Sunday, September 18, 2011

D Day

As in dentist decision day.

Tomorrow I will have to act on the decisions with which I am struggling regarding my stupid and inconvenient mouth issues.  Jaw thing.  Pain in the ass and did I mention inconvenient?

Well, I guess that having something expensive is never convenient, but this, on top of the whole freaking mess around here, is, oh, it is like looking for your lost cat, slipping on the mossy banks of a mighty river, sliding down and down towards the surging foam, managing to grasp and barely hang on to a rocky outcropping and then having your kitty come, stand on your fingertips and purr like the dickens whilst kneading her spikey, little claws into your knuckles because she is so damn happy that you found her.

Anyway, I have decided to make an appointment with some other dentist, one that specializes in extractions, implants and bridges.  I know that my dentist is fully capable of doing all of this, but she is totally freaking me out with her odd behavior.  So, after I have the new appointment with the new dentist, I am going to make an appointment with her.

We will sit down, get comfortable and then I will share my betrayal with her.  I just totally suck, but I have already paid nearly $350 for the appointments last week, and I just have to make sure that any further work will last longer than the twenty-four hours she expected the bracing of my crowns to last.  Huh?  She is going to be upset, I am going to be upset as well, and I have a five day start on her in the whole freaking upset department.

I had a dream that indicated that this would all turn out fine.  I trust these kinds of dreams and I am not making any exceptions this time.  I have faith.  Yeah, in a stupid dream, but it is working for me right now.

How I am going to pay for all of this really expensive jaw stuff is a concern.  I write "concern" like I am wondering if the kale is going to be fresh at the market this week, or if I am going to have time to go to the post office tomorrow.  SWINM promised that I would be able to have dental care, but I have such a bad feeling about this, and that this will be just another broken promise.  A new dentist is going to insist on some kind of immediate payment for that first visit, and, gosh, it is just too much worry.  I have to get the dental and medical care to find out the extent of this jaw thing, have the disintegrating teeth removed and replaced somehow, and do whatever is needed to fix the core problem.

You know, it would be different if I did not take such stellar care of my teeth.  I brush and floss at least twice a day, after every time I eat.  I scrub my tongue and use those little brushpicks, and often floss as well, after every single meal when I am not at home.  I have my own scalers and clean my teeth thoroughly each week.  That recommendation that we should have our teeth professionally cleaned twice a year?  Well, I always did that until SWINM cancelled my dental insurance, but even then, my cleanings took barely ten minutes, or so, in the chair, because I really do take excellent care of my mouth.

If you go through life being a good person, doing good in the world and all that jazz, and still manage to expect some kind of fairness or something, life will be one heartbreak after another.  It is just that I am a really and truly good person around here and I am still treated like crap.  There must be something majorly the hell wrong with me.

Maybe I will have another dream tonight that figures it all out for me. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

More rationalizing

So.  O.K., I may have to fire my dentist, at least for the short term.

She is a great dentist, probably the best in her town.  Over the years she and I have become friends.  When I was at the appointment earlier this week where the jaw thing was discovered/suspected, she and I were joking back and forth, just being smarasses, the usual stuff, and I noticed that her new assistant was looking at us strangely.  My dentist noticed too, and said to relax, that we were good friends.  The assistant relaxed and sort of got into the spirit of the whole thing, although I do think that she was puzzled that I was taking the whole jaw thing and the possibilities and consequences of some of those possibilities a bit too lightly.  Whatever.  It is what I do.

Anyway, during the work that I had done that day, she was, well, how can I say this...she was cranky and not very nice to her assistant, who is new, as in really new.  Even though she is experienced, she is new to this practice and, like any new employee or colleague, needs time to learn exactly how things are done there and get up to speed. 

Next.  I received a telephone call to see how I was doing and she was all over the place.  I just listened and let it go.

Today was more telephone calls from all kinds of people involved in this and she was just a weird.  One of the options is to pull a whole bunch of teeth, repair the jaw thing, let everything heal for months, as in like months, and then create and install implants.  That would cost thousands and thousands and more thousands of dollars.  I do not have that.

The second option is to pull the teeth, up to four of them, repair the jaw thing, let everything heal for only a month or so, and then create a bridge appliance to replace the missing teeth, which I totally and completely want to do because these would be the four bottom teeth, from the center to the right of my mouth.  This option would cost only four thousand dollars, including the extractions and all the extra visits.

Again, I never thought that I was a vain person, but I clearly am because I really do not want to go to work with that large of a gap in my smile.  Immature, selfish, vain, vain, vain.  Too freaking bad.  I want replacement teeth there.  Implants, bridges, whatever, just fill the damn gap.

So, I said that I would prefer, only because of the cost, to have the bridge appliance.  She then proceeded to argue me out of it.

Me:  But, X, the implants cost too much.  I want something there in the gap, but, seriously, who has that kind of money?
Her:  The implants are a better choice.
Me:  Well, at my age, it probably makes sense to choose the bridge.
Her:  That's not true.  Implants are there for good and they are easier to take care of.  They function just like natural teeth.
Me:  Yeah, but I still do not, will not have that kind of money.
Her:  Well, it's probably for the best because I have not done these in a long time and I really should be re-trained in how to do them.

Me:  Great, then no problem, the bridge it is.
Her:  Oh, I suppose that I could have the company guys come to me and refresh me.  (That made me laugh a little in my head)
Me:  Well, I still think that I prefer the bridge.
Her:  You do know that all of those teeth on the bottom in little, right?  And that the bridge would have to connect to them?

Me:  Yeah, I know, but I cannot get the implants.  I really cannot.
Her:  Well, the training is expensive and takes a long time, and I really do not have the time right now, so I guess that is best then.
Me: Cool.

There was so much more of the conversation and it just got weirder, something about maybe she still has the molds she took of my mouth a few years ago, maybe they are in the back someplace, maybe.  Now, why should any of the matter?  A sensible and thinking person would do her best to find another dentist to do this part of whatever we end of doing.  And, doing it soon because I am counseled to not wait long to decide and begin the process, as in begin the extractions and jaw thing fixing next week

It matters because I care about her and she has just come out on the other side of a year of really crappy personal experiences that included the death of someone close to her.

This is where, if you are going to insist on maintaining a friendship that grew out of a business relationship, that you just pull up your big girl panties and have a conversation, clear my head of all the negative noise, and either have her go ahead and to the extractions prior to fixing the jaw thing or find another dentist to do the work.

If the friendship is strong, well it survives.  If it is weak, then it dies the natural death it should.

I should have called her back at the office this afternoon and had this conversation or arranged to go in after clinic hours and have at it.  I just could not bring myself to do it.  I could still call her at home this weekend, arrange to get together and have this conversation, but I know that I will not do that, either.

I am wasting precious time, as finding and achieving an appointment with a new dentist is going to take more than the couple of days that I have.  It could take weeks, months.  I am a procrastinating time-waster.

I should just go and make that smoothie, but I think that I will grab a kitty and go rest, read the last of my zombie book and, with any luck, have a nice nap and wake up to find that this whole damn week was just a crappy dream.

And, you know, this whole thing is not serious, as in life-threatening, just tedious and potentially weirder than this week has already been.  Big girl panties time.  Lordy.

No whining

Well, just a little bit, mostly because it seems impossible for me to go cold turkey, although I would never complain about turkey.  Well, I would, but I am not comfortable sharing that story.

So, anyway, I have this jaw thing and until I decide what to do about it, I have to not chew, not bite.  All foods have to be soft, fluidy, liquidy or capable of being mushed in my mouth, on the opposite side of the jaw thing, using my tongue against the roof of my mouth, again, on the side opposite of the jaw thing.

I miss chewing so much.  I never gave it a thought, but biting and chewing are...were...a large part of enjoying food.  But, I am doing what the doc recommended.  I even had a burger yesterday by cutting it into really small pieces, like smaller than a half inch, and gumming the stuff into insensibility.  It was tasty, but not the same or right feeling experience.

I have to keep thinking about this, am going to have a smoothie for a snack this afternoon, have been eating cooked cereals,and have made a couple of really tasty meals since Monday or Tuesday or whenever this all happened.

Late last night I made meat loaf in the pressure cooker.  It was interesting.  It was the first time that I had heard that machine make noises, other than the occasional steamy murmuring.  When I opened the cooker, there was a ton of juicy sauce, and a little bit of fat globules floating and glistening on top, which was a surprise because I used 90% lean ground beef.  I guess that shiny stuff was the 10%, but it seemed like a lot.

I ladled out as much as I could, then inverted my big strainer over the top of the cooker pot, lifted and flipped it over so that the juicy stuff could drain into the bowl into which I had ladled the juicy stuff.  Then, when it looked like most of it had drained out, I covered the strainer with a dinner place and flipped again.  There was still some stuff that looked too glisteny to not be fat, so I put some paper toweling dams along the plate edges so that I would not have to clean any overflow from the refrigerator in the morning.

Despite putting crushed tomatoes (canned) into the bottom of the cooker and covering the top of the loaf with a little sauce that I made from tomato paste, water and seasonings, the bottom of the meatloaf burned.  It was weird.  It was a paper-thin layer of burn.  I was able to lift it off with a fork, not lose much of the loaf and it did not impart a burned taste to the meatloaf, not even in the adjoining meaty part.  Weird.

