Wednesday, January 05, 2011

What is up with you?

Wow, a new record - six months since I last updated the old blog. So how you doing?

Jeff came home from his deployment and we lived happily ever after. That pretty much sums up the last six months. I have been enjoying life, each and every day, every nuance. Pretty boring stuff to write about. My husband came home from work today and I was so thrilled to see him I smiled from head to toe. I am sure no one wants to read that. Now that we have gotten used to one another again I suppose I can write. I miss blogging.

I have been toying with the idea of going back to school once again. Same story new year. We have gotten on good financial footing so now seems like a good time. However, Jeff retires in less than two years and we are trying to save up a little bit of a cushion for that change of life. To be honest the thought of going back to school and doing all that work scares me. I have always wanted to be a teacher. I think I would be a really great math teacher, but... I make nearly as much money as a teacher does now, working one or two hours a day without any further education required. I really enjoy my life. Would I enjoy it more if I were a teacher? I really don't think I would enjoy spending all that money and taking all that time to get a degree. My head spins and I have a different decision every day. Which drives Jeff nuts.

Amanda is starting her second semester of her sophomore year of college tomorrow. Which means that her time at a community college is coming to an end. She has decided to go to the University of Southern Mississippi next year. That school is a couple of hours away and she has some friends there. She feels good about that decision. Weird how I couldn't wait to get away at her age and her main concern is staying close. Must be all that moving I forced on her during her youth.

Amanda has a cute little 2000 VW Bug. It breaks down all the time. She has spent thousands on repairs over the last couple of years. I helped her with the cost of repairs once but since then she takes care of it herself. She also takes care of most of the cost of going to school, car insurance, cell phone cost, gas money, eye glasses, and other personal expenses, etc. When we offer to pay she says she has it. I find this to be a really good sign, she is taking pride in caring for herself. Even though she is reluctant to leave home she is asserting her independence. I am very proud of her. I hope she will find a career and life that brings her joy. I had such a hard time in my 20s. Mandy will be twenty next month. Crossing my fingers.

Lily is Lily. She is so full of joy and life it takes my breath away. In Kindergarten and 1st grade we had a lot of trouble figuring out how to take tests. I would spend at least two hours every night with her going over her homework, school work, making up practice tests, etc. Everyone thought I was crazy. The school diagnosed her as having a receptive language delay but said that she did well enough on tests that she wasn't eligible for any help. Therefore, I ended up being her help. I think in the end that was the best possible scenario. She doesn't know that she is the only kid who spent two hours a night doing homework, she doesn't carry with her the stigma of needing special help. This year, though no special help is needed. She is reading at her grade level and testing at her grade level. I think she is far beyond her grade level and her test taking skills are holding her back but she is happy, school is easy and she does all her own homework without any help from me in less than 15 minutes.

Lily and I have been supplementing her school education with fun things at home. Now that she is able to keep up with what is going on at school without my help I am challenging her in other ways. We have taken up chess. She loves games, and her latest favorite is chess. We are also reading the Harry Potter series together. When Mandy and I went to see the latest movie Lily felt left out. I thought if I read to her the first book she would be so bored that would be the end of it for a few years, but she loved it so I am re-reading the entire series with Lily. She begs me to read to her all the time and even picks it up and reads it herself when I am unable to comply in a timely manner. For a girl with a receptive language delay she sure is able to hear Harry Potter all right. In fact I no longer think that she has any problem hearing and comprehending what people are saying to her. Now I feel that the problem is anxiety and I feel that has always been the problem. I don't think that she has difficulty processing language but that she is choosing to think about her worries instead of thinking about what someone is saying to her. So that is the path we are on lately.

When I started reading Harry Potter to Lily we read on of Mandy's old books. This drove Amanda crazy because she loves her book like most people love their children and the thought of me and Lily touching it was very difficult for her. I later saw in Lily's scholastic book order form from school a sale where I could get the entire series for $40. I jumped on that and now Lily has her own set of Harry Potter books. Well the books came while we were on chapter 5 of the first book. Lily insisted that we start the new book from page one and not at chapter 5. We went back and forth for awhile and I told her basically that I am not re-reading over 100 pages. If she wants to read them again that if fine, I will listen while she reads. So Lily read aloud to me 5 chapters of the first Harry Potter. She followed me around and read to me while I worked, while I cooked, etc. About half way through chapter 4 she relented and asked me to pick it up where we had left off reading Mandy's copy. I figure if Lily wants to be obsessive compulsive that is fine, but me, I am not obsessive compulsive so I am not doing extra work to make her feel better. I don't make fun of her of try to make her change, unless it is harmful. But, I let her coerce me into doing extra stuff for her compulsions. Now all my friends are convinced Lily needs therapy. I say maybe in the future but for now I think we are doing well.

I have been volunteering less this year than I did last year. Last year I overdid it a bit. This year many of my 'friends' are upset at me for not doing what I did last year. It got pretty heated. I got pretty offended. But, I have moved on. I joined the YMCA back in March and slowly but surely I am getting more and more fit and more and more regular with my working out. Hoping to improve even more this year. Jeff and I are currently involved in a bet. Who can give up sugar for the longest today is day one. The winner gets the loser's spending money for the entire month. We also decided to go on a money diet this year with a spending money allowance. No money, no sugar, whatever will I do? Go to the gym I guess. And off to the gym I go. Later Lily and I are getting flu shots.

