Category Archives: Milestones

A Blogging Anniversary

I recently got a notification that I’ve been on WP for seven years now.

It has been a growing, very changeable period. I started with wanting to share an experience, and through writing about that experience, I was able to sort through what happened and how it happened and how I had contributed to it. I wanted my blog to be informative for others, and more importantly, I wanted it to be a sort of catharsis. But, as with so much of life, it turned out that I had much more to learn than to share.

So, what happened? I didn’t know it then, but I started with a question about being a human being. I was asking, where in my head do I come from? And later, where in OUR heads we do WE come from? And still later, where in our heads are we going?

This blogging experience became a journey of interior exploration which became a journey of exterior exploration, an exploration of others and how they bounce off me, how I bounce off them, and how that bouncing changes us, even if only in the smallest of ways.

When I was much younger, I used to think that everything changes. Then I thought that nothing changes. Then I realised that in between the everything and the nothing is a world of life, that if I spent too much time worrying how I should change or not change, or how others should change, that nothing would change.

Which is really interesting, because physically, lots has changed, and that lead to a further discovery of inner landscapes that I didn’t know were there. I did a 360.° What comes around goes around. 😉

In the last seven years, I got married. I moved to a different province to take a job in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. Then I moved, sort of, again, this time to take a job in Canada’s north. My home is in BC and I have another home, a “work home” in the Northwest Territories.

I am now an administrator and the buck stops with me. It was scary at first but I have become more comfortable as I have become more experienced. I am paid very well; I am at the top of the earning capacity for my profession, something I thought I would never achieve. I didn’t even think of it as a possibility, but now it’s a reality and I’m grateful.

My M retired. About three to four years from now, so will I. We have started looking for another home; it will likely be our last one.

As I have changed, so has the content of this blog. I started with posting about narcissism, then I slowly started posting about lots of other things. I still post about narcissism and still read about it, but it’s less dominant for me now.

My readership has changed lots too. The vast majority of the bloggers I followed in the first couple of years have stopped posting. A few announced that they were leaving. Sadly, a few passed away. Others have completely revamped their content and moved on to other topics as well.

Some of those first blogs that I started to follow are still here and I love that I’ve gotten to “know” these bloggers so well, even though we’ve never met and in some cases, I don’t even know their real names. I don’t post under my real name either – I post under my grandmother’s name. I remain cautious about the old ex-narcissist still lurking out there behind his computer screen.

Those I have followed for years now have changed too, and I have enjoyed that they have shared those changes. Some of the changes were planned major departures from the previous, others much more subtle. These bloggers welcomed me, enveloped me, and challenged me to think or feel or see in a different way. Thank you. 🙂

I initially wasn’t sure how this whole blogging thing was supposed to work, but I got the hang of it. I still remember thinking that it was pretty amazing that someone would click “follow,” that people would want to read or look at what I have here. It still amazes me.

Having said that though, blogging is kind of odd. We say a whole lot about ourselves, either directly or indirectly, and we put it out there for others to look at, comment on, and to decide whether they like it or not, literally.

All of the photos in this post are of roads. They were taken through the windshield of our blue Ford truck while we were travelling rather long distances. M and I very much enjoy our long drives. We talk, we think, we daydream. These roads all lead to places large and small, unique, ugly, barren or dazzling. But really, in the end, it’s the journey, isn’t it?

Kind of like blogging. 🙂

Happy Fireworks Days

I am away in the far north at the moment: 68° north latitude, to be exact, in Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

We are in between the national days of Canada and the United States, so, I hope all you Canucks had a fabulous Canada Day, 🇨🇦 and to our great American cousins, I hope you have a brilliant July Fourth 🇺🇸.

Happy Fireworks Days!

A Few of the Blogs I Follow

Happy New Year! 🙂 I hope 2017 is off to a good start for you!

To begin the year with the right winter flavour (Yup. I know. Some of you are in much warmer climes, and yes, I’m jealous), here’s a seasonal winter picture that I took in my former hometown:

A Canadian Winter Scene - Ice Fog on the Prairies A Canadian Winter Scene – Ice Fog on the Prairies

Since becoming a pilot many years ago, I have (obviously) had a big interest in weather and have developed a serious appreciation for its nuances. In this picture, I love the muted, gauzy, exaggerated light of the sun trying to break through a temperature inversion. Later that day, the sun did break through and the frost quickly disappeared.

