Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 31

Just saw 'Invictus' tonight with my friend, Lori. And, I know nothing about rugby and very little about apartheid (apparently), but I do know that the poem that kept Mandela sane and gave him hope during the 30 years he spent locked in a cell is so beautiful I just have to share it. Here you go.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 30

I kind of like just numbering these-I'm not so great at thinking up titles. Went and saw Avatar today. I got tired of being the last person on the planet who hadn't seen it. It was really spectacular, especially in 3D. But, despite the fact that it is a really amazing film, I kind of kept thinking about Ferngully (90's cartoon movie). Although, Zoe Saldana as a 10-foot-tall blue creature? Very nice. And, I don't think it hurts people to be reminded of the fact that we don't own the planet and everything on it once every few years. The Pagan in me adored the reverence the Na'vi had for the earth and the connection they nurtured with it. I think, in short, that those who objected to the message can piss off, lol.

Other than that, my day's been nice and quiet. Started on my taxes only to feel in over my head briefly and, then, to realize that I can still handle them on my own. It's just taking a bit more figuring and, possibly, an additional form since I'm now putting money into a retirement savings account. However, I think I'm going to be helping (or doing, if she gets her way) Chi's taxes for her, too. Yes, the English major can also fill out a 1040!

And, the muse (who I'm thinking prefers the name Mia) won't shut up today so I've started a short story. Fiction... that's a different beast entirely than I'm used to. I got a couple pages done at City Diner over a gardenburger despite the distraction of a cute waitress and some guy sitting in the booth behind me chanting, "I used to be a woman. A beautiful woman."

PS-January has not been the best month for me, in terms of feeling grounded at all. Today felt like, with February just around the corner, that I'm getting back to that good place. More on that later.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 29

I like the word 'resilient.' I think it's one of my favorites (although I acknowledge 'guava' and 'piccadilly' and 'pumperknickle' are also good ones). I especially like that I feel that it has become a very valid word for me. It occurs to me from time to time, as I pick myself up again and again. Today, a good day even with work being tedious, reminded me of that.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 28

Today was better if only by virtue of having more distraction through work. Tomorrow, sans Chiquita and with at least two meetings, may be less than stellar but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Just dealing with one day is plenty lately. Only four more squares for Parker's blanket! And, since I have HP and the Half-Blood Prince on dvd and nachos, that about does it for now.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 27

There's something to be said for the idea of taking time to take care of yourself even if you have to piss someone else off to do it. If it happens that I manage not to lose my job (with the increasingly odd boss that I have there) for it, I'll be glad. But, I had to have this day to myself. Tomorrow must be better than today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 26

So, continuing the trend of confusing me and making me wonder what the hell is happening with my job, Tracey was talking today about 'when you move to CSRB' instead of it being an 'if.' Am I getting the new position? Will I be moved away from the people who tried to prevent my promotion happening in the first place? I suppose we'll find out at some point (can't guarantee answers in the next episode, unfortunately). I am THIS close to being done with Parker's blanket. I cannot wait to be able to just work on something different for a while.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 25

I'm just so thankful work went by fast today. I'm so tired. Everyone did seem glad to see me back but, of course, there was the requisite pile of make-up work. At least I didn't have to think much until this afternoon and then, the evening, when the apartment seemed horribly empty for some reason.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 23

I watched 'Away We Go' on dvd today. Decent movie although I didn't think the acting was spectacular or anything. But, it did raise a question that has repeatedly raised itself in my life. What does 'home' look like? How do we know when we find it? For me it feels like a place filled to the brim with acceptance, love, trust, understanding, etc. I remember feeling at home anytime I was with my grandma (and with my grandpa, too, but especially with her). It's what I hope to create for myself again and for those in my family as they come along. I guess 'home,' like so many other things looks different to other people. Maybe for others it's built around certain individuals, or a specific location or just a feeling of comfort they carry within themselves. Again, like with so many other things, I think we just know when we find it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 22

Last day of vacation! And, work called me on every one of them! LOL, it just strikes me as odd given the current state of things there. TW (my boss) is leaning toward keeping me where I am and putting someone new in the building I'm supposed to move to. She did say they would make it an entry-level position and give me some bigger projects but she also made it clear that it's not really up to me. Thinking about looking for something else but, the job market now seems bleak. Sometimes I really wonder about whether I'm just in the complete wrong place, job-wise, and shouldn't be teaching or something. It would be nice to do something I'm not ethically opposed to.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 21

