Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Cleaning House

It appears as though the B drama is nearly over and I can almost sense peace ahead. He left me a voice message today, indicating that he was not going to fight me on anything. It was a strange feeling to know he capitulated, but I got the sense that he is weary from other things.

We've been separated for almost three years now and I still find myself worrying about him from time to time, even when I know that he is far from the man I shared my life with for all those years. I think we are both better and both worse off from the whole divorce thing, which is probably almost always the case.

I resolved to come home tonight and really look at the "stuff." Am I really entitled to all of it? No. Hell no. And it is probably time to do some serious inventory of what really matters to me. What I truly treasure and pleases me and brings value to my life. And my home. So tonight, I am looking at the material stuff differently and asking myself some honest questions.

The truth of the matter is that little of it means much to me. Shit, that is hard to write, seeing as I have been so hell bent on not letting come in here and pick and choose what he wanted. Am I really so petty and stubborn that I refused to consider an equitable division of our personal property because I didn't like his attitude of entitlement? It would appear that it is decidIedly so. I think I just needed to come to this realization on my own terms and make the determination on my own terms. I didn't want to be bullied into any decisions as I have for so long where B is concerned. Maybe that is being petty, maybe I have been immature and stubborn, but I am thinking my way out of that.

I am not a material person, at least, for the most part. I am honestly trying to think of my most valued material possession. I don't think I can count my neurotic dog, as I have come to believe that I am her possession. I like most of the artwork in the condo and I enjoy admiring it, but if it was all stolen tomorrow? Yeah, I would cash the insurance check and probably only replace a few things.

Looking at it through that prism is illuminating when it comes to giving B some of our personal effects. It also makes me consider what B would willingly repurchase if given the funds. Replacement costs. Sunk costs. I look at almost everything through an equitable eye. I need to be more fair in terms of giving him some of our personal property, even though I know he isn't going to fight me for any of it. That just takes the pressure off, but doesn't relieve me of my obligation to do what I know in my heart is right. This is really about doing the right thing by me, not by him, although I have always done right by him and am nothing if not consistent.

Oddly enough, one of the few things he specifically said he wanted was the contents of our bar. I took a good look through it and had to admit that I myself will probably never drink those bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue, or the bottles of Bombay Sapphire, or single malt scotches, or the rare tequilas. Hell, I haven't touched them in three years. Still, I like knowing they are there for cocktail parties and get togethers and hell, when would I ever buy a $500 bottle of liquor? B hates to entertain, so the only reason he would have it is for himself or decoration. Who has the better claim?

I guess what I realized is that none of this material bullshit matters deeply to me and if I can step back from the situation, I should probably use some of my lawyerly sense of equitable distribution. I think that ridding myself and my home of things that don't really matter deeply to me is what needs doing. After the paperwork is signed and filed, I will do just that. It is long past time to focus on the stuff that makes me happy.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Weekly Round Up

The week's roundup of unrelated thoughts.

Loyalty. I realized that loyalty is what killed B and me. I still don't believe that B would sell me out entirely (and, again, I have no skeletons where he is concerned), but that is probably just optimistic projection. B has sold me out over the past few years by not being the man -- or, better said -- not demonstrating the character -- that he once had. I compromised my loyalty once, and never again. There was that silly Seinfeld episode about "the vault." I subscribe to that newsletter and will not violate it any more than I have in the past. Loyalty, in my most simple definition, is honoring a friendship and relationship after the expiration date. Sure, you may no longer be friends, lovers, etc. But that doesn't give you license to divulge private information you gleaned over the course of that friendship/relationship. It doesn't. To do otherwise is, in my estimation, a complete absence of character. I suspect that those kinds of folks have very superficial relationships. No thanks.

Dating vs. Relationships. Jury is out on this. I don't know how to realign my thinking and am not sure I want to anyway. I would rather love deeply and lose it, rather than have a host of superficial relationships that didn't fulfill me. At the bullseye is my family, who have demonstrated their unconditional loyalty, even when I haven't earned it. In the closest concentric circle, I have a handful of close friends, all of whom would lay down in traffic for me. Moving outward, I have a second, concentric ring of friends on the periphery who would probably do the same, but I just haven't developed those relationships. The third concentric circle is the acquaintances and casual friends. I am lucky to have all of this.

Lindsay Lohan. I want so badly to have sympathy, but she is in the vortex of suck that is the current crop of being famous for being a fuckup, and she courts it. I have no idea why people keep describing her as talented, as she is average in a weak field. You want talented? Robert Downey Jr. She isn't fit to hold his (now not wanted) pipe. Not to be an ass, but LL brought all of this on herself because she is addicted to fame - -seeing her name in print and on TMZ. I still don't think the girl has an addiction to anything but attention whoring. And again, who the fuck would want to be famous? Take a long look at Matt Damon, George Clooney, Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon -- the really great actors (ignore the Reese part in that example) - they aren't courting the press by partying out loud. These chicks get off on seeing their mugs on websites and the hits thereupon. I will save my sympathy for folks without an entourage.

Courage. I want and need to know more courageous people. Courage is having the sack to voice concerns directly and honestly, and being able to own the consequences of your actions. I am a courageous person, for the most part. I don't ignore emails, I don't send text messages or emails when a face to face is called for, and I certainly don't hide. I own every fuck up I have ever made. I hold others to that standard and also require my friends -- those I respect -- to have the sack to deal directly. I am allergic to false bravado and weakness, which the internet breeds like rabbits. You have a problem? Sack up and deal with it directly. Hiding in your computer is just bad form and you aren't nearly as tough as you think you are. My inner circle has more courage than most of the internet. Chickenshits in a modem. The new Snakes on a Plane.

Alberto Gonzales. This man was promised a Supreme Court justice position and now, has (at best) a job for a year. If he had a lick of sense about him, he would renounce the current administration and hope for the AG job in the next election. He isn't really a bad guy, just had misguided loyalty to the WH, who sells him out daily. He sucks, to be sure, but he doesn't suck as bad as the WH. He just has no job after 2008, and he signed on, thinking he had a job for life (SC justice).

Next Love. You will need to have a strength of character that far exceeds the Norm. You need to be a MAN. I am 180% female, but a strong one at that, so you will need to be stronger and surer (not possible) of your convictions. I absolutely loathe weakness in character and chickenshitness. You have to challenge me on every level and not retreat if you feel daunted. I want a running partner, to be sure, but someone who has the self-confidence to make and stick to decisions and behave like someone who walks the talk. I cannot respect anything less.

Family. Is there nothing you cannot do?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tom's Diner

Walking into work again this morning, I had some weird spring in my step. Might have been the music, might have been that it wasn't so damn warm (NB: warm to me is over 60 degrees when I am walking to and from work), might have been a good night's sleep. My condo is about 3.5 miles from my building and I am utterly incapable of walking in a normal fashion. I have only met one person who walks faster than me, or at least, she did this one time in Vegas when I found myself actually having to keep up with someone. In any event, I am a Manhattan walker, through and through, which, combined with my need to push any physical activity to my personal limits, means I end up trucking the whole way there. And getting sweaty in the process.

Random aside - I love to sweat. I love the feeling, post-workout, of being physically drained and sweaty. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and that I flushed out what needed flushing. This is ideal at the gym or after a good run. This is less than desirable when you are expected to change into work clothes and sit in an air conditioned office all day. This week, I got a pass for the gym across the street from my office, where I showered and changed, but I am thinking that I am not going to walk in anymore. At least, not the whole way. I'll save the power walk for the commute home.

In any event, I was bouncing right along, powering down Fourth Avenue, about the final mile to my building, when I approached Lola's. That entire intersection is Tom Douglas Central, as Dahlia, Dahlia Bakery, Serious Pie, Lola's and Palace Kitchen are all within a block of each other. Tom Douglas is a metaphor for all that I love about Seattle. His food is amazing, the presentation tantalizing, the atmosphere perfect at each joint and he is just a great guy. He recently competed on the Iron Chef and kicked ass with the secret ingredient of wild salmon. Had he lost, I would have been crushed.

I have met Tom several times, almost always in the context of B's job (he is friends with B's boss). I would hardly call him a friend, just a semi-regular acquaintance. Truthfully, he never seemed to remember me specifically, just that I am a fan of his and his Seattle restaurant empire. Anyway, as I was striding past Lola's, music blaring on the ipod (American Girl, Tom Petty), I saw Tom sitting outside, laptop on the table, talking with a few staffers. We made eye contact and I smiled and said "hey Tom" and kept walking. About two paces later, I heard this loud "HEY!" I turned around and Tom was standing up, waving to me.

