Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbyes

Goodbye to 2007.

Goodbye to changing jobs and moving to a new town (or more accurately returning to an old town).

Goodbye to a year of relationship turmoil, continued crumbling to the shaky foundation of my marriage.

Goodbye to regaining all that weight I lost before.

Goodbye to dependence on others to make my decisions.

My final goodbye to Dan Fogelberg:



Tomorrow: my hellos for the new year (although I probably won't get it posted until I get back from Pasadena)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

No Surprises Here


Your Score: Shy Loving Soul


You scored -6 Extroversion, 12 Sensitivity, and -5 Openness!




You are a sensitive and shy person. You want to be loved and liked, but you don't think people actually like you very much, and that hurts to think about. You like to be with your family and friends, who care about you. When you are with them, you can open up and talk and be yourself. Among strangers, however, you are nervous and tend to clam up. People are often surprised at how talkative you can be once they get to know you, because you appear to be so quiet and bland at first. You hide your feelings from people whom you do not know well, because you don't know if you can trust them. With your loved ones you can be more yourself.

Your feelings are easily hurt, and you tend to be easily embarassed. You are sensitive, and your loved ones may even tease you about being a little TOO sensitive at times. When your feelings are hurt, you don't always let on. You don't like confrontations, and you are not the sort of person to throw a melodramatic hissy fit. You just tend to fret over it for a few days, until eventually the misunderstanding is cleared up, or time heals the wound.

Your daemon would represent your shyness and sensitivity, and your love of family, and your tendency to hide your feelings from strangers. He or She would probably hide in your pocket or sit on your shoulder where he/she would whisper comfort into your ear.

Suggested forms: Rabbit, Dormouse, Dik-dik, Sighthound

Link: The Golden Compass Daemon Test written by wolfcaroling on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(wolfcaroling)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Changing Course

Back in this post, I wrote the following:
Since obviously nobody else takes into account my feelings when saying and doing things (N had quite the snit this morning) I'm just thinking I should start making decisions without taking into account how it might impact others. I think I should just do what I want to do and to hell with what others think or how it might impact others. Enough worrying that I might hurt someone or drive them away. From now on, to hell with all of them. I'll just do things my way. So there!


So here’s the deal. There is something that I really want to do, and I was thinking of that thing when I wrote the above passage. I’ve thought about it, researched it, and then kind of tested the waters with a couple of people close to me to see how they felt about it. Neither person was terribly enthusiastic when I brought it up. Both hedged but left me with the impression that they would not be happy if I do this thing. As usual I backed away from probing further after getting the initial negative reaction.

Just for the record, what I am considering doing is not illegal. It is nothing highly unusual. It might be considered somewhat controversial. It is something that will limit certain bad habits of mine and hopefully set me onto a better path about certain things.

I think I’m going to do it, but I don’t know for sure yet. What I absolutely do want to do though is make this decision for myself and applying the “to hell with all of them” theory. Therefore I’m not sharing with anybody else what it is unless and until I do it. I just want to make up my own mind and make my own choice. So there. [feeling an overwhelming urge to stick out my tongue and say “Nyah, nyah, nyah.”]

Why is it so bleepity bleep bleep hard to just make my own decisions and not feel like I have to take a poll of everyone I know until I can get a consensus on what should be done? No more!

First resolution for the upcoming year: Practice making my own decisions without requiring everyone around me to be happy with those decisions. Be okay with people being pissed off that I no longer defer to their every opinion. Break free of the burdens placed upon me by my own self-imposed “rules.” I do NOT have to make everyone else happy, nor do I have to feel guilty when others around me are not happy. I DO have to strive to bring happiness to myself. Lord, give me strength to follow through on this resolution.

Friday, December 28, 2007

It Ain't Over Until Epiphany!

I am sorely frustrated that Christmas seems to have come and gone when it's only really started. Christmastide extends until Epiphany at the end of the twelve days of Christmas. Many people claim to suffer a letdown right after Christmas. I submit to you that it is because they do not celebrate the twelve days but consider Christmas Day as the end rather than the beginning of the "Christmas season."

That isn't, however, the only frustration I have at Christmas each year. My second frustration are the non-believers, and by non-believers I mean those who choose to believe that Santa Claus is not real. I find those people to be frustrating beyond what I can tolerate.

I point you to the following that I gleaned from the Newseum website. It is quite famous, and I'm sure you've heard/read it before. If you are a non-believer I encourage you to read it again.

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

"VIRGINIA O'HANLON.
"115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


My own personal note to the non-believers:
C'mon! Lighten up! If you aren't careful you'll be visited by three spirits next Christmas Eve to get you to give up your bah humbug scroogelike views. How hard is it to believe in a spirit of giving and in just a bit of Christmas magic?

[steps off soapbox, adjusts santa hat, and walks away trailing bits of tinsel]

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Another Meme Just Because

What did you do yesterday?
Not a lot. Rested up after Christmas.

What memory do you miss the most?
This seems like an odd question. Taken as literally as I can, I miss remembering the names of people from my past because I can't even Google them or look them up on Classmates.com when I can't remember their names.

What memory do you want to forget?
The memories of all the many embarrassing things I've done in my life. One example is the Christmas concert when I was in seventh grade when I completely forgot a big part of my solo I was playing on the oboe. I hated that and felt so humiliated. Still do for that matter even though chances are most people who attended that concert wouldn't even remember that it happened.

Name something you regretted after it was done?
I regret that I made such an ass of myself when I threw myself at J when he came back into my life a couple years ago.

What was the last song you heard?
The Today Show's opening theme.

What was the last CD you bought?
It was actually a three CD set called Celtic Christmas that I bought at Costco right after Thanksgiving because I had forgotten my Christmas CDs when we went to my parents' house, and I absolutely had to be able to listen to Christmas music on the way home.

What was the last time you cried?
One day last week when I was having a really sucky day.

What was the last movie you saw in a theater?
Oh boy, I have to think about that. It was at the theater megaplex at the north end of town. Oh and we took one of N's friends with us. Oh yes, now I remember. It was the 3D version of Tim Burton's "Nightmare Before Christmas."

What was the last thing you ate?
A piece of Ghiradelli chocolate last night.

Who was the last person you called?
Let's see. Given my phone phobia I don't make lots of calls. Hmm, thinking back through the last week, oh yes, now I remember. It was Sunday. I called BJ so we could have phone sex.

What color nail polish do you wear?
Generally none, but on the rare occasion when I do it is generally kind of a light mocha color.

Have you ever made a model volcano?
Nope, and may I add that I hope never to have that particular experience.

When was the last time you showered?
An hour ago.

Who was the last person who complimented you?
Either BJ or my boss. They are pretty much the only ones who ever do.

What are you listening to?
The Today Show

What are you wearing?
Jeans and a pink sweater

What are you thinking?
As little as possible.

What are you scared of most?
N growing up to hate me for not raising him well.

How many people are on your buddy list?
About a dozen.

What is your occupation?
Financial analyst.

What was your marriage site?
The cheesiest chapel ever in Reno, NV.

Where was your honeymoon?
Didn't have one.

What is your favorite place to live?
I loved southern California. If it weren't so expensive it would be great to live there. I also really like Phoenix, but I've never been there in the summer so I might not enjoy living there all year.

Do you want/have kids?
Yep, I have N. He's the best kid a mom could have.

What kind of car do you drive?
Pontiac Aztec.

What are you doing tomorrow?
Working, then attending a basketball game.

Will there be a WW III?
I hate to think that there would be, but I imagine that someday there will be.

Will politics ever be truthful?
Sure, when pigs fly through a frozen over hell.

Will humanity snuff itself out?
I think there is a good chance.

Can the government be changed?
Yes, but not easily.

Do you believe in the devil?
Yes.

Do you believe in God?
Yes.

Do you believe in aliens?
I try to keep an open mind.

Do you believe in ghosts?
I try to keep an open mind.

Do you believe in the spirit/soul?
Absolutely.

Do you believe in soulmates?
No, I think there are many people with whom you can be compatible. I don't think there is just one person that is your forever soulmate.

Do you believe in reincarnation?No.

Do you believe in love at first sight?
I used to but I don't anymore. I think at first sight you can be incredibly attracted to someone, but only after getting to know them can you really determine whether or not you love them.

Do you believe in karma?
Yes, in the sense that what goes around comes around even though it sometimes takes longer than I'd like for it to come around.

Who and when was your first crush?
A boy (can't remember his name) in first grade. He was absolutely dreamy as only a blond haired six-year-old boy can be.

