Saturday, December 31, 2011

Time for New Year's Resolutions Again

Yes, dear friends, it's that time of year again - the eve of what the modern Western world considers the New Year thanks to the Catholic Church and the Gregorians.  (Why they put the blinkin New Year in the middle of Winter, long after the Solstice, but well before things start actually turning to Spring with Imbolc and the Lambing season, I have NO idea - they were idiots.)

So anyway, I've been contemplating whether or not to make any New Year's Resolutions this year, and if I do what they should be.  I've learned through past efforts (or lack of effort, really) that I'm not particularly good at even coming Close to keeping the various Resolutions I've made.  I just don't seem to have the willpower to manage sticking to any of them.  Or perhaps rather than a lack of willpower, I should be honest with myself and call it what it is: deep seated laziness coupled with an absolute complacency about life.  Inertia.  Ennui.  Apathy.

It's time for me to put a stop to that, though, and start showing a bit of responsibility again.   I've taken the past few years to be (mostly) irresponsible about life, putting things on the back burner that shouldn't have been, wasting time and money as though I were going through a second set of the teen years.  Then again, when I was a teen, I had this nasty tendency to be ultra responsible, and therefore much lacking in FUN in my life a lot of the time.

It's time for some changes in my life.  I'm finally ready for a few, and in a much better position to appreciate them - and to Not forget what brought me to the point of wanting/needing those specific changes.

So to that end, here is my "list" for 2012, and perhaps a bit of insight into what brought about these particular resolutions...

  1. I resolve to Stop Smoking.  Now, for the past 30 years, I've had an addiction to nicotine.  Such is not easy to simply set aside.  It's a physical dependency, rather than simply an emotional crutch or psychological bolstering agent.  During the past year, though, I've gone back to work - at a job where I don't have much opportunity to stop and smoke.  I only get a couple of breaks, spread far apart during the night, and the only time I can smoke is while I'm on break or on lunch - and even then I have to go outside to do so, since the company took out all smokers' breakrooms at the end of July of this past year.  Heat, cold, rain, wind... doesn't matter - if I want nicotine, I have to go out into it, which is a growing pain in the rump.  Then there's the simple fact that my current partner doesn't smoke.  He used to, and managed to quit years ago.  He doesn't complain about my smoking.  He's never made any indication that my smoking bothers him.  He hasn't asked me not to smoke around him.  I still make a conscious effort not to smoke while he and I are together.  It's facilitated by the fact that I can't smoke inside when I'm at his place (much like I can't smoke inside at work) or while we're in the car together - and he doesn't slow down long enough walking from a restaurant or business for me to do more than take a couple of quick puffs, not even enough to make it worth it to light one in the first place.  Granted, I don't have the boredom smoking while I'm with him, or the whole "this is when I would normally unthinkingly reach for one and light it" smoking that I do at home, or the "OMG I'm so stressed out I either have to smoke or I'm gonna kill something" feeling that I get at work or when I'm crawling the walls with frustration home alone.  I've cut down from almost 2 packs a day to less than a half pack a day during the past 6 months, and even managed during the end of July/beginning of August to go for 2 weeks completely without, and nothing ended up dead by my hands during that time lol.  Yes, it's time.  I can do this, and I'm not the weak minded follower little girl that I was 30 years ago, desperate to be thought "cool" by my friends who smoked.
  2. I resolve to lose 50 lbs or 3 sizes, whichever happens first.  I'm more concerned with toning up, getting in shape, and pulling myself away from the edge of potential diabetes than I am with my Weight or Size, per se.  While 50 lbs won't even begin to get me close to what Society says is my "ideal" weight for my height and bone structure, it Will make me a lot more comfortable, increase my stamina, make my clothes fit better, lower my blood pressure, improve my circulation and muscle fatigue issues, and make me feel better about myself overall.  Again - other half hasn't ever brought up my weight as an issue - and in fact has done a lot to make me feel good about myself, and how I look, and how the world sees me.  (Have I mentioned that he's an incredible man, and I'm truly blessed to have him as a part of my life?  If I haven't, I should, because I am!)  
  3. I resolve to be more financially responsible during the coming year.  I've spent the past several months spending money on stupid stuff I didn't need, while sometimes neglecting to do things that I Should have been doing, like paying off bills that are still sitting and waiting for me.  I've made way to many excuses for doing so.  It's time for me to stop making the excuses, quit squandering money on things that are completely useless, and get my life back on track fiscally.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thoughts because of seeing my high school sweet heart

I don't think you ever knew how much I loved you, back when we were still kids, learning about life together in high school.  You never knew how much you meant to me.  You never knew how much your smile lit my whole world.  You had no clue just how deep the anguish went when you said goodbye and went on to bigger, brighter, better things than what we shared together.  You grasped the dreams that burned so brilliantly through your eyes and burned their way into my very soul, running with them and making them come true for you.

