Calamity Jennye

Monday, May 30, 2011

It's like I'm a walking PSA (well, less walking and more PSA)

I have to say I really didn't expect to have much to say at the end of this Memorial Day weekend.
We went into the weekend with no plans, and I actually expected it to be pretty boring as our closest friends were planning to be away and it was supposed to be rainy all weekend.

Boy was I wrong. Our friends came back early and the group of families that we hang out with decided to go on a hike yesterday. There were four moms and seven kids and I can tell you honestly that hiking is one of those times where I realize that Esme truly is my child. Put that kid in a stroller in a city and she's happy as a clam for hours on end, no matter the weather. Force her to trudge up and down a trail in the woods and she's the biggest complainer you've ever met.
She hates keeping up with the bigger kids, she doesn't want to be carried in the backpack, she doesn't want to run, she doesn't want to hold hands, she doesn't want me to wait for her, she doesn't want me to get ahead of her. Are you seeing the picture of how fun this hike was?  Loads of excitement just piled upon pure joy.

We finally made it to the end of the hike and the big kids were all down playing in the little creek by the parking lot with two of the moms there watching them. We headed down that way. We stopped halfway down and sat on an old, weathered, fallen tree. Esme sat with me for a few minutes then headed to where one of her friends was sitting with her feet in the water. My friend Alyssa headed down the hill as well, lifted her daughter over the tree and then stepped over preparing to sit down herself. Just as she put her second foot on the rocks the tree began to roll.

It felt like all hell was breaking loose. This was no small tree it stretched over a spanse of probably 20 feet and still had it's root system fully intact on one end. All I could think of were the three small children standing in the path and, seeing nothing of what was happening around me my brain said "stop the log! stop the log! stop the log!"
As my legs were pulled underneath the rolling tree I suddenly remembered all those public service announcements from my beach-bound youth. (When you see driftwood logs on the beach stay away because you never know when a tide will come in and they will roll unpredictably, trapping you underneath.)

Boy, were they right! I was pushing with all my might against this log and it felt like I was being swallowed whole.
Unbelievably -- the log stopped. It turns out one of the moms whisked one of the little girls out from underneath it just in the nick of time and in the split second it took me to realize all of the kids were okay I also realized I was not.
I was screaming the words before I knew it, and I am definitely not a screamer, especially not in disastrous circumstances. I am the stay calm and hold it together person. But boy did my foot hurt like hell!

First one mom tried lifting the tree, no luck, the next joined in, nothing. Finally all three moms counted to three, lifted and there was just enough space for me to scrape my foot out. I sat there trying not to cry as the moms whisked all the kids up the bank and over to the cars.  While they were gone I pulled myself up the rocky bank and found a tree to use to help myself stand up. Of course I had to try putting some weight on the foot, which immediately felt like a bad idea.

The moms came back and helped me hop up hill to the road. As soon as we got there I said "I think I better sit down."
"Yes," said one of the moms, a physical therapist "You're as white as a's called shock."
"I don't know" I said as they lowered me to the ground while I was shaking, "I just can't stand anymore."
"It's okay" she said "It's called shock, it's okay."

Amazingly enough a couple who were just beginning the hike we had finished were an EMT and his wife who was a local doctor. They hung out while we got everything in order, took a look at me, ordered me to the ER for x-rays (and I do mean ordered, I triple checked to make sure we really had to go) and helped get me into the back of the van on a beach towel.

Well, it turns out I broke at least two of the bones in my foot, possibly more, but we won't know for sure till the x-rays come back from the radiologist in Duluth.

I can't drive, as it's my right foot, won't be moving into my new apartment this weekend and really sadly I had to cancel the meeting I had finally managed to schedule with my husband in order to begin the process of sorting our belongings and getting my things back. When I called to explain why I had to cancel his only response was to say "sorry about your foot." He didn't even ask how it happened or how bad it was...nothing. And I thought my foot hurt...but, look, there's my heart.

I know I'm beginning to sound like a broken record on this front but I have to say again Thank God for our amazing friends Jon and Alyssa. I can't get up into the loft we've been sleeping in at the house where we've been staying so they've taken us in. I can't move off the couch for more than a few minutes at a time so they're helping me a huge amount with Esme and since I work at her office I'll also have transportation to work.

All I can say at the end of the day is Thank God the kids are all right, this could have been worse by such a long shot and I feel it's truly amazing that the tree didn't plunge everyone right into the creek. This was the stuff nightmares are made of. We're lucky to have gotten away with only a few broken bones but I can't help but wonder why the hell they had to be my bones.

Outfit of the Day

Enough cute already, time for a dose of reality 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Better than a massage?

I went to acupuncture for the first time today and I have to say it was amazing.

I have a good friend who goes regularly and she has been trying to convince me that it is just what I need for my stress and also for the circulation issues that cause me to have the coldest hands known to man.

I sat down to fill out the paperwork and one of the questions was a what issues brought you here kind of question. I put down stress while thinking about the not so fun e mails I've been exchanging with my husband all day over trying to actually get into our house to get my things out for my move.

The next question was "what makes this worse?"  talking to my husband...
Followed by "what makes this better?"  not talking to my husband?

I did tell the acupuncturist about my stress, some pain I've been having in my back and shoulders, some repetitive motion pain I have in my wrists and arms as well as my daily headaches and a little bit of dizziness I have every now and then.  Boy I sound like a party huh? Or maybe more like the surprise you find on your couch the morning after the party.

As I was speaking I kept thinking there is no way a few needles can actually make a difference about this stuff...I'm crazy to even be mentioning it...but you know, once you're in it you might as well get it all out there.

