Recent months have revealed a new emotional terrain in my romantic relationship of the last 16 years

I've written previously about living in an open relationship with my partner Jo.

Jo was the first subject I thought to reflect on in writing about gratitude this month and now I want to share my gratitude for the growth spurned on by sleeping with another woman.

At Burning Seed last year I met a fun and thoughtful woman who interested me and seemed interested in me and one thing led to another.

Physical intimacy led to exchanging letters and it felt like I rediscovered the joys of writing and reading, particularly the pleasure in restraining from opening the envelope until the moment seems right to savour the contents without interruption.

It stirred me in a different way to how my primary partner stirs and we've spent many months trying to reconcile our feelings.

She would grow jealous at times, even times when I would be on Facebook and she'd observe my posture and know I was engaging with this other woman.

We've both agreed it has opened new aspects of ourselves, prompted by differing emotions and the dormant memories of infidelities.

During those months I was interested to read on Facebook the experiences of another friend who'd entered into a relationship with a couple.

She distinguished polyamory from polygamy, seperating the love of many from that of lovers who have entered into an exclusive relationship with each other.

It's led my partner to decide she'd prefer we agreed on sharing ourselves with someone, rather than watch each other find another person.

Now it feels like we're about to turn another corner in our relationship and I'm faced with finding a way to share this development with my onetime lover turned penpal.

I am grateful for the way she has enriched my primary relationship during times when she was seen as a threat to it.

She has opened new insights and prompted conversations that might not have happened otherwise.

It hasn't always been easy but it has been revealing and, like making up after arguing, reinforced our desire to be together.

Polygamous pizza

Tonight I married two of my loves 

Kimchi and purslane on pizza

Happy centenary Bill

My grandfather would've been 100 this week and my family were sharing memories, so I wrote a few of mine

I would’ve been aged five or six when I first met my grandfather Dr William Buscombe.

I don’t recall much, aside from the gift of a Crookes radiometer.

In the mid-1990s while studying at university I began emailing Bill. It might’ve been 1996 and his replies would promptly arrive overnight, discussing largely mundane matters but clearly enjoying connecting and communicating from the other side of the world.

In 1999 at the end of my studies, I visited him in Evanston and appreciated the opportunity to accompany him on his walk from home to Northwestern University and observe him still checking his email.

By that point he was becoming increasingly frail but still following his routine and maintaining correspondence, as well as reviewing the next iteration of the star catalogue that had been a substantial part of his career as an astronomer.

One morning on that visit I asked him about his attitude toward death.

He replied that at age 79 he’d lived beyond the average for a male and that “each day is a gift”.

It was a statement that consoled me and I remember relaying it to my mother when she later learned of his death.

Another highlight of that trip to Evanston was getting a sense of Bill’s relationship with my grandmother Royal.

One morning as Bill and I ate breakfast, Royal entered the room to join us and Bill stood while she sat at the table.

When he resumed sitting and eating I could see that he’d now positioned his body to be slightly turned toward her.

After that I’d notice how attentive Bill was to Royal and it was very sweet to see the subtle displays of his love.

That visit gave me an appreciation of Bill’s good-natured grace.

Kimchi snacks?

Following on from the last couple of posts, I googled "Kimchi snacks" and they exist!

Spicy snacks

The other day I was telling my grocer how much I've enjoyed eating the snacks he's imported from India

I've posted on here about the Kurkure Mango Achaari Triangles and Chilli Chatka, which are both hot in a way that discourages most of my kids from asking for some and gives me a nice buzz.

More recently I tried these chilli and lemon flavoured potato chips, which was a combination that hadn't occurred to me but can be found in many stir-fries.

Once again it was tasty and spicy in a way not normally found in the chips sold at Australian supermarkets.

Even though we've adopted many culinary influences in this country, there is a clear segregation at work in the "international' sections of the shops.

Sure, there are some chilli and sour cream flavours available but they are, as the expression goes, weak as piss.

Or so I thought until my last visit.

While buying Pringles for a child's birthday party I spotted this promising Chilli Sambal flavour alongside the "Aussie" varieties of chicken salt and meat pie -- the latter reminds me of gravy, so it could be a Sunday roast.

Pringles Chilli Sambal has a nice amount of spice and a vinegar finish that is a bit similar to the Lays shown above for a heat and acidity combination.

