Tuesday, January 30, 2007


i started a part 2 on the why post, but didn't have the heart to finish it. i went through a bunch of my old posts and dug up documentary evidence as to why i stayed (or rahter what i said at the time) and why i chose to leave. and i ran out of steam.

felt like i was wanking my plonker one too many times. been beating that bush for awhile.

i want to thank people for your thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

and a note with regard to one of the things that CP said: "As for Smitten, she can't ask you those things. I mean, she can...literally, but she shouldn't."

I suspect a tonality implied in reading the question from Smitten that is not neccessarily there. Smitten is a psychologist. She used to work with kids in shelters and group homes. Now she works with battered women and women coming from really shitty situations. She does life skills training and stuff as part of her work. One of the key elements of that work is trying to elicit self-awareness - specifically self-awareness about why these women are making the decisions they are making - often to stay in abusive relationships. Smitten's question of why was asked (at least to my perception) as a prompt toward really asking the question "do you know why you stayed?" rather than a "were you ever dumb to stay" commentary.

and before anyone raises again the issue of whether Smitten is trying to fix me, and will leave me when i'm well/better or something like that... i asked her flat out (Sicilian flagged that issue awhile ago). she said no. she said she'd rather have me well and better now, but that she made an assessment using her personal and professional skills, experience, and training to decide that i wasn't too fucked up to be around and have a relationship with.

this post, instead of one more trip down to the first layer (or deeper) of hell, i thought would just round-up a little bit more of what i've been doing on my leave.
  • went through many boxes of books and put them on my shelves. it feels nice to be able to put my books up after having been forced to keep most of them in boxes in the storage room all these years.
  • got my fitness assessment and body sculpting routine done at the health club
  • downloaded music (cha cha and merengue) for practicing dance
  • bought dance shoes
  • practiced a bunch for dance class
  • started a new kickboxing class at the health club - we'll see how long i can keep that up
  • dealt with some long standing wrap-up on my now defunct business
  • dealt with a pile of paperwork and tax issues
  • wrote up a chunk of my proposals for the separation/divorce agreement/settlement
  • bought more new clothes

i spent a lot of swell time with Smitten doing fun things (both out in public and intimately)

i'm feeling pretty good.

i'm on track to get done what i wanted to get done, and am doing most of what i want to do.

Son tells me that stbx-Mrs_C is reportedly (from daughter) now "officially" dating a guy. He's a friend of sister's (actually he's a drinking buddy of sister's husband).


I hope he distracts her for awhile.

In fact, I hope he makes her happy. I never could, so here's hoping he can.

He got disembowled (figuratively) during his split from his wife a few years ago. I hope it goes better for him this time...

Friday, January 26, 2007

why did you take it? why did you take it again and again?

Why did you take the "beatings". Why did you take it? Why did you take it again and again? Why would you? What would compel you to accept the emotional trauma that she would visit on you repeatedly?

Those are questions that have come up from two sources - Smitten, and stbx-Mrs_C's counsellor. The counsellor is a PHD psychologist with about 30 years spent working primarily with trauma recovery, accident and injury recovery and addictions. He's worked for the regional health district (we have government health care here), in private practice and also works with the rehabilitation hospital.

According to the Family Assistance Plan personnel he's the top guy in this half of the province. So it appears that stbx-Mrs_C's lawyer did pick a good person. I am glad for that.

I went to see him originally just to introduce myself. I figured that it would be better for him to have met this shadowy figure that my ex-wife and son would be referring to. We spent the first session talking about the marriage and never got to talk about son. He said I should come back for another session. I went back yesterday. That would be after Monday's incident with stbx-Mrs_C, and after her Tuesday counselling session.

He has been asking me a lot of questions about the marriage and stbx-Mrs_C. He has been less counselling and more information retrieving. One of the set of questions he asked were the ones at the beginning of this post. Smitten has been pressing me with that set of questions for awhile. I finally had an answer for her when we spoke over the phone on Wednesday night and it provided the answer for the counsellor on Thursday.

I am the youngest in my family. My Dad was a relatively absent father - as were most fathers in that era. He was a progressive man for his time, but still was a bit of an inconsiderate lout. That is: he would suddenly show up with half a dozen or more people and my Mom would be scurrying to make a social event while Dad and his mover and shaker (for real movers and shakers) friends and guests would hold weighty discussions. We had no household help. We kids were the household help. We were trained (by necessity) from early how to assist, prepare, and serve.

I also hung out with the ladies at various events. I kinda like women better than men. Not that I have transgender leanings, I just like women more. I should rephrase that - I am highly attracted to women and have been since a very early age - for the most part I would rather go with that attraction than hang around guys. There was also a sexual component to wanting to hang out with the women even at that age (and the fact they were all "Mom aged" - probably why I've always been attracted to older/mature women).

The ladies were always the ones who would get things prepared and make sure the function would happen. The men would stand around talking and being important. Self important. They weren't particularly nice to me. The ladies were. I would hear the ladies complaining about the schnooks they were married to, and how they all went for the glory, while the women did all the work. It was the ladies who trained me in politics. The men provided the intellectual cover and framework, but it was the ladies who actually did the work that got shit done.

