Saturday, December 31, 2011

I wish you a peace-filled 2012

The end of the year is such a time for ruminations, isn't it? I looked over statuses, mused over letters written and received, looked around my home, looked through photos of the kids, mused as I flipped through pages of a journal I keep where I don't write so much as draw, and all in all, I felt pretty good.

2011 and I were mostly friends, I think. I see the progress I have made this year and I am happy. Each of my children hit major high points in this past year and like mothers everywhere I feel cheered when they are cheered. I am so proud of US, as a family, and as I think over my last post I realize that maybe I have not been so alone, after all.

I am not one for resolutions, not so much. I think I believe more in absolution. "In 2012 I will no longer beat myself up for the following...." I have thought long and hard over this one, and my center self, the one I am learning to listen to and regard more and more, seems to be yearning for PEACE. Peace.

Peace in my home environment - keep on with the major over haul decluttering we have been doing, and gain control over the house, in hopes that a quieter, more organized living space can aid in creating a quieter, more organized mind inside me.

Peace in my family. I know children will always have their squabbles, but I would like to somehow reduce the simmering teenage hostility that seems to be always lurking.

Peace in my heart - to see Mr. Hate without much of a twinge would be so lovely. And maybe, even, find a new cause for palpitations in 2012 when I see someone new?

Peace in my body, peace with food - it's about choices, time, and intent. I have the ability to do better, and I need to focus on that.

Peace in my soul - a better prayer life, more time to just be still, more time to dream. Who wouldn't want that?

And finally, I will strive in 2012 to make peace with my finances. I have danced around it long enough. What an amazing feeling of relief would I have at the end of 2012 with that cursed monkey debt of my back at last?

So not resolutions, exactly, but nice thoughts. I strive for peace. Released from the crushing sorrow of the divorce, which seems to abate every day, I think maybe I could really make progress in these areas this year.

Peace to you all, my dear ones.

PS - assuming the Mayans were wrong, of course! :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

WE wish you a Merry Christmas....

WE, WE, WE wish you a Merry Christmas! WE seems to be everywhere, hitting me right in the heart.

Funny, but last year it didn't bother me so much, but this year, I am getting we'ed all over, and it smarts.

Little things - Mr. Hate on the phone, discussing shopping plans - "not sure where WE are going..."

A man in church, up at the altar rail. Puts his hand on his wife's shoulder, whispers in her ear, they laugh.

"WE are going to my mom's for Christmas"
"WE always go to Lasallette...."
" WE do this secret thing for the kids..."

Christmas card photos showing families in fun outifts by the tree.
Happy families shopping, men and women holding hands at the pagaents, driving in cars as a family.
I miss that.

All around me are people who are dating again. Everyone tells me I should. I should. Should I? I am lonely. I would like to have love in my life again.

But I am terrified too. The last time I went on a date I was 24 years old. The women at my office go on dates and regale me with tales of absolute horror shows and losers that cheat, lie,steal, enough to keep me locked at home for the next 20 years. ugh.

Why would I want to do that? Just so "we" could wish you a Merry Christmas?

No, of course not. Not just that. I want to feel a hand on my shoulder. I want someone to smile that smile at me. I want to have someone to ride in a car with. To talk to. To be ME with.

For now, I wish ME a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thanks, Ben

The morning hadn't gone well, that is for sure. Rushing out the door, ponytail = shower, pop tart, crappy music on the radio. No calamaties, just a bunch of tiny reminders that I had nothing under adult control, and almost all of my choices so far had been less than stellar.

Worked for a few hours with one of my favorite students, but I could tell, as we neared lunch time, that his spirits were low.

"What's up, Benny?"
"I have to eat lunch alone today. My mom has an appointment and I am going to be here alone."
"Ben, would you like it if I came back early from my lunch to hang out with you?"
"Yes Annie!"

Ben calls me Annie when we are pretending to be the lead characters from Annie Get Your Gun. He likes that, and it makes me smile.

Booked home at 12 to let the dogs out, deep throated a chicken wrap sandwich, printed out the script I will need for tonight's drama class, and raced back to the office.

And there was my dear Ben. Curled up on the couch, looking low. He perked up when I came in, and when I asked him if he would like to go outside for a bit, he looked thrilled.

Even though he is technically an adult, still we are not allowed to leave the center grounds. So we played football in the parking lot. I was wearing a skirt. My stomach was none too thrilled with the hasty arrival of the previously mentioned sandwich. It was chillier than I thought out there. Sigh.

Within seconds, Ben had me laughing as he coached my football throwing techniques (he knows what he is talking about too - I got a lot better!). Shoes off, ponytail in the wind, laughing as we did touchdown dances and whooped it up. Sun bright, not so chilly now from all the running about, faces shining.

And just like that, Ben cheered me up as much as I cheered him up. Living in a glorious moment, who cares if the rest of it doesn't get done.

Thanks Ben. You have taught me so much.

Monday, October 10, 2011

One step forward. And then another one....

Just when I was doing so well. Just when I was starting to breathe. Just a little breath, not a big one.

Tell me, where can I go that he can't hurt me anymore? Where can I go where his toxic fingers won't reach me, freezing me with his illness, his lying, his....slime?

Tell me, Lord, and I will go. I will so gladly go.

Save me, my dearest, most beloved Lord, save me from him and all he ruins. Keep me out of his path of destruction, bullying, hatred.  Keep me safe, and spare the children.

I will go Lord. I promise that I will.
Show me. Save me. Help me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Where is the warranty?

I love her. I do. Never doubt it. But something is up with Third that is making her damn hard to like. She is as close to being out of control as a 12 year old can get, and I am thiiiiiiis close to losing it. Seriously.