Anyway, it worked out fine and it tastes fine.  Unfortunately, I forgot that I was cooking this stuff just for myself and I made portions generous enough for the two for whom I usually cook.  Someone who is not me is not interested in trying any of these new cooking experiments in mushy stuff.  I do not blame him, but I will have to remember to not use three pounds of ground beef if I make this again.  I will be eating this meat stuff for a very long time, even if I freeze some of it, which I intend to do this afternoon, along with half of the pan of lasagna.  Easy meals coming up.

Today I had a small piece of the meatloaf for breakfast/lunch.  It was really good, even better than the taste I had last night.

More of it was crumbled and put into a small pan of lasagna, along with whole wheat lasagna noodles, spinach, ricotta, canned mushrooms, shredded mozzarella, and I used the juicy stuff, which had overnight transformed into a really yummy tomato sauce (nice because I did not have to make any...yippee!) as the sauce.

I wanted it to have as few carbohydrates as possible, so I put a single layer of noodles on the bottom, filled the pan with the fillings and put another single layer of noodles on top, smoothed on some more sauce, and sprinkled a bit of shredded Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses on top of that.  I tented aluminum foil over the top so that it would not get crunchy and baked it for an hour.

It is fine.  Good even.  The only problem seems to be that even wishing and hoping will not magickally make a dairy sensitivity go away.  I had a three-inch-square piece and the cheeses helped the whole thing move through my system in short order.  So, future pieces will have most of the cheeses ripped or scooped out.  So sad.

In an effort to lessen the carb load, I used whole wheat noodles.  I cooked them until they were as floppy as possible, used lots of sauce and they still are too chewy.  I had to mash them with my fork so that I could gum them down with the rest of the ingredients.  Oh, and there is one section where the edge crisped up despite the foil covering and it is all I can to do cut it off and gnaw away on it.

I prefer to think of this whole thing as sharing and not whining.  I am so good at rationalizing.

I am.  Just ask anyone. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I do not ever, well most of the time, have sweet things to eat.  I have diabetes and manage it with diet and an oral medication.  Since my diagnosis more than four years ago I have learned to avoid hidden sugars and to read labels even more carefully than I have always done.  It has been two years since I baked anything sweet, and that was spaghetti and meatball cupcakes and babies under a blanket cupcakes for a niece's baby shower.  Much longer than that since making anything sweet for myself, well, I guess the bit over four years ago diabetes thing.

But, losing sweet tasting things is so sad.  Really.  No Halloween candy for me, no candy canes at xmas or Cadbury eggs at Eostre and only a token bit of a taste at the babies birthday parties, just for good fortune for the coming year.  No pastries when out with the Chickies.  No gummie critters, no gum drops, no gum.

If I still was able to go to see movies, there would not be any Twizzlers or popcorn (whilst not technically a sweet, still too carby).  I do drink artifically sweetened diet soft drinks, but I just figure that the preservative and chemicals in there might help preserve my cells whilst calcifying my brain.  Hey.  It could happen.

But, last week, well, it was in the middle of some biblically bad stuff here.  I am not saying that any seas parted, but there have been several occasions when I feared that the fabric of time and space had been violated.  But, that is another story.  I would share it, it might even make me feel better to unburden some of it, but then I would not be able to stop crying and, well, it is Saturday and I do have to be able to go to work next Wednesday.

Anyway, by Tuesday I could not stand it and by Friday I was frantic for something sweetly tasty and my usual apples or carrots were just not cutting the custard.

I thought about custard, but knew that a savory one would not do the trick, so when I went to the pharmacy to get my medication, I stopped at the market and bought chocolate chips and a bag of walnuts.  I am not judging myself, but I was aware of how epic a fail this would be.

Little did I know.

I came home, followed the directions for chocolate chip cookies, on the back of the bag and set to work.  I used whole wheat flour, Splenda (don't start...), a whole cup of butter, the walnuts, eggs and a dump of Ghirardelli's cocoa.  I spread it out in a sheet pan to make bars, easier.  When it came out of the oven I sprinkled another bag of chips over the top, waited a bit, spread out the melted chips and waited some more.

I let it cool completely and got out wrap so that I could immediately portion it out and put most of it safely away in the freezer.  Freezing sweets might not work for others, but it does for me.  Probably because I am needing more immediate gratification these days, but whatever works, yes?

I cut into the pan and the darn thing practically shattered into crumbles.  The whole pan was weak and crumbly, like, ummm, crumbles.  It tasted great, but was like some kind of crumbly topping that you would put on top of ice cream or something.  The only thing holding even the crumbs together was the melted coating of chocolate chips on the top.

I ate a small piece, thought about it, tried to eat another tiny bit and and eventually tossed the whole, expensive mess into a container which went out to feed the critters at the feeding stations.  They liked it and it was gone in a few days.  The whole, freaking pan.

I had no idea why it happened.  Then, yesterday...another Friday, coincidence?  I think not... I began to think that maybe I had never put the eggs into it.  I remember going to get the vanilla, finding none and deciding to substitute with a little blackstrap molasses dissolved in a little water.  But, I had no recollection of fetching, cracking or incorporating eggs.

So, when I took my friend shopping yesterday (another nine hour day, but that is still one more, other story), I bought more chips, one bag this time, more walnuts and a small bottle of vanilla.  Man, has that stuff gotten expensive.

Two hours ago, after I set the bread to rise, I decided that since I had bought the ingredients, that I would make another attempt to satisfy my sweet tooth, which, in addition to my bleeding and shattered heart, was begging for comfort.

So, I did.  I made sure that I fluffed the butter and sweetener parts.  Fluffy, very fluffy indeed.  Then, I carefully added both the vanilla and the damn eggs.  More fluffiness.  All the rest got tossed in, mixed and spread out in a pan.

Well, it really must have been the missing eggs, because this batch turned out great, wonderful, amazing.  It slightly overflowed the pan and the edges are crisp and light and, oh goodness, just right.  And, I put so much cocoa powder in them that they are, in effect, brownies.  Even better.  More chocolaty goodness without any additional shame.  I also used three eggs, just the right amount to make it cakier than a cookie and not too much like cake.  I rock.

It is now cut, wrapped and safely in the freezer, but I must admit that I did have more than one piece.  How many more, well, I am not confessing that part, but I think it best to go and take a rest whilst I recover from my chocolate and carb coma.  I did drink a nice, big mug of green tea whilst eating the lovely bars, so that has to count for something, yes?

So, if there is a lesson in here...and there is...it is that if you decide to indulge yourself, do not let your shame make you forget the eggs.

You may quote me.

All the things I can(not)

This unposted space mocks me.  I had plans, kind of nice, sort of big, mostly challenging plans and it is all fucked up, at least for the time being.

I cannot knit or sew or make those damn porcelain bowls I promised everyone for Yule.

I cannot make any stuff at all.

I cannot make sense of what is happening here, much less wrestle some forward movement out of it.

I cannot visit anyone, not my friends for Saturday morning coffee and, so much worse, not my grandbabies and their mommy and daddy.

I can keep saving money to have his car fixed so that I will be able to resume, at the very least, visits to the babies.  I am slightly more than half-way there and if I had not already paid for those stupid, non-refundable trips, I would be 3/4 of the way there.

I can be grateful for being allowed to use his car, so I just have to get over my selfish irritation about paying for all of the repairs this time.  It is a pittance compared to buying, registering, insurance-ing-up, gassing and maintaining a different car.  Big-girl-panties-pull-up-time.

I can go to work and do fine there.  I can go to fiber club afterwards, but not for long.  I get too hungry and antsy and cannot sit still.

I can work on the computer, so that is great, as I am mostly up to speed, like really, really close, on the sites I manage, and totally up to speed on all of the projects to which I committed.  Nice to have that one place where I am not failing.  So, I am also very grateful that I do have this computer and the Internet to help me with my work and help provide a place where I can go and disappear into the bits and bytes to have some fun.

I can manage on the money that I have and am grateful that I have simple tastes.  I never really thought about it in those terms until fairly recently, but it is true.  I am satisfied with simple things and simple pursuits, although I am not averse to having the Universe drop a whole, stunningly decadent and huge amount of resources on me so that I could take a break from being frugal and have the ability to indulge myself and those I love once in a while.  I would love to help my daughter with stuff and maybe send her and my sweet son-in-law away for a responsibility-free weekend once in a while.  I am glad and satisfied that I have always been glad, satisfied and grateful for what I do have, but that would be totally wonderful.  There is that platitude that money cannot buy happiness, but that is a lie.  It is also mean because it makes those who could really use more monetary resources feel like selfish pigs, which they/me/I are not.  Money can buy the release of terrible worry and the peace of mind that supports happiness, which is pretty much the same thing.

I have so many more of my 'can' than my 'cannot' and that is fine, but not fun.

Everything in it's time.  Right?  Yes?

I had to come back and add the most important thing that money can do.

It can provide safety. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Clouds

I have this only because an on-line acquaintance had it on her blog this morning.  She is Girls Wear Blue Too, and is in my blog links thing.

