Thursday, November 29, 2012

Best Christmas Ever

I have very fond memories of Christmases when I was a kid. I would lie under the tree for hours, in awe of the colored lights reflecting off the silver tinsel. In those carefree days, I could tell you exactly how many gifts were marked with my name. I knew how they felt, how they sounded, and loved trying to guess what treasure they might contain.

This leads me to remember some of my all time favorite gifts from those days.

This is Dancerina. She was a hot item during the Christmas of 1968, which would have been my 5th birthday. I wanted her so badly. She was a big doll. At the time, she seemed as big as me. She had golden hair and a pink ballerina suit, with swell pink tights. She wore a pink plastic crown. When you maneuvered the crown, Dancerina would spin around. I was so thrilled to get her. I played with her non stop. But Dancerina met a quick demise. She got hold of some bad batteries. They corroded in her and she was ruined.I was so devastated,my parents got me a replacement Dancerina. That was great, but she didn't look, feel, or dance exactly the same as the original.

I loved that doll.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What I Do, What I Know, What I Think

Some people tell me I deserve more, and I continually settle for second best.
Some people tell me maybe I expect too much.

I follow my head, and I'm unfulfilled.
I follow my heart, and it usually ends up broken.

Sometimes I am very anxious.
Sometimes I am very sad.
Sometimes I feel hopeless.
Sometimes I feel paralyzed with fear.
Sometimes I feel very hopeful.
Sometimes I feel very happy.

I know that I over think.
I know that I often create my own chaos.
I know that I am good.
I know that I have a lot to give.
I know that I am very, very blessed.

I have chosen the life I have.
I have made some very bad choices.
I have made some very good choices.

I won't give up.
I will keep working.
I will keep learning.
I will keep growing.

Life is complicated.

God has promised me I am always exactly where I'm supposed to be; exactly where He wants me, right at this moment.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

That's A Good Question

Earlier this week, a good friend of mine said something to me that keeps resurfacing in my head. She asked if it was possible for me to ever be happy. Essentially, would I ever allow myself to be happy.

So I've been thinking about this question. I used to be happy. In fact, up until my early 20s, I rarely remember being unhappy. So did I physically change? Were anxiety and depression always simmering just beneath the surface, waiting for me to reach a physical age? Or did life experiences harden and jade me to the point where I learned to trust no one? Where I learned if I over analyzed everything, and stayed on guard at all times, no one could make a fool of me again. I would have supreme control to prevent that from happening ever again.

I'm pretty sure the life experiences, and my paralyzing fear of being duped again are to blame. Can I get past it one more time? Can I ever trust someone 100% again? Probably not. Will I ever allow myself to be happy again? Maybe. I don't know.

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Mom

I dreamed about my mother again last night. I went somewhere and saw her there. She looked good. Happy, healthy. But as usual when I have those dreams, I was frightened of her. After all, she's not supposed to be there.

I guess I'm thinking about my mom a lot right now with the holidays upon us. When I was young, my mom always cooked a big Thanksgiving dinner. My mouth would water, and I couldn't wait to snatch a bite of the turkey as my dad sliced it with the electric knife. It was always one of my favorite days. I would stuff myself to the point of absolute misery.

Back then there was no "Black Friday" to work yourself up over. There was no pressure to have Christmas decorations up for Thanksgiving. In fact, the only Christmas decorations we had all season, were a Christmas tree and some plastic electric candles in the window. Oh, and Mom would tape all the Christmas cards up around the door way. That was about it.

I wore my mom's Sicilian Hex ring today, just to feel close to her. Nothing has been the same since she's been gone. Strange things have happened to my family. Nothing she could have prevented really, just seems like with each passing year, things get more and more...complicated.

I know it's only natural for things to evolve and change. That's life. And for my kids, the way things are now is the norm. These are the Thanksgivings they will remember when they grow up. My son says it's his favorite holiday. He loves having the families together, and all the food. Now he and my daughter are the ones nibbling at the turkey before dinner. So while things are different from before, now I'm the mom, and new, happy Thanksgiving memories are being created with my own children.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Making A Budget

I'm on a mission. While I was on vacation, I did some spreadsheets, and took a close look at the family budget, and realized some serious changes have to be made. I have not received a raise at work for the past couple of years, so my income is not adjusting with everything around me that is continuing to cost more and more. Our family's cell phone bill used to be about $150 per month. Now it is nearly $300 per month. Our gas & electric bill used to be about $150. Now it averages around $300. The cable/phone/internet bundle is now about $190 per month. Some changes have to be made. For starters, I discontinued the land line phone. I've had a lot of people tell me I'll be sorry in the event of an emergency, but my close neighbors still have one, and I'm sure I could use theirs if cell phone towers were inoperable. I also discontinued our home security service. I hope this will not prompt anyone to come break in my house. I downgraded our cell phone minutes. I cancelled the part of Netflix that allows me to receive DVDs. These changes have saved me about $100 per month. It's a start.

Next, my coworkers and I usually go out for Happy Hour on Fridays. We've decided to start bringing our own booze, and taking the party to someone's house. This has potential to save a bunch of money, but comes at a big price. Kids don't care if Mommy is having Happy Hour. If Mom is in the house, they still want things. Plus, I have another very large obstacle when it's my turn to host the party. If Mr. Hyde decides to rear his ugly head, which he usually does, my friends become very uncomfortable. So while this idea saves about $80 per month, I'm not sure it's going to work. This money saver is still up in the air.

I'm still working on ways to cut back. Eating out is going to be a major one. I realized I spent $13 this past Monday, on coffee, fast food lunch, and a dessert from the little bakery down the street. Doing that every week day adds up to a whopping $260 per month. This does not include family pizza night, and carry out on Saturday nights, which typically adds up to about another $250 per month.

I have a couple more places I can cut luxuries out of the budget, but first I want to see how these changes affect us.

But there are some luxuries I'm holding on to for dear life. I spend about $50 per month getting my nails done. I really want to hang on to that one.

So if anyone has any good budget tips, please share them.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Back To Reality

Today is the final day of my two week sabbatical. As usual, it was a much needed break from work, and day to day routine. Going back to the real world tomorrow actually feels a little scary to me. For two weeks I haven't had to feel rushed or overwhelmed. I have been able to sort through a lot of emotions and feelings, and I made progress: at least in a couple of areas.

I'm trying very hard to take some advice Kitty gave me. To live in today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow, or next week, or next year. Just think about where I am today, and what I need to accomplish in this day. Just like AA--one day at a time. Easy does it. Only for today.

Life is continuing to present me with sometimes big challenges. Of course it does; I am still living with an alcoholic. Every time I hear the garage door open, there is a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, wondering who will walk through the door. Will it be Dr. Jekyll? Will it be Mr. Hyde? That is never going to change as long as we live under the same roof. And that is a choice I have made, at least for now. So I will keep coping. I will keep living in this day. I will take care of myself and my kids, and to hell with the rest. I will live my own life, and I will try my hardest not to be affected by Mr. Hyde's screwed up world of insanity. I will stand firm by my decisions, which were not made lightly. I will never go back. I will keep moving forward, no matter how hard it is some days. I will continue to pray for guidance. I will trust my decisions. I will continue counseling, and to rely on my friends, who mean the world to me.

That's where my head is today.