07 December 2009

Intelligence Squared: Is the Catholic Church a force for good in the world

Hmm. I think I'm too worked up to sort it out before going to bed, but it's worth considering, worth blogging, even at this late hour. I might mention that I feel compelled to be thorough, so this won't be short-lived.

I just watched a five-segment debate as done by BBC World (and posted on YouTube) that featured four panelists (two for the motion, two against) debating on whether or not the Catholic Church is a force for good in the world. I have to say I was immensely disappointed.

The two panelists for the motion were the Archbishop of Anuja, Nigeria, John Onaiyekan and Ann Widdecombe, a British MP who converted to Catholicism after protesting the ordination of female priests in the Church of England. The two panelists against the motion were Christopher Hitchens, who writes for Vanity-freaking-Fair, and Stephen Fry, an accomplished British TV personality and actor.

Let me reiterate. The two panelists for the motion were a well-known (to Africa) clergyman, an archbishop of the Catholic Church, THE Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, and at a glance the hope of an entire church to sufficiently and masterfully represent the church in its entire complex, gruesome and blessed history; and a stuffy, old British female politician staunchly rooted (or self-embedded, as it were) in staunchly traditional Catholicism (by which I mean personally [to her] fundamentalist principles.)

And the two panelists against the motion were an extremely well-articulated and accomplished writer, well known for his radical views, and frequent contributor to a haute couture magazine, among several other publications; and a perky, cheeky, left-wing television/radio personality who, to add to the controversy (or the ratings of said debate), is also homosexual.

Why could they not have chosen more articulated spokespeople for the pro side? Better yet, why did they not seek out as equally eloquent and vocal representatives for that side of the argument? It's an argument you at least know is going to heated, and at most will require adequate (matched) artillery, why not give both sides a real, running, gunning go?

Yes, I'm saying the side against the motion far outweighed the side for the motion! They did so by what appeared to be leaps and bounds. What's more is that I am personally a huge proponent of the motion that the church CAN be (and has been) a force for good in the world and was holding onto my breath waiting to hear what the rest of the world was (in theory) waiting to hear.

The sheer lack and disregard for a 'fair fight' by all those involved in assembling the debate notwithstanding, the debate itself began with the Archbishop at the podium, trying in what seems to be all earnestness to open up the doors to all the watching eyes of the world by delivering a dutiful opening statement that quickly dissolves into the all-too-familiar rhetoric by the Church. And then followed by Chris Hitchens, against the motion, back to Ann Widdecombe, who was for, and then closed by Stephen Fry.

The opening statements by both speakers opposing the motion were precisely articulated, clear and concise, eloquent. The points brought up were emotional, appealing, and spoke for a secular truth in the world. Raw emotions were brought up here.

But the opening statements of the two supporting the motion were not. They were the very stereotypical rhetoric by which the Catholic Church has been grievously known for and is perceived in current times, which only adds insult to injury in the eyes of a waiting world and, more namely, this believer. Especially when there have been motions and actions by people of the church, well-known and barely known all over the world, to have made a positive difference in the lives of others and significant impact on the history of the church (which I will get to.) None of which was mentioned.

There was little to no acknowledgment for past sins, compensation, explanation from a historical perspective, or delivery of what to hope for, what the message is (which I will also get to), what the church has done and is doing to do to progress, change and improve, what the church is sorry for. There was no mention of the past, present, or future, and furthermore, no acknowledge by either speaker of the repercussions the opposing side brought into view.

What of the emotions of the members of the church whose beliefs and vocations were betrayed by the monstrously sick actions of others--the members who have believed and acted in good hearts and real faith only to be slapped in the face by the evildoers, misrepresenting one in the same church? What of the points made by the opposition: the compensation for four ages of inquisition, for the epic horrors of slaying, brutalizing, ostracizing, and judging those with different beliefs over the centuries? What of the responsibility the church holds for its members acting out of ignorance, hate, intolerance?

There DOES need to be full-on acceptance by those most in place to own it--the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, the people who committed the crimes, and more than anything, the very souls whose dark, shrouded, and debauched judgment were the hands of these grave, grave sins. There should have been statements in the debate by the supporting side demonstrating that extensive research concludes that massive reparation must be made, that a vital, integral element of that full contrition, expiation and absolution of that reparation must include the unfailing transference of knowledge by the church to her members, so that what is known by the world can (and should have first been) known by its members and there can be NO excuse for ignorance.

But there should have been statements that showed where the church has owned up to the sins of the past (past popes' apologies, Pope John Paul's request for forgiveness in his March 2000 address in addition to an apology.) There should have been statements by the supporting side that full and extensive research shows a full history of good in the church, that the majority of her members from the top down are working toward a more reconciled church (worldwide missionaries in third world and war-torn countries), that old, dated teachings of a wrathful God are currently and continuously being replaced by teaching a message of a loving God in a sweeping, unifying movement (vast changes in catechism curriculum, worldwide sermon content, the direction of vocation education, clergy and lay newsletters circulating with a variety of Catholic authors acknowledging this much more peaceful, loving message); and that IN that new message is one of tolerance. Of love. Of peace. Of freedom to live in the love of God. A message which teaches us to not judge because we are ALL God's people. ALL people. And there could have been specific resources of these changes and movements named, referenced, called into light, presented.

But there were none.

I even watched the Archbishop's argument twice because I had to stop watching and come back to the debate to see if a second chance would reveal something I missed; and still nothing.

There could have also been statements to direct attention to the fact that there is access to all kinds of information on spiritual enlightenment, that all souls no matter their station or religion are responsible for their own levels of personal and spiritual maturity, that we as a church have suffered the humiliation of those members but don't have to be defined by those imbeciles; and that anyone who is willing is able to harness that information. As well, the fact that there is awareness of this information and complete and total access to it at all is a step in the positive direction.

There could have (should have) been more references to the motions Pope John Paull II made to work on bridging the gap between the old, staunchy, rhetorical idioms and rituals of yore and current times through his significant contribution as pope and one of the most influential leaders in history and the hope that that offers. There should have been more references to the late pontiff's remarkably nontraditional steps outside of the Vatican circle, his contribution to aiding the end to communism, his unprecedented request for forgiveness of the church's sins, his profoundly humble address in the Novo Millenio Ineunte, which urged a universal call to holiness, all of which was delivered in the spirit of hope and reconciliation between ALL peoples.

The problem with the church--or the perceived problem by all those struggling to accept the church in its entirety (from her painful past to its blessed output and everything in between)--is that in the the true deliberation of any given topic (especially in regards to change, hope, and goodness) under a true sense of the divine accompaniment which is in true communion with the Holy Spirit also needs pure minds and pure hearts, free from any influence, to come to a deeply holy and spiritual decision; but these minds and hearts belong to human beings, who are far from perfect and even in the holiest of states, are not perfect and cannot make perfect decisions. We, as the watching masses dissolve under pressure and timelines, struggle to accept (if not right out deny) that there are reasons for deliberation. I know as a parent that the best way to make a decision concerning the children is to deliberate with my partner. Sometimes making a decision involved asking other parents around me. But I have learned in my short life that the best decisions are not made hastily and for the ones that are, it was more luck than love that made them good.

This kind of deliberation takes time and almost immediately incurs doubt because there is lack of patience. Impatience for time creates the perfect loophole for all those resisting anything the church has to say/offer/extend and it justifies the doubt which seeps into the minds of those fed up with the entire entity and gives those resisting the critical value of the church to write off the whole church. These thoughts and feelings are very human, but it must be said that one cannot judge simply because those imperfections are license for one human to judge another, or a group of humans to judge another group. If we are all trying to be better people, then better people we all must try to be, in its very principle.

To be fair, no priest, bishop, archbishop, nun, lay person ALIVE, no person, no human being on earth could have come that far and answered for the monstrosities and abhorrences that belong collectively and historically to the Catholic Church. No one person could have stood under the barrage of fire, no single human being anyway, intelligent or witty, charismatic or otherwise, and answered for the single most humanly corrupted entity of religious authorities on earth. But we did not have intelligent and witty or loving OR emotional representation of any kind. We had no way of relating to the pained masses because we did not have adequate spokespeople, nor was there a basic, unfettered acknowledgement OF that pain in the debate, of those sins, of the wrongs of the church.

There were no clear, demonstrative answers of relenting and contrition, no mention of the late pope's recognition, apology, and asking of forgiveness for in an unprecedented move towards the beginning of the millennium (though he realized, as do many Catholics the world over, that that is only the beginning of the road to healing and reconciliation), no mention of the enormously different kind of pontiff Karol Jozef Wojtyla was at all, no mention of all the good that has been done in the church by its members, no mention of the hope its upstanding and holy members gives us. Doing so to the contrary might have proved more by action than lofty rhetoric that the Church DOES see its mistakes, that the Church DOES want to move toward whole and complete body of virtuous members, toward whole and complete contrition (from the act of apology all the way to compensation for victims to perhaps a suggestion of far stricter, faster, and swifter punishment for the violators--I'm thinking isolation in a dark dungeon far below the Vatican for all perpetrators and bread-and-water-only diet), and that there are already motions and actions in place (a wide host of documents I'm far too spent to amass containing that information, but that anyone curious enough this late at night could surf and read for themselves) for showing that the Church CAN move and is moving toward a brighter, more healed future, and that the Church CAN be and is a force for good in the world.

