Friday, November 4, 2011

Still nothing...but....

I have this stat counter that tells me that somoene has been checking in.  And to you, my dear friend, I say I'm sorry.  I am a complete slacker.  I suck as a blogger.

BUT...Allie Brosch did this...and she is please go there.  She speaks the truth!!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Blowin' the Dust Off

I bought a laptop the other day, and I'm working through the trusty old desktop computer, deleting all of the crap I don't want to keep, transferring all the crap I do.

I came across a document called "p&wmag".  Opened it up and found...well...this. It was apparently something I submitted, under an alias no less, to a magazine (P&W??) back in 2005. 

Since I've been such a slacker lately on the writing front, I figured I'd throw it out here for old time's sake.

When I was about 13 I decided I wanted to be a writer.  Some may have called it “a calling”, though at the time I wouldn’t have painted it with such a mystical brush.  More likely it was the idea that I could get people’s attention, a pursuit in which I had proven myself to be woefully inadequate.  Or, it may have been brought on by the death of my previous dream of becoming Shaun Cassidy’s wife. 

I remember sitting on a concrete step, snuggled in the recessed doorway of the elementary school which I had attended as a small child, shivering against the cold, trying to write in my tiny little spiral pocket notebook.  This doorway was rarely used, a loading door or emergency exit or something of the like.  It smelled of urine, the corners were full of cigarette butts and discarded drug paraphernalia, but it was preferable to the relatively clean but far less peaceful prospect of home.   This is where I always went, in the evenings and on the weekends, to be alone, smoke cigarettes and try to think deeply literate thoughts.  I was successful in all of these endeavors but the last.  My first attempt at a novel was so bad that it was an embarrassment, even though nobody ever saw it but me.

That experience changed my life.  My unhappiness with my story convinced me that I was without talent.  This was an opinion formed firmly in my own head, and given more weight than a statement from God Himself.  It was certainly not up for debate as I thought so little of what I had written that I threw it away.  It was a simple fact.  As much as I wanted to be creative, I was devoid of the imagination, focus and skill that might turn me into a “real writer”.

Shortly after I decided that I was destined for a life of obscurity, with neither the last name of Cassidy nor a Pulitzer Prize, I discovered boys.  Well more aptly they discovered me and I discovered the fleeting sense of power that came with being pursued by the opposite sex.  I grew to depend on the hormonally induced feeling of value, enhanced by drugs and alcohol, generously fertilized by the pile of compliments and sweet words that boys, even at the tender age of 14 or 15, will heap on a girl with the hopes of getting into her pants.  As long as a boy thought I was special, or at least pretended to, I could find reason to doubt how very mediocre I felt.

Through my slutty phase, which has earned its title in my mind more because of my reputation and attitude than by volume of sexual activity, I wrote poetry.  I wrote long rambling poems, most of which rhymed predictably, about love lost, longing and unhappiness.  I mostly wrote when I was heartbroken which means that I turned out poems in abundance. 

I spent my days in school with my best friend, who was also my dealer, floating from class to class with only enough lucidity to remain ambulatory.  I spent most of my evenings alone in my room, wearing giant headphones, Pink Floyd’s The Wall up loud enough to cover the noise of arguing downstairs. 

One night a week I went out with my friends. Usually we went roller-skating, on four wheels, to disco music.  Is it any wonder I was messed up?  These memories are foggy, leaving the roller rink with older boys, beer in hand.  Getting high behind the building.  Searching for acceptance, never finding it.

During the next few years I dated a long line of forgettable young men.  Each relationship had its own story, mind you, but they all ended similarly.  There was the one who I still swear was gay.  There was one who felt it necessary to have two girlfriends.   The one who didn’t appreciate when I had two boyfriends.  There was the one I dated through most of junior year.  He left town to spend the summer between 11th and 12th grade with his dad. Of course I waited for him.  Two days after he returned he informed me he had been thinking about breaking up with me all summer, but he wasn’t really SURE until he got back.

Not long after that humiliating break up, an acquaintance invited me to a party.  This was October 22, 1982.  I remember the date because it was my mother’s birthday.  It was a bit odd that this particular acquaintance would invite me, of all people, as we ran in decidedly different circles and seemed to have quite different values.  For example she seemed to prefer to stay conscious during school hours and didn’t feel the need to swap spit with half of the school.  But we had known each other since elementary school, she lived within walking distance of my house and there was to be beer, so I graciously accepted her invitation.

I don’t remember much about the party except that I drank, I may have snuck outside and got high, and I definitely ended up in a car necking with a guy I barely knew.  Somewhat inebriated, I must have wandered home and went to bed.  It’s ironic that I remember so little, because it turns out that I would be reminded of this night for the rest of my life.

A couple of weeks later, the girl who threw the party asked me if I’d like to go to a football game with her.  I had no interest whatsoever in football, though I attended every home game just to get away from my parents for an evening.  I had never been to an away game.  She said a friend was going to drive her and she was sure he would be happy to take me as well.  His name was Don. 

Our high school wasn’t huge.  Everyone knew everyone, if not by name then by face.  I had never met Don, but I knew who he was.  We ran with different crowds, and I didn’t like his.  I had no reason to believe that I was going to be even remotely fond of him, but I thought I could probably stomach his company long enough to get me and my newly rediscovered friend to a football game two towns away. 

He picked my friend up first.  When he came to pick me up, she jumped into the back seat.  This was odd because he drove a big old 1963 Chevy Impala with bench seats that would have probably seated four if necessary.  But I had a Little Kings between my thighs and a cigarette in my hand, I wasn’t at home so all was right with the world.

I don’t know how long it took me to figure out that I had been set up, but when it became clear I was completely blindsided by the revelation.  I was apparently invited to the party weeks before so that Don could get up the nerve to approach me.  By the time he drank enough magic nerve potion, I was out in the car necking with good old What’s His Name.  This trip to the football game was his second chance. 

He was nice to me.  He treated me with respect and dignity.  He was no saint but he wasn’t hell bent on killing every brain cell he had before he was 18 either.  We weren’t all that well suited for each other but I couldn’t find anything WRONG with him except for the fact that he was very much not my type, which is to say that I wasn’t afraid of him and I was relatively sure he wouldn’t cheat on me. 

Normal life as a couple ensued.   Graduation parties gave way to getting jobs, which led to cohabitation, which turned into marriage, which became parenthood.  I am not an easy woman to live with and I tested his patience frequently along the way.  There were bouts of depression and anxiety attacks, obsessive dieting, alternating with compulsive eating.  A basic lack of satisfaction permeated every corner of my life and manifested itself in a laundry list of behaviors that were destructive to us as a couple and to me as a person.  There was definitely something wrong, and no matter how much he tried to make me happy, I didn’t seem to be capable of letting him.  Something was missing.  For twenty years I longed for some elusive, blessed, peaceful fulfillment that drugs, sex, food, love, motherhood and professional success had been unable to provide. 

Then, one day, out of boredom, I decided to start keeping a journal.  I hadn’t written anything more ambitious than memos and procedure manuals in 20 years, but I was told that it could provide insight into some of my more self-destructive behaviors, of which there were many.  It wasn’t illegal and wouldn’t add inches to my hips, so why not?

As I tentatively made my first entry, which started as creatively as “This is my first entry”, I felt a shift in my heart.  That aching dissatisfaction that I had felt, as constant and familiar as the roar of a car motor on a cross-country trip, somehow shifted into a lower gear.  After 25 years of wandering, I found myself back on a familiar path, I can’t say right now where it leads but I see something small and distant, far ahead, and it looks like Hope. 

