Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 59

I want to say something brilliant and philosophic today but all I really think of at the moment is that Mia seems to be on hiatus again. Well, that and some thoughts stemming from the movie I saw with Lori and her friend Beth today. Crazy Heart, an Oscar nom, was a better movie than last year's The Wrestler (which it has some deserved comparisons to) but it still threw in the deadbeat dad who, for whatever reason, just drops contact with his child. The Wrestler viewed the character more sympathetically, I thought, but both movies did, in my opinion, present them as essentially good, wayward, guys who meant well but fucked up. It's a small plot point in Crazy Heart but it still irks me. I don't like the message that there's ever a valid reason for staying away from your child, from not staying in his or her life. And, like with so many other things substandard parents do, I think it is an inexcusable offense. Fuck up raising your child and I don't think much else you do counts.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 56

I feel like there are too many things to think about and not enough to say. I need some peaceful, de-stressing time, some writing time, some time to sleep late and go walk in the park. Perhaps I'll get that this weekend. Still working on Parker's blanket, trying to get it ready so he can go home in it when he makes his appearance. For now, back to West Side Story.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 55

Unfortunately, it's not going to be a full blog again today. Too much of today was spent heading to Reynolds County, tracking down which hospital they took my father to and visiting him. More tomorrow when I feel more human.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 53

Is it possible for the day to both feel long and to have gone by fast at points? I suppose it has to be since that what's today felt like. Lots of boring ass paperwork, dinner with Chi afterward and the required (and needed) girl talk followed by an abbreviated BASL meeting. I have to hurry up and finish Parker's blanket-Amy is closer than we expected she'd be at this point to going into labor. I'd be surprised if she goes more than another week.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 52

Being alone is difficult. We're taught to avoid, even fear it, as we grow up in this culture. It is couples, groups, families that we are shown as the positive ideals. And, those things are truly comforting. It's nice to feel included and wanted, to be among people who share interests, situations or simply enjoy our company. The image of the man or woman who spends his or her life alone is so often negative, invoking even more fear through the mysterious solitude they inhabit. And, as a woman, I'm even more aware of this since I, like so many, was provided a model for adulthood in which caring for someone else was the most important thing one could do. I embraced that wholeheartedly and, still do in lots of ways. It's not wholly a bad thing-otherwise it wouldn't create the happiness it often does. But, being alone for the first time in my life, for longer than I have been before... The impulse to find someone else or something else to hold my world up is a strong one. It is truly uncomfortable, even scary, to consider months and years stretching out without finding that piece. But, like with so many other things I'm making myself get used to over the last two years, to do what I am afraid of is the best option and, I believe, will result in the most growth and is exactly what I need to face head-on. I keep coming back to the question of what it is that I keep going for, keep getting up every day for. And, so far, the answer 'myself' hasn't felt like a good enough reason. But, maybe that's the point-it needs to become a good enough reason, one that even inspires happiness. Because, after all, we only ultimately have ourselves.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 51

Trying to get some idea of what I can make for next week's potluck and working on Parker's blanket took up most of my morning. As it's Saturday, I decided to be wholly lazy until time for the BASL social this evening and didn't do much besides watch musicals. The BASL social was fun, as usual. It's a great group of people and I kind of wish we all got together more but, maybe if the potlucks do turn into something I can pull together on a monthly basis, that'd be something.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 49 & 50

Yeah, I know, it's cheating but, damn was I tired when I got home last night. Tired and had a head full of questions. Mostly vague, unformed questions that I doubt I can get anyone else to answer. Others have been incredibly generous with answers of late, despite the sheer volume of questions I can come up with. And, sadly, I'm going to cut this entry short, too. I promise more tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 48

I slept for around 3 hours last night. Coherence is not my strong suit at the moment. Finished my taxes along with Chiquita's. Hopefully the refund won't take too long to come in. The Ireland fund could use a boost.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 47

Sometimes I write these with all the confidence in the world that there are some people out there reading my words (hello, 8 followers!). Other days, I just feel so tired and devoid of anything truly valuable to share that I just want to type whatever comes into my head. Like, I think my life is sorely lacking in passion these days. Take it as you will, I feel stable and calm and fairly centered the majority of the time but, dear gods, doesn't that sound boring at the same time it sounds peaceful? I don't miss the roller coaster. I'd just like some spice.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 46

I feel short of words today. Mondays... I've been working on my story more-seems like writing on Saturdays helps me accomplish more. I got a call from someone recruiting for an admin asst. job who found my resume on and it kind of sounds promising. The salary is better than what I'm making right now-it'll come down to a question of benefits. A job change may be just what I need and I guess we'll see what happens.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 45

Things that made today a decent one (despite my loathing for Valentine's day):

Getting to Trader Joe's and finding they still carried all the things I loved buying there.

