Friday, January 29, 2010

WARTS AND ALL



Hi, all. Just a quick post today. Although, I'll be posting later on my other blog,'90 Days'.

I hope you'll stay tuned for my bare all, soul baring self-exposure in my experiment.

I purposefully didn't post yesterday on '90 Days' because the exercises aren't day by day (as I originally thought) as each chapter is a week by week kind of thing so I am spreading it out.

Again, stay tuned and check back on that blog later today for more warts and all confessions as I continue to learn what my next path is.

In a post script on this, I will say that it's interesting how this process works: it's the old adage of 'you can't know where you're going until you know where you've been' kind of thing.

In other random thoughts, I'm once again wildly switching gears here -- as I tend to do.

I've been drawn to bleak movies lately that play out with little or no hope of a happy ending for it's characters -- nor for the viewer who watches them sway.

What that says about my frame of mind lately perhaps is in itself telling.

First up was 'Revolutionary Road' with Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio where the plot and 'no nuances here' theme is evident in the get go.












They play Frank and April Wheeler, a couple who has it in their minds that they are too special for the domestic world in which they live. They have carved out for themselves a niche in mid 1950's suburbia, with Frank as a lowly cubicle worker and April as an unhappy would be actress and stay at home Mom.

On a side note: even though they are around the same age, I feel now as I did over ten years ago with 'Titanic' that Kate Winslet (whom I've loved way back since her 'Sense And Sensibility' and 'Quills' days) and Leonardo Dicaprio (see 'This Boys Life' and 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape' for some of his early wonderful work and get a glimpse of what was to sure come his way) aren't well suited together. I always feel she simply looks too old to be his counterpart. Just my opinion. Mind you, I also hate to see older male actors with younger women. Bring back Melanie Griffith, Meg Ryan, Michelle Pfiefer, Goldie Hawn, Emma Thompson and Susan Sarandon to fill the alpha female roles.

'Revolutionary Road' clearly shows the strains of a life that could have and should have been different, more so with bitter and spiteful April after a failed attempt at community theater.

They concoct a plan to move to Paris with their two small children in tow to reclaim their lost lives. However, as Frank gains momentum in the work force and April faces an unwanted and unexpected jolt, their lives are jarred back into reality and their Paris plans thwarted.

All this with tragic, although predictable, consequences.

Kate Winslet was nominated for an Oscar for best actress for her role as April (and I felt Dicaprio, too, should have been nominated) but won for her role in 'The Reader' instead.

Note a terrific scene stealer performance by Michael Shannon as John, in an all too brief performance that rightfully garnered him a best supporting actor nod by The Academy -- he stole every scene he was in.












Next film: 'Seven Pounds' with Will Smith and Rosario Dawson. I don't think I have the capacity nor vocabulary to properly describe such utter devastation.










Will Smith plays Ben Thomas a man who is visibly damaged. As the movie unfolds everything falls in line and all questions that are in place when the movie begins are answered by the end of the film.

This is a man with immense guilt for which he doles out a pound of flesh (my interpretation) for each consequence to make up for a tragedy he feels responsible for.

As the film nears it's end, it becomes evident what his role is and how he intends to atone. Kind and brutal all at once.

Have a box of tissues handy.

Lastly, I present you with 'Rachel Getting Married' starring Anne Hathaway (who was nominated for best actress in this film), Rosemarie De Witt, Bill Irwin (as her loving father, but always the clown as Irwin is most known for) and a welcome reintroduction of one of my acting idols from the 80's, Ms. Debra Winger.









How good it is to see Debra Winger on film again after such a long absence from the industry, although, her role is less than flattering as the detached Mom of the two grown daughters (Hathaway and De Witt).

Hathaway plays Kym, fresh out of rehab for the weekend to attend Rachel's (De Witt) wedding, her older sister.

The film is generously peppered with inter-racial relationships and a bohemian lifestyle that doesn't get acknowledged nor explained. Perhaps that in itself is refreshing (no need for justification, it just is) but it left much unanswered.

Kym is the 'child' who wants and needs acceptance and attention and chooses Rachel's wedding as her platform, making a highly inappropriate rehearsal dinner speech.

