Wednesday, November 30, 2011


i'm 45 today.

the last year has been more than a little bit difficult. i never thought that i would be the victim of a mid-age crisis but essentially that has been my lot over the last year. i haven't been longing after Ferraris, gold chains and silk shirts unbuttoned to my navel but i have very much struggled with a lot of self worth feelings over the last year. i have regularly looked in the mirror and wondered if i still had any game, if i was appreciated, if i was doing a good job with what i've been given and if i'd ever be able to elicit a two syllable da-amn whenever i came on the scene. i've wondered what the next 20 years held in store and also what the next 6 months had in store. it hasn't helped that i've struggled with an anxiety disorder for most of the last year while Wendy has struggled with all sorts of health stuff over the same period. it also hasn't helped that my joints get creakier and creakier as the days go on. the wisdom of my hair follicles becomes my best selling point whenever i get tested against the speed and power of a younger person's skills; it used to be that my own speed and power were my best selling points.

i am loved, i know that but i still need to hear that. i need to hear about how the world around those that are closest and dearest to me is devastated whenever i'm not there. i need to be wanted even if its only to stand there and be seen as integral.

is that ... selfish? self-absorbed? needy?

it probably is.

i still need it though.

its a damn shame that a compliment given and an encouragement with a touch of the hand is seen as a rarity that would only embarrass the other. i suspect that we're all sitting in a lonely circle of one. the unsaid things are not said because we do not wish to offend and so we remain silent because we think that a risk may damage a friendship and status quo is better than a loss. status quo may really be better than a loss but kind words and a friendly touch shouldn't create a loss ... ever.

i'm trying to lay myself bare a little bit. i want to be more honest and to live more honestly and part of that involves the expression of need.

so ... 45 years ago today i started screaming in need in this world and i still have need i suppose.

still, i am loved. i do love you too. i should say that more because i want to hear that more. i do love you.

we each bring our own light into the circle. you're a bright light to me, whoever you are. shine for me and i'll bask in glory for a bit. i appreciate bright lights who sometimes stand alone and say, "this is who i am, deal with it." i guess i just like bright lights and shiny things.

i do love you. laugh with me. cry with me. shine for me. because its my birthday.

i'm 45 today.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

hockey days in Winnipeg

Winnipeg is once again a hockey city and my bus stop to return home is right in front of one of the swankiest hotels in the city. during the month of November i have seen several hockey folks as they have strolled their way through their day. it may mean nothing to you but i don't write this stuff for your sake anyway. in November i have seen Bruce Boudreau (fired yesterday from his post as coach of the Washington Capitals), John Carlson (star D in waiting for the Capitals), Chris Pronger (captain of the Philadelphia Flyers), Daniel Briere (alternate captain of the Philadelphia Flyers), and Brian Murray (General Manager of the Ottawa Senators).

i know, pretty cool eh?

Monday, November 28, 2011

now, where was i?

