Feeling lucky

Do you ever have one of those days, or weeks, where you feel lucky? Like pinch yourself lucky? Like you should really get yourself on down to the casino and play some cards, lucky? Or maybe this is the day to buy that winning lottery ticket? Or… you feel like today is the day you should push that little Google button ‘I’m feeling lucky.’ (just kidding) Well, I don’t gamble, at all, but I am feeling pretty lucky lately. Almost like I actually did win the lottery.

I just spent four days at the beach house with The Peacemaker (I’m only home for a day because of a meeting I had in town today). Blue Eyes joined us Saturday and Sunday with the dogs. We love this particular two-mile stretch of beach on the Oregon Coast. We chose it on purpose, because it is quiet, very quiet a lot of the year. It is also gorgeous. Honestly though, we have not truly been able to enjoy it, and explore it, until now. During the winter the tide runs high at both high and low tide. High enough to actually get all the way up onto our deck at one point earlier this year. Again, they say that is a rare occurrence and we are hoping “they” are right. During the summer, however, low tide allows for some beautiful walks both north and south. North you can easily cross over to other beaches and walk all the way, in fact, into the town of Cannon Beach. Walking south, however, you encounter what seems like a whole other world with rock groupings around a basalt point, tide pools, dramatic structures and a cave that leads to a beach full of boulders and then a long stretch of sandy beach where the forest literally meets the sand. We have so much more to explore, but here’s a little of the beauty from the past few days.

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First, Blue Eyes’ new addition to the Beach House, a Chinese Buddha relic, maybe 300 years old.

Our first night’s sunset walk along our stretch of beach. South End.

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Second night’s sunset walk. North End.

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Day three walk. North.

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Third night sunset.

Day four walk. South End.

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New super comfy chaise lounges for the deck.

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Our little guard dog also likes the new chairs!

So yeah. I feel very lucky. ❤

 

Sex, Lies and Obsession

In between watching Wimbledon matches, I ran across a movie on the Lifetime Channel called ‘Sex, Lies and Obsession’ starring Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna. It’s a very old movie and I remembered hearing about it or watching it years ago, maybe 15 years ago, WAY before dday, but didn’t remember any of the details. I decided to tape it and see exactly how the movie treated sex addiction in 2001. I figured the acting might be decent since Harry and Lisa are married. I don’t know why I thought that, but I thought it might seem more real. In the movie they have two teenage sons. I read a couple reviews to make sure it wasn’t going to be a horrible waste of time (it’s not generally well rated, but has some decent reviews that applied to the reason I was watching) and then I asked Blue Eyes if he wanted to watch it with me. He said he would like to.

For Blue Eyes it is difficult to grasp the fact that people were talking about, and there was a movie about, sex addiction way back in 2000 because he never actually thought of sex addiction as being real, and he certainly did not think he was a sex addict. I don’t think he ever thought much about the reasons he did what he did, but he did believe he was just generally a bad person who did bad things, negative self talk that goes back as far as he can remember and, of course, that he would… NEVER DO IT AGAIN. At the time the movie came out, Blue Eyes had cheated with three separate women, but was four years away from the Craigslist Ad. The movie addresses sex addiction behavior, and then therapy and 12-step as forms of recovery. Honestly, the script (written by Patricia Resnick of The Expendables and 9 to 5 fame) seems ahead of its time. Of course sex addiction has been around and recognized for awhile, as far back as the 1970’s, and Patrick Carnes wrote his ‘Don’t Call it Love: Recovery From Sexual Addition’ book back in 1991, but it was still a much hidden phenomena. It kind of still is. The diagnosis has always been controversial and there are still quite a few naysayers, but keeping the legitimacy of the diagnosis in question, and constantly belittling and degrading people who identify with sexual compulsivity doesn’t really help the thousands and thousands of people who suffer every day. Not hearing about it or hearing only negative remarks about it hinders people getting real help.

The movie does not address any negative feedback from friends, family, nor does it address a negative reputation of ‘sex addiction’ in the media. What the movie does do, and pretty well in my opinion, realizing they are shoving probably at least a year’s worth of sexual behaviors, discovery, trauma, and recovery into a 90-minute movie, is it addresses the addict’s denial and fear around being labeled an addict. They ALL think they can control their behavior. For a lot of addicts, anger about living in reality feeds their desire to act out and so the cycle continues even after they have acknowledged they may have a problem. Before Harry is technically “caught” the movie also plays out how the addict is in a sort of trance while seeking his sexual hit. At one point Lisa is following Harry in her car, honking at him, and she pulls up in a parking lot as he is entering his secret lair with a prostitute wrapped around him. He doesn’t hear his wife, he doesn’t see her, he is oblivious to reality, he only seeks his high.

They give Lisa Rinna about two or three scenes to play out her devastation and trauma, that was lame, and in one scene the way you know she is in trauma is because she is distracted and her hair is mussed up. Both Blue Eyes and I laughed out loud at that, because she’s still so adorable (I’m not going to mention the lips, I’m not going to mention the lips–OOPS!), but you know, in reality she would be doubled over on the floor, crying out in pain like a wounded animal, and dissociating from her new and horrid reality. At least that was my reality. One of the other silly points in the movie is that Lisa first hears about sex addiction from a TEENAGER in a clinic where she is having her STI/STD tests done because she is too embarrassed to go to her regular doctor. Well, they had to fit it in somewhere!

For a while during the movie I kept thinking… when is Harry going to hit rock bottom? I mean this guy is something else. He picks up flight attendants on trips to medical conferences (we know this is common, men behaving badly while out of town) and of course that is where they start in the movie, but not where they end. Harry has a whole secret apartment with porn in both print and video form. He has a regular prostitute who visits him there. Harry gets massages with happy endings. Harry is very ANGRY when he runs out of coins during a peep show. Harry regularly cruises the streets for hookers. Harry calls 1-900 numbers. Harry is a very busy man. Of course they wanted to show just how out of control Harry is. Not all sex addicts have quite so many outlets for their addiction, but this was a movie. Harry was a lot more confident and self assured than Blue Eyes (thus most likely the reason he had four partners instead of 50+ like Harry), but Blue Eyes admits there are guys like Harry in his meetings. A false sense of who they are, when who they are is completely broken.

There is also the portrayal of Harry’s married life. Two successful careers, two adorable children, an active sex life (when Harry is actually home) and lots of excuses and lies on Harry’s part. Old cliches about men getting something different or better from a working girl. Lisa is not suspicious, she happens upon the truth because Harry is so out of control he is no longer hiding things well. There is nothing wrong with their marriage other than the fact that Harry is so distracted by his addiction that he is fucking falling apart. This felt real to me.

So, my thoughts are no undiagnosed sex addict watching the movie is going to go… HEY, THAT’S ME. But I do believe it is a decent (albeit very truncated) version of what a sex addict is, what a sex addict does, how devastating it is on the partner and the family when the truth is revealed, and that there are avenues to recovery. And Harry and Lisa are handsome people who make a cute couple. The focus was definitely on the sex addict, and not on the trauma of the wife, but you know what, that’s okay because what was represented seemed pretty real, in a Lifetime movie kind of way. Is that an oxymoron? I used to think so, but not so much anymore.

 

Issues

If I could wish for a talent I don’t possess, it would be to have an amazing singing voice. I would write songs like this one and sing like this, and wear suits that look like pajamas (LOL–I’m totally into comfort) and have all my songs be acoustic. My voice would be a little raspy, but mostly sweet, and my lyrics would be reminiscent of the pain I have been through. I wouldn’t have the kind of voice where I could scream out the lyrics (a la Adele), and maybe my lyrics and my voice would be a little sickly sweet for some, but the passion would totally be there.

You do shit on purpose
You get mad and you break things
Feel bad, try to fix things
But you’re perfect
Poorly wired circuit
And got hands like an ocean
Push you out, pull you back in

I remember 23, Julia, and it all seemed so real, so intense, so damn life altering. And then I lived a few more decades and I learned what pain really feels like. I learned about how the distance from all those childhood wounds didn’t grow weaker with age, it grew stronger and threatened to take over my life. I learned that agony can be so overwhelming that it made me question whether I really wanted this life anymore. The thoughts were fleeting, but they were there. I was changed, changed by the actions of someone else. I never thought it could happen. If someone had told me how my life would proceed, I wouldn’t have believed them. I am stubborn. I believed I had control over what happened to me and how I would respond. Life is full of surprises.

