We ended up going out to dinner at a fine restaurant in town called The Williams Inn. It is run by some German/Swiss? guys and the food was adequate with a grand range of offerings. Jerry and I split our appies (that is what they call appetizers here...what word is used where you are?) and then we split the meal. I tasted some pheasant and I am pleased to say that my stomach seemed to be able to contain enzymes that were pheasant friendly. I also tasted some of the lamb...but it just isn't a meat for me anymore...somewhat sadly many meats are not for me as I am finding out. The veggies were fairly typical (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and squash) and I ate up my portion as well as Jerry's. The rest we shared of goat's cheese and potatoes. There was no room for dessert but when the dark, deep, european coffee arrived, I was set for the night.
After the meal we headed off to the cultural centre where Abbamania was being opened by The Bee Gees Stayin' Alive. The boys "doing" the Bee Gees did fairly well. One of the voices was exceptional and strong. Unfortunately the only one with an "accent" albeit Liverpudlian was too often off key on some key harmonics. I really, really hate that in a performance for real or copied. He did wow us (somewhat impress me) with his "I started a joke...". The fun was being able to sing along but what scared me worse was that I remember the words from days long ago when I had my plastic white turntable and mono speaker sitting in my purple painted room listening to the only Bee Gees album I think I ever had. My harmonies, practiced over many many plays of the earlier records helped for me (anyway) to drown out the "stuff" that the middle guy was trying to sing.
Expecting much of the same for the ABBAmania group, I was surprised that instead of singing along, I just simply sat there open faced amazed at their abilities. Sure "Bjorn" bopped and smiled like a guy auditioning for some comedy kids group, but the girls were AMAZING! Here is a site that has actual video downloads of some of their performances. Try it out. However, I must warn you...the blonde in these videos (thankfully) is not the blonde we had. These tapes are ruined in some cases by her lack of music-ability and tone...but whoever was the "understudy"? for our show was totally amazing. The outfits were as horrible as I remember seeing on the original teams...but that's showbiz.
After the show, we meandered along the lake edge and worked our way up to Kerry Park. On Friday nights during the summer, different venues play at different parks. We arrived as the singer was doing a wonderful rendition of Porgy and Bess' (one of my alltime fav shows) song "Summertime". The warmth of her sultry voice seemed to be imitated as mother nature carressed us in warm Okanagan breezes during the performance. The singer/performer followed with a number of Sarah McLachlan (love the singer and her songs but I think I just trashed the spelling of her name). I too sang along in my spot in the park dreaming of taking voice lessons someday. Jerry went on to pick up his favourite icecream and my favourite choco tofulatte cool dessert. We watched the kids flurt, the older generation acting like they were back into a former smaller version of "Woodstock" while a very pungent smell emitted from one of the busker's fire spinning demonstrations. People were oblivious to us. We were so much "not" part of the crowd that no one even glanced our way...anonymous, yet experiencial...good thing.
The next day we went back down to City Park and walked for a while along the beach. Sculptures were still all along the side from an earlier Ogopogo (our Nessy) sand sculpting competition. One display was so good I swear that they enticed the beast herself alongside to model for the artist. The sand and sun are extremely hot. We are learning fast that this dessert area requires a great deal of other care for my skin. Despite being slathered white with ucky sunscreen, I started to go bright red, and rash right up. We spotted trees and continued in their shadows. While walking I set my eye on a climbing wall. I have always wanted to climb. I wanted so much to climb. I didn't climb...yes, my fear of rejection from the onlookers cancelled any chance of giving me the chance. I could imagine snowcones, old tomato sandwiches and left-over free samples of tide liquid being hurled at me as I make a climbing attempt only to fall on my face as I loose grip from the sodden ropes and rockcliff side. My reality to simply sit and urge, then watch my son participate left me feeling good (for not humiliating myself) and bad that I didn't do one of the things I have wanted to do my whole life....oh well. As we followed the shadow of trees, I spotted a tent selling fairly priced sarongs. My mind was way off...all I could do to hold off from saying, "Um...I'd like to buy one of these but I thing there some sarong with this price." Then I imagined Willie Nelson, or that other old country singer dude, no wait, I think it was from the early 80's...black dude...handsome - a bit...sang love songs - Lionel Richie...singing, "Say you, Sarong. Say it for ever then you know that somesing Sarong" Anyway, by the time I stood at the tent waiting for the guys to goop up their mystery snowcones, I was convinced that I needed one of these beautiful fabric skirts from Indonesia. It was perfect. I could cover my arms and face....looked kinda muslimish...but I was away from the rays of the sun but still quite cool. I looked dumb in the sense that all other sarong wearers had their cut little breast pusher-upper bikini tops on with a sarong neatly clinging to lean and well shaped lower bodies...but what sarong with wearing one over your head? This wonderful fabric has become part of my wardrobe all day today and I don't think I will ever look back. It is sooooo comfy (not so flattering on me...but who cares).