it has been ... almost 2 weeks since i have logged into this account. there is also a very good reason for that. in some posts i mentioned the fact that Wendy had some significant medical appts upcoming and that's all i said about it. actually those medical appts were in Nova Scotia so that meant that the two of us had to travel halfway across the country so that Wendy could have numerous conversations about her chemical/environmental sensitivities while i sat in the waiting room and did Sodokus for a week. it was a boring week for me for the most part but that isn't the point, i was only trying to act as a support for Wendy amidst all the stress she has been under. i probably could been more of a support actually than i actually was. i should've been more proactive in all the arrangements that had to be made and i could've done more than just try to keep everything in cruise control over the week. in some fairly major ways i failed this past couple weeks since the stress levels obviously make life nearly unbearable for Wendy and yet i'm way too uninvolved in the process.
i can't believe how poorly i'm coping with the idea of helping Wendy in this area.
that's only the most front and center issue for me though. i also think i have a pinched nerve in my neck or something. it has made my left shoulder and entire left arm throb and ache for most of the day, everyday. i'm hoping to go to the chiro today and maybe get some relief.
a heightened sense awareness is a concept that i guess i never understood was so freaking MAJOR for Wendy. i always knew that she paid really close attention to things that were happening around her but i guess it never really hit me the plethora of sensory things that bombard her in every given moment. she was relating an example to me and she listed 10 things that she thinks about and notices when she walks into our kitchen while my only thought is, "ah, this is our kitchen". you know how they say that people who lose one sense have other senses improve and magnify to compensate? it's like Wendy's senses are all dialed to 11 all the time. can you imagine how frustrating that is? can you imagine how tired she becomes of being completely bombarded by sensory information? can you imagine how frustrating life is for her?
we were in Nova Scotia for an entire week and we were completely unable to do any sightseeing over the course of the week. we had to fly there and then rent a car and stay in a strange B&B where scents and sensitivities await at every corner to trip Wendy up. the airplane trip affected her sensitivities, as well as our luggage which in turn is also affected by airplane scents and fumes plus every form of perfume and recycled air flowing through the cabin or hold of a plane. essentially we were locked into a bubble for 4 hours at 30,000 feet. we arrive in Nova Scotia and rent a vehicle that is bathed in its own scents at the same time and we travel to a B&B that comes with its own scent hurdles. Wendy did indicate that she felt better than she had felt in years during the time we were actually at the clinic for the week since they actually take seriously the idea of a "scent-free" facility. of course now we have to figure out how to incorporate all the suggestions into our own lives.
there's a "lad" who grew up in our church community and now does some IVCF work in Nova Scotia so i sent him an email while we were down there. i didn't tell him that we'd be in the neighbourhood until we were actually down there because i had no idea what the schedule would look like and i didn't want to make any promises that would fall through because i couldn't be available. it turns out we were about an hour apart but the schedule wouldn't have allowed for much time to visit anyway. it was good to email back and forth briefly and to "bless" him in my prayers from an hour's distance instead of the usual half a country's distance.
i haven't heard about the job interview yet, in case anyone's interested. i wasn't expecting to have heard by now anyway.
there was a fundraiser for Anna's House which is an orphanage in Ethiopia that was started by the mother of a couple in our church community. it was a fantastic evening where i would guess that 350 people attended. i hear that a significant amount was raised and we're all thrilled for the progress and the joy that people in Canada can create for children a half a world away.
the Blue Bombers lost the Grey Cup yesterday. they needed Fred Reid pretty badly if you ask me.
we sat in the Toronto airport on Saturday morning for a couple of hours. my brother lives about a 10 minute drive away but i didn't call because i knew he'd try to come meet with us. i would've loved to meet with him but the logistics would've been next to impossible as we would have to go through security again. so Dale if you read this, sorry but it was something that just wasn't going to be possible to happen for us.
i did send an email to my parents telling them that we were in Nova Scotia but i didn't receive an email back so i'm not even sure they got the message.
i watched "Willow" while sitting in the waiting room. it featured a very young Val Kilmer and i remembered it being a much better story than it was as i watched it for the 5th time (or whatever it is). it was actually pretty close to a Lord of the Rings storyline but maybe it's all the swords and magic that gets me thinking that.
i made a hockey trade last week in my dynasty keeper league. i traded a vastly overperforming Steven Weiss to get a vastly underperforming Eric Staal. you have no idea how much a steal that trade was for me. i'm still giddy about it.
i'm sure there's plenty of stuff that i've thought about over the past couple weeks that when i did think about it i said to myself that i must remember to blog about that. no matter though, this space is to help me process a bunch of those thoughts. if something hits my brain about it then i'll just have fodder for future posts.
oh by the way, it dumped 30 cm of snow on our heads over a 24 hr period on Thursday last week. at one point we sat unmoving on the highway for an hour and a half while they cleared a couple transports out of the way. we're safe though.
heaven help us.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Job Interview