Yeah, I got issues
And one of them is how bad I need you

I would change the lyrics to how bad I want you but yeah, I’ve got issues. I fell in love with an addict and I don’t want to let him go.

That’s how I feel today.

 

Turbulence on re-entry

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At this point, I feel like readers are pretty aware that with all the fun of travel and beach houses, and all that jazz going on in my life, inevitably struggles will sneak their way in because, you know, living with a sex addict ain’t easy. Frankly, after 33 years, I’m not sure living with anyone is all that easy, but I do enjoy my life with Blue Eyes.

I had a really great time in Paris. Blue Eyes and I talked a few times, texted every day. He wanted to know how my trip was going, living vicariously and all that, and I of course wanted to know how things were back home. When Blue Eyes traveled all those years, all the time, at points in our marriage he traveled far more days than he was home, there was little to no contact while he was gone. At the beginning, we didn’t have the fancy gadgets like Skype and FaceTime and at the very beginning, not even regular reliable email. When he lived 3/4 time away from us in California, of course there was the phone, but in those days mostly you still had to pay by the minute for long distance and we were on a tight budget. We did talk, however, it was always on Blue Eyes’ terms and most often it was something about the boys.

But then he moved back home and his International travel picked up, and eventually we did have all those fancy gadgets and yet, we didn’t hear from Blue Eyes. I have said a few times before… he trained me well. When he went off on business trips, he was wrapped up in his addictive world. Business fed off his addiction and vice versa. Before the other woman, there was fantasy obsession, porn, and obsessive masturbation while he was away. He was free to do what he liked and medicate however he pleased. From 2008-2013 there was the other woman at his beck and call. I didn’t know, I gave him his space.

Now, without having his drug at his fingertips, he struggles. He struggles with daily life sometimes and with all transitions. He has anxiety and he lives in fear on many days. He obsesses over things he cannot control or change. He recently called it quits with his therapist and will soon be participating in EMDR therapy to work on childhood wounds and other trauma triggers. (Yes, Moi, he’s finally doing it!!!) Right now he is planning on seeing Ms. Honey for the EMDR therapy and I am all for it. Ms. Honey is the next best thing to my SAIT (Sex Addiction Induced Trauma) therapist in LA. Ms. Honey works with patients who suffer from anxiety and phobias, abuse and trauma issues, self-esteem issues, shame reduction, addiction (she is a certified CSAT) and she is a certified EMDR provider. And, I know she is good. We are works in progress, all of us, but Blue Eyes has a whole lot of deep work still to do. He knows he needs to keep working.

Back to the turbulence. I arrived from Paris around dinnertime on a Friday. Both Blue Eyes and The Peacemaker picked me up at the airport. Having The Peacemaker there was a lovely gesture as it is difficult to drag him away from the house unless it is to hang with his friends, or for a sporting event. I guess he missed me. 🙂 We stopped for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and the boys ordered their Ham & Hot Rolls, Oysters on the Half Shell, and decadent Pimento Double-Cheeseburger.

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This Pimento double cheeseburger from Trifecta Tavern in Portland, Oregon is one of the richest burgers I have ever tasted. And a taste is all I have ever eaten. It is over the top!

Lack of sleep and all the rich food I had consumed over the past week was starting to hit me. I, therefore, ordered one of their lovely salads, and even shared it with The Peacemaker.

I am surprised I was able to stay awake until 11:00pm. That night, I slept for a glorious 10 hours and really thought that would help me with jet lag. No such luck, unfortunately. Blue Eyes was very happy to see me and he didn’t leave my side for the first, oh, 12 hours or so. But then at about 6:00am he was up and out of bed. I really thought he would want to sleep in with me. Instead, he told me he couldn’t sleep (now that I was actually home and in bed with him–HE COULDN’T SLEEP?) and he was off to an early Saturday morning 12-step meeting. WTF? The entire time I was gone he did not attend one SA meeting or his Buddhist Sangha. Now that I am home, he is off at 6:30 in the morning? It was triggering, guys. The look on my sleepy face must have registered sadness and dismay as he finished tying his shoes and was off, not even a kiss on the cheek. I tossed and turned and finally fell back asleep.

For a couple days, things were very off. I couldn’t understand why Blue Eyes seemed so distant and distracted. From the moment he heard that I would be going to Paris without him, until I was safely back home, he was stressed and clingy. Now that I was back home, he was fairly well ignoring me. Over the next few days Blue Eyes was rude to both our boys and non-communicative with me. No communication is where I draw the line. Jet lag was torture and I was weepy and lethargic for the first few days I was home. I knew it wasn’t just jet lag or menopause, or whatever excuses I come up with to distract myself from the obvious… Blue Eyes is a pain in the ass to deal with.

I was very happy to be home. A week away was plenty for me to get my “alone” fix. Blue Eyes and I headed over to the beach house on Monday morning in preparation for the 4th on Tuesday. Blue Eyes insisted that he had work to do after we arrived to the beach house, and he wanted to make sure I knew that. Of course. But then once we were settled in at the beach, he wasn’t making work a priority, and yet he seemed pissed at me. When I was being playful, he seemed even more angry. I had had enough so I confronted him. His excuse is often that he has trouble with transitions. I am not really sure what this means. For decades he would flit off to this or that country, for this or that meeting, whatever and I was expected to run the house, the company, my life, the kids’ lives and just let him be and definitely don’t expect anything from him. Now, I go away for one week with a friend and he has trouble “transitioning.” I can’t win.

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Fourth of July at the Beach House.

Monday afternoon he did take some business calls with our sales guys. He was a completely different person than the one I was seeing. He was engaged and lively on his first conference call. He was jovial, boisterous, loud and demonstrative on the phone with one of our employees. It was such an unusual persona for him that even Bernie the Aussie barked at him. Kind of like “hey Dad, what’s up with you?” What’s up with him is that everyone else gets the energetic Blue Eyes and I get the moody Blue Eyes. It’s been this way forever. When we were young, I got the fun and energetic Blue Eyes all the time… when he wasn’t sick that is. Life wasn’t so complicated back then. Now, I feel like I am a burden sometimes. I remind him of who he really is. It hurts. There is nothing much I can do at this point. I am who I am. I never let Blue Eyes’ moods bother me before. They were just part of him. But now I know. Now I know he is willing to throw me under the bus when the going gets rough. He says he will never do that again, but as I watch him ignore me and harbor anger and resentment, I’m not so sure.

I was glad to hear he had ended it with The Shrink a couple weeks ago (although this may be causing him some of the anxiety), but I definitely do want him to continue his therapy journey. I know people aren’t perfect and Blue Eyes won’t ever be the carefree, loving-life person I thought he was for years. I know Blue Eyes’ emotional struggles are not about me and that I need to learn to have a thicker skin, but geez if I don’t just want things to be easier some days. I know communicating openly about his inner most feelings is difficult for Blue Eyes, but difficult or not, it will be necessary for the health of our relationship. I’m in this thing with everything I’ve got, and that is all I can do.

Yesterday we visited an Asian Antiques store and found a lovely copper fire pit for the beach house (something I had been looking for) and Blue Eyes also found an amazing Buddha (something he had been looking for) for his meditation corner. He never would have purchased the Buddha had I not been there. I want him to have things that have special meaning to him and that bring him peace, because at this point, I know I cannot do that for him.

Tomorrow I am off to the beach house to relax and enjoy our new treasures.

Seven days in Paris

I’m not kidding. I am attempting to post seven glorious days in one of the most amazing cities in the world in one post. No wonder it has taken me so long to do this. Here goes….

Day One

Arriving rainy and chilly Keflavik Airport, Reykjavik Iceland.

