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I just gone done with a tough work cycle. It was a mixed bag, but leaning toward positive. I had to dig deep into my well of patience though, and sometimes I could not hear/see/feel the positives very well from other cases.

I reached out to Rose and Athena who deal with other departments.

Rose makes me laugh because she just has NO fucks left to give. She was angry on my behalf at the stupid cases. And raged about "Where do these people think we are? On some other planet? We are in pandemic too. We have our own problems too. Yet we still keep helping/supporting/managing and being professional. Why do they bring us crap?"

So that validated my internal eye rolls when my people come at me all full of themselves. Which is what happens with patients. They cannot SEE beyond their own selves and I think right now everyone is a trauma patient. From what I read it's going to take 5-10 years to heal once pandemic is over. And it still ain't over.

Athena made me laugh. She is more charitable towards The People. She still has fucks left to give and tries to make space for the human condition. She told me she thinks because of all this work from home, they have forgotten how to PEOPLE. Like social skills have gone rusty, and people are just rough. So when they finally come out to talk to you, it's like you got hit by a truck or something because they are soooo rusty and rough. So that validated my feeling like "WTF? Some manners, please!"

I see people coping well. They do their jobs and they are polite and they thank me for helping them out or guiding or whatever. Which is nice. Who doesn't like being appreciated? It makes up for the middle-y and poor ones.

The middle-y ones I can tell are trying to be polite but they have concerns. I've had a couple come in here with work stuff. I ask what's going on and they are all apologetic the things are not getting done and they worry about getting them done on time. I see that they are welling up... I say a kind word and BOOM. Here come the tears because it's SO close to the surface.

Someone died from COVID. Someone is sick. Some other family doom or house doom that's got them distracted. So I comfort them and remind them they are doing their pandemic best at work, and at least they let me and other people KNOW what's going on with them. So after some comforting, we move on to making Plan B so they get some breathing room AND the project still move forward. Then they feel better, I know what's happening and can rearrange resources, life carries on right? Just a small bump. No skin off anyone's nose.

The other middle-y I've been having a lot of is the "teapot worriers." They are trying to do their work but are losing focus because they worry about this, and that. So I listen and try to reign them in to the top 3 worries that are actually HERE. Worry A, worry B, worry C. Like... relevant, could happening RIGHT NOW and affect the work. And not "chain reaction" worries. Because do I really have to worry about M, R, or Z worry? That's SO far down the chain... and we do have to turn in some things here. How about on this cycle we deal with ABC, turn some stuff in, get the lay of the land, and then take on worries DEF next if they actually still apply? Let's not make tempest in a teapot. Let's do one thing at a time, right? They usually calm down and reign it in.

The poor ones? Drive me CRAZY. I check in, they tell me it is fine. I check in, they tell me it is fine. I check in expecting things to be done now... SURPISE BOOM! DOOM! GLOOM!

They just fall apart. And I'm left wondering -- "So... why lie to me? Why not tell me 2 mos ago you are struggling so we can make a Plan B in time for Plan B to actually work? Instead kicking the can down the road? Is is vanity/false pride? Is it something else?"

And now? I can't do Plan B. Nor Plan C. Not enough time. Everyone has to be like crazy people and the project won't be as good because it's all rushing now. And NOBODY, including me, likes rushing around.

Fortunately for me, I can smell hinky brewing. So yeah, boom, doom, gloom. Do I love dealing with you and your whooshies? No. Do I have the sense to wear a life preserver around you because I sensed a storm coming? Yes. So YOUR crazy isn't gonna sink ME.

I'm going to have to have a word with some of those poor people. But they are still busy falling apart right now and nothing new will go in. I have to wait till ALL the bricks have come down. If I do it too soon they will go into the shame spiral of overwhelm and that just gets me more "useless worker" and does not get me back to "helpful worker."

Most of the time with these it's not having the sense to come in out of the rain and exercise their "No." Like "No. I am too full to take on new stuff." Just say NO from the start! Someone else can be assigned the thing and then you don't get overwhelmed because your pile is too big. Jeez.

Do you see me doing knitting club? No. Do you see me joining softball team? No. I have this much time and space for work, my family, my friends, my hobbies, my volunteering. Downshift some, people.

It's like poly people who go all kid in a candy store -- just because you can poly date doesn't mean you try to poly date the WHOLE WORLD. Manage your time and resources better. So you don't have to wig out because you are overtaxing your emotional resilience or spreading self too thin.

