Friday, April 27, 2007

Random Tag

This tag is courtesy of Ballon Pirate. It is seven completely random things about myself. I am to tag seven people, but most of you already read Balloon Pirate, so you're tagged already.

1) I swam through these rapids at high water. They are class 4 rapids at high water.

These rapids are almost a half a mile long at high water. The waves are 3-6 feet. The small dot you see in the right picture is a canoe, and the left picture is taken from a bridge over roughly the middle of the rapids. I have canoed through them probably a hundred times. Only spilled twice.

2) I have flat feet.

3) I have been around the planet a couple of times. All the way around it. Half-way round both ways a bunch more times.

4) I was in a store that was bombed in Johannesburg during the apartheid struggle. I missed the bombing by one day. I had gone there to pick up a purse for my Mom while flying to where they were in Africa doing development work. Mom's purse strap had broken and they couldn't get decent purses where they were. She was pleased with my selection both on the basis of style and of size and number of pockets (Mom's purses were more of a fashionable ladies camera bag than a purse...).

5) I used to wear a pocket protector for awhile in high school, but decided that while it had high utility value in protecting my pocket, it was decidedly nerdy and had to go...

6) I worked in radio as an announcer for awhile while in high school. I did Sunday church broadcasts. My father found substantial ironic humour in the fact that I would darken the doorstep of a church for cash. He could never get me to go otherwise. FYI: it is the Catholic Church and its hierarchy I have a problem with, not God or Jesus.

7) While I am a firm proponent of gun control (even firmer than current Canadian law), I am fully trained and was quite competant with firearms - handguns and long guns (single shot, semi-automatic, and automatic). I am also trained in unarmed and stick combat, though I'd be hard pressed to do any of the above well - having not practiced in a decade. I used to live/room with a guy who trained various city police and national police in those activities.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

thinking about Ballon Pirate's comment

Ballon Pirate wrote:

"You may call it PTSD, I call it the side effects of living with an addict."

When i showed my boss my PTSD workbook, he told me that it parallels some of the material that he went through as part of a program for adult children of alchoholics. I was expressing frustration with the fact that stbx-Mrs_C has never been prepared to go to counselling and deal with her issues. He said denial and avoidance are key to those kinds of issues. He says that all variety of alcoholic and other behaviours are maladjusted coping mechanisms. He said "If you accept that the person in question is in pain, that they have a medical condition, then it makes more sense. The alcoholism and their other behaviours are reactions to their pain. The avoidance is like a kid that doesn't want the top of an infected scab torn off, and the alcohol is self-medicating their pain. They are trying to deaden or escape their pain."

He also suggested me that I should look at some al-anon material.

That and Ballon Pirate's various references led me to look at some Al-Anon material. One of the key elements that I have extracted from this material is reinforcement of my belief that i have to take care of myself, and that I will not be able to help my kids unless I help myself first. That, in fact, is what my Mom has been harping on since i darkened their doorstep on the night I left stbx-Mrs_C.

I found a number of the ideas the present for coping with alcoholics to be of interest. The following excerpts are from the online article Paths to Recovery (B-24)

Alcoholism is a family disease. This means “. . . the alcoholism of one member affects the whole family, and all become sick. Why does this happen? Unlike diabetes, alcoholism not only exists inside the body of the alcoholic, but is a disease of relationships as well. Many of the symptoms of alcoholism are in the behavior of the alcoholic. The people who are involved with the alcoholic react to his behavior. They try to control it, make up for it, or hide it. They often blame themselves for it and are hurt by it. Eventually they become emotionally disturbed themselves.” (from Alateen – Hope for Children of Alcoholics, page 6).

"In Al-Anon meetings we hear the three Cs describing our powerlessness over alcoholism: we didn’t cause it, can’t cure it, and can’t control it."

"Hard as it is to look at our own part in our problems, acceptance of Step One brings relief from impossible responsibilities. We were trying to fix a disease – and someone else’s disease at that!

To find peace and serenity in our lives, we have to change – a challenging, and perhaps fearful, thought. We may have to re-learn to take care of ourselves. When we are focused on another person’s alcoholism and behavior, many of us develop the habit of putting that person’s needs first. We may suffer from low selfesteem and not believe that we deserve to take time for ourselves."

a list of questions asked by the publication:
- Do I accept that I cannot control another person’s drinking? Another person’s behavior?

- How have I tried to change others in my life? What were the consequences?

- What means have I used to get what I want and need? What might work better to get my needs met?

- How do I feel when the alcoholic refuses to be and do what I want? How do I respond?