She is way -- WAY -- too old for magical thinking, so what is UP with her latest nonsense? I asked her almost every single day of summer vacation to do her summer reading. I READ HER THE FIRST SEVEN OR EIGHT CHAPTERS of the book. I offered to get it for her on tape....in short, I tried everything. Tomorrow is her test on the book, and it's not done. Not no way, not no how. She was supposed to come read it today at my work, in a quiet study carrel. She went to a friend's house instead, and lied and told the mom I said she could. I'm letting her swing. I hope they throw the book (heh) at her. I hope she flunks. I really do. I have told that child about actions having consequences from the day her feet hit the ground, and I swear to Gawd if the school let's her off, fearing the skew to their MCAS results I will knee cap someone.

Last month she told the med evaluation lady that she was just not sure she could take medicine, (as both her therapist AND her pediatrician suggested) because I get drunk every night and thus could not be trusted to dose the meds properly. She told her therapist I beat her when she doesn't do her chores. She told me her father's partner raised his hand to her and that her father hit her repeatedly when they were on vacation.

One of these days she is going to say something like that to the wrong burdened reporter, and all hell will rain down on her head, and what then? I have tried to explain this to her. Every one has. What is going on in that brain of hers?

I am sorrier than she is that her dad and I split up. I am sorry she has some special needs that make it harder for her to learn. I am sorry she has a late birthday and I didn't know she was going to turn out to have learning issues so I let her start kindergarten at 5 instead of holding her back a year. I am sorry for all the things she claims I do that ruin her and cause her to be sure to fail. I am beyond sorry that I don't have a co-parent of ANY weight or merit to spell me when I just need a break.

I am sorry that I don't have a magic wand to wave it all away. Mostly though, I am sorry she has a human for a mother. I get tired, I don't always have excellent parenting replies at the ready, and sometimes I really just wish she would shut the hell UP already, and go to sleep in her own bed and stop with the demands, demands, demands, an unquenchable endless squawking baby bird, mouth open, never, ever filled. I am sorry for the voice in my head that says "you created Veruca, Mrs. Salt!" I am sorry I don't know how to best help my little girl every time she needs my help.

I am sorry, because she is EXHAUSTING me, and I am almost out of patience.

What happens when it's really gone?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Enough?

Ah, the sun sets on another weekend. Did I use every minute wisely? Did I seize each day, crush it, and make it count? Ummmm. No. Not so much.

But I did get quite a lot done. So it is enough? Enough is a word and a concept I have been grappling a lot with lately. I have more than enough. Too much, in fact, given the clutter around here. And yet, the desire to accumulate more is with me, all the time. Not in a compulsive, HAVE to have it way, but I do wish my house was fixed up more nicely, better appointed, if you will. There is more than enough food in the cabinets, and yet I think every other day one of the fry will wail about how "we have nothing to eat in this house!" I have seen people with NOTHING to eat in their homes. A dirt kitchen floor, and an open fire pit for a stove. I will never, ever say I do not have enough to eat. I have a roof over my head, I know where my children are at night, and I have a dry, comfortable, and safe place to sleep. That, in itself, is enough.

And yet -- here it is Sunday evening, and the list of all I did NOT do this weekend hangs heavy over me. I did not weed that garden, clean out this or that space, did not bring this or that to here or there. Did not spend time walking in nature, did not spend enough time with each child individually, did not spend enough time with my mother, did not did not did not. It does not feel like I got "enough" done. I made it to church, but not a museum. I cooked delicious food, but did not work in the garden. I did several long put off tasks, but did not complete several others....so does it count?

Who am I comparing against? When will enough be enough? It is true, that when the house is tidy, I feel less stressed. But right now to get the house really tidy would require a dumpster, a flame thrower and the team from Hoarders.....And again, "enough" comes into to play. Is it clean enough? Enough for whom?

And how is this all my job? Have I done a good enough job parenting, if the girls don't feel vested in keeping the house clean? Let's get real here, peeps -- who in the hell has kids who skip down the halls singing "yes, it's time to help mom clean today!" This isn't the Disney channel, folks. My kids walk around here with the same baffled looks I see on the faces of all of the friends too - how does the house get clean? They don't know.


Enough. Such a fun word to say, with that groovy fricative and all. So much, in two small syllables. Yes, I have enough. But did I do enough this weekend? And who is asking?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I am not sure I have a point....but I do have a point of view....

Here's the tricky thing about this blog writing business....I feel reticent to post sometimes, as I am not sure what, exactly, my purpose is in writing this blog. I read several truly excellent blogs written by some of my friends, and they post any number of wonderful essays about the challenges of raising their families, dealing with unexpected health crises, struggles in the world of academia, etc. I just sort of...ramble. I remember my intention was to write about my "new life" as a mid-40s divorced woman and mom of three kids, starting back in to the professional world, and maybe even (gasp) dating. But it turns out that my life moves rather slowly, on the whole, and milestones in the above areas are few and far between. There is much that happens in my life, but it's just....life. Challenges come, (none -- and I mean NONE -- as daunting as those my dear friend Pennsy faces, with great wit, style, and an incredible, unshakable faith). My children are no longer at the "say cute things" revelatory stages several of my other bloggy friends' children are. My career is more just a job, and one barely sustaining us, so what's to write about there? As for me -- still rather overweight, rather undisciplined, rather spiritually parched at the moment, and pretty much creatively tapped out. I am not in a theatre production, not tirelessly supporting a candidate I believe in, not redecorating my home with cast-offs that turn out to be hidden treasures, not spearheading the research campaign into a new medical horizon...not doing much of anything really exciting. The big whoopty yesterday was that I managed to put together a meal all three of us ate, and no one complained. Who wants to read about that?

And yet - I do have points of view. I feel things, all sorts of things. I do care about issues of the day -- when I can find time to educate myself about them. I juggle all sorts of things and do many things horribly and a few things well. I fiercely love my family, and I do wish for a career to come my way that would sustain me intellectually, financially, and responsibly. Who doesn't? But is that enough to warrant a blog? Does not having a set theme for my blog mean that it's not worth having at all? If what I really need is a journal, maybe I should save the bandwidth for someone else.....

