Wednesday, December 26, 2007

There's no water that can wash away this longing to come clean

"We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies." ~Shirley Abbott

About a year and a half ago I wrote a letter to my parents. In it, I spoke of the memories I have of my childhood with them and how I felt those things shaped me into what I am today. I put it in an envelope, addressed it and prepared to mail it off but for some reason, I could not do it. I took the envelope and placed it under my bed where it's been collecting dust ever since.

This is what I think about presents. I think the best presents are the ones that are made by hand, not bought in a store. I know that not everyone possesses the talent to paint or sculpt or write music, but I think if you have those sorts of talents, they are the things that people like me prefer receiving. My most prized possessions are things my father has made for me, things my children have made for me. Those are the things I look at and want to keep safe and feel better just knowing I have them. A sweater from Macy's just doesn't have the same effect. In a fire, I would not think to save a sweater because it was given to me by my parents. But a painting or a piece of furniture made with their hands? Those are things I know I would fight to keep with me.

Even though I have this blog on the internet, I do not share this space with anyone in my family or even my friends. It's so hard to explain how I am this intensely private person and at the same time I am willing to share my feelings with total strangers without batting an eye. It makes no sense and yet it makes perfect sense to me. I feel at ease opening my heart because I'm not risking the involvement of the real people in my life. I think I do not always trust that my family and friends will be careful of my heart. I don't know what I'm afraid of--maybe it's that they would stop loving me if they knew the real me--the one who is imperfect in a million different ways, the one with messy feelings that leak all over the place when what is prized in their world is keeping up appearances, keeping it together.

Sifting through books and whatnot under my bed, I came upon the letter I wrote to my parents and once again I thought about sending it off in the mail to them. I took it in the car with me and passed by the post office for weeks without stopping to get it weighed. I don't know what finally made me mail it. I think I asked myself what I was waiting for and could not come up with a good enough answer. I think I asked myself if I would regret not sending it to them should something happen to them and I knew in my heart that I would. I think I wanted to stop being afraid of owning up to how I feel and I realized that I could not control how they would respond, but I could at least be brave enough to open my heart and say, "this is me." And so I did. I held my breath, then let it go.

A couple of days ago, I received a call from my parents and they told me they loved what I had written, that they had never read anything more beautiful in their lives. They kept referring to my letter as a gift. I cannot tell you how happy this made me because as I've written before, we are not a family who does under the surface living very well. We keep our feelings in check even if it kills us. A lot of the time, actually almost all of my life, I have felt like it's been killing me or at the very least, killing the spirit of who I really am. The last time I tried to communicate to them how I was feeling during a rough period in my life, they changed the subject which left me feeling like I could not be my real self around them--I had to be what they wanted me to be, not what I was. They tend to give me that message a lot, and after a while, I learned to take a hint. But this time? They did not come back and tell me anything more than that I had truly moved them with my words.

This is what I have learned: Sometimes, when you're really scared about opening your heart to people you should be able to open your heart to, they do not disappoint you.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

“Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”~Oren Arnold

From my home to yours, Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Text messaging Christmas lists

It seems I have a new thing to hate about Christmas (not that I hate too many things about Christmas, but, well, you know what I mean...) Anyway, the new thing around my house is that I'll be out shopping and hear that familiar sound indicating I have a message of some sort on my phone and I'll go take a look and what do you know, I'll have a multimedia message waiting for me. It will be a picture of exactly what someone wants me to buy them and I'll also get colors and sizes and all the other necessary details about where I can pick it up. After I receive these multimedia messages I typically have to make about 5-10 phone calls clarifying things because the picture isn't that great and God forbid I make a mistake and get the wrong thing because THEY TOOK THE TIME TO SEND ME ALL THE INFORMATION AND EVEN PROVIDED A PICTURE and the least I can do is get it right. Right?


Enough already with the text messaging.

Friday, December 21, 2007

One more thing I wouldn't do

I wouldn't copycat an old Seinfeld episode by sending out Christmas cards telling someone that in their honor I was donating money in their name to my favorite charity. Nope. Wouldn't do it!

*For more things I wouldn't do, see the entry below. I might just keep adding to it since more things come to me every day.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Things I would not do...

I wouldn't take the box of Jujyfruits someone had bought for themselves and eat all but the green ones because I HATE THE GREEN ONES.

I wouldn't cause a long jam up at the drive through ATM because I was conducting about 20 transactions and behaving like I was the only one in the world who needed to use the machine.

I wouldn't send Harry and David fruit to a bunch of kids because "I'm on a health kick again this year."

I wouldn't try to sneak into the turn lane when there wasn't any room resulting in my car being half in the turn lane and half in the forward moving lane making it impossible for those behind me to go anywhere when the light turned green. (this happens so much where I live my blood pressure goes through the roof just thinking about it)

I wouldn't ask for advice on my blog then reprimand those whose comments aren't perfectly aligned with what I really wanted to hear.

I wouldn't tell my significant other that next year we ought to just get a small, fake little tree to put on a table somewhere because it's just way too much work for "us" while I was sitting on my ass in another room watching tv.

