Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bring it on, 2013

While I wasn't looking, Blogspot changed their set-up and I can't figure out how to get this published.  I am working without a net here.  But I didn't want the occasion of my 8th blogiversary pass without acknowledging its existence.  How do I remember what day I started my blog?  December 29th, 2004, my 25th wedding anniversary.  No one should be starting a blog on their anniversary.  That should have been a red flag as to how the marriage was going.  So I am here to (a) acknowledge my blogiversary and (b) wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2013.
Christmas 2012

Dear Bloggy Friends,

id you miss me last year?  You probably didn’t even notice that I didn’t send out Christmas cards (snail or e-mail) for the first time in over 30 years!  What was I thinking?  I was thinking 2011 was so shitty that you didn’t want to read about it!  And then 2012 came.  Yee gads!  So I decided this year, with things going much better, it was time to “put on my big girl panties” and move on… and move back to St. Louis.  Columbia was not good to me so after 6 years of making every attempt to settle in I moved back home to look for work.  I found a roommate, and together (along with her teenage daughter) we share a house in South St. Louis (more later).

As many of you know, this last summer was my 3rd summer in a row of unemployment.  It was not pretty.  My mantra became “at least I have my health,” but even that thinking sucked after a while.  As depression overtook my every day thought process,I cannot begin to name nor thank all the friends (thanks, Sailor Dave) and family who helped me through some very difficult months all three summers.  I had people staying in touch, supporting me, loving me, comforting me and lifting me up in prayer.  The events of the last week have put a new perspective on much.  I was mortified and horrified to be fired last summer for helping a student while working at a counseling center on campus.  In the wake of school violence, I was fired for telling a professor to continue to worry about his student after his 2nd phone call because the student had never called for help.  Along with gun control and a new perspective on mental illness, we have got to evaluate our adherence to HIPAA codes when trying to help someone.  In the end, I would do it all over again if it meant avoiding another Virginia Tech.  I should have held my head up in pride instead of lowered in deep depression for attempting to help that unknown student.  The summer before I had been laid off the day I came back to work after my daughter’s wedding which was a big shock, but at least you can mark that up to the university’s budget.  This last summer’s job loss came out of the blue as the biggest shocker since the women at this job declared “we won the Lottery when we hired you.”  That all changed 7 months later when I was “let go” and given “it doesn’t matter” as the reason.  Crazy, huh? That’s what I meant by 2012 being the worst summer of them all.

But then I moved and found a great job (not getting too excited or jumping up a down because I’ve been shot down too many times) which is going very well.  I am the executive (Suck it, MU!) administrative assistant at a non-profit organization that translates material for medical professionals into “plain language.”  Got that (because there will be a test later)? Don’t start laughing, but I am in charge of payroll, billing, balancing,depositing and all sorts of money and number issues.  Laughable, huh??? I interviewed here for a position for which I clearly was not qualified, but the previous administrative assistant had just quit that morning!  And I would have never applied for that job had I known all the financial and HR work involved.  It's amazing what you can do when people put enough confidence in your abilities. It’s only a few miles from my house so the commute is not all that bad.  One of the biggest perks is we are given the week of Christmas off and don’t have to return until January 2nd.  With living back in St. Louis and getting time off, I do not need to race out of Christmas Day activities to drive back.  Yeah!  The new job and the excellent election results have been a positive start to 2013.

How are the girls, you ask?  Well, I see Mabel about as much now that I have moved 120 miles away as I did when I lived across town from her.  She still teaches math but transferred to the high school this year.  A few lockdowns and a gun here or there, but otherwise, things are good.  She and her husband celebrated their second anniversary in Paris this summer as their gift to each other after teaching summer school to pay for it.  Nice. 

Up until August, Dorothy was working at 2 jobs and living with me to save money for her next adventure.  After helping an actor backstage with a one-man show, she was offered an internship at a theater across the state by him and his wife who run it together.  We are forever grateful to her mentor and professor who arranged this and happily moved her west the first week of August.  She helped with backstage props for Three Tall Women in September and The Kentucky Cycle (parts I & II) in November and December.  I was so proud of her watching her in action behind the scenes.  To make ends meet, she found another job at and, in true Dorothy fashion, rarely sleeps.  The sisters and I drove across the state to see The Kentucky Cycle in December.  We had some time to waste before the show so I decided to fall out an antique store and meet the sidewalk with my face.  My shoes must have gotten caught on the step out of the door and down I went much to the horror of my sisters.  The gash above my eyebrow was responsible for much blood, but when Sister #3 went to get help, the only customer in the store was a nurse (an angel) who got the bleeding to stop and patched me right up.  After being hit in the face once, I do not know how fighters get back in the ring.  I am just grateful that I did not break my arm or crack a tooth in the fall.  The year before I broke (a bone in) my foot falling off a step in sister #1's garage.  I’m really not as clumsy as it sounds and am grateful to recover so quickly because of the aforementioned good health.

