March 2006 Archives

March 30, 2006


I'm an only child. At least that's what my sister told me when I was little.

My parents met when they were in their thirties. They had both been married before, they both had kids from those marriages. Dad had 1, a girl. Mom had 3, two boys and a girl. So when they decided to get married, they probably should have taken a look around them and realized that they didn't NEED another mouth to feed.

Having me, though, was probably part of a larger plan. I was my father's last chance to have a boy that would carry on the family name. My grandfather's last chance to ensure that the family business and the family property would stay in the family. Guess I screwed that up, hunh?

Actually, my dad screwed up the property thing by marrying the stepmonster, but that's another story ...

So it would usually go like this. Dad would come home from work after his daily stop at the bar and call me out to the garage to work on his car. Or a birdhouse. Or to take the dog for a walk. Or anything that would keep him out of the house and away from my mother. Unfortunately, he never invited my mom's kids to do anything with him. He doted on me and ignored them and let me tell you, this made for some awfully nasty games of tag when I was left alone with one of them babysitting.

It became the 'joke' amongst them that I was an only child. I could have been for all the attention he paid to them. This made my mother protect them even more while I, as unaware as I could be, just thought I was a Daddy's girl. As time went by, though, I began to see that my dad was taking me places he should have been taking my mom, or even any of the other kids ... long Sunday drives, antique car shows, to the camp to go fishing. Thus I became the only child ... the only child my father could tolerate.

Then came the divorce. I was left in a house where everyone hated my father and everything to do with him. He picked me up on Sundays and holidays without as much as a hello to the other kids. Maybe he felt he didn't have to put any time or effort into them because he wasn't their biological father but, damn, it really would have taken the pressure off of me if he had been a little nicer to them.

He never thought that way, though. He was all about what was convenient for him. As I grew older, me and my pre-teen angst became less convenient for him and, eventually, my father left me behind for his new family. No big. At least my brothers and my sister couldn't throw him in my face any more.

Only problem was, they were long gone. My sister is 8 years older than me and my brothers are 10 and 12 years older than me. My other sister (dad's other daughter) was 13 years older than me and long forgotten by then. They all went through their teenage years with all the inherent drama and drugs and drinking and love and war and here I was, just entering puberty. The only thing I had in common with them was half of my genetic material and some very turbulent childhood memories.

Fast forward to freshman year in college: my mom's 50th birthday. I went to my sister's apartment, first time I had been invited on my own, where we were going to have a big party for mom. They all spent the better half of the night getting drunk and the other half of the night shutting themselves up in the bedroom doing drugs together. I watched the party going on around me, the party full of my everyone else's friends and family. I remember thinking I was getting buzzed off of a glass of wine (it was probably a contact high or 'special' brownies, this WAS the 70's after all), and I distinctly remember overhearing my sister say nasty things about me going to college and who was paying for it. And how I thought I was better than all of them, that I always had. And it kind of hit me, the reason for all that anger, all at once.

You see, I was lucky my father was a functioning alcoholic. He had a family business to run and he did it well, he just reserved his nasty alcoholic side for us. Their father, however, was an abusive alcoholic that couldn't keep a job (non-functioning), so our mom ran away from him when the kids were little. They were homeless for a while and had to start over. Why my mom married another alcoholic Irishman is beyond me. It seems that when you are in the throes of a disease, you don't want to recognize the symptoms in other people or you may find yourself looking in a mirror.

When my dad came along, he was the great white hope ... he gave them a roof over their heads and a future. He rescued them, which is just what my mom needed. He gave me more, however, when he divorced my mother, by saying that he would pay for me to go to college. They never had a chance to go and, apparently, at least one of my siblings held a grudge.

They shouldn't have worried, though. I went to a state college and majored in Theater Arts. It's not like I went and got a degree that would actually be WORTH anything. They all went on to make something of themselves, starting their own businesses, having families, making money and owning property. I'm the one that ended up destitute with two kids after a failed marriage, 800 miles away from home. And when I was hurting, I didn't get one call, one helping hand. I might as well have been an only child.

