A/C issues.


Fun times on Cypraea. Our new neighbour Mike on Drifter offered to help us work on our A/C. It was empty of freon. Well all was going suspiciously well, no leaks were found. We started filling it a while later with R22, cold air was coming out. I then hit a button to adjust the temp wanted down a bit. BOOM!!!! Freon started pouring our everywhere. Oops. Well we opened up all the hatches to let the cloud of gas out and found the problem to be a rusted out intercooler. Time to look for a new one. Everything else works which is nice. A huge thank you to Mike for helping us out.


Sun God or Post Writing Excuse...You Choose!


There are many different reasons I write posts for this blog. Sometimes I am venting or EMO-Ving as it were.  EMO-Ving for the uninitiated around here stands for "Emotional Vomiting" or another, more dramatic (and gross) way to say venting. I may have mad some discovery about myself that I wanted to share or I perhaps I just feel the obligation to post something because I consider this a 'daily, real time blog" and real time means just that...tight now.

Those are all cool and legitimate reasons to write a post. Others are I might be following up a comment or previous post or there might be something that just occurred to me that is relevant to where I am at
right at this moment.


Well this post is being written for none of those reasons....nope. I actually decided too sit down and take the time to (attempt) to write a post (no easy task during these days of no sleep). 


The bottom line is I wrote the post so I could use the above picture which I happen to think is really cool! I often feel like I'm carrying the Sun and so for one shining moment this afternoon in a blog post...I am.

One Night


I'm actually going to try and post. The Republican National Convention is on and Mitt Romney is about to accept his Party's nomination and give his acceptance speech.

I love the fact that here in America we get to debate the issues and CHOOSE our leaders. This process is sacred and rare...we are one of the few countries that possesses such a system . I still get excited about the Election Process in our country and that feeling goes back to the first election I remember ever really paying attention to, Ford/Carter in 1976 because I had a Social Studies Class that actually had assignments requiring us to follow along.That was the beginning of my involvement and interest in the political process.

Romney gave an interesting speech and it will be interesting to see how the President responds at the Democratic National Convention.

Well I've just run out of gas so although this is not all I wanted to write about tonight, I have to shut it down. Good Night...

At Wits END


Today was another day trying to get my life back on some kind of reasonable schedule...but to no avail. I have just about had it with living this way...I am so frustrated, exhausted and angry. Anyone who has been forcibly sleep deprived for days at a time should know how I am feeling. 

But just as I feel like I am going to spin off the tracks I get enough energy to hang in for another few hours. And that is pretty much how I've been getting by but I am running out of steam and just feel totally sick and outta-whack.

No Go...So I'm Going Anyway!


I am heading out this morning to get some early morning exercise. I have not slept yet but plan on trying to nap after I get back. So I'll catch you in a couple of hours....

PHOTO: Kathy Tomsom

Ridiculous...


I am going to try and post something today but I'm not optimistic about the results....

For those of you who have regularly read Shell Shock you may recall that I have had some periods in the past where I literally cannot sleep for days...yes even weeks on end and that is exactly what has been happening to me lately.

And I haven't a clue whats causing it but I've gotten to the point where I can't really write. I keep nodding off at the keyboard or hit a long string of the same keys....what a freakin' mess...I'm a complete train wreck physically and that begins to take a major toll on me and I am getting really frustrated.

I began working on this post early this afternoon and this is all the further I've gotten nat 9:55pm tonight. Enough said...

Dexter: an expose



One of our most important crew members deserves a post all about him and what he brings to our trip. No, not me, Dexter! People always talk about having to leave their dog with a friend when they go cruising, this is a horrible idea. Dogs are the best companions on a boat, and Dexter brings a certain personality that is hard not to like.


Dexter has a few important roles on the boat.

-  He diffuses any argument. Boats are small places, and there is no escape from the occasional feud. Nothing stops a spat like a dog running around a marina or barking at something outside at anchor. After he shows up in the companion way wit a huge shit eater grin on his face. Just like the other day here at the marina, Jennie and I were watching a movie with dinner, and we just happened to notice Dexter was missing. He wasn't in the cockpit, then we saw him with all the others in the marina at sundowners, his favourite social occasion of the day. How could he resist so many snacks to eat and laps to crush.

