Thursday, December 16, 2010

Contemplating Next Year

While it's still a bit early to start making New Year's Resolutions, it's by no means to early to start contemplating what to do with the year getting ready to start just a couple of rather short weeks from now.

While this past year has been full of changes, both good and bad, I am (in some strange regards) an eternal optimist despite what some folks might think of me.  Inevitably, I go into the new year with a hopeful heart that what has troubled me in the prior 12 month period will make it's way elsewhere, and whatever new things happen to crop up to take it's place are more easily and pleasantly dealt with.  Now, a week prior to the Christmas holiday, I find myself once again caught in the grip of that eternal optimism when faced with the prospects before me.

Aware as I am of the various challenges I will have to face over the course of the upcoming months (digging myself the rest of the way out of my financial hole, dealing with various other issues some of which aren't of the most pleasant nature) I cannot help but face the turning of the year with a strangely cheerful heart and lightness of spirit.

I have, after all, finally put certain things behind me which had consistently held me back in the past: numerous hangers on who weren't the friends they claimed to be, dragging me further towards financial ruin and headache than they were ever a help; certain emotional stumbling blocks which I clung to as though the security blanket of a small child, though the gods know that those items were hardly healthy things to have held on to over the years; my dependence upon others than myself for various things that I should have been relying upon only myself for.

As I look back over the past year's entries into this erstwhile journal, sparse though they might be at times, I find myself chuckling that I allowed myself to become so mired in my own past.  While those who refuse to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, those who refuse to let go of the past are doomed as well - not to repetition, but to stagnation.  I'm incredibly tired of feeling like I'm stagnating, and therefore I'm making a conscious effort to put the past where it belongs - firmly behind me, not forgotten, but neither is it going to be clutched to me as a protective shield convincing me not to move forward into my own future.

It promises to be as much of an adventure as this past 12 month span has been, if considerably more pleasant in some respects.  I guess we'll just have to see how much of an adventure it turns out to be, and whether my eternal return to hope is justified.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Winter of Our Discontent

Life is a series of paradoxes.  At least my life is.  Some days seem to be so filled with paradox that I end up wondering how the space-time continuum keeps from unraveling itself.

The past couple of days have seen more paradoxes than usual though.  Something goes right, then I turn around and something else goes dreadfully wrong.  A few more things will pile up in the "OMG Wrong" box, only to have something thrown at me out of the blue that looks almost too good to be true.

This has not been a particularly pleasant winter for me so far.  My finances are in a shambles, and digging out of the hole doesn't really seem to be making any sort of significant progress.  My electricity has been off since the end of October, and the electric company won't turn it back on (in anyone's name) until my outstanding bill is paid in full.  Only I don't make enough money at the job I finally managed to find to get that bill paid off.  I only make about $450 every 2 weeks from the job I currently have, and the bill is $1000.  Even if I had no other bills that Have to be paid (which I do) it would take me 3 paychecks - 6 weeks - to get it turned back on.  With other bills added into the mix, such as keeping a phone turned on, keeping the water turned on, keeping myself fed (albeit not well) making payments to get last winter's fines caught up and paid off, and contributing gas money to the various friends who are hauling me around when I have errands that Have to be run...... it doesn't leave much in the way of funds that I can set back TO pay against that outstanding electric bill.

I've been staying mostly with a friend of mine who lives nearby, so that there is at least heat and hot water.  Unfortunately, various portions of her family are coming in for the holiday season, and staying at her house, which means that as of this weekend I have no choice but to start staying at my place again.  Despite the lack of electricity or heat.  After all - even though the furnace burns natural gas, it still requires electricity to run, since it has a thermostat.

So.  If I could find a room mate (a Reliable room mate, that is) I could afford to put whatever they were paying me in rent against that outstanding electric bill, and get caught up in short order.  But until I have the electric back on, finding a room mate willing to move in (that I don't want to kill within 24 hours of them doing so) is more difficult than Mission Impossible.  Wonderful lil catch 22, eh?  If I had X, I could do Y, but until I've done Y, X cannot  be accomplished.

I finally broke down this afternoon, put my pride aside, and called the various community help agencies in town, hoping that at least one of them would be able to do Something to help me out of this jam.  No such luck.  We're not even out of the first full week of December, and none of them have any funds left TO help people out.  Not even a bit, so that I can get part of that bill paid up, and perhaps find other resources to help with the rest of it.

I don't know what I'm going to do at this point.  I don't make enough money to pay it on my own.  The room mates who ran up the bill skipped out owing me money.  I can't get a new room mate until it's back on, so hoping for that sort of miracle is out of the question.  I don't have anything left to pawn or sell to try and pay on the bill - I've already sold everything that the pawn shops would take for more than $5.  I've asked for more hours at work, but I'm already at the maximum number of hours they'll give me - simply because they refuse to hire anyone as a full time employee, lest they find themselves obligated by law to offer insurance and other benefits that they don't want to pay for.

And as I was sitting here, trying to think of some alternative that I might have missed, I get a phone call.  Last winter, I had decided to try and go back to school for a degree in Culinary Arts.  Not so much because I want to work in restaurants, or anything like that, but simply because I enjoy being in a classroom setting, I love to cook, and the classes would help me improve certain areas of my skills that are lacking.  I was told when I first started looking into things that it would be almost 2 years before they had a spot available for me, because spaces were limited and offered to highschool students first.  Only it seems they've had a couple of people drop out of the program, and a space has become available Now, ready to start January 3rd, with a schedule that would not conflict with my overnight job hours.

All I have to do, of course, is come up with $100 for uniforms (yes, uniforms for the culinary arts program - chef's whites) $150 for books, and convince the folks holding my student loans to put them back in forbearance so that I qualify for student financial aid.  Before next Wednesday.  Of course, if I Can manage to get them to put my student loans into forbearance, so that I qualify for financial aid, that would mean a $6000 Pell Grant check in a couple of weeks, which would cover my tuition and fees and books and uniforms and get all my bills caught up and maybe even leave enough left over to get a cheap PoS car to get to and from classes.  Which is going to be a major problem for me, since campus is on the far side of town.

If I don't jump at this opportunity to get into the program, it'll be at least 2 years before they have a space for me.  But there's no Practical way for me to take the opportunity that seems to be getting handed to me.  No transportation, half of my utilities off with no way to get them turned back on until the winter is nearly over, and no way to pay for tuition, fees, books, and uniforms right now.

And people wonder why I'm depressed.

End of the Year Ramblings

This has been a year of ups and downs that would  make a newlywed's bed look quiet and tame in comparison.  From the extremes of last winter's nervous breakdown, miserably failed relationship with a lard assed idiot, and the problems surrounding dad's continuing health issues and APS involvement with his "care," I've now started getting my life back in some semblance of long overdue order.

I'm finding that while I dislike having to answer to someone else, now that I have a job out in the wider world again (as opposed to the job of being mommy, home caregiver, nurse, maid, accountant, chauffeur, crises councilor, nutritionist, laundry service, physical therapist, speech therapist, social and entertainment director, etc ad nauseum) I'm truly enjoying being out of the house, earning a living of my own again, and no longer dependent on either someone else's income or good will.  Granted, things aren't yet where I'd like them to be, but they're getting there.  It's a slow process, crawling up out of a hole deeper than a grave, nearly 25 years in the making.  It feels good, being able to do for myself again after all these years, even if it's not doing as much or as quickly as I would like to see happen.  I keep telling myself "Patience is a Virtue."  Then the other voice in my head answers with, "But what did Virtue ever get for us??"

The down side of things not moving as quickly as I wish they would comes in the form of my Relatives.  Yes, those same relatives that I used to dread having to spend obligatory holidays with.  Especially that guilt trip inducing grandmother whom I Still refer to as "The Bat" (though honestly, that's a bit of an insult to harmless little night fliers the world over.)  I make a distinction between Family and Relatives for a reason.  Those whom I consider my Family I've chosen over the years, and they bear no relation to me as far as blood.  My relatives are a joke the gods played on me prior to my birth, and for which I doubt I will ever completely forgive them.

The Bat has taken it upon herself to contact my idiot brother - the same one that tried to Shoot Me a few years ago in a drunken fit, having decided I only moved back to Oklahoma to steal "his" rightful inheritance - and inform him that I no longer have any room mates living with me in the familial home we grew up in.  She was rather put out, when I told her that hell would freeze over, I would go without utilities or groceries and live out of a cardboard box on the streets, and put a gun to my Own head before I would ever allow him to live with me again for Any reason.  I put up with his crap for a while because I was obligated to do so.  I kept my mouth shut to dad about things my brother was pulling after dad's stroke in the interests of not aggravating dad's existing health issues.