Initially it was easy to regret my decision to stop writing all those years ago.  If I hadn’t given up so easily would I have gone through all of the fumbling that I did?  Would I have skipped the drugs and gone to college?  Would I have skipped the boys and kept my self-respect?  Would I have skipped What’s His Name and therefore not be teased about it every blessed time my (edit- EX-)husband recalls pursuing me in high school?  Would I have been more at peace with myself, easier to live with, a better wife and mother? 

But then I wonder, if I had been dedicated to an artist’s life instead of being hell-bent on self-destruction would I have gone to a football game with a guy I barely knew just so that I wouldn’t have to be at home?  Would I have had my son?  I can look back at the last quarter-century and think of the great American novel that I may or may not have written, the places I might have traveled and the like-minded, deeply complicated, artistic people I might have met, but it doesn’t compare to the life I’ve led and the people I’ve loved.

Maybe passions, like the most important people in our lives, come to us when we need them and let the luckiest of us go, sweetly and quietly, when we don’t.  Maybe they hang on relentlessly only to the truly tortured souls and set the rest of us free when we need to focus on other things.  I might say that my passion for writing failed me by not giving me the talent or the drive or the belief in myself to continue on to be a great writer, a free spirit, a true artist.  But maybe it just stepped patiently aside to let me do other things.  I may not have been ready to go where writing would have taken me then.  I wonder if I am now.     

Friday, October 7, 2011

Caution...don't trip over the links.

Oh em gee you guys I WANT to write.  I really really do.  But my life is just INSANE right now.

Since I last poked my head  in here (because saying I poke my fingers in here, while technically more accurate, just sounds dirty) I have gone on the adventure of a liftetime, landing me 1300 very scary miles away from my little nest to reconnect with and, as it turns out, fall back in love with the first, best, (hopefully last) love of my life.   Go ahead, get it out of your system...everybody say "awwww".

Of course I then had to come back home, which leaves me in love with a man, and his daughter, who live 1300 miles away.  God really does have a mean-spirited sense of humor when it comes to giving us what we wish for.

Meanwhile I've been trying really hard to dive into this Beach Body thing (it's my blog and I will shamelessly plug my side job if I want to) which, in an effort to not to eff up the day job, has to be done largely at lunch time.  While I'm tempted to change the name of this little ditty to "blogoverwheneverihaveasplitsecond", the URL would be a bit clumsy so we're sticking with what we have for now.

I've lost 8 lbs in the past month which I credit partly to Shakeology, partly to a surprising amount of sweat and, yes, tears while I curse Chalene Johnson, her ancestors and offspring....until I notice the little pre-muscle-like bumps on my arms, the increasing extra room in my pants and my increased energy, at which point I feel just the teeny tinieist little bit guilty for my surly attitude toward her.

And The Boy....let's don't even get me started on The Boy.

And honestly, the fact that I spend more time each day smiling than frowning reassures me over and over and over again that I am EXACTLY where I should be rightthisverysecond.  My nature is to always be either trying to slow down or speed up, endlessly wishing for the past or the future.  But really, right now is pretty darn good....except that lunch is over.

So you're caught up.  Sorry if it feels like I dragged you here by your hair.  There are days I feel that way myself.

Today's lunch:  Giant Eagle salad bar...because it's FREEPING GORGEOUS outside and I just had to get out of the office.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

According to Me....

I heard this song the other day and it got me to thinking:

Let's just say it hit a nerve and move on from there.

I was thinking about the old me.  I was fat, lazy, unmotivated, unsuccessful, uninspired, unattractive and unfunny. 

Do you know what has changed?  I am still within the 'obese' category on that Godforsaken BMI Chart.  To what will surely be the shock and dismay of any member of my team who may be reading this (sorry coach) I really would rather nap than exercise.  I have the same job, the same skin, the same hair (basically) and the same sense of humor.   But I am now surrounded by a different group of people.  And these people think I am amazing...and therefore, I am.

If someone would have told me that the biggest change I needed to make was in the company I kept, I would have said that I didn't deserve to be in company better than I was. And, truly, there was nothing WRONG with, well, MOST of the company I was few liked to tell me how worthless I was, and by believing it, I became it, and that's probably what I projected even to those who didn't build their own self esteem on the broken pieces of mine.

I thank God on a daily basis that the negative influences are out of my life.  I'd love to say that I woke up one morning and said 'ENOUGH!' and caused this change myself, but I didn't.  It just sort of happened, but I can and do own the fact that I have embraced and continued the momentum.  Now that I know this self-fulfilling circle of  "you think I suck I think I suck you think I'm great I think I'm great", you can bet your bippy that I am surrounding myself with people who see the good in me rather than only the bad.

I'm not saying that we have to entirely base our self-worth on other people's opinions of ourselves, but trying to develop it in the presence of negative people is about like trying to build a skyscraper, on a foundation of toothpicks, in the middle of a hurricane. It's freaking hard.

If you're reading this, I probably know you personally.  And according to me, you are awesome.  Don't argue with me, you will not win.  So if you have someone in your life who makes you feel like you are less than amazing, it is up to you to make that stop.  I can't tell you how to do that (alas my wisdom does have it's limits) but I CAN tell you that if you think you don't deserve any better, you are wrong. 

Think Imma go paint my fingernails purple.  Tootles.

Today's lunch...this awesome veggie bake.  It's a very complicated recipe.  Go to your refrigerator, empty out your veggie drawer, throw away the fuzzy stuff, cut up anything that's left, put it in a casserole dish, drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 350 for an hour.  Add a crapton of mozzarella cheese.  Bake again until melted.  Enjoy with wanton abandon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Woo Woo

My blog entries usually kind of write themselves, but this one, even though I've felt it fighting to get out for a few days now, is just not coming so easily, so you'll have to pardon me if the flow is off.

The subject feels new to me, though it’s actually recently rediscovered, from a time I have tried to block out of my memory.  Part of why I've been having such a hard time writing about it is because I can't really explain it in terminology outside of some obscure reference, barely amounting to more than personal shorthand from a long-lost relationship.  Almost a private joke.  But in my head, it is simply The Woo Woo.

It isn't entirely made up.  It's in The Skeptic's Dictionary, though I didn't know that until just now.

adj. concerned with emotions, mysticism, or spiritualism; other than rational or scientific; mysterious; new agey. Also n., a person who has mystical or new age beliefs.

So yeah, I guess it’s not so hard to explain if you're the writer of a dictionary.

Of course!  You know...The Woo Woo

I first began to believe in The Woo Woo back in the fall of 2005.  I thought I had found the man I was SUPPOSED to be with.  He felt it too. A pull.  A sense of rightness.  The Woo Woo.  We both said we didn't believe in it, but sho'nuf there it was.  We were new believers in The Woo Woo.

But The Woo Woo failed me.  He decided that the obstacles to us being together were too great and we parted ways.  And I decided if it had really been "right"...if The Woo Woo existed, he would have moved mountains to be with me.  Once you find The Woo Woo you don't give it up!!!  So clearly it didn't exist. 

Death of The Woo Woo.

Over the following years I tried to focus on the practical things in life.  Yes I fell in love again.  And for a long time it was good.  But it was different.  Less magical.  Less like it was "meant to be".  I decided that there was no one right person for anyone.  "Love is a verb" became my mantra.  If I loved enough, it would work.

