Friday, December 31, 2010

old year, new year, two year, blue year....

if the title of this entry sounds like something seussian, well, that was its intent.

at this moment, my belongings are being packed on a truck to be shuttled to south frankfort, a gentle neighborhood where cool people and historic preservation meet. i am looking forward to spending the night in a new place, where, if i do hear thuds above my head they will be created from demons sprung from my own loins, not the rednecks upstairs. there will be a yard for the dogson to play, and the girls to romp. and in the spring, for grass to grow and perchance for herbs to sprout.

but i am not there. i am typing away in my new office, which is exactly the right temperature (today that temp is 71 F.). my stomach is full from a delicious lunch from the coffee shop a couple of blocks away. and i am thinking about taking a lovely walk home in the sunny (61F!) afternoon.

tomorrow i have a lovely day planned of unpacking. i will take a break to walk to my home group al-anon meeting - less than 2 blocks away! - and then perhaps have some friends from the group over for a visit, tea/coffee and help unpacking. life is getting simpler and yet more complex....

simpler, i have described above. my dream has always been to live in one of two places - in a remote mountain location, or in a town with cultural opportunities all within walking distance. i am realizing this, finally.

more complex because i have only now realized that i have to learn to enjoy simplicity and serenity. it's something i have claimed always to want, but yet i have never learned to really treasure, cultivate or respect and defend.

maybe i am growing up? perish the thought.

at any rate, here's wishing those readers who have stuck with me a beautiful, serene, healthy and kind 2011.

namaste.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solstice musings

today is the shortest, darkest day of the year. no wonder then, i am feeling down, feeling the mourning of things lost.

however, things are looking up at chez terre. we are moving in the next week or two, to an actual house in a downtown neighborhood that i really like. i will be within a half mile of both work and my al-anon home meeting group. i will also have a backyard, a home office, and room for my kids, dog and husband. the home has potential and i am looking forward to moving into it.

at the moment, however, i don't the funds to move, and am going to try to do my best to get a few things moved over so we can spend christmas eve - or failing that, christmas night - at our new house.

i am also in the process of changing jobs. the pro of this is that i will be making substantially more money. the con is that i actually love my old job and the people i work with. although i work my ass off, i feel comfortable there. and i also will miss the folks (clients) i have been working with. it is a bittersweet thing. i'm also taking on more responsibilities overall with the new job, so it will stretch my comfort zone a bit. but it was time to step up, if i look at it from a purely business career perspective.

so this is the short, dark time. i look toward the light, willing and wanting simpler, easier, happier times for the future.

and that is also what i wish for you.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Some thoughts on gratitude

This time of year always evokes a multitude of frankly weird emotions in me.

At this moment I am watching BBC News and the headline was about some miners in New Zealand. Because I love many things about New Zealand, including everyone I have ever met, this makes me sad. A second explosion has left no survivors. While the world rejoiced when the Chilean miners emerged from their temporary crypt, there will be no such celebration in New Zealand. Another story is about Ireland’s horrible economic forecast, with all the cuts in public and social services. It is truly sad to comprehend that in so many local areas, not just in my own country, so many people are facing economic – and by extension, psychosocial – depression. The news is not good. And it is not good from anywhere.

Today I worked on getting some new hires trained, and dealt with an “old hire” – a current employee who seems bent on not doing what I ask. This seems to be a pattern. It makes me think that I have exhausted my ability to make a difference there.
And then I come home. The BBC News lets me know that things are touch all over. More stories. Demonstrations in the street in London. Death toll in Cambodia by stampede now over 450 persons. Persons who may have had hope, may have thought they could make difference.

Tara greets me with a hug, shrieking, “Mommy!” She traipses through the house in her old princess dress, and tells me she has tried raisins, and likes them, but not from a box. She tells me she has had a long day, and demonstrates how her toes can hold a pencil just like her fingers do. No matter how dark the news, no matter how bleak the freezing rain outside is, Tara can bring light and balance to my perspective. Kind of like her namesake. The female Buddha, Tara.

So gratitude. Here’s my take. I am grateful for having an open mind, a worldview that allows me to see others with compassion at times, knowing that I would be better served with more compassion. A perspective that gives me the ability to see the injustice in the world, and a mind that can sometimes trap and release words that allow others to understand these injustice in a more personal and meaningful way. A mindset that allows me to seek the spirit and not get mired in dogma. And finally, a intrinsic happiness that enables me to gain some small saving joy from little sillinesses in each day with my fellow human beings.

May your Thanksgiving be what you need to it to be to bring more enlightenment into your world.

Friday, November 19, 2010

So burned out I'm charred

This was a week that the impossibility of my situation finally hit me.

As usual, I am exhausted beyond belief. I've been working over 100 hours per week since April. Everything that I am trying to accomplish, both personally and professionally, is constantly derailed by the bad behavior of others, or by my own dragged out inability to see anything to fruition.

I can remember working seven days a week once before in my life - when I was in grad school. At that point, however, I was making excellent grades, received an endowed scholarship, and basically had some kind of positive feedback in my world. I was thirty.

Now, eleven years later, I am too old for this. And there is no positive feedback.

I just went to the bank and found out my third job has not paid me (it's supposed to be direct deposit) for the last two weeks. I was overdrawn so I couldn't even put gas in my car to get to all my jobs.

Yesterday I was literally working with three different groups of people/tasks/goals at once at the office. I asked my boss to sit on ONE of them. And then he said, after FIVE minutes, "Can't I go back and do what I was working on?"

Today will be more of the same. I'm already miserable before I start.

Two days ago, I told St Timothy, "You are going to have to go get a job soon, because I am going to have a breakdown and quit all my jobs." He just said, "Okay." And nothing has changed.

So dear reader, just bear with me. I am trying to make it through this and onto something better, if that something better exists.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A day in the life of a bitter old woman

Today has been a long and weird day. I awoke early, around 5:00 am, knowing I was scheduled at my Starbucks gig at 7:30. I lay in bed and tried to eke out another hour or so of sleep, to no avail. So I got up, took a shower, noting that two of my shampoo bottles had disappeared overnight. Then I got dressed and went and gave six hours to the coffee gods.

Arriving back at home, I am greeted by the vision of St Timothy, reclined on the couch, and the television blaring (volume level 32, when the kids and I watch it at 18) with endless football games. Periodically he takes out his computer, tries to get a signal to look at something, and then turns it off again, the television still shrieking. He moves from the couch to the loveseat, and back again. He steps out on the balcony every 15 to 20 minutes to smoke – “taking a couple of puffs,” he retorts when I pointed out that he smokes every 10-20 minutes. And then he returns to the couches and the idiot box. This is the sum of his existence, beyond arguing with 90% of all statements I make and screaming at the kids.

Tara goes from room to room, person to person, including the dog and her little voice is never silenced for longer than three seconds, except when she is asleep. Since Thursday night she has been sick. A visit to the pediatrician on Friday afternoon confirmed that she has double ear infections and a fever of 103. So we’ve been chasing her with Amoxicillin twice a day – well, I’ve been chasing her – today there was not time between football games, visits to the toilet/kitchen/smoke balcony for St Timothy to dose her. Not that I am shocked. At this writing she is wrapped around my left arm, making it difficult to type, as she giggles and tells me she “is [my] love.” This is the only positive feedback I will receive, and I am all for it.

Chloe took the money and ran. Literally. I gave her a $50 Visa card for her birthday, and she went to shopping with the parents of a friend. Apparently the fact I work multiple jobs is a real inconvenience to her, as I am not available to drive her to all the places she demands. Other parents are all more available and just all-round better human beings than me. Yet my shampoo is beguiling, as its allure is more than she can resist. When I question where it has gone, she pulls both bottles out of a bag in her room. My things are public property, but I don’t deserve the courtesy of a kind word. Teenagers.

The dog. Oh, the dog. He greeted me at the door, sniffing in an overall invasive way. Then he climbed onto the couch, into my lap. Which is lovely, except he has fleas. Despite telling me to buy flea powder yesterday morning, St Timothy has not found the time to dust some powder on the dog. Guess the dog wasn’t close enough to him during a commercial. He did find time to yell at Chloe to wash the dishes however.

So, having made it home and to my bedroom, I went to bed. Since ear-blasting football is not my cup of tea, I went to read in bed. I cannot watch television or listen to the radio in my room, as cords and converter boxes have been taken for others’ use. I drift off to sleep, and am awakened every 10 to 20 minutes by one of the kids coming in to ask me a question, or Tara’s overexuberant sharing. Finally after a couple of hours, St Timothy comes in to ask to use my debit card, as he wants to get fast food for Tara. Preparing any of the $200 worth of groceries I bought yesterday is too tedious. He goes to McDonald’s, venturing away from the safety of the screaming idiot box for a whole 20 minutes, and even returns with a sweet tea for me.

