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Saturday, March 31, 2012

HURTING and at A Loss...



Well it's NCAA Basket Final Four Semi-Final Night in America...That's where the two teams who will duke it out Monday night to be National Champion are determined. As I sit and write this it looks like Kentucky has easily defeated arch-Rival Louisville by 8 points. It wasn't really that close. Ohio State will play Kansas in 30 minutes or so to determine who will play Kentucky Monday Night for the BIG PRIZE!


I'm not really sure why I led off with that bit of information tonight. I mean it's important from a sports perspective and I actually and interested and do care since I am a college hoops fan but in regards to life's "Bigger Picture"....IT ISN'T THAT IMPORTANT.


My hearts a little sore tonight....I have some feelings and thoughts that are too strong and personal to express here publicly and though they due have something to do have something to do with other people or another single person, it doesn't feel like it is something I could ever really discuss with anyone. Not because it's taboo or really bad but it seems awkward and for me I am not sure at this point if it isn't just another thing I make a bigger deal out of then it needs to be. 


And that is entirely possible....but on reflection I don't think it's an exaggeration, my feelings are hurt and I don't quite understand what is going on. Sorry to lay all that out there folks and not be able to elaborate but circumstances and ethics just won't allow me to do it.


I will admit that I still struggle in my life with relationships and interacting with other people. Perhaps my expectations are outta whack but I lack confidence because I just don't know what to expect from others in return. I have my own expectation of how I should behave and rarely do other people meet that expectation in response, which I understand and accept. I hold myself to a higher standard and I want it that way but it may be expecting too much of others to meet the expectation as well. For myself...I really need to think and act in those terms after behaving so selfishly all those years.   


So I feel troubled by this conflict in my mind and in my heart...the people I normally would discuss this type of situation with aren't an option this time around. So I am going to do what I normally do when I am at a crossroads in life and I'm stuck...I'll pray about it and see if I have a bit more clarity on the subject later.


Time to watch the second game...I'm much more interested in this game between OSU-Kansas because of the Big Ten connection. It is the only time that you will ever see me openly root for Ohio State, Ha Ha.

Off To See The Wizard...


I'm not exactly traveling the Yellow Brick Road but hey...OLD 27 here in S Michigan will have to suffice. Busy morning today after more frustration yesterday/last week  with stuff that is beyond my control. I can't really go into detail on a public blog because it involves children and parental custody but it's just a very difficult and frustrating situation and it can really take it's toll on a relationship.

It's a good thing that we are working through some pre-marriage counseling right now so we are able to talk through it. Actually, communication is an area where we have always done really well so I think we would have worked through it anyway but still, it's nice to have that extra help, some unbiased feedback as it were, especially with such a tough and emotional subject as this.

We are in the process of moving K, so we are up early and heading over to the storage building to pick up a antique oak dresser/cabinet for her new digs before heading into town. Then it's off to see the ladies for a little Saturday morning Bible Reading...honest to goodness, it's my favorite hour of the week!

The awesome thing about K's move is that she is just 3 houses away so we just get a car or truck load and when it's full just drop it of at the new place. So that basically is the weekend's work...she is just going to pick away at it as she goes. It should be a great weekend, especially considering how it started off.

So have a good Saturday morning and perhaps...time permitting...we'll see you a bit later.

(PHOTO By Kathy Tomson)

Friday, March 30, 2012

The INSATIABLE More, More, MORE!!


I will admit it has been a pleasant day...an odd description coming from me who rarely thinks of anything in terms like "pleasant". Awesome, good, interesting, lousy...I tend to lean more toward extreme descriptions in my everyday vocabulary...I always have. That is why when the thought occurred to me today that this has really been a rather pleasant day...that thought caught my attention.  And for all the right reasons too, I believe.


I'm not sure in my past existence as a practicing addict/alcoholic/adrenaline junkie that I can describe anything that I did or experienced  as "pleasant". I wanted MORE...I always wanted more, more, more. And as anyone in recovery will tell you...wanting MORE is way different then ever being able to SATISFY that craving...you simply can't, it was insatiable.


Some folks will use the hamster wheel analogy and that works very well for describing how it looked and felt to me at the time. I was always going 110 mph and NEVER really going anywhere...just spinning my wheels. A person in that emotional, mental, physical and spiritual state will in a very short period of time absolutely EXHAUST and wear out the people who are close to him/her. And such was the case with me...I simply was never satisfied...If I had to experience IT, then by osmosis...so did everyone around me and you drive away people who care about you that way.


It all seemed so natural, so exciting and like "normal" to me...I could not understand why others did not feel the same way...even has they shunned me and stopped coming around. Thinking of living life that way today totally exhausts me...just THINKING about it!


That is why I revel in the notion of experiencing and enjoying I might add...a rather PLEASANT day.

Waiting at the PO

I'm waiting at the post office for the office to open to drop off a Priority Mail envelope that is already pre-paid. It drives me freaking nuts that I can't just drop this off in the box. If there are ten people in line...I still have  to wait.
The Coldwater PO drives me Mad anyway because they don't open until 830a...what a joke. Oh well...what else is happening, eh?



I had a buddy text me later and tell me that they just drop their envelopes in the box and they've had no issue doing it. i'm not sure if it is the same envelope, pre-paid package or not. But when I first started doing this 2 years ago, one of the Postal Workers really got on me for doing that saying it was against the rules. When I did look them up on the info I got with the Winter's worth of envelopes and pre-pay postage stamps, it did say you could not just drop it off in the lobby mail box, that you had to hand it directly to a postal worker at the front desk. So who knows...it's confusing but it sure would save me the hassle.

(SNOOP) Dogs & Sports @ the A-Crack of DAWN


I can't explain what the deal is but after several weeks of at least tolerable sleep (a few hours a day at least) I had a night from hell last night. I just did not ever feel right...I don't think I actually slept at all. Which wouldn't typically be an issue but the one day it happens, I have a 6:30am Men's breakfast & book study. I hate feeling like a zombie for those things yet....what are you gonna do, huh?! Just show up and do your best.