But Not For Love Nor Money Does Anything - Even Shared Blood - Obligate Me To Tolerate The Abuse, Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Threats, or Attempts On My Life Ever Again.  I will cut The Bat out of my life once more, even via infrequent phone calls, should she make any further attempts to subject me to guilt trips in an attempt to coerce me into allowing my brother to move back into my home.  I will shoot him myself should he make the mistake of showing up on my doorstep, and not bother to pause for questions.

Right now, I'm Angry.  Angry at the interference from a manipulative, abusive old bitch.  Angry at the attempts to coerce me into compliance.  Angry at the attempted guilt trip.  Angry that ANYONE would let my drug addicted alcoholic brother know about ANYTHING concerning my life.  Angry that he now knows that there is no one staying with me to act as a witness, should he show up and attempt to finish the job of murdering me.  Angry at the very idea that I have to once more start living my life in fear of the dark, and the possibility of a knife in the back or a gun pointed at my head, just when I'd finally gotten to a point where I felt like I could sleep soundly at night.

Later I'll quit being angry, and I'll just be sad and afraid.  Though being afraid tends to make me particularly angry at the world.  Especially at the portion of the planet that caused the fear.  I guess it's time for me to start keeping all weapons loaded all the time again, and one within hands reach regardless of whether I'm out or at home.  Even if I'm home and in the shower, or relaxing in the hottub on the back deck, or catching a bit of sleep before I head off to work.

We ask ourselves, when we get something like a Concealed Carry permit, and learn to use a handgun for our safety, whether we're capable of killing.  It's not a pleasant thing to contemplate.  And yet, here I am, contemplating it again, and debating whether I can afford some extra range time, and more ammo.  And asking myself whether I have what it takes to kill rather than risk being killed.

Because I know my brother.  He may be stupid, alcoholic, and drug addicted - but he's also persistent, and doesn't give up once he decides to do something particularly foolhardy.  Like killing me, to make certain that I can't steal a non-existent inheritance.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Being Thankful

While I was growing up, my family always had Everyone get together at my grandparents house to stuff themselves into a Triptophan overload for Thanksgiving.  My parents, both sets of grandparents, idiot brother, assorted aunts and uncles of my grandparents' generation on my mom's side, various 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cousins of both my parents' and my own generations on my mom's side, and whoever both my idiot brother and myself were dating at the time once we were old enough to date.  On any given holiday, there would be from 12 to 30 people stuffed into my grandparents' home to make merry, catch up on familial gossip, act like they hadn't just seen each other a couple of weeks before that when everyone got together for a sunday afternoon harass the kids after church family "dinner," and of course pretend they actually Liked each other.

The spread of food was always both enormous and impressive, and sufficient to have fed entire regions in some starving African countries.  There were never leftovers, considering how my assorted kinfolk tended to descend on a laden feast table like vultures.  The forced merriment, and the accompanying guilt trips ladled out by my grandmother to any who failed to show up, or failed to eat what she considered a "proper" amount for the Massive effort put into laying out the impressively spread table, left an impression on me that I doubt I will ever forget, even should I live another 1000 years.

By the time I was in my early 20s, and had my first child, I was looking for legitimate excuses to avoid these enforced familial gatherings like the plague they were.

Things have changed in the intervening years though.  My mother and her father are both deceased, as are several of the aunts and uncles on that side of the family.  My younger sister is deceased and never had any children.  Dad's folks are both deceased.  Dad is terminally ill and living out his few remaining days in a skilled nursing facility.  My idiot brother has learned to stay far Far away from me, lest he end up in a grave himself, since I determined long ago that should he show himself, I would shoot first and not bother to stop and ask questions for the sake of my own life and safety.  (What else can you do, when dealing with a sibling who has made attempts on your life in the past?)  My various cousins have scattered to the four corners of the globe, and few of them have any interest in ever returning to the hellhole that is Oklahoma where we all grew up.  One of my children has been completely out of my life for the past 5 1/2 years living with her father, who has no intention of ever allowing me back into her life.  The older one lives with the guilt tripping grandmother whose home childhood holidays were held in, and I avoid that sole remaining grandparent (and her toxicity to anyone with the least modicum of sanity remaining to them) vehemently.

So where does that leave me for the various nationally recognized holidays of primarily Abrahamic origins?

Typically, it leaves me in PEACE and blessed, beautiful, wonderful Quiet.  I rarely ever bother with a Turkey for Thanksgiving, simply because it would be ludicrous for me to cook a 10 lb bird just for myself.  Instead, I'll either cook a duck (if I'm going to have other "foundlings" for company) or I'll make a pizza or something of that nature.

I have to admit though, this year I do have a few things that I'm actually thankful for.  Beyond not having to face the Ordeal of the Dead Bird with my various now parted and scattered family members, that is.

For the first time in 2 decades, I am back in the workforce rather than being a stay at home caregiver for some disabled family member.  I'm finally digging myself out the hole that has been slowly but surely growing since dad had his stroke a few years ago.  I've managed to weed the obnoxious, the users, abusers, and losers out of my life and off my list of people whom I mistakenly considered Friends.  For the first time in almost as long, I'm in a relationship with a man who is Not a self absorbed control freak with hidden misogynist attitudes and no self esteem - I finally managed to get one of the good guys, and he's pretty much the exact Opposite of the type of guy who was in my last 6 or 7 relationships.

Things are finally looking up, and actually Staying up, rather than looking up for a few days and then plummeting to new depths of nasty.  I think I like it this way.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Practicing What we Preach

Back seat drivers.

I'm betting we all know at least one or two.  You know the type.  They're the ones who don't want the responsibility themselves, but want a veto over whoever has responsibility, and by damned they're gonna harass, harangue, and hassle you into compliance with how they think things should be done!  They're part of a group, loudly proclaiming to one and all that everyone should be on board for the common goals of the group.  And even louder in their disdain and complaints against anyone who they feel isn't on board enough towards those common goals.

They don't want to be in charge.  They want someone Else to be in charge.  Being the Responsible one is too much hassle.  It's a headache.  No one listens.  People have to be hounded into compliance with procedure and whatever rules are in place.  What they forget to acknowledge is that they don't follow procedure either, and have bluntly stated that they have no intention of following any rules other than their own.  After all, they're a free adult, and they don't need someone else's rules or procedures cause they're gonna do their own thing.

These are the folks who won't step up to the plate themselves, when something needs doing, but when you step up to the plate, they're going to bitch and moan and whine that you aren't in charge and who made you boss and how dare you step up to the plate to fill the void!

They'll egg on a pair of antagonists, and complain when someone says, "enough is enough - quit acting like spoiled toddlers!"  After all, free speech dictates that they should be able to squabble and fight all they want, even if they're annoying the crap out of everyone around them.  Right?  RIGHT?  (Never mind that they're ignoring the Free Speech of the person who told the squabblers to stop!)

Does it ever end? 

Do grownups (or supposed grown ups) ever actually start Acting like the adults they claim to be? 

Do people ever really give up their own personal hypocrisies to practice what they preach?

Personality Politics

I was sitting here earlier this evening, and happened to open an email from an old friend whom I hadn't spoken to in a while.  In this email, she asked what I found to be a rather odd question, once I stopped to think about it in depth.  Her question was whether I had regretted leaving a particular ex many years ago, who became a millionaire after I left him, but prior to his death of heart failure 9 years after we split up.

Richard has crossed my mind several times in the 3 years since he was buried.  We were together for 7 years, went through 6 miscarriages of children together, built a business together, and were man and wife in everything except the legal sense due to the fact that while we cohabited we never formalized our relationship via the bonds of matrimony.  I loved him deeply, even when I finally left him, and a large portion of me still loves him even though he was buried 3 1/2 years ago.

I left him because he was a diagnosed schizophrenic who refused to get treatment for his illness.  Those who know me frequently laugh and call me crazy, but compared to Richard I'm so normal it's frightening to contemplate at times.  I walked out on him after 7 years of pleading with him repeatedly to seek help, and his continual refusal to do so.  I left not because I didn't love him, but because I DID love him.  I loved him enough not to be one of his enablers.  I loved him enough that it was less painful for me to walk away from our relationship than to watch him daily become more lunatic.

So have I had second thoughts, knowing that he subsequently pulled his act together, got treatment, and became quite a successful trader in the stock market, accumulating several million dollars in liquid assets before he died?  A few, in my more wistful moments when bills are piled up and staring me in the face.

My friend's email though caused me to Really Think about whether I regretted it.  After all, Richard went to his grave hating me as passionately as he had once loved me.  His widow (I call my replacement that, although they were no more married than he and I were while we lived together - she was his live in and significant other at the time of his death, and had been with him by that time for nearly as long as I was with him) has refused to meet me, and I've been told that she hates me almost as much as he did.