Me?  I had my dreams as well.  Grand dreams of love and life and the future.  Some of them I managed to hold on to, if only barely.  Others went the way of the dinosaur...... the way of our youthful affection for each other.

I learned eventually to live without those dreams of glory. 

I went on with my life, and every time I fell down, I made myself get back up again.

I even managed to quit thinking about you, after enough time had passed and you hadn't come back into my life.

It's taken me more than 25 years, but I finally managed to find someone to replace all that you were in my heart and my life.  Someone who shares dreams with me, who's smile lights up my whole world like yours used to, who's happiness has become the center of my being and my own happiness, like yours used to be.

We went our separate ways long ago.  We can never go back to where we were - or who we were - back then.  We've changed, life has changed, the world has changed, even our memories of what we did and who we were and what the world was like have changed.

You helped make me who I am today.  Your companionship during my early years helped to form me, and to set the expectations I've got now.  Your image was what other men were held up next to, only to fall short of what I wanted out of the man in my life.    Thank you - for having been who you were, for helping me to be who I was and who I became, and for having been my friend.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A bit of Reflection about Occupations (and no, I don't mean our jobs)

For most of the duration of the various "Occupy" sites, I've had little in the way of sympathy for those caught up in the "movement."  But then this morning, I got to thinking about my own situation, and how it ties into what the Occupiers are (ineffectively) attempting to say.  My own current situation has more in common with what they're complaining about than I want to admit even to myself.  Now don't get me wrong - this post is Not meant to whine, or to cast blame anywhere but upon my own shoulders for my own choices good, bad, and indifferent.  It is, however, a statement of understanding where Some of the protesters are coming from.

Not all of the protestors.  After all, every "protest" movement has it's share of those who are simply jumping on the ole bandwagon because it's the Popular thing to do, or because their friends consider it "cool" to do so. And this particular set of linked protests has more than it's fair share of such: 20 something hipsters who have no clue what it's like out in the real world, who've never had to pay their own bills without help from mommy and daddy, who happen to see this as the Cause of the Moment and therefore want to show how With It and Cool they are by joining in to say something they're utterly clueless about.

Then there are the ones this set of protests is Really about: middle aged, jobless, frequently homeless (because they're jobless and therefore got foreclosed on and simply can't afford to pay rent on another place) hungry (because they don't have a kitchen to do their own cooking, and can't afford to eat out - even at someplace cheap and greasy like McDonald's with a $1 menu.)  They are the dispossessed, the desperate, and the destitute.

And there, but for the grace of good luck and planning on the part of my parents, go I.  It's certainly not through any great good sense or ability of MINE that I'm not living on the street and dumpster diving for my meals.  Hell, by rights I Should be having to do so, if we were going to go strictly by what *I have accomplished during the past 45 years.  On examination, I've accomplished damned little over the past years.  It's been due to my own choices - not anyone Else's.  I chose to stay home with my children and raise them, rather than having a job outside the house and relying on daycare during infancy and after school programs during later childhood.  I chose the priorities I had, which dictated my family came before my own continued higher education and finishing a college degree, or that immediate bills likes the utilities and decent clothes for my kids was more important than paying off delinquent student loans from when I was taking classes.

No doubt many - if not most - of those who are Destitute and Desperate are like myself.  They made choices which, at the time, seemed the best way to prioritize their life, but which in the view of hindsight seem to have been mistakes.  Mistakes which are now costing them their jobs, their homes, the fullness of bellies denied regular meals, decent clothes, transportation that isn't provided by their own feet.

