Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Things I Appreciate About Being Home

Having returned home from the minor holiday excursion to my parents’ house, I find that I am grateful to be here, in my own place, with my own rules and schedule and preferences.

I appreciate:

  1. setting the thermostat at something less than “Tropical Rain Forest in the Heat of the Day.”

  2. eating dinner later than 5:00 p.m.

  3. staying up past 9:30 p.m.

  4. sleeping on a mattress that is firmer than marshmallows.

  5. internet access.

  6. tuning the TV to something other than Fox News.


In other news, N has asked that we have a Kwanzaa celebration this year. To that end, I am planning a dinner for tomorrow night where we will light the kinara, have something of a traditional menu (which I’m sure he will not eat so I am trying to modify at least some things so he won’t complain that he will surely starve), and talk about the seven principles. I’m doing this all based on my internet research plus one children’s book N has about Kwanzaa since none of my African American friends celebrate Kwanzaa, a fact that shocked N who is all about exploring all aspects of his African American heritage. I think he feels somewhat betrayed by the local African American community here that they don’t have some big Kwanzaa celebration. So we will start our own Kwanzaa tradition at home and will celebrate it in our own way and make it our own.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Once You Get Past the Crap

Before I head off with N to my parents' house for the long weekend, I thought I should give you some highlights from what went right this Christmas. There was plenty that was great, and as N said to me as I drove him to W's yesterday afternoon, "This is the best Christmas ever even though Christmas Eve was bad."
Highlights from the last two days:
  • BJ, N, and I attended the Christmas Eve service at church. It was a great service with much caroling, candlelight, and yummy cookies and wassail afterwards.
  • I made a late supper for us that night, simple but delicious. Just a casserole, baked beans, sweet and sour red cabbage and for dessert brownies with ice cream. BJ and N both thought it was great.
  • N was thrilled on Christmas morning when he got his Wii from his grandparents and an MP3 player from Santa. He was not as thrilled with his presents from me: two pair of pants and a set of new sheets for his bed. Oh well, at least Santa and the grandparents came through for him.
  • I made a delicious Christmas brunch for us: Impossible Broccoli Pie (kind of in between a frittatta and a quiche), Cheesy Grits, Sausage Patties, Blueberry Muffins, and Fresh Fruit Salad. Everybody enjoyed it.
  • BJ helped N get the Wii set up while I cleaned up after brunch.
  • N played on the Wii until I had to drag him away so he could go spend part of Christmas day with W.
  • BJ and I had some nice private adult time after N was at W's, including a nap before getting up to have dinner comprised of leftovers from the Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas brunch.
  • BJ and I woke early this morning, enjoyed our time together, got up and went out for breakfast.
  • After breakfast, we picked N up at W's. On the way home, N asked if BJ was coming to Grandma and Grandpa's with us. When told no, he begged us for BJ to go. (I am so glad N likes BJ.) We explained that no, BJ can't go as he has to stay here and dogsit for us.
So there you go. Christmas ain't such a bad time after all in spite of a rocky start.

This is my last post until we get back on Monday. I'll still Twitter occasionally though so feel free to check on me there.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Effing Christmas

Okay, Christmas isn't totally effed. As a matter of fact, it's been a pretty darned good Christmas last night and today so far. . . if you ignore the W factor. Generally it's good to ignore the W factor as much as possible. It's harder to ignore the W factor however when it plays on your sympathies. Then if you throw in the Q factor to ice the situation to play upon your inner rage it just becomes a really effing good time.

About three weeks ago, W was going to help Q move to town from her old place. However, he fell and broke two fingers on his right hand. Scrub the moving mission temporarily which was then accomplished last weekend -- with his hand/wrist in a cast. Yesterday, Christmas Eve, W slips on the ice in the parking lot of his apartment building and breaks his left wrist. N doesn't see the fall but sees W on the ground and goes to help. N helps W sit down in the car (closer than going back to the apartment) and goes to the apartment to tell Q what happened. N calls 911 (Q didn't; I don't know why) then calls me telling me that Q said I need to come pick him up due to what's happened. My workday (only a half day due to being Christmas Eve) is virtually over anyway so I pack up and head out. I am almost to the apartment when N calls again. Apparently, the ambulance is there, and Q needs me to get N as soon as possible as she needs to get to her house to take care of her dog. N tells me that Q said she'd come visit W at the hospital later. I said (and yes, I know I should have kept my mouth shut, but I ain't perfect) something to the effect of "Wow, what a great girlfriend she is." Apparently, she overheard this (or N told her) because by the time I got there and got N in the car with me he told me she changed her mind and decided to go to the hospital.

Q was waiting for a taxi to take her to the hospital. N asked if we should offer to take her. I said no. (I was in full bitch mode at that point and fully realize that I should have offered to take her. So sue me.) We followed the ambulance to the hospital, and I assisted the clerk in getting W all signed in while the EMTs got him to a room in the ER. Once signed in, the clerk took us to W's room. I asked him if he would like me to stay or if I should just take N home. He asked if I had plans, and as I was telling him that I had nothing concrete until the Christmas Eve service that evening Q walked into the room. From there, tensions rose. She said things. I said things. Voices elevated. I felt my fists clenching. I decided to leave before I ended up kicked out or worse, arrested for assault and battery. Santa doesn't bring presents to the county jail.

Oh, there is so much more to this story, but I just don't feel like rehashing it one more time. Let's just leave it at N being upset, me being upset, and both of us feeling like Christmas was totally effed.

Suffice it to say that BJ arrived and helped us refocus. We spent a lovely Christmas Eve attending the service at church then having a lovely late supper. BJ spent the night (he slept in my bed, I slept in the extra bed in N's room), and we've shared a lovely Christmas Day so far. We opened presents. We've had a lovely Christmas brunch. BJ has helped N set up his new Wii. Soon it will be time for me to call W and make sure he's still up to having N this evening as was originally planned.

Hope you're all having a very Merry Christmas (without the broken bones, irate exes, snarky girlfriends, and other assorted eff ups).

Let It Be Christmas


by Alan Jackson

Let it be Christmas everywhere
In the hearts of all people both near and afar
Christmas everywhere
Feel the love of the season wherever you are
On the small country roads lined with green mistletoe
Big city streets where a thousand lights glow

Let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let every heart sing let every bell ring
The story of hope and joy and peace
And let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let anger and fear and hate disappear
Let there be love that lasts through the year
And let it be Christmas
Christmas everywhere

Let it be Christmas everywhere
With the gold and the silver, the green and the red
Christmas everywhere
In the smiles of all children asleep in their beds
In the eyes of young babies their first fallen snow
Elderlys' memories that never grow old

Let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let every heart sing let every bell ring
The story of hope and joy and peace
And let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let anger and fear and hate disappear
Let there be love that lasts through the year
And let it be Christmas
Christmas everywhere

Let it be Christmas everywhere
In the songs that we sing and the gifts that we bring
Christmas everywhere
In what this day means and what we believe
From the sandy white beaches where blue water rolls
Snow covered mountains and valleys below

Let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let every heart sing let every bell ring
The story of hope and joy and peace
And let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let anger and fear and hate disappear
Let there be love that lasts through the year
And let it be Christmas
Christmas everywhere
Christmas everywhere
Christmas everywhere

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Feeling Particularly Grinchy and Scroogelike

Not in a good mood. Not feeling that joyous Christmas spirit. At this point, ready to have Christmas over and done with. Let’s move on to a new year, a better year than this one has been, ‘kay?

Frustrating, perplexing, not-quite-right things that exist right now:
  1. Stupid wet, icy weather is getting me down. I slipped and slid as I walked from car to office this morning. Don’t even want to make the return trip when I leave work.

  2. My house is a mess, and I don’t feel up to making it presentable for a proper Christmas celebration.

  3. I’ve needed to go grocery shopping all week but have let the stupid weather prevent it. Now I have to do it this afternoon, at the last minute. Yuck.

  4. J wants me to meet him for dinner one night while I’m at my parents’ this weekend. There’s a part of me that actually wants to do so. I don’t like that part of me so very much.

  5. Was going to wrap presents last night, but N was so miserable at W’s that I rescued him and had him at home with me last night so I still need to wrap presents after I promised myself I wouldn’t wait until Christmas Eve to do it again this year.

  6. Even though Q has rented a house she is still living at W’s with him. She has, however, moved her dog into her house. WTF?

  7. Trying hard not to get sucked into the role of evil ex bitching about every little thing about new girlfriend. However, it is a role I seem destined to fill. I hate her. I hate every little giggly thing she does. I hate that she is making life even harder for N when he is with W.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Attention! Important Public Service Announcement!