I layed down on the table, she put a bunch of needles all over me, my head, my neck, my shoulders, down my arms, down my back and one on the inside of each ankle. She explained that it sounds like I've got a lot of things pent up inside me. Lots of negative energy (if you will) that ideally would be circulating itself right out of me. But in my case it is not. So the goal was to get all of that moving.

The crazy part is that once she left and I was laying there alone with myself for twenty minutes I could actually feel it moving. I could feel things shifting around in my belly and chest. Even my head felt like there was congestion up there (which there has not been for weeks) that was freeing itself and moving around. And my legs felt a little excited and was weird.

As my twenty minutes started I lay there thinking I can't remember the last time I had to spend twenty minutes alone with myself, I don't think I've done that since....well, since I was a Quaker. All of a sudden I thought, I should probably spend these minutes alone with God. And then the hymn Be still and know that I am God came into my mind. It felt really great to be in that place letting eastern medicine do it's thing and also thinking about my western God. I always like knowing those kind of combinations can peacefully coexist.
A little later my brain pulled out a song from high school church camp and I found myself singing create in me a clean heart...which goes on to say and renew a right spirit within me. It felt like such the right song and I couldn't believe that my brain had dredged it up.

For the most part I didn't feel the needles at all, would not have even known they were there if I hadn't felt the tiny sting as they went in. but every now and then I would all of a sudden become aware of one particular needle or other, then I would feel something shift in my heart or stomach and the needle would disappear again.

One of those was toward the end. I could feel the time was ending and I started thinking a little bit about what awaited me when I left. That was the first time I thought about my husband. All of a sudden I became very aware of the two needles in my lower back, there was a shift in my stomach and I thought...well, I guess I shouldn't think about him right now. The shift moved again, the needles went away, hmmm....guess that's where I store my husband stress.

All in all I have to say that I was super impressed with acupuncture. It felt great to feel things shifting and moving around inside me and I feel more hopeful after spending some time with God and some time taking care of myself.

So...what do you all do to take care of yourselves?
(PS I've heard from a few of you that when you try to post comments you are having a hard time. If you've been wanting to comment but blogger is making it hard can you drop me an e mail?)

Outfit of the Day

So, a couple weeks ago we had like a full minute of sunshine and warm weather...
Esme used all of it to climb a tree.
If I had known it was all we were getting of spring I would not have let her waste it away on frivolous pursuits like that!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ranch, Basil and a Blender

It's so nice to be in a week where I don't have a lot to say.
Not nice when it comes to the end of the day and I think oh...shit, blog entry.
But nice to not have a million little things backed up in my mind to rant and rave about.

So. I have to congratulate a lot of you for getting way better about adding comments. It's been so nice to have some interaction and read your thoughts and contributions. I'm appreciating the use of initials even though I know some of you are hesitant to speak up. But I have to admit there are a couple of you who have used initials that I am struggling to place. I know this is going to make me look foolish but, ME? there is only one reader out there I think you could possibly be that I haven't e mailed....and SIL? (maybe I have too many sister's in law) but I'm struggling to place this one if either of you want to identify yourself in an email I'd greatly appreciate it.

Anyway in this spirit of people being willing to speak up...
I've been spending a lot of time lately getting very excited about the fact that Esme and I move into our very own apartment in two weeks. One of the things I've been realizing is that there will inevitably be a lot of little things I need to buy...especially for the kitchen. You see I've done this moving thing before and no matter what you think you have before you move you still need a million silly little things the first 50 times you go to cook in your new place.
I can be honest and admit that for me it could take months to hit that 50 mark so I don't feel I need lots of new things all at once...but I'm curious. What are the 1-3 kitchen things, especially when you think of condiments, utensils (the big ones, you know not forks and spoons), spices, etc...that you can't live without?

Outfit of the Day

My little cake topper

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Warning, Warning

Today's post:
A short and sweet diatribe on the pitfalls of not properly updating your netflix queue...

The results of a not properly maintained queue could be potentially worse than The Bounty Hunter.
If you've read this blog long you understand the importance of The Bounty Hunter as the yard stick by which all "video" experiences are measured.

Last Saturday, after inviting Esme and I over for dinner and a sleepover, which by definition includes a good adult film (NO...not that kind of adult film). My friends discovered they had - dun, dun, dun...neglected their netflix account.

The result? (you may ask, with much trepidation...and if you didn't have the trepidation the first time add it and ask again)
The result was 16 episodes of MacGyver. Yes you read that correctly, 16.
Now, it's not that I'm MacGyver averse it's just 16 episodes is a lot of MacGyver...I mean just think of all the duct tape alone.

Then the only one of the three of us that actually wanted to watch MacGyver fell asleep halfway through the first episode.

So let this be a warning to you my friends...
Netflix neglect may be a road paved with fun, bunnies, and good intentions but it will lead you to no good end!

Outfit of the Day

30 seconds after union break time and look what I get...I gotta pay that kid more.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Another ending with a moral for all you fairy tale lovers out there

Today after work Esme and I went and did a little grocery shopping.
While we've been staying with friends this is not something we've had to do a lot of. But every now and then I try to cook us a meal on our own and I try to supplement some of the food we're eating at our hosts' home.
Tonight we decided to have breakfast for dinner and as I was buying the the bacon and eggs I thought how good a BLT would be for lunch tomorrow. Then while we were buying yogurt Esme decided she really wanted a particular kind of granola to go in her yogurt.

This granola is only sold at the co-op here in town and that just happens to be where my husband works. Needless to say I have avoided the co-op (on everyday but Thursday and Friday) with the same zeal I apply to avoiding long walks in these beautiful tick infested woods. Which is to say about an 85% effort.