        Wordle: going

It is very interesting, at least to me, the selection of words and their arrangement.  It is also a little unsettling, kind of bittersweet and is making me feel all sentimental and maybe less stressed and more hopeful about my life, big-picture-wise.

These,  most of them, are not words that I would have chosen for tags.  Weird, but compelling, never the less.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The next steps

Socially impaired.

That is me.  I cannot manage to be the happy, sun is always shining, life of the party that everyone expects from me.  Not only could I always do that, it did not have to actually think about it because it was what I did.  Unconscious, easy.  Sure, I would receive the occasional mean remark disguised as a compliment, such as when someone called me a Pollyanna. And, well, there is that one person who used to call me a Berk-wearing-tree-hugging-annoying-optimist-hippie-freak, but that was the exception.  But, not much of the crap in my life had a serious or more than momentary effect on how I am.

I am a bounce-back girl.  I am really a very sunshiny person.  I see all of the positive and supportive aspects of my life, even extending that to parts of life that do not involve me.  I make lemonade all the damn time and share it on the sunny side of  the street.  My glass is always more than half full, and it is never covered, so that it can be filled and spent as needed.  I really am all of these positive things, and more.

Well, I think that I used to be because it is now something that I have to make happen instead of just letting it happen.  I thought that spewing all of the parts of my crap that are not too personal or too painful would allow them to just go off somewhere and not continue to bother me.  And, that mostly works.  Experience it fully, wallow as needed and then just get rid of it.  I have, or at least used to have, this flash meditation.  It is, was, that I would allow myself to re-experience whatever had happened, bodily feel the emotions and then let the whole thing pass through me and fall to the Earth, where our Mother would transform it into something good.  You know, something wonderful created from the not so wonderful.

I still believe in that process.  All energy all the time and being a part of it only as it flowed through me and where I was a part of that particular thing, that process, that being.  Simple.

But, now I have to consciously generate some positive feelings and energy when I am around certain people.  That distresses me more than I am able to express.  I have to think about how to arrange my face, make adjustments to my expressions, think happy thoughts and be part of the happy and friendly stuff that is going on around me.  I mean, I can still do it.  I am in no danger of having some major fail when I am with someone else.  It is just that something that used to be effortless, something about which I never had to give a thought, is now so much work, laborious, just so damn hard.  I have little fails, and a couple of people have mentioned it to me, so that means that I am not successful at hiding how difficult this is for me.

It has been happening more and more often over the past six months or so, and it happened on Saturday,  with my coffee friends and again at the family thing on Sunday.  I thought about those two days, back-to-back like that, on the drive home yesterday.  And, I thought, well, Simpleton, this is just the withdrawal experience from not spewing for the past couple of days.  You are used to getting rid of the crap, letting it pour out of your head and heart, through your fingertips and onto the electronic page.  You will be fine in a few days, you know, just like you would recover from going on a cake binge.  Ah, I digress, but I do remember the cake binges.  Good times.

Anyway, it is not only the past few days of not spewing all over the place, because this is a fairly long-term problems for me, and then when I got home I thought about it some more, took a nap, thought more and repeated the process, minus the nap, this morning.  And, I came to a few decisions.

I am going to continue to not spew about all of the less positive aspects of my life.  They are never going to end, mostly because I am such a loser that I will never leave here.  And, since they are never going to go away or even be less of an issue, I just have to get over the need to do all of the navel-gazing.  I am going to ignore the crap and just do whatever I have to do.  Besides, all of the weeping makes it hard to use the computer or knit, and is really messing up my sewing and my efforts to master crocheting.  And, a bigger and more important besides is that the person who did that big thing was at the family event yesterday and despite my most fervent and loving desires, I think that that relationship is pretty much over.  I can manage, even embrace, being loving and polite and non-confrontational, but it seems that I might not be able to reclaim the trust that existed between us, at least on my end of that equation.  I just have to let that person drift out of my life.  It really sucks, but I really do not have any influence, much less any control, there.

I am going to get away from the big-picture stuff and concentrate on the small stuff.  I have great hopes that this could work.  And, this fits in with the plans that I have for the next hundred days project.

So, beginning next week, I will begin Hundred Days to Greater Creativity and More Positive Thinking.  I might wait until September first.  Maybe not.

Every day I will find at least one positive thing that happened during that day, and I will try to do something creative. 

Creativity.  It will not always be sewing or soap making, knitting or painting, but it will be something.  More importantly, it will be an aspect about which I will have to think and plan so that it actually happens.

Positive thinking.  Frankly, this one is going to be much easier.  On my first hundred days project I had decided to say one positive, supportive thing about myself.  Every day.  Every freaking day. Within minutes of making that commitment I knew that it was impossible.  My best guess is that even the most well-adjusted, positive thinking person would have trouble doing that every single day.  So, I added the divesting of one item each day.  I rarely, as in for all practical purposes, go back and read anything that I have written, not electronically or on paper, so I cannot be sure, but I think that I did a fairly good job of coming up with many self-affirmations.  The getting rid of stuff went better.  And this time, the positive thought is not restricted to me, but can be about anything that happened during the day, about any person or any aspect or condition in the world.  As a fall-back, I have the cats to provide some heartfelt and comic behaviors, so that is making this much easier.  What I cannot do is use this as an excuse for being ironical, sarcastic or even the teeniest bit snarky.

Continuing to divest myself of all of the stuff that is burdening me is a given, as doing so will be manifesting both my creative juices and some serious and conscious work on having positive viewpoints and adjustments to not having this stuff around.  I am going to avoid any big-picture aspects, hoping to keep this up close and very and significantly personal.

I think that these plans are both challenging and doable. 

So, I will be going away for the next several days and then dealing with the consequences of having dared to actually go away for several days.  That should pretty much make the beginning of September when this gets started.  I had thought about waiting until the Autumnal Equinox, but that is too far away.  I need more immediacy than that, although I am now thinking that a ritual then might be appropriate in support of this.

As for my social ineptness and sadness and all that jazz, well, I am going to take a break from both my coffee friends and from family stuff for a while.  I am already missing those, as the pressure in my chest informs me.  But, I need some perspective on why I am so unable to simply be what I believe to be my authentic self.  There is some, no matter how remote, possibility that it is simple sadness about all the stuff.  Maybe it is hormones or depression or something.  Maybe I need vitamins or a swift and enduring kick in the ass to remove me from a self-imposed pity party.  Nah, this is no party, pity or otherwise.  It is a definite change in how I am able to be in relationship and it is in my best interest to figure out what is causing it and to fix it. 

So, daily creative activity and a positive thought about someone or something.  Dribble on some divesting, slop on some improved social interaction, give it all a big shake and it should be an excellent few months.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

To remember

The next time that I am field dressing my ugruk, I do not have to discard all of the stomach contents, as the clams in there are still eatable.  I mean, who knew!

If you want a friend, you have to be a friend.  Sure.  But, that does not translate very well when your friend is trying to stab you in the back.  Repeatably.

The Universe does not revolve around me.  Frankly, the Universe does not even know that I exists.

Sometimes the truth hurts and you have to keep telling yourself whatever that is until you finally get it.

Never underestimate the value of a nap.

One of my friends is a stand-up poet.  Most of his poems are just a few lines of commentary about life in general and his horndog habits in particular, but I digress.

Anyway, one of my favorites of his is:

Sometimes I think that the world would be a better place if I had never been born.
Oh, that's ridiculous.  If you had never been born, the world would be exactly the same.

Sometimes, bitter irony is the best sauce.  Just saying.

The next Hundred Days - Prelude 3

The family thing was today and it was nice.  Every single person was invited (even the really wacky sister-in-law), but, in deference to the very long distances some would have had to travel, not everyone was expected.  There were two surprises, one from each side of the family, and, gosh, that caused so much excitement and happiness and the love was just flowing all over the place.  Very, very nice. 

The take-along play mat with the cars was a big hit and was used today during the church service.  A quiet toy to help the little ones handle the adult goings-on.

It is approximately sixteen inches square.  Cobblestone fabric on both sides, but a red, four-pocket addition to one side.  It can hold up to a dozen of those small cars.  the pocket is two layers and there is a layer of medium weight Pellon inside the whole thing.  It has two nice, soft and wide straps for tying the roll closed.  Oh, yeah, when you put the cars into the pockets, you fold the other half over the cars and roll it up, tying the straps to keep it together.  I was going to applique roads, driving lanes, sidewalks and maybe trees houses and other stuff, but when I had it cut out, I decided that leaving it plain, for open-ended play made more sense for my grandbabies.  It was a good design choice, as it turns out.

Here are the images.
The side with the pocket for the cars.  Sort of half-way moved in the direction of the fold-before-the-roll-up.

Three of the pockets, with the straps just hanging out and being groovy.

Full of imaginary roads

Close-up of the cobblestones.  So cute.

All folded and rolled and ready to go.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The next Hundred Days - Prelude 2

I am still agog at yesterday's happenings.  Glad and all that, but amazed.  Still.  But, glad.  Lordy.

So, here we are, Diary, back together on another forced march towards fixing me.  Baby steps, baby, that is how this one is going to go, just like the previous ones.  I intend to use this process until the day comes when I can sit and do nothing because I am totally caught up with all the stuff that needs doing and there is not anything to do unless I make something up.

