Just another polar bear adrift in the sea

He ain’t heavy January 23, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — sylvarih @ 1:25 am

He’s my half brother. Some of you may already know parts of this story. For those who do just read past the first part.

For most of my life I have been fatherless. Even my birth certificate lists no paternal name for..reasons. It honestly hasn’t bothered me since leaving grade school and the obligatory “make something that looks like a tie for Father’s Day” crafting projects. Over the years curiosity about my ancestors on the unknown side of my family was the one lingering question in the back of my mind. Asking my mom was not an option. On the few occasions I was brave enough to do so I was quickly shut down.

When she passed away it was time to do a little digging around. The first place I looked were the DNA ancestry sites. Knowing my mom’s family came from Poland meant anything that wasn’t clearly Eastern European would be from my father’s people. In theory. I tried DNA Tribes first. Interesting information but not quite enough. Then 23andMe came along with their family finder feature (weeee!!ffffffffffun) and I thought..ok, a distant cousin or two might be fun to know in a distant, non- stalker way, so I signed up. Now we were cooking with gas! There was some fun information about the amount of Neanderthal DNA I carried, (lots) where my earliest maternal ancestress came from (Siberia or Iran) and my British Isles heritage. Plus cousins! Not close mind you, but people with names. I learned a lot about mtDNA that year.

Then Ancestry.com had a sale on their DNA testing kit. So I gave it a go. Pinky and I had spent quite a bit of time there going down a rabbit hole of family tree research. Being able to combine the fun of tracing my known roots with the possibility of tracing my unknown roots was too good a combination to resist. So I took the plunge. Then something I did not expect happened. I had a relative. A close relative. First cousins or better close. Eep! Nervously I reached out.

And met a sweet man. We exchanged information, he put forth the theory that maybe his grandfather might be my unknown father but he would poke his dad and grandfather for more information.

Now understand, as a child I just assumed my mom didn’t include my father in my life because for whatever reason she simply didn’t want him to know about me. as I got older I assumed it was because he had another family, another life, that I could not for reasons, be a part of nor should I be. As my grandmother enjoyed reminding me I was just a bastard. A mistake of immense proportions. So I approached these newly found potential family members cautiously. After all as far as the 12 year old in me knew, they didn’t want me bringing my bastard spooge into their golden family circle. All I was looking for were names to add to the barren side of my family tree. What I got was something else entirely.

I got a brother. Once Ancestry and digging made it clear that the father of this newly minted first cousin or closer (now nephew) and I were related in that serious way. Nervously I waited to see what his first email would bring. His reply was “welcome to our dysfunctional family” . *sound of birds singing as the sun appears from the clouds in a Monty Python-esque cut scene*

Fast forward thru a bunch of emails and a few aborted attempts to work up the time and nerve to call and here we are today. Today my shiny new, wonderfully welcoming brother has informed me he will be in my neck of the woods next week (or the week after) and would like to meet me. EEp! again! Of course I want to meet him but there is still this voice in my head that says who wants a black sheep. Luckily for me I am well versed in ignoring that voice.

What an adventure this year has been already.


Ain’t no mountain high January 1, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — sylvarih @ 10:10 pm
Tags: ,

Ain’t no valley low

Lately I’ve been trying to get back into the woods. In the last few weeks I’ve hit the trail more and more in an effort not only to be healthier but also because I honestly enjoy it. As the temps here in the Northeast cool down my yearning for the hills and dales of my home increases. Nothing is as soul satisfying as a walk in the woods with snow on the ground and frost nipping at your bits.

