Saturday, 7 May 2011

A visit with the folks.

    Had the rare opportunity to spend some time with my younger sister the other day. We hadn't seen each other since last summer, so catching up was needed. We decided to drive out to see our folks, to check-up on them and see how they had fared the winter. The drive was enjoyable and everything from current day politics to old family business was rehashed. I even managed to get her to admit that she had indeed mellowed personally a bit since her retreat from the world of high-risk finance.We found a quaint little bistro on the edge of the woods and had a nice lunch while she listened to me prattle on about some current concerns and struggles i was experiencing with my own kids. It was nice to have a family member to share my concerns with, you know, someone who knows the very depth of the fiber. Theres an insight that comes from a family member that cant come from anywhere else.

    After lunch was completed, we walked leisurely  through the post rain mist, to where the little flower shop was. Mom was always such a fan of tulips, especially the brighter colored variety. She would be pleased with the lovely soft pink ones my sister had chosen.
As we got a bit closer to Mom and Dad's, there was a bit of concern as to whether the roads were going to allow us passage. They were unpaved, and as result , very wet and slippery, but we were soon at number
A-30, Mom and Dad.s place..
We both stepped from the car, and for just a moment, i felt a small degree of trepidation. That little feeling that says gee iv'e been away a bit  too long, i hope they're not too upset with us.
Concerns fell away very quickly as we stepped into their presence. Conversation immediately and somewhat predictably, i suppose fell back to when we were last all together, seemingly, a thousand years ago. We spoke of how they had truly capitalised on the "immigrants dream" , coming to Canada in 1957 from Holland, "With a hundred dollars in our pocket,and then your mother got sick!"....I think if i had a nickel for every time my dad said that line i could have given him back that hundred dollars. My sister, i think said it best for both of us though, She said "you know, if Mom and Dad succeeded the immigrants dream, then we can truly say that we (my sister and myself) had won the lottery". I knew immediately what she meant. You see, my parents could not have children of their own, so, my sister and i were adopted. Me first in late 1962, and Lee-Ann in 66
.Lee-Ann and i both  have just enough knowledge of our birth families to know that we were both very lucky to have been given up,so that we could be adopted by these two people from Holland, who had a lifetime of love and caring to give.I cringe sometimes, thinking of what my life would have been had my birth mother elected to keep me.
Through the chatter and laughter,the remembrance and the occasional  tear i think that. in the end, all that needed to be said, was said.  As quickly as we arrived, it seemed just as right when the time to leave fell upon us all. Farewells were hushed and  as expected, a bit sorrowful, with the ever present cliche' to" return soon" Mom and Dad know we have busy lives, and Lee-Ann and her husband Peter live thousands of miles away. They know it's not easy for us to get out to their little spot in the forest, but i truly know that they are ok with it. They are ok with it, because we are doing exactly what they set out for us to do, our lives, flourish with our families, and love, because we were loved.
      As we crested the small hill towards the car, i looked back at the tulips placed gently at the base of the majestic fir overlooking the river valley my father had picked out to scatter my Mom's ashes, and ultimately, where i scattered his. The afternoon sun pierced the clouds and the entire valley seemed to spring forth in life, from the sparkling snow beneath the tulips, to the mountain peaks that surrounded us. Easily enough put to coincidence i suppose, but i think i'm gonna keep that one for myself, you see, Mom and dad were never big over the top "I love you" types. in fact, that phrase was rarely spoken at our home. "i love you's" at our house, were expressed more often through acts and gesture, like say for example, parting the clouds and allowing in enough sunshine to show that all was well on the side of that little mountain,and they were not only happy for our visit, but happy for us, and the lives we were living.
The "immigrants dream" did not pass with my folks, they left it behind, for us, as they had always intended to do, and we, the benefactors, will never forget
Well'te ruste Oma n Opa,
 We love you too.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

I'm a bit confused

The Heading of the piece was entitled something along the lines of "5 explanations of what it really means when a woman says"....
It then went on to explain that if a woman uses the word "fine", things probably aren't (I can concur with this one). But from there i found the temperature of the obviously intended as humorous mail type joke  to drop considerably.Well below what i would consider the line of humor. Perhaps it's just me, based on recent events and past perspectives, lets see what you all think.

