Thursday, October 27, 2011

Poly on Tour - Final days

Day 8 - After a whirlwind of some 1400 km in 5 days, we were in need of a slow day.  DC and I hung around the hotel while  J and D explored nearby Woodbine Mall, Woodbine Rack Track and the related Casino.  I caught up on blog postings.  We rallied for dinner at the fabulous Mandarin buffet restaurant where they didn't even blink when I reserved for 20 people.  It is a very large restaurant with a vast array of dishes in the buffet.  We arrived a bit late due to road construction complicating traffic but only by a few minutes.  I opened the door to the restaurant to find a group of people waiting for me that bowled me over.  Some high school friends that I hadn't seen for over 30 years, friends from youth camp and church that I'd not seen in anywhere from a few years or fairly recently to at least 20 years. Some knew each other and enjoyed visiting.  Others enjoyed meeting new people and among the guests was a lovely academic researcher who we met during the court proceedings. It was a very warm and supportive gathering for me to confirm the polyamorous household in which I live and have them warmly welcomed.  There was much catching up conversations and  more about what life is like for us in the shadow of a decision on the BC Supreme court case.  I suspect that anyone on my Facebook friends list in the area who was invited and disapproving of my lifestyle choice would likely have not attended so the odds of the group assembled being at least not there to harass me was pretty good - however it was interesting to hear that one couple in attendance are looking to have a triad relationship but haven't met another person who was compatible yet and others who while not seeing this as a lifestyle for themselves were very clear in their minds that healthy multiple partner relationships should not be criminalized.  There were a fair number in attendance from a church background that is christian and perhaps more liberal and inclusive than others might be yet the doctrine of monogamous marriage is most definitely entrenched.  It was a lovely evening.

On our final day DC needed to nurse a headache so J, D and I took the rental car back to the airport and caught the hotel shuttle back.  We had lunch with my brother in the hotel restaurant and he was very kind to act as chauffeur and tour guide for the afternoon. We wandered around the downtown core and saw the fog enshrouded CN Tower,  Roger Centre (used to be the Skydome), Air Canada Centre, City Hall and the historic architecture around it, the Eaton's Centre, and the underground mall to the Atrium on Bay.  We lost DC in the World's Biggest Bookstore.  My brother left to collect his children and we located the old Maple Leaf Gardens building which is currently being sadly over renovated.  Loblaws and the Ryerson Fitness Centre will be living there when it is all completed.  The roof with the logo and the exterior brick building are to remain.  J chatted with workmen on site hoping to acquire a piece of brick or something of a souvenir nature but was unsuccessful.  I had spent much of my youth attending games and concerts there and  D had been there before as well so we were able to describe the original signage and interior for J and talk about what attending events there was like.  Maple Leaf Gardens was often referred to as the Cathedral of Hockey mainly because of its location on Church Street.  It was very much like a worshiper's journey as we trekked along busy city streets in the pouring rain looking at this historic building in transition.

Wet and very cold we walked a wee bit further and arrived at the location selected for us to meet with people from several poly groups in the Toronto area.  Some arrived just after us and others came later.  All in all about 25 people attended including some poly people not affiliated with any group.  It was a very warm group of people most of whom didn't know many of the others either.  It was good for them to connect with each other but very awesome to get some great feedback on the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association's website and work with the court case.  We left them with several copies of the DVD of the What is Polyamory Forum and made some connections for future advocacy work and events.  Two members of the Toronto triad who also filed an affidavit for CPAA's evidence in the case were in attendance and it was very cool to be able to talk to them about the feedback they had received and how life was going for them.

I sold some of my books at both of these dinners and that was pretty empowering for me as well.  J is an old hat at being in the "Poly Lady"'s entourage, and  D has become accustomed as well.  DC is learning to be comfortable in the spotlight too.  J says quite rightly that I am absolutely in heaven when gathered with people who want to know about polyamory, poly community building and advocacy around our rights and the law. It fulfills my inner teacher or missionary, I think. Although talking about something that I believe in and have found such happiness with is not difficult. I look forward to traveling and participating in the global conversation and celebration of the polyamory community building worldwide.  It is indeed and exciting and history making time.

This morning we got up at 4:30 am Ontario time and caught an early direct flight from Toronto to Victoria.  For some reason the flight west is longer than the flight east and I really felt it.  Four very weary but happy travelers arrived home inspired by the wonderful people and beautiful countryside of Ontario, Canada.

Thank you for a great trip.
Note:  My iphone crapped out and had to be restored which wiped some photos. I did get some also on my digital camera but have mislaid the download chord.  Tech advances are great but when they fail its a big fail.  I will edit and post pics when I get passed this little issue.

