From personal

This and that

Some random weekend things…

  • I don’t really like to shop there but I was in Bianca Amor’s Liquidation Supercentre last week and they had some decent cookware on for really cheap.  I picked up a lasanga pan for around the house but they had really nice tea kettles and pots which I’ll use for camping this summer.  Both will make the trip a lot nicer.  Both are stainless steel and heavy duty.  They are too big for back country hiking but will making mornings nicer when we are at a basecamp.  Nothing quite like a cup of gourmet hot chocolate in the morning.
  • Speaking of gourmet hot chocolate, I will be forever saddened by the fact that I can’t get Land O Lakes Hot Chocolate at Costco or even in Canada.  Land O Lakes Hot Chocolate PacketsOh well, Carnation Hot Chocolate can be pretty good as well.
  • One of the few kitchen tools I need is a lightweight chef’s knife.  I was in Dollarama this afternoon and I found a Betty Crocker Essentials Chef Knife for $3.  Is it any good?  Probably not (actually it isn’t that bad) but it will be good enough to use while camping.

Betty Crocker Essentials Chef's Knife

  • Bell Cycling GlovesWe have been looking for some lightweight gloves for a year now and Jordon finally found some for Mark and I.  They will breath enough to be used during the day but when they cool down at night, they will work as well.  Now we need to find some smaller ones for Oliver and we’ll be set.
  • Mark finished up his final exams this week.  To celebrate him surviving, Jordon went out and picked him up a Stanley 20 oz Travel MugOutside Magazine rated it the best travel mug on the market.  I’m jealous.
  • Oliver is going through a growth spurt.  It means new running shoes for him.  Payless ShoeSource has been my go-to store for him the last couple of years because their Champion shoes stand up pretty well, are a good price and Oliver likes them.  That and I can’t imagine paying $100 for shoes he will only wear for a couple of months.
  • While we were at the Mall at Lawson Heights, Jordon and I stopped by the Dawgs store.  They had their Dawgs Ultralight Spirit Shoes on for $8.  We picked up a pair for Oliver and Mark and they will be perfect for hanging out around the fire after a long hike.  They best thing about this is that they are so incredibly light.

Life of the INTP

Since I posted my Enneagram, people have asked what I am categorized as by Myers-Briggs.  I am an INTP.

As an INTP, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you deal with things rationally and logically. Your secondary mode is external, where you take things in primarily via your intuition.

INTPs live in the world of theoretical possibilities. They see everything in terms of how it could be improved, or what it could be turned into. They live primarily inside their own minds, having the ability to analyze difficult problems, identify patterns, and come up with logical explanations. They seek clarity in everything, and are therefore driven to build knowledge. They are the “absent-minded professors”, who highly value intelligence and the ability to apply logic to theories to find solutions. They typically are so strongly driven to turn problems into logical explanations, that they live much of their lives within their own heads, and may not place as much importance or value on the external world. Their natural drive to turn theories into concrete understanding may turn into a feeling of personal responsibility to solve theoretical problems, and help society move towards a higher understanding.

INTPs value knowledge above all else. Their minds are constantly working to generate new theories, or to prove or disprove existing theories. They approach problems and theories with enthusiasm and skepticism, ignoring existing rules and opinions and defining their own approach to the resolution. They seek patterns and logical explanations for anything that interests them. They’re usually extremely bright, and able to be objectively critical in their analysis. They love new ideas, and become very excited over abstractions and theories. They love to discuss these concepts with others. They may seem “dreamy” and distant to others, because they spend a lot of time inside their minds musing over theories. They hate to work on routine things – they would much prefer to build complex theoretical solutions, and leave the implementation of the system to others. They are intensely interested in theory, and will put forth tremendous amounts of time and energy into finding a solution to a problem with has piqued their interest.

INTPs do not like to lead or control people. They’re very tolerant and flexible in most situations, unless one of their firmly held beliefs has been violated or challenged, in which case they may take a very rigid stance. The INTP is likely to be very shy when it comes to meeting new people. On the other hand, the INTP is very self-confident and gregarious around people they know well, or when discussing theories which they fully understand.

Pfft.  Other people.

The INTP has no understanding or value for decisions made on the basis of personal subjectivity or feelings. They strive constantly to achieve logical conclusions to problems, and don’t understand the importance or relevance of applying subjective emotional considerations to decisions. For this reason, INTPs are usually not in-tune with how people are feeling, and are not naturally well-equiped to meet the emotional needs of others.

