Sunday, May 31, 2009

Catching Up

A thousand apologies for the scarcity of posts lately. My place of employment has been in the midst of the long anticipated "office move". We are finally set up in the new location and ready for business on Monday. It's been a hard couple of weeks and I'm glad it's over.

Since the beginning of 2009 I have lost two employees to job eliminations, one employee who retired, and 5 employees who were transferred to another office. Losing eight employees cut my staff in half. It was hard to say goodbye to most of those people, and leaving our old building after working there 25 years was tough too. I do like the new place however, and am finally excited about the possibility of making a go of it there.

My legs are aching and I'm tired; and I had a horrible experience with my boss on Friday morning. That drama is not over yet, but I'm not stressing because I'm holding firm to the knowledge that I didn't do anything wrong so I have nothing to worry about. My boss has a very strong personality and my relationship with her is very strange. She's also Madison's boss and she used to be Mystical's boss so I know they can relate. She treats me differently than any of the other managers. Sometimes I feel very close to her, almost like we're friends. Then, she'll turn on me and "put me in my place". She's a major control freak--much worse than I ever thought of being, and she's absolutely got to have the last word if she's got her mind set on something. Or maybe she's not worse than me, maybe she's just a lot meaner and nastier in her desperate attemts! Anyway, I take comfort in the fact that I'm not the only person she pissed off during this move, so when her boss confronts her this week, my name won't be the only one mentioned. Even if it is, I'm okay with that.

A few months ago I was completely ready to leave my company and start a new path. I applied for a position with another company and didn't get it. Maybe that was a sign, I don't know. I'm still not completely sure it's meant for me to stay, but I am going to give it a try, at least for now. I guess I'll know soon enough.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I'm totally obsessed with the new A&E series "Obsessed". It's a reality type show about people who suffer from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

It's almost as good as "Intervention".

Monday, May 25, 2009

My Mom

Ever since I started writing "Detach", I knew I'd eventually write about my mom. I figure today's as good a time as any; at least to scratch the surface. I'll start off easy....something we can all get through relatively painless....My Mom's cooking.

Every morning of my childhood, my mom would go to the freezer and select a packet of frozen meat and place it in the sink to thaw. As the afternoon began to wear down she would grab a skillet, a few potatoes and some type of canned vegetable. The meat was almost always fried. The only exception I can think of would be the occasional meatloaf, or the Thanksgiving turkey. There would always be potatoes. Sometimes fried, sometimes French fried, sometimes mashed or baked. There would always be a vegetable, sometimes two. We always drank ice water, except on the weekends when we went out to eat. Dad still drank it even then, but Mom and I would get cokes or iced tea.

Once in awhile Scarlett will ask me questions like "Did your mom have a special cake she fixed at Easter?" or "Did you guys ever buy frozen pizzas and doctor them up with your own ingredients?" I always have to laugh, because even though my mom had dinner on the table every Mon - Fri evening, promptly at 5:00, there wasn't a whole lot of variety...or dessert. People don't believe me when I tell them this, but I honestly don't think I ever had a pizza in my life until I was a teenager and someone took me to Pizza Hut. You see, my Dad didn't like pizza. Or spaghetti. Or chocolate. Dad didn't like anything out of the ordinary, so when I was a kid, Mom just didn't fix it.

Once in a great while Mom would fix a cake, but usually the closest thing I got to cake was a box of Ho Ho's in the pantry. Mom could make a mean peach cobbler though. And we never had anything that even remotely resembled a casserole. It's funny, but I never remember going to cookouts or parties as a child and having my mom "take a dish". If we went someplace and took food it was a watermelon or something like that.