I do like the process of writing; quite a lot in fact. At least 5 times a day I long to BE an actual writer of actual books, so I could make a living whilst still being able to make the kids' games and schedule a mammogram without feeling like I am letting the office manager down. But does me liking the act of writing justify me having  a blog?

I know I have a voice, and I know I have a right to have that voice. But does that mean I have a right to be heard, if it may be that I really have nothing of import to say?

Hmmmmm.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

About a boy....2

So, um....hey. I know, it's been a looong time since I posted anything. Busy working, Second dropped my laptop and it broke, busy busy, yadda yadda.

Forgive me. I need to talk today.

I brought First to college today. Settled him in, spent time, set him up, went to the meet and greets....and then drove away. Tears pouring down, heart breaking, soul singing.

He is going to LOVE his school. Seriously. Like watching the Bee Girl find her field, First has arrived where they speak his language, see how he sees, feel what he feels. He will be happy with his own kind.

But. Oh, BUT. But once upon a time, *I* was his kind. I was his star, he was my planet. Bedtimes stories, private jokes, ritual songs before sleeps. I was his Alpha, and he was my world. And how quickly that time went. How far away, how almost forgotten under the rush of it all those long-ago nights seem now. How lucky I was to have them at all. That boy of mine! How I love him. I love all my children, don't ever doubt that. But it would taste a lie to not admit that the first one, my First, holds a different place in my heart. He made me a mother, you see, and whilst that will never change, my role in his life will.

From Manager to Consultant, and one on call, at that.I hope he wants me in his life. I hope that I have earned his trust, and that he misses me too. And his hard-earned glories will be all his own now. Faculty members, TAs and mentors will get the most deserved thanks now, and I will be thankful to them too -- I will! (As long as he remembers to add "and thanks to my mom" or some such courtesy nod to my presence. Sad, innit?) They will have taught him to sing in the language he stutters in now. He will thrive under their attentions, and he will strive for their praise as ardently as he once strove for mine (and if one of THEM ever hangs your art on THEIR fridge and shows it to all THEIR friends you be sure to let me know - so there!). I really do wish him well, and I really am glad that he is so happy and so very much at home in his new dorm.

How I wish mine didn't feel quite so empty, with him gone......

Please, First, fly now. Find your excellence, find all that is within you, find your absolute TRUTH. Please, find your bliss, find it and come back and share it with me. Not because you feel bound to, not because I can't live without you, not because of obligation, guilt, duty, none of that. Share it with me because you want to. Because it's funnier when we laugh together. Because you want me to know your new language too. Fly past me, but please don't fly beyond me.

I know I tell you all the time, but oh, my dear First. How I love you so.
















Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A new addition to my "I can do this!" list....

I got my garden planted this weekend. I absolutely love planting vegetables in a garden. Setting out the starts, creating rows and furrows for the seeds to go in. Setting the tomato cages in, and hopefully getting them nice and straight. It all just seems so hopeful, somehow. I like to think of them stretching their little roots, sighing as they settle in and get comfortable in the warming sun. I imagine the blossoms to come, the baby green tomatoes on the vine, and then the wonderful, warm red tomatoes ripening, filling the yard with that incredible fragrance of fresh, growing tomatoes. Gently lifting pea vines and cucumber tangles to get at the latest offering. Eating as many pea pods right there on the spot as I put in the bowl to bring in the house....

Oh, I am a fool for a nice garden!

This year was even better, as I really, really prepped the soil, thanks to a friend, Davida. Davida is an acquired taste, to some, I suppose. I find her a treasure, and have from the first day we met. Many years my elder, she is a fine older lady crafted in the Katharine Hepburn mold. Well-educated, always impeccably groomed, hat and matching coat at church, Davida is a formidable woman, grounded and firm. She knows the road of betrayal, divorce, pain. She buried her second, beloved husband after nursing him through a long illness. Davida has earned her straight, set spine.

Davida had done amazing things in her life, and in a garden. Many years ago she helped establish a community garden in an empty lot in a city. That garden continues to thrive, and to date has yielded over 100,000 pounds of produce to feed the people in an otherwise totally urban city environment. I approached Davida a couple of weeks ago to ask if she had a rototiller I might borrow, and she was sure and delighted to reply yes indeed she did, and I was most welcome to it!

Davida never questioned whether or not I could use such a machine. She did not doubt my abilities for a second. She didn't hesitate, or look me over to see if I looked too risky to loan to. She didn't spend one second wondering if the mere fact that I would be using the tiller would unnecessarily imperil it. She didn't spend an hour going over directions with me. She never said "Oh, just let me do it for you, you will just mess it up." She just said "Yes".

She knows what a woman can do. She knew, even before I did, what *I* could do. Years of lessons in the school of hard knocks have taught her that a woman on her own can do whatever it is that a woman needs to do, and somehow she believed I would learn that lesson too.

And in that moment, feeling her confidence in me, I did.

Thank you, Davida. You were right. I could do it. I did do it. Thanks to you, my garden is growing.

And so am I.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Alzheimer's can KISS MY ASS.

Fuck off, Alzheimer's. I mean it. Forgive me, gentle readers, but I have had enough of that particular specter. You came and stole my mother in law, and that was bad enough, but now you have come for my mother, and that is a level of remove I did not appreciate fully until it struck. GO AWAY and leave her, all of us, ALONE. My kids are basically screwed now - it's on both sides of them, and it will creep in and steal them too.

How DARE you come for my mother? Don't you know who she is? She is a doctor, she gave her entire professional life to helping others, to making sure others were cared for. How dare you turn her, a community icon, an beloved authority figure to so many, a champion for the underserved, healer, missionary, teacher, mother, friend, into a doddering, timid, questioning, insecure, anxious, old lady? Do you think it doesn't stab me to the heart when they give me that sad, apologetic, knowing smile? Do you think she really can't see the people at church actively avoiding her at coffee hour, not wanting to have the same conversation for the tenth week in a row?