My parents are strong feelers.  Our conversations rarely go well.

The INTP may have a problem with self-aggrandizement and social rebellion, which will interfere with their creative potential. Since their Feeling side is their least developed trait, the INTP may have difficulty giving the warmth and support that is sometimes necessary in intimate relationships. If the INTP doesn’t realize the value of attending to other people’s feelings, he or she may become overly critical and sarcastic with others. If the INTP is not able to find a place for themself which supports the use of their strongest abilities, they may become generally negative and cynical. If the INTP has not developed their Sensing side sufficiently, they may become unaware of their environment, and exhibit weakness in performing maintenance-type tasks, such as bill-paying and dressing appropriately.

That’s me.  I have struggled meeting the emotional needs of Jordon and the kids.  It’s something I really have to work at.

For the INTP, it is extremely important that ideas and facts are expressed correctly and succinctly. They are likely to express themselves in what they believe to be absolute truths. Sometimes, their well thought-out understanding of an idea is not easily understandable by others, but the INTP is not naturally likely to tailor the truth so as to explain it in an understandable way to others. The INTP may be prone to abandoning a project once they have figured it out, moving on to the next thing. It’s important that the INTP place importance on expressing their developed theories in understandable ways. In the end, an amazing discovery means nothing if you are the only person who understands it.

The INTP is usually very independent, unconventional, and original. They are not likely to place much value on traditional goals such as popularity and security. They usually have complex characters, and may tend to be restless and temperamental. They are strongly ingenious, and have unconventional thought patterns which allows them to analyze ideas in new ways. Consequently, a lot of scientific breakthroughs in the world have been made by the INTP.

The INTP is at his best when he can work on his theories independently. When given an environment which supports his creative genius and possible eccentricity, the INTP can accomplish truly remarkable things. These are the pioneers of new thoughts in our society.

This says much of the same.

A major concern for INTPs is the haunting sense of impending failure. They spend considerable time second-guessing themselves. The open-endedness (from Perceiving) conjoined with the need for competence (NT) is expressed in a sense that one’s conclusion may well be met by an equally plausible alternative solution, and that, after all, one may very well have overlooked some critical bit of data. An INTP arguing a point may very well be trying to convince himself as much as his opposition. In this way INTPs are markedly different from INTJs, who are much more confident in their competence and willing to act on their convictions.

I’m married to an INTJ.  This totally correct.

The good news is that there are almost none of us out there.

The INTP personality type is fairly rare, making up only three percent of the population, which is definitely a good thing for them, as there’s nothing they’d be more unhappy about than being “common”.

Here is me as a parent.

INTP personalities are not particularly demanding parents, at least not in the sense that they expect their children to live a traditional life of school/career/marriage/house/kids/retirement (and in that order, thank you very much). Rather, INTP parents are demanding in an intellectual sense – they want their children to ask if this path is the best path for them, and how to go about following a different one if they need to. This level of personal freedom can be daunting, and can take a long time to come to terms with, but INTP parents are prepared to stand by their children with support and advice for as long as they need.

While there is hardly a better parent for having rational, intelligent discussions with their children, there is hardly a clumsier example when it comes to providing the emotional support that many children need, especially as they approach their teenage years. In this area, INTPs will need to either rely on a more capable partner, or to take themselves far out of their comfort zone in order to empathize without trying to clear away the tears with an endless series of rational suggestions and blunt truths.

There you go, the life and times of an INTP.

20 years

A couple of weeks ago it dawned on me that Jordon and I are going to be married 20 years ago next October.  We started to toss around where to go and what to do.  It’s still a year and a half away but if we were going to go somewhere great, we needed to save.

On monday, Jordon posted a 5000 word long travel guide to Banff National Park on the Don’s Photo blog.  It’s worth the read if you a photographer who enjoys travel.  One of the ideas that I loved was a night at the Skoki Lodge, a historic alpine lodge that is a 11 mile hike up the mountain.  It is $200 per person per night but the food is great the setting is breath taking.

The problem is that the time of the year could mean either snow or hiking and we don’t cross country ski.  Snow shoeing 11km up a mountain is a lot harder than hiking it and I am not sure if after 20 years of marriage if I can talk Jordon into carrying me.   Also while we had only planned to spend a night, it is a two night minimum which meant it would cost us $800 for those two nights, it was more than I wanted to spend.