My mother did not enjoy cooking, and she didn't do it at all the last several years of her life, but she did enjoy eating out! When I was a kid, we ate out a lot on the weekends; usually steaks. Sure, we frequented the blue collar chains like Ponderosa and Sizzler, but our favorite steaks were served at a place that's long since gone. It happened to be about a block from where Dr. Eve's office is today. We'd get T-Bone steaks and they'd be served right on the plate they were broiled on. In later years we found another cool steak place where the owner spoke with some thick accent and they'd bring melted butter in a tiny clear bottle for your baked potato. My mom loved good fried chicken too. Sometimes we'd go to restaurants where she knew they made it fresh when you ordered and she'd get it. We always had to wait and wait while they cooked the chicken and then hunted down honey packets for her to dip. Not honey mustard, it had to be pure honey. We'd be starving by the time the food came, but it was worth it to watch her dip the fresh fried chicken in the honey and eat every piece clean to the bone.

As a kid I was a picky eater. But if I didn't like something Mom was serving for dinner, she never, ever made me eat it. I could have a peanut butter sandwich or a can of spaghetti and meatballs or whatever I wanted and she never fussed. I guess that's why I don't get bent out of shape when my own daughter turns her nose up at something I fix.

My mother may not have been Paula Deen, but no matter how I've made it sound, I never felt deprived. I liked the fried meat (most of the time) and no matter what was being served I always knew that when it was 5:00, my Daddy would be home, my Mom would have dinner ready, and we'd all be together at the table. For a little girl growing up in the 1970's, that was a good and happy feeling.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Shrunken Head Collection

Today's session with Dr. Eve was great.

We discussed the breathing techniques I've been working on, and will continue to work on.

As I've mentioned before, I've been having assorted physical ailments related to my high stress level. The latest of these ailments was a series of migraines. The doctor who treated me for them suggested I talk to Dr. Eve about other relaxation techniques frequently used to treat stress without drugs, so we are embarking on some new ideas. These techniques are similar to yoga and require focus and concentration. We only took a baby step with this today so I'm sure there's a lot more to come, but the general idea is you learn to watch for signals like your eye twitching, your shoulders tingling, or your jaw clenching....even your fingertips or toes getting cold. When you identify these triggers you practice the techniques. Since the only stress relieving drug that seems to work for me is the highly addictive Xanax, I'm more than willing to give this a try.

My favorite thing I took from today's session was "Hit It Back". We all know I'm a "fixer". When I hear about a problem I feel obligated to fix it. Scarlett and my husband have both accused me of taking other people's sides when they tell me about an argument or dilemma they've had with a friend or coworker. Being the mediator I am, I seem to always try to rationalize to them why I believe the people they have argued with may be behaving the way they do. In my mind I'm not taking the other person's side, I'm trying to help! Essentially...trying to "fix". So Dr. Eve told me to imagine a game of tennis. She said when someone is telling me about their day, they are hitting the ball to me. The next step should be I hit it back. Instead, I catch the ball and begin to examine it. "This ball is dirty. And it needs to be restitched! I'm not sure this ball bounces the way it should!" It's not my job to fix something that doesn't belong to me or may not even need to be fixed. It's my job to let things bounce off me and hit them right back. That way I can use my energy to focus on issues of my own that I need to work on. Yet again....focus only on the things I can control; my weight, my stress, my own life.

There are a lot of reasons I try to analyze the ball instead of hitting it back. A lot of reasons. Part of my job at work is to mediate and solve problems. Part of my job as a Mom is to do the same. I just have to find that balance of when to catch and repair the ball and when to just hit the sucker back.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mary's MILFs

Have you ever noticed no one on earth actually looks like Elvis Presley? Sure, impersonators grow their chops and practice their sneer, but other than his daughter Lisa Marie, no one else actually looks like Elvis. Whatever your opinions are about Elvis Presley, there's one fact that is undeniable. He was strikingly beautiful, and crazy sexy.

