Friday, March 21, 2014

Morning E-Mail

Sometimes a lot of disparate things, once you step back, actually seem to tie together.  It had been awhile since I had read my e-mail in the morning, and various bits of things had stacked up.  But this morning, instead of beginning with losing my time by gaming on my iPad, I decided to read my e-mail.

First there were several days worth of Dear Abby e-mails stacked up.  I read casually through the preventative to the more serious questions she was asked: one woman surprised at everyone glorifying in their pregnancies and not hiding their bundles-to-be under smocks, another man wondering if he can trust his partner after he caught him sending inappropriate pictures to another, a woman who had moved in too quickly and found her boyfriend to be a bit abusive (what do I do now? uh, leave?), a man who had lost his wallet - cautioning others to make copies of everything in their wallet so they know what they've lost, another man bemoaning the fact that apparently after twelve years he is finally discovering that his wife never wanted to have children.

Second there was an e-mail from a friend from my church back home - an inspirational chain mail message of sorts.  Two names on it, send it to the top one who is not the friend who sent it to you, and send them an inspirational message - everyone can use another puppy dog in their e-mail - and then re-send the message to twenty of your closest enemies (because do you really want to harass your friends with chain e-mails) and delete the person in line 1, and move yours to line 2, etc., etc.  Not particularly fond of chain mails, and certainly don't want to invite a potential of 400 emails to flood my inbox full of puppy dogs, and angels wings, etc.  But I did think about the one inspirational quote I keep in my wallet, and whether to at a minimum at least send that along to person #1.

Third there were the blog entries from a high school acquaintance - kinda-friend - of mine whose husband has just had a heart attack in the new year and followed immediately by bypass surgery.  She has two young kids at home, and finds herself swirling with her new world order.  A few weeks back after reading a prior blog post, I had sent her an inspirational message - you are not alone - to her; but she seems to be lost in this idea of a world that is now gone, and nothing but bleakness in front of her.

Leaving my ex-partner of ten years was one of the hardest things I ever had to go through.  Not only because it meant leaving her (although by then, frankly, I was ready for some peace from her, not that she was ready to give it to me at the time), but because given the circumstances (her escalating violence), I felt that I had to leave the area altogether.  Move not only from the physical house that I had bought and had been my home for the past ten years, but also leave the area and the state altogether, cutting off ties with friends, and her family that had been mine.  I ended up moving back across the country to be with my family (a roller coaster of its own).  Packing - or attempting to pack - one night in the middle of it all had proven to be too much for me, so I began wandering the streets of my city - possibly wailing, maybe out loud, maybe just internally, but tears were certainly streaming down my face.  I found myself at my church, a couple miles from where I had started.

No-one was there.  It was 10 PM.  I had a key - I could have gone in.  But the solace I was looking for wasn't directly there.  Instead, I called a church member who I knew only lived a block away - not someone I had necessarily been close to, but I had been getting to know - and I asked if I could drop by.  That I needed to see SOMEONE.  He graciously agreed I could come over.

He and his wife - both long retired - had been retired for the night. He opens his door to this adult woman whose face is covered with tears, and who cannot express in words anything, let alone what she needed or what she wanted.  Or why she was there.  She just had landed there, on his door step, in the middle of the night.

He brought me into his kitchen, and he offered me a beverage, and looked at me trying to figure out what I needed, what I wanted.  What he could do.  And I just sat there and cried, and cried.  At one moment, he excused himself, and he came back with a small slip of paper with words printed on it.  It looked a little like a fortune cookie fortune.

And he just said to me quietly, "This is something that I've found helpful, so I carry it with me, and have a few copies of it."  And he handed me the paper and on it was a verse from Isaiah.

"Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago.  Watch for the new thing that I am going to do.  It is happening already - you can see it now!  I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there." Isaiah 43
After he handed it to me, I started to calm down a little.  Still crying, but less intensely.  Wiping my face was no longer as futile an exercise as it had been moments before.  I was able to gather myself enough to thank him, and to be ready to head back out, and head back to the place where I had been staying.  I put the slip of paper into my wallet.