The flight I booked through Cheapoair (it’s a real website, I promise, I’ve used it numerous times) allowed me to fly business class to Paris within a similar timeframe and price range as coach fare on Delta, so I flew Iceland Air to Paris, through Iceland!

Bad stuff: Keflavik Airport has bitten off more than it can chew. Tourism is booming in Iceland. There aren’t enough gates or jetways for all the planes. Both ways I ended up walking up and down an outside stairway to the tarmac and then riding a bus to the terminal or the plane. It was tiring and time consuming, but I made my connections (because they hold all the planes for everyone).

Good Stuff: Business (Saga) Class on Iceland Air was really nice. Food was great, service impeccable and the views arriving and departing Iceland were beautiful. Next time I think I would save money and choose Economy Comfort… it looked just as nice and less expensive. I forgot my iPad on my first flight and I was literally running to catch my next flight. I didn’t realize I had left the thing in the pocket of my seat until I was at my next gate. My second flight was running late (all my flights ran late). I asked the gate attendant if she could check on it. They had it delivered to me within 10 minutes. I dare say that would not happen in the U.S.

I’m pretty sure there’s a trip to Iceland in our not too distant future (suggestions welcome).

Departing Reykjavik for Paris

French countryside, arriving Paris

My plane landed first. TC’s direct flight from the U.S. East Coast was delayed and arrived shortly after mine. We met up at the airport and headed into the city by taxi.

The apartment we reserved in the Saint Germain area of Paris was lovely. We booked through HomeAway and the entire experience went smoothly.

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One of my favorite aspects of Paris Apartment buildings is the stairways. Nothing fancy, oddly shaped with crooked old wooden stairs.

This was my bedroom, street side. We each had our own bathrooms, which is key to a great roommate experience, in my opinion! I loved the niches in this room. They were filled with little one-of-a-kind treasures and art antiques.

The nights were a little warm when we first arrived. It doesn’t get dark until after 10:30pm in Paris at this time of year, it doesn’t cool down really until after dark, and most apartments don’t have A/C. There were two busy cafes/bars below the apartment that stayed noisy until well after 2am. I eventually started closing the windows at bedtime and relying on the fans to drown out some of the street noise and keep me cool.

The living room was well designed and functional with original artwork by french painter Michele Taupin, and gorgeous tall windows.

Our view facing away from the cafes on Rue de Bourbon le Chateau in Saint Germain. There was an Henri Le Roux chocolate shop on the street level of our building. 😁

No rest for the weary on Day One in Paris. Somehow both TC and I were full of energy and ready to take on the city (even though I missed an entire night’s sleep).  TC wanted to hunt down Space Invader Art and I was ready to soak in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Paris.

First stop, Pierre Herme Saint Germain so TC could order her beloved Ispahan Croissants (more on that later) for Saturday breakfast.

Once croissants were ordered, we were off to explore our new neighborhood. By this time it was very late afternoon and TC wanted to introduce me to a David Lebovitz favorite, Poilane. Next to their little boulangerie, is the cafe. We intended to have a bite to eat, but it was near closing and all they were offering were pastries. So we opted for tea and an apple tart to share.

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I cannot subsist on sweets alone, so we continued to stroll Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Very close to our apartment are the famous Cafe de Flore and Cafe Les Deux Magots, the historical rendezvous spot of the likes of Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, and Julia Child.

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Les Deux Magots at 6 Place Saint-Germain des Pres, 75006 Paris, France.

Just down the street from Les Deux Magots is a steak frites restaurant Blue Eyes and I have eaten at before, and loved. TC had not been, but had been wanting to try it, so we got in line. By this time I was very hungry. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations. There are three locations in Paris, and all work the same, no reservations with generally long lines that move quickly.

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le “Relais de l’entrecĂ´te” in Saint Germain

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The steak frites with their amazing special recipe steak sauce. The steak is incredibly tender and the sauce is rich and herbaceous without being overpowering.

And then TC introduced me to THIS:

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I did not know how much I love Gelato until I had a taste of Grom Cioccolato (Peruvian Chocolate) topped with a huge dollop of chantilly cream. OH MY!

Day Two

Day two in Paris was a very special affair. First, it was TC’s birthday. She was up before me and out to spot new Invader Art and to pick up her birthday croissants. Her excitement was contagious. I had eaten an Ispahan Croissant once before in Kyoto, Japan on the recommendation of TC. The Ritz Carlton Kyoto (an absolutely gorgeous boutique hotel) has a Pierre Herme shop in the lobby. I found the croissant to be delicious, but a little sweet for me. Dare I say it, the Ispahan Croissant is TC’s one true love. She ate two each morning for about the first five or six days we were in Paris.

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The Ispahan Croissant, created by Pierre Herme, is a buttery croissant, just like all the rest, but inside these croissants is homemade rose-scented almond paste and raspberry-lychee gelee. The croissants are glazed with rose icing and topped with crunchy freeze-dried raspberries.

If you would like to make these croissants yourself, this website has the recipe: Iron Whisk: Ispahan Croissants.

TC also introduced me to my favorite breakfast food, La Fermiere Yogurt in the little blue re-usable crocks. I brought six of those crocks home with me. I think I will plant a little herb garden in them at the beach house. I’m especially fond of micro-cilantro.

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It was a beautiful Saturday morning in Saint Germain.

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TC introduced me to Taschen Book Store. I wanted to bring one home with me as a souvenir, but they were just too heavy. They have THE most amazing large scale photo books I have ever seen.

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TC does not eat pork, but Blue Eyes would have been all over this place! 🙂

After breakfast we headed off to the Paris flea market at Porte de Clignancourt. This market had been on my “must see in Paris” list since 2013. I am thrilled TC and I made this market a priority. It was a one shot Metro ride from our local line 4 station at Saint Germain. Once out at le Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, we haphazardly ended up at Marche Vernaison and I’m so glad we did. I purchased a treasure to take home to the beach house. An abstract nude caught my eye from outside the vendor’s shop. Once I saw it, I wanted it. It was the middle of the night at home, so contacting Blue Eyes for “permission” seemed cruel. Unfortunately, the vendor was new and was not set up for credit… CASH ONLY? Well, I was not carrying around that kind of euro. I put down a 100euro deposit to hold it and told the vendor I would be back on Monday (the market is only open Saturday-Monday, thus one of the reasons I had not been before).

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Marche Vernaison

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So many vendors

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Honestly, I am so glad we went to the flea market. I loved it!

After the flea market we headed to La Grande Epicerie at Le Bon Marche near our apartment. Our eyes were big as saucers eyeing all the delicacies at the Epicerie (a large food hall).

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We picked up some goodies for a picnic style lunch back at our apartment.

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We kept it pretty light as we were planning ahead for TC’s big birthday dinner.

After a bit of rest, we dressed for dinner and headed to The Marais, my personal favorite neighborhood in Paris. TC had chosen a nostalgic favorite, Benoit, for her birthday dinner. I had never been to this restaurant, one of the oldest in Paris.

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I fell in love with this restaurant, from the artistic menus to the gorgeous china, and of course the delicious cheese gougeres, it was a grand experience.

After such an extravagant meal, some serious walking was in order. We headed into La Marais and it quickly became obvious that it was Paris Gay Pride Day. La Marais is THE gay neighborhood in Paris, full of unique boutique shopping, amazing food, great energy, and wild entertainment.

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Cross dressers doing some kind of performance, I wasn’t quite sure what. While we were there they were just standing around.

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We also saw Space Invader Bugs Bunny in La Marais. I think he was my favorite.

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We made our way through the dense crowds and I am very glad we did. So much eye candy. It was a fun night.

 

Day Three

Sunday morning arrived and by the time I rolled out of bed, TC was gone again on her morning croissant fix/Invader hunt. I chose to take it easy and read a book. I needed the energy for the afternoon as TC had booked us at the OPERA!

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Palais Garnier, the Paris Opera House.

