Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's a Puzzlement

Now my dang father looked at the blog and I think he must have read about Double Wide and ShatAKing. Jeez. The poor man's going to have another stroke and every one will say it was all my fault.

He was looking because I told him that somebody in Australia had googled the phrase, "you can't skate in a buffalo turd" and landed back in the archives because I had quoted one of my dad's favorite songs. Roger Miller sang it years ago, and Dad used it to illustrate his favorite lesson to us kids during our formative years.

You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd
But you can be happy if you put your mind to it

This is basic Albert Ellis REBT (rational emotive behavior therapy) which is rather like the Bob Newhart school of psychotherapy. It works for some people quite well. I used to know someone who swore by it. While I think it's absolutely true that Everything is Decisional, REBT is too confrontational for me, but my ids are damaged.

Today I'm wondering if somebody is playing me like a violin.
Not Velvet - no one has to wonder if he's playing me.

I'm also wondering who it is that looks at this blog every day from Macintosh equipment using Verizon Internet Services in New York. It's so unlike a Mac user to sign up for a Verizon product that I'm thinking somebody with a lap top is using the neighbor's wireless connection.

My father thinks it's Buzz Kill's lawyer. I doubt it because if Buzz Kill were paying someone to check on things over here - he'd have to actually PAY the person. Never happen. So I have a little mystery on my hands.

If the visitor were searching for Crusty Panties I wouldn't give it a second thought because somebody from somewhere in the world stumbles across this blog every day because they googled Crusty Panties - or worse. Bokonism gets a lot of attention too. It should because of all the religions I've ever studied, it's the only one that makes perfect sense all the time. No. This person first showed up in early October googling "menopausal stoner." Note there's no S. S/he uses the same keywords every time. That's what happens when you can personally account for nearly the whole audience. Could be someone with whom I corresponded a bit via Plenty of Fish - never actually met him, but I mentioned the blog. Or it could be an actual stalker. Unlikely, but it happened to one of my lovely girlfriends.
It's a puzzlement.
Yul Brynner, The King and I

Friday, November 28, 2008

Solitary Holiday Denoument

As it happens, Velvet wandered in at about 9:00 so I did not remain solitary. I wasn't strictly sober, and I'm pretty sure he wasn't either. He knocked down my weed grower in Vermont idea right away saying with absolute certainty that it's just as illegal to grow weed in Vermont as it is illegal to grow it here. In my mind, that's a crying shame. It should be absolutely legal to grow weed in Vermont and in Oregon - but nobody ever consults me on important issues.

Last night was not the first time I thought it would be a good idea to move to Vermont. I tried to talk Buzz Kill into it for years, but he wouldn't leave his mother. That's one explanation, anyway. He's not much of a risk taker these days, although many moons ago not long before we met, Buzz Kill used to climb frozen waterfalls for kicks. He and some buddies hitch hiked to British Columbia to climb some big glacier. Buzz Kill was a rugged hot dog back in the day.

When he came in, Velvet was very chatty and bouncing off the walls because he had two date possibilities for the night. I was resting, so he plopped up in the bed with me, played annoying music on his Blackberry - first "Smoke that Tumbleweed," which I'll admit is funny even though it's awfully raunchy and should never be played around your mother. The other one, "Technologic" by Daft Punk, definitely made my head hurt.

Velvet was in very high spirits due to having two girls calling him in one night and started dancing laying down on the bed so he wound up looking like Timmy on South Park except in real life Velvet looks much more like Evil Spock. Now that I think about it, Evil Spock might dance a lot like Velvet since no matter how you slice it, Spock is a geek. Velvet used to move so beautifully that I thought he'd be some sort of performer. He has the ability to tell a whole story in a gesture - I would wax poetic about it except for there was no balletic pathos involved. More like Jim Carey.
When Velvet started taking Mime in third grade, he dragged himself around the living room pretending to have been bitten by a rattle snake. So imagine Evil Spock, curlier more stylish hair, dragging himself across the floor like he'd been bit by a rattle snake, thrashing about like Timmy.

