known as the place where Richard II was held captive and then murdered, after being deposed from England's throne by his cousin, the usurping Bolingbroke -- later known as Henry IV. Shakespeare immortalizes this in his history play The Life and Death of King Richard the Second. This incident is also referred back to in the more famous play Richard III, with the lines:

Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison,
Fatal and ominous to noble peers!
Within the guilty closure of thy walls
Richard the second here was hack'd to death


Pontefract Castle was also a Royalist stronghold during the Civil War, where it was besieged three times. First by the Roundheads and then, after they successfully took the castle, by the Royalists, who wanted it back. They got it, too... after which the Parliamentarians went right back into siege mode. Indeed, Pontefract Castle contained such devoted Royalists that theirs was the last castle to surrender at the end of the war; King Charles I was dead two months before they finally gave up the fight!

Unfortunately, all this stubborn resistance was ultimately Pontefract's downfall. After winning the Civil War, Oliver Cromwell set into motion plans to destroy the castle, lest it ever be used against him again. Hence the current ruin.

Here is a picture of the castle in the twilight of its glory days, painted in the early 17th century:



Impressive, isn't it? However, it certainly does not look like that now! If there is interest, I can upload photographs from the weekend, showing the castle in its current ruined state (including a certain Nomad in the basement of the tower where Richard II was held prisoner).

After finishing with the castle, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I made our way a little further North, to the city of York. We had been before, of course! [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I enjoyed a lovely trip to York in 2007. Additionally, I had stopped by for dinner with my dear [livejournal.com profile] miss_amaranth on our way back from Scarborough last year... and, just this May, I spent a weekend in York with our friend EB, who was visiting from the States. So we are certainly no strangers to York!

Upon arriving on Saturday, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I began by taking in some familiar sights, like touring the Minster and taking a stroll down the Shambles. In the evening, we checked into our hotel; for our anniversary proper, we had booked much more extravagant accommodation -- the luxurious Grange Hotel, located in a Grade II listed building. After settling in, we cleaned up from a day of scurrying about on castle ruins and, properly attired, enjoyed a phenomenal dinner at the Ivy Brasserie. Absolutely marvelous! With soup, a generous main dish, sides, and dessert, I certainly ate too much... but, hey, it was our anniversary dinner!

Following the meal, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I moved to the hotel sitting room to open our cards and gifts. We chatted with another couple, who was there to celebrate their first anniversary. When all the gifts were open, we retired to our bedroom to enjoy some quality alone time together.

On Sunday morning, we rose late and, after breakfast at a yummy café (found with EB in May), set off to explore parts of the city that we had not visited on previous trips. So no Jorvik Viking Centre, no guided walking tours, no Richard III Museum, no evening ghost walks (or ghost cruises on the River Ouse), no National Railway Museum, no walk along the city walls, no York Castle Museum (with its awesome Victorian street), no climbing of Clifford's Tower, no descent into the haunted cellar of the Treasurer's House. All of these places are lovely... but I have seen them all before. After re-visiting some old favourites on Saturday, for Sunday we wanted something new.

We began our afternoon by taking a turn through the Museum gardens, laid out in the nineteenth century by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, and situated on the land that had once been home to St. Mary's Abbey before the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The garden naturally let us out at the side of the River Ouse, so we continued to stroll alongside the river for a bit. We then ducked into the Yorkshire Museum to see their special exhibit 1212: The Making of the City, commemorating eight hundred years since York was granted a City Charter by King John. Whilst in the museum, we also attended a lecture on the history of the York Medieval Mystery Plays. More on those plays in a bit!

When the museum closed, we crossed the river and took a ride around the Wheel of York, a sixty meter ferris wheel -- sort of a younger sibling to the London Eye. Actually, we took three rides around the Wheel, taking advantage of the uncharacteristically excellent weather to enjoy some spectacular views of the city from way up high. Then we grabbed a quick dinner before returning to the ruins of St. Mary's Abbey... just in time to be seated for the evening's performance of the York Mystery Plays.

