Monday, November 29, 2010

The tortoise probably knew love better than the hare.

I think I finally get it.  I think maybe we do, or at least are starting to.  This thing we have butted heads over forever, always ending with exasperated cries of "you just don't get it!"

After years of our fighting over what I thought was money and respect, I realize it's not really one or the other... it's something kind of in between which gets tangled up with cultural differences and customs regarding reciprocity, value and so on.  I could not for the life of me explain it since really, last night sitting on the couch and talking was the first time I felt the veil starting to lift on this one, this tough nut of a problem we have as yet been utterly unable to crack.

I'm not saying it's solved, because it's not.  Things in a relationship usually don't change overnight or get fixed up in a snap, but really, in order to solve a problem you must first understand it, and given that neither of us felt at all understood on this one prior, these little steps forward are both encouraging, and kind of terrifying given that letting anyone in on my innermost thinking is always kind of terrifying.

I have a feeling, that possibly, after this long talk we had on the couch last night, that boyfriend maybe understands a little better the things that matter to me as I do the things that matter to him.  I'm really hoping that there will be more talks like this one; constructive, calm, restrained, honest, loving, and respectful.

It wasn't easy, but we were both calm, and for the first time in a long time when discussing these matters, I really felt as though there was someone sitting across from me who was trying, very hard, to be a supportive partner.  I felt like I had a person sitting across from me who really wanted as much as I did to smooth this wrinkle out, who was tired of hurting from it, and who was ready to try and put in the hard work to get past this, to figure it out so we can get better at being with each other.

It's always easier said than done of course, and I don't think for a moment we've cleared this hurdle, there will be a lot of work we have to do before I could confidently feel we've laid this problem to rest.  I'm relieved however, that finally we both see it a little more clearly, that we are closer to agreement on where the problems lie, and that we've realized there isn't any other way to clear these hurdles than as partners if we hope to finish that way.

Here's to talking, patience, and persistence.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"... and there's gunna be trouble"

Guess who's back?

Everything was fabulous for the first 32 hours.  We were happy to see each other, to talk, to snuggle and catch up.  Because he'd eaten horrible sickening things all week, (roadside "chicken" in the desert?  Warm tuna from a can eaten with car-keys anyone?) Boyfriend decided he wanted to take us out to enjoy a properly delicious dinner.

And it was SO Good.  People, if you are in Liège and hungry, find "Cuccinella" on rue du Casquette.  You can thank me later.  Everything, including dessert was house made and was scrumptious, fresh, delicious.  It is the very best restaurant I've eaten at in Liège to date.

Unfortunately what I hadn't realized, and perhaps boyfriend hadn't either, was that somehow the accountant hitched a ride back in boyfriend's suitcase, emerging the day following the fabulous supper to gripe about money and respect and what I should be doing with my money to the effects of being respectful and so on.

Anyone who tries to make me feel bad about my financial needs or goals, in my books moves down a notch or three if they're trying to impose themselves on something that is not at all a domain they have any rights to.  So, I lost my cool, and things were rather loud and argumentative, there was yelling.  I am not proud.  The accountant shouldn't be either, if he has any logical (or humane) bone in his body.

I did not sleep well.  I went to work this morning, and fretted, and thought and worked.  Perhaps it's a very North American thing of me to say, but being occupied with work is normally calming for me, so fretting while working means I'm very bothered by whatever it is outside of work, enough for my detachment to slip.

I came home a little less amped up, and I'm grateful the house is empty for the moment.  I have time to work on things that are of greater importance than this stupid (and it is stupid,) argument.  I'm trying to finish things I started working on while boyfriend was in Arabia, in the moments I've got the same quiet and calm I had while he was there.

Everything is still up in the air for the moment, though I've said my bit that if there is something the accountant honestly feels needs discussing that he should take another approach.  Not sure that I can say much else at the moment, so the situation is breathing, I suppose.

Other than that, it's me trying to figure out where my holiday spirit ran off to in the midst of all yesterday's angry yelling.  It's probably cowering in the furthest corner of the basement.  I suppose I'm going to have to try and coax it out with the scent of freshly baked gingerbread or something.  I need it to remind me how full of love my heart is, and how that is so very much more important than the crap communications of yesterday.  Without it, the motivation to progress through the preparation of gifts and cards just isn't going to be there.  Man, fighting during the fêtes is just that extra little bit worse.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Everything counts (in large amounts.)

I'm just now able to piece together, somewhat coherently, a sentence.  I rolled out of bed at 10am, and struggled to find my will to live, eat, and drink water up until about now.  What a hangover.

Yes.  We broke detox yesterday and drank.  We figured it was the nice thing to do while spending the day together considering where boyfriend is off to... Today he's jetting off for a little fun (not really) and frolic (none, actually,) in a factory in the middle of the Arabian desert.  He was called two days prior to leaving by the electrician who arrived first and told there was no soap, there were no utensils, towels or toilet paper, and that the area of the factory where they would be sleeping was very dirty.  So we broke the detox for a day, running errands, lunching and relishing creature comforts together, and probably went just a tad overboard with the wine.  Definitely, actually.  The shot of 4 year old Belgian Owl certainly couldn't have helped matters either, though it was very tasty.