I looked at the Chateau Lake Louise which is $699.99 a night for a basic room.  We have a history there (Jordon proposed to me there) but it is a luxury hotel and the $700 for the room was just the beginning of what it would cost.  Breakfast can easily cost you $100 in the hotel.

After looking around, a hotel that we have stayed in before in Banff has a wonderful jacuzzi suite with a fireplace for only $120 a night.  We have thought the normal rooms are wonderful so the idea of staying in this kind of room sounds like a lot of fun.  Also since it is right in the middle of Banff, we can walk everywhere and not have to worry about parking (not that Banff is that busy in October).

Red Carpet Inn in Banff National Park

Saving some money on the hotel also means that Jordon and I can spend some more time in Banff tooling around and hanging out together.   I can’t wait. 

As for what we are going to do… probably some of the same things we often do in Banff and Jordon has suggested hiking around Stewart Canyon and Lake Minnewanka or heading to Yoho National Park and checking out the Walk in the Past Trail.

The Peacemaker

I just did a Enneagram test tonight.  There isn’t a big suprise here.  I am a 9, a peacemaker.

Type 9: The PeacemakerWe have called personality type Nine The Peacemaker because no type is more devoted to the quest for internal and external peace for themselves and others. They are typically “spiritual seekers” who have a great yearning for connection with the cosmos, as well as with other people. They work to maintain their peace of mind just as they work to establish peace and harmony in their world. The issues encountered in the Nine are fundamental to all psychological and spiritual work—being awake versus falling asleep to our true nature; presence versus entrancement, openness versus blockage, tension versus relaxation, peace versus pain, union versus separation.

Ironically, for a type so oriented to the spiritual world, Nine is the center of the Instinctive Center, and is the type that is potentially most grounded in the physical world and in their own bodies. The contradiction is resolved when we realize that Nines are either in touch with their instinctive qualities and have tremendous elemental power and personal magnetism, or they are cut off from their instinctual strengths and can be disengaged and remote, even lightweight.

To compensate for being out of touch with their instinctual energies, Nines also retreat into their minds and their emotional fantasies. (This is why Nines can sometimes misidentify themselves as Fives and Sevens, “head types,” or as Twos and Fours, “feeling types.”) Furthermore, when their instinctive energies are out of balance, Nines use these very energies against themselves, damming up their own power so that everything in their psyches becomes static and inert. When their energy is not used, it stagnates like a spring-fed lake that becomes so full that its own weight dams up the springs that feed it. When Nines are in balance with their Instinctive Center and its energy, however, they are like a great river, carrying everything along with it effortlessly.

We have sometimes called the Nine the crown of the Enneagram because it is at the top of the symbol and because it seems to include the whole of it. Nines can have the strength of Eights, the sense of fun and adventure of Sevens, the dutifulness of Sixes, the intellectualism of Fives, the creativity of Fours, the attractiveness of Threes, the generosity of Twos, and the idealism of Ones. However, what they generally do not have is a sense of really inhabiting themselves—a strong sense of their own identity.

Ironically, therefore, the only type the Nine is not like is the Nine itself. Being a separate self, an individual who must assert herself against others, is terrifying to Nines. They would rather melt into someone else or quietly follow their idyllic daydreams.

Red, a nationally known business consultant, comments on this tendency:

I am aware of focusing on other people, wondering what they are like, how and where they live, etc. In a relationship with others, I often give up my own agenda in favor of the other person’s. I have to be on guard about giving in to other’s demands and discounting my own legitimate needs

Nines demonstrate the universal temptation to ignore the disturbing aspects of life and to seek some degree of peace and comfort by “numbing out.” They respond to pain and suffering by attempting to live in a state of premature peacefulness, whether it is in a state of false spiritual attainment, or in more gross denial. More than any other type, Nines demonstrate the tendency to run away from the paradoxes and tensions of life by attempting to transcend them or by seeking to find simple and painless solutions to their problems.

