Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year, But the End of Nothing

I'm not thrilled at the prospect of coming up with New Years Resolutions.  In order to prevent me from disappointing myself, I try to set attainable goals.  My ability to berate myself for not being the perfectionist that I used to be or perhaps want to be is endless.  So I do the best I can to take the possibility of immense failure out of the equation all together.  This next year, I hope to be someone that other people see as dependable.  I'd like to be someone that other people see as responsible.  I'd like to be completely 100% comfortable in and satisfied with my body - weight, wrinkles, joint problems and all.  And the tangible goal - to pay off my debt at CU.  I won't go so far as to say that I want to go back to school because I feel that is just a step too far; it could happen, but there's a good chance it won't happen.  Perhaps I should set a goal to finish my undergrad by 30.  That gives me ample time to get my shit together enough to do it.

This coming year, I'd like to move forward with a writing career.  I've been notified that the category I chose to apply for to write for has "been filled," (which I highly doubt.  How many people could have applied for that same category at the same time I did, and are better writers and/or are better qualified to write for it??) (Okay, that sounds kind of conceited, although I am rarely seriously conceited) so I am going to attempt to apply to write for a different category until I get a category I am satisfied with!  I'd like to get organized enough to get started writing the book I'd like to write.  I'd really like to learn the difference between the words "affect" and "effect" because I'm pretty sure that I use them incorrectly most of the time, but every time I look up their definitions I can't seem to come up with a way to keep them straight so I just forget!  I'd also like to train for and successfully do the Tough Mudder this year, if I can find a person/people to do it with me.  That will probably be the hardest one to fulfill, so I'll keep my options open for it.  I'd also like to be able to ski at least one run of Loveland Pass without falling down. 

I am very proud of myself for this year.  I did not get involved with Aaron again.  I may have spoken to him, but this is the first full year since I met him that I did not cycle through everything with him again.  I am ending this year with much more self-confidence than I had this time last year.  I did not get fired from a single job this year.  I did not make any catastrophic decisions that either effected or will effect the rest of my life.  I took few risks - far fewer risks than perhaps any other year of my adult life.  I learned how to sit with the discomfort I often feel when I discover that my relationships are not going as I wish they would.  I, nor anyone in my family, attempted suicide this year.  I made my peace with knowing that I cannot change the past, and that further attempts to do so are in vain.  Over all, I would give this year a Bronze star for the progress I've made with my recovery and rehabilitation.  A lot of people are thrilled to see the end of 2010, but I don't think I'm one of them.  This year, while very hard, was the best year I've had since maybe 2000.  I've gotten a wonderful opportunity to discover myself, and that's why I give this year a Bronze star - I'm leaving room for improvement and I know that the improvement I've already made will continue.

I had fun today.  I was supposed to go skiing with New Guy tomorrow, but he and Mr. Roomie decided to go today instead - to avoid having to try snowboarding hungover tomorrow I assume.  After the year's first snow yesterday (Denver Metro area only - the mountains have been getting great snow so far this year) (and the ridiculously dicey drive home from work in it with the truck which I discovered is rear-wheel drive, plus the 4-wheel drive is broken), the guys thought the snow would be terrific for skiing and boarding.  It was great snow as far as I'm concerned because it was deep enough to comfortably catch me all 100+ times I fell.  It was however, frigidly cold.  We guessed -5˚F.  By the time we made it up the mountain, my goggles had iced over on the inside.  I had to go down without them.  I didn't mind that too much except that I was wearing mascara and my eyelashes froze over and subsequently melted, leaving mascara running all over my face!  It took me awhile to make it down the mountain, and I was exhausted by the time I got down.  Falling down and getting back up on skis is physical work!  I'd have been happy to go down a few more times if I hadn't been so tired from the first run (and it hadn't been so DAMN cold!), so I only went down once today.  We stopped in Georgetown for food on the way home, and I went to jump into the truck, but my legs didn't get the message my brain sent and I jumped right into the truck's frame!  I banged the SHIT out of my knee, and it STILL hurts 4 hours later.  Holy Moses on toast!!  I had so much fun, though.  Those guys are hilarious, and they're genuinely nice people, too.  I plan on going up with them again the next time they go (the ski rental is all of $16), and even if I only go down the mountain once, it will be practice, and I need it!  What's great is that they go up past the Loveland resort, and park at the bottom, then hitchhike up to the top, usually in the bed of someone's truck (along with bunches of other boarders) and snowboard back down.  There are lots of trees, and it's pretty steep in some places, so not exactly the perfect place to learn, but it's free and it's beautiful!  I know I'm going to be sore tomorrow as I can already feel my hips and knees stiffening up, and my fingertips hurt like I injured them somehow, but it was all more than worth it.  I've begun my skiing hobby!!  Finally!!  After at least two years of wanting to take it up, I'm doing it!!

Maybe in 2011 I can finally get my Scuba license....

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Doing Some Thinking

I think this is the first instance in which I'm feeling the depth of sorrow of the loss of Former Bestie.  I miss her.  I want to tell her all about what's been going on with New Guy, and about my doubts and fears about the blossoming relationship.  I'm nowhere near picking up the phone to call her, or even writing her a letter.  The reasons for my not wanting to have her in my life anymore are still fresh.  I don't want to have to hear about her impending nuptials and how exciting her life has been since getting engaged.  In fact, just thinking about her telling me those things makes me want to throw up.  If I could talk to her just about the interests that we shared, and about my progress with my self-esteem and the time I've spent with New Guy.

I'm at work today, and it's snowing.  It's been snowing for going on 6 hours now, and is supposed to continue through tomorrow.  Tomorrow is New Year's Eve, and I have no plans.  Mostly, I love having no plans.  No need to get all gussied up and put on my smiley face and attempt to attract the attention of the hundreds upon hundreds of single guys out at the bars.  At the same time, I'm slightly disappointed that I haven't been invited to spend the evening with New Guy.  It would be a fun and romantic time, and I'd get to see him again, which is objective #1.  I am, however, to join him and his roommate in going up to Loveland Pass to try my legs at skiing.  I really am going this time.  No chickening out.  I'm hoping that I'll be able to maintain my body heat long enough not to totally hate it, and I am really hoping I don't fall down and make a complete ass out of myself.  I know I will be doing a fair amount of falling, I just would rather not do it too much.

I'm feeling a lot of confusion.  I know that New Guy likes me - I've got that information straight from the source - but I'm not feeling it.  He's not overly touchy-feely, which I'm fine with, but I want him to want to spend a whole lot of time with me, not just a few evenings a week.  How are we supposed to get to know each other if we spend very little time together, and what time we do spend together is in the presence of his roommate (and no offense to Mr. Roomie, he's a great guy and hilarious and I enjoy his company!)?  I want to know everything about him, and I want him to know a lot about me.  I know that he's making a large effort to take things very slowly with me, and I appreciate that respect.  It's rare from what I have seen.

I guess I'm just doing my normal grabbing-on-with-both-hands thing and expecting to be whisked away.  It never happens that way for me, and I was probably hoping it would this time around.  Oh well.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Reverent Linguist

I finally finished book number five in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  Anyone I know will tell you how much I love the series, for I recommend it at every possible chance.  The last book is the longest novel I have ever read, being nearly 1,500 pages long.  The preceding novels in the series are between 800-1,100 pages long each, so in reading the entire series, one will have read somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,500 pages.  I accidentally read the first two three novels, then the fifth, so now I am beginning on the fourth.  It will not have ruined the series for me, in fact, it almost helps to have read them this way.  There were confusing parts in the fifth book where I had no clue how things had come to be as they were, but that is a minor obstacle, and I now have a greater grasp on the happenings in the fourth book.