We here at Deepest Darkest Thoughts don’t often use this space for PSAs, but today in the spirit of Christmas, with hearts full of giving, love and in an effort to foster community cooperation, we present to you a short educational piece. Learn it, live it, profit from it by earning the undying admiration of your coworkers.

[Scene: company break room. Two people walking out with full cups of coffee. They are smiling and chatting. One person, empty cup in hand, enters, walks to coffeemaker to see nothing but empty pots.]

Voiceover: How many times has this happened to you? You’re headed to a meeting and just need a hot cup of coffee to keep you alert through that presentation by Accounting on the merits of double declining balance vs. straight line depreciation, and yet when you arrive you find no coffee, and no one has started a fresh pot. But what can you do? You’ve never learned to make coffee. You have no idea how to work such a delicate machine as a coffeemaker. Doomed you head to your meeting without benefit of caffeinated alertness.

[Worker, empty cup still in hand, leaves break room, clearly unhappy and grumbling.]

Voiceover: It doesn’t have to be this way. You, too, can learn to make coffee in your office’s coffeemaker. Watch this demonstration carefully.

[Enter man in suit and tie carrying empty cup along with his Blackberry, folio, and Cross Pen. He sets his things, other than his coffee cup, down on a nearby table and approaches the coffeemaker. He pours the last cup of coffee into his cup.]

Voiceover: The first step will be to locate the necessary items. Often you will find coffee filters and premeasured coffee packets in a drawer or cupboard near the coffeemaker.

[Man opens drawer and removes a coffee filter and coffee packet and sets them on the counter next to the coffeemaker.]

Voiceover [Man doing each step as voiceover describes it]: Remove the basket from the coffeemaker and throw the used filter and coffee grounds into the nearest waste basket. Place the filter in the basket. Now open the packet and dump the ground coffee into the filter. Slide the basket into place in the coffeemaker so that it is placed like it was before you removed it. Make sure the coffee pot is positioned correctly on the warmer to receive the brewed coffee. Locate the button on the machine labeled “Brew” and push it once.

[Man picks up his full coffee cup and other things and walks out of the break room, smiling and greeting two coworkers entering the break room as he walks out. The two coworkers approach the coffeemaker, see the coffee brewing, and smile.]

Voiceover: See? Now wasn’t that easy? Just a couple of minutes of your time can make you more popular with your coworkers than you ever thought.


This public service announcement brought to you by the TS Council for Improved Interoffice Relations and coffee drinkers just like you.

A Fairly Apt Analysis

The following description of me, a first born child, comes from this site which I found by reading a post over at Phyllis Renée's blog. I find the description of the typical first born to be pretty accurate in describing me in a lot of ways. It isn't right on in all areas but darned if it doesn't get most of them right on the button.

FIRST BORN
The first born is an only child until the second child comes to take away mother's attention. The only becomes a first born feeling there is no love for him or her.
Characteristic Bad Feeling: Guilt
Strategies for survival: Placating, Covering Up
Felt Loss: Love
Sense of Justice: People should get what they deserve
Thought Pattern: Research
T-shirt: "I don't know, what do you think?"
Childhood Behavior: Demanding, Show off
Emotional Expression: Flat
Source of Anger: Lack of Respect
Nature of Humor: Teasing
Means of Relating: Placating
Spirituality: Relational
Relational: Fears others may be offended, Placater
The Child Within: Abandoned
Type of Procrastination: Dreaming instead of doing
Blind spot: Own thoughts, feelings, desires
Boundaries: Others have absolute boundaries
A walk in the woods: Plunges into the woods pursuing distant goal
Careers: Business, Research, Counseling, Promotion, Speaking
Strengths: Goal-setting, Compromise, Leadership
Parenting: Directs children towards goals
Marriage: Goes along with what partner wants
As Friend: Compromising, Serving
Social Contributions: Discoveries, Information, Dreams
Expression of Love: Agreement
Driving Style: As if everyone is out to get him or her
Common Phrase: "I don't know"
Responds To: "You may not agree with this, but...."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Concrete, Sequential, Modern and 60% Spiritual




Your Thinking is Concrete and Sequential



You are precise, orderly, and realistic.

You tend to get to the point and get things done.



Difficult, detailed work is easy for you. You take things step by step.

Time limits aren't a problem for you either. You work well with deadlines.



What does drive you crazy is any sort of task that isn't precisely laid out.

You don't like anything to be ambiguous. You prefer to deal with the facts at hand.






Your Christmas is Modern



Your wish for the New Year is more happiness.



For you, Christmas is a spiritual holiday. You can't separate it from your beliefs.



You are patient when it comes to Christmas. You don't celebrate too early, and you don't like seeing holiday decorations in October.



You like Christmas traditions, but you're not uptight about them. You do things your way.



You like to celebrate Christmas your own way, and you don't like to have to compromise.



You are too busy to really get into Christmas, but you try to do a little to celebrate.



You like giving to your friends and family during Christmas. You focus on the people you're close to.






Your Christmas Sprit Level: 60%



You have a lot of Christmas spirit, and it's evident to most people who know you.

You love most things Christmas, and you do your best to make sure everyone has a great holiday.



While you like the more commercial aspects of Christmas, you truly know what the spirit of Christmas is about.

You're all about giving, being kind, and sharing the spirit of Christmas with everyone you know.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Proof That I'm Growing Up

I went home at lunch to inspect my questionable trees. Aha! In the light of day and with a calm heart and mind I was able to clearly see that there was a very large portion of a tree (found out later it is a Bradford Pear) that had broken away from the part that remained standing. Because of the position of the tree, the errant branch, and the house, it is not immediately obvious that this branch is now more or less detached from the remainder of the tree and resting somewhat against the front wall of the house.

Now comes the part where I had to be a grown up (or at least pretend to be one long enough to take care of business). I have in the course of this afternoon phoned an arborist and my homeowner's insurance company. I have taken calls from representatives from both of the aforementioned parties. I have handled the situation in a most adult and responsible manner and now have a firm plan of action for ridding my property of the offending branch. Who knew I could do that?

While I know many who read this are thinking "Well, of course that's what you would do. What's the big deal?" It is, in fact, a huge deal for me. I had to set aside my phone phobia long enough to just do what had to be done (and right there was a hugely daunting task for me). I had to be willing to talk to people I don't know and trust that they would treat me with dignity and respect (another hugely daunting task for me). So bully for you if you are one who could have done all this without a second thought, but for me this was a big deal and another piece of evidence that I can live on my own and do for myself and not have to count on someone else to take care of me. It is nerve-wracking, but I can do it. Yay me!

Why I Should Not Live Alone

Ahem. . . yes, I perhaps lost it a bit last night as you may have noticed in this last post.

I have never been good with nights, not since I was a small girl who would lay in bed awake in the dark in the middle of the night convinced I was hearing burglers in the house. I was terrified of the burglers but even more terrified of my parents' reaction if I called out for them or got brave enough to go to their room. They were never kind in the middle of the night when roused from slumber for childish fears. So there I would be, in bed, covers pulled up over my head, trying not to move, not to breathe, not to let the burglers I imagined in my head find me. Eventually, exhaustion would force me to sleep.

Fast forward to young adulthood, living with W. Although it didn't happen as frequently as in childhood I would awaken in the night having heard a sound or smelling something odd. Was the sound that of someone breaking into the house? Was that smell a fire starting somewhere in the house? I would wake W, and he, like my parents, would be angry that I bothered him for what would almost always turn out to be nothing. (There were two times however when I was right. One - the creosote in the chimney of our woodstove caught fire thanks to the landlord who assured us that we didn't need to have it cleaned as he always took care of it himself. Right. Two - the time some drunk bastard mistook our home for his friend's place and was trying to get in the sliding glass door. In both cases, W stayed in bed while I got up and dealt with the situation although he did go outside when the firefighters arrived and they asked him to during the chimney fire.)

Fast forward to last night. I was awakened by a very loud crashing sound that rattled the windows in the house. I still don't know what it was for sure. Thunder? Could very well be, but I never heard any more. The falling of the neighbor's tree under the weight of the ice? Could very well be, but somehow it didn't seem like the sound I would've imagined for that. I guess I'll never know for sure other than to be sure it was related somehow to the storm. It scared me a little, but not a lot. I'm a big girl now. I've heard thunder before. I got up and used the bathroom and returned to bed ready to go back to sleep. Then the creaking and cracking and thumping noises began. Sometimes fairly soft, sometimes pretty loud. I freaked. I went through the house, looking out every single window trying to see what was happening. I wondered what I would do if indeed a tree fell on the house. Who would I call in the middle of the night? It didn't seem like a 911 type thing. Yet it didn't seem like the kind of thing that you would want to just wait until morning to handle either if there was damage to the house. I settled on the homeowners' insurance company. That's who I'd call if something happened to the house. Surely they would care about mitigating losses if nothing else.

