A Rock Feels No Pain

In despero , obscurum ; In Diligo , Lux lucis. (In despair, darkness; In Love, Light). -Me

Not My, but Thy

(This is really long, and rather wandering, but I needed to write it, and post it- so my apologies in advance)

I’m jumping back again, back to the fall of 2006. This would be post suicide-by-truck-into-bridge-averted-by-some-other-powers-hands-on-mine-that-saved-my-pretty-useless-carcass-for-some-reason (at the time) unknown-to-me timing. This would be post drop-the-kid-off-for-his-first-year-at-the-university timing. Post (or during?) the find-out-about-things-in-our-relationship-that-are-not-so-good-to-find-out-about timing. Anyone following that? No? Me either, but that’s okay.

The important parts, of the whole time period then, are varied- it’s sufficient for some of it, to simply note that a whole lot of garbage has been worked through, sorted, thrown away and is gone. A lot of ripping out of the deadwood, to leave behind what is real, and true, and valuable, in my relationship with Lynn. Of course, there is the minor detail that I’m still alive and around to care about this stuff, which along with our caring about one another again, is an ongoing process, as well as an ongoing commitment.

But something very very interesting happened, in the midst of all of the yuk. There was a time, a moment when my heart was breaking, when I honestly couldn’t have given odds that I would ever be whole enough to care about anything. But, once again, I was feeling those warm hands, that so soft voice- and because of that, I did something I hadn’t done in years.

I left my house, and went to church. Not on Sunday, not for a service, but just because I needed to be there.

I went to the church we’d found back in 1999, when we moved to this teeny village. The white clapboard little country church, where we’d found a spiritual home. Granted, I’d spent intervening years actively avoiding it, granted that during that time I couldn’t have, (or rather, wouldn’t have) acknowledged that God existed, much less cared- that didn’t matter. I knew, in the same way that I’d felt those warm hands on mine two months before, that I needed to get my ass to church.

I prayed there, sincerely, and for the first time in a long long time, I prayed the one prayer that I believe God likes to hear more than any other. Pretty much, I said, “Show me what YOUR will is here, show me where I need to be going, because I don’t know; I need you to show me what path YOU want me on. If that means I lose my marriage, my life, my place in this world, so be it.” YOU know- the whole, “Not my will, but Thy will be done” praying.

And, much to the chagrin of the part of me that had been running from it, for so long, so thoroughly, He did what will always be done, if we can but listen, if we can only see. He told me. He showed me. He made it very very plain to me, that despite all of my best efforts, He was there and waiting, patiently, for me to wake up. He made it plain, that my first job now, was to get my house in order. Then, he wanted to talk to me some more. (Know how it was, when your dad or mom would say “I want to talk to you?” Yeah, that’s the tone, right there).

At that point, there was still a lot of work to be done, of course. A ton of work, a lot of tears, and anger and frustration and ready to quit. A lot of learning, and relearning, and all the work of restoring trust, and rediscovering one another, and relearning about one another. (No, I’m not talking ’bout marriage here, although that was true, too- no, I meant between myself and God).

That growth is ongoing, of course, and will be forever. I started by making the simple changes I needed to, in order to make the opportunities for communication to happen. I started getting to church, and becoming more actively involved there. I began to make time to pray, and study, and think, again. I spent time reflecting on things that I’d heard, and known-but-denied, and acknowledging that sometimes, other people might know us better than we know ourselves.

And so, eventually, I took an opportunity to explore some things at the Seminary in New York; I jumped into some things at church that I’d never done before, and they were amazing. I started teaching the high school classes, as I’d done years before. I started working with various groups, and these days, I’ve found myself on the vestry- whodda thunk THAT, five years ago?

I’ve struggled, and still do- and probably will, forever, with wanting things that aren’t good for me, aren’t what God wants for me; and, no doubt, I will succumb to those temptations, and beat myself up for it, for not being stronger, or better, or whatever.

But, I’ve learned something that I can cling too, that I grasp, that I hold dear to my heart, and that I thank God for each and every day, each and every time I pray. I’ve learned that I am much happier, much more complete, much more than I used to be- if I remember to pray “Thy will”.

There is a whole range of things I can think of, and point to, and reflect on, that let me know that I am finally heading where I’m supposed to be, that at least I’m at the beginning of the right road for me to take. I’m not going to try to catalog them all, I’ll spare you that.

But, one of the steps that I took last week, is a huge one. A letter was sent to a carefully, prayerfully chosen group of eight people of our parish. This letter is the biggest thing I’ve ever tackled, and the most important thing of all, in so many ways- so, I’m placing it here, as well as in my heart and the hearts of the ones that received it in the mail.


To: ***
From: Father ***
Date: Ash Wednesday – 2009
Re: Discernment Committee – David ***

Dear Friends –

I write to ask your help in serving on a discernment committee for David ***. David has a strong sense of calling to serve in ordained ministry in the church, and has over the past two years begun the work of testing that calling by taking some classes at General Seminary and by substantially increasing his involvement in various church ministries here at Christ Church. The time has come to assemble a parish level discernment committee on his behalf.