Our family troubles weren't only my dad's doing, though. He laid the groundwork but my x had a big part in my adult estrangement. He continually fought with my mom, putting me squarely in the middle. He stayed away from any socialization with my siblings (except to brag about picking up women in truck stops while he was on the road and I was home raising babies ... and WHY my loving family all knew about this but didn't tell me until after the divorce is beyond me!) so there, too, I ended up defending him stupidly against an increasingly hostile situation, one which we eventually moved away from. Yes, I married my father minus the alcoholism.

Needless to say, when my mom wanted to go back up north to visit my brother and my sister last summer, I didn't want to go. I'm just starting to make something of myself and, to make matters worse, I'm back in college again, something that they think is ridiculous. They don't get the whole "sacrifice years of your life to make your future better" mentality. I made excuses but she guilted me and put the pressure on until I finally said that my son could go. I don't have a right to keep my kids away from their family but I, honestly, didn't want to put myself back there. Any get together with my family always ends up like Mom's 50th birthday ... lots of alcohol and lots of misplaced anger. When the fighting starts, anyone and everyone near it gets hit with shrapnel.

Well, it's that time again. I dodged the bullet of one wedding last December and here comes another. My brother's gorgeous daughter (who I've always had a very soft spot for) is getting married in June. Because of my schedule, I can't go, but that didn't stop my mom from wanting one of the kids to go with her and this time it's my daughter. My very introverted, insecure daughter who totally didn't want to go to a huge party to meet half of her family for the first time. Between making me feel guilty for not being able to go and insinuating that I made the girl not want to go (and I swear, I had NOTHING to do with that ... she told her nonnie on her own once she got the guts up), mom has decided on a different tactic. Now she's trying to get me 'involved' in the whole wedding, so I won't 'miss out' totally on the 'fun'.

Apparently, my brother (father of the bride) does not want my sister (aunt of the bride) to come to the wedding. Just a continuation of the feud. This puts my mother in a touchy situation because she will be staying with my sister AND going to the wedding. And this puts me in an even touchier situation ... I get to listen to all sides of the story without letting myself take sides at all.

It's really an interesting balancing act but, never fear, I've had lots of practice. My strategy is to just not care about any of them all and then I can't help but stay neutral. It's not that I don't want to care, I just can't invest myself emotionally in people that don't have my best interests at heart. I'm the reluctant Switzerland of the family, using my black sheepishness as my excuse.

I'm having a hard time understanding this mentality, though. My siblings' inability to just grow the hell up and get along for the wedding is unfathomable to me. They are both in their 50s and I would think that they would one day just sit back, take stock, and realize that family is too important to let petty differences tear it apart.

My mom wants me to email them. I didn't say no but I won't. I'm not getting into the middle of this. Switzerland, remember?

The worst thing about this whole thing is that I would love to see Kelly get married. I would love to go to the wedding ... just not that wedding, with those people. Going 800 miles away from home with my two kids and without T is NOT how I want to spend a week. Anyway, I just can't. I'll still be working. Yeah, I actually have a legitimate excuse to miss this reunion.

Because that's what it really is. A family reunion back home. My brother from California will be there as well as his two kids (who I haven't seen for 14 years - I won't know them!), two of my uncles, my mom, and my arguing New Hampshire siblings. And I can't help but feel that I don't really belong there, in that state, with that family.

My family is here. My home is here. During the flood, all I had to hold onto was my kids. Through the divorce, the depression, the breakdown, the recovery, they have been there for me. Not that they had a choice, really, but they have cared for and loved me through it all. Everyone else? No where to be found.

It's too bad, too. All I've wanted, my whole life, was to have a family. A family that loved each other unconditionally, that forgave weaknesses and protected each other. A family that gathered together on holidays, not because they had to but because they WANTED to. A family that enjoyed taking time together and enjoyed hanging out and just talking, just being a family. Since I wasn't born with it, I've realized I'll have to build that for myself.

It's really not so bad being an only child. If I could just get my mother and my siblings to understand that I'm fine with it, maybe they will leave me alone.

March 26, 2006

Research paper woes...

