Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 235

When I was a kid, my mom and I used to argue periodically about whether a person can feel more than one thing at a time and/or have more than one motivation. She, somewhat simply, refused to acknowledge that this was at all possible. One motivation, one emotion, one way of viewing actions and thoughts. I still want to win that argument because, these days, I'm feeling about 5 things at once sometimes. Happy that good things are happening for friends, jealous that they're not happening for me, scared that they never will, disgusted and frustrated with my inability to simply feel pure, unselfish gladness and gratitude for what *is* good, sad that I'm just not getting out of this job that I feel more and more guilty for doing... I want a pensieve now. Each of these emotions jostles the others aside at times and makes for even more of a mess when I try to explain them to someone only to be met with disbelief because, I suppose, they've picked up on one of the other contenders for emotion of the moment. *sighs* I'm 33. Somehow, the fact that everything is still this complicated makes me long for a way to turn the clock back just a year or two so that I can process this at more leisure.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 239

So, apparently, I only write on Tuesdays now? Weird. Back from a much needed (albeit too short) visit to Stina's. Someone asked me what we did during the visit and then asked how come we didn't really go do anything. I was amused. Last visit, it's true, we did a bit more running than we did this past weekend but, one of the things that I appreciate about visits to my chosen sister is there's absolutely no pressure. Something sounds good and the weather cooperates (or, as with last time, if she has a class assignment) we head out. If it sounds good to just hang at the house and watch movies and talk each others' ears off, catching up, we do that. No pressure; just going with the flow, basically, and resting. Maybe other people get that more in their day-to-day lives than I do but I appreciate so much the respite it provides. Then, of course, there's Stina herself, the most grounded person I know. Everyone should have a Stina in their life. (Yes, Stina, I know you have your moments and could tell some stories. That's your label. Accept it.) Another label she has come to deserve over the years I've known her: family.

There's a label that takes me into the less fun area of this post. It's a double-edged sword, that label. I've been the odd one out in the family I was born into for, hell, my whole life, I guess. I'm the girl who'd rather read than go shopping/play sports/whatever, the girl who couldn't cut with scissors properly and who took *forever* to get the hang of driving (without significant property damage, anyway). I'm the unrepentant Pagan bisexual in a family of conservative Baptists. Even without all that, I'm the girl who grew up knowing that family members could just disappear on you without a backward glance.

That knowledge and the accompanying sense of insecurity...I do know that that's what motivated me to maintain relationships that were unhealthy for me. But, it's also what has driven me to try and build a family that is the supportive (and source of constructive criticism when needed), loving, accepting group that I longed for for years. It's an ongoing, evolving process that isn't without its bumps in the road and resultant bruises. Due in large part to my personal hangups, no doubt. I fear rejection and I dread loss. Sometimes, even the small rejections (or perceived ones) make it so much harder to continue to risk further. When I was growing up, I swore I would have an even number of children (i.e., two or four) so that no one would feel like the oddball, the one left out while two of them bonded and went their own way or made one the butt of all their jokes. And, yet, life moves on at its own pace and loss is a part of that. People leave our lives for a lot of reasons. Relationships end and we make ourselves go on. That doesn't mean it's easy or that I, especially, cope with it well. And, the fact that this is the week when I lose a major source of support makes this a tough time for me (as does realizing ever more vividly what a dream that keeps recurring means over the last few weeks). I pat myself on the back for managing to keep going and not let that become bigger than it has to be. I'm trying to do that, anyway. Trying to find the evidence that, even if I do lose at times, there will still be those who won't disappear as I inevitably, humanly, fumble and make missteps. My gratitude and love for those people is immeasurable.

(Sorry for the somewhat morose entry today. I promise more sunshine another day.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 232

The week sped by. I meant to post more last week but, suddenly I turned around and it was the weekend and last weekend was *nuts*. Derby Saturday (including an actual routine by the Jeerleaders) was preceded by working at the Farmer's Market and a lunch and movie date. (No, I won't get into the date or the Jeerleader routine on here. For date details ask me privately. There's a video of the Jeerleader stuff on Facebook.) Sunday I was so wiped out and dehydrated that I didn't do much of anything but lie around and watch Buffy. I'm almost done with the series now. *Someone* insists that all the characters get slaughtered in the final episode. I remain skeptical and have so far resisted temptation to look around online for spoilers that would confirm or deny it.

Discovered that, not only am I rapidly accumulating white hair in my eyebrows as well as atop my head, but that my eyelashes are coming in white now. Nice.

Things are the same with my mom. She and I are just going to keep butting heads until one of us gives in, I think. I'm tired of being called evil and wrong, though. I wonder from one day to the next sometimes whether sticking to my guns on this one is a sign of maturity or stubbornness. Maybe both?