I was in the perfect mood, mind you, as I collected myself this afternoon, to call the twits at Euromut and give them a hard time (in French no less,) about their having LOST one of my important papers.  Almost 6 months after depositing the stupid thing in their little dropbox at the Liège office, I received a notice in the post stating they'd never received it.  I have been with this mutualité for less than a year, and they are truly beginning to annoy me with their little incompetencies to the point where I'm considering switching.  We'll see how they handle this.  I was not at all amused by their suggestion that I sign a letter stating I'D lost the form as a way to 'speed up' their getting another copy of it from the relevant gov't office that issues them.  No way am I going to sign a document saying I lost something when I bloody well didn't!  Boyfriend will have at them when he gets back, as it essentially ended in stalemate this afternoon with my telling the lady on the other end of the phone that I didn't find their organization at all organized, that I would not sign a document stating I'd lost something when I hadn't, and informing her that it was neither here nor there that French and Flemish are Belgium's "two most important languages"... that they shouldn't advertise in English stating they will communicate with expats in English when clearly they can't (every single document I've received has been in French despite my indication that I preferred communications in English.)  Rrrrr.

And so now it's just me, trying to limp back aboard the detox train and make the best of having the house to myself for a week.  Shouldn't be too hard though, considering I've a million things to do.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Somehow this used to be easier.

So yes, the detox.  We are now a week in, and already asking ourselves why exactly we decided it was a good idea.

This is not the royal "we", in fact.  Boyfriend decided (surprisingly,) to join me on this.  Mind you, he believes that honey does not count as a sugar, and thusly pours massive quantities of it on whatever he is eating in the morning.

What are we supposed to be doing for this detox?  Well... for 4 weeks we are trying very hard not to drink any alcohol, not to eat any saturated fats, not to consume any refined carbs, to drink 8 glasses of water a day, consume mostly lean protein, plenty of fruit, veg, and very little red meat.  Ah yes, and no caffeine other than from our morning green tea.  This whole ritual used to be much easier for me.  I would do it at least once a year back home.  Mind you, in Toronto I had the luxury of organic fruit and veg delivered to my doorstep every other week, an unreal selection of grains, flours, and cereals at the supermarket, not to mention a plethora of nearby restaurants from a profusion of cultures offering tasty, healthy and inexpensive food.  I was so spoiled.  Here the choice mostly boils down to barbequed, melted, or fried, and because of that barbarian diet, my body was begging for a break.

I now have the pleasure of starting my day with this:
I have used greens+ before, and love what it does.  It actually does make a significant difference to how I feel throughout the day mentally and physically, to my running performances, and I find I rarely fall ill when taking it.  There are only good things in it like spirulina, milk thistle, cracked chorella, wheatgrass and red beet powders, lactobacilli, royal jelly, ground hippies, and so on.  I will never love how it tastes, (mmm, planty,) or how the very last gulp of the bottle of water I mix it into always makes me shudder like a teen taking their first whisky shot.  But it works, and so I always end up coming back to it.  This time I went out of my way to hunt it down in Toronto and bring a stash back in my suitcase.

And here we are now, with three weeks left to go.  I have just wrestled a spaghetti squash into submission in the kitchen and it is cooking now.  Nightly, boyfriend craves crêpes mikado.  I have the occasional sweet craving, but the only thing I have been craving regularly is a glass of wine with dinner.  My resolve wavers on this as part of me pleads that the polyphenols in a glass of red would be good for me.

Sipping 100% grape juice just isn't the same.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Back and on the mend

Toronto was awesome.  Short, but satisfying nonetheless.  I'll share more about it but this is just a pop-in to mention that upon returning I discovered it'll be another few days with my face firmly pressed to the grindstone at work before I'll surface with anything resembling full health, energy, and motivation to write.

This evening I'm taking some time to myself to just do ... pretty much nothing actually, other than eat healthy food, listen to music, do a little laundry, and tidy up a few bits and bobs.  Nothing significant, but enough to keep me relaxed and provide me with the much needed impression that I'm progressing at something.  Alone time is what I want, and thankfully it's what I've gotten.  It'd be nicer with a glass of wine, but I've committed to detoxing myself for a month before all the Saint Nick and Noël ridiculousness begins to press down upon us so tant pis for me.  Who's fun idea was that anyways?  Oh yeah, mine.  I'll tell you more about they psychotic list of things I'm supposed to be doing a bit later.  Today has been a catastrophic water-drinking failure.  As in, zero mL of water.  Catching up will certainly mean interrupted sleep tonight but I suppose I'll try.

In the meantime, try not to let November swallow you.  It's a tricky month that way.