The only thing that is not working well is the roommate situation as I have dubbed my roommate’s daughter “the spawn of Satan.”  I already raised 2 teenagers and count my blessings every day that Mabel and Dorothy were and are kind, thoughtful, bright, responsible, respectable, hard-working, diligent, funny, conscientious young women.  The same cannot be said of this teenager.  She has not lifted a finger to help out around the house since we moved in together in September and spends most nights with her drop-out unemployed boyfriend (who doesn’t like crowds).  Isn’t that how most seniors in high school live?  (Get back to me on that one!)  She stopped talking to me the day I asked her not to smoke pot in the basement!  She attends a work-study alternative high school but was fired in October from Subway so she does nothing, including helping to clean around the house or take care of her cat.  One night she announced in front of both of us that her goal after high school was to move to a state where pot is legal and become a distributor. Of course, she was stoned at the time, and I knew the concept of not smoking the profits would be lost on her. Her mother told me that the SOS was thinking about quitting school and taking her GED so she could start college early. I was in disbelief. This kid is clearly not college material. She graduated early this December and said she will now use the time to relax.  And I have kept a straight face every time I get new tidbits about her.  (And the Oscar goes to…) I am counting the months till I can move out on my own.  4 down, 8 to go.  Let me know if you know of any alternative living situations for a single 50something responsible working gal.  (And while we’re on the subject of helping me out, if you know of any single 40-65-year-old employed men, don’t hold back.)

As you can clearly read, life is getting much better. I love being back in St. Louis closer to my sisters.  I miss my girls, but that’s as it should be.  I love going back to my church and am the substitute ringer in 2 bell choirs.  The kitties (Jewel and McMurphy) continue to fight like brother and sister but nap closer and closer to each other and keep me from going insane.  Stop laughing!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  So glad the Mayan prediction did not hold true now that things are going my way.

Fa la la la la la la la la,

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My kingdom for some confidence

I am seriously screwed.

Work has weighed heavy on my mind this past week (even before the daughter debacle of '12). The director resigned suddenly 2 weeks ago, and I am going through some PTSD from the time I started at the publishing company and my boss quit 6 months after I started and forgot to tell me. Everyone took their hatred and frustration of her out on me and life was not pleasant until someone offered to be my supervisor, ensuring my employment. I had been a confident, assertive, outspoken, positive, loud teacher for 7 years prior to that and had to give up that profession for my (a) daughter and (b) sanity. As the yearbook sponsor, I attended everything (to make sure my staffers were there to wrote copy or snap pictures). I was involved in the union and had an air of confidence about me. (With teenagers, you can't let 'em see ya sweat!)

After leaving teaching, I went into publishing for more flexible hours. After 18 yrs in the industry, I felt I had a handle on things, held myself with professionalism and confidence, ran meetings, arranged receptions for hundreds of doctors, traveled to medical meetings, organized books with 300+ chapters and the same amount of contributors. I was a deadline machine. (One author referred to me as Dances with Deadlines.) I loved my job and the confidence that came with it, and the doctors never knew if I lacked confidence because I never let them see me sweat. If you ask them today, any one of them would tell you I was in total control of their projects and they appreciated my confidence. I was quite a force at church with my hands in every details, lector, Sunday school teacher, choir, welcoming committee, communications committee. You name it, I was at church as much as I was at home. I was a whirlwind. At the same time I was raising 2 daughters who adored me and respected me and were aware of my omnipresence. I had learned my job well when it came to teenagers never seeing you sweat.

And then 2003 happened. I was laid off from the aforementioned publishing position. I had no idea the implications. I interviewed for a few jobs at the company before I left but nothing happened. In the next year I had a handful of interviews at the company and we (my peeps and I) could not figure out why I wasn't being hired with 18 yrs of experience. I marked it up to being too expensive when they could hire a college grad for next to nothing. But after a year of futility we discovered I had been black balled by one of the vice president, a woman I had absolutely no association with in my time there. The only thing we could figure out was a conversation I had with her in the vending room when my daughter had gotten invited into a sorority... and her daughter didn't. Of course, I didn't know it at the time nor did I know she didn't get into mommy's sorority (double whammy). From that, she directed everyone NOT to hire me. Unbefuckinglievable. Next followed 2 1/2 painful years of freelancing and applying for jobs with nothing coming to fruition. Finally, in '05 I was hired as an administrative assistant. I made half my previous salary and had benefits and no real responsibility. I sored into the moderate level of Sudoku.