The work of a discernment committee varies with the candidate they seek to serve, but always involves hearing the story of the candidate’s life and sense of calling, and helping the candidate reflect on their experiences of both church ministry and ministry in the wider world. Discernment committee work is typically prayerful, deep and nourishing for all involved. This committee will meet to assist and support David until he either moves beyond the parish level in the “process” of formation for priestly ordination, or until he is clear his vocational calling lies in another arena.

If you agree to serve on this committee, you can expect to meet about once every six weeks, usually on a Sunday afternoon. Past discernment committees have typically shared a simple lunch together after church, meeting for about an hour and a half. We will convene for our first meeting of the group at some time early in the Easter season.

You are receiving this invitation for very specific reasons. I trust you will honestly and prayerfully consider serving with this group. Your presence would be a blessing to us all, and David in particular.

I will call soon to answer any questions and see if you’ll be joining us. Thanks in advance for your kind consideration.

Faithfully Yours –

Father ***

Obviously, I don’t know for sure where this will lead. I think I do, and so do many others- but the point is to help discern that. But that’s okay, right? Cuz I get to say, “THY will…”

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Filed under: depression, emotions, God, learning, love, lynn, marriage, suicide, , , , , , , , ,

Skipping ahead, and back, and around- and it’s good

I’m skipping ahead, from where I stopped last post. Why? Because it’s my blog, and I can! Okay, so really, it’s because this week- tomorrow, actually- marks the one year anniversary of an event that has been on my mind lately. I don’t know if I’ll ever forget dates, I’ve written about that before- but either way, since I don’t seem to be able to get it out of my head, I thought I’ll share a bit here, and see if it helps.

I wrote about this, sort of, on my return, here:
But, I’d never particularly said what it was that threw me into said tailspin. Last year, about the time we we were redecorating my daughter’s room, I was doing something or other to Lynn’s computer. While doing that, I had seen some things that indicated that an attachment to one of her gaming friends had gone beyond just good friends, and it tossed me backwards, and down.

Good old black thing, seeing this, reared up it’s ugly, cold self, and tried once again to swallow me up. By that night, I was a complete, gibbering, useless emotional wreck. (Do you know that even knowing that it’s an illness, etc, and all that- it’s really not easy to admit to falling apart like that?) (Good thing I know you wont tell anyone, huh?) There was very little room for any forms of rational thought, nor was there any space being left for what I KNEW I should be doing, namely praying and letting God take this on. I have a hard time with that, though, which is one of the things that the depression both causes, and feeds upon. When you feel useless, and worthless, and unable to consider any value in yourself- well, then, why would God? After all, He knows better than anyone just how worthless I am, right?

It’s a nasty, vicious, icky cycle, and about the only good thing I can say for it, is that it certainly does keep you from doing things. Oh yes, if you want to have no ability to function, then go for the depression. Other than that? No, not-so-good.

Anyway, I was falling apart, completely. I had fallen so fast, and so deeply, that Lynn felt the need to hide the car keys, and to move medicines, and to keep a careful eye on me, in case I found a knife, or a razor. That terror, that fear in her eyes, was about the only thing that could have, that finally did, penetrate. I knew, somewhere, someplace inside, that even through the mistrust and anger I was feeling towards her, and her friend, and my own uncertainty about what that meant for our relationship- I knew that I hated that look even more than I hated myself.

Now, a couple years ago, I may well have made the determination that I could eliminate the look, if I eliminated myself. How extremely logical, no? No fear in your wife’s eyes, if you’re not around to have a wife anymore, right?

Thankfully, the God that I just KNEW found me useless and worthless, didn’t. No, once again, He whispered, he reminded me that I was still around for a reason, and that even if I didn’t understand that reason, He did; and He’d let me know why when I was ready to hear it, but that right now, tonight, I needed to stay alive, and here’s the handy solution. Harder solution, yes- but the right one. He told me, get going, dude-

So, I checked into the nut-hut (Behavioral Psychology Medicine Unit, for those that insist on boring, uninteresting names for things). I spent just under a week there, working with the Docs and Nurses, and the counselors and other patients. Something very unsettling, about realizing that the reason the orderlies come into the room every 20 minutes, is to make sure you’re not dead; yes, the whole ward was monitored, basically on a suicide watch, the entire time, every one of us.

I’ll tell you this though, as I reflect over the past year, look back on that day. I am much, much stronger than I was then, much healthier. I know this, because of something that happened just three weeks ago. I was going to start the car, warm it up before church, so went to get the keys from Lynn’s purse. Can you imagine the smack in the face I felt, when I found a couple of phone-calling-cards, and two pictures of the guy from a couple years ago, that had nearly ripped us apart? Yeah, that guy. The one that “I’ve not spoken to, chatted with, thought of, in xxxxx time.”

Yeah, the one that during the first seven months of what I call the Hell Time, was a repeated occurance. Lies, evasions, half-truths, but never actually stopping contact.

That, was a nasty, ugly slap in the face. Every old feeling, all the old fears and jealousy and anger, plus the new anger that arose, thinking that all this time, all the work we’d been doing, all the professions of love and newly rekindled relationship, was all false.

But- and this, my friends, is the much more interesting part, to me- I’m still here. I didn’t spiral into a suicidal depression; I didn’t leave; I didn’t kill myself, or her, or him. In fact, I managed to get to church, and do what I needed to do: I prayed. I prayed to God, to let me see what and why this was back, what I needed to do, what was he wanting from or for me.

