Thursday, July 31, 2008

About the Poll

If you were wondering about the poll in the sidebar I was curious how other people see the situation of kids and movies and attending by themselves. When I posted the poll I had already come down with a ruling for N. As you might guess, he's the one pushing for the autonomy to attend a movie by himself.

So here are my rules, and you can see how they compare to the poll results there:

Since N has shown to be an independent and responsible boy in many ways, I have decided that since he is "almost 10" he may go to a movie without an adult as long as the following rules are followed:
(1) An adult (and anytime I refer to "adult" please understand most of the time it will be me) with N must be at the megaplex also either attending another movie or hanging out in the lobby.
(2) N may only see G and PG rated movies without an adult sitting through every minute of the movie with him. PG-13 movies may be seen only with adult supervision and only after W or I has seen the movie and approved it for his viewing. R movies are out of the question, don't even ask.
(3) N stays within the confines of the movie theater where his movie is being shown except to visit the restroom, or if the theater is being evacuated for an emergency. All snack purchases are to be made prior to entering the theater.
(4) When the movie is over, N is to stay within the lobby area of the megaplex until his adult companion is located.
(5) N will watch the movie without excessive noise and without indulging in inappropriate behavior.
(6) If any of the above rules are violated, N will not be allowed to attend movies without adult supervision until he is very, very old.

Although we have established these rules we haven't tried them out yet. The only movie N has seen since the rules were established is The Dark Knight. Since it's PG-13 I went to see it first, approved it for his viewing, and then took him to see it. It was awesome by the way. I didn't really mind having to see it twice.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

And From the Addled Brain Comes. . .

Look there! Over there
See it in the western sky?
It is there, waiting

Blank canvas upon
Which to paint a beautiful
Warm summer’s sunset

See? Orange and Blue
It is proof beyond all doubt
God loves Illini!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What I Wish I Had the Guts to Say

Tell me, please, what would be enough communication with you regarding N’s schedule? Why is it that for me to put together a monthly schedule is too much communication and that you think we should just “play it by ear” but then when I tell you months in advance about certain activities that have been planned, and paid for, that N will be attending then I didn’t give you enough notice when I send the monthly schedule to you that includes that event? Why is it that when I ask you for your input on the schedule you tell me it is just fine only to have you claim later that you had no idea you were supposed to have N during one of the times that the schedule clearly indicates that you are supposed to have him? Just how much communication do you want? What is enough? What is too much? What in the hell can I do to make this work more smoothly?

It is becoming increasingly obvious that you simply intend to use N as a pawn in this colossal chess game we call Life. I can see that you intend to use the scheduling of time with him as a way to control me, to keep me in line, to prevent me from having social outings with friends, to prevent me from being able to do fun things with N that are planned in advance. Does that make you happy? Do you sit in your apartment grinning from glee that you are able to continue to exert your control over me due to the fact we share a son? Or are you just so oblivious to everything and everybody other than yourself that you truly don’t get that you are totally fucking with your son’s and my psyches with your little passive aggressive bullshit? Do you care that not only do you hurt me, but you hurt your son? Does your son mean that little to you?

How did I ever love someone who could behave this way? What on earth was I thinking?

Thursday, July 24, 2008


So much is jumbled in my brain right now that I can’t seem to make heads or tails of it to even post about it. Yet there is frustration welling within me that I just need to vent somehow, and usually that somehow is posting. Therefore, this will be a stream of consciousness post – random tidbits floating through my head that need a place to park.

  • I dreamed that I came home and there was a hammer sticking out of my mailbox. That is absolutely all I remember of that dream. I don’t even remember any emotions associated with it, just that it seemed a bit unusual for a hammer to be sticking out of the mailbox. Weird.

  • I love my bed. It is the perfect bed for me, not too hard, not too soft, not too big, not too small. It is (as Goldilocks would say) JUST RIGHT. Having made that determination I have now decided that before I rent the master bedroom out to a tenant I will switch furniture between the master bedroom and my new room (old guest room). Bad news: lots of furniture moving to be done. Good news: at least both rooms are on the same floor of the house just down the hall from each other.

  • I love having BJ close by. It is ever so much better to see him every week or two than the sometimes months that would go by without seeing each other before he moved.

  • Budget constraints being what they are I have rediscovered the joys of eating at home. I haven’t made any great strides towards cooking real food from scratch, but even using convenience foods from the store is cheaper than eating out. Tonight I’m going to make banana bread with the bananas that are getting just a touch over ripe for eating by themselves so that will be at least a little bit of real cooking.