I swore I would never be a man like that. I would be the guy who did all the stuff, and who was sensitive to their needs, and helped - participated.

Being left wing types, they also all had copies of Germain Greer and Betty Friedan and other feminist authors. They would talk about these books. I would find them and read them while Mom visited. I was 5/6/7 years of age trying to make sense of what I was reading. My brain was a little more capable than my emotional maturity (and yes - I could read that much that well that young). I continued reading feminist authors all my life.

The Female Eunuch (Greer) "The title is an indication of the problem," Greer told the New York Times, "The book's main thesis is that the traditional, suburban, consumerist, nuclear family represses women sexually, and that this devitalizes them, rendering them "eunuchs"." "Women have somehow been separated from their libido, from their faculty of desire, from their sexuality. They've become suspicious about it. Like beasts, for example, who are castrated in farming in order to serve their master's ulterior motives — to be fattened or made docile — women have been cut off from their capacity for action. It's a process that sacrifices vigor for delicacy and succulence, and one that's got to be changed." (wikipedia)

I was in contact with women who were feminist leaders in Canada and the U.S. I liked them. I liked strong women. I could never stand simpering incompetent girly-girl crap. I still like attractive women, though - I'm not into the frump zone.

I hated it when my parents argued. I swore I would never do that. I would be even tempered and try to be always polite and considerate.

I read Playboy. I read The Erogenous Man. I read article after article about being a sensitive and giving sexual partner. I swore I would be that.

I read all my Mom's women's magazines. I read the articles about how men should really be. About what women really want in a man. I swore I would be that.

I would be the perfect man. Always giving. I am a large white male born to privilege. As I have grown I have developed a deep voice and a commanding and relatively powerful presence. I have guilt about that.

I swore I would never be an instrument of patriarchy. That I would fight to make white patriarchal society more egalitarian.

And then I met a woman who was a little fucked up. A victim of abuse. Well... "I as a boy, I believed the saying the cure for pain was love". Except this woman had abusive tendencies herself.

Now you answer the question: "Why did you take the "beatings". Why did you take it? Why did you take it again and again? Why would you? What would compel you to accept the emotional trauma that she would visit on you repeatedly?"

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

baking bread and dance class

in happier cadbury news:

i successfully baked 4 loaves of spelt and buckwheat bread (primarily spelt) along with a dozen buns (mini-loaves). the bread is bakery quality in it's texture and taste. it took me about 4 hours to put it all together, but it was a rousing success.

i am very happy. that last loaf was OK, these were great. picture below:

I arranged for dance classes this week. The other stuff that has been going on in my life knocked it out as a priority, but I decided there was no time like the present. I hooked up with a local non-profit dance society/club that offers classes and got us in.

Smitten and I have just attended our first lesson and are learning the Cha Cha and the Merengue.

Ninety minute sessions once per week (one hour lesson, half hour practice). It was fun. A little nerve wracking for me. I sooooooo wanted to do well. I can follow a beat, and love to dance, but I am not so swell with learning steps - especially ion that short time. We will be practicing this weekend.

Monday, January 22, 2007

the voice mail and follow-up call

the voice mail:

"hi [cadbury] its [mrs_c]. i just wanted to uh apologise for this afternoon and uh i guess that's just the way it is... and you're right it's up and down and all the way around and maybe that's just a part of it but i want to apologise for my part. not that i'm apologising for being human, but apologising... ahhhh... well, for whatever... i'm just letting you know. ahhhh... if you get this message... and you... i hope you understand what i'm saying. ah, you can get what you want. i'll do what i have to and i'm really sorry and i will try never to, uh, be... human again, that way. i don't know what to say... if human's the word... be... that... weak... sorry... bye"

a little later i got a telephone call from her on my cell (i was doing laundry and was down in the laundry room).

she said much the same as above. that she was sorry for having pushed herself on me. that she saw me and i was talking and expressing my feelings and she thought i was so beautiful in that instant that she wanted to kiss me.

or that's what she said.

she then went on to tell me again why we shouldn't split up and about how she shouldn't have pushed herself on me and that she should have more respect for herself than to be throwing herself on me (same thing she said the other times), and that Smitten is a bitch that is just using me and that she hates her.

that she doesn't know why she did it and maybe she'll be able to figure it out when she goes to her therapist tomorrow. that maybe he can tell her why she still does it.

this is the first time she has been bashing Smitten directly. I was polite at first. i gave her space for her pain. to express her anger and resentment. but i don't think i will tolerate it much longer. by not telling her to stop i am tacitly telling her it is OK to bash Smitten.

she phoned son tonight to bag at him about dropping out of dance. to tell him that he's a quitter and that he could give it one more try. and that she doesn't know where he learned to be a quitter from... but that its just like his Dad and their marriage - quitting. and that he should give dance one more try.

son hung up on her three times as she started to call him names and put him down. he warned her that she was crossing a line and then he just hung up. she phoned back and started right in on it again. she phoned back a fourth time apologised.