- What would happen if I stopped trying to change the alcoholic or anyone else?

- How can I let go of others’ problems instead of trying to solve them?

- In what situations do I feel excessive responsibility for other people?

- In what situations do I feel shame or embarrassment for someone else’s behavior?

- Do I say “yes” when I want to say “no”? What happens to my ability to manage my life when I do this?

- Do I take care of others easily, but find it difficult to care for myself?

- How do I feel when life is going smoothly? Do I continually anticipate problems? Do I feel more alive in the midst of a crisis?

- How well do I take care of myself?

- Am I attracted to alcoholics and other people who seem to need me to fix them? How have I tried to fix them?

- Do I trust my own feelings? Do I know what they are?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

the whole complex-PTSD thing

i don't know whether i am/have complex-PTSD/DESNOS. i am going to discuss the issue further with my counsellor. she thinks it is a reasonable path to follow given the fact that i match the clinical checklist pretty closely.

I've been trying to explore the reasons and roots of the anger and the panic attacks and the flashbacks and the triggers for some time now. The workbook I am using lists the following:

1. Alteration in regulation of affect (emotion) and impulses
- chronic affect dysregulation (your emotions have a life of their own)
- difficulty modulating (managing and regulating) anger
- self-destructive or suicidal behaviours
- difficulty modulating sexual involvement
- impulsive or risk-taking behaviours

2. Alterations in attention or consciousness
- amnesia
- transient dissassociative episodes (short periods of zoning out)
- depersonalization

3. Somatization (how your body holds your trauma)
- digestive system problems
- chronic pain
- cardiopulmonary symptoms
- conversion symptoms (psychological problems that get converted into physical symptoms - eg, hits with a hammer on the back of a child become unexplained back spasms for the adult)
- sexual symptoms
- panic

4. Alterations in self-perception (how you see yourself)
- chronic guilt, shame, and self-blame
- feeling that you are permanently damaged
- feeling ineffective
- feeling nobody understands you
- minimizing the importance of the traumatic events in your life

5. Alterations in perception of the perpetrator (this is not needed for a diagnosis of complex PTSD)
- adopting the distorted beliefs of the perpetrator about yourself, others, and what happened as true
- idealizing of the perpetrator
- preoccupation with hurting the perpetrator

6. Alterations in relations with others
- inability to trust
- revictimizing yourself
- victimizing others

7. Alterations in systems of meaning (how you see life, others, and spirituality)
- despair, hopelessness
- loss of beliefs that had previously sustained you

What is Complex PTSD?

If you have complex PTSD, you may have some or all of these personality issues:

1. You may have problems with your ability to regulate emotions, especially anger.
2. You may find it hard to "stay present" without becoming Amnesiac (unable to remember), dissassociative (spaced out), depersonalized, or preoccupied with the trauma
3. You may not see yourself as a functioning individual who can avoid feeling helpless, shameful, guilty, stigmatized, alone, special, or full of self-blame.
4. You may not have the ability to separate yourself from your abuser or perpetrator's introjects as true(Introjects are someone else's beliefs that you take into your head as your own and then believe)
5. You may not have the ability to have positive, healthy relationships with others without being isolated, withdrawing, being extremely distrustful, failing repeatedly to protect yourself, or constantly searching for someone to rescue you (or for someone you can rescue).
6. You may not have the ability to find meaning in your life and maintain faith, hopefulness, and a sense of the future without feeling despair and hopelessness

all of the above taken from The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms, Mary Beth WIlliams and Soili Poijula, copyright 2002, New Harbinger Publications

the elements of the above that i do not exhibit are easier to list the the ones i do...

- self-destructive or suicidal behaviours
- dificulty modulating sexual involvement
- impulsive or risk-taking behaviours

that's it. even the impulsive or risk-taking behaviours is a bit of an issue

Monday, April 23, 2007

former business partner

ran into my former business partner tonight. we were both teaching night classes at the post-secondary institution we teach part-time at.

(historical note: i got him the teaching job and his current day job after the business collapsed. he'd had his sort of break-down near the end of the business and his wife was still going to school [she's an engineer now] and they seriously needed the money)

we've known each other/run the same circles/been friends since i was 13. he's about 3 years older than me. he was there almost every day through the most of the marriage.

anyway, he was teaching. we said hi on the ay in, but ran into each other in the parking lot. we stood and talked for about an hour about this and that.

the one interesting line. he said:

"I never really said it to you before, because we haven't really talked since you split... but, she never gave you a chance, man. never gave you couldn't move without her being on you..."

why am i writing this? because i still have to justify my own actions to myself. because every day i wake up and think about things related to the split and the breakdown/break-up i have to tell myself that the decision was the correct one, and that even with the difficulties my children are going through, that a living father asserting himself instead of being trampled is better for them in the lang run, even with the short term problems.

