Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The REMODEL

Ugh. Last night was so stressful. OH and I stayed up until 12:30 installing lighting and cleaning everything up off the bedroom floor so that the Hardwood Floor People can come in and do their thing. If they couldn't get in to work on our house, with working lights, they wouldn't be available for a couple of weeks. Needless to say, we wanted to do whatever was needed in order for them to complete their work today. Which meant: scramble to fucking pick out the damn lighting and get it installed because HELLO, we both work full time, and don't have time at the drop of a hat to run to fucking Home Depot and then come home and act like fucking electricians. They sure didn't give us any notice that they needed lights. Thank you, Hardwood Floor People! Also: thank you for that big gash in the drywall that you left. We really like it.

Back to my story: last night we met at Home Depot to buy the lighting I had chosen during the day off of their website, which was soooo slooooooow. I spent two (!!!) hours online with three open browser windows with two different browsers running, trying to expedite the decision-making all for one ceiling fan and one light fixture. It sucked! And then traffic sucked, so I got to Home Depot late, and we realized that neither of us had printed out the lighting I had selected so we were flying blind. And you know what? I really didn't want to fly blind at that point, so that sucked, too. I had looked at so many styles for so long I couldn't remember exactly what the names of the styles I liked were called. By that time we were both really cranky. Luckily, we're still in the honeymoon stage of marriage or it might've gotten ugly.

We had to clean up the bedroom, because there were painting supplies and all kinds of junk on the floor, and I'm sure the Hardwood Floor People would've objected to that and then told us they couldn't work on it. Since our contractor isn't working on the bathroom this week at all, we moved everything in there. There's nothing happening in there and SO MUCH still needs to get done.

If this is not done by January, I am going to scream and then pull out my hair. I want a bedroom and a bathroom! I am so sick of sleeping in the tiny, tiny bedroom on a futon! I feel like I'm camping in my own house. The bathroom is so rustic, because only the bathtub works, and the drain plug is screwy. The floor is subflooring covered with dust; the tile is not done; there is no vanity, sinks, toilet, or lighting.

Remodeling your house is not fun. It is especially not fun when it runs WAY over time. We are learning a lot about the process, but unfortunately, not in time to have this job go better than it has.

My words of advice to anyone thinking of remodeling their house: Have your shit together before you begin! Pick everything out in advance! Don't schedule it while you're in the middle of planning a wedding and coaching football! You need to keep on top of what is going on! Because YOU have to live with the results. I'm just saying.

Odds and Ends

Thanksgiving was great this year. We went to OH's family's house about two hours away, where we expected to greet his parents and one of his brothers. He has two brothers: one lives in Oregon, the other in New Mexico; New Mexico brother wasn't going to come. When we got there, there was New Mexico brother! And Oregon brother! His dad and NMB had conspired to surprise everyone. It was really nice. OC had fun with her two new uncles, and they had fun with her, I think. Their family is not used to little girls. Now, with me and OC, the tide is turning and the gender appropriation is a little more balanced. She is the first grandchild, and I have to say, they treat her as if she were biologically related. I am really lucky to have found not only a husband who accepts me and my child together, but his whole family who does as well. The fact that my daughter and I were a package deal was a prerequisite for a new husband, but there is much less control when it comes to what their family's mindset would be. I am really, really grateful for that.

Dinner was very good. I made dad's spinach dip and potato souffle, our family's traditional recipes. OH's mom made turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, cole slaw, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie. Oh, I also made apple crisp. I am so weird, I don't like stuffing, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin pie. Never have, and I still don't. I am cuckoo for potatoes, though. And gravy. Mmmmm.......gravy.....

Heh heh.

We spent the night with the in-laws, then headed to another town about an hour away from that to meet OH's 87-year-old grandma. We had a nice visit.

After that, we didn't have time to visit my Hilarious and Fun aunt and uncle because we had to be back for the football game. OH's team just keeps winning, so there are more football games to attend. Now, the state semifinals are this Saturday and they are playing. If they win that game, there will be only one more week to go after that! Not that I'm excited for it to be OVER, or anything.