Walking in the park while the snow was just barely drifting down and realizing that, regardless of the current weather situation, spring is still on its way and, in the meantime, there's still beauty in the snow-draped trees.

Two French comedies I forgot Netflix was sending until I checked the mail this morning after forgetting for several days.

Karamel Sutra ice cream. :D

PS-Stay tuned for news on the job front soon. Couple different things have popped up recently.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 44

More thoughts on Julie & Julia: Another passage I really love from the epilogue (odd how much more I enjoyed that than most of the rest)--"Sometimes, if you want to be happy, you've got to run away to Bath and marry a punk rocker. Sometimes you've got to dye your hair cobalt blue, or wander remote islands in Sicily, or cook your way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year, for no very good reason. Julia taught me that."

Julie Powell had an idea that most people would label as absurd, even crazy. It was an idea that, at times seemed to be driving her dangerously close to the edge of her sanity and, yet, gave her a reason to keep getting up every day and, since she got a book and a movie out of it, a new career. Hopefully she loves this career more than her job at the government agency she kept trashing throughout the book... I digress, however. My point is that she did something that didn't make sense to anyone but her and, despite the challenges it created for her, something inside her made her keep going until she realized what she was gaining from it. And, it seems to me that what she gained from the experiment was a true sense of who she was and, to borrow (yet again) from Campbell, what her true bliss was. And, of course, in my usual introspective way, having completed a book by someone who has a true understanding of what that means for her makes me question what it'll take for me to know with certainty what my 'bliss' is and how I can find it.

Last night I was reminiscing with a friend about the days when I had access to a darkroom and was spending a lot of time on my photography. The feeling I had during those times is similar to the feeling I have when writing (when it's going well and Mia is cooperating) or when I'm out in nature just for the sake of being out among the trees by myself. It's just a deep peace and stillness--it seems to come from the air, almost. I wouldn't view it as a joyous feeling but more as a sense of feeling truly connected with the deepest part of my soul. Is the definition of one's bliss a feeling that somehow combines the two? Or, is it something completely different? OR, is it one of those things that you only truly recognize when you find it? So many questions...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 43

I had planned to devote this post to more of my thoughts on Julie & Julia but, I JUST got home (which makes this technically Day 44 but, oh well). Lori's birthday dinner was this evening and some of us headed to Mokabe's afterward. Long, eventful day-surprisingly eventful, lol. More details tomorrow.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 42

I finally finished reading Julie & Julia! This was a slog, most of the time. I did NOT care for the narrator and really don't think I'd like her if I ever met her. She definitely lacked heart. But, there were some passages that really resonated with me despite all that. From the epilogue: "Julia taught me what it takes to find your way in the world. It's not what I thought it was. I thought it was all about--I don't know, confidence or will or luck. Those are all some good things to have, no question. But there's something else, something that these things grow out of. It's joy." I had a tough, exasperating day at work and, reading this at the end of it has me wondering just what amounts to joy in most people's lives. And, given what I wrote not long ago about the importance of calm and peace and satisfaction in one's life rather than just focusing on moments of great joy... It's confusing. Maybe it's just that I find joy in random times and places instead of having a significant, single source of it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 41

Long day at work-Tracey kept going back and forth again on whether to move me, at one point telling me that the ultimate decision was mine and, then, later, saying she wants to go ahead with the change rather than try to backtrack and change things. So rollercoasterish and I just hate that. Drama. We ended up agreeing to sit down on Monday and discuss what kinds of more challenging tasks I could take on if I do go ahead and move to the other office. It's hard because both she and Chi sat me down and told me that they were really going to miss having me right there and that one of the issues they see is how to maintain that connectedness.

