ellensagh

20. Envisioning With Love

Journal # 96 January 2008 – February 2010

Two months after moving in with Wes, we talk about having a celebration of us; maybe in the spring. In the meantime, I’m mostly packed for Columbia and just about finished planning Wes’s birthday celebration. He’s got curling and hockey going on this winter, so enjoys his life which is awesome. I’m into yoga; spending time being gramma, the kids and friends.

Wes is off to Thailand with golf buddies and I to Columbia and Peru with women friends from Feb 7-28,2008. When I’m back, I’m tired but overflowing with gratitude, heart opening, with peace, love and I’d call it a deepening. I spent the next month organizing a ninety seventh birthday gathering for my aunt in Prairietown where I played the musical gatherings. That brought up grieving to do with Dad; death, life, moving on; changing houses.

Sitting in the sun; doing income tax. Yuck. April comes and goes. May hit and I’m in grief again; this time missing Mom. Such transformation still happening. Know am still getting used to being a couple. Someone asks about a wedding again and when I respond with my usual; “what would it change?” this time the response was “well then Wes would be family.”

I answer, “He is family.”

You’d think that settles it; but know inside I still question, “Does he want me?” Then I go into “Do I Matter.?” Self-importance is the issue.

Exciting to start the golf season again. I get a thirty eight at a par three course. Looking at golf shoes. I join a bigger course again with women friends from work. Closest to the pin and I win a hanging basket of flowers. Right on! Want to make sure I have time for my kids and enough time being gramma. Like I want to be with them more; want to feel needed, important; that they want to spend time with me. This back to me thoughts drives me buggy.

Went back into left sided body pain; grief; telling Wes how much it bothers me seeing in the paper where a young man asks his parents for help has me crying. It’s me not knowing how to help when the kids are struggling. I still have the belief that caring makes the difference, but how to care differently? It’s Pride week and went to an, “ It’s so gay bingo” with my son. Won a gift certificate to Positive Passions ;Saskatoon’s newest sexuality store.

Applied to be a United Way Loaned Representative from August to December 2008. In June found out I was accepted and went into some deep down tough space, crying lots; something about family; about fear, about trying to recapture something that is gone; will never be again, not feeling the closeness to my kids I want to; not feeling connected to anyone, anything. A poem comes:

Attempting oneness

Healing the hurt

Allowing the pain

Living side by side

Together again

Masculine and feminine

Tried so hard

To do what’s right

Always on guard

Can relax now

Let go of the hold

Step out silently

Be ever so bold

Listening in the shadows

At the break of day

Softly silently

Prayers we say

Put out the fires

Fasting long gone

Listening inside

Is how we’ve won

The battle is over

Now just tossed

In a sea of emotion

Triumph lost

Love is the way

Living listening

Allowing my say.

June 23, 2008

Living on love

Biding my time

Getting to know

What’s me and mine

Giving me love

Gaining my trust

Trying to find

A deeper connection

To the divine

In me it’s said

If truth be told

Is love so deep

We can be bold

Allow the love

To come pouring through

It’s one up against

Me and you

Division awaits

Finding the key

The distress inside

Is all about me

Healing the past

The pain within

Saying good-bye

Again and again

Disturbed, distorted

Challenging the deep

Finding the demons

Instead of sleep

There are no demons

Only beliefs

Struggling to surface

And get relief

Letting them go

They’ve served their purpose

Feels like something

Dreadful inside

Learning to trust again.

June 23, 2008

Back went into spasms. Something has a hold of me. Clutching at my back. The past and it’s claws of memory. Silently screaming and now not so silent my body gives my answers to me. Sleeping forever silently screaming. Awake now Silent no longer Desperate to be. What am I denying, what am I destroying, when can I surrender; what would it take to love me; to listen inside, to do differently, to surrender, to free the energy, to force, to call my name, to heal my pain, to get me back, to reclaim and reframe. Listen children to my story, the honeymoon is over. The darkness descends.

Stayed home from work half a day and during it went to the Sexual Assault Center. Had an experience of scarring, wounding, Three circles of red scarring on my left arm came and went. Talked to the woman at the centre about it and about my poems. She saw them as profound, channeling the divine; asking if I have claimed the authority of the divine within.

Hate when I don’t understand something; feel inept. What is going on? Do I want to be perfect, superior? Better than others? Not good enough feelings again. Still scared if I cry too much, Wes won’t want me, same at work; plan to go to the sexual assault center at lunch. No one knows how I live, what I go through, feel like I complain all the time, hate that the past still affects me. Seeing auras around my living room pictures. What is the bigger picture here? The only person I’m seeing auras around these days is my friend who lives at the house I still own. Why does she go through such rough times, always in the pain? I escape it sometimes.

The friends who had signed up for golf with me did not show so golfed the par three by myself with an orange ball, white ball and pink ball. A thirty nine, a thirty five and thirty eight.

Mid August is my last day as an injury representative at the insurance company until the end of December 2008 because I’m going to the United Way.

The first month and a half as the loaned representative was a whirlwind. I had no idea what I was getting in to. The first week, I was assigned a $73,000 fund raising goal and the staff of United Way were going to show me how I would accomplish. Each of us ten representatives who had been loaned out from businesses or corporations took on a different sector of life in the city.. Some were taking on mining corporations or banks , the city or the university. I was given social service agencies based on my background.

