Monday, March 30, 2009

Moms and Daughters

I watched Grey's Annatomy today, one of my faves. There was a patient sub-story that reminded me of my mom. I just broke down. She died two years ago this Wednesday and my dad died two weeks to the day after her.

I think about why I am so moved by her death and don't feel quite the same way about my dad. Maybe it has to do with how I interacted with them, maybe it is how a child feels about their mother as opposed to their father. I don't know. But I think there is a special bond between girls and their moms. They take us through a lot of ritual, life's milestones, and present a miror for us on sexuality, beauty, againg, and parenting. I had plenty of growing up issues and disagreements with my mom, but later in life we came around to find a peace with each other - as most parents and children do - and I took care of her as best I could in her last years.

My mom was tough and resilient and creative. She was a real model for me on how to get through life. She made mistakes and some were whoppers, but she found her way through her life and lived a life she could be proud of. I hated that I found the best option was to put her in a nursing home. Not something that she ever wanted. But her husband could not care for her, she was not ambulatory, she could not care for herself and I could not care for her nor afford full time care. The only way to care for her was to put her on state assistance and find the best accommodations I could and visit her regularly and frequently. As you can read, I still beat myself up over this, knowing I had no other choice that I could make work and that I did the best I could for her.

When we are young, we never see that we might be in such a position. Our moms are always our protector, our friend, our adversary, our oppressor. Anything but our mom. It's only now that I realize what that role was and how hard it was for her to do it and how she did it anyway and usually with great love and care. I miss my mom. And even though I am not a mom, I still try to behave as she would and live up to what I will never formally be.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Attractive or Flypaper?

Just got off of a several day business trip. I was on a local train going home. It is a light rail, so you can't go from car to car. It was crowded and I had to stand in the center area. I noticed a guy standing with his back to me. He had on a cheap, polyester sport coat and had hair going in all directions. He just looked frumpy. I'm not one to judge - but he was muttering. That's what drew my attention.

He turned around and saw me. He did a double take. Uh, oh. Yep, he sauntered across the car to me. "Hi, how ya doin" he says. Fine, thanks. I am polite but avoid eye contact. No luck. "So, you're doin ok. that's good. yeah. so, train is crowded. yeah. hmmm. would you like to go for a drink?"

I kid you not, the guy props me straight up. I'm polite, "no thanks." He mutters some kind of oh, ok, response and goes back to where he was. Whew!

Uh, oh. He's back. I got a jump seat and he stands next to me. "You're very pretty. very pretty." Uh, thank you. What I am I supposed to say? I can't get away - no where to go. He goes back and forth for awhile. Continues chit chat - I don't know what I'm going to do tonight - maybe shoping, maybe a movie. You like movies? He asks my name, I reply. Should have made something up. I am not good at deception. He comes back again and I'm reading on my iphone. He says, "is that a book? Oh wow." Then proceeds to pull out some phone and starts showing me the features, and he can get internet, blah, blah. Hello. I'm trying to read here. I keep reading, he keeps talking. And he is pushy, directly asking for a response to his querries.

OMG - what to do. So I decide to be pleasant, but not engaging. The guy could be a psycho for all I know. Plus, he is trying. Most guys won't, so I don't want to completely ignore him. He keeps trying. "So, what you don't date? I guess you like to be alone? Would you like to go out?" So I just firmly, but politely say - Actually, I'm involved with someone.

He is crest fallen, but continues. "Oh, yeah, sure. Ok. Well, I know how that is. If I'm dating someone, I don't talk to other women. Yeah, I don't want her talking to other guys either. Yeah, I get it. Well, I have tried some internet dating..." He proceeds to tell me about his internet escapades and how he is not sure about it. Help!

Finally - his stop is arriving. "well, I guess I'll see you. Nice to meet you." he holds out his hand for a handshake. 'Nice to meet you too, Vinnie. Have a great weekend" I say. Oh, I forgot to mention - his name is Vinnie. It is so trite I can't believe it. He grasps my hand, then cups it with his other hand is pumping my hand and it's like he can't let go. He finally does. One more comment..."well maybe someday you'll be single again, you never know and you might want a baby." Huh?

After the door closes I see 3 people sitting across from me and they all just bust out laughing. I sheepishly laugh too and said - there was no escape! They begin to recap his strange approach and conversation. Yeah, it was wierd.

As I sat on the train I'm thinking. You get what you attract. Is this the type of person I am attracting? I need to step up my style, my look, something. I did admire his willingness to put himeself out there. But when someone says no thanks and is not returning your interest, back off! He didn't take the hint, the direct refusal, or the ignoring him while reading. It is a little depressing to think that this is the longest convo I have had with a potential date in a while and the first ask in a while too. I am not good at this, but hope my prospects improve! I should mention, he was at least 10 years younger than me. So at least I got that going for me LOL.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Does Divorce Ever End?