No wonder the privileged girls from the East Side are chasing him. It's a little bit like that movie Metropolitan and Velvet would be the poor kid from the West Side. Luckily for Velvet, his father pays the child support (sort of) and his mother is indulgent, so he has some disposable income for party supplies and taxis. I would say he has money enough for weed, but it upsets my mother when I say things like that.

In the end, he disappointed one female and the other one disappointed him. That's life and love for sure. It was a good thing Velvet came home because I may have gotten looped and started Drunk Dialing. I was nostalgic for a couple of old friends - must have been nostalgic about a lot of things since I was remembering Gayle the Hillbilly Hustler fondly. That's holidays for you.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Solitary Holiday II

I'm killing time waiting on the little red popper to pop out from the turkey breast. It could happen any minute leaving me free to go back to bed while the corn bread I baked this morning gets stale enough to make into dressing. The cranberry sauce is chilling. I'm not sure if I'll make green bean casserole today or wait until Velvet gets home. The mashed potatoes are definitely waiting for Velvet.

Today I've been eating all the pecans out of the pie we got at Trader Joe's on Sunday. That half the pie remained tells us all it wasn't a particularly good pie, but the pecans coated with a bit of sweet filling were tasty. In a way, it was a bit of successful holiday dieting.

I've been wondering lately about Rhonda Gayle, who was going kick my ass from here to China if I called her "Rhonda Gayle" out loud in front of real people. I freely admit that woman could have kicked my ass solid. Not that I wouldn't have put up a noisy ruckus that would have had the neighbors summoning security - which was what I was trying to avoid.

But I wonder if Gayle and me would still be friends if I hadn't have seen her panties. If Gayle had lived in her own place, instead of a hostel, we would certainly still be friends because Gayle's childhood trauma trumped mine. And I tell you what: mine was bad. It's probably sick and twisted that I look upon it as some sort of hierarchy of bullshit - but what can I say? It's the result of my sick and twisted upbringing - in which I'm happy to say my mother was an innocent bystander.

**Sidenote** 420 Magazine wishes everyone a Hempy Holidays.

Maybe now that there is a snowball's chance in Hell of weed getting decriminalized, I should consider becoming a weed grower in Vermont. Velvet is the picture of a Weed Engineer. I'm so proud. Al Gore would be proud. I know my mother would be proud once she got used to the idea that I was a weed grower and novelist writing about my Texas Gothic Upbringing.

It sounds like a good personal goal. We're already well connected within the Hippie Dippy Quaker, Skinny Dipping, Organic Farming Camp in Vermont. Then last summer, when Velvet was on a trek in the Rockies, he met a young fellow who knows medicinal growers in Vermont. I'd move back to Texas and grow weed if I could, but until it's legal in Texas to grow Marijuana, I'll be dreaming of being a grower in Vermont.

**Side Note** When in Vermont, Menopausal Stoners recommends The Salt Ash Inn.

Let the record show that I have cooked a simple, juicy, delicious bird. The meat rips from the bone with just the slightest tug of my teeth. No sterling silver table settings here. No table settings at all.

Now I'm killing time until the dressing comes out of the oven. It's very simple, too. The cranberries are a bit complex with ginger and nutmeg. This dinner has only the dishes I like best, made exactly the way I like them, served at exactly the time I feel like eating with no one else in mind at all whatsoever. A delightful milestone.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Solitary Holiday

I've elected to spend Thanksgiving alone. Velvet will be with Buzz Kill over in Brooklyn with some family friends. They are a nice family, but I'm glad to miss the whole thing because the wife is one of those trust fund kids who lives in an Alternate Universe. Some years ago - before Velvet was born - Buzz Kill and I attended a birthday party at her father's East Hampton "cottage" which is down the street from Steve Martin's or Billy Joel's or somebody like that. I joked to everyone in Texas that I felt like I had been trapped in the J. Crew catalog. Low and Behold, a couple of months later, the J. Crew catalog appeared in my mailbox using that very same wrap around porch and lawn for location shots. They even used the birthday boy's vintage Toyota Land Cruiser in one of the photos.