To emphasize the pleasant in life is not a bad thing, of course—it is simply a limited and limiting approach to life. If Nines see the silver lining in every cloud as a way of protecting themselves from the cold and rain, other types have their distorting viewpoints, too. For example, Fours focus on their own woundedness and victimization, Ones on what is wrong with how things are, and so forth. By contrast, Nines tend to focus on the “bright side of life” so that their peace of mind will not be shaken. But rather than deny the dark side of life, what Nines must understand is that all of the perspectives presented by the other types are true, too. Nines must resist the urge to escape into “premature Buddhahood” or the “white light” of the Divine and away from the mundane world. They must remember that “the only way out is through.”

Jordon is a Type 1:

We have named personality type One The Reformer because Ones have a “sense of mission” that leads them to want to improve the world in various ways, using whatever degree of influence they have. They strive to overcome adversity—particularly moral adversity—so that the human spirit can shine through and make a difference. They strive after “higher values,” even at the cost of great personal sacrifice.

History is full of Ones who have left comfortable lives to do something extraordinary because they felt that something higher was calling them. During the Second World War, Raoul Wallenburg left a comfortable middle-class life to work for the protection of thousands of European Jews from invading Nazis. In India, Gandhi left behind his wife and family and life as a successful lawyer to become an itinerant advocate of Indian independence and non-violent social changes. Joan of Arc left her village in France to restore the throne to the Dauphin and to expel the English from the country. The idealism of each of these Ones has inspired millions.

Ones are people of practical action—they wish to be useful in the best sense of the word. On some level of consciousness, they feel that they “have a mission” to fulfill in life, if only to try their best to reduce the disorder they see in their environment.

Although Ones have a strong sense of purpose, they also typically feel that they have to justify their actions to themselves, and often to others as well. This orientation causes Ones to spend a lot of time thinking about the consequences of their actions, as well as about how to keep from acting contrary to their convictions. Because of this, Ones often persuade themselves that they are “head” types, rationalists who proceed only on logic and objective truth. But, the real picture is somewhat different: Ones are actually activists who are searching for an acceptable rationale for what they feel they must do. They are people of instinct and passion who use convictions and judgments to control and direct themselves and their actions.

In the effort to stay true to their principles, Ones resist being affected by their instinctual drives, consciously not giving in to them or expressing them too freely. The result is a personality type that has problems with repression, resistance, and aggression. They are usually seen by others as highly self- controlled, even rigid, although this is not how Ones experience themselves. It seems to them that they are sitting on a cauldron of passions and desires, and they had better “keep the lid on” lest they and everyone else around them regret it.

Cassandra is a therapist in private practice who recalls the difficulty this caused her in her youth:

I remember in high school getting feedback that I had no feelings. Inside, I felt my feelings intensely and yet I just couldn’t let them out as intensely as I felt them. Even now, if I have a conflict with a friend and need to address an issue, I rehearse ahead of time how to express clearly what I want, need, and observe, and yet, not be harsh or blaming in my anger which is often scathing.

Ones believe that being strict with themselves (and eventually becoming “perfect”) will justify them in their own eyes and in the eyes of others. But by attempting to create their own brand of perfection, they often create their own personal hell. Instead of agreeing with the statement in Genesis that God saw what He had created, “and it was good,” Ones intensely feel that “It wasn’t—there obviously have been some mistakes here!” This orientation makes it difficult for them to trust their inner guidance—indeed, to trust life—so Ones come to rely heavily on their superego, a learned voice from their childhood, to guide them toward “the greater good” which they so passionately seek. When Ones have gotten completely entranced in their personality, there is little distinction between them and this severe, unforgiving voice. Separating from it and seeing its genuine strengths and limitations is what growth for Ones is about.

This is us in a relationship.

These types understand each other from the inside as it were, and for better or worse, can see many of their own traits in the other. On the positive side, each type brings a certain idealism and desire to change the world to make it a better place. Nines bring a more interpersonal orientation than Ones to their idealism, but both can be self-sacrificial and hard working, and willing to put their personal needs and interests aside for the welfare of others. Both are also able to delay rewards for a long-term good they seek. Ones bring clarity and rationality and the ability to articulate ideals and understandings. They strive to improve themselves and their environment, are conscientious, have high ethical and moral standards, and are fair and consistent. Nines bring a gentle, accepting quality that nurtures and supports others without as much explicit demand for self-improvement. Nines are steady, easy to get along with, feel uncritical and undemanding, and prefer harmony and smooth relations over the pleasure of being right or of having the last word in a situation.