When we finally got back to the car, we looked at some of the sculptures that are in the process of being formed by international artists in the park. We talked with one of the artists....xdr was tres impressed. Oh yes, earlier today we took in a pottery display and sale. We were able to do some early Christmas shopping so that we can send some items via Dad rather than Canada Post this year. We also picked up a family pack of cobalt blue mugs...a papa size, mama size, and xdr size. Xdr was the hit of the room. Artists and old people were amazed that he wanted to be there. One of the displays caught xdr's eye and by the end, the lady was asking him if he wanted to learn how to do some art with her....so....after Steve and Joanne's trip, I guess we will be looking into something with this lady. In fact, xdr's art tutor (Jeff Stearns...one of the Koga family) has been taking xdr to such heights with his art work. However Jeff is off to Vancouver for a summer school session of 6 weeks in the hopes of gaining entry into UBC's teacher program this year. Jeff is a graduate of the Emily Carr school of art and a fantastic visionary and artist. With Jeff's initial coaching Xdr has become quite good at creating his favourite thing...superheros. I think the lady challenged xdr a bit because he said that pottery is easy because you just throw the clay on a table that goes around and around and that makes the creation form....However, who knows who may end up teaching whom. I think it will be a blast. The teacher has orange red hair...full...and lots of it. She is a large lady who wears excentrically associated clothing bejewelled with various protest pins and some ceramic pins of her own and her friends. We were told by the porcelain artist that she is the mover and shaker in the group. If she sees something needs to be done, she speaks out while acting out and moving forward. She proudly passed us her phone number and the studio's address so that we could take xdr there to take a look around someday soon.
Then, when we returned home, we were welcomed with a wonderful voice on the voice mail...my sis-in-law Barb. We had a wonderful talk that we hadn't had the time to do in so long. My family so rocks. My brothers and their wives have helped along with my parents to keep me grounded at times when I was running crazy with our move here. They encouraged and praised the decisions we were making. These days of turmoil, if it hadn't been for my initial talk with Trev at the apex of some -in-law family crisis, I know I couldn't have made it on through. Since then, the rest of my family has continued to listen to me say what needs to be said, and encourage the direction I need to go. As I said earlier this year "the future is ours to see"...I thought I would be a spectator. Now, as the active participant, I venture on to see things with a bit more fear and trepedation...but because of my family...that is based in love and honest encouragement. Thanks all.
Well, I took my meds earlier tonight and I am falling asleep quickly. I hope to talk to you alll again soon. Love you all.
I may regret publicizing these thoughts and feelings later on...but here it goes. My thoughts for today...
Today is my 11th anniversary. Wedding anniversary.
I read people's letters and blogs where their love for their partner is expressed with grace and glamour. I can't offer that same polite antidote for I can only say that my marriage, to someone I like, is at best a daily trial between what is right and what "appears" to be right.
Just weeks ago we had a tumultuous visit from my husband's family. This included his two daughters. I have done so much, and given up so much for him and his two girls. I didn't do these things for glory or for recognition until now. Now I am tollerated, at best, by at least one of the girls. I don't respect many of her ideas and I certainly know that if my husband (based on what he now proclaims to be his values and morals) had been allowed to have a more meaningful role in her life she would not have been so angry, self-centered, and rude. Now I have learned that my many decisions "for them" were not to be "landmarkers" per se in our relationship as adults.