During those 2 yrs of unemployment, I was demoralized, humiliated, bored, lonely and abandoned. My ex gave me no support, comfort, confidence, help, perspective. None of the things I had given him over his many voyages into unemployment over the years. (And there were A LOT.) Somewhere along the line, I must have been to confident and intimidating that my ex never touched me, had sex with me, noticed me, wanted to be with me, but he also wouldn't move out. By 2006 he had spent the year working out of town and I liked being alone. And I was tired of being ignored and taken for granted so I got the nerve up to leave him. However I knew I couldn't afford to do so in the big city and opted to move to the college town where my daughters lived. Within 2 months I got a kickass job teaching sex ed where I learned how to talk to teenagers in jail, rehab, and detention about every aspects of sexual health. Talk about having confidence and never letting 'em see ya sweat!!! Within 4 months I fell madly in love with the love of my life. 2007 was the year of my lifetime. I was as high as any one human can be. Confident, assured, happy, in love, vibrant, and did I mention happy?

2008 brought an end to the relationship. It seems the love of my life was a functioning alcoholic who loved to verbally abuse me every time I visited. Before that, I was confident that I would move to the east coast to be with him one day and start a new life. But bit by bit, he chiseled away at my confidence and literally made me shake in my boots. He sailed and I didn't swim. So I took swimming lessons for this man (as my fan club already remembers). I lost 60 lbs and owned the world, but there were many memories of being scared to death of this man, and deep inside, I knew it had to end. Which it did. I was so devastated that I had to quit my job and move back to St. Louis when my lease ran out and rest up at my sister's place for 3 months. I could barely get off the couch. My world had crashed in. If you've been here long, you remember all too well the Fall of '08.

I found a job back at the university and returned to the college town to start all over. Joined a choir. Thus started the next 3 years of employment hell. I had 2 jobs at the university that reduced me to a puddle of whimpering fears. I had the distinct pleasure of working with an absolute sociopath who came and went as he pleased while I answered his phone and did his crap jobs while he reduced me to tears on a daily basis. It was so bad that after 6 months, my boss couldn't even give me a performance review because he never bothered to train me! A day before my boss retired she finally reviewed me after working there for 18 months and gave me a mediocre on all points. I was laid off 3 weeks later when I came back after my daughter's wedding. I was devastated and could barely lift my head off my bed for weeks. Next came the worst job I have ever endured, back at the university, as an administrative assistant again. After 4 months I was told I was skating on thin ice because I asked too many questions. WTF?? Could it be because they never trained me or told me what to do??? After 7 months I was fired for helping a student. I dragged my humiliated body back to my condo and took to my bed, sobbing in the dark for months. I will admit I considered not waking up but (a) promised a friend I would call him if I wanted to hurt myself and (b) thought of my daughters at every twist and turn as a reason to hang on. While I did see a lawyer to consider filing a lawsuit (the most assertive thing I did in the 17 weeks I was unemployed), in the end, I did not handle this latest session of unemployment well at all.

At the same time I was in a relationship with a man for 3 years that I knew should have ended after 5 months, but it took me 3 yrs to get rid of him. Seriously, folks, why does it take that long to get rid of another functioning alcoholic who is no good for me? Am I a magnet for people who take advantage of me and my sweet nature? I could never be mean to him and tell him to hit the floor running because I would not be #2 to alcohol. I was a chickenshit through most of that relationship and am so relieved that I finally got rid of him. (He recently e-mailed me that he has found someone else. Even HE has more confidence than I do!!)

That brings us to this current job. While it does not have benefits, it is a good job that I enjoy with people I really like. After 2 months the director informed me that we should meet once a month to talk about... ME. What a concept. In all the years I have outlined above, not one person, supervisor, dept head, manager, had ever pulled me aside, and said, "Let's talk." I was overwhelmed with joy and fear. Finally, at 54, I was going to have a mentor. I resented all my past supervisors in every job and career for not developing my business sense, my organizational skills, my understanding of the way I function. In that session she explained things that I had been too scared to ask about in team meetings. (Remember the aforementioned job that chastised me for asking questions???) Over the past 8 years I had learned to keep quiet, never speak up, have no opinion, assume you know what's going on and scramble afterwards, take notes. And all of a sudden I am encouraged to ask questions, speak up, be noticed, know what everyone's job was so I could be an authority on the company. It's enough to take my breath away every time I think about it.

Today I was asked to attend a meeting with the company. When we got the announcement that the director had resigned, one of my first thoughts was "I bet they ask me to replace her at the meeting coming up." But along with the invitation to take part in this critically important, terribly hectic meeting came "grave reservations" as to my confidence level. The new director does not want to see a "shrinking violet" with these doctors. They do not want a secretary taking notes and staying quiet. Oh crap, 9 years of learning my place down the drain. I am scared shitless. I do not have a confident bone left in my body and fear her "grave concerns" are justified. I am not who I once was. I have been stepped on, spit on, stolen from, crushed, hurt, torn to shreds, left to rot, pummeled with bad luck, hard luck, no luck. How does one come back from that? I'm asking you, seriously, how to I become the old me in a matter of 2 weeks and not let 'em see me sweat?