Did I mention the sweaty? Because yes, I had sprinted a couple of blocks and was unusually peppy. Also, Tom never remembers me specifically and the fact that he didn't yell my name confirmed the routine. I pulled the ipod out of my ears and smiled and said "Good morning, Tom." He extended his hand and said "long time,no see. You haven't been walking to work in months. Missed seeing you." I was surprised, to say the least, although I did used to see him once a week when I was walking to work every day. I stammered something about shedding bad habits and resuming simple pleasures and then introduced myself (or, better said, reminded him of my name).

He said "Even though I don't always remember your name, I always remember your face. You have a really memorable face." I could have taken that as a backhanded slam, but I scored it as a compliment, smiled widely and said "so do you, Tom." He invited me to sit down and we chatted for a bit about the developments in his mini-empire and his wife and daughter. I told him about my recent experiences at his restaurants and we had a pleasant conversation about random things. Then, out of nowhere, he says "Jackie [his wife] and I are having a dinner party and I would love it if you would come."

I about died. Holy shit, yes. Fuck yes. I smiled even more broadly and told him I would love that. He told me the date and asked if B and I were available. Fuck. Shit. Here we go again. I am sure my face fell a bit at this inquiry, but I manned up and said "well, I don't speak for B anymore, as our marriage came to a successful conclusion, but I think I am going to be in town that night." Tom threw his head back, laughed and said "yeah, I know, K, I just wanted to see if you were okay and over it. Clearly, you are. Great answer - you always could think on your feet. We would love to have you."

A different person would have been pissed. I loved him for the test and the directness of his approach. God, I love direct. Fuck, I hate passive aggressive, chickenshit. I laughed hard and said "well, I'd love to be there. Please let me arrive an hour or so before anyone else so I can watch the cooking." [I love watching people cook. That is how I learned how to do it myself. I would give my nonexistent right nut to watch him and Jackie cook.]

He said that was fine and asked if I would be bringing a date. I lightheartedly told him "oh, I am not dating until next year and besides, I will be watching you two and playing with Loretta [daughter]." Tom got this odd look on his face and asked "why aren't you dating?" Fair question and one for which I didn't have a pithy answer. I just told him that I had no interest in getting involved in another relationship and was enjoying the alone time, blah blah, blah. He kept that quizzical dog look and said "K, there is a difference between dating and getting in a relationship. You should be dating. You are beautiful, smart, funny and you appreciate good food. Date like minded people. Have fun. You don't have to get into a serious relationship, just have fun."

I sort of dismissed that and we had a few more minutes of pleasant talk, after which I gave him a business card and told him to email me with the details. As I walked the final mile to my office, however, I thought about what he said. And realized something. Fuck, I am starting to sound like a fortune cookie,but truthfully, I don't know how to date. I am a serial monogamist. I have never dated more than one person at a time. I have never accepted a second date with someone I wasn't really interested in. I am the same way with books. I don't have two going at a time. When I start a book, I usually finish it in one sitting. I don't do a few chapters a night. All or nothing. I go up to eleven in my reading and relationships.

When I meet someone I like, I want to know everything about them and am pretty quick to reveal my innards as well. That is just how I roll. I am certain there are scores of books out there that caution otherwise, but fuck it, that is how I am. When I meet someone who stirs that indescribable thing inside me, I want to know it all. I want to finish the book and start the sequel. I cannot imagine starting the same process with someone else. And to me, that is what dating multiple people is all about. Having several books going, some of lesser interest than others, and trying to remember the plot lines in each. I am just not built that way.

All that said (and fuck, this is a long ass entry), there is something to be said for pacing yourself. When you speed read, you miss a few important details and plot suggestions. You start pre-supposing the outcome, to some degree. Maybe there is something to pacing yourself and just letting things unfold in a more natural timeframe. Maybe you shouldn't assign attributes to your characters and let them unfold in a more natural way. Maybe you should just let the story evolve.

Not thinking of dating, but I did get an email from Tom this afternoon:

"Dinner at 8. You should arrive at 6 to catch up with [wife and daughter]. The menu, as well as your dinner date, will remain a mystery until you get here."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Courage of Conviction

Could not be more over myself if I tried. Where the fuck have I been this year? We will just chalk up 2007 as the year of transition and be done with it. Holy hell. I should have worn a helmet. Lord knows, I was riding the short bus.

Logged in 10 miles today -- walking or running. I went to this kickass class this morning that was equal parts kick boxing and ballet. At my advanced age, it takes a lot of effort to get back to your self, but am very much on the way. I highly recommend against the depression diet, as I dropped at least ten pounds and most of that was probably hair and water. Am loving my spinning class as well, and have a soccer game on Friday and a softball game on Saturday. God love the PacNW in the summer.

Am awed at the response to the girls' weekend in Vegas. I haven't even alerted the locals and we're already up to 20. I rented a kickass suite for the Grand Central Station of it all. In November. An early celebration of what we are thankful for and what we intend to honor. Friends are the family you choose and all that.

I signed four new clients in July. Fun, interesting clients. I also landed a major studio (that wanted me in house) as their of-counsel, which, given the Vancouver connection, keeps me busy.

I got asked out tonight at Greenlake. I smiled, thanked him for his attention, but said that I won't be dating until 2008. Am in no shape for a relationship with anyone other than myself. I do hope I made a new friend. I am in no condition to start a relationship with anyone but myself and I am cool with that. So very cool. I was pretty goddamn selfless for a number of years and have no qualms about taking some time for me. And my neurotic dog.

This is progress -all of it. I am utterly in charge of what I want and I have no idea what that is right now. I feel hopeful for the first time in a while and have realized that I am my own best date and friend. I have no need for weak characters or chickenshits. I am a lot of things, but chickenshit isn't one of them.

Oh, and B is trying to play nice. He has petitioned the court to invalidate our divorce, but he is doing it stupidly and pro se. I know that if a court reviews our prior settlement agreement, they will see that I gave up over $100K, and that is just in past earnings, not retirement. B was all bark and no bite. So lame.

One of the things I have come to realize is that I need more than a bark. I don't bullshit, I don't make promises I can't keep. I need, if I actually need a man, I need someone stronger than me. I am so utterly bored with those who cannot do what they say.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Winston the Wolf

To steal the line from Talix, I am so over me. Jesus Christ. How self involved can a person get?

Yoda (boss) made an interesting observation today and one that has stayed with me for most of the day. Life with B was something of an alternate universe. Although I didn't appreciate it at the time, it was often a whirlwind, chaotic, choose-your-own-adventure type of existence. I was the rational, reasonable, stable one amidst the chaos and that gave me a false sense of calm and control. My role was clearly defined - keep the peace, keep B stable, be the grounded one, be the one that stays cool in a crisis. If B got bent out of shape, I put him back together. If the shit hit the fan, I swooped in with my calm, cool and collected self and found the escape route. I was impervious to the drama, as it was my job to resolve it and smooth things over. Never any drama of my own, just tending to that in our life. Other people's drama.

Fuck if I haven't made up for lost time. When I am cutting myself some slack, I allow for the possibility that the pendulum had to swing back in my direction and I took a half year of quality self-centered time. Perhaps that is one explanation. Sure beats the other explanations (self-destructive, escapist, immature, irrational, etc.) Fact of the matter is that I cannot erase any of it and cannot spend the next half of the year looking backward over my shoulder. Nobody ever gets to where they want to go with their head, heart and mind rubbernecking the past. Plus, you end up with a ridiculously whiny attitude and write unmercifully verbose emails to your ex that (mercifully), you never send. What a waste of energy, at least most of the time.

I am pretty much done with that. I know where I want to go and only I have the legs to get me there. I am not going to jump ship in the near term, especially after the partnership talk today. I don't want to live in LA and I am probably not the person to be living part time in Mountain View (although I am going to to see the Google opportunity all the way through, because hello? YouTube? Fun.). I am going to continue to train for the half marathon in November (because, quite frankly, I have no desire to run 26 miles). I am going to continue to play soccer and softball and, in my spare time, take a few tennis lessons and hike with Darbs. I am going to have as little contact with B as possible and remember that I no longer live in that alternate universe.