-  Dish cleaner: dishes get washed, but things seriously stick to them and when water is in limited supply it become difficult to clean really messy dishes. Dexter does a prewash and then it is just a quick wipe with soap water and bleach and dishes become effortless.

- Clean floors: at least there is no food on our floors for bugs to get into. Anything hits the deck, Dexter is on it. Sometimes he feels he needs to clean the shelves too. We have had a few loaves of bread go missing more than once.

- The best security force money can buy: no one down hear breaks into boats with dogs on them, especially if the dog is a small vicious sounding pitbull.

He has many other small roles, but these sum up the majority of them. He sleeps all day until it is time to go to the beach or sundowners. Offshore he does his business on the deck in heavy seas without complaint, but he hasn't adjusted to a four point stance so he is a bit wobbly up there.



Another fun thing I`d thought I`d add is comments we frequently get about Dexter:

- Is he dangerous: we try to keep up the persona, but as people take the time to know him they find out he is pretty friendly.
- He is way smaller than I thought: Dex is a bit of a mighty mouse
- Your dog just bit my dog: he plays a little rough
- morte! something to do with killing in Spanish we think....
-What a goof
- Your dog just____!!!

Dexter also has gained a few new habits which include: extreme digging, body surfing, coconut killing, oh and new stressor neighbourhood greetings.


We love our dog and he has been a valuable crew member, but we are convinced he feels it is his mandate to break every rule and piss of all non dog lovers in this world.









Four Words That Will Save My Life

This off-season I've had a truly terrible time.

My wife died.

Suzy Ferguson, my beautiful wife of six years, died of cancer on 26th July, 2012.

Inside, I had nothing to be excited about. Nothing to be happy about. I was numb. I had nothing to look forward to.

But four words hit me today that made me excited, happy, and ready to look forward to something again.

COLLEGE. FOOTBALL. IS. BACK.



BLUR



I'm exhausted and going through another one of those bad patches where I haven't really slept more then a few minutes each day. Every minute of each day right now is a blur... I'm just holding on and doing the best I can. Good Night....

Jennie's B-day



Champagne, a deserted tropical beach, rays of sunshine reflecting off turquoise blue caribbean water; not a bad way to finish your third decade on this planet. Now I guess we can't quite claim to be cruisers under 30, unless you average our age. We had a great day on the beach and a wild night at the fundraiser for a fellow cruiser who had to go for a heart valve replacement in his early 40's. The night was full of music and fire dancing, and fuelled by strong drinks. Someone ordered more liquor than mix! We forgot to bring our camera out that night, but we will try to get a few shots from friends.



 look at the white heart on the back of this bug that landed on Jennie and I

 Dexter burying his head in the sand
All to ourselves

The TWEENER


Melancholy Monday would be an apt description of my journey through out this day. I have not been able to gather any kind of enthusiasm or energy to keep things moving along and it feels suspiciously like I'm rafting down a river of molasses as time goes oh so slowly by...

At least I know that I am not dealing with the "Black Dog" (Depression) this evening.....no, this feeling is much less powerful and intense then that. Describing the feeling as melancholy is perfect because that is exactly the way that I feel...half way in between high and low...happy & Sad or cheerful & quiet.

It is a rather unusual spot for me and one I rarely find myself in. I tend to be a person of extremes...I am far more comfortable that way.           
            

Small Minds and Big Mouths Don't Mix

On Friday night, I went out for a couple drinks with some girlfriends. We went to the pub that is just down the street from my house.  It's an old school kind of place, lots of regulars, lots of regular Joe's. Since it's just down the street and a convenient and kind of fun place to go for a beer, I've been a few times and have gotten to know some of the regulars.  Even made some friends.

Sitting at our table Friday night I got up to go to the washroom and was stopped at a table by one such regular whom I am friendly with.  As I was talking to him I heard a conversation take place at his table, not 3 feet from where I was standing.