Immediately, we made up fund raising kits. It was my job to take those kits to the staff of the thirty two social service agencies. Each of those places not only receive funds from United Way; but the staff and myself were to raise the $73,000 of the $ 4 million 2008 United Way goal. I was the go between and helper to get it done. All was a blur but an exciting one.

I did have the in the right place at the right time feeling as I found it all easy; an in the flow feeling. I kept winning prizes not at the work at the United Way although I won something there but was winning wherever I went. By November fifteenth, I had won eleven prizes; and to me, not small ones either. A camera, a necklace, and a $250.00 charitable donation in my name, One was a day off with pay from my government workplace for some giving I had done previous to this.

The months flew by and when I went back to my workplace, felt like back to the grind but with a new attitude. I had met the goal. We had exceeded it actually. Over $75,000.00 had been raised by those thirty two agencies with my assistance.

My work evaluation always took place in December and it went well. I was asked to take on more responsibility with things like approving payments and to be a mediation representative for the insurance company in addition to my regular work roles.

In November that year, I wrote an advocate letter from myself to my aunt’s doctor asking that she be moved from the private care home she was in to a senior’s facility where she would have activity and friendship. The following letter shows my reasoning:

“Dear Doctor:

Regarding my aunt’s placement in a nursing home.

I, being her goddaughter would like placement to increased care; as soon as possible due to concern for her emotional state. Since May of 2008 she has reported to me and many others more than ten incidents of stealing: ex: clothes, jewelry, handkerchiefs, scissors.

She has no trust of what her caregivers will do and is in a constant state of high anxiety. I know this from my near daily telephone calls. This is foreign to her previous life; and she is now ninety-seven years of age. She wants to live at the local senior citizen’s villa when she can get in. She knows she may need to go to another nursing home or respite until there is a room available.

She does not want medication.

She has given all her clothes; save two blouses and two slacks to nieces until she can move somewhere else for fear they will be stolen. My sisters and I insisted she keep five blouses; and when I was visiting her this past Friday; she took three of them out of the sleeve of her winter coat showing her constant fear of theft.

It is my understanding that a doctor visit is necessary to receive immediate respite until placement is available. In my last phone call to her daughter in law, she agreed that the private care home is no longer appropriate for her.

I believe the activity of a nursing home is required for my aunt’s health as the move to the private care home has her missing all she knew such as the following:

-no family or friends are near (she had been very active in her last community housing situation in Prairietown and I do believe would be again in a nursing home.)

-no spirituality; where she was in Prairietown she went to Mass weekly and had daily mass on TV; which is now not happening in the private care home.

My aunt knows I am writing to you and is praying we get her a new home.

Please consider her for immediate placement for mental, emotional, and spiritual reasons. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Sharon Speaks, niece and goddaughter

Cc: assessment nurse; her son & daughter in law”

Other areas of life had to be attended as well. That month my friend left the basement suite rental of my house. I used Kijii for the first time; and think I found an awesome young man who will rent.

Went through Christmas and the excesses of presents, food and drink. January was quite nice in that Wes and I would meet each other walking. I’d walk half way home from work and he would walk half way from our place and we’d meet in the middle. The whole trip was an hour and five minutes. Got us in shape for our trip to the other side of the world, namely Thailand from February 3-March 3, 2009

Night before we left, I’m awake at one am; remembering to cancel paper which Wes did at five am. He is looking for sunglasses pouch as taxi arrives. Leave Saskatoon at 7:15 am and arrive over snow capped mountain sunrise at Vancouver at 7:20 am.

Gate 66;Air China has a two hour delay; but by three pm we are off; five hundred and twenty five mph and we’re soon over Anchorage Alaska. It’s minus seventy three below outside the aircraft. The plane revving up over the ocean is not really reassuring. The crew call us aliens as they hand us immigration papers for the six pm arrival in Beijing. It’s dark. We have a beer; it says no formaldehyde in it.

Not long after, we are in Bangkok and it is plus thirty two degrees. Taxi to pre-arranged Kozan Road; and find we had booked hotel for night before as we had not caught on to the time change being a day difference. It is one am their time. We are out on the street without the biggest luggage ( thank goodness the hotel said they’d keep them), and it’s like a Broadway Fringe; only five times busier; but by two am a taxi has found us a lovely room with breakfast at Golden Horse Hotel.

Before we left the hotel who agreed to holding our golf bag, we booked the next two nights so in the morning went for a two hour walk; then took a tuk tuk ride (motorcycle with cart) back to the D & D hotel on Kozan road. Lay by the rooftop pool.

A city tour showed us the Grand Palace with the Emerald Buddha mostly made out of plaster but now some broken. The royal family is big in this city. They love their King who is now eighty one years; the longest reigning monarch in the world. Pictures of him are all over city and country. Today includes a river tour on a long boat. We watch as tugs go through this canal that has lily pads with flowers all around. We see houses on stilts alongside the water, many with wash on the line. The guide gives me buns to feed the catfish and then there are trees of pink flowers; banana and palm trees to enjoy. We stop to see the Buddha’s Ashes Temple.

