Thursday, 29 September 2016

kayaking and sunshine

The last full day at the cottage was full of sunshine and kayaking, mixed with small storms of tantrums - mostly mine.  I'm a hothead and don't like feeling taken advantage of.

Anyway.  I kayaked around our little lake in the warm sunshine while Bob waited at the sheltered, shady beach with a fire.  When I was done, arms sore and face warm, I hopped out into the water and moved to the cool sand.  It was therapeutic and wonderful.  A nice fire, cold sand, and a long nap followed by wine and an old movie rounded out the last full day here.

I'm sad to be leaving.  Sad to be going back to the chaos of work and home.  Sad to be leaving somewhere relaxing to attend a funeral that may be quite dramatic.  Sad to watch my 20-something children say goodbye to a woman that babysat them as toddlers and always was there to love.  

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

of mice and men

Wednesday morning.

In theory, hump day should be the middle of the week, but it's the second last day of being at the cottage.  I know it's the right thing to do, going home to take care of the dogs so that my son can attend his great-grandmother's visitation, and attending the funeral myself... but I'm a little sad that I have to give this place up 36 hours early.

And it's not that I'm leaving early, it's more that I'm rested and relaxed and happy.  I've worked through some deeply personal things that have stalled my progress.  I can share some of it, here.

So, I'm not sure who knows and who doesn't, but my first husband was a bit volatile.  He was also depressed.  And I'm a hot head who doesn't learn and who doesn't always know better.  I'm not excusing his behaviour, or mine, but also dealing with things that I thought I'd dealt with.  Two things, recently, came up to make me have to re-examine my healing:  one is that someone at work said, while we were talking about abuse, that I "don't take shit and would never let that happen to me" and the other was Jesse struggling with his feelings and wondering if he was depressed.

First off, I should have corrected my co-worker and explained that the reason I am so "not taking bullshit" is because I did when I was younger and it damaged me.  I should have educated someone that there is no "type" of person who gets hurt by someone who supposedly loves them.  But I didn't because I was ashamed and because I didn't want to be seen as "that type of person", which is the same as his assumption, no?  I had to work through that.

The second thing was that my son dealing with what may have been depression was a reminder of his father's issues with it, and it brought up some feelings I wasn't prepared to deal with.  On a side note, my son - unlike his father - saw someone to talk through things and is learning to deal with what bothers him.  He's not depressed, at least not clinically, but willing to work through his issues in a positive way.

Anyway, being away from the stress of work and the worries of home have given me time to rest my brain and sleep extra hours and really think about what's bothering me and why.  I realized that I was still ashamed of getting hurt in my first marriage and how unimportant I was in the overall picture of that marriage.  I'm ashamed of that, even though it really wasn't my fault.  And part of me is still very afraid of my ex, even though I've forgiven and created a life where he and I can share and talk about our children.  Maybe it's his grandmother passing away, too..  knowing we'll be together and working through our grief and our children's grief and wondering what his now-wife knows or doesn't know and what she's okay with and not okay with.  

Whew.  That feels good to get off my chest.  But what does it MEAN?

Well, it means I shouldn't feel so obligated and guilty all the time and should remember to do things that make me happy and whole.  It's okay to still be afraid of things that hurt me.  It's not a character flaw or gaping wound.  I can laugh and love and embrace change while still remembering boundaries that have been set up to protect myself.

It means I can go home Friday and grieve.  It means I can support my children - Jordie is speaking, Jesse is pallbearing - with their father but lean on my amazing husband to do so.  It means that life goes on and pain exists, but it is tempered by time and love.

Sorry I've been a mess, friends.  I had to sort some shit out so that I could carry on.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

moonshine and capitaL cities

Yesterday I spent the morning blogging, reading, and making a fire.  It was grey and damp and I was tired.  Around noon, we got up and dressed and decided to check out a "local" brewery an hour away.  We drove through pretty lakes and small towns and arrived in Perth an hour later.  We easily found their craft brewery and sampled a few beers.  They made, and we bought, a couple exceptional stouts, two IPAs, and a maple amber.  The girl there also suggested a brand new distillery on the edge of town we may like- so we got in the truck and traveled across their barely existing "town".  The distillery was quite new - but we had a blast.  We tasted moonshine and gin and toured their warehouse to see their whiskey barrels.  They are currently making their very first whiskey batch to be un-barreled in 2019.  We bought someone a certificate for a first bottle for his birthday - I think he'll be tickled.  We also bought ourselves some moonshine - apple and pumpkin - to enjoy over the next few months or weeks.

We also realized, yesterday, that we probably have to cut our vacation short for me to attend the children's great-grandmother's funeral in Niagara.  I feel awful cutting things short, but would feel even worse not attending.  I could claim mental exhaustion.  I could also tell you I'm really not mentally ready for an encounter with my ex right now.  But does that matter when a woman you loved, and who loved you back, passes away and deserves to be honoured?  I don't know.

But today, today we're here.  And today we're headed into Ottawa to meet friends for dinner and have oysters at a raw bar.  I'm worried and excited.  And happy to be going into a city I love for the day and seeing friends I miss.  Bob is still snoring as I write this.  We're doing a lot of drinking, reading, and relaxing.  It's been lovely.

I'm still exhausted.  I've been going to bed at eight and getting up at 7:30.  My body just craves sleeping.  But I'm happier and my eye is improved.  I just feel sad that I have to give this relaxation up to put on a face and pretend all is okay to support others at a funeral when I need to be sleeping and looking at a small, quiet lake.