Friday, April 20, 2007

this emotion stuff is harder than you think...

"It's the perfect time of year
Somewhere far away from here
I feel fine enough, I guess
Considering everything's a mess
There's a restaurant down the street
Where hungry people like to eat
I could walk but I'll just drive
It's colder than it looks outside

It's like a dream you try to remember
But it's gone
Then you try to scream
But it only comes out as a yawn
When you try to see the world
Beyond your front door"

- Barenaked Ladies - Pinch Me


I was listening to the radio this morning on the way to work. This song was playing as I parked. I like the song and was singing along with the beginning of it (the excerpted section above) when I was suddenly emotionally overwhelmed and began to cry.

Not just a little. Deep and wracking.

i was surpised, but still utterly overwhelmed. i turned my face away from the parking lot (my spot is at the edge by some trees) lest anyone should see me. luckily i come in at 8:30 (flex hours) and most others are there at 8:00 or just before.

i used to suppress my tears. not cry. at all. only a few times since adolescence. and until making the break last summer, certainly only couple or three times with a witness.

i let it flow out of me. i was worried about what would happen if i ran into someone in the hallway on the way to my office - how they would react to my eyes - crying eyes - but i chose not to hold it in.

it is my desire to live. to fully live. if i shut down part of my emotional make-up. the sadness i feel. the tears within. then i will be shutting down my capacity for joy, because the atrophy in one area will spread. i know. i've lived it already. i want everything life has to give me. i want to feel it's beating presence in every moment.

and that means dealing with my tears as well.

i'm not sure why they came. but they did.


i picked up some books i ordered the other day. they are clustered around the subject of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

the three books are:

1) Heartwounds: The Impact of Unresolved Trauma and Grief on Relationships
2) The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms
3) Growing Beyond Survival: A Self-Help Toolkit for Managing Traumatic Stress

the last 2 books are workbooks. i spent some time looking through reviews of various books on PTSD to see which of them had a broader focus than childhood sexual abuse or traumatic event PTSD. i wanted books that discussed complex post traumatic stress disorder.

from the wikipedia "Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD), also known as "complex trauma" and "disorders of extreme stress not otherwise specified (DESNOS)", is a clinically-recognized condition that results from exposure to prolonged interpersonal trauma such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, torture, and war. According to van der Kolk and Courtois (2005), C-PTSD better describes the pervasive negative impact of chronic trauma than does the diagnosis posttraumatic stress disorder. PTSD fails to capture C-PTSD sufferers' loss of a sense of safety, trust, and self-worth, their tendency to be revictimized, and their loss of a coherent sense of self. C-PTSD is under consideration for inclusion in the next revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) as a formal, coded diagnosis. C-PTSD is characterized by chronic difficulties in many areas of emotional and interpersonal functioning."

i suspect that you will end up reading most of my efforts to go through these workbooks.

i was inspired to look for workbooks like this by some of the childhood sexual abuse workbooks i bought for stbx-Mrs_C all those years ago. i especially had respect for the workbook "The Courage To Heal", and thought that something like that might be a useful set of exercises for me.

i have no desire to return to my old ways of living and of relating to the world around me. as i am flying pretty blind on this i figured that i'd best deal with the anger and the rage - and the hurt and the emotion.

i so very much want to live.

the desire is just bursting out of me, but i don't want the emotional release to come out in an undirected manner - like this morning. that would be a good ticket to things like alcoholism (not that i'm much of a drinker), and serial rocky relationships.

i don't want that.

(not that i would particularly mind sleeping with half the known universe, but i've done that scene before and it just left me feeling empty)

i want to love and be loved. i want to feel joy.

this would seem to be a step.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

dear diary

daughter came over for supper last night. i was really happy about that. except she ate some fish after school that made her stomach hurt. so she couldn't eat the food i made.

since food is love, i felt bad...

i had gone shopping the day before to make sure i bought things she would like that i could actually make. i started prep on monday night.

i made 2 fresh salads, jicama, and spicy stuffed red peppers.

she ate some jicama and drank some fresh lemonade (real thing) i had made for her, but otherwise was in tears from the pain.

the fish was some storebought no-name fish sticks, so i have no idea of what it did to her. there was no diareaha or anything, so it wasn't food poisoning.