After he returns, I microwave a plate of generic pizza rolls for my one meal of the day. Tara meets me in the kitchen, demanding to know why I am eating her and her sister’s food. I explain I am only having a few. And then I retreat to the bedroom to eat the soggy crap in relative peace.

Today I have been reading Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs on the Kindle between interruptions. I can’t say I agree with all or even most of his assertions, but I do applaud his writing and his right to make them. It’s interesting to read the ramblings of someone who grew up somewhat in my cultural era (Klosterman is roughly six months older than my younger sister). It’s also helped me demystify a thinking male’s take on such ephemera as “The Man Show,” a cancelled cable piece of shit show that St Timothy has made rare reference to as a cultural touchstone of his. (Figures.) Bottom line, Klosterman writes about some of the same crap I have pondered in my spare time, when I waste my time thinking about ultimately meaningless stuff. This is not to make light of his courageous treatment of cinema questioning the nature of reality. The subtitle of this book is something about “low culture,” but the end result is that reality can be about as low as you can get. In several sections he derides “snarkiness,” yet I’ve often felt, at least in my own life, that snarkiness is next to godliness. Small g, at that.

So today, with the reading, working, and trying to live in domestic harmony, I have come to one conclusion. There has to be more than this.

I am older than my parents were when they owned a home, provided a Catholic school education and took a vacation, and had a “real” life. Yet I can do none of these things. I work roughly the same amount of hours as both of them combined. Yet I hate all of it. There is no calling here. There is no love or passion for what I do. It’s like a prison sentence I am trying to get through until I reach the blessed furlough of death. I was told that if I got an education and worked hard, good things would happen for me. Whoever told me that LIED.

There has to be time to enjoy my children. Isn’t that what mothers are supposed to do? There has to be time to enjoy something other than reading someone else’s writing. I wonder how old I will have to be before I find it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

getting older... redux

Yesterday I became the mother of a fifteen year old. Yes, I did see this coming. And I have been ruminating on the idea for a while now. In the US, where I live, this means I am one year away from dealing with a child who drives. This is not what I want to even consider, especially considering that this same child still sucks her thumb, forgets to walk the dog, and leaves a trail of crumbs everywhere she goes.

It’s not like I didn’t see this coming. Ever since she uttered that first evil cry in the delivery room, I knew this little one was someone to be reckoned with. But now every sentence is a demand, and I am the one at fault. I am the failure. The one who has failed to provide her with one thing she has ever wanted, and the one who has forced her to live a deprived life of boredom, tedium and evil.

So today I sit at the dining table that is as worn and beaten as I am. I type frenetically on my MacBook. I have the same dreams I had when she was born: to be a writer, to live independently of others, and to have time and freedom to explore my craft. Unfortunately, I have not been able to realize any of these dreams for the past fifteen years. Another child has come. And still the dreams remain.

I look around myself. I am still preparing meals for various people when they are hungry and drop into my hovel. I am still listening to my ex-husband snore on the couch – the present husband, St Timothy of the Incessant Humming, has run to the store to pick up cream cheese, water and caffeine-free soft drinks for the restless natives. Four girls (aged 15 to 5) currently are perching in my home, their cackles can be heard through the closed bedroom door. And I still sit at the dining table, typing away, and wishing my life away, just to be someone else.

Someone who words come easy to. Someone who possesses style and grace, both on the page and the pavement. Someone whose mind does not flit from regret to regression. Someone who does not look back, and is not afraid to look forward.
I may never be a writer. I may fall off the planet tomorrow, either hit by a bus or taken out by my high blood pressure. I may even be crushed by the towers of unread books by my bed. Sweet irony, indeed.

However, I may also lose my mind and have to try to sneak a laptop into the asylum of my choice so I can lull the lunatics with the pitter patter of little keys.

At any rate, we are another year older. Not wiser. And no closer to the goal. But we are still here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Written on 10/19/10:

Lately I have been indulging that old whore, self-reflection. And of course, what she is showing me ain’t pretty. It’s a difficult birthday coming up in a couple of weeks, like 40 didn’t insult me enough last year. And yet… here I am, no closer to being whatever it is I am supposed to be, and still feeling overt self-loathing because of it.

At this point in my life, I thought I would have a home. Not a stuffed to the gills, too small, overpriced exercise in close communal living. Life in this particular petri dish is really bringing me down, and is actually a step backward from where I was just a year ago. At any rate, I knew what I was facing when I lost my house, and most of the time I just try not to think about it. However, there are just so many ways to distract oneself from the ugly truth. And the even uglier stacks of boxes and laundry that just don’t fit but are necessary to present a semi-capable fa├žade to the world.

I also thought I would have found something more lucrative to do. I think I would be okay with the whole poverty thing if I didn’t have to work several jobs at once to achieve it. For example, being broke but having some kind of time to bathe, read, take naps, clean my house, or look at my kids might not be as evil. Or at least, I don’t remember it as being as evil as this.

What I am realizing is that this life of mine is a lesson in boundaries. I have accepted the unacceptable for so long, it is going to be a long hard climb up the hill to reach that little burgh called Decency. I look forward to at least having a cup of tea there before my mental illness shuttles me off to parts unknown. The topography of this map remains to be seen for the most part, and I continue to explore its shapes with cracked and numb hands.

So what do I have? Resolve? Maybe, but it is quickly disapating from over-use. Intelligence? Only out of a book, obviously, because I keep doing dumb shit. Patience? Not on your life. Self-knowledge? Hmmmm, someone said the unexamined life is not worth living. I say it is a bitch.

So anyway, here’s what I am doing. I am going to change my work schedule at the “main job,” continue to try to freelance and make it until the end of the year. I, with actual regret, gave a notice at my Starbucks job (with regret because other than the plantar’s fasciitis, which makes it unbearable to stand on my feet for longer than an hour and the great pain and difficulty walking, I actually like that job). And with something akin to hope, I actually signed up again for NaNoWriMo again this year. Last year my MacBook crashed in the middle of the first or second week, so I lost my fledgingly effort at that. I may try to recreate that story, as it is still floating around in my psyche somewhere, I think. I dunno. But it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that I will never be a writer if I don’t actually get started. My health sucks, to be blunt, and I’m already creeping into my forties with shame. So if not now, when?

So thanks for reading, if you are. And if you are, please drop a comment or follow my blog. I promise that it will get more interesting as I continue to get my priorities in order.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Morning Becomes Electric...

A couple of days ago while nursing the latest of a long line of toothaches, I decided that I will only be able to subsist on a liquid diet of pureed fruits, all organic, as is befitting my inner svelte goddess.

Having embarked on such a journey, at least in my mind, I decided last night to get out my expensive blender. This blender deserves special mention, as I bought it to match all my other appliances when I lived in a house and not in a hovel, and had dreams of becoming a domestic diva. That one crashed. At any rate, I get out the blender, a 20 pound Black-and-Decker behemoth with shiny chrome accruements, and proceeded to make smoothies as a dessert treat for my family and my best friend who is always game for my impromptu dinner parties. Last night’s theme was white trash cooking, complete with pigs in a blanket, and generic out-of-the-box macaroni and cheese, with a side of “French” green beans (shredded fresh out of the can, no doubt). At any rate, the dessert smoothies were a hit, and the process went off well… almost.

Imagine my surprise when my fancy, expensive blender emitted more noise than a dozen wheat threshers at harvest time. The smell of the pureed fruit that was enjoyed by my diners was lost on me; I was still suspiciously sniffing the hint of acrid burning that I swear still haunts my nostrils. And finally, having lugged the heavy glass container to the sink for a soak, I was disillusioned. Once again.

So my dreams are dashed of having an early morning smoothie before I go off to work my eighteen-hour days. My neighbor, who falls all over herself to make witty conversation with St Timothy of Bad Television, complains if my dog utters a single bark. I am sure she will go into apoplexy if I run my Fruit Mashing Burning Machine yet another time. Living with two loud children, an exuberant dog, and a drunk, I have to ration my noisemaking opportunities.

Guess I will keep using the hotpot to make strong, overly sweet Irish breakfast tea every morning to get that get-up-and-go.

And it will get up and go to my flab. Inner Skinny Chick, Shut Up.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

What a difference a Dexter makes...

As I am driving down the road actually having a real conversation with St Timothy of the Boondocks, it hits me.

“We were driving through the streets back in Rockford, and we were covered in mud, from wheels to the whites of our eyes. Everyone honked or beeped at us, howling, because we had been out in the Jeep, getting into whatever we could get into.”

No, this is not an exact quote. But it made me think. I remember days of bliss and action, doing dumb stuff with my friends - that was priority at that time in my life. And the world honked and waved back, because joy was contagious, or everyone was young once, or some such mutually fuzzy shit. Now my priorities are getting through the day, getting to all my jobs and doing the minimally acceptable amount – because I am too exhausted to do any more that that – and then going home to crash.