I would not pretend not to hear my significant other coming into the house with bags and bags of groceries when I am able to hear my significant other typing on the computer from 6 rooms away. In other words, I would not have selective supersonic hearing.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Hope dangles on a string, like slow spinning redemption

I love how I am able to bend my life around everyone elses--at a moment's notice sometimes--how I am able to shift and conform and mold myself to be what others need me to be all the time, but how when I ask one simple thing, it cannot be managed--it is too hard, it is not what someone else wants to do.

So there's that.

I make a mental note of these things, these messages that are sent to me day after day, year after year that I used to dismiss as part of the "job" but now keep track of with a fierce determination. I think about them when I'm out running. They give me energy. They push me to do more, to want to get stronger.

When I dream, I am never married, and I never have children and oftentimes, I am flying high above the world with the wind in my hair. It is simple and calm. I am watching the world from a distance, and I know that I like it that way. I don't remember much of my dreams, but I do know that I fly and that it feels like what I imagine heaven must feel like.

Even though I've started to hate Dr. Phil because he's always celebrity name-dropping, and he has this weird superiority complex thing going on, there is one thing he says that makes total sense to me. He says that people treat you the way you teach them to treat you. I've done a horrible job with this but part of me doesn't want to own up to this because it's just one more place where I've failed and it's one more thing I've got to fix. The list just keeps getting longer and longer.

I am committed to living in reality, however, so I will add it to my list of things to do--teach them to treat me how I treat them.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Rage - Scenes from her life - Story #1

A husband and wife sat across from each other in a booth where they were eating Chinese food. The wife ordered, then the husband ordered. and then they started to talk about a recent disappointment in their lives which they eventually agreed was small in the grand scheme of things. They agreed to be happy and remember how blessed they were to have all the good things they had in this life.

Out of the blue, the wife said to her husband, "I want you to know that lately I've been filled with rage," because she had been filled with rage lately and she didn't know who else she could share this terrible secret with besides him.

The husband said, "What are you talking about? Your life is wonderful."

The wife replied, "I know what you think you know about my life, and I am telling you that you are wrong. I am filled with rage, and the only way that I'm finding I can deal with the rage is by making sure that I put myself first for a change and stop worrying all the time about other people's happiness. I am becoming bitter from all the years of taking care of other people and never feeling like I am making anyone happy. I am sacrificing things that I want to do because in the back of my mind I am thinking this will result in their happiness but when it doesn't, I am left to ask myself what I am doing with my life except wasting my time?"

The husband looked uncomfortable and worried and clueless as all at once and immediately told his wife that she was being over dramatic. He asked her, "Well does this mean will I have to worry about you along with everyone else now?"

And the wife took a deep breath and explained to him one more time that her happiness and well being should be of concern to him, that he should be worrying whether she was happy because she worried about his happiness all the time, and isn't that what married couples do?

She told him, "The fact that you do not worry about my happiness makes me crazy. It makes me feel like I have no one in this world looking out for me and if that is the case, as it has been proven time and time again, then I'm going to take matters into my own hands and start looking out for myself."

The husband looked everywhere except at his wife and said, "Where is this coming from? I thought we were going to focus on the positive?"

The wife replied, "You don't understand. Just because I point out to you something that bothers me doesn't mean that I do not recognize all the wonderful things that I have. One has nothing to do with the other, and I don't want every conversation that I start about me to turn into a conversation about somebody or something else because that's what always happens here."

The husband looked around, and the wife could tell by his eyes that he was shocked and sad and panicked to hear these words come out of his wife. "Can't you just be happy." he pleaded? "I'm happy."

And this is the part of the story where the wife was always losing because she knew in her heart that at best, what we know of each other is what we allow others to see of us, and sometimes, even when show them what's beneath the surface, all they want to see is what they want to see.

The wife finished her diet coke, fished an ice cube out of the glass, and crushed it between her teeth because it felt good to her to crush something.

They paid the bill, walked to the car and began their drive home. The wife leaned her head against the cool glass and looked up at the stars. She felt so small, almost invisible, but she did not tell her husband this because she wasn't up to hearing once again how very lucky she was.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Why I Run

I was going to write about regrets today but I've decided against it. Maybe another day.

What I want to write about is how the hills in the neighborhood where I run are huge and daunting. Going down feels like I am flying. Sometimes when I run I have the same song on replay on my IPOD for the entire 45 minutes to an hour I am out there. It's a quirk of mine that I need to feel inspired and sometimes just one song does it for me.

When I am around mile 3 and I am down at the bottom of the very last hill that I will have to go back up, I always take a quick peek to the top and think I can't possibly get up there again. There's just no way. I don't have the energy or the desire. Sometimes I pray that someone I know will drive by and offer to give me a lift home and I know that if they did, I would hop in their car in a heartbeat. As I am thinking these things, I continue to pound the pavement beneath me and before I know it, I am at the top and there's a moment when I turn back around to see how far I've come and I think how proud and happy I am that I did what I thought I could not do.