So I laid in bed, listening, scared to listen, yet scared to not listen, waiting for the end of the world while the rest of the world (both N and the dog) slept peacefully and blissfully unaware. I got on the computer, because that's what I do, and thankfully I found an angel on Twitter who Twittered me through the scariest parts of the night until I was finally ready to try to sleep again.

This morning, in the light of day, it is easier to cope. Daylight does that for me. The neighbor's tree did indeed break under the weight of the ice. It does not appear, however, that it damaged either their house or mine from what I could see. There are a couple of trees in my yard that are questionable. I want to look at them more closely once the ice melts to be sure how much is bent vs. broken.

I survived, but I didn't like it. It isn't the way I want things to be. I want to have someone to whom I can turn when shit like this happens, for help or at least just for company so I'm not so very alone. I hate being alone.

The Weather Outside is Frightful

Good morning blogosphere! Here I am at 2:45 a.m. freaking out. Absofuckinglutely freaking out.

There is rain outside, lots of rain. There is also, from what I can see, a really heavy layer of ice on the roof (my bedroom window looks out onto a portion of the roof) and the trees outside. Occasionally, there are really scary sounds from outside. . . like trees breaking. At one point, after scary noises, I toured the entire house checking for damage and found none.

The fucking satellite TV isn't working, probably the dish is iced over. All the radio stations seem to be playing syndicated nationwide programming without any local coverage. So here I am on the internet, looking for peace and calm and a friend to help me calm down here.

I am all fucking alone here people. All alone. Middle of the night. Scared. Everything looks worse in the middle of the night. I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself. Except in the middle of the night. When the scary noises happen.

Praying for sunrise here people. Praying for sunrise. . .

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yeah, Whatever




You Mostly Have Your Emotions in Check



Sometimes your emotions get out of control, but you usually are a pretty stable person.

You can find a lot to be happy about, as long as things are going your way.

But if a few bad things happen to you, you tend to go in a bit of a downward spiral.

Luckily, you usually come out of it okay and no worse for the wear.






You Are a Friendly Ex



While the guys you've dated haven't been perfect, you've kept most as friends

In fact, one or two of your exes may be your best friends - after all, they know you best

And though your mature attitude is awesome, make sure nothing gets too weird

Or else you could lose these friendships, simply because your exes' new women think you're *too* friendly

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shallow Stereotypes R Us

I wrote this post back in September. I'm not sure now why I didn't post it then, but I didn't. When going back through my drafts though I found it, read it, and thought it ought to be published because I like what it says. I wrote this fairly soon after McCain selected Palin as his VP candidate. I didn't know as much about her then as I learned later. This was pretty much my "initial reaction" to her after her first week or so on the campaign trail. And I'm posting this because I'm tired of all the stuff I've been talking about lately and wanted a change of pace, a different focus. This post is certainly that.


The whole thing about Sarah Palin is disturbing to me. I want to like her. I want to be proud that a woman is in her position. I want to be able to say “Yay! A woman might make it to the White House!” But I can’t. I just can’t.

It has nothing to do with whether or not she tried to ban books. It has nothing to do with her continuing to tout the claim that she pulled the plug on the bridge to nowhere while failing to mention that she only did that after the federal government pulled some of the funding away. No, it has nothing to do with any of that.

Here, for me, is what it does have to do with. I do not trust Sarah Palin. I may be an oddball, but I never trust a woman who wears enough makeup to make me notice that she wears makeup. In my experience, most women who wear a goodly amount of makeup are, in many ways, more style than substance. They worry more about the packaging than the contents. Sorry, but I want someone with true intelligence and leadership skills and less polish and style. (Yes, I realize that Obama has a lot of polish and style. I never said he was perfect, nor did I ever say that I totally trust him either. At least he has been able to show me some of his intelligence to help me get over it.) The women I have known in my lifetime with the most intelligence and the most wisdom and the ones I would trust most to have the power to start nuclear war generally don’t give a crap about what they look like.

I definitely stereotype women right from the get go. Do I see your lipstick before I can clearly see your face? I pretty much write you off as having little sense, and you’re still a half block away. As you get closer do I notice that you have on eye shadow, eyebrow penciled in eyebrows, a little too much blush, so much mascara and eye liner that you’re scaring small children? I roll my eyes and wonder just who you think might be impressed by that. As we meet face to face, can I clearly see that you are wearing foundation and/or powder? If it is obvious then I chalk you up as one of those women, the ones who are all about looks and spend more time reading Redbook or Cosmo than Time or Newsweek. Now I'm not saying Palin's makeup is garish, not at all. Most women, those who wear makeup, would probably think Palin's is well done. I don't. I don't want to notice that you have makeup on at all, and with Palin it is obvious to me that she does.

Is it right for me to stereotype women this way? Probably not. Yet I do. I do, and then you have to prove yourself to me that you are better than what your makeup and perfectly coiffed hair says to me. So far Palin has not proven herself to me. She has failed to make me see beyond the dolled up librarian look that she seems to have all the time. She looks way too Republican and probably appeals to Republicans because of her look.

I think of the women I see in my church whom I admire most. They are neat, well groomed, but down to earth. They wear little if any makeup. Their hair is neat, but in an easy wash and wear kind of style. Their clothing looks comfy but nice, and they wear nice comfortable-looking sensible shoes. These women in no way look dowdy, just comfortable. They project that they are comfortable in their own skin and have no need for pretension. They are self-confident and more concerned with substance than style.

Hmm, no wonder I was such a Hillary supporter.

I Thought It Was a Good Thing, But. . .

Yesterday I get this letter from my dad (maybe he's phone phobic too; I don't know; we've never talked about it), and in it he offers to provide me with a no interest loan I need to pay off W for his equity in the house so that I don't have to go through a bank.

At first, I was thrilled. I thought my prayers had been answered and that everything was going to be fine. Then, upon more thinking and talking to someone about it I'm afraid that maybe it isn't such a fine thing. The friend I talked to said something about maybe it should have been a gift rather than a loan. At first, that offended me.

Upon thinking about it though I realize that as a loan it does give them more oversight authority over me. Perhaps it will be too difficult feeling that every purchase I make will be scrutinized by the very people I worked so hard to become independent from. Perhaps it would be better to pay the interest and points and so forth to go through with the refinancing rather than allowing them to help me.

I don't know. I'm confused now. I'm going to have to think about this some more.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE: 10:45 a.m.

Thought it through. Realized what the right answer is.

I’m 47 years old. I need to stand on my own two feet. I have no business taking money from my parents whether it’s a loan or a gift. I got myself into my situation and it is up to me to get myself out of it. What ever possessed me to think that I ought to take money from them? Yeah, yeah, it was the easy way out. It made things look brighter when I first read the letter. But it’s wrong. It is so very wrong. I do not need a hand out from anyone, not even my parents. I’ve already compromised myself enough by letting them help with Christmas (not that they intended to help with Christmas, but I used their Christmas present to me to make Christmas for N and to pay bills instead of to get something for myself so maybe I didn’t compromise myself too badly. . . yet). Damn, it was way too easy for me to almost say yes to the easy way out. It’s a good thing the offer came in a letter. At least this way they’ll never know I almost said yes. This way they will never have to know that I wavered. OMG, I almost became as bad as my freeloading brother. There but for the grace of God go I. . .

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Great Christmas Goody-Making Extravaganza of 2008

Short version: A good time was had by all.

Now don’t tell me that you actually expected me, the most verbose accountant in the history of blogging, to stop at the short version, did you? No, of course not. You know me much better than that.

BJ came over yesterday afternoon. He came with the makings for chocolate dipped pretzels and the most delightful chocolate dipped peanut butter and cracker concoction that ever existed. I provided the kitchen, the utensils, and the enthusiastic 10-year-old assistant chef. While I was waiting for the butter to soften to make sugar cookies, they got right to work on their project. It was good that BJ and N worked the chocolate dipped pretzels together. I’m way too anal retentive and/or OCD to do it. For me, making chocolate dipped pretzels is a long arduous process of taking one pretzel, dipping it in the chocolate, fishing it out with a fork, raking the bottom of the fork along the side of the bowl to remove the excess chocolate and carefully laying the pretzel on waxed paper making sure the pretzels are not touching so they don’t stick together. Contrast this with BJ and N’s way of dumping a handful of pretzels in the chocolate, using a spoon (a spoon!) to fish them out and lay them on the waxed paper, worrying not at all that some pretzels end up with globs of chocolate adhered to them while others have a relatively thin coating, and occasionally two or three pretzels end up glued together via the chocolate coating due to their touching or even overlapping one another. My process takes hours and hours and leads to tension and frustration. Their process takes a much shorter time and leads to fun and laughter. It was good that I was more observer than participant in that project.