Yesterday, I spent the majority of time at home. I did venture forth to consume a bit of mediocre Chinese buffet, which I was unable to do with zeal because I had a hideous toothache. And we grabbed some stuff to make fruit smoothies, because the toothache had me thinking that I would starve and so need to consist on a liquid diet. My inner skinny person stretched and yawned and determined that when all my hideous teeth fall out I will be thin and will do yoga and where belly shirts and hip capris and will drink airy martinis and be elegant and sexy and only slightly curvaceous as I take younger lovers and drive a convertible SUV or perhaps a Mini Cooper. In reality, I went home to nap on the couch and finish watching Season One of Dexter on DVD. And read. And read. And napped. And read.

Fast forward to this afternoon. I am leaving work and a coworker remarks that I look much less frazzled today. Could a day make so much difference?

Anyway, I digress. Those days of bliss and action – where the action was always slightly bizarre but very entertaining – are long gone for me. Yet I cannot bear the alternative. Yesterday, just driving around with the Tiny Tyrant Tara and St Timothy, I came up with about three ideas for essays/articles…. at the very least, blog entries. It was almost as if my joie de vivre, dare I say my Muse? came back.

Scary stuff.

So two things are happening. I am giving less of a shit. And I am happier. And I might even write again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Migraines are a pain in places other than the head...

This morning I was awoken by the work cell phone. Prior to 6:00 am.

Opening one eye, I was immediately blinded, nauseated and pissed off by a stabbing migraine. I rolled over, and wanted to stab my eyes, brain and connective tissue with a rusty barbecue fork. I resisted the urge, barely, and began my evil day.

See, yesterday I got slammed. St. Timothy of the Rusty Bottle Opener had called me at work to let me know the electricity has been shut off. Again. I'm sure it had put quite a kink in the luxurious life we live at Chez Dog Hair. It was too late in the day and I was in between leaving one job and going to the next, and so it remained off all last night. And today. Payday is in two weeks, so I am questioning our ability to rough it frontier-style until then. This unfairly imposed embargo against my getting my morning caffeine will probably chauffeur me the short distance to certifiably insane.
Some other work stuff also happened, and it was one of those days - wait, every day is one of those days! - where every phone call was a drama/catastrophe/tragedy just waiting with its breath held to sink its malodorous claws into me to save the day. Unfortunately, I left my superhero cape in my other life closet.

So dragging one well-heeled and bitter foot into today, I have the migraine. I would refer to it as The Visitor From Hell, but others would get confused and think I was talking about a menstrual event or worse, one of my relatives.

The good news is that I don't have migraines as often as I used to. The bad news is, when I do,they kick my ass.

So today I am at the office, my evil throbbing head-goblin in tow. I've got stacks of things to read, type, calls to make, and other silly things. And the head-goblin is cackling mightily. "What a dumbass," it chortles. "Like we are here to work!" it scoffs.

So the lesson for today, my dear readers, is not to take anything for granted. Pain-free days. Electricity. Snacks. None of it.

Even sanity. Oh wait, did I say sanity?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Growing Older Disgracefully

A couple of weeks ago I scraped together the funds and decided to break in my Starbucks health insurance and went to see a local doctor for some minor complaints. Complaints like shooting pains in my feet after working only an hour, and the excruciating pain shooting through my hands, wrists, arms and sometimes shoulders after typing, writing or making lattes for more than a few minutes. I was sure he would tell me I had some exotic malady, and prescribe a miracle drug that would make me pain-free (and sexy). However, I was to be disappointed.

"You know, you are not young anymore."

Wow, what a diagnosis. Notyoungitis? Aged decrepititude? This is a disease I am not quite prepared to embrace, basically because the cure kind of sucks.

Hobble with me through time to last Friday. I, enamored with the heady pleasure that is health (and vision! swoon!) insurance, decided to treat my myopic peepers to a vision exam for new glasses. The optometrist performed the vision field exam twice before throwing in the towel. When I asked him what could be the culprit, he discovered lesions on my retina. The bright side, he says, is that I am not so old I need bifocals! Fabulous. My heart rejoices.

So my body is ancient, while my eyes are merely aged?

These events have caused me to do further consideration of my life. At this late age of creeping up on forty-one, I planned on having accomplished an entirely different set of goals. I did not plan on having my life's events randomly caused by others. I did not plan to be a professional reactor to people who have no idea how to react.

So it is with every bit of resolve I have not to quit all my jobs and run. Somewhere, anywhere.
Not to abandon responsibility and start living. My own life.
Not to chuck it and spend my remaining days being a drain on the system, fate, and others' nerves.

My task at this point is try to carve out a little serenity, calm, happiness even, when there's not much left to carve from.

Getting my life back might be so grand as to overwhelm me.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back to the old blogging board....

I had decided to let blogging go for at least the summer. One of my last posts elicited a flame from my own mother, no less. In the interest of keeping the peace, but understanding that 1) memory can be selective; and 2) I am not crazy - wait, I am, but not in that way - I have decided to let everyone believe whatever they want on that score and keep on going. I don't write my blog for her, and I write my memories, thoughts and concerns, no one else's. I have my hands full enough, frankly, with trying to survive my own life. And no one can guess what that's about....

So anyway, I am back in the blogosphere, and trying to re-establish myself once again.

This has been an interesting summer to say the least.

I am still plugging away at barista-ness at a local Starbucks, and in two days I - along with my children, and even St Timothy of the Dashed Hopes and Dreams - will have health insurance. I am pretty excited about this. I have already made an eye appointment. About 3 months ago, Tara stood on my only pair of glasses. This is a pretty serious thing, considering I am actually legally blind in my left eye, and can't see that well out my right. I've been wearing an old, bent-up pair from about 10 years ago, and the headaches are excruciating so this will be a welcome thing.

In the past month I have been very disappointed by several of the people close to me, one in particular. I have learned to trust my instincts more and that I truly can save no one in world but myself.

Without going into great tedious detail, I will speak as an Al-Anon here.
About a month ago, my husband hit what hopefully will finally be his bottom and was arrested. The charges, of course, stemmed from his alcoholism. No surprise there. I left him in jail for four days. Eventually I did bail him out, but it was with trepidation, and misgivings, and basically only because I was physically sick at that point. Without him in the home, instead of feeling relief, I could not sleep or eat. (And yes, I am still enjoying the fact that my jeans, so recently outgrown, are fitting again.) This was strange, as I thought when delivered from living with active alcoholism, I would be breathing easier. Basically all I felt was that life was hard, stressful and overall sucky no matter what.
This week he went back to court for the third time, was sentenced to 3 more days (for a total of 7, with credit for time served), and attended two AA meetings. He will be going back to jail tomorrow morning. I refuse to get happy that he attended the two meetings; I've been this road before and I know better than to hope for anything outside of myself. Hell, even hoping for myself is setting myself up for disappointment at this point.

Other than that, I have been scrambling to re-define myself career-wise. I still want to be a writer someday. Yet having time to write, or to even hear my own voice, is difficult when I am scurrying from one job to the next. It's hard to carve time out to shower and play with my kids, let alone to write anything anyone will ever want to read. I still can't shake the impulse to write, however. And I am less afraid to look deeper within my own foibles and funk-tastic mental illness/strangeness to figure out just what kind of crazed freak is staring back at me.

I want to say I am at once more frightened about the future than ever, but at the same time, not sure if I care.

The bottom line is that I can't keep going on as I have. And at some point, I may need a few hours off work (since a day is impossible) to figure out what to do about all that.

A couple days ago I found out that a person that had given me some hope in my recovery had died. So I would like to say:

So long, Julia, and thanks for all your words, and for just being there. We got what we needed from hearing your words and your story. And you were heard.

Friday, May 28, 2010

This made me happy.

This made very happy. Not sure I would disclose at a job interview, but there it is.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sums up the day at work!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I am powerless over time and my life has become unmanageable...

Well, the title of this entry kind of says it all.

On the bright side, I am still working both jobs, and have not quit, even though there have been several days I have wondering if killing myself slowly in this fashion is really worth it. I am looking at several different things in my world, and trying to make some decisions about everything.

I am trying to decide what I need to do to take care of what must happen... A very vague way of trying to determine some priorities and changes that may need to happen. For so long my life has been in a holding pattern, and right now my decision making is based on what I need to accomplish just to make it through the next 24 hours. That is kind of a good exercise for me to do in terms of recovery, but also been very problematic in my trying to be seen as more of a professional and less of a doormat upon which to dump repugnant tasks. It appears I have a less than rudimentary filter with which to weed out that stuff.

So forgive the not writing, and too many days of silence. Between working seven days per week and no Internet access at home, I have lost the ability to check in as much as I would like. Or go to meetings. Or do lots of other things.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

catching up....