And, once again- He answered. He answered through the conversation I had with Lynn, later that day, when instead of leaving, I listened. Seems, the purse she’d grabbed from the closet the day before was an old one, not her current one; she needed to use something, because she’d left hers in the car, and it was with one of the kids. So, she grabbed this one, tossed her wallet and keys in it, and did whatever. Forgetting to get the other one from the car, well, who cared? Her point, was that the photos, the calling cards, were old and outdated. They were not anything she kept intentionally, nothing that she cared about.

As we talked, I fought the unease, the disbelief, the doubts that were there, and did my best to listen with the knowledge that I’d gained in the last two years. Knowledge of her love, through the looks she gives me, of the laughing and fun and joy we’ve re-found; of the love, of the play, of the sex and the giddy silliness that we’ve been sharing, all of these things were in my head as I listened, and tried to counter the ugly, horrible, outdated feelings.

And, my friends- I won. It worked, that time the black thing didn’t stand a chance. By that night, we were wrapped in one another’s arms, entwined and loving one another, making love, hugging, talking. Sharing, as we’ve learned to, the bad times- and rejoicing in the good times, celebrating in love, and fighting off the bad.

Totally different reactions, from one year to another; from one guy, to another guy, from a real threat, to an imagined threat, to a past threat, and once more, God told me to stick around, that He’s not done with me yet. As I was thinking about last year, and what a horrible time it was, how depressed I was, I also couldn’t help noticing something else; Yesterday, in the car, I was singing to Beth and Lynn, singing along with a cd we’d made years ago.

Perhaps you know the song, “I can see clearly now”. Well, the line I loved, and actually repeated, because it seemed so fitting: “I think I can make it now, the pain is gone…
All of the bad feelings have disappeared…
Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin’ for…
It’s gonna be a bright, bright, bright, bright sun shiney day.”

Works for me.

Filed under: "cuckoos nest", "mental illness", anniversary, Black Thing, depression, God, lynn, meanderings, progress, razor blade, , , ,

Pains, Plans, and Playing

So. I went to the neurosurgeon yesterday morning, to see what else can be done for the pain in the neck. Yes, I have the literal and original PITN, whereas Lynn has the PITA, because while she managed to damage a disc low down, my damage is up in my cervical spine.

Could it be that we are each reacting to one another? I mean, sometimes, she’s a PITN, and I know she’d testify that I can be the biggest PITA ever… hmmmm. Wonder if the medical profession knows about this?

Anyway. What I have, is called something-or-other ridiculousis, which I’ve mentioned before, and strikes me as the silliest ever thing to have. But, that’s what it’s called, so I’m stuck with it. What it really means, is that it hurts- some days more than others, never pain-free. I’ve been to the physiatrist, (Pain specialist), and done the physical therapy/massage/drugs/electric stimulation/chiropractic/exercise/voodoo and incantations by the dark of the moon stuff. Okay, maybe not the voodoo, but I’m tempted, at times. Know any good witch doctors?

No? Okay, well fine then. Good thing I know a neurosurgeon that seems competent enough, and my regular Doctor thinks highly of- and I respect his opinion a lot, I love my Doc; so, off I went to the doc, and had another consultation.

She did what she does, which is to peer at the MRI films, muttering and pointing (that must be the incantations, I knew they were there somewhere!). Then, she has me take off my shoes and socks, and wander around on my toes, then my heels, then heel-to-toe, then stand with my eyes closed and poke myself in the eye (was supposed to be touching my nose, oops). Next, I get to tilt and turn my head and say ouch, and sit on the big table while she tickles.. errrr, tests my ability to feel, to see if I’m losing sensation (yes), and then she gets to tell me “stuff”.

All kinds of fun stuff- like Anterior Cervical Discectomy, and “Thoracic entry with lateral incision and retraction to….”

Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. Luckily, she also ‘splains quite nicely, in english, and she really has a great voice. What it means, is she slits my throat, shoves all the muscles and nerves and arteries out of her way, sucks out the failed disc, sands the bone spurs down, sticks something in the leftover cracks, and screws a hunk of titanium to my bones; then, we hope, she puts everything back the way it was, more or less, without tooo many leftover parts, and covers her trail by sewing my throat up again.

Hmmmmm.

So, I’ve been looking this up, and it seems like (for “major, complex surgery”!?!?), that it’s actually a pretty common, and pretty successful procedure, for people like me with the stupid disc that pinches the stupid nerve, which makes my arm go wonky.

Side effects? Of course; no moving neck, no lifting over 5 lbs, no driving for 2-3-4 weeks, etc, etc.

But, there is one that may be a show-stopper. I can live with all of that- but no sex??? NONE??? For however long the Doc says?? I don’t think so! Luckily, when I mentioned this to Lynn, her response was wonderful: “Okay, well, I’ll do the work, you lie still and flat, cuz that’s not happening!”

Gotta adore a woman with that attitude, right?

The rest of the day, was spectacular though; and as I think about it, was a pretty good thing to do, after that appt, ‘cuz I would have gone to work and sat around reading about it anyway, so it was much better to go out for the afternoon with Lynn, and head north.

