January Jumps By

Digging out of the Snowzilla ’16 took a week.  A week without work, without school, without anywhere to go and no desire to go anywhere.  I spent my time pleasantly reading, knitting, watching tv and ventured out only to walk my dog.  I halfheartedly uncovered my car but didn’t get any form of cabin fever at all.  I need the downtime replenish my soul.

I am the unusual being known as a social introvert.  I am gregarious, the life of the party and love to mingle and engage with people.  But I gain my energy and nourishment of my soul from being alone and introspective and solo. My kind of downtime is a week of snow days………the weather precluded any pretense at meeting up with anyone and left me to my own devices and that was grand.

By Thursday two things had happened. I developed bacterial bronchitis and wanted to see my boyfriend.  We spent Thursday night and some of Friday together mostly on the couch doing nothing.  Marvelous.  Yesterday I felt slammed by the bronchitis and today I’m just exhausted and have to go back to work tomorrow. Still I’ll take a week of snow days any day!

20160124_092107_resized

Snowzilla

The dog and I are snowed in and the snow is unrelenting.  Well over 2 feet. Probably more.20160123_175739_resized20160122_221234_resized 20160122_144105_resized20160123_175203_resized

 

 

 

And lots of blowing and drifting.  So far I’m snug as a bug.  Electricity has stayed on.  I’ve binged watched Hallmark movies and other trash, finished and started a new scarf, started another book and have lazed about.  It is great.  My only sadness is that I’m not snowed in with my boyfriend who is stuck plowing for the duration.  He is trying to take naps and stay fresh but the snow has just not stopped.  He is pushing a plow on a pick up truck and has lost traction and got stuck a few times.  The amount of snowfall is historic.  My apartment is garden style so the breezeway has been filled with snow……

I took my dog out several times and let him do what he needed but yikes the snow is incredibly deep and drifting.

Continuing my So-Called Life

While I have met an amazing man and we are spending a lot of time together I have not stopped living my own peculiar and amazing life.  I wasn’t waiting around for him to appear to rejoin the living.  I was living with purpose ever since I left my husband.  And it has been a good ride thus far…..bumpy at times but it is my one and only life.  

So in that spirit today is a fun day getting garbed up in medieval clothes and driving (hey it is called the Society for Creative Anachronism for a reason) to Silver Spring for a banquet and night of merriment called Feast of Fools.  It is to celebrate 12th Night and banish the winter doldrums.  I am acting as troll for the first time which means I am the first person to greet you and sign you in and double check membership status etc.  We have 55 gentles registered with no seats available at the door which is so gratifying for our humble little shire.

FEAST OF FOOLS

The Feast of Fools (also called the Feast of Misrule) is a traditional festival celebrated at Twelfth Night.  At the Feast of Fools, the world is turned upside down.  The powerless have power and the powerful become common. Join us for a night of raucous revelry and feasting.

King Bean and Queen Pea (The Lord and Lady of Misrule) will be selected in the traditional manner to preside over the feast.

There will be audience participation.  It will not be required, but may be difficult to avoid.20151010_112609_resized_1

As the magic fades the hurt moves in

It really was a marvelous Christmas except for one thing…….his gift-giving skills are horrible, under-developed and hurtful.   I outspent him and out thought him.  He wasn’t exactly thoughtless but so totally clueless and didn’t think things through.  Or he thought something would be amusing and it was horrible.  I’m crushed and while we have talked;  I have a terrible urge to hurt him back to make him realize that simply saying “I’m not good at giving gifts” isn’t going to work. I am embarrassed and hurt and as the magic of the four days fade the hurt is rising to the surface.    

