Monday, December 31, 2007

Year End, 2007

So, tonight is New Year's Eve. The day and night when so many people will be trying to tie up all the loose ends of 2007. There will be countless accoutants doing year-end counts (how's that for the use of alliteration?!?), bartenders and servers will make an entire month's rent in tips...and I'll be spending with my family.

My cousin is hosting as she did on Christmas and so a fun time is just about guaranteed. ML will, of course, make too much food, will give my mother too many Brandy Alexanders and we will all laugh too loud. Sounds like a good time to me.

This will be the first year I will let FRU stay up till midnight. Since her birth, I've always tucked her in at her regular time and cuddled on the couch, trying like hell to keep my eyes open till midnight. Before Ex and I split up, we made a tradition of going out on December 30th. We called New Year's Eve "Amateur Night." People who don't drink all year get all liquored up on New Year's Eve and make complete spectacles of themselves...and usually not in a good way. We liked to avoid this public display of intoxication at all costs. So we did it a full 24 hours before anyone else. Yeah, we're rebels.

But that aspect of my life, like so many others, has changed since my divorce. I spent New Year's with my family now. Actually, if memory serves, I was in my pajamas by 8:00pm last New Year's and spent it alone on my couch. I was perfectly content to doze while waiting for the world's most expensive chandeleir to make its yearly descent over Times Square.

So, as this Yenta slowly comes to the end of 2007, it seems like a good time to reflect. My divorce was finalized, I re-entered the dating pool, my daughter started kindergarten and learned to read, I went away with my girlfriends to Pittsburgh and had a fabulous time, and I came back to center. The divorce completely scrambled my life, but as I build it again, I'm realizing that Iwas a lot stronger than I thought. I have a lot more to offer than I thought. I just need to find the right person to share it with; no more co-dependent lunatics for me, thankyaverahmuch...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

So, Did You Survive?

I had a wonderful Christmas!!!

It was filled with love and family and can you go wrong?

Mom and I, without knowing it, started a bit of a silent feud with her 2 sisters and their respective families last year. One is a fiery, and somewhat nasty, PITA and the other is so passive aggressive, I'm not sure how she can stand herself. Between the two of them, they have raised the four most spoiled, most self-indulgent children this side of Buckingham Palace. They all have this sense of entitlement and it disgusts me. I don't want to be around these people. The passive aggressive aunt has the nerve to feel bad for me because I am divorced, but I think it's only because her husband won't let her divorce him. He must have this facade of a happy family on display and it's really quite sickening. I'm not even going to waste blog space on the PITA aunt...there's not enough room in the cyber world to talk about all of her issues.

The last year has been quiet and drama-free since the feud began. I really don't mind it. What kind of message am I sending to my daughter if I allow myself to be treated like a second-class citizen by these people. I was treated like that by my Ex and I refuse to allow it to happen again.

But let's talk about happy stuff...I bought...ummm, I mean, Santa brought FRU a telescope for Christmas and she's in her glory. She's developed a healthy fascination with the planets and I want to encourage her interest in science. I'm planning on setting it up on the balcony tonight so she can do a bit of stargazing. I hope the weather cooperates...

We had a great time at my cousin's house. She makes this huge spread with entirely too much food, made Brandy Alexanders for everyone, made us all laugh and encourages carrying on...what better place is there for Christmas! FRU loves this cousin. When we were leaving to go to my former SIL's, she says, " I don't want to leave" to my warmed my heart.

Tomorrow, my parents and I are taking FRU to the ballet, to see The Nutcracker. I think I'm more excited than she is, but only because she doesn't know what to expect. I saw The Nutcracker on New Years Eve when I was about 11 and I thought it was magical.

A few of my friends/mothers of FRU's friends are trying to figure out a night to have dinner together...sans kids...with no talk of chicken nuggets or potty training. I have another friend who wants to meet for coffee. And my family wants to get together on Friday to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge; I won't be able to join them, but we'll meet up for dinner.

I'm telling you, I know I've said this before, but I swear, life just keep getting better and better. And as for the people who think I'm doing the wrong thing, screw 'em!! They probably can't hack the fact that I'm a bit of a rebel. I do what's right for me and what's right for my kid. I don't have to explain my actions to anyone...and anyone who needs an explanation doesn't deserve one.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ransom Musings about Christmas Craziness

I wrapped all the prezzies last Sunday but forgot a bag of stocking stuffers I bought in October. I had the bag stashed behind the chair in my bedroom (so FRU wouldn't find it). So, when FRU is with her father on Sunday, guess what I'll be doing? That's right, folks...wrapping stocking stuffers that should have gotten wrapped last Sunday...that's what I get for trying to be efficient.

On Monday just past, I realized I had forgotten to purchase gifts for FRU's teacher and for her between the workout at the gym and going to my Al-Anon meeting, I did some shopping. What do you get to show appreciation for the people who taught your child to read and who sits with our child while you go get your head together at an Al-Anon Meeting? It's hard to show appreciation to those who you aren't related to or friends with, but these are two very important people in FRU's life.