I made turtles, with N’s help, out of pretzels, Rolo candies, and pecan halves. I tried to follow their example and be all willy nilly, spreading the pretzels on the cookie sheet without making neat rows and columns of pretzels all turned the same direction. I tried, but I couldn’t do it, or I should say, I couldn’t entirely do it. I had to have the rows and columns so I knew how many pretzels I had so I knew how many Rolos to unwrap. I didn’t, however, make sure all the pretzels were turned the same direction. Also while I managed to put the pecan halves on without regard to how they aligned with the pretzel, I still insisted they must be intact pecan halves and not have pieces broken off of them. Hey, at least I lightened up a little, and it didn’t kill me. It didn’t even hurt too badly. Sigh. . . Yeah, there’s a reason I’m an accountant.

The last project in the kitchen (other than cleaning up, which ended up being mostly my job somehow) was making sugar cookies. I was mostly on my own for that one as BJ and N were trying to fix up the Christmas tree that N has dubbed the Charlie Brown tree. Thanks to BJ we now have a tree that is standing straight instead of leaning like it ought to be in Pisa, and most of the lights are working. Hallelujah! Now we can actually decorate the thing! (I kept putting that off because I couldn’t get the thing to stand up straight, and I was afraid it would fall over. I didn’t want ornament breakage if I could help it.)

All in all, it was a really great time. I had fun. N had fun. BJ had fun. It almost felt – dare I say it – like family time. As I mentioned to BJ it was the kind of time I’d always wanted in the past, but W wouldn’t ever do that sort of thing with N and me. W, being as much or more a perfectionist than I am, would have had to have had everything just so, and would have been unable to let N do it any other way but his. BJ, on the other hand, just showed N what to do and let him go with it. I can’t begin to say how much I appreciated the way they interacted – a whole afternoon without shouting, crying, temper tantrums, major pouting, or anything. What a contrast to what I was used to from the past.

Good times, people, good times.

Friday, December 12, 2008

STFU, Good Advice for Many

(After listening to W go on and on over the phone about Q and “their” new house and how she’s moving this weekend and he’ll move when his lease is up in March and how it has three bedrooms and a garage and yadda, yadda, yadda. . .)

TS: Um. . . I’m going to. . . uh. . . say something. . . I mean. . . I want to. . . uh. . . um. . .

W: Go ahead. Say what you want to say.

TS: Okay, I’m going to say this once, and then I will never speak of it again.

W: Okay.

TS: I’m concerned that you’re moving awfully quickly, and I hope you don’t get hurt. It just seems like you are rushing things with her. Okay, there it is. I’ve said it, and I won’t bring it up again.

W: I appreciate it. (Not 100% sure whether he meant my telling him or my not telling him again although my guess would be the latter.)

SILENCE

W: Okay, well bye.

TS: Bye.

(He’s called three more times today since then, always with a “perfectly legitimate” reason to need to talk to me even though all that he called about could have been done via e-mail. Feeling a little bit lonely buddy now that Q is working? What is it that you want here? Why do I care? And could you stop telling me all about how wonderful Q is in every stinkin’ way? Who cares? Who the f*** cares? I get it! You got a girlfriend, one who wants to live with you and be with you always and bend over backwards for you. Great. Good. Wonderful. Now STFU please. I have my own issues to deal with thank you very much.)

I swear I’ve tried to ignore it, to just smile and nod and mentally roll my eyes, but I finally just had to say something. I had to or my head would have exploded, and that would have made such a mess for the janitorial service to clean up in my cubicle. So yeah, I’m a petty jealous bitch. There ya’ go. Taking the high road takes a lot out of a girl, and sometimes the low road beckons so enticingly it becomes impossible not to go there.

Don't Know What This Says About Me

I don't remember where I got this. I'm sure I stole it from someone else's blog. I don't know. It's been sitting around waiting to be completed for a while. So here it is.

Copy and paste and pick between the following. (Sarcasm is recommended). Then pick 4 other bloggers needing a psychological profile. (I ain't doin' that part. You wanna steal it? Steal it. You don't? Then don't. Easy as that.)

1---Soda v. Pop. Are they not the same thing? Because I've lived in various parts of the country, and some say soda and some say pop while referring to the same products. I currently live in a "Pop" area of the country so I'm trying to change myself back to saying "Pop." However, more often than not I still say "Soda."
2---Regular v. Diet Soda. Diet if I'm being good.
3---Diet Coke v. Diet Pepsi. Diet Coke without any question.
4---Beer v. Wine. Wine unless I'm having pizza. Pizza just begs for beer to accompany it. (Or maybe it's all that beer that makes me think the pizza is saying anything.)
5---White Wine v. Red Wine. Why yes thank you I'll have both. It just depends on what's being served with it.
6---Panty v. Underwear. Underwear if I'm being general or panty if I'm being specific to that type of underwear.
7---Thong v. Other. Other unless it's someone else wearing it.
8---Silk v. Cotton. Cotton. It must be cotton.
9---Boxers v. Briefs. How about boxer briefs?
10---McDonald's v. Burger King. BK for the fish sandwiches and Mickey D's for the french fries.
11---Chocolate v. Vanilla. Chocolate, of course!
12---Sweet v. Savory. Depends on the time of month.
13---Plaid v. Solids. Solids almost always.
14--- Flats v. Heels. Flats, and I still fall down too much.
15---Automatic v. Stick Shift. Automatic.
16---Black v. White. I prefer biracial thanks.
17---Cursive v. Printing. Depends, for my signature I prefer cursive, in a hurry I prefer cursive, if I want to be able to read it later I have to print.
18---Length v. Girth. Girth, too much length is painful.
19---Butter v. Margarine. Butter, gotta have the real deal.
20---Paula Dean v. Rachel Ray. Dean, gotta have the real deal.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ho, ho, ho!

Christmas is a bummer this year in some ways. It will certainly not be like Christmases of recent past for N and me. It will not be filled with (relatively) expensive (relatively) frivolous gifts. There is no money for that. There is, thanks to my parents, money enough to have a few gifts under the tree from Santa and from me. The best gift, though, in N's eyes will surely be the Wii that N is receiving from his Grandma and Grandpa. Normally, I might be a bit peeved that they were providing a more lavish present than I can provide for N. However, this year is not normal. This year I will get what I can for N without spending a great deal.

Although I am the first to say that Christmas should not be about the presents and how much money is spent, it is hard for me not to be so much involved on the giving end this year. In the past I have given not only to N, but I've made sure that we've given to local toy drives and food drives and all manner of charitable giving in celebration of the holidays. This year I feel bad, not because of things I won't get but because of things that I won't give. I won't take a tag off the Angel Tree and buy a child something to make their Christmas a little merrier. I won't write a substantial check for the church's Christmas offering. It is indeed the giving I will miss. There is no greater joy than giving.

I feel miserly that I am not giving more this year. Just reading the stories and knowing the economic situation I know that there are more people out there than ever that need a bit of help making Christmas for their families this year. Yet the rational part of my brain tells me that nobody can be expected to give more than what they have. It would not be right for me to give and simply put my little family into debt to do so. So I guess I'll live with having to focus on providing Christmas for N, be thankful I'm not one who needs to turn to a charity (other than my parents) for presents for him, and hope there are others out there who have enough that they can give to those charities that won't be receiving from me this year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Well, Now It Makes Sense

I couldn't understand why I wasn't being appointed to the U.S. Senate seat left vacant when Obama became president-elect. Given that all I could offer Blago was to bake him a batch of brownies now it all makes sense. Sigh. . .

Politics as usual in the state of Illinois.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I'll Hang Around as Long as You Will Let Me

I had this post all written, but somehow Blogger ate it. So here's the recreated version, a mere shadow of the original.


This post is an attempt to make sense of my nonsense. As I wrote it the first time I came around to some insights into myself and my relationships with men. These insights are things that I know, and I know that I know these things, but occasionally I need something to hit me upside the head to remind me. Whack! That's what writing this post did for me. Then Blogger ate it, and to tell you the truth maybe that's a good thing. I think the way it was written could have caused me more problems than I need. Hopefully, I can word things better (like not calling myself a sleazy skanky whore) this go round.

