Only in New York kids, only in New York

Red Grooms – Rainy Day Taxi

The title is a quote from Cindy Adams (, a gossip columnist for the New York Post – a local tabloid paper. When she has writes about  some crazy sequence of events that seems utterly implausible  – but is absolutely true – she often ends it with that line.

So Friday night E and I took Jack out for this birthday – 46 thank you very much and looking great for his age: 6 feet tall, shaved head, black artsy glasses, broad shoulders, good physique. He rides his bike 10 miles a day as well as runs and walks with me a few times a week. Definitely looking sharp. We got tickets to an NPR variety show at the City Winery downtown and were settling in to a nice evening.

Unfortunately, I had to leave before the show was over to relieve the babysitter, but E and Jack said they were ready to go too. The seats were very, VERY close together – 2 tops set as 4 tops – and they were feeling quite cramped. We pushed the doors open into a beautiful New York night and walked quickly down the street to the subway.

But not quite quick enough because as we were descending the stairs we could hear our train rolling in. The 3 of us still have to swipe for entry and make our way through the full body cage type turn-stiles that some un-monitored stations have.

We are moving as fast as possible and getting close to making it (but no guarantee) when we hear a woman’s voice yelling, “I got you!! I’m holding it!” and we look at the train to see a strawberry blonde,  petite gal holding the subway doors for us. She is using all her might, and the conductor is starting to yell because the train can’t move forward until all the doors are shut.  We can hear her announcement “YOU in the BACK – let GO OF THE DOORS!!!”. But as soon as she finishes yelling – we three are though the gate, on the train and are off!

We thank our champion profusely!! Her name is M and she looks like the fun, up-for-anything friend you had in high school. She’s dressed in a red checked blouse tied at the waist, jeans, hair disheveled and a big smile. Her friend is N and they are headed out for a good time. And where are they headed? To M’s corner bar – which happens to be right in our neighborhood! Well, now things really pick up, and she pulls a bottle of wine and a bottle opener out of her bag. When she finds out its Jack’s birthday she insists on opening it and passing it around.

After 3 dirty martinis I am in no position to argue. And there is something delicious about a shared bottle of wine, in an otherwise empty subway car, rolling along under the streets of New York. We are all going in the same direction and switch trains accordingly – taking the illegal (yes, even in New York this kind of public drinking is a ticketable offense) bottle with us. Jack promptly finishes it.

As we get closer to home, I have to beg off (babysitter – remember) and M is lovely in her disappointment. She asks whose child it is – and Jack, who usually plays these things close, proceeds to explain our living situation. She starts laughing – totally tickled.

The four of them weave off into the night and I have to wait until morning to find out what happened.  M was extremely generous – bought 2 rounds of shots in honor of Jack’s birthday. N, the friend, was a bit of a sad sack with no confidence who kept on referring to herself as “The fat one”  – she wasn’t. Jack hung out with M who has lived around the world, loves a good time and is an actual grownup with a business card from her pretty cool job to prove it!  Poor E got saddled with N who wanted to discuss her abusive childhood. This was a non-smokers/smokers division by the way – sometimes people do NOT have a very good notion of smoking conversational topics.

Things had the potential for some serious birthday fun – M was flirting with Jack and suggested the future possibility of a threesome with him, her and E. That night was out, she had to take care of N – who by this point was no longer fit for public view – but maybe another night? Um, yeah…E fielded this…and of course had to say no because how do you explain that “we have to keep it down’ cause of the kids” to a brand new sexual partner you have met on a train? You don’t is the answer to that one.

So a good birthday was had by all – with flirting and adventures and all the flirty sexy stuff you think has got to be all over with by the time you hit your 40’s. And looks like there might be more to come…

Happy Birthday Jack – wishing you possibilities, excitement and subway cars full of fun in your 46th year!


Catching You Up

After my last blog post, Harry pointed out that I am mentioning characters that most readers will probably not know unless you have ready my previous blog. Of course, you are more than welcome to read but be warned – it is not as, ahhem, high minded as this site. Plenty of adult content on my part.

