Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It just is what it is, isn't it

I realize I may be stating the obvious here, but doesn't it kind of seem like the pressure of Must!Be!Joyful! this time of year is what makes people unhappy? I know it's different for everyone, and I certainly don't mean to say that anyone who does feel the joy should cram it or anything like that. It just seems like anything that can involve such high expectations of happiness and togetherness inherently has a big risk of sadness and disappointment built in.

I'm realizing that as much as I can come off as "bah, screw the holidays", I have this internal struggle going on with not wanting to care while also building up unrealistic expectations of myself and others. I do want things to be special, but feel like I can't make that happen. I feel like things are expected from me that are not. No one is telling me that I have to do it all, or any of it, but I have a guilty nagging feeling that I should. I feel like less of a person for not having or making some brilliant decorations, for not doing even a quarter of what my mom would do and still being overwhelmed by it all. It would be easier to care less. Maybe I am just as caught up in the whole "Oh, that's what the holidays SHOULD be" as the people that I find annoying. But like most things that matter, I have a hard time balancing importance with just setting it up to be a big old display of failure.

On another note, I know it's generally not recommended to put your expectations on other people, but at the very least couldn't people just try to be more considerate and a little less shitty towards each other, for a little while?

And another note, I really wish I had some paid vacation time.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Found this picture from one of this past summer's zoo trips. My AlmostHusband calls this one "Bear Court is now in session" which is probably a better caption than mine: "Anyone else smell bear crap?"

Or: "Hey look, I'm bearly in focus!"

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pretend I posted this on Friday

So, how's the uh, holiday shopping going for you? I've gotten as far as thinking about buying a bunch of things, and that's about it. I'm stuck somewhere between "starting to feel festive" and "just wake me up in a couple months." For the past few years, I've thought that I'd get a head-start and shop online, so as not to feel all pressed for time and overwhelmed by crowds. And then it's about this time that I realize, oh shit - I better decide what to actually get people and get to getting it! (Update: the weekend passed and I'm no closer to accomplishing this.)

Are there people that you end up buying similar things for, every year? I'm wondering if they do actually enjoy/expect that, or are really thinking "ugh, AGAIN?" (At least my mom and my almost-mother-in-law do seem to like/expect my acting as their personal Bath & Body Works rep*, and that's pretty easy and enjoyable for me to do.) But I tend to buy a lot of things that I like for other people, or get things that I think would be a nice gift for ANYONE, and I don't want that to come off as impersonal. It's not that I don't like shopping, I think it's just like most things with me: I overthink it, I doubt, I procrastinate, I take something that could produce happy feelings and make it into a big ol' mess of worries (what if this sweater represents all that our relationship never will be?) when that's not what it's all about, right? Granted, the family gatherings, the food, the weather, the meaning of Christmas, etc. are pretty worrisome themselves.

I feel like I've written a similar post every year and it usually ends with "whatever, I'm making cookies" and you know, that's not always a bad way to be.

* I've actually branched out a bit from Bath & Body Works (*confused applause*) and haven't gone there quite as much in the last year as I used to. But a recent craving for festive scents took me there a-smelling, and here's a quick rundown of what I came home with:
- Slatkin & Co Scentegg in Fresh Balsam - I like the idea of these Scentegg things because they just sit there and smell - you don't have to do anything with it, they stay upright and look kinda cute, your anti-candle and anti-plug-in significant other doesn't have to worry about anything getting sparky or melty, and it's not a cat attractant like those reed diffuser things (they are actually a bit repelled by it). The Fresh Balsam scent is, as expected, a nice wintery Christmas-tree smelling scent - but you do have to find something else in the store with the same scent if you want a preview of what the Scenteggs smell like - in my case, I tried huffing (not really) the room spray without actually spraying it, but found it's much easier if you can find a candle to sniff. (And then smell another one in the same scent, just in case the first one was stale. And then smell something else and go back to the one you first liked, just to be sure.)
- Anti-Bacterial Gentle Foaming Handsoap in Twisted Peppermint - nice candy cane scent for in the kitchen, and the peppermint gives your hands a slight tingly feeling.
- Anti-Bacterial Moisturizing Soap in Vanilla Bean Noel - not sure if I will gift this or keep it. There are good vanillas and not-so-good vanillas, this one smells pretty artificial like a "I Can't Believe It's Not Imitation Vanilla Flavoring" or something - but seeing as how it's just a hand soap, I don't think it'll ruin anyone's life or anything. I hope.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nervous November

It's been a long time, and it seems like I've been stockpiling things to be nervous about. I'm feeling like the worry-meter is about to go into the red, which means it's time to vent some troubles before I pull out my hair and run screaming into the night. Or something.