But that’s not what I want to write about. Really.

I’ve lately been thinking that in blog years, I’ve been around WP for quite some time – four years! – and have been following and reading some of the same blogs for about that long. So today, I thought I would pass on the names of a few of those blogs. They are fascinating and interesting and have stood the test of time. In blog terms, that is. 🙂

So, to those who have stuck to it and kept blogging, despite all kinds of life stuff and no doubt the occasional temptation to just stop, you have my most sincere appreciation.

There’s no award involved and no questions to answer.

I just want to say thank you.

I just want wish you good luck and continued happy posting:

  • Ursula at anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com. Ursula is a fantastic writer who will make you think, laugh and cry. She’s had a big impact on how I look at the narcissistic interactions I’ve had in my life, but her writing is about so much more than that. I’ve also learned as much, if not more, from the comment sections of her posts. Drop by for a visit.
  • Jenny at http://charactersfromthekitchen.wordpress.com. I love Jenny’s museum visits and travels and her witty humour and great photos. She’s taken me along on some really wonderful day trips. Stop and say hi.
  • Nelson at http://oneoldsage.wordpress.com. Right now, my neighbour Nelson (he lives close-by in the Okanagan) is working on a novel-length piece of fiction, but he has shared trips to Europe and his thoughts about surviving cancer, among many other things. He really is “one old sage.”
  • Jenny at http://ramblingsfromamum.wordpress.com. Jenny doesn’t publish as much as she used to because she’s been very busy with her elderly parents and she’s also just become a grandmother! 🙂 Her heartfelt poetry is touching and genuine – have a little browse.
  • Jill at http://jillweatherholt.com. Jill has just published a book! 🙂 For a long time now I have enjoyed her kind, thoughtful, compassionate posts and comments.
  • Caitlin at http://broadsideblog.wordpress.com. Caitlyn is a journalist, traveller, teacher, liver of life and fellow Canadian who lives and works in the US. She writes about many and varied topics and they are always interesting, well researched and well done. Take a look through her archives.
  • Ross at http://rossmurray1.wordpress.com. Another fellow Canadian, Ross is a humourist who lives in Quebec. Until recently, he was a regular contributor to CBC’s Breakaway (http://www.cbc.ca/breakaway). Like Caitlyn, he writes about many topics, and he’s always enjoyable, acerbic and witty. He’s also published a book!
  • Ned at http://nedhickson.com Ned lives in Oregon and is a very busy man. Take a look at his blog and you will see what I mean, but you will also enjoy his gentle and self-deprecating humour and commentary. Ned was also one of the very first bloggers I followed.
  • Mark at http://exileonpainstreet.com. Mark’s posts are eclectic, varied and genuine. He shares his visits to New York’s museums along with journal entries from his callow youth and other observations about life and such. He’s always a fantastic read.
  • Christopher Martin at http://christophermartinphotography.com. Christopher is a truly gifted photographer whose nature and wildlife pictures are amazing. He takes many of his photos in the Alberta foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  Right now he’s doing a series on the snowy owl; last spring I spotted one of his photographs (it shows an elk being hunted by wolves) in The Globe and Mail (http://www.theglobeandmail.com). You can find the wolf series of photos on his blog, but be aware that they also show wolves doing what wolves do best.

So, if you aren’t already familiar with these blogs, go by for a little visit – you won’t be disappointed.

Do you have some long-time follows that you would like to share?

A Visit to Vancouver Island

M and I went to Vancouver Island for my sister’s internment this week. While there, we said good-bye to my sister while visiting the places she loved on the island where she lived for most of her life.

There's regular floatplane service between Victoria and Vancouver.
There’s regular float plane service between Victoria and Vancouver.
Seals in the harbour. They look cute but can be quite aggressive.
Seals in the harbour. They look cute but can be quite aggressive.
An interesting tree on the pathway around Victoria Harbour
An interesting tree on the pathway around Victoria Harbour. It looks like a giant with outstretched arms.
J loved seafood.
J loved seafood.
The quirky houseboat village.
The quirky houseboat village. Sometimes, tourists will walk right inside people’s homes!
A two-masted schooner used for student training.
Far up the fijord that's part of Victoria harbour.
Far up the fjord that’s part of Victoria harbour.
A tugboat.
A tugboat.
J was a fan of spring bulbs.
J was a fan of spring bulbs.
Seagulls have no respect for historical figures.
Seagulls have no respect for historical figures.

