Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Full Disclosure

Posted in family, life, love, parenting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 17, 2018 by me

In my last post I mentioned punishing my son by not paying some fees.  In hindsight, that was the right decision for me, and I’d do it again.  However, I didn’t do it as cleanly and emotion-free as I’d like.  When he called/texted, I’d just gotten off a plane from a weekend away, seeing a friend retire.  It was late, I was tired and I was really irritated that he put me in the position of having to be the bad guy.  He knew he wasn’t supposed to wait until the last minute to ask for large sums of money, and he knew he hadn’t been living up to his obligations and yet was asking for more money.  And that was a topic that we’d fought over a lot that summer.  And yet he was asking.  As a parent, there’s the part of me that wants to spoil him rotten and give him everything he asks for.  And feels guilty when I can’t, either because I believe it’s the wrong thing to do, or because I can’t afford to.  And because of all the guilt and irritation I lashed out.  I’ve apologized to him since, but I’m still not proud of it.

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Breathe

Posted in Uncategorized on January 15, 2018 by me

Late last year I got invited to attend a meditation class.  It was paid for by Wounded Warrior Project and was four weeks long.  I got a lot out of it, it was great.  I really liked the woman who taught the class and the studio, so I decided that I’d try to pop in and support them.  She taught a beginning meditation class a couple of weeks later and I enjoyed that.  While I was there, I saw a flyer for a goal setting/meditation/begin-the-year-off-right session that I’ll write about later.  And the instructor told me she was glad to see me because she was doing a class on breathing and had wanted to reach out to me and tell me about it.  She felt that I’d get a lot out of it.  So I signed up for it and went last weekend.

I didn’t know what to expect.  I think the way she talked about it, I thought it was going to be a class, telling us how to breathe in different situations, how to use breathing as a tool.  That WASN’T it.  It ended up being a “breathing journey” or “breathing ceremony”.  I’m trying to figure out how to write about it, because I have a tendency to over think things, and I don’t want to over think this.  Part of my goalsetting thingie from that other class is just the word “Open”.  For the last couple of years I’ve tried to be open to new experiences, I want to take that a little further this year.  And this was a great experience, and I’m glad I was open minded about it.  And I don’t want to ruin it.

The first 30 minutes or so were kind of a repeat of some parts of the PTSD class.  She talked about how breathing can link the lizard and monkey brain, and how we can try to use it to control our fight or flight instincts.  After that we got into the exercise.  For the first 30 minutes we did a very specific type of breathing.  Almost a lamaze kind of paced breathing.  This 30 minutes was really the journey.  It’s where “the stuff” happened.  Then there was a 30 minute wind-down.

So what happened?  I honestly don’t know.  I mean, I can tell you the facts of what happened, kind of.  But not on a whole different level, because on that level, I have no idea what happened.  We started the breathing.  And it was weird as hell.  The skeptical side of me…  definitely wanted to mock and exit.  Especially when she started handing out the mouth pieces and told us that we probably needed to have water and tissues.  Uh, what?  Mouth pieces?  And wait?  You might touch us through this exercise?  Sure, just putting a hand on our jaw or chest or stomach to remind us to breath with our diaphragm and keep our mouth open.  Totally out of my comfort zone.

So yeah, we laid back and were slightly inclined.  She started playing tribal/indian music that started out gently and was going to increase in intensity over the 30 minutes.  We closed our eyes.  And yes, we popped our mouthpieces in.  To help remind us to keep our mouths open to take as much breath in as possible.  She turned the lights off except for a couple and we got into it.  She warned us early on that the breathing would make our throats tickle, but told us to keep it up and power through it.  So when that happened, I kept doing it.  She had a male assistant, and part way through he came over and put his hand on my chest, I wasn’t opening it up enough while I was breathing.  I wasn’t taking the breath in deeply enough.  I had one hand on my stomach and one on my chest and after a few moments was definitely concentrating on it.  I started opening myself up more and could feel the breathing come down to my pelvis, almost like I was forcing the breath out of my chest with my hips.

I remember thinking about it, wondering how the hell I could keep this up for 30 minutes.  It was tiring, a lot of work to bring that much breath in and force it out, and I felt like my brain was just going to start wandering at any moment.  Now that I had the breathing down and wasn’t focusing on it as much, I was probably going to start failing at meditation again, and just start daydreaming.

And then it happened, and I have no idea what “it” is.  All of a sudden it felt like I was sobbing, only there weren’t tears.  I could feel my body convulsing like I was crying, and I could feel my body starting to curl up with each breath and sob.  And it was almost getting to be too much.  I can’t exactly describe the emotions that were happening right then, just the physical actions.  It was overwhelming and I really wanted to bail out on it, and all of a sudden her assistant was in my ear.  Telling me to stick with it.  “Stay with it.  Commit.  Get this shit out.  It’s terrible, it’s killing you, get it out.”