Now, I've mentioned before that I get a lot of reaction to my tattoos.  Usually it's just people taking a double glance. Often a dirty look. Sometimes looks of disgust.  Some blinking away. Some head shaking.  Sometimes it's shitty service in the big departments stores (I'm looking at you Hudson's Bay Company) by the fussy old broads in the bra department who look down at my arm with their glasses on the ends of their noses, hawk-eyeing what I go in the dressing room with and what I come out with - because people with tattoos steal shit. (For some reason this one happens every time).

Usually though, people think they are being discreet.  And I have grown a thick skin in regards to it.  I get it.  It's not for everyone.  You all have an opinion on it.  And I realize it's somewhat shocking to see a woman with a full sleeve.  I see the reaction and I swallow it.  Ignore.  

But on Friday night while talking to a friend and someone at his table said, "That's one thing I would never do to myself, get tattoos like that"... my ears perked up.

The woman responded with an amazing tirade, speaking as loud as she wanted, with no regard for me whatsoever. 

"Oh I know!  That is disgusting!  Why would someone do that to themselves!? It's just terrible and shameful.  And look at her!  She's young too!"

This is coming from someone sitting at the same table that I was standing at.

I finally turned to her, unable to hold it in any longer and said, "Do you realize that I can hear every word you are saying?"

She said, "Yes and I don't care.  I am entitled to my opinion!"  

I said, "I agree. You most certainly are.  But speaking about someone in such a demeaning way while they are standing right in front of you is incredibly rude!"  

She said, "I can say whatever I want. I'm entitled to my opinion.  And if you're so defensive about your tattoos maybe you shouldn't have gotten them!"

I advised her that this actually has very little to do with my tattoos and much more to do with her very closed mind and very ignorant behaviour.  I told her that there are several things about her appearance that are extremely unappealing to me, however I would not stand here and list them off in front of her because that would be terribly rude - which I am not.  

She kept on about how it was her "right" say whatever she wanted about whoever she wanted and that I shouldn't be so defensive.  I walked away once I had said what I needed to say and she had gone into repetition mode.  

I returned to my table and watched her dig herself into a deeper hole with the people at her table, at one point my friend had a very red face and was halfway across the table "explaining" something to her - at which point she got up and left.  

I stayed and enjoyed a lovely evening with my friends. 

I have to say that I have almost always kept to myself in these sort of situations. I guess I felt that I chose to get a full sleeve tattoo, of course not everyone is going to like it, and it's not usually worth it to say anything to the ignoramuses.  But this time?  It was totally, 100% worth it.  I am a human being, and I was being openly and blatantly attacked and discriminated against and I will NOT stand for that.  

You are certainly free to think whatever you want about me and how disgusting you feel I may look.  But you still need to treat me and anyone else whose appearance offends you with some common human regard. You are most definitely entitled to your opinion, but not everybody is interested in hearing it.  And if it's so closed minded, offensive and hurtful to others, it might be best to just keep your mouth shut.


And just for a frame of reference - this is how disgusting and shameful and offensive I looked this weekend:


All The Difference


I do find myself rather weird cat for the way I get emotional about certain things.  The last couple weeks contain a couple of good examples of that...For instance, I was completely blown off my emotional foundation by the post/picture of the dog of a Cancer victim saying goodbye to his master one last time. That story and image have been seared into my memory and it still really bothers me.

The passing of Neil Armstrong, the first person to ever walk the moon is another example. I was just really affected by his death and I never knew the man. He was a very influential role model to me as a boy...not only did I follow his exploits on TV but I also read countless books and magazine articles that I cut out of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, TIME and NEWSWEEK. I suppose I am just a little surprised at the intensity my reaction to his passing.

Those are some examples of what I mean...I do realize that I am the kind of person that just feels things a bit more intensely then some people do...it is just part of the make-up of who and what I am. And today I can accept that without a hint of hesitation. In the past I would try and hide my true reaction to things because I felt odd or embarrassed about it. I was far too insecure about myself and frankly, I didn't know what I was about anyway. It's different today...I am much more comfortable just being me and boy does THAT make all the difference in the world!

PHOTO: Kathy Tomson

He Flies With The Stars Now...