I still need a focal point, but am going to let that come in its own time, lest I dedicate the next leg of this project to something that I will regret having chosen.  Like, ummm, that would totally suck, so I am not going to rush this.  I have a couple of ideas juicing around in my noggin, although nothing is holding much energy for me.  I need to stop thinking about it.

Coffee today with my friends, but the last time for a long time, until the van gets fixed.  Gosh, where are the shitload of money faeries when you need them?

I made the gift bags for a family thing tomorrow and put the gifts in them.  I made cards from images of the recipients and did cut-outs of appendages to hold the gift cards.  What else?  Yeah, I finally made the car roll that I have been meaning to make for at least two months for the grandbabies. 

I had an idea about a tiny playmat that could hold a couple of their tiny cars and that could be hauled along to church and restaurants and just anyplace where we might have to have something quiet with which to keep them entertained.  It turned out very nicely and when I have time I am going to post pictures of it, but not tonight, because it is a long drive to the festivities early tomorrow morning and it is late and I am going to bed whether I want to or not.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Next Hundred Days - Prelude

So, anyway I learned some things today and had three experiences. 

I learned that I am so respected at work that just about anything is possible, and that is just freaking amazing.  The system in which I work is stressed because of budgetary cuts, which translates to a more stressful environment.  And, yet, I get to create another dimension to the work I do.  Granted, it is not going to cost any money, but I get to expand further into the community with all kinds of support.  I am thinking about writing for a grant for more technology, so that would be cool, too, and fun since I have not written for any grants for the past few years.  Another agency wants to partner with me and I am going to do it.  We will begin cross-training in a few weeks or maybe the middle of October, I still have not decided, what with the trip and the beginning of school in a few weeks.  Anyway, the whole thing just totally rocks.

Next, I was offered a job with a governmental agency in the town where I do most of my volunteer work.  The offer came as a result of some of that work.  Whilst it would help to remedy part of my financial dilemma, I turned it down.  Philosophical differences, and that is all I am going to share about that.  Very satisfying to feel so comfortable giving up the money in favor of honoring my ethics.  I am feeling strong as a result of this, especially since things around here are still so crappy.  I will admit that declining left me feeling a little breathless and wondering if I had, finally, totally and completely lost my mind.  Like, I must be far off in the deep end of incipient psychosis to even think of refusing such a fine offer.  Like, really.  But, I did and it immediately felt, well, it felt just wonderful and thoroughly right.  Who woulda thunk it.

The third nice thing is that I was invited to be a part of a new program serving those in the community who are homeless or near to being so.  It is practically brand-spanking-new and it was offered to me less than an hour after I turned down the paying job, which if I had accepted I would not have been able to do the new volunteer thing.  I mean, talk about connections and consequences and all that jazz.

My little heart is all pitter-pattery and if this sequence of events today is not the perfect illustration of paying attention to my life instead of over-thinking every damn thing and rushing to the appearance of financial improvement because I am so worried about fixing the van's brakes, instead of being available to do some truly kick-ass and important work, well, I do not know what is.

Totally, freaking, amazing day.  Man.

There is some kind of idea in my head about where I want to go in the next several months, life-wise, but it is still percolating and I am going to let it be until it settles into something.  I can do that.

What happens when I cannot sleep

I am not editorializing on this one, not at all.  We would occasionaly have this kind of situation via the legal aspects of shelter investigations.  It certainly can be that such circumstances are part of a religious practice, but the majority of our cases were not proved to be so.  Just saying, and saying that this is an interesting aspect of modern living.
http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/2011/08/18/20110818massachusetts-barber-animal-sacrifice.html

Proof that multi-tasking is not always in one's best interest.
http://www.wmur.com/r/28891567/detail.html

I knew it!
http://www.wmur.com/r/28908730/detail.html

Lordy.
http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/2011/08/18/20110818michigan-man-uses-feet-no-brakes-car.html

Alrighty, then.
http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/2011/08/05/20110805oklahoma-woman-strips-naked-at-charity-golf-event.html

An extra layer of bad service.
http://www.bankrate.com/financing/credit-cards/waitress-scams-bad-tippers/?ec_id=m1078091

Getting older #1
http://www.lifescript.com/Health/Centers/Alzheimers/Tips/How_Aging_Affects_Your_Brain.aspx?utm_source=outbrain&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Alzheimer

Getting older #2
http://www.caring.com/articles/5-signs-caregiver-stealing-from-you?utm_campaign=homecare&utm_content=148&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=outbrain

Getting older #3
http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/2011/08/18/20110818new-york-man-sues-skimpy-trunks.html

Getting older #4
http://www.forbes.com/sites/trialandheirs/2011/08/15/is-94-year-old-zsa-zsa-gabor-going-to-be-a-mother/

I wonder if you could make this work if you are a person.
http://www.thedogdaily.com/idribble/conduct/behavior/why_dogs_bark/index.html?source=Outbrain

A bit of self-help advice.  You know, for when I just need to snap out of it.
http://www.lifescript.com/Health/Centers/Depression/Articles/What_Not_to_Say_to_a_Depressed_Mate.aspx?utm_source=outbrain&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Depression

Ooops...and all I want to do is get the brakes fixed on my car.
http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Aftershock-book-predicts-economic/2011/07/25/id/404782

Thursday, August 18, 2011

100 Days toward a healthier life - Day 100

Well, only four days late, but unavoidable.  One would think, perhaps even hope, that a hundred days of focused intention and serious commitment and actual hard work would be useful somehow.  One would think that.

And, if I am going to be reasonable about this time spent with the intention of having a healthier life, that forward movement towards that is a given, even it one is not working her ass off to have that, you know, sort of by default and the passing of time.  Even I would have to work very hard to find myself worse off after more than a few months of intention.

So, I am not mentioning the food thing, even though I can remember what I ate.  It was more of the same, healthier choices, and really not all that important, big-picture-wise.

I could go back and read what my goals were for this time, so I will go and do that and be right back.  Well, it seems that my vision problems, the retinal bleeds (and then the posterior retinal detachments) were the main catalyst for this project.  That has pretty much resolved and I have since learned that my crappy eating habits had little to do with any of it.  Sure, avoiding simple carbohydrates is best for me, but the two eye issues are more related to my age than what I cram down my pie hole.  And, in addition to everything else, I have had the opportunity to use the words "pie hole."  That pleases me on some crappy level, probably best left unexplored.

So, the eye issues and my struggle to join Weight Watchers.  That latter one never resolved.  It was too difficult to connect with the correct (their word) person each time I went there.  There were either too busy or they were too busy. smiley: laugh  Really.  I am not sure when I finally gave up, but I did, although my desire to join that program has not diminished much.  As my process progressed I just forgot about it, unless it was in the middle of the night and at a time when I could not actually do anything, and then I gradually stopped thinking about it at all.  Still would like to join that thing. 

Next was actually losing weight.  I have done that, even though I stuck to my determination to avoid the scale, weighing stuff, counting calories and all of the angst usually associated with that for me.  I focused on portion sizes, following the food pyramid and then the food plate thing when that was released as the new and improved food pyramid thing.  I naturally choose smaller portions than I used to eat.  I rarely, like a few of times a month, eat snacks between meals, and only in response to my body's need for food because I did not eat enough at the previous meal.  Not even when they are offered to me, and especially at work where there is always some bakery or other special treat for some thing or another.

In the battle with my flab, I am winning.  I have less of it.  There is a visually comfortable less of my physical body.  I have gone down at least two clothing sizes.  So, that is good.  I was able to do that without all of the dieting processes that do not work for me. 

I have not had a second heart thing, and I guess that it is only fair to myself that I fess up that it was a heart attack.  Just a small one that did not require hospitalization, weird and expensive medications or any kind of extraordinary action on the part of anyone, but that did come with a lecture, which I totally deserved for being such a physical mess and not taking any of this, or myself, seriously on the level that the lecturer(s) felt appropriate.  That whole thing was a mess and very distressing when the people I am paying to take care of this little thing are yelling at me, even though I deserve the yelling and a whole lot more that the yellers are not doing.  And, at this point, like right this minute, I am more opposed to dying than ever, although there are factors that change that at what seems to be minute-to-minute some days.

As for the rest of what I wrote at the beginning stages of this project, well, I am not going to read them.  I rarely read anything I have written, preferring to just spew and avoid looking back.  Maybe that is not a beneficial choice, but I really do not think that I am capable of learning anything from this right now.  Maybe later.  Maybe not.

I do believe that my ultimate and loftier goal of becoming over-all healthier has happened.  My blood stuff is better, my weight is lower, my eating habits are so much improved that I can hardly believe it, really, and I just feel better in lots of big and small ways.  Sometimes I will be doing something physical and suddenly be aware that it is easier to do, produces less discomfort or pre-planning and that I am doing whatever that particular thing is without any thought, naturally and spontaneously.  That part is very, very cool. 