Try as they may, no woman (or man) could ever fix Elvis. I'm sad that he died so very young (42), but I'm glad we never had to see him get plastic surgery to fix his funny nose or poof up his beautiful lips. I'm glad we didn't have to watch him purchase a mouthful of huge, fake teeth or pull his face back into a tight, frightening mask like so many others have done. Nope, I want to remember Elvis just the way he was.
One fun thing about Elvis is, there are at least two of him! Young, Hot Elvis, and Jumpsuit Elvis. Don't be too quick to discount Jumpsuit Elvis. After sitting down and watching "Aloha From Hawaii" you will discover not only was his voice in it's greatest form, but with those little fringes dangling down, so was his ass.
Just look at that physique and those hips!

Elvis was bad, Elvis was good. Elvis was troubled, Elvis was sick. Elvis was generous. Elvis could be a freak. He was addicted to pills. He was torn between right and wrong. He lived a life none of us could even fathom.
Of course that means Mary will always love him.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Farrah's Story

I was surprisingly moved by the documentary "Farrah's Story" which aired on NBC tonight. I really only watched it by chance. Almost immediately after the show began however, I forgot about Farrah being a celebrity and just thought of her as a woman battling cancer. By the time the show finished I felt like she was my friend and I was literally sobbing.

I am far from ready to die but I'm not afraid to die. I am however, terrified of cancer. I honestly don't think I could endure what this woman has had to go through. No one should have to endure what this woman has gone through, yet I doubt there's even one person reading this who doesn't know someone who has had to fight this fight.

The bond between Farrah and her friend Alana Stewart touched my heart. Farrah's decision to document her journey along with Alana, was poignant and moving, and allowed us to hear her story in Farrah's own beautifully written words, instead of believing what's published in the tabloids she was forced to battle through much of her illness.

You will be an angel, Farrah. I hope your pain will soon be over and your spirit will be set free. Thank you for sharing your wonderful, courageous story with us.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Counting My Blessings

When I came out of work today and discovered my front tire was flat again I decided I'd ride it up to the quickie mart and fill it with air again just as I had done during lunch today. I'm getting a new set put on tomorrow so I figured a can of Fix-A-Flat and some air would hold me over til then.

By the time I got to the air hose my tire had come off the rim. There would be no fixing this tire. I called AAA who sent a Rescue Ranger to put on my little spare.

I felt a little sorry for myself until I got home and heard the voice message saying my friend's brain cancer was back and they were performing another surgery on him in a few days. I changed my attitude real quick. Thank you God for only giving me a flat tire today! Aren't I lucky that I didn't damage my rim driving to the gas station? Aren't I blessed to have a cell phone, an AAA membership, and a good spare tire??!! Life is good!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

How'd You Know, Jillian?

Conversation between Jillian Michaels and Tara on this week's episode of "Biggest Loser". The scene is that Tara has gone home for 30 days and Jillian pops in for a visit. Tara's room is in total disarray with clothes all over the place. Jillian is trying to dig out a place to sit on the bed.

Jillian (to the camera): It's like a tornado has hit.
Jillian: What happened?
Tara: I feel like I've lost control.
Jillian (to the camera): All of the panic and all of the chaos she feels inside of her is reflected in the state of her bedroom.
Jillian: We still haven't found that balance. Where is the balance?

I played the part about "reflected in the state of her bedroom" over and over again. I felt like Jillian Michaels was sitting in my bedroom talking directly to me.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Shrunken Head Collection

I had my first counseling session today. My therapist seems like a very cool lady who has her office in a lovely historic home in our city’s Victorian District. I am happy to report I think we will be a good fit and I have scheduled another appointment for next Wednesday. I want to write about my discoveries after each visit. This will encourage me to think about what we discussed in our sessions and will help me journal my entire experience with her. I will call my therapist “Dr. Eve”.