I took the big, bold step in 2004. I had a frightfully unfullfilling marriage and decided enough was enough. I contributed to the unfullfilling union too. I was no saint. But at some point, I realized this had not been working for a long time and I was tired of trying. For me, the decision was the best I ever made. When I made the decision, however, I was not prepared for all the detangling that must occur. We owned a house, we had a ridiculous amount of credit card debt, and my soon to be ex had not been working for 4 years. We lived in a delusional bubble where we always assumed his next job was just around the corner. Of course, as soon as I left him he had a job in 2 weeks.

Fast forward to today - 5 years later. He is once again unemployed and heading to bankruptcy court. Ok. He has to do what he has to do. Only one problem with this. His bankruptcy will shift ALL the joint debt to me. Oh crap! He will file chapter 7 to wipe his slate clean, because he has very limited income. But the creditors will not wipe out joint debt. They just go to the other person to collect. That would be me.

It seems that my only hope of avoiding a complete financial meltdown is to file chapter 13 bankruptcy first and hope I can save myself. The court will create a payment plan for 3-5 years and the creditors will have to live with whatever I give them. After that, the debt is gone. Of course, that means my disposable income will be cut to the bone. Oh joy!

I get calls from his creditors., who are really my creditors. They don't read divorce decrees. They find my address and send stuff to him at my house. It's like one of those flypaper jokes where you can't get the stuff off your fingers. Get out of my life already! I'm looking at bankruptcy - the gift that keeps on giving. I would love to get my old debt cleared away in such a way that I pay but get some relief. I need a bailout. But I don't like being forced into this because my ex can't manage his life. That's why I left. It's like being stuck in the gravitational pull of a planet you want to escape. Where is my hyperdrive?

Now that I look at the legal advice, the suggestion is to file bankruptcy before divorce and then you each get a fresh start. I was too deluded to even think that was an option then. Oh well.

So here I am in the prime of my 2nd life, facing bankruptcy. Not a pretty picture. But I have my head on straight and I just have to get through this. When it is over, I can finally celebrate my divorce.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Break!

I spent my original spring break years in Florida! I travelled to every part of the state to partake of the spring break ritual while in college and high school, ruining my skin, but enjoying my Coppertown glow. Yikes!

Well, this spring break I returned to my last hometown. I moved about 10 months ago to a large city and left behind a smaller city filled with all my friends and relationships. The need to prove ourselves with a job is a venal trait of the American story. But, proving that I could go off on my own and tackle a big job in a new place was important to me. I needed to validate myself. I've moved around plenty, but always with a spouse in tow. Now that I am free to do my own thing, I'm doing it!

So spring break 2009 was all about renewing my friendships, visiting colleagues, doing some project work that I continue in this city, and generally having a grand time. It really was a bleast. I got to hang with my best friend all week and that was perfect. He is a godsend in my life because he creates a totally safe space for me to be in. When that happens, I am free to be introspective, let feelings and thoughts bubble up, find myself, and have awakenings. I made several breakthroughs on this trip, so I'll share :)

First, I retained my commitment to and feeling free of the need to get snockered. I did have a slip, but more on that later.
Second, I had some time to reflect on how binging on comfort foods and sugary treats is rooted in the same place as drinking. I really got to the heart of the matter and figured out why binging is no longer necessary in my life. I felt very good about that accomplishment!
Third, I came to a good place in my relationship with my best friend, who is my younger guy.

So the abuse of alcohol is a deeply seated response that is kind of like my default setting. Even though I now understand the root of it and have found the reason to not go there, certain things will still trigger that default response. On my last night in town I had happy hour with a very good girlfriend and got a head start on things. An hour later, I am at dinner with friends and we ordered a bottle of one of my favorite wines. Before you know it, I am sailing off to that familiar place, but not as bad as it could have been. Normally, I would have been on to the second bottle. So at least I had that much restraint! LOL

But it was my last night in the city. I was with my best friend and another close friend. I did not want to escape this trois, but it made me uneasy, nonetheless. My best friend and I have come to a platonic place. I won't go into the details, but it is what works best for us. We are wildly attracted to one another, but giving into that attraction only delays the inevitable. We want our superlative friendship more than we want to give into the carnal desire. Well, he does at least. And I have to respect that. But you may see why escape via vino on my last night in town was an easy cop out. Oh well. I am fabulous but not superwoman!