As the joke continued, it said that if a woman uses the word "whatever" it actually translated to "fuck -you",
Another word, equalled the phrase "you are wrong and i am right, so you had Better shut-up
And finally  there was a word (sorry i dont recall) that equalled the male of the relationship  having to be very concerned for his i suppose, well being, because it stated that she would be "thinking Long and hard about how to punish or get even with" the male in the spouse roll.
Well I'll tell ya what, Ive already been told twice to "cool my jets", and "get over it, It's just a joke" But ya know what? I dont think its a joke at all! As matter of fact, I'm pretty sure that if a male of the species, or for that matter ANYONE in a spousal relationship used that phrasology in a place of public gathering, the result would be negative. NOONE wants to hear two people in a relationship speak to each other in those terms.It makes us uncomfortable, and makes us wish we were elsewhere. WHY?, simply because that nature of talk is easily indentified with being abusive.
O.K., I'm busted, anyone who truley knows me, knows that i tend to take offense realativley easily when it comes to the ladies using general and generic man-bashing as fodder for humor. Is this because im hypersensative to my gender not getting a fair shake?, or being unfairly catagorized?,..Hell no. It comes from a place where i have seen TOO MANY brothers pay far beyond theire equitable share as result of a failed relationship. I personally know more than a Half-a -dozen different lads who had dissolved relationships with a gal they once loved,(3 of whom dissolved the marriages by forming new relationships before ending the old one) only to find that when it came to the dividing up of things, it was beneficial to themselves to say, mutter something about "Daddy looking at porn while he held his daughter on his knee. Or, suggesting that there were acts of physical abuse in play. There were some accusations made that i wouldnt even dare write on this page. I would love nothing more than to say that based on what i knew of these fella's theres NO way those accusations would hold water, regrettably in most cases, they were niether provable, nor disprovable. Thats what gives them the strength you see,based on heresay, and occasionally outright lies, people are punished,  potentially for the rest of theire lives, either monitarily,emotionally,criminally, or perhaps all of them!
Now lets get back to the "JOKE". If "I" or any male i knew, penned a joke for public display that revolved around telling our spouse to SHUT-UP, Or if we said to them FUCK-YOU! Or perhaps if we advised our spouses that we are long and hard considering a retribution or punishment, all she would have to do is relate this information to the nearest womens shelter or police dept. and im sure the joke would end with the male having a No-Contact order placed against him, he would lose his home, his children and possibly even his personal liberties.
So ladies, when you speak in terms of "gender equality", please include a sensitivity that says "maybe i wont forward the e-mail joke about men being nothing more than "Ultra penis focused Cro-magnon goofs,whos ineptitudes find  them fit for nothing more than being the brunt end of your obviously over-cultured and  well-healed barbs.You get what ya give.
To "Glenn" who told me to cool it. Sorry dude, disagree entirely. My mom wasnt like that, My wife Isnt like that, My Daughter isn't like that, I certainly dont want them painted with that brush.
To My friends T.V.B / D.W. from Niagra Falls Ont. Ladies, with all youve been through, all your knowledge, and all your lifes experience, i would have thought you two to be the last to engage in a manner of aggression towards anyone. (even for a joke) .I wish that you would want better for yourselves, your husbands, and  the rest of your families.
Abuse is abuse folks, if someone  finds humor in hurting others, well i guess thats a someone i just dont need to know.Dont like what I'm sayin?, well maybe i should slap the shit outta ya!,....never mind, im just joking.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Farewell my Love, ( a cathartic look at a destructive relationship)

We first met in'76, introduced by a group of friends. Although i found her intriuging, i must admit, at first i was a little intimidated, and maybe a little bit turned off. You see although this was the first time we had been formally introduced, my parents had known her for years, and did not speak well of her.

In our early years, we were quite casual about our relationship, seeing each other almost exclusivley during some periods and almost ignoring each entirley during others. It was easy back then, we were young, there was never promise of commitment and the world was free and easy. Although i couldn't help but think , even way back then, that i felt like she wanted more from me,  more of an attachment. Regardless, i kept her at arms length, bringing her out for special occasions and gatherings, or sometimes if i was just feeling lonely and contemplative. Whatever the circumstance, she always knew just how to be, and just how to settle me down. She was awesome that way.
As years progressed, I found it more and more difficult to keep her at arms length. Somehow or another, she had gotten inside me, and made herself part of my fibre, my very being.
It could be quite annoying at times, that carefree relationship that seemed to compliment my young lifestyle, that i thought, even seemed to elevate me socially, had begun to become occasionally awkward. She insisted on imposing on other relationships that i either had or wanted to start. I know for a fact that some of those relationships were short-lived due to her unyielding presence. Yet for some reason, i chose to stand by her, and even on occasion, defend her.
 I recall times over the years, when i truley wondered about the validity of our relationship. We had gotten to a point where i found her distracting. She would take me away from my work, from friends who didnt share an appreciation for her, and from events where she felt she would'nt fit in, or was'nt welcomed. None the less, she was part of my world, knew all my friends, hell, she even was there the day i met and married my wife.