(maybe the boy knows something i don't... me - i sit there and listen to her shit. and take it)

then she put his sister on the phone to talk to him. he told me it was weirdly abrupt.

daughter did not request to speak to me.

i suspect that is just stbx-Mrs_C playing a game with me.

make sure daughter does not talk to me. or maybe daughter doesn't want to talk to me.


i'll wait for now.

not leaving me alone

stbx_Mrs_C called this morning to ask if i would endorse a dental reimbursement cheque. because we are still married the medical insurance plans are still set up that the insurance comes off mine first (we have two plans with the same company - goes by whose birthday is first), so the cheque comes in my name.

i said sure. she said she was just leaving to go to the bank and could stop by. i said OK.

as i hung up i realised that it was probably a bad thing to do. she had tried to hug me and kiss me last Thursday when i dropped some stuff off for son.

when she got here i signed the cheque, had about 10 minutes of blather, and went to usher her out. i kept the coffee table in between us through to entire contact. i came out from behind to see her out. she stops at the door and says "aren't you even going to comment on my new coat?" i mumbled something and the conversation was on. she began to blab about all variety of things. she walking toward me. i'm backing away. i make motions to have her leave again. she approaches me and tries to hug me.

i'm stepping back. she's on me kissing me and grabbing my ass and saying "fuck me. do you want to fuck me?"

i'm pushing her away and saying "no. this is not going to happen. look at what you said last time you tried this. you told the kids we had slept together."

her response. she steps back. she looks me in the eye. i say "this is not going to work. this is not going to happen." she starts taking off her clothes and trying to fumble at my belt. i step away and say to stop and underline that it's not going to happen and that she should leave. she lies down on the couch naked and says "fuck me" (and such) again. i tell her that it's not going to happen. (i really want her to go away). i tell her to get dressed and hand her her clothes and ask her to leave. she says "you really don't want to?" i say "no".

i ask her if she's going to tell the kids we slept together again? i ask her if it worked or did anything for her last time. that her actions and the things she was saying to the kids were inappropriate on so many levels.

she begins a nasty diatribe about me and about Smitten. about our respective and joint characters. that Smitten is just using me. for my money and status. when point out that i have no money, she says "but you will". she says Smitten has her hooks in me because Smitten will never find anyone else as good as me. that Smitten is parading around saying to stbx_Mrs_C "I've got your man." that Smitten is playing helpless and weak to trap me and make me feel strong.

that once Smitten has me solid then Smitten will start handing out orders and that I'm not strong enough to resist. stbx_Mrs_C says "i should know, i was married to you. i know your weaknesses"

she's crying and cursing and breaking down. i get her a box of tissues.

she's telling me how i ruined the family, and that she's fucked up, and her kids are fucked up, her side of the family is being damaged, and that everyone's lives are being ruined because i'm too selfish to see what i'm doing. and that if i really loved her or had any love for anyone but myself i wouldn't do this.

that she's a bad parent and letting the kids walk all over her and that she isn't strong enough to do it on her own.

that she still believes in miracles and thinks that somehow someway it can be put back together.

i listen. i listen with different ears. i see the projection of how she feels inside and how she interprets the actions of others.

after awhile i ask her to leave and remind her that i had said no at each step of the way and that it was not my fault that she feels rejected at this moment. that i didn't take her clothes off, and that my only mistake was letting her in to my apartment.

she apologises for some of the things she has said and then says "but you have allow me the nasty comments, don't you? you have to allow me being angry and upset?"

she launches into a further diatribe about my character and my lack of morality.

i listen for awhile.

i ask her to leave.

she storms out.

i wash my face where she kissed me. i spray cologne on to cover up her scent that is still on me.

i sit and think for a few minutes.

i realise that she probably had in her mind that since daughter has chosen to stay with her that i might be vulnerable to her "siren call"

i think more

i call Smitten and ask her if she wants to go for lunch.

she says yes.

and we do - it was pleasant.

i very much understand why i made the choice i did. to leave Mrs_C.

the above may contain some contradictions or timelines that don't completely match up internally. i will be reviewing this and editting it so that i have everything in the right sequence.

it was a little fucked up, and so am i after that, so my account will be a little scattered. the core story is there: she arrived. she came on to me. i said no. she raved and cried. she left.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Leave not leave and leaving (part 2)

daughter told me she wasn't coming here this weekend and that she wanted to stay permanently with her mother.

i asked her what the plan was. would she just call me up when she felt like seeing me, or would there be a schedule, or notice or would i just be a Dad on call in case she needed some entertainment.

she told me i was trying to guilt her out.

i left.

i was pretty upset on Friday night.

Saturday i decided that i needed to extend and olive branch and try to reach her.

so what did i do? i called her to see if i could take her for lunch. i dressed really nice (very trendy clothes and much leather) and took her out to the dining place of her choice. we then went shopping and i bought her some fashion boots for her birthday a couple of weeks early and some fancy pantsy underwear she wanted.

we spent the whole afternoon together.

drove her home. she invited me to her birthday party. not the family one with stbx-mrs_c's family, but the one her friends were coming to.

my son was doing stuff his buddy so i cleared out. went and visited Smitten. she asked me how i'd handled things with daughter. i had been determined to take a hard line the night before when i talked to her.

but i didn't. i did what i always do. go more than half-way, kiss a bunch of ass. make myself into what the other person is demanding.

yeah pretty much what i did with stbx-mrs_c for years.

somebody throws a fit and i'm there to twist myself into a pretzel to please them.