So what is up with you?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Jeff is Home

Thursday Thirteen:

  1. Jeff got home on Sunday, July 4th. Which means that on the day he left I estimated he would be gone 190 days and he came home on day 190. He was scheduled to come home on Saturday. I got a call on Friday saying that he was delayed. I didn't hear from him again until Sunday and that was a long Saturday not knowing, when he would get home or where he was.
  2. Having Jeff home is wonderful. I forgot how much I like him. I know that sounds predictable and whatever. He is nice to have around.
  3. I really want to watch General Hospital but Lily is sitting in here reading a book. I would feel bad turning on the tv. Who taught that girl how to read?
  4. I thought it would be an adjustment to have Jeff home, as we were paying the parking lot fee at the airport I noticed that it felt like he had never been away. The girls didn't have to adjust either. He has always had magical Jeff powers that make me happy and feel peaceful. I have never been able to be mad at him in person either. Weird.
  5. Jeff's first day home he fixed a million things around that house that had vexed me for months, he sat and listened to Lily and played with her with as much love and affection as I have for her, he took the time to make sure Mandy felt loved and included even when she was being teenagery. I don't know how he does all those things. It was a relief of a stress that I had for so long I forgot I even had that stress to have my partner who loves and cares about all the things I love and care about, we have the same goals and the same priorities and two people working toward whatever it is we are working toward is nice. Felt like I had been pushing this boulder up a hill forever and now I have a big strong man standing beside me pushing too. Plus, he is always making me laugh along the way. All that happened day one. Yeah, now I know why I had such a hard time when he first left. Now I am really done gushing about how much I love my husband and how glad I am that he is home. Yeah, Jeff. But, just know that is more amazing than I can say or even comprehend.
  6. So Jeff is on leave until August. That is a lot of time to spend with someone 24/7. Maybe by August I wont like him so much.
  7. Lily finally learned how to really swim. She has been going to swim lessons all summer every summer since she was three. She has never been afraid of the water. She has always been able to surface, tread water, doggy paddle to the side. But, now she honest to goodness swims and you can tell what stroke she is doing. So yeah, Lily.
  8. I haven't really blogged a lot lately. Lily has grown up a lot. When I started this blog she was a headstrong difficult child who had food allergies and a receptive language delay and a bad case of the scream all day. Doesn't seem like the child living with me now is even the same person. I don't know if she grew out of it or if school worked its magic but Lily is a really upbeat sweet girl. Her first grade teacher said that Lily is the definition of blissful. Wrote on her report card that Lily was so sweet and happy everyday that it made coming to school each day a joy. Even at the day care center at the gym they asked me if she is always this happy. She is also really well behaved. She likes to follow the rules and the schedule. It is nearly impossible to be around Lily and not be happy. She loves life. Whatever it was in her early years that drove her to fight every single rule and cry at the drop of a hat for every single thing, went away. She still gets frustrated by things, maybe more so than other people, but she has learned to let it go and focus on the good.
  9. Mandy is doing really well too. She doesn't talk to me a lot though. She is doing excellent in college. She is driving her own car, that she bought, paying her own insurance and cell phone bill, she pays for some of her college and some of her personal expenses. She got promoted to a Customer Service Lead at work. She is respected and loved there. She never missed a day of school or work. She tells me where she is and when she will be home so I don't worry. She doesn't get upset if I text her, are you ok? When I don't know where she is. She babysits for me all the time. Especially while Jeff was gone. But, some days wow she is teenagery.
  10. Lily is having a birthday party this year at the Y swimming pool. We made a list of all the friends she wanted to invite and I had to write out all the invitations and then find addresses for all those kids. A couple of the girls I didn't have an address for but I had an email for their moms. I sent an email with details of the party and asked for their mailing address so I could send them an invitation. One of the moms told me they could come to the party, but she didn't send me her address. Lily looks at that envelope everyday and it just bothers her. I tell her, they are coming they know about the party. But, still we wrote out an invitation, put it in an envelope and she wants so badly to mail it. It is funny. She has decided to keep it as a souvenir. Today, I said, do you just want me to call Gracie's mom and ask for her address so we can put it in the mail? Lily thought and said no, I can just keep it. Funny, but true, the other mom sent me a reply to my email including her address but telling me they cannot come. I thought that was odd too. Like why do you want an invitation if you know you can't come? Maybe she understands the concept of having written an invitation and just needing to mail the darn thing so you don't have to look at it anymore.
  11. One time during a particularly difficult week during Jeff's deployment those same two moms drove me so crazy I sent them scathing emails and then ignored them for the rest of t-ball. Didn't even say hello or acknowledge them at all so I am surprised that they are willing to consider coming to Lily's party. These two were the moms at t-ball who thought everything the coach did was wrong. They decided that they were going to hold some extra practices because the coach wasn't having practices after we started playing games we just went to games and the girls didn't really understand what was expected of them. But, it is tball afterall. So they sent out the emails, come to an extra practice at this time and place. The first time it was only the three of us. The next schedule extra practice happened to be at the same time as the practice for the girls who wanted to be a part of the tournament tball. All three of us signed up our girls along with some of the girls for all the other teams and we were to have a different coach and start playing tournament tball. When I didn't hear for the new coach about the practice I asked the two moms if we were still planning on having the extra practice for our team at that day and time if there is no tournament practice and they said yes. A half an hour later I got a call from the tournament tball coach saying that practice was canceled. I had a PTO meeting, I was secretary and had to go so I asked Mandy to take Lily. I had actually asked Mandy to take that day off from work to take Lily. No one else showed. They said, well when the tournament practice was cancelled we just assumed it was all cancelled. So I was not very nice in the email I sent or for the rest of the season. I think the problem was that I was trying to do too much and be too perfect and that I tended to over react to things that annoyed me while I was under so much pressure. Anyways it is interesting if they come to the party. Lily loves the girls and she wanted to invite them. She has no idea that her mom is a crazy woman who sends nasty emails to her friend's moms.
  12. While Jeff was gone I feel like I discovered a bit of myself that was missing. Friends. I have such a great husband who is my very best friend that I tend to not make a lot of effort with other friends. The girls and Jeff are a lot of work and who has time for friends? Well making an effort has really paid off. I love having girl friends. I like having a bit of a life outside of the family life.
  13. The oil is here but not a lot of it. There were a few blobs that washed up and they were removed. I don't currently smell anything. It appears that there is a large effort to get it cleaned up before anymore reaches the shores. So far what has washed up is less than a gallon, at least as far as what I have personally seen with my own eyes. Of course there is oil washing up from Florida to Texas and my little beach is somewhere in the middle. We are also protected by barrier islands here along the Mississippi coast. I am not sure of what is out there or how far away it is. The water I see along our shores currently looks like water and the air smells like air. I see birds that don't appear to be covered in oil. We continue to wait and see.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 184: Homecoming