so, i don't know. she sat with me all evening on the couch and we talked a cuddled, so i don't think it was a faked negative response to my food (even though i'm paranoid).

she says she'll come back over for supper on thursday, so i'll see.


my massage therapist is back.. she worked on me. it helped for awhile and i felt muscle clunk into new positions and it helped for a little while, but now my shoulder hurts again.

it's pissing me off - that's two weeks now that its been out of sorts


that client that i did that writing for was actually mocked in a public forum for her discussion of a sexual harassment incident that happened to her when she was in her 20s. the person mocking her was another woman. the mocker was mocking the fact that my friend (who is usually hard as nails) broke down and started crying when the incident came to light.

i'm completely pissed

it's time to go nuclear

i'm thinking through which women's advocacy groups i'm going to feed this information to and let them take a bite out of the mocker


went for my first lunch hour walk in the park. ice is almost gone from the lake. get my vitamin d naturally in addition to my pills.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

house appraisers

got the appointment to get the house appraised. the dude will be going over next week. that means i should have it by early next week.

that means we can start haggling over price - hopefully a settlement won't be far behind.

i went to see my credit union. they won't do a mortgage until my credit card debt is reduced. that means no bridge financing or anything until the settlement comes through. no house until then.

as soon as the cards are cleared they will happily spring for more than i actually want to borrow or pay...

i'm intending to go with an actual lending institution because i want to bundle of services including a home equity line (to bridge some of the energy efficiency upgrades i want to make [we have a rebate program here]), and some other "wealth management" services that will be cheaper when bundled.

because the market here is as hot as it is, realtors won't even touch me until i'm pre-approved that pisses me off because i want to do some house viewing before hand. most houses (worth buying) in the last 3 months have gone in less than two days. in the area i want to buy most of the houses are going in the first few hours.

Smitten's realtor is a friend of hers, so i'm going to see if she'll show me around.

further to diary

had two big social engagments this week.

i went to a major banquet with politcal types. tickets were $200 a crack. the speaker of the assembly here gave me some tickets because he knew i was broke and he and others wanted me there.

they only gave me the tickets two days before the event. the banquet was on the evening of the day that son's surgery (outpatient) on his toes for ingrown toenails was occuring. the doctor got busy and forgot that we were around. the surgey didn't end up finishing until just as the banquet (cocktails) were supposed to start (5:30pm).

Smitten was supposed to go with me. because it would have been a massive rush (i got there at about 6:22 - right before the sitting), we decided that it would work better if she didn't attend. she needed to leave by about 7:30pm for a really important planning practice session with her belly dancing tribe (group).

i was sad she couldn't go.

i was happy she has a life and had something important like her dance to attend to.

(stbx-Mrs_C jammed out several years right at the door to our house as we were leaving. she would spaz and have a fit [social situation anxiety] as we were literally walking out the door and i would end up going alone)

hey - did i mention i looked hot? i was doing the evil super-villain thing again.

a woman i know who was unaware of my relationship with Smitten tried to pick me up. that was cool.


went to my friend's 50th on the weekend. he had it a local private club. it was a big bash. he has a lot of friends. there was a $10 donation at the door to cover costs of the event.

i asked Smitten to go. even though we had the kids, son was at the house playing dungeons and dragons while babysitting his sister (stbx-Mrs_C had a big date [oh, sorry - she's not dating yet... :-P] with "Bob" the hang around guy) and Smitten's son watched her daughter.

Smitten knew no-one there (not quite true - she did know a couple of people from my work that we had gone to the other bash with - but they arrived later).

she went in cold. she said she'd never been to a big birthday like this where she knew no-one. she cut short her own visiting with friends outside of town to come back in to attend.

right after we arrived another couple came in - the birthday guy introduced us. we had just finished looking at the picture display - they began. we seated ourselves near some folks i knew.

the other couple finished and began looking for a place to sit. they seemed quite lost and unsure. so i stood up and called them over. didn't know them - but they seemed badly lost in the crowd. they were relieved to have a place to sit.

we ended up talking with them most of the evening (until they left). the fellow owns the boutique coffee house downstairs from where the birthday guy works. they were fun to talk to. discovered he had previously worked as a master roaster at another coffee house some other people i kneow own.

it was a fun enough evening.

had a discussion with Smitten after we left that has had some forward repercussions - nothing bad - just stuff to work through. that will be the subject of another post.


more later

Monday, April 16, 2007

and some more

no real excitement in the universe. i'm blogging this as much to diarize it as anything.