i will write more of this in the coming days, but i don't feel much like it right now. the words aren't much coming to me.

i will make sure my legal position is as protected as it can be, but otherwise


what reason did she give? not having her own room. vaguely stated fears about some friend or person she knows that had a brother that did stuff to her in the middle of the night - but not that she believed her brother ever would.


she really couldn't say

she just wants to do it.


her grandmother plays a favourites game like this with her 4 daughters.

over the afternoon daughter said a number things i found interesting

daughter told me that she might move back if i was to buy a house that is up for sale down the street from her friend's house so they could hang out together all the time, or if i was to buy her a bunch of these clothes - well that would be cool.

she told me stuff that her Mom promised her - repainting and redecorating her room again (2nd time this year). massive birthday party sleepover extravaganza, shopping trips with her cousins. mom will foot the bill so that daughter can have her own space at her cousin's table at a local spring arts festival (daughter makes these funky handbags out of scarves and sews and glue-guns enviro-shopping bags.

a trip to Montreal this summer and a cell phone. and some other stuff i can't remember right now.



I love myself today

a song from one of my newest CDs. i bought the CD for this song. it seemed appropriate for the moment.

"I'm lookin' in the mirror and I like what I see:
I've lost the fear & the horror that's been eating at me
'Cause being with you is like a hangman's noose
I was living my life in dead man's shoes

I've had enough. Made up my mind
I'm gonna get up and out!

I love myself today
Not like yesterday
I'm cool, I'm calm
I'm gonna be okay!"

the CD itself is not so much my taste overall. one too many whiney teenaged angsty girl songs for me. i prefer biff naked when she has attitude.

i like strong women with attitude. still kind and nice. not rude. just up for facing the world.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Leave not leave and leaving (part 1)

My leave has been OK. I've gotten some extra sleep. I've bee doing all the little jobs that needed tackling (putting off getting at the bigger scarier ones). Changing pre-authourised chequing payments between accounts, changing names and redirecting mail and registrations and blah, blah. Various little pieces of things that have been left because they weren't completely worth the effort to do on days while I was working.

I had to spend a day and a half on my servers and a couple of other things from work. We were under spam attack again. We were getting flooded with many thousands of spam per hour. It was overwhelming the maximum number of connections one of the servers was able to handle. I tried to keep it running but eventually had to take it offline and upgrade its hardware.

it was job that should have taken 10 minutes. The was some kind of weird short in the system and we couldn't figure out what it was. We eventually ended up swapping all the hardware in the system except for its drives. After being offline for a couple of hours the box was no lomger being attacked. So the hardware swap did nothing for the immediate problem - but at least later.

I will have to see whther I can get my day and half back somewhere else...

Smitten has not been feeling super well this week so we spent a pretty low key set of days. She was actuall off work one day. She has been seeing my massage therapist. My massage therapist is amazing. Her hands are like nothing else when it comes to taking away pain. She had worked on Smitten the one morning and Smitten lost the pain in her hip (which goes out fairly regularly) - and the rest of Smittens body just in essence collapsed. You know one those days when you are cold and tired and exhausted and the muscles in your body just sort of give up and quiver? That's what happened. A lot of the pain has been gone. I have been supplementing with low key massage and acupressure.

I went to see the counsellor that SOn and stbx-Mrs_C are seeing. I figured he should meet me if he's going to be helping my son. The counsellor asked a bunch of questions about my relationship with stbx-Mrs_C. so many that i had to make a second appointment to descuss son.

stbx-Mrs_C, it seems, neglected to mention a few critical elements of our relationship. how do i know this? the counsellor's eyes widened a bit in surprise as i talked about a few subjects and he wrote on his paper (years in my profession/realm of employment has made learning to read people's notes up-side-down a survival skill) "write in other file".

what subjects did he note? the sexual and physical abuse by members of her family. her hitting me. teh alcohol issues. her waking me up in the middle of the night to yell at me. the long dry spells sexually for the several years before we split. and a couple of others i don't remember just now.

he asked

i answered

and i left with another appointment

more later

Thursday, January 18, 2007


It was a wonderful weekend. I spent it with Smitten. She had a belly dancing meeting one evening, but otherwise we were together. A lot of talking (and stuff ;-).

I have been learning to bake. I am an excellent cook, but my baking has always been a little spotty. Even tried and true recipes with wheat flour.

As I have mentioned previously, Smitten has some dietary/digestive issues. I have been experimenting with alternative flours and grains to make a bread that she can eat. I have had a couple of OK results, but this weekend was the first major triumph. The bread worked out quite well. I have included a picture of it for your edification.

I didn't have enough bread pans (only 1) to bake small/regular loaves, so I made one big loaf. I was expecting to throw out most of the results anyway (like the previous attempts), so it didn't matter the size or shape (I don't alter my initial foray into a recipe [including quantities], because I want to see the straight results before I doctor things up). I dropped it in the middle of an oiled broiler pan and baked it. I didn't want to handle it very much because I had ruined a couple of other loaves by handling them too much after rising. I am also using whole grain flours, so that makes it a little harder too.

As I said - the loaf was good. Better straight out of the oven than after it cooled, but still solid proof of concept for the mixture of flours I am using.