I learned a long time ago when I was single what my personal limits are. I have 4 significant slots. I could date 4 people at a time and manage to keep close connections. But then I had no slot open for emergencies. So I reduced to 3. Then I had no slots left for friends and then family who wanted more of my time. So I reduced to 2. And maybe... 2 with a comet relationship that's once in a while. I reflect on this now and I'm not sure what my slots are like at this stage of life. I'll have to figure that out.

But I do know that I still want partners with some emotional resilience. They can't be like the workers I support and manage. Some of them are doing fine, but ⅔ are middle-y or poor. And right now it's pandemic, but I would want to know a partner is SOLID and can deal with whatever weird Life might bring. Because I'm better off with zero new partners than tacking on some middle-y or poor. That's just sucking me dry. It's not adding anything of value to my life.

So if I had to list traits for emotional resilience that I appreciate? When I was younger I'd sum it up with "Don't be an emotional weenie!" If I had to spell it out?
  • Personal responsibility -- owning their stuff/doing their fair share
  • Time management / Ability to focus -- uses their time wisely and doesn't overschedule. Can pay attention to the task at hand.
  • Interconnectedness / interdependence / communication -- the understanding that you can do what you will. But if you are on a team, what you do/do not do can and does sometimes affects the other people for good or bad. They cannot be mind readers. You have to say what's going on. You fart in here? We all smell it whether you say it or not.
  • Perseverance -- can keep going in tough times with a calm attitude and not going all "woe is me" doom fiesta.
  • Stress management / self control / self regulation -- can deal with their own stress and emotions without acting out or whooshing it on to other people
  • Changing / adapting / flexible -- can cope with things changing without having a cow. They can adapt and be flexible when the unforseen happens
  • Problem solver / coping strategies -- doesn't sit around pointing fingers or blame shifting or just falling apart to pieces. Focuses on solving problems and finding solutions instead.
  • Sense of humor -- because that helps, but APPROPRIATE humor, and not like being a clown all the time.
  • Self aware/socially aware. OMG, the workers are only self aware and don't read the room or pick up the courtesy clue phone.
  • Sense of their own personal limitations, can say NO. Self explanatory.
  • Successful fails. Learn from mistakes. Then shake it off and move on.
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  • Personal responsibility -- owning their stuff/doing their fair share
  • Time management / Ability to focus -- uses their time wisely and doesn't overschedule. Can pay attention to the task at hand.
  • Interconnectedness / interdependence / communication -- the understanding that you can do what you will. But if you are on a team, what you do/do not do can and does sometimes affects the other people for good or bad. They cannot be mind readers. You have to say what's going on. You fart in here? We all smell it whether you say it or not.
  • Perseverance -- can keep going in tough times with a calm attitude and not going all "woe is me" doom fiesta.
  • Stress management / self control / self regulation -- can deal with their own stress and emotions without acting out or whooshing it on to other people
  • Changing / adapting / flexible -- can cope with things changing without having a cow. They can adapt and be flexible when the unforseen happens
  • Problem solver / coping strategies -- doesn't sit around pointing fingers or blame shifting or just falling apart to pieces. Focuses on solving problems and finding solutions instead.
  • Sense of humor -- because that helps, but APPROPRIATE humor, and not like being a clown all the time.
  • Self aware/socially aware. OMG, the workers are only self aware and don't read the room or pick up the courtesy clue phone.
  • Sense of their own personal limitations, can say NO. Self explanatory.
  • Successful fails. Learn from mistakes. Then shake it off and move on.
That's a really good list for the future of deciding close friends and/or lovers, and those who don't make it past your outside circles. :) I hope you're able to find that in the future what you need. I think it will be harder (mostly) to find that in younger people because the whole point of life in my opinion is to learn all those wonderful traits; and some are more pre-disposed to having them in the first place. Some will fight with themselves their whole life to try to even meet half of them.

The worker people sound like they are workers for a reason- don't want to be responsible for themselves, nonetheless anyone else.

Things in general are going well for me. Kids are ok enough, no elders are exploding or anything. Work is going better than usual. Nobody exploding there. I got a lot of thanks after ending some projects and told my efforts were valued and appreciated and that as a person, I'm just great, amazing, etc.

My two favorites were a coworker who brought me flowers just out of the blue to thank me for being me -- helpful, professional, calm, level headed, etc. And then someone else who was at first nervous but emailed me later that she never would have though it that morning but after the session she actually learned things and though it was fun. See? Training to learn to do the things doesn't have to be an ordeal.

People tell me all the time that I'm a gifted teacher/trainer and can "cut the fluff and get to the point" and "don't make me feel dumb for asking questions."

I wonder a lot about how past experiences lay a shadow over new experiences.