  • A stuffed Hanukkah Bear-yes really!  to me, on Christmas!  I’m Methodist and go to church most Sundays.  I pledge, volunteer at my church’s fair booth and have bought baked goods at church that we later took to a party together.  I’m Christian!   His reasoning for the bear? He thought it would be funny and wanted to acknowledge that I know a lot about Judaism.  Okay I do.  I grew up in New York and many of my friends are Jewish. I know a lot of things about a lot of things…….but a Hanukkah Bear? 
  • A gift certificate to his favorite coffee place.  I drink tea.  The coffee place is near his house, and for fun he had the amount customized to remind me how old I am. Then he tells me he gave another gift certificate to his other girlfriend as well.  Customized for her age to remind me she is younger.  Little tip- don’t give your girlfriends the same gift-especially if one doesn’t even drink coffee!! 
  • A gift certificate for car washes.  Yes, the romance on that gift was huge.  He says it was to allow me to have my car detailed and washed.  Never mind that the gift was late, not even in a box or wrapped; did I mention it was given after Christmas? And for those playing along that makes two gifts that were essentially money.  No thought at all.  
  • Two videos.  I am a book lover and love to read.  I didn’t even have a DVD player or a big tv so the videos will have to be watched on my laptop and while they are fun movies (children’s movies that I did enjoy watching the first time) neither screams I love you or I know you or even I thought about it much.
  • Two bags of candy. I confess I do have a penchant for dark chocolate peppermint pretzels, which is  a seasonal treat. But he didn’t even bother to get the right kind. How many stores did he check?  Did he think it wouldn’t matter? Oh, and the fat girlfriend gets movies and candy to sit on the couch and get fatter.  The other gal?  An exercise tracker for her wrist that will serve as a constant reminder of his thoughtfulness. Refurbished true, but still.  

To his credit he was a bit abashed by my response but as the days have gone by and he has gone back to work I find my hurt and disappointment growing instead of lessening.  I am really worried about this colossal fail and am struggling to regain my equilibrium.  And dread the thought of Valentine’s Day in six weeks.

So what did I want?  I’ve thought about it and I know now that never in a million billion years could he have guessed.  I wanted a ring.  Not just any ring.  A ring that would reflect that we were two separate people and yet together.  A sailor’s ring. In silver. Less than the price of the coffee certificate and full of meaning.   I better start letting this hurt go. I’ve got a lot of work to do.133087804

The Merriest of Merry!

I’m sitting in my living room eating a slice of my mother’s cranberry nut bread and sipping a mug of tea.  The fire is on and the dog is by my side. Birds are swooping in to eat at the feeder on my deck and my tree is twinkling.  I am having a marvelous Christmas………I got home from my boyfriend’s house around 7 am and promptly took a nice long nap. My  poor sweetheart had to go to work and I didn’t. Yeah for teaching. Yeah for naps!
We had been together since Christmas Eve, two days at my house and then two more at his house.  Everything was just perfect. I cooked a lovely vegan Christmas Eve dinner, Portobello Wellingtons with a wine reduction sauce served over over field greens and baked sweet potatoes. We went to the candlelight service at church-walking since it was nearly 70 degrees. Christmas morning was so special……..first time in five years that I didn’t wake up alone. Opening presents and sipping tea feeling overwhelmed by happiness.
Later on we met friends and saw Star Wars (I loved it in 3D and thought it was great and I’m no SW fanatic) and then out to dinner with them for Chinese food.  After coming home and walking my dog we went to good friend’s for a dessert party.  She surprised us with an awesome Diet Mountain Dew Tree (MH favorite power drink) and adorned with peppermint patties…….my signature candy obviously.  
 20151225_203114_resized
Saturday morning we leisurely made our way up to his house and then I headed over to my daughter and son in law’s for a second Christmas. She is not quite ready to meet MH but it will have to be soon as just about everybody else has. 