This may not seem like a big deal to you, but for me - well, I have been such a lame-o baker all these years I had resigned myself to also-ran status. To have this good a result with alternative grains, well, this is a big deal for me. I am also pleased to be able to demonstrate my affection this way (remember - food is love). FYI: I have since bought 3 more bread pans.

Smitten often feels some discomfort from eating foods that have things that she can't eat well. I would like to take away her pain/discomfort.

I made large tart sized quiches for her last week, with an alternative grain crust. It was very good. The kids liked it and so did Smitten - she shared one with her boss, who also liked the crust (and the quiche).

Smitten asked me one time over the weekend how I was feeling about something (during a discussion). I had to answer "I don't know how I feel".

For so long I have overlaid how I should feel on top of how I really do feel that often I am unaware or unsure of how I really feel.

As I have talked before about my feeling that over most of my life emotions and emotional display often have led to being hurt. I have learned to control my emotions - or rather, to suppress them. Not so well, I suppose, given my fibromyalgia and other issues. I discussed that in previous posts about going to counselling (Dec 05):

"1) going to a counsellor (being a guy who has always tried to deny emotion for logic, I think that some reflection of how I REALLY feel instead of how I SHOULD feel is in order)"

I talked to Smitten about the emotions that I most often feel: Anger, anxiety, fear.

I feel other emotions and express them, but it is only in a "safe" environment.

I talked about the times that I do things that could be considered emotionally expressive, and acts of kindness and giving, but that even though I want and desire to do those things, I don't actually feel when I'm doing them. I'm emotionally flatlined a lot of the time.

Smitten said "I already know that there are times that I am with you, but not within you. And I am OK with that. Even if you remain just the way that you are, I love the person you are. But I've seen so much emotion in you. I believe that as you begin to be less afraid, and as you express more, all of the things you feel will come to the surface and you will be able to be the feeling person you want to be."

Monday, January 15, 2007

complete physical over and done (almost)

just finished my physical, and everything appears to be fine. in fact all my physical indicators except for weight (still moderately overweight) are in the really good category. i go to do the fasting bloodwork tomorrow.

on an irritating note, my new DVD player failed yesterday - with a CD inside it. i take it back to the store today and will attempt to rescue the disc as well.

Friday, January 12, 2007

taking leave from work

i'm taking several weeks leave from work. i got my doctor's note, talked to my boss and co-workers about it, and everything is go.

i have finished the project from hell, and am handing off all the other loose ends.

it is my intention to clear up many of the things that are distracting me from my work and distracting me in my day-to-day life.

i want to address:

  • i have some medical problems related to my fibromyalgia. i have been having bad flare-ups recently. i will be undergoing tests and physiotherapy
  • fitness assessment and formal exercise/body sculpting plan (exercise club)
  • exercise
  • counselling
  • dealing with financial and legal matters. separation agreement, property assessment, selecting and agreeing on a mediator, tax issues
  • cleaning and sorting and ordering (home and vehicle)
  • disposing old clothes and new clothes purchasing
  • plan out how i am going to do things like dance classes, thai kickboxing, and piano
  • advance my plans for taking new classes at university
  • read a novel and a couple of historical books i have on the shelf
  • take it easy and sleep

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

more on the calendar

i raised the calendar at supper last night.

i said "[Son] asked me if I'd been looking at Playboy calendars while I was out with you."

daughter leapt on it almost before the words were out of my mouth, she said "i saw you looking at a calendar with half naked women in it and i thought it was Playboy." her speed in response and tone, told me she realised it wasn't a Playboy calendar, and that she had been embellishing for sake of a story. i did not say that to her. i used ballon pirate's words. i told her that i was sad that she hadn't raised it with me directly. i asked her what she had seen me look at.

she said one with ladies in swimsuits on beaches.

i gave her the list of calendars i looked at in that section.

we had some discussion. she asked me why i looked at the calendar. so i answered about each of them.

i looked at the local firefighter calendar because i was comparing myself and my body to a bunch of regular guys (who happen to work out all the time). the britney spears calendar because i wanted to see if the photos were from before or after she'd had her baby (i have and ongoing interest in the evolving perception of the sexuality of mothers - it was piqued by a discussion years ago with Mrs_C [during her pregnancy with our first child] and her sister and the whole demi moore posing thing [aug 1991] - i postulate that societal and male attitudes are shifting and have shifted faster than the mainstream media and hollywood - this also feeds into my opinions about amateur erotica [but i didn't discuss that issue with daughter]). GQ calendar because it's fully dressed suave guys. and the sports illustrated daytimer because i wanted to see the layout and format they used. no - really - it's sad but true (we sometimes make calendars as fund raising tools - they spend a lot of money researching things like layout for that calendar - it's a huge money maker) - anyway, i have access better sources of porn if i wanted to view it than that calendar. i even said that to daughter.

i asked her if she thought that it was wrong to either make or look at pictures like that. she said it was. she is repeating things stbx-Mrs_C has said to her. so i asked her if it was wrong to have the placemats over at the house with reproductions of classical nude paintings. she said no - that was different. i asked her how it was different. she said "well, something that was painted 600 years ago is different". so i asked her if the sports illustrated stuff, which isn't even nude, will be OK in 600 years.