There were many moments of despondence through the process of leaving and moving forward with my life.  That one was one of the worst lows, if not the worst low.  But I came out of it with some calm.  And when I hit those other moments - as trite as I admit it sounds - I would pull out that piece of paper and try to have faith.

I no longer have the original piece of paper, but I reprinted the quote onto a small piece of card stock, and on the back side I have a few lines from 1 Corinthians 13 - the famous verse read at most weddings and carry that with me in my wallet.  For a long time since in Canada, my wallet has been fairly empty.  I had my driver's license, my quotes, a small wallet-sized love poem from my wife, an emergency $20 (originally U.S. dollars, now in Canadian dollars).  Then we added a library card.  Now I am adding more cards, and my wallet IS getting fuller, again.

And so when I read the Dear Abby letter, I thought about what was in my wallet - what I would need to copy.  And then I read the chain email, and thought about sending my quote.  And then I read the blog entries, and thought of a more appropriate person to send it to.  Life has a funny way of connecting things together.  Or maybe it's just me...


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sleeping with Others...

Every once in awhile it strikes me as odd the ways in which humans sleep.  

I only had one sibling growing up, and I had my own bedroom.  My grandparents were old fashioned and slept in the same room but in separate beds. 

In boot camp and in Hogwarts people sleep many to a room in barracks or dorms. 

In Call the Midwife, you see several scenarios where there are eight to ten in a room.

My mother and father had separate bedrooms because my mother couldn't sleep with my father's snoring. 

What is it in us that dictates the amount of personal space one does or doesn't need while sleeping?

Model homes these days have large master suites for the parents to retreat into, but tiny bedrooms for the kids, often making other spaces in the house more welcoming for children to spend their waking hours (although rarely, it seems, out doors)

Often at night, we will fall asleep spooned and entwined only to end up at opposite sides of the bed with our backs to each other. Usually we still have some body part touching, but not always. 

Then there is the issue of timing. Do you have to go to bed at the same time? Do you have to fall asleep at the same time?

Many times when I am trying to fall asleep, I wonder about my grandparents. There is an episode of How I Met Your Mother where Lily and Marshall try out separate beds after seeing two beds at Robin's boyfriend's apartment. 

Somehow I can't help but think that sleeping in separate beds, or even separate rooms for your family is a very first world phenomena. 

When I sleep - when I am not up typing a blog entry with insomnia- I can sleep. Noise, light, other people moving... none of that seems to bother me when I sleep, and often won't necessarily keep me awake. 

My wife, on the other hand, can hear the sink drip from two apartments below us. With her ear plugs in.  Well, not really with her ear plugs in.. that merely brings her hearing into normal range. And she can't sleep. Guy outside collecting cans.  Nope. Can't sleep.  Sometimes even the girl next door snoring keeps her awake. Or worse. Wakes her. 

Not me. I am oblivious. 

But how we sleep and how we fall asleep and wake truly matters and influences our demeanour. Our mood. Our capacity to face the day and any challenges it might bring. We have a plethora of alarm clocks now to help influence that. One mimics sunlight by slowly brightening the room as it wakes you. My nephew just got a device that he wears on his wrist that monitors his biorhythms on an ongoing basis and it supposedly wakes him with vibration after he has slept the ideal amount of time. 

It has been a long time since I have needed to sleep with an alarm clock - although my wife's alarm clock does go off every weekday morning - and I think my body has found its own rhythms. When I was single, I had a period where I slept primarily from 1-5 each day - both am and pm.  It was what I needed and when I needed it, and I was fortunate enough in my schedule then to have the flexibility to meet those needs. 

Often my wife and I will take an afternoon nap when she comes home. Sometimes these are short snoozes, and sometimes deep sleep. And so sometimes, at 1 am, I find myself awake. 

Thinking about sleep.... 



Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy Anniversary

So, this is it.  Two years.  And I am sorta still blogging.  Still remember the password and log in. But two years ago today (February 15th) I started this blog.  And it changed my life. Significantly. 

I feel that it is fortuitous that my cohort encouraging me to do this happens to be visiting me in person. Thank you to Robin Sparkles for all her support. 