It didn't

But The Woo Woo wasn't to blame because, after all, it had gone the way of the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus.  Blaming The Woo Woo for my failed relationship would have been like blaming the Easter Bunny for the five pounds I gain every spring.

So he left.  And I was crushed and terrified and you already know most of that sad story.

And I was sobbing into my bowl of ice cream and telling my woes to a friend via text message and she told me to pray.

Pray?  Fucking seriously?

I didin't. 

And then my mom died.  And I just didn't know how I was going to deal with anything else going wrong.

And again, my friend told me to pray.

This may have been the phenomenon of 'hitting bottom' that people talk about, because honestly I would have done a rain dance in my bloomers in my office parking lot if someone promised me it would make me feel better.  I was terrified.  Irrational as it was, I was just sure that my life was going to continue to be just a series of personal catastrophes that would eventually end in me losing my son, my job and my mind.

So right there, in my little home office, I got down on my knees.  I folded my hands on top of a little two drawer filing cabinet and I asked God to please, please help me.  I just cried and begged for help.

Asking for help does not come easily to me.  I have caused myself physical harm during times of illness rather than ask for help.  I can be a stubborn pain in the ass.  And here I was begging my Higher Power to do something, anything, because I just couldn't deal on my own any more.

I don't know how long I was on my knees, sobbing.  But I haven't had that feeling of hopeless fear since.  I still had to bury my mom.  I'm still broke.  But I'm more at peace than I have ever been.

To some it may not sound like I have "found God" because I can lump this experience in with The Woo Woo, but it is all part of spirituality and a belief in miracles that eluded me until recently.

Faith in the face of failure is the truest faith of all, or some such rot.

Since that afternoon I have been brought into to a group of people who are encouraging me to become better than I ever thought I could be.  Their faith in me makes me believe I can achieve great things just by being true to myself, by working hard and by believing in myself as much as they do.

Since that afternoon I have found an energy and a drive and an enthusiasm beyond anything I've ever experienced before.  I've gone from believing that I would just coast through the second half of my forties, into my fifties, welcoming old age and all of the mediocrity that I believed came with the second half of life.  Now I know that I have only begun to live how I am supposed to live. 

Woo Woo…don’t fail me now.

Today's lunch:  I suppose I should abandon the "today's lunch" portion of Blog Over Lunch.  Until further notice... Chocolate Shakology. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Biggest Tragedy of My Day Was the Fact That I Couldn't Blog.

Here's what I had planned for today:
  • Observe a moment of silence in memory of those who lost their lives on 9/11/01
  • Master the first workout in the ChaLEAN Extreme series.
  • Mow the yard
  • Give the dogs a bath
  • Write something brilliantly poigiant about 9/11, patriotism and America...later resulting in a Pulitzer prize for...something....and rendering my day job strictly optional.

Yeah...we make plans and God laughs.

First I slept through the moment of silence. 

When I finally got up, this beautiful, ridiculously well built woman named Chalene Johnson pretty much beat the snot out of me through my TV. 

I cried a little. 

I texted my coach and, bless her heart, was talked back into my big girl panties.

Yes I mowed the yard.  One thing went right.

Then the power went out.

So I weeded a little, I visited my neighbors, I gave the dogs a bath in the kitchen sink since it was pitch dark in both bathrooms. 

I realized my dogs are too big to bathe in the kitchen sink.  

I cleaned up.

Then I spent a good deal of time in my car, with my phone charging up, trying to catch up on text messages, phone calls and, of course Facebook.

I realized I could never be Amish.

And now it's almost bedtime, because I'm a wuss, and my Pulitzer will have to wait because, frankly, I'm whooped.  It must have been all that time sitting on the lawnmower that wore me out.  Right?

But I feel like I've been neglecting Blog Over Lunch.  I've written so little lately.  And I really do have a deep love of my country and feelings about that beautiful and horrible September day which would be difficult to put into words in my best form.  And, Sugar, today I am not in my best form.

So I dug out something ten years old.  I was 35 and it was the first thing I had written since my legendary article on the Student Council race of 1982 in my High School paper.  It won't win me a Pulitzer but it was from the heart, and it still is.

And it is not lost on me that the biggest tragedy of my day was the fact that I couldn't blog. 

         The Change

I don’t complain any more about what I can’t have
I feel now that I have more than I deserve,
and so much more than many.

I don’t wonder anymore how others think of me
I know that my family loves me
And we’re together, and I’m grateful

I don’t think anymore about wrongs that have been done to me
I know now that it doesn’t really mater anymore
We’re all in this same terrifying boat.

I’m afraid I’ll never again look up at the sky and see an airplane
And wish I was on it, going to some exotic destination
I’ll see a missile, and potential disaster.
And I’m grateful that I AM....wherever I am.

I’ll never again mentally go over my grocery list
Or move my lips and not sing along
During the National Anthem

I may never again hear “God Bless America” and not shed a tear
Of pride and of sorrow
And hear the words, as I never did “before”

I don’t worry anymore how my son will do in school
Or if he’s learning the rules
For now I just try to explain all this insanity
And in the end hope he doesn’t really understand
the horror of it all
And I hold him just a little closer than I did “before”

And I may never again think in terms of years or months
Of then and now
But always in terms of “before 9/11” and “after 9/11”

I will never again see a fireman
And not want to weep
And hear the word Hero echo in my thoughts

But no matter what I think, see, hear
No matter what I’m afraid of and what I’m grateful for
I may never be as proud to be an American
As I am today.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Come Shake it Up With me

A couple of weeks ago I went to a graduation party for my dear, sweet Goddaughter Jenna.  I knew a few people, because I've known her mother, Teresa, forever.  We met in business school, shared an apartment for a year and were in each other's weddings.  Our children played together.  We have supported each other through highs and lows and watched each other's babies grow.  She is as close to a sister as I will ever have.

But the tasks of raising children and developing careers have kept us at arm's length for the past couple of years.  We have run recently in more separate circles and while I knew her other closest friends at the party, the ones who also flank her in her wedding pictures, I still felt a bit uncomfortable and out of place and, of course, fat and ugly.

In walks this woman.  She's tiny but she brings with her an enormous energy that reverberates through the room.  And my first thought...she looks like a yoga instructor.

I had no idea who she was, but as I sat alone in a chair she wandered through the living room looking a little lost.  I asked if she was looking for the bathroom and she said she was hoping to find Teresa for a tour.

Knowing my friend was at her wit's end trying to greet guests and keep everyone happy, I offered to walk her through and show off Teresa's beautiful new home.

I don't know how I've known Teresa for nearly 30 years and never crossed paths with Tina.  Apparently she went to the same business school as Teresa and I attended, but I don't remember her.  And, sure enough, she's a yoga instructor.  She has a bright smile, tan skin and the body of a 20 year old.  And I like her in spite of all of this.

Near the end of the party a bunch of us vowed to get together for a girl's night out.  She friended me on Facebook.  And this past weekend I had the pleasure of sharing a meal and some drinks with a group of wonderful women.

Tina and I swapped phone numbers, and we talked for about an hour yesterday.  Along with her yoga job she is also a BeachBody coach.  We talked about my fitness goals, what I'm doing now (not much), what I'm about to start doing (back to the gym twice a week, walking now that it's cooler out).  My issues (tendonitis, arthritis, high cholesterol).  We talked about networking, and about me becoming a BeachBody coach.  What she knew of me made her think I would be successful.  What she learned of me in that hour further convinced her.