So we made our choices.  We prioritized our lives, and those priorities didn't place making the almighty dollar above the emotional or spiritual welfare of our families.  So now we don't have careers that make 6 or 7 figures per year, we don't have half million dollar showcase homes, we don't drive BMWs and vacation every year in the Caribbean or Europe.  What we do have are children who are well adjusted and disciplined, modest homes (where they haven't been foreclosed on by the bank) that would net under $100K if sold in the current housing market, jobs that we're lucky if they pay $50K a year with 2 people in the household working (and for many of us, under $25K a year - living so far below the poverty level of $23K a year Per Adult that we don't even show up on the statistics any longer!) either walking everywhere we go or driving cars that are 10+ years old because we simply can't afford to pay More Than A Year's Salary to buy a newer vehicle.

Now we have these Shitheads from the banks - and lawyer's offices, and government, and the CEOs of multi billion dollar corporations who are making the huge bucks - telling us that we're simply whining because life isn't fair? 

Wait a minute. 

Aren't you the same fucktards who's children are unsupervised by anyone but a paid nanny, and undisciplined except by a Judge when they go out and destroy something while drunk (only to get a slap on the wrist and 20 hours of community service - where MY children would get 15 days in jail and a fine that it would take them a  year to pay off for the same offense!)  Aren't you the same folks who seem to think that I should be Grateful to make a wage so far below the poverty level that I can never dig out of debt and the threat of having everything I "own" repossessed by You?  Aren't you the same Asshats  that are telling me "Sorry, but you make $10 a month to much Before Taxes to qualify for help putting food on your table - and we're not going to pay any attention to how much of your wage is going to pay us, or your various debts to our golfing buddies."  Isn't this the same shitforbrains lawyer and judge who are telling me that if I don't pay off the bank the lawyer works for - out of a wage that won't even keep all my utilities turned on and still put food on my table - then they're going to collectively throw me in jail, so that I lose the very job they're demanding I be grateful to them for even though it's not enough to actually pay the bills?

How long has it been since they had to decide whether to leave the electric or gas turned on this month?  Have they Ever had to decide whether they were going to eat this month, or get the 20 year old broken hot water heater replaced?  How many times have They gone to work so sick they should probably have been in a hospital bed, simply because if they missed work that day their kids wouldn't be able to eat dinner but would instead have to rely on school breakfasts and lunchs not to go hungry?  Have they bothered to step back and think about the fact that while they make $150 an hour - I have to work for a Week of 9 Hour Days to make that same $150 bucks - and then get part of it taken out of my paycheck before I ever see it, to cough up to the government for services they then tell me I don't qualify to get because I MAKE TOO MUCH MONEY!

Somehow I doubt they've considered that.  Or that they would give a flying rat's ass if they Did stop and consider it.  Or that they would do more than shrug their shoulders and take a swing at their golf ball if they realized the implications.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's That Time of Year Again

Yes, that's right.  I've been at this long enough now for it to have come again.  Just like it did last year.  And the year before that.  And yes, every year prior to those, as well.

It's that time.  Time for the Ordeal of the Dead Bird, more conventionally known as Thanksgiving.  It's that weird American holiday that traditionally celebrates Gluttony, Sloth, Envy, and Theft.  Yes, I know.  It's Supposedly about things Other than that.  But let's be honest amongst ourselves, shan't we?   Overindulgence in food, lazing around to watch Football, Trying to 1 up our siblings on the year's achievements, and the arrival of land stealing, resource destroying, pollution mongering,  genocidal assholes (and those are just the European's GOOD points!) onto this continent are what it's all about no matter how much people might spout otherwise.

I detest Thanksgiving as a holiday, generally speaking.  Dealing with my relatives is never a celebration.  (Thankfully, this year, there are so few of them left as to render the whole familial line obsolete!)  Dealing with the shopping frenzy of Black Friday, when one works in the retail arena, is even Less cause to celebrate.  This is the first year that I've been able to tolerate Football (and I'm still trying to figure out how my current boyfriend managed to get me to watch - much less Enjoy - a sport that I've despised since prior to graduating high school) so I'm not exactly primed to be excited about the game.