Emma has an appointment with a thyroid specialist at Children's tomorrow so maybe I'll get to see her for a bit. I hope so.

More times with several of my friends swinging in parks around the area have been so much fun that I think we're going to incorporate it in an upcoming get-together. What strikes me most about those times, aside from the pure fun I have during them, is the pictures that have come from the outings. I keep hearing (from people who really notice these things)that I've lost weight. And, obviously, I'm aware of it as I have to buy new clothes when things stop fitting. But, I guess I still don't see it or I didn't until some really recent pictures started getting put online. To clarify: weight loss has never been a goal for me in recent years. Eating more healthily and ethically as well as reconnecting with nature has been. Seems that the two are going to go hand-in-hand for now, at least. In terms of food, in general, I've not been cooking at home as much and that needs to change. For some reason, devoting time to learning recipes and cooking has lost a bit of its appeal since this time last year. I think part of it is just that it's more challenging to cook for one person than I realized. And not good challenging.

I was greatly amused by yesterday as it was declared 'Pester Anita Fitzwater Day' on Facebook and several of my friends went all out to find amusing/tacky/bizarre things to post on my page. Only at the very end of the day did I see anything *truly* aggravating but I think they enjoyed the search for things to share as much as I enjoyed seeing what they came up with. Sequels devoted to each of them will be coming up soon.

This weekend will find me in Kentucky, visiting Stina and Tor again for a few days. I need a break and some serious girl talk. There may even be baking of cupcakes! So excited to get away for a bit. I'm worn down and even bitchier than usual lately.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 225

Since it’s the 10th and I’ve got nothing really important to share, here are ten random thoughts.

1) Trying to decide whether painting my bedroom purple would be worth the hassle of repainting later. On one hand, duh, a purple bedroom would just be kick-ass. On the other, painting it twice? Not so awesome.
2) The little stress ball I keep on my desk has been named Mikey for ages but, the more I look at him lately, the more I think he might actually be a Bert instead.
3) Been reading the second of George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Ice series for reasons I’ve forgotten. 500+ pages in and I’m really just reading it to be done now.
4) I keep looking at this sweet potato plant that I threw in a bucket with some potting soil and have just left in the yarn room. It’s getting huge now and I’ve got *no* idea what to do with it when it outgrows its bucket.
5) I like the word ‘earthy’ a lot lately for some reason.
6) I watched the musical episode from Buffy the Vampire Slayer like three times. And, every time I watch it, the scene where Anya goes all rock n’ roll about evil bunnies *still* makes me nearly cry with laughter.
7) Along the same lines, I need to find a way to make a ribbon award for someone who made me laugh so hard I had to pull the car over and let someone else drive the other day.
8) I spent most of today booking meetings for 2011. It sucks. But, I got the nicest email from another administrative assistant, telling me she felt my pain and that I was doing a great job. Her name? Karma.
9) Before I leave this job, I’m going to seriously consider sneaking a year’s worth of breath mints into a certain coworker’s office just to see how he responds. Stop chewing tobacco all day long, dammit!
10) I keep wondering if Jane Austen *would* appreciate that Jane Austen Fight Club video that’s gone viral recently. I sort of picture her finding it amusing, especially when the girls wander around all disheveled and just shrug it off.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 224

So, those of you who have Facebook (shame on all who don’t!) got that status where I mentioned some things that are going on with my niece, Emma. Emma’s had her share of health issues so far. Nothing has been really serious but several things that have been painful and/or required visits to Children’s Hospital. First there were the tubes in her ears, her adenoids and her tonsils. Those three things we got knocked in one day of surgery, miserable as that made her. Then, there was the issue with her kidneys/bladder and the multiple infections/doctor’s visits/meds for those. (And, let’s *not* even get into the dumbassery that she had to deal with in Marion due to a urologist who didn’t understand that kids are different from adults and require pain meds for certain tests…)

Now, she’s almost 7 and, imo, pretty scrawny. Her weight’s been between 46 and 48 lbs for about the last two years. She runs fevers a lot still and, during last month’s visit to the Magic House, she suddenly had a spike in temperature and got *very* tired and cranky within just a few minutes. Then, when her ankles started swelling about two weeks ago, her mom (my sister, Angie) took her in for testing. First set of blood tests, fairly inconclusive except for the presence of a hyperactive thyroid. That’s when the doctor started talking about the possibility of Lyme disease or Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis or some other variety of arthritic inflammation. The ankles, according to Em, aren’t painful unless they’re pressed on but, at least last time she and I talked, that made wearing even tennis shoes a problem. So, during this visit, she’s been running around in flip flops, climbing the monkey bars and playing fairly normally. I’d be more concerned if she seemed less Emma-like but, the uncertainty of this combined with the wait time required to get her to the specialists she needs to see is a pain in the ass to say the least. Right now, Lyme disease has been ruled out but a referral to a thyroid specialist is in the works. As for the possibility of some form of arthritis, there is obvious inflammation in the joints but the cause is still a question mark. The process of getting her referred to a Pediatric Rheumatologist, according to Angie and the insurance drones, will take around three weeks. Add that to the required six weeks they say Em has to display symptoms for and we’re looking at a significant wait unless they can somehow combine visits with the thyroid doc and the rheumatologist. That’s sort of what the hope is at this point. Either that or the much more pleasant possibility that the blood work will come back and tell something it’s not revealing now.