Do you have a crush now?
I almost always have a crush on someone.

Do you have a celebrity crush?
Yes, a few. I really crush on Johnny Depp, George Clooney, and Paula Poundstone. Do I recognize that is quite the eclectic group? Definitely.

Who do you want to be with right now?
BJ

Whose number do you want?
Can't think of anyone.

What is something you don’t understand about the opposite sex?
Why they don't smile and laugh and enjoy life.

If you could go on a date with anybody, who would it be?
BJ.

On scale of one to ten, how romantic are you?
Not very, maybe three.

First thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Eyes and hands.

What do you look for personality-wise?
Warmth, understanding, openness.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What I Got For Christmas

presents.jpg
moar funny pictures

To be fair I must say that W and I had decided not to get gifts for each other and count the Rose Bowl trip as our Christmas present. However, W also had indicated on a couple of different occasions that he wasn't entirely sticking to that agreement. Given those facts, I went out and helped N pick a present for W, not terribly expensive but useful. I also spent less than $20 on a small gift for W from Santa plus a few stocking stuffers (candy that I would have bought anyway). So while N and W opened presents yesterday I watched and enjoyed their reactions to their gifts. I didn't have a good answer for N when he asked why my stocking was empty, but I smiled and just laughed it off. I guess when W asked for suggestions for stocking stuffers for me last weekend it was more an academic question. I did get a Rose Bowl sweatshirt, part of a group gift W had bought for the three of us, sweatshirts for each of us.

Yes, it is better to give than receive. Yes, I am very grateful for the Rose Bowl trip. I never let on in front of either of them that I was just a little hurt. This is the only place and time I will whine about it at all. I just wish W hadn't made it sound like he was not going to honor the agreement. If he hadn't, I would have only gotten the stocking stuffers for him and let the rest go. As it was, I felt a little deceived, and once again realized that because we don't engage in clear communication we open ourselves to misunderstandings.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Question of Relationships

Well, here it is. My long and (hopefully) thoughtful post on a subject larger than my crisis du jour. Truthfully, you won't be able to tell much difference.

Among life’s many questions for which I don’t have answers, the following conundrum is on my mind lately. It has to do with sex within marriage. I suppose the question that all of my thinking boils down to this rather general question: When the two partners are far apart in what they want from their sex life what is a reasonable expectation for each partner?

From this general question I then branch out into several different specific scenarios for it seems, at least on the surface, that different circumstances could produce different answers to this question. Then again, I wonder just how true that assumption may be. Well, let’s look at some scenarios and see. Also, for the time being, let’s assume the problems/discrepancies are sexual only, that they are occurring in a genuinely loving and caring relationship. I think that the answers change if the loving and caring is lacking in the relationship, but I’ll address that later maybe, but not in this post.

Scenario #1: One partner is temporarily physically unable to engage in sex.
For me personally, this is a pretty easy one to deal with. If the situation is temporary and the end to the situation can be reasonably expected then one should be willing to sacrifice their sex life for that temporary period, turning to self pleasure if need be. I certainly understood after W was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent surgery and treatments for it that there would be an amount of time when sex would not be part of our lives. I even told him that as far as sex was concerned I would not approach him but would wait for him to approach me so that we could wait until he was ready. I would imagine a similar circumstance after a woman has given birth. There would be a few weeks where sex would be off limits, and if I were a man, I would allow the wife to initiate the resumption of sexual relations.

Scenario #2: One partner is permanently physically unable to engage in sex.
I imagine this to be the result of some accident or disease, after the couple is already together, rendering one partner incapable of physically engaging in sex. This is a case where it was not the intention of either party for the marriage to become sexless but has happened due to circumstances outside their control. This is a tough one for me. Looking at it from the side of the person who is still capable and desirous of sex, I would have an extremely difficult time giving it up. From the side of the incapacitated person, I would want to do as much as possible to physically pleasure my partner. However, I do believe I would also give my partner my permission to seek sexual pleasure from others. I don’t think I could feel good about myself if I were to force someone else to have to give up something as essential as sex.

Scenario #3: One partner wishes to engage in certain specific activities just between the two of them that the other partner refuses to do.
I’m thinking here of the partner squeamish about engaging in oral sex as an example though you could substitute whatever you wanted in place of my example. I have a hard time getting my mind around this one. On the one hand, nobody should do something that feels wrong or bad in any way to them no matter what someone else wants. On the other hand, to completely cut the other partner off from an activity that they consider to be quite pleasurable doesn’t quite seem right either. I guess one could argue that if it’s that important to you then you shouldn’t marry someone who isn’t on the same page, but what if you don’t find out until after the marriage is undertaken? I don’t know. This one is difficult for me because although I can live with less oral sex than I’d like (and goodness knows I will always have to do that no matter who my partner is), I truly don’t think I could give it up altogether. As a matter of fact, that’s the one thing that could have kept me satisfied with W if he’d been willing. A good oral session once or twice a month would have been enough to keep me happy enough to put forth a lot more effort at resolving our other issues.

Scenario #4: One partner wishes to engage in activities including other parties when the other partner wishes for the sex relationship to remain exclusive.
In this case, I really think that the two people are not of the same mind and probably ought not be together unless the desire to bring others into the mix is something that the partner wanting it can set aside without feeling like they’ve made too big a sacrifice to the relationship. As for me, I can go either way. I would be happy to remain in a truly monogamous relationship if that is what my partner desired and if that partner was willing to provide some intimacy within our monogamous relationship. Remaining in a celibate relationship would be virtually impossible for me. I would also be happy to include others in our sex life on an occasional basis as long as we both agreed that our relationship was the core relationship.

Scenario #5: Both partners are interested and able to engage in sex, but one partner wishes to engage in sexual activities on a much more or less frequent schedule than the other partner.
In this case, I’m all about compromise. I would try to meet somewhere in the middle where one partner is having sex a bit less than desired and the other is having sex a bit more than desired. While this may not be a perfect solution at least it means that the sacrifice is not one-sided. As long as both partners are taking one another’s feelings into account and working towards a middle ground it seems like this could work. If however one partner (and it generally seems to be the one wanting more frequent sex) is making all the sacrifices then it wouldn’t be unexpected that this relationship would crumble under the weight of resulting resentment.

Now my views may be tainted by the fact that I tend to have a voracious sexual appetite, a willingness to explore, and a pretty open-minded attitude. Perhaps I’m way off base here. Oh well, I’m sure this post will garner at least a few comments from people with opinions divergent from my own. Let the discussion begin!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Yikes

Today's horoscope:

You could be a bit confused by the conflicting paths in front of you as your key planet Venus runs into nebulous Neptune. Even while soothing the stress of uncertainty, you are still tempted to run amok by seeking the greener grass in a distant pasture. Be careful; you are more vulnerable to misinterpretation or misrepresentation than usual.


Okay, going back to bed now and pulling the covers up over my head. Maybe I'll come out tomorrow. Maybe not.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Blindsided

Yesterday was a tough day. It didn't start out that way, and I didn't see most of it coming. As the day wore on however, things seemed to go awry in one way or another.

Learning about the untimely death of the neighbors' dog was just one in a day full of crap.

It started with a conversation with an attorney firm regarding the upcoming divorce. The conversation didn't go as I would have liked.

Later in the afternoon, after learning of the dog's death, a conversation with BJ went somewhat awry although truth be told I'm not sure just how justified I am in feeling as I do about the situation.

In the course of the day, N informed me that he wishes he had a better and younger mom than me. That always warms my heart.

Attended the Illini basketball game only to watch them lose in overtime. I hate that they came back to tie it up in regulation only to lose in OT.

Yeah, I know. Most of these things are little things, no big deal. Every kid tells his mom that she's a rotten mom sometimes. Basketball teams lose games and life goes on. However, yesterday felt like one thing after another making me feel a bit like "Why even try?"

Sure hope today goes a little better.

--------------------------------------

I'm finding that today I'm feeling rebellious. At least to me it feels rebellious. Since obviously nobody else takes into account my feelings when saying and doing things (N had quite the snit this morning) I'm just thinking I should start making decisions without taking into account how it might impact others. I think I should just do what I want to do and to hell with what others think or how it might impact others. Enough worrying that I might hurt someone or drive them away. From now on, to hell with all of them. I'll just do things my way. So there! [Turns, flips hair, and flounces away in a huff.]