What is WRONG with these people? Those same people who would sidle up to her at every opportunity to ask her to squeeze them in next week, come in to the vestry to look at this mole, and does the baby look all right to her, now avoid her, because THEY don't have the time and patience to hear the same story again. Everyone will hug me and whisper how sorry they are, how sad it is, but no one will tell her. No one takes her to lunch, asks her over for a cup of tea. After all those late night phone calls she answered, extra miles she went battling insurance companies, countless hours spent. Nice.

Is it really them I am railing against? Or is it just that I can't stand seeing my mom reduced to this caricature  of who she once was? Worst of all - she KNOWS this is happening. She knows her mind is going and it is breaking her heart. It breaks mine to hear her say "I was never a great beauty. We know this. But I was always the smartest woman in the room. Who am I now?"  We both shake out fists at the sky, but the sky never answers.

And oh, I am selfish too. I MISS my mother. I want her advice, her counsel, her cheery voice at the end of the phone. My children miss her smiling face at their concerts, cheering on the sidelines, helping with chemistry homework. GIVE HER BACK, Alzheimer pigs!

Please, give her back. Please?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Label maker

So, here's the thing. I have noticing that lately I have been having some pretty strong reactions to the labels people use to describe each other. (And by "each other" I pretty much mean, well, me. I worry sometimes that I am entirely too self-centered on this blog, which is rather amusing, given that it's a blog about, well, me.)

Back to what I was saying.....the other day at church someone referred to me as a "single mother" and my dander got all up before I realized that, well, yeah. That's a label for me. It's just that I had never labelled myself that way. And then someone said something charming along the lines of "those skinny minnies over there aren't like us" and I was cut to the quick. Uh, who exactly is the us to whom you refer there, clueless?

Reduced to just the labels, I am a single mom, working mother, red head (or at least I used to be), funny, Methodist, American, divorced, white, middle class, college educated, Bostonian, suburban, middle aged, liberal, and apparently, fat-assed. Is that how I label myself? It that really how others label me?

We are all so much more than just the sum of our parts. What labels do I chose to accept from others? What other labels do I try to take on, even though the fit isn't quite right? When I go, are my labels all I will leave behind? Yes, as eventually I will be just a story my kids tell their grandkids, and that story will be made of labels, won't it?

I hope to leave a legacy of good ones. "Loving mother. Good friend. Creative. Kind. Singular."

Loved.

Friday, April 1, 2011

How to Save a Life

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend.
Somewhere out there in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known
How to Save a Life

That song was on the musical episode of Grey's Anatomy last night (along with several other songs, and the unmistakable sploosh of jumping a shark, but that's another post.....) and I can't stop singing it.

Funny how you can be aware of a song for months, years, and then suddenly understand the lyrics in a whole new way.

I could not save my marriage. I could not save it's life. I didn't know how. I didn't know he was gay. He didn't either, apparently, but this post is about me. I didn't know. I didn't know how to save our life.

And I have lost him as a friend. There is an ocean of bitterness between us now. Part of me thinks it is well deserved. His underhanded actions and his cowardice are HATEFUL and there is a big part of me that really and truly realizes that he does not DESERVE to count me amongst his friends.

And there is a quiet, sorrowful part of me that realizes that a lot of the bitterness is mine, my reaction, my creation, mine. I contributed to the air of hostility, of anger, and of alienation. I did not meet him halfway. I was too busy playing the victim role. I was so busy railing against what he didn't give me that I didn't spend a lot of time counting up what I do have, and being grateful.

Mostly the song just makes me miss my friend. The old husband I had. The one that made me laugh, was so amazing and charming and smart and nice. I fully realize that he disappeared years ago, behind a curtain of depression and lies that no one could reach, even doctors, but still. I miss my friend. I miss the idea of him. The solidity of knowing I was part of a marriage. That I wasn't alone. Realizing that for a lot of the time I was does help, sure, but not much. I totally get it. There are no rose colored glasses here, people.

I just miss the companionship of marriage. The shared history. The stories that only we could understand, because we were there, together. Little moments with the children, building the house together, trips, experiences, small wonders and bigger hurts and triumphs. I got really, really morose looking for a file the other day. We had twenty years together. Twenty years is a long time to live a lie, and it's a long time to be lied to, but it's also just....a long time. And I mourn the loss of that. For him, and for me.

Because if I had known what his real issues were, we could have forged a new future, in which he could live honestly, and openly, and we could have still been friends. I could have still had my friend.

And I realize that my actions in the past few years have not always been stellar. I absolutely know that. I acknowledge and fully take responsibility for the choices I have made that have hurt others, and hurt me. And hurt him.

I wish he had been honest with me all along.

I wish I had known, how to save our life.

Monday, March 28, 2011

....so now you know.

Well, well, well. Seems Mr. Hate has lost his job. Not right away, but as of December of 2011. At least they gave him some notice. More than I got when he fired me from my job as his wife and the mom at home.

I am going to be nothing but sympathetic, but only on the surface. Inside? Inside I want to say something like this:

So. Now you know. For 20 years and 1 day you chose to put your job ahead of anything else in your life. For 20 years you went beyond what you were asked, made them a priority, ate, breathed and slept for the company you loved. Time after time you put WORK ahead of your children, your wife, your family, your friends (remember the "softball game" incident? I do), the dog, for heaven's sake. You figured if you were loyal to them, they would be loyal to you. After all, they promised you they would be. They signed a contract with you. They provided your insurance, an office where you spent most of your time, and gave you an identity in the community.

And without even giving you a chance, just a lame "sorry" they cut you loose.

Did they give you an honest answer when you asked why? Or did they give you some canned answer about "Oh, c'mon, we all knew it was going to end this way someday, we both knew things weren't working...." even though you know in your deepest soul that you would have stayed and worked it out with them, if only they had tried to keep you? Did you get to find out from others that the company would have laid you off earlier, if only they hadn't had "the distraction of being an employer?"

