Sunday, February 26, 2006


I grew up in a family of skiiers and was downhill skiing almost before I could walk. My parents couldn't afford much but skiing was a priority. We'd eat our homemade lunches in the car, complete with a thermos full of hot chocolate. Leather laced boots that never kept your feet warm. Rope tows up the hill and racing down, sans poles, to sneak through to the front of the line because I was just so darn cute everyone let me pass.
My parents continued to ski into their 70s. My father is an incredibly elegant skiier. Nice memories.

So it's no surprise that the winter Olympics were a big deal in our home. Given our heritage, it was the Austrian and Canadian skiiers (like Nancy Greene) we were cheering on, but we also couldn't ignore the brilliance of a Jean-Claude Killy. We knew these names as well as others knew David Cassidy or Donny Osmond (ya, I'm showing my age).

As I got older and fell in love and had children, my world changed and I was barely aware of the Olympics, summer or winter.

I got pulled back into the Olympic fever when it was held in Atlanta because my love was an avid Olympics fan. And then there was Sydney in 2000. Sydney was his home and I had yet to go so between his passion for his city which was incredibly infectious, books he sent me about various Australian Olympians, and watching the footage of the city on t.v., the city I would later fall in love with in person, I was hooked again on the Olympics and have been ever since. He attended the closing ceremonies and I still have the pics he took of the smuggled-in enormous Canadian flag on the floor with the athletes. The Aussies loved the cheekiness of the Canucks for that.

We shared our enthusiasm through the Sydney, Salt Lake City and Athens Olympics. Yet another way to bond with someone too far away. I'm sorry we won't be able to share the 2010 Vancouver Olympics as we did all the others. We'd looked forward to it.

So the Torino Olympics have been bittersweet for me, mostly sweet. There were certainly some good moments and I'm soooooo impressed with how well our Canadian women did. And it was great seeing the flag turned over to Vancouver's mayor (he found it ironic that he, as he put it, the world's worst skiier - he became a quadriplegic at 19 due to a skiing accident - was the one accepting the flag for our 2010 winter Olympics) during the closing ceremony.

It's kinda sad to see the flame go out but I'm also somewhat glad it's over. Another trigger gone through fairly successfully.

And I'm still gonna wear my Sydney 2000 baseball cap when I go out walking in the rain.

Technorati Tags: Olympics, Sydney, Vancouver

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Male Friendships

Most women I know have always had profound friendships with other women from childhood on. We always had our 'kindred spirits' (one of my favorite phrases from Anne of Green Gables).

I'm 45 and in my generation I just didn't see a lot of male friendships that weren't fairly superficial and/or didn't last past highschool or college associations.

Which is why I am so pleased for my two sons. While they had friendships with both boys and girls in elementary school, it was starting in the 8th grade (junior high here) that they each formed deep bonds with a little circle of friends. These friendships remain extremely strong and meaningful even now, years after highschool graduation, and - in the case of my older son - despite long periods spent distanced from each other and pursuing remarkably different lives. (For example, my older son has spent a lot of time in other countries. One of his friends now lives on an island off the coast of B.C., married young with two young daughters he absolutely adores. Another of his friends recently married in another province and is presently serving with our military in Afghanistan. But you'd never know that time and distance has ever separated them once they're together again. Side story: one of the Christmases my older son was away suddenly one of his friends showed up at my front door. His only purpose was to pass on a hug from my older son to me. He hugged me and left. Pretty cool.)

One brother's circle is very different than the other brother's but they share certain attributes. They are extreeeeeeemely loyal to each other and really have each other's backs. This, despite some major divergences in belief systems and philosophies. I have for years loved knowing that if my sons felt they couldn't come to me for whatever reason, I knew they talked with their friends and that they were looking out for each other. They're also not afraid to show affection, including hugs, sharing feelings, vulnerabilities.

From what I've observed - and I'm sure I'm generalizing too broadly here - this feels like a major shift for men between the generations. Either way, it's a very good thing.

I'll finish with a little story of my older son and one of his friends. When they were around 18 yrs old they often went camping on the weekends. Bad weather didn't matter. And we have plenty of lakes, rivers and mountains nearby from which they could choose. Not surprisingly, there was some substantial drinking going on (no driving EVER when drinking which is why they often chose the closest mountain and walked/hiked into the woods). My older son returned from one of these trips with badly burned feet. The story went that he had passed out drunk, his feet in the fire and one of his best buds had got his feet out of the fire and made sure he was okay. It felt good knowing he was being looked after.

Well, years later I learned the real truth. Yes, my son got drunk and passed out. His buddy was worried about him getting too cold so he got him in to his sleeping bag and put his feet by the fire. REALLY by (in?) the fire. Sleeping bag caught on fire. Hence the burned feet. *LOL* So much for that warm fuzzy feeling I had about how they looked after each other.