It's been almost a month since my last post and not much has changed. I am still working at KIC and Starbucks. I am actually able to understand a drink call and can make most drinks now, albeit slowly. I am very lucky to have a great bunch of people to work with, and some of them are truly glorious people. As far as my original job goes, I am glad to have a part-time assistant to help with the phone, faxes and filing. This has helped me a great deal, and I may even get caught up some day.

Physically I am having alot of problems with the hypertension and the fibromyalgia. I keep having flares, not sleeping very well (even though I sleep every chance I get), and overall I feel very run down. My heels are hurting daily in an excruciating way, and so I have started back on the Nopalea and the vitamins as of this morning. I think this will make a big difference.

The weather here continues to be beautiful, even when there are thunderstorms or floods.



*** Disclaimer: I did not take any pictures of the flood, so I took these from jade1984 at The Weather Channel gallery. I'm sorry I didn't take any photos, because Mother Nature really showed us who is in control. Not us.***

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Headaches of a different kind....

Today is Wednesday and I have just realized that I have not seen either one of my children since Sunday. Yes, we all still live in the same tiny two bedroom apartment. But I am leaving for my first job before 7:00AM and then coming home from my second job at 11:00PM or later. I have seen my 5 year old asleep a few times, but I haven't laid eyes on my 14 year old since Sunday. I did talk to her on the phone once.

There is a part of me that is wondering if $40,000 a year is worth this. I am thinking it is not. However, I know there is no future in my present career or job and part of me is just hoping my manager at Starbucks is not kidding when she says she is going to train me in July to be a shift manager. ($40,000/year is not a typo. That's what I am making from BOTH jobs. Ooops, I just did the math; it's actually $37,800.)

On a brighter note, our Al-Anon group decided to go with my idea of adding another meeting. I asked for a Step Meeting on Thursday nights, and that is what is going to happen on May 13 and thereafter. This makes me very happy.

Tonight I am going to get to go to a meeting, and then go home and look at my children for a couple of hours. Tomorrow I am planning on going into work later, around 8am instead of before 7, and hopefully I will get some good sleep tonight. I'm not even reading anymore. Too tired, and if I pick up a book I am asleep before I can finish a page.

I'm also feeling old due to being in the midst of a fibro flare the past few days.

Thanks for listening to the whine. I will try to have better cheese next time.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day!

I really love Earth Day. Christmas gives me the blues, and most other family-oriented holidays in general are just depressing. However, Earth Day (and Halloween, of course) is the type of holiday I can get behind.

Earth Day came about as an idea from Gaylord Nelson, a senator. The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, when I was about 7 months old. (I'm sure my parents had no idea about it; my dad is an ex-Marine sharpshooter whose idea of environmentalism is hunting, and my mother prides herself on having been above all hippy-like ideas, including saving the planet, in the 60s.)

Here's Nelson's take on the history of Earth Day (his own words taken from the EnviroLink website):

Actually, the idea for Earth Day evolved over a period of seven years starting in 1962. For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country. Finally, in November 1962, an idea occurred to me that was, I thought, a virtual cinch to put the environment into the political "limelight" once and for all. The idea was to persuade President Kennedy to give visibility to this issue by going on a national conservation tour. I flew to Washington to discuss the proposal with Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who liked the idea. So did the President. The President began his five-day, eleven-state conservation tour in September 1963. For many reasons the tour did not succeed in putting the issue onto the national political agenda. However, it was the germ of the idea that ultimately flowered into Earth Day.

I continued to speak on environmental issues to a variety of audiences in some twenty-five states. All across the country, evidence of environmental degradation was appearing everywhere, and everyone noticed except the political establishment. The environmental issue simply was not to be found on the nation's political agenda. The people were concerned, but the politicians were not.

After President Kennedy's tour, I still hoped for some idea that would thrust the environment into the political mainstream. Six years would pass before the idea that became Earth Day occurred to me while on a conservation speaking tour out West in the summer of 1969. At the time, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, called "teach-ins," had spread to college campuses all across the nation. Suddenly, the idea occurred to me - why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment?

I was satisfied that if we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force this issue onto the political agenda. It was a big gamble, but worth a try.

At a conference in Seattle in September 1969, I announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate. The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air - and they did so with spectacular exuberance. For the next four months, two members of my Senate staff, Linda Billings and John Heritage, managed Earth Day affairs out of my Senate office.

Five months before Earth Day, on Sunday, November 30, 1969, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the astonishing proliferation of environmental events:

"Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental problems...is being planned for next spring...when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...."

It was obvious that we were headed for a spectacular success on Earth Day. It was also obvious that grassroots activities had ballooned beyond the capacity of my U.S. Senate office staff to keep up with the telephone calls, paper work, inquiries, etc. In mid-January, three months before Earth Day, John Gardner, Founder of Common Cause, provided temporary space for a Washington, D.C. headquarters. I staffed the office with college students and selected Denis Hayes as coordinator of activities.

Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.


Many people are not aware that I took the photo that graces the title of this blog. That same day I took several others as well.

So in honor of Earth Day, I leave you with another photo I took of a tree that bloomed in the spring at my old house. If I could go back there without crying, I am sure I would see it blooming even now.

Respect our planet. It's the only one we have.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Random thoughts

Living with an alcoholic is never easy. Last night I finished working a 12 hour shift at my primary job, and had to go for a brief store meeting at Starbucks, my second job. I explained to my alcoholic that the meeting would be finished at 7pm. However, he called me at 6:50pm asking where I am and what were my plans for dinner. Due to his slurring words, loud voice, and the fact that he was calling when he knew I should not be taking calls, I was pretty sure he was drunk.

My mind went, I am ashamed to admit, to its usual place. I started to formulate a big old resentment and started doing that pissed off, snippy self dialog in my head. Instead of enjoying meeting the rest of the team I work with, I was nursing that ugly resentment.

However, my usual Monday night Al-Anon meeting was almost half over. I drove the mile or so to the meeting, parked illegally (sorry, will make amends later), and rushed upstairs to catch the last 25 minutes of the meeting, and felt SO MUCH BETTER because of it.

I take heart in the fact that I may not always go to the right place in my head, but I do know better how to handle it.

Today has been an off day however. I was up 5 times last night with stomach illness, and have felt off and out of sorts all day because of it. I am working at my office now, and until 5:50pm or so, then going home, because I don't have it in me to work a 15 hour day today.

I knew doing both jobs was not going to be easy. But instead of panicking, I am going to just survive one day at a time. Just get through today, and let tomorrow be tomorrow's job.

Until tomorrow, dear reader. Sweet dreams.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A case of the Mondays, and no way to empty the case but to live through it...

I am not a fan of Mondays. They come along and ruin a perfectly good weekend. This weekend was not perfect, but Saturday was pretty good, and I finished the 4th Dexter book last night, so all in all... it beats working.

This weekend and today have convinced me even more that I need to find work in the area of my first degree, English. I am so burned out with disabilities and human services, I find myself becoming more and more jaded by the day. At this moment, I am work, slugging through piles and piles of papers, which seem to never end. Today the administrative assistant that I hired begins working, so I am looking forward to training her and giving this mess over to her. A part of me feels as if I am dumping the work on someone else, but I cannot do everything, or even the majority of everything, so I am coming to peace with the idea quite quickly.

There's not much time for blogging this morning, as I have some paperwork of my own to generate. Our new policy states that I will complete the summaries for the month before by the 20th, and tomorrow is the 20th. I will also be working at Starbucks tomorrow, so that will impact my ability to get it all done too.

So, until later.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday and the living is easy?

Today was a busy day. I took the girls to the grocery, and then to Starbuck's (through the drive-through, we had cold groceries to get home). And then I took them to the library, where they stayed while I went to my Saturday morning Al-Anon meeting downtown. And then I picked the girls up, and we went home and went swimming at the indoor pool at my apartment complex. While swimming, Tara put on a pair of water wings and SWAM ALONE for the first time, so that was rather exciting!
We then went to Cove Springs, a park in Frankfort, and hiked a couple of the trails. It was all good fun, and I got the picture below too - a picture of one of the trails with the redbuds blooming. I love the redbud trees; they are one of the most beautiful things about living in Kentucky in April.


Of course, having this much fun today means that I am going to have to clean house and work in the office for a long time tomorrow. I am trying not to be bitter about that.

On a lighter note, I have been craving the smell of coffee all day, and for this reason actually missed working at Starbuck's today. I guess this means I like my job!

Tonight I am at a friend's house, just a brief walk from my place, and using my laptop on her Internet. I so miss having internet at home. I think I am going to have to pay to have it reconnected when I get paid from BOTH my jobs on Friday. I am also going to get a French press and some decent coffee. I have at least the foresight to already own a grinder...