Update: those videos are no longer posted on YouTube. The owner removed them.

20 November 2009

Christmas rush

There is so much to do!! And with the blur of what is only best known as the Christmas concert/party season coming (and oh yes, it hath come upon us AGAIN) and one vehicle to shuttle four people, it is getting even crazier. What I don't understand is how the intention of keeping things simple this year ("...let's just pick what one thing WE want to do each...") has morphed into 'oh-for-the-love-of-god-I-don't-want-to-keep-this" overlap of not just activity/sport/group potpourri, but annual obligation.

Not that I'M complaining. The montage of holiday hodgepodge is a flurry of peopleness. Socializing. Laughing. Cross-grouping. Hanging out with people that you haven't seen in a while that just feels right and good. Helping out, volunteering, playing music--and lots of it! It's just who gets dragged through the dregs of that aspect, regardless of how much I thrive on (and yes, too, get worn out by) it.

The concert season alone keeps us hopping. Kyle alone has one junior high band concert, but also all the prep for that, including rehearsals and set up. It is of some significant blessing that he doesn't have the grade six classes this year to prepare for the elementary school concerts, otherwise, that would have put two more concerts on his plate. In the past, there were three additional concerts to the one junior high, before one of the three elementary/junior high schools shut its doors due to being condemned.

I, however, have those two concerts by ways and means of accompanying on piano, which puts us right back on the radar for them. Which means more driving, if not shuttling, around in the cold, northern winter temps and maneuvering on ice in dress shoes. The girls are older now, so it's not as problematic because they can sit and behave and/or are a part of the show.

28 October 2009


Tell me, please, when on earth it became okay to urge others to a bible study that has the propensity to burst with light, only to see its promise tarnished by the human element of vanity?

I really don't mean to judge. I've made my mistakes. I've made so many of them, it'll be a wonder I ever make it into the next life, I think some days. That being said, I understand the human element, the struggle with vanity, the search for light, the quest for knowledge, the inner toil we all have to do what is right.

But I am struggling to understand what the mission is here. Not "THE" mission, but his, the guy leading the class I inconsistently attend (I have to work in the evenings every other week.)

I mean, with everything I am and everything I have learned, in and outside of a classroom, a church, and all the ways I have learned (through many major and minor trials and errors), and all the people I've known, and all the perceptions I've ever had or shed, this particular situation saddens me particularly deeply.

Tonight, for the... (what is it, I'm trying to count now)... fifth time, give or take a week, tonight, our leader in this otherwise very spiritually profound assemblage has used the time allotted for fellowship, spiritual renewal and growth, as a means to lament the disregard for his point of view in his teachings/beliefs/position in the church, and as a spring board (or soap box) to convey external messages that are unrelated to the topic at hand.

Meaning that the topic at hand is spiritual growth and the steps toward the deepest, most fulfilled relationship with Our Lord; and the external messages being elements of supernatural goings-on that are still a subject of major debate within the Catholic Church itself. Belief in them or not is, sadly enough, unrelated to focusing on the most important goal of our being: being in union with God and our very personal relationship with Jesus, through his most Holy Spirit.

The signs we are given, both big and small (or monumentally profound and inexplicable!) are simply that: signs by a greater and more majestic God to show us He is still the One. However, there are billions of people the world over who, in their own journey, display a staggeringly wide range of agreeing with that or not--either by degree of their own faith within a faith (religion) or by not even subscribing to a faith or by subscribing to another faith or by denouncing it altogether. The differences in these states of being, no matter what we believe, do not give us the right, in our own perceptions and views, however, to condemn, criticize, punish, neglect, judge or otherwise avenge our ideas on any other single soul. Our freedom ends where another person's begins.

Those signs are still irrelevant to the context of a bible study class. In what I hope is a wider perception, it can be understood that the mysteries of the world and alleged apparitions of holy deities are no less important to those who believe in them. It's just that, without drawing lines and risking the injection of my own agenda, there must be understanding--or at least respect--on all sides that there is a time and place to discuss such things and that everyone believes in them at different rates, different times and we can no less speed another person's growth any more than we were allowed the time and space to grow ourselves. The point in this rant is that there has to be room for spiritual growth and out of understanding of our own journey, we should offer the same understanding for someone (anyone) else. The point is that this class was originally supposed to have been meant for giving us the tools and fellowship with like minds to grow instead of being a place to inject human, personal agenda. Which I felt has happened and which is difficult to digest.

I'm very torn by all of this.

For many reasons.

1. For those of us still hanging on to this Wednesday night routine and even for those who have dropped out, there was something urging us to be there. At least for one point in time. Something bigger than the lot of us. Something deeper. Something refuge-y.

2. There are only 3 of us left. Out of the original number of 15 or so, which leads me to wonder: what happened?

3. The leader wonders this, too, but takes it personally

4. The leader is trying to share what he believes with others, but is taking liberty with those beliefs and sharing them in a un-arranged manner, seemingly more concerned with teaching what he thinks is urgent, rather than encouraging what the class (as outlined by the author of one of the books we're reading) is trying to teach.

5. I can see many reasons that people could not/would not come which our leader is forgetting to see and is somehow taking personally.
  • People work, people have lives, have schedules, have commitments; those things subject to change even within themselves
  • The weather is getting colder, the season is getting darker, harder to come out
  • Characteristics of a town where oral confirmations meet little follow-through
  • Some people can tolerate injection of personal agenda far less than others; for many it's a huge turn-off
  • Distance or commuting barriers i.e. driving in from a lake or surrounding community, driving on roads in the changing temps
And while those are all perfectly good earthly excuses to get out of taking more spiritual responsibility for ourselves, they ARE still very viable, very real realities that people have to deal with in this world. We cannot escape our obligations.

6. I came to these sessions under the hope that I might finally be able to talk about what I believe with someone else without being judged. Instead, what I got and what I saw happen was a group of people extending far less understanding and compassion of the heart of the class, for one another, and the division to come from that.

7. I have tried to speak a more loving message, hoping to offer a morsel of other way of thinking, so that maybe there could be peaceable, more amicable resolve to this, speaking to all parties involved. Instead I am met with less than resistance: no acknowledgment of what thought might be in my words. (Not that I think I am so great, but that I'm sure that God's message of love ought to be the bigger picture, no?)

8. Said leader has felt the same: unacknowledged and unappreciated. While I am rather empathetic to his plight, I also would urge him to think about the reasons for why he is doing this class and has done others if only to get credit, acknowledgment, and numbers. He speaks of self-awareness, yet how self-aware is he? Referring to # 7: people accuse as they are.

9. I understand both sides of the coin: said leader for feeling dejected, said lay people bowing out of this class. Neither side is perfectly right or wrong. The people should feel the need to persevere, but the leader should not alienate his people.

10. I can see all of this, and yet, point it out to no one. And I don't know whose ears any statement would fall on. The point of it is that it's clearly not my place to point it out. Not necessarily because anyone around me would make such an obvious declaration to me, but more so because if the timing was right, I might know. And the other point is that there are ALL kinds of shades of gray in between. No one can know where another person is at in their mind or in their spirituality, even to say me in this rant of another. The understanding for this must be paramount if any of us are to grow in any way, shape, or form.

And finally, don't get me wrong. I am not saying that what he's saying is untrue or wrong as much as I am saying that whatever he is so steadfastly injecting is not really his place to be saying nor is it the setting. I have no hard feelings. There just needs to be compassion and understanding extended to the biggest level we can give, for perseverance is the virtue humanity is thirsty for.

21 August 2009

I'm Married To the Bionic Man

I'm not kidding! I really think I am married to the man who might possibly become the world's first bionic man! He is at least destined to have more metal in him than bone anyway. What a depressing, Terminator 2 armegeddon-type thing to think about!...

Anyway, we found out that that the strained or pulled muscle in his knee is actually... *drum roll, please*... avascular necrosis. Yes, that is, deadening of the bone and yes, a term we are all too hesitantly familiar with and yes, exactly what happened to the other two, three, no wait, FOUR other joints thus far since his departure from the D6 Health Sciences cancer ward some eight years ago.

Can you believe it? I mean, we certainly can. It's to be expected. How COULD we possibly get away for this long without SOMETHING else going wrong? I mean, it's US. Something ALWAYS happens to us. Because we can "handle it" (sarcasm) or because we can HANDLE it? (Dripping bitterness tagging the laughable state of it.) Well, whatever. Because we can A-Effin-Handle it.

It's "funny", too, just blee-friggin'-hilarious, you know, because the very first time this started going on with his hip, we thought it was a pulled groin muscle. And back in May or June sometime, he had fallen down the stairs and twisted his knee. We had 'only' to suspect it was sprained because it's BEEN... three... four years since the last joint replacement (four of four joints in total.) And well, jeese, how long could this crap STILL be in his system? I thought we were DONE with that crap? I thought that maybe, just maybe, after being so jumpy and bitter and controlling and uptight in expecting the return of Crap Jack (otherwise inspired term for all things medical) and finally learning to breathe and relax and maybe, just maybe, consider a life without any more of the MEDICAL effin' SAGA, that this horrible monstrosity of a past could just be left there, left in the past.