I'm still hoping that the manufacturers of rice snacks will incorporate curry flavours but it's great to see increasing spice and variety in the snack section at the supermarket.


Another thing I'm grateful to have in my life is kimchi

I remember being attracted to this pickled cabbage for the spice, ginger and garlic.

Then I started making my own and soon found I wanted to eat it everyday.

One of my favourite lunches to pack for work is kimchi, rice, apple, capsicum and a little oil -- either sesame or olive.

More recently I asked Tania from Glam And Cheese Toasties for her recipe and she kindly directed me to Maangchi's Youtube Channel, which is delightful.

Last week I wasn't sure why there was a puddle of reddish liquid in the bottom of the fridge.

Last night I opened my jar of kimchi made using Maangchi's easy recipe and the contents started to leap out of the container.

Even though I hadn't left the kimchi out overnight to start fermentation, it was bubbling and a little fizzy to taste.

Otherwise it was great though, with the leek and carrot adding a lovely soft flavour and the fish sauce increasing the complexity.

Tulley's Hill

Just bought this beaut landscape painting by Lee Blacker-Noble, who I profiled here.

Lee's captured many scenes around Leeton, including presenting a history of the town on the walls of the Historic Hydro Hotel's bar.


Thought I would share one of my formative moments and reveal an unlikely influence on my music

Music has always been in my life. Thanks to being born in the late 20th Century, I've been able to access a much wider range of music than those born in earlier centuries, and it's mostly free too via radio and libraries.

We take recorded music for granted, from the range of performances to their origins in far-flung corners of the world.

There's a comparison I see while watching my kids watch a huge variety of videos on Youtube. It prompts me to think how I was limited to a handful of TV stations while growing up.

One of the first musical trends I experienced was the tail-end of the disco phenomenon and I think it has shaped my interest in BPMs that lend themselves to foot-tapping.

My earliest exposure to disco came at the release of The Empire Strikes Back.

That film was incredibly popular, so much so that I was initially unable to see it.

As a result my aunt decided that, when we couldn't get tickets, we'd go see The Village People movie.

Can't Stop The Music told the story of the formation of the band, who are now seen as gay icons.

Their sexuality isn't much of a feature I recall from the film but many of the songs remain memorable, from Steve Guttenberg rollerskating while miming singing the opening song that implores listening to the sound of the city, through to the Hollywood musical treatment of Milkshake.

I can recall there was a lot of singing and dancing that followed watching The Village People movie and I think it shaped my interest in upbeat music. This would include getting into rap and hiphop then metal and then the crossover between those different genres in the late '80s, before electronic dance music took off with rave influences in the '90s.

Being present

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, which is why we call it the present

'Present' can be defined in various ways but I think it's going to be more interesting to blur those lines here.

It's a word that complements 'temporal' in how it relates to worldly affairs and time, as present exists both in space and of space.

Recent times have seen an emphasis on the notion of being 'in the present' and maintaining conscious thought directed on currently passing moments.

This temporal thought is challenged continuously in Western culture, particularly when you consider how swamped we are by advertising -- a form of communication that presents idealised futures where lives are enhanced by products.

Notions of busy-ness and other business become by-products of the process of passing through the present in pursuit of a future, withholding presence in the present as a pretense for future release.

I am grateful to be living in the present.

My dreams of having a film-editing suite and a recording studio are both examples of the virtual opportunities that arise from the digital paradigm.

In the shift to a reality that is analogous yet not analog, we've opened new dimensions in our lives.

Much of this idealised present is contradicted by idealising the present, yet recognises the benefits of balancing the temporal present with our temporary presents in fantasising.

The digital future is fantastic, both in the present and incresing presence.

Fabulous February

This month I want to focus my gratitude, so I'll be writing about subjects that I appreciate having in my life

I'm going to start with an obvious point.

My partner Jo is fantastic, a term I use to infer all the way she meets my fantasies of what attributes a person should possess.

We disagree on the memory but when she was courting me I recall her making the case that, as we're born less than two days apart, we really must be soul mates.

More recently she observed a certain emotional resonance when stating that we're hurt in similar ways.

I think it's through sharing deep feelings like cracks in our hearts that she's found ways into mine.

Reflecting on Jo's influence the other day, I imagined one of those temples carved into rock with a series of grand spaces.

These are the spaces I grow in my heart with her assistance.

Growth isn't always an easy process and I appreciate the support and guidance she provides.