As the father, Bill Irwin only wants peace in his domain and explains away Kym's dysfunction with fatherly love and acceptance while Rachel is quietly resentful.

We find out that a tragedy ensued years ago involving Kym and a beloved member of the family which haunts every person in attendance and also explains the strains between Debra Wingers characters detachment and involvement, although I found my self nonetheless unsympathetic with her. Watch for a powerful scene between her and Hathaway which explodes like a fist of rage against easily shattered bricks.

That scene explained away the dynamics between Winger and her girls, especially Hathaway, and yet I still felt unsympathetic towards Wingers character.

I was also highly annoyed with the narcissism of Rachel. Days and days of adoration and speeches of love complete with serenades and music 24/7 leading up the nuptials.

The one sympathetic scene I did empathize with Winger was when after hours and hours and hours of the reception that wouldn't end, she finally announced her departure.

By that time I was ready for it all to stop, too.

Not the movie, but the narcissism of it all. Enough already.

I could have done without all the music sequences and replaced it with more character delving.

At the end Hathaway goes back to rehab to finish her stint and we're left unsure of any resolution.

I would love to revisit this family in a few years and see where they are.

As for me, I'm off for a walk and then more reading my book so I can chart my progress and thoughts on my '90 Days' blog later today.

Then, I'm off to the market to buy ingredients to make a nice vegan dinner for Ed and B tonight, perhaps Nachos with the 'cheese' made out of cashews and nutritional yeast or Thai peanut noodle fare.

I'd like to give a big shout out and thanks to Herrad @ 'Access Denied -- Living With Multiple Sclerosis' for my second blog award! So appreciated!

LATE IN THE DAY EDIT: Just posted on my '90 Days' blog. Phew!!!

Wishing you all peace, serenity and a wonderful weekend.
~Jo

Thursday, January 28, 2010

MY FIRST BLOG AWARD!






I want to thank Steven Anthony from 'No Excuse, No Explanation' http://noexcusenoexplanation.blogspot.com/ for my very first blog award for 'The End Of The Rainbow'.

Steven has been my cheerleader (you should see him in his cheer outfit--great knees!) and my friend throughout this whole messy process that is my life. He has lovingly offered and given his unconditional support with never a harsh word, only gentle, kind and loving encouragement.












I would love to go visit him in Michigan, Missouri, Mammoth Lake, Kuala Lumpur or wherever the hell he's from one of these days and enjoy a cup of coffee so I can thank him in person for his friendship, which means so much.

I don't have a lot of adult friends and the support I have received on here has more than made up for that.

Okay, back to my point. And do I have one????

Oh, yes indeed.

I was bestowed the 'Kreativ Blogger' award for which I humbly and gratefully accept.












Seeing as that it's award season in Hollywood, I would like to take a cue from all the film makers and make a speech.












::Clears throat and takes out long list of people to thank that rivals the length of Paris Hilton's lovers::

To the bevy of girls who beat me up in junior high school. I have no idea why you deserve to be thanked but surely you must have something to do with the fact that I am very wary of people and have thus turned to blogging which then led me to this kind award. So, I guess I thank you and hope you're all enjoying life in prison.












To the people who make the 'Turtle Trails' soy frozen dessert! OH MY GOD! I LOVE YOU!!!!!











To my childhood cat, Jo-Jo -- you rocked!

To my present cat, Priscilla '(Prissy') -- I think it's time we up your psychotropic meds 'cause girl, you be crazy! But mama loves you anyway!












To T.J., my sweet black lab mix -- what is up with the eye goobies every morning??? I will continue to happily and lovingly remove them until the end of time 'cause mama loves you, too, my sweet furry companion.












Mom -- why does you car smell soooo badly and your house such a mess???? I love you but sheesh woman. By the way, you're invited to our Superbowl party.











To my late father who was a man who could, and did, live happily without his kids -- I loved you anyway and always wanted your acceptance and approval. Thanks for giving me your love of animals and writing. R.I.P.