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The Palais Garnier is a gorgeous place. Blue Eyes and I had taken one of their guided tours last year for my birthday trip (Paris 2016). I would highly recommend the tour. During our tour, however, we only got a glimpse inside the theatre as they were practicing a performance. This time TC booked us in amazing seats for a performance of La Cenerentola, a Cinderella story done the Italian way. When the step father (yeah, not step mother) walked out the door in the first scene with his pants off and giving a kiss good-bye to a prostitute, I knew this was no Disney Cinderella, LOL. Anyway, the performance was so different as to be completely compelling and there was even some humor to it. The music wasn’t bad either! 😉 I am absolutely in love with the Marc Chagall ceiling.

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After the matinee, TC wanted to try the famous Mille-Feuille at Cafe de la Paix at the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand Hotel (the very same hotel Blue Eyes and I stayed at last year).

Day Four

Day four started off much like the others with TC out and about walking, eating croissants, searching for space invader art, visiting perfume shops and following in the footsteps of Marie Antoinette (chocolates)…

I was on a mission to get that cash and pick up my treasure. After about an hour of finagling with BNP Paribas and my banks back home, I was able to secure the right amount of cash and make my way back out to the market by Metro to pick up the painting. My lovely French vendor guy was waiting for me with my treasure all wrapped up. He called me a taxi and by early afternoon, I was on my way back to secure the painting in our apartment. TC shared her decadent chocolates from Debauve & Gallis with me and we scarfed down a bit of baguette and brie.

Since the Galeries Lafayette shopping center had been closed when we were there on Sunday after the Opera, we decided to head back to that area and do some shopping. The Galeries Lafayette are a must see for their glass ceilings alone.

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Before heading across the street to the Food Hall, I spent a little time drooling over the Angelina pastry counter, but we did not try any as TC had all our desserts planned out, LOL!

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I love food halls in general. Even if I don’t purchase anything, I can spend hours just perusing the options. Galeries Lafayette food halls are no exception. Last year I was there with Blue Eyes and I fell in love with the spice shop. This time I actually brought some of the spices and salts home with me.

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So many interesting pastries in Paris. All these are Japanese green tea (Matcha, macha) flavored.

TC then introduced me to Fauchon’s cafe and we shared a beautiful strawberry tart.

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Honestly, people, I know I am diabetic and so my portions of the desserts were small, a bite or two at best. I was not on a suicide mission. But a little taste here and there with all the miles of walking we were doing, just felt right.

For dinner we took off to a new area of town where we ate at Cafe Constant. I must have duck confit at least once while in Paris because, well, it’s DUCK CONFIT! If you have never had it and you like rich delicacies, you will not be disappointed.

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Cafe Constant duck and potato pie with duck confit.

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The profiteroles stuffed with ice cream and sitting in a bowl of warm chocolate, a famous Cafe Constant dessert. This was TC’s dessert. I had a bite. I am not a profiterole/eclair type girl, per se, so I just stared at the chocolate the whole time! 🙂

By the way, here is my Paris flea market treasure at the beach house

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Day Five

On day five we went and had a real breakfast at Angelina. I had never been. The shop/cafe at the location on Rue de Rivoli was so sweet. Small, but the mirrors and murals make it seem bigger, and it is right across the street from my favorite garden, the Tuileries.

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The shop at Angelina

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I had a half cup of the decadent Le Chocolat Chaud l’Africain (hot chocolate), which is as TC says, like drinking melted chocolate bars.

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The Angelina omelet and TC’s baguette with jam and butter

After our very filling breakfast, we walked over to the Tuileries, the gardens outside of the Louvre Museum.

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I adore the symmetry of these gardens.

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And the gorgeous Tuileries fountain

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Another shot of the Tuileries fountain with Rue de Rivoli behind. They had a carnival type set up going on while we were there.

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My favorite Museum, Musee d’Orsay from the River Seine. A boat cruise on the Seine is still on my “must do” list. Next time.

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We walked to the Champs Elysees, the famous tree-lined shopping street that starts at the Arc de Triomphe and seems to go on forever.

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Speaking of, the Arc de Triomphe

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We had dinner at Laduree on Champs Elysees. Pretty touristy, but divine nonetheless. The rooms upstairs are a little warmer in the summer, but beautiful and quiet.

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Chicken, Spinach, and Mushroom Vol au Vent

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My one and only dessert that wasn’t a shared dessert. It was so decadent, all chocolate, but I couldn’t finish it. I actually did have a salad too, but who wants to see a picture of a boring salad? I mean, there are lovely salads, but this one was greens with a light dressing. Nothing much to see.

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We ended the night with a view of the twinkling Eiffel Tower.

Day Six

On day six I headed out to the Hockney exhibit at the Centre Georges Pompidou by myself. Even though the Pompidou is in the Marais district (where our family stayed for 2 1/2 weeks four years ago), I never made it to this famous modern art museum designed by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano. With the David Hockney exhibit, I wasn’t going to miss it this time.

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My walk to the museum on a beautiful summer morning included passing by Saint-Michel metro. I love the Paris Metro.

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I crossed the River Seine

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And passed through quaint alleyways

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Georges Pompidou from the Place Stravinsky side with the whimsical water spraying sculptures.

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Honestly, it’s a crazy looking industrial design building, not to be missed.

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I have learned to always purchase tickets online beforehand so as not to waste time standing around.

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The views from the Pompidou are amazing.

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Outdoor sculpture display with the magnificent view and Sacre Coeur in the distance.

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I particularly love this photo of men standing around the Hockney exhibit with what I consider his most iconic piece, A Bigger Splash (1967), in the background.

 

 

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Most of the men were looking at this David Hockney painting, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Fingers), 1971.

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There were so many interesting pieces by Hockney that I had never seen. For example, I had no idea he had a Picasso Period. Anyway, I fell in love with this HUGE mural of Bigger Trees, but technically photography was not allowed. I snuck in a few photos, but there were plenty of people guarding this one and way too many people to get any kind of decent photo. So this will do.

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After making my way through the David Hockney exhibit, I then ventured to the two floors below and found some lovely modern art by some of my favorites, including this Matisse.

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I grabbed a quick, cold drink in The Georges Restaurant on the 6th (top) Floor of the Pompidou. A great place to relax and enjoy a spectacular view.

Then I set out to walk back to the apartment, however, a pretty heavy rain shower thwarted my efforts and I ended up stopping in to a little Trattoria for some pasta. The pasta was so rich that I decided it would be my last meal for the day. I retired early at the apartment and left TC to fend for herself, which she does quite nicely.

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Penne with courgette cream sauce.

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On my walk back to Saint Germain, I passed this adorable alleyway. I want to check this out further on my next visit to Paris.

Day Seven

Our last full day in Paris was really about two things for me… a couple treats to bring home for my men, and the Jardin Exhibit at the Grand Palais.

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I started out early to grab some butter and chocolates at La Grand Epicerie. I stopped into the restaurant on the second floor, La Table for a bite of breakfast.

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I ordered the Pain Perdu with Orange Marmalade and it was melt in your mouth deliciousness.

After perusing some other shops in Saint Germain, I stuck my goodies in the fridge and TC and I set out for the Grand Palais.

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Greeting visitors near the entrance of the ‘Jardins’ exhibition is KĂ´ichi Kurita’s installation of 400 squares of earth. Spread out on the floor, the samples are all in slightly different tones of reds, browns, oranges, yellows and greys. Formally, the carefully arranged composition loosely recalls an abstract painting whilst also falling into the tradition of land art. It features the rich variety of the types of earth that the Japanese artist has been collecting in France, mostly in the areas surrounding the Loire Valley, since 2004. (Source: damnmagazine)

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A watercolor portrait study of Irises by French Artist Patrick Neu (2010-2015).

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Magnolia by Imogen Cunningham

I very much enjoyed the Jardin exhibit, but I will say I was expecting more Monet and or other large scale garden paintings. I will have to go elsewhere for that next time. The exhibit, however, did include a very well rounded look at garden and art as it relates to so many different mediums such as film, architectural drawings of garden design, and some pretty fabulous jewelry.

My last stop of the day was at the Henri Le Roux chocolate shop just below our apartment. As a matter of fact, that blue door in the picture is the entrance to the apartment building where we stayed. A wonderful location, but I do still love my La Marais.