So. I’m trying not to spend too much time dwelling on the possibility that something else will be wrong that will require painful testing or surgery or an extended visit to Children’s Hospital. I’m concerned but taking some comfort in the fact that she *did* laugh and play and have a good time at the park during this visit. Generally, I try to find at least a few minutes alone with her (and Alex) during Munchkinland times. Alex, to switch gears, seems to be growing more introverted and shy as he gets older. We talk about school and his guitar lessons and what new Lego creations he’s come up with, mostly, but he’s still one to fling himself at me for a hug at random moments. Trying to connect with him takes more work than with Emma, sometimes, but he’s an Air sign, literal, future geek (hopefully). Emma, my fellow Scorpio, is much more emotional and goofy with me. As for Parker, at four months, I’m going to hold off on the labels just yet. He’s drooly and smiley and does just wonderfully as long as he gets to be naked at certain times and fed when he deems it’s time.

(Wow, this is a long damn blog. Maybe I should get down from the aunt podium for a while. More another day, I’m sure.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 217

I've had this word, fragile, stuck in my head lately. I think that's because I've had a couple people I respect(ed) use that word to describe me on different occasions and because there have been times recently when I have genuinely felt emotionally fragile. But, I question this as a label for my personality or a facet of my identity in part because I can look back over what I've carried in the past. It, somehow, feels like a bad thing to be viewed as. We humans value strength, bravery, courage, etc and somehow the definitions of these concepts gets conflated. Can one be brave and courageous and still have moments or times of fragility and the need for support? Does one have to be strong at all times to earn that label? I think of times when I was able to find within myself the ability to handle more than I would expect of almost anyone else and still smile and laugh over the good things in life. And, there are definitely days when I feel that I don't have those reserves anymore. I'm not sure I could do now what I made myself do during those times. So, what does that say? Have I become a weaker person as a result? And, at the same time, how negative a trait is being fragile when things are difficult? Is it fair to expect people to be perpetually strong? I don't think that anyone is placing that expectation on me aside from myself, perhaps. But, I think it's obvious that fragility is viewed negatively a lot of the time. The feminist perspective has it that we should encourage men to feel and express their emotions and, yet, my perception of late is that more and more women seem to be admired for their ability to hide those same emotions. Restraint and the ability to temper one's responses-I'm not questioning the value in that as much as wondering where and when the space for those emotions and feelings is supposed to be or has gone.

Perhaps if we all had a space like this, it would be easier to manage them. Or to come to a realization of what we, as individuals, feel is an appropriate balance between emotion and reserve. I guess that's what I'm struggling with. Balance. Between finding one's bliss and being responsible even if you just feel like you're going through the motions of life. Between being open with people you respect and trust and leaning too much on them or letting the emotions direct your actions without reason intervening. Striking that balance between daring to try something new that you've considered exploring and substituting someone else's direction or path for forging your own. Balancing your needs (especially when they've sort of been ignored over the years) with sensitivity to the needs of those you care about. *sighs the dreaded sigh of the tired and frustrated* I'm confused and I've been struggling with that confusion. Some days, I feel like I'm finally starting to pursue things that make sense (because they make me happy) and other days I feel like the pursuit of them is just as artificial as anything else I've tried in the past.

Moving on, I'm still ironing out the details of this new plan that will get me out of this job. I started off trying to go ahead and get my loan situation under control. In order to get transcripts from UMSL and apply for positions at either a community college or as a substitute teacher or, even, at a HeadStart program, I need those. As of right now, I've spent time on Friday and today calling three different offices multiple times to get some straight answers. It appears that getting my loans consolidated will allow UMSL to release official transcripts as soon as it goes through and, in the meantime, I *can* get unofficial transcripts sent to potential employers. Two questions: why this took so many calls to get to the bottom of and what the difference between official and unofficial transcripts is, I'll just pass over for now. It looks to me like I should be able to start working on getting out of this office really soon which is an amazing relief (even though it's still just a prospect at this point and hinges on actually getting a job somewhere else). It makes me feel so much better that it's even a possibility now instead of just something that *might* be possible someday.

Sort of a mixed bag blog today, I guess. More another day, hopefully more cheery stuff then.