They Know

Being a geeky little polycule, sometimes the best gifts are simple, and sometimes you just have to embrace the madness. In the run up to Valentine’s Day I was browsing Etsy and found someone making little lego-style lightsabers for keyrings with accompanying tags that recreated the famous exchange between Han and Leia: “I love you.” “I know.”

Although there were options to buy multiples, the site would only make them available in pairs, so rather than just getting us one each I got two identical sets – and then as I gave them out, invited both Lady M and myr s to select one for their keys and I’d have the other.

As you can see, they both opted for the same piece and so now I have this double token to put a smile on my face. Simple things please me.

Happy Valentines Day

In a show of total disorganisation this year, we’re all working or in different places today, but its still a day that mixes humour, love, inappropriate comments, and a smidgen of soppiness thanks to technology and a degree of bloodymindedness. I managed to press a card into Lady M’s hand this morning as she scuttled out the door before dawn – and will have to wait a couple of weeks before I can do the same for myr s (but at least card and token presents have been arranged for both for as and when we get the time to stop and draw breath).

I even debated getting something for Lady J, our metamour, and do have a suitable card of admiration that steers away from smushiness that I’m still debating filling out. I have after all been accorded the accolade of being one of the few humans she can tolerate, so it seems churlish not to throw something her way if only to make her roll her eyes at a dreadful joke.

One of the things I’ve learned to embrace over the years is that love takes many forms, and even on a day concerned with romantic love there’s no reason not to celebrate and acknowledge the various connections that have significance should I want to. That said, I am glad that my counselling session due today has been rescheduled to Monday evening – because with the best will in the world, and no matter how much I love my counsellor, tonight is not a night where I necessarily want to be doing a lot of emotional labour.

Instead I intend to close the doors when I get home and largely switch my brains off. There may even be cuddles on the sofa and a bottle of wine. One of the benefits of being a slushy and soppy polycule is that we actively work on being present and there for each other all the time – which includes giving each other space as much as showering each other with tokens of admiration. In some ways it takes away some of the sense of pressure of any individual day – but there’s no harm in indulging the opportunity to ham it up every now and then.

Valentine’s Week

Being the soppy people we are, it’s never a case of there being a special day to express our love – as more than one person puts it, it should be a 365 day per year effort and appreciation – but it does no harm to focus hearts and minds on giving a little boost.

This year, the redoubtable Lady P offered to do a romantic photoshoot in the woods for me and Lady M (Lady S having a prior engagement that weekend), so on Saturday we tripped over to Virginia Water to dodge the rainclouds. Lady P has a Crown Estates Photography Permit, so has been on a number of expeditions with her partner to find good locations, so we put ourselves in her hands for the afternoon.

Yesterday, while we snuggled on the sofa, the group chat we share with Lady P went berserk as she uploaded the selection of photos she had processed for us – with the aim of showing us how she perceives us and our love for each other. They’re beautiful – and I’ve been slowly putting them on Instagram and Facebook in small batches.

We may not be traditional, but we are geeks, and our love of life and play and each other shines through – feel free to go take a look as the collection expands.

We may not have had Lady S around, but at least we had messenger – and we’ll see her again soon enough. Valentine’s continues.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Wherever you are, whoever, or however you love, I hope you have the chance to express it and receive it in the ways that most speak to you and make you happy.

And if you are alone, I hope you are happy and healthy in your own self, because that too is important and valid.

To my partners – you’re awesome, thank you.

Valentine’s Day

slide_398308_4904954_freeI’ve been heard to mutter a little over the last month or so that the selection of cards available for Valentine’s Day locally have been a little…fluffy. A little traditionally saccharine and safe perhaps – and not really a great match for the weird and wonderful ongoing whirlwind that is life in our household.  I may even have mused aloud on social media about the lack of cards mentioning concubines as an illustration of how safe and ordinary the usual ranges are.

Huffingon Post did have an article recently on honest or non-traditional cards that I enjoyed, and that seemed to answer my hopes for more interesting, but there wasn’t anywhere locally that carried anything in a similar vein and I didn’t really trust to ordering from Etsy for any of the examples in the article to be delivered on time. I may have been in a somewhat cynical mood, combined with the low shifts I’ve had recently.

I thought about making some custom cards up, and even had suggestions from my ex-wife on someone who might make some for me, but the last few weeks sped by without really allowing much in the way of time to make that happen. Yes, you read that right, suggestions on custom valentine cards from my ex-wife – being able to forge an amicable relationship post-divorce is a wonderful thing, I can’t recommend it enough where practicable – though it’s not suitable for all, I know. In the end, I did get some fairly traditional cards, and devoted the blank space to writing custom messages to light up faces instead. Maybe next year I’ll track things down on Etsy well ahead of time.

The great joy this year though has been the huge explosion of geeky valentine’s e-cards and graphics that I’ve seen online. Pretty much every fandom has produced templates featuring characters and puns based on their names or favourite catchphrases  – a particular favourite was from Frozen, with the words “I want to hold your Hans” and I did chuckle at the sight of a Monsters, Inc one adorned with the legend “You don’t have to put that thing back where you found it”.

