2013 New Year’s Resolutions

Update this blog on a more regular basis.

Finally finish redecorating my living room and start my bedroom redecoration. Bought all new living room furniture including a new 47′ flat screen TV last year but didn’t do much more than dump it all into the living room with little thought to arrangement or presentation. My bedroom is in dire straits and long overdue for an update.

Start sewing a lot more so that I can rework and update my wardrobe with some trendier and edgier outfits.

Revamp my current hairstyle with a brand new contemporary cut and colour.

Seriously change my eating habits so that I am eating healthier as well as start some sort, any sort, of exercise program. Really want to lose the extra weight that I gained while on methadone and now that I am finished treatment I have no more excuses!

Finish my PTSD therapy and finally move on and put our 2008 attack and Jim’s stabbing behind me.

Now that I have finally returned to work – more on this later – increase my work hours from part time to full time.

Socialize more with both my family and friends. No more of this near hibernation – this is part of the moving forward since the attack.

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Waiting

I know it has been ages since I last updated, and I am pretty sure that 2012 will go down as my year of neglect but I am hoping to change all of this – hopefully starting right now! As I haven’t seen my brother now in close to two years, I find myself missing him more and more frequently. Like most things, I didn’t realize how much I would miss him until he was gone. So very typical indeed, yet not something I had originally considered might happen. Miss him I did. We had always been really, really close, but once he started to date, and then subsequently marry and fall heavily under the influence of Erica, we began drifting further and further apart. We would have most likely have lived out our lives this way except for that savage attack on Jim four years ago.

This attack, and all that it represented, especially that whole fragility of life et al, had a sobering effect on both of us. The four of us agreed that whatever had passed before this attack would now be water under the bridge. Any and all transgressions were to be forgiven and forgotten. We were all issued a clean slate. Now this is extremely important when one remembers all that my sister-in-law had subjected me to over the years, as well as all of us having to endure her generally mean and petty demeanour towards my brother’s immediate family. Incredibly she could rarely be bothered to play nice, which is pretty shocking into and of itself when you take into consideration that by immediate I mean my Mother, myself (& Jim) and my daughter (or his niece), Sara. It truly doesn’t get much smaller than this!

For anyone interested in reading and finding out exactly what I mean about my sister-in-laws temperament, can read THISTHIS and/or THAT at their leisure. You can also choose SISTER-IN-LAW or FAMILY FEUD or BROTHER or you get my drift n’est pas? Now, three of us four actually meant it when we said that the past was exactly that, ancient history, and that the past would be exactly where it would all remain, no longer able to influence or prejudice our future relationships. From the time of the attack until my brother had to leave Ontario for Nova Scotia due to his job situation we made up for lost time. Although he ended up moving half way across the country barely a year and a half after our attack, when he left our relationship was the strongest that it had ever been since we became adults. I guess because of this it made his move that much more difficult and bittersweet in the end, but I’d most certainly prefer this than had he left under acrimonious circumstances that’s for bloody sure.

 

He has now been gone two years and three months which means that is how long it has been since I’ve seen him. Sure, we talk on the phone and email back and forth, and I even learned how to Skype this year – Skype truly is bloody, freaking amazing I must confess! None of this is the same as seeing the person in the flesh. They are merely cheap imitations and substitutes! Jim and I had actually planned on flying east this summer for six days aiming to be there for either the end of July or beginning of August depending on the availability and price of flights. As my Mom was going to visit them in May and her parents were supposed to visit in June, we thought it prudent that we wait a bit so that they wouldn’t feel inundated with all of these guests – we had every intention of staying at a hotel for our entire visit as I would never presume to think we could stay with them – this would actually be rather difficult space wise as there wouldn’t really be any, extra space that is, cause they now have five children giving them a household total of seven! Never mind the space issue, the fact that there would be five children under the age of 13 under said roof would be enough motivation to get our own hotel room!

