January 17, 2002

Heh Heh Heh

The above link is from my son's site.

January 16, 2002

You know, I thought I had already posted this, but I've scanned back through this year and I'm not seeing it.  If I'm blitzing out and I did already run this past you, then I apologize for my oversight.  Just thought I'd share one of my original pomes with you (not poem, silly, pome):

O Menopause, thy name is truth!
Heap upon me thy wisdom that I
might go forth in its name and
lay waste to oppressors,
thine and mine,
who would forsake me 
and incur my wrath!

O Menopause, thy name is justice!
Be with me as I run raging naked
through the streets of my life and
proudly proclaim that I am
old and balding and crush
beneath my stomping feet
the sour grapes of those
who whine and seek to subdue me.

O Menopause, thy name is power!
Bring upon me the apathy of antiquity
that I might transform the energy of giving a  shit
into simply shit-giving
and metamorphysize my own emotional imprisonment
into taking no prisoners.

O Menopause, I lay claim to my due:
The truth, justice, power and wisdom
that is the hallmark of the Crone
and renders her both fearless and feared.

January 15, 2002


Although my picture of the quickie trip to LA have yet to be developed, Joe took his digital camera with him and has given me permission to share his pics with you:






January 10, 2002


I don't know if you remember or not, but my friend Georgia and I went out on the town to see Pauly Shore last month and it was a BLAST!  We had to wait an hour and a half to get into the sold out show (had our tickets EARLY, BABY!!!).  At first, we were 3rd and 4th in line, only bested by two cutesy young'uns from a GAP commercial.  I've never heard the word "like" used so many times.  "He was all like...then I was all like...and she's all like...so I was like..."  In retaliation, Georgia and I started saying "hella" all the time, talking about how "hella cool" Pauly was and the club was and the floor was and such.  We say "hella" anyway, so we just upped the octane on the usage a bit.  Their cell phones ran about 400 times and we were to later find that it was their 400 friends making sure their place at the front of the line was secure.  Pauly walked by when we were waiting and I was shocked at how much he looks like Richard Simmons now, but he still had that Pauly cuteness to him. 

Punchlines (the club) was set up with tiny tables alll over the fairly small room and chairs set up between the tables even to the point that if you moved, turned around or breathed, you knocked into someone.  Fortunately, no one in the senior class of 1999 that was in front of us had the balls to sit up front (general admission), so Georgia and I pushed ahead to the tables by the stage.  There was a two drink cover and I never had so much trouble buying a drink in my life.  First, the drink wench took forever to get to us (I had a buzz scheduled I had to hit before Pauly was on stage), then when she finally got to us and finally got our drinks to us as well, I found mine was practically clear!  And it was a Bacardi and Coke!  Well, actually, it was a Bacardi and drop of Coke!  She passed by again to take another order and I asked her if, when she came by again, she could please bring me some Coke to put with my glass of Bacardi.  She smugly told me that there were "a number of people" still waiting to order drinks and that I would have to wait until they were served before I could order a second drink.  I told her I didn't really want a second drink, I just wanted to be able to drink my first drink without fear my breath would ignite on the table candle.  She harrumphed her way across the room, ignoring me.  Figuring the Lord helps those who helps demselfs, I squeezed my way through the crowd to the bar, only to be told, "You have to get all drinks from the 'wait staff.'"  I asked if that was why they were then called the "wait" staff; because all you do is wait on them.  Bartended smirked and dismissed me.  FINALLY about a half hour later, I got the coke, but when she came by, I asked, "Are you SURE I can order now?  I want TWO COKES," because I didn't want to have to wait on my wait staff for the rest of the night.  I'd been sipping my Bacardi to stay on my buzz schedule and the Coke was a welcome relief.  There was also a grub wait staff and I was bummed that they had no tato skins, so Georgia and I settled for splitting an order of awesome nachos and some killer sundaes.  

So we're drinking our drinks and eating our ice cream and the first act came on.  Very cute, very funny ("When you smoke pot, it's like you tell yourself, 'This is just a movie.'")  Second act was a little lame guy who needed more practice.  Then came Pauly.  (YAAAAAYYY!!).   He was really hilarious with lots of audience interaction and just plain funny.  Every joke was about sex, so you kind of had to get past that limited scope, but it was hilarious.  

He commented that most women do not know how to orally pleasure a man and gave instruction using his microphone as a prop, then said that to be fair, he had to have a woman give lessons to the men.  We had Georgia on the stage before her ass even left the chair.  She was dressed really cute in acid jeans and a pink tye died shirt, so he asked her if she'd ever met Jerry Garcia.  She didn't bat an eye and said, "No, but I talked to him once."  You could tell that Pauly was a bit thrown for a sec, because he lapsed out of Pauly-speak and said, "Really, where?"  She said, "In her back yard [pointed at me] last Halloween."  I was cracking up because I remembered that Jerry was the dead person that Georgia chose to contact in our ritual séance that year!  (How fortuitous!!)  So Pauly made a little yoni (our word for female privates - OK, I guess proportionately, it was a pretty big yoni) with his two thumbs and forefingers (click to enlarge the pics):

P&G2.gif (73959 bytes) 

And Georgia did a demo that brought the house down (I saw some guys - and women - taking notes)

P&G1.gif (71988 bytes)

She talked about little men in boats and angles and all sorts of stuff.

Pauly.gif (82705 bytes)

She totally cracked up Pauly and he told her she was nasty.  : P
That's like Mick Jagger telling you that you have really big lips.