If I hadn't walked out of his life, a couple of weeks after he asked me to marry him and formalize our long standing relationship, he would still be dead of heart failure.  There are things that would have been significantly different for him though.

He would never have bothered to get treatment for his schizophrenia, had I not walked out.  The goad of losing that long standing relationship was what he needed in order to pull himself together.

Without treatment, he would not have given up the hobby business and turned to trading on the stock market.  He would not have become successful.  He would have gone to his grave poor, ill, and resentful of the world for what he did not have and had not acquired, convinced that every shadow was someone coming for him.. He would not have met, and gotten involved with, the woman who eventually made him happy once he was treated and whole.

Yes, I regret that he could never see past the wound that was caused when I loved him enough to walk away.  But that is the only thing about it that I can make myself regret.

I still miss him.  I still love him.  There's still a healing wound in my psyche where he resided for a very long time.  I do not, however, mourn him.  Instead I chose to cherish the memories we made together before his illness became all consuming, and to celebrate my own life and the knowledge that I made the right choice.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Promises to Myself

Time on my hands.  I've had a lot of that, since back in December when I had my stress induced nervous breakdown and dad subsequently got moved to a professional nursing facility. 

What does a lot of time alone, with very little to do, actually give you?  An opportunity to take a closer look at things.  At your own life.  At where you've been, where you're going, how you're getting there.  And I keep circling back to the task, because although I've started to do so several times, I keep allowing myself to get distracted and put off the real Meat of the project.  It's easier not to think.  Not to examine things under that microscope. 

I did today though.  I took an honest assessment of myself, while I walked up to where Lisa (my current room mate, and my best friend) works so that she wouldn't have to walk home by herself at midnight.  I came to some conclusions during that walk.  And I made myself some promises.

  • I promise to treat myself with more respect than I have at times in my past. 
  • I will look in the mirror every day, and remind myself that I deserve happiness, contentment, and joy. 
  • I will quit worrying about the past, and will walk forward into the future without reservation or holding back. 
  • I will not fear what has yet to happen, I will not allow the past to dictate my responce to the future, and I will not accept guilt, shame, blame, or remorse over "might have beens" as simply my lot in life.
  • I will remind myself daily that my good qualities far outweigh those things that might not be so stellar, rather than being down on myself for a lack of perfection. 
  • I am Human, and therefore flawed, but I will not allow that to hinder me or hold me back.
  • I will remind myself daily - and maybe more than just once a day - that I don't have to look like a super model to be worthy of love, respect, consideration, and friendship.
  • I will allow life to happen, rather than trying to force the direction of the stream.  Nature will cut a path through rock if I will simply sit back and allow it the time to do so.
  • I will embrace contentment and thanksgiving and joy in what I have - rather than bemoan those things which I do not have - whether those things be material or spiritual or emotional.
  • I will accept myself as I am, and quit worrying or allowing myself to become stressed by what others might think or expect.  It is my own inner peace with me, and my own contentment with my life, which is of importance and value - not the expectations or demands of others.
  • I will quit attempting to carry the weight of other peoples problems or worries as my own.  My strength is limited, and now it is time for my strength to be focused on myself rather than on everyone else.
  • I will acknowledge to myself daily that I am Unique and therefore Irreplaceable.  When I am gone from someone's life, there will always be a Me shaped hole there, which NO ONE else is capable of filling in the same way which I fill that hole.
  • I will embrace the positive, rather than allowing apathy, depression, guilt, or complacency to hold sway over my attitudes, my thoughts, my beliefs, or my actions.
Ready or not, world, here I come.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Personal responcibility, or just a way of being rebellious?

Lately I've been asking myself some serious questions about my life: where it's been, where it's going, whether I want to make any sort of significant changes in who and what I am.  I've been asking myself that not only due to the plethora of complete and utter assholes who have peppered my past relationships, but also due to some recent comments from others (both male and female) concerning certain of my personality quirks and hobbies.

Now I'm the first to admit that I've got a huge independent streak, and more traditionally masculine hobbies than you can shake a stick at.  I'm a tomboy.  I have been pretty much my whole life.  I've never had much use for a lot of the girly type stuff such as shopping, or the ever cliched soap opera watching.  I seldom wear makeup.  I rarely wear dresses unless I'm going someplace where blue jeans and a tshirt would be completely inappropriate.  I have tattoos, and I intend to get more.  I'm as at home camping and fishing as any of the guys I know, and probably a lot more at home doing so than several of them.  I'm more than capable of keeping my own vehicle maintained, changing a tire on the side of the road, pumping gas, changing oil and filters, bleeding brakes - and therefore seldom bother taking a car to a mechanic unless it's something Seriously Wrong. I love being a gun owner, and going out to the range for target shooting - and frankly would rather do that than spend a day at a spa.  (Though honestly - spending a day at a spa, getting deep tissue massage, manicure, pedicure, and facial is one of those rare "girly" kinda things that I Do enjoy doing on a fairly regular basis.)

Lately though, it seems that every time I turn around I'm getting criticized for simply being myself.   I've been getting told consistently that instead of being confident in my own abilties, independent, and self reliant - that I'm abrasive, arrogant, and conceited.  I'm hearing a lot, lately, about how to many of my hobbies are "unfeminine" - and therefore *I must somehow be completely lacking in femininity.  While I can appreciate the inherent beauty in another woman's form, I'm frequently being told that I come across as a lesbian dyke.  And I'm not, strictly speaking, bisexual - I'm refer to myself as "heteroflexible" simply because the idea isn't utterly abhorrent to me, and there Are women out there whom I would find intriguing in that particular arena.

If the only way that I can get people to quit considering me abrasive, arrogant, conceited.. or dykish... is to quit being Myself, then I think I'll just start snubbing those who make such comments.  If the only way males are going to consider me Feminine is if I act like some simpering, whimpering, weak minded, weak willed, incompetent nothing who can't take care of herself...... then I think I prefer to be mistaken for a dyke.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On a more serious note...

There's been a lot of talk lately about the proposed Mosque and "Multi-Cultural Center" to be built not far from the former World Trade Center location in New York.  It has stirred a lot of various feelings - renewed grief, anger, outrage.

I'm of two minds about the whole thing. 

My first instinct is to feel a massive surge of rage, grief, etc over the idea.  How dare they consider building a religious temple so near to that location, for the very religious beliefs that spawned those who committed the atrocity.  Islam is inherently intolerant of anything which is the least bit "different" and of anyone who does not follow Islam.  Conversion via the sword has been the rule throughout history, rather than the exception, where Islam is concerned : IE, Convert or Die.  Personally I'd choose death before I would convert to a religion which tells me I'm less than even a second class citizen because I wasn't born with a swinging dick.

Upon further reflection, however, I had to pause and consider the hypocrisy of proclaiming myself a Rabid Constitutionalist so many times over the years, and yet so blatantly ignoring one of the primary concepts this country (the US) was founded on - Religious Freedom.

What right do I have, if I'm going to uphold the concept of religious freedom, to deny someone else the right to follow whatever religion THEY happen to choose?  While I do not agree with the tenets of Islam, in denying someone else the right to follow such a religion, I open myself to justifiable criticism of my Own religious choices - whether that be to follow one of the Abrahamic faiths, one of the pagan sects, or no religion whatsoever.

While I shall continue to consider their choice of location to be gauche, tacky, lacking in compassion and foresight, and downright mean spirited - I cannot in good conscience protest their right to build if they have purchased the property, simply based on which religion it is that is doing the building.  Denying followers of a faith the right to exercise their religion (provided the exercising of that religion is in a manner that is safe for the general public, rather than putting others at risk of persecution or death) - takes us back 300 years, and crumbles what we've built here at it's very foundations.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Quasimodo days and sleep deprivation nights

There are drawbacks to have something as complicated as Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythmatosis) as a chronic disease/ illness process going on in the background of my life.

Traveling low level pain that never quite goes away is one of them.  A multitude of insomniac nights is another.  And let's not forget about the flare ups of things being worse than "normal" (which is SUCH a Relative term!) when I start getting stressed out.  Or when I eat certain foods, or over indulge in others, or under indulge in still others.  Or when I've spent too much time out in direct sunlight, and therefore have had an overexposure to UV going on.  Or when I have my rare moments of true RAGEHATE about something.

These mini "flare" days are the days that I've come to refer to as "Quasi" days.  The term was coined by my long standing friend Jon, in reference to the fact that I'm typically in so much pain on days like this that I walk around hunched over and snarling at everyone, reminding him of the classic portrayal of Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Over the counter medications and pain relievers do not even Begin to touch the pain on days like this.  Nothing does, short of Class 3 Narcotics.  I wake up on days like this, curl into a fetal position on my bed, cry for a few minutes from the agony that even the pressure of a light sheet over me causes and the fact that it doesn't matter how I lay/sit/stand/move - it's going to cause agony even to breath. 

