Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday Again

It's Monday again, and since I don't blog much on the weekends, I thought I'd use today to give you all an update.

1. No books yet. I'm practically foaming at the mouth! I check the mail every day. I hope to get them soon! Once I do, rest assured you will get some mad name-dropping goodness, and maybe even some pics!
2. I did take some pictures this weekend. I hope to post them tonight. Mostly of my knitting, but some of the snow, too. It has finally started to melt. Slowly but surely, it's melting.
3. No news on the Mike front - I know he has my phone number, but if he has called he hasn't left a message. I did NOT go home to my parents' house last weekend, choosing instead to retain my sanity and temper. I know I am better for it. I will perhaps see them this weekend, instead. I'm not sure yet.
4. I'm in the process of revamping my weight loss charts and goals. You'll notice the chart at the bottom of my page has changed - I'm trying to focus more on increasing activity instead of counting calories and such. We'll see how that goes.
5. Bear and I began the arduous process of cleaning out the garage yesterday. Even though it wasn't quite 40 degrees outside, we spent a couple of hours sorting through good stuff and garbage. Tonight I think we are re-arranging furniture in the house. I'm going to try to squeak in spring cleaning where I can.

So that's what's going on in my world. What's going on in yours?


Friday, March 28, 2008

In case you're wondering...

... I'm doing much better than I was a few days ago. I still don't know what I'm going to do about my brother, what (if anything) I'm going to say. But I am at least back in control of my emotions and almost back to my normally positive self. I was going to go to my parents' house this weekend, but will be staying home with my husband instead. We will cuddle, clean, and maybe make a shopping trip to the "big city." Mostly, we will be "sheltering in place." I have been knitting a lot lately and hope to share some pictures soon. I may even take some more pictures of the snow pack so you may compare them with the last ones I shared. Would you like that?

Also, if I am lucky enough to get the free books I won in a contest sponsored by an exciting new author, I will post pictures and give mad groupie-style love and a shout out to her. I can't WAIT!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I could use a friend right now!!

My parents have a nasty habit of informing me of very important information via email. They don't call when a beloved pet or family member dies... they email. Burglar trying to get in to my grandmother's house? Email. BROTHER WHO HAS NOT SPOKEN TO ME OR OUR FATHER IN MORE THAN A DECADE SHOWS UP AT MY PARENTS' HOUSE UNANNOUNCED... email.

No. Fucking. Way.

My half-brother Mike, who mysteriously and without explanation broke off all contact with me, our father and my mother (his step-mother). I have not seen him or his son Zach in more than ten years. I have not spoken to him, received a card, email, phone call... nothing. This morning when I got to work, there was an email from my mother waiting for me. It said:

"Mike and Zach just walked in."

It was from my father to my mother originally (I got a forward). I had no explanation, no one called me last night to tell me... just an email waiting for me to get to eventually.

I am ... I don't know how I am, really. I want to cry, I'm shaking with the anger I've felt towards my brother for over a decade, I want to talk to him, I don't want to talk to him, I'm hurt, I'm lost... I'm shaken. I don't really know what to think, what to do. I have wanted my family together for so long. Family is supposed to stick together. No matter what. I have felt personally rejected by his treatment of me (and honestly, I don't think he cut off contact with us because of ME. So why couldn't have have sent an email once in a while? He could have had my contact information any time he wanted from another brother, one we share and both talk to). I invited him to my high school graduation, my college graduation, my wedding... he never even contacted me to say he wouldn't come. He has lived for many years in Missouri, and never called whenever he came to Maine.
I am crying, shaking, a mess. and I have a class to teach in ten minutes. Damn you, Mike. Damn you for putting me, us, through all of this! What did I ever do to you that was worth causing all of this pain?

