Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Lawyer

He is younger than I. I was referred to him three years ago. My french was crap, my confidence very low, and I thought that all the lawyers in town were friends of my father in law. He is also a lawyer. So I hesitated. Then I looked back and saw how empty the marriage was, it didn't ever exist. Why bother? She asked for it not me! The only thing important is my son! Now out of respect for my partner, because trying to see my son consistently and in a disciplined way is practically impossible, because his mother doesn't bother her ass talking to me anymore except when she wants something ( a little like when we were together), today, I, Collie, I went and saw a lawyer. Perhaps if there are no problems I will have my son every second week and be divorced in a few months. Perhaps. Then I would never have to deal with the shit my ex dumps on me from time to time. What a relief!
He couldn't tell me how much he would cost. Typical I suppose. He was affable, I thought he was Morrocan when I saw him. He was married 3 times to the same woman. Once in a civil marriage twice in a church. One of those times in Corsica just like me. He wants an Irish AuPair, preferably catholic. I guess he is not Moroccan or perhaps I am being narrow minded. The fact we were married civilly in Ireland is apparently important. He seems like a nice guy. He seems like an honest guy. He complimented my french. I texted or sent an SMS to my ex after the meeting telling her I had news, I didn't want to worry her or fight with her but I had a seen a lawyer about our divorce and I thought she should know. She hasn't responded. Par for the course really.
It feels weird. An emotional weight has shifted.
I have lost a friend who used to comment here a lot. I am sad about that.
I just feel really strange that I can be free of his mother and that for a change I might actually have my son on Christmas what a thought.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Slow Euphoria

After finally purchasing the road bike in November, that my pals had clubbed together in September to get me for my birthday, after finally getting on it early December and having a nightmare, I had consigned it to our cellar. Each weekend came and went and the real fear of getting on the bike and tackling the hill outside the door that is 10km long, kept growing. I was getting to the stage of almost panic.

I couldn't do it, I didn't know how, I would never be a triathlete, blah blah blah.

Last night we had a few beers with some friends bugers and chips. We were home not too late, and in bed. There was no running today, it had been called off. So when I woke up at 4 O clock in the morning with a slight headache and had to go to the loo, I was wondering, how the hell am I ever going to do that bike?

Today there was a phone call at 10am. I wanted to sleep. It was someone selling some crap on the phone, I hung up. I hate those cold callers...(yes I know they have a job blah blah)...

I returned to bed my eyes falling on my new book about triathlons, I read two chapters, slapped myself on the head and got out bed. Breakfeast and a shower, organised my gear and before I knew it there I was standing in the living room with a bike in my hand ready to go. Or was I?

I sat on the sofa and watched some cable news, I was disturbed by the neigbours upstairs who earlier had been taking bath and now were giving themselves great reasons to get back into the bath..They have one spring in the bed that is incredibly noisy, almost as noisy as she is.

Enough I am getting out of here. I had the bike in the correct gear. I crossed the road. Looked out for traffic and hopped on. Within 10 meters there was an idiot who pulled out with the back door of his car still open.
I stopped and got off. The hill is very steep. I look like an idiot. Every one can tell I haven't a clue what I am doing.

I waited. The way was clear, back on again. I had planned to go to Aspremont from Cimiez where I live. Planned well, not really planned, I just had the idea in my head. It is roughly 10k each direction all hill. So getting there would be a bitch and comming back would be new underwear time as I am not used to the speed. I hadn't really been on a bicycle properly since I was a teenager.

On the bike, lowest gear, wobble, god this is not easy. Breathing ragged after a few meters.. yes a few meters, not kilometers.

I broached the small roundabout at Aire St Michel. Already exhausted and already tempted to stop a few times and having only gone about 2km. Now I was in virgin terrority. I had made the first part of the climb and there was a little down hill bit, I was smiling. One hour later of grunt and grind and burn I was positively whooping for joy. The Alps swept up away from the sea on my left to the snow capped peaks, no one was around, and the sun was shining. The view is quite simply breathtaking.

The joy of finally rounding the corner and seeing the sign at the start of the village was fantastic. I looked at it beside me and giggled.

I made it finally. It had taken ages lots of effort but not near as much as I had imagined in my monster fears. I was completely over the moon at the slaying of another beast, the cracking of a nut, the extraction of the thorn. It had been a big monster for me. But how it took me the best part of and hour and 40mins to get there and 20 mins to get back, well only a professional probably knows. Perhaps it gives you and idea of just how steep it was. But it was the first time, coming down from Aspremont fast on my bike, I smiled, and called myself a triathlete also for the first time. Simply because now I Swim Bike and Ride, so apologies to all you grown up triathletes but today I am born.
A slow Euphoria had built up, and softly exploded all over the hill side. I am sure the others on the road I met thought I was wacko. I was amazed however to see how much they all acknowledged each other, and I. I am pretty sure even one or two going in the opposite direction thought I knew what I was doing. The few dozen who passed me knew well I didn't. I did't care.
It's a great feeling to be a little part of this 'new' community.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What Colour Are Your Far Away Fields?