When I am out there exercising, it feels a little like I am shedding something I need to get rid of while at the same time I am gaining something very important that I cannot get anywhere else. I think I shed my fears for a while and I think I find serenity. I am running towards serenity.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Taking the long way home

"My life is my message." - Mahatma Ghandi

My husband wanted to go for a ride today again, so I set up a few rules for our "little drive up the road." The rules were as follows:

1.) No turning the heat to 85 degrees inside the car when it is a delightfully beautiful day like today (mid 60's). My husband is always saying he's cold and I'll be sitting in the car with the vents blowing that hot air in my face and that's supposed to be enjoyable? I don't think so. He promised to abide by this rule since it makes perfect sense however I ended up turning the temperature down no less than 5 times during our ride. It's a habit that will be hard to break, I think.

2.) No NHL Home Ice on XM radio and no 60's music for longer than 10 minutes because he won't compromise on the music with me and will yell at me for liking music made in this decade. I told him that if he broke this rule, then I'd put my IPOD in my ears and ignore him. I didn't have to do this until we were on the way home (we started off at noon time and never got home until 7:30 PM.) I know.

3.) No talking about bills. This is one of his favorite topics. No matter how many times I tell him all the bills are paid (because we sit and pay them TOGETHER, mind you), he continues to ask me if they're all paid. He slipped up once which was pretty good for him considering on a bad day he'll ask me hourly (and surprisingly, the answer never changes!) I know!

Anyway, those were the basics because I didn't want to completely lose my sanity during an afternoon drive. We're scouting out land in the mountains to build a house in another year or so. Up until just recently I have fought going anywhere that felt too isolated and peaceful. I like being where the action and noise is. I like accessible shopping. But this place we've found feels a little like heaven and when I stand outside and look around I think that I could be happy there. It's the kind of place where I will be forced to be alone with my thoughts and deal with them head on instead of pushing them away until another day and I think that might be good for me. I hate moving with a passion but my husband loves moving especially if there is money is to be made. We are so totally opposite of one another it's not funny.

We had a great afternoon except for me getting a little car sick when we were whipping up and down roads in a neighborhood nestled deep in the mountains. I had to ask him to stop at a Rite Aid to get a package of Rolaids to settle my stomach. I hate being caught without Rolaids because you never know when you might need them.

I think I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving even though I didn't realize it's next week. I guess that means I need to get a turkey. It's just me, my husband and two of my kids because everyone else lives out of state. I cook all day then we sit down and in approximately 7 minutes everyone is finished and they up leave me with the mess.

I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Think of me...

"...there will never be a day when I won't think of you..."-Andrew Lloyd Webber

I haven't seen or spoken to one of my brothers in more than 20 years. The reason why is as big a mystery to me as to anyone who might read this. I think he got furious with me that I upset our parents over something that had nothing whatsoever to do with him, and so he decided not to speak to me ever again. I have three children he has never met. When he had his first child, I decided to offer up an olive branch even though I knew I had done nothing wrong to deserve his treatment of me, and put together a package of things for his new baby daughter and mailed it off to him. I knew how much I had changed just from having my children and thought perhaps his heart might have melted, too. I never heard back from him, not a thank you, nothing.

I have another brother who cut ties with everyone in the family when my parents disapproved of an older woman he was involved with. This was approximately 15 years ago. I had moved away with my own family at the time and so my connection to him was always through them and when he cut them off I guess he threw me in there as well because in my world that's just the way it goes. I guess we're considered a package deal and so we were all severed together.

I spend a lot of time trying not to think about this, and about what it means to me because it's very difficult to accept, at least for me, that I could be so easily erased from the lives of my brothers. I never tell anyone about them either because how do I explain the reasons why when I don't know them myself? It's this secret sorrow of mine that the world knows nothing about, but I might feel better if I write it down, if I try to let it go. I grew up in a family of people who never discussed difficult things, so that was the norm for me. My parents must know how awful I feel knowing that both of my brothers live their lives as though I do not exist and yet they say nothing. It just never gets mentioned because it's the appearance of happiness that's most important in our world. Nobody does surface-level-living like we do.

Here's something you should know about me: I am good at learning to live without people that I love because I think of it in terms of completing a task. I set my emotions aside and do the work involved in meeting the goal. It's only in the quiet of the night or on holidays or when I know it's their birthdays that I allow myself to feel the loss I know I've learned to live with so well. I wonder how they are. I wonder if they ever think of me.

Today I was wasting time on FACEBOOK and decided to type in my brothers names to see if I could find them. I don't know why it hasn't occurred to me to do this before, but it hasn't. I could not find the brother who cut ties with everyone, but I did find a picture of my other brother. He looks nothing like I remember and yet I see my mother's face in him. I felt a mean little thought about how time has been kinder to me than it has been to him and then I stopped thinking that because I should know better by now than to be so spiteful.

It does feel better writing this all down. It doesn't change anything, but it does feel freeing to some degree.

Here's something else you should know: My brothers missed out on knowing and loving someone fabulous.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

One Thing About Me

I could watch Little Miss Sunshine a million times and I would love it every one of those million times.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Little Rant

"Anger helps strengthen out a problem like a fan helps straighten out a pile of papers." - Susan Mancotte

I'm angry about a couple of things today.