I am definitely a shell of my former self. If you knew me 20 yrs ago, the me you would describe is not the me I am now. Clinical depression and life's curveballs have really thrown me for a loop in the confidence department. Most weekends, I sit in my dark apartment. I never socialize, don't attend church, rarely go out with my children, avoid relationships, can't tell my kids what I think or feel so I don't burden them, don't go to the movies. Who am I? I don't even recognize myself from the woman I was prior to 2003.

I'm sweating as I type this. How do I get through the past to get over the past and enjoy the present?

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Not a cheery post so this is for me.

My daughter Dorothy and I went to a cabaret event on Saturday night. It was a disaster. It started off with a quietness because I don't want to ask too many questions. I can't even remember what the discussion was but she decided to say, "Are you going to cry?" to which I replied, "No, I have no intention of crying, but if I did, what of it?" I can't even remember if I was asking her about the Italy internship or her long hours at both jobs and asking if she was getting enough sleep. Doesn't matter. She thinks it's okay to interrupt with that at any time.

We went to dinner, quiet, and were at the theater early for a good seat where she talked to strangers. While waiting for the show to start, she talked to someone from her college days and completely ignored me. Dorothy actually chose me over her boyfriend (who I have nicknamed The Lump) since he didn't want to go. (Of course, she had asked him first. If I hadn't called, she had no intention of having me come along. (He hates theater and musicals and singing unless it's head banging music.)

Next we decided we would go for frozen custard. Twice in the last 2 weeks I have texted her, asking her if she wanted to get some frozen yogurt, but she never replies to my texts or calls me back if I leave a message. She wanted to go shopping with her Kohl's discount after ice cream. Again, I truly don't know what the conversation was about since I honestly try not to nag but instead ask her how her life is going, is she working too hard, what is she up to. As we turned into the place, she laid into me like I have never before witnessed. Screaming in the car that she hates spending time with me and that it's painful spending time with me and on and on and on until she finally says, "And I don't need to hear that you are e-mailing my professor and telling him what a disappointment I am and how I've wasted my degree." She said a few more quaint things and after a pause ended with, "Wow, I feel so much better."

I, on the other hand, was decimated. I had to bite my lips so I would not cry as the tears welled up. But remember, my daughter doesn't want any tears and shames me any time my voice quivers. We ordered a concrete to share while she just jabbered away about something. I couldn't hear anything any more. I was supposed to recover from this? And then I had to go shopping with her at Kohl's because, clearly, she felt so much better having pummeled me. I wandered around Kohl's finding some bargains here or there so she could use her discount on me.

On the way home, she said, "So how's your job going?" I said, "There it is." Silence. I added, "Did you know that if you would call every once in a while and ask me how MY life is going, we wouldn't even touch on the subject of your life?" So being the mature adult, I chatted about my job and the ups and downs of learning new things all over again at my age. I gave her the chocolate bunnies I had gotten her and The Lump for Easter and dropped her off at her apartment, the lovely little hovel she shares with him.

So no more ranting. No more e-mails. No more ideas to motivate her. It's over. I don't want to sound like the typical Jewish Mother, but when I think of everything I have done for that girl. All the tech weeks in high school I fed kids. Attending every concert she played in and almost every play or musical she has worked backstage. Running to her rescue when she was getting death threats in her senior year and rescuing her when she was suspended from school for bringing a Leatherman tool to school because it had a knife. I have bailed her out twice when she spent all her spending money in college. I have hidden things from her aunt (who paid for her college) so her head wouldn't explode. I never said a word when she announced she flunked her courses in England because she never went to class. I let her live with me for 14 months free so she could save her money. I have turned the other way when she dated boys that I deemed not good enough for her. I have obviously done it all wrong because all I get is an earful that she can no longer be around me. Maybe I could learn to live like her father. Oblivious. Ignoring his daughters until they call because they're coming to town whereupon they go out to lunch, a treat I never get. Guess when you live in the same town as your kids, that is a luxury.

From what she said, she missed the deadline to apply for the Italy internship (something I promised her I would make sure she got to if she was offered the opportunity). Apparently, she wants no suggestions or support for me so I am through. It's a clear memory that this very thing is how I lost her father many years ago when I would help him look for jobs after job lost after job loss. I knew the marriage was over the day he said, "If you haven't figured it out, I stopped listening to you a long time ago." I will never forget that knife in my heart, and I will never forget what my daughter said to me last Saturday.