If you make a comment on my blog it will take a little while for it to appear. I added comment moderation because of all the spam comments I have been getting lately. Therefore, I have to get an email and click a link before your comment will show up. Hopefully the spammers will then move on. I know who cares right, I should let it go but it feel like clutter in my house.

Speaking of my house. The oil is here, it washes ashore here at my house. To answer your questions, if I feel sick I will leave immediately. I wont be staying if we feel at all sick at any time. I am only willing to wait and see because I am hoping that we are safe. So far the smell is not here and there is only clumps of chocolate mousse looking globs washing up on the shore. The Governor of Mississippi says that the stuff along the coast of Mississippi is not toxic. He actually said that. He thinks he is going to run for president too. He also said don't touch it let the professionals clean it up.

I don't think that I would be able to rent my house for the amount of my mortgage or even close to that amount. A few of my military friends in my neighborhood are renters and the current rates are much lower than my mortgage for a much bigger house with a pool. I was also a property manager for a friend of mine who couldn't sell his home here and that was not a lot of fun. Renting is hard, sometimes people suck. As soon as Jeff gets home we are going to go and get some training and start volunteering. That will probably help us to feel a lot better. On the news it is showing thousands of workers here from BP to help with the clean up (not local people) and hundreds of boats. I will go down to the beach and let you know if I see anyone. Reporting live from the gulf. ha ha. I told Jeff I should make some sandwiches and set up a stand. Maybe fill if full of that "safe" shrimp. Speaking of which I am all talk, when push comes to shove I ate the shrimp and it was good.

Yesterday morning I got an email from Jeff saying when he is arriving home. I don't think I am allowed to give out that information on the internet but the date is sooner than I thought and I just started to cry and cry. I couldn't help it. So funny. Lily was asking me, why are you crying mommy? I told her when Jeff is coming home. She gave me an odd look and said that it looked like I got coffee all over my face. You see I was still wearing makeup, lots of makeup and the tears mixed with it and it was a mess. Too funny. I haven't been wearing makeup a whole lot lately. I am still trying to figure out how to incorporate going to the gym into my life along with looking pretty. So far it isn't working. I go to the gym and then run a bunch of errands in no makeup and sweaty. Then I come home and take a nice hot shower and since I am not planning on going out of the house again I put on some comfortable clothes and no makeup and hang out with Lily. So if you see me and I look rough, sorry.

The reason for all the makeup was that a friend of mine invited me out for a girl's night. I spent all day dolling myself up. My friends are the high maintenance, 10 years younger, pretty as a super model types. I have been noticing all my friends lately are of this variety, what is up with that? We have a lot in common and have a lot of fun together. Perhaps I am just 10 years less mature than my physical age. ha ha. At the end of the school year we all went to lunch. The last week of school, because our free time was about to be up for the summer. I told them that I really wanted us to all go out dancing. One of my friends took me seriously. It was her birthday and she said let's go and we went. The last time I went out dancing was over 20 years ago. Even then I only went a few times, less than 10 in my entire life.

I was a little nervous. It was my idea and then I was thinking what was I thinking. So I spent the entire say getting ready. That was fun. We ended up going out to dinner at a fancy restaurant in one of the casinos and then dancing in another casino. It was a lot different than the dives I went to as a kid. Very fancy. We had a bast and I didn't get home until nearly 3 am. I sent Jeff a long email telling him all about my night and we was telling people, my wife just got home at 3 am. It is funny because I am almost always asleep by 9pm and not known for being the wild and crazy type. I have to say it was a lot of fun though. I am glad I went. I recommend you go out dancing one in awhile. I am hoping to convince Jeff to start doing this as well. He hates going dancing or clubbing or whatever your generation calls it. It is different when you aren't there to try and make a hookup. When you have no interest in the boys other than for their entertainment value. We were a bunch of happily married ladies out for fun. But, not that kind of fun. The place was packed too. The folks here on the Mississippi sure know how to have a good time.

I am actually going to try to talk my family into changing our vacation from Georgia to here. Have a stay cation. Spend our money on the Coast where it is needed. We shall see how that flies I am sure they will out vote me.

