Wednesday, December 27, 2006

christmas update (part 1)

christmas was good. the kids are still away, but it has been a good season

on friday morning (dec 22) dropped some stuff off to the house for the kids - they had asked me to bring it over from my place. they also asked me to burn some music CDs for their trip.

when i dropped the stuff off stbx-Mrs_C gave me a gift bag and said it was for me. she then said "Can I get a hug?" Daughter was standing right there and I didn't know what to say. I wanted to say no. But before I could say anything she grabbed me and hugged me. i just beat a hasty retreat out the door.

christmas and holidays/special days have been an itchy time for me for a long time. i would rarely live up to expectations and would inevitably catch serious shit. stbx-Mrs_C usually drank on those days so i would get not just regular shit. and then often demands for drunken sex.

holidays and special days were bad times for me. i was trying to reframe this season for myself.

i had a fairly high level of anxiety coming into this season. i had terrible gift anxiety about Smitten's gift(s). her ex-husband had been a "Tell me what you want and I'll buy it for you." kind of guy. She literally had to make him lists. And he'd still ask instead of reading the list. She had expressed tremendous sadness at not being special enough to warrant some effort.

i was very anxious about getting the right gift. i was wound up really tight. remember how anxious i was before i had her over for dinner the first time? there was also substantive carry-over from my issues with stbx-Mrs_C. i did finally express my anxiety to Smitten. she said that it would mean more to her to have me relaxed than to be anxious over a gift - that me being worried about or fearful of her reaction would lessen the enjoyment of receiving it. that i should wait until i could give a gift with only joy.

my fear abated somewhat.

in an odd development, Smitten's son D (11) asked to go shopping with me. he normally hates shopping, so she was surprised. we figured that he wanted to buy her gift when out with me. D has been very interested in the things that i have done for Smitten (flowers, meals, outings [art galleries, museums]). he's been asking lots of questions about "what do guys do nice for women to make women happy?". we assumed he wanted to ask me about what to get his mom.

then he bought her gift and but still wanted to go with me.

before i knew that he had bought her gift i had been thinking about how i would give him advice about how to pick "the right gift" for his mom. in thinking through my "sage advice" i ended up counselling myself. i was going to tell him "getting *the one* gift that will describe or reflect the totality of a woman is impossible. women are to complex. you will drive yourself insane. think about the various aspects of the woman and decide which part of her you want to honour with your gift."

and i solved my own problem. i would not get *the one gift to rule them all*. i would get a gift that reflected my appreciation of one aspect of who she is.

did my shopping on Friday and Saturday. it wasn't nearly as insane as i remember christmas. overspent a bit on Smitten... everywhere i went i just kept thinking "Oh! She'd like this!"

i wanted to express the elements of my appreciation for her. i got her a set of bamboo steamers and specialty green teas. i got a costco sized jug of epsom salts for her relaxing baths (muscle aches and such). i got her two copies of a book about interesting sights and trips in the area we live. i put a card with it saying that i hoped she would invite me to take part in her adventure (that's why i got the two copies of the book). i got a book of 501 must visit places in the world - to dream about. to anticipate. i got her some lingerie.

went shopping on saturday with her son. cruised about to this place and that. it was a little silent and a little awkward at first as we looked for places to have conversation. but eased fairly quickly. it was a fun day. i enjoyed having him with me. i missed my children, and he was eager to aborb his time with me, and what i had to offer.

i took him to a weird oriental shop to buy the teas and stuff. we went to a couple of fair trade stores - he thought they were cool with all the third world items. we went to an auto parts place and he bought himself a flexible reaching tool with a claw and detachable magnet and light. he was in 11 year old heaven. took him to my friend's india foods store and fed D bharfi, gulab jamin, and rasgollas - he was a little weirded out but liked them (i held off taking there until after 1pm so he would be good and hungry [heh]) then took him for dim sum. it was a multi-cultural day. he had never been for dim sum before. Smitten is into Asian food but D followed his Dad's footsteps a little more and shied away from "strange" stuff. His Dad is a guy who like his food in discreet units not touching on his plate, and not in mixed dishes.

D loved it all to pieces. The folks who run the restaurant I took him to were thrilled to see a kid having his first dim sum and hammed it up for him. And when he had problems with the chopsticks they did a deal with an elastic band and a napkin to make it work for him.

we finished the last of the shopping and i took him back to Smitten's. i hung out there for awhile and we all ate supper togther - her, two kids, me.

to be continued...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

on blog pinging

Sicilian asked:

"For those of us who don't know what pinging is. . . explain. . . sounds fun. . ."

"A web feed is a data format used for serving users frequently updated content. Content distributors syndicate a web feed, thereby allowing users to subscribe to it. Making a collection of web feeds accessible in one spot is known as aggregation.

In the typical scenario of using web feeds, a content provider publishes a feed link on their site which end users can register with an aggregator program (also called a feed reader or a news reader) running on their own machines; doing this is usually as simple as dragging the link from the web browser to the aggregator. When instructed, the aggregator asks all the servers in its feed list if they have new content; if so, the aggregator either makes a note of the new content or downloads it. Aggregators can be scheduled to check for new content periodically.

The kinds of content delivered by a web feed are typically HTML (webpage content) or links to webpages and other kinds of digital media. Often when websites provide web feeds to notify users of content updates, they only include summaries in the web feed rather than the full content itself.

Web feeds are operated by many news web sites, weblogs, schools, and podcasters."

from the wikipedia article *web feed*

"RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated digital content, such as blogs, news feeds or podcasts."

Ping (blogging)

"Many blog authoring tools automatically ping one or more servers each time the blogger creates a new post (or updates an old one.) That is, the tool sends an XML-RPC signal to one or more "ping servers," which can then generate a list of blogs that have new material."

most of us in our blogging circle use blogrolling. so if you go to the ping form cited in the previous article, you can put your own, or someone else's blog in and have it manually go read whether there has been an update to the blog.

when blogger changed to *the new blogger* it buggered up their previous RSS/Atom feed which means the blogrolls aren't working right. this is a cross-internet phenomenon.

so until blogrolling or blogger change their code, we have to step in and do manual pings when we update so that people can see when we've updated - you know - the two little asterixes on the name on the blog in the blogroll

hope this is what you are looking for

Friday, December 22, 2006

ping your blog update - new blogger RSS feed broken

if you do an update on your website, be sure to ping your blog so that the blogrolls update. the new blogger has a buggered RSS feed and isn't sending the updates properly so that the rolls update. over the last couple of weeks i have been pinging all of your blogs that i read to update the rolls when you post something new. until it automatically works again, please ping so that people know you've posted - and if you see someone who's posted but they don't show - ping theirs as well.

lost blogs and quickly nuking

someone i know had to ditch their blog in a hurry.

i am prepared for such an eventuality as well.

with my line of work and with other possible overflow - this blog could become a liability pretty quick.

i use a program called backstreet browser that will archive an entire site that you point it at. it is useful for my work and for other uses in my line of activities

i have backed up my blogs

i use a program called cryptainer to encrypt my data and these back-ups. the free version creates encrypted files up to 25Mb in size.

these files, when opened, act like a USB finger drive or other portable memory device (eg: digital camera) - so it just temporarily adds another drive letter to your system - you can have 5 open volumes at once.

there are couple of other options i have considered - there is some option in your blogger profile (or at least used to be) that can be set to disallow people to see your profile. if they can't see your profile, they can't see your blog list. you can also change the URL and name of your blog. i am assuming this could be used to buy 20 minutes for a back-up of a blog before nuking.

i do not know what the impact would be if you had a private blog that you had sent permissions for - whether the invitees would still be able to find the blog even if the name was changed

i am intending to experiment with the escape hatch on my other blog

i'll let you know

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Party Report

The party went well. Some of the folks who were invited did not attend because of work Christmas parties they had a higher level of obligation for - one couple had a friend in from England and were having a mixer for her - which we were invited to... They all made raincheques and extended hard date invitations (which we have accepted) to come to their places for a reciprocal engagement.

There was enough food to both awe and terrify the guests.

A variety of champagne cocktails were served in addition to wine.

Carols, conversation, and listening to a recording of a funny Christmas reading by Stewart McLean - Polly Anderson's Christmas Party.