I know this has nothing to do with what I am writing about and very little if nothing to do with what my life as a recovering person is like but I have been noticing something interesting as I watch ESPN on TV. Yea it used to be I noticed things when I was out EXPERIENCING stuff, now that I am OLD(er) and crippled up I don'y experience stuff anymore...sadly, I just see it on TV. Anyway I was watching a replay at 3a of ESPN2's afternoon show SPORTSNATION and along with the two regular co-hosts Colin Cowherd and Michelle Beadle was Snoop Dog, the Rapper.

I've noticed a real trend where ESPN has often had celebrities involved in most of their broadcasts now...even the regular SPORTS CENTER news shows. But they typically were always SPORTS celebs...now they are branching out, especially into the music world. I remember Little Wayne debating the obnoxious Skip Bayless on one of their morning shows "First and Ten" segments...yea man, Little Wayne! I think the first time I saw him was before he went to prison and gave up drinking the Vicodin laced cough syrup because he could barely speak. But the dude DID know his sports. And he has actually been on a couple of times now...

I think this penchant for creative thinking is why ESPN dominates television sports world and always will...they are the masters at thinking out of the box and then actually having the balls to implement some of these crazy ideas. But in reality what they are best at is KNOWING their audience and what they like. Because the combination of celebs from TV, movies, music, etc along with sports stars is brilliant and it works. I love it...

OK, so that is my early morning two cents worth on Sports TV, hoped you enjoyed it!


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Win/Win


Nightfall on the lake....it's cold again, much like it should be this time of year but since we have had such amazingly warm weather, most of us are spoiled.  I still enjoy it even though with the brisk wind that has accompanied it the last 3 days it could be almost nasty.

Well tomorrow is another milestone day with a big job interview for K-Sue at 10am plus her new Temp job is 4-10 hour days, Monday - Thursday so she had the day available. It will be nice having her around. We almost have her moved into the new place and that is another situation where things could NOT have worked out any better realistically. She lives 3 houses away and has a marvelous room, her own bathroom, run of the entire house/yard, access to the lake/paddle boat                                                                                                                                                                                               and even her own parking space in the garage...too freaking cool!

It will be a great situation for everyone involved...a true win/win and that is rare.

I actually don't think there will even be any real negative separation emotion...no we both definitely "GET" that this whole series of events and situations is the work of something greater then logic can explain or account for. Too much has happened in such a brief period of time...it isn't coincidence...no way, no how.

I have complained recently, perhaps even here on the SHOCK that it never seems like Kim has never really gotten one of life's big breaks...I  honestly think it has finally just happened here in the last few weeks!

Me Own Skin...


In a post written yesterday, I mention in the second to last paragraph that I am just now getting used  to being part of a "team", a partnership with K my significant other.  For the last 6 years I have gotten used to just being myself, learning to be me. To a certain extant, to survive as a "functional alcoholic", you become an actor of sorts...living out this lie that you have everything under control. When the reality is, you do not...everything is absolutely spinning out of control!


So after finding recovery, getting clean, changing many if not all of the major aspects of my behavior and lifestyle...I had to face the strange reality that I didn't truly have a clue who I really was. So I needed every  bit of that time before I committed to a relationship last May to learn to live on my own, get used to living in my own skin, to just be me, no pretending, acting or lying...just be real and be myself. And along the way I made a remarkable discovery: I actually got to find out who I truly was...for the very first time in my life. 


And I am learning this remarkable lesson, of who and what I really am...for the first time in my life...at nearly 50 YEARS OF AGE! Talk about feeling like a fish out of water sometimes! And I will be the first to admit...to borrow a line from the Grateful Dead Song "Truckin'": 'What a long strange trip it's been". To put it mildly!


But that is what is beautiful about this whole surrendering my life, admitting defeat and starting over by following a spiritual way of living: I am experiencing a complete re-birth in all aspects of my being: Physical, Emotional, Psychological and finally...ultimately Spiritual.  


Sure, there have been and will continue to be growing pains but frankly they don't really trouble me much...I've truly come to embrace living a new way. It's an over-simplification but what it really comes down to basically is living a life based on the positive over the negative...yes, in a way it's really Good verses Evil. 


And now, because I have slowly but surely embraced a whole new way of living, one that is NOT based entirely on SELF...I am in a position where I can share my life with another human being. I am ready (ready as I'll ever be, I suppose) to commit to a relationship fully. And though I was extremely nervous about that prospect at first (just ask Kim, she thought I'd never be ready to be in a relationship other then friends!) I have come to truly embrace it, to nurture, accept and grow with it.


And that has resulted in a changed life, a change so drastic and amazing that I never could have even imagined back in the dark days of just trying to hold life together while everything was in reality, falling completely apart. 


I know this is the part that makes a lot of folks cringe...and it made me cringe as well but it is my relationship with GOD that makes it all possible. My spiritual life, my connection to GOD is the glue that literally holds my life, all of it, every single aspect of it together. It is the only thing that completes me...it was the missing link in my life all along. 


And it is hard to explain exactly why that is but you just know it in your heart...and I did too. I knew it right away, from the moment I accepted the Lord as my Savior, committing my life to HIM and HIS Spirit filled me. Only then was I able to truly renounce the life lived "ONLY FOR SELF" that I had been living all those years. And that has made everything else going on with me today...including my relationship with Kim...possible. 


It's funny but my personal spirituality is still a difficult subject for me to discuss...even today. My fear, resentment, prejudice and yes, even hatred of Christianity was so deep seated, so ingrained in me that it literally took the prospect of DEATH to get me to give it a chance. Yep, it almost came down to the fact that I was willing to die rather then accept Christ...that is how sick I truly was.


But once the choice was made...my life got a whole lot simpler...NOT easier mind you but a lot less complex. I just followed God and the rest of the stuff has eventually worked itself out through persistence and living this brand new life of mine based on OTHERS and not SELF. I know... wouldn't have...I didn't, believe it myself....but the proof is in the puddin', as they say. For the first time EVER, I am comfortable living in "me own skin" as they say...and I really like being me...just ME.                                                        

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bits...Pieces & Such




Well...I'm not sure how my Bud's fared with their Mega Millions Lotto tickets but I'm not 400 million dollars richer this morning! It looks like NOBODY hit the jackpot last night so it is up to nearly 500 million dollars (and should exceed that easily by drawing time!) by Friday evening. That is a dollar figure that simply boggles the mind for a single winner.