So I don't mind that divorce has eliminated that social connection. I have invitations from friends, and I'm cooking anyway so we have leftovers which in my view is the best thing about Thanksgiving. Velvet will surely want a pecan pie or two. But like Greta Garbo in Grand Hotel, I want to be alone.

Lest anyone think I am not appropriately "in the spirit," please be advised that the terrace is festooned with colored lights. New ones multi-colored strands wrapped around the white twinkle lights that have been there since the summer. I am as jolly as anyone. I simply want to be quiet.

I suppose this solitude is an exercise in getting ready for the Empty Nest. I'd be more concerned about it except down in Houston, my sister in law decided Thanksgiving Dinner is a pain in the ass and is having a cocktail party instead. Not a bad idea. My mother is thinking about painting the living room ceiling. My brother and my dad have to work. Bubba (that's baby brother in the language of the Nascar) always has to shoot some football game on Thanksgiving so for years my folks have met him at a Black Eyed Pea near where ever he has to be.

I've been thinking about going to a movie by myself since I've never done that before. My mother wouldn't permit it because when she was a kid, she went to the movies alone and some perv sat down beside her and exposed himself.

With all the encouragement from the other night, I should write the book. I got side tracked from NaNoWriMo for several familiar reasons - the most important being that I have to deal with traumatic childhood shit and I don't feel like doing that when Velvet is around since sometimes I sob until snot runs down my face during the process. He was supposed to go over to Buzz Kill's tonight but now he's decided to finish his college applications (!) instead which means we'll be watching the season finale of True Blood.

I know what this sudden interest in finishing the applications is about. He's interested in going out with a female. He's been interested in this young woman for a while, but he doesn't see her often because she goes to a girls' school on the East Side. He knows her through friends that have mostly all gone away to college. As it happens, however, he ran into her last night and he not only remembered her name - he got her number. She even called him this morning while we were at Trader Joe's. I know damn well he wants his long weekend free and clear to pursue this young woman who he wisely said reminds him of me. Unfortunately that was after I said, "Oh I remember her - the cute one whose name you always forget? Likes to party, kind of ditzy?"
"Yeah, Mom. She reminds me of you except she's more stable."

Little Bastard.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

When Your Entire Emotional Gestalt is Fucked Up

Reading at KGB was good, and I was especially delighted to receive much encouragement and support from very funny, accomplished writers. It's always intimidating for me to be at KGB because I'm not published - unless you count the Internet and I don't since any fool can self-publish here. Let me pause a moment to toot my little horn at being mentioned on Of Course I Could Be Wrong, a very thoughtful, provocative, witty blog written by a fellow called The Mad Priest because he is a priest. Whether or not he is mad is not for me to determine. Just because I was in a loony bin does not mean I am a qualified shrink any more than seeing a movie means I can write a screen play. I dated a guy once who actually said he could write a screen play because he'd seen lots of movies. Not Surprisingly, he was a Leo.

The reason I'm humbled and proud is that all the blogs from Mad Priest's that I visited were thoughtful, provocative and funny. Lots of them are written by people who are paid by somebody to think and talk philosophically and theologically for the good of society and humankind itself.

So while their minds are at work for the good of humankind, I'm just sitting here congratulating my son on finally having the ability to settle the often debated question of who would win if Batman fought Superman. Velvet can now settle this debate once and for all with his new video game. That's what he's doing at this very moment as he spends his time productively before going to visit his grandmother, Buzz Kill's mother, Vagina Dentata.

Vagina Dentata is wonderful to Velvet. She loves Velvet through and through which makes Vagina Dentata okay in my book despite her ongoing interference in my marriage which Buzz Kill not only permitted but enabled. I enabled her drinking, but in my opinion, she was much easier to take after she and I both had two or three glasses of wine. Once she got into her fourth glass, though, she was a drag.