... when you tell a class that grades are up on a research paper and that students are free to revise and resubmit, it would be really REALLY nice if you let those students that should resubmit know just what the hell was wrong with their paper in the first place?!?!

When I get a 7 out of 10 (a C in my book, oh HELL no ...), I need to know what I did wrong. My peer review was positive and by the rubric I didn't miss any points so a 7 is baffling to me.

My grade right now is a 97 but COME ON ... this is post-post-graduate work here, people. You should know that we aren't in this for kicks, that at this level every point matters. I take these classes while working full time in my chosen field with the intention of using everything that I learn in the classroom. If I've messed up, or missed something integral to a project, I need to know what it is!

Yeah, I'm being a point junkie but this isn't a game to me. I gave up valuable time with my kids and my sweetheart to write that frackin' paper and I expect some professional courtesy.

A polite, inquisitive email has been sent ... I'm biting my tongue and frustrated beyone belief that I have to spent my last 9 credit hours with this professor. grrr ...

To top it off, I sent in my multimedia project (a movie, actually) via dropbox last week and NOW she says (in the same email) that people should email their projects via snail mail if they are having trouble getting them to her. I had no problem uploading mine ... but how am I supposed to know if she had trouble recieving it if she doesn't TELL ME!!! GAH!!!

Lord, help me get this degree so that I can go take her job in 5 years and spare others this frustration ...


If your browser has ever happened upon this page before, you probably know that I'm involved in a relationship with a guy that makes me happier than I've been in ... ever.

I didn't know that someone could accept and love me, faults and frailties, wierdness and weaknesses, history and hysteria, without judging or blaming me. I've always been told that if I just 'snapped out of it' or 'got on with my life', I would be better off but I've never been able to explain that, while some things are easy to 'snap out of', others can snap you in two. And while I would love to 'get on with my life', there are still moments when I am caught, virtually clotheslined by circumstances that make me have to stop, catch my breath, and get my feet under me again.

I've been lucky enough to find someone that understands that and that is willing to wait while I get my shit together. Though, at times, I know he wishes he could do something to make it better, I also know that he knows that's not how I want it. I've become very independant over the course of 41 years of fending for myself and, while it would have been nice to have some help along the way, I don't think that would have made me a better person. Maybe less tired or cynical, but not better, and certainly not the person that I am today.

Bearing that in mind, there is also something to be said for companionship and therein lies the crux of my dilemma. There is a little matter of 150 or so miles between us. Yes, this is a long-distance relationship which, normally, would be intolerable but, somehow, we have managed to make it work for coming up on 2 years now.

Yes, it's hard. Yes, I get unbearably lonely during our time apart. Yes, it's horrible depressing to roll over and into a depression left on a pillow that still holds his scent but will not hold him for another month. I often resort to burrowing myself into and under the covers, even though I have an unnatural fear of being smothered, just so that I can be a little closer to where he last was. Yes, I suffer withdrawl which starts before he even leaves .. I am trying to be better at hiding that. BUT ... and this is a HUGE BUT here (even bigger than mine ...) ... it is most wonderful when we are together.

I would say it's nirvana but they are overrated ...

Between our monthly visits, we are in touch almost constantly. At work, I can email him and vice versa. From the time I get home from work until I go to bed every night, I can reach out and message him. If one of us has something to do that will take us away from internet access, the other is only a phone call away. That reassurance, that connection, does wonders to ease the cold sweats of withdrawl. We don't call and email constantly ... frankly, sometimes I think the break away from the computer is a welcome relief for us both but, inevitably, something will happen that will make one of us laugh or cry or just wish we could share it and the phone will ring, not because we HAVE to call but because we WANT to share. That's nice.

At this point, I feel I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this is not my first long distance relationship. The other, thought it lasted longer, was not nearly as successful and definitely not as healthy. Nightly conversations that lasted hours, that sometimes felt like a chore and most times were emotional trainwrecks, would leave me depressed, grumpy and sleepy the next day. I neglected my needs and my health, along with those of my kids, to try to bring happiness to someone that did not know how to be happy, all on the promise of an eventual someday, That someday, like the horizon, never got any closer, no matter how hard I swam for it and, frankly, I very nearly drowned trying to reach it. I swore I would never let myself be led on for so long without some kind of hope. I have too much to offer, too much potential, to waste away waiting for someone that could never get out of his own shit-hole long enough to realize that there is more to life than living in a bottle, staring at a screen.