We went to a place on the Roundout Creek, called High Falls. We’ve been there before, several times, and loved it- there’s a great museum there, for the D&H Canal, which is pretty cool in itself. However, we weren’t there for that on this trip. Ever since the first time we’d spotted the falls, with all the kids, we’ve talked about getting up there on our own, and taking photos.

So, we thought, a Friday afternoon with all the kids back in school, before it got too late in the autumn and got too cold, would be a good time to head up there and see if we couldn’t get some great photos. Well, we got great photos, but there were three college kids hanging around working on their tans. Grrrrrrrrr. We still got some wonderful photos, though, and a bit later on, we moved down to the lower falls- not as spectacular, but a bit more private.

Lynn was being silly, playing around, and we ended up with six of the funnest, cutest photos yet; they’re over there on flickr >>>>>, along with a bunch of the creek, the waterfalls and an ancient iron bridge, over the entire creek and town of Rosendale.

What a great time that was, and I think that I really, really like waterfalls. This is the second set of water photos within a week, and just playing with the camera, to catch the water, the lighting and the sparkles, is great fun. When you have a gorgeous model to photograph too, it’s even more fun.

Here are a couple of my favorites, one of the falls, and the other is one I tried to stop-down, to change the backdrop, and it really worked out well. I’m quite pleased with a lot of them, even if that does sound like bragging- but I am, anyway.

Falls:

High Falls

High Falls

Lynn, with camera effect:

Lynn at High Falls

Lynn at High Falls

Filed under: lynn, sex, , , , , , , , , ,

Long catching-up post

Wow, seems like it’s been forever since I’ve had time to sit and write, to post anything- and looking at the dates, from the last post to now, and thinking of all that has been going on, I guess it’s not surprising.

I spent two weeks in Minnesota, on the island, loving the time off, which was wonderful. When we moved here to New York, we kept the cabin there, with Lynn’s family around, and every year she and the kids have spent the summer there, while I stay here until I can get a couple weeks in. We’ve done this for the last seventeen years, since our second boy Rob was a baby, so it’s very comforting, in an odd way, to have the routine down.

One of the things that struck me hard, this year, is how much I’ve missed Lynn, while she was gone. Not that I ever didn’t miss her, even the last few years- but, it was nothing like now, and nothing like what it was in the early part of our marriage. I guess there were more years than I’d realized, where I didn’t particularly care if she was around, nor miss her if she wasn’t- or at least, not as much. I commented about that to her, and she agreed- that there’s something more in our relationship, again, that was there in the beginning and was lost for a time, and is coming back. Made me feel so close to her, that she was feeling that too.

There were a couple of times when we were talking though, that were a little less than easy- at one point, I had been asking her something, and she burst out, “Are you afraid of being happy?” She was upset because I was asking her about something that was bothering me, but it didn’t bother her- so in her mind, my concern was not something that she’d thought of, not something that she was unhappy about, so why was I?

That one, made me pause, and think a lot. Am I afraid to be happy? She meant it in the context of our communications, of what is shared and not shared, of what is okay to play, and not. I don’t think I am afraid, but maybe I’m blind to something she sees? I don’t know. Something to think about, but I’m not particularly sure that there will be an answer. If there is something that makes me unhappy, am I supposed to stuff it down and bury it, as before? No chance; that path goes straight back to the hospital, the nut-hut, the looney bin- and I am not going there again. Too many crazy people there, ya know.

The other was related to the Emotional Needs Questionnaire, which digger had blogged about back in June of 2007, here. When I had suggested to Lynn we do this, she agreed; but then, she said something to me about not being able to respond to the questions honestly. So, that dropped, and I didn’t bring it up again, I wasn’t going to bother if she wasn’t going to be honest. Another time, she clarified, explaining that I had misunderstood, that what she meant was she didn’t find the rating “scale”, assigning numeric values, to be meaningful. We left it at that, and so it went away.

This summer, though, I was thinking about communication, and ways to work on ours, to keep gaining in our ability to talk and share, and thought of it again- so we talked, and decided that we’d go through it, but in our own way. Instead of going through it individually, and writing it out, we would go through it, and formulate our thoughts; then, when we were ready, we’d sit down together and simply talk our way through it, and not worry so much about the numbers but rather the relative importance as we went.

I’m not going to break down all our responses, but it was interesting to see the areas we agree on, and disagree on, as far as priorities. We pretty much were on the same page for family, financial/domestic support, sexual fulfillment, recreation; slightly different in affection (I need more than she does), and conversation (although that’s a limit of kids and busyness, mostly). Where we were substantially different, was in honesty and openness. I felt it more important, and less satisfied, where she was more satisfied and thus placed less of an emphasis on it.

It was interesting to go through it together, and we talked about ways to move our relationship so that our needs and expectations get closer to the reality of our lives; or should that be that what we do, move closer to fulfilling the needs and expectations? Either way will do, I guess, perhaps sometimes expectations need to be modified to reality, as well as the times when changes can be made to meet expectations.

The two bigger boys, Jeremy and Rob and I, got to put out a fire in the forest when a tree was struck by lightning, so we decided to call ourselves the Island Fire Brigade. Putting out a fire with buckets and a trash can, after traveling to the scene via canoe, is certainly a new experience for me!