But back to KGB
The thing is that I've been feeling overwhelmed and vulnerable for some days and reading made it worse. Facing the demons in your past and recognizing how you're fucked up because of them and worse - how you've fucked up with other people as a result -- is a big, fat bummer.
I'm not thinking about my marriage to Buzz Kill here, although there are plenty of episodes where my bullshit made things 100% worse. The fact is that I'm not sorry to be divorced from Buzz Kill and I'm not sorry for anything I did - except it did hurt his feelings when he unwisely but predictably read a story I had written that was in the trash about the date with a black man with a dick like a maglite.

Then there is also the fact that Kimberly, half of the film making team responsible for Why We Wax, is in Amsterdam right now with the documentary. A local sex shoppe rather like Toys in Babeland held a pubic hair symposium the other night and Kimberly was a Sexpert for the occasion. She posted about the whole thing over at The Nervous Breakdown. I'm excited for Kimberly - especially since she got on TV so maybe more folks will head over to the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam, see the film and give it another award. There's nothing I'd like better than to ride somewhere fun on Kimberly's coattails since I'm in the film.

That's not what makes me jealous. I'm jealous because her mother read the post - despite being warned against it in the first line - and wrote a nice comment about how proud she was of her daughter. I wish my mom would do something like that. Unfortunately, I'm pretty convinced that the more she knows, the more my mother thinks I'm running Perv Central over here at Menopausal Stoners World Headquarters.

I can't help it if my mother declared Bill Clinton a pervert just for getting a blow job from Monica Lewinsky. Like many people, Mother probably concluded Hillary would never participate in such a nasty, lowbrow activity and thinks better of Hillary for it. That most of those people are lesbians and think Hillary is too is a separate topic. The point is my mother might think I'm a pervert and Kimberly's is proud of her even though Kimberly was standing in the middle of a shoppe full of anal beads and more talking about pubic hair dye, etc.

Mother is proud that people who I don't know have become regular readers of the blog. She's proud of my "connection" to Bill Ayers, too. When I think about it, she's proud of a lot of things and, in point of fact, even though she is often a bit wigged out at first about some stuff, she usually mellows out fairly quickly.

I'm beginning to think that I hear criticism and disapproval from my mother when none is there on account of some incidents in my history which had absolutely nothing to do with her - although I'm certain she would blame herself because she's a Good Mother, and that's what we do: Blame Ourselves.

Realizing that my entire emotional gestalt is fucked up sucks. It's not my fault because it's the result of shit that went down in preschool. Having come to an understanding of the situation as a grown up, though, I have a responsibility to correct it as best I can. Everything is Decisional, and having decided not to be an emotional cripple, there is work to be done.

Since I'm a resilient sort, it won't be long before I'll be out of my pajamas ready to put the fun back in dysfunctional. Somebody at KGB told me I made suicide funny. I suppose that's an accomplishment. Holding my own on a night where both other writers had awards, films, HBO specials, appeared on Leno and shit like that is an accomplishment too.

I have to remember that the main reason I'm not published is because I've never sent anything out for consideration anywhere - and that's because my emotional gestalt is all fucked up.
I'm going back to bed now.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Shakitking Strikes Again

That dumb ass ShatAKing, aka the Wall Street Rock Star, tried to post a mean spirited comment about his wife this morning. At least I think it was him. Sounded like an petulant married man trying to justify his adultery by saying his wife is an angry woman.

I'll bet she is angry if he's pretending to be separated and hitting on women on the Internet. Sheesh! What does he expect? He's lucky she hasn't had his balls for breakfast while sitting on top of a pile of money he thinks is his.