It's not that I really feel like this is more crap catching up to us from this ever-hellish-abode of crap-doling entity of cancer, like I used to. Not like I used to anyway, where there was no chance to chew on each major obstacle before moving headlong and naively into the next. After all, we've have four good years to chew on and settle on life with all four new joints and no cancer combined. But I DO have to wonder what in the HELL is going on? What is this for? What are the reasons for this? I mean, we were just planning this hella big do-over wedding-type celebration and now THIS to taint it all? It's like we can't have anything untouched or blemished in some way. And it's not about the selfish part of having this new doosie affecting our ceremony, it's just purely and simply about moving into something with good intentions, good strong hearts, a time in our life and now for what? So something, someone, somewhere can make a mockery of what we've finally, FINALLY worked so hard to become??

Not like it's going to be that bad or that monstrous compared to the last. Like I've told him, it's not the worst we've ever been through. In a moment's eye, we've BEEN through the worst. There is nothing worse than what we went through. (Although there IS, but half of moving on is not fearing or panicking about the horrible possibilities.) I mean, I have never assumed that we were done struggling, I have only hoped that we wouldn't have to go through any more. I mean, we're good people. We're trying to take the lessons we're meant to learn from it. So that would lead to a certain amount of reasonable, expectant hope that we could take more control over our lives than the helter skelter that was our first ten. We were SO young back then! I just didn't think the cruelty of it all... well... I just kind of hoped God and His angels would protect us from that.

It's just that it moves us all backwards. I mean, it does and it doesn't. We are in a different place now, both as people and as a couple. Stronger, committed on a whole new level, better adjusted, older, most importantly, I think and I hope, wiser for our lessons. And so in that, we will be fine. I have no doubt. It's just that it takes us back to the place where we were before. The memories of the surgeries past, the subsequent and ultimate toll they ended up taking on our union. It's like someone taking the stains of the past that you can't remove and showing them to you again. You remember how they got there, what happened, the circumstances surrounding them, the pain associated with blemish, but you can't do anything about it and somehow, it's happening again. I mean, we did what we could to move on by simply trying to extract the lessons we thought we were supposed to and take baby steps forward, side-by-side. In trying to understand what we were supposed to "get" from such trials and pain lead to dwelling on it and dwelling on it almost cost us our marriage. So even though two elements are completely seperate, one intertwined with the other. With us.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on this. K has been joking about it and so have his friends. I don't think that a majority of them
really get what it means to be in this situation, again, even if sympathetic. But we've grown accustomed to the sterile apathy in some, the means to keep it light-hearted in others, and just the generally different ways people deal with things in their own right. But I sure do feel like a jerk now after having submitted a joke ad about Kyle back in June.

13 August 2009


I just found out last night that my favorite band of ALL TIME and of the WHOLE WIDE WORLD, Collective Soul, IS, indeed, coming back to Saskatoon in October to promote their new album, which has yet to be released later this month.

Once again, I'm delightfully blindsided to learn of their touring, and even more, their new album!! I just kind of thought with all of them at various stages of family-building and the independent direction they took with the band that they might slow down with the whole production and business of album-making and promotion. But they haven't! And so imagine my surprise to be sitting in the local sports bar with a friend, a gritty song catching my ear (much the same as Disturbed or Thrice would), only to look at the screen and see the title come up with Collective Soul's name on it!! I had never heard that tune before--and believe me, I KNOW CS when I hear it--and so was dutifully suprised/impressed to see their name attached to something that, as true to the form they have always had, caught my ear.

Twelve years. TWELVE YEARS!! of them making and continuing to put out music that just captures my life like a soundtrack. So exciting. And Kyle signed me up for the fan club so that I could get fan-club pre-sale tickets next week (yeah, yeah, I know, I wasn't a member already? It blows the mind, doesn't it?) This will coincide with our big wedding-do-over bash we're having in October, landing just after our big shindig. What a perfect mini-getaway!

09 August 2009

I would just like to go where people can't piss me off all the time. I wasn't built to settle here, or in a place like this; and it's not that I'm above settling down in any capacity, it's just that I cannot see myself growing up any more here. I feel like I've hit a brick wall, blatantly avoiding common friends, unwilling to "up-cheer" those needing to be impressed, and overall-ly withdrawing from the things and the situations I knew before. It sounds a bit like depression. That's because it is.

What do I have to be depressed about? Is this some premature mid-life crisis? I have no assignment to identity through my age--as in, I really don't care about that (although the age thing does play a part when thinking about what I am doing at 30 years of age.) However, the whole entire scope of what Kyle and I have learned coming here, suffering trauma at the yearling stages of our family, and consequently been fire-tested and bronzed with the whole gambit and gamut of running our lives as we have, is far from lost on us.

I have to wonder if it's just now, yet again, as "just now" learning has ALWAYS been with me, learning who I am. Finding myself. Learning what I want. Or... is this just typical no matter what you've been through? See, I find myself wondering if all this was just delayed progress--these times that come and launch me into the next stage of growth with the horrifying change on the horizon--that would have come earlier, say when I had been 20 and in college, without worry or say, 24 and focused on my career and/or getting married. Basically, the time period most people have to learn these things before launching into a family or career, instead of doing everything ass-backwards or, as Ozzy would say "going forward in reverse." ("It's just a sign of the times.")

What makes me so, so, so angry about this all, too, is that I suffered a lot at the hands my own fate chosen by my own decisions and it was even put to my face in much the same way by a friend, who made me feel like I was some princess chalking up all her life lessons to "happenstance." But even with the truth to be found in her words and the hard-hitting realization that a LOT of where I'm at has to do with my decisions, most, if not all, the decisions that I made were out of dire need, repressed anguish, desperation or simply trying to remain aloof to guilt. From early on, I acted tough but needed escape routes. It's not that I really chose this path for myself as in wanting what unfolded the way it has, to exist in this way, with deliberate decisions based on hard, cold consequences (do or die, mild or wild.) It's that, other than choosing to be a mom (and even then, it was about dealing with consequence than it was premeditated choice,) it was the path of least resistance. It's excruciatingly maddening to realize this at this stage in the game, but regardless of how I just chose to 'go along with it' or take the path of least resistance (thereby indicating the decision in and of itself), I had never taken responsibility for the control and the direction of my life, as per it fitting with Kyle's, nor had I owned up to accepting the consequences, good or bad.

So. Here we are, after all this... stuff. The "autopilot crux", the "marriage crux", the brick walls, the intense ups and the down lows, at another brick wall; but now? Now we are ready and somewhat prepared to take on the responsibility of our happiness, the current issue being location, but we have two daughters rooted in the community to tow with us whose safety and security we must consider. Whether we decide to stay or to move.

And so, I'm left to wonder what is best versus what is wanted and wondering if those two will ever intersect each other or destroy the other irreparably. Do we move closer to my mom, in a place where Kyle can grow professionally, and I can access the multitude of possibilities while giving the girls a new experience that they would never get here and eventually be grateful for? Or do we stay here to keep their worlds secure, forsaking our own contentment, living in the bland continuity of day-to-day small town business, suffering all the big fish that throw their unethical weight around so that we can be reduced to a prematurely stagnant family? Doesn't the way we stand out when we are around the girls' cousins say much about what's going on in our dynamic? If not to them, surely to me. And if we secure their minds by staying here, how much are we helping them if we are not truly content? There is no real sense of child-to-parent reliance then, no sense of being able to come to us, no sense of having to rely on us as parents to develop trust and dependence. If we are happy in the sense of real happiness (and not so much as in personal gratification), then can't that make us better providers? Would we not be able to help them through the adjustment of moving? The pains of the school yard? The trials of life? The weight of their world would shift in their eyes, then, causing them to be stronger, the pain yielding growth with an emphasis on the parental role they have not seen on us. How can we help them or love them or expect them to be strong if we are not strong? Pillars of tough love?

It's all coming 'round...

18 July 2009

Seattle cont...

So there we are, in the middle of and in the suburbs of Seattle, surrounded by the scenes of family, forest-come-ocean, urban life, the coziness and warmth of home and the excited buzz of the city; and it comes to me: I feel more relaxed and "at home" in those few days, in that house (well, mom's apartment), with these people, realizing that I belong in this family--my family, this is my family--than I have in all the years of living here.

This amazes me because up until this very last trip, I have always felt that home is here, where we are. And it is! Don't get me wrong. It is just simply felt more... like home there; EVEN though it's not where I grew up or the house I grew up in or anything even remotely resembling what I knew as a child. But it did. It felt more like home there than I thought could be possible. Perhaps it is because that's how family is supposed to make you feel and that being surrounded by the people I grew up with brought on a fondness that I don't experience here. Maybe it's that I've worked so hard to make that kind of home for my own children in a place that is so astonishingly foreign from my American upbringing that I've equally forgotten or disregarded how I have felt about missing my own family. Maybe it's just the comfort of family that does that.

The point is, it surprised me. I spent a lot of time wailing about my family in my early years, the family I came from--my "old" family--the one that had old dynamics and bad habits and cramped quarters and just all of those old growing pains that came from being so close yet so temperamental. Yet, just as momentary a realization as it is, it is a culmination of time, effort, space, trials, tribulations, even baggage that eventually comes a point where we all--ALL--can let that stuff go and respect each other for their own stories and still be the kids we were with the benefit of being adults. And we've come a long way.