I am going to take at least one weekend a month outside of Seattle. First stop is LA this month, then probably Austin next month. NYC is September, and hopefully Boston in October. November is usually pretty nutty, but I am just now starting to plan a girls' weekend in Vegas. So overdue. My brother is getting married on NYE, so no trips in December, but am strongly leaning towards a European adventure in January. I have plenty of vacation time to roll over, so it will probably be two glorious weeks. Am leaning towards Spain and Portugal, but I may cop out and go someplace nice and tropical. We shall see.

The RX to avoid the drugs is two hours at the gym. I am being really careful about not hurting myself and it seems to be working out (ha!). I have been running with Darbs every morning and that does us both good. My body is getting back into the shape I like it and the mind is following. Mostly, I am grateful to not have the self-defeating thoughts 24/7 and am regaining my perspective. Again, just getting the fuck over myself. It sounds so goddamn trite to say this, but just living honestly and deliberately is a luxury of those who have the time to worry about self-fulfillment. Seriously. Not to harken back to B, but if this is the scope of my troubles, I live a very sheltered existence.

Also, and completely unrelated, what the fuck with Lindsey Lohan? I don't even believe the girl is a drug or alcohol addict -- she is a fame addict. I don't have much sympathy for her, as she has stated in interviews that she craves the fame and courts and teases the paparazzi. I will go to my grave not understanding the desire to be famous. Successful, yes. Acclaimed, yes. Revered and respected, yes. Famous? No. Not at all. Fame appears to be more addictive than any drug I can think of, and more destructive as well. Why anyone would want public scrutiny of their private life is completely beyond me.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Property Settlement Wars, Part II

Ed. Note: No one - absolutely no one - thinks I should continue to engage B on any topic. I probably won't send this, because B is no longer capable of thinking like the man I once knew. I just wanted to write this


First things first. Read my words. Read them carefully and try to read them openly and objectively. I think this is probably my last ditch effort to get you to really listen to me. I have more than earned the right to ask you to listen to me.

It is nothing short of ridiculous for us to go to war. Neither one of us is invested in the property we are fighting about and this is really about you not liking me telling you to dance according to my prearranged steps. You have never done well on other people's terms and you freak the fuck out when you feel ordered.

On paper and in your proclamations to others, I know you can sell our breakup as you being generous and magnanimous. I got the condo, you bought my car, I got all the personal property. I know that is how you see it most days and it was your penance for how you wronged me. I know that. Hell, that is how I would frame it for you if we were still together.

That ignores a shitload of history. I didn't wrong you. I was your best friend and most loyal supporter. Still am, although that is waning. I was the person who went to every soccer game you coached because I supported you. I was the person who befriended your mother and took her to bingo and anywhere else she wanted to go because you had no patience for her. I visited her without you, as did my brothers - independent of me. I was, in every sense, the most supportive and loyal spouse anyone could hope to have. I have never betrayed you or our relationship. That has been unthinkable to me.

On the other hand, you have not been loyal to me in many years. You didn't return my loyalty to you and, in fact, have thrown me under the bus to save yourself. You sacrificed me and my law firm for your professional cowardice. You did that because you could rely upon my loyalty to you. I ran to your side when the going got tough. You never even considered how that whole thing would affect me. It does and will for the rest of my professional life. But what killed me the most -- when I realized we were really done -- is you never gave a second thought as to how that whole press drama would affect me.

You didn't know that the night after I came running to you and assured you -- that for the entire week after -- I was dealing with personal and professional fallout and completely devastated. You couldn't think outside your own little world. It was all about you. That is when I really came to understand that you were not loyal to me at all.

What kills me is that is what what made you so attractive to me back in the day -- your sense of loyalty. I learned that from you and it is the best thing I took from our marriage. It pains me to think that I am a better person for having married you, and yet you are so different from the man I married. Absolutely no one would describe you as loyal anymore.

I have no intention of ever betraying you or our relationship, yet you seem so bent on discarding all of it. I will try to honor our relationship and all of our shared history, even though you checked out so long ago. You seem to think that you can right the wrongs of us by being a bully to me and becoming some other person in your new life. I have the benefit of history and knowing you as well as I do.

You are at a crossroads, B. You can either be an asshole for asshole's sake (and fight a losing battle), or you can man the fuck up. You fucked up our relationship and you don't have the sack to own up to that (aside from a few random text messages). You fucked us up and negated a decade's worth of unconditional support. You did that. You can either own it or be an asshole. One way delivers you peace, the other just perpetuates drama. Please try to be the man I once thought you were.

If we have to go to war, so be it. I don't have skeletons in my closet and I have always been loyal to you. I don't want anything from you aside from peace. You really need to have a moment of introspection where you fully get how badly you fucked our relationship and, it needs to be said, HOW COOL I HAVE BEEN. If I have to go to war, I will fight the way you taught me and no one needs that. We don't want to be together. There is so little to fight over. Just let me go, B. We aren't going to be friends anytime soon. Let me go and let's get this over with.

Whirrled Peace

I would give my nonexistent left nut for a little goddamn peace.

Talked to my attorney today and got the prognosis on my potential for peace in the near term. Some of it is good, some of it not so good. He can cause me a great deal of turmoil in the upcoming months. An oversight by my attorney may enable him to push open a door I believed firmly closed. Shit happens. Hopefully, his unwillingness to pay for professional intimidation will hasten his desire to go to war with me. He would much rather do the intimidating himself, I suspect, seeing as how effective that strategy has been over the past fourteen years. I am so counting on that arrogance.

In the meantime, I am trying very hard not to fear the unannounced show up at the office (which he has threatened twice already) or worse, the scaling of the condo building onto my deck. It has been a while since he has done that, so here's hoping. I will call the cops if he does it, which really challenges my sense of loyalty.

And that is what I have been thinking about all weekend. Loyalty. I am often asked what went wrong between us or what changed about B that made our marriage unworkable. The answer - in its simplest form - is that B stopped being loyal to me. I don't equate loyal to faithful, although that is certainly part of it. But loyalty is so very much more than fidelity. It really is. Loyalty has, at its core, profound respect for another human being and for your relationship with that human being. I think you can divorce someone to whom you are and will remain loyal. That is what I believed I did.

I remained loyal to B throughout this process, at least for the most part. Hell, I actually felt disloyal at times, especially when I told some friends about his misdeeds throughout the marriage. That was a betrayal worse than infidelity, at least to me. Whatever sins were committed against each other, I was not about to use inside knowledge against him. I still cannot do it to B to this day. I still protect him. I have not told anyone the whole truth.

Random aside - I have lost a few friendships in my lifetime, and I am thinking now of a few female friendships. The two that immediately spring to mind concern acts of disloyalty by women I considered friends. Looking back at the relationships that I fucked up, they weren't marked by disloyalty. Carelessness, insensitivity, selfishness, self-aggrandizement, wholesale "fuckedupness" -- sure. Absolutely. I own each and every one of those. But I have never tread upon the realm of disloyal. I have never used private information learned in the course of a friendship against a friend.

(Well, shit, yes I did. Law school. A "friend" (we really weren't tight - she knew I was close with the guy she was dating) told me something that I am certain she wanted and believed would be kept confidential. She had an incurable STD (herpes) that she got from a sexual assault years earlier. Whatever her motivations were to befriend me, I know she trusted me when she told me that. Months later, she had a pregnancy scare with the aforementioned friend of mine. I was gobsmacked - how could she be having unprotected sex with him? He wouldn't have risked contracting herpes. When I asked her if he was worried about herpes, she said "oh, I haven't had an outbreak in years. I am as cured as I can be."

She hadn't told him? Holy fuck. He and I were much, much closer than she and I were and I didn't know what to do. They had broken up and he was already dating someone else - someone he cared for quite a bit. I should have told her "hey look, either you tell him or I do." I didn't. I struggled with it for a day or so and, goaded by a mutual friend who knew the situation (one of the two aforementioned female relationships that ended because of another's disloyalty), I told him - my friend. I didn't want him to unknowingly infect someone else and all that. He got tested and mercifully, had dodged the herpes bullet.

But to my "friend"? Yeah, I was persona non grata, and understandably so. I deserved that stigma. It was a shitty thing to do, even though I am not entirely certain I would have done things differently. She told a great deal of our mutual friends of my betrayal (never the exact circumstances, just that I told him something profoundly personal that she had told me in confidence) and, out of respect for her, I never divulged the details, either. I couldn't defend myself, assuming, of course, there was anything to defend. The mutual friend who goaded me into telling him? Yeah, she played dumb.)