I have no idea what happens now. I know I don't want to scare him off again. Not now, when he's back after so long. But I don't know if I can forgive him, either.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A email from my Daddy (true story)

When I got to school on Monday, I had the following email from Daddy. I only edited the spelling enough for you to read it - the rest I left as is. This is the true story of what happened at my parents' house last weekend. I should tell you before you read that Baxter is my mom's dog (a Chesapeake Bay Retriever), and my grammie (Mother in the email) lives next door. Debbie is my mom. Oh, and for those who don't know, the .357 is a handgun that my father keeps in his nightstand. Honest. Oh, and one more thing - My grandmother is almost 93, and even on the best of days is a little disoriented.

to: Amalia
from: Daddy

I CAME HOME from work as usual Friday night took the dogs out and went to bed!!! Later Baxter tried to get out of his kennel and was having a bad time so I got up to see what his problem was.. I looked out the little bathroom window to see a person going around the trailer!!! he went up the path to mother's so I told Debbie to call 911 and loaded the .357!!! as I was putting my boots on the garage lights came on at mother's followed by the lights at the door... nobody messes with my mother. I out the back door and headed over as I walked down the hill I couldn't see anyone and was looking around when I saw the dome light on in the GMC and the door open!!! as I got next to the tree he started to exit the truck so I fired a shot just over his head to get his attention!!! I told him to lay on the ground or he would be dead... he slowly got down on the ground and started talking to me BUT I did not have my hearing aids in so I couldn't tell what he was saying so I yelled at him to shut up.. at that time I did not know mother was on the phone with the police but knew Debbie was calling so figured they would show up before long!!! when they came in the yard I stepped away from the tree so they could see me and pointed at him the cops were also talking to me BUT I couldn't here them so I yelled at them that I couldn't hear them a put the .357 on the ground and stepped away from it with my hands in plain sight so they wouldn't shoot me... as soon as they got handcuffs on him I told them I was going in the house to see mother SHE WAS UPSET BUT FINE. he had banged on the door and scared her but she pushed the automatic dial button for 911 and was talking to the dispatcher... she was very shaky but calmed down after the police talked to her she is back in bed but I don't know if she will sleep THANK GOD FOR DOGS AND GUNS

In which we do not add to Amalia's night fears, thereby making it impossible for her to sleep, and by extension, you can't, either.

"If you hear anything weird tonight, wake me up, okay? DiShawn drove by three times tonight really slowly, and he knows how much money in guns I have in the house. That's why I'm taking this one upstairs tonight." He pointed to a handgun in its case.

Great. just frickin' great. I've mentioned before how I'm terrified of the dark, but now I actually have someone solid to fear. And that person wants my husband's guns?! Holy, friggin' crap! Not good. not good at all.
About four o'clock this morning, I heard a thud, followed by two more. Not the furnace, not the cats wrestling... I wasn't sure what it was. Remembering Bear's caution, I put my hand on his shoulder and woke him up. "Honey, I just heard three bangs. It sounded like someone kicking the front door, or maybe trying to get into the garage." Bear, groggy with sleep, listened. He didn't hear anything. A good sport, though, he grabbed the handgun and went downstairs in the dark. He can see in the dark better than anyone I know.
There was no one there.
After a few minutes, he came back upstairs, unloaded the gun and got back into bed. "Sorry, Hon. I really did hear something. And you told me to tell you if I heard anything."
He sighed. "I know I did. go back to sleep."
Easier said than done. We both laid in the dark for over an hour, trying to get back to sleep. It was much harder than I thought - I kept imagining scenes where DiShawn or someone else would break in, and how Bear and I would react. I came to the unflattering conclusion that I would probably run away and hide and let my husband take care of it. Honestly. It wasn't a flattering realization.
At about five o'clock, I heard the banging noise again. Thankfully, Bear heard it too. "Was that the noise you heard?" he asked. I nodded. "Four times this time."
Again, he went downstairs, and again he didn't find anything. He looked outside, checked all the doors... nothing. As he was climbing the stairs again, the sound happened again. "Was that what you heard?" He asked.
"Yes! That's it!" I said.
He threw me a disgusted look. "It's the cats, hon, digging at their litter box." Zedd, the giantest of all cats, picks up the litter box and throws it around instead of just digging in the litter itself.
"Oh." I said. "Sorry."
As we left the house this morning, locking the door for the first time ever, I looked towards Bear's car. "Your door's not shut tight, Hon. Did someone get into your car?"
"Bear sighed and shook his head. "I'm sorry I even said anything. You need to stop worrying!" I looked askance at him. "You told me to tell you, so I did. Don't be mad at me!"
"I'm not mad. But you really need to get control."
He's right. I do. But how? I'm terrified by the possibility of not being safe in my own home, whether the threat is real or imagined. I hate it, but can't seem to change it. Any ideas?