Performed once every four years, the York Mystery Plays tell the history of the Universe, from before the Creation to the Last Judgment. The English mystery plays originally date to the mid-fourteenth century, when they were performed on the feast day of Corpus Christi. We know that at least thirteen cycles of medieval mystery plays once existed, although only four remain in a complete or near-complete state. Each cycle consisted of a series of biblical plays, and each play told one part of the story. The York Mystery Plays are the most complete cycle that we have, consisting of forty-eight pageants.

Traditionally, the annual production of these plays were organized, financed, and performed by the York Craft Guilds; each guild would take responsibility for a particular play. Rather than being staged in a fixed arena, the plays were performed on pageant wagons. These wagons would parade though the streets of York, stopping at twelve different playing stations to perform.

Although vastly popular, the mystery plays stopped being performed shortly after the Protestant Reformation took hold in England. The plays were viewed as being too Catholic, which was unacceptable. The last record we have of the York Mystery Plays being produced dates to 1569. At least until the modern era.

In 1951, the cycle was revived for the Festival of Britain. The twentieth century revival was based on the original medieval text, though several significant changes were made. For one thing, the overall length of the cycle was shortened from the original runtime of about fourteen hours. Also, the language was modernized from Middle English to something like Early Modern English (think Shakespeare here); words like "mickle" and "gramercy" still pop up... but the revised text is understandable by a modern audience. Finally, it is worth noting that the 1951 production took place on a fixed stage, in the ruins of St. Mary's Abbey, rather than on travelling wagons.

This revival was an absolute success, and the plays have been regularly produced ever since -- first in three year intervals; then, from 1988, these became four year intervals.[*] In addition to being spectacular theatre, the modern York Mystery Plays are also a major community affair. A professional director is hired, and two professional actors play the roles of God/Jesus and Satan; the rest of the 250-member cast is composed entirely of local amateur volunteers. Indeed, 500 volunteer actors are recruited from the local community, forming two casts that alternate performances. This year, Ferdinand Kingsley (son of the more well known Ben Kingsley) played God and Jesus, whilst Graeme Hawley made a delightful Satan (especially when flanked by his ultra-sexy band of devilettes!).

The cycle ended at 23:00, after which we embarked on the three hour drive home. Thus, we got back to Oxford and Chiron Beta Prime at 03:00 on Monday and were rather tired when it was time to get ready for work in the morning. Even so, it was well worth it! I thoroughly enjoyed having front row seats for this astounding spectacle, and I was thrilled to participate in a work that has such a rich and resounding history!

Without a doubt, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I had an extremely memorable anniversary weekend, ensuring that our eighteenth will be looked back upon fondly for many years to come! Huzzah!


[*] Interestingly enough, in recent years, a revival of the wagon-based plays has also sprung up, circa 1994. As in days gone by, they are sponsored by the York Guilds. These productions are not as elaborate as the originals; rather than perform all forty-eight plays at twelve stations, they are currently running twelve plays at each of four stations. Even so, that's pretty spiffy! The wagon plays are also done on a four year interval, covering the even numbered years when the stationary cycle is not performed. Think of these as the Winter Olympics complementing the original revival's Summer Olympics -- indeed, even the years work out correctly in this anology! [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I definitely want to go back to York in 2014 to see the wagon production as well!

anarchist_nomad: (Solidarity Forever)
( Aug. 6th, 2012 10:47 pm)
Today is a day little remembered in my country of citizenship and my country of residence. In neither the US nor UK press have I heard any mention of this anniversary.

Sixty-seven years ago today, the horror of nuclear weapons was unleashed on the world, as the United States used the atomic bomb to destroy Hiroshima. Over a decade has passed since Resourceress and I visited Hiroshima in November 2001, yet the memory remains strong. Hiroshima -- with its Peace Memorial Park -- remains the single most powerful place that I have visited in all of my many travels, with thoughts of it still likely to bring tears to my eyes.