20151228_144809_resized

Still no baby news and I’m trying to be patient.  They are both trying to slim down a bit and being more healthy in their activity and diet.  I see that as a positive turn.  Her gifts were awesome and she gave me a copy of The Snowman and the Snowdog.  A new video based on the characters from Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman.  Which I have adored and watched multiple times every Christmas for over twenty-five years.  It is also a tradition to watch it in my classroom on the last day of school before Christmas break.  I pop popcorn, put it in little paper bags and pull their chairs up to the screen.  I put the Promethean board on and watch as they sit transfixed, munch popcorn while I write thank you notes for the gifts from the parents (several gift certificates and a lovely bottle of wine!)
I had not heard of a new video and she knows me so well.  We put it in the dvd player thinking to have it as background but soon the three of us were transfixed ourselves.  My heart was nearly bursting.  Her brother and her father had been up to them the day before so I wasn’t expecting to see him.  My mother did get a text from my son saying he loved her and asking if he could come visit…. so hopeful signs are still just enough for me to not despair.  Overall the visit was great and except for some heartburn (the traditional quiche is too rich for me now that I’m more vegetarian/vegan. Well, except for an occasional sloppy hamburger and steak if someone is buying :-).
Sunday the weather was still unseasonably warm and MH and I headed  downtown for dinner and to wander around holding hands and acting like senior citizens in love.  Oh wait we are! The streets were busy with families and couples out enjoying the weird weather.  I love the store windows and lights…..and the overall vibe of people out and about.
And now it is Monday and I’m still glowing with happiness and feeling pretty amazing.  The only misstep was his Christmas gift which did not hit the mark he was hoping for and left me confused and a little bit hurt. Especially since I had had such fun shopping and plotting for him. The difference?  We dealt with it head on instead of letting it stew…..I am brave enough in this relationship to tell him how I really feel and not sublimate my feelings. And he knows me well enough to realize that something was off.   So we talk and we both feel better, learn a lot and move on. So amazing!
So Christmas 2015 was and is fantastic.  He  is a large part of it. He keeps telling me my job is to ‘enjoy’ because “I’m worth it.”  I am starting to believe it!  But part of my happiness is also the love of my friends, my family, and the end of the financial insecurity of the bankruptcy. I have so much abundance in my life and I’m so grateful.  

 

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time

With my apologies to Sir Paul I must co-opt his lyrics because I am simply having a wonderful Christmas Time and it is only December 7th. There is a lightness in my heart and a spirit of joyfulness that was missing from my celebrations of the past few years.  And it is no big mystery of why I feel this way. I’m in love.  There I said it.  I am saying it to my beloved and it is less and less awkward with each repetition. Better yet I feel loved in so many ways.  He gets me.  We laugh a lot.  A lot.  We have serious talks and discussions the most amazing range of topics.  We are not completely alike but we connect in so many wonderful ways.  I didn’t think I would ever feel this way again.

Of course there are wrinkles to be smoothed out.  No one gets to this point in their life without a few foibles and my daughter is struggling to see her mother in a new relationship.  The awkwardness with my son continues but my financial woes have lessened and my burdens feel less burdensome.

So this is Christmas and I’m in the mood for fun.  Parties, gifts, swirling lights and music playing…..rejoice!20141207_192808

Caregiver Guilt

I don’t know why I didn’t figure this out before tonight but the knowledge has me reeling.  When I left my Hex-husband five years ago, the divorce process exacerbated and hastened his mental health decline.  It honestly never occurred to me that by leaving him his care would fall and fall heavily on my children.  I had to get out to save myself and keep my sanity. I have struggled but mostly I have conquered my fears and thrived.

My son lives with him and has been estranged from me since I left.  But now I am reframing his dropping out of college and not getting a job as being the primary caregiver for his mentally ill father.  My daughter has had to shoulder a lot of the care and worries constantly about her father.  She is less worried about me and knows I have a strong support system of friends, co-workers and most importantly, my family.  It sounds like his family has not been involved and the kids are on their own trying to keep him safe.  So damn painful to hear.  And this just never occurred to me.  My babies are taking care of their father and he is so ill that he doesn’t see the damage he is causing.  Stifling my son’s growth and burdening my daughter.  He isn’t being helped by his current therapist and obviously he is in much worse shape than I imagined.  I am just so sad. And there is nothing I can do to help.