spam is getting weirder every day….

latest spam in my inbox titled “she wants you to be.. harmonica kessler”

harmonica kessler eh? well i guess i can try……

apocalyptic fact of the day

according to health canada the breast milk of Canadian women contains the second-highest levels in the world of a compound used as a flame retardant in computer casings and household furniture. apparently women in canada have levels about five to 10 times those in other advanced industrial countries. we of course are second to the united states (where the rates are double those in canada). results from exposure to this chemical (polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs) include learning difficulties, memory impairment and alterations in thyroid hormone levels.

it’s ok though because the government says that exposure has not yet reached harmful levels. phew! that’s a relief

camping at sand point

just came back from the first overnight hiking trip i have done since i broke my ankle last summer…..

went to wash. state to see a friend of mine and we hiked a loop in ozette state park through sand point to cape alava which is a 9.5m/15km hike. we did 5 km the first day and 10 km the second which gave lots of time for watching wildlife and exploring the tidal pools. the tides were the lowest they have been for 19 years which meant lots of sea critters to look at – not to mention the eagles, deers, sea otters and racoons. there was quite a bit of rain, which made for a nice private hike (good thing about the rain is it keeps other people away). that also meant few other people camped at sand point which is a beautiful camping site overlooking a sheltered bay.

getting to do an overnight was a small victory for me – staying away from my computer for the entire weekend was an even bigger one!

i have a *lot* of work to do to get back in good hiking shape for my planned manning park trip in july which is a four-day/40 km journey.

one of my goals at the moment is to sleep outdoors as often as possible. i think it makes me a better person to fall asleep to the rhythms of wild space.

remind me why i bothered with the degree?

my paycheque is now three days late. this is not a big deal in itself except it highlights the ease with which electronic money can just disappear (or not show up in the first place) since the lateness of my pay is due to a computer error at the bank. this error is affecting thousands upon thousands of public sector workers across the country who bank with a certain institution. the latest is that our pay will not show up until sometime at the end of the weekend (if we’re lucky).

i don’t really consider this particular glitch a sign of any coming collapse but a reminder that one day all these non-physical assets could easily be wiped out by a bad computer virus or some other systemic failure. (remember argentina?) i would like to invest in some dirt if possible, but it is less and less likely i will be doing that anywhere near the city i live in….

my apartment – which last year was assessed at $200,000 is now listed on the market at $300,000 – which i confirmed with the real estate agent on tuesday. $300,000! for an apartment full of settling cracks in east vancouver. unbelievable. there is an article at vancouver.cbc.ca today about the increase in housing prices in vancouver in the last year, followed by an article on the increase in unemployment in bc. there seems to be a disconnect here – how can it be in a time of growing unemployment, there is a huge inflationary increase?

even more depressing is rents also seem to be impossibly high in vancouver since i last looked. i have a strong aversion to paying more in rent than i currently do, but it looks like if i want to stay in my oh-so-trendy-used-to-actually-be-cool neighbourhood i will have to shell out another couple hundred a month unless i desire to live in a basement suite. not fair! (but whoever said life was?) – but really, i make a professional wage and can’t afford to live in vancouver’s eastside unless i accept divey digs? something seems askew here – i think it could be….. huh? what is that? oh yeah – capitalism.

so rather than kowtow to a system that seems determined to grind the desire for a decent standard of living out of me (unless i do the proper thing and pair up since this world is designed for a double-income family) – i am going to talk to my employer next week and see if they will let me work part-time from home. if that is a solution we can work on, then i am going to move off this penninsula for the shores of the sunshine coast where the rents are cheaper (by almost half) and the air quality a lot better. sure it means commuting by ferry and bus – but if i can knock that commute down to three days a week i think it will be more than manageble. i am so desperate right now, i might even consider moving up there and commuting every day until i can sort out a better arrangement.

so it looks like september 1st will be the eviction date, though if i could arrange a move for august 1st i would be more than happy. now the shoe has dropped i would rather just get a move on than wait around until the last minute.

or

maybe i should just purchase one of these obscenely-priced kiddie playhouses and set it up in grandview park. gah.

(and yes, i recognize that all things considered i’ve got it pretty damned good)

passive-agressive listening

i am at an impasse in a close personal relationship caused by a total break-down in communication. open, honest and non-coercive communication is the cornerstone of the functional relationships in my life, and to go unheard or disregarded is something i find very challenging. in a non-essential relationship, i would react to a tendency to disregard by severing or modifying my connection to the other – but in this case, while i could do that, it doesn’t seem appropriate.

what is particularly frustrating about this situation is the person not hearing me is someone who considers themself an expert at “active listening”, and leads workshops on non-violent communications in a federal prison. she recognizes coercive communications patterns in other people in a particular setting, but apparently has little capacity for self-reflection on these issues.

so all of this has made me work on my own “active listening” in the most non-patronizing way i can (the active listening model, if not used fluidly, makes it sound like you are talking to a kindergartner – i hate it when people use it on me in an unnatural way as it in itself becomes an abusive communications tool). currently, her and i are having an ongoing debate about whether i should volunteer at the prison with her regularly or not. this discussion has been going on for months, and i have a number of personal reasons why i’m not interested in participating in her program at the moment.

when we talk, i try to stay off the topic entirely, but as i’ve been re-developing a friendship from high school with someone who is in the prison, i want to change my status there from volunteer to visitor which means i couldn’t come into the institution as a volunteer anymore. i haven’t brought that up recently because there are a number of other issues impinging her life and putting her in a heightened state of anxiety which makes it impossible for her to hear anything. of course, that doesn’t stop her from bringing it up as anxiety brings out the function in people which seeks to control any aspect of life in a situation that otherwise seems overwhelming.

last night, in a phone conversation (i called to see how she is doing), this topic came up despite my best efforts. lately i have been trying to have insight into her motivations and needs so as to address this ongoing problem without having to confront it head on. i have further been determined not to end every phone conversation in a confrontation, and so prepared myself for the interaction before placing the call.

during the discussion i reframed what i was saying no less than six times in the most chill way i could – trying to approach it from perspective of supporting her work, of supporting my own personal work, of any number of approaches i could take – before she cut the subject off abruptly and just ended the call. this is not the first time she has done this, and her tendency towards cutting off conversations completely and hanging up the phone has been increasing over the past few months.

i am completely at a loss here, as i feel like every time i try to take a different path to communicating better with her, i walk into the same brick wall. fortunately i am learning to cut my emotional responses to this behaviour, but ultimately it means over the years (and particularly over the last year) our relationship has become increasingly truncated as i become less and less able to open up in conversation. what a yuck situation! i think eventually i will need to confront this head on, but for now she is not able to discuss much except her world and the current crises in it, so the status quo continues in the meantime.

any ideas? i’m stuck.

barriers to active listening:
comparing, mind reading, rehearsing, filtering, judging, dreaming, identifying, advising, sparring, being right, derailing, placating

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