Well...it's fun to dream and think of all the endless possibilities one would have but the reality is it's not happening. Unfortunately some folks live in a dream world and really believe that the Lottery is going to solve all their problems. Uh..not happening people....time to get back to the real world...


Well, we have had a shift in the weather here in lower Michigan back to typical Spring weather, cool and wet. But so far Spring has really been a welcome change in our weather reality.


I have mentioned that I am usually not one who feels their mood fluctuate much because of the weather. I don't find myself getting bummed out more during the long, dark and grey days of winter. I don't crave endless days of Sun and as a matter of fact I rather enjoy the variety of experiencing all 4 seasons in their full glory.


That being said I must confess that I am not as hard core in my feelings about that as I used to be. I have given some thought to the idea of spending winter in a warmer place where snow removal isn't such a priority...because let's face it, it is getting harder and harder for me physically to get around, clear the snow and do other things like I used to. Plus the bitter, cold air does see to impact me more negatively then it used to...basically causing me much pain, basically all over my body but particularly in my back, hips, shoulders, feet and knees.


But there is still much time before those kind of decisions have to be made and plus...I am no longer making decisions as a single entity...I am a "team"  of two from now on and that is exciting. So we need to find where Kim's employment leads and follow that trail for now. 


We really have been fortunate with all the opportunities for interviews she has had and for her current temporary position....it's been an awesome set of circumstances and one that I'll admit, has tried MY faith more then a little bit. But we are making progress and we are excited to see where this leads so we take another step forward today in this journey toward a brand new life together.





Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dream A Little...er, REALLY BIG Dream!

Mega Millions Logo
I was reading one of my Fav Blogs a little while ago, Christine Macdonald and she wrote a post called: "I'd buy that for a dollar" about the recent Mega Millions lotto being nearly $400,000,000...that's an awful lot of zero's folks!! 


I have to admit, that when it gets like that, I let myself dream too and i'll buy $5 worth of tickets.I wouldn't even know where to begin if by some miracle I hit into that kind of $$$. But I'd be thankful that it was happening now when I am fairly certain I would spend millions on charity instead of cocaine and other nasty little evils! Back then...during my using days...I'd be dead in a week! No doubt about it...


Ever wonder what you would do? These days I don't ever really even let my mond go there but I suppose I do a lot of cool stuff to help others...addicts, homeless, the hungry, Cancer...are just some of the causes near and dear to my heart.Certainly education...it's just that even if Uncle Sam would take half of 400 Million that still leaves an incredible amount of money left though I am under no illusions...you can peter even THAT kind of money away if you are foolish with it.


Plus...just think how many "friends" you would have?! Oh man what a hassle that would be...everybody would want a piece of the pie.


Oh well, I was just kicking the ideas around after reading Christine's post. And speaking of Christine...if you have not had a chance to visit her Blog (link above) please do so...it's fantastic and a fascinating story of growing up a Stripper in Waikiki and how she eventually got out of that life. I highly recommend it...

Bottom Line...It WORKS!



I have to be honest and share here that I do have moments where I really wonder whether I can be part of a "partnership"...in other words a relationship ...specifically a marriage relationship. Not because I have any doubts about K but because I have doubts about myself. I still feel like the same  flawed, selfish person I was and there are times I wonder if I can truly progress to a point where I can be a healthy partner.


Then there are other moments where I know it is what I really desire and I feel really good about the commitment and am looking forward to taking that "next step"...this time for all the right reasons: Because I am truly in love and want to share my life with Kim, because I feel the Creator has led me to this place and really blessed this relationship. There have already been many occurrences where I've felt that this was truly "meant to be" and I believe that comes from God.


Ultimately whenever I have felt these moments of doubt I don't sweat them too much...they tend to work themselves out. I keep doing the things I have done over the last several years to continue to grow in my faith, my recovery and that all naturally impacts my life in general in a very positive way.


I will say that I have taken a close look at my motives for even being in a romantic relationship. New readers might not know or realize that even though i have known Kim well over 7 years, we have only been in a serious boyfriend/girlfriend relationship since June of last year...so not even a year. And though this may come across as "too much information" for some (IE: my kids...you've been warned!), Kim and I have been celibate...no sex for all those years.


I think a lot of that came from our (definitely MY) reluctance in years past to complicate our recovery...I  know that was my choice. When I committed myself to recovery, when I finally surrendered..I was "ALL IN"...I was desperate and didn't want ANYTHING to screw up my sobriety. I was going to do whatever it took and even though I truly valued my relationship with Kim, my recovery...which I saw as MY LIFE, CAME FIRST.


That was really the only way I could approach it and have any reasonable chance of making it...I had to put everything I had into staying sober first and I just would have to trust that the rest might come later. Well it did, of course but even I didn't think it would be 6 years before I felt comfortable to be in a committed relationship.


But it turns out that I had a ton of work to do...just being honest with myself I knew that I had to get my life in order. I had to fully admit to what I was: an addict/alcoholic and know in my heart that i was powerless over my addiction, I could NOT change that fact on my own.


Then I had to commit spiritually to someone or something greater, more powerful then I. Ultimately for me that turned out to be GOD. Then I could commence cleaning up the wreckage from my past and begin to understand some of my character defects and behavior that went hand in hand with my alcoholism.


This really was hard stuff to do, getting honest with myself, facing some really unpleasant realities about me then ultimately accepting them, sharing them with another person and God. Then I could go about REALLY saying I was sorry to the people I hurt...I could truly make amends...which was saying I was responsible, accepting that and apologizing for it. That was a real spiritual experience for me...God really was at work in me and I could feel it. 


There were people I had hurt, who I had repeatedly lied to that I had no real reason to believe me or forgive me...but they did and that was the true spiritual experience of making amends...years of guilt and shame melted away and I could feel human again.


At that point an new life could truly begin, based of spiritual living and service to others. Some folks disagree with this approach to recovery and that's OK...but it saved my life...and more, much more. It gave me an approach to living based on service and caring for others that has rewarded me in SO many ways that I can't even begin to describe how amazing life is today. 


Sure...there are difficulties...life can be hard and recovery doesn't change that but it helps me live through the tough parts and truly has helped me connect to God and THAT has made the difference. This process will continue until the day I die...I will always be growing and progressing...one day at a time. And that is the beauty of it...just keep going each day.