P.S. My older son rarely, if ever, drinks now and hasn't for many years. I guess he got it out of his system. My younger son has yet to touch a drop. He's just not interested, having seen how idiotic some of his friends can behave when they're drunk. (Nor has he tried drugs and yes, I would know.) And I think he actually likes being the designated driver.

Friday, February 24, 2006

It doesn't matter.

The masseuse had to cancel the appointment. So, another day.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Well, in my ongoing pursuit of challenging myself this year, stepping outside the box, taking on adventures big and small, I am going to be getting my first massage tomorrow and will be crossing that one off the to-do list.

Over and over in my life I have shown courage, whatever the challenge. I'm also generally a pretty calm person.

And yet I'm positively anxious tonight at the prospect of having the massage tomorrow. (And my emotional eating tonight is reflecting that.)

Originally, I wasn't going to blog about this until it was past and I could share my triumph and my foolishness with bemused hindsight. But I'm here tonight hoping writing it out will help ease the anxiety.

I have every reason to be confident in the masseuse I'll be seeing so my fears are really unfounded but, oh well, here they are:

I'm afraid there will be a fallout in pain due to my fibromyalgia. The thing about FM is that sometimes it hurts at the time of the touch, sometimes it doesn't hurt until later. So if that's the case I won't be able to say "stop, it hurts". There are enough distractions and endorphins in other kinds of touch for it to be less of an issue for me.

I try to let this one go but due to some perceptions instilled during my upbringing, it's difficult for me to believe my body deserves any kind of pampering.

There are some sexual abuse issues for me; massage was what was used to 'groom' me for it.

Being basically nude in front of another. Funny, I can do this just fine with a sexual partner and have few, if any, inhibitions. But for this I'm just lying there, not doing anything diverting, not overwhelming anyone with my personality or sexual prowess. Just L-Y-I-N-G there.

My skin. Excema has been the bane of my life for the last few years and I've become very self-conscious about it.

It's difficult for me to accept kindness, kind touch. I'm afraid it will trigger something in me. I am feeling very vulnerable lately and have what has sometimes been referred to as 'skin hunger'; the need to be touched at all is overwhelming at times. And I'm afraid I'll burst out crying. (And yes, I know that's not unusual and I know that she will be fine about this but *I* won't.)

Since my love died I have kept myself very very busy, challenging myself, pursuing creative projects, even just having fun. I fill up the silences with music which has no connection to HIM or the t.v. is on all the time. Soothing music in the background isn't diverting enough. So I will be there with no book, no project, no distraction, just lying there with time to think. (I feel the same at the dentist's, by the way. I have zero fear of dentistry despite having a lot of often painful work done over the years, so I'm relaxed when I go there with too much time to think.)

I fully expect that tomorrow's experience WILL BE okay and I'll be blushing at my foolish misgivings. (Heck, I'm already embarassed.) But tonight I can't convince myself of that.

Hmmm. Writing it out may have helped. A little bit. Maybe.

Technorati Tag:

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Good ex-husbands - is there such a thing?

My ex and I were together for a couple of decades. By the time our marriage ended, it had been years of problems, numerous attempts - with counseling and otherwise - to keep it going, keep it healthy. We met when we were young and probably should have let the marriage go sooner than we did. As it was it went on far too long and both of us ended up being very hurt.

Like it is for so many others, the separation and divorce was pretty ugly and scary at times. I was the one who wanted the divorce and he wasn't ready. He had reason to hate me and he did his best to turn our sons and everyone around me against me.

I say all that not to bash him but to emphasize how far we've come.

And it actually didn't take all that long. By the time the divorce went through, a couple of years after we separated, it had already settled down. We were ALL extremely fortunate that he found someone else fairly quickly. It was obviously good for him but it was also good for me because that meant he moved on from the hatred. And it was especially good for our sons because they realized he was going to be okay.

Now we are all okay.

It didn't really surprise me that he is a good ex-husband. (He preferred the role of the 'fun/weekend dad' even when we were married.) He's a better co-parent now than he was when we were married. And he's more considerate towards me now than he was then.

He and his lady live fairly close by. We call each other to share concerns about our now grown sons (believe me, those concerns don't end once they're grown, just become more complicated). Not a lot but we know we can call if we need to. We attend graduations and birthday celebrations all together (his lady included, of course). I'm still invited to some of his family celebrations like weddings and showers. Over the years of the divorce, I've given him and his lady Christmas cards and I'll receive chocolates or a flower now and then. A year ago my mother experienced a few strokes and it was touch and go with her for a while and he phoned with his support.

I know this makes our sons VERY happy. They have zero expectation that we'll get back together, that's just not the issue. But they are very pleased that we treat each other so well, albeit at a distance.

I mentioned in a past entry how my ex was part of the surprise of my older son's recent early homecoming. He was in on the whole thing for the last few months and never let it slip. He drove hours to pick him up at the airport and deliver him here. It was a wonderful thing for him to do and entirely selfless.