Unfortunately, these best laid plans will not be happening at all this summer. Erica’s most recent pregnancy was fraught with problems so Mom ended up flying east so that she could stay with them to help out and her visit stretched out to near six weeks. Her parents’ visit was put in jeopardy when they discovered a dark cloud on one of her Mother’s lungs during a routine chest x-ray. While it did turn out to be cancerous, apparently it was caught right in the initial stages so her prognosis is very optimistic although she does have to have 12 weeks of chemotherapy which obviously will prevent them from travelling in the  near future. If this wasn’t enough, my brother decided that his current job in Nova Scotia wouldn’t be good enough to support his growing family, nor in fact, would any other job in Nova Scotia right now. After the Christmas holidays he started to send his resume out to a number of companies right across the country. While there were a few that expressed interest in my brother’s resume, one company in Edmonton, AB and another in Langley, BC were extremely promising and seemed to be able to offer a substantial pay raise. Ultimately he decided to go with the company in BC cause he felt that this would be a much better place to raise children – population approx. 35 000 vs. something like 1.2 million!

He starts his new job on Monday, July 9th but I just found out that before he starts him and his family will be stopping in Ontario en route from Nova Scotia. This is the best news that I’ve gotten this year by a long shot to be sure! I am so excited. Their furniture etc. is getting moved across the country in some sort of storage container separately and is leaving NS on June 28th which is also the last day of the children’s school year. The next day, the whole family will drive in their van to Ontario stopping occasionally so that Erica can feed their newborn – born the second week of April so will still be feeding every few hours minimum. I don’t know exactly when they will arrive in Ontario as it will all depend on what kind of time they make, but I do know when they will all be leaving Ontario as they’ll be flying for the second half of their trip and their plane tickets have all been bought and reserved for July 5th! Apparently, her Dad has found someone to buy their van in Ontario plus her brother was able to give them a gift of 220 000 Air Miles allowing them to fly out to BC instead of having to face that extremely lengthy drive west across the country. I’ve got no clue how much time that would take either though I don’t imagine it would be very fast.

 

So, within the next two weeks and a bit, I will actually get to see my brother as well as spend some quality time with him. I can’t wait. I talked to him a couple of days ago when I called him to wish him a Happy 46th Birthday and he is equally excited. Now, Jim and I are going to start saving and planning on flying west next summer instead of heading east this one. 

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Victim kicked “like a soccer ball”

COURTS   By JANE SIMS, The London Free Press

Last Updated: February 15, 2012 11:05pm

All he was doing was buying a sausage after a night out with a female friend.

“How did you get a girl?” asked a stranger in an orange polo shirt standing near the man at the vendor’s stand near York and Richmond streets at closing time.

“I’m going to get with her,” the stranger continued.

The man and woman tried to ignore the orange-shirted, dark-skinned man — Marol Angou, 25, of London — but the attack began.

The man was struck to the ground, then kicked in the head “like a soccer ball,” assistant Crown attorney Jennifer Chalykoff told Ontario Court Justice John Getliffe.

The man was kicked at least 17 times as he was on the ground in the fetal position protecting his head and begging the attack stop. His female companion was struck by Angou’s female friend, and punched by Angou twice when she tried to intervene, Chalykoff said.

Then he walked away.

Identification was the main issue in the case, but Getliffe convicted Angou Wednesday, saying he was convinced it was Angou who committed the random act of horrifying violence on a stranger on Aug. 20, 2011.

Angou offered alibis — both soundly rejected by Getliffe.

“I simply do not believe him,” the judge said.

Angou first claimed he was in custody at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre after the victim and his friend saw Angou downtown after the attack and approached to make sure he was the man who assaulted them.

Once sure, they gathered friends, returned to where they found Angou, then called police.

An initial check showed Angou was in custody, but that was a clerical mistake.

He was at the jail the following day after he was picked up by police for causing a disturbance not far from the attack the night before — and wearing the same distinct orange polo shirt he had when he attacked the man.

Angou’s second alibi was he had been with a friend at an east London bar, met some girls and partied at someone’s house.

But a check of the video surveillance at the London Housing complex where Angou’s friend lived didn’t support his story.

The male victim suffered serious physical and psychological injuries, but was able to recall the orange shirt, the dark skin and the man’s accent.

Angou will be sentenced March 9.