got an email from stbx-Mrs_C on Wednesday saying i could send a house appraiser over on friday. i thought that timeline was a little short. appraisers are hard to get at this time of year, and our housing market is very robust right now. i'm still trying to get one to call me back.


the kids are constantly complaining to me about the poor quality of the food they are getting over at stbx-Mrs_C's place. they advise me that all she cooks is fish sticks and fries or pizza. sometimes they eat out.

the kids have taken to making their own meals.

i bought them some ultra-simple cookbooks. i hope it helps.

they have said they can't get their mom to buy the stuff they want to eat or make. i may buy them some of the ingredients so they can have a level of success. perhaps if they make stuff she will eat, she might be prepared to buy the ingedients they want. i'll have to teach them how to make a basic menu/meal plan and parallel shopping list.


finished watching battlestar gallactica seasons 1 and 2 with Smitten. started last October. i wanted her to see it, and she is into science fiction enough to be good with it. she mostly reads science fiction and fantasy books, rather than movies or TV. Movies and TV ended up being a staple of activity for stbx-Mrs_C and I - when you aren't talking at least you can be distracted... I have had no interest in repeating that pattern with Smitten.

I never watched much TV when i was younger. I missed pretty much the entire 1980s of TV because I didn't watch TV and didn't own a TV when I lived on my own. stbx-Mrs_C and I didn't have a TV for our first 18 months of marriage (or so) - not until after son was born and she needed something to do while she was up at night feeding the boy (breast fed - wasn't much I could do - if you're wondering why i wasn't up with her/him. i did get up to change him and fetch him, and did stay home with him [yes - that is a pre-emptive defensive explanation of involvement])

the TV is only on when the kids are at the apartment (technically not true because my service includes music channels and i use my DVD player/home theatre set-up ($140 - not some monster deal) as my stereo and instead of music (i hate commercial radio).


son says stbx-Mrs_C has begun telling people that I intended to divorce her from the moment i married her so that i could get money. 18 years of relationship later, i find that i resent that statement. son ripped her a new asshole when she said that to him. i did not admonish him for that action. i neither want to chide him for it, nor do i want to get in between his mother and him on an issue that is not a parenting issue.


daughter is asking when i will get my new house because she wants to get out of being at her mom's full time. stbx-Mrs_C's male friend is apparently at the house every day. stbx-Mrs_C says they are not dating - the kids say she is - daughter says stbx-Mrs_C only says she isn't dating to son, because she doesn't want to give son the satisfaction of being able to say "see, you're dating to" - daughter says stbx-Mrs_C has told daughter that they are dating.

daughter is also sick of sleeping with her mom in the same bed since about the new year. stbx-Mrs_C's tossing and turning and whacking with arms and bed hogging and blah blah (usual disturbed sleep) is also grating on daughter.

daughter really wants her own space.


went out on sunday for the day with daughter. went for breakfast and spent the rest of the day together. bopped around to exchange some jeans i'd bought and to look at pet stores to give the girl an outing. her dog is such a focus in her life that i want to do stuff with her. last year when i first moved out she asked if she could have a gecko. it's getting closer to house time, so we looked at gecko stuff too. that'll be a $300 touch at the end of the day.


more later

[later edit to see if i can actually get the blog rolls to read this as updated...]

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

weekend away

I was able to get a little time with a chiropractor who has cracked me a couple of times. My pain still hasn't gone away, but it is a little less. It is quite a sharp pain - and different from other pain i have felt, so it is not as easy to put away. Or maybe I'm just not used to living in pain anymore.

I know that at least my skin is more sensistive now than it used to be, so maybe i just feel this pain more sharply. I hope that a combination of treatment and exercise makes it go away soon. This is now a week of substantive discomfort.

My massage therapist and her magic hands are due back any day now...


Went away for the weekend. We were going to leave at noon on friday, but the work blow-out had continuing repercussions that had to dealt with. More words, more lines, more strategy - more hand-holding. I'm ok with the hand-holding. The lady I was writing for is my friend, and she needed my strength. She needed to know that someone understood her and her feelings. Her husband stood with her, and tried his best to protect her, but he doesn't have the words.

We left mid-afternoon. Smitten's daughter had some stuff that had to be done before we left, so the late departure worked out well.

It was a good drive. I shared my writing on the work stuff with her.

We talked about that and many things.


I had booked us into a grand old railway hotel in another city. I had gone up from the cheapest rooms available, because I didn't feel like spending time in a cheap room. It only cost $20 more a night, and it was completely worth it. The room was comfortable and well appointed with period charm - instead of being generically hotelish. The weekend away was a bit of a financial stretch for both of us, but we had not been away in a long time (since November...). I have cheques arriving soon, so I will only be tight for a week or so.