I did manage to revel all week in my latest epiphany about food. I had the same physical burden lifting feeling and same "ah-ha" awakening as with the alcohol puzzle. The week went amazingly well, food wise. Without effort, I eschewed any candy runs to the store, didn't pick up the Doritos at the quick mart, had one desert during the week which was fantastic, and maintained my veggie/seafood -tarianism better than ever! No mac and cheese, no pizza, no cheesy comfort food. I know I have gotten to the heart of it and am already absolutely changing my eating habbits. What a relief!

I have to say that this may be the best spring break week I have ever had! No tan, but so much more to work with. I love my life.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Giving up, but gaining more

What a drag it is to get old - so said Mick Jagger long ago. Then as he got much older, he started shedding his old ways, picking up some new healthy habits, and rocked on! I'm taking a page from his book, reluctantly, but then when results appear, warmly.

I read More magazine which tells me how to be 40+ and fabulous! Hmm. I read lots of health items that tell me to eat better, exercise more, and look for anti-oxidants and to fear or find free radicals. I can't keep up with all the advise. Then I was waiting for a friend in a bookstore and saw a book with a title that caught my eye - Skinny Bitch. With a title like that, I had to look. I started to read it, bought it, and have been devoted ever since. I instantly became a vegetarian on the 29th of February, 2008. So it has been a year. Yay! I have not gotten thin being a veggie. But it has greatly eased my mind. I turned my eating habbits when I read about factory farming and production of food. It made sense to me that the fear, shock, and anxiety that animals feel as they are cruelly slaughtered is then embedded in their flesh and consumed by me. You are what you eat.

Recently, I read a post by a friend on facebook about the evils of diet and regular soda. I have been a lifelong devotee of diet soda. But when I read this stuff, I stopped on a dime. Havn't touched the stuff since. Besides the risks of the sweetener, soda will hurt your liver, screws up your metabolism (and you get and stay fat), leads to osteoperosis, and so forth. It just hit me hard that this stuff was killing me! It was easier to give up meat than Diet Coke, but I'm doing it :)

I've had a long run with and love of alcohol. Beer, wine, Jack Daniels, Kettle One martinis. All yummy. I just kept having more and more difficulty keeping it in check. I finally realized that alcohol was not the escape I thought it was - because I was escaping to a dead end. I finally accepted that I have worked hard to love my life and I do! So, what do I have to escape? Nothing. End of abuse of that vice.

All of this leads me to the conclusion that you CAN change habbits that you don't like. But you never will do it until you decide that it is worth it to YOU, not because you think you should because someone has told you to. Something has to click. And it won't click until you are happy with the core of your life. When you have that going for you, you want to make it as good as you can and the bad habbits start to drop away. It has taken me a very long time to get to this spot, but it is worth the journey and the work!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Love in Bloom

Oh man. I just got hit hard, square in the jaw. Why do I do this to myself? I just spent how many weeks watching this relationship develop, only to see it shattered tonight. I am sick - for having wasted my time on this! I'm talking about Jason - the Bachelor. What a creep. Oh- Melissa - I love you. Oh, wait, maybe I don't. Oh, Molly it is you I love. HUH???? What a guy. THIS IS EXACTLY why I love being my age. No man would do that to me. First, because I wouldn't get on a TV show like that, but second, because I am wiser and a little more astute. Aren't I?

I just got an email today from a long time friend. Like me, she broke up with her significant other after a relationship of many years and a settled existence. She once told me, not everyone can do what you did and start again. Some of us aren't that strong. But she did it. And she has just told me she is in love! Oh yeah! And the guy has a kid and they are mad about each other (she and the guy, I don't know about the kid). I am sooooo happy for her - and a little jealous. I want that too. I have been in love for several years, but alas, my guy is not "in love with" me. He loves me and would walk over fire for me. But he claims he is not in love with me. Sigh. But I am in love with him. Such is life.

I convince myself most days that I will never find someone else. This is it and if he doesn't love me in that way, well, that's life. Sometimes I think I convince myself of this to protect myself because I can't imagine having to be disappointed again. Sometimes, I don't know how I feel because age is a big issue. Arggggghhhhh. Where is the roadmap? Where are the instructions? I just want to tell him - take the leap, take the chance. But I guess it's easier to say that from my position of seeing life behind me and he sees it in front of him. I feel guilty sometimes that I want him to take this leap, when he clearly wants the traditional family. I wish I had that family. I never had kids. I wanted to, but a bit late now. I know...foster, adoption, etc. But I don't think I can be a single mom and do it all. I barely can take care of myself.

Ok. I'm rambling now. Damn Bachelor. Got me all shook up.