  • W totaled his car recently. He’s okay. I know, I know, it ain’t none of my business nomore, but I really wish he would quit driving and make the roads safer for everyone.

  • W is frustrating the crap out of me when it comes to N. He used to take care of all the appointments for things like doctors, dentists, haircuts, sports registration, and so forth. Now he refuses to do any of that and tells me that’s my job now because I wanted a divorce. Am I the only one who thinks that he and I divorcing shouldn’t impact that? Am I the only one who thinks that if he has N during the day he should be willing to take N to appointments rather than make me miss work to come and get him, take him to the appointment, and return him to W’s place? Am I the one being unreasonable here?

  • All of the above items are just little surface crap and not at all getting to the heart of the issue. I’m not letting myself open up even to myself about the heart of the issue. The ugliness of feelings will continue until I do.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Some Good Advice IMHO

I know I read blogs by men who seem to be plagued by the "nice guy" image. I hope they also read my blog. I read this yesterday and thought it was pretty good so I thought I would share it here.

How to Break the "Nice Guy" Stereotype

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

You've probably heard the phrase "nice guys finish last" and perhaps you've experienced it as you watch pushy, inconsiderate guys get the job you want or get the romantic attention of someone you've been pining for. It doesn't seem fair, does it? There's nothing wrong with being nice, but when you're so nice to everyone that you stop being nice to yourself, your efforts can backfire. Here are some ways to show people that you value yourself and that they should value you, too.


  1. Stop agreeing with everyone and everything. That doesn't mean that you should disagree or argue for its own sake, but you're your own person with your own opinions and preferences. If you find yourself agreeing with everyone, you might be undercutting your individuality. Think for yourself and speak up. Not every disagreement is an argument, and a difference of opinion can sometimes lead to interesting discussion in which you learn a great deal about how a person thinks and how they feel about a lot of things.
  2. Stop being a people pleaser. Don't bend over backwards to accommodate everyone except yourself. If you identify with the "nice guy" dilemma, you're probably a kind person who loves to help people, and that's wonderful. But don't be so humble that you become a slave to everyone else's needs and expectations. It's healthy to have your own needs and goals, and to fulfill them and help others at the same time, without putting someone else's priorities way above yours. Avoid "parasitic" relationships where you give, give, give and never get. Strive to form mutually beneficial relationships.
    • Learn to say no. When people ask you to do something that you don't feel comfortable doing, for whatever reason, you have every right to decline. If you find yourself saying yes without considering your time or desire to help, get in the habit of saying, "Let me check my schedule and get back with you." This will give you a chance to reflect on your availability and rehearse how you will tell them "no". There are manipulative people in the world who will make you feel guilty (in a very subtle way). Learn how to recognize a controlling or manipulative relationship and break the pattern.
    • Use nonviolent communication to convey your discomfort, concerns or needs. Some people are taught that it's not nice to say anything negative, but the fact is that there are conflicts in life and they need to be addressed in order to be resolved so we can have healthy, balanced and happy relationships. By learning gentle communication skills, such as giving a feedback sandwich, you'll feel much better about discussing topics that you would normally avoid.

  3. Draw the line. Don't allow people to disrespect or ignore you. Stand up for yourself. If a co-worker steals your idea and passes it off as his own, you're not being nice by letting it slide. You're being cowardly. If your date doesn't show up, and doesn't even bother to call beforehand or afterwards to explain, you're not being nice by overlooking a lack of consideration. You're being a doormat.
  4. Pace yourself. Be patient with yourself and with others. At work, this means not biting off more than you can chew. In dating, it means not getting too attached too quickly. Don't give someone everything they want, all at once, and expect nothing in return. Every relationship is a two-way street.
    • At work, do you regularly stay late without being asked? Do you volunteer to help more than others, or pick up the slack for your co-workers? By doing this, you're communicating to your boss and co-workers that your time is not valuable; you give it away frequently and without being asked, and you never indicate that there's anything else you'd like to do with your time, and they might even be convinced that you enjoy staying late and working extra hard. To bring some balance back into the situation, there are a few things you can do:
      • If your boss is giving you all the extra work because you do a better job than your co-workers, then ask for a raise or promotion.
      • Ask your boss about hiring another staff person, or rotating who stays late until the work load subsides. Ask your boss how long he or she estimates the late nights will be necessary.
      • There are plenty of people out there that rather than do the assignment themselves they will pass it on to you, or even volunteer you to take over a particular project, without even asking you if you're busy or not. Don't accept it. Tell them you need to review your workload first. Also let that person know that they should have been considerate to ask you before hand. If you do get dumped on (and you accept) then by all means don't take on the whole project by yourself. You would be setting yourself up for failure or worse. If you do a great job then it'll be your assignment for all eternity. Ask for an assistant or two. That way down the road you can come up with your own excuse to back out and leave it in their hands.

