Busan

Today we took the bullet train south. I love the train system here and wish that in the States we had a great train system like they do all over Asia.  In 2 1/2 hours we were down at the opposite end of the country and it was a great ride. Smooth, fast and comfy and in a blink of an eye we were there.

I love Busan, South Korea. It is a very special town to me because one of my children was born here. I first visited it about 15 years ago and I have to say it has changed. No longer the sleepy port city it once was, it is now a vibrant, racy place with a touch of its past tucked within its alleys.

Busan is a town that reminds me of another…San Francisco. Hilly, temperate and scenic this city is a place I could spend a lot of time at. One of my favorite things about it is the food. I love Changseondong Meokja Golmok food alley. Here you will find live eels, octopi and other sea creatures ready for the grill…or not. One of the delicacies here are live octopi swallowed whole which I am told tickles when it slides down your throat. I do not think I will be that brave but I wish I was.

But rather than tell you about Busan, here are some pictures to show you what a great food town this is. Bon Appetite!

 

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372 DAYS TO FIX THIS

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When I began this blog it was with the intention of blogging everyday for 365 days as I fought to keep my marriage intact. I didn’t because life got in the way. A lot. Life has a tendency to do that when you have a husband, 5 children, a dog and 3 grandchildren.

I purposely decided not to blog about reaching 365 days on the one year anniversary of B telling me how unhappy he was in our marriage and that he might want a divorce. I didn’t want to “celebrate” much less acknowledge one of the most agonizing days of my life. That day, one year ago, was a full of intense pain, enough tears to officially end the drought and it lead to months of increased struggle, anger, and hurt. The “I Think I Might Want A Divorce Day” brought me to my knees and my life changed at that instant. Thirty years of togetherness, memories, marriage and great sex were on the verge of disappearing in a blink of an eye. I am not sure why but on that day I asked B to give it 365 days to fix our broken relationship and with it a blog was born. Six hours later he left for a week to take the boys to scout camp.

Frankly, it was never my intention to spill my guts the way I have; nor allow my anger and dismay to swallow me whole with witnesses along to pick their way through my mess. But I did and it did. I am not really sure what I expected when I started writing but the rawness of some of my early posts bring me back down to earth with a thud. Divorce was for other people. Not me. Damn it.

There are many things that have happened this year that have stretched and surprised me. The major one was that at some point in the past year B and I reversed roles and I decided I wanted a divorce but to my surprise he didn’t. That was an awakening and hurt almost as much as when he said he might want one. Frankly, I didn’t know quite what to do with that. But we both know that with three kids in the house, two of them with autism and other issues that impact our marriage in a big way; that divorce would be akin to picking up tiny pieces of a huge pane of shattered glass and that someone would get cut. Deeply.

I wish I could say I handled all of this with grace. I didn’t. I did however get a therapist whose help has been invaluable. She has taught me to be mindful. To sit with things and let them brew without my influence. We have also been going to joint counseling and B now has his own counselor too so that he can learn to express himself rather than keep things bottled up inside for years.  But the best thing we did was attend a Marriage Encounter weekend. It is what has started us down the path towards healing, understanding and really listening to one another. I am not sure that had we not attended that my blog would count off 372 days. Really, it made that big of a difference. We just had to be open to it even though we are not Catholic and the things were heard were nothing more than what we would have heard at any religious gathering. I urge any of you who are struggling in your marriage to at least consider attending.

The changes I have made over this past year have been accomplished through a lot of hard work and perseverance . At times I have taken one step forward and two steps back. Those steps have been humbling, courageous, and have often felt like I had a huge splinter in my shoe while I was taking them. I have had to do a lot of changing. I used to try and live my life with a guarantee arm-wrestled from others…an impossible task. I try not to do that anymore. The biggest thing I have accomplished to date is that I have stopped yelling. That was a major victory and has changed our family for the better in so many ways. I am now working on trying to remove a sense of harshness from my voice and it is a challenge to say the least.