I've been thoughtful since it's the 5th "death-iversary" for my friend Violet. Miss talking to her. I read that post again and kinda laughed and how circles of life just come back around again, maybe slightly different. And how Violet was the definition of "gentle woman" or "lady" in the old fashioned sense. But even she would get mad at things but would still exert self control and would let out "Well, pardon my French!" and then tell you exactly what was pissing her off, why it was bother her, and what she was going to do about it. Like experiencing her anger and owning it. But not blowing up at random.

So in the spirit of the old post... updates in the same order.
  • Asked hubby for both an in house movie date and an out of the house errand/lunch date. We also have some vacation plans coming up that I'm excited about but took some coordinating.

  • Elders? Visited several. Was pleasant to all. Some I think have stuff brewing, but not my issue at this time. Flora did get the formal dx for dementia, but we all saw that coming a mile away. It's still funny to me how dementia simply reveals. Whatever was in the person's character before? It's still there. Just not filters to hide it. It's just out there now. Dad? Still suspicious, paranoid, difficult because he never dealt with his past traumas. Flora? Still sweet. Came up to DH and cheerfully said "Hey, I don't remember you. I think I used to know you. Want to hear about my cats?"

  • Leaf? Feeling like I'll hear from him again soon because holiday triggers. And like usual, I will expect Leaf to have done nothing about his health/wellness plan, still going around blowing up at random. So I'll keep my "I don't interact with unmanaged patient people." Still a friend, but content to be one of those more distant "Christmas cards only" friends.

  • Daisy? Surprisingly, close again. She got rid of some of the drama people in her life. And is doing her patient management thing more so she's in better health and is better company to be around these days.

  • Spark? I'm taking some space because she's a big stress ball. Some coming from outside forces she can't help. Some are the natural consequences of her own behavior choices. She ends up whooshing at us friends. We love her and all, but wow... the whooshing.

  • EarthMama and I hung out for coffee again. Great time talking. And again... people like her are the salt of the earth.

  • I'm still worried about Rose being all work stressy. I still have to make space/plans to take her to lunch or something again.

  • Jason figured out his post divorce life and is engaged to be married again.

Life. Just what goes around comes around.

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I wonder sometimes what I would want in a new poly partner. I know I am not up for anyone with anger issues. Especially not FEELER style communicators that "angry whoosh" at me with their emotional dumping. People having big feelings is fine. HOW they express it? That might be the dealbreaker for me. I deal in dementia eldercare where I get a lot of whoosh. Then there's the people at work who are whooshers. When I hang out with friends? I want to relax. Not do more whooshy things.

I don't mind a FEELER style who can articulate what they feel, say what they need, and make requests at a reasonable emotional volume. But the ones who behave all angry whooshy tornado? Like doom from the sky thrown AT me rather than talking WITH me? I find all that trigger-y. I grew up in a volatile household. Not into repeating that experience. On the receiving end? It feels like getting slimed.

Without getting into details, Spark basically blew up at a lunch gathering. Some Upsetting Life Thing happened and she was mad nobody magically knew. If we ask her for months how she's doing and she says she's fine? She is not emotionally honest? Then later gets mad that we believed her when she said she was fine? Whose behavior has to change? Her saying something more honest when she wants some help? Or us becoming mind readers so we can know what's bothering her without her actually having to say anything?

Her typical pattern is to say nothing, and stuff all the feelings down in her gunnysack. Until it gets too big and then she explodes accusing people of not caring. That's the behavior that has to change, but she's not doing anything about it. (And how is she showing self care when she treats herself this way? Stuffing things down until it's a huge burden rather than asking for help when it is a smaller load?)

When people ask how she is? Had she said something like "Actually, I am not well. These casual calls and lunches are nice and all. But they aren't actually what I need right now. I had an Upsetting Life Thing happen. I feel all weird about it. I need someone to talk to me. Like come listen to my story, apply some sympathy, and help me find better ways to cope. Cuz I'm not coping with it well. Can someone come be with me?"

That would have been an actual request at a lower emotional volume that other people can hear and understand. I'm pretty sure several would have cleared schedules to go have a deep talk. Instead? Gunnysack and later... KAPOW!

Everyone I talked to after the explosion was like "What was THAT? Where did THAT come from? Nope. Not touching it with a 10 ft pole."

Which leaves Spark wondering why nobody wants to engage when she gets like this. Well, why would we? It's like watching a Tasmanian Meltdown happen.

I thought this article had some good bullet points explaining healthy venting vs unhealthy emotional dumping.