←→

The above article appeared in my local newspaper late last week and was of concern to me because the male in the article was one of the three that had attacked my husband and I in May 2008. He is obviously not too far removed from some savage and untamed animal as his repeated behaviour continually seems to illustrate. He obviously learned next to nothing during the twenty four months he sat in jail as punishment for his horrific actions against us. This much is very clearly apparent.

 If anything he seems to be mocking our Canadian judicial system at every opportunity, and is quite clearly not capable of owning any sort of responsibility for his actions. I’m fairly confident that this next sentence he will be receiving in a couple of weeks time will be as effective as all of the others preceding this one.

 I wish I could believe that this most recent punishment will even go as far as being an actual representation of the crimes committed but I have so very little faith that this could even remotely happen no matter how tough the judges words might appear in this article. No doubt come sentencing day they shall be long forgotten and in their place there will be more rationalizations why we should allow the system just one more chance to attempt rehabilitation. Whatever…

 

Regrets???

You know, when I went to bed the other night, I had every intention of going when I got up the next day, but in the end, I just couldn’t go through with it. I really, really thought this was something I’d be able to do without too much thought, but I was so wrong. Now, I am also kind of mad at myself for allowing my fear and anxiety to get the better of me but at the time, I felt I had no other choice.

Last Wednesday, one of the three guys that attacked us almost four years ago had a court appearance because he had been charged with aggravated assault from an incident in August 2011. He allegedly assaulted a complete stranger who was attempting to enjoy an evening downtown with his girlfriend. The attack put the victim in the hospital, leaving him with a fractured cheekbone, a split upper lip and a black eye. A trial for January 4, 2012 had been scheduled for him. His co-accused, a female companion, had her day in court the first week of December of last year.

The couple that had been attacked had been trying to get support from the community at large by asking for people to come out on these scheduled court dates in an attempt to try to fill the courtrooms for both of their trials. They were hoping to send a message to the judge  that people do care and do really want to see these people off the street. I couldn’t agree more, plus I thought this was a brilliant idea, never mind the myriad of questions I have regarding why this animal is still allowed out to continue to commit these violent offenses repeatedly with no sort of deterrent.

At the last minute though, I got scared. I hadn’t been in a court room since two of our attackers received their respective sentences from the judge for what they had done to us. Before we heard this though, I had to read my Victim Impact Statement aloud to the court and then had to listen to each of their attorneys give their final statements about their clients to the judge in a last chance grab for some leniency I guess. This particular day was a bit of a blur because I was so overwhelmed with everything that was happening, and suddenly, after impatiently waiting almost two years for this day in court, now everything just seemed to be moving so bloody fast! Even though I was paying very close attention to everything that was being said by anyone that had a chance to speak, it ended up just being too much information all at once – too much new info and new info I didn’t realize at the time was quite significant.

For years, because of our addiction, both Jim and I existed on the fringes of the law. Even though we knew we were breaking the law every time we fed this addiction and had to purchase drugs, we still somehow managed to remain under its radar for all intent and purpose the entire time we were using. Other than purchasing this illegal substance on a very regular basis, we conducted ourselves appropriately the rest of the time. We both went to work every day, we maintained our family home where we raised two daughters – one ours, the other our foster daughter.  We paid our bills and did our groceries and volunteered at the girls’ school and participated in life pretty much like everyone else for the most part. Yes, there were times when our finances were definitely on the shaky side, as was our behavior I’ve no doubt, but we didn’t have to support our habit by participating in any additional illegal activity.

So, even after years of being on the peripheral, we really knew next to nothing about our criminal court system until our attack. I know that had we been better informed nearly two years ago, the Sentencing Hearing of two of our attackers would have been very different for me. It is really only now that there are things that were brought up that day that are now impacting me, and had I not seen that small news article about our third attacker there are things I would never even ended  up considering.