It is bitterly ironic that the only nation to every use nuclear weapons in war will shout loudly about "rogue" nations who try to obtain the same capacity. It is a heinous hypocrisy that both my nation of birth and my nation of residence continue to spend fortunes on maintaining and upgrading these weapons, whilst slandering others who try to build the same. The hypocrisy is compounded by the fact that both nations are cutting essential spending on infrastructure, social safety nets, and basic research -- yet they can find the funds to lavish on these monstrous weapons.

Even so, it is worth noting that when I am at my most cynical, I can renew my faith in humanity by remembering the tragedy of Hiroshima. Were I to have been alive in September 1945, and were you to have turned to me and said: "This was a great loss, but at least sixty-seven years will now pass before these weapons are ever again used in warfare"... well, my response would have been one of incredulity. I would have marveled at how you could be so naïve. I would have certainly disagreed with you. And yet, I am happy to say, I would have been wrong.






August 6th 1945. Never forget.
Sixty-seven years. Never again.

anarchist_nomad: (Mailbox Madness!)
( Mar. 26th, 2012 11:56 pm)
Six years ago today, my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I touched down in Merry Olde Englande to start a new life here. Fresh off the plane, carrying only four suitcases -- packed to the seventy-five pound limit -- we spent our first day in London with [livejournal.com profile] nw1, before heading to Oxford on the next day.

Oxford -- the only place that I have ever moved without setting foot in it before arriving to live there. Six years later, I can unambiguously state that it was the right decision. The City of Dreaming Spires is still very much like a town out of a fairy tale. Despite having lived here longer than anywhere else in my adult life, the novelty has not worn off. On the contrary, I love showing off my special city, giving tours to friends passing through.

As for England, and the United Kingdom, as a whole? Well, there are ups and downs -- just as there would be anywhere. Having the Conservatives in power for nearly two years now has brought in quite a few of those downs. The weather is also often a bit of a down[*]. Still, there are many advantages over the country that I left behind. We have health care as a basic right[**], we have easily accessible history going back many hundreds (or thousands) of years. The list goes on and on. I do find myself missing many of my dear friends back home... but, in terms of place alone, this is absolutely where I want to be.

So here's to the past six years! In that time, I have seen more of England than anyone that I know -- English or otherwise -- and a pretty respectable bit of Scotland, Wales, and the continent, too!

A typical Oxonian


A couple of his friends


All Souls College, Oxford.
Just one of the many amazing (and picturesque) sights around town.





[*] That said, the weather this past week -- ever since I returned from Germany -- has been utterly amazing! A picture-perfect Spring, if ever I saw one!

[**] When I hear people in the States decry "socialized medicine", saying "We don't want to turn into Europe", I have to hold back a double take. Here in Europe, things are mighty nice. Especially when it comes to health care.

anarchist_nomad: (Loch Ness Monster)
( Feb. 14th, 2012 10:33 pm)
Today is February 14th. Valentine's Day. Same over-marketed romantic commercialization, whether you are in the United States or the United Kingdom. Single, as I was through adolescence, or coupled, as I have been for my entire adult life, it is a holiday that I have never observed.

That said, today is a very special day for my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I... and it is special by our own making. Nothing to do with St. Valentine in the slightest. Today is our thirteenth Double-D Day. The term originates from the movie What Dreams May Come. It is effectively our "other" anniversary.

Long time readers of this journal should feel free to skip the rest of this entry, as it is a commemorative retelling of a story that I have told before. Or, better yet, go have a look at [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat's own post from today, which can be found here. She tells the story there, and does it better than I do!

Thirteen years ago today, to the surprise of all our close friends, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I began our relationship anew. Eleven months of increasingly bitter fighting had poisoned the relationship that we had spent four years building. Despite all the praise we now receive for "doing polyamory right", I cannot pretend that being poly had nothing to do with it. On the contrary, being polyamorous had been at the very heart of all the strife. Back then, we were still very new at poly, and we each had our own difficulties with it... difficulties that rebounded off of each other and came back magnified. We tried everything we could think of to fix our relationship. None of it worked. Then I moved to Japan half time, suddenly taking myself out of [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat's life (and our shared home in the Adirondack House) for large stretches of time. Although, we had talked in advance before making this massive change and we had reached the decision together, this would have been a challenging transition under the best of circumstances. Ours was most certainly not the best. Living in Japan half time means three months there, followed by three in the United States. Rinse and repeat. Two months into my first trip, after a lull in the tensions, things flared back up. We agreed: No more. Work it out now, or go our separate ways.

