Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blowin' in The Wind

So, it's been a nice, quiet couple of weeks, not much going on around here. Oh, except for the way I totally quit my job with nothing to fall back on. That happened.

I shouldn't say "nothing." I'm married, and my husband has a job, we have savings, we live fairly simply and could actually get by on those savings for a couple of months if we had to. We're not in crisis mode, at least not yet. Still, I don't think anyone would argue against the idea of lining something up before you tell your boss, "No, I can't wait around for you guys to decide if it's my word or his. I can't come in every day wondering if this is the day I get sent home at noon with a box of my stuff. This is my notice. Friday will be my last day."

Yeah. It was fun. The situation was weird, complicated in the way work stuff can be when you have a small office. The word betrayal was used several times by me, and the line "Don't forget to take the knife from between my shoulder blades before you go--you may need it again someday," may also have been delivered, also by me. It was unpleasant that last day.

But it's over, and I'm on the next phase of my life. I re-signed with a temp agency I worked with previously, and they've got an interview lined up for me next week. I found a couple of free-lance writing assignments to take on. I know, if you read this blog, you are thinking right now "Really? Someone is PAYING her to write?" It's true. I actually write pretty well when I have an assigned topic and rigid rules to follow. Husband and I decided to take advantage of the new situation. We are going to cut expenses, and strive for part-time work for me. The idea is for me to start taking some classes spring quarter, and to be more present for Erica. She's turning thirteen in a few weeks, an age at which girls become vulnerable to losing their damn minds, and I'd like to be around more, spend more time with her. When she was informed that Mom would be spending more time at home, she said "Oh, I'm just gonna LOOOOOVE that" with this dry, British sitcom delivery that was rather amusing. You should have seen her, though, yesterday afternoon when she spotted me coming up the sidewalk toward her on her walk home from school. Amber was with me, and nearly knocked Erica down, so excited was she to be taking a mid-day walk. It was nice.

Right this second, I am in the middle of the "Will I or Won't I" half-hour, the period between 8:30 and 9:00 when my agency rep could call me with a job assignment. I'm not a huge fan of not knowing whether I'm going to work on a given day, or whether I can make plans to get things done around the house and run errands, but it's better than not having any prospects at all. And it's probably only for this week. I tend to do well in interviews, so the odds are very good that I'll be back on a regular schedule soon.

I can't lie, I'm really looking forward to only having twenty to thirty hours a week. It's been nice having time to exercise without having to rush around to fit it in, it's been nice to fix dinner at a leisurely pace, and the house is cleaner than it's been in the last five years. Which is still not VERY clean, but hey, drops IN the bucket, right? Like anything else, I'm sure part-time stay at homing will start to feel like a grind, and if I add school into the mix, I'll be just as busy, if not busier, than I was with a full-time job, but I'm really enjoying this, right this second, and I refuse to wreck this moment of peace with worrying about what may be.

It's 8:59. I think I'm gonna be staying home today.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Social Secrets

 I love social media- blogs, Twitter, Facebook. I get a real kick out of being in touch with people all over the world, people I went to school with, people who I would never know otherwise. I like seeing viewpoints that are completely different than my own, having what I consider "normal" to be challenged by the normal of others, and I love finding out that I am really not as strange and unlikeable and just generally different as I've always thought.  It's nice knowing that almost everyone has ambivalent thoughts about parenthood, that everyone has stood by a crib at 3 a.m. whisper-screaming "What do you want? What could you possibly want? PLEASE just go to SLEEP!!"  I like feeling like I'm a part of something bigger, part of a community, and I don't have to worry about what I'm wearing, or whether my hair is doing that thing it does, because there's a computer screen between us.

Unfortunately, I married a man who does not share this viewpoint. To him, the internet is a tool for figuring out how to get to a place he's never been, and a way to shop for birthdays and Christmas without ever having to encounter a human being.  He is extremely private. Woe betide the friend who posts a picture on Facebook that includes my husband. He will never forgive you for that. He despises Twitter, and thinks blogs are stupid. "Who needs that much attention?" He asks. "Who is that unconcerned about security that they can post their lives on the internet for the whole world to see?"

The biggest issue in our relationship (to me, anyway) is that I can not tell him, "I need more." I need girlfriends, or a convincing simulation thereof. Don't get me wrong; I have girlfriends. A couple. But I don't have close friendships with anyone. I don't feel safe showing myself. I don't like to open up and be intimate with anyone other than him. I do trust him completely. But to him, that's all I should need, and sometimes, I just need more. But I've spent so much time holding everyone else at arm's length that I can't bring myself to reel them in.  And to add to the problem, he doesn't need more. He has me, and he's completely, totally, wide open and vulnerable to me, and he just doesn't need anyone else. So I feel guilty. Because he's giving me all this, and I'm giving him all I have, and he's happy with that, but I'm not. I feel like there's no way to share that with him without hurting his feelings. And I'm terrified that telling him this will be the first brick in a wall between us.