What I've been thinking about, and trying to figure out, has to do with my reactions to three men -- W, J, and BJ. The last 2-3 weeks I've been a big pile of emotions, not all of which made me very proud of myself. I have reacted badly to things that all three of these men have said and/or done.

First, I struggled with W being with Q. I've said over and over that it's just all about N and what impact it has on him. Yes, and denial is more than a river in Egypt. Truth be told I felt like I lost W in a way that I hadn't before. Between Q moving in and me finding out about the financial crater W's dug for himself it became crystal clear to me that there is no possibility of turning back now. It is over -- for real and for good. Even though I've said for the longest time that's what I wanted, and I truly believe we are better without each other than with each other, there's this part of me that wanted, and wants, to still hang on to W and can't quite let go.

Second, I think I reacted to J's email like I did because on some level even though I know that when we're around each other a lot he drives me batty I still can't quite shake the "what could have been" thoughts, and I kind of like having him there for me (and it's been that way since my college days) when I want him there for me. Anyway, part of me was just plain ticked that he could move on and marry #3 rather than pine away for me.

Then the third thing is about BJ. I spent a good part of the last two weekends being peeved at BJ for little things, but mostly it all came down to his feline-like independence and aloofness running afoul of my puppy dog-like clinginess. I want more than anything for this man to want me, to want to spend time with me, to share in my life with me and to let me share in his life with him. Too much of the time I feel like there’s a bubble around him, an invisible barrier that I can’t penetrate. I want him to yearn for me the way I yearn for him, to have spending time with me be a priority for him like it is for me. Instead I get time with him when it suits him and his schedule. If we have a weekend available to us, he’ll spend time doing this and that and sundry things while I wait for him to be ready to spend time with me. I feel like I am forever waiting for it to be my turn to have his attention for a while. Is it a philosophy of “always leave them wanting more”? I don’t know, but I indeed do want more. I want to be his priority even sometimes. I want him to be willing to sacrifice sleeping in just every once in a while to do something that I want to do together. I want him to see me as being as important as a good night’s sleep, and right now I feel like I will never achieve that level of importance to him. I will never ever be anything but second to his desire to sleep late, and no matter how hard I try (and believe me I’ve tried and tried) I can’t seem to let go of the hurt I felt when he refused to come hear me preach at church simply because it was too early in the day for him. I will always be the one to compromise my schedule to fit his. This is my fear. Sometimes I wonder if it is his way of getting back at me for me having N as my number one priority.

Okay, so I put all of these things together along with one of the insights I'd had in my "Weight Weight Don't Tell Me" series of posts where I said "It seemed that nobody could ever give me enough comfort, enough love, enough reassurance to make me feel good about myself. It would be a long time before I would come to the understanding that I had to look inside myself for that, not out to the rest of the world, or the next unlucky guy that asked me out on a date." Here's what I get out of all of this: because I don't feel secure enough in my relationship with BJ I feel a need to grasp at the bits and pieces that other men are out there offering me no matter how little or how inadequate they are. I'm trying to somehow piece together a comfort level for myself, and it simply isn't working for me.

If I were a stronger person it would be easier to turn my back on W and on J, and put my energies only into my relationship with BJ knowing that if it didn't work out in the end that I'd be fine on my own. As it is, I don't feel that I'd be fine on my own so rather than risk ending up on my own if somehow things didn't work out with BJ I cling to whatever small pieces are available to me from others. Now, the ironic thing is that by my very act of clinging to those pieces I could very well push BJ away thereby bringing about the very thing that I'm trying to avoid.

And it all boils down to this -- I need to become more secure in myself, to trust that I can take care of myself and don't need to have a man there to shore me up. Only when I can do that am I going to be any good as a partner for anybody.

Positive Self Talk, I Haz It

dog
see more dog pictures

Monday, December 08, 2008

Frosted and Glazed

There are times when things that are frosted or glazed are just fabulous:

Frosty cold mug for root beer? Awesome

Glazed doughnuts? Yummy

Chocolate frosted cake? Delicious

Frosted glass to retain privacy while letting light into the bathroom? I am totally down with that

Then there are times when it just doesn’t work so well:

Frost covered windshield? Pain in the ass

Icy glazed streets, sidewalks and parking lots? Treacherous, and can be a literal pain in the ass if you don’t watch your step.

Welcome to my morning. . .
(No, I didn’t fall, but it took me forever to walk from my car to the building when I got to work. On the way to work I saw the aftermath of three different accidents, and as I drove by the local junior high watched several students sliding and falling on the sidewalk, some deliberately, some accidentally. Give me a foot of snow any day over this hovering-at-freezing-icy-cold-rain-maybe-sleet.)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Busy? Who? Me?

What did I do this weekend?

Friday night - My company Holiday Party

Saturday - Attended Lego Robotic competition for several hours to watch N participate

Saturday night - BJ's company Holiday Party

Sunday morning - taught Sunday School to 5 & 6 year olds

Sunday morning/afternoon - watched N's basketball team in yet another tournament

Sunday afternoon/evening - started putting up the Christmas decorations at home

And now I'm tired. Wonder why?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Chapter IX: Weight - Where Am I going?

Good golly. Where am I now and where am I going? “Messed up, but trying to get better” is the short answer, but if you’ve been following along for a while you know that I never stop at the short answer. If nothing else, I do know how to fill a page (or screen) with words.

I am working to put all the connections together, to really understand how my behavior was formed early on and that if I don’t think, don’t consciously choose not to do certain things I will do them without a thought or hesitation. I learned very early on that food equals comfort, food equals companionship, food is my friend. I also learned that I couldn’t count on my parents for hugs and kisses. They are not that kind of people. They do not hug anyone unless forced into it by some well-meaning unsuspecting person such as N. I could not count on them to love me if I didn’t meet their standards, and I seldom felt that I met their standards. To this day, if I feel like a failure (and anything less than perfection is a failure to me) my gut instinct is to comfort myself with food, and not just any food. It has to be junk food. Eating a plateful of zucchini is not going to be a satisfying binge for me. Well, not unless it is battered and deep-fried, preferably with ranch dressing on the side for dipping. To this day, when I am feeling a lack of affection or uncertain in my relationships, I prowl for the next man I might be able to attract so that I might fill the void physically, if not emotionally.

I have stunned myself by seeing that only once in my entire life have I maintained a monogamous relationship for any significant length of time, and that has been with W. W is the only person I’ve found so far that for several years made me feel protected, loved, and accepted. Only in the last few years of our marriage, as we drifted apart, did I start to feel those old yearnings to find the next man, or another man, or an additional man. Part of my regaining weight I believe was to make myself unattractive to other men, to protect myself from myself and my self-destructive ways with men. I have also realized how much I truly loved W at one time, and how much I had hoped I could get back to that place, that he and I could work together to get back what we used to have or to grow into an even better, healthier place. It has been a most difficult realization to accept that he and I are really through, that even with a counselor that was as much as either of us could have wanted a counselor to be we could not find enough common ground to make things work. I tired so much of hollow agreements made and then broken, of too often hearing that things would change only to have them stay just the same.

I realize that I have to find an alternative way to fill the void other than food and other than men, and that alternative needs to be a physically and emotionally healthy alternative. Not alcohol, not drugs, not smoking (yeah, I did for a while in my teens and 20s, and hadn’t been tempted since until the last couple of years, but I haven’t. It’s expensive, and unhealthy, and smells very bad). So this is where I am. I am looking for the alternative(s). As of this moment, I’m not sure what to substitute or how to find it. (I originally wrote these last few sentences a couple of years ago in the original series of posts. They still apply. Somehow I got stuck at this point.)

I realize that I need to refocus my priorities on my health. I need to focus on eating in healthy ways and not worry what the scale shows for a while. I need to focus on walking, swimming, playing ball with N, anything to get my butt out of the recliner and get me moving. I need to be more consistent in being active rather than letting the least little thing keep me from it. I need to focus on becoming more emotionally healthy, stopping the negative self-talk, trying to set for myself realistic expectations instead of the unattainable perfectionism.

I realize that having BJ in my life means that I have to find a different way of thinking about men, a healthier way. I try very hard to be independent and not to lean on him, and that is very difficult for me to do. I am one who has always leaned on a man, or multiple men, to help prop me up. BJ, unlike W, doesn’t want me to lean on him, and it is probably not healthy for me to do so. In situations where W would have just taken care of something for me, BJ encourages me to do it on my own. I hate that! Yet, at the same time, I appreciate it. It’s not easy standing on your own two feet when you haven’t had to for 20+ years, but it’s a good skill to learn.

