Monday, February 28, 2005

A funny thing with the kids and the dog

I know I tend to change pace sometimes and go from really scary stuff with no answers to the silly and mundane life of my dog and kids, try to keep up. :-)

My kids were jumping on the trampoline and the dog ran out to play and well, the video you can watch says it all. I was trying very hard not to laugh as I filmed this.

On to other things. Pops, do you like the new background? I changed the paper and the font so that things, i.e., typing showed up better.

I'm also working on figuring out what weird text thing is happening on my old posts. I think when I typed up a post in Word and then copied and pasted it in to Blogger, it turns things like apostrophes and hyphens into odd symbols. It's either an encoding thing in the HTML or Blogger just doesn't like that text anymore. If I have to take each post and put it into Notepad and straighten it out then I will.

At the very least I got to read over a lot of my blog today.

I apologize if I sound like a broken record. I'm up and down and sometimes forget that I came to a conclusion, forgot about that, and then remarkably come to the same conclusion again.

My life is crazy and my brain is in hyper freak out mode, but I'm doing alright.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Some things I know....revisited

I've been doing a lot of thinking, as I usually do, because I appear to be obsessed with figuring out how I ended up in this situation. I don't feel any closer to figuring it out, but I do know one or two things now, which are different than the things I knew months ago. And with all this knowing and not knowing, I feel a bit like Dorothy Allison.

I know that like most life events we all face, there are random things that happen that cannot be predicted, things like a flood or a tornado or a tsumani. These things come along and rip apart everything we knew and change our lives completely. They are acts of nature. Now I've never had anything like these events happen to me, but I wonder, if a person comes along and rips my life apart and everything changes and they didn't know any better, or they just did it without thinking or knowing that they did that, is that any different? Can't I just say that that person is like an act of nature? I find that when I do that, or think that, I'm less angry and it's helped.

I know that I've always felt a bit out of it, like I didn't belong where ever I was. I didn't belong in small town Montana. I didn't belong in the Mormon church. I don't always feel comfortable as a mother, because I don't know what the hell I'm doing. I feel like an over-smart, head-stuck-in-a-book, computer geek who philosophizes way too much. Maybe I can write a book on how to talk your computer into reformating it's hard drive... because it wants to. But back to the part about me feeling out of it. I keep myself at a distance, I watch people, and I've rarely ever put myself out there. Not in an actual person-to-person relationship. Which is probably why this blog is such a part of me now. It's personal but not physically personal.

I know that because I've always felt too different to relate that I try to understand why anyone would want to get to know me, much less like me and I usually go with the negative reasons first.

I know that when my relationships have gone south, I usually blame myself thinking that I should never have trusted them and berating myself for not taking more time to get to know them, because obviously if I'd done that I never would have invested in that relationship.

I know that growing up with my mother and sister, I felt alone and like I didn't belong anywhere. It leaves me feeling now like I just want a hug. To hug or be hugged, it doesn't matter, but I find myself longing for some sort of contact and comfort and it seems silly that at 36 years old I just want a hug sometimes. Maybe that's because I was never able to crawl into my mommy's lap and be rocked.

I know that because I grew up pretty much alone and yet taking care of others, that I got married and thought that meant I had a friend, partner and companion. I thought that meant that I belonged to someone and they belonged to me. But people don't belong to each other, not even my kids belong to me. I just get to be with them for a while. And so if I don't belong to CP and he never belonged to me then why have I spent the better part of 16 years trying to be what he wanted. He either loved me or he didn't, but I never had to do all the things I did to try and make that work, because I didn't belong to him. My religion taught me differently, but now that I know that, I don't have to be what he wants, I can be me.

I know CP doesn't really know what he wants. He says he does and then sometimes, when he gets what he wants, he's pretty pissed off about that too.

And I think I know that the biggest thing keeping me stuck is the feeling that no matter what I do the most important factor by which I'm being constantly judged is my religious affiliation. I am no longer a Mormon and because of that, I could be the best damn wife on planet earth and CP still wouldn't be happy with me. CP and I could never, ever argue. We could have sex every day. I could cook endless meals or make millions of dollars. We could have the best relationship ever and he would be unhappy with me because I'm not a Mormon.

I've heard that before and I've typed that before, but I really got it just yesterday. It's the saddest thing.

And so I'm stuck in the endless cycle of wanting a marriage that can never be what it once was and yet I don't want it to fail because of me. And either way, it will be because of me, but it won't be something I can change, it won't be a mistake I made, it will be because in my heart and soul I'll never be Mormon again.

That is what my marital existence boils down to.