There was a time, back during my divorce crazies, when I was exploring the world of for when Monogamy becomes Monotony.  During that time, I ran across Double Wide who had the biggest ass I ever saw on a man.
Double Wide was married with two sons - one at Brown and one about to graduate from High School. He'd been married for years. His wife's photo was in his office. I know because he had me meet him there one evening before we went out to dinner. He was a partner in some little marketing company.
He had numerous complaints about his marriage and just as many tales of his expertise in business. As a trade off for a fancy expense account dinner, it was my job to listen to them as well as to tell him how smart he was. Double Wide wanted to have cybersex with me from his office in the basement of his Westchester contemporary home.
I was never particularly impressed with him because he thought it was a big deal to buy his wife's jewelry at Fortunoff. That seems Amazingly Cheap on his part considering the pudgy, self-absorbed bastard was using his webcam to send me live action video of himself in a red thong. Imagine a big fat ass and bigger jelly belly spilling out of a red thong. I'll never forget that image coming across my old Yahoo IM account complete with the little one eyed snake rearing up to spit a load.
The things that can come into your house now with the advent of the Internet is really amazing. Shout out to Al Gore for thinking it up, although I'm not sure cybersex is what he had in mind.

Double Wide told me he masturbated next to his wife in bed every night, leaving the sheets wet, because she wouldn't have sex with him. No wonder she wouldn't. She was probably holding out for Cartier - and it was going to be a long, damn wait.

These were the sort of distractions I arranged for myself while trying to get divorced from Buzz Kill. I pretended to like Double Wide - even to myself . What the hell - Buzz Kill was watching Star Gate reruns for hours at a stretch. We were both cordially ignoring each other so we could peacefully co-exist.
According to his best friend from grade school, Double Wide was probably a sex addict and addicted to Internet porn.  Double Wide had arranged for me to communicate with his friend because he had a fantasy.  When the friend told me the tale of wild nights that he and Double Wide had with a female who lives in Las Vegas, I put the kibosh on said fantasy tout de suite.

The truth is that head exploded. That was all cool, though, because I could displace all that anger which should have landed on Buzz Kill due to marital dysfunction right onto Double Wide's big ass. Despite a few tears, I thought my coping mechanisms were brilliant. And as a result of that experience, I was a little wiser when I ventured onto Plenty of Fish.

In any case, the point is that ShatAKing must be cognitively impaired in addition to deluded and arrogant if he thinks I'm allowing him to justify his foolishness on the blog. I might feel differently if his last version of the Plenty Of Fish profile had not been dominated by some lonesome Bruce Springsteen lyrics in a transparent attempt to seem sensitive. He didn't even revise the rest of his statements to seem less impressed with his sexual accomplishments, which in my view, thoroughly undermined the sentiments of the song. Given his bravado, I'm betting whatever he accomplished was mostly in his own mind, all alone with some cyber friend in his own basement office. We can only hope he didn't have on string bikini briefs.

The few pages concerning him in the archives have been visited so many times and from so many locations that it looks like someone sent the link around to her friends and family. I figure having the posts on hand suited her purposes, so I sit here looking at the Analytics statistics, speculating on the unfolding drama in the suburbs. It's sort of poetic justice when someone can see that a myth he tried to perpetrate via Internet dating - that he's a sophisticated, wealthy, misunderstood romantic looking to spread his sensual bliss around the breathlessly waiting women of New Jersey - has backfired and now some bitch in her pajamas is making fun of him on her little blog.

But hey - that's what happens to a married man who tries to leave an anonymous comment about his wife on Menopausal Stoners.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Facing an Empty Nest or Life Without Velvet

This morning during our weekly phone call, my father said that Hillary Clinton should be Barak Obama's first appointment to the Supreme Court. "Great idea," I said. "Your mother thought of it." So much for Dad's first political statement here at Menopausal Stoners.

Actually, that's about all the energy I have for politics today anyway. I still get teary whenever I see Barak Obama. Seeing him reminds me that if he could overcome all those obstacles to be president, think of everything each of us could accomplish if we tried - and what the country can accomplish if we work together. I'd be completely fucking optimistic if I weren't bummed out about Velvet leaving me in an empty nest.