And for a dramatic change of subject, I will now dicuss my pets. I have two cats. Sable and Dakota are both 11 year old Persians. They are sweet, but Sable is very skittish and Dakota is stressed out. They are exhibiting signs of stress, i.e. they are peeing and pooping in the house and not in their litter box. Argh! I read up on cat care yesterday, and have formulated a plan to deal with this unpleasant problem.

I was heartened to read that this kind of behavioral problem is easily and inexpensively fixed, it just takes effort. Okay, I can do that. I want to keep my kitties, because if they can't stop soiling the house, they will have to go. I can part with Sable sort of, kind of, fairly easily, but Dakota is my buddy and I can't bear to see him go. This has been really hard to consider, but I can't continue to live in a house where "surprises" are left for me. OH is at his end with the problem, and I don't blame him.

We are doing the following: confinement while we are away to a smaller area of the house with their food, water, toys, and clean litter boxes; cleaning all soiled areas with a serious enzyme cleaner; placing deterrants of citrus air fresheners in areas previously soiled; and a new litter box with a new kind of litter to encourage litter box use. I may have to vary the placement of the litter boxes to see if they are unhappy with the current location in the bathroom. It's pretty cramped in there, so I would imagine they feel like there is no easy escape.

The stresses on the cats are pretty obvious: we moved to a new house; there are two cats who already reside at the new house but they are indoor/outdoor so not inside all the time; the house is being remodeled. All of that is on top of previous instances of non-litter box use, which hadn't been attended to, mostly because I didn't know what to do. I think one of the problems might have been that I used scented litter. No more scented litter! Kitties' sense of smell is very acute, and they don't like perfumes. I will clean the litter box out with soap and water once per week now, too. I never did that before. I figured that scooping it was enough.

I have learned a lot about cats this week. I hope it is enough to fix the problem so I can keep my aging, furry babies.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Oregon Politics

I am a Democrat, and have been since I registered to vote back in 1991. I don't care much for partisan politics, but rather for issues and ideas no matter where they originate. I would characterize myself politically as a Centrist with Democrat leanings. Generally, my tendency is to look for solutions that garner the best results for the most people. I support ideas and laws that are fair and just, and I care about responsibility in all forms; Whether it's the responsibility to take care of one's own family, of one another in the community, or our environment. I respect common sense and high personal character.

I believe we could save a lot more than money if we conserve our resources. I don't believe money is the most important factor in most decision-making, but at the same time I realize that most decisions are made with money given the highest priority. This is true for business as well as politics.

I believe there are good and bad people in both major political parties. I don't agree with every idea the Democratic party espouses, but I agree with it more than I do the ideology of the Republican party.

And, Lord help me, I married a Republican! Not just a casual Republican, but a card-carrying, party-supporting, money-donating Republican. He is thoughtful in his beliefs, and so I respect him for that, even if I don't always agree. Interestingly, I think we agree on most things. How are we of two different parties? Because that's the way it is. It will make life interesting about every four years.

We have a Democratic Governor in our state at the moment. He is liked by many people all over the state, even rural areas. Here in Oregon, we have a great political divide between metropolitan Multnomah County, which includes the city of Portland, and the rest of the state which is largely rural excepting a few major towns and cities. Democrats usually are seen as being "for the city", while Republicans "for the rural areas". Sometimes that is true, other times it is not, but that is what sticks in people's minds. I am glad to see someone like our current Governor, who can bring these two opposed viewpoints together to find some kind of common ground. He's not universally liked, but after all, you can't please everyone. He does not have the same kind of "city folks like him, country folks don't" kind of rating as some Governors here have had.

In October, Governor Kulongoski gave a speech that was broadcast on the radio. It was a great speech, highlighting how honest, honorable, and non-partisan he is. He seems to care about bringing people together to look for solutions, rather than politick and play games. He makes an effort to represent all of Oregon, to be inclusive rather than exclusive and act power-mad.