First off, I did end up buying a new vacuum about a week ago (not a birthday present) and honestly, I HATE IT. The suction is light to non-existent and it's driving me crazy. One of the few household chores I don't mind doing is vacuuming. I like nice even lines appearing on my carpet, and to achieve this look, I vacuum every day. I hate everything else so I have no idea why vacuuming makes me happy, but it does. I like seeing footprints disappear--I know that's odd, but there you have it--feel free to call me odd.

I don't typically buy the most expensive kind because I overuse them and I can't see spending big money on a vacuum. That's just ridiculous, and we have three children who I fear will be dependent on us forever, so I scrimp on the vacuums when it comes time to get a new one. Well, I spent more money this time, and the damn thing sucks. Or rather, it doesn't suck good enough. I feel silly for getting so angry at a vacuum, but you should have seen me just a little while ago. I was trying to achieve the nice lines I discussed in the previous paragraph and I found myself mumbling about how much I wanted to throw it out the window because I hated it so much. So there's THAT.

Then, that purse I bought a couple of weeks ago? Well, it has a zipper closure and the zipper keeps getting stuck in the open position so that I have to maneuver and cajole and baby the damn thing to line up so I can close it. I've almost tossed that thing across the room a few times. At first I thought it was me but it's becoming clear that this is one thing that I can't be blamed for. I'd return it, but I bought it at a mall 2 hours away from here and just thinking about feeling forced to go back there to return it makes me even angrier.

You know--everyone gets your money up front and I don't think it's too much to expect that I get what I pay for and not some defective piece of crap. And to top it all, when I purchased that bag, there were 2 checkout lines and a zillion employees buzzing around the store asking if they could help me but when I went to check out, there was only one girl checking people out so I asked her if the other lane was opened or closed and she HUFFILY told me it was closed.

I snottily said something to the effect that I certainly understood THAT since there were plenty of employees wandering around like zombies doing NOTHING, and I brought my purse over and waited in her line. No sooner had I moved than one of the floating employees came over and asked me if she could check me out. WTF? So once again, I moved over so I could check out and get the hell out of there. So yeah, I'm looking forward to going back there and dealing with THAT.

Lastly, my dear child who is away (out of state) at school called me on my cell phone which is always code for I NEED MONEY and guess what? He needed money for rent. Huh? The first of the month I had transferred money into his account to pay for his rent so what was I missing? Come to find out, he had written a check against that money for something else, and so he was short on his rent money. I tried not to explode as I asked him how much he had left in his account and he answered his typical, "I don't know." So I had to straighten that mess out so he could pay his rent. I called him and told him to pay it immediately so he wouldn't be tempted to spend it elsewhere.


Earlier in the week we needed to replace a piece of sporting equipment of his that broke to the tune of $500. Whenever I see his name on my cellphone, I immediately see dollar signs flying out the window because that's what happens after I pick up.

I guess that's enough for now although the day is still young.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Something beautiful

“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.”-Ivan Panin

I've decided after the last two entries that I needed to lighten up. I have this terrible habit of dealing with unpleasant things by telling myself I will think about them tomorrow and so that is what I will do. I think I'm copying Scarlett O'Hara, but I swear I would do it anyway even if she hadn't said it first. It's just the way I am.

There's something about a blank page at the end of a long day that calls to me to fill it up with what is in my heart. It's nice to have a place where I can be really honest and not hurt anyone I care about. I think there are a lot of people in this world who will tell you that they want to hear the truth but what they really mean is that they want to hear the truth if it's a pretty truth and not an ugly one. I think ugly truths are hard to swallow for most people, myself included. I have trouble with my own ugly truths--admitting them, examining them, confronting them, living with them--and so it's no surprise that other people would not have room to fit mine in alongside their own. So I come here and expose them to people I do not know because that's about as courageous as I get.

Anyway, being serious is tiresome after a while and besides, I want to write about something beautiful.

I'm not a morning person at all. No matter what time I wake up, I don't think I'm ready to really face the world until around 10 AM. Every morning I get up with my youngest daughter to get her ready for school. It's still dark outside, and when I walk her to her car so that I can go through my ritual of telling her to drive safely and watching her car until the tail lights disappear, the moon and the stars are still lighting up the sky. It's morning, but there's a night sky above me. I just think that's so amazingly beautiful. Something happens to me out there each morning. My head and my heart feel a quiet peace I never feel when I am rushing through my days, and it's impossible for me not to be happy.

I forget about the little things all the time. I forget the simple joys that are right in front of me because I'm always on the lookout for something bigger. But when I'm out there in the morning looking up at the night sky I think how glad I am to be alive.

I try to commit that moment to memory so that I never, ever forget.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Good Mother

I've been a parent since I was 23 years old--more years than I've been without kids. In a lot of ways, the time has flown by in a blur, but in other ways, it feels like forever, if that makes any sense. While my friends were out having fun, I was raising children. Having children was the most sobering thing in the world to me. Being carefree was a thing of the past. I stayed serious and determined because I did not know any other way to be. I learned to put myself last and that came easily because all mothers should strive to be selfless, right?