I realize that now that I’ve found a job and a church in which I am comfortable I am quite likely headed down the right path to a tranquil and peaceful psyche once I get a couple more pieces in place (like finalizing the divorce for one), and I have to continue, for now, swimming through the shit to finally get there. This too shall pass, as they (whoever “they” are) say.

I still have a lot of work to do to make myself healthy again.

While this is the end of this series of posts on my history of weight related issues I certainly cannot say “The End” here because this is not the end. This is merely the beginning of the rest of the journey.

So I’ll simply end by saying:

To be continued. . .

Note to Self: Heed This Advice!!!

Hadn't posted anything from wikiHow lately, but this came along and I thought, "Hmm, that's something I ought to post. Maybe I'll do that some day." Yeah, that's exactly why I need to read and reread and take to heart and actually do some of the things they advise in this little gem.


How to Overcome Procrastination Using Self Talk


from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

We’re talking to ourselves all the time inside our minds. Even when you’re not paying attention, these relentless mental debates deeply influence our feelings and, ultimately, our behavior.
The good news is that each time that you become aware of such mental dialogues and notice patterns and turn them into productive statements is an opportunity to overcome many unwelcome feelings and behaviors.
Let’s see how this can help us when it comes to procrastination.

Steps


  1. Recognize the procrastinator's motto. Consider the following thought, which for sure has crossed our minds many times in the past, in one form or another:“I have to finish this long, important project. It should already be done by now and I need to plow through it.”This small, seemingly innocent thought contains almost every mental block that encourages procrastination. We all use the Procrastinator’s Motto (or variations of it) every once in a while. If you’re a chronic procrastinator, chances are you repeat it to yourself very frequently — daily, perhaps.But what’s so wrong about the Procrastinator’s Motto? In what ways do these words encourage procrastination so much — and what can we do about it? Now let’s consider each part of this statement in turn, replacing each of them with an empowering alternative. In doing that, we’ll turn the original motto on its head and create a productive call to action: a “Producer’s Motto”, if you like.
  2. Remember that you don't 'have to' do anything. ‘I have to’ is every procrastinator’s favorite expression. It’s also the most disempowering. Every time you say to yourself that you have to do something, you imply that you don’t have any choice, that you feel forced or coerced to do the task — that you don’t really want to do it. That perception, of course, elicits a strong feeling of victimhood and resistance towards doing the task. The solution to this problem is to replace ‘I have to’ with the immensely more empowering alternative ‘I choose to’ or 'I will'. Everything you do is ultimately a choice (yes, even completing tax forms). Using language that expresses choice reminds you of that and brings the feeling of power back.
  3. Focus on starting, rather than finishing. When you focus on finishing something, you direct your attention to a vague, highly idealized future. Visualizing a finished project is motivating for many people, but from the point of view of someone who’s having a hard time starting a task, visualizing a hard-to-grasp future can be overwhelming — even depressing at times. The solution in this case, then, is not to focus on finishing, but on starting. Forget for a minute about the finish line, just concentrate on giving your first step. Bring your focus from the future to what can be done right now. We all know that if you start something a large enough number of times, you’ll eventually finish any task. Starting — all by itself — is usually sufficient to build enough momentum to keep the ball rolling from then on.[1]
  4. Break a long project down into short tasks. Constantly reminding yourself how long and challenging the upcoming undertaking is only adds to the feeling of being overwhelmed, and thus of procrastination. Any undertaking, no matter how daunting, can be broken down into smaller steps. The trick is to, on each step along the way, focus solely on the very next smaller, doable chunk of work. Ignore the big picture for a while and just tackle that next short task. Make it in a way you can easily visualize the outcome coming about very soon. Don’t write a book; write a page. If it still looks intimidating, you may try committing to a time box instead. Of course, keep the big picture in mind, but use it for motivation and direction as needed, and not to frighten yourself before action.
  5. Don't place too much pressure on yourself. “This project has to impress everyone; I really can’t blow this opportunity.” Placing such high hopes on a project only adds to anxiety and fear of failure. Perfectionism arises and only fuels procrastination even more. The way to overcome this mental block is to simply give yourself permission to be human. Allow yourself to be imperfect just in this next small task. Focus on taking an imperfect step remembering that you can always refine your work later. If you’re a serial perfectionist, go one step further and commit yourself to doing a sloppy job on purpose, at least at first. This can be thought of as a step in working toward perfection, but not trying to be perfect in each step, i.e. write a page or two now, but proofread and correct it some other time.
  6. Stop thinking about the way things 'should' be. The expression 'should' is usually associated with blame and guilt. When you say you should be doing something (instead of what you’re actually doing), you focus on comparing an ideal reality with your current, “bad” reality. You focus not on what is, but on what could have been. Misused 'shoulds' can elicit feelings of failure, depression and regret. The solution is to focus not on how you feel now, but on how good you’ll feel after you begin to take action.
  7. Make some directed action — even the tiniest progress is success — moving towards a goal is the best motivator. The trick is to bring that expected feeling of accomplishment into the present — and know that the real joy of progress is only a small task away. That small step is success. Success is not the end of the process, but it is the actions that cause progress and lead you to your next step.
  8. Make it fun! “I’ve got to work all weekend”. “I am trapped in this laborious project”. Long periods of isolation can bring an enormous feeling of resentment. This feeling generates a strong sense of deprivation and resistance towards the task. The way to overcome this mental block is to not allow long stretches of work to creep into your activities. Schedule frequent breaks that will not take long or take you too far. Plan small rewards along the way. One idea is to work near a break area. Have something to look forward to — not far away and not at the end of a long stretch — but in the very near future. When rewards are small, frequent — and deserved — they work wonders. Truly commit to brief bursts of relaxation and leisure time. In fact, go ahead and make it mandatory. This “reverse-psychology” can by itself bring you to a whole different mindset, both more productive and enjoyable.
  9. Rephrase your internal dialog. Time to check what we’ve accomplished with all the word substitutions. We started with:“I have to finish this long, important project. It should already be done by now and I need to plow through it.”And ended up with:“I choose to start this task with a small, imperfect step. I’ll feel terrific and have plenty time for fun!” Quite a change, eh? Every time you catch yourself repeating the Procrastinator’s Motto or any of its parts to yourself, stop and rephrase it. Then check how you feel. While it may seem just a matter of word choices at first, when you try this simple way of reframing your thoughts, you’ll see how instantly it changes your attitude towards working on your tasks. Moreover, if you turn it into a habit, you’ll be slowly reprogramming your thoughts, leading to a positive, permanent change in your mindset.


Tips


  • Some other "procrastinator phrases" include:[2]
    • "I just don't really feel like doing this right now. I will do it later."
    • "It's no big deal if it doesn't get done."
    • "It won't take me that long."
    • "It's not fair."

  • Taking on a second-person view can also help. Tell yourself: "You know you’re just putting this off. Take the time right now and get it done. You’ll feel better and you won’t have to deal with it later."[3]


Related wikiHows




Sources and Citations



  1. This is what Mark Forster calls the “I’ll just get the file out” technique.

  2. http://livingwelltools.com/procrastination.htm

  3. http://www.catalystorganizing.com/articles/Later_Never_Comes.pdf



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Friday, December 05, 2008

It Goes to Character Your Honor

I received the following email this morning. It was actually sent around 3:00 this morning. J is not the man I ever thought he was. This email has proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt. I will admit to being disappointed. I thought he was better than this.

As background he and I stayed in touch for a while after I moved to LNJ. We were friends, or so I thought. When BJ went through his Insanity last winter, and K dumped me, and W moved out, and I was feeling low and uncertain I did reach out to J, only to find out he was engaged so I backed right off and left him alone.