I believe that I have set a new standard for how I am going to be in my body.  I have absolutely no concerns about going back, sliding back, to my former icky habits.  I believe myself more able to resist using food to alter my moods, comfort me and help me to lose myself in food ecstasy in an attempt to blot out the more problematic parts of my life.  So, all of that is good and sustainable.  My joint and vision issues are the same and I am just going to live that that and make adjustment when needed and stop feeling so guilty and such a failure because I am unable to fix something that is beyond my control in the first place.  More slow learning, but I am getting there.

I divested more things.  Not as many as last year, but objects and the ideas/dreams/hopes/desires connected with those objects.  I can see that my life is moving in a direction that I did not think that I would be able to consider with any seriousness or hope of achieving.  At least now I am connected to the true possibility of all of that.  More stuff is on its way out.  The process is difficult for me, and there is still an entire basement of stuff to be sorted and hopefully tossed.  There are days, moments, when it is my hope that I live long enough to finish this, although my commitment to this is strong and it will be done, in time.

And, connected to that is, of course, the aspects of my life that do not work and managed to become more significant areas of distress.  O.K., all that ambiguity translates into people.  We all have them, those persons who, well, it is just not in our best interest to have them around, but, there they are, sucking the life right out of us, and we keep them in our lives for lots of reasons.  Sometimes we feel that we need that distress for some perverted reasons, usually connected to not believing that we deserve better, that they are the price we pay for not being perfect and for making mistakes.  They are the consequence, the punishment, and anyone who denies that such a person exists in their own life, or has at some previous time, is just deluding themselves.  We all do it.  It is part of our nature to punish ourselves for our true and perceived imperfections.  It may be subtle, small, personal, intimate, but it is there; we do it.  Sometimes it is a family member, sometimes a friend, maybe a crappy co-worker or fellow volunteer, a terrible boss.  It is one of the less self-supportive aspects of being human.

Most of the time, having that person(s) in our life is a small matter, not seemingly significant, but you know that saying about not sweating the small stuff, well, most of our lives are composed and populated with the small stuff.  It accumulates, drains us, distracts us from other more important things, fucks with our focus and our dreams and plans, our desires about the kind of life we want to have.

I can, and do, admit that not absolutely everyone has this kind of person or issue in their life.  I know plenty of people who either simply do not have this, or are so competent, so expert at managing their lives that it never develops into an issue.  You know those people, too.  They are healthy in mind and body.  Their hearts are unencumbered and they handle stress in healthy ways, never turning difficulty against themselves in some messed-up belief that they deserve to be unhappy or misused or abused simply because they deserve it.

I am one of those latter persons, and it was brought home to me during a session with a new client yesterday.  I mean, talk about the teacher arriving just when the lesson is needed.  Man.

Anyway, I have worked very hard to overcome an early life that was not supportive of survival.  Truth is that three of my siblings did not survive those beginnings and the rest of us struggle with doing the best we can with all of it.  My guess is that all of them carry the same belief that they have survived better than the rest of us.  I know that I do.  I think that I am managing my life more successfully than some of my siblings.  And, maybe that is true, that each of us has created a life that works for him or her.  I guess that is what we all do, no matter how life formed us.  Huh.  I guess I can start cutting each of them a whole load of metaphorical slack about this.  Yeah, I am a slow learner.  Anyway.

Anyway.  I am still working with the consequences of making poor choices in my middle life.  And, I am not making excuses for myself, I had only what I had to work with when I was that age.  Like now, only I was significantly dumber than I am now.  I am still pretty dumb, but slightly less so, for which I am very grateful.  I did gratitude, I appreciate it and honor the process that got me to that place.

And, those consequences, well I took them on, accepted it because those kinds of things always seem like such a good idea at the time, you know?  And, there are all kinds of responsibilities that come along with the things in our lives that we choose.  And, all of the writing is just the long and torturous version of saying and admitting that it is me, and only me and my choices, that bring me here to this time.  I created all of this, my life and only I can do anything, those things that need to be done.  Or, I can choose to do nothing, which I think I can no longer do. 

So, I have made changes during this hundred days in my relationships with other people and my relationship with myself.  Some of it has worked brilliantly, and for that I am humbly grateful.  Some of it has not worked all that well, or has worked in a way not of my intention.  I accept that, even though it resulted in the loss of a friendship or two and the whole and heartbreaking betrayal thing.  I can let the friendships go, they did not work and were causing distress for everyone, but the other thing, well, I really care about that person, I love that person and whilst I am trying to work this out, trying to at least come to an understanding and acceptance about why this thing happened, I think that I am a ways away from getting there.  That person is very desirous of getting beyond this, although unwilling to address the thing that happened.  I would love to talk about it, have some understanding and all that jazz, but it seems that is not going to happen.  So, I have decided to just let it go, move on and hope that time will bring an acceptable and enduring resolution.  Really, I cannot do anything more than that.  So be it.

Which brings me to my commitment to the someone who is not me, SWINM.  The swinum.  It is still beyond my ability to understand my sense of responsibility to this person, when so much effort on this person's part is dedicated to causing problems, some of which cause suffering not only to me and other people, but there is significant fall-out that affects that person, too.  I am so stuck in this pathology that I just have to laugh in amazement, in wonder and a kind of quasi-disbelief that I am still here, but here I am, and with no deliberate plans on leaving anytime soon.  It is based, at least partially, on that person's declining health, the knowledge that that person's family has finally had enough of the shenanigans and have removed themselves from that person's life, and a bunch of other, smaller, less immediate issues.

You know, I thought that if I stayed that I could have some influence, some ability to facilitate and support that person's other relationships, that if I left that there would be no possibility of any of that becoming better, and that was especially true for the little person, now a big person, that we created together.  But, seriously, what ego, what hubris, what delusions of influence or facility.  My intentions and desires were good, they were, I do not know, maybe even a little noble, but the perspective of time has made it clear that maybe nothing that I did or did not do would have made any difference.  And, I consciously use the "maybe" because there is still that hope and all those wishes and dreams for something different.  Still, I took and continue to take my vows seriously.  Perhaps I should be smarter at this and accept that it is time to cut my losses and move on, but I cannot do that.  I am not a quitter.  I do not bail when the going get tough, or even when it becomes nightmarish.  I do not walk away from my commitments.  I stay and I work.  I am not a quitter.

So, since I cannot release my attachment to those dreams, I am doing whatever I can to create the best life possible in these circumstances.  I think that I will begin another hundred days of something, because I have so much more freaking work to do on myself and  I can handle the focus and time demands of that commitment to time.  Less time and I would be too scattered, longer and I would lose heart, so a hundred days it is.  But, what to name it.  I will have to think about that.  And, I am giving myself a week or two break before beginning that new journey, as this past two weeks was too distressing and I need some time to recover.

So, am I healthier than I was three-plus months ago?  Yes.  I am healthier and stronger in my body and in my determination to have a better, or at least an easier life.  Stuff, some of it lovely and much loved, is gone, with more to follow.  I managed to accomplish all of my intention, and then some, during this time.  I like that, that I exceeded my expectations.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

100 Days toward a healthier life - Day 96, 97, 98 and 99

So, three more days have passed and I wish that I could remember what I ate, but I cannot recall most of it.  It was a retreat center, so the fare was plain and simple.  Maybe those two words mean the same thing, but retreat center food is almost always delicious even though it is not fancy by any definition.

The breakfasts were bread that you could toast, yogurt, juice and coffee or tea.  The other meals were mostly some kind of casserole, starchy, thick gravy and bread.  We did have really fabulous broccoli one night, and brothy soup was also available.  I went to a Target store, one of those big ones with a grocery store in it and got green peppers, strawberries, grapes and apples.  So, a pretty good food weekend.

Today I stopped at a diner for lunch and had a nice burger and fries, catsup and a soft drink.  Dinner when I arrived home was a couple of those frozen burritos and a lecture on how I spend too much money on food and gas for the van.  So much for trying to eat better and more healthy food, and the van will stop working soon enough, so that problem will be solved.

The van is, to the best of my understanding, not going to be fixed, but I will keep driving it as long as I can.  When the rest of the rusted brake lines wear through, I will have it towed home and will have to walk the three miles to the bus stop to go to work.  I had this insane thought that maybe the sight of me walking with my cane (or the occasional two canes) might find me offered a ride once in a while during that walk.  It will not be so bad now, but late fall and winter are going to be a bitch. 

Anyway, I am not going to worry about that right now.  I cancelled the two trips that I had planned, and that money, nearly eight hundred dollars might buy me some rides to the bus stop, and, at least I will not be spending any money on gas, so that is a good thing.

I really wish that I could have gotten out of this weekend's drive for that workshop.  It would have saved me the hundred or so dollars for the car rental, but I said that I would be there and I keep my word.  Not that that really seems to count for anything anymore, but it is more and more just about all that I have.  SWINM was furious when I got home tonight and went out and trimmed three branches that fell on the rental car, for which I am responsible and whilst it looked like the leafy parts protected the car roof, hood and doors, I moved it out of the way as best I could.  Something else happened, but I cannot talk about that yet, or maybe never, but it sure did make coming home not so much fun.

Next weekend is the grandbabies' baptism and all I want is for that damn van to work long enough for me to get the fifty or so miles there and then back home again.  Then, I do not care about it, or, frankly, much of anything.