 

Goodbye, J. I love you.

For J

This is for my beloved sister J, who passed away on December 26 after a short struggle with cancer. I love you, J.

 

You have always been kind and tough and thoughtful and practical.

And you learned early how to deal with the family’s narcissists. Before it was popular, you knew a kind of no contact and lived it. Your own kind.

Distance did it. Physical distance. Mental distance.

I, much younger, didn’t really know you.

Not until much later. Not until now, really.

And then, we faced another narcissist. This time, together. Looked at our heritage.

But you handled that, too. Adroitly, as you always have. Even as you grew smaller and smaller and your world grew smaller and smaller.

The one who wasn’t “smart.”

The one who always knew but didn’t fuss. Just lived.

I’ve had a good long life, you said.

I wish it was longer.

I wish I didn’t have to say good-bye.

Things I Learned from Rudy

After a short illness, our darling Rudy passed away this morning. We love you, sweetie dog.

In the Net! - Stories of Life and Narcissistic Survival

My sweetie Rudy My sweetie Rudy

Rudy is my dog. Well, he’s technically my son’s dog, but he has lived with me for most of his life. Rudy readily adopted M into his pack and now hates it when M is away. Recently, he also adopted B, M’s son.

Rudy is an amazing dog. And he’s about to turn 15. We’re not sure exactly when he’s turning 15 because he was an SPCA dog. But it’s within the next three months, most likely around the end of February or beginning of March. Rudy is in excellent health and is still living a full life. His hearing and eyesight are not quite what they used to be and he’s got a little arthritis, but those things aren’t holding him back at all.

So in honour of Rudy’s 15th birthday, and in honour of the fabulous guy that he is, I’m going to share with…

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Changing, Moving, Growing

IMG_20151004_165227When I realized that change was headed my way, I didn’t realize that it was going to be this intense.

In July, we sold our house in preparation for a move next year. We packed up all our stuff and trucked it to a rental. I whined about that a couple of posts ago.

However, life is not always orderly nor predictable (nor should it be). In late August, the opportunity for a great job came up. I interviewed, and a couple of days later I accepted their offer.

The job was 1000 km. away in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. Wine country. Some of the best wine in the world.

Real wine.

I was on my way west (even though I’m not a young man) inside of a week with my car packed to the rafters, my poor Rudy dog parked in a kennel and my dear M left on the prairies to finish up a work contract.

Now I live near all those wine grape vines you see in the top photo.

After finding a long-stay motel to reside in and starting my new job on August 31, I immediately got sick. Go figure.

There was sniffing, snorting, blowing and wheezing. A cough that came out of my bootlaces. A jackhammer headache that doubled in intensity every time I coughed. Aches and pains in my muscles that could have been caused by digging the equivalent of the English Channel tunnel but weren’t. I sounded like a four-pack-a-day, 60-year smoker. If I laughed, I broke into a cough. Sneezing turned into a chain of mini-eruptions with attendant lava flow. I was feverishly hot and cold at the same time.

And through it all, I kept working. New job and all that. I was the queen of hand sanitizer, giant tissues and elbow coughing.

Then it started to go away.

I started to feel better.

I started to get cocky. I’m like that.

Then I started to feel really, really bad. I woke up one morning feeling like I needed to get the bolt in my neck tightened.

Which would have been all fine if my name had been Frankenstein.

But it’s not.

I decided to investigate by taking a look in the bathroom mirror.

I looked like I was wearing a turtleneck sweater with an inflation device inserted into the neck part.

The side of my neck was swollen from my ear to my shoulder and the pain that accompanied it was intense. My tonsils were swollen. My ear ached and crackled. I could hear everything inside my mouth but nothing outside.

A secondary infection had taken up residence. Yum.

It’s still not gone but I’m about to start my second round of antibiotics, for which I am eternally (and internally) grateful.