Some background to set the stage for the next story: My birthday is November 1st, one day after Hallowe'en. Hallowe'en is a HUGE deal here, in our area and in our home. Usually we'd be surrounded by friends and neighbors, many of whom would wish me a Happy Birthday, etc. within his hearing. His birthday is November 2nd, the day after mine. And yep, he 'forgot' my birthday more than once.

Juxtapose that to what occurred a few years ago. My older son who was barely an adult at the time was serving with our military in Bosnia. He was gone for a good part of that year, training in another province and then in Europe for six months, including over the Christmas holidays. It was the first Christmas of his life when he wouldn't be with us. (We've since gone through two more without him.)

On Christmas morning, which I spent with my younger son, I opened one awkwardly wrapped gift to find a very Eastern European-looking 'Santa', a gift from my older son. My younger son revealed that yes, my older son had got it to my ex who had given it to my younger son to smuggle into the house to under the Christmas tree.

And I knew. And what I realized still brings tears to my eyes as I write this. My older son had done nothing of the sort. I wasn't expecting anything and wasn't hurt that there'd be nothing. He was doing what he wanted to do, his girlfriend had joined him for Christmas so he wasn't going to be alone (my only concern), and he was just too caught up in his life to even think of something like this, let alone have a chance to actually take care of it.

I knew that my ex, the same ex who had sometimes been thoughtless in our marriage, had figured I'd be missing our son and that our son should have got me something. I knew that he had gone out and deliberately found that Eastern European-looking Santa to pass it off as a gift from my son so that I would know my son was thinking of me.

I knew.

And I was right. That Santa is one of the ugliest things I've ever seen but it's one of the most precious things I have and it's always on display each Christmas.

That's a good ex-husband. Kinder than I deserve and, divorced or not, our sons have a real family.

Blessings come where we least expect them.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


Not all of my journaling experiences have been positive ones. My journals have been turned against me now and then. But I return to them time and time again because their power to heal is undeniable.

I have journaled, off and on, throughout my life. I journaled as a preteen and teen, again in my thirties and into my forties. Some have been diaries, some all about poetry and feelings, dealing with subjects from love to sexual abuse to self-destruction to death to divorce to illness to joy to..... well, just about everything.

I kept a gratitude/prayer/dream journal for years. That last one helped me through my divorce and beyond. When life seemed bleakest having to stick to a gratitude journal every night to remind myself of the good things in my life made a positive difference and kept me putting one foot in front of the other. (Some nights I could barely write "thank goodness this awful day is over' but at least it forced me to look at the bright side and doing so wasn't about denial but helped me face each day.) And those dreams I kept at the back of each of those journals - many dreams that were far-fetched - all were realized and crossed off over the years.

I've kept travel journals at the suggestion of my best friend, starting a couple of trips ago. I thought I'd never have time for such a thing and it wasn't needed. How grateful I am now that she gave it to me and that I used it. Over time, the little details are lost from memory and even pictures don't capture the entire experience. Those travel journals, journaling my last times with my love AND journaling a healing trip of memorializing with my best friend, bring me great joy today.

In between those last couple of trips, I kept a grief journal. It, too, was necessary and almost every entry was writing to my love, expressing my grief directly to him, my loss, my feelings, my anger, my desolation. A few months ago I had to put it away. I realized it was keeping me in the grief and it had stopped being a healing tool and had begun trapping me.

And then came this blog a few months later. And I realized tonight, in talking with a friend, just what a great healing tool this blog has been and it has something private journals do not that is very important to that healing, at least for me.

Because there is a potential audience, I don't allow myself to emotionally get bogged down. It helps to force me to continue to put one foot in front of the other. When I share a list of things I want to accomplish this year, for example, it's out there and I'm accountable. So if I'm tempted to let those dreams and goals go, I feel less inclined to do so. I'm more likely to look for and find the humor in a situation because I know that's more entertaining. I'm more likely to find the positive spin at least some of the time.

Blogging encourages me to be a cup half full kinda woman more often than otherwise, not just for the purpose of the blog but authentically within myself.

And on a weekend when I've been reeling from some physical and emotional crud of the last few days/weeks, it is thinking about this idea that has brought me back to myself and reminded me that I'll be okay.

That can only be good. :-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Top 10 reasons it's a good thing not to have a Significant Other on Valentine's Day

10. No need to shave legs (or other places).
9. Not having to hear the oh so lame "Was it good for you?" (Okay, I've never actually heard that one but I have heard rumors of it being said. Urban legend? Maybe.)
8. No flowers = no hayfever.
7. No stuffed animals means less things to dust.
6. No chocolate means.... um..... sorry, can't find anything good about 'no chocolate'.
5. Can watch favorite t.v. programs without guilt that I'm taking away quality time from my partner.
4. No dirty looks from those around you who don't have a valentine.
3. Having my woman-power-I-am-enough-alone reinforced. Hear me roar.
2. No need to gush over the wrong size ugly piece of lingerie or stale chocolates bought at the local gas station.