She sent me some informaiton, I sent her the link to this very same little ditty you're reading from now.  I started thinking about either trying the system or jumping in full tilt and being a coach, but I wasn't sold.

I grabbed my keys and went to the mall.

Any blogger will tell you it is difficult to write from the heart without over-sharing one's personal life.  I've avoided writing about my current situation for just this reason but it's part of this story so here goes...I'm in love.  Again.  Yeah, I case scenerio=death and all.

There was this boy, my first real love.  I was 15, he was 17.  He broke my heart. We're giving it another shot. One minor hurdle...he lives 1300 miles away.

So I'm taking a trip the end of the this month.  And I went to the mall to buy something pretty to sleep in while I stay with him and his daughter.  Something cute so nobody runs away screaming as I search blindly for coffee in the morning.  I wasn't dilusional enough to envision myself in anything sexy...but pretty would have been nice.

But the thing is, as much as I am still that 15 year old girl in my head...the dressing room mirror is a mean, hateful bitch.

I came home with a pair of cotton sleep pants and a strong sense that someone was trying to tell me "Hey dumbas....listen to Tina"

So in the very near future I will be starting, with the help of my new, dear friend and coach Tina Gonzales, a journey to become fit and healthy and help others to do the same.  I'm hoping that my success will make me a walking infomerical for the Beach Body line and for Shakeology.  Some may want to wait and see if I succeed before diving in and that's fine, but I invite you all to take this journey with me if you dare.  There will be details in the near future.

Come shake it up with me....

Monday, August 29, 2011

Best Case Scenario = Death

There's a comedian named Louis C.K.  If you have no knowledge of him I recommend you go to your nearest video store or Netflix account and educate yourself....wait...come back here!  Do it later.  Jeez what’s wrong with you?

Anyway I was watching one of his routines and he was talking about dating.  Basically he says that no matter what, it will end badly.

Maybe you meet and one of you thinks the other is repulsive.  One of you will be hurt and miserable.

Maybe you meet and things seem great..... for a while.  Then the spark fizzles out and you break up.  One of you will be hurt and miserable.

Or maybe you meet and the heavens open up and angels sing.  You date, you get married, you have kids who grow up to be productive members of society and give you adorable, grandparent-worshiping grandchildren.  You have holidays together that make the cover of the Saturday Evening Post look like a Manson family reunion.  You make sweet, passionate love to each other twice a week into your 80's. He opens doors for you and you cook for him, or vice versa.  Whatever floats your boat.

But then...sure as of you WILL die....and the other one will be hurt and miserable.

So basically, in relationships, the BEST CASE death. 

So why do we do it?   What is so freaking awesome about this thing we chase after...this elusive feeling...this luuuuuuuuuuuuuuvvvvv....that makes us temporarily, sometimes for the long-term, blind to the sheer misery that it is sure to cause? 

Now I'm not sure if  have any male readers, but if I do, here is where you're thinking that it's totally worth it because you get to put Tab A into Slot B on a semi-regular basis.  You are now excused from this conversation.  You are genetically incapable of participating.  It’s not your fault, but be gone with you.

But ladies....seriously.  Why do we try so hard to find Mr. Right when we know his socks will stink just as bad as those of Mr. Wrong?  Why do we dream of the day when we can say "I Do" when statistics show that if he does, he won't for long? 

Freaking why?

There are theories that we are simply wired that way.  Just like the men are wired to dip their wicks every chance they get, we're wired to find the caveman who will keep the wooly mammoth out of the cave.  But really, how often does it work out that way?  Right now I'm 0 & 2 (or am I 2 & 0?  I should know better than to try to pull off a sports analogy)....I have two failed long-term relationships.  I have my very own .357 magnum to which I have no problem introducing any wooly mammoth that dares darken my cave opening.  So why do I glance at the left hand of every reasonable looking man who is polite to me?  I am quite capable of going out and clubbing some protein over the head and dragging it home to cook over a fire (ok..Aldi's & the microwave, work with me here).  So why do I still shave my legs?

If the theory that we're wired that way is true, we're wired to be stupid.

I'm not claiming to have evolved beyond any of this nonsense.  Not at all.  Even as I take a break from the soul-crushing task of making a relationship work (and perhaps that's best given my attitude, yathink?) I am at the same time looking forward to getting back out there at some point.  I am guilty of entering my search criteria into and perusing the results.  In fact didn't their tagline used to be "Go ahead, it's free to look"?.  I am far from ready to open myself up to that sort of heartache again, but I'm acknowledging that at some point I'm going to do it....scary as it is.

But I don't know why.  Maybe when I figure that out I'll know I'm ready.  Or, best case scenario, I'll be dead.

Today's lunch:  This really awesome vegetable bake that my friend Dee turned me on to. You just take a shitload of veggies (I used squash, bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms & onion) cut them up, drizzle on a little olive oil, add salt & pepper, bake it at 350 for an hour, add some mozzarella cheese to the top, bake again 'till melted. Simple and delicious.  So I had that with applesauce.  And diet coke...if I don't add some chemicals to the meal I fear my body will go into shock and reject the healthy food.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My (Pessimist's) Mug Runneth Over

I have this mug....wait...this mug here. 

The other side says "Pessimist's Mug", though I don't really consider myself a pessimist...more a cynic and a realist but really, po-tay-toe/po-tah toe.

Today as I sit here munching on company-supplied pizza (yes, my friends, there IS such a thing as a free lunch) I can't help but think that The Universe, God, Budda, Allah or my Fairy Godmother...someone....has actually provided for me quite nicely over the past couple of months.  And to continue to approach life with one eye firmly shut and the other fearfully squinting at whatever comes my way is sort of an insult to that Higher Power that has taken such sweet care of me lately.

Not to diminish or understate the value of aforementioned free lunch, but this is actually not the greatest of my recently received gifts.  Before the implosion and reconstruction of my life I had no idea how many friends I had.  I have been humbled by the help and support I've received both from tried and true long-time friends and from newly re-connected aquaintances-turned-bffs'. 

The fear that I would spend all of my free time watching Northern Exposure reruns and bingeing on ramen and cooking wine has been replaced by hard, productive work interrupted by the occasional hour or two spent happily basking in the glow of the TV when, with great deliberation and care, I'm able to carve out a small block of me-time to watch a few reruns of How I Met Your Mother.

I am blessed to have people in my life who don't just tolerate my presence but who actually seem to WANT to spend time with me.  We hang out, we chat, we go places, and when the need arises we help each other out.  Recently I have been primarly the recipient of the helping out, and I have been the beneficiary of many a shoulder to cry on.  I aspire to become helper and benefactor as the need arises.

Pithy as it sounds, I have my health and I have my family.  Before everything went to heck in a sidecar, then came back again, I could be heard saying that I had no family but The Boy, but this isn't true.  I also have cousins and I have friends who are bound to me by ties as strong as those of any cradle to grave siblings you could find.  I no longer grieve the lack of siblings and I am settled in the role of orphan that everyone fortunate enough to outlive their parents assumes at some point.

Most importantly I have a child who is healthy and bright enough to test my patience on almost a daily basis and who often makes my heart swell with pleasure and pride beyond words. 

I have Diet Coke and coffee, two of the small pleasures that help me muster the strength to go on when all else fails to inspire me.  I have this little blog and my little circle of followers and I appreciate you all so much because as much as I enjoy writing, it means more when someone reads it.