she was already realising that she couldn't hold her position of erotica/nude stuff all being wrong and said "it's OK as long as it's tasteful".

i asked her a few more leading questions of that nature and she couldn't hold her position well based on her otherwise previously stated stated postitions (on things like music videos, and religious fundamentalist censorship, and topless beaches in europe). i always made sure to say "i'm not arguing with you, i'm just trying to understand your position so that i can be respectful of it". after a little while i let it go. the discussion was over. no reason to rub her nose in it.

later on as i tucked her into bed she was telling me about how her and her mother had been looking at the firefighter's calendar and that there was only one guy in there that was "hot" (i was only wearing pajama bottoms and she was bugging me about my "manly chest" and being "hot for the ladies"). i asked her if it was ok for her and her mom to look at calendars for hot guys, but not ok for guys. she said "yeah... ok dad... i get it. it's ok. you don't have to bring it up again."

i responded "i was just wondering. just trying to understand your postion. your opinion is important to me, and i want you to think well of me, so if i'm doing something you disapprove of, i need to know"

she said "ok dad. give me a hug."

i did and tucked her into bed.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Holy mixed messages Batman!!!

I was out shopping with my daughter this weekend. I am buying both her and her brother a wardrobe that will stay at my place so that they do not have to pack suitcases with all their stuff for the week when they come over.

There are a few reasons: 1) the above - convenience 2) in a custody dispute, if they have no permanent elements of "home" at my place, it will be less considered by a court as a permanent residence 3) if stbx-Mrs_C is nailing me for the expense of their clothes, and not even telling them that i am paying for half, then I might as well spend the money directly myself and at least get credit as well as the previous reasons.

But back to shopping. Well sort of...

This morning as i drove him to school my son asks me "When you were out shopping with [Daughter] did you look at some Playboy calendar or something?"

I said no. I told him that at one point i looked at a set of calendars in one section of the store (i can only look at puppy calendars for so long) that had celebrity calendars, model calendars, and the sports illustrated swimsuit calendar.

I am not a sports illustrated calendar guy, or a maxim magazine guy, or any of that. I looked at several celebrity calendars, the GQ calendar, the local firefighters calendar, and the sports illustrated calendar.

But my daughter is reporting to my son that I was looking at a "porn calendar". And giving him stbx-Mrs_C's newly minted "Your body is a temple" lines. They mesh with her "All men are predators" and "Your father is a porn addict" accusations (quotes are actual).

I will be addressing the issue when i get home after work.

From a personal conduct point of view, it tells me that I am under some pretty extreme scrutiny. It also irritates me a little. She did not address the context in the store to actually look at the calendars I was looking at. She didn't ask me about it. She didn't tell me she disapproved. She just talked behind my back.

I am irritated at the effectiveness of her mother's propaganda. I am irritated by the mixed message her mother is sending her. If you recall from episodes this last summer, stbx_Mrs_C is not above her own bit of sexual bait or dangling:

I Must Not Think With My Dick

On counseling, Weakness, Dinner And Sexy Dresses

From the sexy dress part of the above:

"While driving there I apologised to my kids for getting upset and that I had leapt to some wrong conclusions, and that I was sorry about making things difficult at supper. My daughter informed me that she was just going to wear her regular clothes and that it was her mother that told her to dress up and wear the dress I had bought for daughter in Mexico. That Mrs_C said that they should dress up and look good and make me feel bad about leaving. They tell me that their Mom was playing me. That it was the set-up I thought it was."

The actual line was "Let's dress up really nice and look good so he'll know what he's missing."

I'm aggravated. I have been pretty consistent in my approach. I have always addressed issues of sexuality straight up. Daughter has no issue with watching music videos with scantily clad women and teasing her brother about watching the ladies in those videos. She has no problem in talking about the sexual appeal of the clothes she would wear to go "clubbing" if she was old enough (i try to put approriate "dad warnings" about clothing and conduct while still maintaining a consistent "permissive" or open posture toward sexuality and its expression).

In this weekend's shopping trip I bought new underwear with daughter - including bras and camisoles. We discussed modesty issues and the reasons she felt (said) she needed a bra with padding (even if she doesn't have enough to fill it). I asked her if it was because she was too sensitive/painful or if it was because it would stop the boys from pointing out if she was "nipply". She said both. I still think that it also has to do with one of the girls in her class who is slightly more developed calling her "flat" (which daughter has felt comfortable enough to discuss with me). This is a girl who is in savage social/pecking order combat with my daughter.

I previously went with her to buy feminine products, we discussed which kind of pads and panty liners she wanted - I offered a somewhat informed decision (as a non-user, but as a 25 year purchaser on behalf of various women in my life...). I bought her the kind that were in the special box with the special tissue paper inside with the little gold seal and were scented (even if the unit cost was about 60% higher) so that it would make her feel the most comfortable and feminine about this time and new phase of her life. I make the actual purchase with her there, because she doesn't feel comfortable enough paying for it herself (even if it is at the pharmacy counter and the cashier is female).

But still. She raised the calendar(s) with her brother and suggested they were Playboy calendars.