Love is big. It's a bright light in the universe. And a bright light casts a big shadow.
~God to Joan on Joan of Arcadia

Friday, February 18, 2005

A tale of two parents

I'm sitting here and knowing that typing this out makes it all the more real.

I have two parents. One is leaving for Afghanistan in two weeks and one was just diagnosed with cancer.

Oh, that hurt worse to type out than I thought it would.

My father was an air traffic controller, back in the day. Then Ronald Reagan came along and got a little pissy with the air traffic controllers union and fired them all....all except those that didn't strike. My dad was one of them. He's spent the better part of the last 25 years training new air traffic controllers and setting up new systems throughout the US. And now he's going to go to Afghanistan to do it there.

He leaves in a couple of weeks, and he has to report for combat training, he gets issued a flack jacket (spelling on the flack, I'm not sure of) and a helmet. He'll be holed up in a United Nations base in Kabul for a year. He cannot call, but he will have internet access. And he's getting paid an obscene amount of money to go there.

I haven't seen my dad in almost five years, because he's a nomad. He's always driving somewhere to get some stuff he left in storage there 10 years ago so that he can sort through it and sell it on eBay.

When I heard he was leaving, I knew I had to get to see him. I don't fear for his life, though he is past the standard age of retirement, but life is short and you never know what could happen and if he left and something did happen, I would regret not seeing him.

And so in about a week, I'm flying to where he is for the moment to spend a few days with him before he leaves.

My mother has never had the best health. She has always been plagued by migraines and she has stomach issues and had E-coli a few years ago. She has degenerative hip disease and had a hip replacement last year. Her other hip is deteriorating and will need to be replaced in a few years.

She and I never got along well when I was a kid and really didn't hit our stride until last year. We've always clashed and we've had more than our share of issues. Mainly because I stopped playing into her co-dependent needs. But then she made her way out of the Mormon church, as out as she feels comfortable with, and I learned a lot about myself in the last months and now we are friends.

I knew she was going in for a colonoscopy. She told me it wasn't serious. Maybe she really didn't think it was. And then we waited for the results. My mother got it yesterday, but couldn't process it and so she went to bed.

I called her this morning and asked her how she was. She has cancer. They removed all the cancer, they biopsied it so they know what is going on and how aggressive it is. And thankfully it isn't. So now she is in wait and see mode....which is hard for most people and almost impossible for someone like my mother. She'll more than likely undergo more testing in the near future.

I know the longer people live and more chemicals we take into our bodies and breathe in our air, the more likely we are to get cancer at some point, or know someone who gets it. Let's face it, cancer is here to stay.

And yet, it's so much different when it's your mother who tells you she has it.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

It has been a week, as it usually is, and I'm finally deciding some things and wondering about others and still other things I can't seem to wrap my brain around.

First, I registered for classes and processed my financial aid. I also arranged for a mentor with the Women's Resource Center on campus. She will help me with questions and basically guide me through going back to class and getting into the swing of things.

And that, ladies and gents is the sole item I can get my back up against. I guess little victories count for something.

Second, my friend, MH offered me a different position at his company. Now I've "worked" for him before and he's paid me in trade. I've been able to use the trade at least. At first I consulted and redesigned their travel website and then I took over the travel requests. People who belonged to the trade network would put in a travel request and I would try to arrange it for them on trade. It was slow and difficult because a lot of hotels didn't have rooms or wouldn't take anything on trade because they were full up on cash paying clients. But I did the best I could and had a lot of success and felt like I was just coming into stride on that job.

I talked to MH about it and thought all was well. But then in January, I was working from home and a lady I'd talked to before called to ask me what was going on with my travel jobs because she was the new travel director. I was shocked. It turned out that MH called her and asked her to be the new travel director because I had quit. It all came out of the blue and I told her what was going on, wished her well in her new job and then called MP. Apparently, he thought the talk we had that I felt good about was me quitting.


And so after a couple of weeks not working for him, and those were the weeks in January when my life went pear shaped, I decided to head back to school. And MH called and offered me a paying job managing the trade clients in Montana. I grew up in Montana, so the idea sat well with me.

And yet, when I really thought about the job and working for MH again, I didn't feel good about it. Matters were further complicated when MH kept changing his mind about how/when I would be working. He said I could work from home and work part time. Then he called and said I needed to work at his office and full time. It was flexible, it wasn't, etc, etc, etc. And so I finally called him and put him on the spot. And he said, he wanted me in the office to train for a month and then I could work from home. But we hit a snag working that out, too. He wanted me in the office at a set time every day of the work week. I told him that I couldn't commit to that, as I have previous commitments on my calendar, but that I would be happy to let him know when those were and we could schedule around them. He wasn't thrilled, but then backed off and said that was fine.