Tuesday is letter day!

Dear L-Unit,
Before you begin reading, you should know that this is a love letter. To most people that would sound weird, but I know that you know what I mean. Most of our friendship - short as it has been thus far - has been a love-fest. It's strange, really, to love a woman as much as I love you. You are quite frankly one of the most impressive people I've ever met. To greet each day with joy as you do, to find such pleasure in the small things, to keep smiling no matter what life throws at you ... well, as I said, it's impressive.
It's been well documented that you are an amazing mom. If, God forbid, I should ever procreate, I'd want you to raise him or her. Mothering comes so naturally to you, as though you were born to it. I'm in awe of how calmly you accept and deal with all the crises you have been handed, and the grace with which you rise above each new setback. C-Unit is thriving because you are her mother. She and N-Dogg are the happy, joyful kids they are because they came from you, and have you in them. They are very lucky.
Maybe it's the maternal aspect of you that first drew me to you. My own mother didn't do nearly the job that you have done already, and so I grew up with a hunger for a true mother, someone who would love me unconditionally, despite my faults (rather than view me with distaste because of them). You do that. I know that no matter how badly I have botched something, or how mad I get at myself, you will still love me. You will stand by me, no matter what happens. That kind of support, the have-my-back mentality you demonstrate means more to me than you know. I hope that some day I will be able to repay this trust.
This letter is already long, so I would like to end by bulleting a list of other things about you that are great:
  • You always ask me how I'm doing.
  • You show just enough vulnerability so that I know you aren't perfect.
  • You wouldn't be as great if you were perfect.
  • I swear.
  • You tell great stories.
  • Your dimple.
  • Your laugh.
  • Your text and voice messages.
  • Your children
Finally, thank you for being my friend. I hope that as we grow older, we grow closer, and I find another letter's worth of wonderful things about you.

Sincerely (and with much love),

Friday, March 21, 2008

And so Ends Resolution 2008... sort of.

The past week or so, I have been frustrated and discouraged by my seemingly endless weight loss journey. Riding the bike every day (which was my new year's resolution) had become a dreaded chore, not the fun challenge it had been when I started out. I am kind of passive-agressive at times, so I started sabotaging myself by eating crap - steak and cheese, grilled ham and cheese on white bread, ice cream, Pepsi, the works. Well, Wednesday night when I got home from job #2, something must have shown on my face to cause my husband to ask, "What's wrong?"
I burst into tears.
Suddenly, it was all too much. Working two jobs and trying to keep the house clean. Washing three loads of laundry but not having time to take them to the laundrymat to be dried, so I had to wash them again when they started to stink. Trying to accomplish every single thing I had to in a day while still trying to eat right and exercise. I was ready to give up, and cried to my husband about how I didn't want to do it anymore.
"Then don't," he said. "Take a break. Give yourself some time."
So I did. I broke my resolution and didn't ride the bike Wednesday night. Instead I showered and went to bed with my husband, who was kind and held me until I fell asleep, even though I might have cried on his shoulder just a bit. In the morning, I called in sick to job #1, and took the day for myself. I dabbled around the house, organized my knitting yarn/projects/supplies that were scattered everywhere, cuddled my cats and generally relaxed.
And I forgave myself.
I told myself that it was okay that I didn't ride the bike, that trying to squeeze in twenty minutes of difficult cardio right before bed didn't help me, and if I hated working out I would quit. I realized that I'm in this to make myself happy and healthy, not fit and miserable.
And you know what?
Last night when I got home from job #2 (which I still had to work but it was okay because it was only four hours), I rode the bike. Not because I had to, but because I WANTED to. Because I hadn't been active much that day and wanted to do something good for my body. For me.
I feel like a million dollars today. Peaceful. Serene. Capable.

and it feels good.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tuesday is letter day!