Also, it's my grandma's birthday today. I miss her so.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 40

Yesterday was my 100th blog! Yes, I do like to celebrate small milestones. Like going to my 3rd chorus rehearsal. Still feel in over my head but slightly less so with each visit. They gave me the cd and sheet music for the audition song tonight so I guess I need to decide fast if I want to take that step and try to join. Budgeting, btw, is not going so well of late and the unplanned purchase of a tire didn't help. I need to sit down and make an actual plan and stick to it, I think. Money and I do not get along.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 39

This weekend was fabulous. I wish it'd included just one more day so that I could've slept in a bit. But, this week is the one in which we finally start interviewing people for the job I'm currently doing and am ready to move on from. Hopefully, the snow won't interfere with that too much. I'm ready to wrap things up and get started on the new job. Of course, I do have to train the new person once we hire him or her. I'm really excited about that part-I think it'll look great on my resume to have assisted that much with the hiring and training of the new person. I'm even supposed to get some overtime this paycheck to cover some of the additional stuff. That, in my opinion, is a definite plus.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 38

So, it was pointed out to me yesterday that I'm often vague and/or indirect in some of my entries. And, despite my deep desire to be mysterious and cryptic (LMAO), that's not entirely positive, in my view. At the same time, I recognize it as true. There is a certain amount of inhibition in some of these blog entries-I don't lay myself entirely bare in them for two reasons. One of the reasons(the more simple one) is that it's entirely possible that people I'd rather not had this kind of window into my life could find this blog via an internet search and there are still people and entities that simply don't get to know everything about my life for practical reasons.

And, the second reason? Most people who know me at all know that I grew up in a very conservative, Evangelical Christian home. There are lots of things that I have from my upbringing that I view as positive (although I'm sure I neglect to mention them very often as I tend to bitch and moan a lot). Ask me about the positives some other time, though, because I just want to fill in a hole for some folks at the moment. One of the most difficult things I've carried into my adulthood from childhood is a fear and disgust for judgment. Conservative politics combined with strict, literal belief in the Christian religion results in an environment filled with emphasis on being 'normal' and following the 'right way' throughout life. As an adult, I've attempted to carve my own way, setting aside the idea of one right path for everyone in my twenties and exploring different religions, different ways of living, in an effort to find the things that are right for me. Of course, being in the middle and at the end of a bad marriage made that exploration more difficult and kept me from expressing certain things that became obvious to me at times. And, the reason why the blog is sometimes less than fully honest is because the change to someone who doesn't care at all about the judgment of others... Well, let's just say that is going to take a long time if I ever fully reach that place at all.

But, moving into the phase of my life I'm in now-one where I have to become increasingly more independent-means that I'm also becoming increasingly weary of and ready to shrug off certain things that I have allowed to hold me back in the past. And, yes, I recognize my complicity in allowing those things and people to hold me back and to keep me wearing an ill-fitting mask. I've come to believe that we make decisions, often, from one of two motives: love or fear. I grew up believing, fearing that honesty and imperfection would cost me the only people in my life who would ever love me even if that love caused me pain or required that I keep quiet about thoughts and feelings that didn't mirror theirs. Fear, not love, drove me. Over the last two years, I've been moving more and more toward a place of love for the person who I really am inside. And, as that grows, fear fades, making it possible for me to say things like, "No, I will not go along with this pattern any longer. It doesn't work for me and I deserve better." And, along with that comes the ability and willingness and strength to let go of those people who can't accept that or who refuse to accept everything about me. There's sadness associated with that, certainly, but learning to love yourself means that you can take those impulses to protect those who don't protect and love you and use them to do that for yourself. It's hard. Some days harder than others but, overall, it results in a far greater feeling of peace than trying to maintain an act ever could.