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We packed the night before and had Blue Eyes pre-arrange an Uber ride to the airport for us, so Friday morning was a breeze. TC and I were in different terminals, so we said good-bye in the Uber… until next time.

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My view from Keflavik Airport in Reykjavik while waiting to board my plane back home.

What a glorious seven days in Paris with a lovely friend. I’m pretty sure Blue Eyes won’t let me go without him next time.

Au Revoir aux amis. ❤

 

 

 

 

I’m sorry

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Peonies from my cutting garden.

Sometimes I feel like I need to put out a disclaimer before I start typing. Although we are moving forward together, me with Blue eyes, and I am healing, and I keep writing because it helps me feel better in the moment, this ride is so tumultuous, some days I feel like I’m going to be sick. I have written before, and still hold by that truth, that I had never suffered not even one day of depression before discovery. I mean sure, I had moments of sadness, anger, frustration, despair, all natural emotions, but they were truly moments (not weeks, months, or even days) and they weren’t necessarily focused at Blue Eyes. I mean yeah, most of the frustration was, to be honest, because we are so very different in personality. I was frustrated by how disorganized he was, how much he worked, and how little time he carved out for me and the boys in the scheme of things, etc… etc… etc… all water under the bridge now. When he was with us, he was a pretty great husband and a fun and present Dad. I accepted him for who he was, and vice versa, warts and all.

After discovery, everything changed. I cannot really think of anything that didn’t change. Our lives will never be the same, never look the same. I cannot un-see what has been seen (mostly I conjure images in my imagination of his bad acts). I can’t un-hear what has been heard and I especially cannot un-do what has been done. My march forward bears all the painful truth that was hidden before discovery. I am truly grateful that my journey so far, all 1,254 days of it, has included much healing. I literally can go days now without thinking about the other woman, without thinking about the disgusting behavior of Blue Eyes’ secret life, and I do not, at this point, think of leaving him anymore. Unfortunately, with all that progress, the pain is still there, sometimes in the most subtle of ways, and I’m pretty sure it will never ever leave me.

It started last week. Blue Eyes was out of town for the day and I needed to take the dogs to doggie daycare. He had taken my car and left me with the dog car. The morning started out so ordinary. I hooked the dogs up to their leashes and we headed out to the old Volvo. This used to be my car. I sat in the driver seat and adjusted the mirrors and out of nowhere, I was struck by an image of the other woman driving my car to Seattle. Something I hadn’t really thought about for… years? Sitting there in my old car, with the dogs staring expectantly at me from the back seat, I felt physically ill. That nauseous feeling just swept right through me. I didn’t know what to do with it. I was aware of where this feeling could send me. Should I stay in the moment and feel those feelings again, possibly leading me to a crying jag or worse? Should I center myself with a little deep breathing and meditation. Should I get out of the car and go back inside the house and throw up? I felt like I needed to. And, truthfully, the dog car smells badly of dog. I’m rarely in this car anymore and I wonder how Blue Eyes can tolerate it. That makes me wonder why he doesn’t take the effort to clean it more often. Honestly, he still has the distinct talent of compartmentalizing so much, apparently even the smell of dirty dog. I opted to just sit in the moment. I opened the windows and there was a nice cool breeze. I took deep breaths of the fresh air and mindfully cleared all the thoughts from my head. I sat like that for close to 10 minutes, listening to the birds and the distant sounds of traffic. I did okay at getting out of the tough spot, and I made it back home having blocked out the destructive image, but that melancholy stayed with me.

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My favorite room at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills

While we were in Los Angeles, I had a few rough moments. At one point Blue Eyes actually said, out loud, “I’m tired of being reminded of my bad acts.” That made me feel totally alone. Of course he apologized, but the words were already out there. The rest of the time, I felt like something was missing. When Blue Eyes was with me, I could feel my energy seeping out of me. When he was off to meetings, things seemed less stressful, and my mood improved.

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Sunset in La La Land

Yesterday we drove to the beach house to check on everything. We had a company deep clean the house (there was so much construction dust) and also do the windows, which were filthy from all the coastal storms the past few months.

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Unfortunately, our time at the beach house was short as Blue Eyes needed to be back for more out of town meetings today, and I need to pack and prepare for Paris. As I got into the driver seat of my car outside the beach house last night, I noticed a longish blonde hair stuck in the headrest of my seat. I don’t have blonde hair. I don’t know anyone that would be in the car that would have long blonde hair, especially in the driver seat. It brought back memories of me and the boys visiting his work apartments in California all those years ago and noticing long hairs in the shower drains. He always had an excuse. The cleaning person he had hired (what cleaning person leaves hair in the drains???)… his roommate’s girlfriend probably used his shower? Of course they really belonged to the first other woman. She had been to both his apartments. He was so quick to offer an excuse, then. This time he just looked at me, as confused as I. He had the car cleaned after our Yosemite trip. He parked my car with the valet service at the airport a few days ago. He had no clue how the hair got there. Funny I hadn’t noticed it before. It was really stuck in there.

Even though I don’t believe the hair is from some new other woman, and frankly it makes me tired just thinking that, I still feel off. As I have said many times, menopause is kicking my ass. I am emotionally drained. I know I have some kind of minor depression. I don’t feel altogether sad, I feel tired. Tired of dealing with all of it.

So, I’m sorry because I’m not bringing a burst of light and joy into the world today. I’m sorry that writing out my problems helps me feel better because I know people who read might feel worse. I’m sorry that there isn’t some magic pill that makes all this go away. I’m sorry that I feel so dark on such a gloriously beautiful almost summer day. I think I’ll take a nap and hope to dream of Paris… four days and counting. Paris is going to be grand! ❤

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Pont des Arts. Lover’s locks bridge. Paris, France. June, 2013.

Is trust all it’s cracked up to be?

First, as I typed “all it’s cracked up to be” the phrase struck me as quite odd. So, I looked up it’s origin. Strange. The Phrase Finder

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I have asked myself and many others have asked me, if I will ever be able to trust my husband again. I realize there are about a bazillion memes stating that if you don’t have trust in a relationship, you don’t have anything. Google definition of trust: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. I have always believed trust is really important, and before discovery, I blindly trusted Blue Eyes. I trusted he would do right by me. I guess my question now is… what am I supposed to have trust in? Trust that Blue Eyes won’t lie to me… anymore? Won’t lie about anything, or just specific things that I have defined? That Blue Eyes won’t hurt me, again? That Blue Eyes won’t let me down? I would venture to say we all lie to our partner at one point in time, and we hurt each other whether we mean to or not. I realize of course, that some lies, and some hurts, are much more devastating than others.

I trusted my husband, he broke my trust, and now it is much more difficult to trust. It is much more difficult to trust anyone. Even if I left my husband and eventually found another mate, I don’t think I would ever fully trust that person. Perhaps my ability to trust is broken. I’m pretty sure I would be okay with not fully trusting anyone again. Trust is a very tenuous proposition because it is built on only what we know to be the truth. And we will never truly know everything about another person. I SO took this for granted before discovery. I just assumed if I was honest, people would be honest with me, and especially Blue Eyes would be honest with me. HUGE assumption that turned out not to be true.