    • When dating, don't shower a romantic interest with flowers, stuffed animals, jewelry, expensive dinners, a cruise, etc. in the very beginning. You're in the courtship phase and might feel like you need to show how worthy you are, but this person needs to show worthiness of being your mate as well. Does this person meet your standards? Save the bulk of your affection and gifts for someone who already supports you and shows appreciation.
      • Wait for a love-interest to reach out to you once in a while. How could you really be certain that this person wants to spend time with you, if you're always the one calling and suggesting it?
      • Continue spending time with your friends and pursuing your interests even when you're dating. Don't allow a romantic prospect to consume your life.

  5. Remember that you don't NEED anyone to be happy. Once you feel you "need" something, as in you want it so badly that you'd do almost anything to get it, and it's something that only someone else can give to you (i.e. someone else's approval, regard, or affection) you essentially put your happiness completely in someone else's control. In other words, you give that person all the power, making yourself appear weak and "needy". Instead, base your self-worth on your own actions and efforts, rather than on how others perceive you. Rejection and criticism is difficult to deal with, but sometimes it's undeserved. Don't spend your whole life trying to avoid people thinking negatively of you. Do what you feel is right, no matter what anyone else thinks. All you need to be happy, ultimately, is self-respect.
  6. Continue being nice. The niceness isn't what gets the stereotypical nice guy into trouble. You can be a gentleman without being a pushover. You can be sweet without being suffocating. You can be humble without being self-deprecating. It's all about finding a good balance. Surround yourself with nice people who will consider you as much as you consider them, and do your best to teach others how they can be nice to you and in general.


  • Since you already know how to be nice, work on building your confidence and being bold--two traits that the stereotypical "nice guy" is commonly perceived to lack.
  • There's a difference between appreciating a love-interest and worshipping a love-interest. We're all human! By putting someone on a pedestal, you're not only fostering an unhealthy balance in the relationship, but you're also creating a set of unrealistic expectations. That kind of pressure can make someone feel unable to be at ease around you.


  • Be careful not to turn all the way around and be mean to people all the time and stop helping others. Find a good balance of being a gentleman and being bold.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Break the "Nice Guy" Stereotype. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's Another Meme!!

1. Have you ever been searched by the cops?
No, guess I look like a good girl.

2. Do you close your eyes on roller coasters?
Never! What would the fun be in that?

3. When’s the last time you’ve been sledding?
Probably when I was about 11 or 12 years old, you know just a few years ago.

4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone?
I’d rather sleep with someone else. I love to snuggle against a nice warm body.

5. Do you believe in ghosts?

Sort of.

6. Do you consider yourself creative?
No more than a tree stump.

7. Do you think O.J. killed his wife?
No, but I believe he killed his ex-wife.

8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?

Jennifer, no doubt about it!

9. Do you stay friends with your exes?

Yeah, that's definitely a habit I have.

10. Do you know how to play poker?

11. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?
Not that I remember, but back in college I definitely pulled some all nighters so I might have.

12. What’s your favorite commercial?

The Geico "Caveman" commercials.

13. What are you allergic to?
Neomycin, most pollens.

14. If you’re driving in the middle of the night, and no one is around do you run red lights?
Of course, but only after I look carefully to make sure there is no traffic.

15. Do you have a secret that no one knows but you?

I'm such a blabbermouth that I doubt it.

16. Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees?
Red Sox

17. Have you ever been Ice Skating?

Never, and I am quite certain I would hurt myself severely if I tried.

18. How often do you remember your dreams?

Almost every night.

19. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
It's been so long I can't even remember.

20. Can you name 5 songs by The Beatles?

I'm pretty sure I can. Let's see. . .
(1) Eleanor Rigby
(2) Yellow Submarine
(3) Hard Day's Night
(4) Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
(5) When I'm 64
Hmm,that was harder than I thought. I can hum a bunch of them, but their names escape me.

