I looked up from my work when I felt the cool air on my face. The a/c had kicked on, in a delight of refreshing chilliness. My eye fell on a sign: "Feel the Tea Breeze!" I had to smile. Even I am one to take in and pay attention to what the signs around me say, from time to time.
I assume that what I choose to notice and pay attention to sheds some light on my mental state at that moment. Plumbing the unconscious depths and all that.
Obviously, today I wanted to feel relaxed and COOL. :)
It is silent in my house, and it is blissful. Well, almost silent. Only soft little noises wrap around me -- the snuffling of our guinea pigs, branches brushing each other in the breeze, the ring of the wind chimes.
I was supposed to be on a date with my husband. It's the weekend of three birthday parties in four days. When I found out the girls were sleeping at their friend's tonight, I imagined us out on a nice long date. Finally, a movie in a theatre. Maybe dinner. We would finally have privacy to have sex while we're both awake!
But it has been such a long, long week for me. For S, too. I was up past midnight last night, and I have dragged all day. When his friend invited S to a birthday bbq (yes, party #4) that downgraded to just a beer in the backyard, I encouraged him to go. It's good for S to get out with the guys. And I realized that I could have a girls-night-in.
I dumped my kids as fast as I could and got back to my kitchen. With today's clothes crumpled in the hamper, I have on my soft fleecy sleep pants and my stretchy black tank top. A plate of the best snacks is next to me -- cherries, cheese, mulberries, gourmet chips -- and condensation beads my chilled glass of white zinfandel. And I'm writing. Aaaahhhhhh......
So calm... I don't have to go anywhere or do anything. I don't have to watch the time. I don't have to pick anyone up. I'm surprised how good it feels to be solitary. Not because I don't love having my family around - I do, very much -- but just because I don't have to be responsible for anyone or anything. So nice.
I'm going to cue up old episodes of Mad Men, my new guilty pleasure, and curl up on the couch, and read, and eat leftover pizza, and later, popcorn. In a few hours, S will be home, and we'll try to at least get to one of the activities we anticipated.
And tomorrow we'll have a real, proper date. In public with a movie (maybe Avengers) and awakeness and driving and all.
Part of it is literally too much sitting still. My car was getting worked on today, so I was stuck sitting and working for a longer period than I usually choose. It was a good work day though; I got a lot done and almost made enough money to keep pace with the amount my car repairs required.
The cafe was pleasant and amusing. Now that they finally have their wifi up and running, I can go back and work there sometimes. It's just a hassle to work in places without internet access. I always need to look something up or check an email, it seems.
Partially, I'm restless because I feel like I have much more to do than time to do it in. Which isn't all bad. It's nice to be so busy.
I'm a bit bummed out about the car bill. Tomorrow I need to buy four new tires, and any day now, an entirely new transmission. Plus a few other large expenses have cropped up unexpectedly this month. I am trying so hard to have an actual savings account. I don't want to spend everything we earn!
Still, though, I can't complain about money and I know it. I've known for a long, long time that I am a terrible poor person. Seriously, I suck at being poor. I am no good at cutting back. I can't stick with a budget. I am not good at frugally and wisely parsing out my money. Somehow I am just way better at bringing money into my life. I just have that openness to material goods that attract them to me. Instead of cutting back, I just trust that more money will show up before I need it.
I know that that sounds like a crazy philosophy. No financial planner would ever consider that sound advice. And yet... the fact is that it works for me. And it keeps working. Over and over, money is there when I need it. For decades now, and through some really rough situations. So I've sort of learned to just accept that that's how it works best for me. Right now I'm looking for the new avenue to income that should be showing up next month as my fundraiser position winds down.
And, if anyone has actually read this far, can I just apologize for this post? This is SO not the kind of thing I want to be writing. This is pure mood relief here, pure processing of the last few days so that I can re-focus on my work and life tasks. But it's dull writing, and I know it. Sorry. I guess I could be more terse, or more focused, and cultivate an air of mystery. I could make my writing more scarce, and thus more valuable. But, like the money thing, I'm just not good at that. I am a creature of abundance and giving, of ebb and flow. I don't do well with holding back. Sigh. At least, I know myself, I suppose.
And I don't feel like I have the spare time to do anything much with creativity. Sure, with just a bit more effort, I could be crafting these thoughts into poems and stories. But this seems good enough. It gets me there. Whereever there is.
Which is often here. At least for the few moments that I take to write.
The coffeeshop I'm in right now seems to have been picked up from a small town somewhere in the Midwest of our great country, swirled 2000 miles, and dropped down, complete with local residents, in the middle of SoCal.