Thinking about control a lot today. It's true that, given how out-of-control my life has been in the past, I struggle with trying to maintain a certain level of control over things. I see it a lot in little things I do on a daily basis but it's even clearer when I feel my autonomy being threatened, even in small ways. I like being the one who determines where I go, how long I stay there, when I'm home, when I'm going out, etc. And, I realize that sounds like a given for a lot of people. Who else would be determining those things? Maybe everyone has that issue to a certain degree. For me, it sometimes presents a challenge and, when I can step back and view it with a certain amount of detachment, I find it interesting that, on one hand, I'm encouraging myself more to accept and even embrace change while still acknowledging the need I feel to control my environment. It's one of the reasons I feel a push to get out of the house even if the weather isn't cooperating (No, I don't mean I'll go drive in a blizzard when the roads aren't plowed). But, the idea of being stuck at home, with the weather dictating what I'm able to do-I hate that. And, yet, as someone following a Pagan path, I'm gradually learning to embrace the changes the wheel of the year brings, to see beauty in the very things that in some ways challenge me the most and even to celebrate them as the year progresses.

How's that for an insight into the ambiguity in my head? I guess it's a long-winded way of saying that I recognize my human frailty as it pushes me in one direction but am still trying to keep it from inhibiting my growth and increasing ability to accept the changes around me that I am simply a part of and far too small to control.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 20

So, I went to check out this chorus my friend Lori's mom is in yesterday. I went to one of their concerts with Lori right before xmas and was really impressed and, after several people encouraged me to give it a shot, decided to attend their open rehearsal and see what was involved. The St. Louis Women's Harmony Chorus-they are not only incredibly talented but also very dedicated performers. The rehearsal went a bit over two hours and the range of songs they perform is something else! I was so tired afterward, probably at least in part because I neglected to eat dinner beforehand and had a medium-grade migraine by the end of the evening. But, they were all very welcoming to me and the other newbies and we all went out for a bite to eat after. I ended up having to excuse myself early and throw up when the migraine peaked. Felt bad about that. And, I'm not 100% certain I'll be able to join given the time and money commitment it requires. The membership dues ($25 per month) may be more than I can budget for and still save for traveling and keep my membership to the Y. But, I'm kind of patting myself on the back nonetheless for going and giving it a shot even if I don't join. I was so nervous about singing around these people I don't really know and the minimal voice test (just to figure out where to put me, vocally) had me so fidgety the woman testing me kind of scolded me for it just a little.

Anyway, other than that excitement, I'm enjoying my vacation days. Got a haircut today, got to sleep in a bit and put some more pictures up on facebook. Still enjoying the peace of setting limits and scaling back some problematic relationships. Clarity is good, removing sources of drama is even better.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 19

It's been a relatively calm day (except for the last part of it which I'm too tired from to review at the moment). Such a great feeling not to have to head into work today, I love this vacation thing! And, I didn't do anything of any real significance for most of it. Got myself the second Glee soundtrack, went to the library, straightened up around here some and scheduled the Ameren people to come check the meter in the basement. Other than that, I knit some on Parker's blanket and watched some movies. :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 18

Got the headlight fixed for $21! Well, to be fair, it really should be replaced but, putting a new bulb in it will keep me from getting a ticket and make it possible to see when I drive at night. Income tax refund will have to cover the actual replacement. I also finally got new shoes! Ah, the joy of having one's feet stay dry...

Today was also a day for tough conversations. Despite the sweaty palms this one induced, it needed to be done and I continue to feel better about standing up for myself and asking for what I need and deserve. It's long overdue.

Also, here are some things I'm really grateful for at the moment.
1) The way Emma's surprise at seeing me this morning made her smile and the way she ran and jumped into my lap, hugging me and telling me she missed me.
2) Whatever it is inside that made me go ahead and start the difficult conversation of today.
3) The willingness of friends to listen to me bitch about having to face these things head-on as well as pat me on the back for it and offer feedback and support while reading excerpts of said conversation while it was going on.

