the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

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Breaking the cycle: Another link

This will be a little cryptic as I’m still struggling to process the immediate implications and the long-term, big picture impact.

I’ve been communicating with an estranged family member for a few years now.  Today, I took a gamble, tried to ask questions to figure out more.

I lost.

My instinct said not to go there, that it was the proverbial can of worms.  It definitely was.  Self-imposed isolation.  Pain.  Much like a sister of mine.

I talked to my father after I decided to lock the door behind me and to get rid of the key, for now.  He told me basically what I already knew, but in a little more detail.  This is his older brother’s eldest daughter.  I told him yes, she’s preparing to shut everyone out, including him.

What did I ask about?  Those of you that know me very, very well should be able to put together some of the pieces.  It’s another side of the coin to what triggers me.  My pain.  But more like a mirror image.

I tried to explain myself, but, I still shut the door- probably getting rid of all of my explanations.  Intuition says she’s not ready to hear it.  Unfortunate, but, I prepared for it, at least logically, if not emotionally.

It stings like hell.  But I had another ace in the hole: the mammalian dive reflex, part of the T.I.P.P. strategy.  Invoke the reflex with a cold pack between eyes and cheek bones, bending at the waist, holding my breath for 30 seconds- as if I was diving into icy cold water.  I’d read about it before- it’s saved children from drowning in in the same.  An evolutionary remnant, the reflex shuts down the body, and in a #DBT context, it forces the body to slow down immediately, overriding the fight/flight/fawn/freeze response.  Maybe like a soft reboot- not a hard reboot, like I’ve had when the lights go out, but I stay at home in the back of my mind- if I understand Claire Cappetta just right.

It didn’t work immediately; I’m not sure if I did it perfectly right.  But I feel calmer.  And what felt like a loss at first- feels more like a victory.  I’m one step closer.


“Don’t Go Away Mad, Just Go Away”?

My mother called yesterday to just gab.  Partly, it was asking about whether or not Cimmy had taken advantage of the shoe sale our local Fred Meyer was having (and ending yesterday), they wanted some sort of weird arrangement to pay for it as a gift– partly because she was in some odd worry about Social Security counting gifts against Cimmy's SSI.

Gah, doesn't that woman ever shut up?  I wound up talking for far longer than I wished.

I decided to take the high ground and just politely answer questions as best I could, but I was sorely tempted to just say "Now is a bad time, I'll talk to you later," or, "We still aren't on speaking terms."  In the case of the first subject in conversation, Cimmy's reply third-hand was "Tell them I decided not to take advantage of their offer."  Needless to say, she decided against that and went and got some nice clothes and shoes, and all parties involved decided Cimmy would go, buy, and be reimbursed later.

Under normal circumstances, I would gladly take this as an opportunity for diplomacy.  But considering past events, I have a right to dictate where the boundary lines should be and the conditions I wish.  I've already been pushed into some arrangements faster than I'd like.

I am so itching to quietly move and withhold contact information.   I might even consider using cellular for full-time telephone service (i.e. ditch the landline).  Too early to tell.

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Cimmy and my mom shop? Nah.

So Cimmy got a phone call from my father the other day, and explained to me that my mother wants to take her clothes/shoe shopping for her birthday.

An online friend of ours suggested a gift card instead, which I thought was a splendid idea, considering how Cimmy feels about things right now.  So she called back and my father said he'd ask her, but would likely be bummed because my mother was "really looking forward to this."

It's too early for her to be awake, but I'm sure Cimmy will come in later and affirm her thoughts and feelings on this, but I'll say that she does NOT want to go shopping with my mother, and probably won't for some time.  She told me "she seems to get me things that would look good on her, but don't look good on me."  I said something to the effect that I didn't think it was quite like that, but that I had disagreed with some of my mother's choices.