Later, Pauly asked for some water and Georgia gave him her ice water from the table and he slugged it down and kept the glass on our table.  After the show, I confiscated the glass for Georgia and she now has it strategically placed on her altar.  During intermission, Georgia was mobbed in the bathroom by appreciative ladies and also was accosted by a really drunk chick who was yelling, "PROPZ TO YOU, GURL!!!  PROPZ TO YOU!  I HOPES THEY WERE LISTENING!  PROPZ TO YOU!" (said with the appropriate double pistol finger-pointing) So now I give propz to Georgia for everything, like not running stoplights and recycling and such.  Heh heh heh.

After intermission, Pauly showed his new movie in its entirety (after a set that was over an hour long easily).  It's called "You'll Never Wieze in This Town Again" and I've got to tell you, Pauly, it was pretty doggone bad.  It was a mockumentary about his career and him staging his death and it had potential, but it pretty well dragged for about an hour of it.  The best part was the huge rash of cameos he had in it.

So that's my Pauly tale.  A good time was had by all, as they say, particularly by me and my buddy, Georgia:

K&G.jpg (21081 bytes)

A big thanks to Paige for taking the pics and sending them to us!



January 10, 2002

christmas.jpg (162050 bytes)
click on me

Nathan's Soul Mate!!!  At least my son has limited his artistic endeavors to walls, mirrors and carpets!


January 8, 2002

This was sent to me by CSAN over at our sister site, GH Rocks.  It's an oldie but a goodie and I couldn't resist putting my  2cents in around what it says  : Þ.  Thanks, CSAN!!

I believe -  that we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I also believe that sometimes as we change, the seasons change as well and every now and then, you find the world has turned enough that you and another just aren't meshing in one another's lives any more.  I once heard that life is like a cattle drive.  You start out from your point of origin with a working team.  Some will leave along the way and others will join.  When you get to your destination, there will those who have endured the whole trip, some who have joined you along the way for the long haul and others who join, give their all, then part ways.  No one contribution is greater or lesser than the others and all work together to further the cause.  Similarly, we have friends that join us for a season, some that join us for a reason and others that join us for a lifetime.  Whatever contribution they make to us and we to them is to be cherished and when/if the time comes to part, we release them with love.  

I believe -  that no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I believe that our friends will hurt us now and again.  Our husbands will hurt us.  Our children will hurt us.  Our parents and sisters and neighbors will hurt us.  This is because we are all human and make mistakes.  We forgive those who hurt or anger us not to give them absolution, but to free ourselves from the energy investment of anger and the bondage that resentment creates.  If they hurt you once in a while, that's one thing.  If a person is hurting you repeatedly, look for the lesson, look for the escape or both.  Remember, we teach people how to treat us and no one does anything without a payoff.  In a relationship where one person is constantly hurting another, disregarding their boundaries or infringing upon their dignity, it is the hurtee's responsibility to determine whether or not they want the treatment to continue.  If they do not and they assert themselves and remain steadfast in their assertions, but those boundaries are not honored, it's time to make some changes in the relationship.  

I believe - that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

Yup, but long distance love sucks much more than long distance friendship.

I believe - that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

Oh man, is that ever the truth.  Watch your mouth, dammit.  Words are the most vile weapons we have at our disposal and the wounds run deeper and the scars are more wicked than any sword or firearm imaginable.  Is a lifetime of damage worth a moment of dramatic effect?

I believe - that it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

Too long.  That's why we have to love and appreciate the person we already are.

I believe - that you should always leave loved ones with loving words.  It may be the last time you see them.

I also believe that a good tongue lashing for your enemies can be just as important.  Leave them with an IMPACT.  Also, if you know you are going to die, say something really cool.  Like a famous playwright (was it Thomas Wolfe?  sheeesh, I can't remember and I'm going to quote the guy) who really thought ahead.  He was dying in a hotel room, with his family all around.  He had lapsed into a coma and came to long enough to realize he was truly dying.  He opened his eyes and said, "Either that wallpaper goes or I go" and CACK!  He died.  If only I could do something so cool.

I believe - that you can keep going long after you can't.

and sometimes, you keep going so long after you can't that you can't barely get yourself going again.  Know your limits, but don't be afraid to stretch them.

I believe - that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

Definitely.  It is a weak person who bows out with excuses about "my addiction" or "childhood."  Yes, horrible things happen to people, but in the long run, we are still the sole person responsible for our behavior.

I believe - that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

This is why I am a firm believer in taking your time to find exactly the right person instead of working on some time limit or keeping up with the newlywed Jones or hopping into bed without considering that pregnancy is a frequent side effect of sex.  Too many people don't take time to really get to know the person they are dating before racing down the aisle.  Yes, the passion can be incredible and really sweep you away.  Yes, after years and years, the passion can still be incredible.  Despite that old adage about opposites attracting, there'd better be some common ground somewhere and you'd both better make the other laugh.  Children don't count as something in common or a good laugh.  

I believe - that money is a lousy way of keeping score.

Yeah.  I'm going to say this the best way I can and it still might not make any sense.  Let's say that Jack is a typical capitalist.  He works hard, 18 hour days, 6-7 days a week, climbing the corporate ladder, never home, bases his self-worth and marking of success on the acquisition of wealth and material possessions.  Let's say that Phil is more of an experiential person.  He works 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, makes good money, lives in a decent house, spends time with his kids and his wife every night, meditates before going to sleep, sleeps eight hours, has a nice breakfast with his wife, goes camping on the weekends and bases his impression of success on what he experiences in life, regardless of what he owns or how much money he makes.  Because Jack is ensconced in a material measure of success, Phil can never prove to Jack that he is in any way successful.  If he doesn't meet or beat Jack's net worth, he is not successful.  Jack will see him as a squanderer of time and money and definitely not reaching his full potential.  If Jack's wife leaves him and he doesn't know his kids by the time they leave home, Phil will not view Jack as successful.  He will see him as a man going home to an empty mansion with no hope of connecting with his children.  The trick is that regardless of on which side of the fence one falls, to be aware of the fact that the terms of success are defined for and by the self, not by others and that if another is happy, we have no right to judge their success or perceived lack thereof.