I'm sure there'll be more to come tomorrow.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 17

I love Sundays like today. I slept until about 9, went to the gym, watched Adam's Rib, knitted a lot, saw Sherlock Holmes at the Chase Park theater. Emma is sick, apparently, with the flu but she still managed to chat with me a bit on the phone and online. She's still not great at coming up with words-it's more random groups of letters punctuated with smileys and iloveyou or anitaemma and the like. Tomorrow, I'll finally be getting this headlight fixed. Meineke wanted $300 to do it and, hopefully, my cousin Kent will do it for much less than that. Finished Nanny Returns-blech. I wish more books by authors like Elizabeth Berg got published these days and less crap thrown together clearly so that a screenplay doesn't require much adaptation to produce. I really need some new, good book recommendations.

Revised (6/13/11)

Symphony Fantastique

As the minor key is struck
I have solved the Hatter's riddle,
Peered behind the curtain,
Viewed the void that waits
For those tripping blithely
Toward the grinning maw.

Machine-like, you chew through them.
And bone
And sinew.

"I will make you whole!"
Screams the merry sign outside
Your leer a warming grin beneath it.

Viewed in reverse, as I creep from your lair,
I have made your promise true.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 16

This is probably the bitchiest blog I've written to date. (Consider yourselves warned) The list of people I truly trust is small. Sadly, it seems to be getting smaller lately. Back when I was married, I believed that people I loved should get as many chances as they needed, as many do-overs as necessary. I said that was conditional upon genuine contrition but I didn't really mean it. And, despite trying to create and maintain a facade of independence and strength, I pretty much failed at the consistency thing. I let rules be changed and adjusted to suit the people I loved and who I wanted to love me back, figuring that, at some point, it would all pay off and I would receive the acceptance, support and understanding I deserved. (Think the last scene in It's a Wonderful Life) Even during occasional moments of clarity, where I'd attempt to establish a boundary or some rules to protect myself so that I could avoid getting hurt by these people (the ones who are supposed to be the ones you turn to when things are rough), I never managed to consistently enforce those boundaries and rules over time. That's mostly because I want it so much. I want so much to have that sense of ease and security that comes with knowing you're surrounded by people who accept and value you exactly as you are. No judgment, no desire to change you so that you're more acceptable or more like them. I wanted it so much that I was willing to accept the scraps and pale imitations of it that I kept getting handed and that it kept me in a bad marriage for 11 years and has kept me beating my head against a solid brick wall for much, much longer. I'm done now. I finally feel done with trying to get people who wouldn't choose me for who I am to love and accept me. I want to be able to know that the people I let in are there because they want to be, because I'm someone they'd choose and not because of a simple twist of fate or a sense of obligation. It feels so much better to realize that there are people like that out there who may actually want me with all my flaws and insecurities and failings and to begin changing my expectations, moving them away from where they're never going to be understood, let alone fulfilled beyond the scraps I tried to satisfy myself with for so long.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 15

Today was better than yesterday. I still feel myself thawing from the sudden freeze that developed this week but there was definitely more of me present today. The Glee soundtrack has given me the inspirational music I needed over the last couple days. 'Defying Gravity'-love love LOVE that song. It fits with how I'm feeling and the sorts of things that I'm going to see change from this week on. Sorry there's no video with this, just audio. Check it out, anyway. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 14

(Someone called my blog philosophical the other day! Made me feel awesome!)

Things that happened today:

I figured out that I need a plan to be able to control what happens with my father and his illness. Partly, that's the result of nearly pushing past the point of what I can handle, stress-wise, and partly, it's due to realizing that I could potentially get handed the entire burden of responsibility for him if I just throw myself into the situation without some careful discussion first. (Yes, Monica and Jimmy, you were right that I should think about putting myself first. Try not to gloat too much, either of you.)

Tough counseling session. Realizations that suck in some ways but at least have cleared some expectations off my plate. Put another way-I'm done trying to get people to change who have no intention of doing so and I'll find what I need with or without you.