And that ultimately is why I believe my relationship with Kim fits so well into my life. We compliment each other in recovery and in every day life...it works. I am so grateful for that...and for her.







Monday, March 26, 2012

My Complex Life!



Man it's getting kind of late and I have had one of those days that for no real reason I can think of just hasn't felt very rewarding or productive though I had quite a bit going on and accomplished what I needed to for today. 


I really think that in the back of my mind or deep in my sub-conscious, I still crave that adrenaline I used to get from such a chaotic lifestyle and that perhaps I was even somewhat attracted or addicted to the pain and distress it caused. Yea...this is one of those subjects or comments that only an addict/alcoholic would have a chance at relating to or understanding because let's face it: the basic idea of it is NUTS! You would have had to experience it...to understand it.


I'll admit it...but I think there was something about the unpredictable partying, where you didn't know where you were going to end up at the end of the night or know what you'd be doing...well other then drinking and drugging quite HARD.


I think that is why I occasionally have these "sinking spells" as my Grandmother would call them...I think what they really are is some funky little form of The Black Dog...in other  words: Depression. I can get down a little bit, probably from that feeling in the back of my mind where I think I miss the excitement from that past life. But to do so I conveniently forget the real trouble, pain and heartache and just recall the fun stuff or at least the goofy, sloppy, hot summer beer drinking fun and forget how awful I really felt inside!


Now that I can put it in perspective today...that sort of thing does not really bother as much as it did but there are rare times like tonight, where life just feels less satisfying then I want it to be. That I know now is a fluke and I just let 'er pass on by.


In all honesty...the biggest issue tonight is my phone App  for Golf Logix Golf GPS isn't working right for my golf course of choice and I am bummed because it's worthless for me at this point.  So what do I do, get another App? See how terribly difficult and complex my life has gotten, jeez....what a man to do!!

Curve Ball! So What ELSE is New?



The Job interview for Kimmi was postponed due to the
fact that the guy doing the interviewing didn't show up for work today because he called in sick. Nobody thought to give the three applicants interviewing a "heads up" so they all showed up...so once again there was a SNAFU related to a job interview for Kim. She has experienced more of this Mickey-Mouse un-professionalism during this recent job search then I can believe, there really has been an unusual amount of strange circumstances, issues and cancellations. Sure stuff happens once in awhile...this is the third time she has had a major, scheduled interview with a national firm and they have forgotten her appointment, cancelled with out communication or changed the time AFTER she had arrived...it seems really screwy to me.

Thats all I'm going to say about it because it sent me into a funk that I really don't understand...I suppose its just a bit 'o the Black Dog wagging it's tail a bit and me feeling a bit work down. I can just be wired way too tightly for this kind of life, and I do miss the intensity of living life on the fly. This domestic stuff would be OK if people and companies kept their commitments and communicated effectively. But I have to accept this is the way it is and move on. EVENTUALLY something HAS to give...I would think.

So we wait for Friday for that Interview and she starts a new Temp position tomorrow and it sounds like a winner so we'll let her ride and see what happens. Maybe this is the spot....I think it is just a case where it is easy to start getting burned out on the time frame, the repeated changes and rejections...to her credit K is doing much better being patient and accepting the fact that it takes time and stuff is going to happen.

Anyway...we shall see and I will practice at turning it over and taking things as they come, typically One Day At A Time!

It's TIME!


I don't know whether to allow myself to get a bit excited about today or take my usual tack and expect the worst...today K has an interview with one of the best companies in the country to work for...I'm not kidding. It is definitely one of this area's premier employers and the simple fact that she is getting an interview is an accomplishment but hey...it's NOT enough.

She wants and deserves more so off she goes to another interview. And she has gone to quite a few in the 6-8 weeks she has been at this. She also has a great Temp job in the interim. I just support her the best I can but it's hard because I want the best for her and I can be tough.
I interviewed and hired people for production jobs for the better part of a decade so I tend to think I know what to do.

Honestly the best thing I can do is let her be...oh yea...say a prayer. If you aren't busy this morning at 9a ET, perhaps you could think of my Kimmi and say a little prayer...it's time, it's her time.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Non Angst Sunday (Routine?)


Yes folks I am shallow enough AND enough of a golf fan to (somewhat) plan my day around Tiger Wood's playing in the final round of a golf tournament with a darn good chance to finally win for the first time on the PGA Tour in something like 2 years.

This may be difficult for some folks to understand but I judge the quality of my life and recovery on the fact that I have time and a place in my busy, easily disturbed/distracted mind for such frivolousness. In other words I'm not stressing or worrying about anything else and that is a fantastic sign. There is room in my life today for....FUN. For not having to take each day as a struggle to survive. That peace of mind has come after a long time of struggle, soul-searching and a make or break (read life or death) spiritual quest.

I know folks will not understand but I could never lighten up...sure when I was drinking, I didn't (seem) to have a care in the world but honestly, those worries...that stress was NEVER far away. It was always in the shadows, just around the corner...lurking in the dark corners of my mind...haunting me. I knew I was in trouble and I knew I couldn't out run it or make it go away.

Nobody did "trouble" as well as me,` with a big 'ole (fake) smile and a boisterous act that life was to be lived hard, until the last light goes dim...in my case and others...until I ultimately was dead.

So today, with it's morning drive to Hillsdale to keep a commitment to a friend and this afternoons planning around golf on TV...it shows that life indeed has settled into routine and a lark, both quite welcome really. So I'll enjoy the day and I most certainly hope you my friends do as well...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The FUTURE is The KEY That Unlocks The Agony


A long, cool and rather DAMP Saturday...one of those busy running errands and getting chores done. It was a good day.  It is exciting because this past week has been filled with some really good news and thought there is a set back in relation to Kim seeing her daughter, her job situation and her living  needs are being met is nothing short of spectacular fashion.

We will still need a bit of time to get this all sorted out . But we will and we are simply thrilled...it's truly been a blessing coming at at a time when we never expected it. Kim really has earned this with her faith, hard work and perseverance. She received NO support from home and family, quite frankly their behavior on the whole was despicable, abusive and honestly their use of a child against her own mother is one of the sickest intentional acts of attempted extortion and manipulation I have not only ever seen but even HEARD of. I don't know how they sleep. Of course this was surpassed only by the even worst behavior by her X. Their behavior is criminal in my mind, certainly emotionally and psychologically if not physically by the lies she is being told.