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Breaking News

I just found out that one of our neighbor's (no, not Gladys and Abner, the renters on the other side of us) dogs was poisoned and died today. He came over to warn us about it since he knows we have a dog. Because there is snow on the ground you can see the footprints from the sidewalk to the fence and back. Apparently someone walked up and threw something over the fence that was poisoned. According to the vets at the big academic veterinary center where he took the dog for an autopsy, they can tell that it isn't a common household poison and are going to do further tests to see if they can determine what type of poison it was. It was definitely something fast acting since the dog died within minutes after ingesting it.

This is terrifying to me. We have a beautiful dog. He is sweet and gentle and rarely ever barks. He and N are great buddies. I would hate for him to be poisoned by someone. We've closed up the dog door and will accompany him anytime he goes outside for now. We just can't take chances with a close family member.

I can't even imagine what kind of person does something like this. The neighbor said that when he called the police about it they said there has been something of an outbreak of dog poisoning incidents lately in our town. I hope they catch whoever is doing it. You sure wouldn't want me to be the one to catch them. I'm afraid they wouldn't live to tell you about it.

Hardly News

I read a lot of newspapers online on a regular basis. I like to know what's going on both where I live and where I used to live, and since I've lived in a lot of places that means I read a lot of newspapers. What would I do without the internet to make that possible? (Ok, I won't tell you about how I used to have subscriptions and recieve out of town papers in the mail nor will I mention how I would go down to the local newstand and buy the occasional copy of other out of town papers. Truly, the internet has done a lot in the way of saving our forests even if you just take into account the volume of paper that has been saved by me reading online.) Anyway, that's not my point here. My point here is that I was reading the Daily Illini online the other day and ran across this:

'I shall not pass this way again...' - Editorials

I remember reading it when I was a student at the University. Not too many nights after I read it, I had one of my recurring dreams about it being almost time for finals but I had forgotten to attend this one particular class so was completely unprepared for the exam. Sometimes I wonder what it would take to ever get that dream to go away. I've had it off and on ever since I graduated. I never had it until after I was already out of school. Again, this post is just me rambling away with no reason as I'm still working on my meatier more thoughtful post.

And remember, only five more days until Christmas.

And one last thing, another tribute to Dan Fogelberg. This one is running through my head today:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Grrrrr

I have a big post in the works. It is one of those rare things from me -- a thoughtful examination of an issue bigger than my immediate crisis du jour. However, because it is a thoughtful thing it is taking some time, a lot of time when compared to the usual whine I throw up here. Anyway, it's out there, coming soon to a blog near you.

In the meantime, my regular whininess continues:

(1) Christmas is only 6 days away and I am woefully unprepared.
(2) W has a cold, N is coming down with one, and I'm hoping to avoid it.
(3) The snow is still here, but is turning into that ugly brownish gray slush that I hate with more passion than any weather phenomenon deserves.
(4) Because church was cancelled last Sunday due to the bad weather nobody has gotten to see my invitation to Christmas dinner so I'm bummed that Christmas Day is likely to be just W and N and me. Blech.
(5) I have not been intimate with anyone for 45 days. Grumpy does not begin to describe how this makes me feel.

But enough about me. How's your day going?

Stick Up
Get Funny Pictures at pYzam.com

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

100 Q&A, Part II

Okay, life intervened and it took me longer to get to Part II than I had originally planned. Here it is, the second half of everything you never wanted to know about me and didn't care to ask.

51. Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer?
A few years ago when the church we attended did the whole portrait thing for the church directory. I think N was 5 or 6 at the time. It's about time again, but I'd rather wait until the divorce and have just N and me in it this time.

52. Do you think musicals are cheesy?
No! Absolutely not! I love musicals! I love performing in musicals! Now I just need to find me a community theater group with which to become involved. Definitely not cheesy. No, no, no.

53. Is Christmas stressful?
Not particularly, especially since I don't usually do it as an extended family thing. To me, Christmas is fun, and when I find aspects of it that aren't fun for me I eliminate those from the mix. Therefore, not a lot of decorating takes place at my house, but baking is ramped up exorbitantly during the holidays. That way I'm focusing on things I personally enjoy and don't get all bogged down because I don't feel "obligated" to those parts that aren't meaningful to me.

54. Ever eat a pirogi?
Yes.

55. Favorite type of fruit pie?
It's a tossup. Either apple, cherry, or pumpkin if you count pumpkin as a fruit (or is it a vegetable?)

56. Occupations you wanted to be when you were younger?
At various times during childhood, I had dreams of being a hairdresser, a psychologist, a lawyer, even president of the United States. Strangely enough, as a kid I never said, "Gee, I'd love to grow up to be an accountant."

57. Do you believe in ghosts?
I'm not clear cut on this one. I used to very firmly believe in them, but now I'm not so sure.

58. Ever have a deja-vu feeling?
Yes. Often.

59. Take a vitamin daily?
Nope.

60. Wear slippers?
Rarely.

61. Wear a bath robe?
Rarely.

62. What do you wear to bed?
Nothing if I'm warm enough. Snuggly soft warm nightgown or nightshirt and socks if I'm cold.

63. First concert?
Well, I played in many in school, but if you mean to have attended it would be sometime in grade school when I attended a performance of Peter and the Wolf with my class.

64. Wal-Mart, Target or K-Mart?
Target. Now, you didn't ask why, but that's never stopped me from sharing before, and it won't stop me now. There isn't a K-Mart nearby, and even when I lived near one it was dirty, had narrow aisles, and was in a skanky neighborhood, so K-Mart isn't even in the running. With Wal-Mart, I just have this uneasy feeling about lining the Walton family's pockets while the workers on the floor are treated as poorly as they are by the corporation.

65. Nike or Adidas?
Sorry, neither one. Converse All Star Hi Tops. I am old school. I already told you that. I gots no need of them there fancy shoes. Nope, gimme a pair of classic Chuck Taylor's and I'm good to go.

66. Cheetos Or Fritos?
Fritos. I loves me some Fritos with cottage cheese, and no orange residue on the fingers afterwords.

67. Peanuts or sunflower seeds?
Peanuts if a snack by themselves, sunflower seeds in or on something as in trail mix or oatmeal or a salad.

68. Ever hear of, "gorp"?
Well, of course. See reference to "trail mix" in answer to 67.

69. Ever take dance lessons?
Twice, took a square dance class in college and took ballroom dance classes with W when we were first together. Unfortunately, neither helped. I'm still hopelessly inept on the dance floor yet enthusiastic to be there.

70. Is there a profession you picture your future spouse doing?
Whatever makes him happy.

71. Can you curl your tongue?
Yes.

72. Ever won a spelling bee?
Nope. Not my thing. I'm a numbers person, not a speller. That's why they invented spellcheck.

73. Have you ever cried because you were so happy?
Hell yes. I cry at everything whether it's happy, sad, touching, whatever.

74. Own any record albums?
Many. Too many probably.

75. Own a record player?
Yes, two as a matter of fact, but one doesn't work very well.

76. Regularly burn incense?
Can't stand it. Hate it. Please don't burn incense in my presence. Thank you.

77. What's the worst part about camping?
Sleeping on the hard ground if you don't have an air mattress. Other than that it is all good.

78. Who would you like to see in concert?
Bowling for Soup.

79. What was the last concert you saw?
Umm. . . been so long I don't remember.

80. Hot tea or cold tea?
Depends on the weather. Hot tea in cold weather and cold tea in hot weather.

81. Tea or coffee?
Coffee. Black. Strong. Now.

82. Sugar cookies or snickerdoodles?
Yes. Oh well, if I have to pick it would be sugar cookies I guess, but really why not have one of each?

83. Can you swim well?
Not well as in actually swimming the way you're "supposed" to swim, but very well if the only point is to stay afloat.

84. Can you hold your breath w/o manually holding your nose?
Umm, yeah. I didn't know there was anybody that couldn't.

85. Are you patient?
I must be to stay in this marriage this long. Seriously though, most of the time I am patient. The times my patience wears thin are when I don't feel well, or when I feel like I'm backed into a corner.

86. DJ or band, at a wedding?
Don't know. I'll think about that in the future when I'm actually in the planning stage.

87. Ever won a contest?
Yes, I won a certificate for a free sandwich in a radio contest once. I also won tickets to a college volleyball game once. Other than that, I'm pretty much a loser.

88. Ever have plastic surgery?
Nope, and probably never will.

89. "Missing question HERE, so I'll say my favorite drink is pineapple juice and Malibu rum."
Well now, if I put in my favorite drink I guess it would have to be Jack & Coke overall, although Starbucks Peppermint Mocha is probably my fave right now.