Or, you can just do the Cliff notes version that follows. If you think you MIGHT be a horse, then you should find the above flowchart helpful! If you would like to see how cool a flowchart can look when you are using it to describe intimate relationships – see my fave blogger SeattlePolyChick. Her relationship configuration is a tad more complex than mine (and actually requires a flowchart!) and I have linked to it here:

The Cast of Characters (And a Chart!).

So – here is my cast of characters:

1. Jack – In November 2015 we will be married for 20 years – and have known each other for 22. My partner in growing up, my best friend, the father of my child, my business partner in the business of Jack and Clara, my truth teller, my confidant and my roommate. We are not romantic – but I could not imagine a life without Jack playing a significant part. Like two trees that stand very close together, we have grown up entwined.

2. E – I have shortened her name from the Ellaria used in JOAT (Jack of All Triads). she and Jack have known each other since high-school and stayed friendly over the years. 3 years ago, we all began hanging out more and more and one thing led to another and… well, here we are. Initially we were a bit more polyamorous- emphasis on the amorous, but now we are just very good friends. She and Jack have a complicated relationship – she often seems unhappy, dissatisfied, depressed. She is not a great communicator…so I don’t always know what’s going on, but boy do I feel it. She can be a storm cloud – lots of unfocused negativity floating around the place. But she can also be funny, generous and a joy. I often think she would like a more traditional relationship…but what do I know.

3. Harry – Harry and I just had the 2 year anniversary of our first date!! He is everything I wanted: warm, funny, sexy, smart, confident and a great snuggler! If I had not known him, I don’t think I would understand the true meaning of physical chemistry – because ours is off the charts. To be so in love with someone and have that kind of physical attraction – like spontaneous combustion attraction – is a gift and I am incredibly grateful!! He is great company and I absolutely adore him – everything is more fun when he and I are together. We even had fun at his colonoscopy! He has an adorable dog called Ziggy and is just wonderful with my son, Max.

4. Max – The son of Jack and I. He is 9 going on 10 with the anxiety level of an air-traffic controller. Max is tall, handsome, smart and a terrible test taker. He reads constantly – but also loves video games and action movies. He is by far the best decision I ever made and I am regularly surprised to find motherhood more fulfilling that I thought it would be. Even though I want to jump up and down screaming at some of the silly stuff he does at least once a day – he is my pride and joy.

5.S -E’s daughter who just turned 13. S is also a shortened version of her JOAT name. All the trials and tribulations you would expect from a 13 year old in one adorable gothy package. Boys, drama, girls, drama, grades, drama…get the picture? Bring in the llama! But the frustrating part for me is that I am waaaayyy stricter and more boundary oriented that E. I often (but not always) bite my tongue when I see E just letting things go, and acting like the kid is a grown-up and can make reasonable, well thought out decisions. Frustrating; but a learning experience. I can’t (and shouldn’t) have to fix everything.

6. Assorted characters: Not many that have hung on!! I don’t think about my previous sexual partners except in the broadest of terms. I have stayed in touch with BuckDharma and The Writer and we keep each other apprised about the goings on in our lives – but everyone else is history!

I think we’re all caught up now! Onward!!


Vacation Clarification

I have been out of the loop – away in Ireland with the the whole family. Jack, E, her daughter, my son Max, Harry and me. We traded our apartment here in New York City to a family from Dublin and spent 9 days exploring the Dublin and the surroundings. And our relationship to each other.

Living together is often a fantasy for poly people – but not a lot of people are actually able to do it. Or, upon further reflection, want to do it. It involves melding 3 or more individual’s personalities, philosophies, ideas about what “home” means, personal possessions and (possibly) ideas about child rearing. And these are just the tip of the iceberg!  We jumped in to this experiment because of romance – we all loved each other – and practicality – we all wanted to move to a nice area of NYC and this seemed the most expedient way to do that.