(And I apologize, internet, if you're there - for being a bad weather type friend when it comes to writing. And then just writing about how I feel bad about it.)

What's weighing heaviest on my mind right now is family. The Holidaze are coming up, and it seems like every year for the last - I don't know, at least 4-5 years? - something messed up happens, usually involving my brother, which sort of puts a damper on things. Did I mention he's in prison now? He went in around this time last year, and will be getting out right before Thanksgiving. And apparently, will be heading to our town (it's where both my mom and I are located, but not where he was living previously.) I guess that shouldn't necessarily sound ominous, he's not a violent criminal, but I'm feeling very uneasy about it nonetheless. He won't have probation from what I understand, and I don't necessarily think that's a good thing. I have a bad feeling that his ideas about where his life will go now are *shrug* and "I'll just show up and see what happens."

My mom has agreed to take him in, but for a short time only, and sounds like she's in tough-love mode. I mean, he is 35, and has pretty much put her through hell for the last... well, she estimated 20 years. But she has a one bedroom apartment, and I have a house. Granted, we don't have an extra bed or a guest room set up, but I'm just trying to prepare myself if people start looking my way like "Why couldn't you take him in?" I feel really shitty for feeling this way, but I just don't think I can. When I see my brother (which is rare) I usually end up feeling like I need to take care of him, but mostly I've kept my distance. At this point, I honestly don't think I'd be comfortable having him stay over or even having much alone time with him. I'm not feeling too good about him staying with my mom, either.

Are there, or have there been people in your life that you just can't be around because the dynamic is too dysfunctional? I feel like the general consensus is that it's never okay to break ties with family, or stop communicating. I haven't written to him since he's been incarcerated, though I did send money a couple times, because honestly I felt horrible thinking about him being in there, but also didn't know what to say to him (and I guess I still don't.) I somehow don't think that the time in there will have necessarily scared him straight or cured him, I can only imagine that you go into survival mode while there and hopefully don't have an even more warped, hateful outlook afterward.

What makes me feel bad is that he's getting out, he's supposed to get integrated back into society, but he has nothing. He actually has negative nothing when you consider that: he owes back child support (not to mention parental support), he's burned too many bridges with family and friends, he's got addiction/behavior/emotional issues, he's had cancer and related treatments and there's always ongoing health concerns with that, his track record is going to look pretty bad to just about any employer, he hasn't had a car or a place of his own in who knows how long, etc. etc. Maybe not having people to fall back on will be what changes him? But don't you hear about these people and think, "Damn, can't his family or somebody do something about that for society's sake?" But even though we all feel bad about it, what I've learned from what my parents have been through, is that we can't fix it for him. They have certainly tried. Given the circumstances, I think it's understandable that there's a lot of hurt and mistrust. But there's also the GUILT of turning away, so... what do you do?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Read between the lines or some other cliche

A while back I mentioned that things had been uncomfortable at [the place where I spend a good deal of my daytime hours] and I didn't know for sure if it was something I did, or if someone just happened to be distant and pissy near the general vicinity that I was in. For like, 3 or 4 months. Now I think that maybe I should've just taken the "ask me what's wrong" bait a long time ago.

Long story short: I thought something was wrong, and it was! Or, it is!

There are positives to consider. I haven't been fired. (Yet?) But no more salary and my hours are being cut to part-time (ouch). Of course part-time also means no vacation or sick time and no health insurance (the real kicker). Well, ok - the real kicker is that even though things have been awkward for quite some time, I assumed that an issue with my job performance would've been brought up previously. This change is stated as being a result of my lack of development and such (not even blaming the economy) - this is from the note (that was apparently attorney advised), of course - as there's been very little discussion and really, the discussion we did have just made it worse and errgh... I'm getting fired up again. I probably shouldn't get into the whole thing here (not that I don't feel like venting, obvs) but - this could've been handled much better. Then again, I've thought that about several things the last 6 years that I've been here. While I can admit that I'm certainly not without my shortcomings - as an employee and otherwise, I'd also been given nothing but praise up until the last few months. That's a bad thing about small - very small - business, it's harder to make the line between personal and professional more distinct. You get treated more like family, but that family might very well be dysfunctional.