To continue, my husband offered no support or encouragement during the big "fight" that took place while she was here. He claimed, mere hours after she had left, that my intentions, actions and manner in handling the difficulties was reasonable, necessary and effective.
Which do I trust? The quiet man who sat off to the side while his daughter and I "roughed out" years of misunderstandings, miscommunications and grief. The same person who only hours earlier said that "we" were to "handle" the issues immediately and directly the very next time an issue arose. The same man who argued for hours after the big "fight" that his daughter was correct in all that she said and was justified.
Or the man who proclaimed his undying dedication to "our" new lifestyle, "our" combined beliefs and my acts of the days earlier were correct and completely justifiable.
The man who jumps on "our" son with great angry words and rough hands whenever our son acts out of hand. The man can't seem to articulate an opposing viewpoint whenever his daughter calls, writes or speaks to him, but he works very swiftly and abruptly with his other offspring.
I have approached the idea of councilling for us...as well as a very clear fact that his daughter too needs to have some council with regard to her growing anger. Neither of these suggestions have held any water. So I, alone, will need to seek council again. I, alone, will hash out my problems with my husband and his daughter and our son...by myself. Why do I always feel lonely? I have a stepdaughter who merely "puts up with me" at the best of times. A son who pushes his father's limits begging for an emotional response even though a tough hand and a very gruff voice end up as the only evocation of emotion. A husband who at once can seemingly be "swept away" in a seemingly dreamfull, listless manner with his daughter, then stand dead-set stubborn in support of her...until she is beyond earshot, then he is swooned off into another streamway confidently denouncing the errors of others' lifestyles and the need to redirect our own lifestyle into a more balanced, equal relationship...never being "in the middle" but appearing so torn in half his whole family runs to his defense. I don't get it.
While keeping me at this arm length distance his daughter is able to rub every wrong cell in my body. The call announcing her safe arrival included questions of concern for her father, her half-brother, and her grandmother (it was her father who answered the phone). A package arrived for her father...understandably, it is his birthday in three days....however deplete of offering of happy anniversary...she was one of my bridesmaids. She has "forgotten" my birthday, and "mother's day" in an age where every type of card stack at any store (or internet site for that matter) proliferates well wishes for every-"day" celebrations including salutations from god-children, dog, the two of us and step-daughter. Her father chooses to see these "misses" as a matter of a busy adult's life while I see them as true markers of her desire to not include me in anything "familial".
I hate councilling but I hate it worse when only I will be able to proactively work through these issues. I hate the way issues are seemingly set aside and a code of comfort is used as the ultimate reason and excuse (the "don't rock the boat" theory) not to actively work through issues that prevale and include every part of our being. I don't want fast heartbeats caused by the anxiety and fear of the conflicts that need resolution. I don't like the taste of battle or conflict. I hate them. But Family is important to me...Is it still "family" if this is all shrouded in an "image" of family? I don't think so.
Have children of this generation lost the ability to "play"?
Summer. For me this brings back nearly any of my memory of my life in Guelph as a child. Bridget and Margaret were my friends. We "played" wedding, house and even took in a few spells with the Ouiga board (Margaret's mom didn't know). We played "kick the can" with the family down the street that had a "full house" of children ranging in ages older than I up to much older than I. Bridget and I snuck into people's yards and looked in the pool at the house across the street. We edged out beyond our yard's boarders and even broke the rule (crossed the street). My babysitter Holly would play "House of the Rising Sun" on our out-of-tune piano. We snacked on celery with cheese. We drank Kool-aid. We ran and scraped our knees and jumped off of our swing sets...always testing our boundaries.
In grade 3 we moved to Fergus. Summers again were full of fun. We rolled down the hills. We visited at each other's houses....I snacked on East Indian food with Rulan or Nisha, and played on swings at Lee's house. David let me be part of the "guy's group" playing in the tree house and exploring the many houses that were being constructed in our subdivision over those years. Paul pulled out his dad's records as we listened to some of our parent's favourite tunes. Lee and I had sleep-overs in tents, under a canoe and when we woke up early in the morning, we went off to the river to draw and paint. I had my secret spot beside the river (now part of a house that came up for sale two years ago....a mere $350,000 could have bought the house that has taken over "my" cave). I visited friends from school at the pool and went to their house for lunch and more play. We played hide and seek. We listened to records. We teased the other siblings.