I can see myself from the outside looking in and this is what I see: I see someone who has been waiting patiently for a time when I no longer had to be last. It's like I was willing to be last as long as I knew that there would come a time when it would be over--knowing that made everything bearable. It was a light at the end of a dark tunnel. It was a star I was inches from touching. It was a pot of something splendidly wonderful at the end of a sun-kissed rainbow.

I'm not sure what this says about me. I'm afraid it says that my heart couldn't have been fully into parenting if I was simply waiting for the time when it would end.

I mention this because I have days when I'm not sure I will ever get the chance to have a life outside of being a parent. I was fortunate to be able to stay home with all of my children all of their lives and this is what I know better than anything. While other women were establishing careers which paid them for their hard work, I was home playing Chutes and Ladders with my kids. I was repeating nursery rhymes a million times. I was pushing them on swings and building sand castles. Their lives became my life.

Whenever I start to get excited about gaining part of the old me back again, something happens and the date gets pushed back even further to the future. I get sick of the fact that it appears my life is about living with the decisions other people get to make for me. My oldest child is moving back home again and I think a good mother would be happy about that, but all I can think about is how much more work that will be for me. I think of the extra laundry, the extra meal preparation, the extra person I will have to always consider before thinking about myself because that is how I am wired now. I feel resentful and hateful. I'm convinced that a good mother would not feel this way.

And the hardest part of all, the most confusing thing to me. is that mostly I am happy with my life and I don't know how to reconcile that with the fact that I long to be free of taking care of other people. My children only know me as a mother and I'm sure they never stop to think that maybe there is a part of me I've sacrificed for them that I'd like to reclaim at some point. I don't think they want anything for me except this and I can't say that I blame them since I've made it perfectly clear that it's ok to think of me last.

I wonder, sometimes, how long I will have to wait.

I've always been good at waiting.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The hard work of staying positive

I have to work really, really hard to remain positive. I have these tapes in my head that play over and over again when life threatens to bring me down. I tell myself I can do anything. I tell myself I am good enough. I tell myself that I am willing to do most anything to avoid failure. I talk and talk and talk to myself inside my own head and amazingly, it keeps me grounded and keeps me on the path of positivity. But I will not say that it is ever easy because it's not. It takes constant vigilance on my part because it seems like there's always something or someone wanting to rain on my parade. I get sick of those people and those things that want to bring me down. I want to tell them to fuck off and leave me alone.

One of my biggest secrets is that I sometimes dream of packing a bag, getting in my car and driving away forever from everyone. My family does not know this about me--that I could leave and never look back. I can imagine cutting the strings that tether me to a life that is at times so tediously mundane and unsatisfying...and drifting far away. I never know if it's braver to stay or to leave because I always choose to stay. I think staying is safer. I think leaving requires a courage I'm not sure I possess.

I don't like when I am feeling a certain way, and I express those feelings, how I inevitably get told that I'm over reacting or over analyzing or over dramatizing things. It's like I can't tell the people I live with what is in my heart and trust them to hear what I am saying. They want to hold up a stop sign when what is reflected back to them isn't something they want to see. I feel forced to own my feelings and keep them locked inside or else risk being told that what I am feeling can't possibly be what I am feeling. I don't know what more to say except that it sucks. I'm not asking for the world or even for other people to agree with me. I just want someone to tell me that they hear me without also needing to negate those feelings in such a way that I'm left wondering why I even bothered to speak at all.

So the work to stay positive is never ending here. I can physically feel the pull downward and have to find somewhere or something to hold onto so that I am not tempted to drop down into a pit of despair. So I keep telling myself to hang in there. I put on my tennis shoes and blast music in my ears and I run as if I am going somewhere other than in circles.

I never give up.

I go on.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


I have moments when I think that I will never be more than what I am right now and that thought makes me sad because I feel as though I have the potential to be so much more. I tend to look at my life and count the things I have not done. I tend to feel disappointed about all the things I'll never be. But every once in a while I will know with unfailing certainty that my children are the biggest and best representation of how I have succeeded in my journey here on earth. I think if I don't do anything else, that they will be enough.

The very best parts of me live inside them and I look for those things when I am struggling to feel at peace inside my own head. I've been told a time or two that happiness is not something that can be found outside ourselves but I know this to be false because I find happiness in them all the time. I did not get every part of their growing up right because it's impossible to know everything when you are learning as you go.

I just wanted to say that my life's happiness is tied up in loving them.

I got that part right and knowing that makes all the difference during those times when I'm thinking that I should be so much more.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I had a great day!