Speaking of that kind of fun. Yeah!!! I better go clean the house. Because Daddy is coming home. I can't believe it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Deep Water Horizon: BP Oil Spill

I live about 2 blocks from the Gulf of Mexico in Mississippi. From my front yard I can see the water. According to NOAA the outer edge of the oil is going to hit the beach by my house on Wednesday and the major thick concentrated center of the spill will hit the beaches of Alabama/Florida about that time as well. The oil is still gushing out.

On some days when it is hot or when the wind is coming in off the Gulf we can smell the oil here. The first time I smelled it was back in late April or early May. The government set up air quality check points along the coast. While I was smelling oil my news was telling me that my air quality is green. Going outside on those days I get an immediate headache and feel nauseous but I am told that my air quality is green/good. More than anything else this is what bothers me the most. I don't know if the air quality people are not testing for the things in the air that an oil spill will leave like methane gas and whatever it is that smells like tar or like driving behind a big old truck spewing black smoke. Or are they just plain lying?

I realize that the economy of this area is very important to the country. Imagine if you will that the millions of people who live on the coast and make their living on the coast are not going to be able to make their house payments, car payments, credit card payments this month or for the foreseeable future. How will this effect the already hurting economy, the banks, you. So commercials have been made saying Mississippi is open for business. Come on down, the seafood is fine, the air is fine, the water is fine.

They go along the beaches and scoop up tar balls with things that look like giant cat litter scoops and then tell us that the beaches are clean and open for business. The shrimp boats are still out catching shrimp. As long as the shrimp doesn't smell like oil and as long as the shrimp is not taken out of an area that has actual oil it is fine, they say. 100s of millions of gallons of oil is a couple miles away but no oil has been spotted in this patch of water so let's grab all the shrimp while we can. The endangered sea turtles have been washing up on the shores since April. However, the local tv station tells us that they have been examined and no oil was found on the turtles therefore something else must have killed them, more than 600 now. If the oil isn't actually touching something it is thought to be clean. They act like there is oil and clean water and nothing else. That the toxins from the oil are not also in the water. Like you could put some oil in your water bottle shake it up, remove the oil and the water is now safe to drink.

I worry that our ground water, our tap water is not safe. I don't know is that over reacting? Am I crazy? The government, the media, no one talks about the air and the ground water. They talk about the business, they talk about the economy. What about the environment as it effects people. I love the animals and I am devastated about all the birds and sea creatures that are going to die, but what about the people. Are we expendable too? For the precious economy.

Did you know that all summer long that rain comes in off the Gulf and travels up the country and out to the Atlantic, usually via New York or Virginia or somewhere in between. Is our country, our farm land going to be polluted with toxins from the oil this summer as the storms sweep through? It is raining here today, a storm off the Gulf, what is in this rain. How do I know?

When this first happened I was so upset I had trouble leaving the house for a couple of weeks. I had trouble sleeping. I had no idea what to do. Every time I talked to Jeff it was all I talked about, what are we going to do? I want out. Get me out of here. Jeff said that he could put in for an overseas assignment. There were a lot of cool places open and we seriously considered this option. We are not currently eligible to be reassigned to another states side location. The down side is we could never sell our house for what we owe or anywhere near what we owe. The economy in my neighborhood has taken a serious nose dive in the last year or two. There are a ton of houses for sale and none of them seem to be moving. We would also not be able to take our new cars with us, well we could take one but we would lose one. Everything we have worked and saved for over the last 10 years we would lose if we moved right now. We would have to start over money wise. We only had a few days to make the decision to put in for a move or not and we chose to stay.

I love it here. The other day at the gym we saw Lily's first grade teacher, she is doing a 6 day boot camp type work out and the reason I know this is she is one of my facebook friends. She said good morning to Lily as she was jogging through the parking lot. Another of my facebook friends is Lily's kindergarten teacher who just had a baby and we were able to see the pictures of her baby right on our computer. These women sweep us up and make us a part of their family. Everywhere I go I am surrounded by caring loving people. I don't think that exists in other places. Perhaps I am wrong but I really want Lily to be able to grow up here. We have never really belonged anywhere else the way we belong here. The people here just scoop you up and make you one of them. But, I don't want to poison my girls or myself.

Can we stay here and not get cancer? Can they clean it up and keep us safe? Will anyone tell me if I am not safe? I need to learn some chemistry and start testing the water and air quality myself, is that even possible?

Saturday marks the 6 month anniversary of Jeff's leaving for this deployment which means that he should be home soon.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

147/190 Getting There

Wow, hey...

I thought I would have time to blog while Jeff was away. Then I decided to pack our lives full of so much stuff that I wouldn't have time to miss Jeff. That was not a lot of fun. Every single day from first thing in the morning until the wee hours at night I have been busy. This leaves very little time for contemplation, reflection, creativity or whatever it is that drives me to want to blog. If I ever have to do it again, I think I am going to perhaps take a different approach to dealing with the deployment. But, I haven't fallen into a depression or stayed in bed all day, perhaps the busy thing worked.

Lily played t-ball. That was so much fun. However, she did cry after every game for one reason or another. I think it built character. I can see a big difference in her personality. Perhaps it was from t-ball or perhaps it was from getting older who knows. But, we successfully navigated her first sport. Next year is machine pitch softball and hopefully when daddy comes home the two of them can work on that together.