Tonight, as it became clear that the best lettuce and tomatoes in town shared this important space with Esme's coveted granola I decided this was another opportunity to not let him run my life. I could handle a quick run into the co-op. We're only talking about three ingredients, we'll be in and out...maybe we won't even see him.

Flash forward to walking in the door and straight into my husband returning a cart to the same stack we are headed to remove ours from (a kid cart because even though we're only buying three things it is imperative Esme push the cart). I'm telling you I should have known better before I set foot in the door but I'm a glutton...or a masochist or something.

Well as soon as we hit the small produce department Esme begins placing kumquats, apriums (yeah, it's a real fruit) and everything else she can get her hands on into the cart. Just as I had to do at the last grocery store I turned her toward me and calmly said "Esme, we can't buy everything." Instead of the "but I want this, I really, really want this" which had been the answer 20 minutes earlier I got this snarling face flashed at me followed with "I can buy anything I want mom." "No" I replied, "no one can buy anything they want. We have to make decisions together about we can buy. We can't afford to buy everything so we have to choose. And you and I choose together."
I went on about the list we had made in the car and how we had a plan and had to stick to it. Well we made it through the tiny produce department with only two extra apples to show for our negotiations and with Esme letting out a little scream every time the produce she was trying to put into the cart by removing the back (thus making it roll out before she could get it to stay) rolled away.
Just as we headed for the shelves my husband reappeared in time to say "what's all this screaming out here?" He turned to talk to someone as he was standing next to Esme and someone came up on my right to ask me a question. Just then Esme decided, was the perfect time to lift a glass jar of peanut butter off the shelf.
Before either of us could stop her it fell to the ground shattering the bottom and she bent to pick it up. She, of course, sliced her finger open.
I headed back to the bathroom to rinse off the blood while he retrieved some bandaids and bacitracin. Nothing like a little good old fashioned teamwork with someone you're barely speaking to!

She bled through the first bandaid while we attempted to finish our shopping and as she was sputtering out her little cries of pain I realized how truly ridiculous this whole situation was. There was no way we could finish this trip quickly and she was about to get blood on my sweater which would only take this from bad to worse.
We headed back up to the little seating area. I asked for some more towels, took the bandaid off, wrapped a towel tightly around her finger and asked Esme to tell me about her day. "No mama," she said. "You tell me a story." Okay what should it be about I asked?  "The three little pigs!"

This is the part where I have to admit that I am not the imagination care giver in Esme's world. I am great at fun, I'm great at cuddles, great at going places, meeting friends, playing at parks. But I really struggle with where the water (I mean, pretend ice cream) goes when Esme hands me an "ice cream cone" during bath time. I'll never forget the first time I realized she was perfectly fine with me dumping the water back into the bathtub while pretending to eat the cone...weird.
So the pressure is on. Crying kid, public place, and worse than public my husband and all his co-workers who may or may not have any idea about our situation (can't decide which way would be worse honestly) are watching. Are those lights really hot or am I the only one sweating here?
So out come our three little pigs and if I do say so myself I am great under pressure.
Their names were Liv, Elsa and Esme and they were each building a sand castle out of a different material. Liv and Elsa's castles didn't quite work out, but all the woodland creatures were so taken with Esme's castle made out of dandelions (her favorite flower) that they brought her materials to help her build it all the way to the sky. Eventually Liv and Elsa came to ask if they could move into the castle and Esme graciously invited them in for a sleep over where they had breakfast for dinner and lived happily ever after.

Esme liked it so much she made me tell it twice!!! Go me :)

After that we finished our shopping and left in one piece. My husband even gave me his employee discount, the one I've felt really torn about taking every time it's automatically applied to our account when I check out. But we are still married...I think I did pay a high price for that 15%.

Lesson learned from our little three piggy's fairytale...stay the hell away from the co-op when you don't have backup.

Outfit of the Day

I feel this outfit requires a warning as it may startle some of you even more than it startles me.
Please be advised I do not choose my child's clothing. She chooses what she wants to wear every morning. She owns at least 20 pair of pants if you count the leggings and she refuses to wear them, systematically. The last time we went shopping she picked everything we bought, tried them all on and decided what we would actually buy. The kid may be three but these shopping genes run deep. Anyway...her Babka felt she needed more appropriate play clothes for their activities at her house so she ran into the second hand store and bought these fully expecting Esme would flip out at the sight of them...instead she loves them:

An outfit only a Babka (and maybe an Esme as it turns out) could love

Friday, May 20, 2011

a little happiness for the weekend obsession is official. I felt like I needed a little music to jumpstart my weekend and so here's a few options from Ingrid Michaelson.

the story at the beginning of Lady in Spain is great:

This one (Oh what a day) has about 6 min  of talking at the beginning (so feel free to skip ahead) but the story is hillarious:

A happy little dream:

A little love for everyone:

Anyone out there want to share their favorite happy song?
Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A mutt named Julian

I'm dog-sitting again while the families that I live with are out of town. I stay at the house with cable (because that's how I am) and today when I let the dogs out they both disappeared.
They do this quite frequently there's a path through the woods that connect their two houses and the dogs frequently visit back and forth requiring quite a few "can you send buster/brandy back home when they're done playing" conversations.
Well today I called and called and neither dog came home. I went back out and called, and called, and called again. Finally Buster came home but no Brandy. I was getting ready to leave the house and decided it was finally time for a little hike. Buster and I headed out on the path calling out for Brandy the whole way (well I was calling, Buster was mostly racing ahead, racing back, sniffing and peeing).
We got to Brandy's house, still calling out her name and as I came around the corner of the house from the woods I could finally see her sitting there, at the bottom of the driveway staring up the road waiting patiently for her family to come home.
Immediately I thought of all the ways I fell like Brandy. Sitting patiently, waiting for my life to come back to me.