I like that he's worked blue collar jobs; I like that he was an orphan and joined the Marines and went on to become governor. Most of all, I love that he has gone to EVERY FUNERAL FOR AN OREGON SOLDIER OR GUARDSMAN KILLED IN IRAQ. Every. Single. One. That says to me that they are not a number to him, but an individual, and that it's important enough to go to the funerals and remember the sacrifice. It makes me respect the man even more.

I'm not fond of the idiot in the white house. That's not because he's a Republican, it's because he's an idiot. Thank goodness we have Governor Kulongoski to brighten up the political scene here in Oregon!

Thanksgiving Plans

Thanksgiving plans are as follows:

Thursday morning:
- drive 2 hours to visit in-laws
- eat enormous amounts of yummy food
- watch Broncos play at 1 pm (Go Broncos!)

Friday:
- drive 1 hour to meet husband's grandma, who couldn't travel to the wedding

- drive 15 minutes and visit hilarious and fun Uncle and Aunt

- drive 3 hours to scout high school football game, because OH's team is in the playoffs (Yay! they are in the playoffs! Also: Crap! They are in the playoffs! That means a longer football season.)

Friday night:
- go home

Saturday:
- Do nothing for as long as possible. Okay, maybe clean and organize a little, because G-d, the mess!

Sunday:
- Repeat Saturday's agenda


Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

In The News

There are several topics in the news recently that I'd like to comment. I'm still doing some research on one topic so I can speak about it without sounding like a hack. Now you get to look forward to a well-researched rant, so it will be extra super long. Lucky blog reader, you! I'm going out on a limb and just assuming one or two people actually read this thing. My statistics show that, so far, I am my own most frequent visitor. This makes me feel pathetic if I think about it. Moving on...

I read a great article in this past Sunday's Oregonian an article about the new President-elect of Liberia. There is also this one from the BBC. It's fascinating to me to see these changes. I like the fact that patriarchal African nations are getting more and more women's voices in politics so that they may participate in decision-making. Women, after all, take care of the family. They care about issues to do with people and quality of life in a way that many men overlook in favor of issues to do with wealth or to boost their pride. This woman seems like a fit for the job. I wish her well.

Speaking of women, Germany has had some changes recently. It sounds like this is for the better. Any time people come together to resolve their differences, it's a good thing in my opinion.

And this I found fascinating for its own merits. Can you imagine the engineering required to come up with a plan to raise an entire city? Especially one so ancient, like Venice?

Keep yourself informed, and have a good day.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Post Toasties

Ahhh, Monday: The day we get to reflect on all we did not get done the previous weekend.

I am never ready for Mondays. But, who is? This past weekend, we went to the Civil War football game. This is the game played between the University of Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State University Beavers. We are OSU fans. Sadly, they lost pretty badly. The final score was 56-14.

It was a foggy game. At some points the fog was so thick that you couldn't see the ball. The Beavers, in their white uniforms blended into the fog, while the Ducks, in their green uniforms, blended in with the turf. We left at the end of the 3rd quarter because it was foggy, cold, we were getting beaten, and we could beat the crowds. It was fun to go to the game in person, it just takes the whole day to do this. Sigh.

We drove all the way home that night, staying awake by having my husband discuss the history of OSU football. Also, he is teaching me the college football conferences, who is in each conference, and what each team has for a mascot. It was fun to talk about football, and will be nice to follow along in conversations about football. I really like the college level, although I'm not sure why. OH likes it better than pro football, and maybe that's why I like it so much, too. Anyway, there is a website to learn about all of this stuff, in case you're interested.

Sunday, I went to my apartment and packed up the bathroom, because we will no longer need it because we have a usable bathtub! I spent about two hours packing and cleaning, and then I turned in the keys. It feels good to be done with that. Now, there is a mountain of stuff in the garage, and all over the usable parts of the house, and no place to put it! Wheeee!!!!

The remodel is going. Slowly, but it's going. Check my Flickr site for new photos. I should have the photos of the remodel up today or tomorrow, but there are new pictures up of other things right now.

