Joy and Emotional Distress / Art Museum Field Trip / An Upwelling of Old Dirt

It's 11:07 a.m. and she's not there. Who is she? And why is she important? Well, the idea was that someone would come along with me, a person to assist out and about and around downtown Phoenix and vicinity. Could I have gotten away without the assistance? Probably. Maybe. But things would have been more difficult in doing so.

Dial-A-Ride drivers only standby for 7 minutes waiting for the total package to arrive. In my case the total package included me, and my former wife. I was ready and already on board the bus, and we were waiting for her to show up. She's late for everything. Like, seriously late. Always late. Consistently late. Just plain flat out late.

In any case, the driver waited an additional 3 and 1/2 minutes. Yes, she arrived. And we were ready to roll.

The idea behind the idea was that Friday, April 14th may well have been the final cool day of the spring (here in the desert). Or perhaps not. It's always difficult to make that determination with any certainty. But we'd had a very cool well below normal winter, which was nice. And we recently touched 100° (and we're likely going to be up and around and beyond 100° every day for the next 5 months). Those kinds of temperatures limit my ability to be outdoors.

So when the forecast came up as being 76°, I decided to go for it. I decided to get my chair repaired. And then I also decided that going to the Phoenix Art museum was a thing that needed to be done. And to make these experiences more enjoyable, I would be inviting my former wife to tag along.

Basically, we hang out once per week for a few hours at a time. We also talk on the phone, maybe once a week as well. And that about covers it. That's just the right amount (for now). Oh, and the experiences are positive and sometimes positively productive.

Anyways, I went out and enjoyed myself, just like a NORMAL person! Hooray for improvements made!

And here are some images of interest:










View from observation point (Estrella Mountains in background) -


My Helper -


Us -


While I enjoyed myself immensely, my visit to the museum brought back painful remembrances. And probably, I shouldn't have written the following (putting this all out in the open), but by not doing so, I am protecting the guilty. And back then, the mother of my son (nope, NOT my former wife) had everyone believing that I was the bad parent, because… well… that was her obsession - to discredit me, while making herself out to be the immaculate victim.

Anyway, within the following paragraphs I've written about a few of these matters, so you may wish to forgo reading altogether. The subject matter is upsetting to me, but mostly I've introspectively processed, then worked through these issues in recent years.

Over a decade ago I took my son to the Phoenix Art Museum, so that he could further explore the greater aspects of surrealism. At seven years of age he'd been a rather enthusiastic Salvador Dali fan - so much so, that I uncharacteristically purchased an unnecessarily overpriced Dali statuette for him on our way out the museum door.

Back then, I openly encouraged his artistry and intellect. But also back then, my Evil Ex was doing all that she could do in discouraging him. Remember her? She was the awful human being (NOT my Ex-wife) who had me locked in her sites years past our expiration date. She's the one who openly and obviously tortured my son as a means to get back at me.

For example, she kept him from playing sports (until I finally relented and gave up custody), and also from participating in the gifted programs at school (insisting to the school administrators that he was intellectually challenged - which based on test results, he obviously was not).

And that wasn't even the worst of it. She disciplined him hands-on, slapping and smacking him as she saw fit… all the while, knowing corporal punishment (and physical abuse) deeply upset me.

Because I had long hair, she would regularly shave his head (so that we would look more physically dissimilar). If he challenged his mother by not immediately obeying her directed commands, she would criticize him for being "just like your father." And that goes for anytime his behavior or mannerisms weren't up to her OCD standards.

She would openly and often suggest to my son that he was going to grow up and be (an awful person) just like me. Then she would repeatedly list (in her estimations) my personal character flaws out loud, in order to establish my awfulness as a parent.

I know these things because my son would confide in me daily (without prompting) - always upset, but mostly angry. And I would repeatedly explain to him that her terrible behaviors weren't his fault… simply stating that his mother had serious anger issues.

Eh. The bottom line is that my son never quite believed the hype that was bestowed upon him by a multitude of loving caring adults (and peers alike). There was always that voice in the back of his head, the one telling him that he wasn't special or talented.

Yes. The Evil One did whatever it took to make my existence as difficult as humanly possible (because I left her in 2003), not recognizing, realizing (or perhaps caring) that our child's prospects of becoming a well adjusted adult were being harmed.

Perhaps interestingly, my family members believe the entirety of my current illness was caused by the constant attacks and threats from her (and her husband), and most especially due to the unfair treatment of my son. He's the one who suffered most, and in a sense, much of his suffering is my fault.

I'm the one who decided to have a child with a purely evil human being (not having identified her undesirable traits until it was too late). And really, I should have found a way to eliminate her from the equation long ago.