I love my family. Every single one of them. And it doesn't matter what they do, what butthead thing happens between us, I will just always love them, always be proud of them because I know what good people they are, how deep their souls feel, and that our blood truly is thicker than water. And... it just doesn't matter. Unconditional love is unconditional love. It is love without conditions. I just haven't been filled with that kind of uber comforting, warm-fuzziness as I have going with my brothers and their families to the zoo and aquarium, sitting with my nieces and nephews in my mom's house, bonding with my stepdad since my girls were born. Which leaves me to wonder things about myself, my past, what will be, and what should be--even so much as to wonder what needs to be, what we are missing out on, and wondering if there's anything we could do to change the frequency of visits. I'm left to wonder if maybe, just maybe, it's time to go home.

17 July 2009

Seattle Extravaganza!: A Crossroads...

Wow! What an... amazing, wait no... FILLED up trip that was! Twenty-nine hours on a train there and back, plus the nine-hour road trip between home and train station to encompass a full seven days in the Seattle city area... whoa. I'll never do it again.

Not like that anyway.

The girls left here, with me, the last Thursday of June to meet their grandma at the halfway point between here and there to spend a week kickin' their feet up, shedding the school year off their shoulders, and stepping into summer while visiting with Grandma and Grandpa down south. (I always had a Mama Yoya and a Grandma, so I had an automatic differentiation between the two grandmas. I don't know what that has to do with anything right now, other than it's a part of my childhood that I miss and has somehow been missed in my girls, though I take and make every opportunity I can to share this with them; AND somehow it has to do with which grandma they were visiting. Anyhoo....)....

After which we were supposed to 'swing down' that way, pick them up, and make our way past the border and subsequently board the train. Which we did, except it dawns on me far too late that my girls aren't going to see their own beds for close to a month.

But they are excited, and they will get to see both grandmas in less than a month of each other, and what do they care? They're on an adventure. So. We forge ahead the morning after meeting up with the girls, touch base at the hotel the evening before departure, grab some Taco John's (an old standby that stands firmly rooted in the history of our relationship in addition to being just an all-out awesome fast food joint), get the girls settled, and sneak out to the lounge after giddily realizing it was next door to our hotel room. A good, stiff Black Russian for me and a BudLime for my better half were exactly what the doctor ordered after a long day on the road. We contemplate our travel plans, enjoy each other's company, and relax.

The next morning, there is a chilly buzz about the air as we gather our things and leave the hotel. By the time we get to the train station, it is pouring rain outside and when it is time to board, a mousey, gray-haired, disgruntled little car attendant is standing between us in the rain and the shelter of the platform inside the car. We, being experienced travelers and all, feel confident that this is our car. It was a coach car and we bought tickets in coach and from having gone that way the year before, we knew with 91% accuracy that this was our car (or at least the next one down.)

But no, the mousey, gray-haired, disgruntled attendant gives his head a shake, grumbles something, and points to the front of the train. Having little choice but to follow, we take our packs like mules in the rain and trop towards the front of the train. We go almost the length of the train before another car attendant stops us, looks at our tickets and redirects us, quoting something like "past" or "after the dining car."

That seems strange. The berth cars are behind the dining car. We've no business going that far, but there's little choice left. We do an about-face and head directly back towards the dining car, past the willowy, gruff, old car attendant, the dining car, and people who are boarding long after we should have been in our seats. We look up. We're at the berths. There's no more train after that. Now we are soaked. Bags, pillows, coats, pant hems, shoes all soaked; and the rain will not let up. Kyle and I stop and look at each other. We confer quickly through clipped speech and hand gestures, a language that can only be acquired as a seasoned marriage does, ultimately nodding towards the mousey, gray-haired, disgruntled car attendant, knowing full-well we could have got on where we started. We could have got on where the poopoohead attendant was originally standing, in front of the yellow step stool, in front of our car. We could have only gotten mildly dampened. But we are not. We are wet and dripping and drenched to our ankles. We beeline for the original car instead of debating in the rain and, without a word from him, we get on the train, out of the rain.

But now there are no seats left, and my temper is rising behind me like the sun on a hot day while my brain grapples about to prioritize the situation. I'm quite sure the word "F***tard" was used out loud.

And we're soaked, still packed like mules, in a narrow aisle. I start throwing our bags up in various open spaces in the overhead luggage racks, mostly to get us out of the aisle, but very largely to unload my poor girls, who've made the same trek we have to and fro the entire length of the train.

We eyeball two open seats, separate from each other. I anchor down in one, poised upon quick agreement with Kyle to attack and save any further available seats; he takes the girls to the observatory/lounge car. Almost two hours go by before enough detraining passengers leave open seats. Two of them are together. I save those for the girls, excuse myself from the older gentleman I had struck a conversation with, and wobbily careen towards the lounge car to announce my find to my family, who've only had standing room.

Finally, we are in the same car.

The rest of the trip is smooth sailing. Er, training. We ride the rail all the way to and through East and West Glacier, making stops, feeling closer to Seattle, soaking up the landscape changes and scenes from the breath-taking national park. Rolling hills give way to magestic mountains, the view from the train window looking straight down into valleys below, forestry thick and lush. Finally, we roll into Puget Sound, right through downtown Seattle, the magic that only an old city with history conjures, and eventually come to a stop alongide the platform where we detrain and make a giddy, weary way to my stepdad, who is waiting with as much anticipation.

Our vacation is a blur. Nieces and nephews and siblings and cousins and Mom and stepdad all together, all taking turns making entrances back at Mom's place, hugging and laughing and cooing and awww-ing and oh dear god, the baby is so cute. Places to go, things to see, plans to see the zoo, the aquarium (which I've coincidentally seen a commercial for even as far here), a BBQ and friends of the siblings, the Space Needle, and tenderly raucous dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory (complete with all three brothers' families and the family of one of my youngest brother's friends.) There is time with my brothers and dinners at home and places to shop and salons to tan in and sites to see (Kyle went to see Jimi Hendrix' grave while we girls all splurged on a pedicure, dinner, and a movie.) And of course, Puget Sound, a sweeping backdrop to all life and things Seattle, where Grandpa Mike took the girls to see the docks and shore line, and Mount Rainier, a volcanic mountain visible only through clearing mist but always statedly regal.

(...to be continued...)

14 July 2009

Bubble of fun

I have not quite reached the summation of my trip (to be documented at a later point in time), but I can say that I do not want to leave tomorrow, but I want to be home. I wish... I wish there wasn't so much distance between us. It does make the time we have together that much more special (and I am still revelling in the glow that was cousin/sibling immersion), but it's bittersweet. I love my two families. The one I came from and the one I have made up north. I have never felt that more than I do right now.

03 July 2009


You ever dabble in painting? Acrylics, water colors, oils? Ever create something you really believed in or at least took an inspired shining to during its creation, only to view it in time and cringe that you ever, EVER thought it was good?

Ever want to undo it or throw it away and hope no one sees it?

That's me and about 5 or more old entries. I just deleted one that I would be mortified to learn someone (especially those referred to) had read it. Why do I do those things? Why did I do them? I would never do them again. And if I would never say it to their face, why would I put it on here? Especially after learning how well-read this blog is. And by "well-read" I mean usually the people I hope don't find it.

I mean, sometimes there are paintings which have mistakes or are amateur that are tolerable. Yeah, you hope no one notices them, but if they do, no skin off your nose. Or theirs. But what if you look at it again when you've had some time to come back to it and suddenly realize how offensive it is or controversial? What if your painting hurt someone's feelings?

I mean, I am on the brink of hypocritical/fake because I have blasted some of the past to the wall, characters in the story included, and then seem them around, smiling at them because of some credo of wanting to make others smile and forgetting that maybe, just maybe they know, and maybe, just maybe I'm the one with egg on my face; and in the meantime, I'm left to wonder if/who's read what and if I'm really launching egg on my face. And THEN I wonder (no, I know) that people have GOT to be wondering what kind of backasswards jerk I must be. And that would just put me back about a thousand paces of where I've come in trying to gain people's empathetic respect... if I want to make people believe I care, how can I write blogs like the one I just deleted? It's soooo important to make others feel important, loved, listened to. How can I gain any ground if I'm piping off like an idiot in a stupid blog?

Because of this and because of realizing (tho bewildered that anyone would) how many people have come across this stupid blog (thinking it had been a 'private' outlet from the start--I mean WHO in the world would be reading/coming across MY blog? A spitting, negligent, heathen-istic little peon??), and because of realizing the control thing (see prior entry), I don't believe I will ever write another vividly livid entry like those of the past ever again!

So, as I clean out my collection, I humbly offer to wander around with pie on my face and thusly, offer some kind of expiation for my sins.

23 June 2009

Birthday Bash Galore!

Well, what a fantastic weekend that was! Last weekend, I mean. The one before this last one. I mean going on over a week now last weekend because I haven't blogged in like, FOREVER...

The past few weeks, I started to give some thought to some kind of get together for my big three-o ('cause I didn't expect someone to throw me a party an'....)... annnn' I hadn't thought about doing anything. Then, at the last minute (as true to form *SIGH*) started thinking it'd be great to have people over. I mean, might as well, since it would be a laid back way of getting together. I absolutely loved the idea of sitting on my back deck (which is somewhat spacious and has been a growing tradition for Kyle and I after school/work) with friends and drinks and just chattin' with good music playing in the background; I'd been looking for an excuse to have people over because I've been so work-n-life go-go-go and I had hoped people warmed to the idea of just sitting around drinkin' and chatting with each other. I had a birthday like that a few years ago and it was just the most relaxed, lovely time. So getting all of the old buddies together plus the friends I've made from work, it hoped to be a non-presuming time.