So, how's it feel? Being discarded, judged as not worth keeping, dismissed? I am betting you don't like it much at all. You believed it would be your job forever, but it wasn't. Feel deceived yet? The company doesn't need you anymore, and without much reason they are letting you go. How would you feel if they spent your 401K behind your back, too? You know that life of retirement you were promised, and that you counted on? Kiss it goodbye. Enjoy the terror of nights filled with imagining your future collecting cans. Feel the angry knot in your stomach that you fear will consume you.

How does it feel to know that they just don't need you anymore? Would you like them to publicly blame you for all their problems? Planning on visiting your old coworkers every other weekend? How are you going to feel when you get replaced by someone else? Are you getting severance? Is it the minimum the state will allow them to give you? Feel THAT. Feel what it feels like to work really, really hard, and then get cheated out of any sort of fair settlement, due to their stinginess. Listen to them defend their actions with statements like "well, we needed some place to work" and "our decisions are no longer any of your concern." Enjoy the humiliation of walking into a room full of people who are still employed, and having them give you that small, weak smile of sympathy, while all the time you KNOW they are thanking God it was you and not them. A particular joy will be when you and the employer have to sit down with a list of things from your work area and divide them up. Feel the injustice when they, a million dollar company, insist on taking your compost bin, when they could have easily bought one themselves. Yes, you will be able to find it funny, because it is just SO ridiculous, but mostly you will just be scratching your head, baffled at what has become of the company you thought you knew. Where did they go? At what point did they stop making any sense, or lose all perspective? You will never, ever get the answer to that one. Ask them anything you want, and everything you need to know. Most of the answers they give you will be outright lies. Be ready - when you confront them on it, they will snort back "get a life" at you, and it will feel like a slap.

Do you feel scared? Do you feel confused, not knowing who you are now, what the heck happened that suddenly you are out on the street with no safe place anymore? Do you jump every time the phone rings, wondering how you could have put so much faith in a company that you now realize never really had your back?

And you know that guy that just showed up? The one they looked directly into your eyes and SWORE was not really the reason you are getting laid off, he is just a friend, he is just helping out with finances, etc.?

He's fucking your old boss.


How does THAT feel, Pet? (And, by the way, that all started before you were actually finished your job.)

Go ahead. Moan to everyone about how unfair this is. Cry yourself dry in your rage, terror and hurt. And watch people alienate you. Wait til all your friends judge you, and you find out they are saying, behind your back, how they totally understand it, and you never seemed happy there anyway, so the company really had no chance but to fire you. Join a support group for other folks who have been laid off, and see how it feels when you find out every single person there got a better severance package than you. See how you feel when your old coworkers all get invited over to the new office, and they gather to celebrate the new digs. Feel left out, much? Feeling the loyalty of your old friends, or betrayed?

I realize that you losing your job puts all of us in a precarious position, but seriously? Right now I feel like you have been served a big heaping plate of karma.

It could not have happened to a more deserving man.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'm Floored!

Dig me! I put a new floor down in my bedroom this week. Is it perfect? Nope. Am I in love with it? YES! I am ridiculously proud of myself for getting this accomplished, and so well at that. It was yet another one of Mr. Hate's "I will get to it" items, and although we lived here for 12 years, it remained just industrial grade plywood with scraps of mismatched carpet stuck to it. Feh. I figured I would just live with it, but slowly I realized that I needed something....nicer. As I grow into this house, my home now, I need it to reflect ME. What I love, what the kids and I want to see. This once was my marriage bed, and now it's just mine. So I needed to take ownership of the space. I must admit, the freedom to choose what I wanted to have in here was intoxicating. No arguments in the Home Depot aisle, no snide comments about my taste. Just me. Mine to choose, mine to install, mine to live with, no matter the outcome.

After 20 years of always hearing what I did wrong, how I had disappointed, I did this work, and it is good. It was quite challenging in places, and I needed One's help more than once, especially to move the furniture, but I stuck it out, and I am totally in love with how it looks. Warm, shiny, and smooth. I still have a few spots under the register to finish, and finish them I will. And it won't take 12 years either.

I didn't spend a whole lot of time listening to the little grumpy thought gnomes that kept popping up to screech at me, either. This is MAJOR, and I feel the strain of flexing new muscles. (I also feel the agonized strain of stretching my old muscles as well, and my knees look like Monica Lewinski's). I am learning a new way to talk to myself, to believe in myself, and to trust the decisions I make.

The fact that my children saw me doing this project is critical. They need to believe in me too. Perhaps some day they will remember me doing this, and feel encouraged to face their own tough projects. They even helped, some. Third looked on with admiration as I used the jigsaw, hammered the pieces into place; saw my pleasure with my job well done. I want my children to learn to be pleased when they have done something well. I want them to feel pride at their accomplishments, and to be brave enough to try something outside of what they think they can do.

And I will tell them they did it well. I hope they believe it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

None are so holy that they cannot be holier, none so devout that they ought not to be more so. Who is there, living in the uncertainty of this life, who is either immune to temptation or free from blame? Adversity harms us and prosperity corrupts us, and it is not less dangerous to lack what is desired than to be full of what is granted. There are snares in the abundance of wealth, there are snares in the distress of poverty; the former raises us to pride, the latter goads us into complaint. There is a trap in security, and a trap in fear, and it makes no difference whether the mind held by affections for earth is occupied by joys or cares, since the sickness is the same whether one is weakening under empty luxuries or suffering under anxious care.
from sermon 49 of Leo the Great (February 21, 443)

My Pastor, who is a great, great lady, sent out the above as part of a Lenten devotional series she put together. I have to admit, I really struggled with the grammar and the content here, especially that weird "not less dangerous" part. But I parsed it and read it and got there in the end. Lots of heady stuff.