And yes, I understand most people punch a clock, but I've essentially been a stay-at-home mom who does flexible consulting on the side. I couldn't change that overnight.

So it was agreed that I would let MH know by this Friday whether or not I would work for him and when I could train, starting next week. Which all seemed well and good to me.

But then CP came home from an evening with TP, a friend of ours, and also an employee of MH. (Mine is a complicated circle of friends) CP listened as TP ripped me apart.

"I didn't really want a job."

"MH offered me three different jobs and I've turned them all down."

"They are sick of trying to deal with me."

"MH has washed his hands of me once and for all."

And these are all very different things than what MH had been telling me. Oddly enough, CP stood up for me and gave TP a piece of his mind. Apparently, the fact that MH hadn't offered me three jobs was dealt with, the rest, well that is MH's opinion.

It hasn't been difficult for me to decide not to work for the man. It just isn't worth it. And if he's going to talk trash about me behind my back then what's to stop him from hiring someone to replace me....again....and not tell me....again. NOTHING. My biggest dilemma is in deciding how much to say to MH. There is much that could spew out of my mouth, but I think I'll hold back.

I mean, tomorrow is Friday after all, and I'm supposed to call him and let him know whether or not I'll be working for him.

Finally, I went to therapy on Monday and while I don't really have a clear understanding of what she said, she said that I've created the situation I'm in. I've enabled it. I don't like the sound of that.

But she's right.

I think.

And that's what I can't wrap my head around. I'm scared to leave, I don't want to stay. I'm at the door and yet, I'm lacking the courage to live my own life. Which I've always said was because I have kids that need me. But I love them and they know that and if I continue to love them and do what I can for them, does it really matter that I stay married to their father. Will that make their life better?

I've trapped myself in this cycle of wanting to get out and take charge of my life, but I convince myself not to. Then I get pissy and sad and sometimes blame others, when there is no one to blame but me. And I can't go back and say this is a result of my Mormon upbringing. It was to a degree, but the moment I realized that months ago, I can only blame it on my cowardice.

The truth is, I can be a mother and not be married. What I need is courage. I need to go to Oz and follow the yellow brick road and find the Wizard.

Oh only if it was that easy.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Odd weekend alert

So this is the weekend of Valentine's. It's never been my favorite holiday and it's not this year either. For more than obvious reasons.

But oddly enough, it's a weekend filled with parties. And not just any parties but parties with a bunch of Mormons.

Last weekend was my ex-mormon party time, this weekend is anything but.

So last night, CP and I went to my monthly Bunko gathering. I'm not even going to try and explain Bunko. It's a game with dice and you need 12 people and we play once a month. It was something started in CP's old Mormon ward years and years ago and now has become an eclectic group of Mormon and otherwise religiously affiliated women who get together once a month, eat food, bitch about their kids, husbands and dogs, etc and then play Bunko and give out prizes at the end.

And for February we have "Couples Bunko." The event CP and I attended last night. It was weirdly fun. The Bishop was there of my letter to the Bishop fame. Only last night he was just a normal guy who threw the dice too hard and made funny jokes. And the lady who hosted the event bought gag gifts for the men. Things like plastic handcuffs, edible lotion and g-strings for men with little lips on them. Not your ordinary, standard Mormon gathering, that's for sure.

Tonight I'm going to a Sweetheart Ball with CP. I'm sure we'll eat and talk and I'll meet people who don't know what to say to the exmo wife and then we'll dance to "soft rock" favorites they play on the radio station I don't ever listen to.

But I don't want to disparage the event or the weekend. Though I think I might take off after the Ball and head downtown for some real dancing.

And on to the redesign subject.

I've noticed some things, maybe someone can help me with.

1. My background image isn't showing, but I think I know why, so no worries just yet.

2. In the tables on the right side the headings, like "Blogs I Read," are considerably margined and I don't know why. The table images themselves are tiny and thin and shouldn't be pushing the text down that much.

3. When I check out my text there are weird symbols instead of apostrophes, hyphens, etc.

Any ideas? And if you hate the look let me know. If you like it let me know. I'm open to changing it and have a lot of other ideas.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I put some Mardi in my Gras

I went out Tuesday night for the first time in a month and I had a lot of fun. I came home with 12 strands of beads, all given to me because .... I was bashful.

Mardi Gras is such a decadent holiday, if you can call it that, and guys show up at clubs with cameras and want pictures of your ta tas. And they asked me and I told them the girls weren't coming out to play or to be photographed. And apparently, that's cool and you get beads anyway.

It was good to get out and see friends and dance.