In any event, and that random confession aside, I learned a great deal from that experience. All you have is who you offer in a relationship, be it friendship or lovers or whatever. I believe you owe it to yourself and your friend/lover/whatever to be loyal. What you learn or discover about a person in the course of a relationship is private and was shared to you under a blanket of trust. Relationships often end. But if you betray that trust? If you use it for your own gain? Fuck, that is the worst kind of betrayal. That betrays yourself and your former friend/lover/whatever. You lack character. You are an opportunist who will sell out if it suits your perceived needs.

I live with the guilt and shame of having betrayed a "friend." No matter how unimportant that relationship was to me, I betrayed her in the worst possible way. As a result, I haven't done it again. Since then, I have lost friends and ended relationships and at least one marriage, but I haven't betrayed anyone again. I have even resisted the urge to defend myself because it would mean betrayal of certain confidences.

And, coming full circle on this random outpouring of thoughts, I cannot betray B. I cannot. And what really sucks is that he has no loyalty to me (or anyone else). I am holding myself to a standard that he no longer knows exists. I don't have any skeletons in my closet that he can exploit, so it isn't a fear of him revealing my secrets or misdeeds. But he doesn't have a sense of loyalty to me to honor the relationship we had, no matter how far done and gone it is. He is not loyal to me, or respectful of the relationship we once had, or the loyalties that I have demonstrated to him. He is all about getting whatever he wants without regard to that and winning at any cost. And nothing sucks more than knowing you are playing by a rule that the other team willfully disregards.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Oh Fuck Off

His response to the email I sent (and posted)?

"Fuck you."

He followed that up with a voice mail that was positively seething, telling me he was going to "contest the divorce" and "bust open everything." Cupcake isn't thinking this one all the way through, as I walked away from a considerable amount of money. This is so goddamn stupid, and the only reason he is bent is because I tried to tell him what to do.

I played his voice mail message to my mom, dad, aunt and everyone else around the table. I had never done that. Never. I kept his batshit secret because I was loyal. If I knew how to convert voice messages to MP3's, I would fucking post it now. I am finally, FINALLY at the point of fighting back. Yes, he will probably end up fucking with me and hurting me in every way he knows how, but fuck it. This is my line in the goddamn sand. Fuck it. I'll go down fighting.

It was a good night with the family. I have so taken mine for granted and I am never going to do that again. I am so very lucky to have mine.

Also, the 'rents took us to a truly shitty movie. Something to talk about tomorrow. Jesus H. Christ. Adam Sandler just isn't my kind of funny anymore.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

It Begins at Home

One of the funny things about depression and loss -- people give the same advice. Exercise, take classes, volunteer, whatever. All of it is good advice. Some of it is more practical than other alternatives.

I miss him. Fuck, I miss my friend, my lover, my best confidant, my other part. I miss him. I miss him almost every hour of the day. ANYWAY.

It was the volunteering thing that got me thinking. I should volunteer with the Big Brothers/Sisters of King County. I need perspective. Giving of myself will offset whatever self-indulgent crap I have in me. That makes sense. Except for one thing.

I am a shit aunt to my niece. My sister's daughter. I am a pathetic excuse for an aunt. Which is inexcusable, knowing that I relied upon my own aunt A quite heavily growing up and into adulthood. My aunt A was my mother in many ways, although I have failed as her niece in the recent past. I have failed in many ways. My niece doesn't know me as anything other than the occasional family member. She deserves so much more. My sister has raised a wonderful child that I have not bothered to really get to know. I suck as a human being for that. I want to be more to her. I want to be her "A," although that is grandstanding and unlikely. God, I am such a self-absorbed asshole.

I have to go to LA next week. I am combining professional and personal stuff with all that. I am interviewing with studios in my spare time, but the whole trip is for a client that I need to help. I am pretty sure I have the offer I want for one studio, but that is incidental to my visit. I want to solve my client's woes and, in my spare time, make up for all of the crappiness that was my MO as an aunt. I want to apologize for being the world's worst aunt and start anew.

I want to know her and love her and have her love me because I have built and nourished our relationship. I want to become her favorite aunt* because of our relationship, not circumstances. I have a lot of makeup work to do. I can't tell my sister about coming there until I am on the plane. I have bullshit and promised her too many times. But my hope is that I can lay the foundation to be the aunt my sister always wanted me to be. I hope so. Also, am looking forward to taking my niece on a few rollercoasters. I think it would be a refreshing change to ride a real one.

*Am technically her only aunt, but whatever.

Property Settlement Wars, Part I

[Ed. Note: B wants to come to my condo and do a "final walk through." As you can see, I have strong feelings about that.]

I seem to do better in written form, so here goes.

As I have explained to you, I am very uncomfortable at the idea of you coming into my home and "shopping" for furnishings for your new place. Although I understand that you believe you have a right to come in and do a "final walk through" and lay claim to certain items, I disagree. This has been my exclusive home for damn near three years, and (as I type this, I can feel your dismissive eye-rolling) it has been the only place I have felt safe and secure in all of this. Just as you don't want me rummaging about in your private life, nor do I want you to invade mine.

The only things you want to lay claim to are material objects that you can replace. As I said last night in the text message, the only thing you can't replace is me. The "stuff" didn't matter to you for the past three years, as you have already been here and retrieved items that you wanted. None of this was important to you until you suddenly had a new place that you wanted to decorate and now you seem to want to do it without regard to the reality of the past three years. This condo wasn't your storage unit. I have moved those items that were clearly not "ours" or otherwise part of our home (as well as your few personal items) into a separate storage unit and I look forward to assigning that obligation to you. But please try to understand that it is patently unfair to think you now have the right to come in and pick and choose those artifacts from our former life together with which you want to accessorize your new life.

Divorce is all about rebuilding and replacing. You took our former social life in the divorce, leaving me to wear a brave face in public when the subject of us came up. You didn't ever stop to think how your wholesale substitution of me would affect me personally or socially. You never even bothered to tell me the truth - the whole truth - and are still bullshitting me to this day. I deserve so much more than that, but that is your cross to bear.

All of that said, I think we need to strike a compromise so that this bullshit doesn't keep rearing its ugly head. I don't want a phone call from you two years from now, wanting another walk through to see if there is anything else you want from our years together. So here we go. Here is my compromise. These are my terms.

1. This is a one-shot deal. Come prepared and be on time. Rent a truck, bring boxes, and a friend to help, as this cannot be an all-day affair.
2. Clear out the storage unit in the condo building first. All of that is your random stuff and I haven't touched it. Toss it, keep it, whatever. Get it all out.
3. BEFORE YOU GET HERE - email me a list of things you want from the condo itself. Please don't feed me that bullshit about not remembering what is here. Sell that bullshit elsewhere, I have known you too long. You know every goddamn piece of artwork in this condo, seeing as you picked it all out. Sure, you might not remember the no-name pieces, but you know the bulk of it. You are not expected to remember each and every piece, but please don't act stupid or unknowing. Just tell me what you want and I promise you that I will be reasonable in each and every consideration.
4. When you are here at the condo, doing your "walk through" - you don't get to take anything unless I hand it to you. As I said, and as you know, I am remarkably reasonable, but expect nothing and you won't be disappointed. Together with the list you will send AHEAD of time, I will then have a good understanding of what material objects you want to take from our marriage. I will be cool like Fonzie.
5. After you leave with whatever I give you at that time, I will be reasonable in considering whatever requests you have. I will round up whatever it is that I am willing to part with and I will have Damian deliver them to you within a few days.

I can still feel you rolling your eyes and I don't give a shit. I have long since adapted to the reality that you don't want to see anything from my perspective. I am not remotely interested in being a ball buster or a vindictive ex-wife -- quite the contrary, as history clearly shows -- I just feel really fucking strongly about this. It takes an inordinate amount of gall to even request what you are asking. That said, I can appreciate that you don't think you are being unreasonable. I hope this compromise works for you.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Year of Deliberate Thinking

As I am wont to do, I will fuck up the cliche and just say that sometimes you have to take a few steps backward to move a couple of inches forward. Today was a better day. I am more hopeful that I will navigate through this ordeal on my own terms and by my own strength and resolve.

On an aside, one of the more infuriating things B used to do was to minimize whatever problem I had with a token "if this is all you have to worry about, you lead a charmed life." As maddening as that was at the time, there is truth at the heart of it. If my biggest problem right now is that I am licking the wounds from a recently concluded meaningful relationship, then I am, in fact, a very fortunate woman. People have fallen, then lost, loves throughout history and I am not a unique snowflake in that. Marriages and relationships end every day. That doesn't mean that the experience won't shred your innards and fundamentally alter the way you think and feel. It often does. Hell, it should, lest you learn nothing from the experience.