21. What’s the one thing on your mind now?
How I'm ever going to make personal income > personal expenses.

22. Do you count stairs?


23. Do you always wear your seat belt?

Yes. . . well almost always.

24. What cell service do you use?


25. Do you like sushi?

The vegetarian kind only

26. Have you ever narrowly avoided a fatal accident?
I don't think so, not unless it was one of those things that you narrowly avoid but are completely oblivious

27. What do you wear to bed?

Most of the time nothing at all, nightgown or t-shirt if I'm cold, underpants if it's that certain time of month

28. Been caught stealing?


29. What shoe size do you have?

8 or 8 1/2 depending on the brand and style

30. Do you truly hate anyone?

Nope. Life's too short.

31. Classic Rock or Rap?

Classic Rock, not even a close call there.

32. If you could sleep with one famous person, who would it be?
Paula Poundstone. To me she is the biggest turn on there is.

33. Favorite Song?

There's no way I could pick just one. I love all Dan Fogelberg's music. Oh, okay, if I had to pick one favorite I guess it would be Netherlands.

34. Have you ever sang in front of the mirror?

Not even close.

35. What food do you find disgusting?

Almost all meat.

36. Do you sing in the shower?

Of course! I sound great in there!

37. Did you ever play, “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours”?

Only once.

38. Have you ever made fun of your friends behind their back?
Not friends, no.

39. Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
Yes, just last week as a matter of fact.

40. Have you ever been punched in the face?


Monday, July 21, 2008

How Come TS Ain’t Bloggin’?

Summary: Life is kickin’ my ass.

A few of the details:
  • I’ve been serving on a very busy short-term committee at my church. Our work will be complete within the next few weeks, but lately (particularly last week) much time has been devoted to it.

  • The personal budget has been of much concern to me lately. After the initial panic, I’ve started to develop a plan to make things work. Part of the plan includes me moving from the master bedroom to the “guest room” and renting the master bedroom out. I think that I can get a decent price for it as it is a pretty spacious room with its own private bath. Now I just have to get my butt in gear and get it ready.

  • I have been away from home three weekends in a row. Fun times for the most part but not conducive to getting anything productive accomplished.

I'll be back to regular blogging at some point just don't know when. . . maybe when I have something to say. Now that would be a whole new approach for me!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Blogger Weekend, Part III

So we left off at dinner on Saturday night. Dinner was great, and we sat for so long that the restaurant staff was practically done cleaning by the time we left. We were in my car so I started to drive Drama and Fusion back to Drama's place. However, as we approached the railroad tracks we could see the red lights flashing, the arms down, and traffic starting to back up. Drama told us to be prepared to be patient because it could be a long time as the freight trains that go through can take a while.

We waited. We saw no train. We rolled down the windows and listened. We heard no train. We waited. We couldn't turn around due to a raised median. We couldn't go forward or backward due to other cars. We sat. No train appeared. People from other cars started getting out and wandering up and down the street, some talking on cell phones. Clearly their was a bit of a glitch with the railroad crossing. No train, yet the arms stayed down and the lights continued to flash. Eventually a police officer arrived on the scene. He told us that it would be an hour before the railroad would get someone out to fix the problem so he instructed us to back up to the corner and gave directions for an alternate route.

Finally, we got Drama and Fusion dropped off at Drama's house. BJ and I headed back to our hotel. However, as we approached the railroad tracks on the road back to the hotel the red lights started flashing and the arms lowered. We were stunned. Not again! In a completely different location! Aack! I started to wonder aloud about driving around the lowered arm, but then I saw the lights of the train. It was a real train this time. Glory hallelujah! It's much easier to wait on a real train to pass than an imaginary one. We started waiting patiently, but our patience started to wear thin when the train slowed and appeared it might come to a complete stop. We waited. We watched as train car after train car rolled past at a snail's pace. Finally, the end of the train crawled past, the arms eventually raised, and we were finally able to make our way back to the hotel.

I was exhausted by the time we got to our room. I stripped down, collapsed on the bed and was sound asleep way before BJ ever even came to bed. One thing BJ got to see on this weekend together is how I react in frustrating situations. He saw me melt down. He still loves me in spite of it. Bless his heart.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Is That You, Dilbert?

Dialogue at work this afternoon

Boss: When can you have that XYZ report finished for June?

Me: Well, to finish it I have to wait for Accounting to be to a certain point in the month end close, but I have all the rest of the data loaded and am just waiting for that.