Ah well.  At least I'm not the one doing the cooking this year.  Boyfriend and his room mates are doing that, and I'll simply be enjoying the fruits of their culinary labors.  (Always a treat, considering what an incredible cook the man is.  His roomies, not so much, but both roomies are at least adequate in the kitchen, so I am not forseeing any disasters.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hapless Holidays

I've never been particularly fond of Christmas.  Ever since I became old enough to realize that Santa was simply my parents/grandparents waiting til we kids had gone to bed to pull out the various toys (which had already been discovered "hidden" in their closet a month earlier!) and put them under the tree - I've been of the opinion that Christmas is for fools, fakes, and frauds.  The older I've gotten, the more convinced of this I've become.  And since I quit practicing Christianity years ago, and became an out of the closet pagan, I'm even more dead set against this particular usurped holiday.

Of course, the advent of Christmas Music on the intercom system at work, even though we're barely a week past Samhain (that's Halloween, for all you abrahamic folks who prefer the christianized version of the holiday) has brought home once again that Midwinter is approaching.  And of course, it's brought to mind my favorite Anti-Christmas song, "The 12 Days After Christmas" - high satire at it's finest.

Considering the price tag attached to the traditional "gifts" mentioned in that oh-so-overdone christmas tune, I personally find the satire to be rather appropriate.

The first day after Christmas, my true love and I had a fight!  And so I chopped the pear tree down, and burned it just for spite.  And with a single cartridge, I shot that fucking partridge, my true love (my true love) my true love gave to me.
The second day after Christmas, my mother caught the croup!  I had to use the 3 french hens to make some chicken soup.  The 4 calling birds were a big mistake, for their language was Obscene.  And the 5 gold rings were completely Fake - for they turned my fingers Green! 
The sixth day after Christmas, the 6 laying geese wouldn't lay.  I sent the whole darn gaggle to the ASPCA.  On the seventh day what a mess I found, all 7 of the swimming swans had Drowned!  That my true love (my true love) my true love gave to me.
The eighth day after Christmas, before they could suspect, I bundled up the 8 maids a milking, 9 ladies dancing, 10 lords a leaping, 11 pipers piping, 12 drummers drumming (ok, Ok, so I Kept one of the Pipers!) and sent them back ....... Collect!
I told my true love, "We are Through, Love.  And further more this word - this Christmas song is for the.... "

4 Calling Birds
3 French Hens
2 Turtle Doves
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Musing about that "L" word

You know the one I mean.  Everyone uses it so casually, it's almost lost it's meaning.  No, no no... I don't mean "lust" - though frequently enough people seem to mistake the two for each other.  No, I'm talking about that word that evokes terror into the hearts of even the most macho of men, when uttered at the wrong time.  A word which is difficult (at best) to truly define, and yet which symbolizes an emotion that almost all of us eventually feel and which we (as humans) need to some extent in order to be socialized.

That's right - I mean Love.  Affection plus attraction plus tenderness plus emotional attachment plus caring plus that indefinable "something" that we can't always put our finger on, but which we know is There when it is - that extra "spark" that flows between us and the person of our emotion which cannot be measured or named but which we nonetheless know is present when it happens.

It's more than simply hearing someone say, "I love you."  Which, I'll grant you, is very pleasant to hear said even though it's not always Necessary to be spoken.  Sometimes, we can go without it ever being uttered, and yet we know beyond any possibility of doubt that it exists.  We either intuit that it's present, or it's "spoken" through the actions of another person to tell us much more clearly than words that we are dear to them.  Loved, cherished, appreciated, and holding an important place within the spectrum of their positive emotions.

Don't mistake me.  I enjoy hearing it.  It gives me that "warm fuzzy" glow which can't be seen or explained - only felt.  Yet I don't "need" to be Told in order to KNOW that I'm loved.    It's spoken loudly and frequently in those little things he does.  It was all over that special batch of cookies - modified to exclude an ingredient I have a mild allergy to - made just for me to enjoy.  It's in things like showing up unexpectedly to pick me up, after telling me he has "plans" but making no mention of what those plans are, or whether they even include me.  It's in the subtle caress delivered while he's asleep and I'm mostly that way, not to any portion of the body that could be mistaken as an unconscious sexual overture - but to my hair while my head rests against him.  It's in his gentle teasing, the strength of his arms holding me against him, and the tone of his voice during those moments when I most need (but refuse to ask for) comforting on some level.