A person who is venting is:
  • self-reflective rather than reactive.
  • clear and focused on one issue rather than many at once.
  • solution-focused.
  • Expressing within a specified time frame.
  • open to feedback and another’s perspective.
  • accepting of personal responsibility and integrity.
  • aware of the emotional states of both the listener and the speaker.
Emotional dumping is:
  • defensive.
  • avoidant of taking personal responsibility.
  • inconsiderate of another’s time, energy, or capacity.
  • ruminating on a specific triggering event rather than expressing underlying feelings.
  • playing the victim
  • filled with blame
  • not open to finding a solution
  • resistant to feedback or another’s perspective
  • a cyclical return to the same problem over and over

Right now I'm taking a time out from all this whooshy. Eventually when I'm calmer and not triggered? I have to say to this friend...

1) Are you ok? Because that was a lot. How can friends help you with the Upsetting Life Thing?

2) Are you open to listening to feedback now? When you behave in this exploding whooshy way? It can come across like bombs from the sky. How can friends help you find a new way to express yourself so you get more of what you need sooner, and we get less explosions?"

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Having a good time doing my new workouts, meditation class, and drumming. Basically attending to my stress relief hobbies. Meanwhile, I notice Spark "vaguebooking" just looking for doom and gloom everywhere. I am concerned for her mental state, but I'm also checked out. I did the initial call to check in for "Are you ok? Do you need someone to talk to?" and she doesn't want to talk to me. So... ball is in her court. I'm not gonna sit around on pins and needles over it or go "chase" and "pull it out" of her.

This and a conversation with someone else got me to thinking about personal boundaries.

Some quotes from this article:

Healthy boundaries are the limits you place around your time, emotions, body, and mental health to stay resilient, solid, and content with who you are. These empowering borders protect you from being used, drained, or manipulated by others.

You can set boundaries around:
  • Emotional energy
  • Time
  • Personal space
  • Sexuality
  • Morals and ethics
  • Material possessions and finances
  • Social media

And you set them WITH ALL PEOPLE. Nobody gets to walk all over you -- not friends, family, coworkers, whoever.

And then words for how to SAY it.

Time Boundary
“I can only stay for an hour”
“If you’re going to be late, please let me know ahead of time.”

Energy Boundary
“I don’t have the energy to help you with [their request] right now, but maybe [this resource] can help.”

Emotional Dumping
“I understand you’re having a hard time and I want to be there for you, but I don’t have the emotional capacity to listen right now.”

Personal Space Boundary
“It makes me feel uncomfortable when you [touch or action]. If you can’t respect my space, I’ll have to leave.”

Conversational Boundary
“This is not a topic I’m willing to discuss right now.”

Comment Boundary
“I don’t find those types of comments funny.”

Mental Boundary
“I understand we see things differently and I respect your opinion, but please don’t force it on me.”

Material Boundary
“Please ask me first before borrowing my [possession]”
“I would appreciate it if you didn’t touch my [material thing].”

Social Media Boundary
“I don’t feel comfortable with you posting that on Instagram.”

I prefer NVC style statements/requests, but those are enough to get started with. Some people only think they have BODY personal boundaries. But they also have them in other categories.

And if the person isn't respecting your personal boundaries? Guess what? THEY DON'T HAVE TO. You make them for YOU to obey. Not them. So if they still step on your toes even after you make them aware?

You let natural consequences follow.

You say "Ok. Welp, I need to scoot now." And you go home and there. You are free!

Don't have to sit there listening/dealing with a person who is stepping on your toes. Or convince them to start behaving different. Because YOU respected your personal boundary and whether or not their change their behaviors? You are out of splash zone. No longer getting dinged.

Non-Violent Communication (NVC) Handouts

Sometimes people find the NVC books kind of flowery or too academic or "not how real people talk." Even though I like the method, even I sometimes roll my eyes at the writing on some of them. It's like... get to the point! So I thought I'd post some of the things I find most useful.

Anyone can download the NVC process sheet. Or the Feelings Inventory to circle. Or the Need Inventory to circle. Sometimes people are not good at just saying what they feel or what they need like staring at a blank piece of paper. But I find most can manage to circle from a list.

There's also Feelings vs Evaluations Masquerading as Feelings. I know it sounds persnickety but I prefer using "I feel" for actual emotion words and "I think" for actual thoughts. For dealing with whooshers or FEELER type communicators, that one can be super helpful when trying to listen with empathy and ignore the WHOOSH or ignore the emotional volume. Like... trying to really hear the kernel buried in the storm.

I haven't seen it yet online as a PDF but pg 169 and 170 from Words that Work in Business (which is like NVC in the workplace) offers a few more sentences than the main NVC process sheet.