Today xdr had a friend over for a play day. It began with a call to the friend's house, followed by a reply from the child's mother. We discussed eating habits, food problems, and which toys to bring and share. I explained that the boys would simply "play"....and then assured that I would supervise. The mother agreed to the playtime. She drove the child over to the house (it is a hefty walk of nearly 5 km). He arrived at 10 a.m. By 10:15 the homemade lemonade freezies were taken out...and strickly critisized by the boys (ah, don't we have the store-bought ones?). I noted though that the guest remained sitting the whole time while the yummy frosty melted down his chin. Off again to play with my pleads to have them experience the outdoors. Down the road is a vacant lot (for sale), full of trees and a half-made tree house. I offered to take them there as well as offering all of my "tools" to make whatever they wanted to create...Naaaa. Back to xdr's room, then the computer, then the plea to watch a movie...ok, the boundaries were being tested there as "Men In Black" or "Mission Impossible" videos from "dad's stack" were the requested viewing choice. My response...Naaaa. Bored and tired they started to whine... Finally I sent them outside until lunch. There they created a game of indoor golf/baseball. Once inside for lunch peanut butter and jam sandwiches were bedded in nachos. Chocolate milk was the beverage and local cherries were the dessert. Again, the guest sat nicely and ate while I encouraged my own son that he really "does" like peanut butter and jam, chocolate milk, nachos and cherries.... There were still 2 hours left of the playdate. I introduced them to the "library", to the "game closet", to the multiple toys in xdr's room and the multitude of drawing/colouring items that fill our supplies. Off they went and thankfully I don't know what they did...they "played". I heard them plead with each other and even beg, then they approached me together, "Mom, can we go to the tennis courts? Mom, can we go swimming?, Mom, can we go to the card store?"...but lo there were only 10 minutes left until Christian had to return home.
So, now we have started. The next playdate has already been planned for an early morning next week to take in some tennis and basketball at the club...before the heat of the day sets in...then off to the beach for a swim and sandwich (peanut butter and jam). When we dropped off Christian, Xdr climbed up and hid in one of Christian's trees. The boys then snuck off into the house while Christian's mom and I talked about the day. The boys just wouldn't stop "playing" long enough for xdr and I to head on and do our errands.
Although the need or desire to not let children today experience some of the negative things that happened to us as "free" children in an open neighbourhood, I fear that there is so much lost today by planning and supervising play. But, what if a child did get hurt while under my care?
Whatever will be...today xdr experienced all of the fun and frustration of play. He negotiated with his guest, he bribed his guest, he begged his guest to do what he wanted to do. He opened up and tried new things that he had assured himself he didn't like (peanut butter and jam). He laughed and broke a couple of my "toys". In the end, he didn't want to "come in" when it was time to go. I think today will be one of those days that he will remember when he thinks about his childhood summers. And for me, that is gold.
That is all the time we had to try and procure 2 adult tickets. Jerry on the phone and I on the internet. If we had a third, they would have been posted outside of the ticketmaster agent's for a chance at a ticket. In the end, only one seat was bought....and, by the looks of it, a bloody waste as it appears that Jerry or I will not be able to see much of anything anyway. If you check out the Skyreach venue
here, see where the seat is...section 112. I won't say exactly where the seat is, but leave it to say that behind the stage usually indicates that the main action cannot be seen. Have you ever gone to a show where you were behind the stage? Have you ever been to a show where you couldn't see the act? Should I try to sell the ticket? What do you think?
Today was our first 24 hours, since a week and a half before Xdr had been out of school, without guests. It was a rather odd day. First trying desparately to get a seat for the concert, then trying to see what was to be put into Monday's rubbish, recycling...and figure out what groceries needed replenishing. Our original plan of strawberry picking at the cousin's farm fell through as we found out late last night that the last of the field had been plowed under. Then there was the cherry festival we were going to attend...which was in direct competition for time with the bid to get an Elton ticket. Lastly, we lounged....simply sat around. The heat (at least for me) is really not fun. I find that I wish I could shower every hour (not allowable with a septic system). However, the laziness of the day was overall quite enjoyable.