In short, Nines tend to take a bit of the rough edge off of the criticality and seriousness of Ones, while Ones give clarity and direction to Nines. Further, Ones feel that they have a mission in life, and they are able to inspire Nines to become aware of their own purpose and to want to follow it. This can be a highly altruistic couple who balance idealism with humanity. As a couple, they are gracious company, hospitable and generous, but they also need time to be alone with each other as a couple. They have a mutual love of nature and animals that may bring them closer together, as well as their love of their children and family. Nines soothe Ones, while Ones remind Nines to strive for excellence.

The main problem area for Ones and Nines has to do with the opposite ways that they deal with conflicts and rising stress. Ones tend to become more openly frustrated with themselves and others and with the feeling that things are not going as they should. They begin to exude a prickly anger, edginess, and dissatisfaction with everything and everyone. They become obsessed with finding who is at fault, and with legislating how things could be improved. By contrast, when conflicts and stress increase, Nines begin to shut down and withdrawn. They become less effective at correcting problems and less able to speak about their feelings or discomfort. The worse things become, the more Nines attempt to tune them out while maintaining that nothing is the matter. Thus, judgments about the Nine’s judgment and competence and willingness to take responsibility taint the One’s dealings with Nines, while resistance and denial of problems (with a barely suppressed undertow of anger) infect the Nine.

It is difficult for Nines to step up to the plate and take the level of responsibility that Ones are looking for. The more Ones push Nines to respond in the way they want, the less Nines are willing and able to do so, and they retreat into more widespread passive-aggressive behavior. To Ones, this feels like willful resistance and culpable negligence. The quiet indifference of the Nine only infuriates the One all the more. In short, it is difficult for Ones to respect Nines, just as it is difficult for Nines to feel comfortable with (and able to express themselves to) Ones. Ones eventually become more self-righteous and intolerant while Nines become more uncommunicative and stubbornly unresponsive. Others find it very difficult to be around this pair because of the obvious, painful zingers pointed at the Nine by the One-and because of the aura of barely suppressed rage coming from the Nine. This couple gets frozen in their anger, with no way to melt the impasse.

Yeah, that sounds about right.  I think what has kept Jordon and I together is while I hurt him, he can step back from his angry and hurt and find a solution to what is really going on.  He also knows that when I shut down, he needs to step back and give me some time and space to find my path again.

Vacation Booked

Map of Johnston Canyon campground

Well we have our campground booked at the Johnston Canyon campground in Banff National Park for this July.  We had originally planned to stay at the Castle Mountain Campground but it is first come/first serve and we wanted to know that our spot was reserved.   So we got a spot that was quiet and cozy which keeps us away from any motorhomes and campers that may stop by.  It will be a great homebase for the week.

The big challenge for the kids and to a degree us is that this is not an electried campground.  No chance to plugin and charge devices which is going to be nice.  The cell phones will be left off and in the car and while we will have cameras, the trip is going to be very analog

Resolved; 2016

Here are my New Year’s Resolution for 2016.

  1. Get organized.  Not just the house (which is under control) but getting a hand of all sorts of things that go in one ear and out the other.  So many times Jordon is frustrated by the fact that we talk about something, we agree on a course of action and then I go do something else.  It’s not big stuff, it’s just me not focusing on what I need to be doing and I need to improve on it.  It’s a lack of mental discipline that I need to work on.
  2. Hike to Grey Owl’s Cabin (early June).  This was on 2015’s list and it broke my heart that we couldn’t do it.  We were all packed and ready to go but Jordon said, “My leg’s not up to it”.  Jordon never backs down from a trip like this and to see him in that much pain, it was tough.  He was right but it was so hard to see him make that call so we postponed it until 2016.  The big difference is that we are taking Oliver this year for the hike so we will spread it out over three day instead of two.  We should be able to do it in two but in case we can’t, we’ll have an extra day.2016 Hike to Grey Owl's Cabin
  3. Scramble up Tunnel Mountain in Banff National Park.  In the end, it isn’t a big mountain and there isn’t even a tunnel inside it but it’s my first mountain scramble and it’s going to feel like a big deal when I am up there.  It’s also a big item off my Life List.  It also means that I need to start working out.  That doesn’t involve crunches does it?  Crap, it involves crunches.Tunnel Mountain in Banff National Park
  4. Drink tea at two alpine tea houses this summer.  I know Jordon thinks this is a HORRIBLE idea but I am allowed to have horrible ideas and one of them is to hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House and the Lake Agnes Tea House.   I am going to hike up there with the guys, drink my alpine tea and if they complain, I am going to whack them with my hiking pole.  That may be my favorite resolution on this list.  You decide if I mean drinking tea or hitting the guys with a pole.
  5. Get more sleep.  Ever since I was a kid, I loved staying up super late.  I am now 46.  It isn’t cool anymore but I still do it.  So many times I find myself waking up in a chair late at night because instead of going to bed, I decided to stay up for some reason.  Except I don’t stay up.  I start to snore and then Jordon goes to bed and occasionally leaves me there.  There isn’t anything wrong with being in bed by 10:00 p.m. by my age.  I need to do it so I have more energy the next day.
  6. Take about a dozen Saskatchewan hikes in 2016.  We hiked several great trails last year and were foiled by a few late in the season.  This year we plan to do more.
  7. More time with my Olympus OM-D E-M10 II camera this year.  I have some great lenses, strap, and a camera.  I want to spend more time mastering it.  The plan is to post at least 200 photos here and at Bridge City in 2016.  I’d like to post 1000 at Flickr.