I got to take a lot of photos, too, which I am loving more and more, have them posted over there>>> on flickr. Photos of the lake, of birds, of flowers, a set of Lynn, and some really cool portraits of Lynn’s niece Sharon. I was talking with a friend, and decided that it’s a good thing I have found photography again, because the nerve is still keeping me from the other things I want to do.

I try hard to remember that although I can’t do some things, I have so much, and can still do a lot, but sometimes it’s difficult not to feel sorry for myself, a little bit- or rather, to miss the other things, I guess. I don’t want to get all broody about it, so if I do, just whack me around a bit, okay?

I take Jeremy back to college on Saturday, which is hard to believe- he’s going to be a Junior, this year, and working as the RA. Which is great, for my checkbook, he gets room and board, and since it’s a state school, the tuition is actually reasonable- as college tuition goes, anyway, at least it’s not one of the $45,000.00 /year schools that he was thinking about. I can’t imagine how people do that, it seems like all the kids must graduate with a degree in “how to handle 120,000 debt in four short year lessons” or something like that. What’s really hard to believe, is how mature he’s gotten, compared to the first time I took him away. He’s really a great kid, and I’m incredibly proud of him.

Filed under: family, lynn, meanderings, relationship, vacation, , , , , , , , ,

Another meandering post

So, it’s been a while since I’ve felt much like writing anything, I guess, but for whatever reason I have to tonight. The problem, is that the part of me that is insisting that I write something, hasn’t seen fit to tell me what to write about. Darn ol’ muses anyway, they’re always out for coffee or something when I need them.

So, I guess it’s going to be another of my “meandering” posts, sorry about that. Don’t read, if you don’t want to fall asleep, sorry. 🙂

The traveling that I’ve been doing for the last several weeks is thankfully at an end, for a bit. The next trip will be a vacation to the cabin, I’ll go and join the gang for two weeks at the end of July. Dad’s going to come out and pick me up, which is a nice way to save on the airfare. Then I’ll have a couple of shorter trips this fall, but nothing like the 10 week round that we just finished.

I have mixed feelings about this summer, too. It’s very normal for me to stay home alone, while Lynn and the kids spend the summer at the cabin. But I also have in the back of my head (You’d think the back would be full by now, but I manage to keep too much garbage back there somehow), that a couple of years ago, in the summer, was when I had the first round of ring-around-the-rosy-with-the-black-thing. I know, I know, I’m in a different emotional state, and a different mental state, and I have a lot more and better support in place now. Knowing that, doesn’t change the feelings though- I tend to “know” a lot of things without being able to “feel” them, at times, so I just have to deal with it.

One good thing is that I wont be completely alone this year, though. Jeremy has a couple of jobs, and he’s going to stay here and only go to Minnesota when I do; and afterwards, both he and Rob will be coming back, so it’s not as if I’ll be quite as isolated as normal. I’m thinking that’s going to be a good thing, overall, even if it does mean they’ll want to do oddball things, like eat.

Lynn and I are doing okay, these days. I’m getting used to and adjusting to the knowledge that as we’ve grown older, we’ve changed, and even if the changes aren’t what I would have thought of, or looked for, I can deal with them. I still get a bit broody sometimes, when I consider differences and similarities to a couple of years ago- what I now think of as “pre-asshole” days- but I guess that’s a part of life that everyone needs to face. After all, “they” say that change is inevitable, so if “they” know anything at all, I’ll just keep working on acceptance of the things I cannot change. I guess, too, the deeper changes aren’t even specifically related to when I learned of them, but were going back further- I just didn’t know it, in my fog of depression.

As I said at the start, this is a non-subject post- just the irritability and restlessness that pops up when I don’t write something- and now, I seem to hear (maybe) a bit of a call (faintly) from someone that seems to think I should invent her and write her a bit- so I’ll go see if a bit of fiction may result.

Filed under: depression, family, lynn, meanderings, relationship, vacation, , , ,

Mexico!

Tat

No, It’s not real. It’s henna, but I love the souvenir of our trip. What a fantastic adventure we had!

But for now, all I can say is that there’s nothing like being in the warm sun, the warm ocean, with the option of not wearing anything at all. I have decided that after years of living in colder places, such as Minnesota and upstate New York, there’s really something magical about the heat and warmth of the tropics.

Sailing trips, skinny-dipping, snorkeling, shopping, napping- ’twas all so much fun. Toss in massages, great food, pool games and night life, and it’s something that I’ll remember forever.

Certainly long after my Mayan Sun God has faded off my shoulder!

We flew to Cancun on Monday, and stayed through Sunday. Our days were filled with snorkeling, massages, sailing trips (Wherein a new-style flag was created, as many of the ladies attached bikini tops to the shrouds 😉 ). Nights, we ate well and spent time in the “disco”, before spending time with ourselves, having some of the most mind-blowing sex in I-Don’t-Know-How-Long.

Must be the tropical air, huh?

I’m not going to catalog the trip, but really, if you haven’t been someplace like it- GO!

Filed under: lynn, photos, vacation, , , , , , , ,

Salt Lake City- Or, A Tale of Travel Adventures Pt 1

In which various people begin travels via various means; arrive at an interim point and are surprised; reach the final destination and miss somethings; through several compromises manage to be hot in the snow; are reunited with comfortable feet; find the snow again; and avoid conversion although have conversation with sundry Mormons.