This is definitely a Buddhist country. Bangkok’s landmark is next, called Temple of the Dawn; as if made of porcelain. We walk up narrow steps; very high. Wes’s quads go pins and needles. We are then on to a ferry; cross a wharf; have an outside floating buffet lunch on this five hundred km river, the longest river in Thailand. I like the light food of fresh pineapple and a papaya salad. We see the Reclining Buddha temple with it’s one thousand tons of cement covered in gold paint.

Temples called Wats are everywhere. They are the parking lots. There are seven to ten million people here. We drink lots of Singha (their beer) and water. The beds are hard but huge. The goldfish in hotel grounds bigger than jackfish. They hand us toilet tissue napkins at lunch. Heat isn’t too bad. Hair doesn’t stick.

I see crows, pigeons, song birds, skinny cats and Thai silk. The banyan tree is sacred wrapped in colored cloths in lots of places. People buy flowers or something as prayer symbols to keep in homes and cars. Everywhere seems to do with sacred; such as continually see people giving alms.

We get into our Sunday stroll going against the flow of temple goers who are buying eggs, bacon and flowers for on offering to the poor. Also on our walk, seeing made to measure Armani suits with tailors everywhere as well as so many currency exchange places. The internet places allow us to let everyone know all is well.

We note each time we leave the hotel room, when we take the key out of the socket,all lights and air conditioning shut off.

By next day Wes states, “I am Bangkoked out.” We take a one hour taxi ride to a different area of city which costs 150 Baht (30 baht about a $1.00 Canadian.) My sightings: mothers on motorcycles with helmets; kid’s not. The elephant on the street does it’s owner’s bidding. When asked, I would not buy trapped birds to fly free for luck but saw lots do it. An elephant’s trunk comes within a foot of my fish and chips at the British Pub on #4 Sukamvet Road. I would call this Thailand’s dark side as saw hundreds of white men on bar stools. Locals said they are waiting for the right Thai woman; could be baby in tow or not.

I also saw a shopping market; most cosmopolitan I’ve seen; more so than Ireland and I was impressed there. Here a Prada store is like a huge bank building.

Notice my hair and skin so soft after only couple of days. No one walks around here with a mug of coffee. No coffee in hotel rooms. People don’t look buzzed; but a quarter cup of coffee there equals four of ours for strong coffee. See freeway on top of freeway.

BUS TO HUA HIN; a city where it states fifty thousand population; summer home of royal family. No bathroom on bus and I had to go before I got on. This is not fun. Heading for the country. Everywhere retail; lots of construction. Shanty town; then upscale car dealership; tin roof house; top end landscaped; condominium development; garbage dump lot; palm trees; sugar cane fields; an A & W; electrical wires everywhere; glass topped fence barricades; warehouse factories; sweatshops; shrimp farm; salt farm where wheelbarrows of salt being pushed around; so much physical work happens here. Four hour bus ride; two hours in; happy to see a squat toilet.

So happy. Arrive. Have a walk along the China Sea. We are in a deluxe hotel; swimming pool outside our room; palm trees reflected in the water. A glass of wine; a full moon; a seafood restaurant out over the ocean. How nice is this!

Every day pleasant. Walks along the beach for miles. Sunrise. Crescendo of howling dogs during the night. We had a wonderful meal for about 120 baht; then a Hagen Daus store charged $5.80 U.S for tea and dessert. What? We called it our Date Night. The majority of white people are European tourists; mostly from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway. I am always shocked when English doesn’t come out from a white person. Fire truck comes down the street at seven pm; two guys with hoses waters the street; four scrubbers scrub it down. The next morning, we walk about eight to ten blocks to the Royal Hua Hin golf course; oldest course in Thailand with stately,old, huge trees. Wes is on the tee box and there are at least three monkeys with their babies swinging behind him. Women water the fairways and greens by hand. They pick the weeks by hand. We each had a caddy and golfed with a Peter from Germany.

We have a six to seven kilometre walk down the beach to find the Buddhist monastery or retreat type center. Wes feeds the fat cats. The donation box asks for that. That afternoon we move to the cheaper Jed Pee Nong Hotel. We swim in the shade of the pool hottest part of the day; and thankfully our balcony is in the shade. I love listening to the songbirds. We are so enjoying the warmth and humidity. It doesn’t seem real hot. Notice the hot water comes from roof top tanks. We don’t wait until four to have a beer which goes down good. Coffee costs more than a beer.

Last night see a yellow shirt gathering during our walk to and through the night market. Dinner of yellow chicken curry; morning glory stir fry in oyster sauce; shrimp with garlic and peppers. Watched a woman stir fry pad tai with mussels outside in open air. Thousands of retail establishments are street side, sidewalk businesses. The vendors remind of us of the Broadway Fringe again; only so many more. Motorcycles everywhere. Sign in our hotel says, “Taxi service everywhere.” Eating oranges, mango and pineapple. Been here ten days .and have our first western meal. Lasagna with spaghetti; in retrospect, we’d both rather Thai and it would have been five times cheaper.

Every day and evening balmy and beautiful. Wes loves it. I have a skin irritation going on; ankles; knees; elbows wrist areas. Probably heat rash. One hour songtow ride which was a man on a bike with a little carriage driving us all over the town. To the pier; new streets; night market; Thai market; beach; wharf; railway station; Thai silk show room. Note that we see motorcycle mailmen and find out that McDonald’s sponsors the traffic policeman’s uniforms.