It is the most miserable time of the year

Sigh.  Every single Christmas season someone from my hometown of Brandon, Manitoba calls or emails and wants to know why I never come “home”.  It’s been 18 years which has gotten people talking in the church and amongst family friends.  They have all been told something false by my parents (it’s Jordon’s fault and he is a horrible human being) or something mysterious like (“well some mistakes were made”) which makes them think it is something minor that can be talked out and it is my fault for holding a grudge.

When I tell them what happened, some weep, others are horrified and apologize, some get angry over being misled.  I get revictimized by the process and in the end, I feel gross for having to tell people what happened way back then.

The weird thing is that I have dealt with the trauma of the molestation and while I still have it’s scars, I have moved on from it here in Saskatoon.  I just don’t ever want to go back to Brandon.

Everyone asks me what went wrong with my relationship with parents and it’s complex.  I have posted here before that Guyana has a cultural issue with how they see women and also violence against women.   That is the culture that I was born into and the thinking that dominated my household even after we immigrated.  My father has long believed that being being molested as a very young child was consensual and it was my fault.  My mom just doesn’t ever want to think about it and just wanted me to get over it.  I think she just never wanted to acknowledge that it happened.   I also think that because I am in Saskatoon and not around them, it makes it a lot easier for her to acknowledge that nothing bad ever happened. 

They grew up in a culture where you defer to your elders.  My mother one time told me that she would never have told her parents of the abuse if it had happened and would have deffered to their judgement.  Again my father just saw it as my fault and therefore I am the problem.  It makes it almost impossible to move on.

Of course it means that my parents don’t know Mark or Oliver.  They met Mark once and never have met Oliver.  I don’t think they would even recognize me if they saw me on the street.  I think for them, the pain of not knowing me or my famiy is less then coming to grips with what happened to me growing up.  I also think I am a reminder of their failings as parents and for whatever reason, they can’t go there.  My father told me once that he was happy with his other grandkids and didn’t need to know Mark.  That’s hard to move on from.

Whatever the reason, it sucks having to have the same conversations with well meaning but nosy people year after year.  It’s not just 18 years that have gone by, I didn’t come back for my grandfather’s funeral, my parents 50th wedding anniversary (wasn’t invited either), and I was left off the list for all of the family reunions.  I was taught a long time ago that a women’s roll was to be seen but not heard.  When I broke that rule by talking about my experience, deep down I knew this would be the result.  It sucked going through it and finally accepting it but in the process of doing it, I met so many others that this has happened to and they have cut off by family members after they came forward with their own stories of rape or abuse.  I’m not alone which is both comforting and devastating when you think how many women in Canada this has happened to.

Christmas Morning

Good morning to anyone who is reading this and Merry Christmas.

Jordon wrote about our Christmas Eve on his blog, I posted about it here.  This morning I got up early, let the dogs out (the answer to “Who let the dogs out?” is that I did it) and while Mark  walked Marley, I made some Christmas breakfast.