The point of that whole background on the novels I am currently enveloped in is that I want to rant like an old lady.  Kids and adolescents in this modern age have the world literally at their fingertips.  They don't really need to even leave the house to experience the wonder that is our world.  I'm not knocking the internet, I don't think I could live without it.  I think the internet is a magical and glorious invention and I think it will only heighten the worldly experience one may get from the comfort of one's own home, but I also think it should be a complement to the worldly experience itself.  However, it concerns me that things like languages are being discarded with greater and greater ease.  The English language - often considered to be one of the hardest languages in the world - is a fantastic thing because it is so widely used that it allows us to communicate with others from all over the world.  Kids in China are being taught English much more often than American children are being taught Chinese.  But because of things like instant messaging and text messaging, kids are shortening and abbreviating words, which annoys me to no end.

Aside: I never EVER abbreviate when instant or text messaging.  I refuse to use LOL, OMG, and one letter or number to replace full words.

As I'm reading this book, the main character Claire is talking about how her husband (the other main character, but he doesn't narrate as Claire does) is something of a polygogue.  That means that he easily picks up and uses other languages.  In the book, he speaks English, Gaelic and French fluently, but he picks up German, several dialects of Mohawk, and Mandarin.  He can also read and write in Latin and Greek.  He was educated both in the Highlands of Scotland, but also a Paris university and a French abbey.  In the eighteenth century where the books take place, a knowledge of multiple languages comes in not just handy, it saves his and other lives several times over.

What makes me sad is that such reverence for language is becoming more and more rare.  Languages like Aramaeic and Latin are considered "dead" languages now, but how soon until we're speaking a whole new language developed by the bastardizations and abbreviations and complete elimination of words from the English language?  Illiteracy is still something that plagues a large number of the world's population, Americans included.  Much of the world's illiteracy is by means of a lack of resources with which to teach people to read and write, but how much more sad is it that illiteracy is becoming more common due to our incessant usage of technology?

I was no writer in middle or high school - at least in my opinion.  I got A's on papers because I understood material, and because I can BS with the best of them.  It is only recently - in the last couple of years - that I have begun to revere the English language as I do.  I was never taught the ins and outs of the parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, participles, adverbs, conjunctions and prepositions were a not part of my education.  I only learned what most of the parts of speech were when I took French in high school.  My French teacher (RIP Mrs. Brumbaugh!) was aghast at how she had to teach English parts of speech to her students in order for them to understand how to properly speak, read and write in French.  Language Arts in middle school, called English in high school was not about the English language.  It was about literature analysis, novelists, and poetry.  I did not take one ounce of what I learned in my high school English career to college with me; everything I have learned about English since high school is self-taught through reading.  I'll still say I'm nowhere near perfect at writing grammatically correctly (if that is even the best way to form that sentence?), but I have a much better grasp on English than my poor nephews and niece will have with the education they will get.

If I should ever go through and read this series again, I plan to take my time and either underline or write down every word that I read that I don't already know the meaning of.  I've already had to do a bit of that.  I wasn't sure what a "pinnace" was, nor how to pronounce it (it's a small watercraft and it is pronounced 'pi-niss').  There are easily hundreds of words written in Gaelic and French in the series (and luckily for me I have just over a basic knowledge of French), so reading these books has been a challenge.  But reading such a well-written story with such detailed characters has only increased my adoration for the subtleties and not-so-subtleties of language!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Making a Choice

Yikes.  Today was an up-and-down day.  I had an even stronger feeling of not-so-interestedness from New Guy, which I'm fairly certain is again my brain concocting things and misreading signals that are not actually there.  I'm such a crazypants that I'm taking his lag in replying to text messages as a sign that he's not really that interested.  I heard from a mutual friend that he's kind of crazy in the bedroom, but he hasn't even kissed me yet, so of course my first thought is that he's probably not attracted to me and thus does not think of me in a "bedroom" sense.

Sometimes I hate being a girl, but I definitely hate being a crazy girl even more.  I know that it's fairly natural to fantasize, especially for women, and I've done my fair share of it.  New Guy told me that he spent 9 months down in New Orleans helping rebuild houses after Hurricane Katrina.  I think that is way cool.  In my fantasy, we've been together for like a year or something and an opportunity comes up for him to go do something like that again, and he takes me and Phoenix with him, and he falls even more madly in love with me when he discovers how scrappy and helpful and compassionate I am.  I think about what our kids might look like.  I wonder what I'll think about him a year from now.  I fantasize about having a happy, healthy relationship with him wherein I am a fantastic girlfriend, but I also maintain my own life separate from him.  I met the guy 11 DAYS AGO.  What the hell is wrong with me??

I decided today that the best course of action was to just walk away as though I were the one who'd lost interest.  Tiffany had some trouble understanding my logic behind doing it this way, and I tried to explain it like this: If I can "trick" myself into believing there's nothing there, I will just continue to go about my life as though nothing had happened.  I was happy before I met him with the progress I'm making with my emotional and psychological health. I'm becoming satisfied with my aloneness, and I was focusing more on things that interest me and that are helping me grow into the person I want to be.  I need to get back to that before I get too deeply involved in whatever I'm attempting to make happen.  While I've been really good about sort of playing hard-to-get and unavailable, I've definitely faltered and I need to revert to what I was doing before I met him.  It's not easy, but I can force myself to behave in the manner in which I was behaving before I met him so that instead of devoting a bunch of my valuable brain-power to thoughts of him and the relationship that we don't have, I'm devoting the brain-power to strengthening my perception of myself and learning to love me for what I am.

Day off tomorrow.  Still don't feel like I've caught up on my sleep, but it might just be Depression weighing down on my sleep center.  It's a major coping mechanism for me, and if I've said it once, I'll say it again - I love my dreams.  It's like living a whole other life that only I know about that allows me to escape from my own confusing reality.

Monday, December 27, 2010


I've been really bored at work today.  My mind is elsewhere.  I had a really hard time falling asleep last night, and subsequently waking up this morning.  I don't feel rested even though I got around 7 hours of sleep.  I was dreaming when I woke up, and I find that it's even harder for me to come out of sleep when I'm dreaming.  It's as though the wisps of the dream follow me into consciousness and I have just the slightest trouble differentiating between what's real and what I was dreaming of for a little while.  There are some dreams that feel so real and are so detailed that I hold on to them all day long and they actually alter my mood and my feelings.  This morning's dream wasn't one of those dreams, though.

I'm worried about Phoenix.  He's been acting strangely since before Christmas Eve, and he hasn't really gotten back to normal.  My working all day long three days a week has seemed hard for him because he was so used to me only being gone for three or four hours each day.  He seems subdued, not exactly lethargic, but just uninterested in anything.  I have to prod him to eat his dinner every night, and I have a hard time getting him super excited about anything.  He has his usual conniptive episode when I get home from work, but he's right back to quiet.  I have to almost force him to get into bed each night.  I don't know how to fix it.  I know that a lot of how he's acting has to do with the high stress level in the house, but even that has been pretty low since Christmas Eve.  I know that I need to get him out of the house permanently - as in move him out - because of how upset he gets just hearing my sister's voice being raised.  Last night she was in the garage having a loud argument over the phone with her ex-husband, and when he heard it, he laid down in my closet and started shaking.  I can't believe how he's reacting to things like that, and it makes me wonder what his situation was before I took him home from the shelter.  Anyway, I know that he needs to be removed from this high-stress environment because it really does affect him physically.  He was just fine before my sister moved back in.  I hope that he and I can both last another couple of months until I can find a suitable living situation for us.