Couldn't sleep so ended up awake till 3 the night before Easter. I had every intention of attending Easter service at the local Episcopal Church. 7:30, 9, 11. I figured I would wake up for one of them, but I did not wake up till noon, and I did not set an alarm. I used to love Easter. I mean, it is the biggie for us Christian. I was often singing in the choir on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. The day before Easter consisted of dying Easter eggs and finishing the girls' outfits. When I was so active in church back home, I would be at church by 7am for the 8 o'clock service, ate breakfast in between services, waited for the girls to arrive at church only to finish up the hair and outfits that their father barely got on them, only to sing in my 2nd service of the morning, supervise egg hunts, go home for another egg hunt, and collapse. But ever since I moved here, church is painful because I am so lonely. Easter is excruciating. All the families. All the Easter dresses and baskets and joy. By the time we get to the passing of the peace, and everyone has someone to turn to and I have no one, I am practically in tears. (I did go to Ash Wed service because it is a depressing, lonely service. Perfect for me at this stage of my life.) So I could not convince my body to get out of bed for Easter.

I sat in my dark bedroom most of the day. I moved to this town 5 yrs ago because I wanted to be with my kids more than I wanted to be with their father. I spent the 1st 16 months so extactically happy from being in love, but after that, everything has gone downhill. I have gone through 4 jobs: one I quit before it ended, one I was laid off from, one I was fired from, and this one that has no benefits. (And don't even get me started on that subject.) I never dreamed that I would move to a town to be near my daughters only to have my daughters want little to nothing to do with me. It reinforces what a horrible daughter I was to my mother till the day she died. Last summer when I wanted to die, it was thinking of my kids that got me through those horrible days and night. Now I don't even have that to live for. The loneliness and pain is palpable.

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Thursday, December 01, 2011

When I fall in love...

... It will be forever
Or I'll never fall in love

In a restless world like this is
Love is ended before it's begun.
And too many moonlight kisses
Seem to cool in the warmth of the sun.

When I give my heart,
It will be completely
Or I'll never give my heart.

And the moment I can feel that
You feel that way, too
Is when I fall in love with you.

The line I want you to concentrate on, dear reader, is "or I'll never give my heart." My question recently is ... are we (as the general human population) allowed just one love, and if it doesn't work out, you have shot your proverbial wad? Some people are lucky enough to fall in love with someone who loves them equally, and they spend the rest of their lives together. Some people, me, for instance, fall in love once, and it doesn't work out. And I just started wondering if I am incapable of ever loving again since I now know what love, truly mad, passionate love, feels like, and I won't settle for anything less. Was Sailor Boy my one and only? Will my heart ever find love again?

Don't get me wrong, I am over him. I do not pine for him. I know for a fact that our love was vibrant, life-altering, and, perhaps, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Am I melo-dramatic? Perhaps, but I feel blessed to have felt that kind of love once in my life. I do not, for one minute, believe our being together forever would have been a good thing. Nor do I hope we will ever be a couple in the future. We had to go our separate ways. I do not fool myself into believing love can or will ever happen again. But Blues Man is back in my life, and he professes his love and would do anything for me, but I cannot return the feelings. For now, he says he is perfectly fine with that. Before this summer, he would never say "I love you" because he knew it pissed me off and that I could and would never say it back. The feeling was not mutual. But after our recent "reunion," he started saying it and adding, "And I don't care that you can't say it. I'm not hiding how I feel any more." What do I do with that?

Briefly, let me explain how and why Blues Man came back. I have not talked to him all summer. He pulled some shitty things on me, and it was quite easy to kick him to the curb, so I never answered his e-mails of apology, never answered his few phone calls when he tried to beg for forgiveness. I was just damn glad he never stalked me or dropped by unannounced. And I sat in my dark bedroom all summer only appearing outside to go exercise. I was a mess over my firing, and he knew it, but he never overstepped his bounds (except for staying in touch to let me know he was there for me). So 4 weeks ago I answered an e-mail to say I couldn't figure out how to open the furnace and replace the filter so he dropped by with his tools, got down on one knee and begged for forgiveness with tears streaming down his face, and changed my furnace filter. I told him to stop being so hard on himself. That evening he e-mailed me and said that as long as we were friends, he had to be honest and tell me my place was a wreck. In 5 months not one person had come into my condo (except my one daughter who's my roommate), not even my sisters or other daughter. Not one friend was allowed in. I was truly a mess. I had let the place go to hell, and he knew it was a reflection of my depression, and he wasn't going to stay quiet. I didn't even see how bad it was. We were, after all, friends. So he laid it on the line and told me the truth. Depression manifests itself in many ways, but in my case, I had not come out of my room in months and had stopped fighting my roommate who was (and still is) a slob. So in telling me like it was, he offered to help me clean up. and so the next day he came over and together, we spent 5 hours cleaning my kitchen alone. It looked amazing. And was long overdo. We scrubbed and rearranged and threw out and dusted and scrubbed some more. I was so moved by his honesty, kindess, generosity, and willingness to be a friend. The next week he returned to help clean the livingroom. Both times he left after saying "I love you" and added, "It's ok if you can't say it."