Tomorrow we are off to explore a beach with some friends (a local beach that we went to once four years ago). After the beach will be a bbq. While the men bbq and look after the kids, Simone and I will head off to run/speed walk a 5 km route. Hopefully the swim earlier in the day will leave us well and ready for a good run... we'll see. I just hope that we won't regret the heat and need to run back to the beach....hey, even that isn't so bad either is it?
This past week was busy as we took Jerry's mom around and about to visit former school chums and reunite with her siblings. On our way to visit an 81 year old former school friend, we were stopped for nearly an hour due to a rather bad accident on highway 97 while heading north to Vernon. We made it to the home in time for the two women to have a good chat and take in a lovely meal. That evening it was off to other friends' with family...and more food. The next day it was another visiting day with friends and family at a lovely Japanese restaurant that I will have to take any of you who can come to visit. The whole of July has been family and food...I think I will be full for the whole of next month.
Jerry's mom made it off to her "vacation" away from here (all that visiting and such can really wear you out) back to her home. Her departure and the rather "lazy" day today has left xdr a bit out of sorts (what to do?, what to do?, I'm bored to tears) but that was quickly replaced with happiness when we received a call from the library today announcing that a "Calvin and Hobbes" book he has been waiting for finally arrived. While twittering about earlier, he pulled out a rug hooking kit we started months ago. Once where there was simply a number of rows of coloured, knotted bits of wool, now is being transformed as the images' smile, white face and red / green scarf is slowly coming to life. Xdr has so much energy...if only I could synergize just an ounce of it's power....
Well, like Trev, there is so much to tell and say (btw, I couldn't have made it this far without your help Trev...I really mean it...thanks so much...I am very greatful for your help when I needed it so much bro)...but I will stop with that for today.
P.S....great news!!! It looks like my great friend and "soul sis", Joanne B and her clan will be making a visit to the Okanagan just after Jerry's birthday....I can't wait!!! It will be so good to see them again. Dad will be arriving just a week and a bit after they leave. This truly has been a wonderful year. We have had the chance to share this beautiful area with so many people. Still room for more should you too like to come out....until later....
Oh isn't that interesting...at first blogger wouldn't publish...now it publishes just fine..
Well an update should be sent to you;
Since she left early Sunday morning, there have been great changes in the house. Jerry and I had a long conversation (again). After THIS talk, he now (again) felt that I had done the right thing, that my opinions and reasons made sense and that he was going to persue some "council" with me. He regrets not having supported me and now he sees how he could have helped more had he truly voiced what he was wanting to say. We need to be sure that this kind of thing doesn't happen again. This has gone on too many times (unannounced, unintentionally, usually unprovoked). I know that fathers and daughters have a special relationship...as they should. However, to have decided together that something like negative manners, poor attitude and disrespect will be dealt with together...then to sit completely mum while I tried to rectify the matter...was completely not the way to handle an already difficult situation.
She had some very good reasons for feeling what she was feeling. Her feelings have been cast though from stones that were thrown so long ago, the intent and reason behind the castings have long been dealt with and needed closure / understanding. Saying that, I don't blame her for having been really hurt...I too was really hurting. I wanted to discuss issues, try and find a workable set of [ground rules] but that was not on her agenda. She was not willing to even approach any clarification, rectification or simple chance to agree to disagree. Instead a quick and hasty return was made back to her home...her area of most comfort. I had no intention at all of making either of our lives rocky. I stupidly fell into this anger but when it surfaced, I really felt that we needed to work through the wounds. I still feel that had she stayed on until the original date (albeit that was longer than I had originally been told) we could have really found some workable areas that could have helped to heal and grow.
Unfortunately, the wounds won't heal. Like Shrek says, "an ogre is like an onion. An onion has layers. An ogre has layers". Like Shrek's layers, I feel that we may have started to peel that first "onion" skin (you know, the papery part). If we had been able to work with the rest of the "onion", I feel that we would have peeled back some of the issues, and used the fruit of the vegetable to flavour the rest of the meal. As the onion lies now, it is left again to wilt and I fear that we still will not be able to taste the true flavour that the "onion" can offer, as most of the flavour will once again be lost in time, left only to "smell up the vacant room", and leave a very bad taste and aroma to the air when we do approach the room in the future.