I'm starting to believe that is the whole point of loving someone. Learning more about what makes you tick (both good and bad) and what makes another person tick as well. When it ends, the trick, at least as far as I can tell, is to balance the grief at having "lost" a great love -- and all of what comes with that -- with the ambition to become wiser for the experience by taking the lessons forward. It is when you upset that balance -- either by wallowing in the grief or by pushing it out of your mind with willful blindness -- I think that is where you risk a sorrowful existence.

Of course, without a sorrowful existence, we would not have great art, literature and terrible country music songs. I am having the kind of day where I believe a little bit of a tortured sorrowful existence may be good for the creative soul. Lil' bit. In all things, balance.

I didn't really rebuild after B and I separated, or do much in the way of moving forward. Kind of the opposite. I spent a good two and a half years in a stupor, both literally and figuratively. What a waste of time, in retrospect. How I would love to be three years younger and with this kind of self-awareness, but alas, time (and timing), she is a cruel mistress. At the time, I just couldn't imagine my life differently, even though I knew in my bones that it was no longer where I wanted to be. I was scared and cowardly -- afraid to imagine a life that was fundamentally different from what I knew. Afraid, I think, to live, or even imagine, a life that was defined by what I wanted, not by what I thought expected of me. If I wasn't bound by those definitions, well then fuck. I would be ultimately responsible for my happiness, satisfaction, contentedness and fulfillment in my life. I would have no one or anything else to blame. Just my choices. I would have to be the ultimate architect of the good and the bad in my life. Daunting.

Tonight, I am no longer daunted by that. Quite the opposite. I use the Thoreau phrase "living deliberately" all the time. As a teenager, that phrase really resonated with me, although I wasn't certain I understood the true meaning. Now, decades later, I am still not entirely sure I know what it means, as it is an elusive concept. Maybe it is something like the Supremes say about obscenity -- you know it when you see it (or experience it).

All I know right now is that is where I am trying to go. To live deliberately. I think -- no, I have to believe -- that if you live your life deliberately, with pure satisfaction and self-fulfillment in the choices you make for yourself -- then you will live the kind of life that you always wanted for yourself. If you fuck up along the way and fall in love at the wrong time, or let a love that you once had fade away, or corrupt a relationship that mattered to you, well, at least you did it deliberately. Mistakes and missteps are what make us all interesting. When have you ever read a great book about someone who didn't fuck up? The interesting stories are when the person made conscious mistakes, but borne out of a good soul.

Are there really any mistakes or sins beyond forgiveness? You know what? I haven't encountered one. I just need to remember that. Hell, everyone needs to remember that.

Fuck, if this is the worst thing humanity has to worry about, we live a charmed life.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

All the Drugs

Continuing along series of personal failures in the recent past, I think I am going to have to surrender to drugs. Antidepressants, that is.

Fuck, I have no judgment against others who use them. This is something much more personal for me. I have always been able to think my way out of a tough situation. Always. With the proper amount of mental and physical discipline, I could handle my shit and overcome whatever obstacles I encountered.

It is still pretty early and raw and all of that, but I don't know how much longer I can take this. Randomly weepy, but never able to get a good cry on. Distracted and having a very hard time focusing, and at the worst possible professional time. No appetite whatsoever and going days (unintentionally) without eating. This latter symptom is contributing to an inordinate amount of hair shedding, which scares the shit out of me. The inexplicable panic attacks (or anxiety attacks - not sure what they are) are daunting as well. I feel horrible that I never understood others who complained of depression and these kinds of panic/anxiety attacks.

I had a therapist who referred to antidepressants as "reliable shortcuts." I fired her shortly thereafter because she didn't understand my resistance to altering the chemistry of my body and mind. Thing is, I need some help getting through this and I really don't know how to get it. I am going to sweat it out for the rest of the month and see if my usual self routine of exercise and meditation and writing help me gather some emotional momentum. I have a decent therapist who isn't jonesing for me to get on the drugs, although he does think I would benefit from them.

I feel almost paralyzed at times and I can't talk to the person I most want to talk to. I lost one of my closest friends and the only person who could really understand this.

Feh. Even as I type this, I am ashamed. I could be living in Danfur. I could be serving in Iraq. I could be Courtney Love. This all seems so incredibly self-indulgent and melodramatic. I am not that person. I just can't seem to find my way back yet and am incredibly uncomfortable in this place.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Urban vs. Suburban Mouse

Wordy today, it would appear.

I often make the joke that I don't do bridges, tunnels or freeways. My fellow urbanites proudly refer to ourselves as "City Snobs," and I? I am the patron saint of the City Snobs. It isn't that I don't get the suburbs. It is much worse. I am positively allergic to them. I get tense when I am in them and I am utterly dumbstruck by those who choose to live there.

It would be easy to explain this burb-hate to my upbringing abroad, and, given the similar experiences of my urbanite siblings, it certainly had an influence. My youngest brother just rented his first apartment in downtown Seattle, even though his new employer is based about 20 miles away in a decidedly suburban city. It never occurred to him to rent an apartment over there, even though his commute is going to suck out loud - it will be interesting to see if his love of all things urban will withstand his hatred of an hour commute.

Funny aside (and perhaps counterpoint to this argument): My parents, who have lived overseas for over 30 years, are the quintessential suburban types. The own a McMansion in the very best Houston suburb that they rent out while abroad. They have a house on a golf course about an hour and a half north of here. When they come home for the summer, they suggest restaurants such as the Outback Steakhouse and any other chain restaurant they know. They hit the big box stores with a vengeance and buy their groceries in stores that sell everything from power tools to tortilla chips.

The other easy argument that I don't have children and, if I did, I would want them to go the the Very Best Schools and live in a Very Safest Neighborhood. Those two phrases are heavily loaded to me. To me, they carry the true meaning of "we want our kids to go to school with people Just Like Us" and "live in a neighborhood full of people Just Like Us." Which is, almost always, upper white middle class. We want to live and mingle with people who are Just Like Us and who would therefore never hurt us.

Quite frankly, that is exactly why I hate the suburbs. I have no interest in living among people who are just like me. I loathe the idea of living in an environment where all of the houses look exactly alike and everyone follows the same HOA rules to make sure everything looks the same. It is a fundamental difference in values. I like diversity in everything - the people I see on the street, the incomes, the cultural backgrounds, the life experiences, the ambitions, the creativity - hell, I require that kind of backdrop.

The suburban existence holds no appeal to me. Seeing the same people, day after day, living the same lives, living in the same house, following the same routines? Yeah, that would be my version of hell. And if I do have children? No way would I want them raised in that environment. The Very Best Schools aren't in the suburbs, at least in my mind, and I would not want my hypothetical child educated among people just like him or her. That is not the education I received and certainly not one I would advocate.

Two random stories: when I went to law school, there were two African American students and two Asian students*. The rest of the class was primarily suburban raised, upper white middle class students whose first real job was the summer associate position they took after their second year of law school (earning between $5-7K a month). It was, without question, the least stimulating learning environment I have ever been in. I was, at all times, called upon as the "liberal" voice in the room, seeing as I was from urban Seattle and a little older (and therefore had "life experience"). In retrospect, any state school in the country would have provided me with a better education. The most interesting person (and the one from whom I learned the most) was one of the two African American students, whose personal background (and opinions on Historically Black Colleges) made for the most thought-provoking conversations I had in my three years there.

The other random story is more local. Ballard is a Seattle neighborhood that is historically Scandanavian (read: white), and, as housing prices rose in the 90's and early 00's, became the place that young, white urbanites snatched up houses to raise their kids in-city. Seattle has a long history of forced desegregation school busing, such that kids from the poor neighborhoods (read: black) were bussed to the wealthier areas of town in order to avoid the "white school" syndrome. As Ballard became more wealthy (white), more disadvantaged kids (black) wanted to go there.

Oh, but this pissed off liberal minded Ballard folks, who wanted their kids to go to the neighborhood (white) school. It also pissed off the neighboring and equally liberal minded Magnolia (a neighborhood where homes start at $600K) families, who finally had a (white) school nearby. Incidentally, the joke was on them, since the Very Best School in Seattle wasn't in the suburbs or even in Ballard, but was rather at Garfield, which is in one of the few racially diverse neighborhoods in Seattle. See, it wasn't about the Very Best School. It was about the whitest, most convenient school.**

These "progressive" parents took to the courts and ultimately, successfully convinced the Supreme Court that their kids were being harmed by not being able to go to the local (white) school and now, their kids can go to school with kids Just Like Theirs.

