Friday, January 29, 2010

Let's Share Embarrassing Stories, Shall We ;)?

Since the drama in my life just perpetuates and it's very hard to blog without doing the whole SSDD thing, I feel very negligent. Hence, I'm going to share a recent embarrassing story. It made me laugh when it happened. It's making me laugh right now. I hope it will make you laugh. And I hope you will share an embarrassing/funny story in the comments so we can have a big freaking laughfest.

So ... (And this is an abbreviated version since I'm typing on my BlackBerry, which makes my thumbs hurt)

I was at a restaurant called Big Daddy's with Andy. He was telling me that the walls in the men's room have diamond studs (like the bed of a truck or something, I don't know). Well, it seemed pretty harmless for me to go look and see what the hell he was talking about, so I headed for the latrine.

The door was open. I saw the diamond-studded walls. I also saw a guy standing at the urinal. Yeah, like I said, I SAW this guy. Waaaaaay too much of this guy.

So I go running back to the table, and a bunch of people are saying, "Hey, lady, the girls' room is that way", and what the heck was I supposed to say? "I'm checking out the walls in the men's room?"

So I tell Andy what happened and he's laughing like crazy and I'm, like, magenta. The guy comes over and apologizes. I feel like the biggest ass in the world.

But damn, did that laughter feel fine :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bypassing Bitterness

It seems like it's been forever since I posted here. It's been a crazy time in my life--like, even crazier than usual--and I've been struggling to balance everything. I've also been trying really hard to avoid the bitterness and cynicism that at times overwhelms me.

It's funny, because I have had some remarkably good things happen to me over the past month or so, enough that you'd think that it would take the sour taste out of my mouth. Sometimes it's hard, though, to fully appreciate the little joys you find in life--the student who wants to become an English teacher because of you, the daily morning phone call with a special person at Dunkin' Donuts (different locations, but the timing always ends up the same--freaking karmic, I tell you ;)), playing ball with my dogs, reading a good book, valium, good friends, my mother when she's in a good mood, and the list goes on.

I am so freaking lucky it's not even funny, and I hate about myself that I'm not always able to step back and appreciate that. So if you're reading this right now, take stock of the good things in your life. Make a list if you have to. It won't take long, and it gives you a great sense of perspective.

You cannot change other people. That's the bottom line. You can only worry about you, and focusing on what's wonderful (and we all have at least ten wonderful things ... seriously, try making a list. Post it in the comments here if you want ... you'll feel better, I promise :-)).

I'm going to post my list here for you (yes, it's sort of encrypted ... sorry about that, but people deserve some degree of anonymity and shouldn't be punished for being part of my life : )

But first, here is the beyond number one reason I have to be happy, to be positive, to think about the beautiful and the amazing ... because they ARE beautiful and amazing:

1. My girls, Addie and Belle, who are my shining stars, my miracles, and my treasures.
2. My nephews, Pete and Eddie, who fulfill my baby fix and drown out the sounds of my biological clock.
3. The rest of my family ... we might be dysfunctional, but when push comes to shove, there is unconditional love. My mother gets a special shout out, since I would never, ever, ever have made it through this year (or even a week) without the tremendous assistance she has given me since the separation and divorce.
4. My students. Every single one of them. And yes, I mean that.
5. The one person I can talk on the phone with ;)
6. Books. Enough said.
7. The wisdom that comes (albeit at great cost) with pain ... and age.
8. My dogs. They are always there to greet me when I get home, they are always happy to see me, and they make me laugh ;)
9. Beer. There's really not much more to say other than that I don't really drink anymore because of my pancreas ... but I still adore beer.
10. Music. Even bad music.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

From the Mouths of Babes

Conversation over Belle's breakfast waffle ...

BELLE: Why didn't Daddy call to say good night last night?

ME: Remember, he told you he wouldn't be calling because he's in the hospital.

BELLE: Oh, yeah. Why is Daddy in the hospital?

ME: He's getting help from the doctor so he will feel better.