Go try on swimsuits. Booked tomorrow’s golf tour. Wes goes for a first beach walk alone. I golf better after Thai massage. On beach, horses with shiny coats give rides. Did buy little gold bikini. Two weeks here and have only heard English twice; a woman at golf course said she was from England and the English man visiting from Spain talked to us on the street. Women maids wash the outside of the hotel room doors. The rooms are clean. Decide to stay in same hotel another week. I used the internet and Wes went to driving range. I read. We walked through the manicured, Victorian style, landscaped gardens of the oldest hotel here; and then across the street see the biggest rat on our way to dinner. Romantic garden. Easy listening music. Server spoke English and we were able to ask for not too spicy.

Can see stars from our balcony. Haven’t heard a plane. Have not seen a microwave. Bought antiseptic cream as hands are like itchy hives or something. Ocean is warmer than the pool. I have a pedicure. Wes has a manicure. Today saw live jellyfish. We both are enjoying ocean and our new bathing suits. No government programs here; no pensions. No occupational health and safety; no goggles for welding; no hard hats; and the shoes are flip flops or bare feet. Our golfing van arrives. Leather seats. First time in a vehicle in ten days. To Springfield Golf & Country Club. Palm trees; blue birds, herons; birds with tails; lush fairways. For a second, I thought I had a birdie. Some areas off the fairway look like farming country. I say, “I could buy a lot here”, and Wes says, “Maybe the beach.”

Some guy recognizes we are from Canada. Wes and he know the same people from their past. The ride home: see cows with long floppy elephant type ears being herded down the road. Pineapple, banana, mango and rice fields. Sunset. I have quit drinking singha beer and coffee. Found an internet. Printed off tickets for home. Broke glasses by laying on them. Afternoon nap. SASI Dinner Theatre; show starts and our camera is out of memory. Wes and I up doing the pole dance; a traditional Thai dance. Next day we go to Black Mountain Golf Course; second best course in Asia; having PGA in March. Wow, it was nice! Course deluxe. Jacuzzi in women’s locker room. Caddie says, “Madam NO Bunker NO Madam; oh, Never mind.” Chi, a Thai businessman in real estate/finance and Leonard; from Austria, are out there with us as well as each of us having a caddie.

Our walks we note: colorful buses; even dump trucks painted; pink taxis; we watch for rats; teak doors as we tour beach golf villas; studio suites overlooking ocean; deluxe; superior. I thought I saw a microwave; was a safe. Could not tour the palace; not dressed appropriately. Orange & pineapple juice; ranged from twenty, thirty three and up to forty five cents Canadian. Incredible dinner overlooking the ocean. Awesome deep fried fish, largest deep fried prawn in tamarind sauce with papaya salad. There was too hot a chile pepper but the ten raw oysters with all kinds of sauces made up for it. We ended with a Thai dessert like stewed apricots on ice. Evening patrons appeared to be Thai families and mostly couples. Heineken beer works for me. Wes does not have any problems with beer.

To the Banyan Golf & Country Club for a ten am tee time; it’s the day after their grand opening. Carts only. Bougainvillea flowers and pineapple are the landscaping. Deluxe locker rooms. $6500 Baht for 2 with rental clubs and carts $500. for the caddies. About $115. Canadian each. This golf course built with people from Finland’s money. The Black Mountain Golf Club had been Swedish money. Now have seen two planes go over. Another seafood dinner; brownie cheesecake for dessert. There is lots of traffic but have not seen accidents; heard three sirens and one car security alarm in nearly three weeks.

Bought my first pair of sunglasses. Wes found some fold up readers at a Canadian Parka store where parkas sold for $120 Canadian. Replaced my readers. Gin and tonic nightcap at Admiral’s Den with sail whooshing back and forth above our heads. End of another beautiful day together. Loving being together whether it be golf, beach, pool, walk, dinner, drinks or relaxing. I have had non stop vivid foreign dreams since I got here.

Morning walks along the fishing pier with people fishing from shore and dried fish laying on screens in the sun. The fishing boats; some look like house boats; but most small ones are unloading from being out all night; then reloading with ice and heading out again. Crew are young guys in their twenties. At night, their lights dot the ocean.

Sitting shaded by beach palm trees, I note all the vendors; vested horse riders that say volunteer police; sarongs looking like Thai silk bedspreads; vendor with an ice cream cooler; menu in hand; then a manicurist going by; others with pineapple, corn; eggs; peanuts, papaya and mango; they will make a salad for you. Or sports if you want; jet skis with banana boat or go kite surfing. Last night we saw eighteen to twenty colorful ones up at once. Right now there are two women massaging an Asian man beside us; one has white cream on her face. The workmen here have toques with only eyes showing at booths along the street where they are selling head scarves, little brooms, shells, fans. Bags, beach blankets, skirts, shirts, sun dresses, beach cover ups, donuts or pastries. They’ve got you covered.

FOUR HOUR RIDE TO TROPICAL ISLAND KOH SAMET FEB 23,2009.