All this time I've been thinking about how I define myself by revolving around a man - and the one I revolve around most is Velvet. It's just I forget he's a man now. He didn't used to be and he still barely counts as a man. With his stylish hair cut and van dyke whiskers he looks kind of like a Jewish Evil Spok. He's only a quarter Jewish, but as one of my neighbors on the playground informed me when he was still a toddler, that was Jewish enough for Hitler.

He's been the center of my life since he first made his teensy weensy presence known at Petrosian when I was about 6 days pregnant. I hadn't even missed my period yet when my sister was visiting for a few days. She and I used to enjoy theatre marathons where we'd stand in line for two-fers, go see a matinee, stand in line for two-fers again and go see another play. That visit we went to Petrosian for chilled vodka and caviar to commemorate taking Russian together back at Spring High School. I was good at saying, "Nostrovia," and tossing back a vodka shot - but that day the instant the first shot hit my tummy, it bounced.

It was Velvet, already complaining about my lifestyle. That didn't stop me from having another. After caviar, KPP and I had a lemon and blueberry tart that was quite tasty. Velvet had no more complaints that day. It wasn't long before I missed my period and confirmed via home pregnancy test that Velvet was on his way. Buzz Kill and I had been trying for a baby, so everyone was excited - even my mother.

That's just the first story about Velvet. He's had a number of monikers over the years. First we called him the Bean Taco because that's what he looked like all wrapped up and swaddled in his little blanket. When he was in early elementary school, we called him Mandark because of his interest in Vampires, Werewolves and conjuring the Devil.

One day he told me he'd had a vision of Hell. It looked just like our apartment complex except it was on fire and you had to eat Krispy Kreme doughnuts every day until you got sick. I figured Mandark had a pretty good life if eating Krispy Kremes until you got sick was the worst thing he could imagine. Nevertheless, I told Mandark to leave the Devil outside. The Baptist in me was alarmed, and I was afraid we'd have to get him dunked if he fooled around too much with the Devil. My shrink said I could simmer down because most likely Mandark had been distressed by his own anger about some kid on the playground.

When he was a few years older, it became clear that inside he was a little Jewish man named Irving. The most pronounced evidence of Irving came during a weekend in Paris. I apparently suggested he get hot cocoa one too many times and he snapped. "What's with you and the cocoa? You know it gives me indigestion!" This from a 10 year old.

Eventually he became Velvet after Eddie Murphy's character Velvet Jones the pimp who wrote the book, "I Want to be a Ho." It all started when he told Rhet that he believed I should be dating someone who'd slip him 50 bucks to get lost.

Now he's a shining example of a student of Green Engineering who will solve the energy problems facing our country just like Al Gore talks about in this morning's New York Times.

I'm very proud of him and delighted at the opportunities that will be open to him - assuming all goes well. I'm also kind of excited at the prospect of having another life for myself since I'm only 50 (almost). According to AARP, fifty is the new thirty. I'll buy that.

Fortunately, I'll have a year to reflect on my new status before Buzz Kill and I have to sell the condo and split the cash. Maybe two years. Then I'll have to decide where I want to live for the next phase. The jury is still out on whether I'm a Texan or a New Yorker at heart. Just as I think I'm ready to start packing and head home, I see a sunset on the Hudson or experience a quintessential New York Moment like the other night when Obama won the election and the whole city cheered and cried with joy and relief. That would NOT have happened in Texas.

The idea of spending so much time in this apartment by myself is a little daunting. Velvet has been leaving his dirty socks and soda cans in the living room for years and years. He'll come home for long weekends and holidays, probably bringing six friends, but it will never ever be the same.

That's the way life is supposed to go. But it still kind of sucks.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Dream about Pastry

I've been contemplating my identity again. This time it got started because I realized that for the most part, I define myself by my relationships to others. For example, on the way home from work today I was considering the word Nurturing. I'm definitely a nurturing individual, but how does that characteristic manifest except in relation to others? If you have no one to nurture, what do you do?