I really do love gift giving. I like watching people's faces when they open prezzies. I like buying things that people wouldn't buy for themselves. For my mother's birthday, I got her a gift certificate for a mani/pedi. That's something she definitely wouldn't have done for herself and really appreciated it.

The only one who ever really got me gifts I wanted (after I entered adulthood) was my mom. When I was a kid, my grandmothers and my aunts got me some great things...a popcorn maker, a nameplate necklace, roller skates (complete with coordinating pom-poms), a TV (Grandma hit the slots in Atlantic City big time one November and we all had a good Christmas that year) and the creme de la dog, Terry...he was a wire fox terrier that I got the Christmas I was 11. He was the greatest dog that ever lived. Really, no exaggeration...

Mom thinks about me and my likes and dislikes and buys me books, jewelry, and clothing that I really like.

Ex bought me terrible gifts. It's like he didn't think about me or what I liked or what I wanted. The only time he ever bought me anything I liked is when I told him EXACTLY what to get me. So now that I think about it, that means, that in 10 years, all I got that I like was my engagement ring and my hugs & kisses bracelet.

I better steer myself away from that topic, otherwise I could be here all afternoon griping!!

This year, we wholeheartedly accepted an invitation to my cousin ML's house for Christmas Day. I adore this cousin. ML is about 5 years older than I am, and since she was the youngest in her family, she always treated me like the bratty kid sister. I haven't seem her in a while, but we always laugh and carry on when we're together. I also try to help her out in the kitchen. She's famous for setting out this HUGE spread with entirely too much food, but it's all delicious and we all get goody bags to take home.

After an hour or two, I'll take FRU over to Ex at his sister's house so she can spend time with his family. I want her to spend time with as many family members as possible. Even though Ex and I aren't married anymore, she's still part of 2 families. I mean, heck, I had to deal with 2 sets of crazy people, why shouldn't she? Seriously, I want her to love all of her family. And there's bound to be plenty of food at my former SIL's house. She cooks like ML!!!

So, to end what will probably be my last blog before Christmas, I'll give you the secret to dealing with crazy people to whom you are related. Don't take anything they say too seriously, remember that you probably won't all be together again until at least 4th of July weekend...and that these crazy people are the reason egg nog is an alcoholic beverage!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Miracle of Ordinary Days

This was the title of a movie-of-the-week a while back and I usually never watch those things, but this one caught my attention.

The message was simple...the miracles of happiness don't occur on one's wedding day or the day you get a big promotion. They happen on simple average days, when you least expect them.

I had one of those days yesterday. Let me explain...

I am a grateful member of Al-Anon. I started going steadily almost a year ago to try to process some of the anger I have as a result of Ex's drinking. Last night someone spoke about a sibling and the spouse and their using and their kids and a horrible accident that nearly killed 3 of them. She burst into tears, basically begging for help on how to get through the holidays.

As we all went around and shared (I was the 3rd one to share) more and more emotions came to the surface for me. By the time the 15th or 16th person shared, I was a teary snotty mess. EVERY SINGLE PERSON said something can could be applied to Ex or my family. Things like learning to keep certain people at an "emotional arms distance," learning the lesson that every difficult situation can teach you, taking care of one's self during this time of year. There are people in this meeting whose childhoods were absolutely horrible...dangerous and painful (emotional and physical) and filled with terrible memories. But they were all able to teach this ex-wife of an alcoholic a little something about forgiveness and moving on.

I cried and cried and the woman sitting next to me, I'll call her D, just hugged me and held me till I was under control...and then she made me laugh. D has many years in program and always says profound things. She's going through a rather difficult situation with her daughter and her brother just died a few weeks ago, but she managed to find joy and show it to me.

And this is the lesson I learned...find joy, cherish it and when you're done with it, pass it on to others...that way, you get to enjoy it again when you watch someone receive it...

So, folks, as you prepare for Christmas and New Years...remember, joy and laughter and faith and love aren't in the gifts, THEY ARE THE GIFTS...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rambling Christmas Thoughts, 2007

Well, it's that time of year again...time to drag out all those dusty decorations, send Christmas cards to people you haven't seen in a gajillion years and probably wouldn't recognize of the street and spend painstaking hours wrapping prezzies that will be unwrapped at a speed faster than that of light.

But really...Christmas is my favorite time of year. There's a snap of excitement in the air that is almost visible.

My 5 year-old daughter is already suffering from I'm-too-excited-to-sleep syndrome. She bounces around the room as if on speed, trying to be good, but she ends up not listening to what I'm telling her to do and that means she ends up not being so good. It gets aggravating, but I completely understand it. I know she can't help it and (secretly, and I'll admit this only to you) it's heart-warming to watch. I have vivid memories of jumping on my bed yelling, "Only 4 more days of school till Christmas!"

Christmas in New York is magical. The people are moving just as fast, but there are more excuse me's being said and there are well-wishers wherever you go. I was in the Macy's at Herald Square over the weekend (I dare you to find me a place on earth with more people per square inch) and although it was insane, everyone was polite. Everyone there was on the same mission: To find the perfect gift for (fill in the blank). I took some time to myself and got a coffee from Starbucks on the balcony, which overlooks the main floor. Some people were strolling, some people were rushing, some people seemed to be standing there absorbing the energy of Macy's and New York...but as I watched, I thought of how lucky I am.

