Long Days

I’m still, in some ways, processing the death of Queen Elizabeth and the change that brings to the sensation of what I’m calling the touchstones of normality. That said, my work has required me to be involved in making sure that protocols and agreements are rolled out effectively in how my libraries operate and communicate at this time.

There’s nothing outrageous, just a lot of communication and relaying of questions up and down the chain – and thanking everyone working for me for their hard work and resilience during some fast-changing times.

That’s partly why today I herded the polycule all into one place so we could just spend some time together at Geek Retreat to chat, gossip, and support each other. One touchstone may have gone, but we have each other and the affirmation of being in each other’s company as another touchstone.

Tomorrow will be a quiet day of recharging batteries and, for me at least, some prepping of options for the D&D game in the evening.

Camberley Pride

I was wearing three metaphorical hats today and no physical ones as a sunny day dawned on Pride in Surrey at Camberley’s Recreation Grounds.

Eight in the morning saw me assembling the library stall as part of a wider group putting together stands in the Surrey County Council marquee and there was very little let up from that point.

My metaphorical hats were those of being one of the Library Group Managers, of being co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Staff Network, and part of my extended polycule as we coordinated various vehicles and modes of transport to get there. Somehow the plate spinning didn’t get out of control and I was able to slip between the competing roles with ease, which was helpful.

The whole day has been amazing – a much bigger site than last year at Godalming and thankfully all on a level rather than the entertaining slopes we coped with previously. The route of the parade was also far longer, weaving through the town and shopping centre before heading through residential streets to the park. Barring one very small group of teenage boys trying to be edgy we also had nothing but support and cheers from the crowds who had turned out. If there were counter-protestors (as had been threatened) they didn’t disrupt or dismay anyone.

Instead I was able to support colleagues, network with politicians and other organisations, mind our library mascot for their appearances, and still spend time with my loved ones and the assorted children we had with us.

We may even have persuaded our political portfolio holder to get his face painted with flowers and he very gamely let us decorate him in celebration of his being a fantastic ally both of libraries and the lgbtq+ community.

I’m home now, footsore, slightly sunburned, but fed and watered. Everyone has been delivered home to where they need to be, and I’m having my last cuppa to round out the day. It’s been a good one, and so’s the cuppa.

Bracelets

I’ve recently started wearing some bracelets made of wood, leather, and fabrics following our trip to Alton Towers. They’re similar to a similar set boy s is wearing addition should be no surprise therefore that there’s the link. In addition there’s a bracelet that was a gift during lockdown from Mre B that has a small reserve mental spoon attached to it.

We’ve talked about doing something like this for a while as a casual marker of our relationship – and the styles are eclectic enough to appeal on an aesthetic level but I’ve found it difficult to wear things on my wrist for years.

In large part it’s a holdover from when I was attacked – memories of wrists being held making it very uncomfortable – but the work I’ve been doing in therapy has contributed to putting some distance in recently.

I’m choosing instead to use the sensations at my wrist as a focus. On the one hand it’s a reminder of the boy. On another it helps to imagine all the skin crawling anxieties gathering there in one place rather than uncontrollable and everywhere. In effect it can be imagined as a shield

It’s a whimsy, it’s a way of focusing. It’s a distraction, and it’s a statement. I take them off at night before bed so I can settle, metaphorically removing the cares of the day. It’s a small and positive ritual that brings a measure of calm.

And I think they look good, and I enjoy seeing the counterparts on the boy

Datavore

I came up with a new word to describe how Lady M interacts with the world: datavore. If there’s information, she has to have it – from reading the labels of parcels in the foyer, and peering over shoulders at social media or messages, she just can’t help herself.

Show her a message, and without thinking she scrolls up to see what came before. When challenged she says she’s looking for context, or “just in case it’s important”

As someone who has already filtered and positioned a piece of information for consumption, or who has put the start of the relevant information or story front and centre, it therefore never fails to make me clench my teeth.

It isn’t a worry that anything compromising may be seen, it’s what my brain identifies as disregarding the effort made to consciously present information – like someone wanting to see the unpublished cards in your PowerPoint presentation while you’re in the middle of starting your presentation.

