Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Silent Pouncer

    CTV  News 's hit me hard yesterday. It led me back to another broken road that I've had to travel on. Here's why; as parents we try very hard to educate and protect our children but the system of support is not always in our favour. Really! 
    In the summer of 1998 we had language exchange students staying with us. Our daughters were great hostesses. And both were busy learning new skills . Our youngest was becoming a proficient English style rider. Our older one was learning to fly at our local small airport. We thought that lessons and hosting would enhance their self esteem and keep them busy during the holidays. As events brought them in contact with more outsiders, I kept a vigilant eye on all, especially my older daughter because she seemed to be talking a fair bit about a guy she met online. Apparently he lived in England. According to her they met in a chat room while she was chatting with other would be pilots. That all seemed fine and harmless. But not for very long.
   One fall day my youngest daughter became very quiet. She reached out to us in a way that was most disturbing. Unusually dopey she couldn't support herself and dropped to the ground thus scaring us. We assisted her to get her to a seat. While leaving out alarming details of what she tried to do to herself suffice to say she alerted us to the fact that her sister had wanted her to take part in webcam photo shoots in the nude. She refused and felt very bad that sis was doing this. Horrified I quizzed the older one. Then I demanded that she hand over her laptop and webcam. When I asked why these pics were being taken she just said she was experimenting and had no idea it would upset anyone. It had not yet dawned on me that she was being messed with. It took more looking. 
   From that day on I watched like a hawk over my girls. That lead to secrecy and lots of lies. Then one day I found my eldest had used my desktop to chat with her David friend and had not closed the file. I began to read. My mouth dropped. She was being sexually groomed by some pervert! Now what?
    My gut told me to sit down with her and talk to her frankly. She argued that since chatting with him she was getting A's in school and all was well. True. And he was miles away. True. But when I tried to convince her to end the contact with him, she came back saying he'd moved to Australia and a cousin called Steve was now at his flat. Steve had a son, Jim, who was her age and that was fine. She was not willing to or able to see my point. But I told her to end all this anyway because it was not good. And I tried to find help but even my close friends thought I was over-reacting. Our daughter was too nice. It could not be true. Surely not! Help was difficult to find.
    So in 1998 no one was ready to believe our plight could be real. Porno via internet? Never! Our 15 year old daughter was just fantasizing and I was her prying mother who had no right to read her stuff left open on my own computer. That's what her counsellor said. And her doctor! Really?
    But there were signs that something was getting more and more out of control. Since her laptop was taken, I discovered she found other ways to get to the internet.  She would sneak into the basement where our old 486 desktop was kept in storage. I noticed she brought it back to life and even found an old Hayes modem and a phone line. She was bright. Stopping her was becoming a huge challenge. 
    Then came the family issues. Soon a frustrated hubby blamed the fact that we had bought the stuff and had it in our home. He became more and more angry with everyone because he felt at a loss. It was not a pleasant time. The family was becoming torn apart emotionally. We all went for counselling together. Really!
    Then came the day when the youngest came to me early in May 1999 and said that Sis had received a letter in the mail from England. Her visitor, Williams, would be at our home on the 12th!!  While the eldest was delighted, her sister was terrified. So was I. England was suddenly too close. Worse, he had our home address. Now I took more aggressive action. Along with the letter and her laptop with its pics and chats I headed to the nearby police station. When I explained my problem they gave me weird glances. Really!
   As I handed them her laptop I saw that they had no idea how to access the material. They were not familiar with the technology!! I left the laptop with them and filled out a request for aid but 24 hours later I was asked to retrieve it. They had no idea how they could be of help. Really!
   But I had been to the police. Seems that was enough for the visitor to change his plans. For days I kept my girls close by me until I was sure that no one would appear at the door, at least as sure as I could be.
   Elder daughter claimed that my crazy behaviour led her to give up on the chats with the trio (David, make-believe cousin Steve and son Jim) but I suspect it stopped at the his end. Yet the incidents of grooming her away from her parents towards others and the rather explicit sexual events over the net have had a huge impact on her, more than she has understood. Her relationships with men have not resulted in sustained happy times. She has had various counsellors but her self esteem is still shaky. Low motivation and depression surface over and over. And she still has moments of mistrust towards us. As her mother I tried everything that I could at the time. Trust me.
   She is now trying to become a successful tattoo artist and I hope she feels happiness in that. Still I see moments of self doubt. She was robbed of something. Part of her has been violated. Her spirit is not the same. Some sparkle in her has not come back. But there are occasional glimpses of it and there's hope. 
   The internet is a very powerful tool that allows manipulation of a spirit. More and more we learn of the harm being inflicted on all kinds of age groups. Sadly the market for sexual exploitation is one of the largest and I think there is much to learn about how we can change rules so less harm is done. Really! 
   Davis Russell Williams is in jail for raping and murdering two women two years ago. During the investigation of his conduct the police seized his computers and he pleaded guilty to child pornography. A deal was cut to keep this confession quiet until now. Today the news mentioned it. Today I was reminded of those tough days. I wonder how many others like my girl and their families are still struggling because he pounced on them?
   How did David Russell Williams find her? She was learning to fly and he was a VIP pilot in the Canadian Air Force. He had access to airport activity. Students. Future pilots. In the military as a Colonel he flew such dignitaries as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. He had access to England to mail her letters. He betrayed the trust of his position and allowed himself to be a rapist and a murderer. Hurting hundreds of young unmentioned minds was not part of his punishment! These victims were used to cut a deal in his confession. 
Oh how the hell of 1998/99 lingers on! That nightmare is still not quite over. But I am more hopeful that parents and children will get help more quickly as it becomes known that this luring has a huge impact on entire families and their friends too. And it is happening anywhere and everywhere!!
   TRUST, the movie, may be too tough for my senses to process but it will be a powerful message. There is great harm in trusting wrong doers but they come disguised. Always be alert for that silent pouncer.