Leaving Bangkok, taxi through some areas so lush; so beautiful seeing humungous bridges that let ships into the city. There are also little trucks with boxes full of people. See a three headed elephant sculpture. Lots of traffic but not chaotic. Saw one incident. Would not call it an accident; truck pulled too close to ditch and tipped. Balanced speed and driving. Four freeways top one another. A toll booth; none of us can read how much. Warehouses as big as city blocks between Bangkok and Pattaya; $3500 for taxi.

Taxi driver lost so saw some different routes. Could not find Ban Phe where we were to get boat to take us to the island. Finally did. Paid $1600 for ticket at pier and two young guys grabbed Bob’s golf bag; another his back pack; both were going different ways so scary for a few seconds until we see them going down a gang plank to the biggest speed boat. Seconds later we are bouncing to the island. Taxi driver and his mother were standing their waving from the dock. I’m trying to take a picture and put on sunscreen. Crazy! High speed ride out into the ocean holding on for life; and talk about life; life jackets non existent. Man across from me has a pail of flopping fish. Go flying in towards the beach; anchor goes down; boat turns around and I have to take my shoes off; step into knee deep water and walk out of the ocean to the beach.

TUB TIMS; some say a gay friendly beach resort on this island paradise. I don’t notice. We head to a bungalow with bed, overhead fan; shower; screens on windows and doors; $600.00 Baht a night; about $20.00 Candadian. White sand beaches. Guide book says best sand for glass blowing. Breakfast next day say I want cornflakes, milk and a plate of fruit. It all comes together. In the same bowl. Mouth wateringly good. Pineapple, papaya, watermelon and banana. Our whole trip, Wes and I could not explain we wanted two cups with one tea bag and an extra hot water.

First time meeting and speaking with English speaking people about round the world events, since leaving Canada three weeks ago. We meet Karrie; a whale watching tour owner from Australia, Richard, an interior designer from the Hague; Doe, a nurse from Holland, Cassandra, a teacher from New Zealand and Gordon from England who is with BBC. They are all in the forty to fifty age group; have come there for years. Wes’ brother was with us for five days; one who knows much about the world and this island from years of traveling.

Seafood extravaganza everyday; a little too spicy for my nose and eyes but makes the wine taste better. Our dinner table on the sand each night by candlelight under the stars with ocean waves lapping the shore by our feet make up for it.

Mornings similar; dogs barking; roosters crowing; cicadas like tree frogs – loudest cricket noise you ever heard. They came about our second or third morning; and we’re told they transform the jungle foliage. Flowers of every color assail our senses as we walk to the breakfast table. Massage is $200. baht; about $6.80 C. The people serving us work from 6 am- 10 pm; 2 hours off in the afternoon; receive their food and some their accommodation. The fifteen and sixteen year old guys who serve us; look eight and ten. Physical shape of workers is incredible as all is physical. They are strong.

Fresh water is delivered to the island by boat and pumped ashore. Everything comes from the mainland; food, transportation, lumber, even the ice. Navy brought in a backhoe and truck to build a road and upgrade the reservoir; which they told us was the biggest excitement they had seen in a long time. We spent days of long walks along the beach through sand fluff beaches and another to other side of island, seeing the pier for ferries and fishing boats. The village had an internet. I watched motorcycles fill up at two barrels with a pump on top. We talked to a woman named Uget from Montreal. Another high point: the walk to the reservoir and then to Au Pocha Bay known for Sunset viewpoint. We continued the seafood each day; mussels; scallops; hot spicy dishes we could hardly eat; panang peanut chicken; vegetable and sticky rice.

At night, we see young women writing messages on paper lanterns; then lighting them and sending them off into the sky. We took one long walk one day from one end to the other of the island. It took three hours; was extremely difficult in places; comparable to my Peru experience. We were not prepared for this one. I was in flip flops; great slabs of rocks; felt like a monkey; holding on to trees, coral everywhere on isolated beaches. Most deluxe resort I’ve ever seen was hidden in trees; a helicopter ride in would be the access.

Thank goodness we agree to return by taxi. Sand like powder on the road; with rocks that feel like will cut feet. When truck takes off with us sitting in the open back, we are covered in fine dust. Road unlike anything we have ever seen; potholes in Saskatchewan aren’t bad. Gave him a Saskatchewan pin and the $400; best $400 Baht we spent.

Afternoon naps. Heineken. Swims in the ocean. Don’t need snorkel; up to my head; I can see my feet; and all else in there. Can have all the fresh pineapple I want. All kinds of birds, squirrels and geckos. A dog with eight pups who could not crawl when we first saw them are now in the exploring stage. Fun to watch.

Wes did a little money laundering one afternoon there in that he had a swim in the ocean with about $10000. Baht. Could have been ugly. It dried. The cabin key hadn’t been lost as we thought. It was sitting in the lock outside our bungalow. I guess we are relaxed.

Saw my first cicada. Have been hearing them. Amazing amount of noise they make. At night; young people gather them in jars using torches; later eat them. Leaves are falling as they move through the forest similar to fall at home Jungle rejuvenation each year.

It’s our fourth week; going so fast. We see a beach fire show extraordinaire! Gas sniffing for the teen performers and audience alike.

Week has flown. Found out it has been thirty eight degrees each day. Thirty one degrees in bungalow right now with lovely ocean breeze. Doesn’t seem like thirty one. Feels like a Saskatoon twenty five. Jewelry shopping on one of the beaches and come away with a quartz crystal. Wes an amulet for his chain. Thought on one of our beach walks: “after toilet squatting for awhile; sitting on a toilet seems the height of laziness.”