I have the means to keep enough food in the cupboard to give myself a bulging middle and high cholesterol and the sense to know better...though I have to start USING that sense a bit more often.  I have a strong, if somewhat crooked back and four limbs that work to move me about and chip away at the never-ending chore list before me.

And I have a job that I love.  One that occasionally provides for me a free lunch.  And which I need to get back to.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Filling the Holes

Six weeks after the big breakup XBF has officially removed all of his possessions from my house.  I told him to take his time but six weeks felt like a bit much.  It just felt like the longest.......breakup........ever.  Like for the past six weeks it was over but not over, you know?  So the point at which he was officially done moving was a big turning point for me.  

My house is mine again.  I didn't mind sharing it with him when he lived there...but sharing it with his stuff after he was gone, and having him come back twice a week to collect a few things at a time, it was hard.  I'm glad that part is over.

So the project of the day (week? month?), you know for the five minutes a day I'm neither working nor pulling weeds, is to rearrange things to fill in the holes.  I have walls that used to have pictures but now have only nails.  I have shelves that used to hold assorted memorabilia where now only holes in the dust remain.  I have one and a half empty closets!!!  I have neither the desire nor the money to acquire new things to fill in these holes, but the holes get on my nerves.  So I need to rearrange what I have to fill the empty spaces.

Oh yeah, I guess I should dust too.

This rearranging feels very symbolic of what I'm doing with my life in general.  When I got divorced I filled the hole that my marriage left with another relationship in fairly short order.  This time, as much as it feels like I'm filling the relationship hole with FREAKING YARDWORK....that's not really, entirely the case.  I'm expanding my relationship with The Boy...not always to his liking but it's tough to be him I guess.  And I'm hoping to expand my relationship with myself.  I need to spend a little time on me....working out, going for walks, spending time with friends, reading, becoming confident in home improvement projects and learning to ask for help when I need it, and even self-indulgent time-wasting things like sleeping in and watching TV in bed.  It feels like it's time to be a little nice to myself for a change.  The big work will be in making myself okay with that.  It's easy enough to sleep 'till 10 (I'm a pro at it, let me tell you).  The trick comes in not beating myself up for it for the rest of the day if it was something that I feel like I really needed to do.

Right now I feel like this being nice to myself stuff has to wait until after every last hole is filled and every last weed in every last flowerbed has died a slow and painful death, which would mean we'd be talking about mid-December-ish.  I'm working on convincing myself that every single thing doesn't have to be done before I can stop and take a breath.

So it's a balance between filing in the holes, killing the dispicable weeds, and stopping to breathe.  Balance is not something I'm especially good at.

But back to the holes...the holes need to be filled, though they don't have to be filled rightthisverysecond.  And I have to be very careful of what I fill them with.  Nature hates a vacuum, and it will tend to suck into it anything that happens to be passing by.  I need to be careful to fill my holes with good stuff, existing stuff.  Growing what I have to be bigger and better stuff.  And then, on down the road, should there be more stuff (pictures, knickknacks, a man); I will be more likely to gently and thoughtfully make room in my house and my life.

Today's lunch (filling my pie-hole, to stick to the theme) was a six inch Subway tuna sub on wheat.  Yum.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sneaking Up To The Grownups Table

In 20 minutes I have to leave my cozy, cool little house to go out into the 90 degree heat to meet my boss and one of my coworkers at the hotel up the street where my boss is staying.  The three of us will then drive to the home of the owner of our company to have dinner with the nine top people in our organization (the owner and my boss being two of those nine) and the other six people who work in my office.

I'm nervous.  I've never been to the owner's house before.  I hear it's beautiful and it's right on the lake.  Six of the top nine are in from the east coast and, while I talk to all of them by phone on a regular basis, I still feel very much like a kid trying to sneak unnoticed up to claim a seat at the grownups table on Thanksgiving.

I wonder if I'll ever feel successful?

I am working in my career of choice...well OK never has a six year old said "Mommy, when I grow up I want to be a Payroll Manager"...but the fields of Princess, Ballerina, Country Singer and Freelance Writer are highly competitive so about ten years ago when I fell face first into a Payroll Manager job I made a very conscious decision to make a career out of it.  Prior to that I had job-surfed, wearing the hats of Secretary, Office Manager, Administrative Assistant and Accounting Assistant to name a few.  So when I found myself doing a job where I wasn't primarily responsible for making someone else look good, I decided to stick with it.

And when I lost that job six years later, I agressively searched for another one in the same field.

So there is some success in just the fact that I AM working in my field of choice.  I have worked in this field for a bit over a decade, I have earned professional certification.  I'm a CPP.  Certified Payroll Professional.  It's a real thing.  Honest.  Look it up.  I was hand picked by my former boss to be the first Payroll Manager in their growing company, and I have built a successful one-and-a-half person department from scratch.  I am responsible for making sure 1,700 people get a paycheck every two weeks.  This is no small feat.

And in spite of my ability to toot my own horn, and the fact that my boss makes me look at an amature at it, I still feel like everyone else is all grown up and successful and I'm...I don't know....lucky?  Faking it?  I don't know.  I'm asking!  Is this typical?  Do we all feel this way?

Five years ago I got divorced.  I bought my ex husband out of the house we had built together.  I have kept the house for my son, so that he can reach maturity in the only home he's ever known.  Stubbornly, to my own detrement at times (like now) but successfully I've done this.  But even to this day, when someone says I have a nice house, I think to myself that it's thanks to my ex husband.  It's MY house...I need to start just saying "thanks" and feel some pride in the fact that I am a single mother who owns a four bedroom colonial on an acre and a half of land.  I deal with the headache of it, and there IS plenty of headache that comes with it, I should allow myself to feel the pride.

But why do I do this?  Why do I have such a hard time seeing my successes, when it seems easy for other people to see them.

I need to work on that.  Meanwhile, though, it would be good if I wasn't late.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A View of my Bellybutton

Every summer, as part of the divorce agreement, The Boy spends four weeks with his dad.  We don't do this all in one stretch, I would miss him too much.  We split it up over the summer in ways that is convenient for us parents.  Week one was scheduled around a business trip I had planned, which I had to cancel in the wake of XBF's departure.  As difficult as that week was, and the empty house made it a bit scarier, it was a blessing that I didn't have to try to appear stronger than I really was, and The Boy didn't have to watch his mother disolve into a puddle of snot on a daily basis. 

Week two was last week.  A couple of friends expressed concern, wondering how I would deal with being alone.  I assured them that I would be fine.  I was too busy not to be.  And the early part of the week was a whirlwind of yardwork and post-funeral duties and catching up on work at the office that got behind due to the funeral planning.  It was nice to just be able to re-heat the food a friend had brought me because of my mom's passing, throw my single dish in the dishwasher and move on to the next task at hand without making conversation and being, you know, a Mom.

Toward the end of his stay with his dad I found some spare time, which was not necessarily a good thing.  I had been wishing for a breather, looking forward to sitting in my big comfy chair with my dog on my lap (I feel I've been such a neglectful, absent doggy mommy lately) and just watch some mindless TV.  I did all of that, but the momentary lull in the schedule allowed a few sharp pieces of reality to stab their way into my consciousness.  It was painful, and perhaps a bit soon, but they had to get in there one way or another, so maybe it's for the best.