Neil Armstrong...the very first human being to walk on the Moon has died today and for this star-struck child of the Apollo Space Program it is a Sad, Sad day indeed...

I was obsessed with going to the Moon...what 7 year old boy in July of 1969 wasn't?! We all wanted to ride that gigantic candlestick (The Saturn V Rocket) to the Moon and perhaps beyond. And it all seemed POSSIBLE now because of what these magnificent men of the Apollo, Gemini and Mercury Space Programs did. They fulfilled President John F Kennedy's Promise to put an American on the Moon before the decade of the 1960's was out...and they most certainly did that.



It was all so incredibly exciting, watching mission after mission of men go up and get closer and closer finally ending with a successful landing on the Moon and Armstrong's immortal words: "One small step for Man, One giant leap for Mankind". He was a larger then life figure for boys like myself...a real explorer like Columbus or Lewis & Clark except he lived in our world right now.

Another exciting aspect to Armstrong being the first Man on the Moon was his connection to Purdue University where my Grandfather worked and a great many family members went to school...my father, aunts/uncles and even my son Ian. He would periodically speak at a function at the school so as a young man I actually heard him speak a couple of times on the importance of Space Exploration...something I still feel strongly about today.

He was a very shy and private Man...in addition to serving in the Korean War as a Fighter Pilot in the Navy, he was also first and foremost a scientist in addition to being an astronaut and pilot.

Today our country lost a true LEGEND...one of it's great HEROES. Rest In Peace, Neil.

directions

change comes, ready or not. seasons change, time marches on. it used to be the annual homeschool convention, where we would gather for two summer nights, share a hotel room, shop in the educational vendor hall, eat local ice cream and cupcakes, attend workshops, talk with speakers, see movies, and otherwise plan our school year for the upcoming grades we would be teaching. but somehow, in the blink of an eye, i have found myself no longer a homeschool mom and my heart breaks. well, i still have one in this nest, but she is entirely self-directed, and will likely become a college student in just over 4 short months. our son begins high school here in town next tuesday. and so there are no more annual homeschool conferences to attend, no books to order, no classes to register for, no co-ops to participate in, or lead. there are no field trips to attend, lessons to be taught or graded, teachers to meet with, tests to take, standards to meet; none except for the standards i choose to set while i figure out my new direction, a new normal, different from a life i have led for the past 15+ years. it is time for new schedules, following a different compass, finding a way into unchartered territory without the comfort of friends walking in the same direction. it's a bit scary, actually, the unknown. it will take me time to figure out where i am, not even how i am. i don't know yet, other than fragile.

were it not for the anchoring of friends, i know i would feel like a ship lost at sea. i have to seek out new horizons now, while not forgetting the ports of call i have seen along the way of this journey called life - a homeschool life. it's been so very good, and for it i am so grateful. i wouldn't have changed a thing. 

so life moves us forward and we begin to make new traditions and memories, one wave, one season at a time. for now i will enjoy the memory of this newest of non-homeschool conferences, a recent girls weekend away to the ocean, spent with some of the best women in my life. my life is better because of them and their buoy of support over the years. i hope i have given the same, and that our paths continue to intermingle, no matter which road we may take, in one of the greatest of all experiences: friendship.
 

Tears Of Shattered Glass


It was very strange of me and totally unexpected. Early this morning I was online doing some blog-work as I often do in the wee hours of the day when the image of the woman with Cancer I posted in a blog-post Aileen popped up on my screen. There she was, obviously unconscious with her dog Jethro licking her face. I became overwhelmed by the sight of it and the thought:"Now that she has died...who is gonna take care of Jethro?" That realization and question just devastated me and I'm not sure why. But the thought of that poor dog going on without his owner broke my heart.

I know I'm intense...I know this subject (Cancer) pushes ALL of my emotional and psychological buttons yet I'm still shocked that I feel as moved as I do.I just feel a sense of abandonement for the dog.

Sad, Melancholy Day In The Fight Against Cancer


Today I'll try to get off the heavier then normal focus of my recent blog posts. It is just that the whole Cancer subject wounds me deeply...my first experience was burying a friend who wasn't even 30 years old. She had fought tooth and nail to rid her body of the Cancer in a 3 year fight, spent a year in remission and then the BASTARD (Cancer) came back and within 3 weeks she was dead.