90. Can you knit or crochet?
Yes, sort of, to both. I have done a little knitting and crocheting but not a whole lot. If I were going to try to actually make something I would need a refresher course for sure.

91. Best room for a fireplace?
Living room, or better yet in between the living and dining rooms, one of those that opens to both sides.

92. Weirdest place that you have had sex?
Passenger seat of a Toyota pickup truck.

93. If married, how long have you been married?
19 years, 5 months.

94. Who is/was your HS crush?
Well, if you've read the blog long enough you know it's J.

95. Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way?
I believe my fifth amendment rights protect me from self incrimination so I will, on the advice of my attorney, decline to answer.

96. Do you have kids?
Yes.

97. Do you want kids?
Well, I wanted one badly enough to go through the adoption process so gee, I don't know. I guess that would be a yes, wouldn't it?

98. What is your favorite color?
Purple.

99. Do you miss anyone right now?
Yes.

100. Who do you wanna see right now?
BJ

Monday, December 17, 2007

Grab Life and Live

That's what I'm going to do. That's what I feel that I must do. I need to grab hold of life and live it to the best of my ability. You never know what day will be your last.

With that in mind, along with the knowledge that it has taken the Illini 24 years to make it back to the Rose Bowl since the last time, I decided that I should throw caution to the wind and use those tickets. It may be the only time I have the chance. Fortune smiled on me this past week, too, as my parents sent W and me their standard Christmas present, a "universal gift certificate" (aka a check). It is in an amount that will cover a good portion of the expense of the Rose Bowl trip for the three of us. Yes, I said three of us. W and N and I. I figure this will be our last trip together. I just didn't have the balls to tell W that I was going to go without him. He wants to go so badly too, and so I thought, what the hell. Let's all go, and try to get along the best we can. Besides, I found a relatively inexpensive package deal for us that includes flight, hotel and rental car, for about what I estimated the price would be for N and me, just the two of us. We won't make it to the parade, and we'll have to drive ourselves to the game instead of being bussed out there. Still, I think it is a good and realistic compromise.

Now, this doesn't necessarily mean that I won't tell W about splitting up prior to the trip. I very well may do so. Or not. Haven't made that decision yet. If I do tell him prior to the trip then I will tell him that I intend for this to be the last trip the three of us take as a family.

What I realized was that I was really choosing not to go to the Rose Bowl because I didn't want to go with W because I felt like that was trapping me into waiting until after we returned from there to initiate the split. However, there is always going to be something that I will feel must be postponed or that will get in the way of me being able to separate or whatever. I've got to stop putting life on hold for that, and just do what I want to do. I really, really want to go to the Rose Bowl, and I'm going to go. Once I tell W that we're separating he may choose not to go, and that will be fine. That is up to him to decide if he can handle taking the trip or not.

Life may get ugly for a while. Oh well. Nobody ever said it would all be a bed of roses.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Daniel Grayling Fogelberg, 8/13/1951 - 12/16/2007

As I may have mentioned once or twice on my blog before Dan Fogelberg is my absolute all time favorite musician. Unfortunately, his time on earth was too short, dying this morning at only 56 from prostate cancer. When I read of his passing, I cried copious tears. I am probably not finished crying. Although I've never met him personally somehow I just felt I knew him. Maybe that's because he also grew up in central Illinois. Maybe it's because he also attended the University of Illinois. Maybe it's because we were both raised by music director parents. Maybe it was just because I was in awe of his musical talents, both in performing and composing. Whatever it was, Dan touched me deeply in ways no other musician ever has. I will miss you Dan, and I will always wonder what songs you still had inside you yet to be written when you left us.


Dan Fogelberg in 1975


Dan Fogelberg with his wife Jean in 2003



You want more information on him, visit his official website.

I close this post with the lyrics of one of his songs, not his best known, but it speaks to me right now.


Along The Road

Joy at the start
Fear in the journey
Joy in the coming home
A part of the heart gets lost in the learning
Somewhere along the road
Along the road your path may wander
A pilgrim's faith may fail
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Darkness obscures the trail
Cursing the quest
Courting disaster
Measureless nights forbode
Moments of rest
Glimpses of laughter
Are treasured along the road
Along the road your steps may stumble
Your thoughts may start to stray
But through it all a heart held humble
Levels and lights your way
Joy at the start
Fear in the journey
Joy in the coming home
A part of the heart gets lost in the learning
Somewhere along the road
Somewhere along the road
Somewhere along the road

100 Q&A, Part I

The weather outside is frightful, or was yesterday, so the streets are a mess today. We tried to go to church but the doors were locked when we got there. So what's a good blogger to do on a day like today? Why find a meme of course. I found this two-parter, 100 questions in all. Here is part one. I don't know whether I'll post part two today or tomorrow. Depends on whether I get off my fat ass and go do something else this afternoon or not.

On with the meme.

1. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?
There are four closets in my bedroom. The doors stay closed on three of them pretty much all the time. The fourth one is a walkthrough closet from the bedroom to the bathroom. Those doors stay open so I can stumble through to the bathroom in the middle of the night without really opening my eyes.

2. Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotel?
I used to, but finally came to the realization that I wasn't using them so it was a waste so the simple answer is No.

3. Have you ever 'done it' in a hotel room?
Well duh. Isn't that what hotel rooms are there for?

4. Have you ever stolen a street sign before?
Nope

5. Do you like to use post-it notes?
Oh yeah, I'm a big fan of the little yellow sticky.

6. Do you cut out coupons but then never use them?
Oh, I am a classic coupon cutter only to tuck them out of the way and never use them.

7. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of a bees?
None of the above. However, if I HAD to choose between the two I'd go for the swarm of bees only because I think I stand a better chance of being able to get away from the bees than the bear.

8. Do you have freckles?
No, not even one.

9. Do you always smile for pictures?
Yes, I love to smile for the camera.

10. What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who act like everything is all about them.

11. Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?
Tucked in.

12. Do you ever count your steps when you walk?
Rarely, but occasionally.

13. Have you ever peed in the woods?
Well, sure, I was in the woods and had to pee so what else would I do?

14. Do you ever dance even if there's no music playing?
Of course!

15. Do you chew your pens and pencils?
I used to when I was a kid, but it's been so long I can't remember the last time I did.

16. How many people have you slept with this week?
Just me.

17. What size is your bed?
Queen.

18. What is your "Song of the week"?
Any Christmas song.

19. Is it okay for guys to wear pink?
Absolutely! Well, as long as it is confined to shirts and ties, maybe socks. I'm not so much a fan of the pink suit for men.

20. Do you still watch cartoons?
Mostly with N, not so much when left to my own devices.

21. What's your least favorite movie?
Oh gosh, least favorite. Hmm, probably just about anything in the horror genre.

22. Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some?
Safe deposit box at the bank. Ha, ha, I'm so boring.

23. What do you drink with dinner?
I generally don't drink with meals, but before or after I will have water or coffee or iced tea. If I'm eating out I'll generally order diet pop or coffee.

25. What is your favorite food/cuisine?
Italian -- pizza, pasta, it's all good as long as there's a starchy base, tomatoey sauce seasoned with garlic, oregano and basil, and a bit of cheese on top.

26. What movies could you watch over and over and still love?
Wow, this is a tough one only from the perspective that my list would be a mile long. There are many movies that I love to watch over and over. Too many to name. Don't even know where to start. . .

27. Last person you kissed/kissed you?
N let me kiss him last night and gave me a sweet kiss on the cheek. I used to get lots of N kisses, but now that he's nine he's much too grown up for that most of the time.

28. Were you ever a boy/girl scout?
I loved Girl Scouts. I started as a Brownie in second grade and continued all the way through Juniors to Cadets attending meetings faithfully through seventh grade. Then we moved and it wasn't such a big deal there so I never got involved there.

29. Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine?
Well, I have had my nude picture in a swingers magazine back when I was twenty-something. Neck down though, no face shots.

30. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
Hmm, a letter on paper. Hmm. . . Can't remember. Maybe my resignation letter last January.

31. Can you change the oil on a car?
Wouldn't have a clue. Don't even know the first step though I suspect it might be to raise the hood.

32. Ever gotten a speeding ticket?
Nope, not even one. I live by the rule told to me by someone who worked in the police department, "Nine you're fine. Ten you're mine."

33. Ran out of gas?
Nope, never. I'm kind of paranoid about it and generally don't let it get low enough for the "Low Fuel" light to come on.