Must go to bed now, but wanted to take a moment to note the day.  The day that I started the blog that helped me find my wife.  Pretty damn special day.  


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Applause, Applause, Applause...

I live for the applause-plause..

This is what is going through my head. The only words I know from the Lady Gaga song. 

But it repeats over and over and over. 

I only know it is Lady Gaga, because my wife has told me so.  She is teaching me to recognize pop stars since for the last five years (and really longer) I have fed myself a steady diet of country music. I loved that about the mid-West. Nearly every station was country.  :)

But it is one o'clock in the morning, and I should be sleeping. 

Is there a deeper meaning to the words that I should be taking in?

NO!

Did you not read the line above? I should be sleeping. Nothing deeper. 

And yet... I am awake. And even in the light from the living room, the words carry on.

Gaga indeed...




Friday, January 17, 2014

Someone's in the kitchen with .. Borg...

Okay - so that doesn't quite sound like Dinah. But if you could hear me singing it....

Oh, who am I kidding?

Little known fact. I actually like to cook. In fact I actually once considered going to culinary school. Robin Sparkes will attest to the fact that in college I made a pretty mean crepe. 

Well known fact. I hate to clean. 

Sometimes someone like me can luck out in a relationship and find someone willing to clean if you are willing to cook. 

I really lucked out because I found a woman who prefers to do both. 

Except I like to cook too sometimes. As long as I don't have to clean. Pesky details get me every time. 

Fortunately, my wife is at work for two traditional meal times so I do have plenty of opportunity to cook.  And, like I have after today's venture, I will attempt to clean up. 

But the reality, and the rub, however is that I have low standards for what is clean. Dishes done and food put away works for me. (And let's face It, sometimes not even that much). Apparently there are others, who shall remain nameless, who think cleanup should include the egg drops on the stove and things like that. Silly people. 

However, same said silly people enjoy detective work (see http://theborgblogger.blogspot.ca/2013/07/csi-cooking-and-pancakes.html) So, really, when I leave egg behind it is meant as a gift.  Honest. :)

(Think she'll buy that? No? Crap, better wipe off that egg....) 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Anniversaries....

My wife and I are quite amusing when it comes to "anniversaries" of events. Mostly because we hardly overlap and each of us finds alternative days and events noteworthy of celebration. Fortunately, we support each other enough to humor the other's "special" dates.

Recently my wife has been preparing mentally and emotionally for a trip to the mid-West. Which is partly significant given that her first trip there was quite arduous. She did not tell me at the time about the grilling at the US Border when she crossed to catch her plane. She fortunately had a direct flight to the nearest major city (about 25 minutes away) to where I was living, but getting to the airport in Seattle to catch her flight took almost as long as the flight itself. 

But she asked me the other day how it was that she could be missing that small little town in the mid-West that I most recently came from?

(We have decided that once I can safely return to Canada if I leave, that we will go back and visit.)

But she came to realize that the reason she has been preparing now is that it is coming up on the anniversary of her trip out to meet me. I have been remembering other days over the past year, such as when we first heard each other's voice, first admitted more than friendly feelings, first this, first that. For some reason this was one of the firsts that slipped under my radar but fell on hers. 

We both have our romantical streaks, and fortunately they seem to complement each other well. So over the next few weeks as my wife prepares for her trip, say a little prayer of thanksgiving with me that she had the courage to make that trip and cement this future together that we have embarked upon.  She is a courageous little chickie-poo. Fortunately she got those tiny little wings to fly. 

And next month we can celebrate the two-year anniversary of this blog!

New Year... New Chapter?

It is a new year and therefore time to re dedicate myself to this blog, or admit that it has run its course and served its purpose. 

I wish I had the answers. 

I'd like to say that my life is not so interesting now; but the truth of the matter is that it wasn't that interesting before when I was prolific, so that is no excuse. 

I hate my laptop because it runs slow, runs hot, and likes to crash. And while that is a good reason to slow me down, I am typing this on the iPad and it isn't that evil to type on. It isn't as fast and it is riddled with a few more errors, but with practice I am sure I can gain speed. 