And, finally, saw she-who-shall-remain-nameless getting Starbucks two stores down from the Chinese place I had my sights set on for dinner. And, despite immediately driving out of the parking lot, I thought, "Fuck that. I want some damn Chinese food and she's not going to keep me from treating myself to something" and turned around and went back. Mmm...veggie lo mein.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 13

So, after writing last night about my father's condition, my mom called me to say that she got the results of her last mammogram back and they want her to have some other, more extensive form of the test done. She goes for that next week and, although I could freak out even further about that, I'm just waiting to see. Chiquita kept telling me I'm stressing too much too soon today but, frankly, I've seen how badly not being prepared in these kinds of situations can turn out and I'm not going to be in that position. There are too many questions and I may end up driving down to Bunker this weekend. Depending on where he is in terms of the disease, we may need to discuss getting him a will, who will make medical decisions if he can't, etc. No, I don't want to be in this position but, as his only child, the responsibility is mine and I'm not going to be the kind of person who turns her back on that.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 12

"The Wish to be Generous"
by Wendell Berry

ALL that I serve will die, all my delights,
the flesh kindled from my flesh, garden and field,
the silent lilies standing in the woods,
the woods, the hill, the whole earth, all
will burn in man's evil, or dwindle
in its own age. Let the world bring on me
the sleep of darkness without stars, so I may know
my little light taken from me into the seed
of the beginning and the end, so I may bow
to mystery, and take my stand on the earth
like a tree in a field, passing without haste
or regret toward what will be, my life
a patient willing descent into the grass.

This was on my mind today-one of my favorite poems. And, since you're still not getting to read something of mine, I thought I'd share. It is especially odd to me that I had this running through my head well before the phone call I got this evening that my father (with whom I have a strange, tenuous relationship) is in the hospital with Congestive Heart Failure. I don't really know much at the moment about where he is in terms of progression and I don't really know how to label all the things I'm feeling with regard to him and what it means. I'm kind of floating from one jumbled feeling to the next at the moment. I feel like getting some pent-up energy out and maybe going to the gym will help.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 11

They actually started training me on some new stuff today. Nothing too difficult but it should keep me busier than I have been. They're so behind on some data entry, going back to July, even. And, they're getting applications together to start interviews so, yay! Other things are more aggravating but, that's the way it goes, I guess. I should be used to certain patterns from people but, I keep getting surprised by them every once in a while. I like the idea a friend reminded me of-that we choose our real families. A great idea but a tough one to figure out the steps to.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 10

Nope, no poem today. I'm still not happy with the two I'm working on. Today's been really blah except for knitting with the girls at Bread Co and having dinner with Jamie afterward. (Jamie-you're awesome and I'm sending you and your family lots of good thoughts!) I restarted a shawl I was working on until tragedy struck it a few months ago. It actually looks better this time around and I'm counting the stitches carefully this time. Reading the sequel to The Nanny Diaries-it's not nearly as good as the first one, imo. Still have to get my headlight fixed and I only did about 2/3 of the cleaning I needed to do today. Maybe I'll accept the dispensation I was offered earlier to get out of it. I should get a lower rate since I did most of it, though...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 9

The tough thing about trying to write every day is that my life feels fairly boring when held up to that kind of scrutiny. For example, I didn't leave the apartment today until almost 6 when I went to grab some food with Jimmy and then on to roller derby. The Arch Rival Roller Girls-these ladies kick some ass on roller skates. Lots of fun and well worth the $10 ticket price. I'm trying to work on something more poetic in nature as part of tomorrow's entry for a change of pace but it's just not coming out right. Probably because I just feel so damn frustrated at the moment. Maybe that will change if a few hours elapse.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 8

Today's post is being made surreptitiously and may be abbreviated for that reason. Thinking a lot about relationships of all kinds today (i.e., not just romantic ones). It's easy to think of them in terms of giving and receiving. And, that's not such a bad thing as long as we can remember that we're not striving for an equation of the chemistry sort, one where everything has to be perfectly balanced at all times, even if that requires manipulating one or more of the elements of it. I think if they can be viewed more as a continuum that continues existing even while it is constantly (or nearly constantly) changing. We're so frightened of change in many forms like aging, losing people, etc. And, yet, the phrase that 'change is the only constant' is a familiar and accepted adage. I think it's interesting that two truths that seem opposing are actually running alongside each other in humanity. We can't stop the changes life and time bring to us and yet we fear them and attempt so desperately at times to do just that all while encouraging others through folksy wisdom to do what we can't.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 7

Day 7 has been a very long day. I only got home about 15 minutes ago and I am so tired. This not sleeping well needs to stop. It was a good day, though, got everything I needed to done and only would've been better if all of us had actually gotten to karaoke. Bummed about that. Oh well. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 6