Funny how when you stop looking for things they arrive.
I have a blog Friend Annie, who wrote this post .
When I read it I was struck by how often I look at other people and wish I had what they had.

I wish I was financially independent. I wish I was better looking, more handsome. I wish I was fitter, stronger faster. I wish my job was more fulfilling, I wish my partner and I understood each other better and communicated better. I wish I could have great sex every day of my life and never tire of it, and that it could be with a few different people. I wish I had a flash car. I wish I could do something for humanity. I wish I could make my son proud of me. I wish I was proud of myself. I wish I had a house of my own.

Funny how when you start wishing the list can go on forever. The problem is that if I am wishing for something, I am looking away from where I am at, to where I think I might want to be.

If I see a guy driving a Bentley and say to myself I wish I was him, what happens if I see him go home alone to an empty house and drink himself into a stupor because of his problems with depression and the discover that his testicular cancer is going to kill him in 6 weeks. Do I still want to be him? NO of course not.

So not only am I looking elsewhere and wishing, I am not even seeing clearly what I am looking at.

So I have a desire to see things clearly and just like when you are in a fog, the clearest place to look is immediately around you. I must look at myself. What do I see? I am a 40 year old Dad, in good shape. I have a job and a partner. I live in a pretty decent place where the weather is normally agreeable to staying fit. I have friends in distant countries.
My partner is crazy about me. My son loves me.
I have goals that are achieveable.

Now if I am to look clearly, I could perhaps write about all the negative things too. But I know what they are and I don't find it helpful to look at them too much. Suffice to say for me its about taking the positive about where I am and weighing it up against the realistic possiblities of the where I want to be, and taking action to get the result.

In other words, discovering what is it that I must absolutely do to achieve a place of peace and contentment and self fulfillment.

1 Be in a great relationship = my taking responsibility for my role in the parts that are not great.
2.Being a successful writer = my taking responsibility for sitting down on my ass and writing.
3.Completing an Iron Man one time in my life = my taking responsibility for training.
4.Being the best father I can be = Stepping more into my power to take responsibility to get what we need to be together more often.

The list in fact for me at the moment is endless. That is perhaps a negative sign that I am not very happy in myself. The positive side is I realise that and I am discovering ways to cope, to improve and to shorten the list.
The strategy results in the list being reduced little by little till one day without really trying to achieve happiness and inner peace, but rather dealing with the issues that make one unhappy, you achieve a place of serenity.
I urge you to make a list if you have to. Make it as long as possible. Often there is one thing, one thing only that you can identify that if you don't do you will die. If you can find that thing, I urge you to pursue it to your hearts content.

On another note, we have had the wettest winter in my four years here. The motorway is cut off because of a land slide as is the Grand Corniche. The connection between the Grand and Moyenne is also cut. So traffic is just crazy. It took 2 hours to get to work this morning which was about 1.20 more than usual. Despite the constent rain and landslides I managed to get out for run on Sunday in my new running shoes. I ran 13k. I swam 600m yesterday.

Monday, January 07, 2008

What Have I Started

Okay, so at best I had been running twice a week over 7km. Usually just once. The start of the Nice Prom Classic 2008 was impressive. I went down with two lady friends who permit me to run with them. The tolerate my presence we have a laugh and they leave me for dead.

There was about 5 to 6 thousand people there I was very nervous or maybe just awkward at the start. I didn't really know if I could do it. I didn't want to quit or finish last.

There was a jazzy lady doing her DJ Style warm up for the whole group but she was so small and so low down I could not see what she was doing clearly. Besides I felt like a dork throwing my hands up in the air even though the immediate 3000 people around me seemed to be doing very well.

Nerves nerves nerves. How fast does he run? Can I run better than him? The ladies started before us, we all clapped and cheered, suddenly I was feeling a bit better. The race started at a walking pace. There was too many of us, it was damn awkward. Quickly some bright spark opened the other side of the road and I crossed over and settled into my stride. OH my God everyone just ran past me like I wasn't there. The first KM passed in 5 minutes exact, way too fast for me I was expecting to finish in 1 hour 5 or 10 minutes, IF I could finish. The second km was 5mins flat as well that meant I was on course for a 50 minute finish and hospital for a week. I just can't run that fast YET over that distance. I was convinced I was last untill I looked over my shoulder to see a thousand sweaty guys of all shapes and sizes chasing me down.