I feel slightly restless, but otherwise I feel good.  I'm saving money and I'm making money, and I've got most of my finances in good enough order to keep me afloat for awhile, even semi-comfortably.  My physical health is good (aside from the ridiculousness that is my uterus which causes me nothing but grief), and I feel in complete control of my mental health for the first time in at least four years.  I'm definitely scared to be getting romantically involved with New Guy, not because I'm scared of the vulnerability that it may require, but of how I may react if it ends.  The momentary glimpse I caught of what I concocted yesterday is enough to frighten me from allowing this new thing to go anywhere.  I'm going to just move very slowly, taking one thing at a time. 

I was playing freecell at work today, and I was SO bored, that I wanted to see how many games I could win in a row without having to restart a game.  I got to six.  I was sort of surprised to find my strategy had changed since I'd last sat down to play the game in any serious compensation.  I wasn't looking ahead at the cards I needed immediately and trying to figure out a way to get those cards.  I was only looking at what I had in front of me, at the cards that were immediately available to be played.  It occurred to me that the way I was playing the game was very similar to how I'm living my life right now.  Instead of focusing on something that is out of reach in the future, I've been dealing with the problems that are right in front of me and working through what I can.  I even played almost an entire game while I was on the phone with a saleslady about getting a new windshield for my car, and I made all the correct moves while almost entirely preoccupied to win the game.  I find that to be both miraculous and ironic.  I guess that I'm capable of making the right choices even when I am not thinking about it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Back to Reality

I am not fixed yet.  I learned this today, when I began to have the oh-so-familiar feeling of rejection upon realizing that I had not heard from New Guy all day.  I had brief flashes of Christmas of 2006, after I had broken up with Brian and had flown out to meet Aaron 25 days earlier, and had expected to hear from him, and had not.  My dad keeps a journal of exactly what happens on Christmas every year, what was received as presents, how the food was cooked and how it turned out, what mood everyone was in, and he wrote "P3 (my mom's initials) - 'Worst Christmas Ever.'"  I was in a horrible mood, I didn't talk much, I didn't do much, I just waited and waited to hear from Aaron.  He finally called around midnight to tell me that he didn't want to be in a relationship with me. 

I have major - MAJOR - PTSD from my "relationship" with Aaron.  He made me act quite ridiculously, and made me feel absolutely horrible.  I'm not sure whether to blame his time in the military, or something to do with his past relationship (and subsequent divorce) for how he treated me, but having him in my life resulted in my feeling the worst I've ever felt.  I felt out of control, and really ravenous for control, so I did everything I could think of - no matter how absurd - to feel back in control.  He would go days without texting or calling me, causing me to think that I had said or done something to make him not love me anymore, and since I was less than 9 months out from my relationship with Brian, I needed to feel loved.  It went on like that for another three years, with anywhere from one month to six where Aaron and I would go without talking.  I'd get this knot in my stomach, which I can only best describe as an impending sense of doom, when I knew he was taking time out from talking to me to "think about things."  His thinking about things always ended in his telling me that he didn't want to be in a relationship with me, and in my reacting by doing whatever I could to get him to change his mind (he never did).

I learned a lot from having him in my life.  I learned that you can't change people.  You can't control other people's thoughts and actions.  You can't go back in time and change how you acted or reacted.  It's also taken me an extremely long time to not only discover that I actually learned something of substance from my experience, but to apply what I learned.  I'm still struggling with feelings of major inadequacy, not just with my self-esteem, but in how I approach relationships with men.  I never know how much or how little energy to put into communicating with them, or how forward or how mysterious to be.  I hate having to play "the game," where there are unspoken rules about how you act and how long you wait to talk to each other.  I wish you could literally just walk into a relationship as Liz Lemon says, "12 years in, when you don't have to try anymore and you can just sit around together and goof on TV shows and go to bed without anyone trying any funny business."  But that's not possible.

I felt a flicker of that old disgusting knot in my stomach today when I realized that I hadn't heard from New Guy all day today.  To his credit, he went up to Glenwood to go hike Hanging Lake with his family today, so it's very possible that he didn't have time, was driving, didn't have cell service, or any number of other reasons.  I had to take a minute and calm myself down.  I had to remind myself that he texted me late last night, and that he's been texting and calling me every day for at least the last week, so the possibility that he was just suddenly not interested in me was pretty slim.  It makes me really mad that my first instinct is to react in the negative, without entertaining other possibilities for why I hadn't heard from him.  It's not fair that my interactions with one person on this earth have influenced and changed my subconscious so much that it has literally become ingrained in me to react that way.

I texted him to ask him if he had fun on the hike, and then told him that I dreamed about him while I was napping today (which I did - I dreamed that he finally kissed me).  He texted me back two hours later, and waiting those two hours was awful.  I start to question every nuance of every interaction I've had with him to try to figure out what I might have said or done that might change his opinion of me.  It took every ounce of self-control and logic I had to convince myself that everything was actually okay.  I hate having to go through that.  It's operant conditioning at its best.  Encountering a situation and reacting based on the possible outcomes.  

At least I'm aware of what's going on and I know (and have been working on) what I need to in order to change my reactions in the future.  I sat down and finished my 1,443 page book (FINALLY), and I felt better after using my brain to do something that didn't have anything to do with my own psychological and emotional situation.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

And Christmas Was

The kids woke us up at 6am today.  That was pretty much the worst part of the whole day, and I'm in disbelief.  I think the last time we had a Christmas that wasn't marred by something was when I was like 6 years old.

I feel like I haven't had a chance to catch up on my sleep for at least a week now, and I can say with full confidence that I'm nowhere near ready to be a parent yet.  I enjoy my sleep far too much.

The kids went back to their dad around 4 today, and it's been quiet ever since.  I'm feeling tranquil and reflective, but not an inordinate amount where I feel the need to write and write until I feel as though I've emptied my head.  I just feel very calm, and so that's how I shall end the day.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve with the Kids

Last night was fantastic.  I got to hang out with New Guy and his daughter and his niece and his mom (and his roommate, whom I've already met).  He was so attentive and sweet, he is a great dad and uncle, and he continues to crack me up.  I've always wanted to spend time with a guy who can make me laugh just as much as I make myself laugh (let's face it, I'm funny), and he can.  He seems to be just a plain good guy.  I can't wait to spend more time with him.  He's invited me to go with them when they go up to hike Hanging Lake on Sunday, and that's my very favorite hike in the world so I want to go.  However, I remember how hard it was when I was 17, when I was still playing a lot of soccer and was really active, so I know it will be tough, plus it's been snowing like crazy in the mountains so it will be even harder.  It's also three hours away, and I don't have my own way up there, and I really would want to bring Phoenix so I doubt there's room for both of us in whatever vehicle they are planning to take up there.  I will probably not end up going, but I'm thrilled to have been invited.  The girls last night (they're 8 and 11) took to me pretty quickly and kept asking me if I was going home with them, or spending Christmas Eve with them, or coming over on Christmas, to the point where New Guy was like, "Guys, she has her own family!"  It was awesome.  And we decided that last night was actually a date when we had our picture taken by a MetroMix photographer for Date Night at the Zoo.  The picture is awesome.  I can tell New Guy has blue eyes (BONUS!).

I soooo don't feel like writing tonight.  I'm exhausted.  Phoenix was acting really strangely last night - I came home from work, ran in the house, changed my clothes, and then left again.  When I left, he was outside, and when he came back in I was gone, and I apparently that really irked him.  My little sister said he was running all over the house looking for me.  He didn't eat his dinner, but threw up in the yard.  When I got home, he seemed subdued, and then when it was time for bed, he wouldn't hold still, and laid down literally ON my pillows, which he has never done before.  I fell asleep, but was awakened to him moving around on the squeaky part of my bedroom floor (which can only be fixed by pulling up the carpet), again not holding still.  I took him out front thinking maybe he needed to be sick or something, but even more oddly, he just laid down right in the middle of the front yard.  He didn't get sick out there, but he came back in and I was so concerned, I just sat up petting him for another hour.  He finally fell asleep and stayed asleep and when he got up this morning he seemed pretty much fine.  Today he's eaten, played, drank water, gone on a walk, gone on several car rides, and so I think he's okay.  If I'd had to guess based on how he was acting yesterday, I'd say he'd gotten a head injury or eaten something that was poisonous.