Maybe, that's selfish but I thought about my fabulous kid (you know, the one who has been secretly eating Energizer's the only viable reason I can come up with for her energy levels lately), my job, the security and benefits I get from the job, having both of my parents and watching their love grow even after 39 years of marriage, my friends who have stood behind me during many low points in the last 18 months (and I'll admit that they carried during some of time) and for the potential paramours who send me lessons from the universe, whether they mean to or not.

All of these things give me hope. All of these things make me happy. All of these things make me realize how far I've come on my journey to a better place.

I wish my ex-husband well on his life's journey. I hope he finds happiness. I hope he learns a few of life's lessons. I hope he can make peace with his past and not be defined by it. I suppose I wish that for all of us.

As we move towards the longest night of the year, the day with the least sunshine...may you all be wrapped in light and love whenever you need it and may you all learn that being alone isn't such a bad thing.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Why are Exercise & Dating Such Chores?

I joined a gym last month after years of (foolishly) denying I needed to go. The Lucille Roberts in my neighborhood was having a membership deal too good to pass up, so I took the plunge.

I've been doing 30 minutes on the treadmill at a 2.0 incline at 4.2 mph and I'm burning about 200-300 calories. I feel so good after I'm done and it makes me wonder why I never got into it before. Oh, that's right, I was married to a schmuck who needed me to take care of everything so he could partake in his addictions with full gusto. But I digress...I feel the endorphins waking up and once they start running through me, my head clears out.

The funniest part is that I don't feel not one bit selfish by taking this time for myself. I need that time. I have found that "alone time" is one of the most important things in my life. I have a wonderful support system who helps me with my daughter and it give me the go-ahead to take care of business.

But it's still a chore. I sweat, I pant and I generally hate it. Everyone keeps saying I need a work-out buddy. Nope, that won't work for me. I don't want to share the responsibility for my exercise with anyone else. That way, if I stop going, I have no one to blame by myself; I can't say that since my buddy stopped going, I stopped going too.

In other news, another R has asked me to dinner. Actually I said it was safer to start with coffee and he made me laugh by responding, "How much trouble can we get into at dinner?" We're having problems getting our schedules worked out. We've been IM'ing for about 6 weeks and he seems perfectly nice.

But then again, in the virtual world, all men seem perfectly nice. And they all like taking walks on the beach. And none of them mind going shopping with their girlfriends. They're all looking for that special lady (they never say "woman" or "person", it's always "lady") with whom they can happily watch movies on the couch. They all have parents who raised them to respect their "ladies" and they all love kids and pets. They like going out to eat and on the other hand, a fair number of these men like to cook.

But let's face it,'s all about sex...isn't it? Well, I guess if you're gonna sweat there are so many more fun ways to do it then by exercising...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Just So Ya Know, I Still Hate Playing Games and Other Musings

Ok, I'm sooo done with R...but it seems like he was done with me first, so that point is moot, huh?

The whole thing came out of left field, kinda side-swiped me, spun me around till I was dizzy and then exited stage right.

I liked R, I did...was I planning on packing my stuff and start shopping for a white dress...ABSOLUTELY NOT! But I would have liked to continue to see him. Maybe he was pissed that I didn't call, maybe my expectations were too high, maybe I wasn't reading the universe's signs that were telling me not to bother with him...who knows, but if he really is as needy as his last text message indicates, perhaps it's just as well that we didn't get too involved.

I have no idea what happened, but on, another front, I have the whole weekend laid out in front of me. FRU will spend the weekend with Ex so as of about Noon tomorrow, I'M ON MY OWN, for about 24 hours. Oh, the possibilities...

I think I'll head to Manhattan: see a movie, go browsing in the Strand for books I don't need (but MUST have), eat in some fun, hole-in-the-wall restaurant...basically, do things for me. I'm sure there will be a new lipstick from Sephora involved and well as a plain, ole regular Coke. Man, I just love Coke, but if I drank it at the rate that I'd like to, I'd be a 800 pound diabetic with really, REALLY bad teeth.

The possibilities that are unfolding in my life are so exciting. Sometimes they leave me breathless, sometimes they leave me bewildered and sometimes it leaves me angry. But the game-playing is something I'd outlaw, given the possibility. Men and women are so cruel to one another...are there people out there who truly think they're scoring points on some cosmic scorecard when they hurt the people they date?

Monday, September 24, 2007


Why do some people have confidence in themselves while others suffer from low self-esteem?

I've pondered this question a lot lately. I have complete confidence in my abilities to be a good mother, but since the only marriage I was ever in failed, I realize that maybe I wasn't the best wife. As a direct result of this revelation, my confidence in being a mate has been shaken quite a bit.

I know I did the best I could with what I was given. I cleaned up the messes: the literal ones and the figurative ones. I gave Ex time to sleep off his drunken binges, I covered for him at work, and I ignored many, many remarks I shouldn't have. Did I do the right thing? I'll never really get a straight answer to that question, will I?