I called one more time and Brandy came running as if, well, maybe it was me she was waiting for all along. How great to be a loved and trusting dog. She knows me, I'm not as good as her family, but I'm a person. I'll take care of her, pet her, and occasionally leave things she shouldn't eat laying around. What more can any dog ask for?

There are so many ways that I feel exactly like a dog....and then so many ways that I want to be more like one. The trust, the adaptability, the putting myself out there and not needing much in return. here's an easy question to get people to join in the conversation...
If you could be an animal what would you be? Or better yet what would your name be?

Outfit of the Day

Esme showing off her favorite breakfast, "mama cereal" Don't worry...
it doesn't make you a mama :) Just tastes good to mama's.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bring it on!

So I just admitted to a friend that I spent tonight (and the last few days really) feeling small, weak and alone.

I am probably at this point more surrounded, prayed for and read by more people than I ever have been in my entire life and it doesn't even matter. (I mean it does matter, hugely, but you know...)

The point here is that feelings are just that.
I played this great "game" when the therapist ladies were here visiting. One of them had just been to a conference where the speaker gave out these cards to use in therapy. First you thought of a scenario or situation that you were dealing with in your life (well I'll tell you that part of the game nearly stumped me...but after a few minutes I came up with one). Then you went through a big stack of about 50 cards and picked out every feeling you had about that situation.
Then you talked through why you picked those cards. It was great because it actually helped me identify why I had those feelings and I don't think I would have sat down and done that otherwise. Then you picked out the top three feelings...mine were hurt, optimistic, and concerned.
Then with those feelings in mind you took the next stack of cards which were "needs you are not getting met" and picked out all of the applicable words from that pile.
My top three there were "being heard", and it's killing me that I can't remember the other two...(although after the conversation I just finished it's clear that physical touch should have been one of those needs).

It was really an amazing experience just to name my feelings. Accept them all as my own, and understand why it's okay for me to have all of them. That there is a reason behind every single one. And then to acknowledge what I'm still not getting. It kind of put that behind me in an odd way.

Weird to play a therapy game at dinner in a restaurant but totally great to just accept that I feel the way I feel and that's totally okay!

So speaking of accepting things. I know how many of you are out there reading this blog. (I know because I'm obsessed with Google Analytics). And I'm working really hard to accept that none of you want to comment. I know a number of you have told me that you don't feel your comments would add anything to the blog. And I know that I feel nervous to comment on other blogs.

BUT...consider this your invitation. I really want comments. My ultimate hope is not that this blog be a diary, but a dialog. I want to hear your thoughts and comments. If you can think of any way I could do a better job inviting them or encouraging them please tell me.
I appreciate all of you more than you know for continuing on this journey with me and I want you to be as active in the journey as you want to be.

Anyway....Comment! (click the ads) I, dialog, continue to be an active part of my community I appreciate you!

Love you all!

Outfit of the Day

Esme and her backpack...all ready to battle it out for equal space in daddy's car on the way to Grandpa Ernie's

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


This is a scary thing for me to come out and talk about but I've said from the beginning I was going to be honest here and I can't be honest without addressing this subject.
I know there are other women in the world going through what I have and much much worse and I do all of us a disservice if I don't use my tiny little space here to talk honestly about my life.
There are many that I risk offending by what I am about to say but I think it is so important that I have to work through it.
Tonight I had a conversation with my father in law about his thoughts that my husband and I should find someone to help us work through our issues in arbitration rather than with lawyers. I was amazed, while listening to him, and trying to stay calm, to realize that I was crying, and practically shaking in terror.
I explained to him that I do not trust anyone to not be fooled by my husband. The one thing I am afraid of is sitting in a room with him and just one other person and watching him convince them of things that are not true.

There is very little I could lose through this process that actually matters to me. Nothing at all to be honest. My daughter is the only thing I want out of this marriage and if I could walk away with her I would even leave behind every momento I have from my dead mother that is left in that house. It is not the results of the conversation that make me afraid. It is literally the conversation itself.
I have spent so many years being utterly manipulated and clearly lied to by this man that I just can't even begin to fathom choosing to sit in a room with him. I can't imagine how, in that room, I will not have to hear more lies. And he is so convincing that I really can't imagine the "unbiased, arbiter" not being charmed into believing everything he has to say.
Knowing that where it comes to 90% of what we have to work out I couldn't care less makes me realize just how deep my fear of him is.
Talking through this also makes me realize what an insidious thing manipulation is. That I could spend so many years of my life perfectly content to take the manipulation, but that now just the thought of speaking to him can strike terror into my heart really says something to me.

I finally worked up enough courage about 2 1/2 years ago to confront my husband about the ways I felt he treated me inappropriately. I was brave enough to say I felt abused, that I felt like his emotional manipulation was inappropriate, and I even went so far as to say that I thought he had a problem with his drinking. I remember the conversation so clearly, not all the words exactly but where we walked, all the tears, and even the way he finally seemed to hear me in the end.
I felt like he really did hear me because it was an argument, there was no immediate agreement, nothing that felt fake. It truly seemed like we worked through things to a point where we could begin to move forward. I want to look at this positively. Maybe he's not 100% manipulative as I fear, maybe this was a good conversation where he realized that what we had was worth fighting for. (although I can't imagine someone could do such an about face as this so quickly) After that conversation we even went to see a counselor. We went once a week for three or four months. There were some moments during the counseling where he seemed to latch on to something here and there. Although I have to say for the most part I felt like he had our counselor wrapped around his little finger and when the day came that we decided to move and he had something new to look forward to and plan the counseling didn't matter at all.
I guess looking back on those counseling sessions and seeing the way that he seemed to let the counselor push him but then had no interest in following through on anything she said plays some part in my current fears. Knowing how many counselors, psychologists, paid professionals he's convinced over the years that he is someone he is not, the ways he jokes about his ability to manipulate these counseling situations and get exactly what he wants out of them, gives me no confidence in anyones ability to handle him.