The real lesson I believe I have learned since discovery is to temper my trust, to define it better. Even if I can’t fully trust someone, because he broke that trust and I am having a difficult time dealing with that, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be with him. I do, want to be with him. This is a choice I am making by myself, for myself, knowing everything that I know. No one else can understand how I feel about Blue Eyes. We are approaching our 28th wedding anniversary and 33 years of being together. He is my best friend. He is the father of my children. I don’t hate him, even on the worst of days, I don’t hate him. I love him. But… I’m not sure I will ever completely trust him to confide his deepest, darkest secrets, or his truest self to me in the future. His life will not remain stagnant, things are going to come up. I guess what I have trust in is that my husband loves me and he wants to be my partner and therefore he is doing everything he can to be that recovered guy who doesn’t keep hurting me. No one knows whether he will maintain his sobriety for the rest of his life, or frankly, for the rest of the week. No one really truly knows anything or everything about any other person. There are no guarantees. There are men and women sitting next to their partner right now, feeling quite confident that s/he is faithful, not knowing that that person has betrayed them in the past or is betraying them right now. And they can say they haven’t, and lie, and how do we really know? I have read many a blog in which the cheater is rationalizing their cheating because of one thing or another. They feel neglected by their spouse, their feelings are hurt and apparently they have the maturity of a five year old, they relate better to their affair partner, the sex is just better with the affair partner, etc, etc. In my mind, these are very shallow and selfish ways to look at what I consider really bad and hurtful behavior. Unless you have an open marriage in which everyone is following the rules, it’s bad. In order for there to be a fair playing field, truth must be out on the table. It is not fair for a cheater to talk about their spouse and how their behavior affects the marriage unless they have been completely honest about their cheating. Most do not divulge the truth because they know the consequences will be devastating. Life is full of challenges and disappointment. Being lied to by the person you thought was your best friend is like a knife to the heart. It should not be easily rationalized away. Ignorance is not bliss. In a perfect world, we would all know what is going on in our life and make decisions accordingly. What I do have though, as a betrayed spouse who now knows if not all of the truth, at least enough to know what has transpired behind my back, is the ability to make my own decisions and choices once I did find out those destructive truths. Having the truth and knowing I am able to make choices is very powerful.

All that said, we are traveling back to Los Angeles for business… another summer-ish trip to LA, the scene of one of my husband’s crimes. He didn’t actually take the other woman there, but he did spend a great deal of time four years ago attempting to break things off with her, encroaching on my time with him during an anniversary trip. Over the many months of torturous discovery, I learned through phone records mostly, because those don’t lie, that he had talked with and texted with her quite obsessively. We have now been back to LA a few times since then, staying at the very same hotel we stayed at back in 2013 for our anniversary. As a matter of fact, we stayed at the Century City Intercontinental in August, 2013, and also in May 2014 (a few months post discovery… but before I knew about the phone records) and June 2016 (Breakfast Conversation).

This time around, I have decided to pick a different hotel, a better hotel, my favorite Los Angeles hotel. I know I won’t be triggered in Los Angeles. I believe Blue Eyes isn’t in contact with the other woman or any other woman, or even behaving badly in other ways. I guess you could call that a form of trust, I don’t know, belief in and trust, what’s the difference? At this point, in order to keep my wits about me, I have let all that fear and obsession go. I didn’t know about his secret life, but the truth is, neither of us knew he was an addict. Things are very very different now than they were before discovery and even over the past couple of years. I have the very distinct belief that my husband loves me and he doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize our partnership (he thought he had that before, because I wasn’t ever going to find out his secrets, remember?) and at this point he believes that losing his sobriety, as bad as it is for his own mental health, would be devastating to “us.” I know not hurting me again won’t be enough to truly fight his addiction demons at the worst of times, but not losing his best friend is very important to him and does factor in. Trust at this point is tenuous at best. I believe he is on a good path now. And if I believe something to be true, and I find out it isn’t, it is impossible to devastate me again at this point, because what I do know now, is that no one deserves blind trust. I know what Blue Eyes is capable of now, and I know why. That brings me more peace than thinking about all the negative possibilities for our future together. I see happiness for us.

Wise trust assesses the probability of betrayal, in recognition that we are all frail creatures capable of betrayal in weaker moments (or in Kat’s words, have betrayed previously). Realistically, it’s possible that any of us could betray a loved one. Blind trust denies this darker characteristic of human nature; suspiciousness exaggerates it. Wise trust is an assessment that the probability of betrayal is low. (credit: Steven Stosny, Ph.D., Trust and Betrayal, Psychology Today Jan. o3, 2014)

At this point, I’m throwing the probability of betrayal and the trust that it won’t happen again, out the window and am focusing on my own happiness, which only I have the power to control. I now have what I guess Dr. Stosny would call Wise trust, plus belief in myself. For me that means that I trust that no matter what happens with my husband, I know I will be okay. Good even. Great even! Wow this was a shitty lesson that had to be learned the really really hard way. But I’ve got it now.

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And then there’s this beautiful creature blankly staring at me as I type. There’s very little of consequence going on in that little brain. She’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, as they say. But Stinky (a.k.a. Tinkerbell) is mighty adorable. Ah, some days I would very much like to be a cat.

❤

Road trip to Yosemite

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Old School Road Trip ahead. I-5 South at Weed, California with the tip of Mt. Shasta visible in the distance.

Wow did we have fun last week!

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My little Porsche Cayenne averaged 34 miles to the gallon, and she’s a pretty comfy ride!

We took my incredibly comfortable road trip car and headed down to California. The Peacemaker joined us. We have a friend who is a hobby photographer (and he’s pretty damn good) who had visited Yosemite a few years back. He took some spectacular photos, and ever since seeing those photos I have wanted to go to Yosemite. Apparently I was there as a child, but I have no memory. I started pinning photos of Yosemite a couple years ago on one of my dozens of Pinterest Boards and well, I just felt like the time was now. I knew it would be crazy crowded over Memorial Day weekend as some of the roads were just opening up and the snow melt/volume of water coming off the numerous falls was supposed to be spectacular. It’s a 12-hour drive to Yosemite National Park from our house, and we left on Memorial Day in order to miss the holiday weekend crowds.

There are many routes a person can take from Portland to Yosemite, but since we have made all those drives before to California, I opted for the straight route right down Interstate 5, and then over to Merced. The state of Oregon is quite lovely, but there are monotonous stretches of California that are a bit yawn worthy. The Mt. Shasta area, however, is gorgeous.

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A vista point on I-5 with Mount Shasta in the distance.

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Lake Shasta at dusk.

We arrived Yosemite on Day Two.

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Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite National Park.

On Day three we headed into the park. We didn’t do any long hikes the first day, we just tried to get our bearings and take it all in. We did small hikes to huge waterfalls and took a lot of photos.

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Viewpoint at Tunnel View. El Capitan on the left and Bridal Veil Falls on the right. Our first day was cloudy, but no less magical.

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I like to call this photo Coexist. Families biking along the valley meadow, half dome covered in clouds behind them, and a deer munching on grass while I take a photo about six feet away. An overwhelmingly tranquil moment in the park.

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Upper Yosemite Falls in the distance. I was mesmerized by the reflection in the water. We spent quite a bit of time in this spot.

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Lower Yosemite Falls.

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Dusk in the park, first day.

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On our way out of the park on our first day, The Peacemaker and I hiked down to Alder Creek. This is just a snippet of the water flow, which at some points of the year is little more than a trickle. On this day it was at a roar.

We had planned to spend two full days at Yosemite. On day two, the weather did a 180 and turned very warm, with the bluest of blue skies.

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Heading into the park.

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Tunnel View on a Blue Sky Day.

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First stop… a short walk up to Bridal Veil Falls where my hair got soaked, my clothes got soaked, my phone got soaked, my shoes got soaked. I looked like a drowned rat and the day was just beginning. And the water coming off these water falls is ICE COLD. Thank goodness for the warm sunshine back down the trail.

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On Day two we had planned to do a serious hike. We chose the Mist Trail along the Merced River, and up to Vernal Falls. This here is the Merced River at the bottom of the trail near Curry Village Campground.

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The first part of the trail, although paved and easy to walk, was pretty much straight up hill leading to a footbridge that crosses the Merced River as the water storms off the mountain from Vernal Falls. Easy Peasy.

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The second part of the trail is still pretty much up hill, a lovely red dirt path, shaded and gorgeous.

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Now, the third part of the trail is where the fun begins. And by fun, I mean steep slippery granite steps going straight up, at least 600 wet, incredibly slick steps on the side of a mountain with a monstrous waterfall spewing MIST (yeah, the name of the trail makes sense now) all over you. As they say, you will be wet down to your underwear. NO KIDDING. This first little part is the mostly dry part.