And then I get up, and I get on with life, despite the fact that on these days, I would rather pick up a gun and put it to my own head and pull the trigger - because it would hurt less. 

It's not the emotional - I've learned to live with that.  I've learned to live with the fact that when I take part in half of the things I enjoy, I'm going to pay for it physically for days on end because I've induced a brief flare.  I've learned to live with the fact that I can simply no longer take part in some things that I love doing, because the flare will be so severe it will probably wind me up in a hospital for several days begging for IV painkillers.

I truly understand those who live with the unmittigated pain of cancer and other various terminal illnesses, and their desire to end their own suffering while they're still capable of thinking with some semblance of reason.  While they're still capable of reacting to life, at least part of the time, with something coming remotely close to basic human dignity.

And it makes me want to go on a rampage against those bleeding heart fucktards who seem to think that Life Is Precious, regardless of it's quality or lack thereof.  Against doctors who would rather force someone to stay in a broken, useless shell indefinitely.  Against families who selfishly refuse to let someone go when it's past time for them to go, and insist on keeping them attached to some fucking Machine in order to force their body to keep breathing, their heart to keep pumping, the nerve endings to keep agonizing.  Let them go.  Love them enough to fucking LET THEM GO AND GET IT OVER WITH.  Quit being a self absorbed piece of shit who's Honestly more worried about their own Brief mental anguish over the "loss" of a loved one.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thoughts on extra income

I keep wondering, as I look unsuccessfully for a job outside the house to suppliment the failing business, just what I can and can't get away with to make some extra income.  (No smart assed remarks from the penis gallery about this, either, guys!)

Being the massive foodie that I am, and having at least some small touch of skill in the kitchen, I've been wondering just how much hassle it would be to start looking at doing something along the lines of pies, cakes, pastries, and cookies.  Everybody loves 'em.  And bake sales seem to work so well for various groups after all...

2 Women, 1 House, Lots of Guns

So my new roommate, who is also my long standing best friend, has finally finished getting moved into my house.  And we've even managed to get her hooked up to IRC, and into the chatroom, as of last night.

Only step remaining : get her addicted to Blogging.  Then my work of corrupting her completely will be done!

(Yes, she's as crazy as I am.  Though she's had somewhat better taste in men than I have in my recent history.)

So, meet Lisa, yall -  and yes, she bites too...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Blackberry or Crackberry?

Ok, so I've been using a Blackberry 8830 for a few years now, and I've gone through 3 of them in the time I've had one.  Which averages out to about 1.4 per year.

And now, the one that I've had for the past year is... you guessed it... dead.  I don't know what's wrong with it.  It hasn't had anything spilled on it.  It hasn't been dropped (recently lol) and it was working fine late last night when I got off the phone with a friend and headed to bed.

Only it won't do Anything.  It's showing emails that have come in - but I can't access them because it won't seem to recognize any button commands at all.  It rings, but I can't answer it, because it doesn't acknowledge that I've hit the Talk button to do so.

It's frustrating the living daylights out of me at this point, and I'm about ready to scream.

So if you happen to see a mushroom cloud over the Oklahoma City metro - no, it's not someone finally doing something about the idiot politicians in this state - it's just me, finally blowing my stack over cell phone problems.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I just got such a giggle out of this


My Conservative Identity:

You are an Anti-government Gunslinger, also known as a libertarian conservative or Tea Partier. You believe in smaller government, states’ rights, gun rights, and that, as Reagan once said, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’"
Take the quiz at Political Humor

Thanks, JRebel, for having posted the link to that quiz in your own blog.  I was browsing through older posts of some of the people that I read -and ran across this - and whadda ya know, it's ACCURATE!

Rhi's Wild Blackberry Pie

As promised to a few of the party goers at Christina's Shindig last night - I am posting the recipe for the Homemade Blackberry Pie that I brought as part of the potluck.  This is not your standard blackberry Pie recipe.  I went in to get started on it only to find out that my roommates had wiped out all of the regular, granulated sugar in my kitchen some time in the past couple of weeks.  I was left scambling through the cupboard to figure out how I was going to make this pie with no granulated sugar, since I knew that I didn't have enough brown sugar on hand to do so - and I wasn't pleased with the idea of what sort of flavor change it would cause if I did.

What I DID happen to have on hand (other than the brown sugar that I knew I didn't want to use) was HONEY.  Lots and lots and LOTS of Sage Blossom Honey, in fact, which I had originally purchased to brew Mead out of.  It had been sitting in the cupboard waiting to be used, and it just screamed at me "Now Is The Time!"

This is what The Pie looked like prior to be Devistated by the partygoers, who decended on it like a veritable plague of locusts, or sharks in a feeding frenzy....

The photo was taken while we were en-route to Christina's, so no one had been given an opportunity to start munching on it yet.


3 lbs (about 5 1/2 cups) fresh Blackberries (while you could probably use frozen, they tend to juice out to quickly as they thaw)
3 1/2 lbs (about 2 3/4 cups) Honey - preferably a mildly flavored single source variatel honey, rather than the generic clover honey that's so readily available, though I'm guessing it would work just as well.
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

double recipe of your favorite pie crust - or just get a package of pie crust ready made as long as it has 2 crusts available.

Heat blackberries and juice until just warmed through.  Add honey and stir thoroughly to mix completely.  Add spices, and bring to a boil for 3 to 5 minutes, to thicken a bit and reduce the amount of liquid.  (You'll still probably have more Juice than you can shake a stick at, but it's great to drink over ice once it's cooled down and the pie is baking!)

In a 9 inch pie pan, lay out bottom crust, then cover with the blackberries and a small amount of the juice.  Latice second crust over the top (or just lay it over, and slit it several times).  Take 1/4 cup of the remaining juice and add 1/2 cup extra honey to thin out the honey, then brush the top crust liberally with the honey/juice mixture.  Sprinkle brown sugar liberally over the honey moistened top crust -enough that it quits disolving in the moisture.

Bake at 400 degrees in a preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until top crust in golden brown.

Yes folks, it really was That Simple!  It's not all that difficult to cook some truly amazing food, with just a bit of creativity, and the will not to tell yourself you "can't" make this or that because you're out of 1 ingredient that can be substituted.

After the Shindig

Its difficult on some levels to truly express things concerning Christina's party last night. This is not a Bad thing. I'm simply having a great deal of difficulty finding words that accurately describe just how much I enjoyed having a chance to finally meet & put faces to several of the names I've gotten used to interacting with in the GBC chat on IRC and reading their blogs.

I rode down to Texas with Mike (evylrobot) and his wife, Jenni. And the irony came home to roost concerning just how small this little mudball really is. I had, during the process of finalizing plans to attend this party, exchanged several emails with the couple - during the course of which, I had seen their last name. It was familiar to me from my own childhood and youth, but I didn't think much of it, as coincidences Do sometimes happen in life.

So. The three of us are headed from OKC down I35, stuck in traffic due to one of the construction zones of perpetual roadwork, chitchatting. And then Mike mentions something about his father that gives me cause to go, "wait - you're THAT Mr X's kid???"

After a few more minutes of discussing Mike's parental unit, we (I) came to the realization that I knew him. His father was one of my favorite teachers while growing up. And on more than one occasion I babysat Mike & his younger brother! Mike is all grown up from the last time I saw him, some 20+ years ago. And surprisingly enough, he's no longer the bratty little hellion that I remember from my teens.

The blur of faces and names to put to them is still a bit of a blur in my brain at the moment, as I sit here drinking coffee & sorting through all the various impressions I got during the course of the evening. A few folks stood out more than others - but all in a good way. I can honestly say that everyone who was there from GBC came across face to face exactly as I expected them to from seeing them in chat. And that was a rather pleasant surprise, to say the least!

The food was abundant and fantastic. And for those who were so fond of the Blackberry Pie (which disapeared as quickly as Bridget's Disappearing Appetizer which DanielS and his rather stunningly pretty wife brought) I will be posting the incredibly simple recipe in a seperate post within the next couple of days.

Christina - kuduos on a fantastic party, and a great time! You are, without a doubt, an incredible woman, and one hell of a hostess!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Life just gets better all the time...

And no, that's not meant as sarcasm!

You'd be surprised at how rapidly life can become pleasant again, and you can start finding enjoyment in living again, once you cut dead weight people out of your life.  I've been doing so since the end of April/ beginning of May, and regardless of what minor irritations happen to crop up, they aren't affecting me the way they were a few months ago. 