There's this great group of 50 - 70 year olds hanging out and shootin' the breeze. Overheard so far:
Discussions of Gout and remedies
"Now you're movin' from preachin' to meddlin'!"
"That went over as well as a ham sandwich in a synagogue."
A debate on the merits of corn on the cob versus frozen
"I don't have any squirrels so far, but I have rabbits and gophers. The gophers are terrible this year."
Since I've worked nonstop for the last five hours, now I get the little reward response of writing about my own life. :)
I took a polygraph yesterday; it was a surprisingly positive experience. Would it be weird to say that I enjoyed it as a very interesting event? The examiner was super and explained so much to me; he said that I am his very favorite kind of client - someone who comes in telling the truth completely and being straightforward. He said he hates, hates, hates doing infidelity cases. He feels like they're just a waste of time and money all around. So much so that he charges like three times his usual price just to dissuade people. He says he prefers to steer them to counseling.
Anyone who knows me will not be surprised that I sailed through a polygraph. Telling the truth is my biggest strength. And my biggest weakness. I have a horrible time with knowing when NOT to be an open book, just feeling like I can and should tell people anything about me. Not to say I'm one of those chatty types who sits down on a park bench and spills my life to a total stranger. But all of my friends and close acquaintances will know most of my backstory. To me, that's just the simple way - then I never have to hold back my comments or worry about referring to my own experiences. Most people only want to talk about their own lives most of the time anyway which suits me very well. I like listening and learning.
Anyway, I'll be writing more about my polygraph when I get a chance. I want to process it and capture it. I may write a memoir some day. Or, more likely, I'd love to do a bit of research and write a freelance article with a firsthand experience as the hook.
But I've pretty much been working nonstop since yesterday, and have a pretty busy weekend booked up, what with Mother's Day and all. Plus all these May birthdays. Why are SO many people born in May??? I'm not making up that we have another party to attend tomorrow. And then my girls are invited to three, yes, THREE, back to back parties next weekend. They will party from 6 pm Friday all the way to 6 pm Sunday. That's a tiring weekend social schedule. It's the price to pay for having so many friends!!!
My husband and I hope to sneak out and see The Avengers. I'm a huge Joss Whedon fan so I'm looking forward to some popcorn-and-cinema time. And sleep. My first goal for the weekend is sleep. My second goal is to wrap the loads of presents I've procured for our mothers. My third goal is to clean out my own closet. And, as usual of late, I have one proposal per day to finish, even through the weekend. It's this damn fundraiser I'm planning. It's taking all of my normal work/writing time. I've just spent six hours on it today alone. Thankfully, it takes place in three weeks. And then I'll be FREE!!!
(Okay, I'll probably still be pretty expensive actually. I'm really not very cheap to be around. But I'll have more time at my disposal.)
"The Magician is pictured here at the moment he is casting his spell. The magic wand in his hand is elevated as high above his head as possible and over his head the lemniscate underscores that the possibilities in all of this laying before him are infinite. The table represents bringing in our own constructs and belief systems into the natural world. We change the universe we live in with our perceptions. That each of the Tarot's suits is represented indicates that The Magician has the power and control over these things. Cups represent emotions, wands indicate creativity, pentacles are money and issues of the material plane, while swords represent the cerebral sphere of human activity and the verbal expressions inspired within that area. The Magician has domain over these areas of your life and is casting a spell to influence them. This is the card that indicates the ultimate level of control over your life and the events in it. This magician takes responsibility for who he is and what he can do; the objects representing the four Tarot suits are there on the table, he stands alone, nothing is hidden. The magic is in his supreme confidence over ruling the things in his domain that he knows he can control. The Magician is the Tarot's card of being genuine and open, and transparent in any interpersonal dealings. This is the card of making it happen because you practice what you preach. The Magician is the complete package.
In the present position, this card signals the urgency of a situation of which you must seize to take advantage. In this position, The Magician indicates that your ability to be yourself and impress the right person or people can have a big impact on the direction your life takes. The Magician in the present position is a metaphor for your free will and good luck combining in a rare opportunity to move way ahead in life. When this card is in this position, take your great leap forward."
I came across this today in the Los Angeles Times...
"Researchers at Harvard have gotten to the bottom of why so many of us are compelled to share our every thought, movement, like and want through mediums like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and Pinterest.
In a series of experiments, the researchers found that the act of disclosing information about oneself activates the same sensation of pleasure in the brain that we get from eating food, getting money or having sex. It's all a matter of degrees of course, (talking about yourself isn't quite as pleasurable as sex for most of us), but the science makes it clear that our brain considers self-disclosure to be a rewarding experience.