The bathtub is usable, but the bathroom still needs a toilet, vanity, sinks, flooring, lighting, and the tile to be completed. The tile that is up so far is looking beautiful. The tub is deep, and it feels good to take a bath for a change. I am a shower person, but baths are a nice change of pace. We're so anxious to have a full bathroom, but at this point, it's just nice to take a bath in our own home.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Happy Birthday To Me

My birthday was Monday. The bad part was that I had to work that day. The good part is that it was a great day. I barely feel 23 at all!

Hahahahahahahahahahaha! Kidding. I'm 32.

My husband cooked breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast, and coffee. God love 'im, it was really good. There was also a sweet, romantic card. Oh, the sweetness! Oh, the romanticness! He did not just pluck a pink card off the shelf. No, he put some thought into it.

Once I got to work, my mom called. (Hi, Mom!) It was nice to hear from her. At midmorning, I got a call that there was a delivery for me. At first I thought it was a new drum kit for the color printer, but it turned out to be a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Guess who sent them? OH. More sweetness!

At that point, I was feeling all warm and fuzzy, and very cared for. OSEAST left a message on my phone, OSWEST sent me an e-card and brought over my present over the weekend. My friends emailed greetings. It was lovely! I have to take a moment to say to all three of you reading, that I have the most wonderful husband, friends and family that I could ever ask for. I love you guys.

I had lunch with my friend, let's call her Vendela, because she's hot like a supermodel. Anyway, she's very sweet and got me a book on Vancouver B.C. because I mentioned that I was looking forward to traveling there soon. And, some yummy-smelling bath lotion.

But the sweet, romanticism from OH wasn't over yet. I came home to find OH cooking stir fried tacos, and he had champagne ready to go. He had also gotten cake. Holy Cocoa Bean, Batman! The cake! It was goooood eats. It was a Boston Fudge cake, or something like that. It had chocolate fudge, chocolate and cream filling, all over a light white spongecake. It was DEFUCKINGLICIOUS. There was also a present, which turned out to be a Denver Broncos sweatshirt! Hooray! I need to digress a bit here to explain how cool this is.

I have never been a fan of any particular football team. My husband is a sports fan and he has his teams (Vikings, Patriots). Although he has been a long-time Viking fan, they have fallen into disfavor with the recent hooker-boat incident. You know, I'd really just like to eat some hot wings and watch some Sunday football, and not think about how many professional athletes abuse their wives, cheat on their girlfriends, and/or take drugs. It's depressing. My hope is that they don't all act like that.

I decided that I needed to have a team, too, so I could have a team to root for, and to follow and pay attention to (verses the zero-amount of attention I currently give every team).

After giving careful thought and considering several teams, such as the Patriots and Chargers, I narrowed it down to one. I didn't choose the Patriots because I didn't want to be seen as jumping on the "Hey, They've Won the Superbowl a Couple of Times, I'll Like Them Now" bandwagon. As for the Chargers, they just weren't resonating with me. I settled upon the Denver Broncos for many reasons: because I liked their team colors, they are a western team, they have a good quarterback, and a fairly decent behavioral reputation. It all fell into place. So, I am a new fan but I had no official fanwear. It's so cool, because now I can represent.

What a great way to usher in my 32nd year......or is it my 33rd year? How does that work? I think I am starting the 33rd year. Anyway. It was a good day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Quotable

Last night as I was putting OC to bed, she said, "Mommy, I have lots of sesame seeds in my eyes."

"Sleepy seeds, dear."

"Yeah, sleepy seeds."

**********************************

We were having dinner at the apartment a few weeks ago, and we had our spread on the living room floor in front of the tv. After finishing, OC asked to be excused in her usual polite manner, adjusting slightly for the present circumstances by saying, "May I please be excused from the floor?"

**********************************

OC bit her nails for a time. I explained that biting your nails was bad for them, that it made them ragged and weak. One day not long after that, I noticed that her nails looked really good and in fact, needed to be trimmed.

"Mommy, I didn't bite my nails."

"OC, I'm so proud of you! They look great, honey. Good job!"