34. Favorite kind of sandwich?
Whole grain bread, brown mustard, avocado, lettuce, tomato, red onion, swiss or provolone cheese.

35. Best thing to eat for breakfast?
Crunchy granola bar, lowfat cherry yogurt, banana and black coffee.

36. What is your usual bedtime?
11:30 p.m. or so, but I'm getting too old to stay up that late and get up at 6:00 so I'm starting to ease it back to 10:30 or so.

37. Are you lazy?
Only on days of the week that end in -y.

38. When you were younger, what did you dress up as for Halloween?
The first costume I remember was as a ghost, made from an old pillowcase with eyeholes cut out. I also remember going as Gilligan one year. Other than that I don't really remember.

39. What is your Chinese astrological sign?
I was born in the year of the Ox.

40. How many languages can you speak?
English relatively well. Twenty-five years after three years of high school Spanish, I have forgotten virtually everything I know.

41. Do you have any magazine subscriptions?
Too many. My favorites are Utne Reader, Cooking Light and Readers' Digest.

42. Which are better legos or lincoln logs?
I'm old school. I love the lincoln logs.

43. Are you stubborn?
Who me? Stubborn? Yeah, that's a typical Taurus trait, and I'm a typical Taurus.

44. Who is better...Leno or Letterman?
Letterman without question.

45. Ever watch soap operas?
Been hooked on All My Children since the mid-70's. When I was in high school, I used to go home at lunch and watch it. In college, I scheduled classes around it. Gave it up for a while when I first started working only to return to it when I got my first VCR. Now I Tivo it every day. I have also dabbled in watching One Life to Live and General Hospital but never got into them the way I have with AMC.

46. Afraid of heights?
Not terribly, but I'm not a huge fan of them either.

47. Sing in the car?
Of course!

48. Dance in the shower?
Now there's a scary, scary thought.

49. Dance in the car?
Well let's see, I do the drumming thing on the steering wheel and a lot of head bobbing if that's what you mean.

50. Ever used a gun?
Yep.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

More Holiday Tunes

First, touching and sentimental:



Next, we go for the comic relief:

Friday, December 14, 2007

Interlude - Rose Bowl Mania



The song is by Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets, a band based in Central IL made up of Illinois alums. The song was originally written when the Illini went to the Rose Bowl in 1984 and has made quite the resurgence this year as we prepare to head to Pasadena for the first time in 24 years.

Action Plan

I need to think less and act more. Sitting around ruminating all day accomplishes nothing, absolutely nothing. So I say to myself, “Self” I say “let’s make an action plan.” Gee, that sounds good. So I sit and ruminate some more and make a list of tasks that ought to be done.

Funny thing though, still nothing has actually been accomplished. So I say to myself, “Self” I say “we should have more than just an action plan. We should have dates by which we intend to accomplish these actions.” Well, that can take a mighty long time, establishing deadlines for these actions, particularly when some will require further research to know what an appropriate deadline might be.

Still with nothing accomplished, I add two new tasks at the top of the list: (1) Determine research needed to establish timeline for action plan and (2) Complete needed research. “Self” I say “how will we know what research we need to complete to establish this timeline?” Well, that leads to a new column on the action plan so that each task now has not only columns for a description of the task and a deadline but also a column for research needed to set the deadline.

And I’m still not one whit closer to having accomplished anything.

I need to think less and act more.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How Long?

I am a total shithead. I am absolutely the most awful person on the face of the earth. Oh God, when am I going to straighten myself out and make this right?

I just want to go crawl in a hole and hibernate for a good long time. Maybe when I come out everything will be okay. No, they’d just get worse.

How much worse does this have to get before I do what I have to do? Why do protecting the feelings of a man I don’t even love anymore count more than protecting my son? When will I say enough is enough? Dear God, please give me strength.

I know what the problem is. Long ago, I drew a line in the sand. I drew it at physical abuse. I wouldn’t allow anyone to physically abuse me or N. However, the verbal and psychological abuse I just never considered. I grew up being bullied, being told by my parents to believe that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” So I toughed it out, and now I’m still toughing it out. The worst part is that N is being made to tough it out too. He shouldn’t have to do that. Home should be a safe haven, a place where you don’t have to worry about name calling and bullying.

How much longer before the dam breaks? How much longer?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nothing New

Yesterday’s poem was just a poem. Yes, it reflects some of the feelings I have. Yes, it is dark and negative. However, it is a way for me to get those things out and express them which is so much better than keeping them bottled inside. That’s what I do much of the time: keep the negative feelings and emotions tucked away in a corner. I rarely let people in real life see them. I do my best to deal with them on my own for I know that they will elicit responses from people that I do not want.

For those that would suggest that I get help, I wonder just what kind of help I am to get. I have tried navigating the mental health system, and it is not there to help people like me. I am not severely depressed, or psychotic, or a threat to myself or others, so I am, from all indications, not worthy of its resources other than for a prescription for Prozac and a limited number of visits to a counselor.

Besides, I know what is causing my depression. I know what it will take to make things better. Until I leave W, I will continue to be depressed. Until I find the courage to tell him, once and for all, that it really is over, that this time he can’t just wait it out and get me to back down and allow him to stay, I will continue to have these really low places. I hit the lowest of lows when I face myself with the facts that (1) I want nothing more in life than to be free from W and this marriage, (2) I feel bad that by following through with the first thing I will hurt W terribly, and (3) I am still afraid I won’t cope well without W around to handle certain practical matters.

There is, honestly, nothing new under the sun.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

No Relief

Depression
Darkness
Absence of Light

Fog
Cannot think clearly
Cannot function

Stay in bed
Pull up the covers
Hide

Go away world
Go away
Leave me be

Let me cry
Let me sleep
Let me die a little more inside

Don’t push me
Don’t pull me
Don’t, just don’t

Go away
Wait! Come back
Help me please

Never mind
Go away
Nothing will help

Where is it?
Where did you hide the joy?
Why is it gone?

Shut up
Leave me alone
Give up on me like others have

Go
No, stay
No, better to go

Leave me wallowing
Don’t reward me for it
By trying to soothe me

Give it up
I’m not worth it
Give up on me as I have

Monday, December 10, 2007

Can't Quite Give It Up

Well, thanks to being an athletic fund donor (small $ but a donor nevertheless) I am now the owner of four tickets to the Rose Bowl game.

So I'm invested so far to the tune of $540.

Now, what to do with them.

Use them?

Sell them?

Sell some of them to finance the travel portion of the trip?

Give them away and be done with it?

Trade a couple of them to some wealthy person for a ride on his/her private jet out to the game and back?

Some of these options seem more plausible than others.

Now, how am I supposed to concentrate on work today? Huh?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ice Queen

That's what I'm feeling lately.

Cold.

Very cold.

And it isn't all about the freezing rain we're having.

I feel like an ice queen.

Bitch on skates.

Cold hearted and unfeeling.

Yes, it is very cold here.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Moi? A Tramp?

Heh. I have seen this on several others' blogs and decided to see what it would say about me. I must say that other than the outgoing part I would agree with this representation. Although geez, tramp? Really? Well yeah, okay. I can see their point.



On the Christmas front, I have already put out an invitation on the bi group's message board. No takers yet, but I anticipate there won't be too many, and particularly not until closer to Christmas maybe as other plans fall through or something. It's too late to get a notice in this week's bulletin at church, but I'm going to get one in for next week's. I am feeling very good about this little undertaking. Of course, it does mean I'm going to have to get the house tidied up by then. Yikes!

One last thing -- moving from CA back to the Midwest is not looking like a great move only from the standpoint of all the SNOW we are dealing with here. It's not even Christmas yet! Go away snow! Go away now! I was spoiled the first few winters back with mild winter weather particularly early in the season. This year, we had our first snow the first week of December. Arrgh. . . And yes, I know, it could be worse. I could live in Canada or upstate NY or Alaska or Iceland or Siberia. The thing is, I know it could be better. I lived it for 18 years. Eighteen years and only a dusting of snow a handful of times in all those years. Now that was the right amount of snow. Yes, I know this is incredibly whiney, but it's my blog and I'll whine if I want to. I'll get over it.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Christmas Meme

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I'll admit that the last couple of years I've given in and done more gift bags, mostly for the oddly shaped item for which I couldn't find the right size box. I do love wrapping presents though, and putting ribbons and bows on them.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial now. When we lived in CA we used to go out and cut our own every year. It's too cold here for me to want to do that. Besides the artificial one doesn't shed needles like the real thing.