I have definitely been full of the white whine lately. Even though right now I am in a period of skinny cows, I realize, as I read this, that I am still surrounded by cows that are fatter than 80% of the world, and I should be a LOT more grateful than I have been. I realize that I spend so much time railing against Mr. Hate for leaving us so poor, and not enough time thanking God for the things I do have. A shift in my energies in this direction is certainly required. My longer-divorced friends tell me that eventually I will not even raise an eyebrow when I hear news of the ex. What a relief that will be! For now he still has the power to get under my skin, and I am tired, oh so unbelievably tired, of him, and his lies and his drama, and their effect on me. Enough now, enough! A mind set of gratitude, forward thinking, and joy will be so much more productive and just.....better.

And yes, there is a trap in security. A big one. I lure myself into believing all the anxieties I have keep me "safe" and I guess in some ways they do, but they also keep me hidden. I don't take chances like I used to, I don't run at life the way I used to, and I never audition anymore. What happened to the girl who would have SLEPT on stage given a chance, and desperately waited for the Phoenix to come out every week so she could read the auditions list? Theatre has been a huge part of my life since I arrived on this earth, and I have left it neglected for years now, because I grew too afraid to be on stage. How sad.

There is work to be done. Sigh. And....I'm off!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Met My Husband's Boyfriend Today....

There are some sentences you just can't imagine you would ever have to type, in your entire life.

Today's blog post title serves as an excellent example.

I knew it would happen eventually. It had to. And really, it's high time. But still. Meeting his boyfriend was easily one of the most surreal moments in my life. And yes, Mr. Hate is my ex-husband, but still, people.

I met his boyfriend.

It went pretty well, and I am quite proud of how I handled myself in the exchange. It was in a public place (restaurant, I was dropping Third off), the fry were all there, etc. I showed my children a truly excellent example of class, decorum and openness, and I could actually SEE them taking a breath and realizing the moment they have been anxious about passed and we all survived. Second caught my eye for a just a tick as I was leaving, and I swear, I saw something like pride in her eyes, and the definite sparkle of a shared laugh. She connected with me there for just a tiny moment, she GOT it, acknowledged it to me, and I will remember her look for a long time. And it was also hella awkward, but survivable, and even as it was happening I was thinking out what I would tell my girlfriends, but most of all it was....sad.

Because here's the thing. He seems like a nice guy. Really. He's good looking, well spoken, and appears to be a kind person. I can totally see the attraction. I think we would get along very well. And maybe we will. I don't quite see how, but life, as I have learned ad nauseum, has a way of altering paths faster than I can keep up with. He seems like someone I could (and would) have been friends with, if things had been different.

And there I go, arguing with reality again. Things aren't different. Mr. Hate handled things the way he did, and because of his choices, events will unfold in a much different way than if he had been honest and respectful. But he wasn't, and the energy I spend mourning what wasn't serves no one.

But hey - this is my blog post, so indulge me for a minute.

We could have been friends, the three of us. I easily have that much love and compassion in me. I could have sat at the table last night with them and celebrated One's upcoming birthday. I could have gone over to their house, we could be sharing some of the bigger household tools and things we both need occasionally (like the rototiller, log splitter, etc.). The children could relax, seeing that their parents might not be married anymore, but that there is still love there, just a different sort. But that reality would require Mr. Hate to be someone entirely other than who he is. Entirely. Be so much more than who he is. And he is not.

Oh, how I feel sorry for Boyfriend. He has such a road ahead of him. I wish I could warn him:

Look out! Everything that ever goes wrong will be your fault. Always. Every major decision Mr. Hate makes will be unilateral, you will never be included, and "Larry the therapist told me to" will be his excuse for every choice he makes that turns out poorly. He will never be accountable for anything. He will blame you for every one of his illnesses, his sleepless nights; every time something he has breaks, he will ask you pointedly if you used it. He will never let you in, not really. He will dismiss every idea you ever have, and insist his way is better, even when you can see it is not. He will flash money around to impress you and your friends (oh, and enjoy the free health insurance, btw, and ta for that, asshole), but when it comes down to brass tacks, Boyfriend, you will never, ever come first. Ever. And it will whittle away at your soul. You will begin to doubt yourself. You will decide it is easier to acquiesce and keep the peace than speak your truth and have to endure another fight. You have to be diminished, you see, to justify his size.

And that is a sad thing, isn't it? Because you seem like a nice man. You have been good to my children, and nothing else in this life could commend you more to me than that. And you are in for a world of heartbreak, because you are living with a shadow, not a whole man.

If you could really get to know me, what would you do with what you see? I am not a malicious, histrionic, unstable shrew of a woman at all. Perhaps, as you and I spent time together, you would see who it is that has been evil, who has lied, who is at fault for the children refusing to spend weekends with their dad. If you got to know me, the truths you think you know would shift, and you would find yourself asking yourself some pretty tough questions, and having to look at that meal ticket of yours in a whole new light. So really, when you think about it, Mr. Hate had some pretty good reasons for making sure we didn't meet for a long time, didn't he? If you and I got to know each other you would eventually realize that your boyfriend is full of shit. And then what, Boyfriend?

If I was your friend, I could tell you all this. You would see it for yourself.

And, oh, what temptation resides in THAT dear readers! I need to be so, so careful here. I am working so hard to become more than I was, to become the woman I know inside I am. There is no place in my new life for vengeance, for onslaughts, for underhanded devious excellence designed only to throw the flaws of others into focus. I am striving each and every day for authenticity and absolute truth. For me to be ever-so-calculatingly excellent in front of Boyfriend, just to show him what a liar his boyfriend is, is wicked tempting. And totally beneath me. They have their own path to walk, and my attentions are much better served elsewhere. If they live happily ever after spending all the money they can get their hands on it needs never concern me. I have my own house, my own ducks to keep in a row, my own gardens to tend, metaphysical and otherwise.

