off to portugal

The following is sort of a follow up blog of drafts I made in 2019 that I didnt publish.

im killing time in the international gates at Pearson International Airport waiting for my next crap flight. I hate flying. I’m always worried that something will go amiss, especially in the security and customs gates. I have a fairly long layover, although I do prefer that as I dont like running between terminals freaking out. Ugh.

So what have I been up to? Ive settled in fairly well with the new schedule at work and its been pretty lovely; I have had enough time to do more of my own things, including my research, but also personal stuff too. Although I feel my past work schedule time was doable, I feel a bit dulled and jaded I think; it might have been just exhaustion I dont know. What I do find with my new schedule is that I have been able to do more networking including parent dates with other kids from H’s school, and joining the parent board of H’s school. That’s been grand. I’ve met plenty of interesting people almost by force (I tend to enjoy socializing, but also am hindered by social anxiety).

Thinking about Portugal gives me a couple grand highlights. I’ll try to keep it in a format that I work with my clients with emotional review.

Happy- I really really enjoyed my time being with family and friends in a foreign country. It was really neat exploring new and novel ways of living everyday life in somebody elses shoes, such as grocery shopping. Being around friends constantly for a week was super duper fun. I remember shopping for different foods we would all get to eat together for dinner, choosing local bakery to bring back to the crew at home…it was neat. I definitely enjoy being around friends regularly. I found sailing to be incredibly fun, dipping my feet in the ocean, and not getting sea sick. The beaches were not quite as fun for me- the water was cold, and it definitely was not wading season there. But H seemed to really really like being in the water and sand.  I REALLY enjoyed the wedding- being with friends and celebrating their love for each other was amazing. t was just a nice cohesive experience to be with them all during the welcoming party, the wedding, and random Lime scooter drives into the night looking for McDonalds. I loved choosing random places to eat with friends. My favorite was the welcoming party at an Italian restaurant where the most delicious grilled octopus filled me right up, as did the wonderful convesations I had with all the wedding party. I loved long walks in the beach with J, reminiscing our high school days all the way up to our lives now.  I LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEED running in Portugal. There were many wonderful sights in the city- one of my favorites was my first 1 hour run along the beach overlooking the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge. Just fantastic weather, and I was feeling lean and great with myself with my intermittent fasting- this really helped me feel good fitness wise while traveling without access to a gym. I loved my morning runs, seeing everyone going to work in the morning as the city woke up. I also loved the cozy cobble stone streets, although I think I would have hated actually driving in the narrow roads. I also really was so happy finding support with my friends. They know where I need that help and they were there for me, just as W is for me as my partner. Fantastic people.

Disgust- the first home we stayed at was an Air BNB and it was rank in the attic- we were holed up in a very musky smelling room that had small bugs crawling on the floor. I’m a bug guy normally, but the smell was just too much. The bathroom looked like a scene in the Exorcist- I half expected Linda Blair to do a head spinning thing when I went to use the toilet- I had t bring my flashlight in there because the light was not working- the shower was in a corner, and a long blacked out corner to the attic spread out to its side. Just overall creepy and stinky. Its a shame, because the rest of the home was actually quite nice, and the neighborhood was cozy. But that upstairs musky smell- its a scene from a horror movie. Oh and also disgust that we all got terribly sick coming back from Portugal- likely due to J.

Fear- I mean the above might actually qualify as fear for me too- I think fear was flying alone, traveling alone.  I also did not enjoy using Kapten and Uber. So for the first fear, I usually am ungodly dependent on W when traveling- shes usually the dependent one while I am the irresponsible one that has now left their passport in the hotel. So traveling alone, and worrying about W and H traveling alone to Europe was unnerving- of course, everything actually worked out well. I also had fear with the stupid Uber and Kapten app, because instead of the drivers coming to your location, they choose a random area and you are expected to go there- except navigating the streets with a 4 minute window is super nerve racking and I missed and got charged several times for being unable to find my driver. I also had some fear of meeting new people in the wedding- I’m a pro at working with new people in my line of work, but a sucker for social anxiety. Ha! I also had a lot of fear of the Portuguese police- at O’s bachelor party, we got a noise complaint in the penthouse and they showed up and they were gigantic and imposing figures of authority. Obviously we complied with turning down the conversation, but I was worried the welcoming party of 70 plus people would overwhelm the noise the next day, but thankfully no issues. I was also quite fearful of the giant tower walls and deep well holes in the castles of Lisbon like Castelo de S. Jorge. Esp with W being terrible with coordination and H being a toddler, I was quite worried of them taking a tumble down these places- I definitely saw people sitting on ledges with death drops adjacent to them to take selfies. Geebus.