It was low key and nice. Not the raging success in turnout I had hoped for, but it was a success from every other standpoint, so I am happy. Smitten was happy as well. It was the first Christmas party she had ever had - the first party she had ever had - where she didn't have to do all the work and all the planning and all the direction of execution (of food preparation, table set-up, shopping, blah, blah).

We were pleased to do it together. She accepted my overcooking. I'm working on it... (for the record - in my ethnic culture and my family - if party goers don't walk away in pain from having so much good food people can't resist eating too much - you haven't done your job as host).

I am tickled. We are planning our next January doldrums party - we are retaining Mom's chocolate fountain for the duration they are down in the States for the rest of the cold.

The fountain was quite a hit. I liked the pineapple and the apple-pear covered in chocolate the best. Smitten only had one piece that night - so the next morning we warmed up the leftover chocolate to put into big Ziploc bags for the next time (the fountain takes about 10 cups of chocolate) - and then ate bunch more fruit dipped in the leftover chocolate on the bowl.

It was a decadent breakfast.

Very enjoyable.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

we're having a christmas party tonight!!!

with people who aren't family!!!

i'm so excited

got all the stuff last night and today

came home to change, going back to SMitten's place in a couple of minutes.

my mom lent us her chocolate fountain

Friday, December 15, 2006

express yourself




last night

to my kids about their choices surrounding christmas, their disregard for the fact that my parents stayed here for two extra months in the cold just to be with them for christmas (my Mom has a cold exacerbated illness), that my sister was going to go be warm for christmas too - but chose to come here instead

and daughter's continuing choices about ditching me on weekends, and still asking me to play taxi and be there for her when she wants to go places

and daughter asking me for $40 to buy Christmas presents for stbx-Mrs_C's family at the point that they are getting ready to leave on their ski vacation with their Mom - and why wouldn't she ask her Mom for that cash? and why should i subsidize gifts for people that character assassinate me privately and publicly (including mutual professional settings)?

and son not living up to his written and signed agreements on household chores and schoolwork

that they wouldn't interupt their ski vacation fun to come back even a couple of days early to see my parents and family (i offered to fly them home [steep discount]) - until the trip itinerary got altered (by stbx-Mrs_C) and had them doing something not so exciting on the last few days - then they asked about getting flown home - after the seat sales were gone

and the fact that i was irritated by the bidding war that seemed to be arising for their affection

and that i wouldn't be participating in that bidding war. that they could take me or leave me just the way i am

and when challenged on raising my voice and being upset

i asked them if only their emotions counted - and if mine were invalid - or i wasn't allowed to have them

and that it was pretty easy to ditch dad 'cause he's the one that never gets upset - so it's easy to ignore me because i'll just suck it up - and they can always come back and i'll be there for them

and that they take that and me for granted

i gave daughter the $40. she asked for money - that is my choice - give the money or not

so i did

it would be improper to try to extend a set of rules about how she can spend money that is freely given. to attempt to control her.

i still have feelings about the issue - and expressed them - but in the end, the choice is about whether to give her the money she wants for something that she feels is important to her - no matter what the problems i may have with her aunts/etc are - daughter's relationship is fine - and if she wants to do something, then my only choice is whether to support it or not - not to control it

found out last night that stbx-Mrs_C had been telling the kids that she was buying all their new clothes on her exclusive dime - even though i have been shelling out half the cost

so the kids thought she had dropped about $800 in the last couple of months on clothes when i have been ponying up


BTW - i have put stbx-Mrs_C on notice that she has to rein in spending on clothes for the kids because i just can't cough up every time she decides an outfit is cute - we either get a spending pre-approval system in place or she proposes a budgetted amount because this isn't working for me

i recognise that kids outgrow stuff, but when i challenged on what items were outgrown there were only a few that were able to be produced

most of these clothes came from those weekend shopping expiditions daughter would ditch me for

if stbx-Mrs_C wants to buy off the kids she'll need to do it on her own dime.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I have a bunch of unfinished posts from over the last month that I just haven't had the energy to finish. Or the emotional wherewithal.

Here are some summary descriptions...

Shoving Incident:

Soon-to-be-ex-Mrs_C and son got into a shoving situation the weekend after Smitten's dance performance the kids attended. She apparently started shoving my son while they were disagreeing about something. He says she stopped after a couple of shoves when he put up his fists and arms to ward her off.

She told him to put down his fists and he refused to do so until she said she wouldn't shove him anymore.

I don't have all the details, but it sounds like things got a little edgy...

Apparently daughter was going to call Soon-to-be-ex-Mrs_C's sister and go over there, but when daughter said to Soon-to-be-ex-Mrs_C that she was going to make such a call to get away from Soon-to-be-ex-Mrs_C and her "spaz" Soon-to-be-ex-Mrs_C toned it way down.

There have been no incidents to that level since.

I have discussed the matter on a "back-channel" basis with some folks. I am consulting my lawyer and some people I know who are involved with child protection. I am making my inquiries quite discreet and relying on personal connections to avoid "triggering the system". If this is a lapse or an extremely occasional thing, then it could be bad to have anything official happen. These kind of investigations would haunt her for a long time if there was official involvement.

I have no desire to trigger that.

Soon-to-be-ex-Mrs_C and fear of having people over:

it occurred to me as I read SignGurl's comment on my post Evening Out (Thursday, December 07, 2006) that i have new insight into Soon-to-be-ex-Mrs_C's spaz attacks before having people over.

SignGurl wrote:

"I really don't enjoy people coming to my house. For me it's more the anxiety beforehand about whether or not I have cleaned enough or whether the food will be good."

my response was that i understood her anxiety. i understood that her family was critical.

and then as i re-read SignGurl's comment, and my response, i realised that i didn't truly grasp the enormity of her anxiety about her family and their criticism.

i think about the fear that Soon-to-be-ex-Mrs_C strikes in me when she launches into a rant. and that fear has been imprinted as an adult.

then i think about some of the anger and hurt that i feel related to some childhood events (unrelated to Soon-to-be-ex-Mrs_C of course) and how that anger and hurt is different than adult anger.

and i just thought of the deep imprinting that having her mother (who beat Soon-to-be-ex-Mrs_C [among other things] as a child) criticising her must have left. i know how i go pretty quick to the edge even now when Soon-to-be-ex-Mrs_C pushes me - either on the phone or in person.

it's just some insight. i feel badly for her. but how she was victimised doesn't give her the right to stomp on me or grind me down.


Son put the lean on Soon-to-be-ex-Mrs_C. As you are aware she had put the brakes/veto on both of the counselling arrangements I had come up with for the kids. The kids and I had discussed the situation.

Son demanded she take some action herself if she was going to veto mine and wouldn't stop hounding her. She caved in the face of the demands from the kids. She got a referral to a good counsellor from her lawyer. I am fine with the counsellor.

Son is going, Soon-to-be-ex-Mrs_C is going to this counsellor, and I believe daughter will be as well. Things have been a little tense lately between Soon-to-be-ex-Mrs_C and I, so it has been a delicate set of relations.

I have made contact with the counsellor in order to have at least one session with him so that he can ask any questions of me, and get a feel for who i am when dealing with my child(ren).

Friday, December 08, 2006


Word(s) - can't help myself but put more than one...

Source: balloon pirate, hippi, terry

1. Yourself: (blank)
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend (spouse): wonderful
3. Your hair: shaved
4. Your mother: loving
5. Your father: upright
6. Your favorite item: don't have one
7. Your dream last night: sex
8. Your favorite drink: water
9. Your dream car: mercedes convertable
10. The room you are in: office
11. Your ex: bag
12. Your fear: my ex
13. What you want to be in 10 years? sailing
14. Who you hung out with last night? girlfriend
15. What You're Not? spontaneous
16. Muffins: bran with LOTS of molasses
17. One of your wish list items: happiness
18. Time: 2:00 p.m.
19. The last thing you did: email
20. What you are wearing: sweater/jeans
21. Your favorite weather: sunny
22. Your favorite book: Mary Stewart Merlin trilogy
23. The last thing you ate: fresh bell peppers
24. Your life: wasted
25. Your mood: sad
26. Your best friend: a long way away
27. What are you thinking about right now? wasted life
28. Your car: mini-van... (ack)
29. What are you doing at the moment? this post
30. Your summer: tumultuous
31. Your relationship status: good, getting better
32. What is on your TV? nothing/sattelite music channels
33. What is the weather like? cold as hell
34. When is the last time you laughed? lunch

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Evening Out

Went out last night. Went to a Christmas Concert/Fundraiser - drinks and entertainment - at a concert hall. Smitten got some free tickets for the two of us. She then got two more late yesterday afternoon and asked if I had any friends that would like to go on short notice.