And I did.  I remember talking to God.  And at the same time screaming “Fuck you” in my head.  Not at God.  I wasn’t… mad or disappointed in him at that moment.  But there really was something being purged from me.  I was convulsing with this weird tearless crying, sobbing, and screaming in my head and the mouth piece fell out and went rattling across the room on the hardwood floor.

All of a sudden it was passed, I was through “it”.  My breath came much easier and I was feeling an insane amount of peace or calm or contentment.  The ceremony part of the experience ended moments or seconds later, I really don’t know, and then we moved into the cycling down phase.  We were breathing however was comfortable for us.  And a few minutes later someone started crying.  The thirty minutes flew by.  No conscious thought process really.  A moment or two of weirdness while I was kind of embarrassed about what happened, but realized I was in a safe place.  And that was about it.

I was shaking for a good while afterwards.  I don’t now if that was the experience, or lack of oxygen or what.  I don’t know what any of it was.  Did breathing like that, was that hyperventilating?  Is that what caused the “experience”?  Was it some type of oxygen deprivation type thing?  Was it really a true, transcendental experience?  An encounter with God?  Was it really a spiritual purging?  And does it matter, as long as I know how it felt and how I want to react to it?

 

Buddies

Posted in Uncategorized on December 20, 2017 by me

It’s been a weird couple of weeks.  I went to the ER last week.  After I started thinking about being alone when I had the seizure, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  So I called and got my PCP appointment, and while I was on the phone, they told me that I really needed to go to the ER, that they couldn’t tell me to wait until Monday of this week for an appointment.  So I went that night (last Thursday) and they started running tests.  They did a chest x-ray to make sure it wasn’t an oxygen problem, the CT Scan and they mis-understood the order and gave me an EKG instead of an EEG.  Everything looked good at first notice, so they sent me home.

I went to the PCP appointment on Monday.  She noticed something weird.  I had CT Scans in 2009, 2015 and last week.  The 2009 scan showed the damage/scarring from the TBI that was caused by the explosion.  There was apparently negligible difference between the 2009 and 2015 scans, but between 2015 and last week the difference in one of their indicators was apparently noticeable, possibly significant.  So they’re getting the actual EEG scheduled as well as the neurology appointments.

They’ve suggested that I drive as little as possible for the next 90 days.  Which is kind of a gigantic pain in the ass.  It’s possible to create a life that doesn’t involve owning a car.  There’s tons of people who don’t have them.  But it’s another thing to stop cold turkey.  Fortunately I’m close enough to work that I can shift and start biking.  And my boss’ brother has a history of seizures, so he gets it and has told me he’ll work with me.

Before I found out about this, the longboard skateboard company that I volunteer with started taking pre-orders for electric skateboards.  To support them, I ordered one.  I take photographs and video for them to use on their websites and what not, so I thought that it’d be fun to have one and it’d be good to take photos and video of me and my son riding it for them.  So I talked to them about what’s going on, and they’re getting me one of their demo models so that I can use it to commute with until mine is done and they started work on my deck today.

A friend and I were going to get together this week over the holidays and he texted me to say that he wouldn’t be here, that he and the family decided to stay home in Wyoming.  I let him know that was ok, that I might not be able to drive anyways, so it could’ve been a pain.  I gave him some of the details, but tried to be matter-of-fact about it.  I don’t want to be overly dramatic about anything.  A couple hours later he let me know that he’s got an e-bike sitting un-used in his garage and he’d be happy to bring it down for me.

I thanked him, but told him I wanted to hold off on it.  Right now it’s hopefully just a couple months until they figure it out and hopefully it’s an easy answer/fix.  If it becomes bigger, I’ll take him up on his offer.  I couldn’t tell if I offended him by not accepting his offer.  Right now, I’m kind of trying to look at this as a good thing.  Get me in shape, even if I’m riding the motorized board some days instead of biking, it’ll still be good core exercise to stay on the board.  So I texted him later to thank him again.  “Yeah I get it, broad shoulders and all that.  Nonetheless you are one of my few friends and if you need anything you can count on me.”

I’ve been writing about friends a lot lately, but it takes something like this to realize how lucky you are.

Cathing Up

Posted in Uncategorized on December 17, 2017 by me

There’s some things I’ve wanted to write about for awhile.  Now’s as good a time as ever.  No deep thoughts to share or anything.

A couple months ago I wrote in a post about how Marla had been briefly back in my life.  My son’s a senior this year, and out of the blue asked if I’d mind if she took his senior photos.  It was kind of weird, but I figured why not.  Apparently he and my sister and she had been talking about it since the summer.  My sister had offered to pay for them.  So who was I to say no?