Minor irritants have become, once again, just that... MINOR.  I'm finding that I look forward to getting up in the morning again, which hasn't been the case for a few years now.  I'm not waking up depressed, I'm not wanting to pull the covers over my head and hide from life, I'm not isolating myself from the better portions of humanity and hoping that it will all just go away any more.

I think I'm really liking getting ME back.  The old me.  The me I used to know when I looked in the mirror.  And she IS back - not completely yet, but she's rushing up with a vengence, and is leaving no room for the bleh that has been going on for far too long.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ya know...

One of the few things worse than dating a completely domineering prick (or living with one) is to get asked out by someone who is supposedly one of the "good guys" - and then get stood up.

Some days, ya just can't win for losin...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A joke I just Had to share....

A lawyer married a woman who had previously divorced ten husbands.

On their wedding night, she told her new husband, "Please be gentle, I'm still a virgin."

"What?" said the puzzled groom.

"How can that be if you've been married ten times?"

"Well, Husband #1 was a sales representative: he kept telling me how great it was going to be.

Husband #2 was in software services: he was never really sure how it was supposed to function, but he said he'd look into it and get back to me.

Husband #3 was from field services: he said everything checked out diagnostically but he just couldn't get the system up.

Husband #4 was in
telemarketing: even though he knew he had the order, he didn't know when he would be able to deliver.

Husband #5 was an engineer: he understood the basic process but wanted three years to research, implement, and design a new state-of-the-art method.

Husband #6 was from finance and administration: he thought he knew how, but he wasn't sure whether it was his job or not.

Husband #7 was in marketing: although he had a nice product, he was never sure how to position it.

Husband #8 was a psychologist: all he ever did was talk about it.

Husband #9 was a gynecologist: all he did was look at it.

Husband #10 was a stamp collector: all he ever did was... God! I miss him! But now that I've married you, I'm really excited!"

"Good," said the new husband, "but, why?"

"You're a lawyer. This time I know I'm gonna get screwed!"

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Things I Need Out of Life

For the past several weeks - perhaps even the past few months - I've been doing a bit of examination as to what it is that I actually need in a relationship.  Considering my past lack of success in that area, I've come to the conclusion that either (a) what I'm looking for doesn't actually exist or (b) my expectations are set way to high to ever be achieved.  Granted, I haven't (yet) completely given up hope that I'm proven wrong on both those counts - but the more years go by, the less that hope is willing to remain in place.

Anyone who happens to feel that this little list of expectations and needs isn't reasonable is welcome to call 1-800-Fuck-You, and leave a complaint with their customer service department.  If you get a recording there, why not try 1-900-Eat-Shit.  Either way, that's about what your less than favorable opinion means to me these days.

I Don't need Pity, I Don't need Sympathy, and I Don't need "fixing."

I need to be accepted for who I am - not in some idealized version of me that someone thinks they can turn me into. Don't get involved with me thinking that you're going to somehow miraculously Change me.  This is who I am, like it or get the fuck outta my life - cause I'm sure as shit not gonna be changing to suit anyone other than ME.  Don't like my weight? Go talk to some brain dead bulimic bimbo.  Don't like my attitude?  Go hunt up a doormat.  Don't like my honesty?  Then go lie to yourself in a mirror, cause I'm not gonna pussyfoot around things to satisfy someone else's ego.

I expect Respect.  It's not given, it's earned.  You'll earn it, just like I will.  And I have no use for those who expect to be given ass kissing in place of real respect, or who demand respect without having done anything to earn it.  Until it's been earned - common courtesy will suffice - in both directions.
I expect Consistency.  I expect not to be intentionally placed in Lose/Lose situations.  And if you're consistently a jackass, that doesn't mean that I'll put up with it - it just means that I'll kick you out of my universe that much more rapidly.

I expect Loyalty.  I'm the most loyal friend you'll ever find - or the most implacable enemy if my loyalty is misused.  Cheating is never acceptable, nor is it ever justifiable.  Betraying my friendship will earn you a quick trip to the list of those whom I either refuse to acknowledge as living, or a return of the knife in the back, whichever I happen to find more convenient and more satisfying at the time.

I expect Integrity.  Say what you mean, mean what you say, and for fuck sake, back up your words with deeds.  If you say you're going to do something, then I expect you to by gods do that something, not blow it off.  If you're going to make a promise - then keep it.  Accept the fact that if you do Not keep your word, I will quit trusting you - and once I quit trusting you, it's all over but the shootin.  I'm not unreasonable, nor am I an absolutist - if there are Legitimate reasons why you can't do what you've said you'll do, then I'm willing to cut some slack.  Unless it becomes a pattern that you say one thing, do another, make excuses that are "reasonable" excuses, and expect me to continually buy into it.

I expect  Honesty.  Don't bother to lie to me, because I WILL find out the truth - and when I do, I'll make certain that you're miserable for a while.  Trust demands honesty.  If I can't trust you - I have no use for you.  I'm not talking about the whole cliched "Honey does this make me look fat" kind of honesty where you figure you're gonna get slapped regardless of how diplomatically you happen to answer.  I don't mean keeping a surprise a surprise.  I mean don't tell me you're going to be working when the truth is you're going to be at the bar looking for a quick, easy pick up.

It's not a long list.  It's not a difficult list.  It's certain not an unreasonable or unattainable list.  And eventually, I will manage to meet at least one person on this farking planet who can live up to that list.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summertime, and the livin is easy

Or not, depending on your point of view.

My houseguest for the summer got here, and has been installed in one of my spare bedrooms pending that room mate finally finishing getting moved in.

She's not a bad kid.  Way too young, and incredibly inexperienced.  And seemingly resentful of anything that comes out of my mouth that happens to touch upon relative experience levels gained through age and the simple act of living.

Was I ever That  young, and that determined to make my own mistakes regardless of the consequences?  Gods, I hope not.  If I was, I sure don't remember it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Another Year Older and Whadda ya Get?

Happy birthday to me... happy birthday to me....

What did I give myself this year?

A birthday spanking from the man I'm involved with, a couple of hours of intense play time, a signed contract, and a life that has been steadily improving over the past 2 months.

When You Need a bit of Space

It's finally beginning to seriously wear on me, psychologically, having multiple roommates.  Not that the majority of them aren't "good" roommates - I just want my space back for ME.

I spent a large amount of time living completely alone, with no roommates whatsoever, during the mid portion of 2005, and then again from mid 2007 until late 2008.  During that time, I spread out a bit.  I got Comfortable not having to confine myself to 1 room in order to accomodate other people.

I had the house arranged quite to my liking, prior to bringing daddy home from the first nursing center, while he was on hospice and we were getting told he was going to be dead in a few months.  I had my workshop arranged the way I wanted it.  I had all my computer stuff in a room other than my bedroom, which was specifically an office.  I didn't have to crowd my painting supplies and various craft projects into my workshop.

It was Comfortable.

I didn't have other people making messes that they expected me to clean up after them.  My bills were lower since there was only me using any of the utilities.  I could keep only those things that I enjoy stocked in the fridge and freezer, and never had to consider someone else's tastes when I made meals.  The only other inhabitants of the space were my pets, and they didn't bother me or make messes that I didn't expect when I got them.

It's not comfortable these days.  I'm crowded into one room in my own home.  I have people telling me that I have no right to set the rules for the household and expect anyone other than myself to follow them - that they aren't obligated to do anything they don't want.  They will soon be finding out that if they don't follow whatever rules I feel are reasonable for this house, they'll be finding someplace else to live.

Maybe that's what it's going to take to get rid of this feeling lately that I'm the outsider in my own home.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

One of "Those" days...

There are days when I truly HATE males.  When, quite bluntly, if was born with a penis I really have zero use for it and probably even less tolerance.

Today is one of them. 

Testosterone driven egos, overweaning pride, and everything that either of those 2 things happens to create - which, frankly, is nothing but problems for the rest of us far to fucking much of the time have just about pushed me to the point where I"m ready to shoot the next person that annoys me.

So much for my plans for the fucking weekend, you worthless bastards.

From here on out, I think I'll just quit bothering to Make any goddamn plans.  One of you fuckers always manages to ruin them anyway.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

RePost of a Previously Deleted Original - A Different Sort of Fish Fry

EDITORIAL NOTE 6/7/10 At the Specific REQUEST of Crow, whom I have nothing but the deepest respect for because he has EARNED that respect, I have done a small amount of editing to the original editorial note. This editing consists solely of removeal of a couple of specific phrases which I personally felt were well deserved, but which some others might view as inflamitory, and clarifying a couple of other things with minor rewording.

This being reposted remains a means to teach an object lesson in facing the consequences of your actions - or your refusal to act. When you give your word to someone, you should do your utmost to keep it, or not complain when the consequences come home to roost. A person who's word is no good is someone I view as being devoid of honor, integrity, or ethics.