3. When do you put up the tree? I used to faithfully do it the weekend after Thanksgiving. Now I've gotten lazy. This year I don't have it up yet, but hopefully by this weekend.

4. When do you take the tree down?
Sometime in January, usually New Year's Day unless we're hosting a brunch or open house that day. Then it comes down the weekend after New Year's.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Mmm, sickeningly sweet, creamy, what's not to like?

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
It's one of two. Either the Easy Bake Oven which I absolutely adored or the camping gear I received when I was really into Girl Scouts and going to camp.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, I have a couple of different ones. I have one that is specifically made for kids to play with, and N has always loved that.

8. Hardest person to buy for?
W

9. Easiest person to buy for?
N

10. Worst Christmas gift ever received?
Gosh, I've never received a bad Christmas gift. Even if it wasn't exactly what I wanted, I still appreciated that someone made the effort to get me something.

11. Mail or email Christmas card?
Well, some years I try to get Christmas cards out in the mail, but then sometimes I don't get it done even when I try (try meaning thinking every day about how I haven't done it yet and needing to do it soon). Some years there are no cards sent at all.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
This is tough because I love so many. My absolute must sees each year are Polar Express, Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, Christmas in Connecticut (the original, not the remake), Miracle on 34th Street (again the original, not the remake), and It's a Wonderful Life. Don't ask me to pick just one favorite. These all tie for first place.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Somewhere around Thanksgiving, either the weekend before or after depending on my schedule.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Not that I remember. It wouldn't be something I would be too likely to do.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Fudge, divinity, frosted cutout cookies

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Multi-colored most definitely, clear is boring.


17. Favorite Christmas song? Again, impossible to pick just one. I've seldom heard a Christmas song I didn't like. Some of my favorites are Dan Fogelberg's rendition of We Three Kings, Bing Crosby's White Christmas, I'll be Home for Christmas, Winter Wonderland, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Silent Night, Away in a Manger, and I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Stay home. I can't imagine being anywhere but home on Christmas Day. If I travel it's the week between Christmas and New Year's.

19. Can you name Santa's reindeers?
Yes. Want proof? Okay, Dancer, Dasher, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen, and Rudolph of course!

20. Do you have an Angel on top or a star?
Angel.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Christmas morning. If it is impossible to wait then one present from family on Christmas Eve, but the rest have to wait for Christmas morning after the presents from Santa.

22. Most annoying thing(s) about this time of year?
Politically correct misguided do-gooders who get offended by those of us who say "Merry Christmas!" People who worry more about making sure they get exactly what they want rather than be grateful for whatever gift their loved ones choose for them.


23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Well, I don 't know if you'd consider this a theme, but I treasure most the handmade ornaments on my tree, particularly the needlepoint ornaments I made some 25 years ago and still hang on my tree each year.


24. Favorite thing for Christmas dinner? Stuffed acorn squash, homemade yeast rolls, swiss vegetable medley, cranberry gelatin mold, hot spiced cider, and for dessert cranberry apple pie.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? If I could have anything at all then an all expenses paid trip to the Rose Bowl. Realistically, I'd like an Illini Rose Bowl sweatshirt.


And now a Christmasy musical interlude:

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Anybody Wanna Come Over for Christmas?


I have this thing in my head, a yearning really, to do something special for Christmas. No, I don’t mean over the top lighting displays or having my living room and dining room look like Martha Stewart did the decorating. No, I’m talking special in a people sort of way.

What I want to do is invite people who have nobody with whom to spend Christmas day to spend it at my house. I want to let people come together who would otherwise be sitting alone in their house or apartment or cardboard shelter under the eaves of the downtown buildings. I want to have a house full of strangers sharing food and drink and conversation and holiday fun.

Does that sound weird? Yeah, I’m pretty sure it does. I don’t care though. It is what I want to do for Christmas this year. I want to put an announcement in the bulletin at church inviting those who will not be with family and friends to join us and make new friends. I want to post an invitation on the bi group’s private message board. I don’t want to invite just random strangers, but rather to invite those whom I know, but perhaps not well, and get to know them better.

And another thing I want to do? On Christmas morning, I want to take plates of Christmas goodies to the local firehouse to share with the firefighters not getting to spend the holiday with their families.

So will I do any of this? Will I allow my enthusiasm win out over the naysayers and scoffers who think that I am being too Pollyanna when I think that anyone would attend my little Christmas soiree? I don’t know, but I hope so. I hope that by actually giving voice to the idea it can go from the realm of thought, where it has lived for several years, to that of reality.

So blog friends, anybody want to come over for Christmas day at my house? If I've gotten to know you well enough to know you're a real person behind the online persona, I will welcome you with open arms.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Whoa!

So much for dreams of attending the Rose Bowl to see the Illini take on USC in the Grandaddy of all bowl games. Even though I checked my finances to make sure I could go I did not anticipate the price of each piece of the puzzle being so high. There is no freaking way I, cheapskate that I am, will spend the kind of money it will take to go.

$135 - Ticket to game (ok, a little higher than expected but not by much; it is the best bowl game around after all, so far so good)
$499 - Price for 1 adult for the alumni 2 night tour package including hotel and transportation to the game, but not airfare or transfers from/to airport and hotel
$700 - Best fare to be found right now on any airline for the dates of travel (and yes I know I can keep checking and maybe get something better)
$1,334 - Total cost for just me to attend the Rose Bowl game only without costs of incidentals such as, oh little things like meals and such. Plus if I want to go to the Rose Parade (and truly I care as much or more about that than the game) add $85 to the total. Then to take the Super Shuttle from the airport and back would be $15 each way.
So let's just say a round total of about $1,500 for me, by myself, to fly to LA, spend 2 nights in a hotel and attend the parade and game.

Now, I don't really want to go all alone so if I take N with me let's add up his costs.
$135 - ticket to the game.
$85 - parade.
$209 - child price on the 2 night tour.
$700 - airfare
$30 - round trip Super Shuttle
$1,159 plus whatever dining costs are while we're there plus a souvenir or two so probably around $1,300.

Total this up and you have $2,800 for N and me. Egads. That's much more than I expected. Ain't happenin'. Holy cow. Fun truly is only for the rich or those willing to mortgage their future.

Oh well, it was a nice dream while it lasted. Guess I'll be watching on TV. Sigh. . .

Monday, December 03, 2007

Of Men and Lice

Yes, I realize I am avoiding certain inevitable events and steps towards freedom. There is never going to be a perfect time to do it. Never will we be able to walk away from each other without a certain amount of pain, discomfort and angst.

So what do I do? I stick my head in the sand. I avoid the issue. I just kind of ignore it all. I go about my day to day business as though everything is just dandy. But it isn't. It isn't just dandy by a long shot. It is barely tolerable, but it is tolerable so tolerate it I do. It won't stay that way for long though. BJ will want to see forward movement in terms of separation and divorce on my part. W on the other hand will want to see me stay in the marriage even if it makes me incredibly miserable to do so.

Pressure, I feel it building. It is building from within right now more than externally. It is that internal pressure with which I do not deal well, tending towards stuffing it more than letting it guide my actions.

Just because I don't blog endlessly about it doesn't mean it isn't on my mind every second of every day. It is; I just refuse to acknowledge it most of the time.

*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&*&

And having no good segue from the above, let me just abruptly change subjects here. Just before awakening this morning I dreamed I had head lice, and not just your run of the mill head lice. No, mine were an extremely rare and exotic variety and were huge. Not only that, they clung to my scalp at the hairline, and I pulled many of them off with the help of a friend. She was then telling me all that I would have to do in terms of laundering all my clothing and bedding three times in a special detergent, and I would have to let her comb my hair with a special comb to get the eggs out of my hair. I was very grossed out by this whole thing and couldn't believe that somehow I had gotten lice. I have no idea what this dream might mean, but my head itches every time I think about it.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Bowls, Bowls, Bowls

Yesterday, just about every team playing helped my Illini football team in terms of getting a good bowl game. If Ohio State gets to the BCS championship game (a much better possibility after yesterday's results) then Illinois could go to the Rose Bowl. The Illini haven't been to the Rose Bowl since 1984 when I, as a brand new U of I grad with no job and no money, could not talk my parents into sending me out to Pasadena for the festivities. At that time I declared that the very next time they went I was going to go, without a doubt. For the entire 18 years that I lived in California they didn't go to the Rose Bowl. For the last several years they haven't gone to a bowl game at all.