I have implemented many new ways of doing things and new ways of considering how to occupy my place in the world. This is what I have done that has been helpful for me:

  1. I listen to the Meditation Minis podcast by Chel Hamilton. It’s free and it is only 10 minutes a day. Those 10 minutes have allowed me to decrease the negativity I has feeling in my body and mind and replace it with acceptance and positivity.
  2. Thanks to my therapist I now have a Place Of Mysteries. This is a place in which I put on a shelf things I do not have enough information about so I do not carry them around with me. I then examine them when I have more facts so that I can make intelligent decisions.
  3. I am working really hard on not saying things the moment I think them. I now try to let my thoughts gels before spouting them.
  4. I try to look for the good instead of the negative
  5. I make a conscious choice all day long to CHOOSE LOVE. When things irritate me I CHOOSE LOVE and try to act accordingly.
  6. I try to give the benefit of the doubt to the positive attributes I know that B has instead of jumping to conclusions.
  7. I try not to TIME TRAVEL to the future and the past. Instead, I try to stay in the present collecting the golden nuggets of life that are in the here and now.
  8. I try to think rather than just react and ask for time to do so when more time is needed.
  9. I get more sleep realizing that there is always tomorrow to get things done.
  10. I keep a sex calendar which serves as a gentle reminder that too much time has slipped away since our last loving encounter.
  11. I work on being mindful of what is going on around me and within me. I have slowed down to really think about the ramifications and unintended consequences of what I am doing.
  12. We dialogue every night in the way we learned to do at Marriage Encounter. This has allowed us both to learn more about what the other is feeling and gives us a loving perspective in which to view our mate and his/her actions. Dialoging gives us the time to ask questions and clarify, not just assume what is meant by words/actions.
  13. I have lost weight but not for him. It is for me only and it shows.
  14. I am learning to just sit with things and not try to force a desired outcome.
  15. I am trying to learn to do things with joy in my heart while doing them. After all, the house does need to be cleaned so why not do it with joy instead of resentment?
  16. We try to have a date night every week or so. Time spent with each other without the interruptions of family life has allowed us to look at each other as individuals with unique feelings instead of as just Mom and Dad.
  17. We have a GRATEFUL log that we keep to remind us of all the wonderful things the other has done for us and is useful to pick-up and read when things are a little bit off.
  18. Whenever I feel like I am getting “hooked” I try to take a pause and relax.
  19. I have come to realize that life is not static. We are fluid beings and as such things will change. I don’t have to stay “stuck” in a particular way of acting or doing things especially when it is causing me or my loved ones harm. I am sowing seeds everyday that will blossom as suffering or joy depending on how I plant them and care for them. I try to keep this in mind as I interact with others.

So a year as come and gone. A year in which I did not get divorced or separated although we came close. A year in which we both worked hard to improve ourselves and our marriage. It has been a lonely year that has been frightening yet also enlightening. We have had to expose our own vulnerabilities as we have attempted to open up to one another in very deep and personal ways. And as painful as it has been I am grateful for it because I have become a better person, a better partner, and a better mother because of it. I have grown and become a better me. A person I am proud of and a person who is more comfortable in her own skin. And I have a marriage that is better than I believed would ever be possible. Does this mean that in 365 days I was able to “fix this”? Heck no. Does this mean I have a perfect relationship? No. Does this mean we will be together forever? I think the opportunity for that has increased tremendously but I no longer try to look for guarantees because there really are none for this type of thing.

What I do know for sure is that once again B is at camp for the week and this time when he left my heart was filled and my brain was quite. For this time around, I have a confidence in myself  and a belief that together we can conquer those things that are holding us back. Things may not be perfect but they are getting better everyday and that is really all you can hope/work for. But perhaps the most important thing is that I am happy, really happy, and sometimes even joyful. I am becoming who I want to be as I enter into my mid 50’s and discover what it is that is really important to me and what I can leave behind.

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So thank you for sharing this journey with me. I am sure there have been times you have wanted to kick me in the ass. I am sure there are times where you would have liked to have screamed “WAKE UP.”  But believe me I have felt your loving arms wrap around me and hold me close when there was no one around to do so. And for that I will be eternally grateful!

 

Gone Missing Two

One of the most beautiful cities in America has got to be San Diego, California. We spent the weekend here because Gracie had a swim meet. The city is warm, clean, and has a wonderful mass transportation system. Architecture here is widely held in esteem and The Gaslight District teems with great places to eat and shops that beckon you in to spend those hard-earned greenbacks.

The aqua blue water sparkles and when you head out onto the open seas often you will find yourself surrounded by super pods of dolphins who love to leap up as if in a synchronized ballet as they chase your boat. Big yachts and little dinghies all line the piers and make me sea sick just watching them as they bob up and down. Yes, unfortunately, I am one of the Dramamine girls.

I had picked up B at LAX airport and we headed down to San Diego together. He had flown in from Florida where he had been on business. The next morning we had the car brought up from the valet so we could put our luggage in it and head off to the event which was a ten minute walk away. When we returned five hours later the car was still sitting there…strange.