To my step-Mom -- thanks for taking such good care of my dad all those years. I know it was you who kept him going but other than that thanks for always making me feel second best to your kids. You did a lot for me, I acknowledge, and I do appreciate that but it came with a high price tag and your unkind words about my Mom when we last spoke a few years back were uncalled for and unappreciated. Thanks for not giving my sister and I the inheritance our Dad left for us.

To my late step-dad -- thanks for being an alcoholic and making my teen years miserable. You were fun when you were sober and even when slightly buzzed but never knew your boundaries -- I was mortified to bring friends over. But I hope you're in peace now.

To my new friend, Nikki, who is encouraging me to walk on a weekly basis (and who herself walks five miles every day) -- can you please slow down???? Holy cow, woman! You need to bottle and sell your energy. I'll take two cases.

To all my 'other kids', you all drive me nuts at times but it provides me with great blog material and besides, I kinda love you.

Speaking of my 'other kids', 'V' -- if you just pluck your eyebrows a little bit each week, they wouldn't get so bad and I wouldn't have a sore arm and you wouldn't be in so much pain when I pluck them. Lesson learned. Love you anyway and thanks for the fries yesterday!

To my 'oldest son', 'J' -- thanks for the space yesterday, I needed it and enjoyed it. And thanks for all you did to get B's Jeep up and running. Love you and your wife madly.

To 'A' -- stay strong girl, I love you!

To my friend, Pat, who is in Kosovo in the Army Reserves. Come home safely. Miss you.

To my daughter -- I hope this year will be the year we bridge our gap. Do something wonderful with your life -- you're better than this. I miss you every day and love you even more.

To 'B' -- you are someone I would have liked to have been friends with when I was your age and I am immensely proud of who you are, my son. I love you.

Ed -- stop coming home grouchy. Sheesh. You changed my world for the better and I love you.


Blog award rules:

Thank and link the person who gave you the award. Done. Love you, Steven!

Copy and paste the award on blog. Also done.

Nominate seven people.

Okay, here goes.

*Meeko at 'Ramblings Of A Disgruntled Secretary'. Your outlook on life mirrors mine and I adore you. Plus, you made me a kick ass blog button, not to mention you're a fellow I.E. resident. Need to have that glass of boxed wine.

*Andrea at 'Arise 2 Write'--your blog is my calm place and your comments fill me with peace. Thank you.

*Jeanette at 'Bombshell Bliss' --she's a new bloggy friend who is a single Mom to five and is looking to better her life.

*Naqvee at 'When Almighty Desires!'. Such a profound and articulate young woman.

*To Jo at 'Jo's Corner'. I think of you daily, my sister, my friend (just sent you off a note yesterday).

*To Audra at 'I'm Just A Girl'. A fellow dog lover, happily married gal and great spreader of comment love!

*To Julie at '47 and Starting Over'. Because I, too, am starting over in life and I just dig us sassy 40 somethings!

Now, go forth and spread the blog award love (and if any of the above mentioned already have said award, my apologies).

I'm also supposed to name seven things that you don't know -- I don't think there's much as I'm pretty much an open book on here (as evidenced by all my posts on this and my old blog, not to mention my new blog, '90 Days' -- go check it out!) but I'll give it a whirl:

*I have five tattoos

*I was shot in the leg when I was 13 by a 22 rifle

*My left foot is an inch longer than my right

*I'm the youngest of nine children and am a 'Yours, Mine And Ours' baby. My Mom had three sons and a daughter from her first two marriages and my Dad had three daughters and a son from his first marriage. I'm the only one between them.

*Ed is my second marriage (and last--and happiest)

*I'm five foot seven, but used to be five foot eight. Welcome to peri-menopause where we not only lose estrogen, but apparently also inches.

*I tried killing myself when I was 16 while listening to 'Journey' (Disclaimer: they and their music in no way led to my attempt) -- a little known fact that very few people in my life knew -- up until now. I suppose life had other plans for me.

Thank you again, Steven. Pom-pom's and all -- you are a wonderful person to have in ones life.

Peace and serenity.
~Jo

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

UPDATE



Yesterday, I started a new blog titled '90 days'. As I stated in yesterdays post on this blog (my permanent home here on blogspot) -- I am not leaving this one.