No one honestly believed that we could do it. If months of trying to work things out face to face had failed, how could we possibly manage it in one go from half a world away? The date was set: Friday February 12th would be the phone call where we would make one final attempt to work through things. [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat had our support network on hand if things went badly; I had plans to relocate to Japan full time.

The day came and went with many hours spent on the phone. Much good work was done, but it was not enough. Saturday, we continued the work -- all day on an international call (in the days before Skype, too!). Still not finished. At last, on Sunday -- February 14th 1999 -- we made it through the storms. We had beaten the odds. We had worked our way through all those months of arguments and tension and hostility out. The nightmare was over.

The past thirteen years have all been possible because of the dedication and effort that [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I poured into those three days. It has not been all bread and roses. Sometimes not enough bread, sometimes not enough roses. But often enough we have both...

So who needs Valentine's Day? I have a very real -- and personal -- reason that February 14th is a celebration of love. I love you, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat. And I thank you for being strong enough to make the dream happen.
anarchist_nomad: (Guess who?)
( Jan. 29th, 2012 06:38 pm)
Eight years ago today, I made my first LiveJournal post, during a trip to Mexico City. In that time, I have posted 1420 entries, averaging just under once every other day[*]. As anyone would expect, there have been times of frequent writing and times when there are dearths. Last year, for instance, I wrote in this journal only 113 times -- well below the annual average. I attribute this decline somewhat to the fact that there has been a large exodus from LiveJournal in recent years; with less activity on the site, there is less energy and momentum for keeping this blog active.

That said, I have no patience for Facebook and an utter revulsion to the idea of compressing my thoughts into 140 character Twitter bursts -- ugh!

Happily enough, it seems that people are flowing back to LiveJournal in recent days. Huzzah! I have no idea what the reason for this reverse diaspora is, but it makes me smile to see my f-page buzzing along once again.

Thus, in the spirit of renewed journaling, I am using my eight year LJ anniversary to launch a new project -- 100 posts in 100 days. In the next hundred days, there will be a hundred new entries in this blog. In contrast to the previous One Hundred Days of LJ idea, which I snatched shamelessly from Resourceress, the focus this time is not on the number of days but the number of entries. If I miss a day, I can make it up later; if I receive fantastic news that merits a second post in a given day, that counts towards the final tally. All I promise is that, one hundred days from now, there will be one hundred more entries on this blog.

Ah, tis good to be back, dear friends! Come along and let's enjoy the ride! And, without further ado, let the games begin!


[*] Or 177.5 posts per year, if you want to be pedantic precise, gentle readers.

anarchist_nomad: (The cape as red as blood)
( Oct. 25th, 2011 11:38 pm)
At this time, nine years ago, a dear friend -- who I now refer to as Tinman 2.0 -- was en route to the hospital with his wife. After seven months of waiting and uncertainty, a suitable heart had finally become available.

For years after, I watched the long slow road of recovery -- always grateful that my friend was still alive, but always cognizant of how much he was diminshed.

For years after that, I was impressed at how much progress he had made and how well he was doing.

Finally, last year, I realized that I had stopped noticing how well he was doing... because it had just become normal. In some sense, this was the most astounding realization of all.

For many months, back in 2002, we had not known if he would live to see his 50th birthday. Now, I rejoice in the thought of wishing him a happy 60th in less than ten months.
Today's entry, gentle readers, is comprised of a few bits of completely unrelated information. Read whichever ones suit your fancy -- pick and choose as you like!

