Sunday, February 28, 2010

MOVIE MANIA



The Oscar's -- one week and counting.

This week I am reviewing 1960's 'The Apartment' starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray.












Jack Lemmon plays 'C.C. Baxter', a cubicle office worker for an insurance firm in New York.












C.C. dreams of getting ahead and uses his apartment as a means to do so. When the film opens we find he is working late in the office "until it is safe to go home".

Does he have a wife he can't stand?

Is he waiting for his bratty kids to go to bed?

Does he perhaps have a drunken roommate he is waiting to pass out?

None of the above. You see, C.C. is a mild mannered sycophant and bachelor longing to get ahead who lends his centrally located apartment to executives at the firm he works for so they have a place to have their adulterous liaisons in.

All this is much to the great inconvenience of C.C. himself, but each one comes with a promise of bigger things to come for him: "We've got our eye on you, C.C. old boy. We're always looking for bright young men and we have a junior executive position opening up in about a month. You scratch our backs and we'll scratch yours."

So, C.C,. hangs out at the office, at the corner bar, on a park bench and even standing outside of his own apartment in the freezing cold waiting for when it is indeed 'safe' for him to enter. They drink his booze, eat his food while they -- eh hem -- 'entertain'. He even gets woken up at 11:00 at night and told to quickly vacate: "I just met a dame down here at the bar who looks just like Marilyn Monroe. Be a sport old boy, I only need 38 minutes tops. Remember, junior executive."

So, he reluctantly cooperates in the hopes of one day soon achieving that junior executive status.

In the meantime, his neighbors and landlady complain about the noise and have him pegged for a 'playboy' with all the ruckus that comes through the walls -- and he happily lets them think such.

Fred MacMurray plays Jeff Sheldrake, the head of the insurance firm who calls C.C. into his office one day.












C.C. feels that perhaps his time has finally come to move on up.

Mr. Sheldrake tells him that he hears great things about his work ethic; cooperative, bright, stays late.

However, Mr. Sheldrake is no dummy and tells C.C. that he knows the real reason behind C.C.'s sudden popularity with the executives.

"Do you know how this would make us look should word get around? This is a respectable business and you know how people like to talk."

C.C. suddenly feels relieved at having it all end, telling Mr. Sheldrake of the great inconvenience this has caused him and that it will not happen again. No sir.

Mr. Sheldrake then puts in a phone call to his wife to say that he's taking a client to a Broadway show and that he won't be home until late and not to wait up.

C.C. then excuses himself to go back to his cubicle when Mr. Sheldrake asks him if he'd like to go to the show. C.C., flattered that Mr. Sheldrake would like to take him instead of the mentioned client, happily agrees when Mr. Sheldrake then says; "I don't think you get my drift. I was told you were a smart young man..."

Here we go again. So, C. C. writes down his address and exchanges the two Broadway tickets Mr. Sheldrake offers him in exchange for his spare apartment key.

Enter Fran Kubelik played by Shirley MacLaine, the office buildings elevator girl. She notes C.C.'s gentleman-ly attitude; he's the only one who removes his hat in the elevator and doesn't spank her heiny or make innuendos.












C.C. sees in her a girl he could really fall for and asks if she would like to go to the Broadway show with him that evening. She says she has a prior engagement but could meet him there at 8:30.

She reluctantly stands him up after upon meeting her married lover, Mr. Sheldrake.

What ensues is then further shenanigans involving sleeping pills, a tennis racket, spaghetti and gin rummy coupled with further misunderstandings with the neighbors and an angry brother-in-law all resulting in a great ending.

'The Apartment' won Best Picture and Best Director for Billy Wilder.

Friday, February 26, 2010

SO, A THERAPIST WALKS INTO A BAR



Just got back. One session and I already need a nap and he a drink.

We spoke mostly of what initially brought me here and I had to go through the whole rigmarole of last year with the old attorney and the bankruptcy qualifications, the garnishment, the damned near poverty we found ourselves in and the toll it took that I just can't seem to rid myself of.

He asked me a few questions trying to decipher from my incessant rambling (a nervous habit) if I'm fearful of life in general and what that means in terms of diagnosis:

Are you afraid to leave your house?

Yep.

Are you having trouble finding joy in things you did before?

Yep.

Do you sleep well?

Nope.

Have any medical conditions?

I have a rare neurological disorder called 'Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia'.

*This is something I'll share with you all another time. In the meantime, feel free to copy and paste it in Google search, if you're so inclined, and ask me any questions you like. Right now it's dormant (very similar to the relapse and remit form of MS).

Irritable?

What do you mean am I irritable???? Just what are you insinuating? How would you like me to take that clipboard and bomp you over your head????












Um, okay, yeah.

I jest. He was actually very nice and after a few more questions and musings about my life (again, to the person who was hateful to me on here a few days ago, you only know what I choose to share!), he actually made me feel better by saying; "It's amazing you've held up this well" and found me able to state my issues articulately. What I referred to as my 'incessant rambling', he called normal, especially under the circumstances.

He basically said 'it's no wonder' and shook his head in what I saw as sincere sympathy.

Crazy? Not as of yet anyway.

Anxious however? You bet.