Dare I dream of a Rose Bowl for the Illini this year? We'll know tonight when the bowl schedule is announced. Yes, I've already gotten the info on how to get tickets. I've already checked the finances to make sure I can go. I'm ready for a trip to California. I'm ready to get up to watch the Rose Parade in person instead of on TV. I'm ready to sit in the stands and cheer on the Illini to a Rose Bowl victory. I'm ready.

Now just a few more hours and we'll know.

And in other bowl news, N and I whipped up a bowl full of icing and decorated our gingerbread house this afternoon. This has become an annual tradition for us, one that we both enjoy and to which we look forward. I do it the easy way by buying the kit. My favorite kit comes from Trader Joe's, and I had the good fortune to get to shop at Trader Joe's yesterday when in the city. All is calm, all is bright at our house.
_________________________

Late update:
California here we come! Woohoo!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Magnificent Day


I spent the day today on and near the Magnificent Mile. Christmas shopping can be had at its finest on the Mag Mile. Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpel, Nordstrom, just to name a few. Then there are restaurants, many fine restaurants. We ate breakfast at a restaurant a little off the beaten path called The West Egg. Although off the beaten path, it sure is popular. We had to wait quite a while for a table, but it was worth it. We ate and made a bit of a gameplan for the day. After breakfast, it was a walk down the Mag Mile, looking in various windows, occasionally walking into a store that we wouldn't be able to find at home. We went into what we thought was Nordstrom's only to find that was but one store in a three or four story mall. When we came out of the mall it was snowing and blowing. Then we walked down to the theater district and found out that the 2:00 p.m. performance of Wicked was sold out, and that tickets, if available, are $37 - $97. So no theater for us today, so we went to the Art Institute instead. We spent three hours wandering through various exhibits and still didn't come close to seeing all its wonders. Then we took a bus north to have an early dinner at P.F. Changs. After dinner, we still had almost 2 hours before we had to leave so we shopped at Trader Joe's. I bought a gingerbread house kit so N and I can have our traditional decorating afternoon together. Our final stop was Garrett's for both caramel and cheese popcorn. Then we boarded the bus for the long icy trip home. Fun times.

What a great day! And now I'm exhausted. Goodnight everybody.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Last Day

The last day of NaBloPoMo, that is. I'm relieved that it's over. As much as I post it is not easy to make a post every single day. I don't know if I'll try doing this again next year. We'll see.

And now on to the beginning of the Christmas celebrations! I love Christmas!

I want the guy who did this to come do my Christmas decorations for me:


Or maybe the guy who did this one:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Copying from Others Again

After reading hers over at Bunny's blog, I checked out my sexual horoscope on Zodiac World

Taurus women: You expect your man to be kind and patient and make love to you by the book. Like to be pleased by sex, but don't look for unusual approaches. But you are a demanding lover and you leave your partner breathless. You have a need for oral gratification, both giving and receiving. Best sex mates: Cancer, Sagittarius, Scorpio, and Leo. most likely kink: sucking on your toes, one by one. You also like biting.

Yep, that's me. All but one thing. Sucking on toes. Ick. Gross. No way. All the rest that it said though is a great description of me.


Well, that's all for now. I spent much time and effort writing up Day 4 at the Blogger House on FTN's blog so I have nothing left for here. Please head over to FTN's though and see how we're faring in the house this year.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Strictly Hypothetical

Strictly on a hypothetical basis now, this problem may or may not come from the actual life of someone I know or not. How would you react?

Background:
You have a brother. Let's say his name is Henry. When you were kids you didn't get along well. As an adult you suspect he may have some kind of undiagnosed/untreated mental health issue(s). You try as best you can to get along, but for the past few years he has cut you from his life and refused to discuss with you the reasons or what you might do to restore the relationship even though you have made a few attempts to do so.

Current situation:
While out for dinner with your spouse, child(ren) and parents, your mom during a conversation about your brother's family (the nephews you aren't allowed to see) says, "I always did think Henry was a little weird." The conversation continues and she repeats the above statement, adding "I don't know what you ever thought" with an inflection that infers a question.

Hypothetical questions:
How do you respond to your mom? Do you respond at all? Do you respond differently given the public nature of the locale and/or the fact that your child(ren) is/are present and listening to the conversation?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chuckle for Today

Click here for a joke that is ever so appropriate to recent events, particularly since I am vegetarian (for the most part).

Life - I Have One!

At least, that's the conclusion of the meme below. I must say I haven't felt like I've had much of a life the last few days thanks to what I now think was food poisoning after eating at a certain chain restaurant on Friday. However, I'm off to work this morning. We'll see how that goes.

And now, on with the meme.

SUPPOSEDLY if you've seen over 89 movies, you have no life. Mark the ones you've seen. There are 266 movies on this list. Copy this list. Then, put x's next to the movies you've seen, add them up, and share your number. Have fun!

(X) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(X) Grease
(X) Pirates of the Caribbean
(X) Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest
() Boondock Saints
() Fight Club
() Starsky and Hutch
() Neverending Story
() Blazing Saddles
() Universal Soldier
(X) Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
(X) Along Came Polly
() Deep Impact
() KingPin
(X) Never Been Kissed
(X) Meet The Parents
(X) Meet the Fockers
() Eight Crazy Nights
() Joe Dirt
(X)KING KONG
(X) A Cinderella Story
(X) The Terminal
() The Lizzie McGuire Movie
() Passport to Paris
() Dumb & Dumber
() Dumber & Dumberer
() Final Destination
() Final Destination 2
() Final Destination 3
(X) Halloween
() The Ring
() The Ring 2
() Surviving X-MAS
(X) Flubber
() Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
() Practical Magic
() Chicago
() Ghost Ship
() From Hell
() Hellboy
() Secret Window
() I Am Sam
() The Whole Nine Yards
() The Whole Ten Yards
() The Day After Tomorrow
(X) Child's Play
() Seed of Chucky
() Bride of Chucky
() Ten Things I Hate About You
() Just Married
() Gothika
() Nightmare on Elm Street
(X) Sixteen Candles
() Remember the Titans
(X) Coach Carter
() The Grudge
() The Grudge 2
() The Mask
() Son Of The Mask
() Bad Boys
() Bad Boys 2
() Joy Ride
() Lucky Number Seven
(X) Ocean's Eleven
(X) Ocean's Twelve
() Bourne Identity
() Bourne Supremacy
() Lone Star
() Bedazzled
() Predator I
() Predator II
() The Fog
(X) Ice Age
(X) Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
(X) Curious George
(X) Independence Day
(X) Cujo
() A Bronx Tale
() Darkness Falls
() Christine
(X) ET
() Children of the Corn
() My Bosses Daughter
(X) Maid in Manhattan
(X) War of the Worlds
() Rush Hour
() Rush Hour 2
() Best Bet
(X) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
() She's All That
() Calendar Girls
() Sideways
() Mars Attacks
() Event Horizon
(X) Ever After
(X) Wizard of Oz
(X) Forrest Gump
() Big Trouble in Little China
() The Terminator
() The Terminator 2
() The Terminator 3
() X-Men
() X2
() X-3
(X) Spider-Man
() Spider-Man 2
(X) Sky High
() Jeepers Creepers
() Jeepers Creepers 2
(X) Catch Me If You Can
() The Little Mermaid
(X) Freaky Friday
() Reign of Fire
() The Skulls
() Cruel Intentions
() Cruel Intentions 2
() The Hot Chick
(X) Shrek
(X) Shrek 2
() Swimfan
(X) Miracle on 34th street
() Old School
() The Notebook
() K-Pax
() Kippendorf's Tribe
() A Walk to Remember
(X) Ice Castles
() Boogeyman
() The 40-year-old-virgin
() Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
() Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
() Lord of the Rings Return Of the King
(X) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(X) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(X) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
() Baseketball
() Hostel
() Waiting for Guffman
() House of 1000 Corpses
() Devils Rejects
() Elf
() Highlander
() Mothman Prophecies
() American History X
() Three
() The Jacket
() Kung Fu Hustle
() Shaolin Soccer
() Night Watch
(X) Monsters Inc.
(X) Titanic
(X) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
() Shaun Of the Dead
(X) Willard
() High Tension
() Club Dread
() Hulk
() Dawn Of the Dead
(X) Hook
(X) Chronicle Of Narnia The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
() 28 days later
() Orgazmo
() Phantasm
() Waterworld
() Kill Bill vol 1
() Kill Bill vol 2
() Mortal Kombat
() Wolf Creek
() Kingdom of Heaven
() the Hills Have Eyes
() I Spit on Your Grave aka the Day of the Woman
() The Last House on the Left
() Re-Animator
() Army of Darkness
(X) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
(X) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
(X) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(X) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(X) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(X) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
() Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
() Ewoks The Battle For Endor
() The Matrix
() The Matrix Reloaded
() The Matrix Revolutions
() Animatrix
() Evil Dead
() Evil Dead 2
() Team America: World Police
() Red Dragon
(X) Silence of the Lambs
() Hannibal
() Battle Royale
() Battle Royale 2
() Brazil
(X) Contact
() Cube
(X) Dr. Strangelove
() Enlightenment Guaranteed
() Four Rooms
() Memento
() Pi
() Requiem for a Dream
(X) Pulp Fiction
() Reservoir Dogs
() Run Lola Run
() Russian Ark
() Serenity
() Sin City
() Snatch
() Spider
(X) The Sixth Sense
() The Village
() Waking Life
() Zatoichi
() Ikiru
() The Seven Samurai
() Brick
() Akira