We have since spent some time together on the weekends. And yes, the sex is terrific just like when we broke up earlier in the summer. I even asked him to spend Thanksgiving with me and the family. I did so because (1) the ex wasn't coming this year (yeah!), (b) daughter Dorothy was bringing a "friend," (tres) both and he and the daughter had to return that evening to work on Black Friday, and (IV) he would not interpret the invitation as a reason to move in together or a sign that I loved him. I e-mailed the daughters and told them what was happening and told them I expected them to be on their best behavior and respectful. So he managed to pick himself off the floor (from the impromptu invitation), dress appropriately, and show up on time for the drive to St. Louis. He helped my sister with household chores while we got Thanksgiving dinner ready. (Her husband is not handy, and she just broke her wrist the week before.) He stayed out of the way when necessary, helped out when called upon, stayed quiet during the fracas, and was thrilled to be included. I don't believe anyone should be alone on Thanksgiving.

But now it's every weekend, and I don't want to hurt his feelings, but I will never be in love with him. However, I think we can be good friends, honest and helpful, kind and laughing. Should I resign myself to being with a man I am not in love with because he's great in the sack and kind to me? Will I ever be able to find another love if I continue with Blues Man? What happens if I do fall in love with someone else, do I dump Blues Man? Do I resigned myself to knowing if I stay with him, I will never have the love I once had with Sailor Boy? Are we allowed more than one "love of a lifetime"?

Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

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Friday, November 04, 2011


Arrrghh! Damn him, my mean bloggy friend has assigned me to write about socks (sox) this week. WTF? He is about as random as it gets. I think he is power hungry. He knows I will write on whatever topic he gives me because I am so compliant and willing to please.

The big surprise is I'm going to take an odd turn on the subject. You'd think I'd write about the warm apparel for you feet. I do love socks, and I have discovered that when you lead a nomadic life as I have the last 5 years, you collect socks. They don't take up much space, and they're easy gifts and souvenirs for people who want to give you something but know you don't have a lot of room for big things. There are some socks I am emotionally connected to and cannot throw away. Like my socks that say "40." Wow, they're 14 years old!

But when I heard the assignment, the first thing I thought of was a young man from college nicknamed "Sox." I didn't name him that. He got that in college before I showed up, but we barely knew his real name. He loved socks and always wore wild and crazy socks so the nickname stuck. To this day, I don't know if Sox ever graduated. He was, what I would call, an "Idea Man," always on the go, always coming up with some type of scheme, always planning something, leading something, sometimes for good, sometimes for evil. He was sorta cute, but he was so dynamic and charismatic, that we loved his stories and schemes. For instance, he hooked up everyone on my dorm wing with phones. Doesn't sound like a big deal? But this was 1976 when the phone company owned consumers' phones and the contract was between the phone company and the university so the fact that Sox somehow procured about 20-25 "extra" phones was quite the coup. I didn't know if he was a Business major or an Engineer major because he not only "found" the phones but also hooked them all up. Who did that back in he 70s? I never knew if I would place this skill under "doing good or evil" since it was, after all, illegal. There were enough phones in his dorm room that he never had to move, wherever he was, to answer a phone. That's a lot of phones!

Anyway, I look back and shake my head at our thinking back in the 70s. Sox and I went out once. Whether it was called a "date" or not, I'll never know, but I remember making out with him behind the dorms one night and was accused of being a "prick tease." Of course, I was a "prick tease," but that didn't give him the right to (a) call me that or (b) take advantage of that. He eventually stopped short of date rape, but I just marvel at how far we have come where "NO" actually means "NO" nowadays, but it didn't back in the 70s. I always saw Sox differently after that experience my freshman year. What an ass! I no longer saw him as the charismatic "Idea Man" that he billed himself to be. I just saw him as the egotistical prick he was. But whenever I hear the word "sox," I do think of Sox and the phones.

By the way, one of our favorite memories from college was the day Sox got arrested for the phone escapade. They even stationed cops below his dorm room in the event he would try to throw the multiple phones out the window, which he was starting to do before he was caught. He eventually had to open the door to the arresting officer. He was hauled off in handcuffs that day. What a doofus. Hard to imagine those days when guys still called girls "prick teases" and didn't know the meaning of the word "no." And hard to imagine getting arrested for hooking up phones on your own.