She and I have joked about my role as "the fashion consultant".  Oh, she wants to look good, but the thing that is most important to her is comfort.  If it's not comfortable, it doesn't matter how good it looks, she won't wear it.  Despite my previous post, I have no shame in admitting that I enjoy a good sense of fashion.  Although I will never understand shoes as accesories (I am pretty "guy" about getting a few pairs that will match most anything), I researched matching colors to skin tone, etc. and hey… admitting that a nice suit and snappy clothes, in my opinion, looks good, and is still acceptably heterosexual and masculine.

Anyways, I knew she'd be much more comfortable having me come along, than my mother.  This is one area that I don't do the "dutiful husband" thing, sitting around and wondering when it's going to be over.  Because I have been allowed to participate in this decisions, most of the time, I really don't mind, and I like doing it.

Those of you that have been privy to my more personal rants understand that, considering the actions of my mother, a birthday shopping date should be for Cimmy and I, not she and Cimmy.  We are still concerned that my mother seeks to bury this, essentially, without addressing the underlying problems.

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My woman’s got real cajones (Madness, p. 2)

Not meant to embarass Cimmy at the least – just illustrates how outgoing and straightforward she can be.

A few days ago, she called my uncle (see first part) and asked straight out what the animosity was all about.  I'm sure it totally caught my uncle off-guard.  She asked about my aunt, expressed her concern, asked about a few things, asked to have my aunt call her back.

I'm sure mutant pig-dogs will fly when my aunt calls back.

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Let me apologize in advance for this bit of drama I am about to unload.


My mother called to inform me of Most Bizarre Things #3 My Aunt Has Ever Said Or Done.

This is my dad's older brother's wife, so if you know my family (well, anyways), you can smell the particulars of the dysfunctionality at work.

She said Auntie was advising me against getting the cortisone shot because it was that which made my uncle manic (the episode that brought about his diagnosis).  Well, Mom said she figured it was actually the painkillers he was taking at the time– my cousin had a collapsed lung and they were her meds.  Okay…

For the unaware, this is the same aunt who stopped speaking to my parents for a time when I was very young, because she and my uncle were upset with the way they (and my family) were taking up "their" time with my paternal grandmother.  This is also the same aunt who said at one time (according to my baby sister, anyways) that she was disowning half of her children.  One of them was the youngest, who actually seems to have a semblance of a normal life right now– he married a very sweet young woman who is just thrilled to be a mom.  My heart ached when Baby Sister said she had told her I was the only one that was responding to her e-mails– the type of parent e-mails with lots and lots of baby pics, etc.  Granted, she ("cousin-in-law", as it were) is probably the only one in the extended family doing this, but still… that's very sad when you think about it.

So my response to my mother was something to the effect of "how will this affect me unless she comes to surgery to advise me against it?  and why do I need to know?" but I suppose Mom figured I needed to be informed even if it amounts to so much… gossip.  Naturally, I feel rather dirty just venting this.

Of course, she then nails me with a "what are these rumors that you're thinking about moving to [Cimmy's hometown]?"

She's pulled the following guilt trips, not necessarily during that particular phone call:

1. Your in-laws cannot help you like we can (read: financially, although that's not completely true)
See also: the wealth of my maternal grandparents (her folks) vs. the relative poverty of my paternal grandparents (who at present have passed away anyways)
2. "I want to see my grandbabies!"  (Fair, but we expect a modicum of independence and respect in return.  We have stayed away because you won't give it.)
3. We may never see you again (uh, gee, should I give her a clue?  No, it wouldn't help…)
4. Your in-laws can visit you, while we just don't have the time (Actually, my father-in-law cannot visit our domicile because of his asthma and the prevalence of smoker neighbors)

Tit-for-tat negotiations:

"It's not certain, Mom.  It depends on a lot of things."  (Which is true.)
"Well, talking to [<lj user="jenntheamazon">, my sister], she was talking like it was a certainty."  (Ok, you're reading this, right, Jenn?)

"I could get set up for swimming for cheaper there."
"You're not paying a dime for swimming right now!"