And the Number One reason it's a good thing not to have a Significant Other on Valentine's Day:

Time to make THREE blog entries within a 24 hour period!

Technorati Tags: ,
Valentine's Day Update

Sorry for the tease last night. (My best friend may have looked in here before coming over today and I wanted her to be as surprised as I was.)

Aaaaaaaanyway, my older son who has been gone in Central America for months and wasn't due home until late Thursday night, came home early last night just to surprise me! Apparently, he'd planned this, along with my ex-husband who had to pick him up from the airport, since before he went away last November. My younger son was in on it too.

It didn't register when I saw his face peeking around the corner at me. It literally took me a minute. And then I burst out crying. (Man, I'm an emotional mess lately. Not sleeping isn't helping.)

I'm used to him being away for long stretches, between army stints and missionary work overseas, I'm used to him not being here for the holidays, etc. And this was a shorter time away than in the past and I've handled those fine. Not surprisingly, considering what's been going on in my life, this time I missed him so much more.

We talked very late into the night and I'm feeling a wee bit less lonely today. And it's a cold sunny day here after getting a dusting of snow in the early morning hours. Magic still exists.

(We've had an amazingly warm and drearingly wet winter with no snow except on the mountains until now. On top of that, my younger son recently finished repainting my living/dining/entrance/hallway and new pictures are framed and hung and I'm now surrounded by an entirely new and beautiful environment.)

It was a lovely Valentine's gift from him, from my younger son and from my ex.

Later he'll be heading to his girlfriend's university, flowers in hand, to surprise HER. I can only imagine what THAT's gonna be like. *smiiiiiile*

Monday, February 13, 2006


I know I shouldn't care, but I do. I know that tokens of affection, whether on Valentine's or any other time, are not a guarantee of a loving, healthy relationship. I know that when I'm in a loving relationship, Valentine's Day matters very little (though I always enjoyed finding just the right card - it was always more about having someone to give to than be given to).

But not today. New loss. Old loss. I am alone. And it hurts like hell. It feels raw. It feels like yesterday, not seven and a half months ago.

From Peter Gabriel's 'I Grieve':

And I can't handle this
I grieve....
For you
You leave

Did I dream this belief
Or did I believe this dream
How I will find relief
I grieve....

I wrote the above a few hours ago. It had been a rough few days and I wasn't doing well.

And then something really great happened. But I'll fill you in on that another day....

Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Northern Voice Meanderings

Yesterday, Saturday, I attended Northern Voice 2006 in Vancouver, a conference on all things blog. I will be sharing details of what I learned directly with my coworkers in the near future and I'll be implementing changes here based on what I learned - once I have time, wassat? - but, for now, I'll just share my own personal experience of the day rather than review each speaker, etc.

It is only thanks to a couple of co-workers who covered for me yesterday and this morning that I even have time to do this entry. I am so grateful for them going above and beyond for me.

Wow. Where to start?

I am a late riser and tend to work late so getting up at 5:00 a.m. was a whole new adventure to me all by itself. (Yes, I need a life.) I'm used to seeing sunsets. What the heck was the sun doing on THAT side of the valley? Driving towards Vancouver, the moon setting in front of me, the sun rising behind me, startlingly clear weather, the lights on Grouse Mountain's ski hills still glittering against the snow.... siiiiigh. I love traveling to faraway places but I truly love the beauty of my home base. Driving, listening to music, nostalgic for those mornings of traveling to Vancouver Airport to fly to my love, pleasant memories of all those memories throughout childhood and my sons' childhoods of early morning drives to ski hills. Very nice.

Thanks to mapquest and detailed directions from Northern Voice's site itself I found my way to the conference, early of course. No problem. EVERYone I encountered there, from the volunteers who had put it together and greeted us and facilitated each session to the speakers to the other attendees were very friendly and gracious and welcoming. Just about every session was attended equally by men and woman and there were a lot more people of around my age (45) and older than I'd expected so I didn't feel like a fish out of water.

Hell, it was just good to get out of the house for a day.

Grabbed some free buttons (well, I DO love to blog so why not advertise it?) and flyers and pens, was provided with a name tag on which I had to add some 'key words' about myself. They want me to think this early in the morning? Okay, done with my lame keywords ('music lover' was one of them *gag*) and here I go to the first of seven sessions.

Julie Leung was our first speaker and started things off on a high note. She spoke on the power of stories and, looking at my notes now, I see a gazillion quotes from her (including "Stories help us stay healthy" and "Be content with the imperfect") and those she references as well as a list of websites to look at for how others have found and used their voices.