Today, a fascinating model photo shoot going on down at the beach. Two more nights to listen to the surf.

And then the rain came. The after walk: freshness of the trees; the beautiful variety of greens; with the teak bungalows peaking through. Turbulent water; thunderous waves. We find a piece of coral as big as my hand lying on the shore which we leave; can’t take as they are preserving the coral reef.

The first of March 2009; our second last day in Thailand. Sitting at Buddy’s Bar & Grill discussing the topless German woman Wes always saw and I saw once. Barbecued spareribs with Heineken, Green Curry with Palm Hearts; Barbecued white snapper, Deep fried morning glory; Rice with Carrot and Mint Garnish, Shrimp and Red Wine make up our last supper.

Fim and Nit were the main servers through our whole stay on this island. Nit’s grandparents on both sides were farmers; mostly rice but some corn, onion and garlic. We so appreciated their warmth; their way of being, and hope our tip said it well. Our last night sitting on the deck; sarong drying on the balcony; watching women collect bugs.

The gheko slept with us last night; woke me at four am so didn’t sleep after that. Thinking of the non stop digital camera fun all had on the beach each day. All the male waiters coming to shake our hands good-bye yesterday. Boat arrives at four pm, We’re back to the mainland and on to Bangkok airport with plan for leisurely dinner.

Club sandwich ordered. I can’t eat a quarter of it and I’m out the restaurant hurling into a wastebasket in the main hallway of the airport. Wes brings me napkins. We get on the plane and during takeoff; same thing happens to Wes. We sleep fitfully.

See sunrise over China. Bus waiting on tarmac to take us to connecting lounge in Beijing. Airport is three degrees. We passed the temperature test. No one caught on we’d been sick or quarantine could have been scary. Had a $100.00 Canadian bill and cost about $10. to get $505. yen for tea and toast. The tea came in little tea cups which felt like being in playschool. More workers in the Beijing airport than patrons. $465. US for a pair of dressy type runners. Found lounge chairs in the sun as the airport is not heated. Smog in the city is thick. Fancy, fancy airport due to the Olympics having been there.

Vancouver airport will have it’s work cut out to look half as fantastic for their Olympics. Plane ride to Saskatoon was quick and painless. Time to sleep. Forty two hours since the boat ride. WOW, what an unforgettable holiday.

Home and find out my closest friend of eighteen years; who had been my roommate and who is still living in my house has cancer. Ovarian cancer. May have a year.

Try to catch up. Open mail. Dad’s estate is settled. All done. When something’s over, it’s over. Emotional good-byes are not! See the pain in our world. Need to connect with my own. A song comes:

I want to live

In love with you again.

A love that is so real

Open up my heart again

That is how I feel.

Deep in my heart

Deep down inside

As if I have not tried

I have given lots to you

To keep you satisfied

Keep the thinking real

That is how I feel

No more hurt it’s done

I have found my son.

May 31, 2009 found my friend in the hospital. Throwing up black bile while I held the pan. At home I wrote: I have learned I can live life, with and without pain. No tragedy. Can love life. Can listen to myself. My body shows me the way. Triumph. Make my own way. Be financially independent. Laugh lots. Live authentically. Trust in more. Love for Wes, my kids, being gramma, life, my work, my friends, my family. Going to miss my friend. She will be replaced as in life, death and rebirth. Reborn. Unsure how I know but this is natural grieving, saying good-bye to how she cared for the house; her way of being, her gentleness, how hard it was to be with her in the hospital; she was so sick, black blackness. Wonder how long this will go on? Hard to plant new life in the face of death.”

My son in his first love relationship. He took him to meet my side of the family. Glad I’m in a family where he can bring him. Lots of sorting going on in my head. Reviewing life in a different way:

Grew up on the farm, School till eighteen, Sports, Music, Church, Across Canada, Malaysia, Patuanak, Marriage, Step Mom, Mom, Farming, Construction Wife, On the Move, Mother times four, Teacher Aide, House in Prairietown, BC, Mary Kay, Divorce, Saskatoon, Memories, Trial, Healing, Tamara’s House, Social Worker, Book I, Mother of Teenagers & Graduates, Grandmother, Government Worker, Mom dies, Classes, Home Rental by the river, Marathon in Ireland, Writing Book II, Arizona, Golfing, 2003 Permanent Job in Injury 2004 -Bought First House. My daughter is a a U of S Grad, PIR II, Grasslands & Mexico trip, 2005 -Met Wes, Release Book II to Friends/Survivors, Victoria in the Spring, Three Women Living in my house, Took kids to Mexico for Christmas, April – I’m in Love, Wes gets a Hole in One, My friend fills the yard with flowers. Dad died. Wes & I go to the Maritimes, Move in together at his place, My aunt moves to a Special Care Home; I Travel to Columbia & Peru with girlfriends; Wes to Thailand. Willows golfing, United Way four month working experience My aunt gets moved to nursing home she wants! Yeah! Wes and I to Thailand. My friend is dying. My son is in love. I’ve played sixty golf games and worked full time this summer of 2009.