On to another subject.

I'm sick of my blog look, so I'm going to see if I can design my own and put it up and make it all work.

So if things look funny here or nothing is working or some weird design graphics show up and it looks like hell, well that's just how it's going to be for a little bit. Please come back another day or in an hour as I have no idea if I can even do this and/or if this will even work.

Oh, and I've added a couple new blogs to my blog links. The first is by Ms. Chievous called Brain Barf. I laughed my ass off reading her blogs. What did it for me was her rough draft of the paper, The Vaginal Islands.

The second is a blog I've read for a while because when I do I realize that my life, such as it is sometimes, could be worse. I don't know if she would respect that I've written that, but then again, I don't think she'd put her struggle with cancer online if she didn't understand that everyone reads everyone for a different reason. My struggles are mine - hers are hers, but reading hers makes mine pale in comparison and it's good to put things in perspective. So the site Sandee....I Will Survive is added to my links.

Now on to the blog re-do.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

It takes a mean I saw The Village

And I don't care what they say....I loved it. It wasn't the typical, scary, M. Night movie, like the Sixth Sense or Signs, but it was interesting and well, it was cool that I figured out the entire storyline ten minutes into the film.

Maybe it's my coming out of the Mormon church, but I thought early on, "these Elders are making up the beasts in the woods to keep the townsfolk from leaving the village and to keep them in line." It turns out the Elders weren't so concerned with keeping the people in line as they were with them leaving.

And yet....

Without any organized religion to ground their village, no preacher per se or higher power that I could see as an active part of village life, the Elders needed something to keep the peace and keep the villagers from leaving.

Now I don't want to spoil anyone, so if you haven't seen this movie and you don't want to know what happens....don't read any further!

The Elders of the village, called Covington Woods, made scary red beast costumes and a perimeter around their village. Villagers light flaming torches every night and some brave soul sits up in a watch tower, staying awake all night looking for signs of the beasts, called (in a very Harry Potter like way, I might add) "those we do not speak of." If "those we do not speak of" are spotted, the watcher rings a bell and everyone in the village runs inside their house and into the hidey hole in the floorboards. This struck me as odd, because if the beasts are able to get into town and open doors and move around furniture, why on earth can't they spot that handle on the floor. Hmmm. Maybe it's because "dad wearing a scary costume" didn't want to actually kill his family, he only wanted to scare the shit out of them so they never wanted to leave the village.


And this reminds me very much of Mormonism. God in all his glory never wants you to have sex or think about sex or yell at your mother or drink or smoke or swear or do anything at all that isn't seeking perfection and if you do any of these things, you have to confess to a Bishop, who you are taught can see into your soul and knows you did said evil anyway. So if you don't confess you are lying (which means you're doubly fucked) and so you confess. You are punished, and usually in a semi-public way. All of a sudden, you cannot pray in class, you cannot take the sacrament in a public meeting, you lose your church calling (church volunteer job), etc, etc, etc. So like "those we do not speak of," who I think are a far sight nicer than old Joseph Smith's God, God is out there, waiting for you to head into the forbidden forest so he can scare you into never doing it again.

So you don't want to leave the village, because the Bishop will know you went into the forbidden woods, ate of the forbidden fruit and then God will get pissed off and send the beasts dressed in red to your house, but don't worry, they can't find you under the floorboards.

Which begs the question, does God really know if you sinned and does he really care and is he really punishing you....or are you just putting loads of pressure on yourself in a self-imposed punishment.

And then you realize that, once again, you are thinking about yourself in the third person.

Ultimately, at the heart of The Village, is a love story. Ivy falls for Lucius, but Noah, Ivy's dim friend, gets angry and stabs Lucius. Ivy asks for permission to go to the "Towns" and get medicine for her ailing fiancé. Her father, played by William Hurt, the towns chief elder, tells her the beasts are fake and that the Elders made them up to keep people from leaving Covington Woods. He tells Ivy though, that there were rumors of beasts before they came so they could be real .... maybe. He gives her magic stones to keep the beasts away and tells her how to get to the towns. She does and there are some scary and sad scenes as she travels. But then she gets to the end of the road and there is a wall. She climbs it and wouldn't you know's 2004 in the towns around Covington.

The Elders all met years ago in a counseling center after each experiencing great loss. William presents to them the idea that they live in the middle of his dead father's land, set it up as a game preserve, so no one knows they are there, and then make up the beasts to keep everyone from leaving. Oh yea, and they rewound time by about 100 years.

Now the trick, Ivy is blind. So even though she climbed the fence into 2004, she didn't know it. And she was able to go back to Covington and not be the wiser from her travels.