Edited:  Oct 31 - got the pics and amended this entry.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Poly on Tour - and back again

Day 7 -  After an excellent home cooked breakfast , we departed with a teary DC and a quick tourist shop pit stop where we fondled coyote and skunk pelts and marvelled at native art and jewelry. I think my credit card began to melt there.   We snagged some Ontario cheese curds for D there and he was quiet for awhile except for the odd "mmmmmmmmm...."
D  and DC gave us the history of them tour of Belleville.  J was able to visit the Hawkins Cheezie factory which was much like visiting a cathedral for him.  They are a bit secretive but he was allowed into the office, told the history of the company and gifted with some product and a baseball cap with their logo.  He was very pleased.

We dropped by the last place of employment for D and DC and had lunch with one of their co-workers.  It was a nice visit and a very good reconnection for them. Other staff members were in the building and expressed delight at seeing them again. 

Driving through Trenton we saw the signs for the Highway of Heroes which is what the stretch of Hwy 401 between Trenton and Toronto has been renamed in honour of our fallen soldiers.  This is the route that the hearses follow when the remains of soldiers killed in service are brought home from foreign countries.  The overpasses and sides of the highway are lined by people with flags and signs who are there to welcome our heroes home.   Very touching to see the signs along the way noting that.

At Coburg we stopped at The Big Apple which was opened by the same man who designed the famous Peter Puck. There is a huge building shaped like an apple, a go-cart track, little train system and a petting zoo for the kids to enjoy.  Their famous apple pie is made there and you can see the process in the factory from a glassed in visitors area.  I got lost in the gift shop and spent too much money but it was very cool too. 

Then onward to Toronto sailing across the top of the city via Hwy 401.  Sailing being not quite accurate as it was more of a log jam but we got there and are currently ensconced in our same hotel.   I hit the hot tub first thing and enjoyed the evening of not moving, not being in a car.

Poly on Tour - In search of poly and parrots

Day 6 - We dropped in at the after wedding brunch and said our goodbyes.  Then we sped to Kingston to meet with an online friend and her poly group.  We were delayed by traffic and family goodbyes but arrived in time to have a good visit with the Kingston group.  Very nice people and lots of good mover and shaker energy there.  Starting a group can be a bit discouraging until you get some momentum but I think this bunch is up for it.

 I left them with "Triad-ing Poly" pins and copies of the Vanpoly DVD of the What is Polyamory? Forum which was presented in Vancouver in April 2011.  We parted company with promises to keep in touch.  Hugs to N, I, R, L, H and A.   Be proud - you folks are awesome!

We drove around Kingston for a bit, DC was our tour guide and we took pictures.  J is fascinated by the size of Lake Ontario and has put his hand in the water several times now to say he did.  He wants to collect some sand to take home before we leave.  Then we drove back to Belleville and dropped DC at her Dad and Step-mom's home for a visit with some other family.

D, J and I went on to the National Airforce Museum at CFB Trenton.  I'd hoped to connect with a Victoria ex-pat who lives on base now but missed her.  We toured the museum and I took pictures of everything especially for my one son who is a military history buff.  The guys enjoyed their tour and this was D's turn to be chief tour guide.

We  returned to DC's family's home and were treated to an amazing home cooked meal, pleasant company, laundry facilities and a good night's sleep.  DC's Dad has two male parrots as pets.  J and I slept in the livingroom with the parrots saying "Good Night!" rather harshly if one of us snored too loudly.  Rather comforting to share space with them when my house at home has parrot figures of every description gifted to me over the years as a poly organizer.

Poly on Tour - The Ottawa Days

I apologize for the delay in posting as my iphone app ate my postings but told me that I'd published. On the plus side, I can include photos in the repost. 

Day 3 -  We began with a scenic tour of South Eastern Ontario on route to Ottawa.  We stopped in Brighton at Dougalls by the Bay which is a lovely and quite large restaurant at dockside.  The owner is a much abused Maple Leafs fan and we commiserated briefly on being a martyr amongst the heathen.  Lunch was terrific and we met DC's Dad and Step-mom.

 Brighton through to Belleville is the area of Ontario that DC spent most of her youth although she also lived in Kingston for a few years.  We got to see all of the historic life of DC locations and then proceeded to Ottawa.

After checking into our hotel, we wandered up the street to Don Cherry's Grill and met D's Dad and brother (the groom).  Hockey culture is very strong in D's family with the father and two of four children being goalies at various league levels.  J was also a goalie and I grew up with the NHL Hockey schedule being the first consideration on any family plans.  So Don Cherry's was a priority tourist event.  Dinner was good and no one threw anything at me in my Leafs jersey although the boys lost their game that night.  