I believe - that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

That too, but if it involves food and liquor, it can be even more fun.

I believe - that sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

Vindictive, perhaps, but not cruel.

I believe - that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

One of the finest things I ever read that Dr Phil said was in "Relationship Rescue."  He pointed out that if you married someone who spoke a different language and they said, "I love you with all my heart" in a native tongue and we did not understand that language, it would not diminish the feeling or the value of what they say.  Sometimes, we show love to one another in different languages, but it doesn't change the message behind it.  We just have to learn to speak the language.

I believe - that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

Very true.  I've known some real Messiahs who were young and some real dumbasses who were old.  Maturity is living peacefully in your own skin with the past resolved, the present enjoyed and the future eagerly anticipated.  It is living in harmony with nature and those around you, realizing that everyone has their deal and the main goal is to allow their deal to exist in peaceful co-existence with your deal and to set boundaries when their deal gets froggy with your deal without being an ass about it.

I believe - that it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others.  Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

And that is the hardest jury to sway, but don't let that stop you from making amends with others when you know you have wronged them.  Don't just let it fade away and hope it will pile up under the carpet with all your other crap.  Be a grown up, go to them, look them in the eye and tell them that you are sorry, then go the distance and do whatever you can to correct the damage.  It's their choice to forgive you or not.  If they don't after you have sincerely atoned, then let them deal with their resentment and you get busy with the first notion of making sure you have forgiven yourself.

I believe - that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I think it was Lois Lane ("Superman II") who said that there is nothing so vile as hearing the first bird of the morning singing outside your window after you've been up all night crying and Skeeter Davis who sang, "Don't they know it's the end of the world?"  The world may not stop for your grief, but yours sure does and it's important to feel the grief, go through the stages and allow yourself to follow the process of healing.  Bottling it up and not allowing yourself to feel because it hurts too much is a sure fire way to develop any number of diseases, including insanity.

I believe - that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

The future truly does belong to us and every day that we wake up, nay, ever breath that we breathe, is a brand new chance to make any change we desire and start a whole new life on a dime.  One of the ancient wisdoms is "once the deciding is done, the doing becomes effortless."  Perhaps "effortless" is a bit glib, but all major decisions are resolved and enacted in the heart before the paint ever touches the canvas of life.

I believe - that just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other  And just because they don't argue, doesn't mean they do.

Yup.  Big issues on arguing in front of kids.  Dr Phil says, "Every time you fight around your children, you change them."  That may be true, but there is a difference in letting children see you argue constructively and reach a viable solution versus screaming and tearing one another apart.  I have always been, even through my first marriage, one who only hides the most personal and brutal marital spats from my children.  I believe they need to see that people argue and still love one another and come to satisfactory conclusions.  This was proven to me when I married my second (actually my third, but my first two were the same guy so that doesn't really count) husband.  He had not been in a marriage or live-in relationship before and was totally unnerved that we occasionally argued.  He saw it as a failure or weakness in our relationship because even though his parents went through a nasty divorce, he never once saw them argue.  I feel that hiding conflict teaches children to have unrealistic expectations of relationship and to recoil in terror (and quickly leave) future relationships when their own inevitable conflict arises.  I also believe that sometimes couples who do not argue, don't argue because they don't give a damn.

I believe - that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I believe that evidently NO ONE ever sees the same thing that I do.  I always seem to have some bizarre, jagged view of whatever has transpired.

I believe - that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

Make that seconds.

I believe - that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you,
you will find the strength to help.

I believe that a friend who whines at you when you are fried and totally depleted needs some serious counseling and should learn to be considerate of the needs of others.

I believe - that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

And the ones that you can't stand seem to go on and on and on.

YOU, however, I adore,


January 8, 2002

The following was sent to me by my hometown buddy, CatCat.  (Love you)

How To Stay Young

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctor worry about them. That is why you pay him/her.

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning.  Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop," the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.  When the children are young, that is all that you can afford. When they
are in college, that is all that you can afford. When you are on retirement, that is all that you can afford!  (skip this one J.P.)

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath. Laugh so much that you can be tracked in the store by your distinctive laughter.

6. The tears happen.  Endure, grieve, and move on.  The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be alive while you are alive, don't put out a mailbox on the highway of death and just wait in residence for your mail.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it is family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health. If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Go to the mall, the next county, a foreign country, but not to guilt country.

10. Tell the people you love, that you love them, at every opportunity. 

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away


January 8, 2002

A fun thing.  :)

The Do Re Mi Song for Drinkers

Doe, I need to buy my beer

Ray, the guy who pours my beer.

Me, the one who drinks my beer.

Fa,  a long way to the ground

So, I think I'll have a beer

La, de, la, de frickin da

Tea, no thanks, I'll have a beer!

That will bring us back to Do, do, do do...