Saturday, March 22, 0350-2400 Eastern; The alarm, evil thing that it is, manages to wake us up in spite of exhaustion and illness. Not the greatest beginning to the trip, with Lynn and myself both tired, cranky, and in her case not feeling great. However, we did get the kids up, and got all six of us into the Pacifica, with the roof-rack loaded and skis and bags and carry-ons inside.

The drive to Kennedy, while uneventful, was as always a pain in the but. We have to leave our house a full three hours before our flights are scheduled to leave, in order to get to the airport, park and shuttle to the terminals and still manage to schlep six people and all our luggage through check-in and security. Granted, it’s getting easier and easier- the kids are great and handle their own bags now. Everyone is allowed one duffel, for all the clothes/ski wear, and one carryon for important things like cameras, computers, books and snacks. The skis combine into four bags, two doubles and two singles, so we check ten and carry six- and so far, we’ve not forgotten any of the children anywhere.

We arrived in Minneapolis on time, and found my dad in the gate for the next flight. This was fun, because the kids didn’t know we were on the same plane for that part of the flight; so they had a lot of “Wow!” “GRAND-DAD!!!!!” And grabbing and hugging and laughing going on- which is always a blast.

The flight to Salt Lake was also uneventful, just a bit of musical seats as the kids swapped around to sit by dad.

However, once we’d arrived, the inconvenience began. Thank you, Delta, for sending a duffel to timbuctoo. Or somewhere. All of Rob’s clothes, toiletries, ski wear, etc were nowhere to be found. Worse, in terms of the skiing portion of the trip- MY ski boots were also in that bag. Which truly, utterly, completely sucks. It was okay for Rob, because he was going to rent anyway, because he’s been snowboarding the last few years he doesn’t have equipment of his own. But dang it all, those boots are custom-fit, Solomon boots that I love.

So after fussing with Delta for a while, getting a claim filed, etc, etc, we made our way to the Hotel. Where they managed to put us into two rooms that each had a king-size bed. Nice for Lynn and myself, but not so great when we have to share with the kids and dad, though. So, a room swap or two later, and we’re in the originally reserved rooms with two queens each. With the convertible sofas, we have enough bed space for the seven of us.

That night, we took the UTA Trax train, and attended the Easter Vigil service at St. Mark’s Cathedral. What a beautiful service that was, very very well done. The building, in this state and city that is so dominated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not a particularly imposing structure externally; but the inside was fantastic, and the choir and music was great.

Finally, dinner- and back to the hotel, to fall into bed. Wheew!

Sunday, March 23, 0700-2300 Mountain; No alarm, but we’re all up easily, mostly because of the time change. Breakfast at this hotel (Embassy Suites, nice place) is included in the room charge, but it’s more than just the cereal/juice/rolls of some. Here you can order a couple of eggs, omelets, bacon or sausage or pancakes, as well as the cold cereal type stuff- which is great.

SO then, Rob, dad and I walked to the local ski shop, all of 2 blocks. Rob rented a package for the week, and since they refused to adjust my bindings to their boots, I decided to skip renting for that day, and see if the ski area would do so; at least this way I could try to use my good skis.

Luckily, Brighton did allow me to do that, so I rented boots there.

And, Finally- let the fun begin!!

Oh WOW. What an incredible, wonderful ski area. Salt Lake’s ski areas average around 500″ of snow annually; and this year they’ve been getting more than usual. We had perfect snow, perfectly clear skies, perfect temperatures. It was around 40, that first day, and what a blast. I haven’t skied in the Rocky Mountains for waaay, waaay, too long; I know, I knew I loved them, but what a piece of heaven on earth. I miss “My” mountains, more than I realized.

Just to see the terrain, the majesty, the peaks, makes me homesick; and, I’ve never lived here, or in the mountains, only vacationed, but still- I love them.

Dinner that night, was delivered pizza and salads from a bag. No one had the energy to get out, so it was a quiet, early night and to bed with all.

Monday, March 24, 0700-2300 Mountain; HOOORAY!!!
The bag was found, and delivered to the Hotel at 0200 this morning. Cheers, instant thrills and (no, I didn’t orgasm over them, but I did pet them) my boots are here!

Monday, we headed up- up the canyon, up the “POSH” scale, to Deer Valley. Known as the poshest ski area around, I can believe it; where other areas use industrial chrome plumbing, Deer Valley pays for the less durable brass; where concrete steps and walkways are enough for strength and utility elsewhere, Deer Valley lays down garden pavers. And replaces them, as needed, for ski boots are not known to be easy on brick.

A second perfect day of skiing, oh my. Temp again to the 40’s, perfectly clear blue skies, snow that is deeper than needed everywhere, and nowhere scraped to grass; superb!!!!

The only drawback- the heat. We were all so hot, that we were finding different ways to try to lose layers. For me, luckily, my turtleneck was an old ratty one- so I didn’t have any qualms tossing it in the garbage; in fact, it would have prior to the trip, but I was thinking I’d need all I owned.

There’s something decadent about skiing in a t-shirt, and for a bit without that, no gloves, hats or goggles, no sweaters and down jackets- just boots, pants and sunglasses. Gotta love that! ROb took a picture with his camera, and I’ll get that posted at some point, but still wonderful.