Wonder whatever happened to Sox. Last I heard, he was a "pre-owned" car salesman. You decide if that's using his power for good or evil???

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Random babble

So apparently, the St. Louis Cardinals won game 6 last night of the World Series. It was all over facebook! Ha! Somehow I truly believe that if I didn't watch it, we had a better chance of winning. And I heard it was a big deal. Something about extra innings. Everyone is seeing red, Cardinal red. I am a fair-weather fan, for sure. But it is good to be on the winning side. And when you're from Missouri, that has happened 10 times... going on 11.

Which brings us to autumn. I love autumn the best. Some people think autumn is the end, the end of summer, the end of warmth. But I see the leaves turning colors is the beginning of God's palette of colors. Sure, there will be dreary days ahead with grays and browns, but it is the red maple leaf that brings me hope that life continues. For without the dreary days of winter, we would not have the beauty of spring, summer, and autumn. I am reminded that it takes the previous seasons' rain, snow, and drought to make the glorious autumn. Sort of like not having the rainbow without the rain. You can explain all about green and oxygen and chlorophyll and rain, but I will always see God with a set of outrageous water colors enjoying this time of year more than we can imagine. Purple, yellow, orange, green, gold, brown, resplendent in hope and joy.

When I was teaching (30 years ago!), I was the yearbook sponsor. No, I did not have a journalism degree but having been on the award-winning newspaper staff in highs school, I knew a good student publication when I saw it. The students and I grew together and learned the ropes step by step. To earn extra money, we sold Boosters for 50 cents a line. I told the kids that if some kid wanted to buy a questionable booster, we took the money and ran. Only when they would come back after the book was produced and questioned our judgment would we reveal that we had edited big time... in order to save my job, of course. There was the occasional "Football players do it in 4 quarters" and "Let's eat tacos in the 'Y'" that did not make it into the booster section. But to appease the kids, I allowed "Ms. B soaks her head in tomato juice." I figured if that was the meanest thing they could say about me, then I would share the laugh.

For all intents and purposes, I should be dead. Just stupid things from childhood. Like doing donuts in a Honda in the back of the capitol building during an ice storm to see how close we could get to the building without hitting it. WTF? Until I was 7, my mother worked nights and my sisters, ages 5, 10, & 11, watched over me. By today's standards, that's child endangerment. But back in the 50s, I was blessed to have such wonderful angels in my life. I didn't see them wearing white robes and gossamer wings with golden halos. They were just beautiful angels with light brown, dark brown, and blond hair. Eyes of blue, hazel, and green, skin so soft. Love so abundant. They loved me unconditionally, changed my diapers, fed me, dressed me, carried me around when I cried, sang to me, rocked me, and protected me. I grew up with these angels and more, a kind neighbor who was like a grandmother, the attendance secretary who knew my sisters had to take off school when one of us was sick, a teacher who always watched over me even when I wasn't in her class, a priest who would miss me if I wasn't at church on Sunday morning, random people who looked out for me even when I didn't know they were out there. Watching over this little kid whose head was obviously soaked in tomato juice... until she could fend for herself.

I still feel those angels around me, checking in with me when I'm down, holding me up when I can't stand, loving me when I don't feel lovable, cheering me on when I can't be my own cheerleader, hugging me when I am low. None of them wear wings, but they all have halos! At least they do in my eyes.


While IMing with my "mean" bloggy friend about my current state of depression, he gave me another assignment. And it has a deadline so I must get this out without much thinking. I mentioned something about the fact that sometimes I think I shouldn't have had kids. My older sister had 3 at a very young age, and it was 16 years before I, the "baby" of the family, had children. I don't know what possessed me to do such a thing. It's not as if I longed for children all my life or grew up thinking about being a mother. Like the other parts of my life, it just came along as the next step (college, marriage, children etc). My assignment said I couldn't write the 2 lists below side-by-side but one after the other so they weren't parallel. Here goes:

Why I shouldn't have become a mother:
  1. Couldn't afford them (WHAT was I thinking?)
  2. Not a good cook or, worse yet, good planner of meals.
  3. Not spontaneous (no lemonade stands for my kids)
  4. Love to sleep (late and often) yet lived on very little
  5. Not adventurous enough (no skateboards or roller skates or hand gliding)
  6. Our house was never big enough to accommodate more than the 4 us, and sometimes even then, it was too crowded.
  7. Not the volunteer kind of mom (no PTO or room mother here)
  8. Didn't love my husband enough to pass that along to my kids.
  9. My housecleaning skills were questionable (although we didn't live in a pig sty)
  10. Too loud, emotional, depressed to to have children in the mix.