Around the same time, my sister was talking about quitting her job and moving to Colorado.  Not long after she started telling me about that, I text Marla to say that if my sister was going to move to town, we’d have to find a way to be able to hang out together.  She responded via text, so I might’ve added a lot of spin to her text that she didn’t intend, but it sounded very snarky to me.  She basically said that she’d never had a problem hanging out with me, that it was all me.

I get that, and she’s not wrong, but she kind of forgets that I was the one who was dumped, and that although we’d dated for almost 3 years, a week later she was in a relationship with a guy that she was hanging out with before we broke up.  And that she broke some of our early agreements by taking him to places that we agreed would be neutral.

So after a text or two we went back to not talking, then my son asked about using her for the photographer for his senior photos.  So I reached back out to her, we worked out rates (no dumpee discount, btw).  It was fun.  We started joking around about the kid and some other things.  That’s what I was referring to a couple of months ago when I started posting here again.  But after a week, the pics were done and there was no reason for us to talk to one another anymore.

A weird thing happened then.  Matt was talking about their photo session and mentioned that she was dating someone new.  Apparently she’d broken up with the guy that she started dating after we broke up.  That’s terrible.  After trying to win her back for years, I know how much she loved him.  And I wanted her to be happy more than anything.  So I’m really sad to hear that that didn’t work out for her.  But at the same time, knowing it didn’t work out just did something…  it significantly changed something.  As much as a part of me wishes there was a way that things could be different between us, that I wouldn’t have screwed things up back then, I realize that’s not what this is about.  But I suppose I like thinking that there’s a remote chance we be friends.  That that barrier, that physical reminder of how things ended between us is gone.  Seeing her happy with him would’ve killed me.  Seeing her out and about with someone else, happy with him would be awkward, and would probably be accompanied with a twinge of pain or two.  But I think it’d be bearable.

I’m not planning on reaching out to her or anything, but I guess I’m not scared of bumping into her as much.

 

 

 

I love traveling

Posted in Uncategorized on September 18, 2017 by me

I’m sitting at DCA/Reagan and waiting for my flight.  Sure, 14 hour flights stuck between two huge people in a tiny coach seat suck.  But other than that, I love being on the go.  Checking out new airports on layovers.  Metros.  Figuring out ground transportation in new cities.  Getting lost.  Trying out new foods and people watching.  And the act of traveling itself.  The thought that goes I to packing, joking with security and ticket reps, trying not to be the typical jackass that makes their day worse.  Refining my systems to make life easier.  Enjoying good purchases and systems that are paying off and helping me to enjoy the experience more.  Photography, curating my social media during downtimes.  Reading and watching movies.  All of it.

Dropping warheads on foreheads

Posted in Uncategorized on September 17, 2017 by me

This weekend while I’ve been in DC a friend of mine who lives in Maine was in town for business.  So after her meetings on Friday we had lunch.  Between lunch conversation and texts this weekend she dropped a lot of knowledge on me.  I’m not claiming it’s GOOD knowledge, but it’s knowledge and should be recorded for posterity.  Or something.

The first little kernel:

“What do we call people that we love hanging out with but don’t have sex with?  That’s right.  A friend”

And:

“Maybe you just need to have her over, put a movie on, then part way through say ‘Slut, suck my cock!’ When you do this, proper movie selection is crucial.”

Then:

“You need to get yourself some east coast underwear.” When I was complaining about the humidity.

retirement

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16, 2017 by me

it has been a weird couple of weeks.  lots to type out someday, when I’ve got a real computer with a real keyboard.  work drama, dating drama, good stuff with the kid (amazing stuff really, so wonderful and scary watching him turn into a man), dad’s doing well with his post-cancer life but there are some issues.  reasons why I’m back here writing.  weird dating experiences.  my poor friend who’s dealing with some terrible medical stuff.  marla was back in my life briefly and it was wonderful to joke with her, before all the other stuff she was my best friend for so long and I missed that.  and she’s gone again now, because the reason why we were talking is passed.  and,and,and.

I’m in DC this weekend for a friend’s retirement and it’s been a crazy emotional trip so far.  so good to see old friends, so good to be back in this town.  this guy and I go back 22 years and I cant believe how fast that time has gone by and the stories we have to tell.  and so weird to be sitting in the reserved seating section with so many generals as an “honored guest”.  once again, I’m amazed that someone thinks I had such a positive impact on their life.  his speech was great, and I hardly slept for hours last night thinking about the events of the day and his words.  then I crashed and slept like the dead for 8 hours.  it blew some circuits out.  I’m so happy for him, and so excited to see what comes next.  but at the same time, I was so jealous that he got that opportunity for closure that I didn’t, got the opportunity to prepare mentally, to go through the steps, to thank and be thanked.  I wonder if he has the perspective right now to appreciate that?

I’m just rambling now, and wasting time when I could be out sightseeing, so I’m going to go.  [