January 8, 2002

littlepeople.gif (77184 bytes)
click to make bigger

I have seen the face of evil and if you have clicked on the above picture, you have as well.  You will notice that if you carefully evaluate the little girl's expression in the picture, what at first appears to be a look of childish joy is actually an expression of demonic glee.  The name of evil is "The Little People Discovery City."  Never speak its name aloud or you might accidentally invoke it and you'll never get rid of it.  What you can't immediately tell from the picture is that where each of those little beast figures are standing, there is an electrical connection and they *gulp* sing when you press down on them.  "We're Little People making lots of plans.  Little People with helping hands.  Little People, we like to work and play.  Little people making friends every day."  Warning:  When you are shopping for your children and your grandchildren, if you are evaluating a toy that makes noise of any kind and you find yourself smiling wistfully, tilting your head slightly and saying, "Awww.  That's so cuuuute," immediately override any impulse you have to purchase the item, drop your hands to the side and slowly back away from the display.  These are warning signs not to be ignored.  What actually happens is that when you are asleep, it begins to say things like, "We're Little People staging a bloody coup, Little People, we won't be subdued, Little People, you must kill mom and dad!  Little People, you know that they're bad."  

After about the 500th round of the "Little People" song, you pretty much wish you'd left the thing at the store.  Of course, if you are a malicious aunt or other mischief-maker and specifically want to torture a team of parents, use this information in reverse.  Just remember that when you use your powers for good instead of evil, it can come back to haunt you.  Bwaaahahahahaha.


January 3, 2002

*sigh*  OK, I can take a beating with the best of them.  I’ve been mulling a column for some time, but kept putting it off until I could get my thoughts in a better row.  I was in the process of delaying it further with a blurb about annoying toys, when out of the blue, the computer restarted, resulting in me losing all I’d written.  I don’t need to be encouraged further, so bear with me if this rambles as I’m thinking out loud on paper.  We’ll set the rules as we go. 

As many of you know, I am an appreciator of Dr Phil McGraw, who appears most Tuesdays on Oprah.  I’ve read his two books, “Life Strategies” and “Relationship Rescue” and just got his new book, “Self Matters,” as a Christmas present for myself.  I’ll tackle it after my mini vacation to LA this weekend.  Normally, I have no use for self-help gurus and take a modicum of info from their work and dismiss the rest.  I have to say that Phil has usually impressed me with his no nonsense approach to dealing with problems.  I can respect that.  I’ve never had much use for a person’s behavior being attributed to “a disease” or “an addiction” or even a bad childhood.  I believe that as functioning adults, we are fully responsible for our behavior and regardless of what factors may be at work in our inner programs, it is ultimately up to us to change the behaviors that don’t work for us or in our lives.  An ex-friend of mine used to be totally wrapped up in Overeaters Anonymous and since she embraces everything she does with an immense passion, she encouraged me to be involved as well.  I knew it wasn’t for me because one of its main premises was that we are powerless and controlled by food.  I just don’t buy that about food or anything else.  I believe I am very empowered and, on some level, consciously make the choice to eat.  I think that turning our control over to a cookie is an easy way to relinquish responsibility for our own actions.  I’ve had recent evidence to strongly support that notion, which I will document in my Fatastic Journal later today.  Dr Phil says that we do what works for us on some level and I fully believe that is true.  Behaviors that we consciously want to change, but continue regardless, continue because they work for us on some level.  We get some kind of payoff for those behaviors or we would not do them.  The trick is figuring out the payoff and renegotiating our behavior.   

With all of that as a given, I have been thinking a lot about how people use one another.   Of course, being used is all perspective and is actually about agreements, spoken and unspoken, that we make with the people in our lives. 

I want to illustrate a distinct different between being used and being victimized.  On a Gary Zukov level, we can say that when we are “victimized,” we are learning and we are in a conscious give and take mode with the victimizer.  I’m not going to deal with that now because I think Gary is really cool, but he isn’t where I am just yet.  I’m with Phil and will work my way to Gary eventually. 

My husband has a motorcycle that is a kind of project bike.  It’s a Honda 750four that’s he’s been rebuilding for about a year now.  A man came up to our door (and I mean an man, in his 40s-50s, not a teen) and asked Eric if he would be willing to sell the emblem on the side of the bike that says “750four.”  It’s factory stock and isn’t easy to come by.  Eric told him that if he kept he bike, he wanted to keep the emblem that goes on the bike, but that if the guy was interested, he’d sell him the bike for $500.  He even offered to work out payment arrangements.  The guy told Eric he’d think about it and get back to him.  Eric had to leave to go out of town and work for a couple of days and when he came back, he saw that the emblem had been pried off the bike.  The bike is right beside our house.  In fact, you can’t walk between the bike and the house, it’s that close.  This guy (I refuse to entertain the notion that some other someone just happened to come steal the damned emblem) came up to our house while we were in it (my house is NEVER empty), brought tools, which he’d have to have to get it loose, and invested the time to pry the emblem that Eric had absolutely told the man he wanted to keep from Eric’s bike.  I do not have the capability to understand what makes a grown man believe that he is more entitled to a person’s property than the person who owns it.  This is called ‘victimizing’ and is not what I’m talking about.   

What I’m referencing is the subtle and not-so-subtle using that goes on in our day-to-day lives that we tolerate out of some sense of guilt or because we don’t want to make waves or because we don’t want people to think that we are not “nice.”   

RULE 1:  “She is so nice” means “She does what I want her to do no matter what.” 