I called and a couple that are my friends were available (I have known then since I was in my late teens. They were not a couple when we met, but we were all part of the same organisation).

I was so tickled. I was happy that Smitten had found a nice dress-up event to go to. I was really excited to be going out with some friends.

A good time was had by all. Smitten and the lady got along fabulously. We made concrete plans to get together again soon.

I realised that in 16 years of marriage we had not gone out with another couple that was not Mrs_C's family - not even once. There were a few instances where there was a third couple when we went out with her family.

We went to a couple of work related functions and met co-workers (hers and mine) as part of those functions. But for a pure social evening out, this was it.

As I look back I realise that we did while we were dating, but once married, that stopped.

I went to functions/events alone, but not us as a couple. She would either refuse to go, or agree then spaz right before we went out and pull out of going. It would always be awkward for me to arrive at a couples events solo...

Eventually my social life dried up and there was only family and work functions left.

We went to one couple's house a once or twice a year. Christmas party, sometimes New Year's and sometimes a barbeque.

We had people over a few times, but those events were made so bad by Mrs_C spazzing about whatever (which she even did when her family was coming over) and the pain and suffering that I avoided that after awhile.

I was so excited to go out last night I was just bursting. I could barely contain myself. I actually phoned my Mom to tell her - I had to tell someone!

I knew that I was starved socially - but this really brought it home.

Smitten and I are hosting a Christmas party for some selected friends this month. I am sooooo looking forward to it. It was Smitten's idea.

She is so completely swell!

Is this what normal people's lives are like?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas and the kids

Mrs_c was supposed to be here for Christmas. We had discussed it. She had discussed it with my parents. She had discussed it with others in my family.

They made plans to come here for Christmas so that they could see my kids. Flights all booked. My parents put off snowbirding to the States for 6 weeks.

Then about 2 weeks ago Mrs_c announces she's going to another city with the kids for Christmas to see her family and her family that is here would be going with her.

She had previously said she couldn't afford to go. Now she's renting a vehicle for the trip (8 hours by car) and has a wide variety of enticing activities for the kids to do while they are there. The kids want to go on the trip because they want to do all the cool things.

If she had announced all of this earlier or made the plans earlier we could have altered our family plans (my side). But no.

Mrs_c says it's fair because last Christmas we went to the States to see my parents (except we cut the time short in order to make it back to see some of her family that had travelled in to our city... but that doesn't apply here).

It's supposed to be my week with the kids with shared time on the specific holiday days. I was going away in the week after Christmas. Neither the kids or their mother knew of my plans.

Now everything on my side is shot to shit. My family does not get to see my kids at Christmas because their mother is expertly yanking them exactly in the period my sister will be here, and not returning until after my parents leave for 3 months.

I offered to split the week and fly them home, but the kids don't want to travel on boxing day and any other day in there will cost about $600 one way...

Now that the kids have said they want to go it is appearing (from what they tell me) that some of the fun activities have moved from "for sure" and "promise", to "we'll try to do this" and "one of the things we could do".

I have told them that they should ask for a formal commitment on the specific things they want to do. Then they will be able to decide what they want to do.

I just figure on my end, I'm going to roll with it. If I get all worked up it won't do anything. I suspect it is just one of many occasions when this sort of thing will happen over the next number of years until the kids are fully responsible for their own arrangements and decisions.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Went to the AIDS day fundraising drag show with Smitten.

I was the only straight guy there.

One of Smitten's friends/colleagues "B" from the regional women's centre board was the organizer. She works for the local AIDS awareness organization. She made a point of inviting us when I met her recently at a women's centre fundraiser with Smitten.

It was a good show.

At one point there was an auction. They were auctioning a condom vest. The MC got bored of being an auctioneer and declared herself (um, himself... um, whatever) the winning bid at double the going bid and told B to give it to whomever B wanted.

B gave it to me.

There was much hilarity in the room. They'd all somehow figured out I wasn't gay.

So I put it on and wore the vest all night.

I matched the winning bid with my own donation. It seemed the right thing to do. I later figured out that it won me much face with the entire crowd and especially all the Women's Centre activists (and friends of Smtten) that were there (Smitten said she didn't realise how many of the people on the board were gay. She said it never really crossed her mind...).

People (but mostly guys) kept feeling the vest. Lots of times they seemed to miss the vest and hit my ass. Even lots of the Lesbian crowd were grabbing my ass. I was good natured about it and tried to engage in a witty level of reparté. I suspect they were playing "shock the uptight straight guy".

After the show we stayed and danced. Gay clubs always play the best music. Oddly enough, I had been in more gay clubs than Smitten. She'd never been to one before.

When things got too overtly "cruising" sexual surrounding us on the dance floor Smitten wanted to leave.

We went to say god-bye to B. Miss Gay [My City] grabbed my ass while we were talking to B. All the guys clustered around Miss Gay [My City] were telling me I had to come back the next year to model the vest - except without a shirt. They were all hooting and demanding a preview.

I stood there for a moment figuring out what to do.

So I unbuttoned my shirt partway and flashed them a shot of my ever-so-manly chest.

There were many screams of delight, and several comments of "I'm in love!"


I am told that my good-natured response to the whole thing has won many plaudits from various people. The story has even found it's way into my workplace through the social activist crowd. People know people who know people. It's not a big city...

I'm still not attracted to guys, even if a few of the cross-dressers did look pretty good as women. But it was kind of flattering to have that attention and positive commentary.

And Smitten appreciated me being good about it all.

And that's really the important part.

Her husband was a beer drinkin' sports watchin' kind of guy. Who wouldn't go check out the club when Smitten wanted to.

I did go - and had fun with her and the situation. She appreciates me.

I think "I'm in love".

made her cry...

Not like you might think.

Smitten was over on the weekend. Spent the weekend at my place. We spend most weekends when we don't have the kids together. We alternate whose place we stay at as it may fit needs.

Smitten has some minor but chronic and aggravating health issues. I have done a huge amount of research on her health issues and have provided her with my results. It is my belief that her issues are stress induced. It is interesting that the pattern of those health issues have altered dramatically since we started seeing each other.

She has a few "digestive" issues - what she can eat and can't. I have taken great pains with my cooking to fit her needs. Both in cooking and purchases.

The primary health issue is Raynaud's syndrome. "Raynaud's disease is a condition that causes some areas of your body — such as your fingers, toes, tip of your nose and your ears — to feel numb and cool in response to cold temperatures or stress. It's a disorder of the blood vessels that supply blood to your skin. During a Raynaud's attack, these arteries narrow, limiting blood circulation to affected areas." - Mayo Clinic

While her case is mild, she has to take care to warm her hands in water and to hug her kids through their clothes not on their skin (really cold hands).

There are a couple of interesting elements to all of this. There is a correlation to the time we spend together and how much sex we're having to the temperature of her body extremities. Smitten is literally hot for me [heh]! Her hands and nose (the most common "cold spots") stay warm for days after we've spent time together. Her bodily patterns have altered since we started dating.

I told her I was going to heal her - only half in humour...

Smitten also has back and neck issues. They will get thrown out by some fairly regular/normal movements. They got thrown out on Saturday, so we made a fast trip to her chiropractor.

That night I worked on her as well. Slow and gentle massage and acupressure - several hours. It reduced the discomfort. The places she usually hurt didn't hurt anymore.

On Sunday morning she hadn't slept well, and was a little sore. Sore in different places than usual. Having experienced the same thing when my massage therapist was releasing my body from the fibromyalgia spasms, I told her (based on my experience) that she had always hurt those places but they were overwhelmed by the more acute spots. Then I worked on her some more. Muscle by muscle, knotted spasm point by knotted spasm point - slowly releasing. I understand the pain - the constant background of ache. I understand the nature of releasing the pain.

I know massage having been an avid amateur for about 26 years (classes, books, and practice)(I started doing massage in high school. I was good enough that even the girls that otherwise wouldn't talk to me would come ask me for a massage [as a teenaged guy I was pretty happy with that outcome]. My hands are always warm and very strong, but I have an exceedingly gentle and patient touch.

At several points Smitten said I should stop because she felt too self-indulgent, just laying there having me work on her. I said I would stop if she really wanted me to. All she had to do was get up from the bed...