"Yeah, I'm not really interested in that anymore."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

It's Time For Some Politics

Perhaps nothing in our society can polarize or connect us as much as news and events of the political realm. The word politics is not, on its own, a bad word or even a bad thing. It does, however, have a negative connotation to which it is readily associated, often for good reason.

I proffer one of those good reasons for you today. A situation has come up here in Oregon of a political nature; Nay, a soap opera to put it more truthfully.

Kelley Wirth, a 40-year-old Democrat representing a district in the Oregon House which includes the city of Corvallis, is resigning her seat on November 15th. But not before submitting paperwork quadrupling her spending on staff pay, which include her mother. Her mother, a "legislative assistant" worked for $3,500 a month, and the paperwork would raise her salary to $6,500 a month. The House Minority Leader called the spending completely inappropriate, asking her to rescind the pay raises.

Why is she resigning? Good question. Here's the short version: Because she got run over by a car which was driven by her lover's girlfriend, and then was charged with possession of a controlled substance when a search of the car revealed a small amount of methamphetamine. Just a small amount, though.

Wait, there's more! She was the only legislator to vote against a recent bill before the House which toughened penalties for meth-related crimes. She also voted against two other previous meth-related bills. Coincidence? Um, yeah, NO.

Her lover or, alleged lover, was a 27-year-old janitor at the Capitol. But, he had a girlfriend. Ahh, love triangles can be such a sticky wicket.

This girlfriend, 22, we'll call Crazy Cracker. She did not like her boyfriend taking a lover, so she did what any self-respecting crazy cracker would do: she ran the bitch down with her car. Not only that, but she tried to back up and get a run at her to do it again but the car got hung up on a parking meter.

No, really!

All of this occurred at the State Capitol parking lot, which was a stroke of genius, I think. That way if you planned your attack in the daylight on a busy street you would never, ever get caught! Also, there are never any police at the Capitol! That girl's in jail for attempted murder, due to her brilliant planning and splendid ignorance of good judgment.

Cut to Kelley: while doing a routine inspection of the car after the accident, I mean, attempted murder, the police found what they suspect to be meth in her car. Lab tests aren't back yet, but it looks like meth to the police, people. It was a small amount, so it would be possession of a controlled substance, which is a Class C Felony.

The Janitor said the affair with Wirth had been going on for about 18 months. It began when he returned a missing iPod to Wirth in her House office, he said, and "it just escalated." The Janitor said he was in the process of breaking off the relationship when Wirth called his home last week while he was at work and told the Crazy Cracker who ran her down that "something was going on" between her and The Janitor. The Janitor said that when he returned from work, Crazy Cracker confronted him, and he told her of the affair. The Janitor said that one day, Wirth arrived at his home and demanded to see him. He said Crazy Cracker told her to leave, but Wirth stayed for about 15 minutes, until Crazy Cracker told her she had called the police.
That evening, Crazy Cracker's car struck Wirth in front of the Capitol.

Oh, and Wirth denies the relationship. She also isn't talking publicly yet, although the press is dying to get a statement from her. The Janitor? He's on paid leave from his job.

So Oregon: First there was Tonya, now there is Kelley. Damn. With White Trash making the news like that, it makes us look bad. Trust me, we are not all like that.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Comments 101

I know that the comments area is somewhat difficult to figure out, because there is an email icon right next to the comment link and you might think that icon was how you left a comment. But no, they are separate functions.

To leave a comment, mouse-over the word "comments" at the bottom of any post. Click on it, enter your name and email address, or nickname and email address, write your comments. When you are done, click "post comments" at the bottom of that screen. Voila!

Keep in mind that your comments can be viewed by whoever looks at this blog, so keep it clean. Ha ha! Just kidding. Who cares about clean? Just be aware of that, and write whatever the hell you want (that makes me look good, of course).

Oh, that email icon? Is how you email the text of the post to a friend. This comes in handy whenever you need to share what brilliant writing or thoughtful insight I had.

Ahahahahahahahahaha!

Ahem.

So, there you go, that was Comments 101. Use it to speak your mind, and provide feedback on the contents of my mind, which appear splashed all over this blog.