We just signed a lease for the third – and last – year of the experiment. My concern about Max getting into a decent middle school was the tipping point. If he doesn’t get into somewhere where in New York where he won’t get stabbed in the hallway, he and I are moving upstate and he will be going to private school. But really, I think I have had enough. It’s just too hard too much of the time.

E is all about feelings – her own feelings. If she is upset about something she sulks and grumps and locks herself in her room. She doesn’t want to talk about it, she doesn’t want to fix it and she doesn’t want to transcend it. The energy that this gives off is so negative and stressful – I sometimes find it hard to breathe. And because her moods are so unpredictable, I never know when I’ll find her in this state. It makes me not want to come home – and not wanting to come home to my own house is a terrible feeling.

But of course it’s not my own house – I share it. And honestly, I’m done with that. Too old, too set, too opinionated to share with people and compromise. Jack and I have been rubbing alongside each other for 20 years. We know how the other operates and we operate similarly. We have the same friends, we both are homebodies, and it’s just easy to work things out and get things done. E is the opposite and truly does not understand why we spend so much time planning, cleaning, cooking and running a home. She would pay someone to do everything if she could! But my house is my castle – I love caring for it.

These personality differences often mean that Jack and E are on a constant roller coaster ride in their relationship. Good! Bad! Laughing! Sulking! Yelling! Canoodling! I stay as far away as I can – who needs the shrapnel. I do think E sometimes feels that life would be better if I wasn’t around and she could have Jack all to herself. I often wonder if she doesn’t have some regrets about the entire arrangement, or maybe deep in her heart she thought that we would eventually divorce. Especially since I have Harry. But my relationship with him is wonderful and special and has nothing to do with anything or anyone else – I love Jack the way I love Jack and Harry the way I love Harry.

So the vacation highlighted all of these things. Even though it was sometimes painful, it did give me some clarity about this ending next year. I know it’s the right thing to do for me. I don’t regret one decision I made about this though – so many people dream of taking action and so few people do. I’m really glad we jumped together and have had this experience of living and growing together and have tried out what it’s like to live in a triad.

Trying, however does not always mean succeeding. And even succeeding does not always mean succeeding forever. We have succeeded by some measures – we are living together as a family. And not succeeded by some – this arrangement does not always benefit all members and sometimes it feels lonely, even though there’s 3. But either way – nothing stays the same for ever. Change is inevitable.

I can’t see the future – but I can tell you I am looking forward to it!




Hello! and Welcome! And if you are an origami aficonado you are about to be disappointed

freeingorigamibirdsfreeing origami birds by Miriam Thorpe

I am a 45 year old woman living in New York who has had the incredible good luck to be able to change, and grow and reinvent myself and my life at a time when I see lots of my peers shifting into neutral. My life is an adventure in self discovery (believe me, some of THAT is like picking up a rock and watching creepy crawlies slither out)  and adventure. I am a constantly striving yogi, an injured but determined runner, a loving but not always patient mother, a best friend, a social worker and an introvert who functions like an extrovert until I can’t anymore. I am also a wife…and a girlfriend. I live polyamorously – though my version of polyamory is much more of the emotional sort. My real name is not Clarathegreat – but I answer to it! I am a meditator and a seeker and a thinker and I hope to share whatever minor insights I have about life and change and moving forward.

And the title? We all fold ourselves into the shapes we THINK we should be. And that can be fine! And maybe we really become the shape and the shape fits us perfectly and we are the happiest cranes (daughters, sons, life partners, engineers) EVER. But maybe not. And unfolding that shape without tearing anything can be just as hard as getting into it. And it can be stressful. And maybe we do sustain a little damage no matter how cautious we are. But regardless of how carefully we unfold we will always be left with the shadow of the shape we used to be. And that is absolutely fine – and in fact – it makes the next shape more beautiful and textured and rich

Cheers to texture and change and reinvention! And cheers to you reader – nice to meet you!