Okay, Christmas gift or not, there was a stipulation that I'd end my gym membership when our apartment complex pool reopened.  I asked for the gym membership because our three city area cannot decide on having an indoor municipal pool/aquatic facility or not, and it's the only place I can swim right now.  If we moved, we'd be in a city that has both a YMCA with a pool – our hometown one does not– and a city indoor municipal pool.  My mother-in law informed me she'd be willing to help cover costs over at the municipal pool, which is about half the cost of the gym membership.

Okay, see, the gym membership does look better– mostly because I can branch out to other activities, and I started physio/PT there today.  But… I'd rather prefer something from my in-laws, that tend to have no strings attached, to things from my parents, which often do.

On a brighter note, that physical therapy appointment was awesome!  Don't get me wrong– I had very good friends that worked at the last place I went to.   But the gym's PT office has better facilities and the therapist was a little more responsive.  Granted, they know exactly what's wrong now.  On the flip side, however, Medicare money could run out very fast.  That's right, there's a gap — after a certain amount, I have to pay out of pocket until I hit another amount, and then they'll cover it again.

No offense, but sometimes I hate being in a program that lumps me with senior citizens.  Disability needs are different, and we sometimes get a little shafted as a result.  Not saying it's a picnic for the seniors either, though…

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Happy Easter!

Technically, I'm a day late, but Easter was decent overall.

Getting to church was tough– I was feeling moody and anti-social.  I managed to get dressed and have everyone ready, however, that we made it although we were all late.  Thankfully, everyone was oohing and ahh-ing over my son (as this was his first day at church) so the attention was off me most of the time save the 'congrats dad' stuff, hehe.  I decided to give Cimmy a little break after Sunday School, and I had to change his diaper, so I walked into the men's meeting opening exercises to get roped into announcements.  He was hungry after we were done, so I took him back to his mom to feed and I showed her where my meeting was so she could bring him to me if she felt so inclined.

Well, Cimmy wanted to go straight to my folks as they had invited us over for dinner, but some bozo (with kids in the car, no less) decided to shoot around us from behind on a narrow county road, even with a car coming from the opposite direction.  Well I felt like I needed to lay on the horn and give chase to get a license plate number, but they took off like a madman and so we had to give the police report without it and without a make or model since they took off so fast.

My folks weren't at home (we forgot their ward gets out later), so we went home and changed clothes before going back.  Dinner was good, albeit somewhat typical- ham, potatoes au gratin (or 'funeral potatoes', or 'cheesy potatoes', depending on who you talk to), rolls, and steamed broccoli with cheese sauce, or lemon juice on request.  Before dinner was on, my baby sister called, so we talked tech, work, and baby until then.  My folks wanted to give her their old computer, but she told me I was free to lay claim on the monitor if I wanted.  Our current monitor is a 13" and doesn't support resolution greater than 800X600 very well– it will display 1026X768, but it turns up rather small.

The rest of the time was chatting a bit, and enforcing boundaries with my mother– she remains nosy, nagging, and wont to give unsolicited advice.  Cimmy has been tempted to tear her head off, but I have somehow managed to politely defuse spontaneous and unwanted 'I need to give you advice because I love you' moments.  I shouldn't have to explain every decision, no matter how shortcoming nor seemingly unaffordable it may be… I can raise my kids and spend my money (and Cimmy can spend her own money freely too) however my wife and I see fit.

We escaped to have a walk, with a rest in between, and then a rest afterwards.  It was just long enough to then excuse ourselves to go home.  Then I had time to clean up a bit, sleep for about two hours, and wake up again.  Cimmy is surfing along with me because he has to feed the kid again.  Can't seem to get his jaundice to clear up just yet– so we try to have him suckle at least 8-10 times a day.  Doing it with him with most of his skin exposed to full sunlight doesn't seem to make a significant difference, but we've tried it a few times anyway.  He had a lab test recently, but they didn't call to tell us so call him in for UV treatment, so we'll either bug the docs and/or just go on as usual, maybe asking on the next appointment with the doc, the CNM, or the RN specializing in midwifery (who assisted with the C-section).

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