Like so many other challenges in life, the tough stuff begins to fade a bit as you get older and more settled in your ways and so was this the case with me and her. All in my world had simply learned to accept her as part of me,  and aside from an occasionally dirty look, or suggestion that i should lose her, she became accepted. Problem was, i began to feel that our relationship was affecting me more negativley than i even  would admit to myself
Then came a fatefull day i should never forget. I stumbled across a picture of her, with my daughter. My first born. The little blonde haired, brown eyed girl i actually prayed to God for all those years ago. The picture showed the two of them, my daughter clasping her firmly in her hand, she was smiling such a beautiful smile, like the world was in her palm, like i had thought so many years ago, when i first became involved with her.
My outrage was immediate. I sought-out my daughter,found her in her room and retrieved her from her sleep. Groggy eyed and confused, she seemed like she didn't know how to respond to the allegations of the relationship she had formed  with her, and for a moment, my mind flashed back to all the times i too was in this position, having nothing valid to say, feeling foolish, but none the less defiant and protective of her and the relationship.
 Within a few hours, my daughter appologised for the relationship, appologised for having lied about it, and confessed how long the relationship had been going on. I must admit, i was shocked and hurt to find out she had been seeing her for almost two years. She promised me she would end it, and i accepted her words with a degree of sinicism. I had made that same promise many times myself, yet she remained a part of my world.
A few weeks later, while driving home with my daughter, i asked her if she was managing along ok without her past relationship. Her response seemed a little vauge, so i pressed further for clarity or confirmation. Regrettably, i went too far, and insisted she provide me with a degree of proof that she was no longer involved with her. My daughters face got tight, her eyes cold and gray, and then she said it, she said what everybody, including ME was already thinking "When are YOU going to leave her dad?,  I had to!"

There simply is no way in the world, that any Father worth his salt, can ask his kids to do something he refuses to do. To continue the relationship with her at this point, would be akin to nothing more than an act of cowardice and betrayal.
I sent her away a couple of days ago, and i'd sure like to tell you i feel good about it. I'd be lying if i did. I miss our time together after a meal, I miss the way she soothed my thoughts into making sense while i would conduct business, and i Know i'm going to miss her during the good times, while tipping a pint or two. Might even have to give that up for a while till the scars from this are little bit thicker.

Farewell my love, our time together has truley passed. You see, i love another far more than you. I have no doubt, that when i see you with another, i shall remember fondly our times together. But i must also remember that you tried to take my child from me. You are NO LONGER WELCOMED IN MY LIFE!
And so a thirty-five year relationship with cigarettes comes to an end. I hope youll all excuse my moodiness for a bit, i feel like ive just lost my best / worst friend.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Carbon based regrets (meanderings from the past)

I sit alone, yet, not alone.

 Ghosts adorn the walls of my self-incarceration, each portraying there
own ridicule, each demanding a reckoning I struggle, and endlessly fail
to provide.

 The silence is not silence,

but a calling out of projections from the past. These too are the
offering of that which will beseech my attention.

Indiscretions, invasions, ineptitudes.

The silence is aggressive in its pursuit of me

Solar castings of light on the wall hearken a closing to times of
regret, for now, temporary release.

I unchain myself from this place, as i have done before, and  carry forward with
 a perceived and arbitrary peace.

Self righteous Digressions move me to a place of refuge, where the ghosts
decline to do the biding of my consciences desire to rid itself of my own
mortal essences.

I will return again to this place, against free will, escorted by the

Eventually, gracefully, mercifully, time and a fading reality, will take
my ghosts from me, and with them, will go the regret that was fertile
ground sprouting sweet toxic memories as Lily's among the weeds.

I seek not absolutions, for none exist in flesh and blood

Humanity, not withstanding human nature

For where pain was born, longing had freshly passed. And where
indiscretion is the indictment, a life lived in the moment, is the

Paradise lost and found at my, and it's own expense.

Monday, 7 March 2011

A quick and required re-tool

Ok so someone with far greater web-design skills than i have picked up the "rate payers" blog, along with all the conflict, accusations and misery. They are more than entitled to it. This little blog will continue just as a self serving sounding board for my own madnesses to breathe life for how ever long they are valid.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

"Theres a fire softly burnin, suppers on the stove".....