I know that I'm better off for ending that miserable marriage. I know one day, my daughter will understand that I didn't do it to hurt her, but to protect her from the same mental and emotional abuse to which I was subjected. But it's so hard when she tells me that she misses Daddy. I never quite know how to respond to that statement. I don't miss him. I was emotionally alone for so long that I can barely remember ever being happy.

I've worked really, REALLY hard on getting my confidence back. I've slowly returned to being my normal, sassy-mouthed, sarcastic self. It's great to be back. I'm happy and life is good. I've armed myself with tools to deal with self-pity, depression, guilt, anger and sadness. These things come at me occasionally, they team up every so often to try to give me the ol' double-whammy, but I've been able to find my center much more easily than ever before. I used to wallow in these negative feelings for days, sometimes weeks, but not anymore. I have confidence, happiness, sweetness & light and my mojo...they're never going to leave me again, because I'll never give them up again.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Games People Play...

Why do men and women play games with one another? Ahhh, if I had the answer to that question, I'd be rolling in bajillions of greenbacks!!

Let me explain, my ex-husband moved out, at my request in July of 2006 and our divorce was final on May 9, 2007, exactly 10 years, to the day, after he proposed marriage. I've been dealing with a whole barrage of emotions in both myself and my now 5 year old daughter, FRU, since. FRU handled the chaos by cutting everything out of her diet except chicken nuggets and PB&J...without crust, of course. I handled the chaos by going to Al-Anon meetings. You see, Ex is an alcoholic who is not in recovery and who blames me for everything.

So, I met this guy, R, on Saturday after going through an on-line dating website. We texted (is "texted" officially a verb yet?) and chatted all last week and he came to Brooklyn to meet me and we had dinner. There wasn't an uncomfortable lull in conversation. We talked about our kids, our jobs, a bit about our exes, our travels...and other things that don't come to mind at the moment. We lingered over coffee and held hands...all that jazz. I was kissed, quite thoroughly as a matter of fact, before he left, which left me a bit breathless, in a good way.

He texted me before he got to the bridge, which is only about 3 minutes from where I live to set up the next time we could meet.

To make a long story short, he drove to Brooklyn AGAIN on Sunday night, to have coffee with me at Starbucks. We talked, held hands...and yes, he kissed me again.

And since....NOTHING!!! We send one another a few vague texts, but other than that...NOTHING!!!

As if it remains "nothing" for a bit longer, I'm done.

I'm waaaaaaay too old for games. I have no time for this kind of nonsense. One of my friends told me that he probably got a lot of crap from his friends about coming to see me again on Sunday night so now he's playing it cool. Whatever...

So, the question remains....why do people play games? If someone doesn't interest you, don't lie to him/her or pretend to have interest. Pick up the phone or log on to your email and simply say, "This isn't something I'd like to pursue." Why is that so difficult for certain people?

And is there is genuine interest, just say it...or express it.

Until I hear from R, if ever, I will continue to attempt to devise a theory to answer my question and if ever find out the answer to that question, I'll be sure to donate some of my bajillions to a taskforce that stops women from doing dumb things when they should be realizing that he wasn't all that into them to start with.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What I Love...

I've been reading the blogs of some friends lately and one in particular got me thinking. She wrote about what she loved. I thought I'd make my own list and see what I came up with.

I love, in no particular order (and this list is by no means complete): teddy bears, pasta with marinara sauce and meatballs, coffee mixed to my exact specifications, hugs from loved ones (especially my daughter), thunderstorms, pretty shoes, wearing my favorite sexy underwear on any average workday, bras that make "the girls" look and feel fabulous, the idea of a soul mate, learning how to date again, the miracles of modern medicine, the miracles of modern cosmetology, prayers, clarity, being comfortable with my decisions, my homemade chili, planning surprises, men who are sure of themselves enough to not need a woman to take care of them, margaritas, everything bagels with cream cheese and BBQ potato chips, Diet Mountain Dew, Starbucks Toffee Nut Lattes, my own self-discovery after years of hiding my true self, my confidence, Beach Music by Pat Conroy, The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells, my DVR, my health insurance and the idea of reincarnation.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. The older I get, the more multi-faceted I become. There are so many things in my life and this world to enjoy and learn to love. 4 years ago, I swore I'd never eat sushi; now, I crave it like a pregnant woman wants pickles.

Life experiences add entries to the List of Loves every day...that's the whole point, isn't it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


It's rainy, miserable and downright cold for New York in August. It's a damp and dank 58 degrees as I write this and I'm thinking about how I'm going to stay warm.

I suppose it's too warm for flannel pajamas, but it's the perfect temperature for soup. It's the sure-fire way to feel warm and comforted.

I've discovered during the last year or so that there are many things out there that comfort me. Knowing that there are friends in at least 4 time zones I can call when I need to talk. Knowing I have a fully-functioning coffee maker. Knowing I have a healthy child. Knowing I have an education that no one can ever take away from me. Knowing I can prepare healthy, and well, comforting meals. Knowing I'll always have enough for the bills and there'll be a bit leftover for some little extravagence. Knowing that I own Steel Magnolias on DVD; this movie is always good for a laugh, which is a comfort.