Boss: Yeah, let’s move that up a little this month okay?

Me: (sitting in stunned silence)

Me: (mumbling after boss walks away) Yeah, and I’ll put that cover sheet on the TPS report while I’m at it.

I swear to you I’m not making this up. I couldn’t make up crap like this if I tried.

BTW, Blogger Weekend Part III should be posted later tonight or possibly tomorrow morning. For someone with nothing to do this week, I’ve been incredibly busy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blogger Weekend, Part II

Saturday dawned cloudy and muggy. BJ and I slept in because we knew Fusion wouldn't get to town until late morning, and Drama was off getting a manicure and pedicure (just for us I'm sure). Shortly before noon we went to Drama's house and then the real fun of the weekend began.

We sat around all afternoon just talking and eating pizza. We talked at length about bloggers all over the world. Were your ears burning this past weekend? Well then, we probably talked about you. Mostly we said good things because most bloggers we know are by and large good people. We've each had some real life experiences with other bloggers, and that's where the really good gossip started. It seems to me that when you read a blog you get a sense of either who the blogger wants you to see or how they see themselves. Sometimes they don't always see themselves through crystal clear lenses. Interestingly, there was one blogger (who no longer blogs publicly) who we were all intent on discussing. We probably spent more time talking about one person than anyone else. One of us had even met this blogger in person, and the rest of us were eager to know all there was to know. We learned about earlobes and backs of legs. We learned of limits and unexpected disappointments. We all left that discussion with a better understanding of this person and all of us glad that things have turned out as they have rather than how they could have, for various reasons.

Late in the afternoon we headed to Millennium Park. We had a great time walking around and taking pictures, particularly of the Bean. We got to watch the sunset in the city, and the lights of dusk playing on the towering buildings downtown was beautiful. We lucked out with very pleasant weather, and by Windy City standards, very still with barely a breeze. BJ and I lagged behind Fusion and Drama and made comments about what a cute couple they would make. No, neither of them made any moves that way, but they sure seemed to get along well. (I'm quite sure they will both kill me for posting this, but sorry guys. I just calls 'em as I sees 'em.)

As downtown became more and more crowded with Saturday night visitors, we bugged out and headed to Drama's favorite Italian restaurant which turned out to be one of the best Italian restaurants I've ever visited. I had an eggplant dish that was absolutely to die for. I ate way more of it than I should have, but it was so delicious I just couldn't leave any of it behind.

I intended for this post to carry us through the end of Saturday evening, but I have to get to work so I'll have to pick this up again with Part III. Stay tuned. . .

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Blogger Weekend, Part I

It's a story of sex. It's a story of gossip. It's a story of laughs. It's a story of good food. It's a story of hidden hotels. It's a story of being held up by trains, both real and imaginary. It's a story of four wacky bloggers spending the better part of a weekend together. It's a story so epic it can hardly be blogged with any brevity.

Let's start at the beginning, shall we? We shall. Our intrepid couple, TS and BJ, drive into town on highways riddled with construction zones. They dodge potholes; they thread the needle of the narrowed lanes; they ponder the poor condition of the road given the amount of tolls that must be paid. They finally arrive at their destination. . . sort of.

They have a reservation at a local hotel and are weary from the drive. They look forward to the comfort of the king size bed. However. . . the hotel is nowhere to be seen. They drive down the road a little further, and then even a little further, until they are certain they must have passed the hotel somewhere. They turn around and head back up the road. Again, they see no sight of the hotel. They pull into a parking lot, call the hotel and ask for directions. They learn that the hotel is behind a major department store in a strip mall. So they head to the strip mall, find the major department store, and finally see the hotel. There was no way that it was visible from the street nor were there any signs on the street indicating where it was. If we hadn't called we would have never found it. Now, don't you think that just perhaps a business like a hotel would want to make it easy to find the facility rather than hide it? Well, if you, like me, believed that then you would apparently be wrong. They obviously preferred to remain incognito. Weird. By the time BJ and I found the place and checked into our room we were beat. I sent a text to Drama telling her we wouldn't be hooking up that night but would see her the next day. We went to bed on a mattress that apparently was made of concrete with a bit of padding on top.

Thus began the weekend.

To be continued. . .

Saturday, July 12, 2008

There She Goes Stealing Memes Again

“Someone” reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed. It’s not the Big Read though — they don’t publish books, and they’ve only featured these books so far. In any event . . .