And that's what happens when you allow yourself to be bullied into having a child with a complete total opposite personality, someone whose value system is entirely dissimilar.

My fault. My mistake. I did not recognize her intentions. And I should have predicted the bait and switch. The evidence was readily available, ready to be assembled, but I failed to do the math.

In any case, my son used to mimic Dali's artistry. Pencil drawings and sketches. I was happy that he was so happily engaged. But despite kudos from teachers and peers alike, he gave up drawing because he didn't think he was any good. Back then, he lacked confidence in his abilities. Perhaps today (and right now) he's working through those issues.

So my trip to the museum unexpectedly hit home. Perhaps my son shall more readily engage me once he's escaped the Evil One's clutches. But probably not, until after she's dead.

Oh, and Surrealism was not the theme during this particular visit. There really didn't seem to be an overall theme.

Enough of that. Sometimes I need to get things off my chest. And even to this day, I still cannot quite believe how awful some humans truly are.

Take care,


How old is your son now?

I hope he is working through some of that because I've seen cases where the son is abused by the mother but then ends up marrying someone just like her, I think in a subconscious attempt to get the approval he never had. It's very sad to watch.


Your 2nd Ex is very pretty. I'm glad that your interactions with her are becoming "positively productive." :)

If you ever do go back to the art museum, maybe even with your son again, (hope and prayer) could you get a better pic of that glass sculpture in picture #2. It's lovely. :) No pressure.

Edit: Oh, and thanks for sharing all that. That means a lot.

Edit #2: ...and I'd be remiss if I didn't say picture #8 is also very nice...all that watercolor blue. :D
Howard, your son is in his 20's as I recall. At some point it does enter their heads that parents may have reasons for their behavior during certain parts of a child's life.

Did you try to get custody of your son? Or was it a matter of just getting away ASAP? What is he doing now? We haven't heard about him for a long time.....I think the last time was a visit at your apartment.

I'm glad that you still see you the ex (the good one). Perhaps you can continue these mini-trips into the spring, summer and beyond.

I love art museums, so you filled up my tank for the time being. I used to want to be in a city like NYC or London and spend half of each day just learning and then relaxing my looking at paintings. Rod's like I am, so it would work. Of course, our children hated them.....but we're all different. Now they have an interest, but you know how that goes! How is it possible for a person with so many interests to be so talent free? Some things strike me as really not fair. (I'm talking about myself.) My husband has plenty of different talents, bless him.

I wish your son would visit you....he may discover a person who is very much different than his mother's viewpoint. I can tell it makes you sad, and it would do the same to me.....but my girls are a lot older than he is. Time, give it time.

Well, Judee said the rest about the Museum, so I'll disappear for now. I hope you're doing well, and I'm glad that the nice ex-Mrs. Howard shows up in some form rather regularly. Yours, Lenora
Thanks for sharing Howard.:thumbsup: Happy to hear the visit to the museum was a good one with the exception of course. My Daughter's ex-boyfriend Chris was a Salvador Dali fan. I didn't even know about Dali until I enquired about the picture Chris had hanging in his living room. Like Judee, I hope that you can visit the museum someday with your Son. Then you can rewrite History. Since you are able to get out now............have you thought about asking your son to go somewhere with you? (that question probably goes without saying) I'm sure you have.........but no need to reply if you don't feel like it. I'm sure it's complicated.

Happy to hear that your ex comes to visit once a week. Seems to be going OK from what I can tell by your post. Something different that you have to look forward to each week is a good thing. I have my once a week visit with my friend with MS and her caregiver. They come to pick me up every Saturday morning and we go out to eat and then try and do something additional for an hour or so afterward which often times just consists of a drive here and there. I look forward to this once a week visit.

Sorry to hear about the evil ex. So you think to this day...........even though your son is older that she still has an influence over him?

Enjoyed the museum exhibits :)
Last edited:
and I'd be remiss if I didn't say picture #8 is also very nice...all that watercolor blue. :D

yeah, what is all that blue? I can sort of make out an animal of some kind...

is it cerulean?


Something special about museums. And clearly, something is very special about This One. Seems like it was necessary that, for further processing purposes, you had to make this follow up visit...

I know we all make mistakes with our children raising. We are imperfect beings, who seek forgiveness and understanding.

I hope sharing this painful story lessons the burden of it. And that your son will continue to awaken from the experience, to be the better person he can be. Despite all that.
It looks like they were trying to show a horse swimming in the ocean from under the water maybe. @Howard, was that a painting or a giant photo, do you know?

Thanks all for the responses -

Half asleep here, but wanted to offer that this is indeed a film of a dog swimming in the ocean

The point being?