1. Identify the observable behavior

When I (see, hear, remember, imagine) _____​

2. Express my feelings.

I feel _______.​

3. Communicate my need/preference.

Because I would have liked ______​
Because I was (needing, hoping, wanting) _______​

4. Make a request in present tense, action language.

And right now, would you be willing to tell me​
(a) what you heard me say?​
(b) how you feel about hearing what I said?​
(c) if you are willing to say or do the following _____​


1. Guess the observable behavior.

When you (see, hear, remember, imagine) _____.​


Are you reacting to _____​
Are you talking about ______​
Are you referring to ______​

2. Guess the other person's feelings.

Are you feeling_______​
I'm guessing you are feeling _______​

3. Guess the other person's unmet need/preference.

Because you would have liked _______​
Because you are needing ___________​

4. Guess what the other person's request might be.

So now, are you wanting _________​
And now, you would like me to __________​
On Cognitive Distortions

Was talking to a sibling and they reminded me how growing up in our household was just all loopy and weird due to Dad's unmanaged mental health issues and Mom's enabling.

Not sure I've linked it, but wanted to save this list of cognitive distortions and how to untwist thinking like that. It's excerpted from the Feeling Good Handbook, which I read way back at the start of Dad's dementia journey. In Dad's case, he can't untwist his thinking. He's got Alzheimer's and his reasoning is just not there. But at that time it helped me to be able to identify WHICH distortion was appearing that day and some better clues for how to manage him.

Dani Donavan has done them like cartoon flashcards here.

Spark's big gunnysack whooshy thing had some of this stuff in it -- jumping to conclusions, expecting mind reader-ing, emotional reasoning, etc. Leaf would do some of that too.

I think we all do some "stinkin' thinkin' " to some degree or another depending on how stressed we might be. And in the "more" that is polyamory? It's not just more people, more schedules, more calendars. It's more intensity, more stress, just MORE!

In a lot of posts here there's mention of a partner wanting mind readering, jumping to conclusions, etc. Especially when struggling with jealousy or envy and the stress that comes out of that.

As I think some more about what I'd want in this stage of like from a poly partner? Def some emotional maturity, the ability to articulate feelings clearly, and the ability to wait to talk without doing any jumping to conclusions or getting self worked up like tempest in a teapot in the meanwhile. Then after waiting? The ability to ask questions early on to avoid confusion or misunderstandings. Like work together to nip in bud. Not cranking themselves up and me having to help them regain their cool/composure.

Laugh. Man, I am SO burnt out on dementia eldercare and doing emotional labor for others.

And then I just realized the main traits I'm thinking about? Having a good temper, being able to wait without leaping to conclusions and asking clarifying questions instead? Slow to anger, and then when angry? Able to keep a leash on it. DH and my fav ex both had that kind of character even when we were young. So I guess I have a character type.

Which circles back around to Dad. He's a hot head, always a volcano about to burst. I don't like that, and I'm attracted to the opposite of that. Not people who never get angry. Angry can be healthy. But people who can express anger appropriately and not just whoosh at others.

Someone asked me recently about healthy poly relationship books. And I answered it might be best to just look at healthy communication and healthy relationships in general. What difference does it make if the relationship model is monogamy or polyamory or what have you? The skills are transferable. Even in a friendship you have to communicate, right? And we want healthy friendships, family relationships, monogamous relationships, poly relationships, etc, right? Not damaging ones that hurt us?

That Burns book? One of THE most help things for dealing with Dad's dementia moods. But it did not come under an Alzheimer title. I find I use what I learned in my other relationships so *I* can better understand where the other person might be coming from and adjust my behavior accordingly.

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I had asked DH what sorts of relationship milestone markers there were for him in non-escalator relationships. He said he didn't know what a non-escalator relationship was. I showed him the visual aid off this article and turns out he knew what it was. He just didn't know it was called that.

He pointed out that it didn't have to be all of them, and they didn't have to come in any particular order. I agreed... but for me the visual aid was hard to read in bubbles. Usually I dislike Reddit, but I liked the Non-escalator Relationship Menu. It groups the list into categorized checklists, which makes it more readable to me. There's similar in the Relationship Anarchy one, but the bubbles thing again. I have a hard time reading that.

For kicks I decided to answer where I'm at right now with it.