Mandy completed her first year of college with excellent grades and an induction into an honor society. Which I had to miss due to it being after Lily's bed time, which caused some friction. Mandy's car has also had quite a few trips to the shop. Character building for Mandy, right. I helped her out this last time when the bill was $1000. She had paid out over $300 just the week before. She went and paid for her summer semester and books out of her own money that same day so it will all even out in the end. I am approaching this she is an adult with a job who is going to pay for what with a teamwork kind of mentality. I guess there should be rules and boundaries but we end up just muddling through. I guess you could say that I am not ready for her to be completely independent and I am not sure if that is good for her showing my love or bad for her and holding her back and making it seem like I don't have faith in her.

I have been very busy with Lily's school's PTO this year. I took on a lot of responsibility and ended up feeling very disgruntled by the end of the year. I knew at the beginning of the year I shouldn't have made so many commitments but I did and I saw them through. Now people are very sarcastically calling me out for not making the same commitments next year. Most of those folks are themselves unwilling to make commitments themselves. If that makes any sense. I have been very angry about all this. I know that if Jeff was here I would have just laughed it off and said something back but I have been so furious at my so called friends for months that is has just been eating me alive. I just cannot believe the things that have been said to me by people who come to functions late or not at all. Me I kept my commitments and then clearly said I would not do it again. Instead of saying I would do stuff and then just not showing up. I guess I have found out who my friends are and who was being nice to me in order for me to do more work. Maybe someday I will write out the whole story but for now I will just say that I did not have a positive experience volunteering this year.

Jeff and I have actually gotten closer while he has been away. I think that sometimes in the day to day stuff that we take each other for granted or get annoyed with one another more than we feel that I can't live without you kind of way. I have been feeling that I can't live without you kind of way or remembering that feeling while he has been away. We also talk on skype and email and chat a lot. I realize that I need to work on being a little more present in my marriage. I realize that life isn't really about impressing stupid people. Life can be about having fun with the people I love. Everyone in my family is really a lot of fun to be around and I need to stop being a humbug and start being more of the life of the party kind of girl. That is my thoughts as my 41st birthday approaches. For one year I am going to try and really just enjoy my life. To love myself and my family and have fun.

Well that in a nutshell is what is up with me. What is up with you?

Friday, March 26, 2010

90/190 Three Months Down

I have been working hard at changing my lifestyle. More exercise, eating healthy and learning to say no. It feel I have made improvements but I still have a long way to go. I am not striving for perfection just improvement. Yes I have improved but there is still room for more improvement. It is a journey. I do feel a lot better, I don't have any more pent up anger and resentment. Most days I am my normal happy self. I actually think that is the real accomplishment.

When I learned that Jeff was going to be deployed back in August I told myself that I needed to get myself ready by exercising and eating right. I knew that was the only way I was going to make it through this difficult time. I envisioned him coming home in July nearly a year after I first learned he was leaving to a new and improved Marsha. Fit and skinny. I thought I have nearly a year, if I get busy now I can really accomplish a lot. I thought this is a great thing for me to concentrate all my time and energy upon. But, that didn't happen. It took me until now to work through all the funk in my head, to bust out of my bad habits and start to make some changes.

I went to the gym 2 times the first week - then Lily got strep throat. I went to the gym 2 times the second week - then I got strep throat. I went to the gym 4 times the third week - yeah. I went to the gym 1 time this week - then I got sick again. Next week is spring break so I am not sure what will happen. Technically I can take Lily with me to the gym as they have child care available and all paid for, but that is way outside of my box. Not sure if I am going to be able to do that. I think I can, I think I can... Perhaps I will come up with an alternate plan.

Eating right is a hard one for me to. Since Jeff has been gone I am having a really hard time keeping up with cooking and cleaning. Dishes and laundry are killing me. Then add all the clutter, vacuuming, dusting, mopping, and bathrooms - yikes. Now I have to add the yard - whose idea was it to have such a big yard. Our yard is a major enormous pain. The leaves fall out of the trees in spring. Our grass is mostly weeds that grow up to my knees every week. In between the weeds is sand, leaves and branches. We had such a cold snap last winter I am afraid we might have lost our citrus trees and they need some pruning. Plus the flower beds are a major ugly mess. The gutters are full of leaves too. I feel like I could spend the next three months working on the house and yard all day everyday and still not be done. It is really freaking me out. So I get all worked up about all that and I end up buying a pizza for dinner or going to McDonald's. I really want to be on a low glycemic low animal fat diet. That is what I am aiming for but I am not there yet. I do have a family history of diabetes and heart disease and the military doctors refuse to test me for those things, I guess if you don't know you don't have it and they don't have to treat you is their theory. Anyways, I imagine I should be careful and now that I am over 40 and 100 lbs overweight I imagine I should get my diet in order now before it becomes do it or die. I would rather be able to cheat a little and ease into it than wait until it is life threatening. I am also considering paying out of pocket to got to a non-military doctor and get my self really checked. I also really want to shout to the world that I hate the military health care system it has been nothing but horrible to my family. I will think about that later after Jeff has come home and I am not holding onto my sanity by my finger nails.

I don't know why but food is such a big issue. I am a really good cook. I know how to make healthy delicious food. I buy all the ingredients with all the best of intentions and every week I throw away all that healthy delicious fresh fruits and veggies because we detoured to McDonald's and Pizza, etc. I think that the afternoons are my hardest part of the day. I am worn out and tired by then. Maybe I need to find a way to cook in the morning. Schedule cooking and dishes first thing in the morning and then just re-heat in the afternoons. When I think about it, it feels like it is all just too much. Like the yard and the housework it all feels like it is too much and I just avoid thinking about it.