God when I got to 3km I thought well a third of the race gone only that distance twice more and then a push. I wanted to stop. I had to fight a lot through that km. 4km my two friends passed me on the other side, I roared out them, 'Hey les filles' and 200 filles turned their heads but not my pals....Km5 was easier, there was water, I was on the home stretch in a minute. and I settled down and slowed down. I was now over half way and starting to pass a lot of people it felt good. Km 6 was another trying to calm myself down and push on at the same time I was looking at the watch I was due under the hour if I kept that pace up, I was so scared of a DNF I kept trying to slow down.
Now I was on KM 7, old fat guys passed me, guys who had disability. One guy who wasn't breathing kept getting up to my shoulder running, then walking, eventually after stopping and starting he managed to pass me out about a KM after I had passed him.
Half way through the 8km I was lengthening my stride a little I could see the sign for 9k ahead. I could see a woman ahead of me I was gaining on her. I was going to finish on the hour this was great. I flew past her and saw her face, she was shattered. Come on I yell in French don't stop, allez allez allez, viens, n'arretez pas! She saw me and held out her hand as she tried to run after me. I slowed up grabbed on and towed her along a few meters, our hands were still held. I spoke to her, breath , come on you can do it. Allez... 'No English' she tried to smile, she couldn't do it.. allez tu n'arret pas. We were still holding hands, she didn't want to let go. I think like me there was a little fear.

I had to disengage my hand I was thinking it wasn't correct to be holding her hand that long. It was like an elastic snapping She slowed right up as I took off again. 9km I slowed down she reached me, "Come on only 1 more, c'est la dernier" .. "Aller tu peut le faire"... I think she got the gyst. 'Je dois aller' Which I think may not be correct but it's what I said and off I went I practically sprinted. the last 800 meters. I flew past lots of people it was a great feeling.

I was over the line I was sure in about 1:01 the clock read 1:02:27. I was buggered, knackered, destroyed, and surprisingly emotional. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. It was really strange. There was no one there for me, I wanted a hug. I wanted someone to say well done, clap me on the back because fuck it, it was hard. So I waited a few minutes by the finish line, I saw her coming, I clapped and cheered, and said bravo madam, she saw me, a big smile. Then I ran away.

I got water, chocolate, bananas, orange, there was all sorts of stuff available for us. It was great to be alive. I found my friends after about half an hour. There were in form. They had finished in 0.57 . It was their second race, the first they had done in 0.59. They run 3 times a week and a semi marathon is on the card in February.

First I have to fork out a lot more than I have for a pair of running shoes. Mine are a little too small. I have huge blisters on my toes. I mean huge. My ankles hurt. I am taking this seriously. Somewhere down the end of the tunnel is the Iron Man if I can find him, but it's a long long long way away.
Another 10 km before April and then the semi marathon. That would be a lot of fun.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

What I did and Where I am going.

Well that was a pretty decent festival season. We ate duck cooked by me and shared with a friend on the 23rd.
(Try balsamic vinegar, sugar, thyme, red wine. Boil it down to almost a treacle and spread it beside the bird. )
That was our Christmas day with my son. Later that week his mother forced him to ring me to tell me he would be bored in Italy. How do you deal with a 7 year old and teach him that plans made should be honoured? Hmm anyway. Then on the 25th with our friend still here, I cooked Boar, Venison, Ostrich, (just a little of each. My partner cooked in between days a really good sea food pasta and king prawns. We put on a lot of weight :-).
Finally with my boy we drove for 4 hours to Livorno, I did a Christmas shopping for her mother, It was a damn expensive present but she can hardly afford to heat the house, so we filled her fridge a second time :). That made me feel damn good. We ate later in the week with her sister. Real Tuscan stuff, Oil, tomatoes, chicken marinated in white wine and citrus fruits.. ahhh. We went to Colodi, the home of Pinocchio, not the Disney version, the original version. I was gently impressed at the lack of kitsch and the presence of very artistic statues and gardens. Then her father cooked for us many many different dishes. Wine was plentiful. On new years eve we let off fireworks. On New Years day finally my Son and I got to fulfill our ambition and climbed the tower of Pisa. The cost was astronomical, the view astounding, the feeling bizzare and the experience for me was well worth the wait.
Where I am going in 2008? Well I have got myself into a pickle by saying I would at some stage do an iron man.
So baby steps. I have enrolled for my first 10km race. I am very slow, it will take me an hour if I finish at all :-) I swam 500m today, and I have promised to go for a cycle next Sunday. So by the end of the year. I should be able to enroll for the half Iron man in 2009 in Monaco. I know why not this year? Well it takes a lot of time, I have no coach, and it's expensive. Still baby steps.
Love to you all and a great new year. Climb those towers and run those races and achieve your dreams. :-)

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