Who the fuck are these people who want that for their kids? My boss, who has owned his law firm for 20 years and lives in a house that is now worth several millions of dollars - you know where his kids went to school? Garfield - the alma mater of Jimi Hendrix and Quincy Jones. His kids are the most well adjusted, smartest, wonderful kids I have ever known. His daughter just left Garfield after her sophomore year because she has enough credits to start college at the UW. They both took AP classes and played in the orchestra and did all of the things promised by the suburb schools, yet neither one is a binge drinker or drug user or gang banger. They are also the kind of kids that see a crazy person on the bus while navigating public transportation and feel compassion and empathy for people who don't have it as good as they do. That is true of almost every inner city kid I have ever met.

Living in this city is expensive as all hell and I was lucky that I got in on the real estate market when I did. That said, I live in a one-bedroom + condo that doesn't lend itself well to raising a family. If my circumstances changed and I met someone who had kids or wanted to start a family (and I was of a like persuasion)? The suburbs wouldn't be an option for me. I would rather live in a cramped condo or smaller house with sidewalks and public transportation and options beyond McDonalds and Subway. I couldn't abide by a suburban existence and passing that along as the desired way of living. I couldn't model that.

It truly is a difference in values and a very blunt cultural difference. It is cruise vacations vs. traveling abroad, WalMart vs. neighborhood store, PF Changs vs. the local Wok-n-Go, cineplex vs. indie movie houses, SUV vs. hybrid and Starbucks vs. corner coffee shop.

And yes, I fucking love Starbucks. They're local.

* True story. In law school, I had a professor that prided himself on dazzling the 100+ student class that he could learn all of our names (by studying the seating chart, which had our individual photographs) by the second day of class. On that day, he went around the room, staring at our faces and triumphantly recounting our name. When he got to one of the two Asian students, he said, and I fucking quote, "well, I have a 50-50 chance here." I was told by my classmates that I was alone in my personal outrage.

** The most strident opponent I knew of the Ballard-Magnolia parents was a white Magnolia woman married to one of the only African-American men in Magnolia (who is the editor of a local paper). As the parent of a bi-racial child, living in the whitest neighborhood of Seattle, she understood the value of a multi-racial, diverse (socio-economically speaking) student body and was all too willing to send her son to the "bad neighborhood" if it meant getting a real education. She was considered a pariah during all of this and wrongfully maligned. It was a brunch with her today that brought out this rant.


I have two competing thoughts that I am trying to work out in my head and I am going to try to get at least one fully fleshed out.

In my bedroom, underneath one of the nightstands, is a large box containing a very thick album. Specifically, my wedding album. Pictures of a day in August in 1994. We actually had three albums made - two smaller ones for each of our families and one big one for us. B's mother still has hers (although where, I don't know) and I think my parents have theirs, and the complete anthology currently gathering dust underneath my nightstand was over at my aunt's for almost all of our marriage. I don't remember if I brought it back over here before or after B moved out.

I don't know what to do with it now.

I am not a picture person. Most people who know me know I hate having my picture taken and loathe looking at pictures of myself. That observation alone is interesting, as my sister - who is much more socially shy than I am and, ostensibly, has lower self esteem - she likes getting her picture taken and likes most pictures of herself. I admire that and probably should learn something from that observation, but I am on another topic. Also odd is that I love photography generally. I don't myself take pictures, but I can stare at other people's photographs for hours.

I have never been a picture person. That is, I wasn't the type to make scrapbooks (although I think I did do one after high school, but it was never completed and I couldn't tell you where it is). If my mother made a photo album of me growing up, I am unaware of it. I remember seeing pictures of us growing up, but I wasn't particularly attached to them. I couldn't tell you if I have a single picture from high school or college in my place, and the few I have from law school are buried in a briefcase. There are pictures tacked on my refrigerator, but I rarely look at them. They are there because they make the house seem homier, especially since B and I split up ("they just make the fridge look cluttered, K"). They are there because you are supposed to have pictures on your fridge.

I can probably count on one hand how many pictures I have of B and I (not including the aforementioned wedding album). We didn't take them, nor did we hang framed pictures of us all over the condo. We had one from our honeymoon, on the beach, that was never framed, but was displayed in a closed cabinet. I can tell you that there are at least five disposable cameras in the aforementioned cabinet that contain pictures (some racy, I think) of our honeymoon. We never had them developed. I think there was a period when B had a picture of me and my niece on his desk, but I never displayed one of him on mine. Suffice to say, we were of like minds on the whole picture thing.

When I at Kathy's wedding in Mexico, I was struck how much time everyone spent taking and posing for pictures. When they weren't doing that, they were reviewing the pictures they took on their digital cameras. It was a surreal sight to me. Here we are, in the moment, and everyone is looking at a snapshot of the recent past. Maybe it is just the immediacy of the digital photography technology, I don't know - the instant gratification of seeing the moment you just recorded. It doesn't make sense to me.

When I try to understand this apathy towards photographs, I have two quasi-related thoughts. The first one is that I don't need photographs to preserve a memory. That photographs rarely reflect the memory I have of a particular event, nor do snapshots of friends capture the essence of the people in them. The other thought is that I am just not a particularly visual person. I have long known this. I am wordy - both verbally and in writing. I can remember verbatim things that have been said to and by me, and things that I have read and written. I can pick up a card that was written to me years ago and remember exactly how I felt when I read it and what I understood those words to mean.

Which brings me back to a current dilemma. What do I do with that wedding album? The honeymoon picture in the closed cabinet? (I know what I am doing with the undeveloped ones.) The assorted pictures of B that are scattered about in no meaningful sense? Do I toss them out, seeing as they have limited utility to me? Does throwing them away mean I am trying to erase the past or rewrite history? And if I do toss them out, will I regret it, years later, when my memories have faded or worse? If they don't capture my memories now, will they become more accurate later? What the fuck do I do with those pictures?

Related: early on in the separation, when the wounds were much more raw, I went looking for something to remind B of where we had been - where we came from - what we had been like before we had become broken. I don't think I ever really wanted to get back together with him, just wanted some acknowledgment from him that he understood, as much as I did, the magnitude of what was lost. I found an old card he had given me while we were still dating. I am not a hoarder of past mementos and, until recently, not particularly sentimental, but I saved that card for over a decade. It wasn't even that sappy of a card, but I remember exactly what it said:

Front: "I love you more today than I did yesterday"
Inside: "Yesterday, you really got on my nerves."
Inscription: "I love you. Sorry for not always making time for us. You are what matters most. I would kiss you, but I have a cold." (the latter statement being one of our many inside jokes)

(I put that card in his sack of mail and hoped he would see it and have That Moment. Not even a Grand Gesture, just That Moment. Instead, he somehow managed to pull it out of a sizable bag of mail and said, "what, are you returning my cards to me?" B was also, quite clearly, not a man who relished words.)

Which, of course, brings me to a second dilemma. The relationship that just ended was marked by words. Thousands of emails, IMs, and some handwritten communications. What do I do with those? Do I nuke all of the messages in the account and start over? Isn't that, too, just digitally erasing history? Once they are erased, they are gone forever. Is that what I should do? Is that part of clearing my head and my heart to make room for something else? I can make a strong argument for that. But on the other hand, given my trust in words to capture a memory, shouldn't I keep them? Then again (third hand?), do I need words to capture any memory?

I don't have the answers to that one yet. I am going to try to figure out what to do with the pictures first and make my way to the words after that.

I also have to flesh out another, entirely unrelated issue that is just nagging at me.

I also just read another book that changed my life. Huzzah to moving forward, God bless momentum, and fuck mementos.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dallas, the series, circa 1985-86

Apparently, that is how things should roll. It never happened. *waves Jedi hands* *not the droids*

I realized tonight (Ed. Note: this was last night) that I was always cautioning him on how he might feel and he was always cautioning me on how I might feel about him. Absolutely no one was paying attention to what might happen to each other. The more astute would realize that this was probably projection of some sort, or at least two smart people who knew that the whole "riding off into the sunset" had more than a few complications for both of our lives.

