Nov 21 2016

Books I’ve Read in 2016…

Total Pages Read: 10,081
Shortest Book: 86 pages
Longest Book: 624 pages
Fiction: 17
Non-Fiction: 9
Cookbook: 1
Poetry: 5

Last Book Read:
32. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Ove is an old man, who’s wife has passed away, and who just was forced into retirement at work. He’s decided to join his wife in death. Life, however, keeps getting in the way. 352 pages. (Finished 21 Nov 16).

Past Lists:

2015 List
2014 List
2013 List
2012 List
2011 List
2010 List
2009 List
2008 List
2007 List

Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/books-ive-read-in-2016/

Nov 06 2016

Divorce (Finally)

Friday afternoon we finally reached a settlement agreement. The paperwork still needs to be drawn up and signed, but I’ll finally be able to put this whole chapter behind me sooner than later.

In the end, she’s getting off easier than she probably would have if the case had gone to trial. But the cost of going through with the deposition and trial that her side was pushing for would have canceled out much of the gain. The sad thing is, in the end we ended up only $700 below what I told her the low end would be when she left. So because she was unwilling to communicate at all (except through third parties…first her mom…then the attorneys), and even then unwilling to talk about any sort of settlement until the last week before the scheduled deposition, we both will have ended up spending at least a couple thousand extra dollars and probably 3 or 4 months on something we could have settled on our own.

As painful as this whole process has been, in the end it’ll end up being for the better. From her own words, she apparently had doubts even before we actually got married. The problem was she never said anything to me or anyone else about them. The marriage that I thought was built on strong rock because of the words she was telling me, was actually built on sand. The first storm that hit it damaged it beyond repair (even if it took a year for it to completely fall apart afterwards).

In the last six months I’ve done a lot of self-introspection. I’ve taken this time to really think about what is important to me in relationships. Where I’ve fallen short in the past (not just in the marriage, but prior relationships as well). The places where I gave up more than I should have. I will not distance myself from my family just because my partner feels awkward about being there. That communication is so important. If someone is unwilling to talk about the hard stuff…well then they probably aren’t really mature enough to be making the hard decisions (like getting married). I know I wasn’t perfect in the marriage. I know I acted in ways that contributed to the environment that led to our marriage falling apart. I tried to improve on those things when we went to couples counseling. But I fear, by the time we went to couples counseling it was already too late. Part of her had already made up her mind…she just needed the excuse to run from having difficult conversations herself. Nothing I could have done or said would have changed anything…at most it would have just adjusted the timing. I acknowledge and accept the role my actions played in our marriage ending. I’m not deflecting my personal responsibility on my mom, or her, or any others like she has. In the end, I know that I was faithful to my marriage vows until the end.

Despite how difficult this year has been, I really am in a better place than I was at the end of last year. I have a group of friends that have been a great support over the course of the year. The people I hang out with are a much healthier group of people than some of the people I had surrounded myself at the end of last year. I’ve got great housemates that have a positive outlook on things. Have I mentioned how great my friends have been the last six months? Because they have been…they helped me through my darkest times. They’ve been such a source of strength throughout everything and I’ll be eternally grateful.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/divorce-finally/

Oct 03 2016

Desires

“There were things Jacob wanted, and he wanted them from Julia. but the possibility of sharing desires diminished as her need to hear them increased. It was the same for her. They loved each other’s company, and would always choose it over either aloneness or the company of anyone else, but the more comfort they found together, the more life they shared, the more estranged they became from their inner lives.”

-From Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/desires/

Sep 19 2016

its been awhile…

…since I’ve posted anything about what is going on with the divorce. Largely, that is because nothing much had happened on that front. Both A and her attorney seem to have been in no hurry to move the process along. They have both taken their time to respond to my attorney and turn over required information. However, finally things are starting to move forward again. Our initial settlement proposal was sent to her attorney on Friday afternoon. So at least the negotiations can now begin. There is also some sort of hearing date set finally (the end of Oct)…so hopefully we can get things settled before then and avoid needlessly going to court.