All we can do is document, report and prepare...that is what this is all about...the future and age of consent. Remember those 3 words...                                                                                                                              

'

Friday, March 23, 2012

There Is A Time For ANGER.



I Have stressed here many times how much value I place on being able to talk about the stuff that is on our minds, perhaps affecting us negatively and I have been known to Emo-V (vent) more then a few times when things are eating away at me. But there are times when it isn't appropriate for me to do so. 


Perhaps the stuff bothering me is so specifically linked to someone else that I can't in good faith really talk about it. As much as I would like to publicly humiliate a few people for the dumb, heartless or mean-spirited stuff they've done...I cannot do it.


Tonight is a night where I am really upset with a few people and in all honesty it is completely justified.... so I'm angry. I am so angry in fact, that it truly is tempting to slay the idiots I'm upset with through the power of the media here on Shell Shock Serenade. But that is where I have to draw the line. That was never the point of Shell Shock and quite frankly it's not the kind of person I am.


I have no problem with anger or with being angry...it's a natural human emotion and there is nothing wrong with expressing it...as long as you do it in a responsible and healthy manner. Blowing up on someone on the internet is not what I would call healthy OR responsible. It actually would be something the individuals I am not happy with would do in a second...if they actually were literate enough to read and write more then there own name...OK....sorry, I couldn't resist!!


So this is all you get my dear reader friends...I cannot divulge anymore information.

Well...Well!


Well, well...it's another day and surprise, surprise...we have some adversity in our lives again today, my health and Kim's employment. And you know what? I'm not gonna sweat the small stuff or agonize over things that ultimately we have no control over.

K is facing a layoff today and from what we are hearing it sounds pretty likely. She has already contacted the temp agency and they have something for her if that is indeed the case. As a matter of fact it almost sounds like a better situation then the one she is in now. That is the nature of the beast...she works as a temp. They have work, good paying work she just has to be flexible and that is where I have really come to admire her...she has stayed flexible, and kept her eyes on the ultimate prize: Keeping the FAITH.

So far her attitude is good and that keeps her viable to the agency as someone they place. It doesn't feel very secure but I'll let you all in on a little secret. No matter what your job is, no matter if your just hired in or have been there for years...in this day and age it is NOT secure...job security, especially in manufacturing jobs is an illusion. I was in management the last half of a 24 year career and trust me, people are the first thing they dispose of or replace.

They'll never admit it but you are NOT a human being anymore...no you are an "asset" just like a fork-lift, a tape machine or a power drill. You...as a person, are less-valuable then manufacturing "floor space" or a major machine like a CNC Router worth a million or more dollars. Get over it...it's true. We were taught to detach from our Human Assets so there would be NO emotion involved when we eliminated the job of a 25 year employee who just re-mortgaged his house because he has 3 kids in college. I've seen grown , tough, typically unemotional, stoic men blubber like babies when being told that their services were "no longer needed.

 For K I think it's better this way, she never loses sight of that fact that this is all temporary and there fore she stays flexible and open-minded at all times. In the end...that is what's going to make it work. And she has handled this situation pretty darn well because she knows the reality of the situation.

I'm not even going to discuss my health...it's just part of the usual ups and downs...it too shall pass.

The "Summer Interlude" we have been experiencing for the last couple of weeks with mid-80 degree temps, looks like it's coming to an end though it's still going to be in the low 70's today but with rain showers. Still awesome weather for mid-March so hey, we'll take it.

We have a full weekend so I am hoping I can physically handle it. I'm sure it will work out...There are certain things that are up in the air, due to some difficulty beyond our control so I'm hoping that gets resolved today and they get their act together. I don't expect it to happen but hey, God works in mysterious ways. For K's sake more then anything, I hope it does.

We'll catch you a bit later.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Cool Is THAT?!


The picture above was taken this morning from my front yard...yea on the lake the road side is the back yard even though the front of the house faces that direction...go figure, it's a Lake thing or perhaps it was my grandfather's thing....anyway, it  is what it is. But i posted it on FaceBook with the Caption: Good Morning GOD! Because that is the way I feel today when I get up...I am so grateful to have another day on the planet...I appreciate each and EVERY                                                                                                                                            day for what it is. It's a cliche, I get that but I am just so happy to be alive, to have the life I have today.

I know I drive a lot of my Face Book Friends crazy because I am often posting quotes in my Status and often they are spiritual in nature, often direct biblical verses or scripture that's meaningful to me personally. But to my wonderful friends and family's awesome credit, they bear with me and no one has criticized me for it though I can't say that I'd blame them .

I am an intense guy...I always have been and I tend to NEVER do anything half way so maybe folks who know me have just accepted that. It's possible because  I have some first rate people in my life and they accept me the way I am...and I am so freaking grateful for that and for them. It didn't used to be that way. The only people who associated with me wanted something from me and they used me...it was mutual though and worked both ways.

K and I started off our relationship that way. Most people who know us think we've been in a romantic relationship all these years...nope we never really were. We did not become boyfriend and girlfriend until this time last year. That's right March of 2011 and even then it has been a relationship where we have refrained from having sex...because we wanted to have a healthy relationship. It didn't start out for religious reasons because 5 years ago I wasn't a Christian but I just knew I couldn't really handle it. I wanted to focus on being healthy emotionally, physically, psychologically and yea...spiritually.       

It just worked out better this way...for the both of us. Because neither her nor I knew what a healthy relationship even was. She was coming from an unhealthy, abusive situation...all her relationships were psychologically abusive and she is still fighting through those. My relationships were a mess as well so we focused on that and left the other stuff alone. Thank GOD we did because it worked out for the best this way and now we are just waiting until we're married because we can..it's kind of cool actually.    

It never bothered me but I think it embarrassed Kim a bit because she used to lie about it. I know when she was going through her divorce she actually told me that she lied to her X and said we were together when we weren't but I think she personalized and thought my commitment to her wasn't real since we weren't doing "IT". Now she understands but it was tough at first.

We have had an unusual relationship from the start and people have always had a hard time trying to figure it out...that's fine I have always liked it that way. I have never felt so comfortable with another person as I do with her...and 
I think that's because our relationship was built on a foundation of of friendship and trust...everything else started from there. 