BELLE: Does that mean he's going to stop drinking again? (Gives a cynical laugh that should never come from the mouth of a five-year-old)

Children realize so much more than what we give them credit for. It breaks my heart that my children have had to endure what's happened in the last year--and to hear my innocent, angelic little girl sounding like a bitter old woman :(

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

So Pythagorus fell off the wagon yet again. Hard.

I don't feel guilty writing that here, by the way. No, I think in the great scheme of things, I took the highest of the high roads this evening. And it's not like it's the first time this has happened (okay, I feel a little bit bad for writing that here).

So basically, he wanted to see Belle for dinner. He knows I don't get out of work until three and started texting at about 3:30 wanting to know where I was since he'd been waiting for two hours. That pretty much gave me an indication, and talking to him on the phone made it even more clear. Once I saw him, there wasn't a doubt in my mind, but I already had Belle so I decided to just try to get through dinner, get Belle home, then bring him back (an hour and a half drive, by the way) to his parents' house.

He picked a fight with me all during dinner, kept making cracks at how I always accused him of drinking when he wasn't, swore up and down he hadn't been drinking, staggered across a parking lot holding Belle (and I could kill him for that, I swear to God), and thought that chewing on cough drops and a wad of gum bigger than Pamela Anderson's boob would overpower the stench of wine. However, he passed out in the car when I was bringing Belle home, so I figured at least it would be safe to bring him home.

I was quite wrong there. I'm not getting into it, but suffice it to say that my arm hurts and has a bruise on it, that I was tormented emotionally (which hurt even worse), and that he further proved that he is the most insensitive human being on the planet. When somebody knows some of your dirty and horrendous secrets, what does it say about him that he brings them up and basically rubs your nose in the worst thing that's ever happened to you?

And you know what I did? Nothing. I didn't take him to the hospital to be admitted or to the police station to be arrested, although either would have documented his blood alcohol level when he was having visitation with Belle and would certainly have solidified my position that he not be allowed unsupervised visits with her. Nope, I didn't want him to get in trouble, so I let him take it out on me instead. I am such an idiot.

Divorce is a foregone conclusion now. However, I can't help but notice that the behavior he is exhibiting now is EXACTLY what he was doing last year when this whole alcoholism thing reared its ugly head. He blamed his job, he blamed me, he blamed a lot of things for his problem, but the truth is, he makes his own issues. He has had more fresh starts and second chances than you can imagine, and he's pissed Sutter Home chardonnay all over them.

So why has it taken me this long to figure that out? Why do I always end up feeling sorry for him? I realize that alcoholism is a disease, but this is beyond what I've ever seen. This was the last time I expect to see him--someone else can supervise his visitations with Belle, and sad as it is to say, I'm not sure how much longer he'll be around for. His liver must look like swiss cheese by now :( Anyway, I think he's finally driven the point home for good: the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I'm a slow learner, but I'm not a complete idiot. I've got it, Pythagorus. I've got it.

And now I've got my life back, too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Branching Out: Monster Trucks and Electrified Hair

I have a pretty quiet life in the great scheme of things. My hobbies and endeavors are generally suited to simple and mellow pasttimes like reading, writing, walking on the beach, that sort of stuff.

I had an insane weekend. Just ... freaking insane. I'm at a very odd juncture, and it just felt so good to do stuff so ridiculously out of character. Does this mean I am going off the deep end, or is it healthy?

After I got out of work on Friday, I brought Addie home (per her request), then Belle and I went back to my school to watch the boys basketball team. Andy met us there, and we watched a great game (we won!) then went out to dinner, where we were very immature with mussels.

Andy won tickets on the radio and was so excited about winning tickets on the radio that he wasn't sure what he won tickets to. Yeah ... a Monster Truck show. I wasn't going to go at first because I am not exactly a member of the Monster Truck scene, to say the least, but it seemed like potentially a good opportunity to contemplate sociology, so I figured I'd go. We went out to dinner with my friend B.J. then hit the Monster Truck event full force.