You take care of yourself - that's what. Not that I usually do that. Focusing on others - my students, my son, and whatever man has been in my life - gives me an excuse for ignoring my own needs and goals. I don't have time to be "all that I can be" because of someone else. On a conscious level anyway. I'm pretty sure my needs and goals are bubbling underneath the surface and frequently influence choices and decisions so that I'm on the right path even though I don't know it.

Expressing myself regarding Beena at work this week had something to do with all this thinking - but it had more to do with a feeling I noticed when Obama won the election. I really wanted to share that moment with somebody, and there was no one to call. Velvet was there, of course, but it's not the same.

My runes have been saying that I need to sit empty for a while so that I can become what, by nature, I already am. Anyone who throws rocks will recognize Ralph Blum's interpretation. I use another more concrete book called Simply Runes as well. Over the last couple of months while I've been lamenting the demise of a particular relationship, what I've noticed is that my mind instantly wonders what all these rocks mean regarding the man, and I have to actively turn my mind from the relationship, or lack thereof, onto my own self. As it happens, though, one of the runes I keep getting is Teiwaz:

In Simply Runes, Kim Farnell says that Teiwaz can represent an exciting, difficult man who is so dominant that the woman will lose part of her identity in a relationship with him. Given that I've been in that situation recently, and that this dang rune jumps out of the bag at me half the time, I believe I can be forgiven for wondering about that particular fellow. Nevertheless, it's problematic and I have to continually remind myself to think of my Self.

Since the same runes have been coming up for weeks, I know I'm in the middle of some life lesson. All well and good - but I knew that already. We're coming up on four months with no boyfriend which is a milestone. For the last thirty three years, I've been revolving around some fellow whether I liked him or not. We're not even going to acknowledge the potential significance of the number 33. The point is that it's no wonder that when I think of myself, it's always in relation to somebody else.

So I was mulling this situation over one more time on the way home today. Given that the word Nurture was on my mind, and that everyone knows people nurture themselves (or the opposite) with food, I was not surprised to wake up from a weird dream that was filled with food.

It was one of those dreams where the setting changed a lot so it was kind of confusing. A taxi driver took me to the airport and burned my blue shirt with a cigarette. The airport turned into a reception of some kind and Beena was there talking about potential nannies with some Jewish Grandmother and comparing the medical schools said nanny candidates had attended. That's when I was scooping up an armload of pastries from a buffet table. Then I was sitting at the head of a table with a bunch of other teachers - some from this school, some from my old school - and one of them, a woman I really respect for her practicality, insight and her own conscientious nurturing - started leading the group in a low, melodious chant: Tell Tricia you love her. Her husband was there and pushed a votive candle closer to me so that my face and my plate were in the light. I was playing with my salad, rubbing lettuce leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion in ranch dressing. That's when I woke up.

As I looked at that "something's missing" feeling this week, I have had to admit that I've only begun to recognize my own Center now that I'm not revolving around a man. With a man at the center, I can only be a satellite. I'm a great satellite - until I start needing to assert myself. Asserting myself, whether at work or in a friendship or a romance, goes so against my grain that I won't say anything until a situation is intolerable. I'm so overwhelmed by the time I start talking, I can't help but cry.
Actually, I did pretty good at work this week. Objective, professional and no tears. Again, I have to wonder if I was able to accomplish this task because I felt like I had nothing to lose or if I'm more internally stable these days. Probably both.

The words on my List of Personal Characteristics today were: Accommodating, Facilitating, Nurturing. All things you need another person to be unless you're working for yourself. As women, we are frequently taught that being Selfish is bad. And it is in most circumstances, but sometimes it's imperative to devote your energy to your Self.

It's hard to believe an almost 50 year old woman is struggling to convince herself that dealing with her own needs proactively will prevent all kinds of trouble in the long run. But if Barak Obama can become president despite all the obstacles, surely I can manage to run my life forwards instead of backwards.

It's a concept . . .