On an aside - and I know I have a small audience and I owe no explanations - here's the thing. I fell in love with a truly remarkable person at a remarkably bad time. If I told all the sordid details, you would be able to point out the red flags. I know, I saw them, too. I wouldn't have listened to you then, either, just as I didn't listen to myself while I freaking saluted those flags. It was something I had never, ever experienced and something I cannot bring myself to regret.

I am writing this post for purely selfish reasons. With time comes the inevitable self-rationalization and revision (if not wholesale rewriting) of history, and I have no doubt that in a few weeks, months, whatever -- I will be able to speak of the whole thing rationally. I will be able to understand and perhaps explain that this was all my fault and it wasn't what it seemed and it is quite explicable with hindsight and all that. It will be another mistake that I will acknowledge and own and vow to learn from. Perhaps a learned therapist will deconstruct the whole thing for me and show me how, despite what I knew and felt in my bones at the time, was really nothing more than a cliched story with invented meaning. I think that is how we are programmed to deal with emotional strife and bullshit. I don't claim to be above that, and, again, watch this space for personal growth.

But tonight (and this was started last night, so I am clearly posting from the past), I want to be honest with myself. No matter what vortex of time and space and introspection lies ahead, right now, I am going to call it as it was. I fell in love in every sense of the word. It felt like falling most of the time. I was scared to death of it and tried to stop it out of pure fear. The fear was knowing and loving a person that you could not believe existed - a Mr. Snuffleupagous, if you will. That sounds so hokey, as if he were the perfect man. Not the case. He could and did irritate me. Even that was endearing.

But who I knew him to be in his bones? Yeah. I definitely fell for that person. That was all real and honest and, quite frankly, the love of a lifetime. No matter how I will spin it later, trying to justify what was surely a mistake of nuclear proportions, it was utterly real. Tonight, it wasn't a mistake at all. It wasn't what, I am sure, I will later characterize as an infatuation, or an addiction, or a diversion, or whatever rationalization I eventually label it. I am certain that it will eventually be chalked up to "situational circumstances" and filed it away as a "important lesson learned." Huzzah to personal growth and acceptance - can't wait to get there.

But for tonight? I am a better person for having known and loved this person and although I know all of the labels to put on it later in order to move past it? Not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent. It was absolutely everything we both acknowledged and knew it to be, no matter how we now both manage to move past it. It was, in his words, one in a million. It was. As painful as it was to end it, I never, ever want to lose sight of that, even as I know I will probably make every effort to do just that.

At the end of the day, I would rather admit what I knew it to be and deal with the very real fallout from that than pretend it didn't happen. So fuck you, Dallas, and your convenient ruse of pretending it didn't exist. I don't live in the nighttime soap realm and I am never going to pretend it was all a dream. I was there and I was awake, and, in any event, I know how that hand works out - you lose.

I hate to say this fucking phrase, but I am back in my Thoreau days of living deliberately.

Sofa King Awesome

a treatise on the 'Manamana' song

It is a hell of an internet out there.

Strangely Spot On

Breaking News: All Online Data Lost After Internet Crash

Strangely Mesmerizing

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Million Little Pieces

I read the book after it was revealed that some of it was exaggerated. Had very little effect on my appreciation of the tale, as knowing it was inspired by real events was enough for me. I am in no position to begrudge someone their dramatic license.

Today was a shit day in every sense of the word. I wallowed, I self-loathed, I regretted, I longed, I missed terribly, and I just couldn't fucking deal. The only thing that keeps me from really losing it is knowing that I have no one to blame but myself. No one. In moments of finger pointing, I feel differently, but in the end, I just made some fucked up choices that got me here. What is worse is knowing that I am not the only one dealing with pain and hurt and sadness. I caused that upon others. Fuck, I hate that. I hate myself right now.

Turns out, there are new lows. How fantastic to know that. I can feel worse tomorrow than I did today, but perhaps, I might also feel better. That hope is that one day soon, I'll have a better handle on my life, and it is all I have at the moment.

I couldn't face my family today. I hate that feeling. I hate feeling this way, and yet. And yet, I have no one to blame. Is there anything worse than being left to hold the bag of shame alone? Not that I am aware of. I am pretty sure that most of what I believed to be real was all a big fucking distraction. One in which I played a larger than life role -- hell, was probably driving the bus.

Egads. And I have too much at work to deal with. I am hired for a service that I need to provide tomorrow. I couldn't do it this weekend, so tomorrow looks to be a 20 hour day. Fucking righteous. I would give or do anything to feel real again.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Brothers Gotta Hug

I attempted to cancel the 4th of July. I thought my BBQ was dead, I had a work demand, and, quite frankly, I had no desire to entertain and play happy. However, the brothers, they were determined and accepted no excuses and just showed up. Turns out, my BBQ wasn't broken, and Keegan (sibling #3) has turned into quite the Iron Chef of BBQ. He precooked ribs, tenderloins, etc. at his place, and reheated them on my quite functional BBQ (which just needed some routine maintenance). Kathy, John and Nat took a cab down and P made the trek down the street.

What was the most awesome was spending time with my boys. My brothers are the best. It only takes one meeting with them to love them. I am the luckiest person on the fucking planet to have them. You could spend a lifetime wishing for my siblings -- all of them. We ate, drank entirely too much, and hugged it out. Fuck, I am so lucky. So very lucky. They got to see their sister in a rare moment of "fuck, I don't know" and got some quality booze in exchange. Everybody wins.

I woke up the next morning feeling this newly familiar emptiness, yet somehow fulfilled as well. For whatever I can't feel in my bones, my brothers make up for it. They keep me real. God fucking love them.

Today was a really hard day for me, emotionally, but I am doing the best I can. I can only relate to the here and now, and my boys? Yeah, they are here for me in the here and now.

I don't usually post pics, but seriously? My brothers? Everybody falls in love with them.

(John, Keegan, Kathy and me)

(me and Kyle)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day

I have loved the 4th of July for years, mainly owing to the skin deep reason that I live right across the street from the big show. We had a few quality parties here in the early days, but since I have been on my own, they have been much more eventful. Broken limbs, broken glassware, the Red Bull man (don't ask - but don't ever serve a mean drunk Red Bull with vodka, no matter how entertaining he is at first) and the first real date of Kathy and John (NB: I can't type K&J anymore.)

(As an aside, my personal favorite story was the Goldilocks episode, although this one is equal parts unsettling. The night before the 4th, I had some friends over and we were up pretty late. After they left, I padded around the place, cleaning up and eventually readying myself for bed. I neglected to lock the front door, which normally isn't an issue, as you need a key to get in my building and a separate key to get on my floor. Nevertheless....

I woke up the next morning to a strange voice in my bedroom, coming from across the room. It was sort of plaintive - not threatening, and he asked "I'm sorry for waking you up, but I don't know where I am or how I got here." I was half asleep, but being a separated woman who wasn't hooking up with anyone, let's just say the sound of a strange male voice in my bedroom was more than a little disconcerting. Add to that fact that I am blind as a bat without my contacts (and didn't then use glasses) and was in a skimpy little black tank top and boy shorts and I was a little panicked.

I said "hold on, I'll meet you in the living room," and when I saw the shadowy figure leave the bedroom, I dashed to the bathroom. After popping in my contacts and throwing on a t-shirt, I went out to the living room to meet the person who had found his way into my house. I was remarkably calm and all business, trying to figure out who the fuck he was and where he really belonged. He was about my oldest brother's age, a good looking guy, but clearly gobsmacked at the situation. He told me that he had woken up on my couch and couldn't figure out where the fuck he was or how he got there. He did let me know that he was kind enough to remove his pants prior to lying down on my couch. Fantastic.

He was up here from California to visit an old college buddy who he was pretty sure lived in my building. They had partied quite hard the night before and it was all a blackout to him. Eventually, we located his buddy (two floors up), who was quite surprised to learn, at 7:00am, that his house guest was not only not in his room, but that his neighbor, whom he had never really met or spoken to, was buzzing him from the lobby, anxious to return his houseguest. Turns out, in his stupor, Goldilocks took a wrong turn out of the condo, got locked out, and stumbled his way down the stairs to my floor. My door being mercifully unlocked, he took refuge on the world's most comfortable couch.

Yes, I know it could have ended badly. It didn't, so I still laugh about it).

Returning to the subject of the 4th, it would probably be pure cheese to say that I am trying to embrace the spirit of independence of the holiday, as I sure as hell can't muster any patriotism these days (Unrelated: Fucking Bush and commuting Libby's sentence).