Friday, March 25, 2011


 Today I was thinking about the word trust. It can be a noun, a verb or an adjective. It has a long list of meanings under the headings of LAW, COMMERCE and ARCHAIC. Academically it may be found in many social sciences like education, philosophy, psychology and economics. Trust is woven into the fabric of all aspects of our daily life so deeply that we may forget it's there. But it is fundamental to our ego and our self esteem. It's synonym is confidence.
 How does trust impact our decision making? At birth we begin a journey of developing interpersonal relationships out of our necessity for survival. Trusting that food will come as we demand it is the beginning. Our basic needs are given to us from caregivers and we bond with them and build a trust. As the brain develops, more complex thinking patterns appear and we begin to play with those we trust by testing our inner awareness of our interrelationship and ability to control our actions and their reactions. Our conclusions may come from our personal deductions as well as information given to us that we may accept or reject. A code of acceptable conduct is part of this process. 
 At 'terrible twos' an individual clearly lets others know that a strong will is emerging. The tot pushes ideas and desires wanting to make its personal choices. An alert caregiver notices changes in development and guides the tot making sure it's understood. Confidence in good outcomes fuels its learning. And so trust continues to be woven into a process so fundamental to basic well being. 
 What happens when the pattern of trust between the self and the other is broken? Confidence is shaken. It becomes necessary to reposition the self within the social setup. A replacement for a lost trust is usually sought. Sadly when a replacement is an object, it cannot give feedback. The feedback has to be imagined. 
  I do not have to imagine the comment feedback. All of you are so kind and Robert's back. That puts my confidence way up. Spring will be here soon. I just need to have some patience. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


 The season has officially changed to spring but in my area it is exceptionally slow in making it's appearance this year. Not even many buds are willing to present themselves although one or two bushes are making some effort.
 Over the years I have experienced such a variety of ends of winter. Some years like now the cold weather just keeps hanging on. Then in May we head straight into a head wave. That is the most common version. It's also the hardest to adjust to. From a winter coat to a T-shirt overnight is difficult our the human auto-responses. 
 My favourite way is when March warms up gradually. Then in April the plants and tress begin to bud so that by early May it feels comfortable and looks very pretty as all things burst into bloom. This version is less common. Last year it was like that. But this year we are not getting that.
 I wonder how these cycles manifest themselves? It's as if there's something we don't know, something we don't understand. The flora and fauna seem to know. Birds are only just starting to come back. Last year they were here by the end of February and they stayed fairly late in the fall. No idea how it will be this year. And will we ever be in tune the way most of nature appears to be??
 The ice remains on the pond and there will be snow tomorrow. Patience is dwindling because I'm longing for the warmth of the sun on my cheeks as I walk. The cold wind hurts. My eyes are so sensitive now. But walks are a must for the heart so I plod on as often as I am able.
 Spring has not sprung. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Challenge