She kept commenting that she was amazed that such tiny movements and touches could have such powerful referral effects through her whole body. Pressing lightly on one spot on her hip and have it make her toes tingle and then turn hot as the muscles released and blood flow returned. Working the back of her knee and having her neck flush hot and be able to move more freely.

About 3 hours into that massage and muscle release session she asked me how I was doing (as you are aware I have been having some fibromyalgia episodes for the last few weeks). I said it didn't matter and that I was going to continue my work on her until she was OK.

She thought about that for a few minutes. She then said that no-one had ever paid that much attention to how she felt. Had never spent that much time worrying about her. Put that much continuous effort into her. To her comfort and her well-being (Smitten has been on her own since she was 16. Even in childhood she was always responsible for herself [not the greatest of homelives...]).

Smitten began to cry. She covered her face with a pillow and and said she didn't want me to see her crying. I left the room and gave her a minute or two. Then returned and held her until she stopped crying.

She talked about no-one (including her parents) looking out for her - being expected to stand on her own two feet from a very early age. About having to always take responsibility and do things on her own. On always being the one to make sure everyone else was taken care of. About how staying at my place allows her reprieve from a lifetime of duty and watchfulness. About having someone actually care about cooking and what she can and can't eat. About not being "on watch". Not having to be "responsible".

I believe that there was both an emotional and a bodily reason for her to cry. The emotional response to the care and the tenderness, but I think more significantly the release from pain.

I understand the tears and the shakes that come when you've been released from the even a little of the racking torture of chronic muscle pain and spasms and headaches.

I hope to be able to repay some of the karmic debt I owe my massage therapist by helping Smitten.

I find fulfilment in helping others. In doing for others.

To be able to do things for her and to have her accept and appreciate - that is very powerful. I was moved.

It's a new thing for me. When I would work on Mrs_C, there were many times she would fall asleep during the massage and then rip into me because I had let her sleep when she had things to do. Or that I hadn't finished cleaning the house. NO - really - I am not blowing smoke up your ass. I would get shit often after giving a multi-hour massage.

You can see where the weekend with Smitten and being able to help her was a qualitatively different event.

It bothers me that there is the level of spillover and comparison between the experience of my marriage and my current relationship.

But I am aware - and I am actively trying to lose the constant internal reference to my marriage. I believe that can only lead to bitterness. Or, I guess I should say, deeper bitterness.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

office coffee

I don't drink coffee at the office. I drink one cup (450ml) in the morning on my way to work and otherwise avoid coffee. 2 reasons: 1) I'm really picky about my coffee; 2) I avoid stimulants because of my fibromyalgia (a condition with muscle spasms as a primary symptom is not a place to put stimulants).

I do use office coffee for one thing though.

Air freshener.

As a guy whose primary diet is raw or close to raw vegetables...

(all you ladies are going "eeewwwww! did you really need to share that piece of information?")


(the guys are going "Cool. I should do that")

I can't stand the smell of most commercial air fresheners and having allergies to many scents I have physical reasons for avoiding them. When I walk through a department store, if I walk by the perfume counter my nose will be literally running within seconds of inhaling.

This is my solution.

Monday, November 27, 2006


i am intending to buy one of these to learn to sail. i have found one with a trailer for a very low cost. i could even tow it behind my present vehicle.

this would represent one more step in my personal journey. My desire to sail has been thwarted for many years.

As mentioned in much of the pain is gone (Monday, November 06, 2006), Smitten wants to learn to sail with me.

we also have access to Smitten's friends' sailboats (much more serious/deep water vessels), and to the cabin on the large lake some 6-7 hours away, but the craft pictured above is small enough to happily sail on the lake that is right outside my door (as pictured in Everyday is a new day I'm thankful for Every breath I take) - so we could launch on 40 minutes warning including travel time and putting up the sail.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Smitten and impromptu dinner with my parents

Smitten and I went hiking last weekend. That was fun, even if a little frosty (about -4C). A nice day. There's not much snow around here yet.

Went by my parents' place to pick some stuff up after the hike.

I had called to advise them that I would be by late in the afternoon "after we go for a hike". I did not elaborate on who "we" were. When we arrived it was about 6pm. I popped in the grab the stuff. They invited me to stay for supper. I advised them that Smitten was waiting in the vehicle, and they suggested I invite her as well.

I checked with her and we accepted the invitation.

Supper was good. My parents think Smitten is pleasant.

My Mom had picked up on the "we" in my statement.

She decided spontaneously to invite us. She said later (to me) that she had not had the idea until that moment.

I had predicted to Smitten that they would invite us in, but had said I didn't know if they actually would. I did not ask her to join me in my initial entrance into the house because I did not want to put my parents in an awkward position.

I did not know if they would want to meet her at this time.

I was pleased they invited her.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

i was going to do a post...

except as i was writing it, instead of just telling you what was happening and how i was feeling, i was thinking about how to write the post in order to defend myself from my shadow, blog_surfer

i started wrting material that would look more at home in a political position paper - full of explanation and background and covering language to avoid attack, or to give myself cover in the event of attack

and it wasn't any fun

you see, blog_surfer has decided to start posting his rebuttals about me and this blog's content in the comments on other people's blogs (i imagine that's because i delete his stuff pretty quick off of here).

i also have a problem with leaving some of his wild and twisted interpretations of what i say without rebuttal - which leaves me in the original position of having to spend my time clarifying and explaining while under constant attack. that changes the nature of my blog from being a refuge and a place to explore my life and feelings to being yet another place where i am under attack - where i have to hide my feelings and thoughts because i am being attacked for those thoughts.

i imagine that pretty quick, in order to avoid the acrimony and weird crossposts to their blogs - to avoid the spillover and because of the discomfort that they might be attacked too - people will stop posting comments here. then there would be only two voices left - mine and blog_surfer's

or, if i close comments and leave it in moderated mode, it will limit comments because that is a big part of the culture and the circle - seeing what other people have said and being part of a thread of discussion. waiting for moderation kills an essential part of the life of a blog.

i do not understand a couple of things:

1) why blog_surfer won't set up a blog of his own to expound his views
1a) why blog_surfer chooses to just post here and now in other people's comment sections instead of setting up his own blog

2) why he has such a case on about me
2a) what is he getting out of this set of actions

there are two eventual possibilities:

1) i shut down this blog and stop blogging
2) he goes away

if i were to shut down this blog and start a new one, i assume that blog_surfer would be looking for me in a new incarnation and would simply resume his disruptive activities and comments

he shows no liklihood of going away and shows every sign of being obsessive, so him going away is not very likely

the third possibility not described above is to take this blog private and only allow users who have whitelisted blogger IDs to be able to see the blog

that would present some other problems with how i would like this blog to operate in the best of all worlds... i would like some online friends from another community to be able to freely come and check out what is going on in my life

i am considering these options at this time

By the way - this is in no way a "please beg me to stay" post. This is a "blog_surfer is right under my skin and is ruining what i want to get out of blogging" post. If I have missed a solution, please advise.

Monday, November 20, 2006


went to Smitten's dance performance this weekend. these pictures should give you a flavour of the evening. the other pictures of the evening were too clear. because the costumes are so individual, even if i obscured faces, there would not be an adequate level of anonymity.

the belly dance/tribal dance show was spectacular.

there was a narrative behind the show that tied all the dances together, so it was really a full performance. it was artistic and quite sensuous. i was wowed.

i took the kids to see the show. both my kids are ethnic dancers, so this was right up their alley. it was also interesting for them each in their own personal way. my daughter is just really starting to explore pre-adolescent ideas around sexually and womanhood and this performance was about women dancing for women in a "sisterhood" of dance. she was quite taken.

my son is 15. it was a belly dance performance. 'nuff said...

met Smitten's ex-husband after the performance. he came to pick up their kids. he's not a dance/art/performance kind of guy so he didn't go.

it was kind of a weird moment, but it went just fine. it was only a couple of minutes long - i was leaving to drive my kids back to their Mom's place.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

too busy having fun


so, i'm too busy having fun right now to keep deleting blog_surfer hust this minute, and probably the weekend, so i decided to leave him up. i'm still wondering why his only existence is to come here to make comments about my life.


never said my wife beats my kids dude. i said that they were anxious, my son had to intervene, and my daughter had bruises and nail marks.

not enough evidence to get the police or have the kids removed from the house.


gotta go, leaving town for the day, need to be back for an evening tribal dance performance

i hope everyone enjoys their weekend

Friday, November 17, 2006

clarification on the "half" posting

A fair bit of emotion comes through in my previous postings.