AND- My feet didn’t kill me all day. Yes, renting boots is a fine expediency when needed, but oh man, did my feet hurt at the end of Sunday. I was so pleased to have my good boots back, I suspect my family is just as happy- cuz I stopped whining!

Dinner in again, and early bed- not much happening on most of our evenings, we get pretty tired and try to sleep early.

Tuesday, March 25, 0000-1700 Mountain; Grrrrrrr.
What did I say about trying to sleep? Well, no one had a great sleep, except dad. Perhaps altitude, perhaps something else, but I was up all night, Lynn slept about an hour, the kids were up and down as well. So we decided to take a sight-seeing day, in the interest of not hurting ourselves.

Two boys opted to stay back and read and watch movies, so Dad, Lynn, Beth, Rob and I all headed to the Union Pacific Terminal, which is the gateway to an outdoor shopping plaza. Just wandering, and taking photos- I’ll put some of the Olympic Memorial Musical up too-

And then, into the jaws of the lion. Or, in this case, into Temple Square, for a thirty minute tour with the missionaries there. It’s an interesting history if nothing else, regardless of your opinion or beliefs regarding Joseph Smith and the Mormon Church; and yes, we managed to escape with our “Episcopalian-ness” intact.

Whew!

So, for later- dinner out, probably something sim
ple like Olive Garden, and then tomorrow- Alta, or Snow Basin.

Wow, this got long- so, I’m done for now, but rest assured, I’ll be back to bore you more later in the week!

Filed under: dad, family, kids, lynn, mormon, mountains, photos, ski, skiing, SLC, snow, utah, vacation

Lighting

I love the way this turned out, the whole set is pretty good- even if I’m saying so myself.

I’ve been working on my lighting a fair amount, lately, and yesterday I took hundreds of photos. The set that we did with a black background really pleased me, because the whole “floating against black” really turned out okay.

Especially, since the backdrops and supports are just improvisations. I was telling a friend that wal-mart sheets and craft-store silk flowers, are your friends, if you want to have inexpensive but fun ways to modify backgrounds and pick up silly props.

Have I mentioned before, that I LOVE this camera? Oh, I have? Must be senility that makes me repeat myself- but I sure do love this camera!

Love my darling model, too, I’m thinkin’ that that’s part of why these work.

 

Filed under: lynn, photography, photos, sensual, sexy

Thinking about Trust, and a bunch of randomness too

Trust, is something that I never particularly thought of much. I either trusted, or I didn’t trust someone, or something, without really knowing why, much of the time. Perhaps because I’ve been pretty blessed throughout my life with people that were trustworthy, it’s not been a huge thing in my mind. I don’t remember horrible betrayals of fifth-grade confidences, nor being ratted-out in ninth. The people I encountered that I would think of as “Not trustworthy” were usually given that classification based on observations of what they had done or said in regards to someone else, not me.

So it’s been difficult for me over the past year and a half, to know quite what to do with myself, my emotions, on the occasions when I have been confronted with untrustworthiness. (Is that a real word? If not, it should be). I am finding that it’s a lot harder to deal with, for a couple of reasons. One part of it, of course, is the importance of the relationship; obvious, but something I had to learn apparently, is that the impact is much more damaging when the person is close to you, and you care about them more than even a “bestest friend”.

The second part I’m struggling with, is that we seem to go up and down, or two steps forward, one step back. We’ll be doing our thing, and I’m thinking “this is good”, feeling closer and communicating well, and I get hit with something that seems to stop me in my tracks. Problem is, when I get stopped like that, is that it brings back all the old feelings and concerns, in a huge rush of fear and anger and jealousy and hurt. And of course, I know my own reaction to that– shutdown, pull back, withdraw and let the coldness numb the feelings, and they’ll go away. Right? Right?

Oh, wrong. Doesn’t work that way, not anymore, not for me- I can’t do it like that anymore, and honestly don’t want to again. That way leads to misery, unhappiness, and coming way to close to dying. No, can’t do that anymore.

Each time, the apologies, the tears, the wanting to be held, are immediate. Each time, I’ve opened my arms, held and cuddled and we’ve talked; and each time, depending on how things progress, we’ve made love, and spent the next week or two being reassured and reassuring more regularly than before. Each time, after a week or so, the attitude seems to be that “it’s all gone, you shouldn’t be worried about it, I said I’m sorry what more do you want, get past it.”

Which I wish I could do, with all my heart I wish I could do that, so easily. Lynn has said: “You think to much”, and also “You worry about when things happened too much, like a calendar”. I guess I probably do, but it’s because when something happens, I can’t help but be reminded of the time before, or the time before that, or before that- and when the emotions are brought back repeatedly, so too are the memories of prior events, that caused them.

Unfortunately, each little betrayal of trust, each little lie or deceit, hasn’t happened in a vacuum. I can’t pretend that it’s not happened before; it has, and it’s hard for her to know I’m remembering, it hurts her to know that I am, but I can’t help it. I can wish they hadn’t, but that doesn’t change anything. I can wish for a selective lobotomy too, but my insurance doesn’t cover them- so, I’m stuck with my minds inability to forget that it’s not the first time, or more, that I’ve been smacked with something similar.

