Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I confess...I had a terrible food day yesterday. Bad enough that I hope I got it out of my system. I said I'd give myself a break till the move, so I'm trying not to dwell. But I do want to get back to my Su-Th "on-track" and Fri-Sat "free days". And I want to keep those free days SANE. My jeans think this is important too.

Anyway...I'm thinking a bit about words. I like words. I think one reason I enjoy expressing myself in writing more than orally is the ability to pause and find "my" word...the perfect one that says just what I want it to. I think I do this more so than many people when I speak as well. I know I often prefer to spend more time than average formulating a thought before saying it. While these blog posts tend to be pretty quick affairs, I still delete and re-choose a word pretty often (more so than delete to fix grammar!!).

I don't like to use names here. People deserve their privacy. If you know me, then you often know who I'm referring to with typical labels. But if you don't know me, you won't find my post when you are searching on someone else. This does, however, mean that people are identified by their relation to me. Word-finder that I am, I am troubled by the lack of the right word to refer to the man I married four years ago. "Husband" doesn't feel right anymore...and I think there's something helpful mentally and emotionally in moving away from that word. Moving on requires both the linguistic and mental/emotional shift. But we are still legally wed...and will be for a while given the speed such things take and some other complexities. I referred to him once as my "ex-husband-to-be"...that's the best I can do but it's a mouthful. I also remember hating the term "boyfriend" in the latter stages of dating-life...I wanted a word that covered the time before "fiance" but when it was more serious that a high-school fling. Society needs a fuller relationship vocabulary.

Another term that's getting to me right now is "boomerang"...the current label for kids returning to a family home after college, a job loss or other "false start." Am I a boomerang? I had a pretty significant life between college and now...grad school, two cities after that, two careers, a marriage. I am going home, temporarily, because it does make sense. I may be there only weeks (cross your fingers for my upcoming call-back interview) or it may be months. Do I get caught in the boomerang label? There is absolutely an economic element to my return and that seems to be an undercurrent for the boomerang trend. It is hard to put my finger on the exact reason why I'm different...but I feel like I am (umm...and I want to be). Divorced folks returned home for stays well before these 20-somethings developed this new category.

Really, I have a talent for dwelling on random things.

Monday, June 28, 2010

wallowing and more

I confess...that I plan to grumble for a paragraph and then talk about something else. I'm feeling very unsteady, as in one moment I can't possibly imagine getting out of bed and the next I feel pretty normal. I've been eating too much junk but kinda like that it's finally "normal" to reach the bottom of B&Js pints in a sitting. Here's the plan...I get to wallow and eat crap and stay in bed all I want UNTIL I move (with the exception of the 6th when I have an interview for a job I really want). After the move, I get a couple days to adjust and wallow b/c it will be an adjustment...then I start healing by treating my body well and focusing on the job search (well...ideally that's all done after my interview on the 6th...but I can't assume this). The goal for that period is to find a job, get ready for it, and get back in my jeans. Once that stage is done (i.e. when I move and have a job), I build a new home and a new community (not losing the old friends, of course).