It's funny that since November is a long time since getting away. In my entire 18 years with stbx-Mrs_C we got away (just the two of us) a grand total of twice. I have now exceeded that total.


It is actually inaccurate to say that stbx-Mrs_C and I only got away twice in all that time. In addition to the two I reference above, when I was dating stbx-Mrs_C she suggested we have a getaway weekend to visit her sister and brother-in-law in the small town they lived in at the time. We arrived at their place and before I even got my bag put away he was demanding that I get on the roof of their house to re-roof and re-shingle it. I had met them once before. I had no warning that I would be doing roofing. It was sprung on me the moment I arrived. I was nice to my then girlfriend and her family. I spent Friday evening, Saturday, and most of Sunday re-roofing their house. Late Saturday I went in the house to get a drink at one point and cool off (blazing August heat [it gets near 100 F here in the summer sometimes in that area] from a roof all day with no shade). I had been sitting for about 10 minutes when brother-in-law came storming in literally yelling that he wasn't going to do the job himself and couldn't anybody else do some goddamned work around here. So I put down my glass and went back up. That weekend we removed all the old shingles, re-tarpapered and reshingled the roof on the house, built trusses, put them up, and did the rest roofing on a new 12x15 porch he'd added.

stbx-Mrs_C, her sister, and her mother (who was with us on the trip) went to town shopping while we worked. it doesn't get dark until getting on 9 pm so we worked until dark and then clean-up. we ate on the roof and came off only to go to the bathroom.

You will have to forgive me if I don't consider it a getaway weekend to add to the above mentioned 2.

for the record sister-in-law apologised for the imposition, as did stbx-Mrs_C, but neither of them intervened. looking back on it i should have just refused to continue working, so in that sense it's my own fault. i should have stood up for myself.


The weekend was much colder than we expected. It was blustery and butterly cold and shitty. We had intended to do a lot of walking on the riverbank and through a trendy area of town and such.

It didn't work out that way.

On friday we went to go to a funky chinese place I knew and it was closed due to an illness of one of the family members... so we went down the block to a place that looked interesting that we had just walked past. It was cool - tapas and trendy. We spent more than intended, but what the hell. It was fun. We had a bunch of different kinds of martinis and drinks (mixing alcohol - always a good thing ;-) along with the weird haute cuisine...

I had forgotten my swim trunks so we didn't go swimming or hottubbing that night (no downtown stores were open good friday evening and we weren't about to drive to a WalMart). Saturday was a slow starting day of lounging and laziness. We went out to get me some new swimwear. As usual I was looking for the cheapest shit I could find. But it all sucked from a fashion and looks standpoint. I made the mental break from budgetwear and decided to spring for some decent looking swim trunks instead of the baggy shit that makes me look about 50 lbs heaveir than i am. For your edification I have included a picture of some Tyr swim trunks that are very similar to what i bought. I look really good in them.

We tried to pick up some other things for Smitten's daughter, but that didn't go well. The mall was really packed and the line-up at the Junior la Senza store was really long. Smitten isn't very patient with lines and such.

The whole mob in the mall thing was not a good scene. Being cold and shitty, everyone was indoors instead of out. We left without getting the stuff.

We did stop in at a couple of really nice boutiques with various objets d'art. They were fun.

We went to pick up some alcohol to enjoy in the room that night. We weren't going to spend bar/lounge prices on our budget. We were also unsure as to whether we wanted to hit any of the live acts that were playing that night.

The day had really lost it's original direction and the weather was really bitterly shitty.

Smitten couldn't decide what she wanted to buy for alcohol.

Without a blow by blow - this whole situation set off some really serious triggers in me. I was in complete panic mode by this time and not having any fun. When the day got off track like this, and the weather was bad, and the shopping was bad, and the budget was tight, and I was with stbx-Mrs_C - and she became indecisive on stuff... I would be in trouble. I would inevitably be the responsible party for everything being wrong and would suffer for it.

I recognised what was going on in my head and took a few steps inside the liquor store to calm myself down. When we finished our choices and went out to the vehicle I explained my fear to Smitten. I talked about feeling that the day had gone off the rails and the triggers to my anxiety.

She listened and came back with such a completely different response. She said that she just sometimes had indecisive moments and felt badly that I had to hang around while she was being indecisive.

It was weird for me.

No mega conversation. No attack. No escalation.

Just a short discussion and a reassurance that she still wanted to be with me. She then asked about where we should go for supper.