So, even though there are choices to make, they all seem to come back to it being time to move on. That shouldn't be so tough, right? (Well, uh - terrible job market/economy aside.) I mean, I haven't exactly been happy either. But the urge to cling to what is familiar, even if it's not in my best interest, is very strong. I've stepped up my game, now that I know where I need to improve - but I'm not sure if that's even what's wanted from me at this point. (I kind of think I might just be here right now so he could still take his vacation.) There's this whole "I'm only talking to you hastily so you can't get a word in edgewise as I'm walking out the door" thing going on. Not that it's that much different than it has been. Ugh.

The thought of interviewing makes me sort of want to throw up. Although, staying here and just waiting for the other shoe to drop, or feeling like I'm only being kept on out of some condescending kind of pity or convenience or whatever... well, that also makes me want to throw up.

Next up: Will I manage to find not only a career, but the appropriate career wear, without having a(nother) meltdown?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Save as draft

I keep trying to write something, but when I'm feeling really down I'm more likely to tell myself to shut-up and not publish that. But if everyone did that, I wouldn't have anything to read. Blah blah, I need to write about being self-critical but I'm too self-critical to do it!

Here's an attempt from earlier in the week:

You guys, I may have figured something out.

Almost all of the problems in my life seem to come back to one thing: self-worth, or lack thereof.

So, problem identified. Main cause of my depression, fear, emptiness, jealousy, relationship problems, bad decisions, lack of achievements, addictive behaviors, etc. I've had enough to get by, but not enough to really want better things for myself, or think that I deserve them and could actually have them. That sucks. I want and need to be able to depend on myself, and other people need that from me. I'm worried that when things go wrong, I don't even have my own back. I want to be good at something, have some sort of purpose and I don't know what that is.


I added that to the "too depressing" drafts. Of course, I haven't figured things all out since then but I'm at least feeling more on the upswing and less like everything is crushing me and I can't talk about it 'cause no one will understand. But sometimes getting the thoughts - however crappy - out is the answer. You know?

So, back to the thoughts of the nervous variety.

I'm so weird around people these days. After so many years in customer service, it seemed like I had overcome my shyness, but maybe it was only in remission. I'll see someone I know at a store and instinctively want to hide and avoid them - even when it's someone I like and wouldn't mind talking with. I think it's that I can place so much importance on interactions that I'm setting it up to be awkward. Don't let them see that you want friends! Don't linger too long! Stop being such a dork! Most of the women I've met in recent years have been through J knowing their husbands, and I'm still embarrassed that the last one I met I awkwardly hugged before leaving and that may have been a bit forward. "Hi! We made chit chat once and you seem pretty cool, therefore INCOMING HUG-BOMB GRRLFRIEND!" Oh well.

Oh, speaking of awkward hugs - I think I picked up being huggy from a couple of incredibly sweet wannabe hippie friends from highschool. (Incidentally, I also picked up smoking pot from them. Weed and hugs! And doodling! Those were the times.) But looking back, I think I could've used more discretion with my hugginess, especially with dudes. I remember going to Dunkin' Donuts (probably high or about to be) to pick up some donuts on my way to my boyfriend's house, and after I paid and was about to leave, the little guy behind the counter in a thick Indian(?) accent asked quietly "Miss? Can I have a hug?" and it just threw me off guard, but I was all "sure, yeah". And he just came around the counter and held me very tightly for a moment and said thank you and that was that. Could've been a potentially creepy situation (I think there was only one other person in the store, working in the back), but it was totally fine. On the other hand, there was a time after hanging out with a guy friend that I never would've felt threatened by, that turned into this crushing hug of steel that WOULD NOT END. And there was heavy breathing and a sweatpants boner involved and it was just bad. Hugs, people. They can go either way. If you have a story of inappropriate/badly timed hugging - on your part or otherwise, please tell me!

On a blog note: hey, Blogger added some new templates. I wonder if most people, like me, use a feed reader and don't click over to the blog much anyway. But still, nice to have some other options.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Battlecats (not so much)