  • marriage - nope. can't do legal one. I'm already married. over time might consider a commitment ceremony.
  • pregnancy/children together -- nope
  • caregiving -- children from other partnerships, elders etc -- nope. Updated to include eldercare because that was missing.
  • sharing pets -- nope. allergies and I'm not taking care of people, much less pets.
  • Having a key -- maybe over time?
  • cohabitation -- nope/maybe over time?
  • home ownership -- nope/maybe over time?
  • prioritization over other partners -- depends on the situation. It's not automatic. I don't do hierarchy.
  • relationship labels -- yes. fine using them.
  • planning for the future -- yes.
  • expectation of a long term involvement -- open to it.
  • commitment to working through challenges -- yes.
  • commitment to relationship maintenance -- yes
  • Power of attorney/wills -- maybe over time?
  • support through health challenges -- maybe over time?
  • Expressing happiness and joy
  • offering support in hard times
  • sharing vulnerable feelings
  • saying "I love you"
  • sharing stories about past
  • sharing hopes about future
  • knowing person likes/dislikes
  • using pet names
  • sharing about mental health challenges
  • supporting mental health work
  • Meeting metamours
  • Meeting children
  • Meeting friends (added this)
  • meeting parents/siblings/extended family (depends on which -- some of my family I don't like nor interact with)
  • positive relationships with metas (I'd call this a minimum of "basic polite" with metas. I don't necessarily want to be BFFs with metas or have deep relationships with them)
  • serving a +1 for social events (depends on event. I dislike sports events.)
  • presenting as a couple in public settings
  • following on social media
  • presenting as a couple on social media
  • presenting as a couple in professional settings (Depends. Some jobs have weird)
  • joint vacations with family/metas (depends where we are going)
  • Already "out as poly." Preferred. Added this. Odd to me this list didn't include "out as poly" because I'd put it in social integration. I'm already out to the people that matter. I'd prefer to be "mostly out" but I get some jobs have weirdness and discretion might be needed.
  • physical affection
  • PDA
  • compatible sex drives
  • sexual chemistry
  • orgasms
  • kissing
  • oral sex
  • manual sex
  • mutual masturbation
  • penetration/PIV
  • using sex toys
  • condom/barrier use
  • regular STI testing
  • kinky stuff (depends)
  • threesomes or group sex (depends.)
  • Daily or frequent check ins (depends on what kind/how. I dislike being smothered)
  • Texting (depends. I dislike long text things)
  • Phone/ video calls
  • discussing work and hobbies
  • discussing family, partners, relationship (so long as I'm not the "free therapist")
  • discussing politics and political events
  • ability to express disagreements or hurt feelings... in a HEALTHY way.
  • ability to address and resolve conflict... in a HEALTHY way
  • radical honesty
  • regularly scheduled time together
  • date nights
  • spending the night
  • shared hobbies or activities
  • vacation together as a couple
  • calendar management/scheduling initiation
  • shared bank accounts (over time)
  • mutual contributions to vacation/activity fund (over time)
  • financial support (depends on what it is.)
  • large gifts (No.I don't want any, and I'm not giving any. I'm starting to think about downsizing and getting rid of stuff. I don't want more stuff.)
  • complete financial integration. (nope)
  • balance of time together and apart
  • support to pursue independent interests
  • maintaining independent friendships
  • maintaining independent romantic relationships
  • equal distribution of relationship power
  • alone time
Laugh. If you look at my red ones, it's like "Ugh. I'm middle-aged, want to be done with taking care of people, want retirement/empty nest. So do not date me looking for a family helper person for your other family. Deal with that yourself."

Is it the end all be all of all tools? No. Do I think it might be useful for conversation starting points? Yes.

What would I add? PERSONALITY TRAITS column listing things like introverted/extroverted, openness, agreeableness, etc. But those are probably best as "sliding scale" format rather than "checklist" format.

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A while ago there was this thread about personality traits. I remember doing it but not posting back then. I decided to do it again at

I'm sure current state of being affects test results, so I'm going to note that I'm feeling well, nothing is bothering me, life is pleasant, and nobody around me is upsetting me. I got this:
  • Openness 90%
  • Conscientiousness 77%
  • Extraversion 60%
  • Agreeableness 75%
  • Neuroticism 2%
About what I expected.

When I'm in a mood? My openness goes down, sometimes conscientiousness goes up because I'm managing my anxiety, my middle-ambivert lowers to very introvert, my agreeableness lowers and my neuroticism bumps up. I'm more apt to anger than get all sad/depressed. I have a long fuse but when I blow up, I blow up!

Spent some quality time with DH alone, and then as a family. All in all things are chill.

Spark continues to behave weird. I continue to keep my distance.

Leaf emailed me weird. I did my usual response -- flat, pleasant, boring "Thanks for the note! Yes, we're all doing well! Happy fall!" and checked out.

Youngest DD told me she had to dump some friends because they kept not respecting her personal boundaries. 1 was a total cut. They wouldn't own it. She removed herself from the friendship. Done.

The other owned the poor behavior when DD made them aware, apologized for crossing a line, said they'd try to do better and suggested a break for X months. They would work on themselves and their listening skills and maybe they can try again to be friends. So she's doing a "wait and see."