Now, several months later I get this email:

Hi TS,
Hi sweetie....How are you? I apologize for not writing very fast. The last two months have been hectic. I lost an aunt and uncle in a 9 day period. I put in about 120 hours of overtime. I have been tying up loose ends at church and trying to help with my mom. Then I didn't know exactly what to say when I did write.
I hope you had a decent Thanksgiving despite everything. I hope Christmas goes well somehow for you and N.
I really don't want to say anything that may even hint at being selfish. I agree with you. I don't believe you should be just a lay for anyone. I always hated you being married to W. I, yes I am going to say it, wish BJ would get lost. There I am, married again. We have been since the Spring. The thing is that I could be married to this one for the next 30 years, but I have come to a realization. I hope you feel the same way so I don't come off like some pansy. I love you, and will always. I always wish there was a way where we could at least hook up for a day, talk, hang out together, and make love to each other and show each other how we feel for one another again. I wish we lived a lot closer to each other. That is the reason I said something about you coming to [his town] sometime. If I wasn't married, I would come up there and sweep you off your feet. You deserve someone to do that. I just don't want to have sex with you. Making love to you and showing you the affection you need is important. I don't want you to think that where I am concerned. I know it may sound strange that I am saying this with being married again, but my feeling for you are never going to go away. We were married before and we met to hang out and make love. I went to LNJ with you and we spent the night together. If I had a chance to do it again, I would go with you. TS, I will always love you. I apologize for being the shy kid back in high school and not being outgoing. We could have married each other back then. Maybe we could have been able to maintain our girlish figures lol and all would have been great.
But we are here now. You and I are always going to stay in touch. I know what you are going through. I really do. If the opportunity arises I would like to see you. I hope to hear from you soon. I love you sweetheart. I always will.
Love always,
J

Not the man I thought he was at all. Not at all. Don’t think I can even remain friends at this point. May take some time to figure out what, if anything, to write back.

Are all men idiots?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Next Up: Peace in the Middle West

Regarding this post I want to do a little follow up. I’m not sure it all came across the way I intended, and even if it did I want to share a little of the conversation W and I had that night about the issues I had, and some I didn’t even know I had.

The parts about that previous post that I thoroughly enjoyed were (1) finding out that his financial life isn’t all that he makes it out to be and (2) sending the Credit Card Guy to calling him way earlier than he cares to be awoken in the morning.

There were plenty of parts I didn’t like such as (1) finding out that his financial life is as much a shambles as it would have been for years had I not been the one in our marriage to rein in the out-of-control spending so I fear he will be broke almost as soon as I pay him for his share of the equity in the house, (2) realizing just how important it is to legally rid myself of him and his money woes, and probably most importantly (3) finding out that N was privy to what I considered way TMI with regard to Q. In addition, N had talked to me just the night before about issues he has with W and Q. I told him he would need to take up those issues with W to which he replied that Q is always around so he can’t talk to W privately.

All of that led to my final statement of the post that if I didn’t get what I considered appropriate responses from W regarding my concerns I would head straight into my attorney’s office and start handling things on a whole new level.

At lunchtime that day I tried to call W and naturally got voicemail. No surprise there. I left him a message asking that we talk that evening by phone over some issues that N had raised with me that had me concerned. In the middle of the afternoon, W called me at work, oblivious that I’d left him a message, said he’d never gotten it, to tell me he and Q were going out of town for the afternoon/evening. (like I care; I am not sure his point here other than liking to rub my nose in the fact that he has someone now; truth be told I could care less what they do when or where as long as it doesn’t impact N, and he wasn’t scheduled to have N that day at all so there was no reason to tell me his/their plans; whatever) I told him that in the message I asked if we could talk later that evening after N was in bed or sometime the next day. He agreed to talk later that evening.

(Okay, okay, I know this is a lot of detail, probably more than you want to know, but I’m kind of using this blog as documentation for myself in case I need it later in the divorce proceedings so bear with me here. (I almost wrote “bare” instead of “bear.” Heh, heh. Now that could lead to something more interesting.))

Fast forward to later that evening following N and I attending a heartbreaking Illini loss to Clemson in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, returning home and getting N to bed. I call W. He starts the conversation by saying that he thinks he knows what I want to discuss. Really? He thinks it has to do with some bad language. I, having not a clue what he was referencing but assuming Q must have a mouth on her, played dumb and asked if N had been using language of which we don’t approve. Oh no, he assured me, N hadn’t said anything inappropriate. Ah, I said, so Q was the one? Yes, he explained that Q had used some language that has never been allowed in our family (at least in front of N) and that N had given W “the look” when it happened. W assured me that he had spoken to Q about it, and there would no longer be a problem. Okay, well there was one problem we had that I didn’t even know before, but at least it appeared to be resolved. (May I also say here and now that I have never had any problem at all with BJ acting and speaking inappropriately around N. BJ and I, when by ourselves, may talk with coarser language, but never in front of N. It wasn’t even something we ever had to discuss, ever.)

Moving on, I told W that wasn’t what I had wanted to discuss, but I was glad he shared it with me. I started with N’s complaint that he has no time when he can talk to W privately. I explained that I try to encourage N to take up issues he has with W or Q with W directly, but that N tells me he can’t because Q is always right there. W started to dispute that he and N have no time together without Q. However, he then went into how it will soon be better once she starts her job next week, and she won’t be around during the day so that when he has N after school it will be just the two of them. I told him that he needs to talk to N about it and provide N with a way to approach him to talk about things without Q’s participation. He agreed. (at least verbally he agreed, whether he follows through may be a very different story)

I then broached the subject of TMI being shared inappropriately. I told W that I have no interest in what his and Q’s relationship is or what other relationships Q may or may not have, but N needs to have good examples set for him. That may mean not talking about certain things in his presence. That may mean modifying behavior in his presence. It definitely means that I will not stand by and allow my son to be exposed to ideas and concepts that are beyond his years. While W argued that N misconstrued things that had been said (and I agree that N has a way of twisting things sometimes) I said that it is important that we help him understand when he misunderstands and do our best to keep his best interests as our #1 priority. He agreed. (at least verbally he agreed, whether he follows through may be a very different story)

My next issue for discussion was W and I needing to be able to discuss things related to N and our divorce without Q’s participation and input. I shared with him my discomfort when she was unable to stay out of simple discussions that take place when I pick N up at his apartment. I feel it is completely inappropriate for her to offer her input when W and I are talking about N’s welfare. I offered that perhaps it is because she doesn’t have children that she doesn’t understand boundaries (and that applies to most of the issues that I have with her). I also explained that if I am hesitant to engage in conversation with him in her presence that is the reason. I will no longer speak to him about such things in her presence and will defer any discussions that he tries to initiate in her presence. I reminded him that I always tried to stay out of his relationships with his first family, not interjecting into their discussions or disagreements. If I felt I had input to offer him I would do it only after the fact, in private just to him. I expect Q to show that same respect. He agreed and said he would address it with Q. (at least verbally he agreed, whether he follows through may be a very different story)

My final issue that I raised was Q living with W. I told him that it made me uncomfortable, particularly given the issues above. I told him that I have always made it very clear to N when he asks about BJ and me that I’m not willing to go there until the divorce is final. I told W that I think it is a very bad example to set for N to have a girlfriend (or boyfriend) move in when any of the parties are still married. At this point, W assured me that Q living with him is a temporary thing, until Q finds a place of her own. I guess I’m glad that this conversation was taking place over the phone so W couldn’t see my eyes rolling into the back of my head. I couldn’t help but think that when I moved up here it took me one weekend to find a place to rent. Of course, I was looking for cheap and temporary so it wasn’t quite the same thing. Even still she ought to find something in a couple of weeks I would think. We shall see.

I reminded him that I was trying to make this a cooperative thing, not an adversarial thing. Like it or not, we have to deal with each other for at least another eight years until N is no longer a minor.

The upshot is that W was cooperative enough (for now) to keep me from dragging the attorney into it (for now).

An uneasy truce has settled upon the land.

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

Oh, and as an aside, there were several points in the conversation where I got the feeling that there may be trouble in paradise over at W's place. Hmm, perhaps being together 24/7 this last week or so isn't all it's cracked up to be. Can't imagine why that could be. I mean, after all, they've known each other for at least a month. That should be plenty of time to decide to live together, right? /snark

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Chapter VIII: The Recent Past(ry)

All the previous chapters were originally written in June 2006 when I published them on my other blog. This chapter is about the time since then, the time covered by this blog so you’ve been witness (or had the opportunity at least) to what has gone on in my life.

Over the last two and a half years:
I struggled with depression.
I became an unfaithful spouse.
I fought to hold my marriage together.
I fought to get out of my marriage.
I fought to reconnect with J.
I realized J wasn’t the right guy after all.
I found BJ.
I lost BJ.
I found BJ again.
I left another unsatisfying job.
I finally found a job I like.
I became a member of a church that didn’t want me.
I finally became a member of a church that not only wants me but appreciates me.
I moved from LOH to LNJ.
I tried and gave up on weight management repeatedly.
I got hit by a car and sustained injuries to my right foot.
I fell down the concrete steps in front of BJ’s apartment building and sustained injuries that are still unhealed to my left leg.
I returned to within 10 lbs of my all time high weight.
I struggled with finances.
I struggled with living on my own and caring for myself.