During the more introspective times (I am, after all, an olympic level, grand champion naval-gazer) I found myself feeling.......adrift.  The best way to describe it is to recall an article I read years and years ago on the subject of rules.  The expert author assures us that children not only need rules, they WANT rules.  And to a child, life without rules feels similar to if you or I was to walk through a door, expecting to walk into a room, but instead found ourselves with no floor beneath us, no ceiling above, no walls surrounding us.  It would be a scary thing. 
That is how I was feeling, but the issue wasn't really lack of RULES.  I was LOVING the lack of rules, the ability to close my curtains and buy junk food and watch what I want on TV and use the overhead light in the living room instead of the lamps on the end tables and...well I could go on and on but sufficed to say that I was enjoying some freedom to do things that I wasn't exactly FORBIDDEN from doing, they just weren't worth the fight...and now I can have them and do them with no fight....those are rules I do not miss.

What I felt I was lacking, was a job.  I mean I have a J.O.B., a career actually, (and thank God for it on a daily basis) and heaven knows I have plenty to do with the oversized house and the loathsome yard that surrounds it, but if you look at all of the things that fill our days, and separate out the difficult, less than pleasurable me, those are all "jobs".  Everything from going to work to going to the bank to going to the grocery store.  Everything from maintaining the house to maintaining the yard to maintaining relationships.....and THAT is a job that I have lost.

And let me tell you folks, that was a was a 


...that doesn't quite cover it, but I don't know how to add flashing lights and dripping blood to the letters so you'll just have to use your imagination.

I have been consumed with trying to "make the relationship work".  And after a couple of years of banging my head against that brick wall...the sudden absence of that brick wall caused me to not only, quite unexpectedly but thankfully temporarily, fall on my face...but the sudden lack of BANG BANG BANGing has left a ringing in my ears that almost drowns out the silence.  I find myself sitting among the rubble and bricks, a halo of cartoon stars whirling around my head, the sound of tweeting birds in the background, and thinking "now what?"

Before I had to answer that question, The Boy came home.  And now I can focus on him.  In this parenting gig, it's a very slippery slope between not enough attention and too much.  Between neglect and smothering.  When SHOE THREE dropped I had to fight the screaming parental urge to lock him in his room and never let him out because I was convinced that anything bad that could happen to me WAS happening to me and I was TERRIFIED about his safety....certain that the next time he left the house a bolt of lightening would reach from the blue, clear summer sky and strike him down only because I love him so much. 

The Boy is sixteen years old.  To paraphrase a line from a movie that I can't quite put my finger on at the moment.....there's nothing a sixteen year old boy likes more than spending time with his Mom.  Ok...there's nothing he DOESN'T like more...and I do realize that.  But I'm trying to build a man out of a boy here and that is a JOB in itself.  And I feel fortunate to be able to more clearly focus on the task at hand, and to be able to do it in a way that I, with the input of his father, feel is correct without being told over and over and over again about how every single freeping thing I'm doing is wrong.  Another brick wall my head does not miss.

So this past week has been spent chauffering him to appointments and investigating home schooling (he's not interested) and working side by side in the yard and forcing him to come home from his friend's house long enough to share a meal with me and say "How was your day?".  Tonight I am sparing him from having to share food or oxygen with me.  I have yardwork to do and a friend who is willing to help me so he's off the hook.  But he WILL go to a movie with me this weekend, and we will help each other rearrange our bedrooms.  We will fight and he will drive me crazy and I will certainly return the favor. 

It will be awesome.

And then I will let him go have fun for a while.
And come Sunday afternoon week three with his dad will begin.  Hopefully I can spend the week accomplishing some things around the house and learning how to relax without trying to see too far into the future...or into my belly button.

Today's lunch:  Panera Asian Sesame Chicken Salad, whole grain baguette, flower cookie.  A work lunch which I dind't have to pay for.  Free food is always good.  And SO yummy.   The flower cookie is a seasonal thing.  It's your basic miraculously wonderful panera shortbread cookie, with frosting and sprinkles.  It is the proverbial unicorn farting rainbows and glitter. It's wonderful wrapped in scrumptious wrappe in oh em gee. You can't get better than that.  But when I first heard about it I thought it was a FLOUR cookie...and I was reminded of this joke.

Woman:  You don't pay any attention to me, you barely KNOW me.
Man:  Baloney.  I know plenty about you.
Woman:  Ok....tell me....what is my favorite flower???
Man:  Um.....Pillsbury??

Saturday, July 9, 2011


I wrote something here.  It made NO SENSE.  So I deleted it. 

I guess I should sleep.

But I wanted to say I'm not as hopeless and pathetic as I was last night. 

G'night my friends.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Four Weeks

Four weeks ago he left.  Many of his things are still here.  The detangling of our lives is not nearly complete.  I did say"take your time" after all.

But it's been four weeks and I'm still alive.

Most days I'm fine.  I'm good.  I'm....well I won't say I feel strong, because I usuallly don't.  I have moments of strength, punctuated by stark, blinding terror.  But I'm learning to live with the push it to the back of my mind and go about my day so that for all intents and purposes I AM FINE.

But nights like this.....these nights are hard.  Nights like this it's hard to remember that I only miss the man I WANTED him to be.  I miss what I thought was going to happen some day. 

I guess I miss having hope.

Five years of my life, blindly believing that things would work out.  Every time he said "You're stuck with me" I believed it.  Maybe he did too. 

I won't say it's five years wasted, because I have The Girl.  Not like I used to, but she's still part of my life, and I thank God for that.  Literally. 

Yeah, me and God, we're recently acquainted. 

I came across a Christmas card today.  My last from him.  It was three weeks after I had surgery and apparently he was quite fond of me back then because he wrote in it the sweetest things anyone had ever written to me.  All about how, while I was being operated on, he realized how empty his life would be without me.  When I found it today, I couldn't even read it.  I just gently put it in the trash.  If I read it I will either read it as lies, or if I see it as the truth I will not be able to bear the thought that a man could love me that much and six months later just leave.  And I simply can't imagine there will ever be a time whe reading it, just SEEING it won't cut my heart to shreds.  So I really have no choice but to throw out the sweetest thing that was ever written to me. 

Sorry guys, I don't have a happy ending for this post.  I'm going to bed.  Maybe there will be some happy tomorrow. 

But here's a poem.  I didn't write it.  But I feel like I could have.

After A While
By Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn't mean leaning
and company doesn't always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman,
not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Shoe Three.

I'm sitting here in my home office...ok to be honest I'm sitting at my desk in what is otherwise the room I keep my dogs in at night....and I'm looking at the piles of stuff I should be dealing with. Two weeks worth of coupons that need clipping, receipts that need filing, bills that need paid and other assorted papers which need other assorted shuffling.  But I don't wanna do any of that.  So I'll do this.  It is, after all, lunch time.

If you've been reading BlogOverLunch through the past month you know that my child support got cut almost in half, seriously impairing my ability to do things like, you know, buy food and make my house payment.  Shortly after that my boyfriend left me, further impairing the ability to survive finacially and delivering a paralyzing emotional blow.  In the wake of those two events I still felt like something else was coming.  I was waiting for another shoe to drop in spite of the fact that two resounding thuds had rocked my house to its core.

Well...turns out I was right.  My tormentor, be it the devil or anti-karma (I SWEAR I'm a good person..ask anybody...ok ALMOST anybody), whatever psychic, cosmic, plasmic entity has been tormenting me these last few weeks has three feet...and the third shoe dropped the morning of June 29th when my mom passed away.