As for me personally, things are going ok. I’m embracing the beginning of my 40s and the opportunity for new beginnings and discoveries. I still have the occasional thought while doing things of “A. would love this right now,” which is still a little weird feeling. Divorce is still the most disorienting thing that has happened in my life.  I still wish she would have talked to me more about what she was thinking over the last year or so of our marriage. I wish she could have seen how hard I wanted her to be happy. Our relationship still may not have survived, but at least it could have been more amicable than duelling lawyers.

The biggest thing for me going forward is learning how to trust again. Not only other people, but myself and my instincts. I struggle with doubt about pretty much everything A told me over the last year or so of our marriage. Was she being honest with me (or to herself and then me)? Often much of it feels like a lie (even though logically I know it probably wasn’t at least completely). Like I’ve said before, I knew everything wasn’t perfect…but I didn’t know things were as far gone as they were.

As I begin to date again it’s probably going to take a special woman to get me in another serious relationship. Someone who has some patience as I figure out how to open myself up to them. It’s probably going to be someone who takes some initiative in the beginning. Someone willing to put themselves out there and say…hey I think you are cool and I’d like to get to know you better. I was thinking about this recently and my serious relationships have generally been like this (even A took the initiative for our relationship to be more than just friends). I’m not really sure how to do the dating thing these days. The online apps are weird and awkward to me. I spend a lot of time with folks in the Timbers Army, but so many people have a “no dating in the TA” policy (which I both understand and think is a little ridiculous). I’m in no rush to be in another relationship, but I do look forward to feeling some chemistry with someone again.

So that’s where things are at with the divorce. I’m mainly waiting for things to be negotiated by lawyers to a point where we can both sign off and be done. Where that final piece of closure can happen and our lives will move on in separate directions. I’m still grateful for the time we had together and how both the good and bad of our relationship has helped me grow to be a better man.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/its-been-awhile/

Sep 01 2016

forty

Wow, 40 years old. So crazy.

At the beginning of the year I was looking forward to turning 40. Things weren’t exactly where I wanted them to be, but I had a plan on how to improve things. Then my world fell apart and everything changed. I wasn’t sure how I felt about turning 40 anymore. At the beginning of August, I was kind of dreading the end of the month. I was facing 40 and a probable “antiversary” (where while I’m still technically married…there is no celebration of my marriage day) alone. I fell into a bit of a depression…the events of the year finally catching up to me. If I’m completely honest, that fog of depression is still there…but I’m working on focusing on the good things that happen each day. Inspired by a couple other friends, I have a little running project going on Instagram, where I post a daily (mostly) list of good things. For the most part, each day there are at least a few good things I can identify and remind myself that things aren’t all that bad.

You say it's your birthday... #GoodThings #40thbirthday #FuckDepression

A photo posted by Ryan Gillespie (@rhinoblues) on

As the days to my 40th counted down, I decided to let this be a new beginning. 39 was probably the toughest year of my life. Just about everything that could be turned upside down was. This year around the sun will be better than the last. I’m working hard on those goals I had at the beginning of the year. Things are already getting better in many of those areas.

Thanks again to my family and friends that came over to celebrate my birthday with me. It was a huge thing for me to be able to spend an afternoon with all of you and really feel the love you have all given me.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/forty/

Aug 16 2016

On friendship…

In another great post from Brain Pickings, Maria Popova muses about friendship and the commodification of the word friend:

I often puzzle over the nature, structure, and function of friendship in human life — a function I have found to be indispensable to my own spiritual survival and, I suspect, to that of most human beings. But during a recent interview on Think Again, I found myself concerned with the commodification of the word “friend” in our culture. We call “friends” peers we barely know beyond the shallow roots of the professional connection, we mistake mere mutual admiration for friendship, we name-drop as “friends” acquaintances associating with whom we feel reflects favorably on us in the eyes of others, thus rendering true friendship vacant of Emerson’s exacting definition. We have perpetrated a corrosion of meaning by overusing the word and overextending its connotation, compressing into an imperceptible difference the vast existential expanse between mere acquaintanceship and friendship in the proper Aristotelian sense.