I guess I didn't do a very good job getting off writing about all the  "heavy stuff" did I?! Sorry...there is just too much emotion in me this morning concerning this stuff...it will be all I can do to keep turning it over to GOD to keep me from exploding...Next to RAPE and it's consequences....nothing get's me as emotionally wound tight as Cancer. Those two subjects, (both have affected me personally) bring out the rage in me faster then any other subject WITHOUT FAIL!

And now...with the latest move by Lance Armstrong to stop fighting (read statement) USADA's (United States Anti-Doping Agency) unfair and unprecedented attack against him, he will now be labeled a drug cheat. This absolutely breaks my heart. This case is way to complex to begin discussing it HERE this morning but I truly believe it is a witch hunt, even a judge said that even though he does not have jurisdiction to rule that ASADA has deliberately targeted Armstrong, years after the time limit expired. And frankly even is he did dope back then, though out of thousand of drug tests he never failed a one, he would have only been doing what everyone else was then so it would not have been an advantage.

You're probably wondering what this has to do with this post on Cancer...well this Charade by ASADA has taken Lance away from work on LIVESTRONG, his foundation that truly FIGHTS CANCER. Now perhaps he can re-focus on what's most important to him now...The fight against this horrid disease.

Marina Life


So now that we have had Cypraea at Red Frog Marina, we are starting to see the problem that comes with easy access to the shore, electricity, and security. We are feeling like we are living in a trailer park, the gossip, the drama, the problems we thought we left behind.

First off we are staying in a marina which is fifty cents a foot per month more expensive than the other two marinas, but after add ons it comes to about the same price per month. We are not in easy access to town, but we get a few shuttles in per week. The showers are old and dilapitated and full of bugs, but new ones that have been 4 years in the making should be done in a week or so. New building, no bugs, but not without it's fair price in drama. The real issue with our marina is, why is it half empty and only has 5 boats of livabords while the other marinas are completely full of boats and people. Red frog it seems likes to kick people out and brown nose to super yachts that stay for a day, from a business sense it is stupid, but at least we get a nice quiet marina only a few miles from one of the nicest beaches in the Caribbean. Management is a bit messed and the fact that one of the resort owners was poisoning dogs around the beach restauraunt doesn't help. Dexter loves the fact that he is the only dog in the marina and has access to beach walks everyday. Plus we don't have any neighbours. So as you can see, lots of drama. This usually means it is time to leave, but we have boat projects to work on and parts to wait for. We'll just have to keep our heads down.

So Jennie and I are enjoying the beach and trying to get small projects done. our first order from Florida came in and now we wait for our wind generator mast and new macerator pump. Oh yeah that important pump is on the fritz. Hopefully we get some time inland, and then over to the San Blas once the lightning calms down in October. Our original plans are a bit more up in the air now. Stay tuned and I will try to get a few more posts up, but life is slow right now, which is perfect.

A Change Of Perception


I left yesterday with a post I wish I never had to see...let alone write and be a part of. It began with a picture of a hospice patient, obviously gravely ill lying in her bed with but hours to live. The woman's brother had brought her dog Jethro from home to see his owner one last time before she died.

On one hand there obviously is something incredibly tragic about this picture of a beloved pet dog saying a final goodbye to his 46 year old owner...yes...Aileen was but 46 years old...4 years younger then I am. She was way too young to die but Cancer is no respecter of age or race or gender...IT KILLS indiscriminately.


But in a strange yet subtle way there is something incredibly poignant about that picture and scenario. It is not only a testament to the incredible will to live some people have (just looking at Aileen one can see she has put up a gallant fight she has put up, right down to the FUCK CANCER Bracelet on her right arm).


So today instead of wallowing in sorrow...I look to the Heaven's with a BIG smile for Aileen...you fought the good fight, your brother and your family have taken your cause up from you and fight on in this terrible, heartbreaking WAR against this awful disease. But today...because of your picture I can see hope and BE hopeful that the day when they find a way to win this war is shortly at hand.