I have first hand experience with this sort of thing and know from whence I speak.   An old adage says “expectations are simply premeditated resentments.”  I believe this is true.  This is a field that I am exploring in a big way because I think that our relationships often fall victim to expectations that we place on other people, both with and without their knowledge.  One of the lessons I have learned with the past year’s planting and harvest (when I foolishly planted “joy,” ha ha ha, what a way to spend a year in heavy lessons!),  is that we cannot and must not invest the responsibility for our own happiness in the expected behaviors of others.  When I think of what it would take to make me happy (which is a Phil exercise that few, sadly, do not actively pursue without prodding), most of it involves or worse, depends upon, other people doing certain things or behaving in a particular way.  It would make me so happy to be able to sleep in some morning and get up when I wake up naturally rather than a child dragging me out of bed.  For that to happen, either my kids have to sleep in or my husband has wake up before me, neither of which is going to happen.  I’d be happy if Delena would clean her room on her own rather than with me coming in to help her along.  For that to happen, I have to provide adequate threats or bribes for her to perform.  Even then, she has the final say as to whether she is sufficiently enticed or worried into doing it.  I would be so happy if the VA check that is owed to my husband, due in, we were assured, by November 23 of last year, including a year of back pay, would arrive today before we leave tomorrow morning on our trip.  I could catch up on bills.  I could buy a bed for my kids.  I could spend a little more on my trip.  Again, that is totally out of my control and utterly dependent on the actions of others.  I would be happy if my two-year-old found a means to communicate beyond shrieking at the top of his lungs.  I would be happy if my 19-year-old son would demonstrate, in some small way, that he appreciates the fact that he lives in our house, takes up my family room as his own territory and has all of his needs met.  I would be happy if I could sit and write all day and not be troubled by this bothersome housework.  I would be happy if my computer worked without fussing…if I had a cd writer…if I could visit my mother…if I had time to read…If my ex-husband would get it and understand why I was destroyed when he left us for another woman and just freaking apologize and mean it.  It just goes on and on, always with the happiness being contingent on someone else doing something or providing something to me.  If you will notice, nowhere in my list is there anything I can do to make MYSELF happy.  It’s always about depending on someone else.   

That works for me on a couple of levels.  First, it neatly relieves me of all responsibility for my own happiness.  The handshake with that is that it disempowers me to ever achieve my own success at being joyful.  If someone else doesn’t come through and I’m not happy as a result, I can easily blame them for my misery.  It gives me the perfect excuse to never be happy and it’s all because of the inadequacies and cruelty of others.  It has nothing to do with my own passivity, my own lack of initiative, my own insistence on nailing myself to the cross, bitching all the while. 

RULE #2:  Be responsible for your OWN happiness and make changes to support your happiness.  Allow things to happen, not just happen to you

I do want to tell you something, though.  When you nail yourself to the cross and play the martyr, other people in your environment will be more than willing to drive in that pesky last nail for you.  In fact, often they will stand in line to hand you the nails, hold them steady for you and slam the crown of thorns down onto your sweaty brow.   

All relationships are negotiated on some level; who will pitch and who will catch, what you will receive and what you will give.  Seldom are the terms laid out in any kind of acknowledged contract.  Usually, it’s a situation that sets up over time, in an intricate dance of “Is this OK?  What about this?  Will you tolerate this?  How about this?” until a wall is hit and undesirable or unacceptable reactions are received, sufficient to make the behavior itself undesirable.  Often, it’s a matter of negotiations including acceptable fall out.  If I tell my daughter to clean her room or I will take her TV away for a week, she might decide that although she will miss her TV, it’s a worthy investment of a week not to have to clean her room.  That ups the ante.  Now, I’ll have to either accept her terms, take the TV and not have her room clean or keep escalating the punishment until she decides she’s better off cleaning her room.  If a woman’s husband wants to go out and play poker with the boys, knowing fully well she don’t want him to go, it might be worth putting up with her freezing him out and biting his head off all the next day just to have a night of fun.  Everyone decides what their actions are worth.   

RULE #3:  People will happily take advantage of what you will give them, willingly or unwillingly, and are often willing to pay a price if what you give them is valuable enough.   

One of the first lessons you learn as a professional child care provider is to never offer a child an option that you are unwilling to fulfill.  If you are trying to get the whole class to pick up their toys so you can take them outside, never ask the child who is tarrying, “Don’t you want to go outside?”  If he answers, “No,” there is nowhere for you to go except into a power struggle.  “Do you want to play on the bikes or the swing when you go out?” is what you say to distract him as the two of you pick up the toys he’s using.  When my eyes are bleeding because I am so tired from getting up at 5:30am with kids after my husband and I both stayed up yakking until 2am and it’s now noon and I want to sleep, if I go in to nudge him awake and say, “Oh, are you wanting to sleep even LONGER?” he has the right to say, “Yes, I’d like that.  How sweet of you!”  Grrr.  Didn’t get what I wanted because I didn’t come out and say it.  The Queen of Passive Aggression strikes again.  He’ll sleep peacefully while I fume, stay awake and watch kids for another hour or two.  Sarcasm is totally lost on users (or is an acceptable fallout) and is often, itself, used.  “You SAID I could sleep longer!”  At best, when you work this way, you set up a dynamic of your partner or loved ones needing a secret decoder ring to figure out what you REALLY want or mean.  They will constantly be trying to read the subtext, you’ll get angry with them for misinterpreting it and it turns into a fiasco of intentions.  One of the greatest favors we can do for ourselves and those who depend on us is to have a big meeting where you tell them, “Look, I know it’s been hard for you to understand what I want when I seem to send dual messages between what I say and what I expect of you.  From now on, I ask that you make me responsible for what I directly say to you, not what I want you to intuit, what I *think* you should know or magically understand about me and my wants.  From today forward, I mean what I say and you can take it at face value instead of having to figure out what I really mean.”  It will take time to reverse the process on both ends.  They will still second guess what you say for a while until they learn to trust your words.  You will be inclined to say what you think they want to hear or throw out some sarcastic remark rather than clearly and succinctly saying what you feel and want.  No barbs.  No judgment.  Just information.  “I’m tired from getting up with the kids at 5:30am.  You’ve have 7 hours more bed time than I had.  I want you to get up so I can sleep for a while.”   