Okay...something else...meh, I'm not thinking deep enough for one topic. Let's go bullet points:
  • I have a theory that Toyota caused the Gulf Oil spill. See, Toyota totally has knowledge about gas and oil stuff, at least enough for sabotage. And, a handful of months ago, Toyota was the Big Bad Evil Corporation that was the target of hatred (and headlines). But now, BP totally has that title. Sounds like motive to me. (Dear Toyota, This is a humorous thought. This is not libel. I don't really think you did it. Sincerely, Lawyer-Side of Me)
  • I had my last PT visit due to the impending move. He was really nice and offered to grill a few potential replacements to make sure they do an aggressive spine program that will fit with what I've been doing. He also told me how much I was lifting and what my goals are for each move based on my body/age/etc. I was impressed by my 160lb leg press and 102lb back extension but disappointed with some other low numbers.
  • I did my treadmill time yesterday at a pretty pathetic tv time slot. Last week, I saw Wipeout at the same time and was pretty amazed at what time consists of these days. This time, they were dropping prizes (and people) off a skyscraper. It seemed pretty wasteful to me. I'd have taken that car and dining set etc.
  • My laptop is getting too hot on my lap. I know this is highly interesting.
  • My favorite Quincy restaurant is going to be closed this weekend. That's just mean since I hoped to make a last visit. Silly holidays...
  • I'm still enjoying plowing through books while not working. I'm trying to mix re-reading and new books to be money conscious. The books are definitely a big challenge for moving and I'll need to have the ex-to-be ship some of them. Clothes are probably a more immediate need and nearly 300 books won't fit in the car along with everything else.
  • I fell asleep yesterday afternoon. I intended to rest my eyes a moment. Warning...sleeping with a paperback can cause some odd indentations on one's arm from the book.
  • Toy Story 3 was wonderful. I cried...a mix of both happy and sad tears. I don't care about Team Jacob or Team Edwards but I am on Team Andy's Toys.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"to do"

I confess...I'm feeling overwhelmed. I think I tend to be pretty even-keeled...I'm not Miss Happy-Go-Lucky, but I don't switch emotions quickly or bounce between highs and lows. These days, it's different. I feel okay one moment, hopeful and expectant the next, overwhelmed and scared after that, and sometimes just like crawling in bed with tissues and wallowing in self-pity. It isn't an easy state, but I think it is "normal" and "expected" and it will pass.

I have a lot of things on my checklist. Mostly practical things...changing mailing addresses, packing, cleaning things up at that bank. I'll get those handled, with lots of help (including from my parents and from Jason too). There are "bigger" things too though...a few:
  • Getting a job. Getting the RIGHT job. I have an interview on the 6th for a job I think would be a terrific fit....but I'm trying not to get ahead of myself imagining myself there (okay, so I looked at apartment prices). I want a job where I am productive and helpful and valued and feel fulfilled. It will also help to have something else to focus on.
  • Getting my weight in line. I'd gained a bit even before the "D" word. And I've put on more. Finally it is totally normal to dig to the bottom of a pint of B&Js. Okay, frankness. I felt best when my weight was around 115...most days a little below (I like wiggle room). Now it is usually around 122 or so. It is NOT a lot. I know that I am still at a perfectly fine weight. And maybe it is where I am meant to be. I am giving myself a bit more wallowing time but then I need to just get it under control and get it steady (i.e. maybe losing a little but then maintaining). So...a bit more time to do whatever is comforting, but then just getting into a healthier state. I'd also like to avoid needing to buy new pants.
  • Getting to know a "me" that isn't part of a "we." I think I have always had a pretty solid sense of self. I don't think I lost that being married. But I got used to having a "we"-side. It's just a change.
  • Feeling more steady. Swings are fine and normal for a bit. But not forever. The pendulum arc WILL get smaller.
  • Finishing a piece I'm writing and submitting it to a Glamour magazine contest. I don't expect to win. Luckily, I don't have the big trauma-type story that tends to be the winner. But I like the idea of simply trying.

Friday, June 18, 2010


I confess...there's a 1,000 pound gorilla in the room.

I try to write about me, my random musings, my views, etc. I have mentioned other people but more in relation to past events. The present felt off-limits and unfair to put in public. I worry a lot about fairness. This may not be fair. I don't know. I don't know much at all right now.

My husband and I have been seeing a counselor, at his urging. I thought things were improving. I really did. They weren't. We talked last night...after talking a week or so ago about it not being better...but last night was a harder and longer talk. I cried, a lot. He didn't formally say "it." He couldn't. There's part of me that hopes that's because he doesn't mean it. More of me thinks he was just too scared to pull of the bandaid. I asked him to stay at a motel last night. He's at work. He'll come back later. He looked so pained last night. I felt bad. I didn't cause the pain alone, but I'm still the cause.