Since the weather's been nice, the cats have been spending most of their time getting in prime snoofing positions at one of the windows. (Aside: Have any of you used the window perches that are designed for cats? Reviews are mixed, and it sounds like they may not work properly with the replacement windows we have. But it would be better than having them sit on the kitchen table - we never eat there anyway, but still...) Gracie (pictured) is staying vigilant with her scout duties and once it gets dark out, there have been recurring Tail Poof Alert! situations. While it's incredibly cute to watch her scamper back and forth between the kitchen and living room windows while poofed up to twice her size, something seemed to be really stressing her out. Which led to her hissing, growling and tearing a hole in the window screen (now taped over, all classy-like), which caused Arlo to engage 3x Tail Poof! and make his horribly sad I'm-a-cat-baby "Mow wow wow aaoooow" wail while pacing nervously under the table. And I don't know, I was all worried like there was a raccoon or coyote or a shark out there ready to lunge through the window and eat my cats, but of course couldn't see anything. The next night when Gracie freaked out, I spotted her nemesis - the Anti-Gracie! Which is, a slightly scruffy outdoor version of Gracie sitting there all like "Hey indoor cat! I'm in yr yard, scopin yr birdeez!" And sure, I'm probably putting too much thought into cat behavior, but does this cat want to make cat friends? Just likes our yard? Likes to taunt our cats? Wants to be #1 Gray Cat in the 'hood? The odd thing is that when we had Jonesey, he had a similarly-colored doppelganger cat who would come by and stare at him, too. Woooeeeoooh! Also, I found it odd that Arlo - who seems more of the dominant cat in the house and likes to start shit with Gracie - resorted to crying while Gracie seemed ready to fight. I guess if another cat shows up who looks like Arlo but with a goatee (that's how you know he's the evil one) then he'll be ready to throw down.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Where to go from there

I've got some bad thoughts weighing me down, and they would be easier to brush off if it was just my silly anxiety/worrying thing that I do. But what gives me that sinking, hopeless feeling is stuff that really has truth to it (I've disappointed everyone around me, I'm so afraid of dying that I'm not really living, It's not just that I think I'm fucked up - other people see it too, What good am I, etc.) Everyone has their issues, plenty of people have much MUCH harder stuff to deal with, but I get to that point where I feel as if everything is so royally fucked up by my own doing or not bothering to do that I can't think of a person who is more worthless. And I don't know where to go from there except to cry. (I know, drama queen much?) I keep thinking that I really need someone to talk to, or you know, I could at least be a better friend to myself if I'm gonna be alone all the time. And it's not like I'm never happy, I just have a hard time leveling, I guess. I can surround myself with little comforts (been a bit over-spendy lately - more on that later), but I feel like I'm grasping the air for a truly comforting thought to keep me grounded at times like this.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Well, it's probably an ill-advised way to come back to the blog, but things have been quite uncomfortable at [an area where I spend a good deal of my day to day time] and I need to get these thoughts out.

Let's say there's someone in your proximity who appears to be upset. And it's a long-lasting kind of upset. A huffy-puffy, deeply sighing, drawer-slamming, muttering obscenities to themselves kind of upset. And this upset seems to have coincided with reduced talking and niceties in your direction. If you are a reasonable and mature person, you probably would just ask the person what's wrong, right? But if you're nervous and underconfident like me, you have to think it to death first. Let's explore the possibilities.
- The problem is with me and I should realize that and what I've done wrong and apologize for it. Shit. (The problem with facing up to this scenario is that in trying to think of what caused this, I've created a whole list of irritating things I could've done recently, and don't exactly want to call attention to those items if they are not in fact the source of irritation.)
- The problem is with me, but it's mostly a general annoyance that can't be narrowed down to a specific incident. Said person is simply fed up with having to act nicey-nice with me on a daily basis and is choosing to be distant instead of confrontational. (Hey, I can certainly be irritating and moody and not fun to be around myself. I also was thinking that sometimes I think I'm being just as snarky and sarcastic as the next guy, when it actually comes off as really cold and bitchy and I hurt someone's feelings. Eesh.)
- The problem is a general one, a lot of stressful crap going on at the same time, etc. I am just one of many irritants on the shitlist right now and should proceed with caution and in the nicest way possible.
- The problem is a general one, etc. and it's not even about me! Does everything have to be about me?

So... it's been awkward. My attempts at niceties have been deflected, so I'm trying to just be politely quiet and hope that it blows over soon. BUT, is said person just waiting for me to ask what's up? I'm afraid to, honestly. The only good thing (if it even is good) about this is that I'm taking note of how sucky it is for the other person when I act this way and should avoid this happening in the future. I have certainly done my share of being Princess Pissy McSighing Pants in my time, and usually the culprit is that I am upset with someone but have no rational/healthy/productive way of dealing with it, and well, it's a pretty passive/aggressive behavior. If I was just upset in general, I would probably just be giving the vibe that I wanted to be left alone. But I don't know! I don't know what other people think and I obviously spend too much time guessing!