Would that I could have been blind on a number of my "journeys."

This has been very stream of consciousness. I don't know if it will make sense to me tomorrow. But that movie got to me. Not in an evil way, where I hated William Hurt's character, though I was pretty upset that he didn't kiss or at least touch Signourny Weaver, but in a powerful way that broadened, once again, my view of how I grew up and it deepened my understanding of the God I knew and the God I know now.

I don't think God wants us to be scared, blind yes, at times, because life is hard and can be tragic as the folks of Covington Woods discover, but not scared. And certainly not so scared that we don't move and don't breathe and don't live our lives. He wants us to grow and learn and be excited and I think, most of all he wants us to leave Covington Woods.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Something to put my back up against

It was a weekend filled with deep thoughts and then my brain got tired and so I watched some movies. The Bourne Supremacy, Kung Pow: Enter the Fist and a personal favorite - A League of Their Own.

Movies are the best, I don't know if everyone feels that way, or just me. But I love to watch and laugh and cry and get out of my own life for a while. And let me tell you, Kung Pow is something else. I don't think I've laughed that hard in years. So many classic lines and hilarious parodies. I loved it.

And I was able to get the rest I needed and really take some time to think.

What I'm doing is making a plan, getting things in place and having a back up ready just in case. I called the YWCA and got into a therapy group, wifeandmom2 suggested it in her comments to my last post and I'm glad, I had already made the call, but it helped to solidify my reasons for going.

I also contacted Portland State University. They have a Women's Resource Center and I have an appointment to go in there. And looking over all they offer reminded me how much I miss going to school.

Many moons ago (umm...a year ago), I was a PhD candidate at PSU, but I stopped going because CP thought it was too expensive and I freaked out as I watched my student loan balance increase exponentially. Granted my student loan money was helping to float my entire family, but I figured it was better to put school on hold and get a job.

I think though, that doing that was just another reaction to events in my life. That is what I've been doing for years.....reacting to the world around me. Something happens and I jump, another things happens and I change. Now granted some of it has been good. My husband decides to go back to Mormon church and I react by taking the time to figure out where I stand with regards to my feelings about the church. And it was good that I finally took the time to do that.

But for the most part, I've just been letting life happen around me and I'm just rolling along, not really doing anything different and not really trying, because I don't want to be let down. I don't want to try for something and not get it, so I don't try at all.

I used to have a plan, years ago. I went to college, while taking care of three kids and a husband, got my Bachelor's degree, got a great job in web design and then one day, I didn't have my job anymore. And I can't say much more than that, it's in the legal agreement. But I can say that I won, but I can't say how much money they paid me. What I do know is that was my last fight. That was the last time I really stood up for something, that was my last big plan.

And since losing that job, I decided to stay at home, I got into grad school, went on a part-time basis and I've essentially half-assed my life for the last four years.

And dammit.....that's enough of that.

Yes, I figured out a lot of things about myself, how I'd been living my life doing what I thought others wanted me to do. Yes, I realized that the God I was raised believing in, that nasty God the Mormon's want you to be fearful of, isn't really what God is all about. There was some good in what I was doing and thinking, but ultimately, I had no plan. I was still just humming along, reacting to life and not really planning for anything. And the major problem with that, I became comfortable as a part of my kids' life and CP's life and just went along with whatever, and then when CP pulled the rug out, I had nothing to fall back on. And I reacted.

So this last weekend, and earlier this week I thought about what I really want to do with the rest of my life and oddly enough, it's something I've wanted to do since I was a kid. From the time I was eleven years old, I wanted to go to college, be a professor and teach and do research. It may sound boring to some, but it was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be an anthropologist. And so I got halfway there with a Bachelor's and I got into grad school, but then I just stopped. Yet, really, it's what I always wanted to do. I got married and had kids and thought the dream would go away, but it didn't and here I am at 36 years old, and it's still what I would like to do.

So student loans aside, I'm going to do it. It's part of my plan and it's something to put my back up against. I have someone to talk to at the YWCA. I have my student loans ready. I have registered for classes for spring term. I have talked to my thesis adviser and am applying for a graduate assistant-ship. And if that doesn't work out, I have the Women's Resource Center to help me with an internship or work-study somewhere on campus.

And in the background, just in case it's needed sooner rather than later, I have legal help that is free, provided by the local law school.

So in the end, should life continue along as it has, which it most likely will, I will not be reactionary to whatever comes down the road. I have my plan and I will have things to be working toward and I will have things to back me up, should I need them.

And hopefully, I'll be stronger the next time around. When things hit the fan, I won't crumble so easily because I'll have a life of my own and plans of my own to fall back on.