Anyway, I got up with my family at 8 this morning, ran to the bank to deposit some Christmas money I got from work, and then went back to bed til almost noon.  Phoenix slept with me the whole time, so I know he was tired too.  We got up and got going, wrapping presents and cleaning up the house, and preparing food for tomorrow.  It was a terribly efficient day, there was little to no strain in the house, except for a few moments when I got really pissed off because I couldn't find Phoenix's stocking because my older sister had placed it in a "safe place" behind the couch after one of the boys was playing with it.  Grrrr.  The communication - the lack thereof - in this house is infuriating.

My sister's ex-husband told her today that because the kids are sick, they had been uninvited to his sister's house where they were celebrating Christmas today, so could we please take them earlier than originally planned.  My parents were livid that they'd been uninvited.  We can sympathize a little with the reason - their aunt (their dad's sister) just had twins, and they don't want to get them sick, but logic would dictate that instead they just cancel the big family get together and each family do their own thing instead of just saying "Oh, the boys and the baby can't come, but we'll celebrate without them."  Also, my sister's ex made plans to go out tonight.  On Christmas Eve. 

So we ended up taking the boys to church, and they did great!  They were quiet and calm, they went up for the children's sermon, and they got to hold the candles at the end of the service.  They thought it was really cool, too.  We asked them if they wanted to go back and also go to Sunday school, and they said they did.  We took them home, got them into sweats and then took them back out to look at a couple really fantastic Christmas light displays in Broomfield.  They really liked them.

Then we came home, and put out cookies and milk for Santa and my dad read The Night Before Christmas to them, while we all sat in the room listening.  The boys could hardly stay awake, it was wonderful.  No worrying about them getting up in the middle of the night tonight, I think!

And despite all the worries that there might not be enough presents for the kids due to the marked lack of funds, there are so many presents under the tree that it's spilled over into the living room.  I cannot wait to see them rip through everything in the morning! 

Okay I have been up 22 minutes later than I anticipated, so I'm going to go pass out, but I want to say - A Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Time Flew Today!

Tonight, I'm going to Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo.  It's going to be lovely.  I've never been, even though I've lived here all my life.  I'm excited, because I'm going with Tiffany and New Guy and some kiddos (even though they're not my kiddos, I'd take mine if they weren't at their dad's).  I had originally planned to go home and wrap all my gifts, but I guess I've got all day tomorrow for that.

Despite the chaos from yesterday, today I awoke feeling pretty normal.  I had to get a ride to work today because my sister had to take Baby S for her checkup and then to has to meet with her lawyer or something.  I don't really mind, though.  Like I said before, it makes relatively no difference to me how I get to work.  I wish I lived in Boulder, though, so I could walk and ride my bike and get some damn exercise.

I've made $160 in gifts from tenants, along with one great necklace and one butt-ugly necklace that is nowhere near my style, which I may actually attempt to return, along with this gaudy keychain thing that's also nowhere near my style.  Store credit would be better.  Cash would have been even better than that, but it's out of my control at this point.  I did get the $160 in cash and an AmEx giftcard, though.  Money to go towards fixing my car!!  Yay!!  Someday, maybe, I'll be able to spend my money on fun things for myself like clothes and trips, but not right now.

Today has just flown by.  I can't believe it's already the end of the work day.  I don't know what I did to keep busy this 9.5 hours, but whatever it was, it worked!  I sure do like Thursdays.  Three days off is just enough to get me re-energized enough to make it through the next work week.

It's not a normal huge milestone, but I'm thrilled to be able to pay to get my car fixed myself.  I was really dreading getting money from my parents to do that, and while the circumstances that changed that outcome, I'm quite thankful that it happened the way it did.  My dad is often wracked with guilt over not being able to support me in the way he wants to, especially because I am fairly responsible with my money, and I'm way more well-behaved than my older sister.  But while having to support oneself sucks, I am finally seeing the glimmer of independence from my parents that I so desire.  A couple more months and I will be almost entirely independent of them, and I can't wait.  I hate being a part of the "boomerang" generation, and the generation of entitlement.  I'm glad I was born when I was, though, because I think it will only get worse.

As for my current situation, I have to be thankful to have a job that I don't hate, and to have a head securely fastened to my body that allows me to make the right choices most of the time.  I feel as though writing down my every thought and feeling on this blog has nearly cured me of the insecurities that I've struggled with for so long.

Former Bestie commented on my blog from two days ago.  Although it says that the comment is from Anonymous, I know it's from her because of her writing style and because of the part where she says that friends can go through any amount of time not talking and then pick up the phone as though no time has passed.  I agree with her, but I'm discovering my life without her and it's better for me.  There's something about the dynamic between us, and I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but it makes me question my own self-worth and damages my self-esteem.  I've always had issues with comparing myself to others, and it's taken a lot of time and a lot of work to not do that as much.  She and I for so long were headed down similar paths, but then she got married and veered way off course, had a baby, got divorced, and moved from Washington to North Carolina.  While all that happened over the course of several years, it was really hard on me to see that we were actually very different people in terms of our values and our decision-making skills.  I was more judgmental of her than of anyone else, except maybe myself, and that's really ridiculous.  Shouldn't you love your best friend unconditionally?  I thought I did, but it turns out that something about our relationship caused me to be much less accepting of her than others.  Perhaps it was my love for her and my disappointment to see her making the same kinds of decisions over and over despite less-than-optimal results that was the last straw for me.  I think it was good for me to separate myself from her, because I think that no matter what, from my perspective, she'll always be able to one-up me.  I can't have someone like that in my life. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another Episode

Today has been a very long day.  Longer, even, perhaps, than yesterday.  My sister and the baby came home from the hospital today, and everything was mostly okay until the kids nap time.  It was at that point that Dr. Jekyl (my older sister) turned into Mr. Hyde (my psycho batshit crazy older sister).  And that's how the day progressed.  As I sit here, writing, my dad and my sister are yelling at each other.  Phoenix is cowering here in my room with me.  We sat out in the dining room listening for a short while, but he was shaking really badly so I took him to my room.

I really don't feel like rehashing all the things that were said this afternoon, but I was told how pathetic my life is again, and she told my little sister that she is the catalyst for why everything always goes to shit here.  Then tonight, she got all pissy when she was leaving to take the kids back to their dad.  My mom went with her, and I guess she just sat and berated my mom the whole time, and they both came back in the house screaming.  I did manage to say that I thought it really shitty that she'll ask my parents for money for her gas, cigarettes and coffee, and then go spend that money on herself, but she won't even buy her daughter a birthday present.  Apparently that sunk in because she mentioned it to my dad later.

Okay, I've walked away and had long conversations with both parents, and everything is cooled off.  My mom was eating chocolate because it makes her feel better, "like in Harry Potter," which meant that she felt as though she'd just been attacked by a dementor.  I found that comparison apt.  Dementors suck the happiness and the life-energy out of the room, and she has the ability to do just that to all of us.

I finally got my car to the shop!!  I'm just weeks away from having my own car to drive again!!  I'm so excited!!  I really wanted to just tow it with the suburban or the truck, but my dad just would not have it, so he called a tow truck and $80 later, my car is at the shop.  He paid for the tow truck.  I'm not sure what happened in his life that made him so averse to doing a simple tow like that, but whatever it was affected him quite a bit.