Aileen & Jethro...Broken Heart


I was not always a great fan of FaceBook. No...My first impressions were basically that it was a massive waste of time. But I have since discovered many positive things about it and actually give FB some credit for helping me break the chains of isolation. But that is not what I am writing about tonight and I'll leave THAT great story for another time.

Early this morning had a post come across that literally took my breath away and proceeded to break my heart. It was a picture (Above) of a woman and we know this only because we are told. She is so ravaged by illness (Cancer) that it's impossible to know by looking at her.

The woman is lying in a bed at Hospice and her Dog is half on the bed licking her face. We find out through the text of the story that the woman's name is Aileen and that is her dog Jethro. He is saying goodbye to her because within minutes after this photo was taken by her broken hearted brother Miles, Aileen dies after a long, tough fight against the Breast Cancer that eventually killed her.

The author of this post is Mile's girlfriend Xeni, who goes on to explain that Miles and Aileen both lost their mother a few weeks after finding out that Xeni too has Breast Cancer as well. 

The stark hard facts of reality in this scenario leave very little room for HOPE when it comes to this HORRIBLE disease...I was stunned by the implications I saw in this post....potentially the 3 woman closest to Miles (Mother, Sister, Girlfriend) dead in the very prime of their lives thanks to that Angel of DEATH called CANCER. Aileen, whose hand is pictured above in the hands of her brother Miles.....was only 46 years old.

Differing Discipline

Being the main disciplinarian in our house is not easy. I often feel like I’m the bad guy, the hard ass, the meanie. Steve and I have had many, many arguments over discipline. He thinks I’m too harsh, I think he’s (way) too soft. During or after disciplining one of my kids, Steve will give me sour looks and stop speaking to me. He loves the kids more than anything (as do I) and feels that disciplining them might hurt their feelings and he doesn’t want them to ever have any sort of discomfort or unpleasant feelings under his charge. He would rather ask them politely to stop doing whatever undesirable act they are doing over and over and over again until they actually just get tired of doing it and then stop on their own, rather than to raise his voice (it might hurt their feelings), take away whatever item they are misusing (it might make them cry) or heaven forbid physically remove them from the situation (Child abuse! Child abuse!).

Ruby please don’t do that. Please stop. Ruby? Please stop doing that. Ruby, Daddy wants you to stop doing that now, ok? Ruby. Ruby? Please, don’t sweetie….

I, on the other hand, feel that having structure and discipline is essential to raising responsible, respectable, polite, aware human beings. As much as it really sucks being the person who always has to lay the smack down, it’s a role I am willing to fill because it’s important. I truly don’t care for being the lone wolf disciplinarian as I am always the meanie, the one who wrecks everyone's fun, the asshole.  And although I have thick skin and know that what I’m doing is right, I myself suffer from hurt feelings sometimes and have felt my heart break a hundred thousand times (yes, it hurts me more than it hurts them sometimes). But if both my husband and I parented the same way, our kids would be raging wildebeests with no manners and no respect for anyone. We would also never get invited anywhere and would be banned from public places because we would be the people with “those kids”.

Last night started out as one of “those” nights. I set everyone’s dinner in front of them at the dinner table and sat down to eat. Everyone started eating except Ruby. She looked at her plate and started whining and said she didn’t want to eat. She cajoled poor Lincoln into getting down from the table and fetching her toys. She started making a tower on the table, with her toys and her food. I then had the toys taken away. She started crying and whining. We tried ignoring her. I tried discussing the situation with her. Still she wouldn’t eat and her mood was quickly deteriorating. She then said something very inappropriate (which I shall not repeat) and I sternly let her know that we don’t say such things, at which point she burst into tears and went hysterical. Crying, screaming, pretending to choke. This went on and on. (All the while Steve sat quietly, eating his dinner.) She started getting very theatrical and was putting on quite the obnoxious little show. Finally I told her she had to the count of 3 to stop with the theatrics or she would need to go to her room until she could settle down so the rest of us could enjoy our meal. 3 came and she dialed it up a notch with louder screaming, pretend choking and crying.