It would seem I have 'General Anxiety Disorder (G.A.D.)', mixed with depression, a diagnosis that did not surprise me and will not go away overnight, but he assured me I will start to feel better in time with continued therapy and meds.

I'm generalizing his statements in broad terms, of course, but suffice it to say that he was very empathetic. Nice to have someone validate your feelings who has no biased connections to you -- only a strangers objectivity.

'Wikipedia' describes G.A.D. as "an anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about everyday things that is disproportionate to the actual source of worry. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, as individuals suffering GAD typically anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, death, family problems, friend problems, relationship problems or work difficulties.They often exhibit a variety of physical symptoms, including fatigue, fidgeting, headaches, nausea, numbness in hands and feet, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, bouts of difficulty breathing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, insomnia, hot flashes, and rashes. These symptoms must be consistent and on-going, persisting at least 6 months, for a formal diagnosis of GAD to be introduced. Approximately 6.8 million American adults experience GAD."

So, what I want to know is who the hell from Wiki has been peeking through my windows?????












I have another appointment with him next Friday and after that I have one more free session.

From there the money is out of pocket unless I can find someone more affordable.

However, let me state that I really like this therapist (plus, the thought of stating everything all over again with another therapist is exhausting) and was very comfortable. Ed is concerned, as am I (GREATLY), about the money but I have his support if we can budget it. Our insurance will pay 80% of my visits only after $3,000 is spent out of pocket.

Gotta love our health care system.

Back later on my '90 Days' blog.

Happy Friday, all.

COUCH POTATO



Today is my first therapy session and I'm nervous as all hell. Hell, I tell you!

Adding to my already 'Nervous Nelly' thing I have going on is that my car is broken down. "Oldest son' and B both tried explaining to me what the deal is with it but all I heard was the $150 - $160 that it's going to cost for the parts for them to fix it for me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm pleased to have built in 'car guys' who know what to do, and I acknowledge that to take it in to a mechanic would easily cost me double or triple that.

But shit. Just can't seem to get ahead.

So, I'm off and running today in B's Jeep, a stick shift which I haven't driven for years.

So, B took me for a test run last night to refresh my cobweb memory on how the mechanics work. We get so lazy and complacent with 'modern technology' that I actually had forgotten what a blast it is to drive a manual and recalled my own brother teaching me how to drive a stick, way back when, while screaming at me and calling me a 'senseless twit'.









B was thankfully kinder and actually very complimentary, particularly impressed with my down shifting skills.

Yep. I still got it.

Of course, I immediately came home and re-routed my directions to the therapists so I didn't have to take the freeway.

Whatever I got, it left.

In other news, 'oldest son' and his wife came over last night (another ritual; to hang out with Ed before he goes to bed) and she, again, came in without saying a word.

I thought to myself; "Okay, enough of this shit! I don't know exactly what the deal is but whatever 'it' is, it's stopping now!"

Driving that stick gave me the confidence to confront the situation head on.

So, I got up and marched right on over and said; "Ed, What are YOU going to do about this?"

That's how I roll.

Ed agreed that something needs to be said to 'oldest son' but no sooner did we all commence to the garage to hang out, she came in and joined in our conversation and seemed to enjoy the camaraderie.

So, perhaps she read my blog from the other day and recognized that she needs to make an effort and be polite at the very least.

You don't mess with me, I tell you.












Will keep everyone posted on my session today (and will also later post on my '90 Days' blog).

Thank you for all your well wishes, friendship and support.

Cheers to loony people everywhere, subtitled: "How to solve problems in three sessions of 50 minutes or less".

Thursday, February 25, 2010

MOVIE MANIA



With the Oscar's being about a week and a half away, I thought I would lighten things up and continue with my classic movie reviews.




Today is an ode to one of my all time favorite actresses, Audrey Hepburn.












If there is indeed somebody out there who doesn't love this lady, get yourself to a doctor. Quick.

What are you waiting for?

Shoo.

I bring you 1953's 'Roman Holiday' for which Ms. Hepburn was awarded the best actress Oscar.












Audrey Hepburn plays Princess Anne (of an unspecified country) in Rome for a press conference.













Enter dreamy Gregory Peck (::le sigh::) playing lowly reporter Joe Bradley, whose mission is to get an exclusive on Princess Anne.













Every moment of Princess Anne's day is scheduled with obligations to her royal duties -- when all she really wants is to have a taste of freedom and what it's like to not live in the scrutiny of the public glare and be attended to every moment of the day.

Rome just may be the ticket to her grand escape.

Feeling quite anxious and exhausted from her first day in Rome, the royal doctor gives her a sedative to help her calm down and sleep.

Before the sedative has a chance to take hold, she sneaks out of the royal embassy and wanders the nightly streets of Rome where Joe then finds her fast asleep on a park bench.

At first, Joe does not recognize her as the very subject he was in Rome to cover and get an exclusive story on.

He offers 'Anya Smith' -- as she introduces herself to him -- money for a taxi home home but she insists that she simply be dropped off at the Coliseum.

However, feeling a sense of responsibility for this seemingly lost girl, he takes her back to his apartment instead where she gets a good nights sleep in his bed leaving him to spend the night on his sofa.