I worked out again tonight-braving the snow and everything! I need to get back to knitting more, though, so that I can finish Parker's blanket soon. I'm in the last section of it and I still need to choose a border. Also, I realized yesterday that I screwed up Emma's cape and I have to rip back two or three rows. Not good, lol. I've been spending too much time just vegging in front of the tv and not enough doing any reading or anything. Cutting back from an hour for lunch every day to a half hour has cut into time for those things, too. So, I guess I need to keep working on balancing these things and actually using that planner I bought. Didn't sleep well last night so I might do that and just turn in early tonight.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 5

Well, thankfully, today went much faster at work. I think having about 3 times as many orders as usual plus a mystery shipment that we had to track down helped. Of course, it's incredibly cold out and that made the mail run SO much fun. After work, Chi and I went out for dinner and gossip about all the people at work. Well, all the ones who deserve to be gossiped about. She is so much fun to hang out with, it sucks that she lives so far away. If I could brainwash her into moving further south, we could be workout buddies! That'd be fun. Speaking of working out, I actually did get to the gym today, too. Getting up at 5 am didn't happen but, I think I can get a routine down by heading there after dinner. The Y is great-lots of good equipment and a really good track for running/walking. I may have to check out the pool next time. Also, Mom joined facebook and is spending a lot of her time playing games and earning 'prizes.' It's probably going to be less amusing as she gets more familiar with the site and quits confusing her status message with posting something on someone's wall.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 4

Work just dragged today. Actually, the day itself (and not just work) has seemed interminable. I did pre-emptively complete something the boss wanted done just as Chiquita came into my office to start it. Also got Chi to sign up for Facebook, finally. I think it was more stressful than she anticipated but she seems like she'll get the hang of it quickly. I felt all proud, oddly. I think I'm going to attempt to work out before heading to the office in the morning. Here's hoping it goes well.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 3

Today I was moderately productive. I cleaned a bit, set up a membership at the new Carondelet Rec center and attempted (again) to get the headlight on the Civic working. The guys at the auto parts store could barely get their hands in between it and the air filter (I think that's what it is, anyway) and, like me, they couldn't disconnect the power from the old bulb, either. So, I'll be taking it to my cousin's in Potosi as soon as I can get time. I was going to do it tomorrow but everyone else seems to be taking vacation so I have to be at work. Went to knitting today, too, and got to see all of Jenna's pics from her recent trip to Ireland. I am SO jealous. Glen Hansard made a surprise appearance at a concert she went to and stood about five feet from her and sang. We talked and giggled at the pics of him like 13 year old girls. Methinks Xmas 2010 would be an excellent time to visit Dublin.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 2

I keep thinking about belief today. Well, I suppose I should clarify that-I keep think about spirituality and religious belief. In my life, it's been something that has taken time to develop, to get to a truly comfortable place. And, I've always been a person who believes that the essence of one's spirituality should be both instinctually fitting and the result of careful thought and exploration. I distrust the idea that a spiritual path can be handed down from one generation to the next. I believe it should be earned, explored, studied, carefully considered. I'm happy with Paganism, particularly its emphasis on nature and the belief that we possess the spark of the divine within us, that deity is immanent. And, the comfort I get from having found a path that resonates with the deepest part of me is immeasurable. It's taught me to tune in to me, to the nearly silent truth in my bones. Having said all that, I feel I've hit a plateau over the last 6 months in this area, that I've got a certain amount of complacency that needs shaken away.

Friday, January 1, 2010


I went to a dinner party with friends last night and the question was raised, "What are you going to do next year that you've never done before?" I found that a much better idea than the typical practice of making resolutions year after year. And, let's face it, most people make the same ones repeatedly (lose weight, etc.) But, the idea of choosing a new adventure or activity that you haven't attempted before-that has real promise, in my opinion. The answers around the table were fascinating and provided some real insight into the lives of those there. I love evenings like that. Good conversation, REALLY good food and wonderful friends.

I shared two of my biggest goals with the group: getting to Ireland and saying 'no' more. I think I'm going to start with the very good idea of making one day a week a 'no' day at first and see how that goes. I'll probably start with Saturdays. No work, no standing obligations on that day. Seems like a good beginning to me. There are lots of smaller goals and, actually, I've decided to put off a contender for the top spot for another year, just to give myself time to work on my ability to budget and save. Smaller goals: I'm going to shoot for writing more frequently, incorporating exercise on a regular basis into my weekly routine and I'm still getting my nerve up for the last goal but I did promise several people I'd give it a shot. If it goes well, I'm sure you'll all hear about it.