I am thrilled that this hundred days is over and I can finally stop writing and thinking about it.  I tried so hard to get healthier, become more organized and get rid of all of my crap.  I needed to be less encumbered by stuff and to be a better person.  Well, I did as much and as well as I could.  It has to be enough.  One more day of this and I am going to spend the time until tonight thinking about some of the larger aspects of what I hoped to accomplish and how much progress I made and all that stuff. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Guilty as charged

Of the many things that I do not like about being bullied is that it forces me to think about all of the crapolicious stuff that I have done in my life.  I am pretty good about living in the moment, taking all of this stuff as it comes and trying to release whatever is not about me, you know? 

But, when I am feeling scared and vulnerable my thoughts seem to drift and then dwell on how badly I have treated other people over the years.  And, I have quite a few of those memories.

I think about all of the times when I was short on time and temperament with my child.  Busy this and super-busy that sometimes took precedent over slowing down and spending time with her and whatever it was that she wanted to show me or do or play.  Those are precious moments that I will never have a chance to retrieve or do over.  Each one, and I think that I remember nearly all of them, feel like stab wounds, or maybe I am feeling the scars of lost opportunity, maybe they act up during bad weather like arthritic joints or something.  You know, as a parent I tried to make up for those things, but in my heart I know that that is never really possible and that whatever I am feeling about those moments, that my daughter was wounded as badly, perhaps worse by my selfishness. 

I think about the times when my grandbabies were little and that even though I am older, surely, and supposedly wiser, hopefully, that I still managed to not always be the patient and calm and unflappable grandma that I wanted to be for them.  I have one memory from each of the boys about feeling so impatient when they went through those periods when they could not sleep through the night and I felt so put-upon and inconvenienced when they woke me.  Once that little boy was up and we were rocking and soothing all was well, but I definitely did not want to be up in the middle of the night.

I think about every cross, crabby or impatient word I ever uttered, every single sigh of inconvenience, every self-suffering look and movement and I am right back there, feeling the impatience, feeling the reluctance, feeling the shame, all over again.

I think about the neighbor that I did not like very much and how when she wanted to come over and sit and have coffee and just chat, that I brushed her off with expressions of how busy I was, when I was not busy at all. 

I think about all of the times and situations where I just could not seem to bring my best self to the front and all of those little fails add up.  They do.  They become an avalanche of missed and wasted opportunities to be my best self.  

I think about every person and situation that did not find me being a good person and think to myself that I deserve to feel like crap about having been such a crappy person.  I am thinking of a conversation that a friend and I had , gosh, so many years ago about what kind of people we believed ourselves to be.  It was a light-hearted conversation and I remember saying something about how I do not hold-up the 7-11 (an old time convenience store here), that I pay my taxes, that I always recycle and do not litter, so that must make me a decent person.  I am not a thief, of material or ethereal things.  I am not, in my life, a person who desires to bully or be not-supportive or helpful.  And, so, I do not steal, but I do fail at so many other things. 

I allow my energies to take precedence and I express my opinions, sometimes even when they are not requested.  No one cares what I think or feel, it is all a huge case of hubris, and inflicting myself on other people is just plain shameful.  I am getting better at this, really working on keeping my opinions to myself, but I still have plenty of times when I fail at this, often miserably.  I try to make good choices in my personal interactions, but still fail to do that well.  I am always waiting for the next shoe to drop and am not very good at keeping those feelings of insecurity and vulnerability from seeping into behaviors and attitudes and thoughts when I am out doing whatever I am doing.

I do reasonably well for a while, sometimes a long while, but then weaken and fall under the thrall of some pain or slight or unkindness and, well, fail.  I do not mind being human and having all of the deficiencies and frailties of living in this flesh.  I really do not, because most of the time it is a good thing, this being a human.  I love the whole physicality of being a feeling, thinking and imperfect creation.  I do.  I love that I have the option of learning from my mistakes and moving forward, often making some of them again or making new and improved mistakes, but still learning and improving from all of it. 

Maybe messing up so much and then feeling so badly about it is the cost of having the freedom, the free will of being able to mess up, maybe regret is the fair price to pay for having life, this life.  Maybe crappy stuff happens in order to force me, to help me to reflect on all of my own crappy behaviors, thoughts, beliefs and then maybe actually learn from all of this.  It just all feels so selfish, so self-absorbed, and not in a good way.  You know, navel gazing in it's worst possible manifestation.

So maybe it is a good thing that I am going away and will have the opportunity to do a little inner-process work over the next few days.  Maybe I will take advantage of this time to examine and understand why I seem to be creating so much pain in my life, why I am creating or attracting someone who cannot or will not treat me decently.  I want, no, desperately need, to understand how and why I think that I deserve this, and figure out how to correct, compensate, atone for my past mistakes.  Is this the necessary consequence from all of the less-than-wonderful things that I have done in my own life?  Is this what I deserve and should I just be accepting it without all of this angst?  I accept that I will never even approach being perfect about anything, but I sure do wish that I could be just slightly less imperfect.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

100 Days toward a healthier life - Day 95

only 6 days until this is officially over

Breakfast:  Eggs
Lunch:  Lean Cuisine thing, chicken something, pudding snack cup
Dinner:  Soup, crackers

I am exhausted, but it is because I had a very busy and packed day.  If I am going to wear myself down to the periostenum, then let it be from good, honest and ass-busting work.  Yeah, baby.

I am surprised that I could resist the craplicious buffet here and just have a can of soup for dinner, but I did.  I think I need to write a book entitled, 1,001 Ways Of Being A Freaking Asshole.  It would not be a biography, by the way, and should probably be a novel; that way it cuts way down on the eventual litigation.

All I have to do is finish up working here on the computer, go to bed, get up as quiet as a little mouse in the morning and dash the hell out of Dodge.  Then, nearly four days of blessed peace.  The only ripples in my force field will be those members of the workshop who still believe that the Universe revolves around them.  And, since I will be in such a great mood, I will let them go on believing just that. 

So, here I go, creeping away, quietly brushing teeth, hair and armpits, off to read of zombies and whatever new delights Dean Koontz has in store for me.  I am guessing that there will still not be any blind girls dying in this one, either. 

Is it just me, or do I sound a little bitter tonight?  Must just be me, sounding a little bitter.  Yep.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

100 Days toward a healthier life - Day 94

7 days and counting

Breakfast:  Eggs
Lunch:  2 frozen burritos, salsa (still yummy), sour cream
Snack:  Microwave popcorn
Dinner:  Smoked pork chop, braised cabbage, beets
Snack:  Chocolate, 9/10 of a serving because I ate one of the little squares last night

So, almost done with this hundred days.  I am off in a few days to help with a workshop and am tacking an extra day on each end to be gone from here as long as possible.  So, from Thursday, no whining  moaning  groaning  griping writing for three days at least.  This ends on Monday, but I think I might re-purpose it into something that continues, especially since it does not appear that my personal life will improve anytime soon, not to mention how far I still am from being as healthier in mind and soul as I would like. 

And, that is just plain horrible.  All I do is whine, weep and wait...for the next thing to happen.  You know, I am the perfect example, the poster child if you will, for the proof that we really never know what another person's personal crap is.  No matter how someone seems on the outside, to the outside world, you just never, ever really know.  I am out doing all of my work and having friends and family stuff, volunteering and no one has a clue about what happens when I come home, walk through that door.  Sometimes, when it is all wonky, even I have trouble believing all of it. 

I live in a crazy house, and since I stay here I guess that makes me the head crazy person.  So, I just keep telling myself that all of this will pass and that there will be, if not a happy ending, then at least a decent one.  Because the reason I stay is because I want to be a decent person, someone who sticks around when the going gets tough and then even when it gets truly fucked up. 

I do not bail or run away, no matter how appealing that is.  I took my vows seriously and I am in this for the long haul.  I am not a quitter.  I would like to be, but I just am not. 

What I am, though, is really tired.  I weary of all of this stuff, the over and over and over again of it all. It simply never ends and even so, I am not broken, at least not completely, just kind of scuffed up.  Each new thing helps me to grow a little stronger.  There are days when I think that my heart cannot take another blow, but it does and I go on, maybe only marginally more capable of taking more, but each little bit helps.  I guess.

So, tomorrow my long day at work and then I leave the next morning for four full days of not being here.  The car is not being fixed, ever, or so I am told, so I will be very careful driving tomorrow and will have a rental car for the weekend.  I have two more trips booked and fully paid, but no more after that.  One is next week and the other is in October.  I am spending the rest of my savings on getting the van (which I do not own, only allowed to use) fixed or looking for something I can afford to buy.  I think that I will be riding my bike for a while until I figure how to fix this mess.  I might have to come out of retirement and find a paid job, but that would be fine.  It would keep me out of here more often.  That could work.  Just when I thought that I could settle into less activity, along comes life.  Yeah, life.  Gotta love it, much more so than the alternative.  Now, how's that for a positive attitude!!!