I suppose people take their comfort in different ways. Some people I know need so much more that I do to feel comforted: expensive shoes, huge houses. There are also those who need so little; for example, my grandmother, she simply needs her children and grandchildren to gather about once a year.

I used to depend almost exclusively on food for comfort. If I had a bad day, then I'd simply start dreaming about what I would eat for dinner to chase the bad feelings away. I suppose anyone with an addiction does the same thing: a drug addict would think about his/her next fix, a compulsive shopper would think about where to shop, a alcoholic would just muddle through till they could start drinking.

Knowing there are beauties in the damndest places is enough of a comfort to get me through through this miserably rainy day.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Love, In All Its Forms...

This is always the last line I type when I post my Gratitude on my message boards. Sometimes I'm grateful for coffee, sometimes I'm grateful for my daughter, sometimes I'm grateful for not carrying any weapons to work so I can't hurt anyone...but I'm always thankful for the love I have in my life.

I've been blessed with the most amazing child. She's a diva who only wears dresses, wants to be a princess when she grows up, hates to leave the house with lip gloss and is the world's best cuddler. She really is my favorite person in the whole world. She's fun to be around, even if the Diva thing gets a bit old sometimes. She's actually commented to me not that long ago that only boys wear pajamas and that I should buy myself a nightgown.

I also have great parents. Sure, they're opinionated and stubborn, but supportive when they need to be and keep their mouths shut when it's most important. But, honestly, I have no idea what we're going to talk about once they retire. So many of our conversations revolve around what they're going to do when they retire. I still have an estimated 28 years till I retire so I can find lots of other subjects to chat about.

My girlfriends have carried me through some pretty trying experiences...major surgery, my divorce, family court appearances, debt, loneliness and the season finales of Dancing with Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. They tell me when I need to slow down, they tell me when I'm being ridiculous, they tell me to get over myself, they support me when I'm angry (unless I start searching for the aforementioned weapons), they tell it's ok to cry and they tell me when to stop...I wonder how I would have gotten through the last year without them.

I have taken steps to cut out family that suck the love and energy I have to offer out of me. I have been through way too much in the last year to love unconditionally anymore. I know that's sad, but it is what it is. Life is too damn short to be miserable, it's too damn short to spend it with relatives with whom you have nothing in common and with whom you have no respect.

One day, another friend or a man will walk into my life and the ability to love unconditionally will return, but for now, I'm grateful for the love I have for my family, the love I have for my friends, the love I have for myself...and the love of Starbucks Toffee Nut Lattes...which are a little bit of heaven right here on earth.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sorry It's Been So Long...

Time has a sneaky way of sneaking away from me. It's been almost 4 months since my last blog and I really don't have a good excuse about why it's been so long.

I went away with my Ya Ya's at the end of June. We all met on a message board about 2 years ago and get together in someone's hometown every summer. 2 years ago we met in Atlanta; last year, we had our gathering in Kalispell, Montana and this year we all met up in Pittsburgh.

Ahhh, Pittsburgh. I'm lovin' this city. Its beauty is quite different from New York's beauty, it is much more rugged, but it is something to behold. My friend, J, and her husband, B, settled in Pittsburgh about 6 years ago after B got a transfer. They have this incredble house; it was built inthe 1880's (At least that's whatI remember), with 8 bedrooms, a maid's staircase and great porch out front with a tiled floor and enough room for a table and chairs and a hammock.

There are about 8 in the core group. Some are SAHM's, some are women with jobs, some have children, some can't have children, almost all of us have been divorced, but there are the chosen few who seemed to get it right the first time. These women have carried me through major surgery, divorce, and depression. They've made me laugh, they've cried with me and they've told me to get the hell over myself when I needed to hear it most. There's not an ounce of bullshit in the whole lot. And after living a lie for so long, it's a welcome change.

In another area of my life...FRU is starting kindergarten in September, which is hard for me. At this moment 5 years, I was so pregnant that I was about to explode and now I'm getting that wee bairn ready for kindergarten. I now know what all of those parents have been complaining about for centuries...where did all the time go? Just a minute ago, I was praying she's sleep through the night so I could get some rest and now I need to buy her some black marbled notebooks and few pencils. It's simply baffling.

Just last night, she marched into my room and declared that she could spell her name. She recited each letter of her name and I have to admit, my knees buckled...just a bit.

I see changes in her everyday. She's more of a child now and less of a baby. She's tall, articulate, stubborn (gee, I wonder from where she got that trait?!?) and sweet. Oh, her sweetness!! She'll look at me when I'm feeling unpretty, or sad, or overwhelmed, or vulnerable and she say, "Mommy, I think you're beautiful!" All of a sudden, after hearing that, things dont' look so gray, so bleak, so...overwhelming.

My child loves me...and life continues to get better and better...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Making Headway with my Head

Getting my act together is one of the hardest tasks I've ever had to perform. Life seems to get in the way of the best intentions.