I also got my Christmas presents for the kids today, and I feel pretty good.  Having spent so much time with them recently has made it pretty easy to know where their interests lie.  It's also fun getting to see them grow into their own personalities.  Z is so sensistive and smart and thoughtful, while H is all about swords and explosions and fighting bad guys.  And they're so hilarious.

I'm not particularly looking forward to work tomorrow because I was so bored yesterday, but whatever.  OH!  And I am really liking New Boy.  I haven't really talked to him or seen him, but he's taken time to text me every now and then even though his family is in town for Christmas, and I could tell how important it was to him that they were coming.  I'll say it again, I'm not used to being pursued or thought of, so it surprises me when I discover these things happening.  He's planning to take me skiing, and we have plans to go winter camping after Christmas, too.  He loves dogs, he's funny, and he's really thoughtful.  Apparently he and his family are going to go give out blankets and coats and things to the homeless on Christmas Eve.  I think he's a genuinely good person, and I'm totally attracted to him.  I can't believe it.  Even better, I'm not consumed by thoughts of him, wondering what he's doing or wanting to talk to him all the time the way I normally am.  So either, I'm not that interested (which I don't think is the case) or I'm growing and learning and actually changing!  That's very exciting.  And I didn't meet him on the internet!  Booyah!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Slightly Retrospective Perspective

I can hardly keep my eyes open at work.  I did go over to the New Guy's house to hang out and watch the eclipse, but I didn't get home until 1am.  While it was entirely worth it to see the incredible cosmos at work, I'm having a bit of trouble keeping it together today.  Somehow I was able to get out of bed with very little trouble, but I'm definitely struggling to stay awake now.  I knew that this would be the consequence of staying there that late, especially with work in the morning, but I used the opportunity as a challenge.  I wanted to remove myself from the comfort zone of my house and my nightly routine in order to spend time with a possible new flame and get to know him a little better.

We sat and talked for awhile, and upon discovering the lateness of the lunar event, decided to sit and watch a movie until the time came to sit in awe of the glory of the galaxy's gravitational pull.  We watched The Dark Knight (my choice, and I originally vetoed the opportunity to pick but then [again as a challenge] chose to be decisive), but that's a long-ass movie.  We kept getting up to go outside to check out the progress of the eclipse - instead of sitting outside observing the event in it's entirety - but kept returning to the warmth of the couch and fleece blanket each time.  Despite the freezing temperature,we did eventually get to see the peak of the eclipse when the moon turns a reddish orange, and it was amazing.  It was as though the sky cleared just in time to see the ruddy moon amongst the bright constellations.  I'm really glad I got to see it!  I'm also really glad I got to spend time with New Guy (I think that's a good name for him for now), because he's fun to be around, and he and his roommate are hilarious.

But now I'm paying for it.  I hate not getting enough sleep at night because I wake up feeling as though I consumed far too much alcohol the night before.  I feel nauseated and generally as though the room is spinning wherever I am.  I took my awesome Women's One-a-Day Active Metabolism vitamin with my coffee (which always gives me just the jolt of energy I need), but then promptly threw up.  The vitamin does that to me from time to time, and I guess it was just too much for my body today.  I should have taken it with food, but I didn't have the chance to make myself the bacon, egg, and cheese bagel I wanted to make last night.  So, to sum up, I'm really glad I went out last night, but I'm feeling pretty miserable today.

We thought that baby S would be getting out of the hospital today, but she's not any better than yesterday and has been given a breathing tube, along with being placed in isolation.  Poor thing.  She's got to be miserable, but luckily she won't remember any of this.  The kids are all supposed to be covered under his insurance, but I found out yesterday that my sister's piece-of-shit-soon-to-be-ex-husband told the court that he'd gotten insurance for them, but he really has not.  What an ass.  If my family gets a hospital bill for this, I'll find him and kick him in the balls myself.  All this is his fault, ALL OF IT.

Because of all this nonsense, and the nonsense with the vehicles, my dad took my mom to work yesterday and I drove her home.  I got to have a fairly good conversation with her about the entire situation at home, with my sister not parenting her kids very well, and what can be done about it, as well as about her own mental health situation (she has Depression year-round, but it's made worse by Seasonal Affective Disorder and having no money for Christmas this year).  I feel a bit more confident that we'll get through this as a family, and that she's aware of what steps need to be taken to address her own mental issues, but I was able to give her a little reassurance that we will get through this together, and that she's got the support of the whole family behind her.  I know that she struggles with feeling a tremendous amount of responsibility for the whole thing, my sister being her kid and all, but we've all told her that it's not exactly something she had any say in, so she should stop feeling guilty.  I also talked to her about getting herself into counseling because her near-daily expressions of how she wants to die are very concerning, especially given her history of attempted suicide.  I think it's important for my family members (mom, dad, and little sister) to understand that what they're going through, we're all going through.  Every little event that occurs affects each one of us.  We've discussed it already, and I know we'll discuss it again.  It doesn't necessarily help, but it's vital that we keep showing our support for one another.

With the baby in the hospital, and her mom with her, and me and my mom at work all day, my dad has been forced to take over the role as primary caregiver yesterday and today.  I have to give him major credit because the kids were eating dinner when I got home yesterday (a nice change from when I get home after they've been with their mom all day), and they were in good spirits.  He took them to see Megamind, which they really enjoyed, and took them grocery shopping and let them pick out what they wanted, and it looked like his patience kicked in when he needed it the most.  I'm sure there were instances throughout the day when he was pushed to his limits, but whatever happened, it had no lasting effects.  He sat and played with them while they were in the bath last night, too.  They seemed to really enjoy getting so much one-on-one time with him. 

To add yet another number to the list of ridiculous and impossible problems, the truck's check engine light has been on for about a week now.  We thought it might just be a loose gas cap (there's a label on the gas cap that says that's the most common reason for a random check engine light), but that's definitely not what's going on.  After I exited the high into Boulder today, the whole truck started shuddering, and the RPM's suddenly went under 1 (which I think they're supposed to maintain at 1 when idling).  Luckily, I was almost to work, so I was able to keep it running and make it here, but we're not sure it will make it all the way back to Broomfield.  As though my parents don't have enough stress, now it looks like they'll have to figure out a way to fix the truck, too.  The old adage - when it rains, it pours - is certainly true, at least for my family.  I'm just not sure how much more stress they can handle before someone really loses it.  My dad's been calling all kinds of mortgage companies to see if he can refinance the house and use some of the equity for a loan, but he and my mom are pretty terrible at money management, so both of their credit scores are too low for them to be able to get any credit from anywhere.  My credit is too low to be able to do anything to help them, too, and my older sister's is probably around 475-500 so there's no point in trying to use her for help.

As we're getting close to the end of 2010, I'm finding myself remembering some of the tiny goals I set for myself, and remembering the outlook I had for the year.  I didn't really attain any of the goals I'd set, although I didn't completely fail either (except my goal of no overdraft fees from the bank - I probably paid a good $500 in those this year).  I looked at 2010 as a chance to rework myself a bit, and to work towards becoming a stronger person.  I had good intentions for how to do some healing and while I've had a couple of rough patches (mainly being contacted by Aaron and the loss of Former Bestie) I feel like 2010 is the best year I've had since like 2005.  Things went to shit for my family in August of this year, though, so I'm not sure how to project positivity into 2011, but I have several days to get that worked out.  I won't get to see New Guy again until right around New Year's because his family has come in from Arkansas to visit and I'm totally fine with that.  I really like my space.