The following morning, while she slumbers, he speaks with his editor by phone in which he makes up his 'exclusive' on Princess Anne in order to bide his time to find out more about this strange girl in his apartment. When the editor then reveals to Joe that the embassy announces that the princess has 'fallen ill' (hence not wanting to alert the media of her M.I.A. status) thus canceling all her public appearances, Joe puts two and two together realizing that Princess Anne is not ill but is in fact in his apartment.

He decides to play along with the 'Anya Smith' identity in order to gain her trust to truly get that exclusive. He has his best friend and photographer, Irving (played by Eddie Albert), follow them to get the pictures needed for his story.

They spend the day wandering Rome (where she changes/modernizes her clothes and hair), dancing on a boat, visiting the Trevi Fountain and, of course, delighting audiences with the famous 'Mouth Of Truth' scene.




















Naturally, they fall in love and Joe has a change of heart about exploiting her, never revealing to her -- nor his editor, who suspects Joe knows of her whereabouts -- that he is aware of her true identity.

After a wild chase and an ultimate escape from the Government agents trying to recover her, Anya then, perhaps sensibly, reluctantly and heartbreaking-ly says good-bye to Joe returning as Princess Anne to carry out her royal duties and appears before the press the following day...only to then find Joe and Irving amongst the media.

Irving, understanding Joe's feelings for her, decides not to use the photographs he took of her and Joe and instead gives them to her as a memento, alluding that her secret is safe with them.

Fun facts: The scene at the 'Mouth Of Truth' wasn't originally part of the script, but producer and director William Wyler decided to imitate a scene he created for his daughters while visiting the sites, where he pretended his hand was being eaten to amuse his little girls. It was then added to the movie where it became one of the most recognizable scenes in cinema.

Audrey Hepburn wore a size 11 shoe.

In addition to Audrey Hepburn winning best actress, 'Roman Holiday' also won for best writing and best costume.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

SO, DOCTOR -- JUST HOW CRAZY AM I?



I made my first appointment with a therapist yesterday -- I see him on Friday at 11:00.

Through a wellness plan at Ed's work, we get three free sessions -- based on this therapists fee guidelines, that's nearly a $300.00 savings.

After the three sessions, I have NO idea how this works. I know the insurance company will only pay for a percentage and, so, from that point on I don't know how frequently I'll be able to attend or what I can afford to pay.

Even I know that my -- shall we say 'issues'? -- can't be resolved in just three sessions, so, I'm hoping for the best.

We don't have great insurance -- does anyone anymore? One of the things that was taken from us (and other employees there who, like Ed, has been there for over 20 years) was affordable health care when Ed's company was bought out a few years ago.

This is a common tale that many Americans can sadly relate to. Many out there don't even have health care.

We used to have Kaiser and paid just $10.00 for office visits and $5.00 for prescriptions. Those days are long gone. B had to have surgery when he was 16 (almost four years ago) and we paid zero dollars for that.

So, between rent (which is high for a two bedroom house), B's college fees and books, Ed's gas for his long daily commute, food, utilities, car insurance, etc. there won't be much left for therapy, I'm afraid.

I know some therapists work on a sliding scale, but they are hard to come by.

Anyhoo -- we'll have to see how it goes and I will keep you posted on my progress.

Adding to my already high anxiety, is that Ed and I find ourselves in a bit of a conundrum. Since I refuse to privatize my blog and knowing that other people in my life read this, I have to be careful how I state things. Sad as that is. I'm pretty 'brassy' as a rule (Steven Anthony's pet name for me, which I love! Just kind of fits with my red hair and 'tubular tude' :D), however, I also don't care to hurt any one's feelings -- nor do I care to continue to be treated disrespectfully in my own home.

One person comes in and never acknowledges or even says hello to me. She comes with someone we love very much -- and we love her, as well. However, lately, Ed, B and I have noticed that she doesn't really seem to want to be here. She complains about wanting to go home, heads straight to the computer instead of sitting and talking with me and the thing that we've noticed most is when I do fix breakfast on Sundays for all of us (kind of a tradition, if you will), I receive no 'thank you' from her. This has been going on for a while now and we've all three noticed it.

There's an ungracious and entitled air about her lately that we're all picking up on and how to handle it is where we're stuck. We love them and don't want this to become a point of contention.

Her husband is the one I refer to as 'my oldest son' (they're both in their 20's) and he's been a part of our lives for many years. While he sometimes drives me nutty, I'll tell you, he will do anything for you. He's our built in 'fixer-upper' whether it be car or home maintenance and we're always so grateful and appreciative of his time and efforts. He'll go out of his way for us -- and us for him.

What her deal is all of a sudden is beyond me and again, it's something we're all aware of and makes us uncomfortable.

I shouldn't have to be uncomfortable in my own home and so how to handle this particular issue is something we're all perplexed about. We don't want to lose 'our oldest son' but we're getting to the point where something needs to be said.

She's certainly entitled to not want to come over and to act on that. She's more than welcome to stay home until she can come in and act graciously. You don't have to kiss my feet or my ass nor sprinkle rose petals where I walk (on second thought....) but I think I deserve at least a 'hello' and a 'thank you'.

This is a pickle. Damn those pickles all to hell! Always getting juice in my eye, making my bread soggy. No good can come from a pickle.












One of the things I said I needed to do in my post last Friday was to set boundaries and make them clear, and do so when I'm not upset.