Good things about today...

waking up late
sitting in the sun to catch a few rays
toasted multigrain bagels with butter
shopping at the outlet mall
buying a new purse...
new sneakers...
and a new book
buying a few small trinkets for my girls
dinner out with hubby
a soft serve vanilla cone dipped in chocolate from Dairy Queen
beautiful weather
phone call from my son
a cool breeze from open windows
watching the Red Sox

Thursday, October 25, 2007


The past couple of days it has been cool enough here to wear a light jacket around. The air feels so clean and crisp. We even had some rain earlier in the week which we so desperately needed. I forgot to mention that while we were out driving over the weekend, we passed by a few lakes which were suffering from our continued drought. I think it was the first time I could really process the severity of the situation---docks without water beneath them, empty holes where there should be water. It's scary.

I had a productive day of doing all the things I needed to do. I got my exercise in which is a priority for me simply because I find it such a struggle to keep up. I have to talk myself into working out every single day because mostly I do not want to. But I know that I always, always feel better afterwards and so I keep my eye on that and push ahead. I tell myself that I must not give into that lazy voice that keeps telling me to skip a day that I know will lead into another skipped day until a year has gone by without me doing anything. This is my history and I am fighting not repeat it. I'm almost up to 6 months of steady exercise. I'm proud of that, but I want that number to be higher.

I have this wonderful life that I do not always appreciate and I need to work on that as well.

I have it good.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

All day Saturday

"Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling." - Margaret B. Runbeck

My husband and I left for a "little drive up the road" at 11:00 AM this morning and didn't return until 7:30 PM this evening. It was an absolutely beautiful day. The leaves are just beginning to turn in the mountains up here and there was an Oktoberfest happening in one of the little towns. Everyone was drinking up a storm and seemed not to have a care in the world. We did some shopping, but mostly we drove around places we had never been before. My husband loves doing stuff like this and I have to be in the mood to go along because I know what I'm in for when I agree to go on a "little drive up the road." I take along whatever book I am reading at the moment, a magazine or two, and my IPOD for good measure because he likes the oldies and talk radio and I don't.

We went out to dinner and collected "homes for sale" books from all the places we passed through because he's always on the lookout for a new home even though I keep telling him I want to find a home where I know I will live forever. He's like a traveling gypsy and I am like a thousand year old tree whose roots dig so deep into the earth that you will never be able to move me. I keep going along with the moves because they have served us well financially, however that does not stop me from wanting to find one place where I can stay till the end of time.

We discussed my upcoming birthday and what I wanted. I gave him a few ideas and then he suggested that maybe he would get me a new vacuum so that we could give our old vacuum to our middle child for his apartment. I don't think so. I put the kibosh on that clearly-not-in-my-best-interest-present by telling him that vacuums are never presents and what is wrong with him for even suggesting something like that?

We're now watching the Red Sox and wishing them well.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Every once in a while my husband will say to me, “You must not have been given enough hugs when you were growing up.” He says this because I am not a big hugger. I do not subscribe to the “you need 12 hugs a day to be happy” theory. I do not feel as though I need hugs in order to be happy, or know that I am loved.

But he is right, I did not receive a lot of hugs when I was growing up. The first time he said this to me, I felt really insulted because it felt like a judgment. Actually, it still feels like a judgment but it’s one I am able to accept as based in truth. I never connected my lack of hugging skills to my childhood until he brought it up. I got defensive because it hit a nerve. I felt like he was telling me that I was not a loving person because I do not go around shouting I LOVE YOU a million times a day or grabbing my children or him and insisting we hug the life out of each other. I find him really needy with all this hugging business and it irritates me because I am not needy in that way. It’s hard for me to understand what the big deal is about hugs.

You see, for me, a hug means nothing if five minutes later you’re on my case for not cleaning out the refrigerator. I’d much rather be shown love than be told I am loved. It’s the old “actions speak louder than words” routine that I live by and subscribe to.

This hugging thing has made me think about how much we are products of our upbringings. Our childhoods are spent soaking up information which shape us. We move through the world based on how we learned to live while we were growing up. If you haven’t been hugged a lot, you do not know that you should miss it or that you should do it regularly without being prompted or asked, which is what happens all the time with me.

I cannot pass by my husband without him saying he needs a hug. I have to consciously tell myself not to look annoyed or let out a big aggravated sigh because that’s my first thought when he keeps requesting them. I am thinking, “Don’t you see how I do everything for you and can’t you make the jump from that to knowing that I love you?” Because that’s what I do. I see the things he does and I instinctively know without being told that I am loved. A five second hug doesn’t change anything for me. It seems simple enough to me.

I worry, though, that maybe I have failed my children in the hugging department. I mean, just because I don’t require hugs doesn’t mean that others might not need them. And it's not like I never hug them, because I do--just not every single time they pass by me like it seems some people do. I trust that they know that love is more than words or hugs. It’s the day to day living and giving and nurturing which translate into love. I think back to my childhood and ask myself if my lack of hugs made me feel unloved and I can honestly say that no it did not.

I find hugging superfluous and have to force myself to hug all the time because it does not come naturally.