I wish I had some clear cut place this is all going. Some words of wisdom to offer up to others in my situation, or worse. I don't. The only thing I can say now is the thing I've said all along if you feel it, it's probably true. Those gut instincts, the little voices. Listen to them.
For now, I think I will. I have no idea what the right answer is, what my next step is supposed to be exactly. It's been a week of bad news and fear. I know those weeks are bound to come. But I am trying to follow my instincts and be honest and right now, at least today, that means arbitration with someone I've never met would be a bad idea.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Outfit of the Day

Esme wearing my sweater as a dress after she spilled on hers. Very fashion forward!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.9

Those cheesy footprints in the sand

I've said this before but I have to tell you all that I realized again last night that the most striking thing about this past year has been how, at every turn, God has put exactly the right person in my path at exactly the right time.

I moved to the middle of nowhere a year ago, there was this person I had met twice who I thought I could maybe be friends with. Fast forward and it feels like I've never not known her. You can say I make friends easily, you can say I'm good at building community...whatever you want to chalk it up to this one person has led to so much positive change in my life that I can only say God brought me here to this place I never would have come in order to get through this miserable thing I never could have done on my own.

This one relationship has also introduced so many people that I've needed to get through this mess.
There was a night months ago, in the middle my husband's and my conversations about separation, when I realized that if our marriage had any chance of survival I had to confront him about his drinking. We had had some less serious conversations over the years where I had expressed my concern about his drinking habits. Mainly how much of our money went to purchase alcohol and how, when we were out of wine, or vodka or his alcohol of choice it disturbed me that he would drink my Bailey's (which he didn't even like) or (worse yet) the vermouth.
This conversation I knew I needed to have was different than those ones. This time I knew I needed to sit down with him and say. "I am concerned that you are an alcoholic." I had no idea how I could say that to him. I was fearful of what his response would be and felt I didn't even know where to start to have this kind of conversation.
A couple days before our scheduled conversation I was in the cities and had plans to go out to drinks with the friend I mentioned above. Unexpectedly her Aunt decided to join us. It just so happened that this wise woman had been part of AA for 20 some years.
As we sat talking it came out what was going on in my marriage and I shared about this upcoming conversation and how it terrified me. This was one of those perfect moments when there couldn't have been a more perfect person sitting in front of me. I was able to hear everything she had to share about her experience and walked away feeling like, not only was this a conversation I could tackle, but now I had some actual words to use and a direction for the conversation to go. This was just what I needed to gain the confidence in myself to actually force the conversation.

There have been people like this littering my path for the last year. The friend who gave me a new pair of earrings just when I needed to feel beautiful on my own. My brother and his wife who were able to give me a safe refuge when I needed it most and who also helped me regain freedom through having my own car.
I sort of feel like I've spent the last year walking slowly uphill from being far underground. My weeks with my brothers family felt like the last, worst steps of reemerging and to have a vehicle of my own waiting there as I came out of that darkness felt more like wings than wheels.

Last night was one more major experience of, well, practically an angel being thrown into my path. Some friends of the family we are staying with came over for dinner last night. There's a back story leading up to this but everyone decided it was crucial that I tell these two women (both therepists) my entire last years story. I find it shocking that it can take a full two hours to tell this story but it did, and they listened the whole time. Near the end one of the women revealed that her daughter had been through such a similar experience that I would not believe the similarities if she outlined them. Her daughter started her divorce proceedings from her husband when their daughter was 18 months. The daughter is now seven and things have been settled for about two years. She wanted me to know it is not a brief or easy road I am embarking on. At the same time she shared so much wisdom from her role as a therapist and from her experience as a mother watching a similar situation unfold.
I just can't even tell you in one sitting all the insight and wisdom I feel I gained last night but I can say I woke up this morning feeling less crazy and even less dark than I have for a long time. I still have fear, on many levels, but I feel like I have some tools to work through that, and some tools to help Esme work through the fears and doubt that will inevitably come her way as well.

More than anything though, I feel confident that the right people will continue to be sent my way just when I need them. I am sure that if I can be strong, if I can remain willing to listen, and most of all if I can remain centered in goodness (but aware that there are bad things, even evil out there) I will be okay. I will make it through and I will never have to do it alone.

This blog post has been an interesting one for me to write because for some reason it is very hard for me to say, out loud, that it is God putting these people in my path. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no other way these experiences would keep happening, but I struggle with the cheesiness or I guess just the way it sounds to say that (makes me feel like I belong in a Southern Baptist Church). But as I've struggled today with naming the source of these experiences it's reminded me of someone who was talking to me about her divorce.
She said before that year she had always scoffed at the footsteps poem and cheesy art that always accompanies it. It wasn't until she realized what it truly meant to have others carrying you through an experience that she got it. I guess sometimes it's worth identifying and feeling genuinely thankful for what is true no matter how you've scoffed at it in the past.
Is there anything you've scoffed at but come to find so altering you must identify it?
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A (not so) delicate surgical procedure is clearly in order