One reason I have given my wife - which she rejects, so I should too- is that writing about my life and observations means sharing or exposing parts of her life that she might want to keep private.  I continued to revolve around the anonymity theme because it gave me freedom to write about people in my life as though they were characters. It gave me room - poetic or more accurately narrative license - to embellish, exaggerate or mold their stories or actions to fit mine. They didn't read my blog so they couldn't be upset or hurt by my characterizations.

My wife assures me she is made of tougher stuff. 

And I do believe her. 

But I fear that a minor thread could be woven into something more. I have learned through experience that a careless word or sentence can hurt deeper than one might realize until it is too late. 

My ex had what we might politely refer to as self-esteem issues. To say that she didn't take criticism well would be quite the understatement. She didn't even take compliments well - always looking for some deeper hidden meaning. Rather hidden insult. Except to her, in her twisted mind, it wasn't hidden.  It was blatant. And she would never forget it.  It would eat away at her.

I wish I was kidding.  I wish I was exaggerating. And, again, in hindsight, she was mentally ill. 

But she was also human. And while she was overly sensitive, it is well known that we often hear the negative - or more accurately what we perceive as negative - much more loudly than the positive. 

And as such, because of her oversensitivity, I am now oversensitive. What a wonderful gift. ;)

I need to get back out and re-expand my social network. Both in physical presence and virtually. I have not been on Twitter much and have come close to closing out my Facebook account altogether because their privacy hypocrisies drive me nuts. At least with Twitter there is no illusion of privacy.  

Early on, I was told one way to generate attention, or at least to see that you have received attention is to make the post more interactive. So I am going to challenge you, in the comments, to come up with FREE no-cost ways to better occupy my days besides watching TV.  Note that I cannot volunteer or work for pay, the weather is often inclement, and transportation does cost money.  I can do some limited travel, and even though I do live near the SkyTrain, the cost to go downtown is not in my budget. My wife is supporting both of us on her one income until CIC says I can work, and my part is not spending any more money than I have to. 

I will pick one of the ideas contributed below and write a blog entry about what I do. 

Then I will have more to write about than just my wife and her side of the family. :)

Let's see where this new chapter takes us... 



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Blog Hole

There must be a blog hole out there. 

A place where us bloggers - once quite prolific - have seemed to have slipped into.  Well, not all of us, but some of us.  A place, you'd imagine, where we would all be sitting on a desert island somewhere, unlocatable by GPS, somewhere in Bermuda sipping Mai Tais.  I can almost imagine it, if it weren't for all the rain here in the Vancouver area.

I don't know what it is, frankly, that have caused so many of us collectively to lose our voice - or our expression.  Many of my favorite bloggers have gone quiet lately, too.  Some have written an "I'm back" or "I will be back" post in the recent past, but few have returned full speed. 

Maybe it was a wave we were all on.  Maybe Mercury is in retrograde - or whomever the God or Goddess of blogging might be.  (Well, of course, the Bloggess IS the Goddess of blogging, that kind of goes without saying...)

My wife feels bad.  That my life is so good, that I am no longer beleaguered by nagging posts that need to be written.  Frankly, it is true that I have found a live human audience to share much of my observations on life with on a day-to-day basis.  But I'm also not going out into the world so much, either.  I am not yet able to work, so I am conserving what funds I can by sticking close to home.  They think they can fool me by pricing their gas here by the litre and I won't realize what unbelievably astronomical price that gasoline is here in Canada.  But I can do rudimentary math.

The reality is that I am most often inspired - or the ideas for a blog post are most often going through my head - as I am trying to fall asleep.  More importantly, as she is trying to fall asleep, and as she is the bread-winner of the family, I think it important for me not to disturb her sleep.

But tonight I slipped away.  Not just because this blog entry was in my fingers, but what may become the next blog entry, too.  We'll see what actually gels and publishes. 

I have recently begun helping my nephew here academically, and one of the things I have been pushing him to do is write daily.  So, perhaps, in the spirit, I should regroup and begin writing here, again, on a more regular basis. 

I think, unfortunately, I am now down to only three of my regular Ukrainian readers, but hopefully news of the Borg will spread again, and those who used to come will return again.  :) 

I have missed you my friends.