RULE #4:  Lose the pretenses and attitude, stand in your truth and say what you need.  Don’t play word games or pretend that anyone else has a clue what you need. 

Of course, this means tuning into the part of yourself that knows what you need.  Often that is buried under your resentments of others for not behaving the way you feel they should or treating you as you’d like.  If they aren’t, it’s because you have tolerated similar behavior in the past and it has worked for them.  Part of the problem is that we get angry when people do not behave in ways we want them to behave when they do not know we expect it.  Unless we directly voice our needs, we should not presume anyone knows.   Too often, we expect that because we need something, others know it because they would need the same thing.  We neglect to realize that their needs may not be the same as ours (so they don’t have a clue we might need it unless we tell them) or because we have taught them that we can do without what we need.  If you act like you don’t need physical affection, when you desperately crave hugs, why would others believe your needs are other than what you show them?  We begin to build resentment for our needs not being met when the other person was never informed that anything was expected of them.  The best thing, which takes a big person, is to shake the etch-a-sketch, erase the layer of resentment, presume innocence (that they are unaware of our needs) and spell it out for them in terms that are not difficult to understand.   

RULE #5:  Lose the resentments.  They are a waste of time and energy.  Get real with yourself then get clear with others! 

Another side of the problem is when everyone involved is aware of the using and no one does anything to change it.  Perhaps we have shown people that we are perfecting willing to take abuse in order to be considered to be a “nice” person or a “good” wife or mother.  We constantly worry that we aren’t giving enough.  We invest so much of our self-esteem in how others are perceiving us that it becomes impossible for us to think well of ourselves unless others are continually thanking us, extolling our virtues or nurturing us in a fashion similar to what we are providing for them.  If that doesn’t happen, we consider them ungrateful and the resentment begins.  How often do we feel cheated because someone “should have known” that we needed X, Y or Z or “refuses to give me what I give to them?”  If someone is taking more than we are willing to give, it us up to us to renegotiate our end of the relationship give and take with clear words and actions to back up the words.  If I tell my daughter to clean her room or she’ll lose her TV and she doesn’t clean her room and I keep adding time onto the deadline, she’ll learn she can push me further and further before I’ll react, if I do at all.  If my actions back up what I say, she learns to trust what I tell her, for better or worse. 

RULE #6:  Follow through and be dependable regarding what you say!   

RULE #7:  Stand on your own feet emotionally and create your self worth from inside YOU (that’s why it’s called SELF worth and not HOW OTHER PEOPLE PERCEIVE MY worth) rather than from others. 

The first step in this is to take careful inventory of our relationships and where our energy goes.  Rather than thinking in terms of what the people in our relationships “demand” of us, we should think realistically of what we give, willingly or not, on an ongoing basis.  Make a list of everyone with whom you interact on an ongoing basis.  Now, note everything you can think of that you give to each of those people, again, whether it’s something you give because you want to or because you feel you have to.  If you cook for your children because they are small and can’t cook for themselves, that counts.  If you read to your child for thirty minutes a day, that counts.  If you pick up your husband’s socks and underwear off the floor three days out of the week because he can’t seem to manage them into the hamper, that counts.  You may need a notebook for each person.  Be thorough.  Once you’ve done that, go through each item and note or think about whether you are giving it willingly, with love and with no expectations attached or if you are giving it conditionally, with strings attached.  Try to look at each thing dispassionately, distancing yourself from the action.  What can you pare down?  Are there places where your love and energy are going into a black hole?  Believe me, people take advantage of the kindness of others all the time, often believing it is simply what they deserve and what you are willing to give.  If the price of accepting the benefits of what you give is acceptable (a little fussing, a hard stare), they will buy it and be pleased with their purchase.  They may not even have a clue that you are not happy with the transaction or if they do know, they may feel that the benefits they receive are worth the detriment you feel. 

RULE #8:  Know where your energy goes and give it out both cautiously and deliberately.  Get real about what you give and why. 

Are there relationships where you view your love and nurturing and attention as an investment?  If so, are you getting a return on that investment?  Are others aware of what you expect of them in return?  Are you expectations reasonable, not only to you but to the average person?  If someone else were to describe the relationship involved to you and you viewed it objectively, would it seem like a healthy or wise exchange?  Get real about what you give to others and your motives and reasons for giving them.  When you are able to give without resentment, it truly becomes a gift of love from your heart. 