Now I have to finish baking some cookies and clean my apartment (cause some things never change).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 37

I have completely lost the idea I started the year with-making Saturdays 'no' days. It's not a bad thing-I've had lots of fun lately, skipping out on that goal. But, I do think I need to implement that plan again. Maybe Sundays would be better for that since I know book club always meets on Saturdays... Anyway, today was book club day and it was so great to catch up with everyone. We all ended up in a debate with a male nursing student trying to study at the next table over health care in this country. He was far too cute to be so conservative and I left very disappointed, lol. Ah, well, my horoscope for today was accurate for once. "A more intellectual connection with that new cutie may not be possible. Move on." I can only hope for better (yet equally accurate) predictions in future.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 36

There are three concepts I'm sort of struggling with at the moment. And, in my opinion, they're all interrelated in a way. Control, which I've discussed before, keeps coming back and I see that as tied into happiness. But, I also think balance factors into the two, as well. Yes, I know, I'm being sort of vague and unclear. But, one thing that occurred to me today is that it's difficult to let go of the idea that we have control in the lives of those we care about. I don't mean in a dictatorial way but, rather, in a way that enables us to help them see potential mistakes and avoid them or to learn from our mistakes and remove themselves from bad situations. I do think that wanting what's best for those we care about, wanting to see them be happy and avoid as much pain as they can is a valid desire. It's just difficult to balance that (see how I worked that in?) with the knowledge that part of life is making those mistakes and learning from them. Balancing the need or desire to shield those we love from life's cruelties and the resulting pain with the recognition that everyone has to have a certain amount of hurt in their lives to be human and live fully is extremely difficult for me. It makes me put my foot in my mouth a lot, it seems, even when all I really want is to be supportive and understanding. I just hate so much seeing my friends hurt.

And, how, you might be wondering does all this discussion of pain and suffering and control connect with the idea of happiness? Well, I can actually be much briefer on that topic. I've been thinking lately that we humans (particularly Americans) have an image of a happy life as being one that contains more ecstatic moments than calm or quiet ones. And, while I think those bursts of joy are wonderful and important in life-they're just not all there is to a happy existence. Sometimes, as with so many things, satisfaction is the more valid marker of real, lasting, happiness. It's not flashy and attention-getting and, lots of times, people mistake it for complacency or stagnation or boredom but, those times when things are level (neither overwhelmingly good or bad) are the times when more creating occurs, when more ideas take shape, etc. We need those times just as much as the highs of sheer joy. So, I guess what I'm getting at is that this idea of happiness as a pinnacle, a height that must be so intensely felt, well, I think that's kind of crap. I think most of us lead lives that can be aptly called happy ones whether we have everything we want or not, whether we thrill at the thought of getting out and facing another day or not.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 35

1) The premiere of Lost was incredibly confusing. Questions? I still say I only have one-"What the hell just happened on that show?"

2) Vegetarian lasagna is really yummy.

3) Tires just should not blow out on the highway at night. There's something dreadfully unfair about it, in my opinion.

4) No major news to report on the writing or knitting fronts.

5) Why is there no chocolate in the house?

6) The word 'benign' is a beautiful one all the time but especially so when one of your best friends is saying it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 34

Stalled on my story and thinking that I need to just sit down and write to get from Point A to Point B in it. I'll go back later and edit as needed-I just have to get it all down on paper. Took my mom out to dinner for her birthday tonight and no one was killed. Yay me! Went to knit knight (for about ten minutes) and visited with some of them after which was a really nice change-I need to get back to that. Thinking about happiness and life and the ratio that exists between the two. No concrete thoughts on it yet, just vague ones.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 33

I attended my second rehearsal with the St. Louis Harmony Chorus. It went much better tonight than last time but, I gotta say, I still feel way in over my head. I feel like I tried to sign up for basic swimming lessons only to get flung off the high dive (at least at certain moments). But, I'm starting to think I might just stick with it. At the moment, though, I am SO TIRED. More tomorrow.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 32

I'd like to know why Mia keeps bugging me but seems to disappear when I sit down at the kitchen table to write. She loves City Diner, though. If only I could spare the time and cash to sit there every evening. I'm three pages into the story and I'm happy with the three I have. If I go to the rehearsal of the Chorus I'm (still) thinking about joining, I'll be putting off further progress until Wednesday. In other news, I made my mom engage in a very uncomfortable conversation-the fallout is yet to be determined. (Btw-I'm clearly serious about this Chorus thing. I'm willing to miss the premiere of the last season of Lost for it. If anyone knows how to catch the episode online afterward, PLEASE let me know.)