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A lot of poly skills to me? Are really just regular life skills. Just that they become more important/noticed if missing when relating intensely with poly partners.

Though I ultimately went in a different direction, for a time I wondered about a communications degree and it still interests me. I recently had to return a book on communication that sounded good in the online description but then when I got it? It was just a drag to read. So I went looking for similar and ended up reading this one instead at

I really enjoyed it. Short, pithy, accessible, to the point. Though meant for church work like ministers doing pastoral counseling or church committees getting along, it doesn’t over mention God or get preachy. Any person of any denomination (or not) could use the listening skills described.

It’s about listening for understanding. So I think it complements "Non-Violent Communication" by Marshall Rosenberg well. And one can read it free online.

I would have called the one chapter "Changing Core Beliefs" rather than "Life Commandments." But it was probably my fav chapter.

pg 130
Dr. Fritz Kunkle, one of the earliest psychiatrists, believed that we, as adults, carry on our backs a shell like that of a turtle. That shell is made up of lies that we still believe are truths, and the function of adult life is to read ourselves of that shell, so that we come to the end of life knowing only the truth for us.

Ridding ourselves of that shell is hard emotional work and requires intentionality. It will not happen by accident. It means that in order to gain the insight required, we must be able to struggle with that which is within us, explore the inner world of our belief systems, and alter them, in order to have an inner belief structure that is appropriate for the tasks that are current in our life. Otherwise, we try to manage the issues of our lives with a belief conceptualization that is inadequate for the current and future task and decisions that need to be made.

Let me flip that around a bit for clarity.
  • In order to have an inner belief structure that is appropriate for the tasks that are current in our life, we must be able to struggle with that which is within us, explore the inner world of our belief systems, and alter them.
I'm going to have to think on the listening and caring skills listed in the book, and def think more on those "core beliefs" from a poly lens.

Kathy Labriola hits on some with her "Unmasking the Green Eyed Monster: Managing Jealousy in Open Relationships" article.

Core Belief #1
  • If my partner really loved me, (s)he wouldn’t have any desire for a sexual relationship with anyone else.
  • If my partner were happy with me, and if I were a good partner/spouse/lover/etc., my partner would be so satisfied that (s)he wouldn’t want to get involved with anyone else.
  • It’s just not possible to love more than one person at the same time.
But there's others I could think of. Just off the top of my head? Some beliefs that need to change before attempting healthy poly.
  • Love conquers all.
  • Nobody will like me if they know the real me. I need lots of partners for back up in case one dumps me.
  • Poly people are sluts/easy/will sleep with anyone (Which is rooted in "sex is dirty.")
  • Love is scarce / there's only one right person for me.
    • It's not possible to love more than one.
    • Poly people are just "greedy" wanting more than one partner.
There could be plenty more of them.


I had to put Spark on "unfollow friend" on Facebook. She continues with the vitriol and I don't like it coming out over my feed at random. I haven't seen her since the Weird Lunch but hear from other people she continues with the whooshy anger dumping.

For my own mental health? I'm stepping waaaaay back on that one.

I've ramped down projects in time to create space for winter break. Really enjoy my coworkers right now. Anyone who was wigging out all stressy in the fall has calmed down/gotten more realistic. Like usual, I got a lot of thanks and appreciation for my work. Which is nice, but really? I like what I do because I like what I do.

My annual SAD stuff with winter is a little better this year. I try to get outside as much as I can. Also more lights inside the house.

DH is on vacation so spending a lot of time together. Really enjoy his company.

Friends? Hung out with Daisy and Earth Mama so that was fun. Still owe Rose lunch so working on that next. Saw James and it's been a while. Still like him a lot and would enjoy spending more time with him but everyone is busy with life things. I find I like hanging out with the calmer friends in smaller groups more than bigger groups right now.

Spark? Been 5 mos since I last saw her in person at the Weird Lunch. I hear from other friends that she continues with a mental health funk and she doesn't want to get help. Or rather she does and she doesn't. I take the medium chill approach and say nothing serious when she comments on my social media and I just don't follow/look at any of hers. I peek once in a while to see if anything is changing and nope. It's all the doom and anger and vitriol. So I put no energy in that direction. If she sought help I might make more effort. But nope. I do not hang around unmanaged patients.

Eldercare? Ebbs and flows. One of the elders is having a thing, so my concerns are there right now.