While this relationship is a universe away from that one, I have many insecurities from that relationship and most others before it that still rear their ugly heads occasionally. One is the need to be reassured that I matter. I've been inconsequential most of my life and, while I matter to my kids in a dependant, clingy sort of way, it's nice to know that my existence matters to someone else, someone that has my best interests at heart. This manifests itself, often in an ugly way, when I feel I'm being used or taken for granted. Luckily, it's usually only the people at work and my family that have to face my wrath when they start trying to walk all over me. T is very conscientious of my feelings, more sensitive to them than I am used to, something that I wonder at and appreciate more than I've ever been able to tell him.

Another insecurity is a very real fear that I'll be forgotten, left waiting alone, loving someone that has long moved on, hoping for an eventual togetherness that will never happen, that was never going to happen. I couldn't stand pretending to have a future, to have happiness that only exists in this electronic world while outside of it I was totally alone and lonely. The desperation if I could not get to a phone or computer (or pay my bill which was, sadly, one of the worst things about sustaining a long distance relationship ... I paid Sprint more every month than I paid for rent some months) was immeasurable. How I was so irresponsible, I don't know, but in my defense, I was in the grips of a desperate, toxic addiction.

I have to say now that the worst thing about a distance thing is the reliance we have on technology to sustain us (me) between visits. I'm grateful that we live in a world where distance shrinks magically with a keystroke but IM conversations can not convey tenor and emotion. An emoticon just does not do justice to how I'm feeling, ever. I have no choice, it's all I have. I rely on those damn little smiles and hugs and when I go to bed without one, I feel unsettled. It becomes habit to sign off the same way every time and, while I'm usually the one to send them along, every once in a while, one will come my way (or not) and I'll just fall apart. Silly, I know. Beggars can't be choosers, as my mom would say.

Which brings me to my last point. Yes, the sigh of relief was felt from here. I don't really think I'm a beggar, not like I used to. I'm seeing that I have something to offer, not only to the world, but to another human being that might make their life better, happier, more fulfilling. I'm smart, sometimes funny, coherent (once I've had coffee), and I have a good heart. I'm loyal and loving, selfless to a fault, and I think I make a good partner. At one time, I thought I deserved to be hurt, to be forgotten, to be cheated on, to be used, to be left waiting alone. I thought I deserved what I got with my last relationship, as well as what I got with my marriage.

I don't think like that anymore, not most of the time. I'm not a beggar, grateful for any attention paid to me. I know I deserve more and I'm willing to wait for what I think is worth waiting for but I'm not going to lie and say I'll allow myself to be strung along or hurt again. If I ever get clingy, or impatient with this virtual existence, it's only because I've tasted love IRL and I know how great it can be. I'm anxious to keep that going now that I've had it.

I'm grateful, yes, that I have a wonderful man in my life but I think he may think I am pretty ok, too. Every time he lets me know in some small way that he is thinking of me or that he feels even a bit of what I feel for him, I'm reminded of how lucky I am and how far I have come and how, maybe, just maybe, I deserve happiness, finally

March 20, 2006


Lest you assume by the tenor of that last post that I've softened and become someone that might actually resemble a normal person, I'm here to tell you to re-frackin'-lax.

There are some days (weeks) when a mood comes over me, when the simplest thing will set me off, when I can actually feel myself physically shutting down and all I can do is watch myself succumb. It's very nearly out-of-body and pretty creepy to watch myself in such a detached way.

Now, since Saturday, I've been recovering from a severe MSG reaction, feeling like my heart is going to burst out of my chest, hoping my head wouldn't explode. It's left me exhausted and rather numb, unable to do much more than sit back watching the irregular undulation of my moods and, frankly, feeling slightly seasick. Seems I've lost sight of the horizon.