Today is the three month anniversary of Jeff's departure. I feel like I have made some progress and learned a lot about myself. I have become stronger and more aware of my strength. My marriage has become stronger too. We talk everyday. I consciously realize that I love being married to Jeff and I appreciate what a great partner he is.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

78/190: Self Discovery

I should go back and read my blog over the years, I can't help but wonder if I have had the same self discovery over and over again through the years. I wonder if I will always be who I am or if I am moving forward and growing.

Jeff's Deployment has caused me to learn a little bit about myself. In one of my previous posts I wrote about how angry I was feeling at everyone and everything. I think that was not a result of Jeff being gone but that I have been feeling that way for a long time but being married to Jeff is so nice that I was able to overlook the anger.

Kim suggested that I do something nice for myself a couple of times a week and I realized that I never do things for myself. I started to think about going to the gym, getting my hair done, whatever and I realized that I don't have time. I would have to stop doing something in order to add doing something for myself to my schedule. What can I stop doing? I just couldn't think of anything.

Jeff has been telling me for years to stop volunteering so much, but I feel bad giving that up. However, over the course of the last couple of weeks I have been examining how much I volunteer compared to other moms. It is embarrassing. Why am I doing so much? So I started saying no. It has been so hard. Why is it so hard to say no to doing more? I think deep down I am afraid of rejection. But, if I look at the situation realistically no one even appreciates the stuff I do, they either like me or don't like me based on who I am and not on if I do A B or C at the school. I am going to keep the commitments that I have already made but I am not going to make any new commitments. It has been so hard. I never knew I had a problem saying no. I realize that is silly and that I don't actually care what these people think of me that I just have some switch in my head that fears what will happen if I say no. I have to consciously make myself ignore that impulse and say no anyways. It is a struggle.

I joined a gym. I feel so bad because we have free access to several state of the art gyms on the base. I joined the YMCA where I live. It is not nearly as nice as the base gym and I have to pay for it. Oh the guilt. However, I have a number of friends who go to that gym. It is about 20 minutes closer to my house. It has an indoor heated pool. Oh the guilt.

I have been going to the gym for two weeks now. Both weeks I made it there on Monday and Tuesday but fizzled out and didn't go the rest of the week. But, two days is better than zero days. I have a friend who works out with me and we chat away and the time goes very quickly. To be fair the first week I was overcome with volunteer obligations and then Lily got strep throat. This last week I got the strep throat and it was bad! So I haven't just been blowing it off but still I am hoping to make it at least three times this week. I also love that the people at this gym are from our town and all regular folks. However, there are a lot of over 70 people in there that are much more fit than me. I was surprised how much strength my body has maintained over the years of not exercising on a regular basis. It hasn't been hard or painful to get back into the swing of things. It is like I left off at the fitness level I was at the last time I tried to get in shape and my body has been waiting for me to start up again. Thanks.

I am also working on taking the time to shop for and cook healthy meals. Don't laugh but I am trying to go as Vegan as possible. Just for me not for the girls. It doesn't hurt them to eat bean and veggies soup and if they want to have a hot dog with it then that is fine too. It takes a lot of time to plan and make healthy meals. I have to actually schedule time to think about what we are going to have for dinner, go get the food ( grocery store across the street from new gym) and then cook it, and do the dishes. So much easier to just pick something up. But, I am such a great cook. It does add at least an hour if not two hours of work to my daily schedule to cook at home and I am finding that hard to conquer. What to give up? Probably should give up facebook games for cooking.

Over the next couple of weeks friends have invited me to do fun stuff. I am excited about that. So I am hoping to have an improvement in my anger and in my health after learning to say no and learning to get over the guilt and put myself first.

Here is a funny story. I told all this to Jeff and said, I am going to have to stop doing some things in order to find time to go to the gym and cook at home more. Jeff says, you know I think you should put yourself first. I think this is a great idea. I said, you know that means I am going to have to say no to you and the girls sometimes, because y'all ask a lot of me. Jeff says, that is fine I will understand, I love you and want you to be happy and healthy. A minute later we are saying our goodbyes and Jeff says, don't forget to write me a long email. ha ha get it. He totally doesn't get that it takes time to sit down everyday and write him emails. He is devastated if he doesn't get one. Who do I say no to? Poor Jeff.

Lily is exactly the same way if she doesn't get enough undivided attention the girl is impossible. Which cracks me up because of how much Jeff is the same. I need to learn to be more like them. Both Jeff and Lily are the happiest people on earth and they both take excellent care of themselves and if they aren't getting what they need from me they let me know loudly. Lily 1st grade teacher comments on facebook and to me in person about what a delightful and happy girl Lily is in class. Last night I was behind on a deadline for work and asked her to please get ready for bed on her own, which she has been doing for years, however she wanted me to help her pick her pjs and cried and threw an enormous fit. Just an example. It does actually seem that she only does this to me. I don't know if that is because she has figured out that I am no good at saying no or if it is because she saves up her need and only asks it of me because I am a safe place to be vulnerable. Of course she does have me wrapped around her little finger I guess it is a combination of both. Lily is a unique kind of child, she would never intentionally misbehave. She tries to be perfect. However, she doesn't like it when people tell her she is wrong or needs a course correction she feels that is the end of the world. She tries her best to avoid being told she is wrong but once it happens the world is over and she fights and she is fierce. At school she has figures out how to not get into any trouble so she has a perfectly pleasant time all the time but at home we two butt our heads quite a bit. I guess that is the nature of mother and daughter. Ending this long tangent now.