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Twists and Turns of Fate

Velvet and I have spent the day working on his essay for college applications. He's pretty pleased with it, and I'm delighted he sounds like a socially conscious young man, citizen of the global community, committed to becoming an engineer in the Green Revolution. We can only hope the green revolution includes legalizing marijuana - but that's another topic.

I emailed the essay to a friend for an objective opinion, and when I checked for her reply, I was stunned to find a notification saying that someone commented on a post from nearly two months ago about that dang Wall Street Rock Star. Anonymous wrote:

. . . all from a married man of 50 with a wife and two kids living in cyber fantasy land. It's a sickness and it's very sad, I know this because I'm his wife

I'm feeling like a bastard at a family reunion, and I wouldn't even go out with him. Maybe he never really went out with anyone. If his wife took the trouble to make a comment, I figured she must have wanted someone to know the truth about the situation. So here it is for all to see instead of buried in the archives.

Another surprising truth came to light last week. It turns out that the old friend I was pondering the other night at the new moon is not a narcissist after all. He was simply hurt and infuriated. As it happened, he apologized nearly two years ago for any and all extreme statements he made while angry - but he wrote a letter that I never received. It's always my policy to cut someone some slack when everything that went wrong falls into the category of Human Frailty. The frailty involved in that episode was compounded with the involvement of the US Postal Service.

The mail in my complex gets screwed up every time the regular postman has a day off which is roughly twice a week. It's easy for the mail to go astray. Not only is there a woman in my building with the same last name, but there are a couple of neighboring buildings with almost the same street addresses. Many times when someone gets a misdirected letter, they leave it on the counter in the mail room for the proper recipient to find or for the letter carrier to take over to the correct building. It sits for days until somebody throws it away.

With time, that relationship will probably mend since we've been friends for more almost 35 years. I'm not so sure the relationship I'm currently lamenting will ever recover. There are signs that maybe he's not a narcissist either. I'll just say lots of us act like teenagers when we're under pressure, and teenagers are naturally narcissistic. I often react like a teenager, but I'm sort of the opposite of a narcissist. It's no better.

What's important is the ability to accept that the people you care about are acting in good faith even when they're acting like turds. Thinking about old Shakitking from Plenty of Fish and my own divorce, I know sometimes even people who have good intentions fall short because they can't help it. Buzz Kill never told me the truth about money - he told me what he wished were true because of his own issues. In the end, it was more important to him to hang onto his issues than to make a change for the sake of his marriage. Sadly, I continue to believe that if I were better, staying married to me would have been more important to him.

A comment I recently deleted suggested there were unpleasant truths about myself I didn't want to face. He didn't take into account that I fight every day to tell myself they aren't true and that I am not as bad as my nasty Internal Mother says. Only very rarely is someone's real mother as bad as the Internal Mother. She can be a raving Medusa. I learned about that rotten Internal Mother, in an excellent book by Marion Woodman, Addiction to Perfection: The Still Unravished Bride. It's an examination of anorexia and obesity from a Jungian feminist perspective, hence the Medusa archetype.

Thank goodness I'm strong enough now to keep that internal Medusa at bay. I'm able to manage situations that used to knock me into a crushing depression for weeks without being on all those meds which is quite a victory.

I still struggle, though, and I'm not sure I can last much longer at my job without chasing Beena around the classroom with a wooden spoon. It is a great consolation to know that my coworkers would send up a rousing cheer even as I was escorted out by security. Nobody likes that cow - except our boss which is why Beena still teaches at our little school.

Here's my horoscope for today:

Keep pushing until you take things to a new level at work or in your love life. You can make amazing progress, though it may feel at first as if you're asking for a little bit too much.

Very appropriate since today marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo -- National Novel Writing Month. I'm finally going to write that book I'm supposed to have been writing when I've been fooling around on the blog. Fortunately, I've been pecking away at it these last few months, so I've already got some thousands of words. The idea of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. Quantity over Quality. You're supposed to start from scratch with a brand new idea, so I'm already bending the rules to suit myself. I expect the folks at NaNoWriMo don't care. They're glad to see people across the country writing.