EDITORIAL NOTE 6/6/10: I originally removed this post based on an agreement that I made with Urso. He was warned when he made the agreement with me, and when I posted the heavily edited version, that this would be reposted if he did not keep his end of the deal. The agreement was that I would take down the original Fish Fry post from my blog, pending him allowing me to deck him - exactly once - without repercussions.

He has been back in Oklahoma from picking up his new "friend friend" Teresa for several days, lying and prior to today having others claim that they hadn't even left Ohio yet. It is my belief they have done this in order to leave some of his worthless shit at my home, eatting up my storage space apparantly for his own convenience. The items left behind are things he couldn't be bothered to move prior to leaving to pick her up to move in with him, and I fully believe that one of his primary motives in refusing to do so now is to avoid having to keep his word. It's not like I expected better out of him - he's never managed to keep his word yet, and I fully expected him to break it again under any excuse he thought he could find.

He's currently claiming to Crow that I've refused to Allow him to pick up his worthless shit unless I got to take that swing at him. Fortunatly, Crow is aware of the truth, as he was instrumental in me agreeing to take down the original post pending Urso/Ogre/Sheamus the Shameless/Matthew giving me that small piece of satisfaction.

I placed only ONE condition on him getting his shit - and that was that he do so in a Timely Manner, or it would all be sent to the dump. That is where all of the remaining items are going, since he has refused to come pick any of it up unless I allow his female "friend" to come with him, and agreed that she would be the only other person present besides himself and me. The demand that she be the only person present besides urso and myself was sent to me by way of 3rd party, because urso has also claimed that he did not have my phone number to contact me directly.

So... ya know what, Matthew? This is for you and that "female" you just moved to MY city - because you've proven to ME that you aren't man enough to keep your deals, or tell the truth, or refrain from betraying people, or to balls up and not attempt to use people for your own convenience.

Everthing past this point is the Unedited contents of that original post.

When it comes to dating, and most especially when it comes to break ups of any sort, people inevitably spout the old saying that there are always more fish in the sea. Trust me on this one, it's a truism for a reason. And since that particular truism equates all humans of one's opposite gender to fish, I've decided that it's time to light a fire, heat up some oil, pick over the bones, and dispose of the carcass. This little rant is about 6 weeks overdue, really, and it's being written now with a bit of hindsight perspective. I've waited to write this in order to examine both my own shortcomings when dealing with my recently ended relationship, and to bring myself to a point where I could examine his shortcomings with a touch less rancor than I would have been able to accomplish had I attempted to write this sooner.

Another old saying, when discussing breakups, is that there is her story, his story, and the truth laying somewhere in the middle of the two. For the most part, this is indeed the case. And such that it is, I make no claim to being faultless or guilt free in the destruction of my former relationship. I cannot say what his true motives were, or his true reasoning in his decision to terminate our relationship rather than attempt to work on it further in the hopes of salvaging things. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a mind reader. I can, at best, divulge my own perspective on things, seasoned with hindsight and what he has chosen to give me as his reasoning. While this will no doubt leave as many questions as it answers, and by it's nature will hardly give a complete picture of the situation, it is the best available to me until such time as I suddenly DO become a mind reader.

This particular comedy of errors - or perhaps tragedy of errors, depending upon your view - started at the beginning of October, 2009. Not very long ago, was it? No, not very long at all, and yet in some senses, a lifetime ago in learning about myself.

He and I were introduced by a mutual acquaintance at an SCA function. This particular acquaintance is female, engaged to be married, living with her fiance for most of the past year and a half, and at the time she introduced me to my former - having an ongoing affair with him behind her fiance's back.

That was, without doubt, my first mistake in this whole shebang. I ignored one of my own rules: never get involved with someone who is willing to cheat. If they cheat With you (or someone else) they will eventually cheat On you. I ignored that rule of mine by justifying things to myself. It wasn't Him who was cheating - it was Her. He, after all, was single and not in a committed relationship with anyone - not even her. Or so I told myself to salve my own inner voice screaming "Don't Do It!" To give him credit where credit is due, he did not Physically cheat on me during the entire time that we were supposedly a committed, monogamous couple. Physically. Emotionally, he began cheating on me within days of when we made the commitment to each other, and he never Stopped emotionally cheating on me right up to the day that we finally agreed to go our separate ways. He didn't have much Opportunity to Physically cheat on me - between work, school, and me being a stay at home supposedly Suzie homemaker, he would have been hard pressed to find opportunities to do so. Not that he didn't make Plans to do so, or spend part of his time Looking for opportunities to do so - he simply never actually managed to find one.

My second mistake was in failing to recognize my own state of emotional neediness at that point in time, and to take it into account. I jumped, head long, at the first opportunity presented to me to meet certain emotional needs. I did so without pausing to consider the potential consequences, or whether such a liaison was suitable, sustainable, or healthy. I knew better. I had internal misgivings about doing so. And I subsequently ignored them in order to satisfy my need for companionship and affection with someone who was of my age group, enjoyed some (or in this case many) of my hobbies, was of a suitable gender, and not a family member in need of a full time caregiver. I wanted to feel loved, and to no longer be lonely for the company of someone other than casual friends or dependant family. I should have simply bought a dog. (Oh wait - those tend to fall under the category of "dependant family member" in short order, since you have to feed them, water them, potty train them, clean up after them, and see to all their needs. Now I remember why I didn't simply go buy a dog!)

My third mistake was telling myself that he wouldn't do certain things Again, after I caught him doing them the first time. I knew, deep in my heart, that such was not the case. Once a cheater, always a cheater, and I'd known from day one (regardless of how I attempted to justify his behavior to myself) that he was willing to cheat. However, one of my great failings in life is that I hate to admit to failure on my own part - even if it's a failure to acknowledge the truth to myself, and perhaps especially when it's a relationship failure. I caught him cheating - emotionally, online - with the very same woman who had introduced us. Not once. Not even twice. But three times. Each time, I confronted him. Each time, he made excuses which I didn't believe but accepted anyway for the sake of attempting to salvage a broken relationship. If it had only been that one woman whom I caught him emotionally cheating with, or making plans to meet with behind my back, perhaps we Could have eventually salvaged things. That is, had it not destroyed my faith in him the second time I caught him breaking his word to me and lying to me.

When I caught him the second time (a few weeks after the first) and listened to him make excuses for his behavior which indicated plainly that he knew what he was doing, and knew that it was wrong, and knew that it was causing perhaps irreperable damage to our relationship ... my trust in him, in his honesty, in his capacity for loyalty, in his capacity for integrity and responcibility for his own actions..... died a rather painful death. I didn't really admit to myself that it was dead and gone. I certainly didn't admit to HIM that it was dead and gone, although he knew it anyway. I convinced myself, at least for a time, that my trust was merely wounded and could recouperate with sufficient time, and a bit of effort on his part. That effort was not forthcoming, nor did I really expect it to be. That death of trust on my part started a rather nasty downward spiral for both of us. I became depressed - a condition which I was already far to familiar with, since I've been diagnosed as having Clinical Depression - and that depression increased until apathy set in. The more depressed I became, the more apathetic I became. The more apathetic I became, the more he withdrew from me physically and emotionally, to turn ever more frequently to his various online chat room potential romances. The more he turned to his various "female friends" online, the more depressed and apathetic I became.

It was a spiral that we could have put a stop to, had things not already been destroyed by his emotional cheating and my (by this time) complete lack of faith or trust in him to refrain from emotionally cheating. The sex died, the playtime died, communication - other than occassionally snarling at one another over various slights and faults - died. By this time he'd already made up his mind to leave as soon as it was convenient for him to do so. And I had already made up my mind that if I could get things sufficiently in order not to need him Financially, I would tell him that it was time to end it and for him to move on. I resolved myself to simply maintain the status quo until such time as I could free myself from him financially. He had apparantly resolved to maintain the status quo until he located what he considered a suitable replacement for me.

His opportunity to do so came at the beginning of April. I missed a court date, having written it down wrong on the calender (and not thinking to call and verify the time/date with the court - a mistake I won't be making a second time!) and it landed me in the county jail for 2 weeks. Within 48 hours of my incarceration, he had informed all of our mutual friends that he had dumped me, and had started a relationship online with a woman from another state. A woman who subsequently attempted to pretend to be my friend, and whom he is in the process of moving to Oklahoma to live with him in his new place, which he rented with her financial help and backing. The only person he Failed to inform that our relationship was over - was ME. I didn't find out until after I got out of county. And even then, he continued to lie to me and tell me that we could still work on things, never hinting that he had started a relationship with another woman, who was in the process of packing up to move here to be with him. I came to the conclusion that he had been lying to me concerning the possibility of working things out when I logged into facebook, a week after getting out of jail, only to find that he had changed our relationship status while I was in. It was at that point that I informed him that I no longer desired to try working on things, and that I agreed our relationship was over, done, dead, and finished.