'90 Days' is merely serving as a companion piece while I charge my way through the book in question, trying to find my life's new direction.

I just want to encourage my followers to also follow me there, too. You can get to '90 Days' from my profile page.

Today I did my first exercise program titled; 'What Do You hate?'.

Brutal exercise which required equally brutal truth, thought and answers.

My answers are posted on that blog.

I had to admit some things about myself, things I hadn't thought that hard about for over 20 years, which I hope will bring about the personal growth and change I seek.

This will no doubt bring about my ugly side and force me to look good and hard about how I reached the point in my life where we not only filed bankruptcy, but also what I could have done differently.

Clarity is a bitch that I'm not particularly looking forward to meeting but also know that I desperately need her in my life in order to move forward to becoming a more productive person, wife and mother.

As much as I'd like to think I'm enlightened, I'm also thinking that these exercises are going to prove me entirely mistaken.

Join me. Not to be my armour or shield, but simply to be by my side.

Again, I'll be back here with regular posts about myself, my thoughts and life -- but I'll be over there learning more about all of them.

Peace and serenity,
~Jo

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jo's 90 Day Test



I formed a new blog. Not to replace this one; 'The End Of The Rainbow' is my permanent home here on blogspot.

It is simply -- at least for the next 90 days or so -- this blogs companion piece.

I am experimenting with the book I recently bought: 'Now What? 90 Days To A New Life Direction' by Laura Berman Fortgang and will be reporting back my findings in my new blog titled:
"90 DAYS -- A bowl full of cherries: my quest in applying the lessons from the book 'Now What? 90 Days To A New Life Direction'" which you can get to from my profile page.

I incorporated a fun and engaging theme of cherries (as in; 'Is life really a bowl full of cherries?') as my background and theme, to which B and my 'oldest son' immediately informed me that cherries is code for lesbians.

Who knew?

Not I.

Oh, well. Lesbian I am not and my theme stays as is.

I hope you will check it out and cheer me on in my quest for a new life direction, one chapter at a time.

JO AND JOE



::This poetic post is dedicated to my dear love and morning companion::



I bet, even dear Juliet, never had this much trouble with her good 'ole Romeo as me and my own love, my dear Java Joe -- for never has a tale seen such heartbroken woe~












Why do you insist on hating me so? For I love you more than you could possibly know~

Being 'frenemies' is not what I had in mind, when we became companions, I thought it was 'til the end of time~

Every morning it is indeed quite the same; I wake up to your smell as you lovingly call out my name~

Your erotic aroma wakes me from my pleasant sleep, in which I happily arise to encounter you in one glorious sweep~












I run with delight and pleasure to your very first taste, in my excitement to start the day with you, I do so with little or no haste~

Then it happens! Your daily assault on my body takes place~

It starts with a slight rumble, then the next thing you know, I am running to the bathroom with my pants down to my toes~












Why can't you be patient with me, my love? Why can't you let it flow soft and easy like rain from above?~

Giving up I shant, even though your betraying proof lies in my pants!~












You grow cold on me so fast, too. You start off hot every day, as you begin to brew, then after that first taste, clearly with me you are through~












Unlike others, your bitterness I so very much like; so hot and so cruel fulfills my every delight~

I'd like to be a grown up and say, 'Can't we at least be friends?' but I'm not ready to accept defeat, I'm afraid -- so, our love affair will have to find a way to mend~









Let us find a way to beat history and not come to a demising end, let us beat the statistics and our life together we shall happily spend~

I will not end this tragically like a dagger to my soul, unlike Juliet and her love, Romeo.

Monday, January 25, 2010

WHO SAYS MONDAYS ARE BAD?



In my personal view, I would have to say that Mondays have an undeservedly bad rap.

After all, for the stay at home moms and housewives, Mondays can be considered a not so terrible thing: the kids go back to school (although, we miss them the moment they walk out the door), husbands go back to work (although, I miss him, too) and we can sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee and not have any worries other than what pertains to us directly.

Today was a good Monday.

Firstly, the book I ordered from Amazon.com arrived today. I believe I mentioned before that it only cost me $4.00 including shipping and handling. Granted it's used but in good shape (and a hard cover to boot!).