I hate change. I hate feeling off balance. And I have for a while. And I know I probably need to be thrown off the beam entirely before I can walk again. But it hurts. I want to stay. I want to be wanted. But I can't make that happen. And I don't ever want to force myself upon someone else.

He says it is just that we are too different. That I'm not bad. Not inadequate. I feel like I am and can't see feeling different...I'm not enough. I know I should read that differently...I'm not a right match, I'm the wrong puzzle piece. He cares. I know. I know others care too. But I still feel tossed out.

I'm angry. I am who I am and I think I'm really honest about that. I am who I was eight years ago (and four years ago when we stood before everyone and promised). I never hid. If anything, I was too see-through. I am angry that it isn't anything new...that it was there then...and that the decision comes now and not then.

I am scared.

I don't want to pack. My dad says he can come up by transit and then drive back with me....highways scare me enough when I'm stable, there's no way I can do it like this. I guess I'll just take what can get in the car. I can trust him with stuff. I know that. I can get some stuff back when I'm more some kid to drive a U-Haul or something. I keep thinking about details. Like needing to put in a prescription to CVS in MA once our plan officially switches to CVS...I won't have time to wait for mail order and I think I can get refills elsewhere but need to put in the order here. And I have to go through that whole name change hassle again...or not...I have to figure that out too. I will go to my mom's at first. And then I'll see. I'll look broadly for work and see where I end up. I am a planner. But I just can't tackle it now.

I don't want to feel this way again. I am somewhat solitary but I liked having an other. i don't need a big crowd, but I did like having a partner. But I don't know that I can open to that again. It was hard enough to start with. I'm not good at trusting and being vulnerable.

I didn't sleep last night. I got up at 3 and watched tv and ate way too much crap (at least overeating is finally a normal response). I cancelled lunch plans. I need to hide a bit. PJ time. I'll get myself indulgent treats and have some wine. Not too much wine...don't worry about that...

It hurts. And I know he cares. And I feel bad that he hurts because it hurts me. I feel whiplashed and dizzy. I'm sore...I get achy when I'm emotional.

I can't decide if I should post this. It feels unfair. After all, it isn't formal. But I feel like waiting is kidding myself. And like I "get" the first word since I wasn't the one to choose.

It is 11:23 on 6/18. I'm holding this in queue.

I showered. It's 11:34.

He isn't a bad person. He doesn't want to hurt me. I know that. There's a sad little part of me that hopes a night away changes things. More of me knows it won't.

It isn't fair to post this. I don't want to be mean. I don't want to be vindictive. I know he's been in pain for a while now. I know it isn't easy for him either. I don't imagine he's skipping through tulips and laughing. I know it is hard on him and he didn't want this. I'm still mad. And angry. But I can't hate him for wanting to be happy. And I don't want to pull him down. I don't want to hurt him more...but I probably can't avoid that.

I need to post this. For me. Maybe it isn't fair. But nothing feels fair right now.

(6/19...2:05pm. I made him say it yesterday. It hurts...for both of us. But it has to and I know that. I want to leave now but I'm a pragmatist and there are things to take care of. My dad will come up in early July and drive me back to my mom's. It just makes sense to wait and get a few things (meds, PT, bank) in order first).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

books, not a review...

I confess....I still have the little certificate that my fourth grade teacher gave out (well, my mom does). At the end of the year, she handed out certificates (pre-printed, filled-in ones they must no longer sell in computer days) to each student. Mine said "Class Reader."

I don't recall being encouraged to read, but I also don't recall needing encouragement. As I've mentioned before, the same teacher set a five book monthly goal for me when the rest of the class had a two book goal...and it was never a problem. I had the same lousy immune system as a kid so missed a decent number of days of school (would have likely been a concern had I not been a strong student) and often spent the day in bed reading.

I was an English major. For a while, I had delusions of a PhD. I realized, however, that delving too much into literary theory just sapped the joy out of books. I enjoyed reading and talking about books, but the true "discipline" of literature drained me. And I wasn't good at it. My senior thesis was a draining experience....though I still like my title: "Restoring Lavina's Tongue: Shakespearean Silence from Nullification to Communication."