To say that stress has played some part in my life the last couple of years would be akin to saying that Native Americans were pressured slightly by the Europeans a couple of centuries ago. When I look at the long laundry list of things that have happened (many admittedly self-inflicted) it is no wonder to me that I have often felt out of control and like I was losing my grip on reality. In the midst of it all, I repeatedly turned to my oldest, dearest and most faithful friend – food. Throw in a little alcohol consumption on the side of course, just for good measure.

So what are my stats now? I’m at about 335 lbs. and wearing a 28W or 30W depending on the brand of clothing and how stretchy it is. Ouch. I have a closet full of clothes I can’t wear because they’re too small, and when I was losing weight I gave away my old too big clothes. With finances such as they are, my wearable wardrobe is down to four pair of slacks, two skirts, one pair of jeans, three split skirts, half a dozen sweaters, three long sleeve shirts and about a dozen short sleeve tops. I have a few sweatshirts that sort of fit but are really too tight and a couple pair of sweatpants that are the same. I am back to having nightmares about not having enough clothing, similar to the nightmares that would haunt my nights when I was in high school and college and not allowed to buy new clothing just because I couldn’t fit in the old clothing. The answer is so simple. Eat less. Lose the weight. Then I would have a multitude of clothes that fit. I would have work clothes and dressy clothes and casual clothes. If only I could, or would, lose the weight.

To be continued. . .

Next Installment: Looking toward the future

Because It Is, After All, All About Me

It's BJ's birthday. (Go visit him at his blog and tell him "Happy Birthday" or send him birthday greetings at bjxxx AT yahoo DOT com)

I'm taking him out for dinner this evening, and I may just have a little present for him too. However, when he's blessed with someone like this:
fun quiz for myspace profile and blog
what more could he want?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I Enjoyed That Perhaps Just a Little Too Much

(It is morning in the Trueself household. N and TS are preparing to leave for the day. The phone rings)

TS: (grumbling) Who calls this early in the day?

(TS picks up the phone and sees on Caller ID that it is a credit card company with whom she has no credit card.)

TS: Hello?

Credit Card Guy (CCG) with strong Indian accent: May I speak to W please?

TS: I'm sorry he no longer lives here.

CCG: He is not at this number? Could I confirm the telephone number with you?

TS: Sure, it's [and I gave the phone number, and no, I'm not even coming close to giving it out here, but suffice to say it was a three digit area code, three digit local code, and four digit number so you go figure it out now]. Would you like his new number?

CCG: Hmm? Oh, okay sure. Hold on. . . (What did he need to do, go get a crayon and some paper? Doesn't he sit in front of a computer where he could just enter the information?) Yes, go ahead.

TS: Okay, it's [and I gave the phone number, and no, I'm not giving that one out either no matter how much I would love to share his number with the world so that he could receive harrassing phone calls at odd hours].

CCG: Do you know what time would be a good time to reach him?

TS: I'd say about anytime during the day (thinking to myself: since he doesn't work or anything)

CCG: So do you think this would be a good time to call him?

TS: (looking at watch, seeing that it is just after 8:00 a.m. and knowing W loves to sleep late, like 10:00 or so) Absolutely! I think this would be a very good time to call him.

CCG: Okay, I will get this in the database today. It may take up to 24 hours for this change to be recorded in the database so please ignore any further calls you may receive from Credit Card Co. in the next 24 hours.

(TS hangs up phone.)

N: Who was that?

TS: Just someone looking for your dad.

N: Who?

TS: I don't know. Just someone with a heavy Indian accent that made it hard to understand.

N: Dad's dating an Indian?

TS: No, Dad has Q. He wouldn't have more than one girlfriend at a time.

N: Q does. She's got a very bestest friend who's a guy and isn't Dad.

TS: Hmm, well I don't know about any of that (and thinking to myself that there can be a big difference between best friends and lovers so it may be nothing anyway), but no this was a business call not anyone Dad is dating.

(The scene ends as TS and N leave the house to begin their day.)

I will be speaking to W today and if I don't get adequate answers and cooperation, I will be speaking with my attorney forthwith.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Chapter VII: Weight Loss – End Success, Begin Fail

When we moved, most of the things with which I had been so comfortable no longer were: no job and little comfort about finding a new one, my home life was in turmoil and in boxes, finances were a huge question mark given the no job thing, and of course in leaving our home we were also leaving our church community. N remained a joy most of the time, but acted out from the stresses he felt at leaving behind friends from his preschool and adults that played a significant role in his young life. Life was definitely no longer comfortable.

We spent a bit more than a week driving two minivans halfway across the country to our new home. We took our time, stopping in several locations along the way to spend a day or two visiting with various family members. We were in no hurry to arrive in LOH because escrow on our house would not close until two weeks after we arrived even with our slow cross country journey. We would be living with my parents for those two weeks (yikes!) while we waited to get into our house. No need to prolong that living arrangement so we took our time getting there.

Amazingly enough, I was able to continue my WW success the first month or so after we arrived. I had not yet found a WW meeting to attend but had been doing it long enough that I knew what to do like the back of my hand. By the time I did return to a meeting I weighed in at 211 so I was still making progress. Over the next several months, I struggled to find a leader that I clicked with and never really did. For a while I did keep losing, and as earlier stated eventually hit 197, for one week. I really, really struggled right around the 200 lb. point. Under 200 lbs, the points allowed per day were significantly less than when I started. I struggled to stay within my points allowance and couldn’t bear to think of having to ratchet down again when I hit 175 and then 150. My focus shifted from health to the scale. It was a bad shift.

I don’t know if W and I were just incredibly busy and forgot about each other, or if we were struggling each in our own way to deal with the upheaval in our lives, but I do know that we were not as close as we had been in the past. There was very little physical affection between us, kisses were only light pecks on the cheek and sex occurred only when I would initiate it. I didn’t like the feeling that I was forcing myself on W so I would wait a long time from one time to the next, always hoping he would show some level of interest on his own. That didn’t happen. I started to feel that old urge to look for comfort in someone or something else.

My weight started to drift upward. I became sloppy about what I journalled. After our move, I had not continued my walking as I did not enjoy having to walk up and down the hills of our neighborhood (our old neighborhood had been flat and easy walking). I got one job where lunch was brought in for us from local restaurants every day sometimes, not always, making it difficult to find a low-point choice. Several months later, I left that job for a new job at a different company where I quickly learned that the stress was enormous, the CEO was (in my opinion) unethical, and the work hours completely outrageous (more than once I arrived home after 1:00 a.m. despite starting my day at 8:30 a.m.). I only lasted five months there and gained at least 30 lbs, an alarming rate of gain. I found a new job, again, and things leveled off for a while. The work was not demanding, and I could easily get it done with time left over. I didn’t gain, but also didn’t lose. I tried a new WW meeting, one that I liked okay, and I made a small amount of progress. I struggled to regain my old WW habits, and it wasn’t coming nearly as easily this time around. I started to see a therapist to discuss the issues that I have with eating, binging, weight, etc hoping that I could gain control before things got too far out of hand.

The next crisis hit. In the summer of 2005, W got sick, very sick, and spent a couple of weeks in the hospital. It was a scary time. I completely set aside all thoughts of weight control, and I lost control completely. Often I would leave the hospital only to hit the nearest drive-through on the way home. I binged on all manner of fast food, but my favorite was Long John Silvers fish, Steak ‘n’ Shake Onion Rings and Dairy Queen blizzards, not generally all in the same day though it wouldn’t completely surprise me if I did have all three of those things in one day a time or two that summer. I could barely drive by a fast food place without being tempted to pull through and get something, anything.

After W’s illness and surgery, I told him that I would wait for him to be ready to resume intimacy in the bedroom and would wait until he initiated something. He never did.

W healed, and things started to look better. Then in early autumn of that same year W fell, breaking his shoulder. We were back in crisis mode, and my eating was back in binge mode. By the time I made my way back to WW that November, I weighed 275 lbs. Over the holidays, I would lose a little one week, gain a little the next. By the time I left WW in February I still weighed 275 lbs. W finally healed from the fall and started feeling better. W still had made no moves toward me regarding intimacy. His coldness was too reminiscent of the coldness I felt from my parents in my childhood. I ached for some attention, some touch, some comfort. I feel fortunate I only gained 10 more lbs. during my most severe bout with depression in early 2006, bringing me to a hefty 285 lbs, wearing 26W again after having been in sizes as small as 16 (without the W) around the time I started this blog as J reentered my life, and as I’ve well documented in my archives here all manner of chaos ensued.

To be continued. . .

Next installment: My Weight the Last Couple of Years