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you started but did not finish.
3) Underline the books you LOVE. (Ok, would've done this but don't know how so I put an asterisk next to them instead.)
4) Reprint this list in your own blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 or less and force books upon them.

1. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
2. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
3. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
4. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
5. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
6. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
7. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
8. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle *
9. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
10. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
11. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
12. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
13. His Dark Materials (trilogy) - Philip Pullman
14. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
15. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
16. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
17. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger *
18. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
19. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
20. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
21. Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
22. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
23. Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
24. Animal Farm - George Orwell
25. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
26. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
27. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
28. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
29. Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
30. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
31. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl *
32. Complete Works of Shakespeare
33. Ulysses - James Joyce
34. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
35. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
36. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen *
37. The Bible
38. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
39. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
40. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
41. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
42. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
45. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
46. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
47. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
48. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
49. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
50. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling *
51. Little Women - Louisa M. Alcott
52. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
53. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
54. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
55. Middlemarch - George Eliot
56. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell *
57. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
58. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
59. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
60. Emma - Jane Austen
61. Persuasion - Jane Austen
62. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
63. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
64. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
65. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
66. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
67. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
68. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
69. Atonement - Ian McEwan
70. Dune - Frank Herbert
71. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
72. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
73. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
74. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
75. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
76. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
77. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
78. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
79. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
80. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
81. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
82. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
83. Dracula - Bram Stoker
84. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
85. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
86. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
87. Germinal - Emile Zola
88. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
89. Possession - A.S. Byatt
90. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
91. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
92. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
93. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
94. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
95. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
96. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
97. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
98. Watership Down – Richard Adams
99. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
100. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

Well, I did more than six but not many more. That's why I'm an accountant. I do numbers, not words.

BTW, does it make me a total loser that I don't know the html code to make my favorites underlined? Yeah, I thought so.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Not Enough for a Blogger Convention by Any Means, But. . .

This weekend four of my favorite bloggers – me, BJ, Drama, and Fusion – will be spending some time together. We are getting together simply because we all want to meet one another, and we will all be in the same general locale this weekend. While some of us know others of us, none of us knows all of the others.

I don’t know exactly what is on the agenda for tomorrow, but I’m sure we’ll all find something to talk about. We have a little bit in common. We were all married to the wrong person (no, not the same person). We all have kids that mean the world to us. We all suffered in bad marriages. We’re all of a certain age group (you know, young and exciting). Oh yeah, and we all blog. Surely we can make some sort of conversation just based on our common ground. If nothing else, Drama and I will sit back and listen as BJ and Fusion discuss a certain Canadian someone something they have in common.

Check back here after the weekend if you’re interested in how the get together goes. I’ll post all the juicy secrets I learn from the others a little bit about it after I’m home. I should have plenty of blog time next week since N will be away at camp all week.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I wrote this a while back, several months back, but never posted it. I'm not sure why I didn't post it then, but I didn't. It no longer reflects my current feelings, but it does capture the feelings that I've had in the past many times. I'm getting better at not focusing on the negative things, and focusing more on the positive. This poem is a reminder to me of the place to which I don't want to return.

Where is the rage?
It is deep within me
Wanting to get out
Waiting for it’s time

Waiting for what?
For someone to care
To freely give to me
The unconditional love I crave

The rage waits patiently
As the years go by
Nobody will love me
If the rage comes out

That is part of the rage
The anger that comes from the knowledge
That nobody loves me as I am
But only as who they want me to be

Don’t get mad
Don’t be angry
Don’t feel those negative emotions
Nobody loves a loser

I’ve learned those lessons well
And turned those emotions inward
I take the brunt of their force
I absorb the pain

But the pressure builds within
The pain grows inside me
I alternate nausea and breathlessness
I am losing my bearings

Where is the rage?
It is very nearby
It is in my throat
It may soon come flying from my mouth

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Which Sins Will Do Me In?

Saw this quiz over at Bunny's place and had to take it myself. I must say I'm not much surprised at the results. Coulda told ya that Lust and Sloth would be at the top of my "deadly sins."

Sloth:Very High
Lust:Very High

Take the Seven Deadly Sins Quiz

Monday, July 07, 2008

Maxing Out Emotionally

Spent the long weekend with my parents. Dad is at home recuperating from major surgery. Between hospital and SNF he spent almost eight weeks in inpatient care. He is a very private man and doesn’t really like for anyone to know his business so he has sworn my mother to secrecy over the details of the matter. She has been very good about keeping his secrets with one exception. She shares with me because (1) I’m his daughter so she thinks I have a right to know and (2) she knows I can keep a secret. If it were ever to get back to him that she has shared with me the details that she has shared he would be furious with both her and me.