I'm working on a complex, very detail oriented project at work right now and I'm mourning the loss of my great aunt, who passed away on Sunday morning in Alabama. My dear grandmother won't be able to go to her sister's funeral and I know that will take an emotional toll on her. There's also the divorce and child support stuff to deal with as well as the day-to-day details.

In years past, I would have gone to the supermarket or the McDonald's drive thru, then gone home, then gone to pieces. I used food as a crutch, as a friend and as a drug.

After my gastric bypass, I can't do that any longer. I must deal with each issue of my life as it arises and I'm getting better at it. It's still a pain in the ass and I wish very often that I could escape, but if it's one lesson I've learned over the last two years, it's that I can't escape.

I helped a friend through a difficult situation last week. She did something she wasn't proud of and needed to talk about it. I didn't judge her, it's really not up to me to judge anyone, but she didn't want to think of the situation's cause. There was a specific reason she did what she did. And once she made that connection, the whole thing became easier to deal with. She called me a few days later to thank me for not letting her wallow in the outcome.

This is how I've chosen to live with the rest of my life. If I ignore situations, or try to escape them, they grow and fester and become much, MUCH bigger than they were originally. They start to overwhelm me and there's simply no room in my complicated life right now for overwhelming situations.

On a lighter note, I think I'm ready to start dating again. I even have my eyes set on someone, but, of course, I haven't seen him since I decided it would be a good idea to have coffee with him. Who knows what will happen, but I guess the bigger point to get across is that I think I've healed enough to entertain the idea of companionship again. My ex will always be a part of my life by virtue of us having a child together, but that doesn't mean that I can't share my time with someone.

So, in essence, what I'm trying to say is that life is good. It's trying, it's busy, it's complicated...but it's bright and happy and good...

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Movin' On...

I began the process of moving on with my life in July of 2006, when I ended my eight year marriage.

If I only knew then what I know now...

That action began a journey of self-discovery that astounds me almost every day. I have more respect from my family and friends and, most importantly, I have more self respect.

Life isn't meant to be lived in the shadows. It's meant to be dealt with head-on. That's how you get to life your fullest life. Attack problems with positive energy and the results will be so bright, they'll almost blind you.

I am a better mother, a better daughter, a better friend, a better employee...all because I learned to be honest with myself. I thought I was kidding everyone, but those who love me most saw right through me, and they knew I was full of shit. But now, I have a "Take No Enemies" mentality. I will help anyone who wants help and will guide anyone who wants guidance. I will no longer expend my precious energy on anyone who isn't willing to expend their own energy on themselves. I will no longer be held responsible for anyone's happiness. Everyone is responsible for themselves. One needs to do whatever will make them happy, but that person must accept the consequences of his/her actions.

I found my backbone in the last 7 months. I try to fill my life with light and grace. I meditate on things that trouble me. I stop and put the focus on myself when I need it. I see the joy in all of life's little gifts. I concentrate on what I want rather that what I don't want.

I don't carry around any emotional baggage. I don't let anyone push me around anymore, I don't let anyone reduce my self worth or self esteem, and I don't carry grudges for people who try to do these things to me.

I move away from the toxicity...and move on...

Thursday, February 8, 2007

De-Cluttering Your Life

I swear, I just love Oprah. Sure, she's got bazillions of dollars to spend on real estate and jewelry and clothes and shoes, but she knows about the hard life too. As I recall, she grew up dirt poor in Mississippi, was abused and was told she's never amount to anything.

And just now look at her; she's at the pinnacle of her career. In all her wealth and power, she finds ways to relate to the American Woman.

Yesterday's episode was about de-cluttering your home and in turn, de-cluttering your life. They spotlighted this family of 6, who had more stuff than I thought possible. 18 year old sweatpants, every toy their daughters ever had, and they're oldest (twins) are 9. Oprah got this organizational guru to go into their home and get rid of the crap. And what the couple didn't realize is that they were putting their focus on all the wrong things; all the things that they might need one day. It was an amazing transformation, watching this mother realizing why she was saving all this stuff.

I did a purge 6 months ago when my ex moved out. He liked to save things: sale circulars, clothes he knew full well he would never wear again, old shoes that were worn out. Our home was constantly covered in papers, I just couldn't keep on top of the mess so I fed into it.

Well, once he was gone, I filled 3 or 4 garbage bags with stuff that I was never going to use. I just chucked it all. I went through my closet and gave away all the clothes that didn't fit or that I hadn't worn in a year; looking back, I probably got rid of half my wardrobe. I went into my daughter's room and filled a garbage bag of stuffed animals that she's never touched let alone played with. I gave away clothes, toys, baby equipment...tons of stuff.

I felt so much better when I was done.

I told a girlfriend that I was doing all this deep cleaning and she responded, "No, honey, you're not cleaning, you're cleansing."

Wow, it was an a-ha moment. She was absolutely right. I was sweeping all the bad energy out of my home to make way for good, positive energy.

That realization gave me the strength to go into my nemesis room, the 3rd bedroom that was supposed to my my home office. It became a walk-in closet, full of books, boxes and clothes. It was like that for 3 years. I went in there with a vengeance and got rid of even more stuff, most of it being true garbage so I kicked it to the curb.