Monday, December 20, 2010

456 Years Later

Well fooey.  My poor little niece was up a fair amount of the night because she was having so much trouble breathing.  My sister took her to the ER this morning and she's been admitted.  Hopefully they can get some aggressive medications going for her so that she'll be feeling better soon.  She's got Croup.  Croup is a bacterial infection that plagues the airways of babies and toddlers, because their airways are so tiny, and when they start to swell up in reaction to the bacteria, it just gets progressively worse.  It's all my fault, too, I'm sure of it.  I'm pretty sure I'm the one who brought home the illness in the first place, but I had no idea it would get so bad for her.  The boys are both sick too but they seem to be just fine.  Dagnabbit.  Although, it was interesting to watch the illness spread from me to my sister and to the kids.  It was quick!  So my sister and little S are spending the night at the hospital tonight.

I'm not sure what relieved the tension in the house, the fact that my sister was gone, or the fact that she'd taken the baby to the hospital.  Probably a combination of both.  The boys seem to be less guarded about their behavior, they got to take a nice, long, really fun bath, watch Finding Nemo, and then got lots of bedtime stories.

Tonight is a full lunar eclipse.  It is in alignment with this year's Winter solstice, which hasn't happened since 1554.  I'm pretty tired, but I've been invited to hang out on this new boy's roof and watch the eclipse.  Despite how much I'll probably regret it in the morning, I'm going to go!  But I'm wearing my sweats.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Frustrated Doesn't Begin to Explain It

I guess our house is too small for 4 adults (+1 when my little sister is here), 3 small children and a dog (+1 cat when my little sister is here).  It's as though there's not quite room to breathe.  This is all regardless of the fact that we technically have 6 bedrooms, 2 family rooms, and a laundry room.  There's just so much CRAP here that it's just not feasible to fit 8 people and 2 animals here.  It's beyond impossible to keep the house clean, especially with the GINORMOUS real Christmas tree in the living room (which I swear is bigger than any other tree we've ever had).  I have a really hard time interacting with the rest of the family when the kids are here, because it seems like every room is full beyond capacity, even though they're not.

I love those kids so much.  They are hilarious - Z today picked up a little stuffed frog that belongs to Phoenix and told me that the frog's name is Hermick.  Their naked time after their bath is wonderful.  My little niece is growing and learning so flipping quickly I can hardly keep up.  However, they're all sick with the nastiness that I had last week, and the baby has it the worst, and today was her 1st birthday!!  She couldn't even enjoy it!  Hopefully she'll be better by Christmas, and then maybe we can coax her into eating her birthday cake then.

Most of my frustration comes from my older sister's behavior when the kids are here.  I'd say she spends about 50% of her time doing things for them - making their food or bathing them or putting them to bed - and the other half she spends smoking out in the garage.  She'll change the kids clothes and just leave them in the middle of the living room floor.  She doesn't clean up after the kids eat, she just leaves all the cups and plates and trash where the kids left it.  And I'm really frustrated about how much stuff she uses with the kids.  Instead of rinsing bottles, cups or plates, she just gets out more clean ones to use.  Instead of wiping the food off the kids clothes, she puts them in new ones.  It seems awfully wasteful, especially because she knows that she's financially drained my parents, but she leaves lights on in every room, and she uses so many dishes and she will literally open up a diet coke, take two drinks out of it, and walk away.  To her credit, she's been made aware of most of this stuff, and I've seen her put effort into making some changes, but it seems downright lazy to continue to make a mess of things and just leave things all over the place when she knows how anal my mom and I are about keeping the house clean.

Today was my niece's 1st birthday.  Her mother did not buy her any presents.  It's not as though she had money to do that, but I know my mom would have been happy to give her money to buy presents had she asked for it.  That breaks my heart, and my mom was obviously upset by it, too.  My sister has not spent any time shopping for Christmas gifts for her kids (or any of us as far as I know), but the money my parents give her continues to go towards cigarettes, coffees and gas.  I'm not sure what can be done about that.

On top of that, I saw my sister go into my parents room today, spend a minute in there, and come back out.  As she walked by my bedroom, I asked her if she has a compulsion, because of how obvious it was to me that she was in there taking something.  What shocked me was that she said that yes, she does have a compulsion, and that she was in there taking quarters.  She thanked me for stopping her, she (maybe because I didn't actually see it) put the quarters back, and I told her that if she just asked for money instead of taking it, she'd have a better chance of getting it.  She told me that she doesn't like doing it, because it makes her feel nervous, but it's obvious that she's not about to stop doing it on her own.  I don't want to have to police her! No one should have to police her, but that's the reason I lock my door whenever I go anywhere, even if it's just to take Phoenix on a walk!  I'm tired of going in her room and finding my things in there, and I'm tired of wondering why the damn change I put in my change jar isn't there when I go looking for it.

I know that my parents are at the end of their ropes.  I just don't know what else can be done to remedy any of this.  It's frustrating to be a control freak the way I am, and not be able to control any of the issues that are plaguing this house.  I barely have enough money myself to be able to pay for the things I need to pay for, so I can't exactly give money to my parents the way I want to.

So that's that.  I got a phone call from this new guy last night and we talked for an hour, and then texted on and off throughout the day today.  It's exciting to have someone new pay attention to me and want to learn about me, but I had to use a lot of self-control to not go overboard with it.  It's not really for fear of scaring him away, but I just don't want to get into all my family stuff with him because I'm a little worried about how it might make me look to get in any kind of depth with him about what my life is like here.  I'm not about to explain to him about living with Depression, either.  Interestingly, I haven't even really told my family much about him, either.  I just don't want to do what I normally do, get really excited to begin with, and then get disappointed when it doesn't work out the way I want it to.  I'm tired of getting emotionally involved with someone only to have it not work out.

I'd been thinking a lot recently about using eHarmony or Plenty of Fish again to try and meet someone, but I've put it off and put it off because I want to be good and ready before I even attempt to get involved with anyone new.  It was kind of surprising that I even met a guy, out in public, face to face, before getting to know him.  I wasn't planning on that happening at all, and I don't want to ruin it for myself too early.  I figure something may happen where I do or say something that drives him away (or I will discover something about him that I simply can't live with), and it will end anyway.  I'm just not getting my hopes up too far with this one.

I think, at least for the most part right now,  I've got my shit together enough to consider any kind of emotional involvement, but I'm still going to be really cautious.  Better safe than sorry, I guess.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And Then Today

Today I had a vague but lasting feeling of triumph.  As someone who has taken time to research and understand mental illness, as well as the beautiful catastrophe of relationships, I seem to be someone that my friends come to when they are having trouble with something.  I love this.  For the first time - maybe in my whole life - I feel like I'm together enough to be able to advise other people in the ordinary goings-on of their lives.  It feels really wonderful to be almost needed and to be able to give others a different perspective on things that might change how they react to problems.  I know I've been able to change myself.

There are some people in my life who are really struggling with decisions and relationships and conflicts and stress right now, but I'm doing well enough that I can be aware of the problems and maybe even be shallowly involved, but without allowing their problems to consume me.  My family is a good example of that.  My parents are struggling financially, quite a lot.  Their financial troubles effect both my parents' moods, on a daily basis.  The energy in this house is often quite disturbing because there seems to be no end in sight to this financial trouble they're having.  Recently, even, I've gotten quite involved in the feelings of hopelessness, but I've managed to keep myself out of it for the last few days.  And it feels really good to be able to walk away without feelings of guilt.  My little sister is even being affected by the energy of the whole family all the way in Greeley.  The nasty energy is contagious but I'm doing my very best to focus on the advantages I have right now - a steady job that I like, and enough money to pay my bills - to prevent myself from succumbing to the deep depression that I can feel biting at my heels.

I've even been able to come to terms with my loneliness, at least this time around.  I'm trying to focus on the positive aspects of having alone time, and I'm doing well.