My goal today is to not worry about it :)

Monday, 26 September 2016



Cold autumn breezes in bright sunshine. A murky lake with geese, herons, and bullfrogs.  A dock.  A wood stove.  Adirondack chairs with heavy sweatshirts and socks.  2 books in three days.

My eye is healing and so is my spirit.  I feel more like me again.  I just needed a break so badly after the last two months.  It feels great and relaxing.

Yesterday we ventured into the small town of Yarker and visited a tea room.  We then took a meandering drive up to Sydenham to a general store.  The store was one of those stores from yester-year.  Creaking wood floors and endless "finds".  It had everything and more.  We left with a great new shirt for me - long, tunic style, and colourful - to go with leggings and a neat bottle to make salad dressing it (random, right?).  We spent the rest of the day reading outside (me on the dock, Bob on the deck) and making a fire inside.

Today was supposed to be rainy but the forecast is changing.  Not sure if that means our plans will change or not, but we shall see.  I have the second log on the fire at 9 a.m., and coffee going strong.  I've read several chapters in my book, and Bob has just woke up.    There is nothing to do, which is marvelous.

We may leave the cottage early, though as my children's great-grandmother passed away yesterday morning.  We shall see.

Saturday, 24 September 2016


In four hours, I leave on vacation for a week.  I am not packed.  Bob is not awake.  The laundry is not done.  But I am enjoying the morning and having a coffee and not worrying, yet, about timelines or my left eye.

My left eye is swollen almost shut.  It's painful and tearing.  I look like I was punched.  And can I just say that it's great to work with the type of people to ask what happened?   Even with it being just a cold, it was kind of nice that I work with people who asked.

And the weather turned cold, which is kind of exciting for a week at the cottage.  I'm a big fan of jeans and sweatshirts and running shoes.  I'm a big fan of being cold.

And we have beer, which is always great.  And wine.  Thank god for these things. :)  Scrabble, cribbage, Uno..  maybe even a puzzle.  And dinner with a friend I haven't seen since April.

The sound of water is calling :)

Tuesday, 6 September 2016


This video is the source of my anxiety and frustration this week - watch it if you have the time and patience.  It's a 23 minute interview featuring my "homeless" step-son.  It's a pretty interesting look at what happens when a child makes decisions he's clearly not capable of making.

Frustrating, really.

It's hard being a parent to someone like this.  I feel cold-hearted saying that this video is almost complete bullshit, but it is.  He's not battling against stigma -  he hasn't been kicked out of shelters due to stigma - he's been violent and refused to follow the rules.  He *shouldn't* qualify for welfare or disability because he's 20 years old and fully capable of working.  He chooses to not take his meds because he doesn't want the accountability of meeting with a physician.  He chooses to drink and party and not sleep because he prefers that lifestyle.

Even the bit about shoes, for pete's sake.  We just bought him shoes.  They were rubber converse and would have kept him warm and dry but who the hell knows what he traded or sold them for.  But yes, good people of Toronto, open your pockets and continue to enable this dangerous, destructive behaviour.  Feel sorry for the person making bad choices and assume he comes from a bad home.

He didn't get "screwed over for 2000" by a sublet apartment.  He trashed both places he lived in and didn't pay rent.  The first place he was asked to leave and had the police involved because of his antics and the second place was some weird situation where he was supposed to go to court to say he lived there but didn't and then got evicted - doesn't even make sense, right?  But we're supposed to believe that the kid kicked out of every youth shelter in the city suddenly became a model renter?

My husband is  devastated by this video.  He's upset that our child lives like this.  He's upset we can't change it.  He's upset that everything we do just makes it worse.  I'm more or less disgusted.  This is just "more of the same" for me - this stupid, selfish child doing whatever he wants and acting like it's some righteous cause and victimization.  And I'm tired of my wonderful, thoughtful husband carrying the burden of this child's decisions.


Wednesday, 31 August 2016

on sLeeping

I woke up at one a.m. this morning after a few hours of fit-full sleep and multiple trips to go pee.  Obviously, my body clock is behaving badly.  And so, I got up and did some work, getting some issues off of my plate since I'm only just lying there thinking about them.  But out here, from the kitchen where I can hear Bob snore and see that my son has not yet come home at 2 in the morning, I still don't feel sleepy.  I feel tired, and slightly panicked that I'll be bagged in the morning, but not sleepy.

I went back on my loseit plan a few days ago.  I have gained some of my previously lost weight back and needed to feel in control.  And I'm anxious as all freaking get out lately, something I'd rather not think about.  Something happened a few weeks ago and I'm really, really stressed about it and how I feel about it and have been throwing myself into work and other mindlessness to not think about it.   But with the pressures at work and the autumn plans staring me down, I'm getting anxious about all the things that keep me busy and interested, too.  I want to curl, I want to do some poverty advocacy, but I'm stressed about leading a group and leading my small group at church, I'm stressed about the time I will have for exercise and friends and my husband.  I know it will work out, I just can't see how, yet.

But then I plan another week of vacation (Cleveland, to see an NFL game) and feel better about things.  Intentionally slowing things down as they speed up feels good.  And then I do a devotion, from the poverty and social justice book Shooter got me, and I feel better.  Relaxed.  Still tired, still not sleepy.

And yet, maybe sleepy.   Maybe enough to not toss and turn until my alarm goes off in 3.5 hours and I need to drive an hour into work and have a day full of meetings where I have to be on and pretend that I'm not exhausted.

Yeah, bed time.