I'm starting a new tradition on my blog. Starting today, I am going to write a letter each Tuesday to someone or something I feel needs/deserves it. Most letters will be to people, but some will be to my muffin top, or my house, or something else inanimate. I'm going to try to put up a poll for you to vote on next week's potential letter. Keep your eyes open!

Here is today's letter:

Dear Husband,
Sunday I posted about a frustration I feel often - about people not understanding me, not accepting who I am. It happens a lot more often than I like, and at times it can seem as though everyone is ganging up against me. In these times I know that you've got my back. You may be the only person apart from me that gets me - what makes me tick, what I need, how I think about things. As an example, you wrote this as a comment on my post (your second ever comment):
Never Give Up! Never Surrender! You are who you are. I fell in love with you for being the person who always had her own opinion and stood up for what she believed in.

Thank you for that. Thank you for having my back when no one else did, and for understanding that I needed to hear your support at what was a low moment for me. Your total and complete love for and acceptance of me humbles me and makes me love you all the more. I only wish that I have been as supportive of you in the past as you have of me. I am trying to follow your example more closely. I love you. Thank you.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

A conversation

Yesterday my husband and I got into the car and started driving. We ended up going about 200 miles (maybe more) around the state, no destination in mind, just enjoying ourselves and each other. We talked about a lot of things, some big issues, some minor. One of the things we talked about are all the places we want to see - Yosemite, Australia, Novia Scotia (he has been there before, I haven't), and others. And I said, "That's the great thing about us, Hon. We're not having kids, so whenever we want, we can pack up and go. Isn't that great?" He turned and looked at me. "Sure hon." His words kind of fell into the space between us.
"You know," I said, "I don't understand why people don't listen when I say I don't want kids. It makes perfect sense to me. Even my students are confused by it, when they are one of the major reasons for it!"
"Honey, no one understands it. The guys at the mill don't, no one I tell can believe it." Then he shrugged as if to say it was no big deal.

He's right. No one really understands that I don't want children. As in, not ever. It's not something that is going to change, it's not something I'm going to "grow out of." Most people just smile and nod, placating me, waiting for the chance to say "I told you so" when I finally (inevitably in their minds) tell them that I'm pregnant.


As I read this morning's Postsecret, I realized that if I were to write a postcard and send it to Frank, this is what my secret would be:

"No one understands that I don't want children. I find their lack of belief patronizing and disappointing. It's as though they don't see me as I really am, don't accept that that person could really exist. When they do that, it makes me hate them. Just a little."

I don't hold out any realistic hope that anyone will listen to me this time, either. But all I can do is keep saying it and hope that someday, finally, people will believe me and actually accept that this is how I want to live my life. But honestly? I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A poem

Yesterday on my way to Job Number Two,
as I piled myself, my coat, and other things I thought I'd need that evening into my car,
in between settling everything into the appropriate seats and adjusting my own,
just as I was about to shut my door, push into gear, and roar off down the road -

I heard a robin singing.

I couldn't see him (or her),
but guessed she was perched in the honeysuckle tree
out behind the garage.
Or maybe, if it was a he, he had settled himself
on the much-more-manly-woodpile.
Wherever, he (or she) must have seen me,
rushed, hurrying, harried,
And done the one thing that could make me pause,
and enjoy the sweet moment I was present in.