B goes up to the valet stand.

“Can I have the keys to my car?” he asks handing them his ticket.

“Is that your car?”

“Yes it is”

“Well, sir, you have the keys. That is why we did not move it.”

“No, I don’t have the keys. You do. You brought my car around so we could put our luggage in it. I never had the keys. Your valet kept them. They were never in my possession.”

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And so it went. No one had the keys to the car. Not a soul. All 200 sets on the board were checked. All 200 sets were pushed so lights would come on. No keys for 30 minutes. ANYWHERE. I emptied my purse just in case. That was a major ordeal but I did find a pair of missing eyeglasses, a coupon for a free car wash, and $7.38 cents in change; so it was not all in vain. But still no keys. Just as the discussion turned to hiring  a locksmith the trunk suddenly popped open…seems the keys had fallen on the floor and had been kicked under the desk. Keys found…crisis solved.

We headed back to LAX where B had left the car. The day he left Los Angeles he was almost late after being in standstill traffic for close to an hour. He raced into the airport,found a rooftop parking space and ran inside but now five days later there was no car to be found. ANYWHERE.

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You have to understand there are a total of seven parking garages at LAX.  Each garage consists of approximately five floors. We started at Garage 4 the one he swore he parked at. He turned white as a sheet when it was obvious that his car was not there and started muttering under his breath. I remained calm.We went through each and every floor hitting the horn button on the key fob. Nothing. Okay, well maybe it was Garage 6. He was in a hurry after all and it was also a garage that served American Airlines. I began to silently meditate.

We drove to the top open air parking where he swore he had been. Nothing. Same procedure…hitting the horn button as we went up and down floor after floor. Again nothing. B is more distressed while I remained calm and murmuring words of love and support. We have now been searching for 45 minutes and racking up fees as we go through each gigantic garage.

Garage Number 5 was our next place to explore. It didn’t have a rooftop but we went through it anyway. No car. B insisted that it was in the area but we had begun to wonder if perhaps it had been stolen by this time. We went to the attendant and inquired if they had anyway of checking what cars were parked where. Seems they did…only you had to know the license plate number and B did not since it was a company car.

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Enough was enough. By this time we all needed to pee. Badly. So we got out of the car, found our way to the bathroom and then joined B as he re-traced his steps. He swore he had come in through a walk-way over the street and when we took the escalator up there it was. We walked back through it and came to an open air parking garage and after searching a minute or so we located the car in a space that seemed to be inaccessible from Garages 4,5, or 6. There wasn’t even a proper marking of the space. WTH?

I have to say I was proud of myself. Whereas in the past I might have gotten frustrated and upset matching B’s angst as it rose. Instead, I made a point to be supportive and calm. While in the past I may have said something I may have later regretted like, “This is why you always take a picture of your parking space so you can find it again,” I remained mute of the helpful advice. So while pieces of me have gone missing (read the post prior to this) perhaps this is a good thing. And when trying to find and put the pieces of ME back together I think some empty spaces may be prudent so they can be filled with some kinder and gentler fragments to complete the puzzle that is the new and improved ME. The ME I CHOOSE to be.

 

I’m Confused…Can Confusion Increase Creativity?

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I’m confused. Most of my life I have been confused about one or two areas of my life at a time. Now I am confused about everything. My marriage, my children, how to plan for the future, how to sit with the silence and how to live in the now. Everything is confusing and I DON’T LIKE IT…one single bit.

One of the major issues I have with being confused is that often you cannot see the forest through the trees. This confusion often leads to living in limbo, a state I consider akin to having a gas mask at hand with a limited time sensitive filter. Knowing you cannot see, smell or watch the gas coming, do you put the mask on now and risk using up a filter that will protect you for a short but specific amount of time; or do you wait for the person next to you to drop and hope you are not too late in securing it around your face? Yep, for me limbo is one of the worst experiences known to man.

Yet, surprisingly, I have recently experienced confusion as a positive thing as well. Because it seems to me the more confused things are the more creative I’ve become. While confusion can shake your soul, rattle your senses and sometimes lead to a sense of paranoia because you can’t seem to do anything but stand there because either way you move seems equally dangerous or intimidating; it would appear that confusion can also lead to creativity. Instead of seeing only the limiting options of A or B, confusion often allows you to explore many paths that would normally go unnoticed like JJ, Z and Q. Confusion can stretch you, it can lead you and it often makes you examine minute details that while once seemed unimportant become pivotal to your understanding of the situation. It makes you ask the basic questions of:

Who

What

Where

Why

How

It is the answers to these questions which often help clarify the situation.