So, I put it together, started telling just about everyone and thought I would make pozole (a traditional Mexican dish that make buttloads from the recipe I have.) Perfect. Low-key, low-budget plan engaged. And I'd be feeding people food!!

This would would play out beautifully along with a calm, lovely dinner with the hubby, dressed to the nines the night before. A plan he'd suggested about as many weeks ago and was an exciting, understated but elegant night out. *yay*

Didn't say anything about doing anything else.

Then the girls each had friends who called for sleepovers, which cancelled the sitter and quelled the feeling of rushing to get home, thusly employing a calm, lovely dinner complete with wine (well, for me) and gentlemanly accompaniment. Just as the hubby paid the bill, and we walked sleepily down the corridor arm-and-hand with the feeling of wrapping the night up, my friend, K, incidentally came through the front doors all in a frenzy, claiming to have left/lost her cell phone there from the conference she had allegedly been to that day. A text from her earlier that day, I thought, had confirmed her presence at this so-called conference for daycare workers, and I totally bought it hook, line, and sinker.

Being in dress clothes that were already calling attention to myself and not wanting to parade around anymore, especially in heels, I prompted the hubby to go with my friend, offering to wait in the lobby until their return. He urged me with a casual tone, saying, "nah, just c'mon. We'll just go out this way." So I followed them, reluctantly, down the hall to the stairs, down the stairs, and to the conference rooms and past the door of the one room, at which K whispers something about people being in there.

Seriously, I'm still not getting it. Seriously.

I shun away thinking, gaa, if there are people in there, I really don't want to be goin' in there, looking like this. Having people wonder what I was doing crashing their dig with my fancy clothes or something whack like that? Psh no thanks.

Yes, I'm really that thick.

Finally, K was just like "just c'mon!" Hubby moves in, light goes on and in one swift movement, we're all in there and I recognize EVERYONE!




I can't believe it! They're all there, everyone is sitting or standing around, and as I move in and take it all in, I see everyone is dressed up. EVERYONE! Guys in three-piece suits, the girls in dresses and nylons and my other friend, whose initial is also K, is ushering me shots and within twenty minutes, I've downed 5 shots. There are tables set up, music is going, beautiful decorations with big ol' "30"s on them, and there is a cake on one side, cards and gifts on another, and we've got access to an outside door--yippee!


I got a princess banner to wear all night that ended up on my head like a bandana somewhere in the festivities and it was a fantastic surprise.

Then I had to recover all the next day. I had to get ready for the one I threw for myself--oops! I asked hubby why he let me go ahead with my planning when he had clearly been planning his own for me, but it was a great deflection tool and especially handy for those who couldn't be at one or the other. I worked diligently on getting pozole ready and said "f- it" to mowing the grass or cleaning my house because I knew we were going to be in the garage and the house was just going to get messed up with people tracking into use the bathroom anyway.

One of my work gal pals came over early to hang before her son's bedtime, then a few more people showed around the stated party time. Kyle helped me to set up the computer in the garage with our speakers and bass amp and more people came. Soon enough we didn't have enough chairs and I kept urging everyone to go in the house and try the pozole. One by one the garage filled and more surprise visitors showed and everyone mingled while I took turns plopping on empty laps. Beer and wine and liqueur was being consumed and everyone was laughing. And then someone started pulling out the instruments and more singing ensued. By all means, all told, and all accounts, it was an incredible success.

But if two grand parties in one weekend wasn't enough, Kyle and I had our "Open Instrument Night" (which really was more in the afternoon) and witnessed a GREAT turnout (about 12 or so in total) with the most excellent, balanced range of voices--high to low--and we got to run through music, which was VERY exciting. I hope more people will keep coming out and I can't wait to reconvene in the fall!

15 June 2009

To the thirties coming: cheers!

I'm wondering what's left to do. Spent so many years, it seems, wasting time being worried about things I couldn't do anything about, concentrating on less meaningful tracks of life, and being obssessed with the "next" moment or being normal or being somebody different or feeling awful about being in my own skin, and just never, ever satisfied that I ended up sad in my life. Depressed. Trying to find satisfaction or happiness or even so much as to entertain the idea of happiness as a healthy thing. And not for lack of wanting to, but just having absolutely no bleepin' clue as to where to even begin, even with the life lessons I had been taught from the past.

And then the air cleared. Not magically. Not instantly. But after finally being so fed up with the fighting in my own head and how wrecked I made myself through my emotions and because of my emotions and all--and I mean ALL--of the suffering I experienced due to the extreme lack in maturity (taking responsibility for myself, my life, my decisions and consequences to go with that) that I just finally took a look at the trail behind me and just decided "ENOUGH!"

I mean, I finally, finally, on the eve of my thirties, just GET it. I get that I can't control everything (or much of anything) and that, in fact, the only thing I can control is myself. And while that seems so simple now--such a perfectly plain idea--but it just took so much to get there. I get that the beaten path I took brought me to where I am, including the ideas I had as early as childhood all the way to the painful, painful road that I took with Kyle. I mean, I'm also embarrassed and so sorrowful that I can look back and see all the places that I needlessly suffered and somehow bumped along that way with my poor kids in tow. However, the place of deep sorrow that I can go (and used to dwell) has been blessedly replaced or set into its rightful place with new perspective, which includes embracing all that I have to celebrate right now and all the things I will have to celebrate in the future because I've learned it the hard way. It has really, truly freed me up to concentrate on the priorities I've always regarded, but with more purpose and genuine, integral participation.

09 June 2009

2 years

I mean, when I was knee-deep and head-thick in the middle of machine beeps, vigilant nurses, IV bags, doctors, bedpans, and all that accompanied (too graphic to mention) my sick husband as I sat on the sidelines in the city, I just didn't know what to ... saythinkdo.

I knew early on that I should have been concerned with knowing what kind of chemos he was being intravenously fed, when to make him walk the halls, what his T cell counts were, how even unscented scents propelled his body upright with vomit--and I was aware--but all of that, every last detail, was being downloaded onto the brain with no capacity with which to store it.

Because, you see, I was on hyper-overload from everything the past two, four, ten years had thrown at me, the least being a realization to come and the most recent being the living situation with The Aunt. The realization being the responsibility I did not take for my feelings and my life up until then (and even later) and the situation with The Aunt being an atrociously soul-in-hell experience.

Between the least and the most of these milestones came naive, painfully green, young, single motherhood; one entire year of absolutely fruitless, emotional pandering to attempt to appease the relationship with the barely live-in father; a jam-compacted courtship that took a number of hits in only a few months before a quick engagement; a near-tragic rollover that put all of us in the hospital and ended in custodial fights by my parents over my youngest brother; a third year of university that began in almost total amnesia; our hasty law-office wedding; pregnancy number two; quitting school; moving to Canada; going one round of cancer; 6 months broke (and living with inlaws); getting Kyle's teaching job; and moving 8 hours away.

That was just a two-year period.

And then when Kyle got sick that year, I lived with this aunt the last four months of Kyle's hospital stay. I had been living with friends whose house we were crowding, so rather than rent an apartment, for which I had so closely come to putting a deposit on, I opted to move to the city and live with this aunt. An aunt who was so very hellbent on being "helpful" but instead ended up wanting control of everything that was going on, down to my computer usage.

So. I had no time to wrap my head around even one thing, look at it, swallow before moving on to the next big thing. And it was in that way that I sat in that hospital room every day, falling asleep to reruns of MacGuyver and Three's Company with Kyle.

07 June 2009

Ten minutes

And there I was. In the exam room, waiting silently, looking at the white walls, apprehension so thick you could cut it with a knife, next to Kyle. Visits like these were starting to become altogether too common and I hated it. Just before the exam room, we had been waiting in a crammed little waiting room with all the other worried faces. Faces seemed to be everywhere, all pained with the same anxious look; lost sheep. So as soon as Kyle's name was called, I just tried to avoid their eyes altogether and canal past them while plopping my baby on my mother-in-law's lap and telling my two-year-old to stay with Grandma.

I was talking to Kyle tonight about this "first" hospital visit. The first of what would be many more to come, thus acquainting myself with the cancer ward walls of the Health Sciences Centre. Because I'm PMS-ing and highly introspective when that happens, I was thinking of this specific scene tonight. I was thinking what an awful way to start off a new marriage. I barely even knew myself, much less the yearling marriage that was taking a mighty hit, and was having a difficult time grabbing onto the previous years alone, without having to deal with this.

The doctor came in, sat down, changed his tone, and with the utmost professionalism, mapped out a course of plan against his diagnosis. The prognosis for cure pretty slim. Thirty percent. I wanted to shudder, to undo what was just done, take my babies and run. It wasn't even half-formed in my head to do so before shutting it down with a ridculous shake of the head. That was just impossible. Not my style. And highly irrelevant.

