Thursday, December 31, 2009


I re-read last year's blog from about this time today. I talked a lot about growth in that one and, like 2008, 2009 is a year in which I feel I've grown. Every week, just about, I'm asked to reflect on the progress I've made. Sometimes it's difficult to see or describe. And, as I said in the post I made last night, there are still really big things that I want to see improve. But, as tough as things like managing anxiety/worry are, I can objectively say that I have gotten even stronger over the past year, become more comfortable with honesty and trust, and become better able to consider my needs as a priority. And, as proud as I am of those things, I'm just as proud of the fact that I have some more tangible things to point to as progress. A year ago, I didn't have a permanent job, health insurance, or an apartment of my own. I'm thankful, of course, for all the people that have helped me along the way with these goals. Some of you were here, pushing me to see the most basic things that needed to change and helping me through the very darkest days and some of you missed out on that but still encourage and inspire me. But, at the risk of bragging, I've just plain worked hard (harder than I would've imagined sometimes) to be at the point I've reached. It's interesting, I think, what clarity comes along with this kind of work and growth. I used to have so many things crowding my mind, wanting to be accomplished that I didn't know where to begin or how. Financial and emotional stability are obviously big pieces that I didn't have for years. Having those things makes it possible to see dreams stop being ephemeral. I can see the steps I need to take toward them more clearly now. It's easier to prioritize and keep in mind the realities that time forces on me.

In some ways, I feel like the year has flown so quickly past. Alex and Emma's new school pictures surprised me, making me see just how far from babyhood they've gotten. And, of course, Parker will be here in just a few short months and we'll all be watching him go through the same thing. It's such a gift to get to watch and participate in their lives, to see them gradually becoming the adults they're going to be before we know it. I feel wistful and yet, again, so very proud and honored by it all.

I was listening to music in the car yesterday, playing my eclectic little mix of tunes on the mp3 player Angie and Amy got me for my birthday. And, in the midst of some recent faves, a song from Annie came on. (Okay, I'll wait until you stop smirking/chuckling) I have adored that musical since I was younger than the main character and, as I listened to it yet again, I realized that, even with all the growth and change I've undergone, the little girl who first fell in love with that musical is still here. I kind of like her, frankly, and hope I can always say that.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Trying to keep a lid on things

There are things I don't talk about much (even on here) cause I assume other people can pick up on them via osmosis or telepathy or something. But, in the interests of following certain orders, I'll share one. (I bear no blame if it is, in fact, wholly redundant to some of you) I worry almost all the time. I think I might have picked the tendency up from Grandma McGuire who used to say she HAD to have something to worry about. Most of the time, it's focused on one person or other who seems to be going through something. Other times, though, I can feel it creeping up like the temperature in July. I think the holidays don't help for lots of reasons. Whatever contributes to it, I feel it surging lately, making me jump to conclusions, assume negative things about people around me and their thoughts. I HATE THIS. But, it has been pointed out that I'm doing well in recognizing it and, in my opinion, I'm doing much better at keeping it at bay rather than letting it push me into acting rashly as I've done in the past. And, yet, it still is at a level that I simply abhor and don't really know what to do with.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Melty brain cells

This week has been godawful long. And, it's only Wednesday! The holiday party at work was Monday and it just took so much out of me. A little background: I was on the committee for the annual departmental retreat a couple of months ago. The coworker who was in charge of that didn't micromanage and make sure everything flowed together and, instead, let gaps between activities build to the point that everyone's boss, the head of the department, came to my boss, Tracey, to ask why nothing was happening and to ask her to step in. Not good. So, when I got handed the holiday party, I already knew it needed to go well. So, I held committee meetings every week to ensure that each person (who I had hand-picked for their willingness to get in there and work) knew exactly what they were doing and when and to make damned sure that nothing unexpected was going to fuck this up. Monday, as I said, was the day of the event. I got to work a bit after 7 just to corral things and people and get the decorating started. I didn't actually mind the early hour so much. It was the authority I had to take on that got to me. I had to not only direct everyone on the committee, telling them/reminding them what their parts where and keeping one eye on the time all day so that things went according to my very strict itinerary, but to keep all the other people who were just there for the fun stuff going as well. Long story short (too late!) by four pm, I was absolutely exhausted. I mean tired like I hadn't been since the almost-hurricane in Corpus that kept me up, getting the house hurricane-proofed, for about 48 hours. I still don't feel like I've fully caught up. It was just physically taxing as well as mentally. I will say, though, that facing some things that make me very nervous (public speaking, giving orders, etc.) and getting through them without being laughed at or facing outright refusals does make me a bit less hesitant about tackling something like that again. Next year, though, they better not try and make us do this on a budget of $0 again. I'm not going there again.

All of that, btw, is the reason I have no real knitting/reading news for you guys. I've been coming home and staring at something on the tv every evening for the past week or two, trying to fit in basic cleaning when I remember. The resulting lack of ability to piece two thoughts together for very long has led me to: A) Forget a doctor's appointment today that I made three months ago until about an hour before it started. I had to haul ass to that since they couldn't reschedule until February. B) Repeatedly misplace my keys at work, locking myself out of my office at one point. C)Blatantly misspell a word on my weekly 'Words of the day' fb status (only one person noticed, btw). Beyond those examples, it gets REALLY embarrassing so, I'll share in person if you ask but not on here. Melty brain cells.