But that does not mean I love any less because I don’t.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

On my mind

"It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'm not sure my heart is in writing here anymore. The reasons are contradictory and probably won't make sense to anyone but me. I think part of my problem is that blogging feels like it's just another responsibility to me--one I'm not willing to put my all into. There's work involved with blogging that I don't like. I don't like how you have to leave comments to get people to comment (and even then, that system doesn't always work). I know from experience that to increase readership, you have to read other blogs and comment to let them know you are reading and then maybe, maybe, they will stoop to come and read you and maybe, maybe, they will then leave a comment. I've been down this road and all I have to say is that I don't want to do it anymore. I don't want to leave fake comments at blogs just to get fake comments at my blog, however, I'm not sure what the purpose of me writing is then. I mean, wouldn't it be better to just have a private blog if I don't want to work to have readers?

The comment thing is a double edged sword. It helps feed the desire to keep writing, but it also makes you feel guilty if you do not return comments to let someone know that you appreciate their reading. I don't have hours to devote to all that commenting anymore and so I have to resort to people maybe randomly checking this place out. It feels lonely. I'd like to think I write just for me, but who am I kidding. I only comment sparingly now---when I feel I have something to say or to add. I hate all that phoney commenting where you say you agree with someone when you most certainly do not. There are so many blog cliques and I don't feel like I fit in anywhere. I want other people to read me and like me but I don't want to put the work into it that it requires. I guess I really am a lazy ass after all.

If I write and no one reads me, do I still matter? I sure hope so.

So who knows what will happen here.

I went to the grocery store after working out today to pick some stuff up for dinner tonight. When I got home, I noticed that somehow I had bought a huge box of DOTS, a box of Oreo cookies and a box of these new vanilla and chocolate pops called Mighty Moos.

OMG. I am so out of control.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I can do anything for 24 hours

"A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart." - Johann Wolfgang Goethe, from "Faust"

When my husband works from home, I get nothing done that I really need to do. He makes phone calls and is loud and every little inconvenience is magnified to the point of ridiculousness and I just try to stay out of his way because I get "shushed" a lot and being "shushed" makes me just a little angry.

So that was my day today.

We did go out to lunch and that was nice and I got my run in so I don't feel like smacking anyone or screaming bloody murder.

He leaves tomorrow morning for three days.

I can't wait!

Friday, October 12, 2007


If I should fall
I know that you would not be there
to catch me.

Knowing this,
coming to understand this in a world
where I should be able to count on you
separates me
from almost everyone.

I stand apart
because I stand alone.

You are always letting me go.
You are always teaching me
that there are no ties that bind.

I am falling
and you just keep letting me.

I never imagined
I could know such a painful truth
and somehow,
still survive.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Can't Steal Happiness

If there's a heaven (and I'm counting on it), I'd like to think it's as beautiful as today. No clouds, blue skies, a sparkling sun, fallish temperatures---perfection. I could live forever in a day like today.

With the windows wide open (first time in many months), and the music blaring, I cleaned my refrigerator and freezer. It looks amazing. I went for a run. I did not cook dinner but got takeout instead.

Anyway, I'm happy. Life is good.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

If I can do it, so can you

Here's a thought. I think everyone is capable of pretending (aka: faking) that they like someone they don't particularly like. I do it all the time. If we all went around telling each other exactly how we feel about each other, I'd venture a guess that none of us would have any friends or relatives that we speak to on a regular basis. I know I wouldn't.

And so, if you're a relative of mine and you decide to call this house and I pick up the phone, how about you pretend that you like me, or at the very least, that you recognize my voice since I've been married to your son for over 20 years. It's not that difficult to fake kindness once you get the hang of it and I know you have it in you because you're nice to everyone else in this house but me.

If you need tips on how to be a hypocritical phoney who knows how to fake kindness, take careful note of how I speak with you every time I speak with you.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Loving where you are

"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. " - Buddha

It's sunny and warm here today again, not even a bit like Fall but I love the sun and the heat so I won't complain. I'd much rather be hot than cold and I can't explain why except that I grew up where it was cold and so I guess I just had my fill of it. Now I cannot get enough of the sun. I know for a fact that it affects my mood. I am happier in the south than I've ever been. Sometimes I like to think it's shining just for me.

We've got nothing planned of importance today. The husband usually does yard work but he got in late last night and said he didn't feel like doing anything which is fine by me. I have to spend the afternoon tomorrow with my youngest at a sporting event which will take all day so he can do all that yard stuff tomorrow.

The other day I was out shopping and picked up a copy of the first season of Friday Night Lights on DVD. It was only $20 and I have heard all sorts of good things about it but never got around to watching it. I don't usually like to spend money on silly things like that because there's always something more important that our money can be spent on (the children who are now older but do not seem to require any less money, in fact, seem to require more with cars and whatnot). But I was standing there and I thought to myself how I don't blink an eye about spending big bucks for anything that they want and there I was worrying that $20 would be too much to spend on me and I thought to hell with it and bought it. I plan on doing that more because I'm only living once as far as I know.

I'm reading the most wonderful book, The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. It's a nice thick book and I love big books because it seems like I can make the story last forever. I'm not even halfway through, but so far it's very good. I've gotten back into the habit of always having a book on hand to read.