To those who take offence: Sorry if I'm emotional with regard to these issues, or upset about being compared to a child molester...

I understand that anger lessens me. Especially public displays of it. But I have contained that anger for years until it made me physically ill.

I apologise for the display of anger you saw here.

The people who have seen that anger as expressed here? My parents, unfortunately Smitten, and you. I suspect it will pop out at my next counselling session...

Not even my lawyer. My instructions there? An even handed and flat voiced statement "I have decided that your advice is well taken. I should proceed toward an even split."

I believe that spouses in a marriage breakdown should get half. I worked for years supporting the inclusion of those principles into our matrimonial property act. I also believe in joint custody, and worked to have those principles enshrined in law as well.

Oddly enough, we were successful in our endeavours and it is law in our jurisdiction.

I also believe in the value of raising children and have worked to alter our social welfare structure and childcare and scholastic structures to recognise the value of children and families.

Many of those beliefs are also reflected in public policy in our jurisdiction.

We were classified as the best place to live in the world by the United Nations. A huge part of that was the social environment we have created for families and children. We actually reduced child poverty levels here. The only jurisdiction in the western world to do so.

I believe that the work I did in raising the kids is a significant value to our family. That even I did not earn the same money as Mrs_C while I was at home (when they were little I earned about $12-20,000 a year just working from home. mrs_c earned about $40-50,000 at that time) I believe that I made a strong contribution in child rearing, and made pretty decent money out of my basement during nap times and after they went to sleep.

My income went up when they started attending part-time daycare and part-time at Grandparents. But I still did the shuttling, school, doctors and other stuff. I cooked, cleaned, shopped and other stuff too.

I was prepared, in my divorce situation, to take less than half for a number of reasons:

  • i believed that it would make things smoother;
  • i believed that it would make the settlement faster;
  • i believed that it would cause less disruption to mrs_c and to the kids;
  • i felt guilty about leaving, even though i felt justified;
  • i felt guilty about earning less money than mrs_c during our marriage, even if it was a mutual decision;
  • i have been angry for years when every time mrs_c would tell me she was leaving me, the thing she would always say was "The thing that sickens me most is that if I leave, you'll get half of my pension." I didn't want her fucking pension.

I have always proposed a reasonable structure and timing to settlement. I have always said that my goal was to minimise disruption, and to make sure that she was not put under undue financial stress because of the split.

I am still paying part of the bills on the house. I pay for her cell phone. She has the house and the use of all the stuff in it. I have offered to stay married for a longer period of time just to extend our medical coverage. Dental work (unless it is "disease" related) is not covered under medicare here. Mrs_C needs a bunch of major dental work. Each of our coverages will pay about half the bill.

When I was discussing property settlement with mrs_c, I proposed a decent and reasonable structure for settlement:

  1. She keeps her pension, I keep mine (hers is substantially larger).
  2. She keeps her personal (credit card) debt, I keep mine.
  3. I take the whole vehicle loan (even though $3000 of it was to to pay off her credit card) because it is on my vehicle
  4. She keeps the majority of the household effects (worth about $35,000 according to our insurance documents). I take my CDs and my personal stuff and some of the things that were provided to us by my parents that she doesn't use.
  5. The equity on the house gets split equally

When I originally proposed the above, and she refused to discuss it, I had offered to take only 40% of the net value of the house. I have since moved to the above position of 50% of house equity.

Mrs_C's response to the outline I gave was "I paid most of the bills while we were married, I should get most of the stuff. You can have your personal stuff."

When I pointed out that it was a mutual decision, and reminded her of the times she said I shouldn't get a higher paying job so that I could spend more time with the kids, and that she had said she liked me being home because then she could "Have [my] time whenever she wanted it, instead of a job interfering with it"

She retorted with something else that I don't remember. I asked "So what do you think would be fair? Should you get everything? The house, the kids, everything?"

She responded "YES!"

"You should get nothing. You should be left penniless and alone. I made you. You would be nothing without me, and now some other woman will reap the benefit!"

When we discussed bill splitting with regard to costs for the kids she was arguing about what constituted fair, then all of a sudden she said "You'll be paying me. I'm going for full custody and you'll be paying me support. I'm going to take so much of your money, you'll have to move into some shitty apartment that the kids won't want to visit you in, and I'll send you postcards from the Caribbean."

If I had received my share of the property settlement as outlined in either of the above scenarios I would have been able to pay off all my debt and buy a house - I would have the third bedroom. The reason I am still in an apartment is that it would make each month too tight for me. I prefer to have some maneuvering room.

When I said "fuck her" in the last posts, I meant (and wrote) "i am standing square on the line defined by the law. half is half."

The "fuck her" meant I am not going to bend over and be a patsy anymore

I meant: I am not giving her more than half and fuck her if I will be Mr Nice Guy and go further than half way.

Yep. That's me being nasty. Standing square on the line of fairness and not giving more than my share.

Just for the record, I still suspect the final settlement will look like my proposal above. I may ask for more of a split of the value of houshold effects... I really have little interest in taking her pension. Never did. That's why it pissed me off so bad every time she would say it to me.

I only ever wanted her to love me.

It is mrs_c's stated intention to take the kids away from me, and to "Use every trick in the book to get [her] way".

Mrs_C comes from a family where she was molested by her Mother's brother and her cousin, and beaten and abused by her Mother.

(in my opinion her mother still abuses her metally and emotionally)

Her mother's favourite tool to beat her with was a belt buckle. One of Mrs_C's Aunt's took her to the hospital (small town - early '60s) once because the bruising was so bad. Mrs_C said it happened regularly (almost daily) - that was the only time there was medical intervention.

Mrs_C has left bruises on our son before. We agreed that we would not use corporal punishment in our household after she whacked him so hard with a belt that it left bruises on him. She told me that she had felt herslef losing control and that she wanted to never be in a situation where the anger could take over physically because whe didn't know if she would be able to stop herself if she had that kind of rage overtake her again.

For the record, I can recall being struck by my parents (my Dad) twice. I recall getting a few quick single whacks on the ass from my Mom with a wooden spoon or such when I was little.

Having worked on a couple of child abuse prevention/protection protocols in my time, and having dealth with it as part of public policy debate, I have some notion of what constitutes reasonable force and what constitutes violence. I also understand my role as a parent in protecting and intervening. Also, I understand the weight of evidence and documentation that will be needed for that intervention.

I have discussed "escape/flight" scenarios with my children and have provided them with telephone numbers to call and locations to go to. I carry my cell all the time - even when I am working out. I have a couple of designated people who live in the area who will do a pick-up in the event that Mrs_c flips her wig.

I have not fully thought through all the "escape" scenarios.

I will be sewing small bags with keys and quarters that I will be sewing to the kids coats for emergencies. There is a 24 hour store right by our place (across the school yard) that is only ever closed on Christmas day that can always provide at least physical shelter.

So there you go.

Some clarification.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

let's talk about half...


what does half mean?

to me it means half

if one side gets less, then the other side gets more in any two way split


"To take from her is to take from them." was a comment on a previous posting.

is the phrase to take from cadbury is to take from them applicable as well?

i am living in an apartment. i am living an apartment instead of in a house because i was being easy on mrs_c and mindful of the kids. the kids don't like sharing a room here and mrs_c brings it up every time she can (with me, the kids, and anyone else). but i am doing this for the sake of stability. mrs_c is making it a cornerstone of her custody bid.

so me being nice to her is being played against me.

if i had asked for a faster settlement of my half of the property/assets i would be in a house with 3 bedrooms.

i think half means half.

she earns more than me because i stayed home with the kids for years. and yet i should let her walk away with the benefits of that again? do poopy diapers and school plays and kindergarten concerts count for nothing?

or is it because i am a man that all of a sudden the half rules change? i thought we all spent all that time talking about the value of raising children so that there would be some recognition of the value of child rearing. or is it different because i'm a guy?

i quote from my previous posting:

"i am standing square on the line defined by the law.

half is half."

and as for the kids suffering... are they suffering if i refuse to allow their mother to take them away from me during my week (unless it is a special occasion)? is my time with them worth nothing?