My mom and I weren't close.  We saw each other on Mother's day, Christmas, Grandparents Day.  This past year, the first in probably ten years, she even called me on my brthday.  When we talked it was strained.  Always about what she ate the last night or about something one of the aides in the nursing home said.  She had no interest in what was going on the life of her only child or grandchild.

But all of that said, she was my mom.  I didn't want to see her suffer and even though I would prefer to die than to live how she's lived the last four years, it was hard to deal with her passing. 

The ordeals of this past month have all morphed into one, long, surreal drama which I am eager to leave behind me.

So yesterday I buried my Mom.  That's what people say anyway.  I laid a flower on her casket, the people at the cemetery did the actual burying.

Through all of this, since XBF left and especially since my Mom passed, I have found that I have four types of friends.  Yes, I'm a labeler.  Feel free to label me as such.

I have a couple of friends who I always believed would be there for me no matter what, and these two have not let me down.  I don't want to think about how horrible these past few weeks would have been without these two wonderful women. 

I have several friends who haven't been super active in my life over the past few years, we just stay on each other's radar through Facebook and email, but in this time of need they have emerged to be as strong and loving and supportive and wonderful as I remember them to be back when we saw each other all the time.

I have one friend who I had not seen but a handfull of times since High School.  I haven't cooked since my mom died thanks to her, and I hear there is more food on the way.  She has been a wonderful source of strength, musical advice and spiritual guidance, and I hope to count her as a friend for a long time to come.

So these ARE the times when you find out who your friends are.

Oh and the fourth group.  These are the people who I hoped would be there for me, but weren't.  I'm not talking about the friends who were out of town or recovering from surgery or dealing with their own grief over recent losses or couldn't get off work.  I'm talking about people who, were the tables turned, I would have been there for them even though it might have resulted in uncomfortable moments for me, but they weren't there for me, and have offered no explanation as to why, leaving me nothing to think except that I had misjudged their friendship.  Maybe this is just evidence that, if the tables WERE turned, my support wouldn't be appropriate and my friendship wouldn't be appreciated.  Maybe these people never really were my friends, and I'm just stupid in thinking they ever were.

But, if that's the case, then I haven't lost anything, have I? 

It's a realignment of sorts I suppose.  A by-product of hard times like this.  People you thought were just aquaintences prove themselves to be true friends, and people you thought were true friends prove to be just aquaintences.  And in the end, I guess it's a good thing to know.

I gotta of my friends just brought me ice cream.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Consider My Bloomers Aflame.

Here I said I was going to start blogging regularly and have I?  HECK no!  Consider my bloomers aflame.

I've been so busy what with this whole being a mom thing (FOUR doctor's appointments for the boy last week...he gets his bad back from me...or maybe his of us anyway) and being an employee thing (the person who helps me, who I am not allowed to call my assistant, was on vacation all week) and being an honorary ex stepmom thing (got to see The Girl this weekend....I can't express the happiness there)....anyway the whole being a blogger thing had to fall by the wayside for a bit.

But I'm doing surprisingly well, or so everyone tells me.  There are scary moments, to be sure.  Being told by a car salesman, after NINE HOURS of negotiating, that there isn't a single new car that I can afford was one.  SO I traded in my dream car, and my mom's car which has been rusting in my driveway for two years, for a new-ish used car.  A very basic, small, smoky-smelling used car...with a good warranty, better gas mileage and a lower insurance bill.  But it still felt like a major, scary step backward in terms of success and adulthood. 

When The Ex came over to teach The Boy how to run the lawnmower and couldn't get it started...that was one.  Have I mentioned I have an acre and a half of land?  Yeah...a funcitonal riding lawnmower is sort of a necessity.  And when I was hearing the list of things that had to be fixed on it...that was another one.  But fortunately I have good of whom has a husband who repairs lawnmowers for a living, so I got to get it fixed AND keep my house (for now). 

But I learned something yesterday....only about two hours after getting my lawnmower back from being fixed.  When you're mowing the lawn and you have to cross the driveway, apparently you're supposed to turn off cutting thingy and even raise it up.  Who knew?  Not me! friend's husband is coming back out next week to get the lawnmower to repair the damage I caused. 

So yeah, scary moments but also learning opportunities.  And at this point I have to acknowledge the good in everything to keep from curling up into a ball in a dark room and never coming out.

Another thing I've learned is that the less desirable the vegetation is the more difficult it is to kill.  Why is that?  Is it some cosmic joke or something? 

I'm not amused. 

I have spent quite an impressive bit of time over the past week trying to keep plants alive.  I have a notoriously black thumb and XBF's thumb is the greenest of greens.  Even though I didn't ask for the nine hanging baskets, five potted arrangements and a tree (sans partridge or pear) that are on my deck, it would just feel like too much of a failure to let them all die.  I'm fairly certain that all but the tree are of the type of plant that doesn't come back next year (annual? perennial?) but dammit they WILL LIVE at least the better part of the summer.

So last weekend I learned to work the elaborate somewhat automatic watering dealio that XBF installed on the deck.  I got quite wet in doing so.  The Boy was amused.  But this makes at least the hanging baskets and the tree somewhat self-sufficient.  The rest I have to remember to water...God help them.  But I'm trying.

Yesterday after taking The Girl home I decided to tackle the flowerbeds.  I didn't realize how miserably overgrown they all were and I think this may be some evidence that XBF had a foot out the door before I even realized, because he used to be meticulous about them.  I don't think he touched them once since the snow stopped falling, and it showed. 

I had a hard time telling what I was supposed to yank from the ground and what I was supposed to lovingly preserve, but I finally figured it out.  If it looks healthy, it's probably a weed.  And as fragile as the flowers are, the weeds are just that robust, and then some.  I find it just WRONG that if I forget to water the flowers, or don't pinch them back correctly, or don't talk to them, or don't cut them back in the fall, or whatevertheheck you're supposed to do to them...if you don't do that, they die...but these weeds, many of them snapped off at the soil line when I attempted to pull them out of the ground, so I know they will be back mocking me within the week. 


I also learned that weeding uses exactly the same set of muscles and tendons as typing and, theoretically, playing tennis, because my tennis elbow is KILLING ME.

But really, the biggest thing I've learned over the last two weeks or so is that feelings are very much like the weather, or city busses.  If you don't like one, just wait, another one will come along soon.  There have been MANY times in the last two weeks when I thought I couldn't keep going.  Things are hard right now.  Emotionally and financially this is the scariest time I've ever been through.  And like a nasty one-two punch, along with the fear comes a sadness.  The things in my life that are scary and different are scary and different BECAUSE my relationship failed, and that's a very sad thing.  I guess it's expected that it hurts to lose someone you spent five years of your life with.  It hurts more to not understand why.

But there have been times over the past few weeks when I've found myself thinking that I can't bear to feel this pain another minute...but then I do.  And another minute.  And that sometimes leads me to worry that I will have to endure this pain for the rest of my life.  The obsessive planner in me starts to wonder HOW I will stand the pain, or the fear, for the rest of my life.  But then something magical happens...I don't have to.   The pain or the fear or whatever feeling is gouging at my soul at theat moment grows weary of trying to kill me.  When I refuse to die, it moves on.  Of course, after a while, it comes back.  But it comes back a teensy tiny bit smaller the next time around.  So every time I feel the pain, whether it's from seeing a picture of him (they're everywhere I look, be it in my Facebook albums, my desktop or in frames throughout my house) or from coming across a sweet note he wrote me (I kept them scattered in various places because it brought me such joy to come across one.  Funny how something that used to bring such happiness can later cause pain that is like a mean, prickly, hateful living thing) or even if it's just the fear that I'll never have the strenghth, knowledge or money to do everything that needs to be done to keep this house...I'm trying really hard to just feel the feelings in the moment without fearing that I'll have to feel the feeling every minute for the rest of my life...because I won't.  Another feeling will be along in just a minute.  Waiting for it.......