I've had more dreams in the last few months than I can remember from the last few years combined.
I'm sure it's my brain working overtime on all this great drama.
Last night I had the strangest dream of all.
I was staying at someone's house, I really don't remember who and it was nowhere I had ever been before.
I was so cold and could not warm up so I went to use their shower, ahhh, a nice warm shower.
For some reason the drain was all plugged and the tub was half full of cold water. I started the shower anyway telling myself it would drain faster once it was running and that if I could just get the water hot enough I would finally warm up and it would make the cold water warm as well.
Of course the water level just kept getting higher and stayed completely frigid. I finally turned off the faucet just as this really old, hunchback, maintenance guy hobbled by (don't ask me, it's only my dream...). I poked my head out and explained about the situation. He reached in and removed the drain cover, something from inside and about three really big hairballs. Once those were out the water was starting to drain but I could still see that the drain had one of those filter things in it like you have in an inground pool. I reached in to take that out and the man told me I shouldn't.
"No big deal" I said, "I can just grab it out then you can clean it."
As I grabbed it out this bug inserted itself right under the skin over my was a sharp jab and I thought what is going on?! I really cannot tell you how horrible this part of the dream was, to look down and see that something foreign and completely menacing looking (and yet not at all menacing since it was a tiny and beautifully colored bug) had inserted itself under my flesh was overwhelmingly disturbing!
I looked down and this bug was wheedling it's way more and more under my skin. I took the thumb on my other hand and tried massaging it back out. I was getting nowhere and kept massaging more frantically, even using the nail to try to force the bug back out the way it came. I really was getting nowhere and asked the man if he had a knife so I could slice the skin open and get this bug out. The way it felt under my skin was horrible and more creepy than anything I'd ever experienced. (I mean come on I was seriously ready to slice my skin open and that is not an undertaking I take at all me I'm no surgeon.)
The man reached into his belt for his knife and as he did the bug began to open it's wings. Even under my skin I could see that the bug was this beautiful iridescent blue color. I wanted to like having this beautiful thing so close to me but it felt horrible and instead I was terrified. I literally couldn't get it out fast enough. As the man handed me the knife my skin was stretched to it's max under these huge wings and I woke up screaming.

Literally sitting straight up in bed and it felt like I was screaming out loud.

You may have noticed long before this point but my dreams are not actually very well veiled...I'm guessing this could have something to do with a wedding anniversary, divorce arrangements, estranged husbands,I don't know....

Creepy in any case and I think one thing is certain after this alarming dream.  Get that crazy thing out from under your skin!!
Anything you should be extricating from your life this week?

Outfit of the Day

I've got to tell you I think I'd have a lot more success with the frequency of this feature if I didn't rely on the whims of a three year old model.
Thanks for all your patience and here is our next installment:

A beautiful princess in her new Boden outfit courtesy of Grandma Bette
(and of course her adoring audience in the background...)
ps. I just have to add that I was informed at dinner that if Esme hadn't been a baby when she was born she was born she would have told me that her name was supposed to be Apre'ella....boy did I miss the mark on that one :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

8 years ago today

I was a blushing bride...well probably not blushing. But excited, a bit nervous and very, very joyous.
Flash forward and the pit in the bottom of my stomach, has no butterflies fluttering gently, it's only there because of the letter I received today spelling out my divorce lawyers legal fees.
Is there some sort of law (no pun intended, really I didn't even catch it 'til the proof-read) that these things must take place in such a way as to produce the most possible irony and angst?
I held it together pretty well until the end of the day, when I realized my lawyers retainer was going to cost me more than my entire wedding. I know he's a great lawyer and well worth every penny, and it's not his fault I had a pretty tiny do-it-yourself wedding. But you know, this too adds to the irony.
It felt right to sink every penny into something I wanted so badly 8 years ago. But to sit here today and force myself to sink every penny I have (and some I don't) into something I don't even want is the most painful part of all. I know I can't sit aside and wait for him to do it, but today, I feel frustrated more than ever about my role in the relationship as the one who gets everything done.

All I'm feeling today is sad, and ill. We got home from work and today of all days Esme decided the game we needed to play was "put on your prettiest dress because we're going to a wedding." I tried to play along and I have to admit the game got a little easier when she decided it was a swimsuit wedding but she was the only one who got to wear a swimsuit because she was special. Thankfully then I could laugh a little bit, enjoy the beautiful tiara she put on my head and play along.
It wasn't until she reached into our bag of pretties and pulled out the diamondy clip I wore in my hair at my wedding, and proclaimed it breathlessly, 'the most beautiful tiara', that I finally said:
"You know Esme 8 years ago today I got to go to my wedding."
"Did you wear a beautiful dress?" she asked
"yes of course," she sat next to me staring raptly and said "where do you keep it?"
"well", I said "I guess it's in daddy's basement now, but we'll get it back and I'll show it to you some day."

Tonight during their phone call her daddy proudly told her that his new chickens were in the basement eating food and drinking water...all I could think is, that somehow is a fitting scenario for my wedding dress on my wedding day. Down in the basement with the chickens.

Friday, May 6, 2011

butterflies and sunshine!

Sorry to really bring everyone down with that last post.
It was an intense evening. I needed to write about it and I appreciate all the support I've had poured out via e mail from all of you.
I want you all to know that I am already doing many of the things you suggested. I am being careful and watching out for myself and as someone way wiser than I once said this too shall pass. And I can't wait until it does!

Today was most definitely a good day. Months ago there was a business here in town that asked to hire me as a consultant. They are a retail store and were looking for someone to bring a more youthful look to their store. They were impressed with my resume and felt I had skills, some I didn't even think I had, that could really contribute to their well established business.