Yesterday I made up an Eggs Benedict Casserole and I tossed it in the oven.  While I was doing that, I borrowed this recipe from Gordon Ramsey and made some scrambled eggs on smoked salmon.  It was amazing, you should really try it sometime.  Since eggs benedict are a Christmas tradition, we had some of those as well.

While I was cooking, Jordon both and Oliver into the living room and asked them why they didn’t open a Christmas present.  Inside it was a BB-8 droid and tickets to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens this afternoon.  The boys lost their minds.

As soon as I hit “post”, we are off to explore what I expect to be a nearly empty downtown Saskatoon with my new lens, camera grip and strap while BB-8 is charging.  Then we will take in the movie.  We’ll come home to some slow cooked roast beef and I’ll make up some French Dip sandwiches.  Later tonight we’ll end the day with a chocolate fondue for dessert.

Hope your Christmas is a fun one.

I’m 46 (and I can cry if I want to)

Well it’s my birthday today.  At my age it isn’t as exciting as it once was but then again you are my age, one is just happy to be alive.

For my birthday, Jordon gave me a pen made from lace wood that he bought during Nuit Blanche from Soul Paper.  It is made from reclaimed wood from a local artisan who hand turns it.  It is so nice that I am afraid to write with it.  It’s a great pen from a wonderful store.  Saskatoon is lucky to have a place like Soul Paper.

A nice pen needs a nice notebook to write in so the boys gave me a great Moleskine notebook.

Moleskine ruled notebook

They also surprised me with an raspberry Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 camera and four packs of Fujifim Instax film.

Raspberry colour Fujifilm instax Mini 8 instant camera

 

I have a great camera and like it but this is something different.  Some friends of ours have them and they create fun instant mementos of events and moments.  I am looking forward to capturing some of Christmas with it this year.

We met up with Lee, Brittany, and Camdyn for brunch and we exchanged some Christmas gifts with the kids.  Mark got a NFL hoodie while Oliver got a Meccano set in a briefcase.  As he said, “I feel like a businessman”.  We gave Camdyn a big wheel and the some Duplo blocks.  She was more impressed with the container the blocks came in as it was a giant crayon.  She wanted the lid to be a hat.

For dinner we are heading out to Fatburger for a fun dinner.  Jordon, Oliver, and myself have gone before and liked it.  Mark hasn’t been yet but he has high expectations.

After taking the boys home, I am off to The Rook & Raven for some prime rib poutine and some drinks with friends.

‘Get Home Safe,’ My Rapist Said

This is a very horrific story of rape to read.  It’s a story that is all too familiar.

The next morning, I didn’t know what to do. I told the head manager of the diner, who told me the company would take action, that they would protect me. Nothing happened, and in January I went to the police and subsequently filed a criminal charge. It went nowhere. My boss did not deny what he did to me. But he said that it was consensual, that I was a liar and a slut. The prosecutor declined to pursue the case, citing lack of evidence. It was just my word against his.

Word got around work that I was trying to ruin my boss’s life by making up a rape charge. The company didn’t fire him. I quit, moved back home and tried to start over.

I couldn’t. My days were broken up by panic attacks, flashbacks and startle responses. I took in loud gulps of air if I heard a door close behind me unexpectedly. My nights were paranoia and nightmares. I saw my rapist everywhere. Any physical touch by a man made my pulse race and my head spin. I couldn’t focus enough to read.

The difference was that it was my parents I told and they still think it was consensual and that I am a liar and a slut.  Instead of going home, it is why I will never go back home.  I don’t think the memories ever go away, in part because it is because so many women have experienced being raped or sexually assaulted that you hear their stories all of the time; whether it is in the New York Times or in Canadian media from the Jian Ghomeshi media coverage.  It never really goes away.

For me, I get questioned all of the time by people in the church I used to attend in Brandon about why I never came back to Brandon.  Some felt that they are in possession of the gift of discernment which means they feel that God has made them wiser than the rest (Pro Tip: If you have to tell someone that, you probably aren’t that wise) who feel the need to tell me what I have done wrong without asking.  Each time it feels gross as I have to tell my story again about my sexual assaults (funny they never discern that could have happened) and the response to it by my family.  Even to this day it is a horrible experience. 

This last week I got an invitation to a place where two of people that I was sexually assaulted by will be invited to.  I just realized that it will never really end.  It is always going to be a part of my story and some people like my family are never going to understand what happened.  It’s also why I’ll never go back home.