Selected Excerpt

I don't know why I'm telling you this, but here is an excerpt from my stab at NaNoWriMo.

My word count is pathetically low. I've been struggling with the beginning of this story, and in trying to figure out details of things like, how old I would make the main character, what I wanted to say, what the character would experience. I have been working hard to make it mostly fiction instead of things taken directly from my life. There are similarities to my life contained in the story. But when it comes to characters I want them to be fictional.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Additionally

As an addendum to the previous post, I have to say that something happy has resulted from all of the heartache. I talked about it a little bit before, but I could describe it better.

The most important thing to come out of that terrible dark time in my life is that I have accepted myself. I am happy like never before. For the first time believe I have worth as a person, that my opinions are valid, that I have a legitimate place here along with everyone else. Now when I criticize myself, it is not to the tune of "You're so stupid!", but it's more like, "Well, that was not the smartest thing you've ever done. That's okay. Learn from it and move on. And, laugh! It's (probably) funny!!!" A vast, never-before-seen improvement, by any standard.

During 2004, otherwise known as The Dark Abyss of Circular Unending Despair, or TDAOCUD, I was out of touch with most, if not all, of my friends. I didn't have what it took to reach out to call anyone, certainly not to ask for help. It was hard to define what I needed. I needed company, but it was too hard to ask for it. And, it was hard to take anything in and be a decent friend in return. Besides that, I was tired of my own story. Talking to a friend would necessitate talking about my sad life more, after all, they would wonder why I cried so much. All I wanted was to feel better. But, I didn't know how. Depression sucks!

I believe that everything else follows once you accept yourself. You are a happier person because, you just can't help it. The burden of being hard on yourself is lifted, because there is forgiveness and love where the criticism used to be.

Anyway. I am so much stronger now. And I can still get depressed and feel like I want to retreat, but it's different now. I don't feel that terrible despair that I felt during TDAOCUD. The lows aren't quite so low, the highs are enjoyable and I have no resentment or guilt for myself for enjoying them. I am grateful to feel this way, and in large part is is due to my anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medication. I resisted pharmacological help for a long time, but it became clear that there was no other alternative. Oh, that's not entirely true. The truth is, there was an alternative: jumping off a bridge. This was not, however, a viable alternative. When it got down to the choice between taking drugs or finding a high bridge, I knew I was close to something very bad, and could not do this alone anymore.

Enter the competent psychiatric nurse-practitioner, who I love with all the depth of my being! This woman, the first medical professional who listened to me, took the time to really listen. She asked me pointed questions, and got to the heart of what was wrong. She was able to prescribe a medication that stabilized my moods and got my anxiety under control so I could think rationally. It was me, only without the overwhelming anxiety clouding everything, making me depressed and unable to cope.

Now, I can cope and think clearly. When problems arise, I take them on. When many problems arise at once, I take them on one at a time. And, I ask for help if I need it.

I consider myself capable of just about anything, but even if I fail at something, I know I can always get up and try again another day. That's just a cross-stitch country sampler way of saying that if I screw up, I give myself another chance because imperfection is okay with me.

It's nice to be alive, making mistakes and all the rest that comes along with being human. Just like everyone else.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Fridays Past and Present

For pretty much the entire year of 2004, I spent Friday nights at home watching “Joan of Arcadia” and crying. It sounds sad, and it was, but it felt really good to nestle myself in a blanket and immerse myself in another person’s story for awhile. The storyline to “Joan” was different from other shows on tv. It was spiritual, thoughtful, and dealt with serious issues in a non-clich├ęd way. I liked it.

I cried because I had so many strong emotions all the time, and the release was necessary. I was blanketed with layer upon layer of grief and shock for all that had changed in my life: the illness and deaths of my brother and father; feeling lonely, lost, guilty, and overwhelmingly responsible for my child’s happiness and well-being; unsure of how I would ever be of a good parent if all I could do was get through the day and then cry any time I was alone (and even when I was not alone. I hate crying in public, but it happened a lot that year). My life as I knew it was turned upside down, inside out, and all the contents were shook about until it no longer resembled anything I recognized. There was no comfort to be found in familiar routines or objects, because very little was left that was familiar. This was how I felt on the inside, too: completely unrecognizable, as though someone had taken an electric mixer to my guts and heart and all remained was ugly, messy carnage. My family was completely obliterated, with each of us launched to our separate corners of the universe, isolated with our grief. It in a wild understatement to say that I did not know how to cope.