For flow, I should close on that lovely sentiment, but I won’t because there is more to say.  When you take responsibility for your actions and GIVE CONSCIOUSLY rather than automatically, don’t be surprised when you encounter resistance.  We often feel that when we are clear on our intentions and making positive changes for ourselves, the world will applaud our achievement and we’ll get handshakes and backslaps.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  When we begin to stand up for ourselves and make known the changes we will be making, those who have benefited from “the way things were” will usually not support the change.  In fact, you may encounter downright hostility.  This is often what keeps us in a rut and forces us to continue on in situations that do not make us happy.  Suddenly, all of the guilt buttons are being pushed, our partners in the relationship are angry and our immediate reaction is that we are in the wrong.  If you are someone who, like myself, is a user’s delight, be prepared to have the fight of your life on your hands to change things.  Your efforts at bettering your life will be neither appreciated nor supported.  My suggestion is that you make this one of the first times (of many to come) that you invest your happiness in something you do that doesn’t need to be supported or condoned by anyone else.  In this, you will find a flame of strength.  Remain centered and calm, knowing that you expected resistance and even hostility.  Listen to what they have to say and use the two magic words:  “regardless” and “nevertheless.”  Validate what they are feeling and show that you understand their frustration (you are, after all, a better person than are they).  “I can see that this really upsets you and I’m sorry that you are inconvenienced by this nevertheless, it is a change I’m making and I’m standing by it.”  “I know that you are used to me driving you to school every day and I understand that you don’t want to walk the two blocks to get there, regardless, I have decided that I need that time in my morning for other things.”  You do not need to over-explain or validate your decision.  Just stand by your guns and let the storm pass.   

RULE #9:  Do NOT expect support for changes you make when you renegotiate what you are willing or able to give.  Expect to be manipulated and coerced into returning to the old patterns.  Others will NOT support this growth and the resolution for its continuation must come from within YOU because you WON’T get it from others. 

The hardest decision is when you actually feel a need to distance yourself from someone who is dear to you because you can feel that the relationship isn’t heading in a good direction.  Perhaps you need some space to get a perspective on where the person is or should be in your life or maybe the dysfunctions in the relationship are such that you just can’t continue on.  It rings hollow in the ears to hear, “I love you, but I don’t feel that our friendship is good for either one of us.  I hope that later, when we’ve both grown, we can reconnect.”  I’ve had recent experience with this one and I have no regrets over my decision to end a long-standing relationship with a woman who has many wonderful attributes.  Unfortunately, our relationship seemed to be taking a negative turn and I did not wish to continue down that path.  I wanted to part with love and respect for one another, since I knew she felt it as well.  This person has a long history of continuing on in unhealthy relationships, resenting the other person and looking for validations for her resentments from other people.  I didn’t want us to go there since we’d shared such wonderful times, so I told her my feelings and she seemed to be in agreement.  Only later did I find that she had attacked me several times for “dumping” her in her public, on-line journal and vented a huge amount of anger and hostility for me to anyone who happened to be reading it.  I was deeply hurt, but understood that this was her way.  She needs others to vindicate her emotions and by hanging me out to dry publicly, she could have people write and reinforce how horrible I was to end our friendship.   

There is another place where we tend to trip and fall.  We expect that other people will feel, react, behave and process the same way that we do rather than allowing them to be themselves with their own portfolio of responses.  How often do we criticize those dear to us for doing something that is totally within their nature simply because it is not what WE would do?   I used to get angry with my husband for not placing the heavy value onto holidays and birthdays that I do.  I tend to revel in people’s birthdays, giving them gifts and honoring their “special day.”  I used to get resentful when the favor was not often returned.  I’ve purchased expensive gifts for people, remembering something they had admired or wanted from months before, only to not receive a card or even a phone call when it was my birthday.  Hell, often they didn’t even remember when my birthday actually was!  I continually set myself up for disappointment and yes, resentment.  That is just one tiny piece of my resentment collection.  I have a whole museum that I’m working on. 

RULE #10:  Do not expect others to behave as anyone other than themselves.   Trust that they will be THEM no matter what other behaviors you try to impose upon them.  Accept people as they are, not conditionally pending change.  If they are not acceptable to you as they are, then either modify your expectations or let them go. 

Lastly, one of the hardest things for use-ee’s to do is to set boundaries.  We don’t know how to say “no” and are terrified of rejection if we do.  We feel that if we simply do not want to do something, we have to be able to whip out a number of reasons to support our decision.  One of the greatest gifts we can cultivate within ourselves (which, like murder, is easier after the first few times), is to be able to sincerely look at someone with love and say, “I’m sorry, but that’s just not something I can do for you” and let that be that.  If they get all bunged up because you aren’t going to do X, Y or Z, then they weren’t that great of a friend.  They don’t need to understand why or have a list of reasons.  The bottom line is they only need to know that the answer is no, then proceed on from there.  Don’t be afraid of No. It’s not rejection of the person making the request.  It’s rejection of what they are asking you to do.  If you want to take a bubble bath instead of hauling your best friend to the airport, it does not make you a bad person.  It makes you a bad person if you haul your friend to the airport, then are resentful that you didn’t get your bubble bath or expect some equally grand payback.  Just say that you can’t do it and let them make other plans.  The beauty of this is that people will never doubt your sincerity or question your motives when you do feel inclined to do as they ask.   

Set boundaries on how others treat you and take no prisoners if they ignore warnings that they have overstepped.  I have a very dear friend who has grown children.  One of her kids got into a jam on the east coast and needed to be bailed out.  She was losing her apartment, her boyfriend was in jail for beating her up, she had two little children and another on the way.  Her mother, on the West Coast, took up her armor and waded in to save the daughter.   She dropped everything and flew out to the East Coast a week later, ready to pay for a U-Haul to bring her baby and her baby’s babies back home to begin again.  What a disaster.  Her daughter, a week later, had packed exactly nothing.  She was in no way prepared to move, even though she’d had a week’s notice.  (she does not work, so it wasn’t a scheduling problem).  She refused to get rid of any items that could be cheaply replaced in the new town and insisted on bringing all of the heavy appliances and furniture.  She complained endlessly that things were getting scratched as my friend and neighbors lugged her belongings to the truck.  All the way across the states, she complained endlessly.  This is not a little girl, by the way.  The daughter is nearly 30.  Upon arrival at my friend’s house, she complained about the accommodations.  She let her children run wild and made no effort to encourage them to respect my friend’s belongings.  She could not get ready in time for her appointment with Social Services and was denied the meeting as a result.  When my friend began helping her look for an apartment, the daughter shrieked and had a fit, saying she needed more “transition time” and would not be thrown out.  She wouldn’t!  She wouldn’t!  This was despite the fact that my friend was willing to finance the new apartment and her needs until the daughter could get a job.  The daughter curses at my friend and tells her how things will and won’t be.  This is how my friend and her daughter have set up their relationship and it will be up my friend to let the daughter know when she has hit a brick wall on the abuse.   