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Day 4 - is a blur of errands, tux fittings, instructions and scheduling changes every five minutes, mad texting to keep things arranged and try to contact other poly folks, friends and some of my family in the area.  In the end, all things gave in to the needs of the bride and groom who struggled to keep the bride's mother from coming unglued apparently.  Monogamy in action brought up many memories for us and a the feeling one gets when your kid comes home from school with issues - been there done that and OH SO glad not to be doing it again today.   Rehearsal  was interesting.  The facility where the wedding and the reception were held was a ski resort called Camp Fortune in Gatineau Park.  The fall leaves and forest just about made me cry with homesickness.  The vegetation in Ontario is so different from the rainforest of BC.  I became an instant tree hugger of my favourite white or silver birch trees.    D was Best Man and although unimpressed with having to be in a "monkey suit" (tuxedo) all the next day enjoyed the interaction with his kid brother who he'd not seen in 5 or 6 years.  I was conscripted to stand in for their sister and read a passage as part of the ceremony.  The bride's aunt had a similar role and we had opportunity to chat a bit between things.  A very lovely and funny lady who reminded me of a friend of my parents.  Rehearsal dinner was very casual in the brides' suite at the Ramada in Gatineau.  Wow.  If you can stay there do so.  Amazing two storey suite with King bed downstairs and a double in the loft.  Two baths and a big screen tv in the sitting area.  Just gorgeous.  Apparently there was a fire alarm pulled during that night and they had to evacuate.  The bride returned to find a strange man asleep in her loft bed - groggy hotel guest who wandered back into the wrong suite.  Not sure who was more mortified.

Day 5 - The wedding.  Best man was shuttled to the groomsmen's dressing location and we picked up the videographer and a groomsman on the way and picking up more videotape.  Then to the bride's hotel for more pictures with the videographer after searching two stores for an extension cord.  Waited for more pictures there and then sped to the resort for the wedding arriving with 4 minutes for myself, DC and J to change clothes.  J. had been conscripted to fill in as an usher and enjoyed chatting up the ladies as he seated them.  I was seated on the bride's side with the aunt.  DC sat with the groom's dad.  The wedding was a very successful blend of tradition and non-tradition.  The bridal party entered to instrumental medley of old Irish tunes provided by her uncles and brother on keyboard, violin and guitar.  Her gown was modeled after the one worn by the groom's mother (recently passed away).  She carried a bouquet which included a two-sided locket with a photo of her grandmother and mother-in-law in their wedding gowns.  Her mother walked her up the aisle and "gave" her to the groom.  The brides attendants included a maid of honour, two bridesmaids and one bridesman and a flower girl.  The grooms attendants included a Bestman, a groomsman and two groomsmaids.  The Minister performed a tradional handfasting ceremony without the jumping of the broom, there were vows that did not include "obey" and the readings were about friendships built and respect for each other.

It is very natural to watch such proceedings and ponder other ones you have experienced.  D and DC related the fiasco that was their wedding.  J and I were both able to contribute equally complicated twists to our individual nuptials.  Several key family members on both sides had been tweaked to the fact that D and DC are no longer a couple and that D, J and I are a triad.  It came up in conversation a few times while we were in Ottawa and the comments were all positive.  We were however, very aware of being observed closely during the reception and in particular during the dance.  I love to dance and so does J.  I was up and dancing a fair bit, dragging D up several times and D's Dad who is quite flight of foot and very charming.  It was a fun evening.

I watched D and DC interact and some of the old crappy communication formats were easy for them to slip into but otherwise all went well.  I wondered if this might rekindle their marriage which would make for some interesting adjustments at home.  D went out of his way to make sure both J and I felt included.  He didn't need to do that and with the onslaught of family history and communication styles - I'm surprised and touched that he was able to do that.  Being home with your parents at any age causes you to instantly be a teenager.  You are always their baby no matter how tall you grow after all.  I was a bit worried that the romance of it all would lead to a reconciliation for the moment and gone at light of day scenario which would be hurtful and a bit uncomfortable for the rest of the trip.  However it seems that it has solidified a friendship and honouring of shared history.

 I was also able to experience a shared history as well when the wedding photos were taken at the William Lyon Mackenzie King Estate which is within Gatineau Park as is Meech Lake.  Both places have significance to Canadians.  Mackenzie King being a former Prime Minister and Meech Lake being the location of the signing of the Meech Lake Accord which amended our constitution not so long ago.  Mackenzie King was also my Great-Grandmother's nephew.  Very cool to be sitting on his back porch pondering my participation in the political and legal processes of our nation.