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Just around the bend from the last picture… I was SO THANKFUL for that railing along the narrowest part of the path. I actually cropped Blue Eyes out of this pic, he was hugging the side of the mountain and imploring me with his eyes to just give him permission to turn around and go back down…. and I am the one that is AFRAID OF HEIGHTS! You cannot tell here how incredibly WET this trail actually is. By this point we could barely see from all the water dripping off of us. I was soaked through, shaking from the cold, my legs were starting to ache and feel rubbery from the height of the steps (not to mention the altitude), about twice the height of a normal step, but gall darn I was going to get my phone out of my drenched pocket, dry it off with, well, nothing really, maybe the inner pocket of my shorts, and get a picture of this. It was beautiful, but it was scary.

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The view next to you as you are climbing the steps up up up.

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Vernal Fall.

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After climbing the 600 or so slippery granite steps, you come to a granite walkway/ramp carved into the mountain with, thankfully, a railing and when you get to the top, it looks like this.

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AND THIS! The top of Vernal Falls. SO Magnificent. At this point, we deemed the whole thing worth it, BUT, we had to get back down to the valley and none of us wanted to go back down those stairs. We ended up choosing the longer route back down, which actually meant going up quite a bit more on the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls to Nevada Falls John Muir Trail? It was difficult for me to understand exactly where one trail ended and another began.

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We hiked up and over to this footbridge that crossed the water flow between Nevada Fall and Vernal Fall. We had no desire at this point to keep climbing up to Nevada Fall. We took a couple photos and headed back to the John Muir Trail.

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In summer and fall, the area down below is a tranquil looking section of water called Emerald Pool. At other times of the year it looks peaceful and inviting for a swim, HOWEVER, it is incredibly dangerous at all times of the year and healthy young men have tried to swim across the seemingly calm looking pool and got caught up in the treacherous current. Right now, in Spring, this area of the fall is raging. Beautiful and incredibly deadly. It will carry you right around the corner and over Vernal Fall, which is not survivable.

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Nevada Falls, up top there. I love shadows. Here you can see my shadow, standing on the bridge. It really was an amazing day.

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Right near the bridge was where we got our first trail glimpse of half dome (up top in the picture). Here’s my men getting their own photos. BE is almost always carrying something of mine. In this case, it is my favorite gray and white striped backpack. So versatile and lightweight.

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The Peacemaker and I veered off the path and over to this lookout (with zero railing) to get a shot back down to the top of Vernal Falls. The little specks on the flat surface up on the right are people, right where we had just come from. And look at the spray off that fall… that is where we were climbing the wet granite steps. No joke, it was WET!!!

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Once we hit about 8500 feet elevation (we had ascended over 2000 feet on the hike), we hit the three mile dirt horse trail that would take us back down to Yosemite Valley. The trail was sorta smooth in most parts, but other parts were pretty chock full of rocks, oh yeah, and horse poop. The mosquitoes got me even though I was literally carrying the bug spray in my hands and constantly spraying.

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In the end, my Nikes got me there and back (thank goodness they’re washable), not a blister in sight: 9+ miles walked, more than 2000 feet elevation climbed, equivalent of about 120 flights of stairs pretty straight up, in about 4 hours (we stopped to smell the, uh, mist?). I think I need some hiking boots!

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The next afternoon we headed back home by way of Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. This is Mount Shasta at dusk on Friday night.

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Saturday we drove in to Crater Lake National Park at about noon. Part of the rim drive is not open yet for the season, so our trip was short and sweet. This is Crater Lake Lodge, built in 1915. It’s pretty cool. That is a pile of snow on the right in the photo.

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You will always encounter a friendly begging chipmunk at Crater Lake.

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I have been to Crater Lake many times both as a child and as an adult. The Peacemaker hadn’t been there since he was two. It’s pretty amazing.

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Crater Lake with Wizard Island on the left. These Crater Lake photos were not altered in any way. It is just that blue.

Honestly, we all had a blast. No drama, no triggers, just plain old family fun times. When we return, I will climb to the top of Upper Yosemite Falls. I’m looking forward to it.

More about year four

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Our beach Paradise.

We returned Saturday night from a wonderful road trip to Yosemite National Park in California, but that is not what I am writing about today. Today, I need to go back in time a couple weeks and discuss a conversation between me and Blue Eyes. I have been spending more and more time at the beach house and Blue Eyes spends quite a bit of time going back and forth to the city. I think this will be our routine for the summer. We have witnessed many amazing storms from the beach house, but I am ready for some consistent sunshine. Who has a beach house and doesn’t spend the summer there? or as much of the summer as possible taking into fact that we all have obligations beyond lounging on a deck staring at waves all day.

This entry is a bit of a continuation of my last post. I think what I really want to get across is that recovering from addiction is a process. A process for the addict and for the people around the addict. There isn’t some magical point in time when the addict is recovered and everyone else has healed. Or even a specific point when the addict seems to get it… when he becomes naturally empathetic in most situations, or is able to automatically ground himself. There is not a specific day when he stops feeling the need to medicate. At least not in my little corner of the world.

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My little Aussie loves the beach.

Blue Eyes had left early on a Monday morning. The day after his epiphany about having cheated on me. He returned Tuesday evening. We took the dogs for a walk and Blue Eyes started talking about his therapy appointment earlier that day. From what he has told me, he is supposed to be working on childhood wounds, FOO issues, getting in touch with his inner child, forgiving himself and having empathy for that child and some of the things he feels shameful about from childhood, etc… All good things because hopefully this level of self reflection and understanding will allow him to better deal with some of his shame triggers. Unfortunately, Blue Eyes tends to bend the rules a lot in many facets of his life and therapy is one of those places, in my opinion. In couple’s therapy with Chatty Kathy all those months ago, whenever I talked about something Blue Eyes had done, or even how it impacted me, she required me to always use the disclaimer: in my opinion. I still use it. I am pretty comfortable with my opinion. I think I see things pretty clearly these days.

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Low tide.

Instead of staying focused on childhood issues with the Shrink, Blue Eyes went off script and started talking about how he had been triggered lately and about how he still thinks about his drug. In this case his drug is the last other woman. For a sick, obsessed addict, he had a pretty good thing going. He knew there would be shame and fear and pain and regret wrapped up in his drug, there always had been, but this particular woman provided a pretty persuasive narcotic. She would do what he wanted, mostly when he wanted it, and she was always available. As I have mentioned numerous times, that drug is still there, sitting in her run-down hoarder’s house drinking her whiskey and petting her rescue animals. He could call her today and she would drop everything and have the same monotonous, dirty, ritualistic addict-y sex with Blue Eyes that they had for eight years. He knows this. I know this. She knows this. I know it’s not about me, and it’s not about her. I married an addict.

I would have been okay if the conversation had stopped there. I know it is difficult on many stressful days for an addict to keep those thoughts out of his head. Unfortunately, the conversation didn’t stop there. The Shrink proceeded to tell Blue Eyes he understood the “temptation.” That he had once been in a very destructive relationship with a beautiful woman, and that even though the relationship was toxic, he still thought about the sex with this woman because it was that great. Honestly, I couldn’t hear anything else after that. My mind did that flip flop thing where it goes from being practical and understanding and present, to being angry and frustrated and well, PISSED OFF!!! Sometimes that anger brings on a flash of tears because I just fucking want people to think about me, to understand me and for me not to have to explain why something hurts so bad. Whether I am in the room or not, the universe hears (as Blue Eyes likes to say). I want him to be open and honest. I want him to be in full-on recovery without continuing to hurt me. Some days just suck.

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Visiting ducks in front of our house.