Remember that ole John Denver tune? As i sit and write, its playing quietly, not so loud to wake some already slumbering types, but loud enough to evoke some thought surrounding a situation an old acquaintance of mine is currently expieriencing. Ill call him "Herm".
First a bit about "Herm". He's a well-known Blacksmith, an artisan who's work you may have seen from time to time on display at some the finer craft events and western heritage gatherings. He's a Farrier, so well thought of in his circles that he had been commonly called upon to foster clinics, and to contribute his written word in many publications pertinent to this craft. He's also a published Canadian Author and a High-school shop teacher amongst several other talents, that all seem to revolve about the service of others. Oh, and theres one more thing,
He's Homeless.
You see, like so many of us, Herm was a family guy.Wife, some kids, a rented farm where they all got about the business of living life in general. Coffee round the kitchen table in the morning, supper at six, all very normal to take for granted.
Then one day, it all changed.
 Herm's missus, has an issue with collecting animals (horses). It became so much of a problem , that eventually , in spite of Herms attempted intervention, the very predictable occured and the family was presented with a reality that promissed immediate and permanent financial hardship.Something needed to be done , NOW.
When Herm spoke to his wife in terms of timely distribution of the animals to save the well being of the family, her response was so violent, that he ended up in the emergent care room with a busted nose, and a couple of black eyes. The gal was charged,and a No-Contact order put in place to stop these two from going down this road again. That night, Herm was allowed access to his home for one last time, to gather a few personal effects, some clothes etc. He was also afforded 20 bucks, and a hotel room in the town nearest to his rented farm. That was nearly a month ago and every night since has been spent sleeping in a late model Prius.
Showering is accomplished at a local gym,where Herm says hes thankful to able to work-out, and off alot of the anxiety that his current situation has brought him. Laundry? what few items he has are cleaned at a local truck stop that has some laundry machines. Now, if youre at all like me, you cant help but wonder how a man this established, is spending nights jamming his 6 foot plus frame into the back of a hybrid compact. Doesn't he have friends, or family he can couch surf with for a bit?Why doesnt he rent himself a little apartment, or cheap hotel room? All valid questions that i had as well. You see, when you love someone who has an addictive / destructive disease, you do all you can to keep things together for as long as you can, hoping and waiting against the day when they see the err of theire ways, seek the appropriate help they need and we all live happily ever after. If only. By the time her disease, and it IS a disease, reached its current manifestation, financial constraints, and family relations had all been damaged beyond repair. End result?, No family support for someone who with best intention over supported a sickness.
I contacted  Herm through a common friend and he said yes, he remembered me, remembered my horse, and remembered my family. He asked how the horse was doing, and secondly, how I was doing., something i chalked up to someone who's work  was his identity, not just something he did. My dad was like that, absolutely invested in everything he did regarding his work. an admirable trait that rarely exsists anymore. As our conversation continued, i told Herm i was aware of his circumstance and was there anything i could do to help? Regardless of what was offered, it was all politely declined." No thanks ill be fine" was repeated a few times before i wished him well and told him that a mind change was a simple call away, even if it just meant a chat or a coffee. Before we hung-up, i asked him what his next move was going to be, he told me he wasnt sure as he'd exhausted all leads that he thought would be available to assist him.
Unless you Havent read a newspaper in the last 30 years, you most likely are aware that spousal abuse is a common societal issue, and that many groups exsist to assist victims in theire times of need and escape, that is, unless you are a man. Even though the gender nuetral title of "spousal abuse" purports an equality in access to critical services, this is far from the reality. Herm had either visited in person or called nearly every social service related support system he could find in the book and on the net. He was repeatedly told that his best and only option was to head down to the drop in center, or perhaps the YMCA, but not to get his hopes up as the cold weather has resulted in larger than normal crowds at both places. At one point, Herm found himself gathering hope as a government worker informed him that they could help him find a place to live. Imagine his dissapointment when he went to the appointment at the agreed upon time, waited an additional 2 hours to speak to someone, and ultimatley was told if he wanted the assistance, he would have to sacrifice his employment at a small out of Calgary High-school, and move into the city, where he would be expected to find work. "Futility, thy name is government!":
So heres the big Ironic wrap-up;
The gal with the psychological disorder, who destroyed the family finances, tore a father away from his children, and left him with a busted nose, has a warm comfortable bed to sleep in each night. She has access,at no charge to herself, to counselling, financial, legal, AND psychological services. ( she has as yet afforded herself none of these offered assistances). Herm, on the other hand, has a Prius, that he is now struggling to make the payments on. If he loses the car, his homlessness will take on a whole new meaning.
So, there you have it. Gentlemen, as you gaze out upon all that you may have amassed by the sweat of your brow, perhaps sipping a fresh cup of brew, Give a thought to old Herm, and perhaps a quick acknowledgement to the old "There but for the grace of God go I" adage.
As i look at the little widget at the top corner of the computer, it's indicating -29 with the breeze.
Stay warm Herm, i hope that Prius has a good heater, and your finances hold out long enough for you to buy gas to run it..
"What say you Irricana"?