He's an incredible man.  I find it difficult to imagine life without him.  And whether he's phyiscally close or miles away... I know - always know, soul deep, in every fiber of my being both physical and spiritual - he loves me.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Random Ramblings on a Positively Meh Day

Days like this can sometimes become a true chore simply to deal with.  While nothing goes specifically "wrong" - nothing seems to go quite "right" either.  Things become a bit "meh" and lackluster simply because they tread that obsequious line of mediocrity from start to finish.

Is there, really, any way to push things past the mediocrity that seems to instill the very air on such a day, so that it begins to approach outstanding?  Or how about, if not outstanding, then at least memorable?  Bright?  Focused? Anything other than lackluster???

On days such as this, the creative muse seems to have decided to take a nice, long, Nap.  Of course - it's days like this which I also have free to myself, to try and accomplish something meaningful beyond being a wage slave or doing neverending housework.  The sun is bright, there are no clouds, and nothing is actually pressing, screaming at me to "Get It Done, Already!"  The temperature is mild, with enough heat that one not need to bundle up, but enough cool breeze that sweating simply because I move isn't going to be an issue.  All the Major housework has been completed - no dishes sitting in the sink, staring at me accusingly (as they so often do) the laundry is as caught up as it's ever going to get, the only household chores left to accomplish are minor tasks like taking the 2 minutes it's going to require to clean up the catbox for the day unless I want to devote the whole day to doing a serious (and probably much needed) deep cleaning.  But that deep cleaning will simply have to wait, because I can't work up any sort of gumption to get it done right now.  (OK, maybe not ALL the needed housework has been done, but all of it that I'm willing to work on at this point!)

In all honesty, this is the sort of day that I would love to spend out wandering around the Zoo, or hiking out in the woods at the lake.  Unfortunately, with no car and both of those being at least a 20 minute drive from home (at 60mph, on the highway) it's not exactly a practical option.  No, I'm limited to where I can go on foot, or at best slowly on the back of my bicycle (poor thing needs to be used more frequently anyway.)  I remind myself that the exercise is good for me.  Walking increases the heartrate, helps lower the body's setpoint for weight, burns calories, and gently tones muscles.  All of which is beneficial both in the short and long term on various levels.  So why does the prospect of having to walk everywhere if I happen to leave the house make me want to snarl and growl and cuss and throw something sharp, pointy, and deadly in a random direction?  It's not like I wouldn't be doing the same amount of walking - if not More - while wandering the zoo or hiking trails at the lake.

Could it be that I'm simply feeling the subconscious pressure to Conform to society's norms.  And one of those norms, at least here in the U.S., is to have a car and drive everywhere we go - whether we're going 4 blocks up to the corner convenience store, or to the airport across town to fly to another state or country.  Ah well - I haven't been much of one to Conform - especially not simply because "everybody else does it that way" - in a long time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Other Peoples' Children

I'm currently sitting here at the public library, in what they call their "quiet reading room," accessing the wifi available and attempting (mostly unsuccessfully) to refrain from glaring balefully at a trio of 8 to 10 year olds who keep running in and out of the room, completely lacking in any sort of adult supervision.

I'm not particularly fond of children at the best of times - especially other peoples' assorted misbehaving crotchfruit.  This particular trio is reminding me post haste of exactly WHY I so strenuously dislike other peoples' children.  Loud, disrespectful, unsupervised, boisterous in an area which is clearly marked as a place to be both quiet and respectful of other library patrons - someone needs to duct tape the little brats into a trio of chairs via their wrists and ankles, duct tape their mouths shut, and explain to them that they aren't going to be allowed back up until their parental unit comes to claim them and Removes them from the entire Building.

It's not that I necessarily dislike All children.  I don't.  Really.  Quiet, studious, well behaved, respectful, well disciplined youngsters provided with plenty to quietly entertain themselves, and sufficient parental supervision that it assures I'm not going to have to consider pulling the In Loco Parentis card - they're fine.  A joy even.  I just can't stand - and won't tolerate - the unsupervised chaos and mayhem of someone else's little darling being left to run rampant with complete disregard to the rest of humanity.  I detest the Parents of such spawn even more than I dislike their offspring.  The parents should know better - and if they aren't capable of, or willing to, keep their nasty little brats in line - they should be tortured, forcibly neutered, and their spawn removed and placed with someone who WILL supervise them.  (Dear gods no, not ME - I would kill the stupid lil bastards before they learned enough not to piss me off!)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Family vs Relatives

It's easy to know who our Relatives are - those persons who happen to share a close common genetic background and therefore ties of blood and bone and cell structure at the most fundamental levels of DNA.