Being clear headed brings about better results for all concerned. I'm not so crazy that even I don't know that. My mother always said: "You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar."

People still being here at dinnertime makes me feel obligated to feed them and we're still on a budget.

The weekends are my time to cook for our 'extended family'. I don't mind -- I actually enjoy that -- and I plan and budget for it. However, Sunday night through Wednesday night, I want dinner with just Ed, B and I.

Thursday, Fridays, Saturdays and breakfast on Sundays is when I cook for extended family (B and his friend have no school on Friday's and, so, Thursday is their 'Friday night', plus we have 'Survivor' -- an all out event in our home).

However, a certain person -- whom I love madly and is near impossible to be mad at -- was still here Sunday at dinner, and so they ended up eating with us. It was the same last night: B was doing yard work and his good friend (again, whom we absolutely love, he is indeed part of our clan) came by and helped him.

Well, I made 'Hamburger Helper'. One box. B and Ed are both big guys and one box is perfect for the two of them, there really is no extra. However, with someone here at dinnertime, I had to then give Ed and B less -- and the cooked carrots and salad I made to go with it was, again, just enough and my portion of the salad and carrots (which is the only thing I could eat of that meal) went for our unexpected dinner guest: I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

This person is so grateful and appreciative (and is always so helpful with anything that needs to get done here, especially before we have a gathering) that it's hard to get upset. However, I just wish they would recognize and respect what I stated back a few months ago when Ed got so sick from the Swine-Flu: I set up boundaries then but as soon as Ed started feeling better, those boundaries once again became blurred.

This is one of the things I will be addressing in my therapy -- how to be assertive and not timid nor bitchy: there's no middle ground with me as of now.

Analyze this.

Free suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Beautiful Blogger Award



Gregory has seen it in him to find me and my little blog that could worthy of 'The Beautiful Blogger Award'. To you Gregory, I sincerely say thank you. It means a lot to have the support of a few loyal bloggy friends -- after a few rough weeks for me, it was needed and is so appreciated. Let me be clear that receiving recognition from those who know my sincere place cancels out those negative comments from people who don't.

I guess I am to pass this along and I will once again do so to my blogging cohorts and friends in cyber-space , Meeko, Steven Anthony and Andrea.

With their patience, friendship, support, love of knowledge, vocabulary, truth and growth, they make me feel proud to be part of this community. All three have extended their hands of friendship to me in which I gratefully acknowledge and receive warmly with each kind word they bring my way: you can get to all three of their blogs from my sidebar via clicking on their blog buttons: Steven Anthony is 'No Excuse, No Explanation'. Meeko is 'The Ramblings Of A Disgruntled Secretary' and Andrea is 'Arise 2 Write' as well as Gregory's 'Day To Day'.

Now I am to answer these questions -- gee, I don't think there is much everybody doesn't already know, eh? This is all based on 'bathroom habits'. Don't hate the player, hate the game. I'm just playing along and doing what I'm told:













1. Toilet Paper: Over or Under. Over

2. Who replaces the empty roll in your house? I do.

3. What do you use if you run out of toilet paper at home? We never run out of toilet paper. I live with two Irishmen, I err on the side of caution. What being Irish has to do with potty matters is beyond me but suffice it to say that I have learned that running out of toilet paper here would create a war zone and an unhappy existence for moi.

4. How many rolls of toilet paper do you have in the house now? 108. Yes, you read that correctly. Our local grocers is doing away with Ed's favorite brand so I stocked up.

5. What fears did you have as a child regarding using the toilet? I don't think I ever played into the whole 'crocodiles live in my toilet' thing so, I would have to say none.

6. Do you leave the door open? Only when I'm alone.

7. Does your love leave it open? No, again the term 'war zone' springs to mind. We'll just leave it at that.

8. Do you always check for toilet paper first in a public stall? Yes -- have seen 'Seinfeld' too many times: I don't want to be that person asking; 'Can you spare a square?'

9. What do you use if you run out of toilet paper in a public restroom? Again, it doesn't happen. I am very thorough in my checking duties before entering said restroom. Call me neurotic.











10. What do you do in a public restroom before sitting down? Put a toilet gasket on (or wipe the seat and line with toilet paper), then I pull down my pants and do my business. I know. Weird.

11. Or do you squat? *See above.

12. Do you wait until you are alone in a public restroom? No, but I always have perfume on me. Enough said.

13. Has anything bad or embarrassing happened to you in a public restroom? Not public, but I was part of an all female bible study years ago in which we had weekly gatherings at different peoples houses. I went to use the restroom and, unfortunately what came out was -- eh hem -- very loud and close to the sitting area. They also didn't have any bathroom spray. I have since learned to carry that perfume I mentioned before and am always very conscious of having bathroom spray for my guests. C'mon, it's just common courtesy, people.

14. Are you pee shy? I think that might be a male thing....

15. What do/did you do to try to overcome it? Stayed female.

16. How long did it take you to get over self consciousness with your love being in the room while you sat? Not long. Probably one of the signs of true love and knowing they are 'the one' is peeing in front of each other.

17. What do you do, if there is not a toilet around because you are in the country and you just can’t wait? Oh, the horror. The sheer horror. I can't even think about it.