This may help explain recent surveys of Internet use that show that roughly 80% of posts to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook consist simply of announcements about one's own immediate experience..."
Safely back at home, with no more scuffling about seating around me, I am very happy to report that I have - finally!- finished that second LOI. That means I have completed the total amount of work I had to do for March and April. More will come, but for just this moment, I get a tiny pause, and a big sigh of relief. Whew.
I love my quiet house; I love my big, green desk; I particularly love my glass of chilled white wine which is making this work time a bit more civilized.*
It's true -- I have been heard in the past to exclaim: white wine is just a waste of grapes! But lately, there's just something so appealing about its cool, light flavor. It's perfect for a hot, muggy work day. See, there's another benefit of working at home!
*Respectful apologies for those of you who don't drink alcohol. I do, sometimes, other times I don't for long periods. If you never do, that's all to the good. I'm sure that substituting in some cold sparkling cider, a fancy glass of fizzy water, or even an icy mint tea would have the same impact. :)
While I am plugging away at these two LOIs I want to complete today - and wondering if my boss is mad at me because they weren't done last week and that's why I haven't heard from her lately - there are tense situations brewing at the ole B&N Cafe.
Apparently we are in the midst of a study rush. Competitive table jockeying is going on. A girl just forced her presence on a poor lady who was sitting alone. "Oh, are you just flipping through magazines," she said with a hostile tone. "I'm going to sit here, okay?" What could the poor lady say? Although it was clear she didn't like it. The girl swiped a chair from a nearby table and plonked her stack of textbooks down.
Then the people returned to their table, and wanted to know where their third chair had gone. Whoops. I quietly cleared everything off my extra chair which holds my laptop bag and stuff. I didn't want to get sucked in to the melee of chair grabbing. Apparently though, my age and intense typing makes me seem like I'm working hard, and thus, exempt from annoying. Good to know.
Seems like everything's settled now. You just never know where a dramatic scene is going to unfold. See, this is why I like the variety of public places.
I've been reconnecting with my therapist. I did a couple of seesions with him so he can re-evalute my progress and write a status report about me.
Man, is that fun?!
I'm also going to see him in a week or so for a huge comprehensive examanation that will "provide a diagnosis". Hopefully of nothing. I used to present with depression/anxiety, but that's under control for a long while so I don't think it will show up beyond the ordinary. I don't know if the test will be able to show "nothing" though so there will probably be some label. As long as it's benign, I don't care. Just one more step along the path.
It's been really nice to have a good excuse to see T again. Therapy is expensive in both time and money (my insurance doesn't cover it) so it's not something I feel the need to indulge in for years now. But T was important to me a few years ago. He did a good job and helped me grow a lot. So much that I don't feel the need for him. Ah, irony.
Those therapists like to talk about tricky stuff don't they? He didn't hold back in going right to the most painful part of my life and asking me to reflect on it now. He admitted that he was poking at me on purpose. I will say that he seemed pleased and surprised by how much perspective I've gotten. But for me, it really has become the distant past that doesn't have very much to do with the person I am today.
I mean, obviously the experiences of my past are incorporated within me, and have formed the person I am today, so I still have part of that person inside me. But I am very different than she was, and would not make the same choices, even in the same situations.
At one point we had a funny exchange. He thought I was in denial in the past about my past; I never thought I was in that much denial. I said, Hmm, maybe I'm in denial about having been in denial. Endlessly recursive.
Then he said, Why don't we discuss this more next week? (No, I'm just joking...)
He did help me to see that probably no one cares much about my life history besides me. They are probably all thinking about other things. I knew that, but it's still good to remind my ego that I don't matter all that much. Other people have other things to think about besides me!
Finally, it's Friday, and my week is winding down.
It's been a long one, but I've done a great job of staying caught up with everything life has given to me. Right now, I'm out and about, coordinating details for the upcoming fundraising event.
I'm currently hanging out at the event location, and making sure that the wifi connection here is reliable. I'm basically in the foyer to a large college lecture room. There's a long folding table, and one office chair, along with various couches and coffee tables. So I've set up this makeshift office right here. I have my laptop, my cell phone, files spread all around me on the table. I'm looking out the window at a trickling fountain filled with koi and lily pads. College students wander by occasionally and give me odd looks.
Otherwise, though, it's suprisingly peaceful and productive. It's really not a bad office at all. And the wifi is good, and everything is free. I didn't even have to buy a cup of coffee!
Well, it's Thursday. This week has been so busy I don't know where the time has gone.