And then I'm left hanging and it goes from bad to worse. Last thing I needed on the eve of my obsolescence.


I like to analyze things. I like to know how and why things work. I was the kid in the neighborhood that would pull apart broken bikes and record players and radios and try to fix them.

I like to find out the reason for the actions (and especially the reactions) of everything, from animal to vegetable to mineral. When I was a kid, I always thought I would grow up to be a scientist. Even when I was majoring in Theater and minoring in Art for my BA, I took on a 2nd minor of Psychology so that I could try to figure out just how my brain worked and how I could recognize when (and why) it would start short-circuiting.

I spend a lot of time in self-analysis, mostly because I'm recovering from a lifetime of damage doled out by well-meaning (but ignorant) family members and some less well-meaning toxic people I chose to have in my life. It may seem like so much navel-gazing but that's what my blogs have always been about. A way for me to record my actions (and reactions) to the people in my life to see if I can recognize a pattern.

I took a personality analysis the other day, just to assess my state of mind. What a mirror to look into.

Personality trait snapshot:
depressed, introverted, neat, needs things to be extremely clean, observer, perfectionist, not self revealing, does not make friends easily, suspicious, irritable, hates large parties, follows the rules, worrying, does not like to stand out, fragile, phobic, submissive, dislikes leadership, cautious, takes precautions, focuses on hidden motives, good at saving money, solitary, familiar with the dark side of life, hard working, emotionally sensitive, prudent, altruistic, heart over mind, unadventurous.

If you do not want to face the truth, don't look in a mirror.

A very fine shrink told me once that "You can not control the actions of everyone around you but you can control your reactions to their actions." I haven't been doing a very good job of that this week.

SO ... In honor of the first day of Spring (can I get a w00t W00T!), I'm making a resolution. I will no longer see myself through anyone else's eyes ... unless what they see is better than what I see of myself. For every time my mother makes a cutting remark about my hair looking a mess or me not losing weight, I will take a moment, take a breath, and remember how T looks at me, the feel of his hands in my hair, the strength of his arms holding me. For every time someone tries to make me feel like I am a bad parent, I will look at my kids and remind myself that they love me more than anyone else in the world ... so I can't be that bad. I will take a breath and realize where those remarks are coming from and not get caught in the razor wire tangle of emotional abuse.

"Shadows cannot see themselves in the mirror of the sun." Evita Peron

March 16, 2006

Pionta Guinness, le do thoil !

May those who love us love us.
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we'll know them by their limping.

For those of you that are not Irish, I hope you enjoyed your day. If you didn't wear green, I hope you didn't mind the pinching. If you wore orange, well, I hope you got what you deserved.

The Irish are a people of traditions and the pinching thing has always flummoxed me. It wasn't until I was working in an elementary school that I even remembered that little kids would pinch each other if they didn't wear green. It never came up with my kids because it was never an issue with them. They have always been into the silliness, except for that year when the boy insisted that he wasn't Irish, he was Egyptian, but I think that was his father trying to brainwash him. Yes, the kid is half Egyptian but he is also half ME and 100% American. But I digress ...

I think they loved it most because I always did the food up right. Corned beef & cabbage, carrots, Colcannon, homemade soda bread and, for the adults (me) a pionta Guinness or three. I made sure to slip a drop of green food coloring into the glasses they would use for their morning milk just to see their faces when I poured white milk out of the jug and it magically turned green. That was the sign that the leprechauns had visited and blessed them with good luck. Sweet how they fell for it year after year.

This year wasn't as smooth as I would have liked it. Yesterday, my mom called to find out what time we could come over for dinner today. Now, we had never planned to go over there. She didn't mention it ahead of time. The boy was planning on spending time with a friend from out of town and the girl was going to Friday night youth group with a friend. I was planning on some quiet time alone to do my homework yet suddenly she had booked my night and laced the invitation with a healthy dose of guilt.

I could have gone over, made her happy while I sat there miserable, stressing over my homework, knowing that my Saturday was a goner because of a workshop I have to go to and suddenly my weekend was down to Sunday and when was I going to do homework, nevermind laundry and clean the house and sleep late and watch movies and play video games and read and do ANYTHING that remotely resembles having a life? When I mentioned my homework, she said she thought I was doing too much, even going so far as to say that I was ignoring the kids for my school work.