I will address the issue straight and see what she has to say directly.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Lucky for me I got off my ass

Smitten realised the other day that she had been without her kids for two years in a row at New Year's. Or, more precisely, that her ex-husband had them for two years running. She spoke to him about it. She told him that she was sorry, and that next year they should make sure that she has them so that he and his girlfriend can do something on New Year's.

He said "Doesn't matter. One day is the same as the next. Probably won't be doing anything anyway."

She told me that at that moment, it all came flooding back to her why she left him. Why she had been unhappy.

I thought to myself, and later said to her "Good thing I got the motivation to put together the evening of events, hey?"

If you recall the other post, we had both been feeling a little listless and unable to make up our minds about what to do. I am usually a can do kind of guy (like organizing the weekends away and doing most of the shopping and cooking for the party), but this Christmas hiatus period was a little tired and sucky. I am pleased that I got my shit together enough to come up with the night out.

Especially in light of her above stated comment, and in light of some of her previous statements about not wanting to have to always be the one to plan and make everything happen.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Year's

We had planned on going away for New Year's. Someplace warm, but some investments and financial jiggering I'm doing had not produced cheques in my hands yet. So without cash in hand we chose not to stretch resources.

What to do?

Smitten had been less than thrilled with a couple of suggestions I had made about nightclubs we could go to, so I was at a bit of a loss for something interesting to do. She didn't have a bunch of suggestions for alternatives.

We were a little aimless and listless about what to do for New Year's. I especially wanted to go out, because the last n (14?) years were spent with either stbx-Mrs_C's family or with one other couple in a small house event.

Neither Smitten nor I are "gotta party" at New Year's, but we agreed it would be nice to do something special or outgoing.

I heard a radio ad for an event at an arts centre here - 3 venues inside one facility - live band stage (3 bands), dance venue, and rave/techno venue. It sounded good - and was affordable ($35 each). Some of the options in the city would have hit over $100 per ticket before drinks.

She was agreeable. I promptly picked up the tickets.

I had been out for lunch at a new wine bar/restaurant a couple of days before and had noticed they had a New Year's event - wines specially paired with the meal with explanations of why and what and where from a culinary perspective - kinda cool - like attending the food network live. So I booked us for supper.

I bought some funky new shirts - and wore one of them for the evening out. Smitten looked smashing in her black cocktail dress and draped scarf/shawl thing.

It was an exquisite meal - the wines were just perfect with each course. Smitten doesn't care for sweet wines, so she only had a few sips of the ice wine with dessert (an amazing pumpkin cheesecake).

We drove to and fro the restaurant, but cabbed it to the event. Again, I had taken care to book the cab in advance so there would be no wait (this mention of the planning involved is relevant to something later).

The cab arrived a little early so we got to the event only shortly after doors opened, so the start was a little slow - but things picked up quickly enough.

We danced, and laughed, people watched, and drank. It was wonderful good fun. We even necked in a dark corner for awhile (that's been more than 20 years...).

We caught the bus home (I had gotten all the info on pick-up and connection times that night). A cab would have taken at least an hour. Smitten had brought extra clothing in a bag and slipped them on during the ride downtown before our connection to the bus back to my place (the bus was only partly full).

(where we live the government owns the major insurer [there is mandatory auto insurance when you register your car. If you have plates you have insurance. We have the lowest average rates for auto insurance in North America]. The government owned insurance company [which makes a small profit each year] pays for city buses [in the major cities] to run on New Year's - you ride for free - not a full schedule, but good enough if you plan your ride time. The police are out in full force. The government also pays for extra enforcement and spot checks. But you can take a free bus. We are not a big enough city that there is the full scale 365/24 public transit there is in really large centres)

It was a beautiful winter night and the walk to my place from the bus stop was pleasant.

We enjoyed a glass of this spiffy premium scotch i have a bottle of when we got back to end our evening (well, not quite end, but you can fill in some later blanks yourself there). Smitten thought aloud that it would be fun if we had something, uh, organic, that is decriminalised in Canada. I realised that I still had a partial organic unit stashed away (my niece had given it to me for my birthday in 2005). This would be the 5th time I've indulged in about 15 years - about the same for Smitten (I gave it up after having kids - can't be affected if you have a kids. a 30 second delay in waking up in the middle of the night could literally be life or death [at least to my mind] - if there was a fire or one of them was choking or something).

I put on a Santana CD from 1981 - Smitten likes Santana and I knew she didn't know this album. I listened to it a lot when I was younger. stbx-Mrs_C hated it, so I hadn't listened to it in about... 15 years (fyi: married for 16, dated for 2 before that).

As we were listening and enjoying our scotch (which tasted even better now) I was transported back in time. I don't know how many of you have indulged in organics but it has a way of altering perceptions. Transported back in how I felt. Feeling alive. I had felt alive all night with Smitten, but the moment provided a direct link to how I felt when I was younger.

I also had a few memory doorways open - and I realised that she was very [extremly] close to a past mental construct I had in my mind of what and whom I was looking for in a partner - in a woman. That realisation kind of bowled me over. I had closed off that piece of my memory for a long time - my ex-girlfriend K [from post Too Nice A Guy] had at one point [circa 1987 - not while we were actively dating] made me describe the woman I was looking for.