i had a very important interview this morning. i received a lot of encouragement before i went in the room, many friends shared kind wishes for good things, prayers, and good thoughts. after the interview i returned to work to find an email from my dear one saying "rock on Ian", she's really cool. i actually had to walk 6 blocks or so in order to get to the HR building where the interview would be held and it had started to snow earlier in the morning so my stroll was such that there was some bite in the air and butterflies in my stomach. i arrived at the waiting room a full half hour before my interview was to happen and i was asked for another copy of my work references, which i had actually forgotten to bring (not a good start) but was fortunate that i could remember all the contact information for them. they provided a sheet where the information could be submitted so of course i sat to record the information for them.
around mid-morning on any given day my body starts to realize that it hasn't had any nourishment for 4 hours, my blood sugar drops a little and my hands start to shake a bit. i'm there trying to print the appropriate information on a form while my hand shakes because i've only had coffee since 630 that morning. on top of that i'm also a bit nervous over the gravity of the situation and how much i really want to be able to express myself to these people.
at about 1015am the receptionist takes a call and then advises me that i can get on the elevator, go down a floor so that i can go to my interview. "Ian just be flexible", i say to myself and i grab my coat and my badly printed form and i head to the elevator. i end up standing in a lobby on the 3rd floor until the lady from HR comes to get me to take me into the torture chamber, i mean interview room. as i sit down i find my potential boss and his boss in the room with pencils poised. i knew both of them would be conducting the interviews so i wasn't surprised to see them but then they had to go through the painful exercise of introducing themselves, to me even though i've known them for years. they point out that "nothing can be assumed" in this interview and i should keep that in mind that they won't fill in the blanks for me as i try to explain my position during the interview.
HR lady explains to me that she will be chairing the interview but all three of them will take turns asking questions of me. she states that we'll take about 45 minutes to finish the interview and then we start into the first question.
i wasn't allowed any notes for myself to keep me on track so i had to put away all my prep material right off the hop. i was provided with a sheet of paper and a pencil if i wanted to take some notes to remind myself of what i wanted to say over the course of each question. i knew that each question was going to be convoluted with several parts to it and i wanted to be sure that i covered every part of each question when i answered so as each question came out i wrote notes to remind myself before i proceeded to answer.
the first question had 2 parts to it and it took HR lady a full 20 seconds to read the entire question to me. so i started with notes, i asked her to repeat the question, i clarified the question and when i was ready i started to answer. it must've been 30 seconds before i started to answer the first question and i felt completely comfortable in the silence while they waited for me to respond. i then started into my answer and i talked for SEVERAL minutes straight about my perspective and style and how i related to individuals in a counselling setting when i'm trying to put together an assessment and recommendations for people with barriers to employment. it was probably the easiest question of the 5 that i dealt with. there were a couple clarifying questions which i fielded easily and then we moved on to question 2.
question 2 was a 3 part question. question 3 was a 2 part question. question 4 was a 4 part question and question 5 was a 2 part question. after each question was asked i repeated the question as i took notes, i asked clarifying questions to be sure i had the idea behind the question, i paused and then i talked for minutes on end about what i thought my take on the answer would be.
overall, i think i did rather well. i'd like to think that i'm at least in the running for the job. i think that my boss's boss seemed relatively well engaged with my thoughts and i think that perhaps HR lady was less engaged. i couldn't really get a read on my boss which is ironic because i know him best of anyone in the room.
i was quickly into the interview when i realized i wasn't nervous any longer. it was like i was just vomiting information out for minutes on end and everyone kept writing a lot so perhaps i had some good thoughts.
when the interview ended i took my first look at my watch and my 45 minute interview had lasted an hour and a quarter. i had talked straight for an hour and a quarter and i'm not sure what to take from the idea that they weren't cutting me off to say that we needed to move on to the next question. they just let me go for the most part. perhaps that means that they were pleased with my thoughts and wanted me to continue or perhaps they just let me ramble on because i still hadn't given the answer to the question. i'm kind of hoping for the former.
as i left the building for the 15 minute walk back to work i was grateful that i could have 15 minutes of fresh air to settle and clear my head. my first thought was that it was all a very sterile experience. for a man with so much gut energy to be forced to express himself from a head energy space for an hour i was frustrated that i couldn't inject more humanity, more heart into my answers. it was an exercise in blurting out experiences and examples when i would rather spend my time trying to express my passions and motives in my work. i didn't really get to say "why" it is that i do what i do, it was much more about "what" do i do and "how" do i do it. i get it that they only want to know what skills i have at my disposal but i'm in a space where i want to wax poetic about who i am, my history and influences and how well i'm suited for the chairs i sit in. i was hoping to WOW them a little and i didn't really get the rope i needed to run with that type of thought.
anyway, i hope i'm in the running. by mid afternoon i could taste my desire to get this job but i'm also trying very hard not to expect too much. if i don't get the position then it's not like i'm unhappy where i am, i just want more challenges, a bigger soapbox from which to teach and to advocate.
i'm hopeful. it's good to be past the anxiety and stress of it sitting on the horizon.