Who knows what will come of all of this. I am very happy though that we have continued on. I couldn't believe the actual "numb" mode Jerry went (and goes through) whenever he is approached by his daughter. He is such a different man then. With the right people to talk to and receive some guidance and council, hopefully we can start to see the end of these unpredicatable issues. I wish too that she would get some council. There is so much anger from actions that happened when I was at my sickest. That said, I don't feel that it is her fault that she has held onto this anger. I don't feel it is my fault for having done the things I did when I was perhaps the weakest I have been in my life. However, the anger and negativity drawn from those days are providing a terrifyingly strong base. No walls can come down until she sees that she needs to get help with fixing that base. Maybe someday she will get that help. Maybe someday we will be able to get to work and build back a relationship that could be real and not just a facade to accomodate a quick visit here and there.
I have left all sorts of updates and blogs about our heatwave here in the west. For the arrival of our guests and most of their stay, we have had cooler than normal (and very windy) weather. Today we started back to the higher 30 degrees again. According to our weather forcast, we will be back to our hot summer temperatures. I hope so...the lake is far too cold to swim in yet. A good refreshing dip would be nice to wash away some of the grit and grime that seems to have come our way over this past while. I love water...
-she is leaving earlier now because I am such a stress to her and I am treating her with such hurtful intent that she hasn't felt comfortable (again) since the minute she arrived....and her early departure should offer excitement and relief....however, Jerry has made it quite clear that her earlier departure (this Sunday) is all and only my fault...and he "hates" me for that....no win - no win situation...now we are going to have to seek council...why me? again? here it all starts, just like the last times...marriage council / ways to deal withOUT the other...the beginning to the end....
I am not very happy these days. I hate this.
Yesterday Dad called. He is coming for a week in August!!!! I can't wait!!! I miss my family so much.
I love having company. This must be absolutely understood before I continue. I love having people around. I love touring around. I love seeing the sites I haven't seen. I love being outside and swimming and going to used book stores and showing off xdr's school, our church, our haunts.
That said, this fight for "alpha" mom/female is driving me to my grave. Why is it that I have a real aversion to strong-willed females. My husband simply mouses away to his corner (or any corner for that matter) and I am left with the garbage.
In the statements "Treat people with respect" and "Respect is earned...it isn't a right"...which is the chicken and which is the egg? Alexander has gone way out of control and it doesn't seem that anytime soon he is going to bring it back.
Barbara Coloros (a prominant writer and speaker regarding parenting issues) is presently writing a book about "bullying". Like her, many of us have seen an increase in bullying in our school-aged children. Boys who pick fights with boys; groups of swarmers, etc. Now there is the discovery (although many of the female persuasion knew this long ago) that girls are the most incidious of bulliers. They exclude others. They deal with bullying another based on the victims greatest weaknesses. Let me proclaim here and now....girl-style and girl bullying doesn't stop at school (in some case I think some people are around the schools and get newer ideas...anyway....). Why is it that whenever these situations come up, I continue to get into the battle of wills. Why is it when I concede, I always get stepped on. These only create lose-lose situations.
Everyone arrived last Friday. I was very sad to usher Ken and Kevin off to the airport yesterday morning. I will not be in the mood to send off Colleen today. Mom Yamashita stays on for another 9 days....and Denise...she is staying 3 weeks, rather than 2 weeks as I had been told.
I am at my wits end. Jerry offers no help or support ("he only sees his daughter for....). Alexander has already decided that for him, "mom" is his older sister again...at least she lets him do things. I am alone in this one again. I am really alone. Ugh!!!
Oh my gawd....I am getting up to stress level 11...I just had an officer at the door. Our backyard neighbours are now complaining that we have weeds in our backyard and they have sent a formal complaint to our regional district...the same bloody regional district that would do NOTHING when they put a water out-take pipe into our yard and would also do NOTHING when they trespassed onto our property and cut down our trees.....I can't take this!!!!!