Today’s session was about getting to know me and what brought me there. No surprises at first; I told her I was there because my life at work had been turned upside down, I’m married to an alcoholic whom I'd like to be able to communicate with, I have massive anxiety and control issues, and I had an awakening several months ago about my codependence issues. The shocker was that on not one, but two different times during the session I mentioned my mother and instantly started to cry. I didn’t see that coming. I haven’t cried when speaking of my mother in awhile. I shed a few tears on the one year anniversary of her death a couple of weeks ago, but all in all I really thought I was doing pretty well. Apparently I’m still grieving, and I’m pretty sure Dr. Eve and I will need to set aside some time to discuss my Mom.

Another interesting item I took from today’s session happened when I started thinking of too many issues at once and got myself nerved up. Dr. Eve stopped me in mid sentence and asked me if I was aware that I don’t breathe. Obviously I was not... She said she noticed it very early on in the session. I do my breathing from the top of my chest and lungs which means I can easily hyperventilate and cause myself anxiety attacks. Who knew? She even said she could hear it in my voice. She taught me some techniques and I will be practicing them diligently in the days to come. I have to train myself to breathe differently. I found it curious no one has ever mentioned that to me before.

Aside from the breathing, the most interesting part of this session was concerning "Fight or Flight". The shortened-condensed version of this is that our early ancestors had to rely on rushes of adrenaline to protect them against enemies and predators. When faced with danger our adrenaline rushes and we are capable of doing almost super human things (you've heard of the mom who is able to lift a car off her child or the hiker who is able to toss a boulder off their broken leg). In today's world we rarely have to flee from wooly mammoths or sabre tooth tigers but we still regularly have these rushes when faced with fear or panic. The problem is, if we're not running it out, all that energy manifests in our jaw, our neck, our back, our shoulders, creating things like numb fingers, chest pains, and migraines (all ailments of mine). So what do we do to empty our bodies of this excess lactic acid and built up tension? Run! Or exercise, yoga, meditation.

This week I will work on my breathing techniques. Also, I will be aware of holding tension in my muscles and put forth a little effort to get back into walking or some other form of exercise. I think I'll do a little more research on "Fight or Flight" too.

Thanks, Dr. Eve. I think this is going to be helpful.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What I Learned During Derby 2009

Now that I've had a couple of days to reflect, here are some of the things I learned during Derby 2009.

1. After 17 years together I still do not understand why my husband feels the need to celebrate Derby so intensely that he causes himself physical damage. It's almost as if the apologies and rehabilitation afterward are all a part of the Derby experience to him. I don't care how many books I read, I will never understand this.

2. Try as I may to avoid this, I am still way too concerned with what my husband is doing most of the time. I know I must focus on myself, but I continue to focus on him. But because of my awareness of this problem I have now discovered a strange phenomenon-- others are doing it too. I had a steady stream of emails and phone calls during the week with people asking me what he was doing, how much he was drinking, and how he was behaving. The big question: can my codependency make other people codependent????

3. I discovered I don't like it when other people tell me my husband is stupid. He isn't stupid, he is an alcoholic. When he drinks his behaviors become manic, over the top, and extremely annoying, but he isn't stupid. I guess it's like the boy who defends his little brother. I can criticize or fight with him, but I really don't like it when someone else does.

4. When my husband and I do argue, the same unresolved issues always seem to resurface, and they came out loud and clear this week. They need to be resolved once and for all.

5. My husband is not cured of alcoholism. I am not cured of codependency. We love each other but we have some issues. The good news is we love each other and we both want to be better. Better individuals, better parents, and a better couple.

I'm glad as hell it's over for another year. I have my first counseling session tomorrow. I hope this counselor is a good fit for me; I'm ready to move forward.

Friday, May 1, 2009

R.I.P. Skipper

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Wise Words

Today I got an email from my good friend Madison. It said "I read your blog. You are no hoarder. You are choosing to ignore the things you can control (cleaning up the clutter) because you are continuing to focus all your energy on things you cannot control."

So very simple. So very true.

It's Derby Eve and I'm now logging off the computer so I can start cleaning up some of the crap in my bedroom.

Thanks, Madison. That's the smartest thing anyone has said to me in awhile.