I am now on a new life path. No longer worried about if I am liked. I am not going to do my best to be there for others in hope that they will return the favor. I am going to take the best care of myself I can. Then I am going to take the best care of my family that I can. Then I am going to do my job to the best of my ability. After all that if there is anything left I will help in the community. I am moving myself from the bottom of the list to the top.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Amanda

Amanda turned 19 this week. I couldn't help but think back over how much life has changed these past 19 years. Especially since I am now in touch with so many people from way back when Mandy was born. That sounds like it should lead into some sort of story about what our life was like but I am not sure I have one.

"I feel like I am the same me as I was when I was nine years old" -Barbara Kingsolver from the book Pigs in Heaven

I recently read this while reading our current book club selection and it struck me. I mean I feel like my life today is so different than the life I had when Amanda was born and yet I am still the same person I was when I was nine years old, I was her when Amanda was born, when I was nine and now. Yet it was a lifetime ago.

Mandy was also in a play this week. I went out to see her perform two afternoons this week. It was a lot of fun. She did a great job.

So this has been a week about the princess. Lily and I gave her a fun birthday party on Friday. Every year when I was growing up my mom let us pick whatever we wanted to have for dinner on our birthday and I have continued the tradition with my girls. Mandy picked spaghetti tacos. make spaghetti and put it in a taco shell with some cheese on top. So that is what we had for dinner. We also had a lot of fun with the candles and a balloon fight after dinner. Lily insisted on blowing up every balloon she could find in the house to decorate. My girls are a lot of fun and we laughed until we had the hiccups.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 56/190: Grumpy

I really intended to blog more regularly while Jeff was away. That hasn't been happening. I think the reason is that I find it terribly hard to find anything nice to say about anything. I find that I have had a personality transplant and I pretty much hate everyone and everything.

I have always been annoyed by complainers. You know those people who only have negative things to say about everything all the time. It is so tiresome. That is me. A few months ago a friend of mine told me that I always see the good in people and believe that their intentions are good. When someone is being a jerk and everyone is complaining about it I will stick up for the jerk and point out that they are going through a hard time and we should all be more patient. Drives my friends nuts. Well not anymore. Now I am driving them all nuts by complaining about how everyone sucks. Too funny.

I volunteer at the school way too much. I used to enjoy it. Not really enjoying it at all right now. But, I did make certain commitments and would not like to be one of those people who doesn't follow through. I am trying to put on a filter and keep my mouth shut while around others. Sometimes when I am talking I can see that look in some one's eyes, like whoa crazy woman. What is it they say, if you think everyone is wrong, it might be you. Whatever, you are all wrong all the time. Trust me!!!

I thought that this time with Jeff being away for six months would be hard because of the volume of work. But, actually it is not the extra work that is hard. In fact I think there is actually less work with him gone. Even though he does at least half the house work and care of the children when he is not at work it is still easier without him here, in regards to the amount of physical work I have to do in a day. Life without Jeff is like stepping into a black and white silent movie after living life in color with music and dancing. Jeff I think has a higher expectation of how we live our life than I do. He expects the house to be clean all the time and I don't. He thinks we should be company ready all the time. If he comes home from work and it isn't clean he will clean it, before he changes out of his uniform or says hello or anything. It is a little mean but I choose to think of it as him being helpful. I just started leaving him projects. Go ahead baby throw a fit by cleaning the house. Laundry is always ready to be folded just as he walks in the door.

But, the thing is that emotionally it has been really hard for me having him gone. I didn't think that would happen. I was a single mom for 9 years. It shouldn't be hard to have Jeff gone. I have money, a great home, friends, respect, a lovely car, no stress. I don't have to date or feel like I will be alone forever, I am loved. But, somehow over the last 9 years I got spoiled by Jeff. Even though he is a bit finicky about the house cleanliness he is so nice to live with. Jeff is my very best friend in the world. I love our conversations, I love his absolute joy about life. It is really hard to get out of bed and put on a smile without that. Boy am I spoiled or what. I had a man in my life who wakes up everyday and sees all the joy and possibly in the world and in our life. He is always excited about something and it is so hard to have that gone.

For the first month or so I had to make myself get out of bed. I would congratulate myself everyday that I got out of bed, took a shower, washed dishes, did my job, and took care of Lily. Seriously that was about all I did and once it was done I went back to bed, until I had to force myself up again. A few things happened in my world to make me realize that it isn't quite that bad and I need to get over myself. A little girl Lily's age in our town has inoperable brain cancer and it is devastating and the earthquake in Haiti both make me realize that I am a big baby. So I am trying to not just get out of bed and go through the motions but to live like like I love it. I am trying to find joy in everyday. To look at all the good and to stop hating everyone. You are all so annoying though.

I am trying but not really succeeding. I continue to try. I am also trying to keep all the hateful things I am thinking about everyone to myself. I don't really think it is always a good idea to say those things out loud. Anyways. That is all the boring stuff going on with me and in my head. It is hard having Jeff out of town for so long. But, it isn't the end of the world. Before we know it he will be home. We are trying to have a really great time while he is away. We are trying to do fun and exciting things so I have fun and exciting stories and pictures to send to Jeff. I actually think it is working for the girls. They are having a really great time. While they miss their dad they are also being terribly spoiled and well loved.