Monday, June 13, 2011

I Froze a Banana

I'm not sure how much of the Blog Over Lunch will actually be written over lunch any more.  Today I had to make phone calls and, you know, eat & stuff.  I didn't have time to write.  But now I it's Blog Over 8:04 pm.  Oh and a glass of water.

One of The Girl's favorite movie lines is "I carried a watermelon", from Dirty Dancing.  Well today I thought of her (I sure do miss her) as I froze a banana.  Ok, I froze four of them.  Did you know you can freeze bananas?  If so, why didn't you tell me?

I had four turning brown.  I love me a good nanner & peanut butter smoothie but am not a big fan of just sitting down and feasting on a banana.  Turns out you can peel them and freeze them and then they're even better for smoothie making!

Yeah, clearly I'm excited by virtually ANY good news right now.

Another thing I did today...I ate chicken noodle soup with crackers and did not once fear that I would puke it up.  This is a first in several days.  I've lost four pounds in the three days since XBF left.  Not entirely unappreciated, but I'm a bit tired of feeling like hurling all the time thank you very much.

For dinner I had PB & J, grapes and whole grain tostitos.  Ok...whole grain tortilla chips.  Who can afford brand names anymore?  Not I!

But I was nearly giddy with the freedom of just slapping some generic peanut butter and generic jelly between two slices of generic bread and calling it dinner.  These are the little pleasures of a single woman while her son is spending the week at dad's I guess.

Today I have to keep reminding doesn't all have to be done right now.  I keep telling myself that, over and over and over again.  I hadn't planned on a free evening tonight.  XBF was going to start moving his stuff, but he had to postpone. No biggie really.  His stuff being here is SO far down on the list of things to care about right now.  But it left me with a free evening which, surprisingly enough, did NOT send me into a sobbing, hyperventilating panic attack of near medical-emergency proportions as would have been the case if I were faced with an unexpectedly free evening this soon after The Ex left six years ago. 

Instead, it sent me into a mental list of all of the things that I could accomplish in the time between work and bed, and left me trying frantically to decide which ones I should do.  Anything from emptying the dishwasher to mowing the lawn to trimming the hedges to programming the automatic watering dealio so the hanging baskets don't die, to just watering the damned things by hand to visiting the car dealer to car shopping online to getting a jump on tomorrow's work at the office to cleaning the bathroom to clipping coupons to washing the sheets to balancing the checkbook to fixing the roomba get the picture.  I have a lot on my plate right now.

But...say it with me doesn't all have to be done right now.

I emptied the dishwasher, I balanced the checkbook, I watered the damned plants.  I texted The Ex and asked if he could find time between now and the weekend to bring The Boy here and teach him how to run The Lawnmower (as it is still the one he used when he lived here).  He agreed.  I will soon fix the roomba. 

Oh...and I froze a banana!

And that will just have to do.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Shoe Two.

It's Sunday, and I'm at the office.  I just got here.  I figure if I'm going to work on a Sunday I don't have to feel guilty about coming in VERY late, or about blogging before I get to work. 

I got the first decent night sleep in a very long time last night.  I don't think I've slept more than ten accumulated hours in the last four days.  The light of the oncoming train kept me awake I guess.  I tried to fool myself into thinking it was the light at the end of the tunnell, but my gut told me different.

Yesterday when my alarm went off I was wide awake, running in my head through all of the catastrophic circumstances that MIGHT happen, which I would be unable to handle alone.  But I spent yesterday with a good friend, and spent a lot of time on the phone with another, and they have convinced me that I can handle more on my own than I think, and that they are there for me for the things I can't.  So today, when the alarm actually WOKE ME UP, I turned it off.  Because I could.  And because I needed it.

When I got up my house was empty.  And it wasn't scary.  It was actually kind of nice.  Nobody was there to criticize me for sleeping so late.  XBF is an early riser and he took great joy in poking fun at me for my love of sleep.  And I was the only one there to criticize myself for not going to the gym.  But you know what?  I've been through hell the last few days.  I deserved some rest.  So there.

There are things about my empty house that are hard to get used to, but they're not entirely bad.

My house is a tad on the dark side now.  Blinds are drawn, sheers are closed.  To the outisde it may look like I'm trying to shut out the world, but really I'm just trying to shut out the heat to reduce my electric bill.  XBF liked everything open.  These are the decisions I can make on my own now.

My house will feel more strange before it starts to feel more my own.  Seeing XBF remove his stuff will be hard.  Rearranging my stuff to make the the holes less noticiable will need to be done in my house and in my life.

The Girl's bedroom being empty will be....I can't even think about it. 

But I've been through this before.  In fact I wrote about it way back then.  Let me find it.  Maybe I'll post it tomorrow.

There is SO much that is familiar about this.  Too much that is like the divorce. Along with the divorce came A LOT of bad stuff.  Things that didn't happen BECAUSE of the divorce, but things that came at the same time.  Maybe to test my strength.  I lost one of my best friends shortly after the separation.  I lost my job two weeks before the divorce was final, and most of my friends were at work.  By that point I was already dating XBF.  I had far less debt and far more child support, and I had him telling me everything would be ok, but still being unemployed and newly single is a hell I wouldn't wish on anyone.

I'm stronger now for going through that.  There are moments still when I'm not entirely sure I'm strong enough for what lies ahead, but I'm worlds stronger now than I was when I filed for divorce.

But because of all of that trauma, one blow after another after another, now when I start to feel like "Ok! I can do this. We'll be fine"...and those moments are coming more and more frequently as the days pass, the feeling is too often followed by a silence where I can hear nothing but the frantic beating of my heart as I wait for the other shoe to drop. 

I'm trying to convince myself that the child support cut was shoe one, the end of the relationship is shoe two.  And this trial of my strength will soon be over and some semblance of normal life can begin.  Shoe two will be a bit more drawn out in its descent and impact, because I still have his stuff, and his daughter still has my heart.  There are things to be resolved in this.  Even though there is no marriage license between us...(Note to self...thank him for his inability to commit. He may have been wiser than I.) there is more than five years between us, so there will be untangling to do.  I am going to try to make it as painless for both of us, well for the FOUR of us, as possible.  I can only hope he will do the same, but I can't fool myself into thinking I have any control over that.

I'll end this with a Facebook post from one of my idols, Jillian Michaels.  Like I said I've felt this coming on for a while.  I wanted to believe it wasn't what I thought it was.  And I've spent my fair share of time with my fingers in my ears and my eyes squeezed shut screaming "la la la la I can't hear you" at my gut feelings. I'm not doing that any more, because Jillian says.....

"Best piece of advice I ever got was about listening to my gut. When you feel something strongly LISTEN and act accordingly. Every time I've gotten into trouble in my life it was because I didn't listen to that inner voice. Say no when you feel like you should. Take a risk you believe in even if others tell you not to. Follow your heart always and live in your truth. Your truth will never lead you astray."