It had been dead for quite a while by that point. I simply hadn't allowed myself to consciously Admit that it was dead and needed to be buried, before the rotting corpse brought about a level of contagion that couldn't be contained. He finally moved a little over a week ago. I had allowed him to continue living here, as a rent paying tenant, after having him move into a seperate bedroom. I would have been willing to allow him to continue living here as long as he needed, as a rent paying tenant. He, however, had other ideas - mostly because he got angry when I confronted his new gal, and informed her that I knew who she was, that they had both been lying to me blatantly for quite some time, and that I did not appreciate either of them doing so - or treating me as though I were too stupid to recognize some of the more blatant lies. She apparantly paniced about being told such by me, called him, and he came rushing back to the house in a near rage to being throwing his things into his van to move. He should have thought it through a bit better, since he'd already learned that the rental property he was supposed to move into was uninhabitable at the time - he ended up living out of the back of his van and their moving truck for several days, and while he's currently sitting in Cincinatti with her, preparing to finish moving her back here with him, for all I know their new "home" is still an uninhabitable shambles which the landlord is dragging feet about repairing.

Ah well. Lessons have been learned. I've woken up to some truths about myself, and the consequences of putting off my own needs for too many years. And I've quit grieving about the ended relationship. I honestly wish neither of them any ill - only what each of them deserves, whatever fate might decree that to be. As for myself, I move on with my life, and have resolved not to forget the lessons that this ill-fated attempted has shown me.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day and Remembering the Heros in our lives

The memorial day holiday has long been a time to remember those who have fallen in battle, spending their lives so that the rest of us in the U.S. could enjoy our freedoms and privilages in peace. While I honor the memories of those who have made that ultimate sacrifice, so I didn't have to, I have very little in the way of family background in the service.

My family hasn't had a whole lot to do with military careers since the Civil War in the 1800s. We were on the losing end in that conflict, and so what lives were spent there from our family were effectively thrown away according to some. I don't personally see it that way. The lived, fought, and died for what they honestly believed in, and as such I honor their memories along with those who have lived, fought, and died for all those things which the U.S. was founded on. All of them have been heros - whether it be the grunt in the field who did nothing but his duty, or the general whom history records as valiant and a great leader. From those who did nothing out of the ordinary, to those who went so far above and beyond the call of mere duty as to recieve the recognition of our government with the Congressional Medal of Honor - each of them has been a hero to one of us along the road.

It is not these heros that I want to remember today, though. Many will spend at least a few minutes of their holiday taking time out from shopping sales, backyard bbqs, trips to the lake or gun range to remember those who have given their lives to the cause of peace, freedom, and prosperity. I honor their sacrifice, and what it has meant to my life.

But my efforts, instead, will focus on those heros in my Personal life. The people who saw to it that I could live without fear, prosperously, with a sense of both respect and gratitude for our constitution and the privilages it grants me. Who raised me, cared for me, disciplined me when I was wrong, praised my efforts when I was right, picked me up and dusted me off when I fell down to set me on my feet again and take another chance. I was sheltered as much as they could from life's ugliness, while they tried to see to it I wasn't so sheltered and naieve as to be handicapped by that sheltering. While many see it as a flaw, I take a bit of pride in saying, "Yes, my parents spoild me to a certain extent." Why? Because it means that they Always saw to it that I had what I Needed, and when they could and it wouldn't be specifically harmful, they sometimes went without things that THEY wanted to see to it that I had things *I wanted instead.

They were my best friends, my confidants, my teachers, my preachers, the rocks that I leaned on for strength and support, and the guiding light on my path through life.

They were my parents. I love them. I miss them. I grieve that they are no longer here to talk to, to spend time with, to go to as sounding boards and saviors. I honor the sacrifices they made in Their personal lives, in an effort to see to it that I thrived and prospered and grew in My personal life. I regret not telling them more often, while they were here, just how much I loved them, and appreciated everything they did for me. I can only hope to be half as good as a person as they were while I was growing up, and even after I became an adult myself.

My father, especially, who currently lays dying in an ICU bed in the hospital, not expected to live for more than a few more days, will forever hold a special place in my heart. He is the man that all others must live up to, and few will suceed in the attempt. He was not even a biological factor in my existance - but he was the type of man willing to take on responcibility for a pair of brats not even his own, because they were the offspring of the woman he loved and cherished and adored - and to offer them the love that one would expect from a biological parent. He didn't have to - but insisted on adopting my brother and I, taking legal and moral responcibility for the pair of us - and never once in the course of my life did he give me reason to think he might have regretted doing so at times when one of us was particularly bad. He took me in, he raised me as his own, he loved me unconditionally, and he did his best to see to it that I was equipped to have a good life. He taught me respect for the rights given to me by an accident of birth, and to fight - and if need be die - to maintain those rights for myself and others. He taught me discipline. He taught me compassion. He taught me to stand up for myself, and to take pride in my accomplishments. He taught me to live, to laugh, to love, to cry, and to rejoice.

And for as long as I live, no matter where I go or what I do or what life happens to bring or take away .... he will forever be MY hero.

Monday, May 24, 2010

OK... just so yall know what I really look like

I've had several people comment to me over the past few years about how camera shy I tend to be. In an effort to both prove that I'm real to those who think otherwise, and to get myself past being so camera shy, I've posted these photos, recently taken. All of them are less than a month old.

Sunday afternoon, sitting on my front porch!

The newest of my many tattoos. Finished about 20 minutes before the photo was taken, a couple of weeks ago, located on the front of my right shoulder. This is the start of the Cap for my full sleeve that's being worked on currently.

This was the first one I ever got, just prior to turning 40. It's a memorial piece I wanted for my mother, located on my right shoulder blade.

My sleeve, at it's current level of finish. Yes, there's still a lot of work to be done on it, mostly on the inside area of my arm. At least most of the outside portion is finished now except some minor fill work my artist and I are planning to start on soon.

A much better look at the bottom half of my right arm, where we're working on my full sleeve.

This is the piece on my left arm, which I had done a few years ago, right after daddy's stroke. It's currently the only thing on that side, and I'm still deciding whether it will get anything around it or stay by it's lonesome.

Just a brief thanks...

Wai, you almost restore my faith in the inherent goodness of people in general, and the belief that somewhere out there on this putrid mudball, there are still a few decent guys around. Not gonna go into why, cause you already know why I'm saying thanks.

Nuff said.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I Can't Drive 55....

I stated in an earlier post that I had recently learned some rather ugly life lessons, and that I would be posting about those lessons separately. This is the result of people asking me "what lessons were you talking about?"

First let me present a bit of background. That'll give you a slightly better understanding of what happened and why. It is not meant to excuse my behavior in any way. It is not meant to attempt to place blame for what happened on the shoulders of Anyone other than myself. And if, by chance, you somehow take some of this as an attempt to do such, you're either projecting your own faults onto me, or you simply want to be a prick.

I've been known over the course of my life to be a bit scatter brained at times. It's been a curse since I was a kid, although I usually work really hard not to forget anything Important. Unfortunately, the way the Curse works is that I can remember all the Trivia in the world, but can't remember things like.. oh... the names of my children in a moment of crises, or court dates for speeding tickets.

I've also suffered for a long time under a curse shared by a lot of women in our society: I was taught while growing up to play ostrich when problems arose, and to rely on the men around me to Fix It.

I grew up getting told that if I was a good girl, then mom & dad.. or the church, or the school teachers, or the government, or my husband/boyfriend (depending on my age at the time)... would kill my "snakes" for me. As I got older, I failed to have the lesson completely sink in that if I wanted my 'snakes' killed, I would have to do it for myself.

So, fast forward about 30 years, until I'm 40. I've managed at this point to keep myself out of trouble, I've never been to jail, and I'm one of those almost gaggingly stereotypical respectable/responsible types. I've raised my children to a point where I can lay down some of my stress, and start living my life for myself rather than for everyone else. Not all of it was peaches and cream, but not all of it was horrific, either. And it really didn't matter, because that portion of life was over and I was set to move forward and start rebuilding fresh.

I sold my house, moved out of state, started fresh elsewhere, and 10 months later got asked to return to Oklahoma by my dad, as his health was deteriorating. Being the dutiful, responsible sib in the family, I packed up and came home. A year later, dad had a near fatal stroke that turned him into a complete invalid, and dumped everything into my lap to take care of. Now, less than 2 years after I'd finally managed to free myself of almost overwhelming amounts of responsibility, here I was over loaded again, and responsible for myself and someone who was incapable of doing for themselves for valid reasons.