Why I'm a great mother:
  1. Great sense of humor (passed that down to my daughters)
  2. High pain threshold (2 natural births and no tears over skinned knees)
  3. When my older daughter turned 2, I learned how to French braid hair.
  4. Saw the wonder in a rainbow every time.
  5. Strong morals & values (education, commitment, volunteerism, doing the right thing)
  6. Could proofread their papers (only thing my degree/expertise was good for)
  7. Practical (don't cry over spilled milk)
  8. Creative (made all their Halloween costumes)
  9. Tried not to worry too much and passed that along to my kids
  10. I write thank you notes, send birthday cards, and was nice to old people at church

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Should Have Been More Specific

I received a comment on my previous entry from a stranger. That was kinda weird, thinking someone I don't even know was reading my internet journal. Sure, I know anyone can read this, but who would want to? But seeing my blog reminded me that I have not written in over 3 months. Could be because nothing (I mean practically nothing) has happened in 3 months. But in the last 4 weeks, I have had 3 interviews, bam, bam, bam. The first was with my "dream" job for the 2nd time. That went well, but I did not get it. The 2nd was as a project manager for a publishing company. And the 3rd was for an administrative assistant for the county government. Well, a few days before the 3rd interview, I got an e-mail from the 2nd interview that they wanted to hire me, 4 days after the interview. Part of me was in shock and disbelief because I didn't think anyone offered jobs over e-mail, and the e-mail started out like the standards "thanks but no thanks letter." I couldn't believe I was reading what I was reading. I had to read it twice, even 3 times to make sure I was being offered the job and not just being given the kiss-off. I would receive an offer letter along with the document explaining benefits the next day.

That's when the other shoe dropped. I should have known when I walked into a room for a group interview, and everyone in the interview was the entire team, unlike the other 2 interviews where several interviewed me, but I knew there were a lot more employees elsewhere in the building. All women. For a brief moment, I let myself get excited and planned a mini-vacation since my start date wasn't until November 1. I called to have #1 on the benefits list explained because I couldn't believe what I was reading. No health benefits. Nothing. Sure, they appeared to be a fine group of women and there were sick days and vacation days and comp time, but no health insurance. I was in shock. Incredulous. Angry. Worried. Pissed. Frustrated. I just knew it was because all the other women were married and had their husbands' health benefits. I called an independent insurance agent to find out how much it would cost to get health insurance. Suffice it to say, it would be like making a monthly car payment for a VERY NICE car, but I never get to drive the car... ever. Never. They gave me till Monday to decide.* I sent e-mails to several friends, called sisters, talked to people, and we all came up with one, and only one, conclusion. I had to take the job. In this economy, you just turn down work. I don't have insurance now and no paycheck. At least I will have a paycheck. Many have said to take it and then take the first job with benefits that comes along. But I don't want to work at a job while always looking for another. Yes, I am loyal to a fault, but I don't think it's fair to am employer. Some have told me it's not fair that some companies don't provide benefits. But I canceled plans to visit my friend in Vermont. Looks like I won't be making plans to do anything fun for a very long time. Or, at least, that's the way I feel.

Then it hit me. I should have been more specific. When praying for a job, I should have prayed for one with benefits. Remind me, when I'm praying for a man to pray for one who can still get it up. Make my needs known. Be specific. Next time I pray for a man, I will be praying for one... with benefits!

One sweet friend (from my old job that fired me) said maybe this is God's plan. If so, God has a sick sense of humor. But maybe this is the plan I need to accept. Instead of looking back and thinking, "Mmmm, perhaps that was God's plan," I need to look towards the future and think, "Maybe this is the plan." I don't know. While the job is a good fit, I just can't help but think I will have this black cloud hanging over me. Who knew that the whole time I was looking for a job, I should have been looking for a husband instead.

*The reason they gave me till Monday to decide is a very dear friend from back home died rather suddenly. She was about my age. We went to church together, raised our daughters together. She had chest pains one Tuesday, and her husband took her to the ER. She walked in. They even had to hook her up to machines to determine she was having a heart attack. They did some tests and found out that her blood sugar was sky high. Apparently, she was diabetic but had never gone to the doctor and, therefore, never got it diagnosed or treated. Within 2 days she was transferred to the big university hospital and put on the heart transplant list. WTF? She died the same day as Steve Jobs, the same age, 2 weeks after those first chest pains. My daughters drove back with me to St. Louis for her memorial service. Although they have been to their share of memorial services and funerals, this was the first time they went for the living. That is a big step in maturity, and I was so proud of them. One even brought tissues for me. We since discovered she hated doctors so so never went. And I know she had health insurance. It put things into perspective but, in many ways, made me wonder if I will go to the doctor for yearly physicals and such if I don't have insurance. Still, I wondered why someone with insurance wouldn't take better care of herself. And I worried that, without health benefits, will I take good care of myself? Seems I will have to take better care of myself because I sure as hell can't afford to get sick!

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