What about you? Are you prone to crabby silences? Are you the one who nips these things in the bud? Am I a bigger jackass than I thought?

Monday, March 01, 2010

A new week, a new month, and finally a new blog post

Hey! We made it through February (one of my worst months, mood-wise) and now seems like as good a time as any to get back to the old blog.

I've been doing real important-like stuff, such as:
  • Getting hooked on and watching 5 seasons of LOST (love you streaming Netflix!), so I could get caught up and watch Season 6 in real time without having to avoid the internet/spoilers. But guess what? Watching a show like this as it airs SUCKS - with the waiting, I mean. Ohhh they are going to drag it out, and I want to know NOW! Next episode, please! I will try not to go on and on about it, but please excuse me if I go all LOSTified on you because I have no one to talk about it with, though I do keep commenting aloud to Justin - who is sitting in the office and doesn't watch the show - things like "Wwwhat? Gaahhh! Noooo!" or fun facts like "Hey, that's the fifth person from Deadwood that's been on this show!" It's a good series to get immers- no, wait for it - lost in *snort/eyeroll*, but I hope this final season starts getting a little more satisfying.
  • Reading more, or well, trying to actually complete more books that I check out from the library. My attention span gets pretty bad sometimes, and in combination with having a run of bad luck with books that just aren't... engaging enough for me at the time, I've been reading but haven't had a good can't-put-it-down book in a while. Do you give books 100 pages before you give up if you're not interested or disappointed by that point? Or are you in it til the end? I did join Goodreads, (along with my less-updated account at LibraryThing) so that should help with future recommendations, feel free to give me a holla if you're tracking your reads there too.
  • Taking comfort in smells and beauty products. I tend to go a little smell-crazy during the winter and feel like hoarding lotions, scrubs, shampoos, etc. even more than usual. Probably because things smell better to me during winter when pollen-type allergies aren't in full force. This winter I've been digging my Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy favorites, all in the "Sleep" line - Milk & Honey (which they totally could've called Spiced Tea in my opinion), Black Chamomile (which smells different every time I use it, but is comforting and even a little sexy, also somewhat unisex smelling) and the favorite of most, Lavender Vanilla. I also had to pick up the new Sandalwood & Fig lotion from the Sensuality line, because I'm a big fan of most things sandalwood, and most things aromatherapy. The Sandalwood & Fig is a bit fruitier than I expected, but calms down quickly and has a nice lingering after-smell once it's absorbed (that probably smells different on everyone, so it should be sampled first). It's not everything I hoped for, and is a bit reminiscent of their Black Currant & Vanilla (also in the Sensuality line, and also doesn't quite smell like it's name) only with a soft sandalwood note instead of the stronger patchouli, but I like this the longer I wear it - although it would probably be too sweet for warmer weather. I also give an honorable mention to the True Blue Spa Sweet Fig & Argan lotion, which really doesn't seem that sweet or figgy, it's more of a spicy, incensey, Aveda-type smell that would probably be way too strong for summer but is nice and warm for this time of year. And when I'm not smelling things? I'm reading about fancier smelly things and imagining how they smell and debating about buying them (and thinking OMG, how do people afford these fancy $100-200 perfumes? And lots of them?) Must have steady flow of new smelly things, have smelled everything at B&BW, time to expand my horizons! So I ordered some (affordable!) perfume samples and will probably talk about them once they're in my eager hands, though it might just be "Me likey smelly! Smell gooood!"

I'm sure there's been more going on, but I guess I've mostly been taking comfort in the little things and trying not to let the winter SADness and anxiety take over, and am starting to feel a bit more - dare I say normal? - these days.

Have also been followed around and talked to a lot by Arlo who has a steady supply of two flavors of kibbies, treats, nip, toys, shower-lickins, another cat to play with, lots of pettings and scroungings but is still perpetually BORED. He looks in my eyes, and reaches up to tap tap me on the leg (which is cute until he stretches and digs his claws in) and mrow-wows repeatedly like he's trying to tell me something. What is it, kitteh? I toss him a toy and he's all "Play time! Fun! Oh, wait nevermind. Counting down, ten seconds until BORED!")

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

So much in common

Who's fuzzy and gray? Who's got a pooch belly and an attitude? Who demands attention but can't be held for too long without the claws coming out? Who needs a good snorgling? Aww. Yes you doooo. Who sometimes needs a little help cleaning her-- alright, enough with the similarities.

Who needs to write a real post? Whooo? Yessss, yes she does!