01 June 2009

Warning: reflective and deep

So I was trying to do a non-recap "recap" of the last ten years of my life (well, actually closer to twelve now) in the previous entry, but I just can't! I mean, it's not that I don't want to finish it and I would love to have a "short" way for people to know just exactly the compaction of traumatic events to unfold in the early years of my adulthood, BUT... I can only write a bullet or two per addition before I have to stop. It's just too hard. Too hard to remember all that stuff. All the stuff no one seems to give a shit about (well, not "no one", but never the ones that you think it will matter to); and anyway, they just all want you to put it away because nobody can deal with negative stuff anymore. All the stuff that was too hard to tell in the first place, to relive, to plague people's poor ears (eyes) with. Too hard to remember and try to recall the order of events (because they did all blur together) things that pained (and still pain) my soul with the sorrow of a thousand molten poker jabs. Things, lots of things, I could do nothing about or was too lazy-minded to figure out or too naive or too overwhelmed to put together. I could never compare to someone who has used drugs or had family members abuse drugs or suffered things like rape, molestation, assault, death--but how is it that I can feel their pain? Understand that deeply-rooted core of despair and sorrow? Well, just read my last entry to know that all of its contents count for a summary of no more than two years, and that there is at least as much on the other end (the 3rd to 7th years inclusive) to supplement the already-made clusterphuck of poor decision-making and just bad luck of the initial two.

There is a reason (or several, maybe) for why I had to grow the way I was forced to grow. I can think of a few right off the top of my head. To relate to people unequivocally, for one. To identify with pain and be a guide to help those out of it, for another. Those being super heavy reasons at best still might not be the total package. I mean I'm not saying I am destined for some fantastic, enigmatic... thing. I'm saying that I get the feeling that even though it's just enough for me to help people and reach out in the most loving way I can, I still feel like there's a reason God conditioned me like, well, a sword in the fire. Damn those biblical references, anyway. I love the idea of being an advocate for love, for peace, peace of soul, peace of mind. I love that I've been conditioned in a way that gives me what I hope is undying strength and resolve. And I love the peace in my life that comes from the intricate, awe-inspiring beauty that is God's perfect plan. I love that I don't know it all, that I can still learn, that what I HAVE learned is so much. That I can take what I DO know and have and own and pass it on, help another soul, heal another wound, comfort the pain-stricken souls that fill this world.

I feel like this, like there is a reason I was conditioned this way, because even with all that I have become now, I feel like there is more. More that I'm meant to do? More that I'm meant to help with? I feel like this because I have shed a thousand versions of my skin that part of me now barely resembles the me of the late nineties; and I don't know how I got here. I just... really... don't know. I take a look at my past self and ponder my self-centered-ness, not thinking I was self-centered for a second, thinking I was SOO right. I take a look at ALL the times I thought I was so right (from parenting to financial considerations to whatever) and realize half of my die hard opinion, though founded, was just blind argument (that I often "won" because people seemed to catch on that it was easier to let me go than to point out what I so painfully did not see.) I take a look at my naivety and the way I was able to convince myself of my alternate reality and just cringe. I see how much more practical I've become (even despite my crazy whims) because the way that I was impractical before crossed the line into dilusion.

I feel like this because it TOOK two and five and seven years of intensely compacted traumas (and dramas!) (and I'm talking SERIOUS, painful, life-threatening, sanity-threatening stuff, not "my boyfriend left me, yada yada") to reduce me down, chop me up, mix me up, turn me around, spin me upside down and right side up to get to the person I am right now in this very chair. I mean it took THAT much, THAT kind of thing, that LEVEL of gruesomely grave lows to get me to be a better person. Maybe I shouldn't view it that way, but I guess I always have. And rather than it being about God being vindictive, just seeing in a way (now, that is--it took a while) that instead of Him thinking I was this wrethched little heathen of hell and needing to bootcamp my arse, it was more along the lines of "ok, you're not a bad girl, but I'm gonna give you these 'cause I need you for something later." And see, just typing that sent my head for a loop because I used to be all head-in-clouds for everything that when I came down to reality, I came down so hard the bruises still hurt and I've become nearly skeptical in my death grip on sensibility. Yet, that phrase, even in my own interpretation "...'cause I need you for something later..." sent a tingle through my temples and nearly brought tears to my eyes.

So hard to go on a tangent like this when I have other entries like this or this and get caught up in the incarnate world... but in all of my windbaggery, never did I profess to be perfect.

22 May 2009

I keep working on it...

So, to recap:

September/October 1997
-broke ass college girl, who hasn't even been in college long enough know how broke she is, learns she is pregnant

-broke-ass college, single girl at 18 is a mess in her head and puking in the worst spots every day because there is never a bathroom around or close by: over a grate in the back of a janitorial room, projectile in the bathroom downstairs; AND she gets lectured for taking food out of the cafeteria; sick for 6 months

January 1998
-broke-ass pregnant, college girl gets apartment (*a lucky fool to have been given money by her mother)

-broke-ass pregnant, single, college girl at 18 whose significant other was attached by a thread

March 1998
-broke-ass pregnant, college girl who was able to obtain some broken form of peace by his arriving on her doorstep 8 months into her pregnancy

April 1998 -- November 1998
-broke-ass pregnant girl at 18, crazy and angry, confused and naive, desperate and unknowledgeable, poor with no good-paying job, head too full to think of options has baby girl

-BASM trying to figure out her place with said significant other; baby grows

-BASM doesn't get out. Much. Somewhat lonely and isolated; baby takes her first steps

November 1998 -- February 1999
-BASM and significant other fight. A LOT. BASM and S.O. break up; he doesn't leave; she finds a friend to go with for the annual Valentine's dance; she starts to realize things

March 1999
-Finally, S.O. moves out.

-BASM starts to equal girl; young mother

-young mother starts to date really tall, charismatic Canadian boy but falls apart at being BASM again, with S.O. having left and no follow-up support; baby has first birthday

May 1999
-young mother sends mixed signals to Canadian boy; Can Boy graduates from university, doctors suspect testicular cancer

June/Summer 1999
-CanBoy leaves for surgery, goes home; young mother tries to find a second job; goes back home for brother's graduation; no relationship developed with CB--just connection; Young Mother returns to College Town

-CB tries to stay in touch; young mother doesn't know what to do; head is such a mess

-CB makes it through surgery, doesn't tell anyone he's leaving for College Town, surprises young mother at home; YM overjoyed at his arrival, worries subside; couple learns that removed tumor was malignant

-things take off quickly for CB and YM; resume togetherness; try dating; YM proposes to CB; CB accepts

July 1999
-YM discovers an inch of water all over her basement apartment on lunch break; stacks are ruined, papers destroyed, clothing soaked; gobsmacked; YM and baby move in with CB and his roommates to get away; roommates not particularly happy

August 1999
-YM's brother announces his shotgun wedding the Friday before the Monday he is going to have it; YM and CB decide to surprise brother by overnighting it back to YM's hometown; leave flooded apartment and CB's house after CB's nightshift; head out

-8-hour trip is too long; YM falls asleep at the wheel, sends GeoTracker rolling multiple times; all three passengers survive; YM's head is bashed like crazy, CB's back muscles torn, eyes bloodshot, baby is ejected from vehicle with miraculous mere damage--two scratches--one on jaw and one on collar bone.


-baby, YM, and CB all rushed to hospital; EMT on highway just moments behind witnessed accident, called into dispatch; baby and CB released within 2 hours; YM in ICU with concussion for three days; brother's wedding postponed to next day

-chaos erupts as YM's mother rushes in on last minute flight; parents amidst divorce argue, wedding commences on postponed day, tensions rise, custody arrangements over younger brother take precedence; CB is verbally accosted by YM's family members; YM's younger brother goes missing, father ends up in jail that night for "hiding" younger brother with biker friends; older-middle brother ships out for basic; YM's head trauma overwhelms the situation, parents and extended family cause CB to book hotel room away from mess

-YM's grandfather gives her and CB old car to get back to College Town with much reservation; car breaks down halfway to College Town; CB's friends drive from College Town to pick CB, YM, and baby; all move in together

-YM, already late for the school year, avoids going back to class; head is in immeasurable pain, total recall impossible; resumes classes; can't find lecture halls and doesn't remember bassoon fingerings; landlord of flooded apartment demands rent; CB's student visa expires

-Wedding plans non-existent; Young Mother haggles with landlord, gets out of apartment, gets back into classes, fog slowly lifts, new roommates help out immensely; YM gets night sitter for night job; some normalcy begins to form, but routine starts to wear; CB decides to take Master's classes to extend student visa

October 1999
-CB and YM talk, understand unlikelihood of summer wedding occurring; talk over weekend, agree to go with JP wedding; CB books judge Monday, couple tells friends Tuesday, Wednesday; Thursday get out of school to get hitched, baby stays at sitter

-Third year in, YM contemplates quitting school; has very little time with new hubby and baby, behind in general credits, not enough hours in a day to do school/work/mother/wife; CB's Master's classes are too expensive and too draining to continue; CB drops classes

December 1999
-YM does exit interviews, drops classes; new family visit's mom in Nevada, where mom now lives, for Christmas; go to Disneyland; get ready for the big Y2K; CB and YM talk about moving to family to Canada; YM is pregnant

January 2000
-New Family makes motions to leave States; CB goes north to look for job, secure place for family; YM stays behind to pack

-phone is disconnected early, CB can't get a hold of YM to relay bad news: cancer was back; YM learns news upon his arrival to move them up; YM packed very little, scramble to get vehicles filled; roommate lends truck space and drives with caravan to Canadian border; all tears

-CB begins outpatient treatments, outpatient chemotherapy; loses hair; family living with father of CB

-YM not legal to work; helps out with house cleaning; life is scary and stressful living in new country with new inlaws

-YM doesn't think of exploring new surroundings, stays home while hubby leaves for daily treatments; hubby endures hours-long sessions, YM have little quality time together

Spring 2000
-doctors give hubby clean bill of health, mass in lung becomes calcified node; hubby tries to find teaching job; settles for prep cook by day and bouncer by night

-hubby goes back to work right away; hubby's dad lends young family second house to live in; pregnancy progresses

-couple experiences some freedom, but money is tight

July 2000
-teaching job hunting pays off, hubby gets interview; northern Canada; gets junior high band teaching job; family gets ready to move

August 2000
-baby girl arrives; final packing completed; move 8 hours north with 2-week-old baby

-move into two-bedroom apartment; school starts; adjust to life with salary; hubby continues medical check-ups

October 2000
-world comes crashing down, doctors inform hubby of second relapse; must leave everything to follow him into hospital

-hubby moves into hospital, family moves in with friends; roller coaster begins


20 May 2009

But you know what? It's okay. It really is.