Being around family sets off a lot of emotions for people and I had a hard time being an observer only of all that was going on as I became the preferred communication hub as schedules changed and old family issues arose.  Mediation and event organizing being key skill sets, it was a natural response for me but I was concerned that I was stepping on DC's toes.  I waffled between wanting to step away and wanting to help.  I find sometimes with these men of mine that I tweak at the history they have with other people.  It makes me sad that I missed that stage of their life but is that a form of jealousy?

Being poly is so complicated at times.  I had to really look inside my heart and be true to the purpose of this leg of the trip which was the wedding and what the bride and groom wanted.  I decided that I was sniffing for tinder and more worried that it would be a bad turn of events rather than a hot and steamy reconciliation. Not jealousy so much as maybe enabling co-dependancy. Standing back and watching people you love work out difficult moments and being cool with not interfering in any way is not compersion exactly.  Maybe we need another word - antipersion?    I dunno.

 I was also thinking about how unfair it is that this kind of ceremony and affirmation of love is not legally available to those of us who have more than one love to celebrate.  I let my mind wander to logistics of a ceremony involving J, D and I.  It made me very sad on the one hand and sort of glad on the other because marriage is scary business.  Funny how a piece of paper changes things so much in so many ways and not at all in others.
D looked verrrrrrrrrra sexy in his tux and I think we should purchase one for each of my menfolk  just so I can take them off....ssssllllooowwwwllllyyyy. Bwahahahahaha.  I love my men.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Poly on Tour - Roots

Day 2 of our tour.  We collected our rental car and toured Dear Polly Amorie's childhood neighbourhood.  Mississauga, Ontario has changed a lot since I was last there in 1999 but there were still some old familiar places and they have the same Mayor Hazel!   She really hasn't aged much and still governs with a firm hand from what I see in the brochure.  We saw my grade school which is now a French school, my Senior Public which is now called a "Middle" school and my high school.
 The house where I grew up is renovated a wee bit but the three birch trees still stand tall on the lawn.  The strip mall across the street is still there. The Beer Store which had a burglar alarm that my next door neighbour could set off by turning on the tap in the laundry room sink to the amusement of the entire street as he was an OPP officer.  Many of the other stores had changed but the Fish & Chips store is still there and the Variety store.  Lots of memories and just a few stories told. It was fun to be the one to say "oh that used to be..." and be able to know the back roads and alternate routes to what the GPS was indicating. 

We spent the later part of the day touring the Hockey Hall of Fame.  My metamour and I felt deep compersion for my partners as they waded in the essence of their first  I took photos of all the important players who had the great fortune to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs and various bits of displayed memorbilia. J was moved to tears by the ability to actually touch the token of his love...The Stanley Cup. 
 I took various photos of it with both of my partners and close ups of the inscription where the Maple Leafs had won it as well as the ring for the year the Victoria Cougars won it.  Everytime J thought about that moment with his true love, he teared up.   Such a wonderful moment.  The guys had some retail therapy in the Spirit of Hockey store and I was gifted with an umbrella sporting the Leafs' logo.

We met my brother, sister-in-law and their two young children for dinner.  St. Louis Wings and Ribs was fabulous if a bit rowdy.  We slipped up the street to a much quieter Gelato place for a tasty ending to the meal.  My nephew who is 4 years old was full of wiggles and Gelato. He inspired silliness in my partner J and they got along famously.  My niece who is 6 yrs old sat beside me in the first restaurant and chatted with me as we ate.  She slipped her hand in mine to walk down the street to the Gelato place and directed me to sit in a certain seat.  As we left the Gelato place she slipped her hand in mine again and I asked if I might do up her jacket for her.  Then she slipped her hand in mine as we left that place.  This is my niece who has met me once before when their family travelled to Victoria in August of this year.  I was very touched that she honoured me with guiding her safety as we walked along the street.  We discussed our shoes and jackets and their general uselessness in the monsoon of rain and high winds.  J caught my eye as I walked hand in hand with the most precious little girl in the world and our eyes met, filled with tears and I knew that another moment of compersion had passed between us.

J experienced the Toronto subway system and at rush hour and survived.  My partners both learned that I did learn something growing up in the Toronto area - how to use the TTC and even though I had to tell them each five times that I was SURE what stop to get off, they do believe me now.
Hot tub for them, pool for me and off to bed.   Tomorrow we drive to Ottawa.