Needless to say with all the craziness of the past few months I had not been back in touch with them to talk about this possibility. I stopped by the store today and it was a great experience. They still want to hire me. She already has some specific ideas of what she wants me to do, some of them putting great faith in abilities I haven't actively used in a long time, and while I was there she introduced me to one of her employees who is an artist, a very shy woman, who is looking to begin selling her art and has no idea how to market herself.
The owner introduced us and said "artist" this is woman you need to talk to, she can totally help you start your business and market yourself.
As these words came out of her mouth I thought whoa, whoa, whoa. Who exactly is she talking about. I've never actually spent time in the business world learning marketing. I'm not sure how I could help this woman. But I held my tongue and began talking to her about her art. A commission she recently got, what makes her nervous about getting her art out there and how passionate she is about making time to create more art.
As we talked I found myself already forming a few suggestions and ideas. And when she asked me what exactly my marketing experience was I realized I have more experience than I give myself credit for. Through my last job here in town I learned a lot about what a new business has to do in a small town to market themselves and how personal connections are more important than anything else. I also realized that my time in corporate america with a large corporation that spent almost zero dollars on marketing for the first 30ish years of their existence really taught me something about the importance of presentation and word of mouth and just how much that can do for anyone.
I shared some of this with her and realized just how much I have to offer. I could see this woman feeling a bit more confident about what she could do with her gifts and walked away feeling the same way about my own.

The part I love is that I know the owner of the store knew exactly what she was doing for both of us as she left us there to talk. It was clear at the beginning that neither of us had a clue what we could offer each other but as we parted ways we both had huge smiles and agreed another conversation was definitely in order.

This day was just what I needed after a few things this week that left me feeling smaller and less capable than my usual self. God bless the owner of that store for facilitating exactly what I needed most.
When was the last time something you needed more than you realized snuck up on you and made your day?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jon offered to stand outside splitting wood and looking angered

Tonight was the first horrible interaction my husband and I have had.
It was his night to pick up Esme, she will spend two and a half days with him, and ever since he suggested this new schedule I have not felt good about an evening pickup. In the evening there's a routine, everything is winding down. It is not when we start new things the morning is when she is prepared for where she will spend the day. In fact we begin every morning with a conversation that involves "what kind of day is it today mama?" To throw that off and switch gears midstream with a night time transition is disturbing. For all of us.

Tonight Esme decided, via breakdown in the car, that she was not going to have a daddy night. I informed her that for that to be so she would have to call her daddy and discuss it with him. At that point she said "just forget about him mama."
I turned down the radio and countered with, "well, I don't think you want to forget about him, that would be very sad. I think you need to decide. If you want to forget about calling him then you should just be happy when he picks you up for your time with him. If you want to forget about your daddy night then you will have to call him. But you cannot 'just forget about him".
She decided to call him. Took the phone into a separate room from me and apparently told him she didn't want him to pick her up. Whatever the exact conversation, it ended up with her bringing me the phone as she collapsed in tears, and him telling me he was coming to pick her up.
That interaction was followed by a text that said "On my way. I expect you both outside. Or i'll come yell at you inside."
I attempted to steel myself and headed outside to meet him. Our conversation was not pretty.
He started it off by telling me how patient he has been and how that is over. "this thing we are doing is 50/50."
My response was that his "walking out on our family and not even having the decency to tell me he was thinking about walking out until months after he had actually gone, was not at all 50/50. That was 100%.
It was his decision to leave the family and my decision to make sure he gets as much time as he does with Esme."
His response was "I have been patient with you because you're hurt or whatever (that was my favorite line in the whole conversation p.s.) but I am done being patient."
I inquired as to what point in our entire relationship he had ever been patient, much less in the time we've been separated. His answer: "The fact that you even think I'm going to bring Esme back on Saturday shows exactly how patient I've been."
I am proud to say this is the first conversation where I have actually to his face called him an asshole, as in:
"why do you even have to be such an asshole about this." Then I said, that when he shuts down his daughter when she tries to voice her concerns, and threatens over text message to yell at her it does not bode well for his relationship with her in the future.
There was then a bit of door slamming as I went inside to retrieve the child. My friend (God bless her and her eternal patience with this situation) had to walk Esme out to the car so that I didn't make her feel worse about having to go. Seriously the last thing I wanted to do but I was understandably having trouble composing myself.

Then I was left to cry and ask myself how my life got so fucked up and why I ever thought it was a good idea to marry him in the first place. Yes!! I am well aware you have all heard this enough but trust me you have heard a minor fraction of the times I've berated myself for it, so thanks for hanging in. Seriously Thanks!

The part that saddens me the most is that I was feeling pretty good about her leaving tonight. I was not feeling nearly as distraught as last week. I thought it was going to be okay.
The only reason I even let her call him is because she felt so strongly and I'm tired of being the only one to talk her into spending time with her dad. I wanted him to hear how she feels and patiently convince her of how much fun they would have and how much he loves her and wants her with him.
His reaction just convinces me even more that he is using her as a pawn and that's not what I want to see or think.

Please feel free to share your insight. You can judge, advise, berate. My friend already told me I should never have let Esme can't tell me anything I don't fear and contemplate myself. What would you do in my shoes? How am I doing? What am I missing? What will I see a year, two, five from now that I will wish I knew now?


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Worse than garlic breath

Esme calls her dad every night to say goodnight.
It has always felt like the right thing to do, to have her call him. If I were not with her I would want to hear her and say goodnight (that and when I don't have her call I get a text saying "is she calling?").
Anyway they always try to discuss their days, sometimes this goes better than other times, Esme struggles a bit to maintain focus on the phone. Tonight after asking about her day he said "I got some exciting news today, do you know what it is?"
My heart stopped just a little bit as I thought...oh no! (gasp) "his best friend" is coming back. But no, thank God! I'm not sure if the actual news was better or worse, or just an example of his typical thoughtlessness as he knows I'm there during these phone calls.
"Do you remember the garlic we planted last fall?" he says, (and I think "you mean the garlic we all planted together as a family last the beginning of our first family garden?" Why yes, I believe that feeling of my heart being ripped from my body indicates I do remember that.) Esme's much more subtle response was "yes!"
"The garlic is starting to grow!" he says...All I could think was that it's amazing anything good could come from that time. I honestly remember feeling so hopeful and happy that cold day that we all went down to the yard and planted the garlic. It was really fun to work together and for just those 20 minutes I thought "maybe moving here was the right thing to do."