I can't wait to see what happens next and I have never felt that way before about my life. I'm actually optimistic, how cool is that!??

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

THE LAST LAUGH



I have often said that I tend to be better at living life, my life when there is crisis involved. I usually "rise" to the occasion...it's the boring, everyday stuff that I've never done well. And there is some truth in that statement, no doubt about it. Hey I HAD TOO deal well with trouble and crisis...because that was the story of my life at one time. And I had a tenancy to turn the smallest issues into a crisis anyway so that CHAOS became my norm.


Today is completely different. I don't have all that constant turmoil, that churning negativity ALWAYS present. No...life can still move at times but events no longer control the direction I take in my daily journey to FOLLOW the Creator and live according to his will, not mine.


But don't get me wrong, I do not do this perfectly or really even well. I am still very much a work in process, learning from day to day how to stay "GOD centered" or focused solely on HIM. I've learned that when I do that everything else seems to fall in line...uncanny isn't it when I am NOT in control things seem to go smoothly. 


But "LIFE" still happens and even bad thing go down, I get through those situations more focused, more positive and in a better more positive state of being then I ever did before. And so much of that maintaining contact with the Creator depends on me sharing myself, my time, my experience and strength with others. That is GOD does most of his work with me...when I am sacrificing for someone else.


Of course now a days it never really feels like a sacrifice...nope...it is just business as usual and frankly that is how I actually knew for sure that there was a GOD and he was operating in my life. I knew myself well enough to realize that the TRUE me was self-serving, self-focused, selfish and did not really care to be involved in the lives of others. So when I started doing all these things to pass on my experience, strength and hope...I just KNEW ultimately that I was NOT capable of doing that...I just couldn't! So that was finally how I knew for sure but really by that time I was already convinced, I could feel the SPIRIT working in me.


It's hard to describe but there was such a drastic change in my outlook and behavior in life that something other then ME was motivating me. It's funny how service to others, serving GOD, being committed to do HIS will at all costs ultimately is how I gained my FREEDOM from the prison of SELF I had built for myself. That's just how it is.


I remember a good buddy saying to me about his spirituality and recovery that he really wanted to get clean and sober but he hoped it would be ANYTHING BUT GOD that would get him there. That is exactly how I felt as well: "I'll do ANYTHING but please let it be something OTHER then GOD that saves...ANYTHING! But guess what, haha! He had the last laugh and I couldn't be happier!




(Photo: Kathy Tomson)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Odds/Ends



I lived nearly 50 years and most of the time you just can't figure life out...it has it's own way. Just a couple of days ago there was a bunch of uncertainty about my girlfriends living situation and in 2 days all that has completely gone away...it's been taken care of and in a most spectacular way with her living nearly next door here on the Island and in a great situation.


One of the great concerns we have for her is about security...her X constantly uses their daughter to try and control/manipulate K and gain knowledge of her where abouts. 6 years after their divorce he still demands that if she doesn't answer his phone call right away (this is when K does not have their daughter with her) that she provide him with another # (like mine or my parents) so he can immediately call us and ask where she is. Needless to say that ain't happening. 


But now she is living with a retired Michigan State Police Officer (She had well over 20 years on the force) so we feel better about My girlfriend's well being because there is this "stalker" element to his behavior. What's sick is he think's it's his "right" to have this kind of access and information because they had a child. He's a loose cannon, can't control his emotions and lives in a dream world where he truly believes he is always in the right...I have never quite seen anyone so deluded and misguided.At times it seems like he is in middle school an jealous but the fact that he is a grown man takes any element of "innocence" away...it makes her nervous and it's scary in addition to being annoying.


We had no idea this opportunity would present itself for this rental...it truly is a gift and we are really quite grateful.


So in a couple days time it's like the world...or our world view TILTS and everything has changed...for the better. It looks hopeful and the future bright(er)...at least for today!


Have a wonderful morning....we'll catch around...probably outside since it's going to be in the mid 80's today and SUNNY! What a trip this weather pattern has been for mid-March in Michigan.


(Pic by KT)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Big Stuff Going On For K-SUE!!





It's been a pretty cool day and I am going to just cut to the chase because I am really tired and I have an 8 am meeting in town. Tonight Kim has found a home..a room to rent that quite frankly is almost too good to be true. The woman lives in a house two houses away from me on the island. She is 65 and had a stroke a few years back...she is a retired Michigan State Highway Patrol Officer with 20 odd years in the service. Her best friend and next store neighbor is an active State Police Officer.


The rent is very affordable, location is...a football field AWAY. This was definitely meant to be and we are thrilled. The owner is a very good friend and there really are no strings attached. Both parties can become uncomfortable and move on but there is definitely something cool going on between the two of them so I couldn't be more pleased.


OK time to turn in...I have an early morning meeting and then the day really begins...All I can say is thanks to the folks who were thinking about Kim and praying for her.

I'm a CLOWN...or just getting OLD!



I am either getting way too old, the old cliche about burning too many brain cells as a youth is true or I'm just plain losing my mind... probably (D) All Of The Above, haha! A week ago I got a card for Kimi's Birthday, filled it out, sealed it and then...YEA, What?! I don't know what I did with it! I wanted Kim to get the card before she left for work at 5a...didn't happen.


So I put another card together for her for this afternoon and a few minute ago I find the original one! I had "filed it" in the burn bag...DUH! But now she gets two cards, ha ha!


Just another example of my AGING and I had to do it on HER 40th BIRTHDAY...oh well, what am I gonna do, it is what it is...


It is kind of an unusual day, with Kim gone at work all day. We'll go out tonight and grab a bite unless she wants to hold out for one of her favorite restaurants that happen to be closed on Mondays, and there are a couple. That will be her call...I suspect we will go out and get something and hit Caruso's later on this week.


I head over to a buddy's house across the island for a literature/book study at 8a this morning with another guy as well so there are 3 of us. I think my buddy Mark and I are going to start our Monday morning golf routine as well today but I'm not perfectly sure but I suspect he's going to be ready.


So that was kind of the weird start to my day. 


We do have a possibility for a place for Kim to live. She needs to meet with them and work some stuff out. i am not going to elaborate until there is a better idea if it's truly a possibility or not....