I am an utter cliche. Not even an original one, although it was a first for me, so there's that. Not even a thought-provoking, fall Hollywood film cliche (starring, perhaps, Diane Lane or Annette Benning). No, I am of the bad Lifetime movie variety of cliche, and one that not even Tori Spelling (IRONY!) or Kristy "Buffy" Swanson (HA! MORE IRONY!) would deign to portray. It is that pathetic.

That is the bad news. The good news is that I don't have to remain a cliche. I can become something else, something better, something happier. I can become a woman that I know, love and trust if I put my mind to it. Fucking A, that sounded even worse than it did in my head, but the underlying point is there. I can lick my wounds, learn from my mistakes, and make changes in my life that will shed the cliche cloak and reveal something better underneath. It sounds melodramatic, both aloud and in written form, to say that, but I think there really is some wisdom in realizing that you are absolutely the architect of what you want and who you want to be. I think the biggest challenge is balance where you want to go with the acceptance of where you are now, as I don't want to live in a permanent state of anticipation.

Watch this space for personal growth.

This song became my personal anthem after finally realizing I was going to divorce Billy. I love it even a little more now, and not just because I know the world's most attractive and interesting Oasis fan.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Monday (really Tuesday) Book Review

No, this isn't the book that opened my eyes. It was utter fluff that I needed to distract myself. I read The Washingtonienne's book.

I am an avid media consumer and her story was featured prominently on the Gawker Media sites, most notably wonkette. Gawker, Defamer, Wonkette, Gridskipper - these are all Nick Denton sites and his Gawker media empire. You either get or hate the sense of humor on his sites and I am of the former persuasion. In any event, once wonkette got a hold of the story of Washingtonienne, it was all over but the wrist cutting.

The short version is that Washingtonienne was a former NYC gal who, after cheating on her fiancee and getting kicked out of their apartment, moved to DC. She had virtually no interest in politics or the power plays in Washington, but had a hard on for the finer things in life. DC is, as she puts it, is Hollywood for ugly nerds, so a sophisticated, fit and good looking chick schooled in the ways of NYC, she was bound to encounter a few dramas. She delivered. On her blog, she chronicled her sexual adventures with mid-level political cronies and was unabashed and blunt in her descriptions. She blogged about accepting money from a married staffer, anal sex with a co-worker, getting spanked (and loving it) by The Guy She Really Liked and pretty much everything else that took place in her life.

Many of these exploits probably offend the greater flyover states, but there is something about her delivery that removes the stigma of a sexual woman. I'll save my commentary on that for sometime or someplace else, but suffice to say, her description of these encounters was remarkably candid. She was well aware of the moral ambiguity of her relationships and never downplayed them or justified them. She just recounted them and annotated them with her (then) feelings.

I love honesty. I am, or was, quick to judge, but I found myself not judging her. Just interested in the story. At the end, it was, perhaps a cliche. A cautionary tale about putting your life's exploits on the internet on the off chance that one high profile site might delight in your tale. Duly noted. Some people want fame and attention, but that is not me, and I don't think that was her, either. At the end of the book, I found myself wanting to have a cocktail with her and telling her, as I once told Andrea H (who, in the 8th freaking grade, was already having sex and without shame) that there is something positively freeing about a woman who can speak (or write) about sex without apology. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Women are allowed -- and, fuck should -- be able to discuss their sexual encounters, desires and interests without being labeled as a whore. We are as sexual as our male counterparts, although the pressures of work, motherhood, and other things might take their toll. Sure, you can judge the hell out of her, although I suspect that most people who buy her book are already predisposed not to judge.

At the end of the day, I didn't necessarily feel sorry for her, although I can only imagine what it feels like to have your private musings made fodder for national social commentary. What I took from the book was that she had a way with story telling, she was self deprecating (and owned the fact that her own actions got her to the place she was at the time of writing) and that she was true to herself and lived in the now. I think I have more on that topic, but for this long winded review, that is all.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Return of the Words

They came back in a flood today, running through my mind and determined to escape. I know this posting won't make a lick of sense and I don't really give a shit. I know that this whole thing will seem deliberately cryptic and I don't care about that, either. I need to write and get these words out of me.

We all use these blogs (in whatever form) to stay in touch and keep our e-friends (many of whom we have met in person)and family somewhat in our loop, among other reasons. I haven't done that very well here, nor with my family and meatspace friends. It has been deliberately cryptic at times, often because my need to express my thoughts somewhere - anywhere - took form here. Best intentions and all that noise.

This has been one of the most difficult weeks of my life. I can't explain it all now because so much of it was kept private. That was most assuredly a mistake and one with truly pathetic motivations, upon review of the play. To launch into it now would be akin to starting into a book too many chapters into it, and at the expense of others. Truth be told, so much of it is painful and raw and humiliating that I simply cannot make it public right now and knowing that there is at least one person who might occasionally read and take pleasure in my heartache and turmoil? Yeah. No. I certainly deserve every consequence from my choices and actions, but knowing someone is delighting in it unsettles me.

In any event, I have a ton of shit to work out. So much, it is positively overwhelming, and yet. And yet, today, I am better, and fuck, better feels so damn good. Better means 180% less self-loathing and sadness and pain. I am going to work my shit out through my words (elsewhere, for the time being) but will endeavor to keep this one alive, too. Yeah, I know the cheesiness in the next statement, but my hope is that by working my shit out while simultaneously exercising the discipline to actually put fingers to keyboard and type here as often as possible, I might just become the great writer I always wanted to be. I know that I am going to become the woman I want and need to be and a person worth knowing.

I read a book (no, not the fucking Secret) this weekend that somehow put everything into perspective and changed my outlook. I confess that the preceding statement skeeves me out to no end and no, it wasn't a self-help book. It was seriously just one key point in a chick-lit style memoir that rattled my bones. Even odder, it was a sentiment that my sister told me a while ago but didn't take hold at the time. My older sister, she is wiser and knows me better than anyone. I know what I need to do, even though I have no fucking clue how to do it. I don't, but knowing where you need to go and where you want to be is half the battle. Knowing where you don't want to be has to be the other part.

Quasi related: a year and a half after B and I split, I slept with someone. Someone who I have known longer than almost any other person, and someone who was "safe" to me in every sense of the word. We spent a few days together in bed and lounging about and it felt safe and real (but not necessarily intimate, if that makes sense). It wasn't really, of course, but at the time, it was a pretty heady experience to have your first good lay (Ed. Note: the man's unit is too big for you, but he knows and loves you and has skills that few men have).

In any event, and if you knew the whole story, you would understand how wild this was, but he called me on Saturday (he lives out of state), telling me he was in town. My eyes teared up immediately at the thought that he was here, and his voice told me that he wanted to be together again. He said "how are you" in the rare manner in which people are genuinely concerned and I said "God, R, so good to hear you are here. I am better now." We made plans to get together today and I was certain that being with R would fix what is broken in me.

I was supposed to be on the 11am boat, but I was still reading. I couldn't stop reading. When I hit the part that really spoke to me, I realized I wasn't going anywhere. I wasn't going to go hook up with R and try to make myself feel better about myself because I knew R loved me and wanted me. I just fucking got it. My sense of self cannot be dependent on what other people think of me. Sure, I could have probably had a great time with R and, because we have known each other as long as I can remember, it would feel real, but it would have been a fucking Band Aid on what is fucked up with me.

So yeah, I am inordinately proud that I haven't returned the five voice messages and that I didn't succumb to the need to be validated (fuck, hate that word, too) by another human being. I am so fucking flawed and I am working on that, but today, I think I made a baby step in the right direction. At this point, I will take my victories where I can find them.

I hope to be here regularly, exhibiting my lighter side and catching up. In the meantime, two videos whose songs have been all up in my psyche. Thank you all for being here and listening to my utterly banal shit. I tend to write, no matter what, for an audience, even if that audience is just me. The fact that you even read this tripe? Holy hell, you have no idea how comforting that is, especially on a dark weekend where all of my meatspace friends are MIA and I felt positively suffocated by loneliness and self-loathing.

This is kind of where I am now. Pretty fucking kickass video, too, although it is the words (yes -- WORDS!) of the song that resonate. Still not enough to get me to watch MTV again. It could also be a repeat on this blog. Fucking sue me - I know a good attorney.

I heard this song a few times on my favorite radio station and loved it. I heard it about a month ago and really fell in love. Now? Yeah, it is in my bones.