So I’ve tried some different methods, to minimize the ouch, some more successful than others. I’ve pretended that it doesn’t matter, that I don’t care, but that doesn’t work out very well. I’ve ignored things, figuring if I don’t acknowledge it, it wont have a chance to be a problem; that works to an extent, as long as it’s littler things- how much and who, doesn’t matter anymore. I can’t ignore being lied to, though, that part doesn’t work.

So now, we’re in the cuddle-talk-sex-overcompensation mode again, for the last week or so. There’s no real ending to this particular sequence of thoughts, because I don’t know what the ending is yet. We’re in the “talk a lot and reassurance” stage, and I’m trying to not be suspicious of every word or action or expression. So we just carry on, I guess.

The good things, are still going on too, of course. We are talking more intimately than we have in years and years. We’re sharing more of what our days are, of what we look at on the computer, who we’re talking to, and these are all good things.

Getting ready to go to Utah skiing, in March, and that’s going to be great- the first mountain trip for the three younger kids, and it’s been way too long since we’ve skied on something other than mounds- here in NY, they don’t have Mountains, only mounds, ya know.

We’re also planning another just the two of us vacations, in May- going to Cancun, with some friends of ours, and that’s going to be neat too. Granted, it’d probably be nicer in mid-winter, but we couldn’t afford that even if there was space at the hotel, so we’ll be going just after the price drops from the peaks. Should still be fun, and I’m looking forward to the day trips, they set up tours to some of the Mayan villages/sites, that should be a blast.

We’ve been having a lot of fun with the photography, too- Lynn’s taking photography II this semester, and loving it. She had a great time in Photo I, last semester, and took some really good shots; she gets to do her own processing too, which is fun, I remember loving that when I did it too. Think we should set up a black and white darkroom? Nahh, probably not- once she’s done with the film work, we’ll be back on digital and it’s so easy to crop and do the processing on the computer, and print at the local Target, or CVS, that it’s not worth it for occasional use anymore.

That reminds me, I’d mentioned that I’m going to Sacramento next month, and bringing my camera; there are a couple of fairly regular readers from there, according to statcounter anyway. Whoever you are, email me (addy is in profile page), and give me some suggestions. I’m not sure how much time I’ll have, and it’s going to be evenings mostly, when I’m free- but I’ve never been there and don’t want to miss something cool through ignorance of the city!

Okay, this got really long, as I’ve added to it over a couple of days; so I’m gonna post it and call this one done.

Filed under: love, lynn, photography, relationship, travel, trust, vacation

Another for Lynn

Sometimes, my writing is aimed- this is one of them. Rambling and sappy, so if you don’t like that, skip this one! 🙂

At each New Years, I find that I’m less of a resolution maker, than I am a reflector-of-the past year, and this one was no exception. Looking back had often meant nostalgia, and frequently, as my depression deepened, it meant all kinds of bad feelings of things not done, actions that I regretted, inadequacies highlighted, and other not-so-good-for-me thoughts.

What a nice change, this year, from other years. Looking back as objectively as I can, 2007 was not an easy year, for me, for my family, for Lynn. Continued struggles with depression, fighting off the black thing. Changes as our relationship developed, into new and although exciting, sometimes scary areas; difficulties with the kids, with finances, with job changes and schools and health problems, lack of progress on my nerve had all combined to add up to a year that would have sent me down deep.

But as we were talking, and I looked a little further back, to where we were in 2004, 05, 06- I was struck by an amazing difference. Some of it is purely emotional, and in my attitude towards things, of course. Anti-depressants are good for that, once you have the right med and the correct dosage. (Three cheers for better living through chemistry!). Some of it, a lot of it, is the tremendous changes in Lynn’s and my relationship. A year ago, two years ago, we could very easily have tossed in the towel, if we’d been faced with some of the adjustments we have had to make this year.

But we’ve managed to keep talking, keep working on ourselves, continue to try to share and understand one another, and as we’ve done so my own outlook has gradually become more and more positive.

We had always told ourselves and the kids that we can do anything, if we do it together, as a family- supporting one another, offering our love and strength to each other when needed, and there would be nothing at all that we couldn’t face and conquer. In the past several years, although the words were there, the feeling wasn’t. Lynn and I weren’t there for each other, and the worst part of that, is that neither of us particularly cared.

Wednesday night, though, as we talked, as I held her and she was wrapped into my arms, the two of us intertwined as if we were one, we didn’t feel that. I could feel her love for me, again, the way I used to- but hadn’t, for so long. I didn’t know how empty a part of me still was, until I noticed, that night, that the space where I store the “I know she loves me”, wasn’t blank anymore.

I was holding her, we were talking, and something brought tears to her eyes, as I held her and loved her- and told her that sharing those tears with me, was more important than anything else we’ve done or talked about; that even after all this time, it still means so much that she can allow herself to trust that I’ll hold her, and be there for her. Perhaps it’s because she doesn’t do that often, but it brought the weepies to me, as well. I think there’s nothing more special, than two people reaffirming love for one another, through sex and cuddles and kisses, through laughter and tears. Mix all of that into a couple hours, and you get a pretty neat way to look at where you are.

So, this year, I’ve decided to make a resolution after all: In 2008, my goal is to get even closer to Lynn, and see if it’s true that two people can become one.

I Love You darling.

Filed under: depression, lynn, new years, relationship

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