As the clock silently admonished me to hurry,
and my car's impatient idle intensified
I succumbed to the mechanical and closed my door,
backing down the driveway and away from the song.
I tried to focus on the road in front of me
and all that I had still to do.
But my mind replayed that sweet robin's calling -
looped it
through my thoughts
and around my feelings
until I couldn't but do what the music invited,
and smiled at this,
the first sign
of spring.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


The snow banks at work
There's a car under there!
Can you see the 30 gallon trash can buried by the door?
The snow has drifted up to the roof - you could literally step off the roof into the snow!

Here are the pictures of the snow here in Maine. As I type this, it is raining here, and freezing once it hits the ground (feezing rain). In a few hours it is supposed to turn into sleet (frozen before it hits the ground). All in all, a messy night. Some weathermen are predicting up to two inches of rain - with the ground frozen and covered in four feet of snow, the water has no place to go. It is not going to be a pretty morning!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I haven't forgotten

... about the winter pics. I've had some issues with getting time to take them is all. Hopefully this weekend. I will take some video and try to upload it here to my blog so you can hear my beautiful voice describing what you're seeing. Won't that be a hoot?!


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I'm so conflicted!

I've worn size 12 jeans almost my entire adult life. At times those jeans have been tight, or loose, or somewhere in between, but they've always been 12s. My favorite jeans, my American Eagle jeans, have been with me for about eight years now. Low rise, button fly, bias cut and bootleg, they are in every way perfect. They're like an old friend. Nothing I own makes me feel as good as those jeans. They've lasted longer than every relationship I've ever had. They're a part of me. Of who I am.

Since beginning my weight loss, I've said goodbye to a little over ten pounds. I'm still in my 12s, but they fit better now than they did before. Looser. I have another sixteen pounds to lose (at least). I find that I am having a hard time contemplating that even after losing that weight that I will be anything other than a size 12. The concept of losing a pants size is foreign to me. Me? I want to ask. Are you sure? Logically I know it could happen. Practically, though, my mind just won't wrap around the idea. It makes me wonder if my weight loss has stalled because on some level, I'm not ready to say goodbye to my 12s. Those jeans are part of my identity. I'm 5'9", and a size 12. The second seems as unchangeable as the first. So what do I do? How do I let that part of me go, allow myself to change what seems a fundamental aspect of my self-image? I'm really struggling with this. I love those jeans - I don't want to say goodbye to them! It isn't as though I can buy smaller pairs of the same jeans (they don't make them in that style anymore). What do I do? Help!

Monday, March 03, 2008

I'm in an interesting mood today. On the one hand, I am so sore. My whole body hurts from working all weekend (I mopped the whole store Saturday, and half of it on Sunday) and pushing myself hard on the bike. I can feel all of my individual parts, and not in a good way. Today is day eight of working at least one job, and I don't have another day completely off in sight. I can only hope that my body will eventually reward me for my hard work.
On the other hand, I am so looking forward to my afternoon! First, I'm off to take pictures of our snow pack and maybe even a video to show Jenny and some others just how much snow we have right now. I can say truthfully that this is the most snow I've seen at any one time in my entire life. It's a lot of snow! Further, after working at Rite Aid all weekend I finally have a night off to spend with my wonderful husband. I fell like I haven't had much of an opportunity to see him lately, and we're both looking forward to some bonding time. Finally, the temperatures today are supposed to be in the mid-thirties which is a bit of a heat wave for us. Not much makes me happier than the first above freezing day of the year!
Today is the third day of March's Month of Muscle-building, and so far I've managed to burn my required 500 calories on the bike. It has been a challenge (especially last night) but I'm doing it. Playing music helped me get the biking done in record time (in under twenty-one minutes, if you must know). I have really felt the need to stretch the past few days, so I'm hoping to try out this yoga routine when I get home. I am also going to lift weights to start my week off right. I'm very serious about reaching my March goals so that I can get down to 160. I want to be able to welcome spring (and more revealing clothing) with glee instead of guilt.