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"FORTY"

 

A person's age is a relative thing and frankly I don't pay a whole lot of attention to how old someone is unless they are doing something considered odd or unusual for their age. Sky diving at 85 years old...graduating college at 13 years and so on. But otherwise after I turned 21 and could "legally" drink, well that was the last time my age really mattered as far as I'm concerned..until today...er, well really tomorrow.

To Kim...birthdays are important and they always have been. Tomorrow...Kim...my dear Kimmi turns 40 years old and I think she is excited but with a bit of hesitation. She will always be 10 years younger then me so I'll always be the old fart of our "team". I would say she is far more excited about the prospect of turning 40 then not...probably because she has come so far and her life is so much better today then ever before!

I typically don't celebrate B-days other then a card and going out to dinner. I think in a way I've always felt "ageless or timeless" so it never mattered to me...I think two things influenced my thinking about my birthday and in turn those of other people: my belief in reincarnation and getting raped. 

If a person believes they lived before, perhaps hundreds of years accumulating then how old am I really. Of course my belief is changing so I'm not sure what THAT deal is anymore. I stopped being a child the moment I was raped and became an ancient, OLD MAN...never to know youth, joy or innocence again.

But lately I have been trying to see things differently....and not be an old stick in the mud. I'm actually quite concerned about tomorrow because birthdays mean so much that Kim is really going to get hurt when her family won't acknowledge her tomorrow and I know they won't.

She'll get a Face Book wish from a family member or two but that's it. I doubt her X will even let her daughter call her. K-Sue will be strong, act tough...but it kills her inside and I really hurt for her. I cannot accept the way these people have treated this very special human being that I'm proud to call my fiance but even better...my BEST FRIEND. It's criminal and inexcusable and they should be ashamed of themselves.....so I fear tomorrow is going to hurt Kimmi as much as she'll enjoy it.

She isn't the type to take time off for a birthday...Her peers at work think she is nuts for coming in but I never took my Birthday off either. But I'll try and make it memorable in a good way. We'll go out to  eat though her favorite place around here CARUSO's is closed on Mondays so not sure where she wants to go.

So if you see K-Sue tomorrow...let her have it about being OLD...she'll love you for it!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It Hurts To Even Think About It!



Night has once again settled over the area and the local buzz (quite nearly hysteria) generated among all the residents of the area by the unusually warm weather has calmed down as well...much like the afternoon wind that kicked up some time after lunch and finally petered out before nightfall. Everything is still...except of course the beating of my restless heart wanting to know more specifics about the future...


Yes...I am sweating the details a bit too much about Kim's living situation but I will be honest...I feel a sense of responsibility for her well being and safety. I know how hard she has worked and I so badly want this plan she is pursuing...these goals to succeed and be reached.


She has members of her own family, her daughter's father (her X) and others doing everything in their power to have her fail. She receives no legitimate support from any family member. They simply want her to go back to Holland, not because it's the best situation for her. No that would be here, working and improving her life. No for them, getting her back to Holland is the most important thing, allowing them to manipulate and control her the way it has always been. They have used her own children against her in the most tragic and pathetic set of circumstances I've seen.


I never would have imagined turning kids against their own mother (or father) to achieve petty emotional victories and manipulations...it makes me ill thinking about it. I would never have believed it to be trur if I had not experienced it with my own eyes. I need to think about something else...


(Photo: Kathy Tomson)


A Second Chance


The "feeling very much like a human" me is alive and  crackin'. And yes it 'tis another gorgeous day on the planet!
But for all that positive thinking and bravado...I am a bit pre-occupied and yea...a little worried. Kim really needs to find a more permanent place to live. She has a good job and things are really looking good right now Right now renting a room from someone, perhaps an elderly person or couple who needs a bit of help around the house/yard...she is perfectly suited for that kind of situation. or a really any kind of scenario as long as it's healthy: That means no drinking/drug and preferably no smoking.

I know that worrying won't help but she has come so far I'd like to see her find a healthy, positive situation there. Renting an apartment on her own is too much money right now as she is trying to get re-established and pays child support. It will work itself out..I just have a funny feeling it will because she really has come so darn far, so fast that I have to figure it's meant to be.

We've had a couple near misses with this home for Kim that got our hopes up only to be dashed but Thats all part of the deal...things will work out. It's just hard to sit on the side-lines when Kim has worked so hard and (in my opinion) deserves another go at it.

So we'll see what happens, i just have to trust a bit more and leave it at that.

Didn't sleep well last night which is a bummer but with a day like this...I'll get over it!                                                                                                                                  `

Friday, March 16, 2012

Feeling Less Than Human


In the post I wrote earlier today about my having disabilities I alluded to the fact that there were many little issues that come with "not be whole physically"...IE: Disabled. It can really mess with a persons psyche, their self-esteem.

It most certainly has affected the way that I feel about myself. I was raised a certain way...they used to call it the "Protestant Work Ethic" which is probably not politically correct enough for today but I remember my father using the phrase when I started working...frequently. I remember him using another phrase which he still uses today and that was "Put your name on it!"

Whenever I used to leave for work he would tell me that. He would say: "Hey Isaiah (he always had nicknames for me, many Biblical), don't forget to put your name on it". Which meant do my job EVERY MINUTE of every day as if anyone who saw the work down the line could see that I did it and I was proud of it. So Proud that I would sign my name on it...

So it was hard for me to have people question my work ethic. Because no matter how sick or hurt you are, if you aren't bleeding all over the floor at that exact moment, then people think you are faking or exaggerating your symptoms to get out of doing work. People can be really cruel in this regard but I also see that side of it having worked and been in management in a furniture factory for 24 years...people do scam the system and the truth is that some folks are just lazy, there is no doubt about that.That feeling the pressure of public opinion actually caused me to work harder and do things that I should NEVER have done. I worked hurt, ignored doctors orders/restrictionn                                                                                                                                                                                                    and hurt myself even more...and in the end, I damaged myself permanently by working when I should not have. The end result was several additional surgeries...

I felt like I was less of a man because of my injuries and multiple surgeries. They turned me into something less then whole and I felt less then human because of it.

I will continue this little series on living with limitations TOMORROW...

(Photo: K. Tomson)

Living Life With Certain Exceptions: Being Disabled



One of the areas of my life I have referred or alluded to quite frequently but really have not elaborated on here is my physical situation...my disabilities. I am legally disabled with spinal and lower/upper back and shoulder damage, degenerative left hip damage and neuropathy of both feet/lower legs that more then likely was initially caused by a severe auto-accident I was in 33 years ago. 