I was seriously blown away by that memory and that realisation. I'm still processing it. I'm trying to figure out why that wouldn't have popped into my head when my counsellor asked me to visualise what a fantasy person would look like and react like. I think because he asked that before I left stbx-Mrs_C. Someplace deep in the bowels of the boxes of my stuff is likely an envelope that actually has the pictures I cut out and the descriptor pages I wrote. I think I will go digging for it sometime this month.

The next day I asked Smitten what she would like for brunch. She sadi "the same thing you made me yesterday". I thought she said "Whatever you want to make me". I dug in on her choosing something - so she said quiche - knowing it would take awhile and be a fair bit of trouble to make.

But I made it anyway. Luckily I had not wheat flour in the place (from the bread experimenting i am doing) to make a crust - spelt flakes, spelt flour, and buckwheat flour. I had no pie plate so i had to improvise with a glass bread pan i had.

I have included a picture of the plated food below. I plated it to look like a plant pot with a flowering plant in it:

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

christmas update (part 2)

Spent christmas eve with my family. It is my niece's birthday (4), so we went to my brother's place for an event. Afterward I went back to my place to finish wrapping my gifts.

Gift exchange was a little fucked up this year.

Usually we gather and exchange on Christmas day with my side of the family. Christmas eve was always stbx-Mrs_C's family.

Because they were having his wife's side of the family over on Christmas day as well, my brother said that we should all open gifts on Christmas Eve. This was not communicated to me... I had planned on doing a very special/careful job of wrapping my gifts that evening. It was usually the case that I was organizing the kids and the food and last minute stuff before Christmas (we would take food even when the event was not at our place). I rarely got an opportunity to wrap my gifts well.

Instead of the job I would have liked to have done, I rushed home, rushed my wrapping, and rushed over to my parent's place to do gift exchange with them and my sister (who was in visiting). Oh well - maybe next year.

It was pleasant and quiet. My sister got me a number of things while she was in Europe several times in 2006 on professional conferences and such. My Mom and Dad gave me a swack of cash to buy clothes with (I had suggested clothes). My Mom declined to make fashion choices for me - she wants my new wardrobe to be an expression of my taste and new direction. My Dad was browbeaten into agreement by Mom...

I got them some books and couple of useful items. I went with interesting and useful but small and low cost. They all have way more cash than me and could buy anything they want, so I went for intent. The way they were intently reading the books through Christmas gave some indication that the thought was good. Dad used the lighted magnifying glasses I gave him to show us all various details in some old family pictures he recently had reproduced and enlarged. Mom said he wouldn't have bought one for himself because it would have been admitting he was old... Dad said he didn't know they made such things. The usual kind of back and forth with my parents.

Christmas morning I went to Smitten's and spent it with her and her kids. It was an enjoyable time. They seemed to enjoy having me. Part of their pleasure is that I had bought a non-wheat pancake mix (spelt) from a local health food store (Smitten cannot eat wheat products without difficulty [no - not celiac]). They got to have pancakes for the second time in years and were quite celebratory about it - and associated me with their pancakes. I'm good with that association ;-)

Their Dad came by to pick them up at around 1:30. The pick-up was uneventful and friendly.

Smitten and I cleaned up her place a little and went to my apartment to grab the gifts and stuff I was taking to my brother's and so I could cook the food we were bringing over to their place.

I guess I didn't previously make you aware that I had inquired with my family if they had any objection to Smitten accompanying me to the dinner. They were pleased to invite her.

We went to go over to my old house because I was going to take a warming tray to my brother's place. When I arrived I found that the lock on the house had been changed. I found that a little surprising. I assumed I would have been told of such a change. i don't live there so I have no issue, I was taken aback that it would have been done with no notice. Especially after stbx-Mrs_C had given me a Christmas card (on the morning they left - in person - when i went to drop off the music and computer disks on the way to work) with the dove of peace on it with a hand wrtten note saying "To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness".

I found that my son's dog had been left behind and that the heat lamp in his kennel was burnt out. He was cold and miserable and the water in the kennel was frozen solid - so it had been out for awhile. I had no idea of the arrangments for the dog. As of friday morning son was still under the impression that the dog was going with them. I assumed that the in-laws must be looking after the dog so i called to inquire. My nephew was and said they would take care of it. I was a little perfunctory on the phone with my niece, so I called back to take a softer tone. They was no answer even though it was only a few minutes later. Until I realised that I had called from my cell phone and my subsequent calls were from my land line - call display... I called again on my cell and they answered in the middle of the second ring. I thought it was little cheap considering that we did have legitimate business related to the dog. But whatever.

Dinner at my brother and sister-in-law's went well. Even though there were two separate families that had really only met a few times, conversation was good and smooth. Everyone was considerate and worked well together to help and pitch in on preparations and execution of dinner and clean-up.

There was another gift opening. I had been wrongly informed again about how everything was working. I had originally assumed there was another gift opening, but had been told there was not... so I gave Smitten the gift I had intended for that evening's opening in the morning with the other stuff. I was under the impression that only the kids were opening the newly arrived gifts. As a gift for Smitten my Mom sewed some really nice placemats and put them in with some nifty paté knives. It was a nice and unexpected gift. I was touched, and so was Smitten.

It was a very nice Christmas except for the one incident at the house.