Poly on Tour - Victoria to Toronto

Dear Polly Amorie is on the road this week.  First leg of the trip was a very comfortable and uneventful flight with Westjet.  The staff was friendly and the flight was smooth.  I had an aisle seat and entertained myself with my latest Diana Gabaldon novel, The Fiery Cross.  DC had her ereader and my partners divided their time between observations of passengers and stewardesses and the tv movie screens on the back of the seats in front of them.  I was across the aisle from the three of them and had only one seat mate.  She was a lovely woman about the same age as myself who was returning to Halifax from having spent several weeks visiting her daughter's family and a new grandbaby.  The four hour ish flight sped by quickly and the only moment of concern was that the sight of the seatbelts sign which indicated a need to be seated and not move around the plane instantly made me need to use the washroom.

Disembarking at Toronto's Pearson Airport was uneventful much less so than getting off the ferry at Tsswwassen terminal in Vancouver.  There is the same long long walk to find one's luggage.  Many of the airport area hotels, ours included, have a free shuttle bus that you call for a pick up.  We are in one of the many Comfort Inn chain of hotels in the area.  I favour that chain which includes Quality Inns and Econo Lodges too.  I've found the staff to be consistently pleasant and the accomodations much nicer than would be expected for a fairly inexpensive cost.  We had a terrific dinner in the hotel restaurant and then hit the pool and hot tub.  Well rested if a bit jet lagged SOME of us were up and bouncing around like a chihuahua in heat at FIVE A.M. 

Tim Hortons coffee consumed we are just gathering ourselves to head out for some touristy stuff.  This being my home turf, I'll be showing the tribe the birth place and child hood haunts of Dear Polly Amorie as well as the more traditional tourist traps in the area.  Later we will have dinner with my brother and his family and make some phone calls to confirm meetings this week. 

Stay tuned. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Poly on Tour - on the brink of the journey

Putting on my travelling shoes to dance across the country and visit with YOU.
Come on out and meet Dear Polly Amorie and the loves of her life in person.

The move to new directions begins with a trip to Southern Ontario.  I have lived in British Columbia for just over 12 years now and am originally from the Toronto area.  While the inspiration to travel east after all these years comes from the invitation for one of my partner's to attend the wedding of his brother, it was an excellent opportunity for me to catch up with my family and friends and to meet some poly people. My partner, D spent much of his youth in Ontario as did my metamour, DC.  We three will be showing my other partner J the tourist sights as well as the memories of our youth as we travel.  We three are also returning older and wiser in so many ways as none of us have discovered the polyamory movement until we independently moved west.  We return to our friends and family with a greater understanding  and confidence in our relationship skills and life's goals.  That is one of the upsides of growing older generally but most definitely one of the upsides of finding solidarity in polyamory community.

We will arrive in Toronto on Tuesday October 18th and drive to Ottawa for the wedding and then return to Toronto via another route to catch a flight home on Thursday October 27th.  I will have with me copies of my latest novel, "A Matter of Perspective"  which is available on Amazon and Barns and Noble websites and has just been chosen for release as an ebook in their ebook libraries. (Tour price of $20 with $5 going to the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association.)  I will also have copies of the Vanpoly produced DVD of the "What is Polyamory?" forum held last April and featuring Janet Hardy (co-author, The Ethical Slut), Terisa Greenan (Family, the webseries), Kiki Christie (Victoria Poly 101) and John Ince (author and lawyer for the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association.  I was happy to moderate the discussion and learned some disturbing things about how I look on camera but the video is an excellent view and terrific resource for poly groups.  (DVD is $15 with proceeds going to the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association.)  I also have some pins that read "Triad -ing love" with an illustration of a traid which are $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00 with proceeds to the CPAA as well.

As we travel we are arranging to meet with poly people along the way.  If you are in the area and want to connect with us feel free to email  or attend one of these. 

Ottawa - Thursday October 20 - 7 pm   - Don Cherry's restaurant
Kingston -  Sunday October 23 - 11 am brunch - Cora's Breakfast and Lunch, Clock Tower Plaza,

Toronto -  Wednesday October 26 - 6pm - The Bishop and the Belcher Pub

We look forward to meeting you and hearing your story.  We will bring news of the growing BC poly community and global advocacy efforts.  If you aren't in the area or are unable to attend, please feel free to read my blog postings on our trip and share via comments.

We will also be meeting with family and friends some of whom are aware of our triad household and others who are not.  It will be interesting to experience their reactions and it will also be interesting to meet with several of them who have themselves discovered polyamory and adjust our perceptions of each other as we reconnect.  I'll keep you posted and I'm hoping to share photos and news of poly groups I encounter along the way.   We all need to know that there are others all over the world who share our philosophy and are just trying to be happy in their own ways.

....and now back to packing for the trip.