18. What would you use to wipe? Leaves and grass, I suppose. Ick. Thanks for the visual.

19. Would you face up hill or down? Down I suppose....

20. Have you ever written your name in snow? No, and if 'snow' is a euphemism for something else, that's a big HELL NO on that one.

EDIT: I posted on my other blog, '90 Days' (button on my sidebar). Check it out and I hope, if you do, that you all get something good from it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

DOTTING THE I's



Carrying over from my last post and keeping with the "I" theme, I read an article this weekend in 'LA YOGA' magazine. We don't live in L.A. (we're about an hour and a half east of L.A., inland) but Ed works there and brought it home for me courtesy of a co-worker. This is in direct correlation with Ed and I both wanting to get centered, find our higher purpose and to achieve a sense of peace after a harrowing financial year where we're searching for acceptance and a way to move forward.

Somebody said to me in a post reply, which I deleted (I will no longer give power to these people -- and have since moderated my comment section) but wanted to further address this issue before moving on that "going bankrupt isn't the worse thing to happen to someone".

For the record, I agree. I certainly have been through worse (and many people much, much worse -- one of my blogger friends, for example, suffered horrible mental abuse at the hands of his father) and would like to say that I only write about what I choose to -- people only know what I choose to share. I'm pretty much an open book but there is still much left unsaid and many of us, I'm sure, can say the same.

The article I read was on 'life guru' Marianne Williamson whom I've loved since the 90's. She is the most self-actualized and enlightened person I've ever 'known'.











She says: "There's nothing negative about yelling 'FIRE!' if the house is burning.....What's negative is the complacency with which we allow certain things to happen in our midst."

I couldn't agree more which is why I started this blog. I'm not 'crying wolf' about bankruptcy and the toll it took. It was indeed present and damaging.

It's what I choose to do about it from this point on that will define us.

Did I think that blogging would change my life and make the bankruptcy go away? Absolutely not.

But I can share and write about what I know. I can try to find that grace I spoke of a few posts back.

I've only come to recently realize that there's nothing wrong with my being a work in progress -- it's when one thinks they have all the solutions and answers to life's turmoils that we find ourselves in trouble.

So, I share about my truth on here and what I know to be true. Although, I acknowledge that others do indeed have it worse, I can't and won't speak for other people and their pain. Everyone channels their grief and turmoil differently and I cannot tell others how to deal with theirs.

So, I guess I found it interesting that a very big judgment was placed on me by people taking my own admissions -- via blog -- about my relationship with my daughter, for example, and then putting their own spin on it by basically 'calling me out' saying everything we have gone through this past year was in essence deserved.

I take umbrage to that as there is never any reason to kick someone while they're down.

Again, no one knows the whole truth about my life other than what I choose to put in front of you.

Martin Luther King Jr. said: "Your life begins to end on the day when you stop talking about the things that matter most."









I don't believe he said: "Now take everything that person purges and throw it back up in their face."

Marianne Williamson goes on to say about MLK's wise words: "With all the unnecessary suffering in the world today, this is not the time to keep your mouth shut."

Amen, sister.

Do I think I have suffered more than others?

That's a big hell no.

Haiti, The Holocaust, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, Tibet, Global Warming, poverty, foreclosures, bankruptcy, child predators, bigotry, racism, hate crimes, gay bashing, abuse...I could go on.

My own personal story is just one of many pertaining to foreclosure and bankruptcy and it's ill affects.

When one has $50.00 for two weeks of food, toiletries, I found that I was indeed grateful to have a place to vent, but in no way during my time on here blogging about my truth, did I think for one moment I was in an 'exclusive club' -- nor did I think my words would come back and haunt me by someone looking to put their own spin on things.

I will not be shamed by what I write just as I will continue to battle alongside my friend who has MS, to fundraise, to enlighten and to give what I can to those who need it and encourage my friends and family to do the same. If one cannot look past their own needs to those of others, then there was no point in us ever going through any of this. Anyone who truly knows anything about me and my family, already know this about us and should go without saying.

In conclusion of today's post, Marianne Williamson says: "For over three centuries, generation after generation of people with daughters knew that if a little girl was too passionate, too outspoken -- if she had a powerful intuition, if she was just a little 'too much' -- then she might literally be dragged away some day, tortured to get her to confess that she'd had sex with the devil, and then based on her 'confession,' legally burned at the stake."











Okay, now, who wants to call me a martyr?

C'mon, I know some of you are thinking it or thinking that's what I equate myself to.

I'll wait.

So, to end this post let me just say, don't let anyone deter your focus, write what you damned well please and do so with zero inhibitions.

So, "I" will continue on my quest to personal fulfillment for the betterment of myself and my family. We will be in this together and separate and we will be all the better for having done so.

To those of you who sent me personal E-mail's of support, I love you madly. Madly, I tell you!

EDIT: I want to thank Gregory for my 'Beautiful Blogger' award and will pick it up later today or tomorrow and pass it along accordingly. Thank you, Gregory, for thinking me worthy. Your pearls of wisdom and support mean a great deal.

Peace and serenity,
~Jo

Saturday, February 20, 2010

AN EXPLANATION



Yesterday was rough and ended a difficult week of soul searching, self-truth and epiphany's.