So, this blog, my twitter feed--they are secrets. He knows about my Facebook. I have too many friends that are also his friends or co-workers to keep that from him. I think about telling him about the blog, but never about Twitter. He just doesn't get Twitter, and he never will, so why go down that road? And the blog...well, if he knew about it, he would want to read it, and if he was reading it, I would censor myself--not consciously, I don't think, but I would feel like I was being watched, and I would guard myself accordingly.

The best blogs I read, the ones that make me laugh and cry and feel a part of the blogger's life, are the ones that are unspeakably honest. That tell it, warts and all, without holding back. I feel like, if I'm going to write, there's not much point in it if I don't do the same. And I can't do it if he's watching. So, secret.

Is it a lie? Am I cheating him out of a portion of the intimacy and honesty I owe him? I don't know.  The fact that I want to shy away from that question is probably an indication that yes, it is a lie, and yes, that's exactly what I'm doing. But right now, at this moment in my life, I need an outlet. I need this outlet.

And from a purely practical standpoint, I need the practice. I used to be a pretty good writer. It turns out, that's a perishable skill. I'd like to get it back. If I put something out there with my real name and my real self, and someone criticizes it, I would lose my resolve and quit. Right now, I need to be anonymous, to build up my courage and toughen my skin and learn that not everyone is gonna like me, not everyone is gonna agree with me, and that's FINE. It is okay. But I'm not there yet. I will be... someday.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Now that no one cares...

Thanks to Maria for encouraging me to join this meme...Here's her take on this topic:   MommyMelee
1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?

 I started a twitter account and a blog. There are several blogs I've read for years, and many of them feature their twitter feed. For years, I've been reading these blogs, and the comments, and the bits of twitter that were shared on the blog, and I've wished I was part of the conversation, to steal twitter's tagline. This year, something finally clicked, and I realized that the only way to be a part of it was to join it--it's not like people could see me standing on the edge of the group and invite me in, after all.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't make any resolutions last year. I did make a couple for the coming year. I would like to walk one thousand miles over the course of the year. I would like to be more active as a commenter on the blogs I read, and I would like to blog at least once a week. Some of these things are more likely than others.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not any one really close--a former friend that I don't really hang out with anymore and his wife had a daughter. I didn't get a chance to meet the kid til December, and she was born in March. She didn't like me any more than her mother does. 
4. Did anyone close to you die?

Not any humans. My five year old dog unexpectedly became very ill and had to be put to sleep. I was devastated, and actually had panic attacks for a few months afterward--I would suddenly be reliving the moment he went into a seizure, or the moment his heart stopped against my hand, and would burst into hysterical sobs. I still feel like a huge chunk is missing from my life, and I miss him every day. I feel kind of bad for Amber--I like her a lot, and I'm kind to her and fuss over her and play with her, but I always feel like she can't step into Jack's pawprints, and that a huge part of my heart remains dark with his missing presence.
5. What countries did you visit?
My feet did not leave U.S. soil this year. My feet didn't even leave Washington soil this year.
6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

Willpower. I'm tired of the way I always find a reason that it's ok to slack off on something I need to work at. I need to eat better, because I don't feel healthy now, and I need to exercise, for the same reason.
Energy to do more with my kids before they are gone--my oldest turns 18 in a couple of weeks, and in a few months will be at Basic Training, and my daughter is 12, and already getting a little eye-roll happy around me.
7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I am really bad at matching up dates with events. I have a tendency to remember that something momentous/sad/terrifying/joyous happened "oh, Fall-ish, 2012, or maybe 2011....Actually, it might have been in the Spring..."  Right this minute, December 14 is very much on my mind, but although I know I'll always remember and always grieve for the deaths in Connecticut, knowing how my mind works, I think the date will fade, and I'll remember it as "Sometime around Christmas."

I think I'll remember 12/21/2012, for all the fuss and snark and general silliness surrounding that date.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

See, if I could skip any question, it would be this one. I feel like this was just an off year for me--like I was just letting time pass this year. I didn't really accomplish anything--I got a job I wanted at work, but it was a lateral move in terms of pay and status, so it doesn't really feel like an achievement.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I really didn't have any, although that's more a measure of how little I challenged myself last year than anything else.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing major- a few sinus infections, a few migraines.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

It's silly, but our Wii. Now I can stream Netflix, which makes me very happy.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Honestly? My own. My teenaged son decided that my rules were bullshit and wanted to move in with his father. I was extremely upset by this, but I maintained a calm demeanor, I didn't let him goad me into a dramatic reaction, and I didn't point out to him that he would end up in the same position with his father. I let him move. I hear his father's rules are bullshit as well. 
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

On a personal level, I didn't have to deal with any truly bad behavior. Everything about last year's politics left me depressed.
14. Where did most of your money go?