I see plenty of people opening themselves up to such relationships and blaming the other person for their behavior.  I submit that the other person is definitely responsible for their own actions, but no more than the use-ee is responsible for letting them know that they’ve hit the end of the road.  It’s not easy, but every person owes it to themselves to set the boundaries for what is and is not acceptable behavior, to stay objective and clear headed when those boundaries are being crossed and to take decisive action when their boundaries are violated.  Do not allow yourself to be at the mercy of how other people choose to treat you.  If you do, it’s no longer their fault, it’s yours.  If they insist on abusing you despite your boundaries, get them out of your life.  Sure you’ll miss them, but it’s like the old Highway 101 song:  “Lord knows I miss him but I’m SO glad he’s gone!” 

RULE 11:  Set your boundaries and remember that you can’t expect others to honor them if you do not valiantly defend them yourself.  

NOW I’m finished.  All I have to do is follow my own advice.  I think we can all agree that we need to take these points to heart.  They aren't really from me, but just out there.  None of them are particularly unique.  Let's make a pact that for 2002, we will find our own happiness, self-respect and self-worth without depending on others to tell us that we are valuable people.  


January 2, 2002

Yikes!  Utter strangeness.  I wrote last month about the death of my high school friend, Ava.  Click here to read it.  I'll wait.  So I worked on that for a while and dealt with her death and my own mortality and things like that.  I'd been checking the local papers for an obituary and found it odd that one never showed up.  By sheer chance, I got into the News search engine instead of the Obituary one and found this:

Warren County

Woman found dead in home: A Bowling Green woman, 40, was found dead in her kitchen from an apparent blow to the head, authorities said. Ava Anderson was found dead on her kitchen floor Thursday. Laura Anderson, 18, of Louisville met emergency responders at the door of her mother's home, according to a police report. In 1999, Laura Anderson, then 16, was lodged in the juvenile section of the Warren County Regional Jail charged with murder after the shooting death of her father, Bill Anderson. The charges were dropped after an investigation found that her father suffered from depression and taunted Laura Anderson into killing him by handing her a loaded .22-caliber rifle and pushing her until it discharged. No charges have been filed in Ava Anderson's death. Police said the incident is being handled as a death investigation.

I mean to tell you, the hair went up on the back of my neck when I read that.  There was just so much to consider.  One was that obviously, Ava's mom misinformed me when she told me her death was due to her diabetes, unless she fell and hit her head on the way down.  Next, there is the obvious conclusion that Laura may have off'ed both of her parents since she was evidently the last person with both of them when they died under mysterious means.  I'm thinking about Grandma Thomas, Ava's mom, and wondering if, with her hearing problem, she should avoid turning her back on Baby Girl Anderson.  I'm thinking about that story of Bill handing Laura a .22 and taunting her into shooting him, pushing her until it went off.  I'm not a gun wizard by any means, but I do know that killing someone with a .22 is not exactly an easy task.  You'd need to hit just the right place.  Otherwise, it's like saying, "I want you to snap me really hard with this rubber band."  So how was it that he kept pushing her until the weapon went off (??!!) and just happened to hit him at some critical point where he would die before help could arrive.  Best case scenario is that Ava walked in on her daughter having killed her husband, I'm guessing in her house.  Did Ava lie for her daughter?  Did Laura have to go through being accused of killing her father after he bullied her into getting it done?  

*shudder*  There just isn't really any side of this story that doesn't reek of macabre.  Creepy.


January 2, 2002

There is going to be a sincere attempt at tonight and tomorrow morning being a write-fest as none have ever known.  So far, children most evil-tempered are not cooperating, but it is my sincere hope that they will be abed soon.  Grr.

Meanwhile, a thought.  I heard an idea about a year ago and I have been experimenting with it and I can tell you that it is true that your cuddle time and love quota will be greatly increased if you are always the one to stop hugging last.  You'd be surprised how much longer children especially will hug; often far beyond the time that you would have let them go.  Cherish those moments and love those babies for as long as they'll let you.  I think that this definitely indicates that they need more love, attention and cuddles than we think they do. 

Of course, if the person you are hugging knows the "don't stop hugging first" idea, you could end up standing there all day.

OK, so I'm off to stop hugging last and hope that they fall asleep in midhug.  Enterprise is on and that's always a good thing.

I'll be back later on!


Oh Look!  there's more!

Katrina's NonSoapy Archives
(Dec 2001)

Katrina's NonSoapy Archives
(Nov 2001)

Katrina's NonSoapy Archives
(Oct 2001)

Katrina's NonSoapy Archives
(Aug-Sept 2001)

Katrina's NonSoapy Archives
(May-July 2001)

Katrina's NonSoapy Archives
(Feb-May 2001)

E-mail Katrina