First off, I want to deeply apologize to my loyal blog friends for being absent in visiting your blogs of late. I wasn't on the computer much at all this week from Tuesday morning to yesterday (Ed had a four day weekend last week, as well); I spent a lot of time walking, napping, reading, talking to my friend, playing some cards, E-mailing my brothers, watching a little T.V. and spending time talking with Ed and B.

I needed some clarity -- and I got it. Which I then posted about yesterday.

You know, I've received criticism before from fellow bloggers -- and make no mistake, it always bothers me.

What I find interesting is that even though there are bloggers I don't particularly care for, I would never go to their blog and point out to them what I perceive as their faults.

They can write what they want, when they want and vent away. That's what we all create blogs for. I'm not particularly drawn to, for example (as I've mentioned before) the 'Mommy blogs'. Been there, done that.

However, again, I would never go to another persons blog and tell them 'Enough already with the mommy thing!'.

They resonate and connect with other 'Mommy bloggers' and I love and appreciate that they have that outlet to share with others who live life in a similar way. It just doesn't particularly interest me per se.

I connect to those who either have no children or have adult children like myself.

Had blogging been around when I was raising my kids, most likely I would have participated in blogging about the difficulties and especially the many joys of child rearing. Every Mom's bragging rights.

Back to my point: I was told that in my many posts I use the word "I" a lot.

Guilty. Again. Seems I am always guilty of breaking some kind of blogging rule, eh?

After I calmed down, I responded that I use my blog as a venting tool. I say things on here that I have difficulty conveying in my life. I express my thoughts, my interests, my wishes, my hopes, dreams, my wants and needs. Because, as I stated in response to this person, my life is spent for others.

There are times I mind and times I don't.

I do express my wish for more fulfillment outside of home life now that my kids are grown and express my wish for privacy and time, not just for myself but with Ed and B.

Make no mistake, the people I do for, also do for me. If I need something done, they are there giving of their time and efforts and I do express my deep appreciation to them.

I am getting to the point in my life where I am indeed needing time to reflect and figure out my next step, which is I why I began my other blog '90 Days': to see if there is a next step and to help me find what that is. I'm getting proactive in bettering my life (by seeking out therapy, for example, as I stated yesterday) not just for myself, but for those in it who I am blessed to call my family -- immediate and otherwise.

What I don't appreciate is someone stopping by occasionally and putting their own spin on my comments and essentially calling me selfish.

Every single person who blogs can then be called the same thing. These are our blogs to write as we see fit.

You can't skip a month of my posts and then read one making heaps and bounds of assumptions about my person and motives and proceed to call me out causing me embarrassment by commenting on what you see wrong with me.

You are entitled like everyone else to your opinion but again, I would never go to your blog and point out what I see as your selfish behavior.

Just something to chew on.

I don't want to start to moderate my comments but this last one has me considering doing so.

This would be a classic case of think before you act -- especially with someone like myself who is already admittedly in a fragile state and who is trying to do something about that.

I know what my faults are and don't need them pointed out to me no matter how well meaning they are put.

If one knows anything about me and what I give to others, then that shouldn't have ever been pointed out.

I'll be back likely later today or on Monday to visit my friends blogs. My sincere apologies for the delay in that.

My advice for the day: be careful how you tread and how deep you leave your imprints.

Friday, February 19, 2010

LOOKING FOR GRACE



Grace is a lovely word and an act that is seldom practiced and seems elusive at times. I have seen very few people with it, myself included.

I seem to have imploded instead of seeking out that one elusive word and act.

The deal is simply this: I need to manage my time and household better and get a grip.

I need to speak up for myself more and do so with articulation and forethought and not out of anger and/or frustration. I need to set up boundaries and stick by my decisions.

I need time to just be. I need time to drink my coffee in the mornings, write, read and prepare myself mentally and physically in solitude for the day that lies ahead.

I know that sounds selfish but I have raised my kids and am now simply trying to gather my bearings and find my footing and balance in this big universe.

To quote 'Boston Rob' from last nights episode of 'Survivor': I seem to have a case of "crybabyitis".

I have a constant fear and a bad case of 'the other shoe is going to drop'. I am anxiety ridden and full of angst and resentment that I just can't seem to shake. I feel as if I can still lose more and it is taking its obvious toll on my sense of being. Couple that with certain peoples sense of entitlement that are in my life and there you have the makings of a woman who is losing control of her existence.

I am working hard on getting control of my finances and that is a big step but it always feels like it is not enough.

So, I am getting proactive in my mental health and, after talking it over with Ed and B, I am now seeking out counseling. Ed is going to look into what is available for us insurance wise, what we can afford, what will be covered, programs, etc.

To feel so weak and feeble minded is not my proudest moment, I gotta tell you. However, I also acknowledge that by taking a stance to get healthy and clear my thoughts so I can set a course for a clarity, productivity and my own betterment (which will in turn help my family) is in itself the first step to having grace in my life.

I'll be back later today to post on my '90 Days' blog (see button on my sidebar) and in a day or two to finally catch up on everyone else's blogs. Thank you all for your well wishes this past week.

Peace and serenity,
~Jo

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

YOU KNOW?



Well, this will likely be the most disjointed and the least articulate post not only that I've ever written, but likely that anyone has ever written.

My brain is fried.

Sometimes it's just too much.

Everything.

My feelings are all over the map and my emotions are frayed.