The clocks have been set forward so now there'll be more evening light. It makes life better for some of us who are in various stages of macular degeneration because we need plenty of light to see. But there remains another issue for me. Last May I noticed a vision change so I was referred to a specialist. I waited. And that was a challenge.
Since November 23rd I've known that the implanted lens in my left eye has shifted and that a correction is needed. Why? Because the silly eye is duplicating, even tripling images. No one seems to understand how that can make me very tired. Just imagine how hard the brain works to help me keep my equilibrium and allows me to read and write and blog. I'm actually loosing weight even though I walk less and spend more time just lying around watching a big screen TV for silly entertainment to keep me busy as I wait for the call from the eye doctor.....a challenge!
Last Wednesday I went back to my GP to find out what's up. She cannot tell me why things are not happening but she says the referral to the surgeon was sent and she'll resend the referral from the specialist to the surgeon. The wait goes on. And that's a challenge
The past two weekends hubby's confined himself to bed rest because something's not right with him. That worries me because of his ongoing battle with his heart issues. He's afraid to have bypass surgery recommended this summer and I suspect the pain he complains about is related. Still he refuses to believe that could be a factor. That's a challenge for me.
Now while hubby's resting there is no one to drive to the grocery store. Since there seems to be more light (energy too) I opted to take his car and drive to the local supermarket to fill up the shopping cart with much needed goodies. I also stopped by our local Walmart to buy new bathroom mats because Buddy's shedding skin tends to mess them beyond restoration. Once I got home I was happy but so bushed. It was a challenge to unload the car and fill the shelves and the fridge.
When it was time for supper I kept it very simple after the above workout. We had lean turkey brats placed in plump panini buns adorned with hot deli style mustard, a side of ready made mixed salad with walnuts and fruits as garnish and a dessert of fresh pineapple. Easy,tasty and not a challenge because I had just shopped.
Hubby requested chicken noodle soup so I pulled out a pan and got to work. No challenge there because it was hubby's turn to be pampered.
Today he's better and I'm having left over soup as I type. He and Buddy left for the office a while ago. They got a ride. My challenge will be to pick them up while it's still light out.
I can do this.

P.S.  Art is doing much better and will be starting cardio rehab this week. He hopes to be blogging again soon. Robert is in surgery today and has left you his message.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Skeptical Robert

For some time I wondered what comment Robert would have for me after I left him a comment. Then a post from his Nancy appeared stating he wasn't so well but would soon be back. Then came another post but not by him.
Once again we have a fellow blogger whose family is busy with the care of their loved one. It's our blogging friend Robert. Very recently he's discovered he needs a heart valve replacement. Naturally he's in hospital. His daughter Kara has taken on the role of letting us know how he's doing. My feeling is the whole family could use some hugs and prayers and good wishes. May Robert recover quickly. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011


   I ought to be very happy. It is pouring rain outside. The dirty accumulation of snow is being washed away. But my mind has shifted to an area that I don't like. There is too much pessimism. Perhaps my illness has a bit to do with it?
   Strep throat gave me pain and time out in bed. The antibiotics were strong and the recovery has been gradual. I took the opportunity to just stay in my bed to rest. Using the iTV I got at Christmas time I downloaded some Oscar nominated movies and other films. As I watched them I also took time out to watch the Middle East events unfold. Both had a very bad affect on my outlook. I was filled with waves of doom and gloom. While many are fighting for democracy, those who have democracy are not managing their rights very well! Here's where one problem lies.
    Though the documentary Gasland did not win any Oscars, it points a finger at a 2005 change in the US clean air and water laws exempting natural gas drilling sites using FRACKING to comply with those laws. WHY??  One claim is it's to make US self sufficient faster in energy production in order to get away from the terrorists. But the truth about the messy ways of extraction are not being openly disclosed. To me it seems that there is a form of terror created by this method. And it's happening right inside our democratic countries!  A free market world where speedy low cost production and profit rules should be more wary of the serious deadly consequences. Since 2005 much has been learned about the vast drilling beds and it's horrific effects in the area where it has be done.. People and animals are suffering from many illnesses and deaths. Who is doing anything about this?? Who cares? WE ALL SHOULD!! US papers The Baltimore Sun and Business Week and the Canadian Montreal Gazette are all warning us again today that our drinking water will be seriously contaminated in eastern America once drilling begins in PA.
  Why is GASLAND not on every station daily educating our electorate about the crime that's happening on our doorstep? We need to fight this wrong!! We have a right to protect our water. Soon we will have no fresh water left to drink. Millions more will be wondering why they feel sick. There is another issue. Reversing damage done is not possible since we have no technology to do that yet. BAD WATER to my mind is far worse than the H1N1,a pandemic that we were told would be deadly if we did nothing. No clean water an act of terror! This is super serious. Get out there and fight! Democracy needs you NOW!!
    Why are we not using the social network to demand this to stop?