For the first 6 months, things were pretty much alright. I kept a lid on things, got everything done that needed to get done, held down the fort, etc. Then my brother decided he didn't like being the eldest and not having control - mostly because I refused to finance his drug habit - and started making trouble. Over the course of the next year, things went from bad to worse due to a series of problems that never quite finished resolving themselves, and my stress load simply continued to climb.

By the time the first 2 years had passed, with dad living in a nursing home for all of it, things were already pretty much a shambles. I ended up behind the 8 ball and trying desperately to catch up, moving from one various crises to the next with brief periods in between to hopefully catch a breath.

Then dad's doctors informed me that they were placing him on Hospice and he was estimated to have less than 6 months left to live. I gave up the fight he and I had been waging at that point, and moved him back home with me, so that I could at least offer him the final dignity of dying where he wanted to - in his own bed, rather than warehoused and anonymously numbered. I figured that 6 to 12 months I could handle, regardless of the stress load.

Boy, was I wrong.

Things were ok for the first couple of months. And even, perhaps to a large extent, for the first 6 months. Then I quit being able to take more stress, with no way to really get rid of any significant amount of it, and things headed into the toilet in a hurry. By this point, it was the beginning of October, 2009, and my recent ex and I had just met. I was stressed out, on the edge of a nervous breakdown which finally showed up in late December, and being threatened with possible misconduct charges by adult protective services because of mistakes I made while stressed out.

Fast forward 2 months to near the middle of December, 2009. Ex and I decide to take a quick trip from home up to the portion of the state he moved from, in order to pick up some of his things. Money being tight, we opted not to take the turnpike, and instead headed for the 2 lane Route 66 that winds it's way up the same path, which is what the turnpike replaced. Route 66, though, has a plethora of small towns dotted along it's length, with their attendant speed variations. At this point, I was driving.

No sooner did we start along Route 66 than we begin to pass through the small speed trap town of Arcadia, Oklahoma. I wasn't paying attention. I was speeding. The officer that pulled me over did so legitimately, and was polite, respectful, and even kind in letting me off with only the speeding ticket, since I couldn't find the insurance verification form for the car. It shook me up, so rather than continuing to drive, I switched places with the ex, and he drove for the rest of the trip to Tulsa and back home. Court date listed on the ticket was for the first week of January.

Things continued forward, and at the end of December as it all came to a head, I finally cracked and suffered the nervous breakdown that had been creeping up on me for a while. I turned into a gibbering idiot, nearly in a state of catatonia for a few hours, and proceeded to misplace what few marbles I had left at that point.

What disappeared along with my marbles? Being able to remember that I had a speeding ticket, with a court date still pending on it. Strike 1 for missing a court date.

Word of advice? Never miss a court date in a small, rural town that relies on those fines for the majority of their income. They put out warrants in a hurry for FtA (failure to appear) - and then send their police to your doorstep in short order to arrest you on that bench warrant. And if they're a Really small town, like Arcadia is, they won't even have their own jail! Which means, of course, that they send you to the County Jail in whatever county they happen to be part of.

So off to county lock down I go, my hands cuffed behind me for the ride, to be patted down, fingerprinted, have rather terrified looking mugshot photos taken, all of my tattoos recorded and put on record, my clothing and such replaced with ugly orange scrubs that said "Jail" on the back of them, and tossed into a 10' by 12' concrete room with 2 steel bunks, a combination toilet/sink in one corner, whose door only locked from the outside, and a pair of race hatred motivated roommates as the other occupants of this cozy space. And I wasn't of their race.

One week and almost uncountable amounts of psychological trauma later, I was finally released by the judge on an OR (own recognizance) bond, and a new court date given to me. The trauma was caused by a multitude of things. Food so bad I wouldn't force my dogs to eat it. (I ended up loosing 12lbs that week, from being unable to stomach the majority of it.) My only company being various hardened drug addicts, drug dealers, accused murderers, multi-count thieves, and those charged with assault and other violent crimes. And this was in the Women's area of the county jail.

So I go home, determined to pick up the pieces of my life, get back on the psych meds that I'm supposed to be taking, never miss another court date for the rest of my life or do Anything that could land me in a similar position a second time. I write down the new court date on the calendar, and put a note to myself in my phone for that date as well, with an alarm programmed, so I don't forget.

Court date approaches, as I keep an eye on the calendar, and then I realize something. The date I've written down on the calendar is a Saturday. No one has court on Saturday, right? Of Course no one has court on Saturday - that's the Weekend, and court is a Weekday thing!

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, wrong answer, but we Thank You for playing "You Bet Your Life!" I proceed to convince myself that I had to have written the date down wrong, and so I don't show up - again. However, I took myself there first thing the next Monday to present myself to the judge to work out payment arrangements for the mounting fines and associated court costs.

And promptly found myself handcuffed and driven downtown to the County Jail a second time, for a 2 week reprise of my earlier visit. That makes 2 trips, spanning 3 weeks total, in a matter of 8 weeks of time.

I've learned a lot from the experience. I've learned never to rely on anyone other than myself to deal with a problem. No one else is going to, even if they offer to, or have claimed responsibility for you and your life. I've learned never to take something I "know" as something that I Actually KNOW - verify, verify, verify. I'm learning rapidly not to think I can get away with playing ostrich about anything - the stress doesn't go away, and eventually when I lift my head for a peek to see if the danger has passed, it's going to be hovering with teeth bared. I'm working on learning better coping skills for the stress itself, though that's a lengthy process. And I've learned that yes - there IS worse food on the planet than a couple of my more "creative" ex's cooked - it's served at the Oklahoma County Jail.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rhi's Rhules and Rhetoric for Rhelationships

Rhule 1.) Don't Do It. Just don't. Yes, I know, you think you're in Lurve. But trust me on this one, it's a brief hormonal fluctuation, and you'll get over it in about the same length of time that it takes to get over a hormone induced hot flash.

Rhule 2.) If you must break Rhule #1, then for the love of the gods and little green apples, do so with a bit of Intelligence. Thinking with your genitals isn't pretty at the best of times, and at the worst of times can land you in an unexpected nightmare.

In light of my own nasty habit of ignoring both of those basic rhules for a sucessful life and meaningful rhelationships, how about a few pointers on how I'm trying to learn to follow at Least #2 a little more closely? These are the distilled nuggets of everlasting truth that I've gained over the course of too many relationships during the past 30 years.

Never ignore your gut instincts, after a good roll in the hay to relieve tension, when they scream at you, "Get up, get dressed, smile politely and tell him thanks for the fantastic orgasm, then GO HOME AND FORGET HE EXISTS."

Never be willing to settle for whatever happens to come along, rather than what you honestly Want in a partner. You'll regret it. It will make you miserable in the long run. And you'll end up angry at yourself, resentful of your unsuitable partner, and missing opportunity when someone suitable Does walk into your life.

Never be willing to date someone who has spent more time in prison than you have, or whose bad habits are significantly worse than your own. You aren't going to change them, and in the long run, you'll end up asking yourself far too frequently what you saw in them in the first place.

Never be willing to date someone whom you know is willing to cheat. If they will cheat WITH you (or someone else) they will eventually cheat ON you as well. Tigers don't change their stripes, and neither do those who are willing to discard loyalty at the drop of a hat (or pair of panties.) If you don't care whether they sneak around behind your back, frequently lie to you on a massive scale, have no respect for you, and no regard for whatever promises you made to each other - then feel free to disregard this one.

Never date someone whom you know is willing to lie to you about the big issues. Eventually, you'll find out the truth anyway. You always do. And if you find out long after the fact, because they lied about something big (like cheating, or a felony record) you'll end up feeling miserable, betrayed, and angry. (And probably thinking up creative ways to perform castration, and new recipes for a type of faux mountain oysters.)

Never date someone who puts you down, degrades you, humiliates you, doesn't respect you, or puts you last behind everyone else they know. Just trust me on this one. Nuff said about it.

Never, EVER, put someone first in your life who has not put you first in Their life. If they're not willing to put you ahead of everyone else, they don't deserve to be placed ahead of everyone else. Along with this goes a second portion: Never make someone a priority in life, if you are merely a convenience in thier's.

And finally....

Forgive and Forget = Relive and Regret. Forgive them all you like for their flaws. They're human, after all, just like you are. But don't turn around and forget what they've done after forgiving them. If you forget, then it will keep happening, and you'll find yourself perplexed. Forgive them, send them on their way, and chalk it up to a lesson learned.

Edited to add: If they mention that ugly "m" word (you know- Marriage) in any positive form, run screaming for the hills as fast as possible. And never allow someone you're dating to move into your home, regardless of circumstances, unless you've been seeing each other for longer than 2 years and are currently engaged due to ignoring the warning about running for the hills.