First and foremost, I don’t understand why these obviously violent individuals repeatedly keep getting second and third and fourth chances. It is only now that the significance of these three individual’s prior record is significant. On the day of the sentencing of the first two who attacked us, it was introduced that between both of them they had a total of 28 assault convictions as adult offenders – one had 15 while the other had 13.  Now they were 25 and 24 years old on the day of their sentencing and had been in custody since the day of the attack almost two years earlier meaning they were then approx 23 and 22 which further means they had managed to accumulate this total in less than five years. WTF? I don’t even understand why either one of them was still walking around as free men on the day of our attack. These assault convictions aren’t the end of their adult record either. The sum total of all their convictions since turning 18 was actually 86 – one had accumulated 42 adult convictions while the other 44. Again I have to say WTF? Two years ago, this significance alluded me but now it doesn’t.

In fact, ever since seeing that story in our local newspaper a month ago about our third attacker, I can’t stop thinking about the whole subject of rampant violence in our society and what we need to do about correcting this problem. Right now my thoughts are all over the place as I haven’t had a chance to assimilate all of the new info my mind has seemingly had to process since then and am even now having trouble putting coherent thought down here.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Holiday Greetings

Well, managed to get through another Christmas reasonably unscathed! Went to Jim’s folks on Christmas Day and then to my Mom’s on Boxing Day. Both of us come from such small families that this season tends to be a fairly subdued one. Jim only has one sister while I just have one brother and a daughter of course. Jim’s sister just got married for the first time in the summer so her husband also joins us for the holidays. Jim and I and Sara and her boyfriend, Andre, spend all of Boxing Day with Mom especially as she has now been on her own since my Dad passed away in 2003. My brother and his wife now live in Halifax which is about 1424 km or 885 miles from me, and as they are expecting baby number five, they certainly can not afford to come home for the holidays. He has now been gone over a year and a half but it wasn’t until now that it has really hit me just how much I miss him. Hopefully, Jim and I will be flying out to Halifax in June of next year after the birth of the baby – due date is the first of May so this will give them a bit of time to get settled.

ALTERED STATES

I’ve gone through and reviewed all of my links as I had noticed that some were no longer active, as well as discovering a number of new ones. As well as the links that appear regularly as part of my site, I’ve included this separate post as a means of highlighting the category Altered States | Parents of Addicts as I feel that it is not only an extremely important category, but one that seems to be constantly growing which should be a grave concern for all. If there are other blogs out there that I’m not yet aware of, I would love to be notified so that I can add them to the list.

Lean On Me

So I managed to get through Thanksgiving 2007 unscathed, and in fact, actually quite enjoyed myself. From here, my Mom and I started to meet every few weeks for coffee and a bit of a chat – always on neutral ground in a restaurant and in public. Initially it was a little bit awkward as it was just the two of us alone together without the benefit of others to insulate us. For me, the combination of this time apart plus close to two years successfully on MMT had mellowed me considerably so many of the things that seemed to irritate me so easily in the past no longer held the same importance or reaction for me.

Surprisingly, my Mother had become a very different person in the interim. Just prior to our reconciling, I had decided that being estranged from my Mother was not how I wanted to remember our relationship should anything end up happening to either one of us – heaven forbid. I didn’t want to have regrets over something that could realistically be easily avoided not to mention repaired with not too much effort. I decided that there would be no point continuing to get annoyed with some of my Mother’s traits never mind the fact that there was little hope of her changing her spots this late in her life. In my mind though there were a couple of things that I would not compromise on when it came to her treatment of me but I also was prepared to be honest with her and let her know exactly what I meant – no more passive aggressive behaviour on my part!

It seems that my Mom had missed me while we were estranged and must have made a decision herself to try to change her own behaviour. Just the fact that she would even attempt to do this for me was enough for me to now do everything in my power to ensure that our relationship would never derail again. Except for the rarest of rare bumps in the road, we have been rock steady ever since. I was also so glad that we ended up reconciling prior to the attack on Jim and I in May 2008 rather than after it. If we had been estranged at the time of our attack I suspect we both would have always wondered if this had been our only reason for reconciliation even if it wasn’t at all. Now, though, we’ll never be plagued with this question. Never mind the fact that since our attack my Mom has been a tremendous source of comfort, support and strength and everything else that goes with this whole ordeal.

Couldn’t or wouldn’t ask for anything more now cause I don’t need to. I’ve got it all.

peace, love and happiness…