Anger- I was pretty pissed at a random stranger that yanked H’s stroller hood open- Portugal is a very welcoming and child friendly place, and most people were incredibly nurturing to H as we explored Lisbon. I froze out of surprise- honestly this might be better in the surprise category- while S did a good job intervening and cussing this guy out to protect H. I was quite shocked this happened. He just ripped it open, stared at H while she screamed at him and then walked away. I was angry at myself too for not intervening- it was just such a weird behavior I didn’t know what to do. I was angry at Air Canada for giving me the crappy Rouge flight twice over- especially with the delays they put on our return flight to Canada, but very especially with the cross Atlantic flight- I had no room for my arms, there was no entertainment except their app on my phone, and the air was stale with NO simple fans (which are terrible in themselves, but at least I have a sense of control of temperature management). The plane was like from 1960. The food was ok though suprisingly.

Surprise- hmm….I was definitely surprised at how well my camera combo of the AS300 action cam and a6000+18-105 f4 worked out. They are definitely not my favorite cameras but it turns out they were the right balance for travel. I didn’t have to worry about them at all, with not having the right lenses or swapping lenses. I was surprised about the culture in Lisbon. The culture was incredible. I did not have any sense of feeling like an outsider. People were very welcoming to use, despite standing out incredibly so as racial minorities, amongst other things. I suppose I was expecting a more homogenous culture to be more standoffish to a minority, as opposed to a more heterogenous culture like Canada, but in the end, it was just me being prejudice. If there was racism, I didn’t feel or see it. I was also surprised by the lack of child supporting ride hail cars- mostly in Kapten vehicles, we were turned down once they realized we had a child to come with us.

Sad- hmmm I can’t recall a terrible amount of sadness during the trip. Which might be reflective of a great trip overall. I remember being sad about the pork buns there and feeling they were just as much of a let down as when I had them in Macau.

The following is a blog draft I made while flying out to Toronto;

Its been a long time since I have blogged; and I am mostly blogging out of spite.  Today we were supposed to fly out on Flair airlines to Toronto; everything seemed to be going right this morning; we packed and cleaned; I got up early at 6 am to workout right away; leave time from home was supposed to be 1pm- there should have been plenty of time; anyways that went up in smoke; we had a birthday cake to celebrate a birthday; but then suddenly in the car I overhear W saying we need to call the airline because we might not make the minimum time for baggage check in;  in the end, as we made the airport under a slow build up of duress, I ran to the counter with our luggage and got an immediate no head shake from the Flair airline agent; subsequent discussions with the other Flair agent amounted to nothing; we could either board the plane without our luggage, or we could try to rebook another day. There is no option of having the baggage sent on another flight as others have apparently had happen on Air Canada. So……a  quick review of other flight tickets shows quite a considerable cost with really no major difference to flying out a few days later (the wedding were heading to is next weekend so we had a few days to buffer). I told W that it wasn’t worth the savings of a few hundred compared to the minimum 2000 CDN we were going to pay to get on Air Canada last minute. So here we are on the plane, 2000 CDN short and I’m remarkably calm. I did lots of CBT with myself and W noting what do we have control over, what are our should haves and could haves, and how useful are those could haves and should haves. Catastophic thinking that there was no way out of this mess also krept up in my mind but awareness of those thoughts put a stop to that. CBT thanks. Dwelling on what went wrong and whos fault it was would not change anything. Keeping cool for regulation to help a visibly distressed W was also important for moving forward with the situation; she did not need reminders or a panicked me compounding the situation, and emotional dysregulation would not change anything. So here we are.

It was really funny, as we left home I was thinking to myself, man I left my tie clip at home, I’m going to be so annoyed without it; an hour late, I was like oh wow two thousand surprise cost; and then I’m excited to save 3 dollars for the Woxbox Saturday special and I even lucked out and got to choose the Pure Leaf iced tea that wasn’t supposed to come with the combo! What a roller coaster ride. I’m still hurting though haha. That would have given me enough money to buy the 70-200 f2.8 SAL and 24-70 F2.8 SAL lenses, both which I have been pining for.

Totally generally fine on the plane eating shitty ginger beef  from Wok Box …until I open my laptop. The small tiny sort of forgettable LCD bleed pixel mess has exploded into five inches across my 13 inch screen of a pixelated shit hole that makes me sad looking at it; I don’t know what happened; its possible that it exploded on its own; its also possible that H stepped on it because I left it by the scale and she likes to step on the scale and was certainly doing so this morning. Anyways, that certainly did not help me; I am on edge from this afternoon’s financial kerfuffle and this bleeding LCD is just mocking me. Of course its on my 15th anniversary VAIO special edition laptop, so that helps with my frustration a lot. I wouldn’t have taken this traveling,  except that we are also going to Los Angeles in a hotel and I don’t want to carry one of my big laptops traveling and need a Kensington lock port so I can lock it up in the hotel. Its annoying but workable; a good condition VAIO Z3 runs about 300-400 CDN which is a tiny amount really for a laptop, I just happen to really like this laptop. Anyways CBT again to the rescue; I’m clearly doing catastrophic thinking and thinking that the end is near, now that my LCD is damaged. Currently my favorite is the VAIO Flip 15, which isn’t damaged yet…I hope. I’m on the look out for a VAIO F2 with a i7 quad core right now; I’m hoping for a white one but they are very rare on eBay and Kijiji.