Also - and I know that this effects my mood - I think I may have met a boy.  Well, a man, I guess.  I find myself being pursued, which is something that I always find novel, and I like it.  I've really had to change my personality traits with regards to how I interact with possible romantic interests, and I've worked hard enough at it to be able to use my new traits easily and without too much effort.  I'm also trying not to read too much into it, and just continuing to live my life as though nothing has changed between yesterday and today.  Really, nothing has, with the exception that I've discovered another person in the world with whom I don't mind being friends.

Another thing I want to touch on, but I don't want to go into too much detail, but I find that without Former Bestie influencing so many of my thoughts and feelings and decisions, I've become more positive.  I'm more able to see the qualities in myself that I like, instead of focusing so often on whatever I felt were my shortcomings.  When I looked at Former Bestie as Current Bestie, I felt like I needed to compare myself to her, and there were so many traits that she had that I admired, I tried to emulate the traits and failed, instead of just trying to be me.  Without her judgment and her own brand of negativity, I feel like I'm free to be me without fear of the judgment I received from her that so stifled my ability to be the me I knew was in there.

So despite the ridiculous amount of pressure that I feel is bearing down on me by the energy I'm immersed in, I feel like today was successful.  I think last night had a bit to do with it, but I'm not complaining by any means.  One night is sometimes all it takes!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Real Day Off

It felt really nice to have a day off.  I was able to mostly fix my computer, so that's good.  I went to go hang out with my friend whose birthday is this weekend.  She was getting together with some friends for a birthday celebration so I went out and had some drinks and made some new friends.  I am even probably going skiing tomorrow, if I don't talk myself out of it which I'm really close to doing.

Anyway, I'm tired.  If I don't totally chicken out, I'm getting up to go rent some skis in the morning to go back country skiing in Loveland.  Which considering I haven't been skiing since 2002, is probably not the greatest idea.  Maybe I should go skiing at a resort first where they have like green and blue runs for me to learn on.  Aw crap, I've talked myself out of it. 

That's okay. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Driving ≠ Common Sense

The other day, I had the blessed privilege of riding in the car on the way home from work with my mom.  With my sister's vehicle out of commission, and my dad needing to get to the airport during the day, it was necessary for my dad to take me to work and my mom to drive me home.  I could care less how I get to work most days as long as I get there.  However, after working 9.5 hours, the drive home can be rather irritating.  It was more so riding with my mom.  I very rarely go anywhere in the car with my parents anymore, and now I know why.

My mom is the opposite of an aggressive or defensive driver.  I'm not exactly sure what the word is for how she drives, but I know that it made me carsick (although admittedly, it doesn't take too much for me to get carsick).  She's already keyed up from the stress of being at work (and it takes awhile for her to relax), and driving home in the traffic leaving Boulder is almost too much for her.  Having been working in Boulder since I was 20, I have had plenty of time to get used to the traffic in and out of Boulder during the rush hours, but she's only been working here for about a year and a half, so I think she's still trying to cope with it.  On top of that, my mom is one of the very least patient people I've ever met in my life - and I don't mean that offensively, she just doesn't like to wait.  I suppose that much of her impatience has been imparted to me, from growing up in an environment where finding the quickest and easiest way to do something was the norm.  As I get older, I'm learning to slow down and not be so preoccupied with how long it takes to do something, but I think as my mom ages, her desire to lose as little time waiting as possible is increasing.

Anyway, on the ride home on Monday night, my shitty mood from the weekend was only beginning to dissolve, and I was still grouchy, so there was tension in the car.  Plus, both my parents listen to talk radio in the car instead of music and I'm much more partial to music.  I sat there the entire way home having to listen to Dave and Lois on 850 KOA and trying not to get physically ill, as the suburban jerked forward.  For some reason, and I don't know what exactly that reason is, I noticed that instead of following at a safe distance from the car ahead of us, and paying attention to what the vehicles ahead of that car were doing, my mom would be following way too closely, and then whenever the car in front of us put on it's brakes, my mom would stomp on her brakes.  I've learned from lots of experience that forceful driving like that is what is most likely to make my stomach upset.  Anyway, I found it reasonably disturbing that my mom wasn't really paying close attention to what else was going on around her, but only watching the one car in front of her.  As a suburban is a vehicle that's lifted off the ground quite a ways, I could easily see the traffic ahead of the car immediately in front of us, so I have to assume that she was able to see it as well. It is people like her, the brake-happy, that I absolutely revile being stuck behind, especially in traffic.  Their excessive use of brakes only exacerbates the traffic problem.

When I am driving, I'm always watching as many cars in front of me as I can see, because I find that I'm slamming on the brakes less if I can see far enough ahead to know that the cars 500 feet in front of me are already braking, even if I don't see the brake lights of the car in front of me.  I also follow the 2(ish - I think I am usually at 1) second rule, where I allow a full second to pass between the car in front of me passing a stationary object and then passing it myself, which gives me a considerable advantage to being able to brake sooner to avoid slamming on the brakes at the last second.  I also try to limit my brake usage (and in an automatic transmission, it's harder to do, though not impossible), and following at a 1 second delay gives me ample time to see the brake lights in front of me and then make a decision as to whether or not I also need to use my brakes.  Sometimes my foot just hovers over the brake pedal, but my theory is this: brake lights dictate traffic, not the actual physical movement of vehicles.  As soon as most people see brake lights in front of them, they also apply the brakes, which is not always necessary.  If half of the drivers on the road were paying attention to the actual movement of the cars in front of them, they'd be able to judge whether or not they needed to use their brakes.  Brake lights are the cause of most traffic jams.  If I'm in the right lane on the highway, and there are cars merging onto the highway, I don't necessarily need to brake to decrease my speed to allow a car in front of me.  Natural geography and the ability of the other driver to gauge my speed should allow the car to move onto the highway without either of us using our brakes.  If I need to change lanes, I'm not going slow down or come to a complete stop to do so; I will either lay off the gas or speed up in order to prevent the car I'm moving in front of from having to slow down.

The next night, Tuesday night, I was in a better mood, but I was still annoyed by the amount of traffic on the road and feeling some residual annoyance from the ride home the night previously, so I spent the entire 30+ minutes it takes me to get home coming up with a book or a manual in my head for others to read to educate them about how to PAY ATTENTION WHILE DRIVING.  By the time I got home, I was hardly aware of how long it had taken, nor that I was home already because I was so absorbed in my thoughts. 

I have a couple of friends whose experiences has led them to become rather perturbed by the state of the world and the lack of common sense in it, so they've started writing a blog that focuses on the specifics that they've noticed about people functioning without using common sense.  I like it.  It seems to me that common sense should dictate that people give their full attention to driving when they get behind the wheel, because the several-ton-moving-object that they are in control of can seriously injure and hurt people.  It also seems to me that there are many, many things in this world that require that we pay full attention to as we are doing them, and driving should be at the very top of that list.  Think about it - how would we feel if we went into surgery knowing that the surgeons would be texting whilst performing the operation?  Or if our barbers and hair-stylists were splitting their attention between cutting our hair and something else?  As a whole, we generally require that others give their full attention to us if what they're doing could seriously alter our lives, and I feel like the same amount of attention should be given to driving!

I'm seriously working on this how-to guide for paying attention while driving manual or book thing.  It's apparently all I can think about when I'm driving home from work.  Ironically, since I was getting carsick on Monday night, I had to ride with the window down, so I was able to hear the piercing screech of the brakes squeaking every single time my mom put her foot down on the brake pedal.  It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut about why, perhaps, it seems that her brakes are perpetually squeaky, even if she's just had them fixed....