On a related note, there were a number of books that I feel like I was supposed to love but simply did not. I hated Pride & Prejudice. I barely recall Jane Eyre or Little Women. I appreciate its historical significance but could barely make it through Uncle Tom's Cabin. I never did get through Heart of Darkness. I was never assigned any Dickens so I picked up Great Expectations on my own...blech. I tried Pickwick Papers...snore.

On the other hand, as one of my recent reading of Scout, Atticus, & Boo reminded me, I loved To Kill a Mockingbird. I also loved Fahrenheit 451. I fell into the world of Mill on the Floss (though haven't reread it). All English grads at my college tackled Ulysses. I think I liked it...but I may just like having survived it. On the non-school side, my copies of The Red Tent and Middlesex are revisited regularly.

In general, I am pretty far from materialistic. I don't wear jewelry, I don't need fancy clothes, I don't collect anything, I don't covet a fancy car. But I like OWNING my books. I want them to be MINE. I'll lend them out, but only if I know they will return. I appreciate the convenience but can't fathom an E-Reader. I want the weight and the feel of a book (paperback...hardcovers are too unwieldy and pricey). There was a tee-shirt in my college bookstore with a line on it about using money to buy books and using the leftovers to buy food. Okay, so I'll totally spend for food (and wine), but books are up there on the list.

Monday, June 14, 2010

double trouble book review: every house needs a balcony & scout, atticus and boo

I confess..whenever I have more than one item to review (or am addressing an email to more than one person), I struggle with the order question. So, let's just go with the order I read them (in emails, I often go alpha). Legal-type disclaimer: These reviews are based on proof-versions provided to me by HarperCollins.

  • Every House Needs a Balcony, Rina Frank
This is a recent translation of a top-selling book by an Israeli author. I've always struggled with processing my reaction to translations. A good translator maintains the spirit of not only the plot but also the language. That said, it can never be flawless and without the translator's imprint.
The plot is the life story of an Israeli woman. She grows up in poverty, the daughter of immigrants. The family (Mom, Dad, narrator & sister) shares a single room and the young narrator spends a lot of time observing her own family as well as her neighbors. When she is older, she meets a wealthy man and briefly relocates to Barcelona before returning to her native land to have a child.
I expected to really enjoy this novel. The plot sounds up my alley and it is a character-driven story. However, it really lost me in the telling (hence the author/translator ponderings). The chapters alternate between first-person accounts of the narrator's childhood and third-person accounts of her adult life. While that kept the timelines distinct, it was jarring (hopefully the editors will catch the few errors in the voice that are in the proof version). Neither voice captivated me. I like flawed characters so don't need a perfect heroine, but I never felt connected to the main character.
I don't like not liking books. I did a few internet searches and did find a reviewer with similar sentiments...that made me feel better. Fine story but lost in the telling....whether that is the author or the translator is something I can't judge.
  • Scout, Atticus & Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird, Mary McDonagh Murphy
This compilation is a celebration of Harper Lee's beloved novel. I am among the many who fell in love with the book on first read and I have reread it many times. Wally Lamb provides a foreword that is followed by a section in which Murphy provides a bit of insight into the book's history. The real meat of the book is the series of reflections from notable readers including Harper Lee's sister, the actress who played Scout in the film, Oprah Winfrey, Andrew Young, and many others including actors and people familiar with the Southern town life portrayed in the book.
Harper Lee hasn't granted an interview in many years. I hope she enjoyed this celebration of her novel. I did and, although I don't have a ton to more to say about it, I definitely recommend this book to any fan of Mockingbird.