Valentines Day itself has been a quiet affair – I took the Charleesi to her riding lesson as usual while Lady M studied, and we had a slow afternoon between games, reading and a session at the local coffee shop before heading home. One homecooked risotto later, we settled down to an evening of films, introducing Charleesi to Beetlejuice and Red2 as examples of great alternative Valentines Day films. There’s nothing like death, ghosts and explosive gun battles to round off a romantic weekend 😉

Here’s hoping you’ve had a great weekend so far, whether it’s been loved up or quiet and in your own space.

National Libraries Day

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Try Something New

I’ve been extra busy the last few days, which has left me far too exhausted to write anything for the blog until now. The current short-staffing at the library tipped into crisis when two people went sick at once, and I got called into the breach. To have a service so pared down just before National Libraries Day has put me in moods that have alternated between foul, exhausted, peeved and despairing – often within the same hour.

Today (Saturday 7th), was the day itself, and I set up the display you can see pictured here. One of my passions is to introduce people to new books and new authors, and with Valentine’s Day being so close, I decided to kill two birds with one stone: hence the Blind Book Date Service.

I encouraged my colleagues to pick out favourite books, and then wrapped those selections in plain thick paper from a store of offcuts I had out the back. A photocopy of each book’s barcode is taped to the front, along with a cryptic description. I’ve kept a spreadsheet of books just in case we get requests for any of them (and we have had one go to satisfy a reservation as of this morning).

A couple of quick tweets, and a lovely chain reaction of interest started, with books starting to slowly but surely leave the display, tucked in with people’s hauls of other books. I’ve put new, classic and well-loved books into the selection: Neil Gaiman, Wilbur Smith and Alan Bennett’s stories lie side by side with nonfiction accounts of walking the London Underground routes, unexpected owl adoptions and soldiers’ training memoirs.

I’ll be interested to hear people’s responses when they bring them back. It’s not an original idea by any means – plenty of libraries have done it before, and my parents enjoyed it when their local service did one – but it’s the first time we’ve done anything like it at our library, and people don’t quite know what to make of it. It’s certainly started some debates as people try to work out what the books are beneath their wrappers.

Valentine’s Day

There’s a strange air that’s crept over Valentine’s Day, and I’m wondering if it’s just me that is bemused by it. Certainly when I was younger, the concept of Valentine’s Day seemed more enshrined in being a festival for lovers and would-be lovers. There was a certain degree of commercialism to it even going back thirty or so years ago, but it didn’t seem to have the footprint that it does today.

Now I see people wishing general “Happy St Valentine’s Day” to all and sundry on Facebook or in general media, which seems to give the event something more of the commercialised general feel of Christmas. I have to admit I have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, there’s something nice about a festival that celebrates the concept of romantic love – after all in South Korea, I’m told, the fourteenth of every month is themed around a different aspect of love. On the other hand though there’s something slightly impersonal about adopting the wider greeting that I find jarring.

The societal norm that I grew up with is one where if you say “Happy Valentine’s Day”, you actually mean it. I know I’m not alone in this. Over the years I’ve ventured the occasional greeting to people as an experiment and had a range of reactions from the “slightly dismissive” to the “prickly backing away” to choose from. As a result I now don’t make the more general “season’s greetings” type of greeting at all, even though I know others who do.

That said, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, I hope this year’s Valentine’s Day is a pleasant one for you and that you are able to be with whoever you love, however you love them.

Valentines

Warning – there is likely to be some mushy stuff here, so if this offends or irritates – well there’s a big old inter-webs out there to go search for whatever combination of philosoraptors, porn or dysfunctional mocking floats your boat (seriously, I need to trim my various feeds to cut back on the number of photoshopped sarcasm posts hitting my inbox and facebook feeds)

Its Valentine’s Day – and its now only a little over two weeks to my wedding. T’other half had already decreed that I shouldn’t do anything for the day as I’d already done so much and was already giving her a wedding in a castle, but of course I recognised this as the trap that such pronouncements are (despite her strenuous objections) and have arranged for flowers to be delivered to her at work where she has been doing a sterling job of convincing people that she’s a hard-hearted slave-driver who isn’t really all that fussed about the upcoming nuptials – unless you count the excited daily countdowns and wide grins.

There are days where I do wonder what she sees in me, and similarly where she needs reassurance as to why I’m with her. Such reasons can vary from day to day and mood to mood, but some common themes recur and today of all days I think they bear repeating in public: I love Jo and am marrying her for her wit, her humour, her beauty, her stubbornness and outspoken bluntness. I love her simultaneous sensuousness and naivety in the face of innuendo; her geekiness and the cunningly disguised girliness that manifests in hiding this morning’s flowers in the car so that she wouldn’t start crying at her desk. Without her support I wouldn’t be as happy and relaxed and self-confident as I even pretend to be, and at the same time I deeply appreciate that we can both sit and play on laptops or consoles or read alongside each other without a need to be in each other’s pockets. Loving her, and being with her is easy – even with her knowing all my peculiarities, oddities, quirks and bloodymindedness – possibly even because she knows and accepts my many flaws.

Right – back to prepping for supper and a quiet evening in. In the meantime, I leave you with a short video prepared by a couple of the dark figures waiting to ambush me on the celebration that will be both my stag night and my fortieth birthday…