Extended family was fine for Thanksgiving, but I can't say I get super excited about these things. As people get older, new relatives arrive by marriage or get born? There will be a time to break off into smaller family tree branches. We're at 3, sometimes 4 generations right now. Me and maybe 2 others can hold this many people at once but really? I'm not into hosting. There's still a pandemic and all. I get leery.
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So then I card a holiday card from Spark with nothing in it but a signature. I read it and then chucked it. Thanks, you think of me on your holiday list. Not really anything meaningful to me so... whatevs? I get the wanting to connect, but yeah. Still unmanaged. So not putting any energy there.

Kinda waiting for a Leaf something to show up too. That's another holiday trigger one who gets all sentimental with holidays and then goes about unmanaged.
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The family elder with a thing? Is now dying. Lots of stress in some ways, but it other ways? DH and I both agreed it would be a good time to die. The elder has lived a long life, seems ready to go, and has hopefully prepared and done all their estate things so its not a burden on the survivors to untangle. Doctors said they have done all they can do and now its just the wait.

A friend at church died this week and then there's another one on the clock. I'm finding all of this death around me tiring. I vented to Daisy and Earth Mama and that helped some. Rose was unavailable.

DH and I are being extra kind to each other as well as extra kind to the kids.
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Grief is interesting when it's come round again.

I can't do big things or plan big things. I don't have the focus for that right now. At the same time life must be lived, so I carry on with essential things.

I was gardening and find myself noticing little things in the soil around my plants -- mushrooms, bugs.

I was helping youngest DD with her sewing project and I found myself remember teaching her to sew.

I was watching NCIS reruns. In the show NCIS Ducky gives an example of the moral person when he says, "The ethical man knows it is wrong to cheat on his wife, where as the moral man actually wouldn't." So I spent some time thinking about that sentence.

I find myself reading the death lists from hospice again. What happens to a person in the final months, weeks, days, hours.
Is your dad with dementia in hospice? Sorry if I am misunderstanding.

My dad has Parkinson's along with dementia. He has needed full-time care for almost 3 years now, and I've been helping my mom with that. It's...a lot. He is currently in a nursing home for rehab to recover from an infection, and my mom and I are trying to decide if he should stay permanently in the nursing home. He is not classified as hospice yet (and unfortunately it will be rather a relief for us when he is, because he is only going to continue declining slowly).

Just wanted to convey my condolences to you, as I am familiar with elder care and all it entails.
Thanks. It's my FIL in hospice.

But yes. Totally get it. For us too it will feel like "relief." Not just wishing peace and rest for the individual person, but for ourselves too.
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My deepest sympathies and empathy for both of you - we spent several years with my father in law being a post-stroke / late stage liver disease patient after he was more or less gone, so yeah, we’ve been there.

So to take a break, I recently stayed up late and watched "California No" which premiered at the 2018 San Francisco Independent Film Festival.

I thought it was funny and asked DH to watch it with me later for an in house pizza/movie date.

We are gonna have to bring out notebooks and do the scattegories thing. Then compare and see how many each one spots.

Like every newbie open/poly mistake is in there in less than 90 minutes. I'm not into drinking games but one could totally do that too -- take a drink every time.

Unfortunately, I think those who get it will GET it. Those who don't will find it a boring movie. And even those who get it are going find it boring if you do not like those "slice of life" movies where you get dropped in, sit with the characters for a while, and get dropped out again. Fortunately I do like that type of movie.

Hence the poor reviews or no reviwes. Too niche for a large viewership and maybe too vignette to feel satisfying for some viewers.

But still -- a really good effort on a niche topic as a vignette!

Good production values, filming, costuming, sets, etc. There are some moments where I think soundtrack was a bit off but I was tired when watching it so on second view I'll try to pay more attention.

I won't give it all away but the "California No" title refers to a kind of ghosting. Just avoiding, postponing, doing the fade out. Hoping the other person takes the hint. Not like just up and disappeared and cut you off style ghosting.

You enter the movie at the couple counseling session where they are trying to address sex problems. The wife reveals the other people she dates don't complain about the sex. The husband is stunned because having one theoretical conversation one time is NOT "Ok, let's go ahead and do an open marriage."

We follow the husband around for the rest of the movie as he tries to cope with all this. He starts to date non-monogamously himself, struggles to balance being a newbie hinge with his normal life problems. He's trying to figure out what he wants to do with himself now.

I found the main characters and side characters both likeable and unlikeable for various reasons. Nobody was too perfect, nobody was too mean. Just... human.

If I had to sum it up fast? It would be from his GF Kaley's line.

"OMG. You are a passenger. Romantically you are a passenger. Like someone else is driving. That's crazy sad, man."

Elliot has to figure out how to stop being so "passenger" in all the areas of his life. Start being the DRIVER in his own life rather than being so "floating along."

At the end the viewer is not sure he's gonna make it, but you get a sense that he's gonna try.

Vignette movie over.
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