The artist used this imagery to represent her mother slowly dying from dementia... and it was upsetting for me to watch in this context (especially considering my current environment, and also my own mother's condition)

I'll offer up more later. Thanks for asking :)
I was thinking about this...if the driver waited an extra 3 and a 1/2 minutes and she still made it, can I ask what you consider "seriously late?"

The artist used this imagery to represent her mother slowly dying from dementia... and it was upsetting for me to watch in this context (especially considering my current environment, and also my own mother's condition)
I did wonder why they smudged the head out. That makes sense and is very sad. I'm sorry about what's happening with your Mom. :(


Also I tagged you in this thread but belatedly, so maybe it didn't show up in your notifications. It's about headphones someone recommended:
Last edited:
How old is your son now?

My son is 22 years old. And I'm pretty sure he's not going to fall into that trap, picking someone similar to his mother. We've discussed that possibility over the past decade rather extensively. So yes, that was originally a fear of mine as well.

Did you try to get custody of your son? Or was it a matter of just getting away ASAP?

After I left the mother of my son, he was with me (by default) most of the time. Pretty much, he only slept at her house at night while I was busy working the graveyard shift. Otherwise, he was with me every day except Sunday because... Sunday is when I drove him out to Sun City so he could stay with her parents.

After his mother got married, neither she nor her husband wanted me involved any longer. They tried to move him out of state, change his last name, bribe me, all sorts of things to get me to relinquish custody. They wanted their developing family unit (two additional children) to be distinctly separate from me.

I resisted as best I could, until they no longer allowed him to participate in sports. And that was a terrible thing, for reasons I don't get into here.

We went to court over this, but the judge explained that if one parent doesn't want the child to participate in athletic activities, there's nothing the other parent can do about it. So what ended up happening is that I gave up custody of my son, so he would be allowed to pursue athletics. And I thought also, she might stop punishing him as vigorously (for being my son) if she had her way.

Anyway, this all happened back in 2009… the most awful year in the history of the universe.

At least I was allowed to take him to and from school every day (thankfully, she didn't want to do it herself). And he did get to sleep over every Friday night… unless she and her husband were causing problems.

As it stands, my son contacts me every so often from the local library. That way, his mother won't know what he's up to either way.

He's fairly well adjusted (especially considering someone his age), and I've recognized that he really doesn't need me for anything in particular. So, I'm here if he needs me someday. :)

The ex-wife and I went to the Musical Instrument Museum a couple of days ago. I shall provide pictures and a description of that experience as well.

The idea behind the excursions? I'm trying to get out and about as much as I can before the 110° heat settles in. At that point in time, I will be mostly grounded. Plus... I'd also been stuck in bed since 2015, so there's that, too!

And so you know, there's absolutely zero excess baggage regarding that particular museum! It's the first time I ever attended. :)

I was thinking about this...if the driver waited an extra 3 and a 1/2 minutes and she still made it, can I ask what you consider "seriously late?"

They sometimes pick up multiple people enroute. Sometimes not. Driver discretion, apparently.
All things considered, Howard, he sounds like a well put together son. Perhaps you'll see more of him when/if he gets a car.

Where is he living now...still with his mother? I understand that he's in college (good for him) & it's good that he phones you occasionally. It's an age when it's all "about me" anyway. Another 25 yrs. or so of maturity should do it! (Well, at least you can present your side of the story and they can understand). At least you don't have to worry about the other two.

I agree, see as much as you can before those temps. do their thing. I never go anywhere any longer, including a trip to CA to see our daughter just recently. That house of hers has steps leading to everything. I can't do steps. But I could go to restaurants near us....that sort of thing. Just in a slump, that's all.

Have you been to the Botanical Gardens? I love ours here....but again, those steps! So stay as close as possible to your son & your ex. It seems like she does try. Yours, Lenora
Sounds like you were able to establish a relationship with your son despite these difficult challenges so thats really encouraging to hear. It must be really hard for him to have to process all this. But youth comes with some resiliency; and thank goodness we don't stay 22 forever.

Blog entry information

Read time
5 min read
Last update

More entries in User Blogs

  • Anniversaries / Death Depicted and Discovered
    Dos As of today it's been two years since I first came to reside at...
  • Fire
    Fires…::….. “And if you have ever been abandoned. Be a constant. If...
  • Resurrection
    “Here is a truth you often don’t hear: traumatized women have the...
  • Moon river
    Because….music. Moon river, wider than a mile I'm crossing you in...
  • God, please.
    Trigger warning. Medical ptsd triggers. Not a pretty entry...

More entries from Howard