During the meeting today the topic was "Facing Reality." This was a really good topic for me, and later, probably tomorrow I will post what I wrote during the meeting. (Yes, I wrote during the meeting. It was apparent the leader of the meeting, who is a strong Alateen supporter, despite the fact we have NO Alateens showing up for any meetings, was going to go on at length about how we all need to support Alateen. In fact, the meeting did not even start until 30 minutes into the meeting, when the first reading was done. I decided there were people there who needed to talk and share more than I do, and so I wrote my share in my notebook. I did this more so I could process it later, actually, and hoping that it will help me later to think more about it. ) I decided to put into practice today that my reality could be pleasant, and I decide to make the best of today. Instead of bemoaning the fact I have 3 kids instead of my own two to take care of on my first weekend off in months, I decided to do something enjoyable with them. It was a good practice for me.

So here's hoping everyone's day is or was as pleasant as mine. If not, here's for tomorrow.

Friday, April 16, 2010

TGIF... more words, and maybe a poem?

Today I did a shift of training at Starbucks. Then I came to the office and walked into a meeting, and had to do more negotiating and problem solving on my feet. Now the office is empty and I am left to try to clean the mess and get myself organized.

I find an interesting phenomenon - how easily it is to switch my gears from newly hired, bottom of the totem pole trainee to coming in and being management at the other job. I almost prefer the trainee role... it doesn't hurt that everyone is being patient and doing an excellent job of teaching me, so the learning is relatively painless.

Now I am back in the office and looking at so many piles of paper I could lose my mind. On Monday the filing person/administrative assistant I hired is starting, so I am hoping by the end of next week I will be able to find things again without trying to pull a muscle in my back or brain.

The other delicious thing is that I am broke this weekend, but I AM OFF FROM BOTH JOBS!!!! I'm not really sure what I am going to do with two days off, as it has not happened in so long. Like, in over 8 months. But I feel sure I can do something. Sleeping in on Sunday is the first thing I really have planned. I'll let the rest of the weekend unfold as it will. I am sure it will be over far too soon.

Well, it is something like Fiction Friday, but I have nothing prepared. So here's a spot (composed on the spot!) poem:

There's nothing like you
Thank god.
I mean, really,
Would you ask for another?
So in love with your own voice,
Until it grates like cheese over my shattered nerves?
Or pontificating,
Flashes - or is it flushes -
Of brilliance shared for us,
The unwashed masses.
We thank you,
Really.
Not so much.
-4/16/10

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Some musings on "fairness"

Yesterday I was not in a very good frame of mind. It was my younger daughter's fifth birthday and some family and friends were coming over to have cake and ice cream and open gifts. I had to make a late afternoon run to meet with a new client in another city. While on the way there, I got a call from the husband saying the 5 year old's guinea pig was dying. The guests were to due to arrive at any minute. So I continued on, met with my client, and then came home. By the time I got home, the guinea pig was dead and all the guests had arrived. We didn't tell Tara, but after everyone else left, Tara asked about Sammy (the guinea pig). I told her about the situation. She and I cried for a while, and then went to bed.

This morning I mused over the situation. How sad it is that I can't protect her from disappointment and grief, and that it had to happen on her birthday, a day she had been looking forward to.

Life is full of disappointments.

I was told that if I worked hard and got an education, my life would be better.
Someone lied.

Everything I was taught growing up was based on the basic message or premise that I am intrinsically not good enough - that I must earn self esteem, love and the esteem of others by my actions, or by my possessions, cachet, or some external construct.

In reality, this is probably the most damaging thing about being me.

Now I want to make sure I don't sell this line of crap to my children, polluting their chances at true self worth....

Just some musings. I'll write more later when I've thought more about it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Five years ago today...


I gave birth at 4:06 in the afternoon to a spirited little girl. She is the light of my life. When things have been the darkest for me, especially in the last year, she has been the only reason I have persevered. So for today, Happy Birthday, Tara. Thank you for being my daughter.






She was named after Tara, the female Buddha, goddess of compassion.

May you have a happy and serene life, and always remember you are loved.

A tribute to Dixie Carter


Dixie Carter passed away on Saturday after a battle with endometrial cancer. May her Southern glory live on, forever.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday afternoon spells "nap."

I am working both my jobs today, so I am daydreaming about going home and taking a nap for the next oh, let's say 20 hours. Unfortunately, that is not a possibility. I am here until around 10pm, and then I get to go home and start cleaning. Tomorrow I am only working the first job, and then Thursday and Friday I work both jobs again. I am only scheduled 4 hours a day at the coffee shop, but my original job is at least 60 hours a week, so this may get a bit crazy, or at least creative.

In my visits to others' blogs this afternoon I was struck by the others' feeling the same way I have lately - overextended. Tired. Transitioned out.

I'm worn out. Wish there was some entertaining witticism here, but there's not. Maybe tomorrow...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday morning has 6 more minutes in it....

I am happy to report. Mondays are rough. Simply because the hallowed sacredness that is the weekend has passed again, not to return for another five days, and I have to come back and look at the same piles of papers that I left bitterly on Friday.

Today began well overall. I finished reading the third Dexter novel (if you haven't had the pleasure, check out the entire series, three in paperback, the last one only in hardback still.... Jeff Lindsay is the author, and I've enjoyed reading his work.), and hit the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread for fixings for lunch here at the office for the week. Homemade pimento cheese from their deli - need I say more? Or is pimento cheese simply a Southern phenomenon? I then came to the office and cleared my desk into piles of tasks for the day. And my office phone and cell phone have been quieter than in ages...

This past weekend I started my job at Starbuck's. Yes, that is the hallowed place I have been hired. And yes, I actually like it. The people are nice, the coffee is actually good, and I am actually learning something new. Something that does not involve what I have been doing for the last 20+ years, so it is refreshing too.

Last week I hired a part-time assistant. I will be sharing her with the rest of the management team, and she doesn't start until next week, but I am so looking forward to having someone else file all these damn papers and get them off my desk.
I am also having her deal with the phones and the other silliness that interrupts me a thousand times a day so I can be more efficient during the time I am here, and hopefully go back to working closer to 40 hours a week here instead of 60 or 70. I don't think this will be the key to making my life perfect or anything, but I do think it is a step in the right direction to making life a bit more sane for me.

It's been almost a week since I've been to a meeting, but I am doing well. Last night I got a call from a fellow Al-Anon, and it did me good to listen. Lots of the talking I did do was in the form of asking questions, and it felt good to listen and not have all the answers. When I did share, it was small snippets of what I try to do in my own life and home.

Well, off to my desk and the 2 inches of papers on it. A great improvement from last week's mountain but still lots to do. Monday afternoon, here I come.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday morning....

This morning began rather harried as I had to chauffeur St Timothy of the Dirty Drawers to work earlier than usual. I went in to wake up Tara and get her ready to go and she had covered herself from head to foot in some kind of oily black residue. She wouldn't tell me the origin of the mess, but it took me about 15 minutes to get it off her face, hands and torso so she would be presentable for public viewing. I then dropped off St Timmy and proceeded to the gas station, as my tire was flat for the third time in as many days. As I was reinflating the tire, I checked my email on my cell phone - ever the multitasker - and found that most of the paperwork I emailed yesterday to a person was now being asked for in hard copy by the same person. So I turned around, took Tara to the office with me, and proceeded to make copies and make sure all documentation was complete AGAIN. I was told by staff they were coming to the office to drop off more paperwork, and that they would pick up the tomes I have now assembled. As I have been working this morning, Tara has fallen asleep on the floor of my office, and I am hoping she will nap until lunch, at which time I will take her home and go back to washing the dishes that amassed yesterday while I was at work.

Tomorrow I go to see about a training and work schedule for the new job. I am hoping to be able to balance both jobs in my life. I am pretty sure that I will have to cut out several - hopefully not all - of my Al-Anon meetings. I hope I can make it through.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Why is it over 90 degrees in my office?

I mean, really. It is almost bearable in the rest of the office here. But my office, it is always about 20 degrees hotter than anywhere else....

Today has been a typical spring day of thunderstorms here in KY. The temperature has been about 80 degrees F. And I've been in the office most of the day, so I'm looking forward to going over the bridge here downtown and going to an Al-Anon meeting. Living with an active alcoholic, I need the meetings as I can fit them into my world.

Also I received a phone call today and I got the job I applied for last week. I am going in Wednesday and going to see how I can combine it with my job that I am working right now. I may go back to being an independent contractor at the job I have now. I am not sure.... I think I can do both. Or die trying... Usually I do this about once a year. I panic about the money so then go get two full-time jobs and then work myself to death for a few months, until I pass out. Or get sick. Or have a mini-breakdown.

Let's hope this time it works out. Something's got to give.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Just an April Fool

Only time for a short blog today.

Last night I met with my sponsor and we went over my 6th and 7th Step writings so I can forge ahead to my 8th Step.

Of course, the person on the top of my 8th Step List is ME.

So at the moment I am wondering how to make amends to myself. This should be an interesting process....