My home and my life are nowhere near perfect. I still have dust under my living room sofa, I still have blank walls where I'd like to hang pictures, and I still don't have bedroom curtains. But my aura and my feng shui is straighter that it's been in a really long time and even if it's a little off center, it's ok. I'm not striving for perfection, I don't believe perfection exists. I'm just trying to make my home into a haven, a safe place, a soft place to fall...

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Learning to Deal...

If it's one thing I've learned in the last few years, it's that you must deal with issues as soon as you're able. You can't keep sweeping stuff under the rug, otherwise, when you least expect it, you'll trip over the lump onthe floor and fall on your face.

Someone who used to be close to me learned that lesson yesterday. This person is in serious financial trouble because the issues were ignored.

Difficulties (financial, emotional, physical, spiritual) need to be addressed.

I learned this lesson the hard way. I ignored my emotional being for about 10 years. I ate to suppress all that was ugly; I used food as a coping mechanism. Then I had gastric bypass and I HAD to learn to cope; food couldn't be my friend anymore. I taught myself to meditate. I'm not sure if I'm doing it correctly, but whatever I'm doing works for me. I rediscovered my love of cooking and started to prepare foods that truly nourished me, body and soul. I started venturing out on walks again. Taking a hot bath on a Saturday night with a good book and an icy margarita can also soothe the soul. Learning to appreciate all the little things came with all of these other lessons.

For me, this era of my life feels like a do-over. You remember, when the ball went out of bounds when you were a kid and we all shouted, "DO-OVER!!"

I gave myself the gift of a second chance at being an adult. This time I am a single mom, but much more self-assured. I don't have as much money, but realized that shopping shouldn't be a hobby. I've learned that getting up and going to work day after day, year after year is one of the hardest things you have to do. I've realized that no one is responsible for my happiness but me. I've come to the conclusion that the line from Jerry Maguire that says, "You complete me..." does a huge disservice to those who are comfortable in their own skin. I'm complete all by mahverahownself.

Life is hard enough; why not deal with whatever issues you having and then move on with a clear head?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Enjoying My Life As It It Right Now...

I'm learning to handle being alone. Please don't confuse it with loneliness; I'm not lonely, just alone. I wanted this and believe me, I'm not complaining about it. But my life has changed in the last 6 months like I never thought it would. I don't think I have gone out once on a Saturday night since my marriage ended, but I'm not all that upset about it. I'm doing the things I want to do: eating the the restaurants where I want to eat, seeing the movies I want to see, I'm knitting without any snide comments, I read in bed with the light on and I keep hand lotion on almost every flat surface of my apartment.

FRU and I had a nice weekend together. I took her shopping with me, we played a few board games, watched a few movies (actually, we watched the same movie over and over...ok, she watched the same movie over and over and I napped), we made marshmallow rice crispie treats...we simply did fun stuff, without any schedules. She even tried a new food on Saturday. I had heated up a bowl of leftover lo mein and she asked for some. I was shocked; she has eaten nothing but chicken nuggets and PB&J with no crusts for months now. I gladly shared my lunch and lo and behold, she liked it. So much so that when I asked her what she wanted for dinner last night, she said "That Chinese spaghetti stuff." She ended up having chicken nuggets, and got a promise that I'd get her some lo mein the next time I ordered take-out.

As I was watching the Golden Globe Awards last night, I got to thinking...Life is Good. It's that simple. I know so many people who are having troubles right now, but life is on a pretty even keel for me right now. I have a routine, and I don't freak out when that routine is disrupted. I am enjoying the simple things right now and I'm appreciating them more then ever. When I shut the light off the other night and finished saying my prayers, it warmed my heart that I didn't say any for me. I prayed for those who need them, but I didn't say any for me. I said my thanks for my strength, my health and my beautiful child...but I didn't ask God for anything.

Anything I need I can do or get for myself. It took me an awful long time to get to this place in my life, but I'm liking the scenery and I think I'll stay here a while.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Oh, The Possibilities...

Today is Friday and it's right before the long MLK Day weekend.

What is it about 3 day weekends that get everybody so crazy? Is it because a) they can say "Naner, naner" to the alarm clock on Monday morning? or b) because they can get some project done, like painting the living room or laying kitchen floor tiles? Or c) because they have a extra 24 hours to goof off?

I'm going with "c" least that's why I get so worked up about them. I have an extra night to watch movies, more time to do fun stuff with my child and one extra day to wear jeans.

Oh, the possibilities of an extra 24 hours. It's like a gift from God.

When I was a kid, MLK Day wasn't a federal holiday. It was celebrated in school and we learned about the Civil Right Movement and how Dr. King's words affected the way society treated those who look different than our founding fathers.

It was a loooooong stretch between Christmas break and the long President's Day weekend. Six weeks of snow, cold and misery. When I was in high school, MLK's Birthday was declared a National Holiday. All of a sudden winter didn't seem, so bad. We got a nice little break to either play in the snow or to never leave the house.

Now that I'm a grown-up (shhh, don't tell anyone!), those long weekends help the time pass like few things can. They help mark the passage of seasons and years. Many come with parades and traditions. There are barbeques in summer, sales in the fall, and skiing in winter. The possibilities are endless.