But then there's the now so familiar feeling of my heart leaving the rest of me behind, floating somewhere all unprotected and confused. Kind of makes me wish I was more like that garlic. That the fruits of something I planted all those months ago had just been slowly, surely, safely growing. That it wasn't out here waving around and vulnerable. But alack and alas, I will never be garlicky. So instead I will have to wave around, bravely and proudly. Believing the seeds of something are growing. Maybe I can't even see them...but some day I will reap the fruits of all this labor!

Outfit of the Day

The post we've all been waiting for:
(please forgive my continued technical difficulties...the video turns the right direction about 10 seconds in...sorry!)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Outfit of the Day

Today was Esme's most successful game of hide and seek ever.
She hid (without telling anyone) and Nana (one half of the lovely couple who have opened their home to us) and I spent a few confused minutes trying to figure out where she could have gone.

This picture is the moment we found the coat closet.

And no...that winter coat is not a costume. Here in this insane place we have moved, on May 2nd we are still wearing winter coats. Why? Because it's still snowing of course :)
Ready or not here we come!

I refuse to do what the voices tell me to

I'm sitting here listening to the daughter I could not get to finish her dinner even if I offered to pay her, and I did sort of pay her because after dinner she got an orange dreamsicle.
She is laying in bed an hour after her bedtime screaming, repeatedly "I'm so hungry, I'm so hungry, I am so hungry."
I feel like there's a lot to think about here...she only wants to eat because she doesn't want to go to bed. She has seriously convinced herself that she is starving, even though that's physically impossible given the number of snacks she had tonight, followed by dinner, followed by dessert. But I feel like I've so been there, in that place where you convince yourself there is only one thing you need, nothing else will do. If I don't put some food in my full belly right now I will starve to death.
It's amazing how the mind works. I feel sad that these mind tricks are usually ones that trick me before I even get the chance to use them to my benefit. "I can't see him, can't bear to see him, can't handle the thought of even looking at him."
When really I would be so much better off if I could use that single mindedness in my favor. Like Esme I become convinced beyond reason of one thing, completely tuning out the sane voices saying things like: "next time we won't get to go have dinner with our friends if you can't eat enough there to make sure you're full." "next time instead of dessert I'll just have to make sure you finish your healthy food so that your stomach is filled up." "The more times you see him the easier it will be, looking at him will remind you that he is not the same person you loved."

Instead I focus on those crazy voices. The ones that just keep my brain running in silly circles it's definitely a method of avoidance. If I can focus on this one bad part of my situation I won't even have to think about the rest.

As soon as I went and laid down with Esme her screams stopped and there was not even a mention of hunger. The only thing she did mention was how she's "lonely when I am not there."
I guess really that's what it comes down to. There are ways in our lives in which we are all lonely, fearful, unsure. If we can just keep those other voices going loud enough maybe we will forget that we are often alone. Maybe if we find something bigger to focus on that one big fear will dim.

I find it amazing that it starts so young, this fear of being alone, or maybe it's more amazing that it carries on for so much of our lives. In any case, it seems to be a theme. What is your biggest fear? (Are you like me and it's loneliness?) How do you battle your fears? Do you have a successful method or are we trying to drown out the voices together?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Outfit of the Day

And now...what you've all been waiting for anyway:
My sincerest apologies for the lack of outfit of the day photos. Our model has been a bit tempermental and I am having some serious technical difficulties getting a video off my new phone.
Hopefully this will tide you over!
The only way this 'running to the grocery store look' gets better is when you can see that it's a backless dress...

We All Need Somewhere To Go When It Gets Too Hard

Finally watched the royal wedding tonight and surprisingly I have to say there were a ton of things I really liked about the ceremony, the whole event really.

Despite myself (because the princess in me wanted them to be all giddy and joyful) I really appreciated their demeanor of sincerity and gravitas. They both seemed to have some sort of grasp on the import of what they were doing. Granted what they are doing is much more weighty than just your average marriage but I was glad to see them approach the whole thing so soberly with just the right amount of well placed grins and hushed asides.

My favorite part (aside from critiquing the fashion, watching the ABC's eyebrows, and eating the amazing caramel rolls my friend made). Was the fact that they didn't mess with the vows but they did compose a prayer together. I found that very impactful. Just the thought that they are walking away from this very important occasion with one concrete thing that they can go back to together in the hard times seems genius to me.

During one of our last conversations when things were clearly coming apart at the seams I finally said to my husband, do you think maybe we should pray together? His answer was that he didn't see any reason we would, or should, or anyway we would benefit from that. I could pray he said, and he would sit there. And so that's what we did.
A metaphor for our whole marriage I guess. And just like before it turns out that when only one person is trying you are both bound to fail.

I really hope William and Catherine have some opportunities to use their prayer (not horrific or devastating opportunities) but there are opportunities to come together in any marriage. What I really hope is that when one of those times comes around, that they both have the presence of mind to kneel before God, together, and begin to work through it. To take that solemn prayer, written when their joy was greater than it may ever be again, and to use that strength, and that joy, and the memory of the amazing community supporting them on that day to get them through.