But it is a conundrum. Because I *am* working hard at all those things, and I am getting stronger and so much braver and raising some pretty excellent young people, and making the house my own, and yeah, not every day is Anne of Green Gables worthy, but on the whole, I am living a life I am increasingly proud of. And if I spend any time with Boyfriend, he will see that. And somewhere in his mind, a little voice might stop and say "huh. This doesn't jibe with what he said...."

Boyfriend, you're standing knee deep in gasoline. And you just met your match.






Friday, February 25, 2011

Game Changer!

WOW. Seriously. WOW. I have a new favorite quote.

I am reading a book called "My husband is gay" by Carol Grever, and here is what it says:

"A woman shared with some friends that she felt like less of a woman, since she found out her husband was gay. Her friend's husband said "I think maybe you are looking at this the wrong way. From where I am sitting, you must be a HELL of a woman to keep a gay man straight for 20 years."

GAME CHANGER.

I cannot stop smiling. Because I am one HELL of a woman, mate.

:)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Unbreak my Heart.....

Valentine's Day. Oh, tra la. I was not at all enthusiastic about the holiday this year. I am desperately trying not to become a bitter old bar fly (avoiding all bars at all times is helping!) but I would be lying if I said I was anything less than sad, yesterday.

I think perhaps knowing he had someone to celebrate with yesterday made it smart a bit more. Someone got a card, and flowers, (do the gays do that?) and maybe even breakfast on a tray, or at least a card and a bud vase next to the bed. Someone got them, from the man who used to give them to me. And that is sad. I don't even want to think about what else they exchanged yesterday....except that I just did.

I know my marriage was doomed. I know that. I don't wish that Mr. Hate had kept his secret to himself, and stayed married to me. But this is, hard. I loved him, once. I really, really did.

"Well," I thought to myself, "at least I have the children. I will have a nice Valentine's night with them, and it will be fun for us to be together." Yeah. Keep dreaming, there, Donna Reed. One never came home, never even texted or called to say where he was. AND he regifted the chocolates I gave him. (TA for that!). Second and Third were there, and squabbled incessantly for the duration of our time together.

And NONE of them even handed me so much as a piece of notebook paper with a hand-written "Happy Valentine's Day!" on it. What the hell? What important message have I failed to teach them, that they could disregard me so summarily? It would be entirely too easy to say they are just following the example they were taught by ....oh, gee, WHOM? That's way too easy. *I* live with these kids, day to day. *I* am their role model now. And how have I drifted so far from the track that my kids are THAT selfish and self-absorbed? I spent almost THREE HOURS helping One make a gift for his girlfriend on Sunday. Surely I had earned a mention as well?

One is straight up grounded. I don't care WHAT day it is, Pet. You were MIA for almost 6 hours, and we have had that particular discussion, more than once, and you just FAIL. Enjoy your week at home. Second and Third know I was hurt, and I did receive a guilt card that Third handed me before bed. It would have worked, too, but she just HAD to add "Here, I made this card for Dad, but we are giving it to you, instead." Are you KIDDING me with this?

But I said "Thank you" just the same, because that is what you do, to model good behavior.

Happy Valentine's Day. Feh.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Don't bother, they're here.....

I answered an ad on Craigslist to make a costume for someone. It turned out to be for a CLOWN. That will teach me not to ask first! NOTHING is scarier than a clown!!! Well, except maybe an empty bank account....I met with the woman, and she was absolutely lovely. A real kindred spirit, just transplanted out East from California, and baffled and disheartened by all the snow. (Get in line, sister....) She needed a dress finished that she had half made in California by a different costumer, and a jacket constructed from scratch. We had an easy, pleasant meeting, and I went on my way.

It turns out the pattern she had chosen for the jacket was by a company I hadn't ever used before, and would never, ever recommend. The directions were next to impossible to follow, and I was so incredibly anxious the whole time, SURE I was going to mess it up and disappoint her terribly.

As it turns out, making this harder pattern was incredibly useful. I learned a bunch of stuff I didn't know before (Banded pocket openings, with contrasting flaps, thank you very much, as well as manual button hole construction, to accommodate big giant clown buttons) and I pulled it all together beautifully. As each part of the jacket came together, I could feel my self-esteem growing. I was really quite proud of the finished product.

And the client was THRILLED. We hadn't exactly settled on a price, mainly just ball-parks, and when I quoted her what I thought was fair, she said "I am not paying you that!" I could not believe what she said next: "I am paying you TWICE that!" And she did. And then she hired me to make her something else.

Stepping out of my usual skill set was really, really good for me. I learned something new, I gained a new friend (I hope) and I am generating a little extra income at a time when I desperately need it. All good things.

There is a bigger message here, and more questions to ask. Why was I so sure it would fail? Will I never believe that someone could be happy with what I have done? Why do I short sell myself all the time? Will I remember this enough to take yet another step out of my comfort zone?

Good questions, every one. I find creativity to be such a motivator. It's as if proving my competence in one area gives me the impetus to go ahead and try something else, or at least get off the couch and clean the house.

Is this what being confident feels like? Feels pretty damn good!

Friday, January 28, 2011

One small step for womankind....

I paid my house taxes today! And I think the woman in the assessor's office suspects I am altered, because I had such a big smile on my face as I did it. But here's the thing -- **I** paid the taxes on my house today. I was looking over my pay check stubs from my job, and I realized that the amount I made last year pretty much completely covered the tax bill. I had said, back when I was looking for work, "oh, if only I could make enough to cover the taxes!" and then - I did!

Now I know what you are thinking, and I am thinking it too. Going forward, I absolutely need to make more money -- and I will. The financial burden of being on my own and the gap between what Mr. Hate SHOULD have given me and what he was ORDERED to give me is huge. I know this. I have a lot to learn about money, budgeting, bill-paying, and life. I know I do. And I will. Friends have suggested very good books (Your Money or Your Life, The Worth of a Woman, etc.) and I have faithfully taken people's advice (and taken in sewing) and set up spreadsheets and organization systems, etc. I could be doing more, because I could ALWAYS be doing more, but at least I am doing something, which is more than I usually do.