Illustration by Maurice Sendak from a vintage ode to friendship by Janice May Udry

Illustration by Maurice Sendak from a vintage ode to friendship by Janice May Udry

In countering this conflation, I was reminded of philosopher Amelie Rorty’s fantastic 1976 taxonomy of the levels of personhood and wondered what a similar taxonomy of interpersonhood might look like. I envisioned a conception of friendship as concentric circles of human connection, intimacy, and emotional truthfulness, each larger circle a necessary but insufficient condition for the smaller circle it embraces.“I live my life in widening circles,” Rilke wrote.

Friendship

Read the whole post here: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/08/16/friendship/

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/on-friendship/

Aug 15 2016

Morning Song

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/morning-song/

Jul 18 2016

grandpa mike (final part)

My sister, who has been living in Hungary, was able to move up her flight moving back to the states a week and arrived to PDX on Friday night. Since one of my parents had to come up from Eugene to pick her up from the airport, I decided to head down with them and catch a Bolt Bus home on Sunday. Despite getting back to Eugene right around midnight, the whole family went over to sit with Grandpa for a little bit.

Each day we went over for a little bit and basically just watched him sleep.

I went with an old friend on Sunday morning (who knew him well), and then once more by myself right before I had to head down to the bus stop to go home. As I left, I kissed his forehead and told him I loved him one last time.

Overnight, he passed away peacefully in his sleep. His journey on this crazy planet complete.

I’m going to miss you grandpa.

I’m happy he got to meet both of my sisters children before he passed away. Someday I hope to tell my own children stories about him.

This is one of the last pictures of him, from the weekend James was born:

IMG_2387

Four generations.

I love you grandpa.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/grandpa-mike-final-part/

Jul 15 2016

Grandpa Mike (part 3)

For most of my college years, I lived in the mother in-law suite at my Grandparents house. During that time, I acquired a dog from a co-worker. Bruno was approx 2 yrs old when I got him (but his age wasn’t really known). My grandparents had huge back yard with plenty of room for him to run (and run and run and run). Inside the house…he was pretty good at following basic instructions, but when he was outside it was like all hearing disappeared. He was a mix of Walker Hound and Black Lab (at least).

Bruno

When I moved up to Portland in 2004, Bruno stayed at my grandparents house. He was happier there than he would have been able to be anywhere I would have been able to live at the time. He truly became my grandparents dog though the time one of them fell (either in the bathroom or outside…my memory is failing me at the moment) and the other was either outside or in the house. Bruno went and found the other of them to get their attention and lead them to the other.

Bruno lived a long time. I got him sometime in 2000 and he finally had to be put down just last year (or maybe late 2014…dates seem to be failing me at the moment). As much of a pain in the ass Bruno could be at times. I’m glad he was able to be a companion to my grandparents for a while. I know he loved being there with him.

Love you Grandpa.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/grandpa-mike-part-3/

Jul 14 2016

Grandpa Mike (part 2)

My sisters with Grandpa at Alisha’s wedding.

My grandpa was released from the hospital yesterday and while he recovered from the surgery and the initial reasons he was hospitalized, he’s having problems eating. Per his wishes (and after consulting with the doctors), there isn’t really much that can be done for that as he’s not a good candidate for further surgery that would help him take in food easier. Basically he’s now in care to manage pain and be comfortable. But most likely it’s just a matter of time. He’s 92, he’s lived a long good life. Was at home until going into the hospital on the 3rd. He’s outlived his wife by 9.5 years (so far). Not to shabby, especially for a family where the men don’t typically make it into their 90s.

I’m going to miss him though. He has been a huge part of my life growing up and who I’ve become. I’m not really ready to see him go (selfishly).

I love you Grandpa.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/grandpa-mike-part-2/

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