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So I am confused. Really confused. But I am also glad (kind of) because the way I am approaching problems and issues is bringing me a sense of peace that I have looked at all options as I walk this journey. At least all the ones that present themselves at this time. And I am okay with that. Because I am holding the hands of those who have gone before me and they are holding me tight so I feel safe and my doomsday gas mask is put in the deepest darkest corner of my Place of Mysteries.

https://myhusbandwantsadivorce.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/the-place-of-mysteries-303-days-to-fix-this/

The Things That We Keep

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I lift a battered and worn cigar box out from beneath a massive box of family photos, 150 year-old letters and diaries. It and all the treasures it contains belonged to my G-Grandmother, Eva, born at home in 1873, somewhere in the woods of Ohio. I marvel as I hold in my hands a small remnant of a piece of pink and blue calico cloth; a dried flower; several old cards with cherubs on them; calling cards of long forgotten friends; and a poem written in script so precise that I can actually imagine the school teacher standing over an eight-year-old Eva making sure that each swirl is aligned correctly with the next.

All these precious things still remain while Eva has been gone for almost 75 years. It makes me wonder more about the type of person that Eva was. It makes me question why these cigar box momentos were so special to her? It makes me ask why don’t we tag these love affairs of the heart so the next generation understands what was important and meaningful to us? And it makes me ponder why it is we hold onto the things that we do?

Therapy this week has been tough full of the good and not-so-good. It has left me questioning myself about why I hold onto the things that I do. Why do I take a piece of this from my past and carry it with me while leaving behind a piece of that? Why do I continue to hold onto anger that helped me survive as a 15-year-old runaway but is no longer useful to me today? Why do I choose to stay rather than leave? The answers to some of these questions remain elusive and hidden in the Place of Mysteries that is nestled in my own mind. Yet, I know this much to be true…that the things we hold onto say more about us than our words and that sometimes we need to examine why we hold onto the things we do. Fear, neediness, love….just what is it that drives us to keep things in sacred spaces and at what point are we free to let them go? Are “things” and emotions meant to be forever or do they have expiration dates? Or are these precious items, thoughts and feelings best left to remain in a small battered cigar box for the next generation to find and wonder…why?

 

 

The Place of Mysteries…303 Days To Fix This

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Recently my therapist introduced me to The Place of Mysteries. It’s a place I have come to cherish and love. It’s a place to hold all the unanswered questions I have been carrying around from the past. It’s a place I can come back to when I have more information and either remove the questions/issues completely from The Place of Mysteries or put them back into holding for scrutinization at a different time.

As my therapist explains it, The Place Of Mysteries is kind of like a closet in your mind. Sometimes it is a fully organized place and sometimes it is packed to the brim with haphazard stuff. Occasionally you have to go into it and take everything out and separate it into three piles: the trash, the giveaway and the keep.

The trash pile is for those things that are resolved and you just don’t need them anymore. Off they go, forever hauled away from your psyche in a big rubbish truck never to be seen again.

The giveaway pile exists to allow yourself to let go of an issue/s and give the issue/s back to the person with whom they really belong. Since I tend to carry around everyone else’s shit I am looking to give it back to the rightful owners by refusing to put it in my closet in the first place or refusing to put it back. If I can accomplish this I suspect I will have a lot of room in this previously overused and cramped space of The Place of Mysteries.

The keep pile is for those still unresolved issues/situations. Gwenniffer has made herself at home in here. I’ll know she is there but I will not look at her unless another piece of information arrives and which time I may compare both pieces and see if they fit together or not. If they do not fit they will go into the trash pile but if they do I can then make an intelligent decision about what I will do with this newly obtained information and how it relates to what I know from before. It is nice to have a place for Gwenniffer rather than having her riding around on my back or inhabiting my head at the most inopportune times.

While The Place Of Mysteries doesn’t begin to answer my all questions it does hold the information in a place away from constant viewing. And while I may have picked up on something concerning Gwenniffer, I do not yet know for sure what that is, so… into The Place Of Mysteries she goes; the holding place for mysteries until they are solved.

Maybe the Gwenniffer issue will never be solved. That is possible. Or maybe at some point I will take Gwenniffer out and just throw her away on my own. But until that day comes, she is sitting in The Place Of Mysteries, out-of-the-way, in the dark, right where she belongs probably sitting next to my missing black patent leather stiletto.