Monday, November 14, 2011

stress levels, coping mechanisms and spiritual funks

when things are stressiest (that is too a word) then i'm probably at my worst. i suppose that's normal. Wendy has a whole whack of medical appts coming up and the stress from that is making her more than a little bit anxious, unfortunately when she's anxious then i start to go into a hole of anxiety of my own. i have to fight the lack of ambition a whole ton and i'm very poor at finding motivation for the last week. there's stuff around the house that i've completely neglected and that just has driven Wendy up the wall as winter is around the corner while i'm not ready for it to happen. i have clean up all the brush beside and behind the fence and i wasn't able to get far enough with it so that the job isn't done yet. unfortunately my first reaction to stress and conflict ... is avoidance. that's one of the reasons why i do officiating because it gets me away from my first inclination whenever i come across conflict. there's no way to avoid conflict when you're umping a baseball game or reffing a football game, every decision is going to have 50% of the people around you hating your guts. but still, the stress has been extra high amidst all the health stuff going on for Wendy right now and i have coped poorly.
oh, and of course i have a job interview this week for a job that i've been positioning myself for over the last 2 years. if i don't sell myself well in that interview and i fail to get the job then i'll be in some trouble vocationally since it'll be a significant emotional setback not to get the position. i'm worried that i won't be the passionate dreamer that i need to be since my nervousness and anxiety will get in the way of the passion and rationality that i'll need to put across in that interview. i also don't know how to pray about all of that. i'm in a spiritual funk that is essentially "i just don't give a shit" and how can i possibly be passionate and philosophical about the reasons i'm in the job i'm in and why i'm living the life i live when i'm stuck in a spiritual, depressive funk? if you're the praying sort then say a prayer for me or at least think some good thoughts. i suppose if i do not get the job then at least i can still be happy where i am, doing what i have done for the last 9 years.
i've told a few around me about the importance of this stuff but i haven't been nearly indepth enough about what's going on for me. the lostness is pretty deep right now and i haven't even confided with Wendy about this stuff. i just can't seem to find the words right now since i know the pressure and worry she's under. i'm surrounded by people who love me so i will be talking about this. don't worry my friend, i'm in no danger for myself or someone else. it's just stressful and i do need to step forward with some motivation to affect some change for us.
worship was hard for me yesterday. i know it has been hard for Wendy for a lot of months now too. there were only a couple instances where i felt some connection to God during worship. first of all, i didn't really want to go to worship but we did go, then Wendy got a headache about a half hour in so i had to take her home. at that stage i had to decide if i wanted to return to worship or not, i even called a friend to see if maybe he wanted to go out instead but he wasn't home, he was probably at church himself. so i went back to worship. we sang a liturgy tune before we heard the scriptures and it nearly brought me to tears because it was a cry out to God and later i received communion and that has lasted as a bastion of faith and hope for me even when the rest of my spiritual life has been a wilderness experience.
i have a community in common. i have support. i am loved deeply and i am really well liked at the same time.
but i'm also under an abnormal amount of stress. i'll need to motivate myself out of this funk. there is growth for me in activity, in ambition. if i can be in a space of ambition then i'll reduce the stress on my love and i'll be able to be passionate about my own goals and life. it's just a funk and it does me no good so sit on my hands and hope that my troubles just go away. there is strength for me in community and in a life together. sometimes i forget that.
thanks for letting me process that much in this space.
i love you Wendy.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

search for poetry

i just want to be poetic, i said.

then be poetic, was his reply.

it was a simple statement to a quiet cry in the dark. he is one of the most thoughtful, poetic men i know and yet i don't know if he realizes the gravity of the task he laid down.

i'm a dreamer. i create little worlds for myself and i very much want to see them come to light but then when reality falls short of poetry i get disheartened. i have all of these philosophical thoughts about how and why things should be different than they are but i seem to lack the fortitude to create some of the practical bridges to bring philosophy to light.

still, i dream. i hope for better things. i make plans and i try to spur myself on toward picking up a hammer and building a bridge.

poetry can be found in many ways.