My friend is really dying. She has two strokes in April and May in the Saskatoon University hospital and then moved to a hospital with palliative care. Her friends came to be with her, some staying with me and one stayed at my house for a month or so; until the rental was given up. I go see her near every day; but really don’t have anything to say to her anymore. My job is done is how I feel.

Living in love

Biding my time

Getting to know what’s me and mine

Loving me, loving you

Loving all, being true

Giving, Living, Dying,

Drying My Tears

Opening My Heart

Sensing Love in the Stillness

Letting out the Tears

Release

Tension Ebbs away

I cry

Because I am

Dying to be

At One

With Myself

With Others

With All That Is

I Am

Not There Yet

I wake

To the Pain

Stored in my Hip

Not healed

Release of Love

In The Tears

Love of Who I am

Cared For By Me

Honoring

What I can Do

In This World

By Being Me

Depending on Love

Reflected in the Moments

Of my Day

Deepening Commitments

To Myself

To understanding

Heart Centred

Hip Centred

Shoulder

Left Centred

Love

These days thinking again about sexual abuse, my sister’s dying, Father’s Day when my memories hit; about my friend dying and how much of life’s pains are generational and go into the next generation if not healed.

I write, “Hip Birthing A New Me. Last week my heart has been racing, sounding like a tractor. Catching up with all that’s been. And all that’s coming. A sister is moving into Saskatoon and will rent my house, with my other sister still renting one room. Was hard to see my friends’ things being moved out. No more to say. Lots of grief though. My back and shoulder hurts. Same old holding places for grief. Left hip; left heart area.”

And to do something different being gramma! Also took my son to a Pow Wow on the Whitecap Dakota Reservation south of town. Our whiteness was the WOW for us. Home and Wes beyond excitement; flying; sharing his team’s $30,000 golf win; a cause for charity;each a new golf bag, shirt, seiko watch, pictures, another smart looking bag; and to top it off, he singly won the forty three inch flat screen TV. It’s 1:30 am in hallway at home and he demos his last put going down for the win.

Last year’s golfing averaged fifty six for me; this year about fifty two. My day off; I’m sitting home contemplating life. Still have fear over money. Have my mortgage down to twenty four thousand owing after five year’s ownership. Will fear follow me all my life? See both our parent’s wedding pictures over the fireplace. We both honor the past and value our history even if we don’t believe in the same values as our parents.

October 1, 2009 As I held her head, my friend died. Was not a pretty death. Hard to get out of my mind for days after. I stayed home all next day. I’d be lost in time and space; looking for a knife I had when I was living at the other house with her. Stood there looking in the wrong place for a long time ; then wanted to go outside for a smoke and haven’t smoked for nine years.

Sisters and friends are there for me. My aunt is going downhill. They took the phone our of her room so our daily phone calls are near over. I can still ask the staff to take the phone to her but it’s not the same. Sometimes I’m numb; sometimes not. Sometimes feel friends understand; sometimes not. Sometimes know the depths of pain, the deep darknesses, the mind destructiveness, diviciveness, despair, downs that I go through still trying to do the understanding for myself. Compassion I guess is what I need.

Picked songs for my friend’s funeral. Could hardly lead. Made up these song lyrics with each line fitting into a traditional song all might join in.

Memories will keep forever.

Our hearts remember,

Being there for each other

Peace and love for tomorrow.

Not many sang. The organ didn’t work right. Could hardly sing one of the songs. Was dissatisfied after it was over. Wanted it to be a better honoring for her and didn’t know how to bridge the gap between the different people that were there. Remembering the pain her and I went through; don’t want my kids and our grand kids enduring that.

Living on empty

Lives lived

Listening intently

Giving back

For all I’ve been given

Sharing

My new found freedom

Hearing the answer

In the singing

Allow the pain

The pain of grieving.

Love is in the sharing

Listening to another

The listening of another

Deep dark secrets

Delving in the darkness

Allow the retreat

Resting comfortably

In my new way of life.

What is missing?

There’s no more strife

A long held dream

Of a better world

Softer gentler

But oh so bold

Heartache gone

No more clenched teeth

Listening inside

Allowed to breathe

The right to say

I want more

Than living with loss

As I did before

Enjoy the moment

This day will pass

Let out the pain

A blast from the past.

Comfort me gently

Quietly singing

Needing the answers

From inside of me

Not only singing

But quietly waiting

For what the answer

Is supposed to be

Getting ready

For the moment

When all is

As it should be

Dearly beloved

Sorting out just

Who and what is family.

October17, 2009

The next day I’m off to see Bush. Former President Bush is speaking in Saskatoon. Me, who has always been politically left of center going to hear what he has to say. Had to walk through, or cross I guess, a line of people; some from my work union who were protesting. Hard to listen to the yells of , “Shame on you, shame on you!”Not sure I learned anything. Really don’t want to listen to anyone else. Want to listen inside. Want my kids to phone. Want to understand my poems. I reread and don’t know what I’m saying, what it all means.

Sit at home.

Deep sense of sadness.