It's called 'Now What? 90 Days To A New Life Direction' by Laura Berman Fortgang and one I've been looking forward to reading for several weeks now.












Looks like 'Mansfield Park' will have to be put aside once again. Sorry, Ms. Austen.












Then, I viewed our cable bill: we have a package deal for digital cable, Internet and phone and I noticed that it keeps creeping up. So, I called and said: "What can we do? We've been customers for over a decade and our bill just keeps getting higher and higher, we even downgraded a few months ago..."

The guy I spoke with did some tinkering around, after viewing our long standing account with them, and made our bill about $50.00 a month cheaper than what we're paying now. Not only did he not deduct anything from our cable package to do this, he added to it by giving us a new movie channel.

I was blown away. One phone call and I not only saved $50.00 a month, but I got something free.













To top it all off -- and just because -- B comes home from school and surprises me with a vegetable and rice bowl for me for lunch.












I couldn't have been more surprised if someone stapled my head to the carpet.

I really do have an awesome son.













So, perhaps Mondays aren't so bad after all.

"Don't count the days, make the days count."

MEMOIR MONDAY









I am playing 'Memoir Monday' hosted by Gregory J. http://daytoday-gregoryj.blogspot.com/2010/01/memoir-monday-leaving-venice_25.html

So, I am repeating a story I wrote about three and a half years ago (for those of you who may be new here) and which I posted about a month ago on my old blog.

This is a true story (one of 'Memoir Monday's' rules) about what happened on the day I turned 40.

Did I mention that I didn't even get a birthday cake???









Oh, yeah. I was fit to be tied for sure.

God help the poor man married to me (are you reading this, Ed?) who overlooks such a big occasion in my life.












Here goes:

'So…This Is Forty?'












Forty. A symbol of the first stages of middle age. People either look forward to it or perhaps some, like myself, are ambivalent about the whole “turning forty hoopla”.
Oh, I can admit now that I bought into it. I went through the whole gamut of emotions from anxiety (“Is that yet another gray hair???”) to girlish enthusiasm (“Yay! I just know I’m going to have the best party ever!!!”), and finally settled on the ever neutral ambivalence.

Pummeling head on into middle-age, I really wasn’t sure what I was expecting. Some great epiphany or clarity? Perhaps I thought I would suddenly be thrust into Tuscany riding on the back of a Vespa wearing a white dress.









However, as I quickly learned, reality, and life’s changes, is not as it is portrayed in the movies and I am not Diane Lane.

A day shy of a month after my fortieth birthday, I lost my father. Instead of fields of sunflowers and sheer lucidity, I instead found myself in mourning. The loss of a parent was more reality and clarity than I had bargained for.

My Dad:












Wasn’t I still too young to be half an orphan? Apparently not. Of course, and just to be clear, forty does not mean that death looms in our midst, but for me that was certainly the case.

On the actual day I turned forty, I kept thinking that I would feel differently, look differently and be treated differently. Didn’t happen. Alas, I was like every other schmuck that day.

What proceeded was instead a normal day in my life where, par for the course, few things seemed to go right; chaos and rushing from here to there, I ultimately found myself lost in the hills, out of town no less, searching for my son’s baseball game.

This is where Map-Quest comes in handy. However, courtesy of our broken printer and, subsequently, my husbands rushed, handwritten directions (who was already at the game waiting for me), I missed my turn. And being one of the few people who did not have a cell phone, I was clearly on my own.












Driving further up a very secluded hill and deeper into obscurity—I was indeed not only lost but I was also now late.











Happy birthday to me.

Only upon hearing the theme to 'Deliverance' in my head did I finally turn around and start heading back down the hill—asking road workers and truck drivers along the way if they knew where this mystery street was. Being met by confused glances and scratching heads was not a good sign.









Oh, yeah—any minute now the confetti and balloons will fall from the heavens in my favorite shades of purple with all my family and friends popping out from the fields, hills, trees and from behind the workers trucks yelling “SURPRISE!” and bearing gifts.

Yep. Any minute now.

Only now I recognize that I was clearly in the early stages of delirium.