It seems like I spend quite a few hours here and there working. In fact, most of my at-home hours go to one client or another. Having four major clients is a lot like having four separate part time jobs, and I feel like all I do is toggle back and forth between them.
So far, in my juggling act, I don't think I've dropped any of my balls. If I have, they've rolled out of sight and I haven't noticed yet. :)
Whenever a day gets hard, whenever I'm super-anxious, or feeling overwhelmed, or stressed, I know that all I need to do is sit back and let time pass. By waiting, I can let the feelings slip away. New, better feelings come to take their places. Always. I've learned that waiting is almost always better than acting too quickly and making mistakes.
By practicing calm, I welcome it into my life. And with it, contentment. Stability. Joy. Abundance. Yes, some days are hard, and some days are good -- that is the nature of life.
I have strategies that I actively use to bring myself balance. I walk outside; I watch funny tv; I phone friends and share. I exercise and I eat healthful, delicious food. If I need to, I don't hesitate to reach out for help to someone I know is in a more balanced place than I am. I've learned that sometimes it's just right to let friends or family help in making decisions.
I don't always have to do everything all on my own. I can hand over the responsibility to someone trustworthy for a while, and just take a break.
As I nurtured myself yesterday evening, instead of going out with a friend, I opted to sit on my couch, watching comedies and savoring an ooey, gooey chocolate caramel bar. It was sweet and salty and impossible to eat without drizzling over my fingertips, leaving a light sheen of sticky sugar.
While I opted out of stress, my phone was bringing other people's problems to me. First my friend and then her boyfriend were texting me about their relationship. This is my friend C, who's been dating two guys for the last year, much to everyone's continued dismay. They are both nice enough, but one of them, P, is so sweet and warm that S and I can't help thinking of him as a friend too. So when he texts me occasionally, seeking a shoulder to cry on or wanting advice, it puts me in a sticky spot.
Do I tell him what I think is best for him? Do I tell him what I think my friend C would want me to say? Plus I have to be loyal to her first, and not give away anything she has expressed to me in confidence. Plus, I'm not God. I don't know how or if their relationship should continue. That really needs to be up to them.
So last night I came up with a great solution. While telling P how much we like him, and how sorry I am for his pain, and generally supportive statements, I also suggested he seek advice from his good friend. I met M once and liked him a lot; I know he'll have P's best interests at heart. I'm pretty sure he'll tell him to just break up with a woman who can't decide to commit to him after a whole year of consideration. And that is probably good advice. No matter how awesome C may be, I think P can find someone who loves him as he is, with a lot less complication. So now, I don't have to say that, and possibly break my friend's heart. P can talk to M, and I can listen to and support C as she continues to try to figure out what it is she really is looking for from life.
I was very close to having a mini-meltdown yesterday and I knew it.
I knew it in the morning when I noticed how tired and drained I felt. I had spent almost six hours of Monday in conversation with various friends and family members, just a bit too much listening and talking for my energy level at the time. Yesterday, I came home from dropping off the girls already feeling rushed because it was an abbreviated minimum day and because I still had so many time-sensitive things to accomplish on my to-do list of life tasks. I knew I didn't have much time to relax and get things done. So my plan was to sit in absolute silence and concentrate.
And then my friend called. And I could tell it was urgent. And about me. And my anxiety level went through the roof.
As I've feared all along, her new boyfriend objects to my past. I've waited for a whole year as they've dated and gotten closer and more solid, waiting for a good time that has never come to broach the subject with him. At first, there was no point bringing it up because I didn't know if they'd last. Now, I hope they'll last because he seems like a great guy (except for his job) and the time had come. So I asked her to tell him. I'm not sure she picked a very good moment, and he didn't take this unexpected news well. Sigh.
So she felt bad, and I felt terrible. It pulls up all these emotions in me of fear, distrust, anxiety, terror, hopelessness, defensiveness and, of course, memories as well. The good part is that my reaction is predictable and I know how to simply ride it out by letting my emotions be what they are, and accepting them, while also nurturing myself. The uncertain part is how my relationship with her boyfriend - and thus with my good friend - will move forward from here. He could simply ignore it all and we drop it; he could process it and become closer to me; he could cut contact -- those have all happened to me before. I've worried all along that if he pulls away from me, it will be hard for her to be in the middle. But it had to happen sometime, so I guess I'm just as glad to get it done and find out where we are.
So I spent the rest of the day going through the motions of routine. And, now, today's a new day. I slept well; it's raining and gorgeous; and I am enjoying the soothing silence of my own calmer thoughts.