That’s really a huge burden to place on anyone, holding a secret about your failing health. As primary caregiver, Mom has little relief in any way particularly since she can’t really ask for help without giving away at least a little bit of his secrets. In some ways, I understand his desire for privacy, and many times see a bit of that in myself, but it seems unfair to my mom right now. Nobody but the medical professionals they see, and me, understand what he is going through. The medical professionals don’t know, however, that Mom can’t get assistance. Only I am privy to the strain this is putting on her. I offered to take some time off and come help, but she adamantly refused. I guess her thinking is that if I did, Dad would suspect that I know more than I’m supposed to know.

On top of all this, my grandmother (Mom’s mom) is in the hospital a state away with pneumonia. While Mom would normally head down there to see about things for my grandmother, she can’t because she has to be home to take care of Dad.

Emotional Crisis #1:
Worrying about Dad’s health.

Emotional Crisis #2:
Worrying about Mom’s wellbeing given all the stresses in her life.

Emotional Crisis #3:
Worrying that my grandmother is suffering alone.

Now you would think that would be enough right there for one weekend, even a long three day weekend, but then you would be wrong. In our family, when the dam of emotional crises bursts, it releases torrential amounts. This is no stick-your-finger-in-it-and-plug-it leak. No indeed. This weekend was if-emotions-were-floodwaters-we-would-have-covered-more-than-the-great-Midwest-floods-of-2008 time.

This weekend I summoned the courage to tell my parents about the impending divorce. They knew that W and I had not been getting along for a while, but I hadn’t come out and ever said that we were living apart and getting divorced. Now I have. I dreaded it, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I talked to Mom alone and will let her share the news with Dad. I didn’t specifically intend to tell her this weekend, but the opportunity presented itself, the time seemed right, and I spilled my guts. Turns out that Mom and Dad have never been too keen on how W treats N, but of course they never said anything out of respect for me and my marriage.

Emotional Crisis #4:
Dealing with the emotions of talking about the breakup, again, and then processing the relief when the response I got was supportive rather than critical.

But of course we couldn’t just let it go at that. Oh no. Mom decided that now that my marriage is over she could tell me why my brother (FU) has refused to speak to me or allow me access to my nieces for the last four or more years. Apparently, FU hates W and didn’t want W around him or his family. My parents learned this when we were temporarily staying with them a few years ago and going over to FU’s house with them when they would babysit my niece (they only had one at the time). Apparently, he told them that they were not to bring us with them anymore because of W. Their reply was that if we couldn’t come then they wouldn’t be coming. Apparently, this has led to my parents being on the outs with FU ever since then. However, they chose not to ever share any of this with me because they didn’t want to hurt W’s feelings. Now with W out of the picture I guess it’s okay to share it with me. I’m still not sure that I believe FU’s only problem was with W, but I am sure that was at least a part of it.

Emotional Crisis #5:
Dealing with turmoil of learning just how hated W has been in my family and trying to decide how I feel about them feeling that way, them not telling me all this time, and them telling me now.

Thankfully, N missed all of these discussions. He was busy playing with the boys next door so much this weekend that it gave time for ample discussions without his presence. The discussions sure left me tossing and turning Saturday night, and not just from the horrible mattress in my parents’ guest room.

I was grateful to come home yesterday afternoon and to get away from the emotional crises for a while. Then again, why should changing locations make any difference. Why shouldn’t someone heap some more on top of me?

W decided last night would be a good time to broach the topic of splitting assets between us – in detail – as I’ve been bugging him to do for some time. Apparently, he has studied “Divorce for Dummies” and has learned to kick the ex-spouse when they’re down. I listened, half heartedly, but I refused to actually hold a discussion on the topic. I told him I was tired. I told him I would discuss it soon, but not last night. I didn’t tell him why. He sounded frustrated at my refusal to discuss it last night, but I just couldn’t muster the strength or energy or interest. I was wiped out by my weekend. I need a bit of time to rejuvenate.

Emotional Crisis #6:
Feeling overwhelmed when that one last straw hit this camel’s back.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Looking for the Right Adhesive

So we, W and I, made it, sort of, to our 20th anniversary. Twenty years ago today W and I married. I had mixed emotions back then. He asked many times before I finally agreed to marry him.