All that has gone before

Torment held in

Knotted muscles

Hellish pain

Hands of communion

Doing too much

Ending voice of rain

Tension held in

Cheekbone area

Under the shoulder blade

Heartfelt pain

Can let it go

Again and again

No longer on guard

Listening inside

Don’t know the future

No need to fear

Have the tools

Of those who were here

They’re here in the moment

Whatever shall pass

Pure energy

At home at last

I’m at home here

Shedding the strings

Of deeper roots

Attached to things

Wanting them to phone

Is just a few

Examples of what

I’m wanting to end

Loneliness leave

My child is free

Filled up with love

And harmony

Picturing peace

Gaining relief

Capturing moments

Of purest peace.

Had a dream a woman was trying to get into bed with Wes and I. Was so vivid when I woke up I had to leave the bed. I hear Wes waking up and he asks if his kicking woke me up. I say, “ No; my dreams woke me up.” He said same for him; felt like yelling but couldn’t get it out; in his dream a woman was trying to get into bed with us! Sort that!

November 2009 And away we fly! From Canadian Rockies out of Calgary airport to Colorado Rockies to Phoenix. A ninety degree day in Phoenix. Palm trees still there, oranges & grapefruit. Got our keys today to our Desert Haven. Bought a beautiful 2009 Park Model Home. We emptied about $300. worth of purchases from our rental car into this new house. Pots & pans, dishes, towels, glasses, wastepaper basket, scissors, iron, on and on and we’re not done yet. Our holiday has been walking around and around this holiday golf resort looking at park models and Arizona rooms. We have been spending each day talking about our retirement. What’s it going to look like long term? We talked about it previous summers in Saskatoon; or at night while barbequing after golf games. We wondered whether living in Mesa could be our retirement. We knew it as a place where we both could golf; it would be a resort where about ten other couples from same Saskatoon golf club Wes belongs to already live most of their winters.

Well we are here now. It’s all bought. We’ve had weeks of hot tub and sauna near every night; golfing most days; me being with women I hardly know; met for the first time but in really close contact. It’s like having a community like right now. I’ve been sitting in the sun, reading a lot, went on a trip to Sedona with six women which was an all day affair. Enjoyable.

There is a country store here in the resort. I go for walks outside the community. I enjoyed the whole resort yard sale which consisted of jumping on a golf cart and racing from one trailer to the next. Lots of deals. A Thanksgiving gathering of thirty nine and knew most of them after three weeks of being here. My sister and her husband were here the first week; us buying the house the second week, Wes sick the third week.

I’m wondering if a six month job share idea could work for 2011? Can anyone live in the moment? I’m in the desert. Beautiful. Seventy nine degrees today. All the lovely windows in our house; loads of sunlight. Tomorrow buying some bedding. We bought this park model knowing it is rented out for January, February and March 2010 and we have to honour that. Well, we are working anyway, so that is okay. Cool nights though and cool mornings. Awake two nights in a row at two am. Still deep sadness, saying good-bye to a way of life as life isn’t the same anymore. Creating a new one. Think a lot about being gramma, my kids, my friends, how it’ll all unfold. I guess enjoy!

I’m living on the deep side

No longer living in such pain

I’m living on the deep side

I can handle a little rain

I am so happy so very happy

Even in the deepest place

It’s okay to live for tomorrow

And enjoy the frantic pace

Keep giving in to the tears that happen

They herald a sweet remembered place

Of life rich with passion

Now life ended sorrow

And loving still the sweet embrace

Of love worth sharing

Care for another

Care from another

Come from the heart

Keep the slayer keep it coming

For all the good that it has done

Keep the spirit that runs on empty

As it fills from the well within

That’s connected to life forever

That’s outlasted all that is

So keep the truth bearing forever

Silently spoken from there within

Deeply coming to the surface

And drowning out the doubter’s din

Deeper is lasting and loving living

And not afraid of moving on.

Moving on is magic waiting

Around next morning’s bend

Moving on is lover’s waiting

As life unfolds until the end.

All our shopping is finished. One thousand and four dollars to outfit a park model in Arizona. Glad I kept track. It all feels so easy. How a life can be changed in a few hours. Miss talking to them at home. Mostly my kids. It’s the U. S. Thanksgiving day. Hotter than hot. Some people stayed out all night to do with Black Friday. No interest to do with me. I’m content to be here. Hiking was new to me. Three hours and twenty minutes for five miles. More difficult than I imagined. Found out there is silversmithing here in the resort. That is of interest.

Wes still sick. Took him to hospital. Fever couldn’t get much higher. They saw him as an outpatient even before they knew about our insurance. Influenza. I was impressed with the service. They wanted five hundred cash and our insurance information. I gave them two hundred and they were okay with it.

It’s 2010. I’m home and still writing in journals. Journeys ended. New journeys begun. Feel like a jilted lover. Don’t want to go back to any of it; but want to share what happened. Share that I was able to leave it behind; the creating of a new life; the deep connections with others that got me through the hard times; the deeper connections to all that is that kept me on the right track; that gave me hope; the beyond understandings that may help someone else along the way. The part I can’t understand is why my friend never felt it; could not get over the pain; why some people can’t move beyond the patterns. I wonder if we are all like that.

Had a good cry with Wes sharing a dream about explaining the Circle of Life to someone. Listening inside. Deep ancient wisdom there needing to be heard. The unconscious entering. Unfolding. Needing to be heard. Thinking about writing a third book.

January 17, 2010. I’m 55 years old. Freedom Fifty Five.

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