But I am not focusing on that today. Today, I am feeling proud. Today I am choosing to celebrate that after 15 years of being at home with my children and just working now and then, I am a working mom. I am getting it done, at least at some level. We are far from flush, and in a lot of ways we are juuuuuust at the poverty level, but I am getting it done.

I paid my taxes today. It's one small leap for Womankind. I look forward to the journey to come.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Just blah

Now is the winter of my.....discontent? No, that would require energy. Just in the dullest of doldrums lately. Ice everywhere, colder than a penguins' toes out there, and just generally not feeling the love this week.

I am not sure what is up, because good things are happening around here. Second cried her eyes out all weekend, but rallied around and has been quite lovely lately. Third has matured visibly in the past couple of weeks, and things that used to send her screaming seem to not even merit an eye roll. First is always good for something interesting, and of course there has been dramz in that corner, because there always is, but for the most part it's manageable. So what gives?

I just don't seem to have much energy, and I canNOT stop stuffing my pie hole. Several friends report similar afflictions, so it may just be a mammalian response to winter. Hibernating sounds WICKED good right about now!

Little things that don't usually bug me have been really getting at me, lately. Example: there was some confusion over the start of the swim meet this week, so a bunch of us parents ended up standing around outside of the pool. And not ONE parent made the slightest effort to speak to me, in any capacity. Even the mom of the other diver stood there chatting away with the diving coach, not two feet from where I was standing, and they all but turned their backs to me, so insignificant am I. Please, understand -- I am not saying I expected to be the center of attention, but it would have been nice to have been included in at least one group of parents. Instead I stood there off to the side, smiling like a fool lest anyone think I looked awkward (and as a result I looked COMPLETELY bare-ass awkward). Normally this kind of thing would not throw me as much, and I would just saunter over and join in a conversation, or at least stand and listen. But this weekend it was just somehow beyond me.

I wonder about the kind of energy I project when I get like this. I wonder if other people can somehow tell I am in a funk, and it repels people when I most long for connection. Can't you just smell desperation? Awful, isn't it?

Vacuuming! That would shake things up. More decluttering! Walk the dogs! No, scratch THAT one, it's 6 degrees outside.....I have been exercising, and doing yoga, taking the Vitamin D, and writing in my journal, and all those things I should be doing. I did feel some moments of real joy during hymn singing in church this weekend, and I was happy to feel how far I have come since this time last year.

But on the whole? Blah.




Friday, January 14, 2011

About a boy

Oh.....someone broke my daughter's heart today. Via TEXT message! What a little douche. At least be a gentleman, and tell her to her beautiful, way-too-good-for-YOU face. But instead the wayward Lothario sent her a text, and it contained the dreaded F word. "I think we should just be friends." UGH! A text, AND a cliche? You, my little man, are not a gentleman.

I know they are young. I know he has no more experience in this stuff than she does. But still - they were going out for over a year, which in high school terms is at least one reincarnation with the same mate, and he sent a text? Seriously?

She has been crying for three hours. And she just won't let me in. Oh, dear Second, I know this road you walk. And I know that this is your first broken heart, but it won't be the last. And as you get older the stakes will get higher, and it never, never hurts any less. And I am betting that you might break a heart or two yourself. But I am quite sure you won't send a text to do it.

I hate that I can't make this better for her. And I hate that this is just the beginning of a long journey of kissing frogs and longing for unrequited princes, and having the wrong guy profess undying love, and all the rest of it. And I sort of love that it's all beginning for her too. It's kind of exciting, meeting someone new, dating, the dramz.

And it's awful.

But your heart will scar over, baby girl, and you will feel better. But for now, listen to the sad songs, cry through a box full of tissues, and listen to me when I tell you that he is an idiot. You are the prettiest, the nicest, the fiercest, the smartest and the best girl around. And I am not saying this because I am your mother, I am saying it because it's true. You rock. You really, really do.

And he really is an idiot.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hello 2011!

Wow, I am not a very consistent blogger, am I? All apologies to the five of you who maybe are reading this....

I am SO EXCITED for this new year to begin! 2010 and I were not friends, no way no how. Kicked that one to the curb, and am looking forward.

The biggest issue facing me is getting it all organized. The money, the house, the mind, the job situation. Balance will be crucial, and it's not something I am naturally good at, not even in yoga class, so I feel this as a most keen challenge.

Come to think of it, what am I good at in yoga? Flexibility. Always have been. There is probably something very zen to be said about this, flexibility and balance and the dance between them. Hmmm...

One thing I am woefully too good at is talking. Oh, I can talk (and - ahem - blog) about all my great money-making ideas, this class, that class, this book, that book, this thing, that. What I am not good at is putting things into action efficiently. I bought a domain name and a website host for my coaching business, and a dear friend helped me write content. All I need now is a photo of me, and I am set. Two months I have been waiting to put a photo on there. So my mind gets to say "way to go! You are starting a coaching business! Look at you with the website and the business cards and the postcards from Vistaprint!" but my checkbook knows better. The cards sit on the desk, the postcards sit somewhere else entirely, and I am the only one who has ever seen my website, as it has not launched yet. What is that?

I need more money. Period. And earning more means my life will have to change. Radically. I will have to stop spending my mornings luxuriating on line, and get more work, or write that damn book already, or take the photo, make the phone calls, WHATEVER. I understand so well why the Titanic sank -it was big and hard to turn. And apparently, so am I.

I am going to borrow a page from my dear SARK (www.planetsark.com) and do a micro movement today. Just do SOMETHING and perhaps the inertia will get me going and I can keep going. Because I am a funny little beast - sit me down and it's all I can do to get up again.

Sigh. It's all up to me in 2011. Rats. And - Yeah!