Rent and groceries, as always.  There were also a couple of depressingly large dental bills.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Adopting Amber and Snow, rescue dog and cat, respectively. I would add a pet to the family every year if my husband would let me. (He won't.)
16. What song will always remind you of 2012?

"Call Me Maybe" and "Somebody That I Used to Know" seemed to be playing every time I turned on the radio. There really wasn't a song that really jumped out at me this year to become a new favorite.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? About the same--maybe slightly sadder. I sometimes feel a little blue about how far away youth seems every year, and how sometimes it feels like my horizons narrow a bit more each year.

b) thinner or fatter? Fatter, I'm afraid. Hopefully the thousand mile walk plan will help with that.

c) richer or poorer? Ummm...about the same. Maybe slightly richer, since we got a lot more disciplined about savings.  Neither of us had a raise in pay or hours, but we put away a lot more last year than in previous years, so we are in a better position.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
We bought baseball gear and tennis gear this summer. I wish we'd played outside a bit more.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

I wish we had spent fewer weekends doing tv marathons. We had a lot of fun, hanging out on the couch and snacking while we re-watched Buffy and the West Wing, and Firefly, but I think it would have been nice to be a bit more active.
20. How did you spend Christmas?

We opened presents with the kids on Christmas Eve, then had dinner with my sister in law. After dinner, the kids went to their dad's house, and Husband and I opened our presents and watched "A Christmas Story." Christmas day, we lounged around watching the Die Hard movies and the George C. Scott version of "A Christmas Carol."
21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
I continue to be in love with Husband...does that count?
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Game of Thrones, with The Walking Dead close behind.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Nope. I don't really have any enemies. I try to get along with everybody.
24. What was the best book you read?

Ooh, that's another one for the "wish I'd done more of" question above. I hardly did any reading this year of new material. I re-read the Jeeves and Wooster books, which is always a worthwhile use of one's time.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Didn't have one. My attachment to Pink has gotten deeper, however.

26. What did you want and get?

I'm drawing a blank for this question and number 27. I really didn't want anything this year. I have tons of books, enough clothes and shoes, a huge video library, and a Kindle Fire for material goods. For non-material goods, everyone I love is healthy and happy, the cats are fat and sassy, and the golden dog constantly has her head on my knee. My husband loves me, and I him, and we can't get enough of spending time together.
27. What did you want and not get?

Oh, I thought of an answer for this one. I really want one more child before my eggs give up the ghost. My husband does not. It's not a huge dramatic thing--I know another child doesn't really make sense for us, so I tacitly agree with him. But my bio clock is making like Marisa Tomei on an emotional level.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?

The only current release I saw this year was "The Hunger Games," so it wins by default. I haven't had a chance yet to see "Les Miserables," but I'm betting it will win.
My favorite show was "Wicked."
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 37. We went out for lunch at my favorite restaurant, where I ordered my favorite dessert. Then we met up with about 15 friends at a local pizza joint that does karaoke, and closed the place down.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I don't know how to answer's a weird question. Pass.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

Hahahahahaha...ummm..."It was on sale."
32. What kept you sane?
White wine, and lots of it.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I really didn't get into any pop culture this year.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Women's issues, for sure. The fact that we still have very primitive attitudes toward women in this world was a source of constant frustration to me. 
35. Who did you miss?
After attending my class reunion, I realized I'd really been missing my three high school besties. It was so fun to see them again, we were pretty much attached at the hip through the whole reunion, and it was really sad to say goodbye. We'll try to see each other again, but we all have jobs and families and we live hundreds of miles apart, so realistically, it could well be Reunion 30 before we meet again. We've got Facebook, though, so it's not too bad.
36. Who was the best new person you met?

The partner of one of my dearest friends. They've since broken up, unfortunately, but J has stayed in our circle. He's a super sweet guy, Einstein level smart, and very generous with the dinner parties.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
Really, this year felt like a placeholder for me. I felt like I was standing still while the world moved around me. I didn't really advance in life from where I was last year. Maybe that's my lesson--life is short, and perhaps I shouldn't be wasting any of it.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Bon Jovi, "Who says, you can't go home?" I went home for a class reunion, and it was awesome. Then I came home to my family, and it was even better.