  • It has occurred to me that the next week, starting today, is chock-full of significant dates and anniversaries. For instance, eighteen years ago today is the day that I met my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat. Of course, she want not my beloved at the time -- in fact, we really did not like each other back then. More accurate to say that we tolerated each other infrequently, as she was dating my good friend [livejournal.com profile] yavin7. It would be about nine months until we formed our own connection... and another two until we started our relationship. Still, today is eighteen years that we have known each other. Egads! I was eighteen years old at that first meeting -- how did another eighteen years pass so quickly?

  • On a completely unrelated note, the programme for the World Shakespeare Festival was announced today! Huzzah! I am very excited about this, as there is lots of Good StuffTM on the list! At first glance, I can spot eleven plays that I want to see -- including two (Pericles and Timon of Athens) of the six remaining plays by the Bard that I have not yet seen performed live on stage! This is a most excellent thing because as I get closer to achieving my goal of seeing all thirty-eight of Shakespeare's plays performed, it becomes increasingly more difficult to find productions to attend! Sure, there are always versions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night popping up... but catching a production of Two Noble Kinsmen or Timon of Athens is much more challenging! Such is reflected in this comment, made less than two and a half years after I moved to England, where I note that I have seen twenty-three of the Bard's plays. Three years later, I have only added nine more to the list. Six more to go!

  • On a differently unrelated topic, I noticed today that the annual university rankings assembled by Quacquarelli Symonds[*] have been released for the 2011/2012 academic year. According to QS, my current university affiliation, Imperial College London, has moved up one notch from last year, from seventh place into sixth. It remains just one step behind my previous affiliation, the University of Oxford, which has crept up from sixth place to fifth. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that the QS rankings have now expanded to cover individual subjects -- an analysis that is more useful than the collective ranking of a university. Looking specifically at the rankings for the world's physics & astronomy departments, Imperial College London still makes the Top Ten, coming in at number eight. The gap between current and former employer is a bit wider here, though, as Oxford makes it into the top three, coming in behind only its classic rival, the University of Cambridge (at #1) and Harvard University (#2).

  • Finally, and apropos to nothing else that I have mentioned yet, I want to share one of my favourite poems. This poem is one of the many sources that I draw inspiration from, and I think that I know some people out there who may be in need of some hope or inspiration right now. The poem is by Joseph Rudyard Kipling and may be familiar to many of you; it is called If. Here If is:

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
    And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
    if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
    And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!


    Pardoning the explicit gender mention in the poem as an obsolete relic of the late nineteenth century, I find this poem to be remarkably inspirational. I hope that at least one person reading this will be helped by my decision to post If here.

That, dear friends, is the news of today. Back to work with me now, as I leave for Japan in just a fortnight... with much to do between now and then!


[*] Which must be gangs of fun to say out loud! Maybe almost as much fun as bulbous bouffant.

anarchist_nomad: (At the Haymarket)
( Aug. 31st, 2011 11:52 pm)
Today -- August 31st -- is quite an important anniversary for me. It was seven years ago today that I became a political prisoner. August 31st to September 2nd, 2004. As I wrote at the time, the experience was extremely educational, teaching me much about myself as well as the way that our societal power structures work.

Looking back, I would say that this was a good experience, even if many parts of it were not pleasant. Of course, life is what you make of it... and even parts of my wrongful incarceration were actually quite positive. I remember getting unloaded into Pier 57 -- the so-called "Guantanamo on the Hudson" -- to cheers from other detainees who were swept up in the mass arrest earlier in the day. I remember calming the mood in a jail cell and defusing tensions. I remember singing songs of revolution in the paddy wagon, as we were transported from GotH to the regular detention center at 100 Center Street. I remember making a checkers set out of toilet paper and paper cups -- and how good it felt to use my mind again as we played on the floor of the cell. There are lots of other good memories from my time in jail... but the two best, by far, are the energy that whipped around our cell when we learned that the New York State Supreme Court had ordered our detention illegal and, of course, being released two days later and emerging to the cheers of thousands who were waiting outside of the courthouse.