I knew it was a big step, a huge commitment, and I was somewhat scared of “locking myself in.” However, given that my self esteem was lower than low, and convinced as I was that I would be lucky to ever get any man to marry me, it seemed prudent to not let the one go that was there not only willing but eager to marry me. In addition, I was terrified of what would become of me without W. I had at that time turned my back on my family and feared they would no longer welcome me back. I didn’t have a job and was being supported 100% by W, and had been for the almost two years we’d been living together. I felt backed into a corner, dependent on W, unable to strike out on my own, unable to support myself yet unable to find another man willing to support me.

So I married W, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death us do part. Locked in. Committed. As I write this the image of the cell door clanging shut in my face is vivid. Yet I didn’t really feel that way then. Then I felt lucky. I felt lucky that I had settled my future, made myself a nest that would protect me, found a man who would take care of me. There was also that little niggling thought in the back of my brain that he was so much older than I, and with some fairly serious health issues, that I would spend some 10 or 15 years with him and then be free to move on with a new life. (Yes, I know how bad that sounds. I do. It hurts me to even acknowledge it, but those thoughts were there.)

Fast forward some twenty years. We’ve been through better times and worse times. We’ve been poor for sure and at other times, while not rich, certainly comfortable enough. We’ve each had sickness at times and enjoyed good health at others. That last thing, though, until death us do part, well, that one just ain’t gonna happen. It isn’t for a lack of trying. I know I tried. I tried for as long as I could without going stark raving looney. I believe he tried too, in his own way. We just couldn’t give what the other needed nor be satisfied to take that which we were offered by the other. It just wasn’t working.

Now that W is out of the house, everyone is much happier I think. Even though W can’t (or won’t) acknowledge it I think that even he is much happier. He does his thing (whatever his thing is) when he wants and is only required to spend a limited amount of time with N. It is amazing how much relief he is willing to express when he doesn’t have to spend time with N. You’d think N was the devil incarnate the way W acts. Yet he isn’t. He’s a good kid for the most part. He’s a kid though. He is at times messy and noisy and whiney and insolent and just your typical kid. W can’t handle it. He wants N to be a little adult, but he isn’t. He can’t be. He’s nine. He acts like he’s nine which means sometimes he acts all grown up and sometimes he acts like a toddler and most of the time he acts like a kid.

But I digress. I was discussing the marriage. This past week there were two events that solidified in my mind the absolute impossibility of W and I ever being anything more than cordial co-parents to our son.

Event #1 – N had been wanting W and I to take him to a local restaurant with games where he could spend lots of our money and with the tickets he won get some great “free” prizes (think a little more grown up than Chuck E Cheese and not quite as grown up as Dave & Busters and you’ve got the atmosphere here). It had been a while since we’d attempted anything as the three of us so, while apparently suffering temporary amnesia or maybe insanity, I agreed to the outing. It was a disaster. W, as usual, embarrassed both me and N in front of the waiter. W and N got into an argument over stupid trivial shit. I ended the evening completely frustrated and ever so glad it was over.

Event #2 – N’s baseball team had their end of season party. I arrived before W, and when W arrived he chose to sit next to me. We couldn’t sit for one hour at a party without getting into not one, not two, but three separate arguments. The man will not listen to me. He refuses to respect my decisions about my life (and I’m just talking choice of food here, salad only instead of salad and pizza, no big deal). When he sat down I should have moved to another table, but I didn’t want to look rude.

Now today is the much awaited 20th anniversary. I cringe at the thought that he may send me flowers again, as he did Valentine’s Day and my birthday this year. I have said, and will say, nothing to him about our anniversary. There will be no public acknowledgement of it by me. It will be our last anniversary for I am certain the divorce will be final within the next year.

For all my frustration with W, I still care about him. I can’t help but care about him after more than 20 years with him. It is abundantly clear though that me caring about him, and him caring about me, isn’t enough to keep us together. The glue is gone. Unfortunately, that which held us together – the fear of being alone – just wasn’t enough to hold any longer. If you want a strong bond, use the right glue. Fear is rarely ever the right glue.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Always Knew I Was Sharp

You are a Knife

You are precise, determined, and detail oriented.

You mean what you say, and you say what you mean.

You enjoy taking risks and living on the edge.

You are a controversial person. You opinions tend to be divisive.