And the quality was maintained by all the speakers throughout the day. Some were more about the nitty gritty technical aspects of blogging, how to get started, the tools, the stats (stats whores abounded), splogs and spings, tags (I suspect I'm going to become a tag whore myself) and feeds, etc. Others were more about the ideas, the potential, advocacy, citizen journalism, the power of blogging, both personally and globally.

And then there was Nancy White. Not only was she articulating all the things I believed about community (I found myself constantly nodding like one of those bobble-head toys), having worked with online communities for a decade, she is a chocoholic and - get this - she SHARES her chocolate! Now this is a speaker I can get behind! (The chocolate she shared were those little Dove chocolates within wrappers that have little sayings for you, kinda like fortune cookies. Mine said "Love without rules." This is advice I don't need. I have no problem doing that. What I needed was "Love wisely", something I've yet to accomplish. *sigh*) I was just sorry that Nancy's "Snow White and the Seven Competencies" was only an hour long, far too short a time to bask in her delightful delivery. And in the midst of all the fun, she packs in a LOT of great information.

Next, an excellent session on blogging and how it is changing journalism and then lunch break. I hit the wall in my FM pain and fatigue and almost left in tears. But I'd come all this way and didn't want to give in to the pain so I hung on by my fingernails, got through the break and dove into the afternoon's sessions.

I stuck mostly with the technical aspect of things in the afternoon and was very glad I stayed for them; they were well worth it.

Some background on me: I'm one of those nerds who fondly remembers when Pong, then Space Invaders and PacMan came out. I bought Intellivision way back when. When my sons were born (they're now grown men, one of whom is definitely a geek) we started with computers, DOS ruled and imaginative learning games were part of their growing up. So I've been surrounded by computers and gaming for decades. When I first went online and began working online, I spent years with a gaming company based in Seattle (and became an avid gamer myself). I have fond memories of all the people I encountered, the creative and eager young men who kept lego models of Star Wars ships in their cubicles. The excitement of that often male-dominated world was just plain fun and though I love my women coworkers, I've sometimes missed that male energy.

So walking into the Geek Out conference and some of the others, with speakers that included Robert Scoble, was a treat for me. I swear they're all like kids in candy stores as they shared their various latest enthusiasms (I have a list of Firefox extensions I can't wait to explore) and websites. While all the other sessions were attended equally by both men and women, this one was filled primarily with men, chairs all taken, people sitting on the floor and standing against walls (that last one was me). Almost all the men had laptops. Tap tap tap. (I have lap-top envy now. Typing is soooooo much easier - and more legible after the fact - than hand-written notes. I took as many or more notes than the men, just without that gentle tap tap tap. *pout* Working from home and taking vacations where I get away from that work entirely, I have no real need for a laptop which is why I don't have one yet but that isn't slowing down the lap-top envy even a little bit.)

All in all and despite the anticipated overwhelming pain and fatigue fallout, the conference was an extremely positive experience for me and I'm so glad I attended. I learned a LOT that I still have to process and disseminate. I am a prodigious note-taker (you should see me play a mystery/adventure game; notes galore) and have a lot to wade through. I was inspired and overwhelmed and had a whole lot of fun and wish I didn't have to work and have a life in there somewhere too because I'm eager to start make some changes here, dammit!

Thanks to all who contributed to and attended Northern Voice 2006. You may have created a (blog) monster here. ;-)

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Rejection comes in so many guises.

There are the more blatant kinds we all recognize and have all been through at one time or another. Not getting that job you interviewed for. Not getting picked for that team or role. Not getting that date you pursued. Being left in a relationship.

There are the more subtle kinds.... parents choosing a sibling's wellbeing over yours, parents rejecting who you are in a million and one ways, friends who turn from you when you most need them.

Death. Yes, even though your thinking brain tells you otherwise, death feels like a rejection of you. (Because it is so all about you, after all.) Like you were so not worthy of being loved that death was chosen as the alternative. It's not true but that's how you feel. You feel LEFT. And you're hurt and you're angry. Not feeling him when he left felt like a rejection of the connection we had. Not dreaming of him once he's gone feels like I wasn't good enough for him to make an effort to provide me with a reassuring vision.

At one point a few months ago I felt I was doing everything 'right' and couldn't figure out why I was getting angrier. I was in little girl mode and was sulking. Here I'd been a brave little soldier and done everything 'right', grieved with grace, took care of myself, honored his memory, yada yada yada. And yet he was STILL ignoring me. No vision. No presence felt. No acknowledgement of my efforts.

No resurrection.

Just bitter emptiness beneath the moonlight reflecting on the ocean. I will always remember the physical beauty of that night. I will always remember my best friend standing next to me, trying to witness what I was feeling. I will always remember, with aching clarity, how I felt that night. I think that was the night I finally faced that final rejection.

Today I felt rejected again when a friend returning from weeks out of town, when our relationship was still a bit ambiguous, didn't call me. I'd told myself he had a lot to contend with upon his return, personal, work, jet lag. I wouldn't be high on that list so it may take days for a call, if at all.