I’m currently listening to the White Stripes about dealing with problems; if the squirrel can put away nuts to survive the harsh winter, so can I. Or something like that. I’m sure my problems fall in the realm of first world problems but whatever; I can validate my problems anyways. I also had a difficult time choosing which camera to bring for this trip; I didn’t want to bring full frame, because I did not enjoy shooting full frame when I was in Banff; traveling with full frame and primes was just such a hassle that I wanted a smaller option with zooms.  I debated hard against my RX10 Mark I (skipped that because I don’t think the IQ is that good and the sensor while bigger at 1 inch, wasn’t that great; focus is also meh on this; I did however really want to ring that nice 24-200mm f2.8 equiv lens); the G1x (really like the IQ, handing and size of the G1X but the slow focus and meh battery life were challenges for sure); and the a6000 with the 18-105F4 G lens (ended up with this one because of the IQ and fast tracking continuous AF with the kids). Ideally I would like to grab a G1x II for its pretty decent 24-120 F2-3.9 lens and 1.5 inch sensor (twice the size as a 1 inch sensor but not quite the improvement with noise handling because of the age of the sensor) and overall handling. I missed out an auction recently that I am sort of beating myself over with the G1x II. After using the G3x a bit more I am a fan of Canon’s handling overall,and sort of hooked on expanding my G-series collection.

This week was a wonderful week in therapy; every time I state, no I do not do parent custody and access work, it somehow gets brought into my lap, no matter how many times I iterate that statement. So that was an exciting week. I definitely get where the parents are coming from and feel terrible for the stress they have dealing with these issues for sure, but its so far out of my expertise and experience that I just simply have to say no. I need to just do like bug phobia work or something. One of my colleagues has switched entirely to adults only in therapy to avoid problems with parent custody and access work and that doesn’t sound like a bad idea t me really.

Workouts have been pretty decent this week. I had a good day for chest – I did 22 sets of 4 reps of 250lbs on the Smith machine flat bench press; I usually don’t brag about Smith machine accomplishments, but I know where my limits are on that machine so that was nice. Dead lifts went fine this week. Legs wasn’t too bad this week either. I tried to make sure I did all my major compound exercises before I left for the wedding tour of Toronto and Los Angeles, as I think most of the time will be spent doing cardio; I’m happy with the treadmills in our LA hotel; I can do my sprint exercises there, and hopefully there will be wi-fi in the gym. I’m planning on doing outdoor runs at Toronto in the morning, as I have done in the past. Was considering going to the local YMCA as well, which might negate my fears of being away from lifting too long. I have been making pretty good progress with intermittent fasting so far (its been about a month since I started IF, using a 12pm-9pm eating window and a 15 hour fast. I’m seeing more people doing a 16 hour fast and 8 hour eating window and I would like to move to that eventually. I find it a bit hard because I do have evening shifts that interplay with that window. The Harvard med blog I read about IF suggested longer fasting windows are associated with greater weight loss, and so far I have been pleased with my aesthetic progress with my gut. I haven’t been worried about my physical performance for some time, so now I’m hoping to get a good gain on aesthetics. I’m somewhat tempted to check out Venice Beach gyms but those guys look like gods amongst men, and I’m a bit shamed at my poor aesthetics. Anyways, I’m excited about IF because that helps me maintain my gains or hopefully make gains while traveling. My gut seems to be showing part of my upper abdominals now and that’s sort of neat. Sort of like how my laptop screen looks like crap and all I can say is “neat” and maybe “FML”. I haven’t done sprints in a few weeks but I have enjoyed that immensely; a few buddies have been meeting at school tracks and doing 100m and 200m sprints. I feel really good after these workouts and certainly feel I am hitting new parts of my fitness hygiene that I am not doing with strength training, stairs, or running. Also my heart rate is below 50 at standing rest; my search online suggest either I have a heart deformity and need to have that investigated or I am living an athletic lifestyle and am very healthy.

Parenting is really difficult. I can absolutely feel for the parents I work with when they discuss being Mean or Weak Circle of Security terminology wise and the therapist keeps telling them how easy it is to just simply not do either of those parenting blips. I’m reading Parenting from the Inside Out from one of my fave authors, Dr. Siegel right now. One of my former clinical leads ran this group at our clinic using this material and I’m hoping to get a different perspective from this book. I’m feeling a bit stale with the work that I am doing clinically and parentally (word?) with the material and experience I know at this point, so hope this helps somewhere.

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