There for a while, I just sort of stopped reading for some reason, then this summer, one of the books my youngest had to read was The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. This child of mine is notorious for hating to read but then takes a gifted Literature class where she is required to do nothing but read, so you tell me. Anyway, she loved The Kite Runner and she's said that about exactly one other book in her life so I read it and agreed that it was a good read. So now I'm back to being excited about reading again myself. I love getting lost inside books. They allow my soul soar with adventures I might not experience otherwise.

What's not to love about that?

Friday, October 5, 2007


"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."- Annie Dillard

There is something to be said for hard work. There’s something to be said for setting clear goals and making up your mind not to falter in a such a way that it is impossible to get yourself back on track again. I have struggled my entire life with sticking to things that I know are good for me. I tend to live in extremes, an all or nothing existence, and I’ve finally realized that this lack of stick-to-it-ness doesn’t serve me or help me in any way.

I want to wake up in the morning and take care of the things that need to be taken care of without feeling myself drowning in the responsibilities that seem to confirm the mediocrity of my life. I don’t want to admit that I’m just an average person with an average life who gets up every day and doesn’t really make a difference anywhere. All too often, I take the easy way out by wishing for things but never putting forth the effort to attain those things. Then I get all indignant like I've been cheated and I look outside myself to place the blame when I know the blame is mine alone. The truth is that life is ordinary a lot of the time and no amount of wishing will make it otherwise. I keep waiting for the time when I can accept that without feeling like I'm losing something important.

I feel lost in my life a lot. I want to write it down somewhere that I’ve let years go by feeling lost–-surrendering myself to this wandering around without purpose–-to this living just to get by. I need to be able to see it in writing so that I can read it over and over again to remind myself that I have choices. I feel ashamed that I forget or ignore that fact that I do have power. It really sucks knowing that I haven't done my very best at things that really matter. I don't know of any other way to put it. It just really sucks living with that knowledge.

But what I’m learning is that no one is coming to save me from myself and this internal struggle of mine. I'm like a hitchhiker that everyone keeps whooshing by, but I think I'm ok with that now, although I haven't always been. I have people who love me, who adore me (really), so it is not a question of not having people to lean on, it's more that I need to believe I can navigate this world on my own and this is what I am working on. I'm trying hard not to be too distressed that I'm in my 40's and still haven't gotten this life thing figured out yet.

It’s hard work. It’s about trying to find peace. It’s about forgiving myself for the mistakes I’ve made and not falling backwards and becoming immobile when others continue to bring those things up. And it’s about forgiving them for not letting things go and not realizing how damaging it is to whip out that mistake list the minute it becomes useful again to bring it up. In the past, I never felt like I could let anything go when someone was always reminding me. I want to be able to let things go.

There are things I know about myself that are hard to know. The truly awful things, I simply want to deny but they do not cease to exist just because I don’t want to face them. I’ve asked myself what I’m afraid of, what I feel will happen if I acknowledge that I am hopelessly flawed? I think I’m afraid I won’t be able to live with myself which is ridiculous because I get up every day and live with myself being hopelessly flawed. I even think that some of my biggest flaws are things that win over other people's hearts, so there's proof right there that making mistakes is all part of the journey.

Anyway, I don’t know why it is always such an awful shock to realize I'll never be perfect.

And who knows, maybe it's good that the really important things are hard work.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Scented Memories

I bought a pumpkin scented candle last week and put it in my kitchen. Every time I go in there, I am reminded of the place where I grew up. I start thinking about pumpkin patches and apple cider and leaves so breathtakingly beautiful you have to see them to believe them. I spend a lot of time shoving aside memories that have the potential to leave me feeling sad for all that I am always missing, but I'm starting to believe that I'm shortchanging myself on all the good things, on all the smiles that live beside the memories that sometimes leave me melancholy. I think it'll always be this way, so I might as well face reality and permit myself to remember--allow the memories to come, no matter the baggage that might come along with them. I'm pretty confident that I'll find some way to deal.

Fall has it's own special scent and feeling but I can't seem to find it anywhere in the air where I currently live, so I look for it in other places.

Anyway, I love how a memory can be jogged by a scent, and that was my point in writing this.

So much of life is complicated. It's nice to know that some things come easy.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Persistence when I'd rather not

What made me happy today was going out and exercising even though it was the last thing in the world that I wanted to do. I have days where I have to fight myself on this, where I'd much rather give into the aches and pains that I somehow make so much bigger simply so that I can con myself into believing that it might be a good idea to take a day off.

I cannot tell you how many times I have given into that desire only to do the same thing the next day and the day after that. My little break turns into years. I really am too much to take sometimes with my ridiculousness. Trust me on this.

So I put my sneakers on, pulled my hair back, popped my IPOD in my ears (on songs that lift my heart) and I walked.

The payoff is twofold. I get the exercise which somehow helps me cope with my life so much better (not that my life is horrible or anything, but I've found that I need to make time to exercise because ultimately it makes me feel so much better.) And secondly, I feel good that I didn't give in to my desire to be a lazy ass, and, really, that's worth every blister and shin splint. I think.

So that was my moment of happiness which lasted most of the day.

And I went out for Chinese food afterwards with my husband, and that was good, too.