Well, I'm really sorry to say that did it for me. I cracked. I pointed out that while, yes, I am busy, I'm never too busy for my kids, that everything I am doing right now is so that I can get a better job and give them a better life because no one, NO ONE is responsible for making our lives better but me. Sure, someday, things might be different, but I don't count on somedays. I can only count on myself, today, and what I can do today to make tomorrow better.

In my head, I was thinking of how hypocritical she was being. When I was little, she didn't do anything to make our life better. She worked hard, yes, but she didn't try to get a better job or go back to school to improve her skills. She just went out to singles dances trying to meet a man that she could marry who would make everything better. Each of these men came and went and never made anything better, they only helped push the emotional rollercoaster we lived on higher and faster.

I understand the divorced dating world but I date one person, one stable person. We don't go out drinking and carousing until all hours, leaving the kids to fend for themselves. We don't drop the kids off alone at the movie theater or the mall with $10 so that we can have a drunk afternoon alone in bed. We actually come up with things that we can do WITH the kids rather than try to pretend they don't exist. We actually take them on trips with us so that they aren't left behind to fend for themselves.

Of course, by this time, I was in tears. I had already had a very emotional day and this was the last thing I needed. In a short 5 minute conversation she had cut me to the quick on the most sensitive subject she could and I would be damned if I went over her house for dinner after she did that to me. That would only give her the message that using emotional manipulation would get me to do whatever she wants me to do and, while that is true, I don't want her to know it.

Our St. Patty's Day was low key. I drove to work listening to the Dropkick Murphys (thanks, Skillzy!), spent the day trying to keep my head above it all, spent a huge wad of $$ at the bookfair for the library, went grocery shopping, baked brownie bites and watched The Empire Strikes Back with the boy while the girl went to her youth group. Dinner was pizza. Not a drop of Guinness or green milk in the house.

A rather anticlimactic day. And now I have to get to bed so I can wake up early tomorrow and go to work. On a Saturday. So I can make our lives better.

Sláinte! Have one for me.

Mere words do not feed the friars.

I don't get paid a lot for what I do. Teachers, historically underpaid everywhere but especially so in North Carolina, are often heard to say that teaching is a calling, and that is exactly what it feels like. You give up a LOT of personal freedom when you become a teacher. Just imagine, if you can, a world where everyone looks to you for model behavior, a world where you can not anonymously shop in sweats without running into at least one or two students (or even worse, PARENTS, because at least the kids will let you know they see you.). Imagine picking up a bottle of wine at the store and having one of your students see you, just after you gave the class a lesson on the dangers of drinking. Yeah, I think you get the picture.

For this loss of freedom to live like slovenly alcoholics, we should be well paid ... but we aren't. Oh, sometimes we get recognition for our hard work but competition is fierce. Every teacher that has some success in her career has 10 behind her, hoping she fails. When I got Teacher of the Year, a few teachers (that wer ealso in the running, I might add) didn't talk to me for weeks because they didn't think I deserved it.

Whatever. I got TOTY, what of it? I have a nice shiny plaque in my living room to remind me that I had fewer enemies than anyone else at my school. I had a bad picture of me in the local newspaper. Footage of me accepting my plaque is still playing on the local free access channel, at least until the next TOTY luncheon. Big whoop.

Last November, I went to Intel training so that I could teach others to use the Intel tools. I spent 40 hours out of town to get the title of Master Teacher and a certificate ... oh and I had to recruit teachers that I would train within a year.

In February, I held a workshop for the other media coordinators in my county to show them how to use the tools. I know not everyone was happy that I was teaching the group. How did I get chosen, after all? I am just a media coordinator like them, and a new one at that.

I'll tell you how. Hard freakin' work. And it just paid off.

No, I didn't get a raise.

No, I didn't get a new job.

BUT ... I got an email this morning saying that Intel had chosen the winners of the spring laptop drawing. Out of all the Master Teachers that held training in the first quarter of 2006, they are giving away laptops to two Master Teachers. One lady in Mississippi and me.