I don't expect much from this friendship. But it still felt like yet another rejection for me.

I move through the world with confidence. I act like I have it all together. And it's not all a lie. A lot of the time I AM confident and do have it all together. But I guess we're all contradictions and we're all the product of our pasts, try as we might to learn and grow and move on.

So when I felt only slightly rejected again I immediately went back inside my head to the comfortable negative thoughts, born of more significant rejections. I'm not worthy of a call. I'm not worthy of a friendship. I am inherently unloveable and deserving of punishment and I can point to many things in my life that prove that nice little theory.

I do know different. I even find such thoughts disgustingly melodramatic. But there they are.

My love hated it when I thought like this. He helped to remind myself of all I've accomplished, all I've had to deal with in my life, all I've overcome. And reminded me of the love of my friends and sons and himself. I am fortunate in my friends. But if that's the case, I must be worthy of their friendship and regard. He would always get all logical on me. Hmmmph. And it worked. And I usually ended up laughing at myself.

Which is where I got to tonight again. Fickle friends only complicate one's life anyway. And I'm just starting to enjoy my life again. Who needs 'em? (Baby SwampHag just piped up in a little voice "I do".....Hush!)

I hate learning sometimes. But with each of these experiences I get stronger.

What makes me happy is that I got to an okay place on my own BEFORE he called. Really. Because yup, he did call to check in with me. It wasn't even a rejection in the first place, just my own mind working itself up, preparing myself for the inevitable hurt to come.

Didn't I say on my 'list' that baggage was okay but be sure to have dealt with it, etc.? Methinks I need to do a better job practicing what I preach (and what I expect in others). *blush*

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

2 b or not 2 b?

Just doesn't have the same impact, does it?

I get the whole text and instant messaging thing (heck, I do the latter and have for years). I get that language shortcuts have arisen for their purpose. I also get that language must always evolve if it's going to stay alive.

But please please please can we write properly when we're not using those modes of communication?

I've noticed that people's vocabulary actually seems to be improving while their use and spelling of words are becoming increasingly inaccurate.

So here are some basic tips (aren't you all glad I'm here to set you all straight? ;-) :

'Too', 'two' and 'to' are three different words. None of them are spelled '2'.

It's 'iNput', not 'iMput'.

Learn when to use 'there' (a place), 'they're' (they are) and 'their' (ownership). They're (see how I did that? - you can slap me now, S) not interchangeable.

'You' is not spelled 'u'. Really.

'Except' and 'accept' are each spelled correctly and have entirely different meanings.

Okay, say it with me, folks, "I before E except after C". (Yes, there are a few exceptions - as opposed to 'acceptions' - such as 'weird' - why do people ALWAYS remember the I before E rule when it comes to the word 'weird' but rarely at other times? - but those exceptions are few.)

If you're going to swear at me, please spell it properly. I will not go fuk myself.

And since we're on the subject, 'come' and 'cum' aren't the same either, even when both are used when talking about sex.

Paragraphing can be your friend.


i'm almost done. just a bit more to add. like: Please capitalize the start of your sentences.

'It's' means 'it is'. 'Its' is about ownership. "It's hard to tell what color it is when its color keeps changing."

And the biggie:

You do not pluralize a word by adding an apostrophe S. I know it's tempting. I know that everyone is doing it. I know you see it in store windows and on billboards and in subtitles. But it's WRONG, folks. (Or is that folk's?) This last one has become so prevalent that I catch myself doing it now and then, too. And that REALLY ticks me off.


/end vent


Sunday, February 05, 2006

I couldn't add the picture of the Harbour Bridge we took that night to the blog entry below so I'm trying here.

Today I received a couple of reminders which blindsided me. It's getting close to two years now since I last looked into your eyes.
I miss you with the whole of my being.
Our last night, staying in a luxurious hotel in Sydney, just a couple of blocks up from the Sydney Opera House. Walking down the street, holding your hand, on that warm night to the amazing restaurant within the Opera House. Seated at a table at the window, the best table in the place, our backs to the restaurant, impeccable service, exquisite food and wine, spirited conversation, indulging in the experience for hours.
I know I was beautiful because of how you looked at me.
I was beautiful because you loved me.
Looking out directly across the harbour to the Harbour Bridge.
The bridge we had climbed together all the way to the very top only a couple of weeks before. A dream fulfilled.
Watching the fireworks right in front of us.
It couldn't have been a more perfect last night.
Thank you for all of the beautiful memories.
I'm trying to be brave.
Je t'aimerais toujours.
Bon nuit, mon amour vrai.

Friday, February 03, 2006

THE LIST (A Work In Progress)

Note: This list is by no means complete and is subject to change at a moment's notice and on the whim of the writer. I'm told that, as a woman, it IS my prerogative to change my mind. So there.