2015-12-20 12.51.29

Today’s walk was a bit of an eye opener. After an unusually warm beginning to the season winter finally arrived this last week with a little snow and a temperatures that finally fell to somewhere approaching normal. (That would be 38F for you Imperial bastards and 3.5C for you Metric mavens just so you know.) So off i went, hat and gloves in hand to get me some of the cool, cool mountain air. Got to my spot, got out of my car and started walking. All by myself, a little ice on the access road, my mind started doing something it has never done before. It started worrying. Now don’t get me wrong, I worry with the best of them but never before about walking. It took me a while to realize what was going on. There was my brain, saying all these weird things about falling on the ice, being a woman alone in the woods, my phone running out of a charge and so on. When I poked a little more it dawned on me that the root of my fear was not so much the conditions as it was being alone. Independant. It had been a long time since I had done anything where I was truly alone. There were no other hikers in my little neck of the woods. The sounds of the road were quickly left behind. I was alone. And it scared me. I thought about turning back and taking the road more traveled. “Let’s play it safe” my mind whispered. I had been playing it safe for a while, After all a woman of my age had to think about these things more.

That stopped me dead in my tracks. A woman of my age? What the hell did that mean? Ever the contrary kid, the little voice in my mind told the voice whispering that I should be safe to go fuck itself and off I went. I am a woman of my age and I get to chose what that means. What it means it the road less taken so I can hear the inner me and sometimes tell her to go to hell.


Jokers to the left of me, clowns to the right and here I am August 23, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — sylvarih @ 9:39 pm

hiding under my chair.

Lately I have been noticing this feeling poking around in the corners of my head. Well, two actually. And of course.. they are somewhat opposite of one another. On the surface at least.

The first one shouldn’t be too surprising to some of you. It’s time for me to seriously contemplate a weekend away by myself. In a cabin. With no noise. No electronics, no phone, just me and nature making googly eyes at each other. Actually what I would really like is a week away but reality is making that “I don’t think so honey” face at me. Even a handful of days would be better than none though. Perhaps for my birthday… three days in a cabin in late fall doesn’t sound like a bad thing at all.

The other one is something that honestly surprises me. I…well.. lately… umm… I kinda miss the company of women. Just being able to hang out with a group of women and talk about things without thinking about how what I am saying is coming across. Ok, not just women. Pagan women. There I said it. I miss being part of that particular sisterhood. *sigh* At some point I’ll solve that problem but man, never thought it would happen to me. Lately thought there has been something compelling, needful about the idea of the energy in a circle of women.

Ok, now that that is out in the open it means I’ll have to work on it. Feel free to roll your eyes and move on. ūüôā


Too much time on my hands December 4, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — sylvarih @ 9:49 pm

..but not in the right places.

Einstein or someone smarter than me once said that time is relative. Considering how much my relatives hate me* I can see what that really means. It’s not that time hates me. I’m not sure how time¬†feels about ¬†me. We don’t speak since that “hurry Christmas up” incident when I was seven.

My personal time (Ichabod is what I call him**) ¬†is what I struggle with the most. For some reason, the wonderful way I could block out time to get things done when I was younger has all gone away now that I have lived a grasshopper lifestyle. This little ant has lost her knack for getting things done and doesn’t know how to recapture that skill. Most things are still getting done. Work, sleeping, work, cleaning, work, but my personal goals seem to always take a back seat to those other ones. When it comes to me time it’s mostly spent on Tumblr and binge watching t.v.¬† not doing much of those things that in theory I want to accomplish.¬†The fact that I need to be online for some of my work has been very key in keeping me sitting in front of my computer doing nothing of importance instead of simply carving out an hour to work then getting up and knocking out some of those personal to-dos.

Is it a matter of willpower? Do I just need to put aside all the “yes but…” excuses, get off my ass and just do it. Fake it till I make it? ¬†Am I so overworked that I run and hide whenever I can? Am I addicted to the computer? Am I overthinking this? Most likely all of these things. Where oh where is the magic pill that will make things right?