Not to the point that what whoever it was in whatever realm did what he/she/it/they did.

But to the point that it's done. Over with. And that that person can move along, move forward, and take the lesson part of it to heart, evolve the spirit, resolve to avoid doing it again, and feel better knowing (remembering) that a future point in time is the fading of the mistake. You don't have to have people like you, it's okay. Or if it wasn't that, it doesn't have to be everlasting regret/pain/sorrow. Just... learn. Learn the lesson. Figure out what it is. Find what it is. Be sad as you need to, but don't dwell. If it's anger that ails you, face what is making you angry. Make resolve with it. Make resolve by admitting what needs to be admitted to yourself or others, by learning how to see what makes you feel unsettled, by looking at the resources around you to help see yourself in a removed light, by experiencing the terrifying turn-around that comes with trying to change and the successful peace that comes after the cycle is completed. Understand that all things growing require some kind of painful metamorphosis--life was designed that way--but find rest and peace that all these things were meant for you to have. All these things were meant for you to find, for you to learn, for you to embrace, for you to grow. Find comfort in the end result. Keep hope as a candle flame to whatever darkness is hurting/plaguing you and remember that it is only God above that gives these things to you, for it is He Who created the mustard seed, which is tiny and deceivingly insignificant, but whose seed bears and produces the most enormous tree. Even the seed of a soul-less tree must break in the ground to grow. How much more must we, humans, intricate, beautiful and complex, break the same way in order to grow?

May peace be with you.

18 May 2009

Creepers and peepers and people who like to meddle

You know. I'm really disappointed. I really, really am. You know? You know who you are. Whoever it was who had the time, SPENT the time... trying to... what? Get something? Get somewhere? Do something? By doing... what, exactly? I mean, really. Thank God I can laugh about it now, but really--who are you? WHO? Who would go and waste the time and money on a stamp, spend the energy to concertedly mail a legal-sized envelope without a return address? What kind of person does that? Don't you realize that you won't get credit for looking good when you don't sign your name? I don't get it. It's just so... I don't know the word for it. What an ignobly ballsy thing to do.

Someone somewhere in some... (*hand circle-wave motion)... far off land (within this community, I much assume) found it their calling to print an entry I had written some months ago and mail it to my bosses. Oh yeah. It was mailed in a big brown envelope with no return address and marked "CONFIDENTIAL" on it. The entry, for the record, was one that recounted *shall we say* a 'story' of waitressing and my own monstrous lacking to process more understanding for people's bitchiness. Since realizing I was somewhat of a control freak (*see previous entry,) a MEGA amount of moments and accounts in and of my life have fallen into place and made SO much sense as to why I get SO worked up about things I cannot do anything about. Basically, I realized why I chose to get so impassioned about things (see: 'temperamentally intense-due-to-control issues') that I have absolutely zero control over. I.e. people's thoughts, responses, feelings, reactions, etc.

Anyway, the entry was a little raw, but nothing extreme and with absolutely zero reference to specific names, places, locations, people. Yet, I was approached and asked about it because it showed up in their mail; and the only kind of person to have sent it would have been someone who

a) knew the website (knew how to find it or SUPER coincidentally came across it)
b) knew who I was--enough to know to associate me with my place of work
c) knew where I worked
d) had purpose in sending it or d2) was petty/malicious

It really doesn't matter. Essentially, I've learned 2 very important lessons in all of this, following the lesson in being a control freak. (Probably more, but in the interest of time, I'll keep it down to two.)

1) There is no reason on earth to get that worked up about anything in the service industry. Really. People can be retarded, true, but who of us is exempt from being retarded? And there is certainly nothing that warrants the kind of ventage that was that entry. True. Especially in regards to the very public forum in which it was written and the potential for damage that it was and that it got dragged into my workplace. (Which, is, to whoever you are, SUPER uncool.) So, basic note to self: don't put such extreme anger into an entry, even when trying to be funny.

2) That people are still going to f*** people over even if they've never been mean to them a day in their lives. I try real hard to get along with everyone and NOT because I care if people like me--it is because I enjoy the challenge of getting a smile out of even the most difficult customer. (And why is that?? Because I believe that every single person is a human waiting to be loved and I thrive on the energy that comes from their smiles.) Sure I've spouted my hasty, heated words and I am FAR from perfect (and my mission to make people smile has its limits), but I generally go out of my way (until severely provoked otherwise) to make someone feel good about themselves. But people still aren't going to care.

In the end, it's just the basic principles on the playground being violated and luckily, I don't have time for it, nor do my bosses. I hope that whoever it was that read that blog and printed it out at least has read my other blogs and taken the time to enjoy them because anything less just means their mission was in vain.

07 May 2009

A serious thought, an epiphanic entry

So. That's what it is. That's what it's been this whole time. I mean, this WHOLE freaking TIME! Amazing. Ten years, eleven years (who the hell knows for sure) of WASTING energy, time. Tears. Words. Apologies. As somber as it is, it is also gleefully uplifting. You know. A relief. TEN years (or more, maybe) of looping and spinning and grasping at internal battles for nothing! Well, okay not nothing. But something, which has finally, ultimately, and lastly added up to so many years of spinning my wheels, hashing out, and rehashing approximately three-trillion degrees and forms of acceptance for about as many conflicts, situations, and the like, for which I would ultimately try to control the outcome: a realization. Something has finally clicked and made me understand just about every single aspect of my crazy, fading-psychobitch ways: control.

Aye yay yay. What the hell am I talking about, the proverbial 'you' asks.

'Tis the muted enlightening of a soul who has just realized how she has tried to control outcomes and output of the situations and people around her for SOOOO many years by the way I have delivered my own dialogue, assumed a savior-ette, super-hero type role, and all--and I mean ALL!!!--the brain-crap that can be associated with all of the hair-brained, vendetta-type, "passionate" responses I've ever, EVER had and made. I've just done that for soooo long and in so many ways that it just became the norm of relating to people and, more importantly, dealing with situations, dealing with life.

I mean, everyone wants and needs some control in their life, but sheesh! I never realized the magnitude with which I do this. It really is so sad. Thanks be to GOD it can be overcome, such is the blessing, just not without some reflective regret. What brought this new idea about was the impending change to come with Kyle not getting the high school band job (who woulda thunk--it all seems a little too reality-novel for me, but...)...but all in how I dealt with the news, how I reacted, how I wanted to act, and the miserable unfolding of what was, essentially, the fact (and realization) that I could not control this and no amount of avenging was going to change the outcome, nor would it leave anything but severely damaging consequences behind in some proposed aftermath.

It wasn't just entirely all there, though. The realization, that is. I had some time in between the news of Kyle's employment situation and the unfolding of conversations in a day (yesterday) to stew like a mad cow over the entire blow of it all. Which I did. I let the anger boil in me like a hot blister in my chest and rise into my throat yesterday morning, with a surging I knew would only be quelled by giving the wrong-doers a piece of my mind. My temples throbbed, I felt almost sick with the feeling that was rising in my chest and I've never experienced that kind of exhaustive emotion since the time I was a child and was throwing a wild fit in the hallway (for being sent to bed early since muttering some nasty thing under my breath at my mother.) I've never been so mad. In all my life. I knew I had to write them (the administrators) a letter and that I needed to compose it like I would send it. I had to be confident that what I wrote could be something I would send and I needed to believe I was somehow, in some way or another, going to send it.

So then I focused all my energy in trying to find the words I couldn't spit out and tell them just everything I wanted to say and everything I wanted them to hear. After taking a mere hour to accomplish just that (and believe me, that's a pretty good deal!), I let Kyle read it, who was home for lunch by then. Expecting a response and knowing he knew I demanded one, we ended up launching into an entire noon-hour debate about the way I deal with things, the operative word being successfully launched into the air being "control."

Being that he had adapted to my ways for so long, either by being brow-beaten or by physical ailments of the past, there was a serious lack of boundaries set on his part and a serious lack of respecting ones on my part. But there was also a serious amount of bravery on Kyle's part to use such a word with me, in full context, full light of the day, in a discussion that had been launched originally with respect to his job; and a serious amount of relief in seeing my reception of the word. He explained right out what I had been failing to hear for SOOO many years about why to let things go, why to understand that inevitable situations are beyond our control, and that not being able to control them does not equal failure (I realized this in not-so-many words.)