It's all too much to think about.

Little or no time to myself (I don't mean B) and others wanting to take what little of time I do have (no, I don't mean you, Nikki--ha!), I always have this, that or the other to do, I need to walk more regularly, I'm dealing with an apathetic husband (Valentine's Day sucked -- thank you, Ed!!! Not the movie, the day itself -- I opted out of the movie. Wasn't in the mood), Ed being home "sick" yesterday, I'm days and days behind on my '90 Days' book/project (not that anyone gives a shit -- I'm not even sure I do right now), my friend Pat wants me to start writing a book, boys here yet again, Ed here yet again, B starting third semester today, not saving as much money as we need....more bills, more food, more expenses, less overtime, no job opportunities, parents driving us crazy, T.J. got out the other day (Ed found him, thank God-- one of the boys left back gate open), peri-menopause in high gear, grocery shopping, cooking, blogging bullshit (Oh, gee, what a surprise the blogging group picked yet ANOTHER Mommy blogger to be featured. Shocker.), being thoughtful of others but not having it returned, not sleeping well, taking care of everyone else....

I NEED A BREATHER. I CAN'T F***ING BREATH!!!

I might be back tomorrow, I might be back next week or in two weeks. I don't know.

To my loyal bloggy friends -- no worries. Love you. Stay well.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY



I'll keep this short and sweet (like some love affairs):

Nothing says love like a kick ass movie montage set to the music of David Bowie.

I'm just sayin'.


Wishing you all love, in whatever form it comes your way.


Friday, February 12, 2010

FRIDAY FOLLICLES OR; "DUDE, IT WAS TOE!"



Why 'Friday Follicles' and not 'Friday Follies'?

Because follies you can't pull out by the roots. Hair you can and it will be amazing if mine lasts the weekend.

The toe thing will be later in this post.

First of all, I want to apologize in advance for being a bad blog friend -- I owe a visit and comment love to many of you (hi, Allen, Andrea, Naqvee and Meeko!) but....blah, blah, blah.

Tomorrow evening, we are happily hosting a birthday party for B's best female friend, 'A', whom he's known for six years.

A is also Nikki's daughter -- Nikki, as you may recall, is my motivator and walking buddy! A.K.A. 'Little Dynamo!'

So, yesterday, I went and picked up a few things for said event and between today and tomorrow, my things to do list before said party is as follows:

*Go to store to get rest of items

*Dye wash my hair

*Pull weeds and unwanted grass in front planter, plant pink flowers (A's favorite color) and trim palm frawns in planter.

*Nikki's coming over today at 10:30 to walk (which I NEED to do) and see what I got yesterday for the party and right after that, it's off to Orange County to see Ed's folks, in which we will likely be gone the rest of the day (Ed has today off).

*Clean house, cook and decorate

Before I sign off, a few notes on last nights premiere of 'Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains':

'Sugar' needed to go.












I'm over her crying, although, her topless flip off to the other tribe was awesome! See what happened, though? She used up all her glory early on -- after that, she fizzled out. In what? Two days out there she managed to cry a few times, wake everybody up by yakking in the middle of the night, was rendered useless at the immunity challenge, cried some more, attempted a match with Colby (who was in no mood for romance after getting beat by 'Coach' in the reward challenge!), didn't take the hint and followed him around like an annoying kid sister (remember, he also rejected Jerri back 10 years ago...Um, Colby? Is there something you need to get off your chest???), cried some more in confessional and was voted out after some much debate over who should go? The useless and annoying or the strongest and most threatening?

You need the strongest right now, but you don't want to merge with them, so keep them around as long as you can while the teams are still divided.

What's up with Rupert???

I read several articles that noted what we didn't see last night: That when Rupert broke one of his little toes, he apparently by all accounts SCREAMED ENDLESSLY. I guess he really carried on.

Now, granted, I've never broken a toe or any bones, I've been lucky. I can imagine it doesn't feel great, to say the least. But to scream and carry on? Dude, I love you madly but it was a TOE!

I was there when my brother, who was a teenager at the time, accidentally dropped weights on his arm and broke it. No screaming. I got shot in the leg by a rifle when I was 13. No screaming. Crying, yes. Lots of it. Screaming, no.

Then there was Rupert's fire making attempt: he used up how much of the flint they won in the reward challenge and still no fire?

So, my question is; has our beloved Rupert lost his Mojo????







Onto the 'villains'. The reward challenge was one of physical strength with two members of each tribe being pitted against one another at a time. All's fair in love and 'Survivor' as long as there is no playing dirty (choking, intentional infliction of pain on the opposing team,, dirty shots, etc.), but the villains came awful close to overstepping their boundaries, including twisting Stephenie's arm so badly that they pulled it right out of it's socket! It happens and I don't honestly think they meant to do that -- they seemed genuinely concerned when medics were called in to pop it back into place. Stephenie was a trooper! What I didn't like was Courtney 'cheering on' her teammates by yelling (in regards to Stephenie during said battle): "Break her arm!!!".

Way to live up to your villainous name you stupid, skinny, heartless skank.












Then there's my personal favorite, Russell, who seems to be taking a back seat early on (with the exception of a few conversations in an attempt to form his 'Dumb-ass girl alliance' -- his term, not mine -- part two) unsure yet where he fits in with his seasoned tribe mates. I hope he pulls himself out of his 'awe' and gets back to being the Russell we saw last season.