For me, though, it's all about the possibility of goofing off and not getting trouble...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Coming Back to Center...

Earlier this week I was ranting and raving about dealing with the needs of others. Then I got some sense knocked into me...FRU got sick. It was just a virus but it was enough to keep her out of commission for 2 days. That brought me back to center.

Having to take care of a sick, helpless child is enough to humble anyone. Hearing the words, "Mommy, I trew up a little" at 4:35am sent me into panic mode. My child has hardly vomited at all so when she does, it's bad. I brought her to bed and never went back to sleep. I just watched her, ready to spring into lifesaving procedures if necessary.

Thinking about this got me to thinking about the different aspect of parenting. My parenting style is rather relaxed. I don't run wind sprints to the pediatrician every time FRU has a sniffle or a cough. Some parents would have had their child in the ER within minutes. Still, other parents would have done nothing, sent their child to school, hoping they wouldn't get a phone call to come pick him/her up.

When FRU gets sick, I react by getting a little crazy, then I try to bring it all into focus: What are her symptoms? Is she very uncomfortable? Is she drinking/eating? Does she have a fever? Once I have the basic questions answered, I can make a judgement about how to deal with her illness. She's only 4, so if you ask her what's wrong, she says, "I sick." When my father asked why she was staying home from school, she said, "I got 2 sicks." That translates to "I threw up twice."

Being a parent has humbles me in countless ways. There are many times I couldn't give a damn about how I look, but FRU was dressed to the nines. I have eaten week-old Chinese take-out, but FRU can get a fresh grilled cheese for breakfast if she wanted it.

I know certain women were not cut out for parenting. They make great aunts or godmothers or cousins or babysitters...but they simply can't parent.

Knowing that FRU I'm a good mother is always enough to bring me back to center. Knowing she thinks I'm fun and silly and the cat's pajamas is icing on the cake...

Monday, January 8, 2007

Someone Else's Needs

I'm in a place in my life when everyone needs something from me.

Since I broke up with my ex, FRU has needed me more than ever. She no longer wants to sleep at anyone' s house (she used to have sleepovers at my parents' house and my aunt's house quite frequently) and wants no one else to put her in her car seat, to fold her laundry or make her PB&J sandwiches. I don't mind these tasks. I feel that it's part of my job as her mother to try to help her understand the confusing world we live in and to help her navigate through it..

But it seems that everyone else in the world needs something from me. Family, friends, co-workers. I have to be the one to make phone calls to unpleasant relatives, I have to be the one who has to figure how to make ends meet, I have to be the one who has to remember to bring the blanket to day care.

I need to be the one who gets taken care of once in a while. It would be nice to feel cherished. It would be great if I could finish a sentence before someone cuts me off. I'd love to be able to watch a movie all the way through without having to pause it for any reason.

I want everyone in my life to just do whatever it is that needs to be done without asking me any questions and without my assistance.

Oh wait, tonight I get a break. Someone else is picking up FRU at school and giving her dinner...BECAUSE I NEED TO GO TO THE DENTIST...what kind of break is that? It's a pathetic one...I'm actually looking forward to going to the dentist just so I can get some alone time. I can drive with the radio on MY station and can sing at the top of my lungs if I want. That's my alone time...big whoop...

Friday, January 5, 2007

Hopes for the New Year

Every year, many people make resolutions: to quit smoking, to exercise more regularly, to get a hold of their finances, to not get caught up in any drama.

Well, I vow to do all of these...

I quit smoking in mid-November and vow to remain smoke-free. Maybe a few months from now, I can smoke a cigarette or two without it becoming a habit again. But for now, NO CIGGIES!!!

I need to start exercising on a regular basis. I like how exercise makes me feel, I just hate doing it. I have the clothes and I have the machine; I figure all I need is some, if only I could buy motivation, it would make things so much easier.

And that last statement leads me to my next: I will continue to work on getting my finances under even tighter control. I can manage to make it from one pay period to another with a few bucks leftover but my goal is to actually save something, even if it's just $20. I have reigned in my spending and have started little tricks to avoid unnecessary spending (carry lots of pennies so you get lots of quarters as change from your purchases; save $5 bills so you won't need to hit the ATM as often) and I can see the benefits of these tricks already.

As for drama, sometimes it's unavoidable, we all know that. Drama is something that some people thrive on and that others avoid like the plague. I think I fall in the middle. I like having all the attention on me sometimes but there are also times when I want to sit in the back of Starbucks and read and have no one notice me. My vow is to not create drama. I'm on the road to rediscovering myself after spending 10 years with a man who isn't in touch with his emotions and therefore made me believe that it wasn't okay for me to be in touch with mine. There's no place for drama in my life right now. I'm raising a little girl, I work full-time, I have a household to run and I'd like to have a bit of time for myself. It's all about balance, and learning that lesson can be quite eye-opening!!

I have great hopes for 2007 (2006 was especially hard) and am willing to put in the work to make it as fabulous as possible. New beginnings are filled with hope and now, at the cusp of a new sense of wonderment, I am filled with hope too.