As I was carrying her to her room she was thrashing and kicking and swinging at me. I plopped her on her bed which you might think was covered in thumb tacks as she let out a guttural scream and then really lit it up.

I walked out of her room. Shut the door and went back to the dinner table.

Seconds later I heard her bedroom door open and she screamed, “MOMMY! I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE!!!”, then SLAMMED her door. I looked at Steve. He looked at me. She must have liked the rush that gave her because before I had a chance to process it she did it again, “MOMMY!!! I DON’T LOVE YOUUUUUU!!!” and then SLAM!

At that point, something happened that I have no recollection of having ever happening before… Steve rose from the dinner table. (I assumed he was going to get more dinner.) He walked with a purpose down the hall to Ruby’s room and went inside. Then it was quiet.

Several minutes later I heard her bedroom door open. She walked into the kitchen and came and stood in front of me and said, “I’m sorry, Mommy. I love you.” And then she gave me a kiss.

She then sat at the table and proceeded to eat her ENTIRE dinner. Quietly and without a word of protest.

I sat in silence, my mouth slack and hanging open in awe, looking back and forth between her and her father.

I mouthed to Steve, “What did you say?” He just waved his hand and shook his head. (We try not to rehash these incidents in front of the kids.)

A few minutes later when she was finishing up her dinner and I was still staring in amazement, I asked him again, “Ok what is your technique? Fill me in.” He said, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll talk to you later.”

The opportunity to talk about it later never did come. And for the remainder of the night, Ruby had her bath without protest and then sat quietly on the couch and watched a bit of TV before going to bed without a fight.

I don’t know what exactly was said to her but the fact that he took charge and had her come to me and apologize for her behavior is a really, really big deal. I can tell you that rarely, if ever, happens and it meant the world to me. He may not have the same tactics and techniques as I have, but that is totally ok with me if he is getting the job done. If he has some soft, gentle, baby-whispering way of making her do the right thing, then all the power to him and I back him up 100%.

Now if only I could figure out what he bribed her with…

Winged FIRE-BALL


I'll make a little confession here. I am posting this more because I have a really cool picture to share then I have anything really important to say. 

This little bugger reminds me of myself during the "Cocaine Days"...I was like a ball of continuous, intense energy and that is exactly what this Hummingbird looks like except with little wings going a million miles per hour!

I think the reason I like this picture so much is that the photographer, my friend Kathy Tomson...does such a wonderful job capturing not only the motion of her subject but the overall intensity and determination of that little winged fireball to LIVE...not an easy feet at ALL BUT SHE SUCCEEDS!

INVERTED Is Not Upside-Down


I'm sure it would not surprise anyone who knows me or my story that throughout my journey from active addiction to a life of recovery I have been through many different kinds of moods and emotional upheaval. It just logically comes with the territory. I would dare say there isn't an emotion or combination of emotions that I have not felt at some time in the last 6.5 years of sobriety.

But I can't really ever recall feeling like I have been lately. I typically feel every emotion to it's very core...I feel things "heavily" that is to the very deepest denominator. I've really always been that way and wouldn't really know any other way to approach life except head on, full bore, damn the torpedoes, etc, etc..

But as of late I have not felt things that way and it is really rather odd. There are moments that I can just barely register an emotion or a reaction to what's happening right then....I'm not even certain I am feeling or thinking anything at all. This definitely has not ever happened to me before. On the contrary I was ALWAYS on the verge of being over-whelmed or swept away by my own emotional intensity so NOT feeling something is tantamount  to having my world inverted....and for the last couple of days that is the way I've felt...like a stranger in a real strange world.

I feel emotionally blind-folded in a way yet there is part of me that gets a strange sensation of freedom...of experiencing free flight that I am at loss to explain it except to say it's rather pleasant and  oddly I am at home with it.   

At first I suspected fatigue but I have had periods in the last few months where fatigue has been much more of an issue then it is today. So I'm not really sure where this has come from though I think the calm feeling of freedom I'm experiencing is serenity and peace of mind. Those are definitely not normal everyday feelings for me..but I could certainly get used to it!