Yup. I won a laptop.

This doesn't happen to me. I don't win things. I don't have nice things. I don't deserve this.

But maybe I do. I have worked hard this year. Maybe good things do come to good people. Maybe this is my pot of gold.

I get the feeling I'm not done yet.

(on the title: An Irish proverb that I thought applied pretty well.)

March 15, 2006

The gauntlet had been thrown...

My favorite monkey has decided that this will be the year that he catches up on the Classics, books that everyone knows about but few people really read unless they are forced to. I've always been a fan of knowing what I'm talking about. When a discussion about a good book comes up and I feel I have nothing to contribute, I go read that book so I can join in.

While I have read more "Classics" than he has, much of my reading was during my theater days. I had these HUGE Norton Anthologies, one of plays, one of literature and one of poetry and I just devoured them.

That was a long time ago, though. I have gone through a lifetime since then. It's time to read for pleasure again.

I just finished the Otherland series (Tad Williams) and am working on some of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books and Douglas Adams' Salmon of Doubt right now ... oh, and taking 2 classes ... so my time to dedicate to this is not exactly what I wish it could be. I'll probably read books as he finishes them and I have several to contribute on my bookshelf.

I will join with him full force once these classes end. I just have an internship this summer and one class in the fall so I will be looking for something to keep me busy. He's just the monkey to do it.

March 13, 2006

Motley F***ing Crue!!!

Home after a most excellent weekend, unable to sleep. Not exactly sure why since I only got about 4 hours of sleep before waking up at 6 to watch the F1 season opener from Bahrain this morning (they couldn't have it in a later time zone???), had half a pot of coffee and an AMAZING breakfast cooked by T's dad, then went to church until noon, finished off the pot, had a FAB lunch cooked by T's mom (killer. chocolate. pie.) then took about a 45 minute nap (sweet downtime) before having to drive 3 hours home. I actually was tired earlier so I climbed in bed at about 9 to watch TV for a few hours but I woke up at 1 WIDE AWAKE. My system is all out of whack right now so I figured I might burn off some of the excess energy babbling on about the weekend until I either fall out of my chair or my alarm goes off.

I think I know the problem, though. As soon as everything gets quiet, all I hear is a ringing in my ears. Yes, I have a concert hangover.

As you may remember, a couple of weeks ago, T and I had the opportunity of a lifetime to see INXS and the Lovehammers live in Norfolk, VA. It was a cool experience, from the trip there to the hotel to the venue to the visceral experience of seeing 'the boys' live, probably one of the most memorable of my life. While we stood in line waiting for the doors to open that night, we kind of laughed about how that concert was the one I was really excited about but the next one was the one HE was really excited about.

Motley f***ing Crue this past weekend at the Richmond Coliseum. (yes, I do have to call them that, even if it's only inside my head.)

I was excited about this concert because 1) I don't go to many (any) concerts and 2) because it was a chance to see T very happy. However uncomfortable it made me to be in a huge crowd of rowdy drunk people, it was worth it to be able to glance sideways at him as he sang Home Sweet Home.

It was extra special to me because I was going to meet two of his friends, M & J, a couple he has known since before the divorce. This put me in a unique (and frightening) position, almost as bad as when I met his parents for the first time. Though I have never experienced this myself, it's customary for friends and family to be fiercely protective of someone who has gone through a rough divorce. Any subsequent dating is put up to much scrutiny so when, almost 2 years into this, I finally got a chance to meet some of his friends, I felt panic.

No really. I knew we were all going to the concert together, I had known that for months. But it didn't hit me until he mentioned dinner before the concert that this would be a double date. Suddenly, I felt nervous and self-conscious, painfully aware of how inadequate I am in many respects ... and then the panic set in. It's been a long time since my last panic attack but this was a solid 7.

Silly reaction, really, but I find myself in unchartered waters. I never double-dated while I was married. I hosted get togethers for his friends but the women were kept in the other room for the most part. The last time we got together as a couple with another couple, the x humiliated me during dinner. This incident escalated quickly into the "Big Fight" where he uttered the famous "I will kill you" ... just what I needed to convince a lawyer (and a judge apparently) that I needed protection.