is it wreaking "vengeance" to finally say enough is enough? to say I have value as a human being and I will not allow her to trample me into the ground

is that vengeance?

is saying that i have given enough blood and tears to another human being vengeance?



when do i get to not have to meet her further than half way? when?

i understand that

"fuck her
i will get creative
she wants some burn?
i haven't even started"

implies a level of nastiness

but i'm unlikely to get there

i found out mrs_c was about to hit my daughter last week and my son had to intervene physically. i found out that she had squeezed daughter's arm so hard it left bruises and nail marks. my daughter apparently challenged her with the statement "are you going to turn into your mother now?" mrs_c's response "I don't beat you every day"

i took photos, but they didn't turn out such that you could see them and daughter didn't want me to retake the photos and i didn't want to push it.

one of the ladies in our office is a commisioner for oaths, so i am swearing out statements on the subject for documentation putposes.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

incomplete work and renewed assignments

i didn't finish a project i was working on by deadline. or rather the project wasn't finished by deadline...

i was done 30 minutes after deadline, and had the printers standing by ready to receive the files.

earlier this summer i wasn't able to write it (mostly because i couldn't concentrate worth a shit) and my boss farmed out a bunch of the writing to the other guys - they were feeling their oats on it and were whooping and hollering on getting a chunk of the plum assignment (high profile in the organization and public). i was doing lay-up and production direction, but none of the base writing. it had all previously been my work - for about 5 years. others did research, but no writing or layout or production.

my boss had previously approved their work- their writing. i wasn't very thrilled, but i don't shoot down other people's work just because it doesn't match my style.

i finished lay-up. it had been proofed by all the proofers. it had passed a lay-out inspection.

this has been my daily slog for over two months, and has been a preliminary activity since early summer (a very big document - large magazine size).

but as i was about to send it for printing, my boss pulls into my office and says "Don't send it yet. Let's read it out loud. We can pay the printers to sit there waiting for us."

we read it out loud.

he says "This sucks. I don't know why I approved it. It sounded good in the individual pieces, but it blows chunks as a package. There is no magic. No song."

He thinks a bit... "Tell the printers to pull the plug. We'll pay any penalties."

He then tells me to rewrite the whole thing.

"Work your magic"

i finished rewriting several pages by end of work today. He was thrilled "Now that's what I'm talkin' about". The other guys are a little miffed, but it was the boss's decision, not mine.

I was actually kind of getting into the rewrite. I had more song and inspiration than since last year.

I'm a little torn in how i feel about this.

I really want this project off my plate. I'm pleased that he values my work enough to toss everyone else's stuff except as base research. But I really want it off my plate. But I can feel the passion and excitement for the project building in me - that hasn't been there all year.

Oh well. Don't really have any choice.

I still haven't figured out if this isn't some weird maneuver by my boss to snap me out of my slump.

Either way, I have a project to finish. Again.

Monday, November 13, 2006

worse than a child molester

mrs_c told my daughter that i am worse than her uncle. that i abused her worse than her uncle.

her uncle sexually molested mrs_c from the age of 5 to 13.

she told my daughter i abused her worse than he did.

as we were discussing this mrs_c arrived to pick up daughter to go to a craft show. we have yet to return to the subject (i am being gentle with such things - i don't want to grill her for information - she needs to be and feel safe) so i don't know if there were any details about how i was worse...

the kids both made a couple of wisecracks about mrs_c's comment and then the door buzzer went.

i am very upset.

i am cold angry.

the names i have been called. the aspersions cast my way. the comments about my person and my actions and my lie with mrs_c. the accusations of and affair.

i was tolerant.

but this.


i am at the end.

this is too far.

i will not stand for this.

she gets nothing. she gets nothing from me. i am at the end of my tolerance. i am at the end of it all.

i will give nothing.

her pension? the one i was going to leave her with all of?

fuck her.

the furniture and household effects that i was going to let her have most of?

fuck her.

i am standing square on the line defined by the law.

half is half.

all the nicey nice with the kids?

fuck her.

she wants to do something every weekend (even on my time) with daughter like she always does?

fuck her.

i will make shit up if i have to. i will invent outings that the kids and i will go on.

daughter coming over to mrs_c's house every day after school before i get home from work?

fuck her

i will get creative

she wants some burn?

i haven't even started

Saturday, November 11, 2006

further reflections on the reality of the cycle of abuse

i was talking to my friend the other day. we were best friends. he lives in Quebec now. he's a professor. he was the best man at my wedding.

we only talk a couple of times a year now, with a few emails as well.

he was asking about the separation. he asked why it had happened.

i said "you remember when we were dating? you remember how about once each month (yes - timed to a biological phenomenon) she would say we were breaking up and she was leaving and that she didn't want to see me any more and then she'd tell me all the things that were bad about me and stuff like that?" he remembered. "well, that once a month event turned into a 4 days bad, 3 days good scene. and then it got so that it was mostly just bad with the occasional flash of good - i just couldn't take it anymore."

i realised that this cycle had been going on since we were dating.

i thought about what Smitten had told me about the cycle of abuse when she introduced me to the concept. The tension starts to build, its heightens, there's a blow out, and then there's a honeymoon period. the honeymoon can last for an indefinite period of time. sometimes years. but eventually it ends. then the cycle happens again. the time period is always shorter. eventually the abuser realises they no longer need to be nice or have a make-up/suck-up period because they are so in control that they don't need to hide or worry that they will be faced with any consequences.

i realised that the situation with mrs_c fit that scenario. all the way to the realisation that she didn't have to be nice anymore.

that would be when i left. after i realised she wasn't being nice anymore.

after 2 years...

all of this stuff still replays in my head over and over again. i keep recognising all the things i did that were criticised, and all the points where i would be jumped on. it's like a fog is slowly lifting and i can see the wreckage strewn around. i find that it is hard to have an hour go by - especially when i am with smitten - that i don't have some flash of a situation where mrs_c burned me on something - any action whatsoever - everyday stuff - how i park the vehicle, how fast i'm going, where i park in the parking lot, what i'm wearing, what i say, what i cook, what i buy, how i eat or chew, sometimes even how i would breathe or sigh or yawn.

i write it down lots of times. i then try to remember a bunch of examples of when the incident would happen, and i write them down. i ask my counselor or a few confidantes about the incidents. i have not much to measure against for "normal" relationships. most of the times they find it hard to believe. my counselor actually referred me for a couple of sessions to a female counselor who worked with abuse survivors to screen my impressions and get feedback from her. being a guy, my counselor has less experience with abuse survivors. i have a male counsellor because i am uncomfortable that sometimes i say something in a moment of anger about women in general - and then i realise that it is about one woman. i would find it uncomfortable to have said some of those things in the presence of a woman because i would fear i had offended her.

my feminist indoctrination and beliefs are taking awhile to change the vector on. not all men are evil. i am not evil simply because i am i large white male with a deep voice in a position of privilege and power... mrs_c used my feminism and guilt fairly effectively against me over the years.

it sure helps that Smitten has been a women's centre activist and is fully read on all the major works of modern feminism. she provides a swell reality check.

also, as a recovering catholic herself she has a view on how my religious upbring has shaped all those nifty guilt triggers too

when i have a reaction or panic attack around Smitten, I will usually tell her what i believe the trigger was - or she'll sense the change and ask me. it's better that she knows, rather than just wonder what the hell is going on in my head if i suddenly get rigid or drastically formal or awkward or act different.

she works with people who've survived abuse (she not a counselor - she helps people put their lives back together afterwards). she is understanding. she says "i am not your counselor and don't want to be, but i can help you past these triggers, and help you realise that you are safe when you are with me."

in the movies it all gets resolved in a montage with stirring music in the background - until the scene where there is the big breakdown scene where the person cries and lets it out and it's all better. ta da. the end.

not for me.

it revolves in my head again and again. and it doesn't go away. i feel bad for Smitten. There is a third person in out relationship, and she's an ugly participant. it is a measure of the person Smitten is that she is prepared to put up with it. she says that i am a beautiful person - that i am worth it. she says that she has never met a more tender or loving man than me in her life. that she will hold me as i heal.

Friday, November 10, 2006

quick update - lawyer, counselling

Talked to the lawyer. My position is still solid.

Got direction on how to begin proceedings at the lowest cost. Will be sending an initial letter describing the process I envision.

I will be putting forward a starting position for negotiations on a "without prejudice" basis. That is - nothing proposed can be used in the future to try to hold be to a position proposed in the initial letter.