Nevertheless Continue reading Changing, Moving, Growing

Age? What’s Good for Cheese Is Good for People??

I’m pissed off. About ageism, that is.

I was just at a store picking up some necessaries for my new abode and got treated like a doddering old fool at the till. And the thing is, I’m not much older than that cashier is.

I’ve noticed this more and more lately. The penchant for people to automatically think that I don’t know how to use a debit card. That I have no idea what the internet is. A couple of days ago, I was asked by a bank employee if I use online banking.

“What was that sonny? Speak up! I can’t hear you! Frontline spanking? Is that what you said? You oughtta be ashamed of yourself. What would your mother say if she knew you were talking like that to a customer?” Of course, I was just thinking this. But I felt like saying it. In a loud, high-pitched, whiny voice.

Yikes.

I’ve been using online banking for 15 years. I’ve had a debit card for, I don’t know, probably about 30.

People keep calling me “dear” too. Does getting older automatically imply that I’m in some sort of relationship with you? A few days ago, I politely asked a waiter to stop calling me “dear.” He kept doing it anyway.

People who use that word also have a special voice that goes along with it, too. There’s this patronizing, condescending tone, like they’re talking to a half-deaf half-wit. Just give me some pablum and a glass of warm milk and let me be on my way. Don’t let my clippy clop bother you as I head for the door, if I can find it.

Holy bloody hell.

And another thing is that my husband, who is five years older than me, doesn’t get treated like this.

He’s a guy! He still has all his faculties! His hearing! His virility! His drive! He’s vital and living!

While on the other hand, I have one foot on a banana peel and the other in my grave.

I’ve faced a lot of discrimination in my life. Nowhere near as bad as what some people have had to deal with, but still.

My guidance counsellor in high school told me that I couldn’t be a pilot. (You’re not a guy!)

People gave me suspicious looks when they heard my very French surname. (You’re not English!)

Military combat? (You’re REALLY not a guy.)

But the government says I can, so f**k off.

Yes. I’m 50-something. Yes. I’m female. It doesn’t mean that I live under a rock with only my walker and my knitting for company. And, I’m not a cheese.

So get with it, “youngsters.” Just treat us older people like … well, like people.

Have you faced ageism in action?

When You Move House, Don’t Forget to Pack Your Brain

I once read somewhere that moving house is the third or fourth most stressful thing you can do. I’ve moved before, but for some reason, it didn’t seem as stressful as it does this time. Maybe that’s because I’m older. The joints and muscles don’t work as well as they once did, and as a result, everything takes longer and is more tiring. 😦

The other thing is that last time, I was just moving me, and I hadn’t accumulated much stuff. Now there’s two of us, and I’ve been here for six years and I’ve managed to collect an impressive array of stuff that I didn’t have when I lived in a condo.

A complete set of garden furniture, including arm chairs and a chaise. A vast assortment of hoses, rakes, shovels and other garden implements and tools. Two rain water barrels. A garden gnome. Bags of drought-resistant grass seed. A weird instrument that looks like a mini-oil well driller but I have no idea where I got it or what it’s for.

You find stuff like this when you’re moving. Questions like, what am I keeping this for? And, what is this for? keep popping up. And let’s not forget that ureka moment when you realize that you’ve just found something that you’ve been looking for for ten months.

Yesterday, M called me out to the garage to ask me if I wanted to keep the rain barrels. It felt like answering that question might take two sessions with a therapist.

We have cartons and packing paper and bubble wrap everywhere.

It took nearly three days to pack up our rather large collection of china and wine glasses.

And, just for added excitement, we’re deciding what needs to be packed up for next summer’s move and what needs to stay out. Because …

right now, we are only moving across town to a rental house.

Next July, after my last year in my present job, we are moving to another part of the country.

As a result, I’m not doing a very good job of keeping up with my reader, or with much of anything else outside of this move, either.

I actually think today might be my birthday, too. But I’m not sure. It’s also entirely possible that I’m a Justin Bieber fan, as well. Er – no. I don’t think I’ve lost it that much. Have I?

So wish me luck, because if my brain falls out and lands in the wrong packing box, I might not find it until next year.

As you know, misery loves company. Do you have any moving stories to tell?