Also, today is Good Friday. There's still just enough Catholic girl in me to note this, and to want to go somewhere quiet and reflect this afternoon until 3PM or so...

The day is just beginning, and yet....

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My 300th post: Thoughts on self-care

This is my 300th post... very hard to believe, considering blogging has been sort of an ebb and flow experience for me.

Lately something has been bothering me more and more.... I have noticed an overall decline in my energy, and have basically been feeling worse and worse. This has been going on for about a month or so, and it has me worried. I don't feel I have much energy at all, am easily tired, want to sleep more and more, but my quality of sleep is not good. And my body hurts more and more. I am moving it less and less, due to the increasing pain and exhaustion. Those I talk to tell me to rest, and I do, most of the time, but it seems to make it worse, not better. And I just can't force myself to do much else these days. Today I worked in three counties, and tomorrow and Friday I am working in the other two counties, and I am still working lots of hours per week. But I am less and less able to do it.

This also scares me because I have applied for a very physical job and had an interview on Monday. The interview was mediocre. But the job would mean 8 more hours a day on my feet. To even think about it now makes me want to crawl under a rock and never emerge.

I am trying to force myself to walk more, move more, and NOT TO ISOLATE as part of my self-care idea. However, tonight I have an Al-Anon meeting in less than an hour, and I am aching all over, and really want nothing more than to go home, put on a nightgown and go to bed (like I have for the last 4 days). I've felt feverish, weak and generally like I have the flu. But not bad enough to get a day off.

My idea is that if I keep trying to live better, I will eventually feel better.
Does anyone have any idea when that will happen?
Just wondering.


P.S. Thanks for reading the past 300 posts of mental drivel. I've been doing this now since 2008. Two years of words.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A weekend of isolation just doesn't cut it anymore.

This weekend started out fine. I attended my Saturday morning Al-Anon group and then took my daughters to lunch and then swimming at the (indoor) pool in our apartment complex. Then we went to get some snacks, as I had every intention of watching basketball. However, I went home, got in bed with my junk food, and basically did not budge until Sunday night, when I had to go do some home visits with my clients.

It used to be that spending a weekend in isolation was good for my soul. Now it just makes me feel lazy, achy, and irritable.

I take this as a good sign. Maybe I want to join the human race again?

Now, let's not get CRAZY...

So here it is Monday, and I am back at work, looking at a giant mess on my desk, and basically a bit loopy when I think about all the paperwork I am trying to slog through. On the bright side, I am sipping sweet tea and soon will be chilling to Pandora radio, Billie Holiday radio, a station I have designed for myself. Gotta love that.

And sooner or later, I will get to go home. I am launching a full out attack on the paperwork, and can always finish up tomorrow....

The important thing, I am learning, for me, is to appreciate the small things.

So here I go. Off to do just that.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Looking elsewhere...

I am so glad that it is Friday that I could burst. This week seemed to last forever, and I had several meeting commitments at work. I still managed my Monday and Wednesday Al-Anon meetings, and plan on going tonight and tomorrow as well. I am also glad this month is coming to a close next week. March has taken a lot out of me.

Last week I applied for another job online, and yesterday I got a call for an interview. This job is a COMPLETE departure from what I do now, and has nothing to do with any of the education I have either. It is at a place that I love to frequent when I can afford it, and it is a very upscale coffee shop. I would just be making coffee and waiting on customers. Issue is, it pays more than the three-in-one job I have right now, that I end up working minimum of 60 hours a week.... Also this is a job where if I work over 40 hours, I will actually be paid overtime. I have grown to realize that in my current field, I have basically done the work of the two or three people, often making great positive changes for the agencies I've worked for, to the point of helping run these agencies. Yet when the subject of getting paid a commensurate wage comes up (and it is always raised by me), they offer me a new job title or some shit, and never any more money. It is ridiculous. So I am a bit over this, and getting too old and sick to live without health insurance, or work hundreds of hours, solving every crisis, on call 24/7, without getting paid for it. So am I willing to do a job that has nothing to do with my life for the last 25 years of job experience at the age of 40? YES.

Who knows? Living may be interesting.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Checking in....

I've been busy and lazy and no longer have Internet service at home, so blogging has not been a priority for me lately. I've been reading lots of blogs, especially my favorites, because my homepage is iGoogle and I have Google Reader on it, but not been blogging myself.

The past few weeks I have relented and went back on medication. I was hoping - and still hope - that this is something I won't have to do the rest of my life, but for the moment, it beats the alternative. Hell, it may even be keeping me alive. Who knows? The long and short of it is that I am no longer in the depths of despair. I am still not an optimist, nor optimistic about the future. But I don't think that I won't be able to make it any longer... (what an awkward sentence) Those of you who have been there will know what I mean. And those of you who haven't, well, use your imagination, or judge me; at this point I know that it's not up to me.

Part of the reason I am feeling better I attribute to the weather. It's finally spring in Kentucky, and we have fabulous seasons. Today it may reach 70 degrees (F), so I am planning on doing a road trip to visit my last two out of town clients this afternoon. I am glad that I have the ability to somewhat plan my schedule at times to do this when the weather is not bad.

On the home front, things are the same. I finally declared war on the mess last weekend, and spent most of the day cleaning the tiny kitchen. It had not been cleaned AT ALL since before I went into the hospital, so there was about 3 to 4 weeks of dirty dishes, trash, etc. All gone now. The entire day I was resentful about having to clean up after the other 3 people who live in my apartment, especially when two of them are perfectly capable of doing dishes or taking out the trash - at 14 and 47, they really should. I was also horrified to find they have been telling my 4 yr old daughter just to "throw that on the floor, mommy will get it." This, to me, is beyond obnoxious.

Two days ago I came home from a 11 hour work day and my Al-Anon meeting and my husband was drunk. I avoided him the best I could, but honestly, I was seething inside. I read until I fell asleep. Then yesterday he calls me at work, sober, and he asks me what I am planning to do that evening (meaning what am I going to make them for supper). I told him, "Well that depends in part on you. If I come home and you are drunk like you were last night, I am leaving." He said he was only drinking, not drunk (despite the fact he almost fell over in the kitchen while meddling while I was making dinner). I told him "Alcoholics can't drink. Drinking is drunk to an alcoholic." He admitted that was true. And he said no more. And he was not drunk when I got home last night. But of course, today is another day. And I have no expectations for him at all anymore.

At work I have been keeping more healthy boundaries. This has caused some major flack of course. One person who makes more than me yet has less than 1/3 the education or experience stated she was not going to be on call, and talked about how much she resented doing anything after business hours. She has only recently, in the past 3 weeks, had to do any of it because I have stopped doing it all. I did it for a year, never complained. Now it is actually funny - and affirming - to me to hear someone else complain about it and make a big deal about it. In the same meeting, I clarified my job title and explained to the owners of the company that I was in actuality still doing three jobs and really would not be available to handle every crisis that occurs. Still no money coming my way, so I am the lowest paid person I know doing even one of my job titles. But for my sanity, I have pulled back. Yesterday I even told them I had put in my 8 hours and I was tired, so I was going home and going to bed. And I did. It was a nice 30 minute nap.

So today I am working on lots of paperwork, meeting someone at the office here in 30 minutes to help do an assessment, and then going to visit out of town clients in the afternoon. Here's to a day with some sanity and serenity...

Friday, March 12, 2010

A long strange trip....

It's been over a week since I have blogged, and that is because I have been through alot in the last week or so.

Last Friday I checked myself into the hospital, and stayed there until Monday. Since I've been out I have been sore, tired, and basically feeling out of sorts trying to adjust to MANUALLY, PURPOSEFULLY slowing my life down somewhat. I've also felt like I have had the flu, to the point of going to bed yesterday at 3PM (totally unlike me).

So I beg forgiveness, I will try to do better soon. At home there is no Internet access at the moment, so I am reduced to blogging between paperwork and clients at work. Look forward to there being a better post soon...

Friday, March 5, 2010

One day at a time

Well, today was the last day of my work week. As I threatened last week, I am going to take a day or so off to get some counseling and hopefully get my mental health treatment back on track. And by "back on track" I mean to *begin.* I have been coached by my family of origin not to tell too much, or else I may be committed. And I have been the recipient of several guilt trips from my family over how I am abandoning them to seek help for myself. And of course, several people at work did their best to talk me out of taking a day off. Apparently the idea that I won't be around to listen to and solve all the crises is scaring the hell out of more than a few of them.

So when I think about one day at a time, I usually think in terms of just making it through whatever day I am stuck in. I spend the entire day running ragged, being called to this place/topic/crisis/task and that one, back and forth, and not really given time in between to complete anything. Then I get home, thinking, "At last this hideous day is over." And then I am so anxious about the idea of having to face another day, I can't get to sleep. And I wake up, stressed out and depressed at the idea of having to face another day of life. Naturally my thoughts turn to ending this cycle of samsara.