I was not a happy person. I could not see my way out of the despair I was in. When a coworker killed himself, I was shocked and saddened like everyone else. Secretly, I envied him the release from it all that I imagined he experienced in his last moments. Scary.

Things changed for me when I made two critical decisions which unleashed positive forces that began to work inside me that I have never before experienced. The first was that I began attending church, and the other that I found an excellent counselor. I don't know what got me to that point, but something inside of me knew there was hope. I knew I wasn't benefitting yet from the inner spring of optimism, but somehow I knew it was there. It is an amazing mystery how that spring became replenished after it had run so low for so long.
The church I found is Presbyterian, who had only months before I showed up, hired a new pastor. He happens to be the most dynamic, intelligent, compassionate, rational, wise man I have ever heard speak in my life. He is amazing! He is brilliant! I cannot do him justice here with my words, and I cannot say enough about him. He renders you absolutely intent on what he’s saying. He weaves in quotations and stories from scientists, authors, scholars, theologians, and more into his sermons, to make his point. Generally, his point is that we are all human, we try our best, and when we don’t that’s okay, too. He drills home that we are all accepted and loved, and that we should now go out and do our best for another week.

His message was like a lightening bolt to my soul. I was okay? Are you kidding? Do you know who I am and how many mistakes I’ve made??? And I’m forgiven? No way! Really?

This experience has proven to be essential to my recovery. I do not believe I would be where I am today without Pastor Rene. I remember one story in particular that began my change of thinking. It is the parable of the lost sheep. I have, for all my life, never felt like I belonged. When I was a kid, I thought I wasn’t supposed to be born because my parents were divorced. Now, it’s interesting to note that I didn’t believe this about OTHER kids whose parents were divorced, just myself. I don’t know where I got this notion. This notion grew until it parlayed itself into the bigger belief when I was older that I was not a legitimate part of the world. All the way through my 20’s. It was only when I became a mother did I feel a part of something. I know, it’s really weird that I thought that way, and for so long.

So, the parable of the lost sheep is something like this: A shepherd has 100 sheep grazing in a meadow. One sheep wanders off, and when the shepherd notices this, he goes off to find that missing sheep, leaving the 99 who stayed where they were supposed to be, alone and ungaurded. At that moment, the one missing sheep is more important than the other 99. This spoke to me. Guess which sheep I felt like I was? And that was when I began to feel important, and a part of humanity, not to put too fine a point on it. Can you imagine feeling this way? Like you were not a part of the world? That kind of thinking had far-reaching implications, and colored every other thought and action I had. It was the main basis for my depression.

After hearing that story, I began to feel differently about myself. It took some time, but after a few months I began to feel worthy, and that my own thoughts and feelings were useful, and that I could express them. I began to feel my own place in the world, and that that place was valid.

After many subsequent Sundays of taking notes during similarly intelligent sermons, and a few personal meetings with the pastor, I have learned more, and built further upon these feelings of validity and worth. Up until this year it was as if my innermost self, my soul, was submerged in cold, brackish water. It was stagnating and suffocating in the mire. This year, for the first time in my life, my soul has warmed and surfaced above the blackness which has allowed me to blossom and become the person I was meant to be.

I have been to three counselors in two years. The first one was a very stylish woman who, I am fairly sure, never wore the same thing twice in the year that I saw her. She listened and listened and listened, and had nothing to offer. There were no suggestions, no insights, no guidance, nothing. It took me a long time to leave her, but when I finally did, she made me feel guilty and tried to get me to come back. I can’t believe I did it, because I was such a pleaser, but I resisted her highly inappropriate suggestions and did not go back.