Having this quasi-Diary place is a great thing.  I get to come here, spew out everything, work out and noodle around with possibilities, and end up feeling better for having divested all of it.  Nice.  Now, if the Universe would just help me out with the money stuff.  Puhhhhhleeeeeeeeeez.  (Dear Diary, please insert huge, albeit tired, smile here.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

100 Days toward a healthier life - Day 93

8 days left

Breakfast:  2 frozen burritos, salsa (delish), sour cream
Snack:  11 kolaches
Lunch:  Piece of banana flax bread
Dinner:  3 chicken sausages (new brand, not very good), banana flax bread, tiny piece of chocolate, double bourbon

Even homemade kolaches cannot mend a broken heart.  Someone did not want them, thought them too crude, so I ate them as part of today's mood-altering food consumption, part of my Emotional Eating Myself Into A Stupor life plan. It was all about the carbs today, eating thirteen...count 'em thirteen...pieces of bakery, two burritos with more carbs and not one bit of anything healthy, because those sausages were kind of greasy, which would not have been so bad except that they were also not so good.  I also had two short naps from all the carbs. 

It did not work, none of it, so I am having this nice glass of bourbon for my bedtime snack, even though I listed it as part of dinner.  Hold on, I need a refill.

It is impossible for me to do anything that I like without serious consequences from the soul that does not want me to do anything.  We have a big family thing in two Sundays and I am expecting to catch crap from everyone because no one is ever satisfied, even though they are unwilling to deal with their own interpersonal stuff and leave me to make nice for everyone.  I quit.  If I have to miss the baptism of my grandbabies, then, so be it.  Allrighty, I will not quit.  I will not miss this wonderful event.  I might, however, bring a friend along so that everyone behaves in front of the stranger.  At least I hope they do.

All of this, and the pulling of the funds to have the brake lines on the van fixed are a result of having the nerve to take time for myself away from this place.  'nuff said, too much shared and early to bed. 

You know, I am sitting here, with just enough bourbon in me to know that I have to change, so I am going to stop being held in the thrall of this stuff.  I am going to care, but not too much, and I am no longer going to be bullied into not doing anything or going anywhere.  What I do takes absolutely nothing away from anyone else.  If that makes me a selfish bitch, then so be that, too.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

100 Days toward a healthier life - Day 92

Countdown: 9

Breakfast:  Eggs
Lunch:  Czech dinner at the festival
Dinner:  1/2 lb. fava, feta, couscous salad
Snacks:  Lordy

So, anyway, today was the Czech festival up nort and it was fun.  We were there too long, as it is a teeny, tiny, like really little festival and we could have done everything three times and still left at least two and a half hours earlier than scheduled.  But, it was the first time and no one really knew what to expect. 

The food was a mixed bag.  This festival is a fund-raiser, much like church festivals are.  Lunch was expensive, but delicious.  Maybe 1/3 ounces of roast pork, really, three small potato dumplings (like tiny-small), a tablespoon of gravy, slightly more than that of canned corn kernels, a weensy cup-let of cole slaw (delicious), a large serving spoon of sauerkraut (very delicious), and the smallest slices of rye bread that I have ever seen, even smaller than those little loaves of rye bread meant for hors d'oeuvres, but absolutely wonderful.  Might have been the best rye bread that I have ever had.  It was like a crazy-quilt of a meal, and still managed to be very satisfying and very delicious.  Crazy.  I also had a Czech beer, a lager and it was very good, too.  I wish that I drank more often so that I could have had a second one and not have worried about falling asleep.

Then, I went outside to see the culture barn and it was cool.  There was a woman with the most insanely glorious and glittery jewelry and I wanted every single piece.  I nearly succumbed to a small, mostly purple stones tiara.  Lordy.  I love tiaras, have a few cheap ones and even wear them sometimes, because, well, sometimes it is just a tiara day.  I used to wear them often when I worked at the bookstore and the shelter.  I might have to start doing that again.  Maybe.  Oh, maybe not.  It just makes me look foolish.

The blacksmith guy was cool and old and only started blacksmithing when he retired from his real job, which was being a Methodist minister.  I took some super cool pictures of the tiny space that made me so happy when I looked at them later. 

The volunteer firefighters were cooking and selling sandwiches outside, but there was no room at the tummy-inn for more food, so I listened to some of the musicians.  Oh, the music.  It was wonderful, every bit of it, the mass, the old guy on the porch with his accordion and electronic keyboard/synthesizer thing, the various choral groups and bands in the little stage barn and the sort of Big Band-style polka band in the the big building where lunch was served and kolaches sold.  Everywhere I went, there was loud, happy music.  It was glorious.

Then, I saw someone with ice cream.  Oh, the humanity...premium ice cream, one dollar cones, two dollar bowls of any kind of ice cream and fresh strawberry sauce sundaes.  I had one.  It was great, but made me really thirsty and gave me a tummy ache all the way back home.  I think that it might have been worth it, but I am afraid to test my glucose level, so I guess that says something right there.

Then, I arrived home.  You know, there has to be some thing or aspect about me that has turned me into a sad experiences magnet.  I mean, I am the nearly constant recipient of all things sad and woeful, so it has to be me.  It just has to.  I might have come to this realization much sooner if sadness was a part of all of my relationships, but since it is only one...with the addition of that other person from a month or so ago...I just, you know, never was able to see the big picture about why I am on the receiving end of so much meanness and snarkiness and, you know, the whole sad thing.

I know that I could stand up for myself more around here, but that has always escalated the tension and garnered more, unwanted and unpleasant attention.  I should just be brave and take a stand about at least one thing.  I could do that.  I could.  I mean, I probably will not, but I could.  Anyway, I am going to try a couple of things, you know, just to alter the dynamic when stuff happens.  I really have nothing to lose anymore.  I could do this.  I will try one thing and see what happens, and even if it does not work, I will try it again, because it is a good idea and worth a little experimentation.  I am old now, I have worked hard all of my life, I do my best to be a good person.  I should be mostly happy now.  I am worth the risk, you know?  So, no more running away like a little rabbit or being as quiet as a mouse where this person is concerned.  I could do that.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

100 Days toward a healthier life - Day 91

Countdown:  10

Breakfast:  Eggs, then coffee with my friends
Lunch:  Chinese buffet place
Snack:  Banana flax bread, an end slice, total yum
Dinner:  2 spring rolls, a bit of chocolate

A nice day with friends.  It does not get better than that, but it is marginally so when you get to have  a nice lunch and actually eat well when presented with a too generous buffet.  I did eat well.  Good girl.

Afterwards, I took my friend around to all of her errands and we bought some beads and she bought some fabric and a pattern and we ended the afternoon with huge diet colas at McDonald's, where it was nice and cool, and not the teeniest bit humid, unlike the weather we have been having lately.

The gift of a day without stress is more wonderful than just about anything.  Lucky girl.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Another thing

I do not live alone, although I pretty much have to do everything alone.  This is not a problem, except for when I need some logistical help with something like the whole transportation issue and how complicated it is right now and will be through the end of next week. 

Even though I am handling it on my own, the perception of other people is that I am not needful of handling any of this sort of thing on my own, alone.  It appears that I have a helpmate for these sorts of things.  So, when I ask for help with something of this nature, it is not uncommon for at least one person to say something about the other person here helping me.  Sometimes it is a simple comment, other times a query into why I might be bothering that person when I seem to have other resources.  Either way, I cannot explain, and that often results in someone not returning a favor that I have done for them because they believe that I should be getting help from someone else in the house. 

I understand and I just move on and figure out some other way that does not involve needing help from anyone else, but I get to be sad about this, yes?

100 Days toward a healthier life - Day 90

Countdown:  11

Breakfast:  Chicken sausages, 3, they had spinach and feta cheese in them
Lunch:  Soup, crackers, dried cranberries
Snack:  Pudding snack cups, 2, a nap
Dinner:  Chocolate, according to the package: 2 servings, dried cranberries, according to the package: 2 servings

I think that, since things are not ever, ever, ever...as in never...going to get better around here, that I am going to begin a stress level notation.  I think that if no one bothers me, that the stress meter would register a zero, and then go up from there to ten (10) if need be.  I should probably factor in work, although that has gone beautifully for two years and even the worst day there would never have increased my levels more than a point or two. 

Family, and I guess friends, well that might add something, but they rarely are bothersome, as we all get along very well.  I suppose an issue could arise there, but I would be really surprised.  Well, except for the two that drink all the time, but we have an agreement that they cannot contact me when they are intoxicated and they rarely violate that, for which I am extremely grateful, because those conversations are so painful for me.  They are all drunk and everything and I am not thrilled with how I handle the effects of that.

So, for today, I was at home all day and the stress meter registers a 5.  I might have to make a little graphic for this, but not tonight.

Anyway, I can usually eat the same thing for days and days at a time, but I think that I am all soup-ed out.  I really cannot even think about having my homemade soup again for a while.  I might be interested in a stew, though, so a stop at the market on the way home from coffee tomorrow might be in order.  Maybe chili.  Maybe not.  Maybe more steak.  Ahhhh.  Or, maybe the Asian market, where I can get lots of wonderful seafood and beautiful vegetables.  However, I will not be shopping for cow uterus stew ingredients.  Lots of excellent choices, well, except for the cow lady parts.