Well, I finally got there thanks to a man in a gas station parking lot who not only took pity on this sweaty, shaking and half-crying woman in a state of sheer panic (F.Y.I. nothing says “pity me” like smeared mascara and hair matted to ones forehead!) but who also knew the area and got me on my way.

My arrival was met by my husband who was sitting quite comfortably in a lawn chair, in the shade, front and center enjoying the game that was already in progress, AND who then said the wrong-est words any man could say to a woman in my state; “What took you so long?”










Being more mature (now that I was forty and all), I believe I handled myself with the best decorum I could muster for such a situation as this; I “carefully and thoughtfully” picked a few choice words that I, of course, “quietly, calmly and--eh-hem--privately” flung in his direction.

I then stormed off to my car which was parked next to his, took out a bright green marker from my purse, took out the directions, circled his grossly misspelled street name and clipped them underneath his windshield wiper facing the inside so it would be the first thing he saw when he got in. (What did you think I was going to do with that marker?)














I’m nothing if not calm and rational.










I then proceeded to make the hour plus drive back home, crawled into bed and took a nap.

Forty never felt so good.

Oh yeah, and I got myself a cell phone.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

WHEN ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS




They say that people will not always believe what you say but will always believe what you do.

In light of how I've been feeling about needing space (see previous post), today I let my body language do the talking.

It was cowardice.

However, in my defense, please allow me to say that my emotions get the best of me when I have to be confrontational.













When I let things build up to the point where I'm hurt, angry and/or disappointed, it can be ugly.

So, today I simply ignored people instead of just saying; "I love you, but let's re-establish some boundaries because I'm starting to feel resentful."

I'm a pretty brassy broad, if you ask me if a dress looks fat on you, I will give you my honest opinion.

But when it comes to how I feel, I just get moody.












It gets old constantly saying and thinking; "After the year we've had, who can blame me?"

However, it's simply the very matter of fact truth in my very present life. I haven't yet learned how to decompress.

If I've said it once, I've said it 100 times: I am a work in progress and I am still figuring out how to say things when I need to say them and express myself in a healthy way.

Instead I get bitchy; slamming cupboards, ignoring people, making assumptions and doing my own thing in 'Area A' while everyone else is in 'Area B.'

I'm much better at expressing myself in writing than I am verbally. I just don't speak well which is likely why I despise talking on the phone. I'm one of those people who is so thankful for texting and E-mail.













When I speak my mind, I come off as either insincere or angry.

Ed said to me today: "You need to let people know how you feel before you get to the point where you're this angry. I don't think your request for some space is unreasonable and I don't think anyone else will see it as unreasonable, either."

I think there are a couple of things going on here: not wanting to hurt peoples feelings and/or them taking it the complete other way and never coming over: "Okay, she wants space, I'll give her space. F*** her."

I just want to be able to compartmentalize my life, decompress and have a happy medium.

Which is probably what everyone wants.

But I don't know how to ask for those things so I end up being resentful because I expect people should be considerate enough and thoughtful enough of me and my time (and that of mine and my family) to be able to figure all this out without me having to sit down and draw a diagram.

So, my 'diagram' is being bitchy.









Surely there's got to be a better approach than this -- and yes, I know that approach is honesty and being up front. I'm working on that.

So, tonight Ed, B and our two 'other boys' went for a drive to Joshua Tree after Ed got home from work. They took the binoculars to star gaze and I made them all sandwiches.

I already miss Ed and B but I also knew that this was symmetry in motion. I needed this tonight for myself and admit my relief when my 'oldest son' (who went with them) brought his wife with him and then she left. She just came to drop him off and wish everyone a fun trip -- but I assumed she was here to spend the evening with me, which I clearly didn't want tonight.











That may have been the initial plan, I don't know, but I ended up feeling stupid, ashamed and then, I admit, ultimately relieved that if my being bitchy is what it took to get me a few hours to myself, then so be it.

I'm used to being thrown in defensive mode and don't know quite how to shake my way out of it.

Again, I'm working on it but it will have to wait. As for now, I'm off to take a bath, light some scented candles and watch some guilty pleasure T.V.

Serenity, here I come.