Well, I am literally too tired to think anymore. I may be out of blogland for a few days. Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Easy does it

Today I am thinking about the concept of self care. I am overwhelmed with so many tiny little aspects of my life, and feel like I am losing my grip on my priorities, and sometimes even reality. I *KNOW* what "easy does it" means. Why is it so hard to put into practice???

Prior to the program, I created and fostered others' dependence on me because I thought that was the way to make people care about me. I thought I had to earn the love of others through working hard and getting them to like me. I thought if I took care of myself I would be selfish and uncaring. And I always had to be the best at whatever I did. If I was anything less than the best, I would not be worthy of anyone's love.

Now it's not like I have been blessed with an abundance of self esteem; quite the opposite. It's more like I am just too tired to try to excel at everything and take care of everyone else's problems. And there is a part of me that just cares a little less what others think about me anymore. It's not that I don't want people to like me. I am just learning that I can't control what others think about anything, including me.

Since I have stopped trying to be the perfect solution to everyone else, it appears others have not gotten the memo.
They still think I am supposed to fix or control things, that I am supposed to solve every issue or problem. It's exhausting.

So for tonight, I am taking deep breaths, trying to get some sleep, and not panic about everything that is crashing around me. That may be all I can do. And hopefully, it will be enough. For now.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Let go and let god...

I just received a phone call where my sister asked my husband to come watch her son because my mother has the flu. What my sister did not tell him was her son is sick with the flu too. And both she and my mother want my husband to come over there to watch him from 4:30AM on, knowing my daughter - WHO IS NOT SICK WITH THE FLU - would have to come too. No thought or consideration about exposing her to an illness that is obviously very contagious. Her son has infected everyone in his house, including his mother and grandmother. Also no thought to the fact that I will most likely catch it too, as I have to drive everyone in my house everywhere as my husband's car still isn't running. None of them work. But I work 7 days a week, and really can't afford to be ill.

They also were calling to tell me not to seek treatment for my depression. They have both done their best to talk me out of getting any help for the depression, which is getting worse and worse, and have told me that I will lose my children and my job "If it gets out" that I have sought treatment or admitted that I am depressed. It's almost as if they would rather have me suffer in the disease than get help. I am not sure why they feel so threatened.

It's hard to face the fact that people who are supposed to love you, and people I have made myself ill for, don't really care.

This is one of those times that I am glad that I have listened a bit at meetings. I have learned enough from conversations and reading to know that I cannot control another person's actions, or how they feel about me.

This weekend I worked very hard cleaning out the old house. I am actively grieving over the loss of the house, and what it represented to me. It has been very difficult being there and letting go of the idea I had of myself and my life there. It represented my finally growing up and having a decent home where there was room for my children to grow up, for me to write, and for us to have heat and air conditioning, and a decent quality of life. During this time, I have been overwhelmed.

Of course, throughout the entire process, I have been fielding phone calls from work on an almost hourly basis, staff calling about "crises" which are mostly manufactured or just drama.

My blood pressure yesterday was 140/98.

Once again, this is one of those times I am grateful for the opportunity to listen to someone wiser than I. My self care response has been to repeat the title slogan above, and go to bed. Not to go to my bed and not get out, not to isolate, but to try to sleep. The anxiety has made that quite difficult, as well as the ringing of the work phone. Tonight I managed to sleep 2 hours, and during that time I got 2 work calls, the last one just before 11pm. During the day I am in training for the next two days, so I am only turning on the work phone for the morning and afternoon breaks and the lunch hour. I have heard to turn the phone off, but I work with people who are supported 24/7 by the agency, so I am supposed to be available to call out 24/7. I am grateful to be in training, to have someone else being in charge for just a little while, and all I have to do is listen. it's the closest thing I have had to a day off in quite a while.

I am grateful that my daughters have not succumbed to the flu that everyone else seems to be fighting at the moment. I am happy they have so far stayed well. My older daughter did stay home today with a sore throat, but that was from working in the house cleaning it out on Sunday for about 10 hours. With no heat on, it never got above 35 or 40 in the house.

I am grateful we got my husband's car to run long enough to get it to a mechanic in our old town. They will have it for 2 weeks and we will pick it up on the 12th. Then he will be able to drive himself to and from work. And I will not have to get up and pick him up at midnight Thursdays through Sundays. That may allow me to sleep more.

I am grateful that I am going to be seeking treatment on Friday for my depression. I am grateful for the program a therapist located to assist working people without insurance with access to mental health care. I am grateful that this therapist has come through with this resource. At first I was not that impressed with her, but I trusted the process and it may be panning out.

I am grateful that my husband helped out a little bit with the move issues. I had asked him to do about 4 tasks, and he did three of them, and refused to do the last, as it is cleaning out a refrigerator of spoiled food and he is disgusted by it. Since it has to be done, of course it will left for me to do. This is how my life has been for about the past 30 years.

I am grateful that tomorrow is another day. And if I am not here for it, I am grateful no matter what. If I am here, I am grateful for the chance that things just might get better.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Musings about the unmanageability of my life

In the past few days my body has physically broken down, and I got a high fever. I tried to take the day off from work, and indeed I did not leave the apartment, but my phone rang off the hook. Crisis after crisis occurred and I was called to give direction or feedback on what to do, how to handle the crisis.

I took a two hour nap, but I also cleaned the apartment twice, cooked three meals, and did the dishes 4 or 5 times. I also broke up numerous fights between my daughters and listened to three drama meltdowns from my 14 year old daughter.

I was also told by my husband - who has done nothing about getting the things out of our old house we lost - that he is not going to help in anyway get the rest of the things out of that house, nor get it ready to turn back over to the owner. This responsibility will fall squarely on me. His response when I stated that I really needed assistance in completing the task? "Just tell them to take us to court."
This does nothing to help me.

I am just overwhelmed. My life became unmanageable from the moment I first drew a cognizant breath. I am powerless over anyone taking responsibility for anything that is their problem. I am powerless over the alcohol that is constantly making my life so much more difficult, even though I never drink a drop of the nasty crap myself anymore.

I am very tired.

I am losing my will.

Hopefully this is making room for HP's will. If not, I have no hope.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gratitude and Creature Comforts

This January one of my best friends had a fire in her home, and although it was confined to one room, there was extensive smoke damage. As a result she got rid of her bed. My husband and I moved the old bed into our bedroom and we are enjoying lying on a bed that does not hurt our backs. Our old bed was rough, but the kids want it, so we are putting it in their room. Now hopefully the 4 year old will be able to sleep with her sister instead of crowding and cramping me to the edge of my bed and severe back and leg pain each night. I am not noticing any major smoke damage or smell or whatever, so I am hoping this will help my daily back, hip and leg pain.

Just got off the phone with a coworker, adding more to my to-do list for tomorrow at work.

Despite having the flu, I was not able to take a day off work. And won't be able tomorrow either. But coworker is taking three days off to go to Florida on a vacation. I am trying not to think too hard about that.

So I am grateful I have a job, even if I have to work between 60-90 hours a week.
I am grateful there is a roof over my head and my children's heads for this month.
I am grateful my car has not gotten repossessed at this time.
I am grateful I was able to get a small advance from my boss today to buy gas for the car and food for my family.
I am grateful that I am still able to work to try to support my family despite ongoing chronic health issues and worsening health.
I am grateful that I got to take 45 minutes break from work today to take my 4 year old to the library so she could attend story time and make a craft - an owl backpack!
I am grateful that she was able to stay on task the entire time and complete the craft with minimal assistance from me, and that she thanked the librarian afterwards. I am grateful she was very polite and acted so pleasantly. Like a little lady!
I am grateful that I have electricity, water and even Internet access!
I am grateful that I am going to sleep tonight.
I am grateful that my husband did some dishes today and helped me with moving the bed into our apartment.
I am grateful my exhusband is taking the 14 yr old for Spring Break.
I am grateful I live within a 10 minute drive of a park with a waterfall and beautiful brook running through it, so I can pass my love for hiking on to my children.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sometimes a meeting can cure anything.

Tonight I am grateful I got to go to my Monday night home group meeting. It was a long hectic day at work, so I was glad to get there. I have been feverish, achy and had a sore throat all day, so it was nice to get to sit down and listen to some ESH. Tonight's topic was patience, and I needed to hear it. Not that anyone shook my world with any ideas, but to understand that others also struggle with this, and perhaps even more than I do.

I am also grateful for the "spiritual awakening" moment I had yesterday afternoon and evening. It was a warm, sunny day, (high 60 degrees F) and I took the kids to a park that has some waterfalls and brooks running through it. Waterfalls rejuvenate me somehow, they always have. I also love mountains. They center me somehow.

In doing this, I realized that I am not indispensable to any group, whether it be work or my family or anywhere.