And that was it.

No drama. No spaz. No nothing.

It was mindblowing.

I suggested another restaurant I knew. We went there. It is run by some "just off the boat" Vietnamese people, so it was quite authentic food. We had a wonderful time over dinner, excellent food. Formica tables and basic chairs, but incredibly clean (possibly the cleanest bathrooms in a non five star place I've ever seen).

We went back to the hotel and soaked in the hottub for awhile. After which we went back to the room and enjoyed some brandy while lounging and cuddling and such.

Sunday brunch was excellent and the drive home went well also.

It was a very relaxing time. Easy flow, easy conversation.

A well spent weekend.

work stuff

Had a hell day at work on Thursday. Big issue blew up right in the middle of the afternoon. Dealing with press, dealing with client base, dealing with all the shit that goes with it.

My shoulder got thrown out on wednesday - slept wrong. Still hurts. Hurt a lot worse on Thursday. Was going to get work done on it, but had to be there to take care of things at the office. My boss has had a bit of a ragged edge lately and I didn't want to leave him to deal with it all while he was feeling frayed.

I also needed to hold the hand of one of the clients (you know the business I am in - remember Evil Cadbury and what he does). There were special words to be written and lines to be developed and spin to be deployed. I am Cadbury the unflappable and everyone else was flapping. If that sounds egocentric - it probably is - but it's true.

This was an ugly issue - one that required the fine line between emotional honesty and spin. It had to be played off legit, but still used to advantage within the context of "the business". It had to be legitimate because anything else would have smelled instantly of "put on for the cameras". It had to be legit because it would be morally wrong to use an issue like this purely as "a play". It had to be real because it was/is. And it had to be set up and used for advantage - the forces of darkness are beating us with a stick right now because the law and best solution in a bad situation and what seems right in a 30 second clip on the news right aren't always the same thing. Especially when the people who put together the original play (that we are being beat up for) were male lawyers (searching for a least cost solution) - and not people with a whole lot of sensitivity.

It's funny, but all my writing on this blog, and all my research into issues surrounding abuse and sexual harrassment were what allowed me to craft perfect words for one of our women clients. A number of the women that heard her speak my words cried at the emotional honesty contained within them. Women who are otherwise awfully tough, and awfully thick skinned.

On a personal level I take that as validation of my emotions surrounding my experience. Just like an artist needs to know they have connected with the people experiencing their art, I need to know that my words touch something real inside people. This did. I am grateful that I was able to help this woman put words to her own feelings and her experience.


Because of the above I don't feel nearly as guilty anymore about all the time I have spent on this blog at work.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

in my shoes

why am i all of a sudden size 10 1/2?

i was a size 11-11 1/2 until about age 30 when my foot became about a 12

was 11 1/2 - 12 until last year when i was an 11.

now i'm down to a 10 1/2 - on the measuring plate - not just the shoes.



my parents are back from the states. it was good to see them. had supper over at their place last night. went over with son to help unload their vehicle and traipse stuff around the house - mom has problems with stairs and dad is 80.

i'm looking at making an Easter meal at their place - being as the family wouldn't all fit in my apartment, and mom couldn't go up the 4 flights of stairs. i have proposed doing the cooking, set-up and tear-down for the meal. all mom would have to do is throw a ham in the oven earlier in the day. dad... well he's dad and will do whatever it is he's done for all these years when it's time to get ready for a big shindig


looking at going out of town with Smitten this weekend. have reservations at a hotel - one of those grand old railway hotels that sort of looks like a castle

i am looking forward to getting away and doing something that does not resemble the regular week-in/week-out routine.


dance classes are done for the season. we had picked another couple that was in the class to see if we could practice together. they were interested as well and we have agreed to get together when time permits (they have small kids).

a bit of positive happenstance - they are friends with two of the volunteer instructors from the dance society - who will be attending when we get together. so we seem to have picked right - personal tutoring - for free

and they all seem to be really pleasant people. it would be nice to develop these as friendships

Monday, April 02, 2007

weekend round-up

went with son on saturday to buy him some new clothes and some new shoes. spent Cdn $81.00 (USD$70) on shoes for son. NO - not addidas or some such shit. Rockports... the boy wanted Rockports (casual shoe). Said he liked the style, colour, and the way they felt. Normally i only spent up to about $60 on shoes because he'll outgrow them, but shoes are the only thing he's pain in the ass about. He wants what he wants, and digs in on anything else. Not on price (he's go with a lower prced shoe), not on brand (he doesn't give a shit) - just what he wants. So a $20 or $30 premium to avoid the hassle - and give him a good pair of shoes - that he wears every day. I'm ok with it.

bought him some new clothes (man, he's huge! not fat - but big and broad shouldered). bought me some new clothes too - big sale at one of the department stores - scratch and save sale.