Things I want and don't want in a future partner (Not necessarily in order of importance.)

Vicinity: Considering my last serious relationship was with someone on the other side of the world, 'in the vicinity' could mean anything along the west coast and it would feel close. But boy, it would be nice to have someone nearby.

If male, comes (no pun intended) with a vasectomy. (See THE CONTINUING SAGA OF A MIDDLE-AGED SINGLETON for reference.) If female.... well, nevermind.

(You didn't really think this was going to be an entirely serious list, did you?)

Is brave enough to be in a relationship with me in front of the world and everything.

Has a great sense of humor that doesn't rely on putting others down. Knows his way around a double entendre. Quick-witted. Self-deprecating. Ability to be downright silly. Able to laugh.

Thinks I am special, funny, sexy, awesome, and amazing in 1001 ways.

Is able to enjoy, celebrate, accept and appreciate all the love I have to give in all the ways I give it. Being able to give love fully and have it accepted by the one I love is probably more important to me than being loved.

Enthusiastic, joyful, passionate, unhibited, considerate, respectful lover. Physical attributes don't matter and techniques can be learned. If you've got the attributes listed in that first sentence, we can go from there. I promise I won't bite.... unless you want me to. (Okay, okay. I can hear the groans from here. Hey, I'm allowed an old joke now and then.)

Is free to be in a relationship with me. That means divorced (or widowed or single), not separated, not thinking about getting separated.

Love and appreciation of language, either written or oral or both. A second (or third) language is nice too but not a must. Heck, *I* don't speak more than one language with any fluency.

Loves music, is truly moved by it, and is open to trying different kinds and sharing his own preferences.

A world view. Aware and appreciative of the world and different perspectives and beliefs.

Enjoys traveling, exploring different places and new experiences.

Makes time for me. Makes an effort to be with me.

Prefer (but not a must) no kids or kids who are grown. I've raised my sons and am in a different place now.

Knows how to treat a lady. I like doors being opened for me. (Heck, I open them for men, too. For me it goes both ways.)

Being clean in his person and in surroundings. Being a neat freak is not necessary. If you ARE a neat freak, that's okay, just don't expect ME to be one. I'll pick up after after myself and I expect you to do the same.

Is able to just be companionably silent with me without needing to fill up each moment with talk and noise.

Likes to hold hands in public.

Is able to find joy in the smallest of things.

Treats others (including my sons) with consideration and respect.

Forgiving of fallibilities in others.

Financially responsible and not afraid of work.

Punctual. Being early now and then is fine, being late now and then is fine. But I don't appreciate someone consistently being an hour or two later than we'd arranged, resulting in our time being rushed. That tells me that he believes his time is more important than mine and I'm not worth his consideration. And yes, punctuality and spontaneity are not mutually exclusive.


Encouraging of my own individual creative and adventurous pursuits and of my work (just as I would be of yours). We do not need to be joined at the hip.

Accent doesn't matter but a sexy voice is a must.

Someone around my age. I know that anything can happen and often does but it would be difficult for me to be with someone considerably older than me again; the chances of being left alone again too soon are too great.

Appreciation of nature.

Is a movie buff and enjoys foreign and independent films as much as mainstream films.

Someone who can handle the limitations of my having fibromyalgia.

We've all got baggage. I know I do. But it should be faced, dealt with, learned from, moved on from. Don't judge me by your past relationships.

Passive Aggressives need not apply.

Don't shut me out when you have some issues to work out. I am quite happy to give you space if you need it, just let me know rather than keep me guessing at what *I* may have done wrong.

Doesn't need to drink (or get high) to have a good time.

Road rage is NOT a turn on.

Doesn't feel the need to put me or others down to feel good about himself.

Homophobics and bigots not welcome. Disrespect of women's rights just won't work.

I respect your right to believe or not believe in whatever higher power you wish. Respect mine. Having said that, I do not think I could be with someone who was a fundamentalist anything but then I expect that anyone who is a fundamentalist wouldn't want to be with me anyway.

Doesn't judge a book by its cover.

Doesn't believe that burps and farts are the height of comedy.

Gee, I bet you're so surprised this got so long. NOT. Well, this is a start. You can all laugh at me when I end up with someone who doesn't meet any of the above criteria and who lives in Tibet.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Okay, it's probably really just one of the reasons *I* watch Survivor.

I don't watch a lot of the unscripted drama (so-called 'reality') shows but Survivor is one of them (Amazing Race is the other). I was a snob about it all when it first showed up and refused to watch the first season and was disgusted at all the attention it got. Eg. I live in British Columbia. When there was a season finale of Survivor guess what had taken over the front page of our once-respected NEWSpaper? Yup, Survivor. Crazy. How that is news is beyond me. Sure, in the entertainment section but front page?

I digress. I began watching Survivor with its second season when it took place in Australia. My love was in Australia and was watching and this was yet another way to share something.