And I also realized that if I keep doing nothing but working, never taking a day off, I am not going to live much longer. And when overwork kills me, there will still be more work, and other people to do the work.

This is both sad and liberating.

When I get like this, I dream of running away, becoming a writer, and not ever looking back.

And there is some small part of me that asks:

What would be so wrong with that?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

First things first

Today was another one of those days where I gave my all, and it was not good enough.

Instead of feeling inadequate however, it afforded me several conclusions:

1. I work harder than anyone I ever met.

2. That work is not worth my life.

3. I no longer am willing to make this trade.

So I came home. I am going to ignore my phone tomorrow and take my first day off since October. If there are any emergencies, someone else is going to have to handle it. Life can go on without me.

And if I don't stop letting myself get stressed out with all this drama, created by others, it will have to go on without me permanently.

So I came home around 9pm from work. And proceeded to have what felt almost like an anxiety attack. And then I put on a nightgown, took my anxiety medication (which I have hoarded from last year when I had insurance coverage), and proceeded to watch a Harry Potter movie. Now I'm in bed on the laptop.

It's time to reassert my boundaries. And stick to them.

It's time to try to save my life.

Before it's not worth saving.

Friday, February 19, 2010

TGIF?????

Today has begun like most of the other days this week: harried, full of others miscommunicating and looking for someone else to blame, and I am isolating from it all.

I am going to take deep breaths, try to calm down, and try to get through the training that I am going to teach here in about 20 minutes.....

Serenity Now, isn't that what Mr Constanza and Kramer used to say????

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blood from a stone

This is how I am feeling today. So far this week I have worked almost 60 hours (and have to work tomorrow and Saturday), and feel like there is no end in sight.

I have been getting lots of calls for people wanting money. It's not that I don't know I owe money. I know I do. It's not that I don't want to pay off my student loans and the car, but I have such a limited amount, that I have to decide what to pay with the small income. If I pay the car loan and the rent, I can't pay the utilities. And god forbid if I buy groceries. Forget clothes and toiletries. I guess I am wondering how other people do it. With the current schedule I can't really get another job (although I have been applying for whatever is hiring). I have also been trying to save money by spending as little money as I can, buying the cheapest groceries, skipping all medical care (except had to fork over $50 to see the therapist last week for 45 minutes), and basically driving as little as I can.

And although I know I shouldn't, I still feel pangs of bitterness that through all of this, my alcoholic can still afford his booze.

So how does one save money in this economy? How does one make money in this economy? When an education and hard work aren't enough?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another long day....

Today was another long day at work. I started working from home on paperwork and phone calls around 8am, and I just sent my last fax and took my last call a few minutes ago, at 11:30pm.

There was alot to do today. And by working I forgot about my depression and the stress of all the things that are falling apart in my life.

I am sorry to admit this is why I am a workaholic too. It is nothing for me to work days like this, or a series of days like this. It's Tuesday and I have already worked 26 hours. And I am salaried, so I *don't* get paid by the hour.

Work is an escape.
It is where I get my esteem.
And it;s where I can get patted on the back for my perfectionistic, control-freak tendencies.

Like a good and grateful Al-Anon, I can admit all these things now.

So when I look at shortcomings, I have to admit this is one of my shortcomings.
I have to admit the truth.
No matter how well this character defect has served me, it has also brought me alot of resentment and problems.

Today I was able to do what I have to do, and I am not resenting it. Not when it was happening, and not now. This is a gift.

I am happy I was able to get what I got done, and happy to have a job in these economic times.

Finally, I am happy to be home, watching Letterman, typing in bed on my laptop. My laptop is back working (after $250 to replace the hard drive) and we have internet after me paying the $140 bill, plus the $25 reconnect charge.

I am happy I am learning to stay in the bedroom and stay away from my alcoholic who is either drunk or manic, or both, for the second day in a row and is acting loud and bizarre and argumentative.

I am trying not to think about being trapped in my own home by this situation.

This is what I am going to do: read until I fall asleep and then let myself sleep until just before 8am, if possible, and then drive my car to the office instead of leaving it for the alcoholic, so I am not trapped anywhere or dependent upon him to get anywhere.

Try to take care of myself.

Find that next right step.

Gratitudes...
1, Found an online OA meeting last night and really enjoyed it. Got some ESH and shared some ESH.
2. Found an online Al-Anon meeting last night, and was so happy I did. I still really prefer face to face (f2f) meetings, but when I'm snowed in or unable to face leaving the house, I am so grateful that online meetings exist.
3. My daughter, Tara
4. I have a job
5. I'm able to lie in bed right now.
6. Taking time for a shower this morning, and enjoying the lavender and jasmine shower gel!
7. Caffeine, and going to Starbucks this morning with my boss (he paid again!)
8. That my daughter is still up to see me (since I have been gone all day) and is watching Stupid Pet Tricks with me.
9. My HP, and the people whose blogs I read who inspire me to remember gratitude.

There must be more, but I am getting too sleepy to be coherent...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow days and blue days....

There is something about a snow storm that folks aren't ready for.

Overnight we got slammed with the edge of a clipper system (delivering 3 to 6 or 6 to 9 inches, depending on where you are and who you ask), on top of last week's 4 inches of snow, which was on top of the 3 inches and then 2 inches of the week before.... Long story short, our town is running low on salt and today being a federal holiday, they decided not to treat the roads until later. This gave me the fun experience of having to turn around (and get stuck!) on my trip to work this morning, and drive back home.

Something about being back in the house and having limits imposed on my ability to go out and get away from my kids and my husband kind of makes us all a bit stir crazy. Since moving to the apartment, we have no room to get away from each other and just be in a more serene place without all the interruptions.

We are living in basically three rooms here, and it is a far cry from the house we lost.
It has forced us to confront how we don't really get along, and don't really have much in common except living together.

And it has been interesting that we are already holing up in our respective spots in the apartment. The 14 yr old in one bedroom, me in the other, and my husband in the living room.

Not that I've gotten a diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder, but it does seem that this winter has been harder on me. I miss sunlight and warmth. I need space to move around in. And right now, outdoor space is too cold.

So no, we're not in the midst of the snow corridor, but it has been enough to clip my wings enough to cause some anxiety.

I have gotten the nerve up to seek counseling, and got a call today that they are able to shoehorn me in to see a nurse practitioner next week to get back on meds. This was not the easiest decision to make for lots of reasons. First, I am concerned that if it keeps getting worse, I will be forced to take medication my entire life. I also am concerned because I don't have health insurance, so the list of medications I can afford is very limited. And I am not sure I can arrange to see someone who can write a prescription for the meds, especially on an ongoing basis. There is layer upon layer of what is causing me to hesitate when it comes to turning to meds to help again.

On the other hand, 40 years is enough time for me to know that I need something more to help me beat this.

No matter how much my family or my alcoholic criticizes me, I know that I am my own worst critic. This does nothing to help me fight this.

One more thing the weather does is keep me from a meeting. Tonight I am going to look online to see if I can find a online meeting. Some way to get my meeting when I can't get to a meeting.

As I've been typing this I've had the A & E show "Intervention" on. My alcoholic came in and said, "Are you still watching this shit?" Meanwhile I keep typing.

Sorry for the meandering and pointless post. Maybe later I will be able to be more coherent.

I am getting ready to start reading Pia Mellody's Facing Codependence and Breaking Free. I hope they help. My sponsor has recommended them. I am hoping they will help me.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's almost Friday....

Today I worked very hard, and in fact, am still at the office after being on the road with work stuff most of the day. I have typed until I am *done,* and a bit dismayed that the blower on the furnace at work is not working so there is no heat. The fingers get stiff and cold, to say the least... but tomorrow is payday, and I can buy a space heater then.

I am feeling good because I got some good affirmation from my boss today, and we got alot accomplished. We traveled through about 1/3 the state and had a pleasant trip.

I came back to the office and made some calls and everyone I talked to was very positive. A person I work with told me that I had made her happy today, and answered her prayers. How often do we get to hear that at work, and know that it comes from the heart??? Awesome.

My alcoholic has gotten two additional shifts at work now, which puts him away for most of the weekend, every weekend. This will help my serenity, and hopefully give me some quiet time. I was discussing this with a fellow Al-Anon, who said this would upset her, as she hates when her husband is away because it "makes her a single parent." I was a single parent for 8 years, and I loved it. And I can handle my daughters most of the time. Sure, they drive me nuts, but hey, they are kids, and pretty amazing considering I have a 14 year old and a 4 year old sharing the same room!

Tomorrow night I have organized a "Fun Party" at work, with my cousin, whom I never get to see, as the distributor. Everyone at work seems to be looking forward to it. And it will be nice to see everyone having fun, and to see my cousin again.

Oh well, I think I need to go home and feed the girls and walk the dog. With any luck I will have Internet access at home again by tomorrow night and will be able to work more on this blog this weekend.