*Please note that while my distant relatives may like me my immediate siblings and their spouses pretty much think of me as the devil but I am ok with that

**this is totally not true. My personal time doesn’t like conventional names.


hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody’s smiling, November 7, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — sylvarih @ 2:31 pm

now that they are on the other foot

Let me say upfront that I firmly believe that things that happen on the internet are not the real world. So many tempests in a teapot. Too many people who sit in front of their computers reblogging other people’s outrage instead of going out into the real world and making a difference or even writing outrage in their own words. Let me be clear, in my own opinion- if all you do all day is sit online and reblog other peoples social justice issues then you contribute nothing to the betterment of those issues.

There are issues, however, which have been Tumblr’d and FBed about which absolutely need to be spoken about. The newest, trendiest one right now is feminism. Don’t get me wrong, feminism is an important subject. One that should be discussed on an ongoing basis instead of just until the internet SJW’s find something new to latch onto. (Do any of them remember Ferguson? Still happening)

Many of my lovely, intelligent, progressive friends have taken up the cry of the feminist. “Equality! Equality!” I absolutely believe they are supremely sincere in their desire to remove the inherent sexism in our society as am I. But even they have moments of less than feminist behavior. A few weeks ago during a regular gathering a few of the girls started teasing my husband Pinky by calling him “straight Pinky” as he was the only straight person in the room. I even joined in. However in the following week I realized just how wrong I was. Here we were, asking to be treated with respect regardless of our gender, orientation or beliefs but had no problem picking on someone else for theirs. Imagine calling the only lesbian in the room “gay Matilda” . When the shoe is on the other foot is doesn’t feel as comfy does it? (for the record I apologized to him as soon as I realized I had done wrong)

So let’s keep the dialog going. Let’s admit when we don’t live up to the standards we are demanding from others and treat our friends a little more kindly even if they aren’t in the minority.

and let’s get our asses off the internet and do some real life work for justice.


I can see clearly now October 2, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — sylvarih @ 1:39 am

I found my glasses…


It’s been a month of revelations.

As many of you know about a month ago I started to get migraines on an almost daily basis and this went on for about two weeks or so. There were many trips to the doctor, to the emergency room, many consultations and advice and lots and lots and lots of medicine. There was so much¬†curtailing of regular activities also. About a week into all of this I started to get really frustrated with the things that I couldn’t do, with the amount of medicine I had to take, basically just everything involved with having a condition that was often times extremely¬†debilitating.

As I was complaining to myself in my head (as you know the something I do) I realize that there are people out there who live with this every day and here I was a week into having to think about pain management medicine and doctor appointments and whether or not I could do certain activities that I had done with no problem in the past and out there ¬†are people who deal with this every day,¬†for some of them almost all the lives. As frustrating as it was, at least for me there could be an end. For all the difficulty that I have with the situation I know that in the end I’m still blessed not only by the people in my life but also by this glimpse into somebody else’s world. ¬†The insight I’ve been given will give me a little more tolerance and understanding to others.

Clue by four delivered with love.


You say yes … I say no October 1, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — sylvarih @ 2:10 am

But mostly I whine.

Late last week my doctor put me on a migraine trigger diet for two weeks which basically just cuts out all of the foods I eat every day. No dairy, no protein, no eggs, nuts, citrus and so on. So like the dutiful patient I stocked our cabinet full of brown rice and vegetables.

And here I suffer. Living on the slim bounty of healthy wheat free grains and vegetables and non citrus fruit. Yesterday was my first day on this new plan. I spent the day whining and complaining to anyone who would listen about my suffering. Woe is me who must suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous broccoli!

This morning as I renewed my internal monologue with myself (yes.. yes I do debate myself internally. Don’t you? ) the rational voice in my head finally spoke up and reminded me that being able to voluntarily not eat is a luxury that many people don’t have. Many people go hungry every day. It was a smack in the face to the more irrational part of me. Here I was complaining about being hungry for a few hours between meals when there are so many for whom hunger is not a choice. Instead of finding the misery in it perhaps this is a good time to find the lesson in it.

So lessons I will find. Hopefully more compassion too.


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