Computer Virus - Part I

So, shortly after posting yesterday's blog, my computer somehow became infected with a virus.  I have anti-virus software, but it didn't really do it's job I guess, because I ran a scan just after discovering the virus and it wasn't picked up.  My computer has been goofy for awhile, with it's screen being broken (apparently it's something to do with the display part of the motherboard so it's not easily fixable), and being unable to pick up the wireless signal after every 24 hours automatically like it's supposed to.  I need a new laptop, but *SURPRISE* I haven't got the money to buy a new one, so I'm trying to make this one last as long as I can.  Anyway, I did some research on my phone about the virus, and found that it's not an uncommon virus, but fixing it will be sort of tricky.  So far today at work, I've printed out three different webpages with instructions and troubleshooting possibilities to rid my computer of this virtual pathogen.  I've got my work cut out for me when I get home.  Normally I'd just divert to my dad and see what he can do, but he's got enough on his plate and this looks like something I can do myself.  Plus, if I do it, it will go much quicker.  And if/when I fix it, I'll have just one more reason to like me.

But thank goodness for having a computer at work.  I doubt I'll get my computer cleaned up enough to actually write a blog tonight (I'm actually planning on doing a little work on it tonight and then do a full-on overhaul tomorrow during the day), so I'm writing early today.  I was thinking about getting drinks with my long-lost friend "Dane" tonight, but I think I'll probably postpone that.

I don't have too much more to write about yet, because it's still just noon, but I've still got like 5 hours here.  I'll probably write some more in a few hours.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

When a "Day Off" isn't Really a Day Off

Well, just as I was falling asleep last night, little H came in and crawled into bed with me.  I really do love when he does that, but it's becoming a habit, and on top of it, we've gotten him sick with whatever it is that we've got that's all runny noses and coughs, so he coughed all night.  That's on top of his being a little kangaroo in the bed.  So not only did I not sleep well, I was awakened at 6am when they all wake up every day.

I took them with me to run errands today, just for something different for them to do since their mom can't really take them anywhere, being vehicle-less and all.  They behaved pretty well, but it's kind of obvious that they're on virtually no leash when they're with the other half of the family.  It's really frustrating trying to either undo or redo whatever damage that's been done in terms of their manners and their daily habits.  Here, they're asked to sit down and eat their meals, but it looks like they're not asked to do that at their other house.  I taught them about inside and outside voices today because apparently they're allowed to yell and scream everywhere they go, or at least that's what they do with me.

I'm also trying to retrain their mother, and that's an impossible feat.  If I weren't so tired of her yelling all the time (at all three of them, including the baby when she won't stop crying), and of living in the midst of toys all over the entire house and a filthy kitchen, I wouldn't even try, but if I don't attempt to do something about it, I'll go completely nuts.

I got the rest of my Christmas shopping done today, except the kiddos, but I'm not to worried about that.  I was watching what seemed to fascinate them the most at the store today.  It feels good to be mostly done with that, except that I have just about no money left between presents and the rest of the bills I have to pay.  Whatever I have left will be going straight towards the car at the end of the month.

I got all excited right before bed last night.  I found this freaking sweet run/obstacle course in Beaver Creek in June that I am amped to do.  I really want to do it!  It's 7 miles and 21 obstacle courses including snow, fire, water, mud, just about everything.  It looks like so much fun!!  I don't want to do it alone, though, so I'm hoping to enlist some people to do the race with me.  It's going to take some training - but I know myself well enough to know that I'm more apt to actually do the training if I have some kind of end goal to meet.  So we'll see.  I'm very excited about it though.  This is it.

That's about it for today.  I'm really trying to keep my frustration with my sister in check right now, but I'm sure I'll ruminate on it long enough to have a lot to say about it tomorrow.  Also, I still have to shower and get ready for work tonight, so I'm keeping it short tonight.  I have to break it to H that he can't come in and sleep with me tonight.  Ugh.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just Another Day

I really wanted to put the clip from Grumpy Old Men on here, the part where Walter Matthau is walking out to get his mail singing "We're Having a Heat Wave," even though it's clearly the middle of winter and there's a foot of snow covering everything.  It's been a mild winter here so far, but it's the middle of freaking December and temperatures here are in the mid-to-upper 60's.  It feels like April, not December.  Meanwhile, the Midwest and the East coast of the country are suffering "bone chilling" temperatures and like feet of snow. 

Not that I'm complaining.  I am not a fan of snow.  It's cold, it's wet, people don't know how to drive in it properly and it makes life all around that much more difficult.  However, it doesn't feel like 9 days until Christmas.  People are walking around outside in short sleeves and even shorts, and everyone who has come into the building today is raving about how beautiful it is outside.  Two years ago, we had a white Christmas and it was delightful!  While I wouldn't put it past Colorado weather to dump a storm on us on Christmas Eve or something, it's just not looking like we're going to get the poetic snowy Christmas I so enjoy.  Forecast is for 50's.

I managed to keep pretty busy at work today.  I spent a bunch of time revamping the layout of this blog, adding information and dazzle to it that I thought it was lacking.  I'm excited about the few changes I've made - there are tabs at the top which include information about how to get in touch with me, as well as some brief background information on my life which I thought would be useful to people who don't know me well, and then I added a tab for the definitions of the word "crazy" and it's origins, because I've been called "crazy" in the past, and that is one of the very few things I take major offense to.

I made my mom's cupcakes last night and they turned out okay.  Better than any other batch of cupcakes I've made in the past, but still not quite to the perfectionist specifications I had in mind.  According to my mom, who ate all the extras I made last night, they were delicious.  I made half butter cake and half chocolate, frosted them all with vanilla frosting and then dusted half of them with crushed candy canes.  Then I put some fancy icing poinsettias, wreaths and holly bunches on half of those, and then piping gel snowflakes on the other half.  Hopefully her coworkers will have liked them.  People often say that if they owned a place that makes whatever their food vice is, they'd weigh a thousand pounds from eating non-stop.  I vaguely considered that problem when I took up cake-decorating, but the longer I've worked with that rich Crisco-based icing, the less I want to eat whatever I'm putting it on.  So at least I don't have to deal with that.

Something to note today: I am applying to become a contributor for, a Denver-based online news source, which has a fairly large readership.  I'm hoping to be able to write both on mental illness/health, and on relationships.  I know that I'm by far no expert on either, but I feel like my point of view and the information I've accumulated on both subjects could be insightful and interesting for other readers.  I'm hoping to be able to link it to my blog as well and attract some more readership that way, too.  From what I can tell, you don't have to be any sort of expert to write for them, you just have to have half a brain and a semi-decent knowledge of the English language.  I know that writing isn't exactly the most lucrative of career choices, but at this point, it's not my career choice, and I do it both for practice and for therapeutic reasons - not for money.  If I ever happen to make money by writing, that will be a bonus.

I'm noticing that the days I spend at work, I feel less uneasy when I get home, and I like that.  I told Jonas today that the novelty of this job is starting to wear off, but whatever I'm getting out of being at work for 9.5 hours of the day is working for me, so I'm don't have disdain for it yet.  This job is not particularly challenging, and I'm rarely asked to do more than one thing at once, and while I sometimes worry about having too much time on my hands, I've really been using that time constructively.  I don't sit around thinking about the past, or about people in my past, I don't ruminate on whatever problems are currently plaguing me, and I don't frustrate the bejesus out of myself by projecting into the future.  I was asked again today if I'd be willing to do some work for the financial adviser upstairs and I found myself turning him down in favor of having the two days off during the week that I've got free to momentarily maintain my sanity.  While being at work for almost 30 hours a week has most certainly become beneficial for me, I think I still require the other two days of little or nothing to do to keep myself mentally afloat.

On the plus side, I have received my first paycheck, and despite most of it being already allocated elsewhere, I am reaping the fruits of waking up between 5 and 6am three days a week, which I had previously thought problematic but found myself having very little trouble doing.  I must be growing up.