This being such a heavy realization at such a bright hour shook my foundation a bit. It seems easy to say or think, but to know it is completely another thing. I never wanted to be like that. And with Kyle's tender touch, he pointed out in a way that made new sense all of the ways that my life and our life together had spiraled so amazingly out of control in the beginning. From one thing to another--living with R, searching for money (and having none!), dating Kyle while R was still in the house, R moving out, apartment flooding, the accident, moving in with other people, moving to another country, in with the inlaws, Kyle getting sick, moving again, and more--all overlapping in traumatic series of cowpies that transpired (plus mothering two little ones) within a year's time and then, in turn, morphed into our lives on this side of the border (getting the job here, moving again, Kyle getting sick again, having two young babies, the aunt, the cancer, the joints, the whole peril of the looming unknown, job upheaval, marriage upheaval...)

However, this being a particularly astonishing thing all on its own--the entire realization of my control (or attempts to control)--it wouldn't be the last time I'd hear about it. After lunch, I had coffee with K who had observed the same things Kyle did about my behavior in my attempts to militantly assume justice in cases where someone had been done wrong; and her observation touched something raw.

But then, if that wasn't enough, I had a bit of time to think about it and hopefully clear my head before work, but during my shift, my boss called me into talk about some aspects of my job and noted some of the way I deal with customers and more or less suggested I not take it so personal. I realized (although not too suddenly) that most of the time (in regards to customers, particularly rude ones) that I can brush it off, but sometimes there is a switch in me where that puff of indignation rises and I do, indeed.... *sigh... take it personally. On a side note, I guess I do this because I know that I would never go into a restaurant--or anywhere, for that matter--and treat an employee poorly; and so it makes me mad, BUT... the anger that builds up so intensely is due to this... A-HA!... lack of superpower to change that person's mind or behavior.

And so...

I can see how it ALL just finally works together to explain why I was the way I was for so long. Perhaps the need to control something in what used to be my insane life seeded its way down. Perhaps there is heritage influence or familial pressure (as in, of old) that had its own life blood in my decisions to let every person in the world know exactly how I feel. Maybe a ton of things. But I can look back on every single time in my life that contained some form of contention, ill-formed resolution (or trying to force resolution), or any kind of temperamental flare-up and realize that it is a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. It is a piece of knowledge that I can look back with and match the puzzle pieces to. Every single instance of those situations where I got mad or felt out of control is like a part of the puzzle that each match up with this one piece of knowledge and it works like an application. I've only had twenty-four hours to start a new life with one of accepting what I cannot control, but I can tell you that I'm already relieved. Beyond measure.

(Epilogue: The letter was deleted.)

16 April 2009

I love band!

I am much too tired to get into the analytical side of this, but tonight, after the Air Command Band concert, Kyle re-informed me that there was a reception for the musicians and some of the city employees at one of the local hotels. I would have been excited to know we were invited except this week's already been a clusterphuck of time managing, with rehearsals for the musical, various activities for the girls, various appointment cancellations, a vet appointment, an imminent birthday party looming around tomorrow's corner, two more shifts of work, packing and supper at a friends house on Saturday to compound leaving the house on Sunday and the overall mess that is my brain this week; and I really didn't think I was going to be able to stomach yet another handful of stupid people.

Let me side track for a moment and explain how much I love band concerts. I love symphonic concerts, orchestras, instrument ensembles of all kinds and of all forms, but I am especially fond of bands ensembles formed with traditional wind instruments plus or minus a rhythm section. I love how any piece of music can carry me away, going back to the simple days where I would just romanticize my life away and mull over the delightful way the music answered my pains, my joys. I love how there is always something in each genre, label, kind, brand, timbre of music that moves me like nothing else can. Clap, snap, dance, wiggle, gyrate, wave my hands, sing on the outside, but feel like there is planetary motion on the inside. I crave that band sound. I really feel like it's just something so integral to me that no one will understand, but I imagine there are others with the same feelings, that pertains to the sounds that only wind instruments can make. I love the mariachi trumpet feel, the light flutey parts, the rhythm trombones and tenor saxes, the character of the double reeds, the unmistakeable strains of guitar, drum beats, rhythms, and even like tonight, the added character of vocals. Truly I am a band geek.

That being said, I've established myself as a musician in this town albeit minorly, playing keyboards on (going on) four community productions, a host of accompaniment gigs and church services around town. I don't presume to have a title, because I don't. I wouldn't want one. I don't have to be known as any one thing. Because I am surely not an elitist. And it's not like I'm so good that I could afford to be anyway.


...as sure as the day you were born (side tangent back on track), I went up to the keyboardist tonight at the reception and introduce myself (because I'm friendly and outgoing like that, fun and funky, fearless, down-to-earth, whatever,) and make a point of relating to her when she donned the snobbiest face I have seen on another musician in a long time. Maybe I have been too far removed both in time and in distance to remember what it was like to rub elbows with elitist musicians (and believe me, I knew a few in college!) and therefore put my dumbass cart before my retarded, socially awkward horse, but being that I was dressed up head-to-toe in great clothes, hair coiffed, ready with a smile and drink in hand, I was poised to approach this woman, only to be utterly and grieviously snubbed, bitterly put back into place by her blank stare, expectant eyes, and far less than subtle "yes, we'll talk later" (after I shut up) bite.

I was dumbfound. Astonished. Yes, astonished--truly (!) astonished--that this woman had the nerve to be so cold after I'd taken time out of MY schedule (yes, mine, the schedule of a lowly small town mom-ish thing living in the real world) to grace her with MY conversation. I was absolutely gobsmacked that such snobbery of that caliber would ever find itself in Flin Flon, Manitoba, that another woman could be so immature and yet seem so convoluted in her resolve so as to actually form words that were soaked in condescending vinegar. I just have nothing else to say after that. Except...


09 April 2009

Mother hen to nest, calling all mama birds

I don't really have much to say. Rephrase: I'm not inspired about any one thing in particular tonight. I've noticed Facebook has failed to notify me that it would be sucking tonight, or last night, or for pretty much the last three nights in a row and I am rather disgruntled about it.

I had a girl talk with my littlest one tonight. She's feeling repressed and stomped on by her older sister and that kind of situation does NOT bode well with a little Leo. Not to use astrological comparisons or assign her to any kind of walled-in definition, there is definitely a roaring leader in her and a certain indignation about her when the antics of her very bold, opinionated, highly organized (both in schedule and in thought), and eclectic older sister inflict a very potential damage. (It would stand to reason that a Gemini could bear a child with contrasting traits, methinks. Hmmm...)

I mean, there is the sibling rivalry, in light and in seriousness, to consider. In this light, what is going on could be reduced to a mere, "oh, those kids" while laughing because it seems so trivial in comparison to our lives that involve bills, deadlines, schedules, entire weeks of rigid plans; and... because we can remember those childhood pains and wave our hands at those with a dismissive guffaw when matching those pains to the pains of adulthood.

But really, what makes them so different?

Without coddling my children, I can see how real this pain is. I remember being told things like "well, it'll get better" or "just wait until you're older" or any other such equivalent comment that essentially dismissed what I was feeling. At the very least, it made me feel like I was being silly for having kid feelings.

However, I've realized that I still have feelings in the same way I had feelings as a kid and it's because I've had to rearrange them a million times that I know what my girls are feeling is very real. Most importantly, those feelings don't go away without real validation and I don't ever want to be the reason my girls feel invalidated.

So, we talked. And even thought I knew pretty much what she was going to say, I listened anyway. Asked her questions that would walk her through her feelings and then rubbed her back until she fell asleep. I actually played Mama rather than The Problem Sorter/Solver Extraordinaire, which is what I usually do. I don't know why. I guess it's just one way of being dismissive, regardless of the intention being to help my girls avoid feeling hurt. In that way, it makes me no better than the ones who missed that mark with me (and there we could go off on another, completely different side track about sensitivity on both sides of the opinion.)

In either case, why are kids so mysterious to figure out? It wasn't that long ago that we were kids, that I was a kid. I think I'm less worried about "figuring them out" (as I do know my own children) than I am deeply contemplative of what's going on in their little, very real, very active minds. Because I am so analytical and introspective, I want to know the thoughts making rounds in their minds. I don't want to pass on my over-analytical-ness, either. I want them to be able to think critically, to have the ability to analyze a situation, but I don't want them to be me. I want them to be better than me, than what I have lived, of course. The wish of every parent.

I just see how fast they've grown and realize that they are half grown already! It'll only be another eight to ten years before they go off into the real world. Maybe I should look at it as 'before they JOIN us in the real world'---then I can look at it in the way that all the things I can share with them as adults that I couldn't before, but egads! We'll cross that bridge when we get there! Which, at this rate, will be when I blink my eyes...

The point is, I got to be a mom so early and I'm really thankful to the powers that be that someone saw me fit enough to handle these blessed, beautiful humans; I just hope that I didn't figure myself out too late, that trying to get a grip on my own trials hasn't wreaked havoc on the way they see life, and that they see life with the purity, passion, and vigor that I am wanting them to see, but most off all that they walk into a crazy, hell-in-handbasket world knowing who they are and not to compromise their morals for anything.

Over and out.