Smitten was working an informational booth for her organization on Saturday night and wanted company - so i went with her. Son decided to hang with Smitten's son (12) (who has a Wii) and eat pizza.

came back and son was lying around reading his book, Smitten's son was doing his own thing - they were just hanging out. Smitten and I wanted to visit, and son wanted to sit with us. He just wanted to hang out and yak a bit and be around us. he seemed to be just so happy to just be.

it made me think of a comment he had made earlier in the day while we were shopping. he said "You know, I kind of mad that my Mom is nuts." I glanced over at him with an admonishing raised eyebrow - he said "No - I'm serious. I really serious. It bugs me. My other friends, I go to their place, and their Mom's are pretty normal - as Mom's will ever be - but Mom - she's just all bent out of shape and always going off in some weird way - and it's kind of frustrating - I feel kind of gypped - I just want a normal life and a normal Mom."

i feel badly for the boy.


daughter was saying on friday night that if her mother tries to go for full custody she'll fight it as hard as she can.

that was switch.

i think "Mom exposure therapy" is working.

daughter is getting really unhappy with her mom stalling on the room re-doing and is getting seriously irritated with having to sleep in her mom's room (same bed). she says that it was ok at first but her mom always wants to hug her and cuddle up with her and daughter says it's starting to "get creepy" and "greeble her out" because it's like her "mom wants a cuddle replacement" for me.

daughter says "it's not like I married her"


daughter said that her grandmother was "nuts too"

this was the same night and flowing from the same cluster of conversation surrounding uncle molester.

i didn't ask for clarification on the nuts grandma statement. from son i know that grandma has been pushing stbx-Mrs_C and telling her what to do a lot recently. daughter is around for a lot more than son.


daughter is mad that auntie and grandma are saying she's getting fat. daughter thinks they're unhealthy. daughter is not fat - and i say that in an objective and not "fatherly" way. the girl isn't fat. she's really solid (muscular) and well built - to my eye she is perfectly proportioned.

daughter and son think their mother is unhealthy - stbx-Mrs_C has given up a huge amount of eating - she just skips eating most of the time - and her cigarette consumption is up.

stbx-Mrs_C is really a bit of a bag of bones at this point. she is the lightest she has ever been in her adult life (since age 17). she is now only about 125 lbs. too light for her size.


daughter didn't want to go home, but couldn't bring herself to go back on the not staying at the apartment thing.

while we were at supper i told daughter my parents would be home soon and that if daughter wanted some "refuge" she could go/stay/sleep over there. that i understood that it would be hard for her to come back to the apartment given the context. that if she didn't like it over there i was ok with that. that i knew that she might want to stand on principal in not staying over at my place, and that she might feel some pressure or retaliation from her mom (and aunt and grandma) if she were to stay at my place. but that my parents' place might be some shelter.


stbx-Mrs_C phoned on Sunday to apologise for her blow-out on friday. she talked about wanting good relations, and that her outburst was from having seen the lawyer. she said that she had built herself up with false hope when the lawyer talked about sometimes, out of the blue, people decide to reconcile.

i laid out a bunch of my recent thinking. i told her i wanted her in counselling and that i thought she needed it - and that i had thought she needed it since we were dating (18.5 years ago). i laid out some of the things i thought she needed to address with a counsellor, and the carry-overs from her childhood that i thought were still fucking her up.

she rebutted fairly intensely. i stuck to my guns. i cited some of her statements about how her mom beating her and her uncle molesting her had affected her and that while i agreed that her mom had done the best she could in many ways, her mom had failed her in a lot more ways, that all of it still left scars that were unhealed.

i was extremely even-toned throughout - but it still ended on a bit of a bad note.

stbx-Mrs_c called back shortly after. i let it ring through to me voice mail. i listened to her message and she was actually phoning to apologise and said that it was hard to hear that she was erratic and needed help.

she then called me again and repeated much of the same thing directly to me.

it's the first time she's ever admitted she might need outside professional help.

it's a positive sign.

i worry though (as correctly pointed out by Sicilian) that it is part of a maneuver to maintain contact and more "discussion". to just keep hanging on as she feels things slipping away even further. that if this is the only point of connection, that she will do whatever it takes to keep some contact and emotionally based connection.


all will be as all will be.

i just need to make sure i don't get sucked back into the swirl.