I know she can’t help it, and that her entire being is dedicated to gathering information at all times like a sponge – but I may have to start keeping an old copy of Private Eye rolled up and to hand to lovingly boop her on the nose next time it appears at my shoulder…

Either that or arrange to have something truly strange on my screen the next time she looks

Father’s Day

Yesterday was Father’s Day – as far as I am aware, a completely fabricated excuse to sell cards rather than anything traditional (I’m pretty sure it didn’t exist when I was younger)

Still, it’s a nice excuse to do and say nice things, and to recognise the good that most people do. Within a varied polycule of people with various gender expressions it gets a bit complicated until you settle down and relax. My daughter sent me a card and a Viking-style glass drinking horn. The cub went the traditional eleven year old boy route of not even noticing it was happening. I left an answerphone message for mine which I’ll follow up today, and various others had interactions with those parental figures still alive or present.

And for those having a bad day, we gathered round and were found family.

And now back to the grind, time to put the kettle on.

So This Week…

I had a call yesterday to come pick boy s up from work. A little matter of his not being able to breathe. So off we went to the hospital where I was able to park near enough to the A&E to not kill him with the walk to the doors, and he was duly whisked away.

Due to Covid I couldn’t accompany him, so I went back to work to focus best I could, and as the evening approached with no news began to ring to try and find out if there was any news – if only so I could update everyone and reassure the cub.

As it turned out, it appears to be late onset asthma, so they were able to stabilise him and after checking everything else they could, he was released back into the wild with an inhaler and instructions to talk to his GP

The cub responded by being as publicly bolshy and snarky as he could be, even while admitting privately to Lady M how worried he was – so that’s all normal.

Now we try to get back to some semblance of normality. Honest.

Weekend Gathering

I’m currently stretched out in bed after a rollercoaster of emotions but all in good company. Lady M and boy s both had trainer appointments at the gym so it was a good excuse to make a day of it. I’ve been using gym visits this week to help get through muscular and joint pain I’ve had since having covid last week, so I also had a plan of attack. The cub wanted to swim.

With all the stress of this week, my mental reserves have been slender today, especially with the residual pains. It’s days like this where my partners rally round in support. Hugs and simple gestures, quiet moments and silliness all helped as we came and went from the table we were using as a base.

The space and quiet have been needed. This has not been a good week. This evening feels a bit brighter.

All Down The Gym

According to various lateral flow tests we’re now in the clear, though aches and pains and lingering symptoms are still making it very clear that we’re not as well as we might like. What we did do last night though was go in support of boy s to his induction at the gym and take the cub swimming.

Well, by that I mean introduced him to the changing rooms and then sat and watched because I’ve tweaked my back and am currently hobbling round with the aid of a cane, but I’m pleased to say that both the cub and boy s enjoyed themselves immensely, while Lady M and I were walking wounded and looked after bags and food.

We hadn’t intended to be there that long, but suddenly it was nearly nine in the evening and I’d missed my counselling session (for which I’ve made copious apologies and set a very loud alarm on my phone for next time)

The cub went from being very reluctant to be away from his computer to being very engrossed in swimming and then the treadmills and cycling machines in the gym (never underestimate the power of animations and YouTube on gym equipment) while boy s is now seeing the draw of studying in the quiet area and taking a break in the gym while working on his degree.

So it looks like we have an addition to our social activities and general health to look forward to. Here’s to my back muscles relaxing soon.

Another Anniversary?

Wednesday was the fourth anniversary of collaring boy s – in kink terms a form of commitment not unlike marriage – it was just a shame that both of us were too unwell to celebrate much of anything. I was staying over anyway so it was largely a day of napping in between doing the school run and doing some more work on the Amazon store.

We’ve decided instead to try and have a date night in the next week or so once payday has arrived and we’re in better health.

What we do all have to anticipate however is that we’ve got tickets for the Thorpe Park preview day on Saturday thanks to his working there. We’ve not been on any rollercoaster since before the first lockdown. Lady M has had her eye surgery since then too, so this will be the first time on them without glasses or contact lenses.

So, highs and lows and literal rollercoasters to come. Can’t wait.

50 Already?

So, uh, somehow I’ve made to 50 years and I have pretty much most things working okay, a good job, people who love me, most of my marbles, and as of today an all clear from a cancer scare. So that’s a good way to start the next revolution round the sun.

I’ve just finished a charity stream with Lady B and boy s playing the new Destiny expansion and been getting blown away by all the deep lore that is being paid off after years of breadcrumbs. The gameplay is slick, the storytelling compelling, and the excited noises from boy s deeply amusing. We had to force ourselves to stop because it was gone 2am.

So, what’s planned for this year? To be honest I don’t know. I never expected to get to this milestone. I was surprised to be so happy at age 40, let alone still among the living. My next markers are my tenth wedding anniversary and the fourth anniversary of collaring boy s in this next month. A holiday might be nice later this year.

For now though I have a week off work and some vague plans for D&D this weekend. That’ll do.