Lily has started playing t-ball. She is on an all girls softball t-ball team. The sponsor of her team is a local store called Party Girls and that is also the name of their team and their team color is pink! How cool is that? Her coach and asst coach are both really great guys. They have tons of experience and do all kinds of great drills and activities that keep the girls busy and they are having a blast. All the girls have really similar personalities and are having such a great time. Lily is fantastic of course. I have been practicing with her in the back yard for weeks. Which is funny because I am about the least athletic person alive. Today, a Saturday practice all the little girls where playing catch with their Dad's while we waited for practice to start, all except Lily who was playing catch with me. Oh well we had fun. The dads were all giving direction and I was giving unconditional encouragement. I guess that is a difference between moms and dads. Lily was giving me some pointers and direction because she didn't actually feel my throws were all that good. I guess it wouldn't be a good thing for me to shake her while playing catch. I was proud of myself that she actually is pretty good at throwing and hitting. I didn't do too badly getting her ready. She even knows where first base is etc.

Mandy is also doing well. She is loving life. College agrees with her. So does having a car. She is going to be in a play next week at school, she is taking a drama class. She is also turning 19 next week. Once college started and she discovered that she is good at it her entire personality changed. I think she has been a worrier for her entire life. Lately she is more relaxed and confident. She seems to understand that life is good and she is going to be OK. She was so worried about graduating and starting college. I couldn't be prouder of her. I know that this is all her doing. She has worked hard to be the great person she is. She has made all the right choices that keep her on a good path. I still feel such a sense of accomplishment that I facilitated her keeping on the right path and working hard.

Speaking of being a mother, I am really upset about the Kleenex commercials. I have decided to boycott Kleenex for the rest of my life. It could very well be that this is just a part of my personality change as a result of Jeff being deployed. Have you seen those commercials where the mom does something wrong and they kick her out of the car and get a new mom. FUCK YOU KLEENEX. At least 90% of all the stuff I do all day bothers my girls. But, you know what I am right and they are wrong, just look how good they have turned out. Lily wins awards for good behavior at school. This is the child who slapped me and ran in the street, who screamed all day everyday for years, she was such a hard little one. I stuck it out and she learned how to navigate life without fits. Even with her receptive language delay she is reading at nearly a 3rd grade level half way through 1st grade. But, if you asked her I am sure she would kick me out of the car in a heartbeat about 20 times everyday. I hate that commercial. See I told you that I am having issues.

I am going to try to blog more often. I really want to keep a record of this year and all the wonderful things going on with us. I will try to upload some pictures too. So how is everyone? I have been out of blogging for so long that most of my blogging friends aren't really blogging all that much anymore either. I miss all of you and wonder what is up. I hope you all write an update. Tell me all the things that are driving you crazy so I don't feel like such a heel for hating everyone on the planet.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 25/190: Softball

I have decided to sign Lily up to play girl's softball. I am hoping that keeping busy will help her to feel a bit better.

I have been trying to make sure that I am done with my work when she comes home from school so that I can give her my undivided attention until she goes to bed. That is a lot for me to accomplish. It helps Lily but puts enormous pressure on me. She has gotten used to all this attention and on weekends and holidays she ends up getting frustrated with me.

So, when you are totally overwhelmed and not keeping up what should you do? I know. Add another after school activity.

You do what you have to do I guess.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Day 13 of 190: Feeling A Bit Better

A friend of mine said the first two weeks is the hardest. Hopefully, that is true. Cause guess what tomorrow is two weeks.

The past few days have been pretty hard for me. However, I am feeling better now. Wednesday, I went to lunch with friends. Today I did my regular Friday volunteer gig. Being around people is better than staying home. Some days I just don't have the inner strength to get up and get moving.

So far I have had to change four light bulbs, all requiring a ladder. Then I had to replace the entire light fixture in our kitchen. The tires on the truck were low and I had to add air and it was very cold, but I did it. I guess the things that I would normally ask Jeff to do are piling up. After awhile it become a little less frustrating and a little more normal.

Lily bug likes to talk. She talks from the time she gets home from school, or if it is a weekend from the time she gets up - all the way until she goes to bed. If I don't answer she gets upset. I find it very hard to have to have a conversation that lasts that long. I love her to death and I love to talk with her. But, at times I just need a chance to have a moment to myself. I haven't had a complete thought in 13 days.

We are currently watching the weather channel. We are watching the temperature drop down below 32. Lily is so excited. Too bad the sky is clear. She wants snow so badly. She doesn't remember the 100+ inches of snow we shoveled every winter at our old house in Japan. She wants to go sledding, however I don't believe there is a single hill for a 100 miles. And of course it is unlikely it will snow here.

My last complaint is that I miss my best friend. All the little things, like having to change the light bulbs, are so small in comparison to the void that exists without having daily conversations with Jeff. I guess I have taken for granted how I share so much of myself with him and I miss not hearing all about his day. I don't know what he had for dinner or how he slept last night. It is weird how much that matters. How empty and alone it feels to be without that. A couple of days ago that hurt so much that typing those words would have been impossible. Now it is getting better. We do chat online and he is able to call twice a week. We just feel separate.

I make it sound like everything is just awful. But, really, mostly it is not at all awful. There are just hard moments. For the most part we are healthy happy and having fun. There might be five minutes in a day that I am sad. I cry just a little bit more easily.

So this means I am finally getting up the grit to start dieting and exercising. I am trying to decide if I am going to do a big hard push boot camp style start or if I am going to gradually make small changes so I am not suffering. Any thoughts?