So this is a truck named (called?) Grave Digger.

And here's one called Mutt Monster, or something like that (it's a giant dog-looking thing ... driven by a woman, too, which was very cool).

Belle and Andy's daughter Dawn came as well, so earplugs were a necessity. Here's Andy putting in Belle's earplugs.

I was a little overwhelmed by all the excitement ...

Andy was pretty into the whole Monster Truck thing. I kind of think he's a loser for it ;)

So to regain some semblance of cultural sanity, we hit the Museum of Science in Boston on Sunday. It was amazing. There's a Harry Potter exhibit that just blew my mind ... if you are a fan of the Harry Potter books and will be anywhere near Boston before February 21st, I strongly urge you to go. It was just unbelievable!

In vintage me and Andy fashion, we had half a pizza left and were bringing it out to the car so we didn't have to carry it around when we decided it would be a really good idea to rent a locker instead. Here is our locker with leftover pizza (don't worry, there was a cover for it ... the picture just seems more entertaining when you can see the pizza in a locker) and Belle and Dawn's wands from the Harry Potter exhibit.

We saw a lot of other really cool stuff there, notably a juggling performance that taught the concept of atoms and an Omni Theater presentation about Antarctica. So neat! We ended up watching a show about electricity that got pretty interactive at one point ... well, for me, anyway :)

So am I regressing into who I used to be or am I progressing into a happier and more well-rounded person? I don't know, but either way, this was definitely a weekend of branching out ... and I don't think that's ever a bad thing.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Facebook Status Update: "I want to be J.D. Flipping Salinger"

Yeah, I'm still here :) That twelve-day vacation really threw me for a loop, leading me to update my Facebook status this afternoon to, "I want to be J.D. Flipping Salinger" meaning basically that I want to live in isolation and not have to deal with people. Not really, of course, but I was having a moment.

So in a nutshell, my vacation was highlighted (or lowlighted, as the case may be) with hanging out with my kids, enjoying time with my sister and brother-in-law and especially my nephew, a minor flare-up of my cursed pancreas (but it was only a day at the hospital, not a week like it usually is), a lot of reading, not a bit of writing (not even blogging ... I'll never achieve Salingerian status at this rate), no grading of papers, and great conversations with good people :). Oh, and I'm completely lame and fell asleep when I put Belle to bed on New Year's Eve. I had plans, too ... I'm such a loser ;)

Anyway, back to Salinger ...

Sometimes I think it would be great to make your mark on the literary world at a young age and then become an infamous eccentric. Hiding from humanity is very appealing at times (and yes, I think that's what Salinger has done). Then of course it occurs to me how much I enjoy my family and friends, the pleasure I get from teaching my amazing students, walking through Wal-Mart and laughing at people (don't ask), having great random conversations with complete strangers at odd places. And then I kind of feel bad for Salinger because he probably missed out on a lot while enjoying his peace and quiet.

Wow, I am freaking RAMBLY tonight ...

As a side note, Andy and I were trying to come up with innovative ways to get my novel published. We had an interesting conversation about driving up to Cornish (which is only a couple of hours away from my part of the Granite State) and trying to find old J.D. Granted, he's ninety-one, but it was kind of cool to think about what sort of advice he might give to an aspiring novelist (answer--HE WOULDN'T ... but it was neat to contemplate, and certainly the kind of adventure that I could only have with Andy).

Do you think Salinger squandered his talent? Is there going to be a great outpouring of brilliant pieces released at some point (probably posthumously, if at all)? Have you seen the movie Finding Forrester, starring Sean Connery as a Salinger-esque writer? What do you think Salinger would say to an aspiring novelist, if anything?

(Oh, and just to make it really clear--the thing about going to find Salinger was totally a joke ... sometimes I forget that most of the people reading this do not know me in real life and might think that I'm really strange. Well, I sort of am. But not strange enough to hunt down the century's reclusive literary genius)