I am a little surprised that my total is so low: 59. However, I have seen many of those movies multiple times, and there's tons of movies I've seen that aren't on the list. Still it's nice to know that, at least according to this test, I do have a life after all.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Nothing

Today's agenda:

Sleep in
Shower
Dress
Drink Tea
Nap
Appointment
Return Home
Drink Tea
Nap
Drink Gatorade
Eat Bread and Cheese
Nap
Drink Gatorade
Watch a little TV
Update blog with minimal post
Go to bed

Here's hoping tomorrow is better.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Shitty Post

Apologies in advance for the graphic nature of this post and the TMI it shares.


Dealing with my digestive tract disturbance led me to look up information on (where else?) the internet. I found the chart to the right that indicated Types 5-7 are generally considered diarrhea. I'm pretty much at Type 7 today, having been more at Type 6 the two days prior. I would say that normally my stools then towards being something like Type 4 or even Type 5. I could probably count on one hand the number of times in my life I've had Type 1 or even Type 2.
I thought I was feeling better this morning so I made it to church. However, it turned out the only reason I felt better was because I hadn't yet tried eating anything today. After church we went out for brunch as we often do on Sundays. Turns out scrambled eggs and biscuits with honey was not a good choice for me. I had to hit the restroom before we left the restaurant and barely made it home before round two. I intend to spend the rest of the day at home, sipping tea, reading the Sunday paper, napping and surfing the internet. Takin' it easy, that's the order of the day.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Highlights from Thanksgiving

  • W never fails to amaze me at how badly he will treat N even in front of others, like my parents. What that says to me is that he truly thinks that the things he says and does are reasonable.
  • Boy, in my post earlier this week I nailed the menu Mom would produce for Thanksgiving dinner, except instead of green bean casserole we had carrots, proving once again variety is the spice of life.
  • Last night I managed to get a mysterious pain in my lower gut along with explosive diarrhea. I still have the pain, though not as strong as it was last night, and the diarrhea which is every bit as bad as it was last night.
  • Got much of my Christmas shopping done yesterday (before the mystery pain). I spent almost $300, but I probably still have another couple of hundred dollars' worth of presents I want to buy. I think $500 for Christmas presents sounds like a lot of money, but then again maybe it's not totally unreasonable. Maybe I'm just too cheap.

Well, that's it. That's all I got for now.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

This is my Official Thanksgiving Day Post. Notice I have date stamped it for Thanksgiving day even though I'm posting it early. I will have absolutely no internet access tomorrow since I'll be in the Land of the Luddites (aka parents' house) so I'll have no chance to post this tomorrow. So if it's still Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, go away and come back and read this tomorrow. If it is Thursday or later, then welcome! Happy Thanksgiving!

I found some good information on Thanksgiving on this site. Give it a visit if you have the chance. Lots of history here about Thanksgiving, little like that taught to me when I was in school. (or was I just not listening?) I found it interesting.

And now, the traditional "What I am Thankful For" list:
  • My health
  • The people I love - N and BJ particularly
  • My job, because I had just about given up on ever having a good job again until I found this one
  • Everyone who comments on my blog whether it's often or only occasional - Bunny, Freebird, Fiona, Drama, Cat, Serenity, Fusion, Silent Male, Al Laddin, Jaded Bunny, Stinkypaw, Digger, Val, Desmond Jones, Hopeless Flirt, Mia, D, Nutty Man, Fatso, and all the rest that I'm forgetting right now
  • That I have a family, even if I bitch about them, because at least I have them and can depend on them when I really need them
  • That I live in a country where I am allowed to have my opinions and voice them even when they are not popular or in line with the current administration
  • God's grace that is there not only for me but for all who seek it

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Lighten the Mood

Today's topic is cartoons. N gets to watch cartoons in the morning before school after he is dressed and all his things are ready for school so this morning we are sitting watching Cartoon Network prompting me to write about something fun and pleasant for a change.

Some of the present day cartoons are pretty good. Some of them are just stupid. Here are my reviews of some cartoons that appear regularly on our TV:

Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends - This has got to be my favorite. It's about a home for imaginary friends that have been outgrown by the kids that imagined them. I love the characters in this one. I love the storylines. I could watch this one all day. N likes it too.

Ben Ten - I like this one too. This one is more of an adventure type cartoon. Ben found a bracelet that allows him to turn into various alien forms and fight bad guy aliens. I generally am not fond of the adventure type cartoons, but this one is okay.

Camp Lazlo - Guys at camp near a girl's camp. Another good one, although a bit stupid sometimes. Still it isn't bad for mindless fluff.

Tom and Jerry - I know. This is old as the hills. It was old when I was a kid. However, thanks to N's love of it if it is anywhere on TV it will be the cartoon of choice in our house. I'm sorry to say that it wasn't that great when I was a kid, and it isn't that great now. I am the only one in our house of this opinion. Maybe it's a guy thing. I don't know.

Chowder - This is a new one, and stupid, and just don't bother with it. Unless you are a nine-year-old boy. It is apparently popular in that crowd.

My Gym Partner is a Monkey - It's okay, kinda dumb. A kid with the last name of Lion gets inadvertently sent to the wrong school, a school for animals. Hilarity ensues as he attends classes that, while appropriate for wild animals, make no sense for a human. Good times, my friends, good times.

Ed, Edd, and Eddie - Ridiculously stupid with no point. Again don't bother with this one.

There are many other cartoons out there, almost limitless options now that cartoons are no longer limited to Saturday morning watching. These are the ones most often found on our TV though and reflect N's taste more than anything else.

Oh how I long for the days of Hong Kong Phooey and Rocky and Bullwinkle and Deputy Dawg and Yogi Bear. Sigh. . .

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I Hate When the Counselor is Right

Tonight I had a private session with the counselor that has been working with W and me. It didn't start that way. It started as a joint counseling session, but I was in such a state and such a mess that it turned into just me and the counselor with W bowing out.

I dumped all the shit that I wrote in my last post, about my withdrawal, and we talked just about that for an hour. Interesting that the counselor wasn't a bit surprised by the problems I'm having based on things I've said about my upbringing and the way my family continues to function. She acknowledged that it is extra hard for me to deal with certain situations because of the insular type of family in which I was raised. It is difficult to move beyond what I know and what makes me comfortable.

For those without my background it might be difficult to understand why certain things are difficult for me. The counselor said that she is not at all surprised that I don't speak up for myself. I was taught in my family that it is not okay to speak up for yourself. I was taught that you work hard to get along with others even if that means subjugating your own interests, needs, desires. I do that very well. Then I get mad when others don't do the same for me, and I wonder when it is going to be my turn. I'm afraid to speak up for myself for fear of losing friendships so often others don't even know that I feel put out by giving in to their desires. On the rare occasion when I do speak up it takes very little from the other person to make me back down, do a 180 and give in to whatever they want.

Tears, many tears, flowed during tonight's session. I think I gained some valuable insights though into the problem, and we were able to celebrate certain small victories like my inviting a friend to go Christmas shopping with me for a day. It's a small thing, but it is huge. The counselor reminded me that my friend was probably as excited to be invited as I was to do the inviting. She asked me if I believed that, and I said no. She said she knew I'd say that, but that she wants me to know that lots of other people are just as insecure as I am. Lots of people out there are grateful to be invited somewhere. People aren't out there waiting to reject me. God, I wish I could believe that. I so much want to believe that. Maybe someday I will.