The second was a psychiatrist, who I chose because I needed someone who could prescribe medication. I was getting desperate because of ongoing sleep deprivation. My appointments with him were in the late afternoon, and he tended to fall into a state of relaxtion where he was moments away from falling asleep. He would sit in the chair with his head in his hand, and when he would start to lean, I would get worried. What does one do when one’s psychiatrist dozes? And, should I feel flattered that I wasn’t crazy enough to keep him awake? Did that mean I was okay? Somehow, I thought not. That was too much for me to take, to have someone on the verge of falling asleep at the moment I am sharing my deepest feelings and reaching out, desperate for help.

This leads me to the third. He was fine and all, but there were never any breakthroughs or anything very significant to come out of the sessions. He listened without falling asleep, and he had things to offer, but we just weren’t connecting. I felt dissatisfied every time I left, like I had talked for an hour and nothing came of it.

After that I waited several months before seeing someone new. I was tired of baring my soul to no avail. It’s a fairly exhausting process. Not to mention, there is the scheduling and the sick time and the insurance to deal with. At that point, I needed a break.

At the end of 2004 I began seeing my current counselor. She is a great fit for me, because of the way she listens to me and has insights to my problems. She has this way of getting to the heart of things, and making me think of it a little differently. I’ve made more progress with her in less than a year of counseling, than I have in my entire life until that point. It’s been incredible. I cannot do justice to my experiences by writing about it here. It’s so hard to describe.

My friday nights, and life in general, began to improve in 2005. The concepts I was learning and the changes to my thinking and behavior coalesced, and I began to not need to cry as much. Friday nights became about resting after a long week, but not about collapsing and crying for hours. This was a great relief.

Now, things are much improved: I am married to a warm and caring man; I work at a job I’m fortunate to have that keeps me in shoes and French facial care products; I have wonderful friends, one of whom told me last night that there are things she can tell only to me which made me feel good, and I also feel the same about her; I enjoy family life with my sweet daughter and of course, the kitties. We live in a three bedroom house on a dead end street with ¾ of an acre with big trees and a garden. It’s lovely. Things are not, however, perfect.

We are currently having the master bedroom and bathroom remodeled. During this time, we are sharing a half-bath containing a toilet and sink with the washer, dryer, bucket of laundry soap, and two litter boxes. Our first aid, brushes, hair products, and makeup is contained in boxes on top of the dryer. The remodel is taking longer than expected, but we’re dealing with it. The most problematic detail is there is no bathtub in which to bathe OC. I have rented my apartment for another three weeks in order to have a bathtub available, which we frequent three times a week. After which we drive home, arriving after 8pm. It’s not the most convenient of things. In fact, it’s a huge pain in the rear. I know that at the end of it all, we’ll have a beautiful new bathroom and bedroom to enjoy. It will be done one day soon, and we’ll look back on this time and laugh! Okay, maybe not laugh, but we’ll better enjoy where we are after having gone through this.

Today is Friday. OH is going to watch his #1 in state varsity football team (he is the jv defense coach; the jv’s went undefeated this year) play the #2 team. I plan to spend this evening cleaning the kitchen, then snuggling with my daughter while we check out one of our Netflix movies. The only way crying may occur will be if the movie is sad. For that I am truly very grateful.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I'm Also a Slacker

Current word count: 744.

I should be writing 1,700 words per day if I'm going to make the 50,000 mark by the end of the month. Oy vey.

I guess that's what weekends are for.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I'm a Joiner

I've joined the thousands of other crazies who will try to write a 50,000 word (or more) novel in one month. I happened to think of it today, and when I checked the website I found out that today is the start of this year's event. It is NaNoWriMo, which is National Novel Writing Month.

Those that meet the goal are deemed winners. There's no prize, it's more of a prestige thing. Actually, it's a good way to get off your butt and write something, already, and I dig that.

Random Items for Fun, Distraction or Both

Here are some things you may want to do today:

- Waste vital minutes with virtual bubble wrap

- Make a map of the United States to highlight states you have visited

- Browse through an incredible photo gallery of images taken in Alaska

- Comment on the previous posts in this blog (Please!)