This is not to say that all was sweetness and light, mind you! There were some pretty harrowing moments, like the corrections officer who threatened to "fuck us up" or the man who nearly passed out from dehydration. The situation was pretty bad, but I made a concentrated effort to keep a positive outlook and make things as good as they could possibly be. Indeed, those efforts earned me the nickname of "the biggest mother-fucking optimist" from one of my cellmates on the second day!

There are not many photographs from the inside, as most of our belongings were confiscated on arrest. I do have two pictures though:

The impromptu detention center that was Guantanamo-on-the-Hudson


Us on the inside

(I'm the guy on the far right, in the middle, wearing a red bandanna and a red t-shirt.)


Even now, it is hard to decide who won the day. They succeeded in holding us almost until the Republican National Convention was over. So point to them. On the other hand, we got out sooner than they wanted -- and they were fined for holding us illegally. So point to us. I also pressed for a trial and got all charges dropped -- so another point to me. And I followed up with a suit for wrongful imprisonment, so yet another point to me. However, the tactic of dealing with protesters by making mass arrests, regardless of any illegal activity, was carried out four years later at the 2008 RNC in St. Paul, Minnesota. Our lawsuits did not stop this practice from catching on. So major point to them. Feh.

I was not at the St. Paul demonstrations for the 2008 RNC... but I fully intend to be in Florida one year from now, to protest the 2012 Republican National Convention. I hold out a weak hope that the tactics of mass arrest will not be employed once more... but if they are, I fully intend to be on the streets with my comrades, and am willing to return to jail if necessary.

anarchist_nomad: (Feeling horny)
( May. 25th, 2011 10:17 pm)
Fourteen years ago today, my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I made an fundamental change to our young relationship. After nearly three years of being exclusively monogamous, we decided to transition to polyamory. We had already discussed the shift in abstract terms, but it all became rather concrete when my first secondary partner fell into my lap at [livejournal.com profile] rbdarkly's Beltane celebration. Some six hours later, we emerged from the Temple of Aphrodite and, for [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I, we never looked back!

Over the past fourteen years, we have each enjoyed a goodly number of partners, as well as being part of a poly family for eight years! There have been times of high relationship velocity and times of high stability. Since marking last year's "polyversary", I have mostly been in a period of low relationship velocity, as I have committed my energies to strengthening connections and building stability into my existing relationship structure.

To wit, not long after the last polyversary, a disastrously unhealthy relationship came to an end. Afterward, based on sage advise from a Pagan elder, I resolved to focus for a year and a day on cementing sustainable foundations for my remaining relationships. To that end, although there have been some mutually enjoyable flings, I have quite deliberately refrained from adding any serious partners for some time. In retrospect, I believe that this has been a good choice and I am rather pleased with the results: My beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I are approaching our seventeenth anniversary, still fiercely devoted and committed to each other[*]; my darling [livejournal.com profile] tawneypup remains an important part of my life and, as we close in on our third anniversary, she remains unique as the only emotionally serious partner with whom I have been able to maintain a long term intercontinental relationship; and my sweet [livejournal.com profile] miss_amaranth has become a precious part of my daily existence... whilst remaining as deliciously desirable as ever!

Tis not only the more emotionally entwined relationships that have value, though! Indeed, that is one of the joys of polyamory! Rather than promoting a single type of relationship, one can explore the entire spectrum of relationship dynamics! Thus, partners that I see less frequently and may not interact with on a daily basis are also valued highly, with lovely thoughts of them flitting through my head when we cannot be together. I shall not recite names, as it would appear less than tactfully discrete, but I am pleased to say that those relationships also seem to have settled into a stable place with high enjoyment of all concerned and low low low levels of drama! Huzzah!

(Must remember to thank said elder for his sagely advice when next I see him this Summer!)

Looking back at the past fourteen years, polyamory has brought both good times and bad into our lives. Balancing them out, however, the good far outweighs the bad and I would not undo this change for the proverbial world! Here's to the many joys, loves, and adventures that the next fourteen years will bring!


[*] Although, to be fair, this was less the focus of the past year as those foundations were rooted firmly long ago. Nonetheless, it does not hurt in the slightest to lavish time, energy, and attention on a long-standing partner!

.

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