Oh, but, Abby and Costello did get adopted like five minutes after I brought them home. It's great for them but made me a bit sad which is probably why I was so happy to foster another kitty, Frannie. She was here for about two days before Sable and Daisy completely accepted her but I knew about 10 minutes in that she wasn't going anywhere. She's a magic cat, this one. I had to re-name her, though, since I won't have a pet sharing a name with a family member (my aunt). After some thought, I decided that her quirky way of winning people and other cats over reminded me most of Luna Lovegood from HP. So, Luna, it is. Expect pics soon.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Of Kittens and holidays

I used to be more of a holiday person. Not so much these days-the winter months tend to take a lot more effort than I usually 'fess up to. The cold, the fact that it's dark by 5pm, the way one of my favorite local radio stations plays NOTHING but xmas carols for at least 5 weeks... It's all a bit much for me. But, I do like giving gifts and that provides me the opportunity for shopping that I actually enjoy. This year, oddly enough, most of my family has requested gift cards. So, I'm probably going to ignore that for the self-indulgent pleasure I get out of choosing and giving them something more than a piece of plastic. And, of course, the holidays mean all kinds of work parties. I skipped out on the Secret Santa thing this year but tomorrow starts my office's annual 'Week of Food.' What's that, you ask? Well, every year, the folks I work with divide the week up and three or four people bring in food for everyone each day of the week. It's pretty cool but, having gone vegetarian does sort of take me out of it this year. And, of course, I'll be moving offices sometime (hopefully soon before I actually snap and hurt a certain coworker). I still don't know when that's all going to occur but I will (obviously) keep you all posted. I'll probably be heading to Mom's and Angie's for the actual days around xmas but may keep it a shorter visit to come home and check on the menagerie of cats here.

Now for the kittens! I'm fostering what must be the two most adorable examples around at the moment. Abby and Costello-such great names-are my shadows around the apartment now. They only pause at the bedroom where Daisy has holed up in protest. I think she'll come around since she's definitely got the advantage of size over these two. Abby (second picture) is a bit more outgoing than Costello but they are both total lap cats and very, very, cuddly. I think they'll have no trouble getting adopted right away. Not sure if that makes me happy, lol.


They taught us not to step on the cracks in the sidewalk
A rule we disregarded after daring it resulted in nothing
Later years found you even taking pleasure in it
As if daring the gods to make good on that vague threat
And, were I bolder, I might do the same
Might stretch myself to reach past that line between us
Just to see what would come of it
Just to find out who I'd be on the other side
Its austerity immobilizes me and, for the moment,
Neither moving forward nor backing away, I simply stand.


After all this time of quiet,
I hear it
The sound akin to gunshot
In the distance
As the warmth begins to reach through
And reveal the ice-covered depths

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ohh, such a good weekend!

Today is the last bit of my first vacation in well over a year and, I'm almost certain, the first paid vacation I've had in as long as I can remember. Nothing like some time off to just relax and hang out with friends.

Friday night I went to see one of my favorite bands, The Swell Season. Oh, how I adore this duo. I think there's little I wouldn't do for either Glen Hansard or Market Irglova if they'd sing even a few bars of their music. *sighs* And, of course, they put on a fabulous show, covering all my favorites and singing the hell out of their new cd. Hansard, as usual, shared great stories from the road between songs making all those susceptible to his charm fall even deeper into lust for him. I ended up not getting home and to sleep until after 12 but it was soooo worth it.
Watch! Or, watch this!

Saturday, I got up early and took off for Fort Knox, KY to see my friend Christina and her husband for a few days. The drive through Illinois and Indiana was great-such beautiful scenery. I do love road trips (and, surprisingly, even a four hour one undertaken by myself was quite enjoyable). Made it down there a little after 11 and got to the visitor's gate only to realize I forgot to put my registration in the glovebox and, therefore, couldn't drive on base. Luckily, Stina was able to pick me up and we found a safe place for me to leave the Civic. After that, she took me all over the base. I was amazed at the amount of amenities they had on there! Everything from a golf course to a water park and movie theater and I doubt there's much you couldn't find, shop-wise, in one of their stores. (Side note: Stina-go back and get that Ken Doll sign!) After dinner, we just relaxed and watched some movies and had some German spiced holiday wine. I'm sure it has a real name but I'm damned if I can remember it. Good stuff, though, and I'm on the lookout for it up here somewhere. I went to bed with the chickens since I was so wiped from getting up at five and slept like a baby.

On Sunday, Stina and I met up with her friend and classmate, Carly and we went to the Speed Museum in Louisville. It's on the campus of the university and they had a remarkable collection of Flemish and French tapestries from the 15th century as well as two Picassos and a beautiful Chagall painting. I was so impressed at the extensive collection being housed in a college gallery and totally recommend anyone in the area pay them a visit. It's not often you see small galleries with so many diverse artworks that also offer free admission. After that, Stina and I went out for sushi and girl talk. Ah, girl talk... Can't have too much of that, imo.

So, by the time I headed home yesterday, I felt like all the stress of the last few months had been wiped out. It's an awesome feeling but it does make me less than eager to head in tomorrow morning. Also, it was so great to see one of my favorite people so happy. Lots of married couples claim that they're each other's best friend but it's rarely as clearly true as it is for Stina and Tor. Lucky bastards... :) Hopefully, they'll visit sometime soon so I can repay their hospitality.

Oh yeah, I also managed to finish a prettylicious hat for one of the few holiday gifts I'm making. Now I can just focus on Parker's blanket. It probably won't be done for xmas but, then, it was a very ambitious goal anyway. I am, however, going to cast on for Emma's Red Riding Hood-I've been looking at the yarn longingly for too long now.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What Stays With Me

I've lost your laugh now
No idea what'll go next

What still clutches at me is the feel of your hand
Cold within mine, the knuckles knotted under the skin

The pillow I brought you forgotten behind you
As I forced myself to speak

The way your eyes stayed on the blanket
The shadows the blinds threw on the floor

The surreality of someone else's voice from your lips
Understanding the darkness that drew nearer still

No one wants the hospital pictures.
They want you hale and hearty, smiling up at them

I want that, too.
But this is what stays.