Well, I don't know when I'll be back, but...I'll be back. Maybe Sunday. Monday? Who the bloody hell knows???? Not I.

Until then, I'm off like a dirty shirt. Have a great weekend, all -- and Happy Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

THE NIGHT I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR



I can't wait until Ed gets home: since Ed is not working tomorrow, I'm considering tonight my early 'Valentine's Day'. ::Insert wink::

I'm going to have a nice dinner ready for him, light some candles, maybe have some wine and slip into something appropriate for this special occasion.

Tonight's plans will surely send us both into a frenzy of heat and excitement, perhaps causing heart failure at some point.

Oh, yeah -- I have it all planned out and, yes; it's going to be THAT good, my friends.

I have arranged for two hours of being in the dark; complete with screaming, no holds barred, delectable, heart pounding results.

Just Ed and I.

Well, us and Jeff Probst.












Yep. That's how I roll. Gonna be a good night for Jo.

Okay. The jig is up. Also joining us will be the rest of the 'Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains' cast, who's back to entertain us for 'Survivor's' 20th season.










Joining us will be:

Heroes (a.k.a. 'the good guys'):

*Amanda from 'Survivor: China and Micronesia'. Why she's back: “Because I am really competitive and wanted to prove I could win!”













* Candace (who?) from 'Survivor: Cook Islands'. Why she's back: “I'm always up for a challenge, and I love the game. I want a chance to play against the best!”










* Cirie from 'Survivor: Panama and Micronesia'. Why she's back: “Because I didn’t win the last 2 times.”













*Colby from 'Survivor: Australia and All-Stars'. Why he's back: “For me, it’s all about the extreme challenge and the epic adventure. A million bucks is a pretty good motivator as well.”








*James from 'Survivor: China and Micronesia'. Why he's back: “To prove to myself I can get further in the game.”













*'JT', winner of 'Survivor: Tocantins'. Why he's back: “It’s the ultimate challenge, I couldn’t pass it up.”













*Rupert (all time fan favorite) from 'Survivor: Pearl Islands and All-Stars'. Why he's back: “I LOVE THE GAME!”













*Stephenie (another fan favorite) from 'Survivor: Palau and Guatemala'. Why she's back: “I came back for the love of the game and because I'm such a serious competitor! I came very close to winning 2x but still never won so I came back a 3rd time to try to win it all this time.”













*'Sugar' from 'Survivor: Gabon'. Why she's back: “For the Survivor lovin’ viewers.”













*Tom, winner from 'Survivor: Palau'. Why he's back: “It was so much fun the first time around. I couldn’t resist having another adventure.”













Villains (a.k.a. 'the bad guys'):

*'Coach' from 'Survivor: Tocantins'. Why he's back: “Redemption!”













*Courtney from 'Survivor: China'. Why she's back: “Couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”













*Danielle from 'Survivor: Panama'. Why she's back: “I had such an amazing experience the first time I played the game and the competitive edge in me also screamed, 'I have a good chance because I came so close last time.'"











*Jerri (fans least favorite 'Survivor' of all time) from 'Survivor: Australia and All-Stars'. Why she's back: “To prove to myself that Survivor couldn't beat ME.....after what happened in the All-Stars, I felt broken, and I had to prove to myself that I was still stronger than the game!!!"













*Parvati ('Miss flirts her way through the game') from 'Survivor: Cook Islands and winner of Micronesia'. Why she's back: “For the love of the game, baby!”













*Randy from 'Survivor: Gabon'. Why he's back: “To right the wrong!”













* 'Boston Rob' from 'Survivor: Marquesas and All-Stars'. Why he's
back: ”To win!”













*Sandra winner of 'Survivor: Pearl Islands'. Why she's back: “Hands down, the money!”








*Tyson from 'Survivor: Tocantins'. Why he's back: “Free tropical island getaway, an excuse to not brush my teeth and the potential of a fat pay check... as long as we get paid in diamonds and gold instead of US dollars.”












*And last but in no way least, Russell -- the fun to watch controversial player from last seasons 'Survivor: Samoa'. Why he's back: “Because I have to put these kids in their place. I’m not done playing just yet!”












I have mixed feelings about previous winners of a million dollars having another whack at it, but, with all that said -- who am I rooting for?

Russell or Rupert.

Why? Because Rupert is a tiger with a heart of gold and Russell is just a tiger and quite frankly, he got robbed last season.

*See my post from Dec. 21st on my old blog 'Diary Of A Sad Housewife' titled 'Monday Madness!' for more on Russell on why I thought he should have won. http://diaryofasadhousewife-jo.blogspot.com/2009/12/monday-madness-this-post-really-only.html

Other than that, if those two get voted out, I'll go for James, Tom, 'JT' (even though Tom and 'JT' already won -- but they're both so darned likable!) Stephenie or Cirie.

The rest are simply obsolete to me.

Seriously. Who the hell is Candace and why is she here???

Who will you be rooting for?









*EDIT -- FOR MEEKO: 'Survivor' season 20 premieres tonight on CBS (channel 2) at 8:00. Tonight's episode is two hours, but normally they are only one. Hope you'll tune in!