I am going to propose mediation to start with (lowest cost), and then we will proceed from there. I reviewed my expected final position with the lawyer and my parents and while they think i may be prepared to give up too much, they also agree that getting it all done qucikly is probably worth the $15-$20K down I will come out under my proposal - especially since about $10-$15K of that will be pension related transfers.

The lawyer says that the longer i keep the alternating week arrangement on custody, the less likely the courts will be to change the arrangement - especially since the law starts with joint custody and will only alter that if there is substantive reason.

Mrs_C rejected the counselling arrangments I made. Even though they were exactly as she had requested they be with the agency she requested...

She has come up with some other people, so i will review her stuff and see how it works.

More later.

Things are insanely busy between work, kids, fall activities, volunteer stuff, and Smitten.

Some days are better, some are worse.

Lots of thinking. Probably too much.

I miss cross-talking with all of you on your blogs. I miss you.

I will probably post again this weekend with a little more detail on the above stuff.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tag - you're it!

Balloon Pirate and Terry say we are to consider ourselves tagged if we read to the end of their entries.

1. Explain what ended your last relationship?

I got so frustrated and upset with another multi-hour "conversation" with my wife that I punched out a big piece of my garage wall. A chunk about 4 ft high by 2 feet wide. (read about it here).

I'm normally a terribly restrained person. And while I realised that anyone that could make me lose my mind in such a serious manner was probably someone I should not be around, that incident is not really what ended it.

I couldn't cope with what was happening in my marriage. Read my whole blog for the answer.

2. When was the last time you shaved?

9pm Monday night.

3. What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.?

waiting for my son to finish eating his breakfast - late as usual... as i picked him up from his mom's place to drive him to school

4. What were you doing 15 minutes ago?

Talking to a client.

5. Are you any good at math?

I am half-assed proficient at most varieties of basic math, algebra, and calculus - but i do not consider myself highly skilled.

6. Your prom night?

We don't have "proms". I assume you mean my grade 12 high school graduation dance. I took a woman whom i was sort of dating. She left the grad party with another guy - whom I consider to be a tool... I figure it was an easy way for me to realise she was not the girl for me.

I went for breakfast with my friends.

7. Do you have any famous ancestors?

How famous is famous? Various official historical sites have plaques with various ancestors names on them. No statues. There are lakes, streets, and geographical locations named after various members of my family/ancestors. There are encyclopedia and reference books with entries about my family/ancestors.

8. Have you had to take a loan out for school?


9. Do you know the words to the song on your myspace profile?

Looked at myspace once. Cringed.

10. Last thing received in the mail?

A regional catholic newspaper that my dad subscribed me to and some bills and junk mail.

11. How many different beverages have you had today?

2 - coffee and water.

12. Do you ever leave messages on people’s answering machines?

almost always if i don't reach the person. my messages are clear, concise, and have all pertainent information (in this order) - who is calliing (me), whom i am trying to reach, time and date of call, usually subject of call with short synopsis of projected conversation, contact information/how to reach me - usually repeated so the person does not have to replay the message to write it down, and any deadline by which i expect a response to my message if applicable. Oh, and alternate people to contact to resolve the subject of the call if applicable.

I am a message weenie.

13. Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to?

Paul Williams of Phantom Of The Paradise fame - arts centre - maybe 3,000 people.

I didn't get to see Supertramp or the Police because my friend's parents wouldn't let him go with me and my parents wouldn't let me go alone. Second concert was David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, and the Tubes in one concert - football stadium.

14. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach?


15. What was the most painful dental procedure you have had?

wisdom tooth pulled. anesthetic didn't take properly. eventually took 3 shots to deaden the nerve.

16. What is out your back door?

apartment - no back door

17. Any plans for Friday night?

Dinner with Smitten - and our collective kids.

18. Do you like what the ocean does to your hair?

don't have any hair to get done...

19. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns?

don't even know what you are talking about.

20. Have you ever been to a planetarium?

every city that i have been in that has one. i am a museum and planetarium junkie.

21. Do you re-use towels after you shower?

yes - about 3 days - hung to dry after each use

22. Some things you are excited about?

learning to sail, learning/brushing up a variety of spanish/latin dances, freedom to redefine my life

23. What is your favorite flavor of JELLO?


don't really eat jello - lemon or raspberry, i guess

24. Describe your keychain(s)?

many keys. all the places i need to get into. divided onto different rings by utility/location cluster. releaseable catch on ignition key to leave vehicle running in winter if i need to step out

26. Where do you keep your change?

front right pants pocket

27. What kind of winter coat do you own?


leather bomber
leather 3/4 length
other winter coat (full size cold weather)
suit/car/dress overcoat

i have a couple of other winter coats kicking around that i don't wear anymore

28. What was the weather like on your graduation day?

nice - sunny - gorgeous

29. Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed?


30. Did you read this far?


and in the tradition of those who tagged me - having read this, you are now tagged

Monday, November 06, 2006

much of the pain is gone

In the morning I woke up and the terrible stabbing pain I had in my head and neck and back was gone. Breakfast and fantastic lattes were waiting for us. We moved through the town from shop to museum to gallery no faster than our feet could carry us. The sound of the waves was our constant companion.

As I sipped my wine and looked in her eyes everything was right with the world

The people who own the bed and breakfast are friends of mine. I was in the "business" with them. The husband was one of my mentors, and I even worked under him for awhile. When we first met we were on opposite sides of an internecine war inside our "organisation". We still carry the "scars" we caused each other at that time today.

They have escaped from the business. I still carry the sword.

Both of them developed serious health problems after decades in the business. They have been concerned about my health. They are pleased that I have developed an exit strategy. They are pleased with the improvements to my health and my plans.

They really liked Smitten.

They invited us back about 7 times during the weekend (a couple of years ago when I visited with Mrs_C we did not get invited back... the invitation was always open to me to visit them, and I have also done work for them in their post-business lives).

They have offered space in their B&B if it is available, or if not we can stay at their cottage that is about 30 miles away from their B&B. They have offered it especially if we follow through on our desire to learn to sail.

I guess I haven't mentioned that yet. I have had a hankering to learn to sail for years (mrs_c is afraid of deep water and is terrified of even going on things like ferries...). Smitten grew up near the ocean and wants to learn to sail. The coincidence is wonderful. She loves the sound of waves and water. Even in her profile she said she wanted to be near water - but being as we are drylanders for the most part she didn't think she'd find anyone with a really big interest in water or sailing. And then she met me...

We have the opportunity to borrow a 15 foot sailboat to learn on (located 25 minutes from where we live) from some of smitten's friends. They also have a 32 foot sailboat that is coincidentally on the same lake as the aforementioned cottage and B&B - stored about 10 miles from the B&B.

The synchronicity of it all says this is meant to be.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

gone on a trip

Smitten and I are going to a cozy bed and breakfast about 7 hours drive from where i live.

some friends of mine run it. i do computer/internet stuff for them. they pay me with time at their place. i am collecting the last two years of payment - or at least collecting part.

it's a great place - indoor pool, sauna, hot tub

in a funky little resort town

i hope to escape the pressure and harrassment i have been living under recently.

if only for a few days

between work and life i am nearing a breaking point

see you when i come up for air

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

the note - and sundries

i dropped daughter to the house yesterday (i drop her every day because her school starts at 9am and i go to work earlier than that. she walks out the back gate into the schoolyard).

son's friend is staying at the house with mrs_c (and with son and daughter the week they are there) (family breakdown with son's friend. short story: he has fundamentalist christian parents that were getting weirder by the week. they actually said that my son and their son were "loners" who were the kind of kids who would end up taking a gun and shooting up a school... why? because both kids play videogames and the science fiction wargames Warhammer 40,000. for the record, both boys are highly social and are described as well adjusted [if a little geeky] by their teachers and guidance counsellors. Son's friend's parents' response to everything is to scream at their son. They're weird. They're psycho loony fundamentalists). he has been staying there for about a month now.

son's friend brings out this note and gives it to me.

it's from mrs_c. we had an argument on sunday right before supper that i walked out on. i had gone with son to pick up something he forgot. mrs_c was still trying to get me to come home, and but still slagging me... she's fucked. she was trying to convince me our marriage could work.

the note (verbatim as written):

"If you look your childern in the eye and say I did everything possible to save this relationship you haven't earned the right to end it"

i think i know what she was trying to say, but i'm not sure.

in the conversation Sunday night mrs_c said she was going for full custody of both children, starting with daughter.

she says she's "documenting".

i think it's idle, but i'm taking no chances. more on that and lawyer stuff later.

i think that "documenting" is one of the reasons she phones the apartment many nights to "say good night". I think she is trying to document if i am leaving the kids by themselves - specifically daughter (10). That is why she phones on Mon/Wed/Fri especially (my exercise days).