Defining who our Family is, as opposed to those who are relatives, is not always such an easy or clearly defined task.  Relatives, after all, are a trick played by fate.  You have no choice about who happens to share common ancestors with you, whether you like them or hate them or could care less one way or the other.  It doesn't even matter whether you've even Met them - they're your relatives by a quirk of fate and not through any effort on their part nor great goodness of their spirit or conduct.

My relatives, without exception, are NOT considered part of my Family.  While I may have no choice about whether I share common ancestry, genetics, or DNA with these people, I DO have a choice as to whether I'm going to associate with them, pay attention to their opinions, care about them in the slightest, or respect their existence.

The question happened to cross my mind recently, while considering the whole "who is my family" issue:  Is it possible for me to consider someone part of my family while they do not consider me part of their family?  Is it possible for me to maintain the loyalty and caring of family towards someone who indicates to me - either by direct words, or by their actions, that they consider me inadequate - not good enough - to be part of their family?

It's something I haven't, yet, been able to answer for myself.  But I will no doubt find some resolution before I set the question aside completely.  I have to, for my own peace of mind.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Trying to explain Me

I've been doing a lot of study over the past several months, along with work (off and on) with a psychiatrist, to try and define myself - to myself.  It hasn't been an easy task, and it's by no means completed.  It may never actually be a "completed" project - due to the nature of the human beast, and it's constantly changing and adapting state.

In the meantime, gaining a definitive sense of Self has been one of the utmost projects in order to arrive at something at least remotely resembling a state of mental and emotional health.  I wasn't joking, after all, when I subtitled this blog "diary of a mad woman."  I am not now, nor have I been for several years, anywhere close to a state of mental health or normalcy.  The trip into crazyville started years ago, took a long time, and it isn't going to be a fast road back to complete health.

Most people know who they are.  They have a very clear view of "ME" and "Self" - I, on the other hand, most frequently do not.  I've spent my entire life wearing whatever mask I happened to think people Expected of me for a particular "role" or situation.  "Mommy" wasn't particularly Real to me - it was a long term role I was expected to play and fumble my way through, hopefully without making to much of a fool out of myself, or causing to much damage along the way.  Same thing with "wife" and "friend" and whatever else happened to be dumped in my lap by fate along the way.  I keep hoping that eventually I'll figure out who *I am, as opposed to who "you" (generic - everyone who doesn't inhabit this body) think I "should" be or "could" be or am "supposed" to be.

I'll find me eventually.  I hope.  And in the meantime, at least I've learned how to slip into the mask for most of the various roles expected of me.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An anniversary, of sorts

In a week, it will have been a year since I started this blog.  A rather interesting, and sometimes stressful and trying, year.

I've had a relationship (a bad one, I'll grant you) blow up in my face - mostly because I placed my trust in someone who was completely unworthy of anyone's trust.  I've started a new relationship, with someone who has displayed a lot more loyalty, honesty, reliability, and respect.  We'll see where it goes in the coming months, since it's currently in it's 6th month of existence.

I've gone from being terminally unemployed to having a job - one which is working out rather well, and which I actually enjoy, even though it's neither glamorous nor well-paid.  I'm even looking at the possibility of increased hours, a pay raise, and a possible promotion within the next month, although I've only been employed for 3 months.

I'm finally beginning to get caught up with myself financially, and the prospects for the coming year - while not peachy - are certainly better than they have been in the prior 18 month period for various reasons, and have nowhere to go but up.

My home is nearly back in order - a long and rather difficult process to get it there, without a doubt - after having finally rid it of unwanted guests, uncouth acquaintances, and unsavory roommates.  I'm even getting things in order sufficiently that I can perhaps start painting again, which I've been putting off doing for quite some time now.

All in all, things are looking better every day.  While I won't hold my breath that they'll necessarily stay that way, neither will I allow myself to dwell on the possibility that they won't.