Anywhooo ... I knew my fears were irrational but I couldn't help feel intimidated. I'm painfully shy when meeting in social situations. I don't 'do' small talk and these three friends have history together, a history before me. I know it's self-defeating but I find myself trying to compare myself to what made him happy before and I can't seem to get a gauge on it ... I don't know why I feel I need that, though, since what made him happy before ultimately made him miserable. What's important is what makes him happy now.

So we went by their house to meet up before dinner and I almost immediately felt at ease. I didn't talk much but that's normal. Dinner at Chili's was relaxed, even when J said that we acted like we had been married for years ... nothing makes T curl up in a ball like the M word. He did admit that we do have so much in common and that we have a great thing going, which is saying a lot. The friend loyalty came out when T excused himself and both M & J leaned in and told me, basically, that I'm good for him. According to them, he is happy now, happier than they have ever seen him. Deep inside, I was thrilled when they told me that. I hope I can take credit for a tiny bit of it.

The rest of the night, going to the venue, waiting in line, mocking the guys, and the whole concert experience, was phenomenal. I have more details but I'm in no shape to write about it yet. Sorry, I thought this was going to be a review but, as usual, I get lost in so much emotional minutae of the experience that I can't help but get overwhelmed by the scope of some of these posts.

I'm extremely introverted, with lengthy internal dialogues filling every moment, every blink, every breath. In my desire to understand myself better, to convey just what it's like to live in this extremely chaotic head of mine, I sometimes get lost. In trying to convey the experience of being in my head for one night, I end up writing freakin' War and Peace. Hah, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, indeed.

Let's just say I'll save the review for another post and the post-concert reflection on the rest of the weekend experience (including church and being at the farm) for another day. Each one is hugely complex and sufficiently wrought with emotional quicksand ... and I'm kinda tired.

March 7, 2006

Wouldn't you know it...

When I painted for a living, I would get epiphanies while I worked and have to stop to write them down before I forgot them, like writing down a dream in the moment of waking before the reality of the day sets in. Sometimes, I actually wrote them on the wall with the paintbrush so I wouldn't have to stop working, then work the letters into the design later after I had written them down on actual paper. For a long time there, when I walked through my life like a zombie but my writing was going well, I had to keep a pad of paper and a pen with me everywhere I went because the ideas would flow like so much water. Many times, I would have to pull off the side of the road to write snippets down, sometimes 5 or 6 times in a 10 mile drive to town. There is something about doing mindless, repetitive movement that frees the mind to concentrate on the larger consciousness.

So there I was at work today, organizing the Science MAnipulatives room in relative quiet, and I let my mind wander. It's been a while since I have done this, since I don't have many moments of relative quiet anymore, so I wasn't really thinking of anything specific, which is the perfect environment for my best ideas to grow in. I curled my fingers around an idea and formulated a really good sentence and thought "Boy, that would make a great blog post."

The only problem is, I forgot just how sieve-like my brain is now and, a minute or two later, someone came into my office asking me questions and by the time they left, I had almost (but not quite) forgotten that I had even had an idea.

The worst thing is that I remember that I had a great idea ... I just don't remember what it was.

Frackin' torture, I tell you.

Oh well, I'll go do dishes and it'll come back ... and by the time I dry my hands and get back here, it'll be gone again. I wish I could say this is a sign of genius but I'm afraid it's just age.

UPDATE :: GAH!!! Just remembered what it was, something about my children and what they have missed over the past 6 or 7 or 8 years. Brought on by a discussion the other night about them getting to do things they don't often do. How I feel as though, while doing the right thing, I haven't done enough. There, my note for later. *whew* Now I can go to work and not worry that it would hit me in the middle of my 1st grade class.

March 5, 2006

Which Fraggle Rock Character am I?

Mokey- The artist
Graceful, thoughtful, and endlessly helpful. Loves to sing, paint, and sometimes even dance.

Hmmm .... how do it know?!?!?!

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