Friday, June 11, 2010

ramble ramble on and on

I confess...I finished another one of my books but the fourth won't be far behind so I'll wait on that to post reviews and instead just ramble..
  • It seems like most women I know have some sort of close interplay between stress and food. Some stop eating when they are stressed, others eat more. Neither is healthy but I fall into the latter category and a pathetic part of me is jealous of those in the former group. They don't add tight waistbands to the stress list.
  • I'm still plodding away at PT. My back and side bends are now front bend is still awful. I explained to my PT when we started that I couldn't touch my toes as a kid was worse from the back problems but even my healthy hamstrings were pretty sad. I think he's believes me more now but he still seems dedicated to making me more bendy. I'll play along.
  • I saw some female author on TV who commented that men buy cars when they are stressed and women get in their PJs. I totally do that.
  • This June is much nicer than last June. It actually resembles Spring.
  • Some of the old ladies in the building have coffee time M, W, and F mornings. It starts at 930 and I usually walk by around 10 en route to my treadmill time. They used to talk about me ("There she goes again!"). Now they sometimes talk to me ("There YOU go again"). Part of me finds it annoying. Another part finds it motivating...they expect me so I better go.
  • I have a Shrek glass. I don't want to return it...even for an extra dollar above the cost. I will just avoid eating the paint.
  • I painted my toes blue again. They still amuse me. It doesn't take much.

Monday, June 7, 2010

books....b!tch is the new black

I confess...another books post 'cause I'm in a reading mode and finished up the second book in my HarperCollins stack.

I don't usually read memoirs and I tend to prefer a full-length narrative to essays, but I decided to try something out-of-character for me in Bitch is the New Black ("BNB" b/c I'm lazy). BNB consists of a number of essay-style memoirs from Helena Andrews. Since they are autobiographical, there is obviously overlap between the pieces (especially in the players) but they can stand fraily independently. Many of the chapters are focused on relationships including the author's relationship with her mother, men, and close friends. Weaved throughout is the idea of being a single, young, professional black woman at the turn of the millenium.

I like the author's voice and appreciate her prose. She is clearly telling her story...she doesn't suggest this is the life of everywoman but still serves as a voice for some level of shared experience (I feel like I can't get the words I want for that is HER experience but calls upon shared experiences while not suggesting all are identical). I enjoyed "meeting" some of the key characters in BNB and the consistency of the friendships that support the author from youth through college and adulthood. BNB avoids preaching about wonderfully strong women who don't need anything or anyone but still manages to present a woman the reader can admire...even while acknowledging her imperfections.

It is a pretty quick read and gets my thumbs-up.

Friday, June 4, 2010

books...32 Candles

I confess...this is one of four book review posts coming in the near future. As with a prior one (where I did two in one swoop), these reviews are based on copies provided to me by the lovely folks at HarperCollins...some of which are uncorrected proof editions. Okay, now lawyer-Cheryl is placated and we can move on.

32 Candles is the first novel by Ernessa Carter. The narrator, Davidia Jones, opens with her unhappy childhood in small-town Missisippi. She's pretty much my age so childhood is in the 80s and teenhood in the 90s. She takes us through some cruelty at the hands of classmates and her mother that lead to her fleeing home at 15. We get some "in between" shots before the "current day" story picks up.

The novel fits firmly into the category I think of as "Decent Chick Lit"...not pure fluff but definitely a girl book. It is both a woman-coming-of-age story and a story about love. I think it would make a screenplay that the narrator, a fan of 80s Molly Ringwald movies (such as the film the title references), would watch (side note: now I'm trying to think of the right African-American actresses to play Davie at various ages) I enjoyed the playing with time a bit more than I expected since there's a turn that makes the reader realize that a first-person narrator is of suspect reliability. The ending wrapped a bit too nicely for me...but I say that about many books, movies, and tv shows.

It is an easy read and I think it would make a solid beach novel for someone looking for a chick-lit vibe with a bit more substance than the majority. On a semi-relevant note, I don't know if they typeface in the Proof version will be carried into the final print, but I found it a bit tough on the eyes.

None of the books in my current HC pile are long so expect more reviews to come (I'm not in a "collect into one post" mood.