I said my speculation out loud. My daughter said "Then I'm just not telling her whether you are there or not." then she said "If it goes to court, do I get a say?"

I told her yes.

Daughter told me mrs_c, aunt, and grandma had told her i was replacing my family with Smitten's family, and that i didn't care about my own children anymore because i would be spending all my time with them.

i told her that was a lie. a flat out lie. i told her i had only met Smitten's kids the day before (more on that further down).

Daughter asked to meet Smitten.

we all did lunch at a chinese food place on Sunday. Smitten and her 2 kids, and me and mine.

it was fun - everyone had a good time. my kids said they liked Smitten and her two kids.

i actually met Smitten's kids on Saturday (the day before the above).

My kids were with friends. i was talking to Smitten - she has some mice in her house - and she had caught a couple and they were well splattered. She was a little grimmed out by it all. Being a manly man trying to impress i volunteered to take care if the business. She accepted.

I went over and dealt with the brain splatters and such.

I met the kids (boy 11, girl 8).

I gave them the coins i had gotten for them and we blabbed for some time. We got along well. They liked the coins. It also gave us something to talk about. They asked me a billion questions about ancient rome and history and a whole pile of other stuff. the vacuum started quickly (I have been told by many that I am a natural teacher).

They told their Mom I was the smartest person they'd ever met.


Smitten said "Except for your Mom, right?" They said "Even smarter than you, Mom!"

Smitten's not sure how happy she is about that ;-)

Mrs_c is promulgating the theory that i have been having an affair for 5 years. My kids told me about it.

I showed them the messages (all "G" rated) on the online dating service (as you are aware, i had shown them my profile and discussed the issue with them) setting up the initial date - messages that made reference to it being a first date and the messages talking about a second date.

I asked them if they thought I was the kind of guy that would go through the process of setting that kind of groundwork for an elaborate lie of that level of detail. That would think that far ahead and plan at that kind of level for some future ploy or bizarre contingency.

They thought for a bit and said "Yes" (in unison).

Smartassed troublemakers!
(daughter just about peed herself laughing when they answered together without prompting)

Then they said that they didn't believe that I would actually try to deceive them at that kind of level.

I also told them that at some time they could slip the question to Smitten's kids about when we met. And that unless they were prepared to accept a bizarre conspiracy theory, and accept that an 8 year old girl could be pulled into that conspiracy... that they could get validation of the timeline there as well.

Daughter would like to get together with Smitten and kids again. Son is 14... "huh, what? what? huh? oh, ok, yeah. will there be food?"

(somewhat of an exaggeration)

My kids have said they think their Mother is losing her mind. That they believe she is unstable.

son doesn't want to go to the inlaws for christmas.

more later - see you

Monday, October 30, 2006

deadlines past due have loomed

at work i am currently putting aright that which remained undone

see you all when i surface

Friday, October 27, 2006

Traumatic Bonding

"What is Traumatic Bonding?

Traumatic Bonding may be defined as the development of strong emotional ties between two persons, with one person intermittently harassing, beating, threatening, abusing or intimidating the other.

There are two common features in the structure of trauma bonded relationships:
(1) The existence of a power imbalance, wherein the maltreated person perceives himself/herself to be dominated by the other person.
(2) The intermittent nature of the abuse.

Power Imbalance

Social psychologists have found that unequal power relationships can become increasingly unbalanced over time. As the power imbalance magnifies, the victim feels more negative in her self-appraisal, more incapable of fending for herself, and more dependent on the abuser. This cycle of dependency and lowered self-esteem repeats itself over and over and eventually creates a strong affective (emotional) bond to the abuser.

At the same time, the abuser will develop an over generalized sense of his own power which masks the extent to which he is dependent on the victim to maintain his self image. This sense of power rests on his ability to maintain absolute control in the relationship. If the roles that maintain this sense of power are disturbed, the masked dependency of the abuser on the victim is suddenly made obvious.

One example of this sudden reversal of power is the desperate control attempts made by the abandoned battering husband to bring his wife back to the relationship through threats and/or intimidation.

Intermittent Abuse

When physical abuse is administered at intermittent (random times) and when it is interspersed with permissive and friendly contact, the phenomenon of traumatic bonding seems most powerful.

The three phases involved in the cycle of violence (tension building, battering and “honeymoon”) provide a prime example of intermittent reinforcement. The unpredictable duration and severity of each phase serve to keep the victim off balance and in hopes of change. The “honeymoon” phase is an integral part of traumatic bonding. It is this phase that allows the victim to experience calm and loving feelings from the abuser and therefore strengthens her emotional attachment."

"One example of this sudden reversal of power is the desperate control attempts made by the abandoned battering husband to bring his wife back to the relationship through threats and/or intimidation."
When you read the above, think about Mrs_C's desperate attempt as described in desperation and the shattering of delusion. A male will work with the tools they have learned - often violence or intimidation. A woman in a situation will work with her learned tools - in the above case - sex.

The following was an interesting set of words that certainly informed my view of my own history:
"Why did he stay with this woman? He said, “There were times that she bought me gifts and said she loved me; I occasionally felt a little kindness, and I thought maybe she would change. It was enough to keep me clinging to her” (p. 2). This statement contains an important insight, as the researchers believed that this man suffered from traumatic bonding, in which the abuser alternates abusive behavior with kindness, creating a bond that involves intermittent positive reinforcement. This type of bond is difficult to break."

When I showed the above to my friend/confidante and co-worker "T" he said "But this isn't quite you. This is weaker than you were - this is sort of Stockholm Syndromish. This completely misses the committment thing. You made a committment and you were sticking to it. You knew what you were getting into and you knew what was happening and you said 'I'm sticking through this'. And that was at the core of why you endured. You made a committment. You couldn't get away from that."

I laughed - I told him how my review of the literature of the very few studies of males who have been emotionally abused by a spouse showed that the first reason most males cited for staying was committment. The second reason was their kids. That they didn't want to leave their kids with an emotionally abusive partner - that it wasn't physical abuse like typical male abuse, and was therefore almost impossible to prove. Also that the men felt they should be strong enough to endure - and not so weak as to leave.

(When I read that in the literature I was almost a little bummed out - I thought I was less common in my outlook... and then i discover i'm like everyone else)

Then I mentioned my blogging friend [whom we know as buddha_girl] who had said to me at the end of June "At this point, you are a willing participant in the chaotic relationship your wife calls marriage."

That was one of the primary things that kept sounding inside my head in the days before I left Mrs_C.

"willing participant"

"willing participant"

"you are a willing participant"

"you are a willing participant"

"you are a willing participant"


not victim. being victimised. yes, i know it's not all my fault, but...

"If you're sitting there feeling as though the freaking shit's gonna hit the fan, stop WAITING. Stop it. Make a decision to have a better life." ( - buddha_girl, [and all the rest of you])

It was interesting just now to read the posts:

Weekend Away - Some Pictures
A Weekend Away
"standing idly by"
Yeah, Somehow I Knew It Would Return To This

Read those posts, and then read this page:

on the cycle of abuse

(in fact if you read the whole month of June's posts starting with "Absence Makes The Heart Grow... What?" - you will see that cycle illustrated so very well)

I have much thanks for Smitten who pointed out this set of ideas to me, as noted in BANG!!! She's Back

For whatever reason this has been a bad two week period bodily. I have brutal headaches that even 2 extra strength ibuprofen won't kill. I have serious muscle pain - but knots and kinks, not fibromyalgia pain.

as usual i am in denial that i am feeling as strongly as i do, and am berating myself for not being stronger and just sloughing it all easily

like the fibromyalgia, my body has some other ideas about what i am going through when it has been sending these headaches and pains

I have only gone exercising twice because of all the stuff surrounding kids and school and work and Smitten. I don't know how much skipping exercise has had to do with the pain, but...

Anyway, I figure I'm off to get some codeine at some point, and will certainly be back to exercise.