And I've been hooked ever since even though there have been a season here and there where I think, Never again!

There are a lot of reasons Survivor is still so popular. Its production value is still very high (try watching the ones who try to copy it and you'll see how bad it can be). They usually succeed in keeping it interesting with the contestant choices, challenges, etc. They're smart enough to usually put it in beautiful places (you don't think that's important until you don't have such a location..... it gets very blah), there's identifying with one tribe or one person and cheering on your team (brilliant move with this new season, separating them by age and gender) and, oh ya, there are those (sometimes and only briefly since rice and water diet with the odd fish or coconut thrown in doesn't exactly keep the healthy curves where they belong) beautiful bodies.

I realized a while back that one of the reasons I enjoy it wasn't so much for the show itself as for GOSSIPING opportunities it provided me.

I don't gossip. Not about friends, coworkers, family members. I just don't. So I never understood that evil little joy you can get when you gossip about others.

Survivor gives me license to gossip. I can tear them down, analyze them, shout at the t.v. at them (did that tonight already and I watch it alone), have heated debates with others about your favorite ones and the villains. And no one gets hurt. The show WANTS that kind of interest and buzz. I do try to keep the gossip all about their behavior on the show itself and not judge them on who they are back in the world. I don't really care about that. It's just plain fun to watch and talk.

While I do know others who watch the show and I do talk with them briefly about each week's show, it's not the same now that my love has died. We had such (FUN!) debates about the various personalities. We were constantly laughing about it because we definitely didn't see eye to eye on everything but he always gave me a perspective I hadn't previously considered and I did the same for him so we ended up learning about each other.

Strange the dumb things you miss and how even the dumb things leave a hole.

I thought of the stupidest things when he died, including regret that he'd miss a certain episode of Lost, would miss the family AR - not that he missed much there - ..... see? really stupid. If he IS somewhere out there still somehow I doubt that missing a t.v. show is on the top of his "what I miss" list.

Then again..... maybe he gets them whenever he wants them. No reruns. No preemptions. No commercials.

Ah yes, THAT must be heaven. ;-)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


*apologies to Helen Fielding

Here I am at 45, my sons are grown, I'm doing okay financially, I no longer have a special person in my life and it's all very interesting.

I had always heard that when a couple divorces, each person from that couple really finds out who their friends are/were. And that was somewhat true for me but I expected it and the real gems in my life stuck around AND some people you never thought you could count on came through in surprising ways. What I didn't expect was the same thing happened when I lost my love last year. That was much more hurtful. But the good ones made up for it in spades. (What does that phrase mean? Do I wanna know?)

Anyway, on to more fun things. I'm not interested in being a hermit nor is celibacy appealing to me. So that means getting myself out there one way or another.

For example, a couple of weeks ago I attended a party put on by a friend I hadn't seen in a while. I knew I'd probably be the only single woman there but that's okay. I ended up having fun, met some new people who were pretty fascinating, found out I still knew how to socialize, something that was in doubt for a while.

I was sitting by myself at one point and a man who I had seen come in with a woman I knew years ago - and who was aware of my single status - came over and sat next to me and started up an enthusiastic discussion. He had overheard me talking to someone else about some things my older son was doing and he was very interested in pursuing some of the same things. He was a nice man and I enjoyed talking with him, not even a hint - in words or body language - of flirting on either side. Well, out of the corner of my eye I noticed his partner watching us quite closely from across the room. And I thought, nah, this can't be happening. I know what I look like and I'm just not someone anyone would ever consider a threat. But she had this whole assessing-the-situation look in her eyes. He and I kept talking.

Soon he got up to refresh his drink and his partner looked at me and said "You know, you look GREAT," which was pretty darn flattering. And she quickly came over and took his chair and blurted out, "He's my man." I had to bite my tongue to keep from bursting out laughing. And I decided I'd just be even more flattered. Very flattered. I responded, smiling, "Yes, I know, I saw you come in with him," and we went on to discussing all sorts of things. He returned with his drink and joined us and it was all very friendly.

I'm still flattered. *grin*

Then there's the whole not wanting to be celibate thing. Which brings up birth control. I'm 45 and menopause is still a ways away for me (judging by my mother's and grandmother's experience) and my need to touch and be touched isn't slowing down any. (Since my last relationship was largely long distance, it meant a lot of physical loneliness even when he was alive. Once he died I thought for quite a while that that part of my life was over, along with so much of the rest of my life. I shut myself off. He would have absolutely hated that.)

So I am seeing someone now and then and I haven't had to think about birth control since my younger son was a baby (he's 20 now) when my ex had a vasectomy. The man in my life after my ex had had a vasectomy many years before. It was sooooo nice not having to worry about that. The man I am seeing now has zero interest in having a vasectomy for his own reasons.


Sometimes I wish menopause would hurry up and get here. It could make my life so much simpler. Right? ;-)