This angry tearful behavior hasn’t always been about Blue Eyes, but for the past 3+ years it has been pretty exclusively about him. We were having this conversation right in the middle of the street with people all around, people walking their dogs, couples sitting on their porches waiting for sunset, others unloading groceries from their car, etc… I couldn’t hold back the tears or my words. I asked Blue Eyes how he cannot understand how this conversation with The Shrink hurts me. He is insinuating that Blue Eyes had some romantic relationship with this woman that included hot sex and that is why Blue Eyes “still thinks about it.” *SIGH* I am a broken record. Addiction is not about hot sex, it is about medicating wounds with a drug. Yeah it feels good for the moment (just like sex with ME feels good, no GREAT, in the moment). This woman is not prettier, sexier, hotter, or better in bed than me. I know this, but apparently, The Shrink does not, and that makes me angry. That conversation between Blue Eyes and The Shrink should never have happened, in my opinion. Conversations about how an addict feels when craving his drug are meant to be shared with other guys who have been in his shoes, maybe even in his shoes that very day. That conversation is meant for Blue Eyes’ 12 step guys. That is why he has a circle of friends, safe friends. People who know it is not about how hot the sex was, or wasn’t. People who know how difficult it is to just fucking live life without their DRUG. Blue Eyes knows that divulging his weak moments to his 12 step guys is more difficult than sharing with The Shrink. He knows what he is supposed to do.

Blue Eyes tried to back track and he told me The Shrink did bring the conversation back around to how destructive those thoughts can be for Blue Eyes and to remember how horrible he felt, and how painful it was for his family, and how afraid he was. That’s all good and fine, but Blue Eyes knows all this and it will never be enough to stop him from just giving up and giving in to his drug. Some moments, on some days, it’s all too difficult and addicts throw away their sobriety because they just fucking don’t feel like working that hard anymore, it’s their instinct to act out. He MUST use what he now knows to be healthy alternative behaviors for getting himself out of a stressful moment and into a place of stability. Phone a safe friend, pick up his 12 step materials or a mindfulness book (he always has these with him now), meditate. I’m not completely sure why he brought it up with The Shrink, but most likely he wanted someone to tell him, it’s okay… we’re all fallible human beings. His 12 step guys don’t go that route… they say “we know how difficult this path is, the righteous path, but we have new outlets now for those difficult moments, we know how to get out of it before we’re in it… now.”

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A pod of pelicans down the beach.

My frustrated mood stayed with me for a while and Blue Eyes knew exactly what he had done. He got it. He agreed with me about his 12 step guys and how it is the more difficult path, but the correct one. He agreed that The Shrink can help him in certain ways, but not in the way he was using him and he was sorry he had triggered me and made me feel bad, made me feel less than.

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Friendly seagull looking for snacks.

I know he doesn’t mean to, but it still hurts and angers me anyway. Again, I want Blue Eyes to share and be open with me. It is important to cultivating a stronger relationship between us and it helps with my trust issues because I know he is willing to put himself in a vulnerable place for me.

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One of our many gorgeous sunsets.

Day and night, the beach is so magical, it is difficult to stay in a bad mood for long. ❤

Revelations

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Castle in the Clouds. The Beach House.

Embracing Mindfulness.

If we actually sit and think, really sit with our thoughts, and actions, do we condone our own behavior.

No Excuses.

I have the above italicized words written on a note, but I didn’t write down who said them? Maybe Pema Chodron? I do remember me typing in the words around it though. Embracing Mindfulness and No Excuses. I tried googling the other words, but came up with nothing substantive. I was going through all my notes on my phone, deleting everything that was outdated, looking for a recipe I had jotted down there when I ran across the quote.

Ironically, the recipe I was looking for was buried in another note with this quote from Cheryl Strayed’s ‘Wild… ‘

It seemed to me the way it must feel to people who cut themselves on purpose. Not pretty, not clean. Not good, but void of regret. I was trying to heal. Trying to get the bad out of my system so I could be good again. To cure me of myself.

I had to sit down. I don’t remember typing in that quote (where has my memory gone, potentially menopause is eating it little by little… ) but I can see why I did. My sister is a cutter from adolescence. She never had any regret for the cutting, but there was shame there that she was trying to release. I likewise never had any regret associated with my self harm. NONE. People tried to convince me that I did, but I didn’t. I did what I did at the time because I thought I needed it to survive, not die, SURVIVE. Although the big kerfuffle with Blue Eyes and the therapists revolved around how it made Blue Eyes feel, more scared than anything, I think, I was much more concerned with how it made me feel: ALIVE. Blue Eyes had stolen me from me. Betrayal does that. We can belittle the whole thing… people cheat, people divorce, blah, blah, blah, but I have never taken betrayal lightly. And this betrayal is about my best friend pulling my reality right out from under me and me spiraling into a place I had never been. A place where I didn’t know who or what to trust. Where I actually felt bad about MYSELF. This was about thirty years of lies. My husband was not who I thought he was.

Thank you Cheryl Strayed for getting me and my need to rid me of the poison that had been administered to me without my knowledge.

Back to mindfulness. I’m at the beach house alone. Blue Eyes came over with me this past Saturday, and actually, we drove separate cars as he had to be back home Monday morning for some intense mediation. I opted out. I like to come to the beach house with no real plans of when I must go back to the city. It helps me feel free.

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As a matter of fact, this is where I sat, reading a book, while Blue Eyes was stuck inside a stuffy old government building on a beautiful sunny and warm Monday. I’m starting to put myself first. It’s not selfish…. remember (that’s rhetorical, I’m talking to myself here, and not in a crazy old lady kind of way, but in an insightful way, okay?).

The weather was gorgeous here on the Oregon Coast for the first few days. Pictures will be forthcoming in a separate post because it was that beautiful and I totally want to share. This blog has become my venue of choice for journaling and also writing out the thoughts that go with my photos. I post pics on Instagram and Facebook, but this is where my feelings are truly shared. I have always thought of this spot as my personal journal.

Besides my art, I am starting to believe there is a novel or two swirling around in my head and I know this beach house is where the thoughts will spill out. I’ll save those feelings for another day.

Instead I am going to recount a conversation between me and Blue Eyes this past Sunday afternoon. We were sitting on our deliciously comfortable leather sofa in the beach house great room. I have been a little out of it lately on some days with a sinus infection and hot flashes and so I was just vegging, looking out at the sea. It is like the west side of our house is a big movie screen playing the pacific ocean all day. It doesn’t always even feel real. I keep looking for Truman and his boat. I picked up my phone and noticed a blogger friend had accepted my request to follow her on social media. I started perusing her photos and wondering if she had the same feelings I had had when looking back. Post dday, I went back through all the photos in and around the acting out periods. Pain shopping is what some would call it. I called it my new reality. Those days are past me now, but looking at the beautiful shots of the betrayed wife and her sex addict husband, looking at their smiling faces, I showed the picture to Blue Eyes and said, “this is a shot of them well before dday, look at that happy couple.” Truth be told, they look just as happy in the photos after dday because that is what we do, we pretend for the camera. I understand that, but I also understand how painful it is to look back once we know the truth.

Blue Eyes looked out to the sea for a while then he turned around with tears in his eyes and said, “I cheated on you.”

I didn’t say anything. I just looked at him. It was like he was finally realizing what he had done, in the master scheme of things, what most people think they will never do, betray their best friend. He wasn’t thinking like a broken down little boy, or rationalizing like an addict, or talking it out while protecting his emotions like a barely recovering addict… he was sitting squarely in the thoughts of what he had done, in a human and vulnerable way, and saying it out loud.

I was dumbfounded, speechless even. He whispered “I can’t believe I cheated on you,” and eventually I said, “yeah, you did, and I can’t believe it either.” What a strange experience this was. I didn’t shed a tear. I didn’t make a big deal of it. I let him sit in his own thoughts.

We have this really awesome Sonos sound system at the beach house with speakers on the deck and spread throughout the house. Really great speakers. We can parse out a certain room and play music just in one space, or play different music in different spaces. I love it. Anyway, I am sitting here listening to the Jim Croce Pandora Station and The Eagle’s Desperado is playing… everything means something different now.

Your prison is walking through this world all alone

It may be rainin’, but there’s a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you, before it’s too late

I’m not implying everyone needs a mate. Absolutely not. I’m saying Blue Eyes was walking through life surrounded by people who love him, but living a very lonely and destructive existence inside his head. He may not have been literally running away, but inside, he was trying to escape his past, his present, and his future.

I now realize that because his deepest self was unavailable to me, I was also alone.

He cheated on me. It’s awful, it’s heartbreaking, it’s life changing, but it’s not the end of my world. This is what year four looks like.