For 25 years I worked with unimaginable pain and disadvantage...I just figured I had a bad back and did a very physically demanding job.  Over the years it really got bad and was obvious something was very wrong. I have had more surgeries on my back and feet then I care to EVER know...it would be too disheartening! I had worked my way from the factory floor at Herman Miller Furniture Co. into  various Production Management jobs before retiring officially in 2010 but retro back to 2005.


Today thanks to medication and therapy treatment I can carry on a fairly normal life though i live in considerable pain most every day. But I can walk and be fairly active as long as I am in a position to IMMEDIATELY shut things down when my body rebels!


Folks are often surprised to learn that I play golf and play frequently but that can be somewhat deceiving. I call it "Crippled Golf or CG for short because I modify the rules and the game toward my disabilities as I go. The Island I live on has a small (short) 9 Hole Course (Iyopawa Island Golf Course) so I live right on a lake AND a golf course.


I am a member and have my own electric cart so I will often go out but only play a hole or two. Sometimes I can't hit long shots so I place the ball and just play a wedge game, either way it is something I enjoy, I get exercise and some social time. I play most every day when I am not having an long period of difficulty. There are times I wake up and feel great but by 9 am I cannot really walk without a cane or sometimes at all. It is just a fact of my life that I have learned to live with.


I was used to living a very isolated life so getting out on the course has been healthy for me in several different ways. So that is my physical circumstance..there are days I can live like a fairly normal person (as long as I go through a lengthy stretching, yoga type routine that takes an hour every day and Other days I can't walk or function without a chair and a cane.


I've accepted the life but you never get used to it so I will admit there have been some psychological set-backs and I will elaborate on that part of what I call: "Living life with certain exceptions..." Until then....

Arrogant and Mis-Guided...SUN-Days



I was never one of these people whose moods followed the weather. Some folks are really affected by it especially during certain seasons, Winter  probably more then any other. I'm not a sun worshiper either and again a lot of people seem to feel better about things, life, themselves, their work, marriage, etc. when the days are bright and sunny. I like overcast days probably even more because my eyes are rather sensitive to the sun.


But even I have to admit, this stretch of summer-esque weather we are having has been a real treat. Mid-March in Michigan, even souther lower Michigan is still winter-time. It's not unusual to get snow or ice storms but typically the weather is cold, lows in the 30's and high's in the 40's with some crazy variation at times. It's not usual to have a 60 degree day here and there just like it's not strange to get snow but we are on the 4th day of temps around 70 or better and this is expected to continue until NEXT Thursday, another WEEK!


I have all the spring chores (that I am physically able to do) done already and have played more 9 hole rounds of CG (Crippled Golf) already then I did before mid-June of last year (I had surgery in May that caused me to miss nearly 4 weeks). I've been barefoot, wearing shorts...it's been a delight and I really love it. 


Oddly I had some weird attitude in the past that being influenced by the weather was somehow...beneath me! Talk about mis-guided and arrogant...no doubt I was!


Time to head into to town for a book study then back here for the day...


(PHOTO: Kathy Tomson)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A BOOMING good Morning To 'Ya!


BOOMING is right...as in THUNDER BOOMING. I have always loved thunderstorms....not sure why but I really like them. I remember as a little boy, sleeping in what we called the "bunk room" of the old cottage here on Coldwater Lake when big thunderstorms moved through. The whole place shook. I pretended it was artillery fire and I was in a trench on the Western Front during the Great War.

I never really thought much about it until later in life when I was seeing a therapist in the late 1980's and had started talking about being sexually assaulted. She started asking about why a 4 and 5 year old boy was dreaming about being shelled on a WWI battlefield. Nobody in my immediate family had fought in the Great War except my Mum's Father (Maternal Grandfather) who died 10 years before I was born and adopted. No one really ever talked about him either so I didn't even know that about him until I was an adult.

This is where the notion that I had perhaps lived before (been reincarnated) really started to make sense to me because there were a LOT of un-explainable COINCIDENCES like this in my life. Later  when I had the opportunity to visit some of those Great War Battlefields, The Somme, Arras and Ypres in particular...I was already hauntingly familiar with the area, the terrain and even the tunnels at Arras. I felt really strange the entire time I was there, I knew where the trenches and outposts had been...both times I visited. The second time we visited we also went to the French Battlefield of Verdun...I did not feel the same way there. But wherever British or Common Wealth Troops (Canadian, Australia/New Zealand, South African, Newfoundland, etc) I felt it. A strange coincidence sure...but I have been fascinated with the British involvement in the Great War since I was a boy...not American involvement but British.

I used to dream all the time about being buried alive, a very common circumstance in that Trench/Dug-out and Artillery dominated War. I dreamed about rats and have a terrible phobia about them..rats lived by the millions on the Western front feeding on the tens of thousands of un-buried corpses. I dreamed about violence and combat so much as a boy that my parents had a sleep study done over night. Those who know me have always known about my interest in history and particularly military history.  What very few people have ever known about me was I naturally knew detailed infantry tactics but not those of modern day warfare. No they were the tactics and small unit movements (squad, platoon, Company) of trench/stationary warfare.

Where did all that come from? I don't know. What does it mean? To this day I do not know. I know that those beliefs about living before most certainly do not fit into a traditional Christian set of beliefs. This I do know. The cool thing about that though is this. When I became a Christian...I had a very concerned discussion with my friend (and Pastor) Shayne Looper of Lockwood Community Church and when I laid all my concerns/questions about this in front of him what he said really surprised me. He said not to worry about it now..let time help sort some of this out.

And that really made a difference for me because I thought I was going to get criticized by the church or made fun of. Basically his thinking is that we don't know all the secrets of GOD...who knows what this whole lifelong experience of mine really means but just because we don't understand it or have a quick/easy Biblical explanation for it doesn't mean it didn't happen or doesn't matter. It does...

This went a long way in making me feel accepted when I truly expected to feel like an outcast. That is pretty much the same position I have on the subject today and I feel OK about that. I stay open minded and yes I still have the dreams...just like I always have so we will have to just wait and see how this all turns out.

(Trench Remnants Newfoundland Park, The SOMME...France)