I have these pudding cups in the refrigerator.  They are for work lunch, just in case I need a little something sweet to finish my lunch stuff.  I mostly end up throwing them away when I get home, but once in a while they just look great when I am on an at-home day, and today I had two of them, followed by a nap.  A long nap.  So, when I finally got up a few hours ago, I was not hungry and still am not.  So, ate a few squares of chocolate and some dried cranberries together and it was really, really good.  Well, not a good dinner, but very delicious.

I was thinking, just a few minutes ago that I could make up for it, nutritionally, at breakfast tomorrow, but we are meeting at a place that does pastries and breakfast pizza, neither of which is what I should be eating, diabetes-wise.  I will just have to see how that goes.

Other than the stress things, a fairly uneventful day, mostly because of the huge, honking nap in the middle of everything.  I did no divesting or sorting or cleaning of an extraordinary nature, only two related things into the charity box.  I did make an attempt at cleaning the floors, but I think that my days of down on my knees scrubbing are over, as in I never want to do that again as long as I live.  I wonder if those spiffy-swiffy floor cleaning things work well in a house with cats.  My daughter uses the one with the wet spray thing, but I am not sure how well or economical it would be to use it here.  No carpeting, so lots of floors to mop, some of which have to be waxed as well.  Maybe just a regular kind of sponge mop would work.  Maybe divine inspiration will come upon me in the housewares department at Walmart tomorrow.

The van.  It still needs to have the brake lines replaced.  And, I am now slightly paranoid about going anywhere with the darn thing.  The repairs done this week seem to be doing the job, but it still makes me nervous and I am not taking any highways when I go to coffee tomorrow. 

I was, am, unable to find anyone to give me rides to and from work next week, so I am dropping the van off at the repair shop and renting a car, which I already shared, and I think it is a fine idea.  A small price to pay for some peace of mind. 

Well, off to take a couple of antihistamines and maybe finish the not-zombie book.  I kind of like it.  It is light reading and that seems to suit me just fine right now.  I might even read more books by the same author.  I am missing my guilty pleasure images, but, I guess, not enough to make any.  My heart for them seems to be misplaced somewhere, or maybe it is hiding.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

100 Days toward a healthier life - Day 89

Breakfast:  Burrito, salsa, sour cream
Lunch:  Roll, butter, marmalade
Dinner:  Steak

The day is almost over and nothing bad happened.  Wonderful.  However, I am unable to find anyone to haul me to and from work next week, so I am going to drop the broken and rusted and failed brake lines and the attached van off at the repair shop and rent a car. 

It is clear that I need a better support system or at least some more available friends, but for now forking over a bunch of cash will have to do.  However, the marmalade that I had for lunch was really, really good and I watched a couple of decent movies, one of them a zombie film.  Lovely.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

100 Days toward a healthier life - Day 88

Breakfast:  Eggs, bread
Lunch:  Chicken salad sandwich, most of an apple, cherries
Dinner:  Japanese

My god, only twelve more days and I am wondering what the hell I have to show for it.  Sure, I did lose some weight, two clothing sizes worth and I caught a glimpse of myself in the big mirror in the employee rest room today and I do look a bit less gigantic.  However, I make use of a mirror only on rare occasions, and do not know if I can trust my memory.  I brush my teeth and wash up and put on my makeup with a tiny, magnifying mirror and see only a small area of my face at a time.  I brush my hair with my eyes closed because it hurts where I had the nerve damage and it seems less painful when I have my eyes closed, and yes, I know how dumb that sounds, but if my imagination can create even a small reduction in the pain, then so be it.

Today was a stressful day at work.  Another client wanted to fudge information on his résumé, and when I tried to schmooze him out of it, he would have nothing to do with it and left.  Just stomped out of the door.  Being in the right and holding to ethics is a difficult job some days.  When it goes awry, as it did this afternoon, it is a terrible, tummy-roiling, second-guessing experience.  I suspect that it would have continued as we worked, even if I had pulled a solution out of my big girl panties, which is what I use since I do not wear a hat.  Of course, I have to excuse myself to the restroom and pretend that I "found" the solution on the way back, but sometimes a babe just has to do what a babe has to do.

I have spent the afternoon, alternating between sadness that he would not let me help him and tummy upset that I could not figure out how to handle him when he was there.  Just a mess all around.  It does help that I received complete and very satisfying feedback that I had done exactly the right thing, but try telling that to my stomach. 

Even so, I managed to choke down enough calories at the restaurant tonight to keep me going through the night.  My waiter brought me a tiny ice cream cone as I was leaving, so that helps.  He was nice enough to not say anything about the amount that I ordered and ate, which saved me from going all angsty by working it out in my head that he might actually be saying that I usually eat too much.  Seriously.  See how fucked up I am about this?  Crap.  My name is Simpleton, and I am an emotional eater. 

Anyway, with fiber club and dinner it has been nearly fifteen hours since I left the house this morning and I am going to go and reintroduce myself to the zombies or supernaturals or whatever the heck they are.  Oh, and I brought home a new zombie fillum today and it is about a zombie prom.  How freaking cool is that going to be.  Even A, one of the circulation babes, told me that it is super cool good and dreamy and, like, oh, my, god, I am going to love it!  And, I am sure that I will, but not until tomorrow.

As for today, I want a do-over.  I want it badly and I want it now.  Well, not now, but soon.  After I groove on the zombies and get some sleep.  It seems as though those two things would not go together very well, but they do. 

Ethics

Does anyone have them anymore?

My most recent run-in with those who would have me abandon mine happened today.  Another client.  He wanted something on his resume that was not accurate.  It was only partially correct, but he wanted it written so that it would give the appearance and assumption of correctness and completeness.

No surprise that I declined, but I did tell him that whatever he did with his resume and its contents was his choice and responsibility once he was out of here and on his own.  Unfortunately, that was not to his liking and even after I explained again how important it was to have everything on his resume be scrupulously honest, he insisted that I put the erroneous information on there.

When I again tried to explain that he could do that sort of thing but that I could not, that what I typed had to be as close to accurate as possible, education, experience, work dates, companies, all of it, but he left, mumbling something about "...can't be bothered with this..."

So, he is gone and I suppose that I should be grateful, but I have to share that when he stomped out, my first instinct was to call after him or grab my cane and toddle after him, asking him to come back.  Pleeeeeeease come back...  And, it was only because I felt so terrible at having disappointed him.  I mean, even I am surprised at how truly messed-up that is.

I checked with my boss, just to make sure that I had done the right thing and was properly and significantly supported.  Still. I was reminded that I am helping to craft legal documents (something I also shared with my client) and that there is always a possibility that there could be personal and/or professional repercussions for me, and that it was imperative that I continue to take the kind of responsibility that I took today.  Still.

My guess is that there would have been nothing that I could do to dissuade this person from having what he wanted, and that there would likely have been greater issues as we continued, but that does not stop me from feeling like a failure for not being able to turn this around in the few minutes that we worked together.

Still, still, still.  How bad can things be when it seems that the average person has stopped struggling with doing the right things for the right reasons and has apparently joined those who believe that what you want takes precedence over what is right, true, honest.

Should I have just caved to do what he wanted because it was not a serious as the clients who wanted me to rephrase their illegal activities into what sounded like legitimate work?

Or the client that wanted to state that he was an independent contractor in order to cover-up the periods when he was incarcerated?

Is there some kind of continuum that allows a person to enter the realm of unethical, and often illegal, behavior without incurring consequences?

Why is it fine to cheat on your taxes instead of working to change the particulars of the tax system that you do not like?

Where did the notion come from that violating copyright and intellectual property rights is fine as long as no one knows about it and besides everyone does it so what it the big freaking deal?  Seriously, none of these people would walk into a retail store and steal CDs or DVDs or books or magazines, but they are perfectly willing to copy and use whatever they like.  Totally freaks me out.

As far as I know, no one in my acquaintance is in outright violation of any laws.  But, were general betting allowed where I live, I might bet you a nickle that many of them are doing things and participating in activities that are nibbling away at what they believe their ethics to be.  And, were betting allowed where I live, well, damn, I would win that nickle. 

All we have is our word.  If we work hard and have a modicum of luck, we can accumulate all kinds of wonderful things, do fabulous work and make our little part of the world a better place, but strip it all away and all we have is our word.

If our word is not worth the consonants and syllables we speak, if our actions do not illustrate our ideals, our highest selves, then we have nothing.

This comes at an interesting time, not having had a client like this for nearly a year, because the betrayal of several weeks ago was precipitated by my refusal to do something unethical for the person who retaliated against me with lies that could have injured my public reputation.  I was not asked to break the law, but the request was to manipulate another person into doing something.  In relationships, where trust and integrity, not to mention love, concern and respect, are concerned, that is a huge offense.

It did not happen, the whole public spectacle thing, but it shook me to my core.  Smarter and braver souls triumphed, and even though I was not one of the smarter and braver, I am still grateful that nothing more horrible than the betrayal thing happened.  It was something that I have never before experienced as an adult. 

I have no desire to be saintly or be some moral-high-ground proponent, bossy rules-bitch, or the morality/ethics police, hell, I do not even want to be right all the freaking time, but it feels, just once in a while, like I am totally out of step with aspects of my life, my family and friends and even, now, my community.    For today, at least just for today, I kind of give up.