Received – A List

Things I received yesterday:

1) Phone call from friend begging off on a movie (blessing in disguise as I was wondering how to explain I’d gotten back in my PJs and they weren’t coming off for anything. Nope, not even for …well, maybe.)

2) Email from the certain boy, who remembered I’m coming to town and said “at the very least” he’d like to get together for coffee. I’m tempted to ask what is on the other end of the spectrum. Partially just to be contrary and make him uncomfortable. “At the very most”, will he take me across the state line to see friends/family, make sure I get snow, give me the tour two months late? Yes, yes, I know. Coffee’s safer.

3) CD I ordered after reading someone’s journal. I listened to it while cleaning the kitchen last night. (And it’s on right now) Makes me wish I lived in NYC and could see him perform live.

4) Christmas card from my parents. Every year my mother (an artist) creates a new linoleum block print and makes the cards herself. This year it is a dog on a sled.

5) Email from a friend whom I haven’t seen in years, letting everyone know that her husband is being deployed. Although I was never bestest bosom buddies with E, I had the sense that life hadn’t always treated her well. I understand she’s been very happy with married life, they were even trying for a kid. I wish I were there to hug her.

6) Pedicure, from myself. First one since before the wedding. I feel pretty.

Errands exhausted me yesterday. I was pretty impressed that I managed to clean the kitchen and bathroom later on. I was sad that on the three TV channels I get, only one had anything Christmas-y on. And that was only after 9pm, and it was only National Lampoon’s Christmas.

I’m looking forward to my trip even more now. And not because of the boy, I haven’t decided how I feel about that.

This past Sunday showed me how much I need a break. I was struck with Sunday panic last night, not because it was the end of the weekend and I hadn’t accomplished my to-do list, but because I wasn’t finished “not doing”. I wasn’t done walking aimlessly around my apartment, picking up a book for a few pages, napping, grabbing a stack of crackers to munch, sitting on the floor with the cats, shuffling papers or making tea.

Can I call in Sunday tomorrow?

Having a Sunday

I should probably start off by saying I am having a Sunday.

My teeth itch. I’m dying to be social but fed up with people. It’s as if a fourteen year-old is learning to drive stick inside my brain.

Which is not to say it’s been a total loss. I watched a movie, made some OK hash browns, brushed the cats, and started addressing Christmas cards. All in my PJs.

But now I’m dressed and about to run errands, except I’m stalling because I’m not quite sure how to do it.

Do I hit the pet store first? What about Target? Where did I put that list anyway? Was I going to buy a wreath? What if the grocery store doesn’t have a good crock pot? Shouldn’t I really tell someone I need a crock pot for Christmas rather than buy one? But then what would I do about the turkey meatball recipe I want to make? And why do I even bother buying vegetables only to steam them incorrectly after three days, leave them in tupperware for another four before throwing them out and starting the process again? Shouldn’t I just buy them and immediately toss them in the garbage?

Where am I going again? Why did I ever get out of my PJs? No one should have to navigate such difficult situations on a teeth-itching Sunday.

Making Contact

Isn’t it always the case? Just when you think you’re going to get to perfect your pity-party routine, and perhaps actually catch up on your sleep, you become a social butterfly.

I arrived home last night from volunteering, called a co-worker, and met her and a friend for Thai food. They were calling it a night, but there was a message when I got home from a dear friend explaining that he was inviting the “gang” over. I was out the door again.

And, by the way, I looked great in my new boots and motorcycle jacket. Everyone commented on the jacket, from the co-worker surprised to see “another side of me”, the host running to his closet to produce his similar version, to the friend whose eyes lit up and exclaimed, “you still have that jacket? You were wearing that the first time I met you!”

(In fact he said I looked exactly the same as I did when he met me, except then I had bangs. We all lamented over how horrible they were. Someone said they had wondered if I was going for the Cousin It look.)

We had eggnog and cookies. We made plans for the Return of The King premiere. We discussed cats and careers and then watched Pirates of the Caribbean. I got home after my bedtime.

Now I’m up way too early for another fun day volunteering. I’m urging the coffee through my veins, debating packing a lunch, and looking forward the dinner plans of homemade tortilla soup tonight.

One reason I’m looking forward to it is that someone mentioned last night another friend’s very stressed right now and it was pointed out to him that he has two wonderful masseuses available to him – one of those being moi.

I hope he’s at dinner tonight so I get to show off a little. Because I am good. But also, what would make this weekend perfect would be to satisfy that itch for human contact. I’m getting antsy to pull my feet up under someone and get them warmed, have fingers linger in my hair after a “hello” hug, or make a crude joke and have someone pull me into a headlock then keep their arm around me.

So I’d like to get my fix in a perfectly respectable way, helping out a friend, before I start standing too close to strangers in the check out line.


As soon as my divorce is final, I’m asking my massage therapist to marry me. I haven’t been this relaxed since…my dad read me Lord of the Rings as a child?

Seriously, she’s that good. And she hugged me. A friend gave me a pep talk about there being nothing wrong with high standards. I think I have one:

Any future man in my life must make me feel like Katie can. And not expect me to get it on afterwards. But make sure to pin me against the wall the next evening as I walk through the door, throw my carrier bag on the couch, and murmur into my lips, “Relaxed?”

Is that three standards? I always was a fast learner.

Filling in the blanks


I finished my novel around 10:30pm on Saturday, November 29th. I got it verified and I am officially a winner. 50,053 words.

It ended strangely, not how I expected at all. I think I like it. I’m giving myself a week off before I start editing it.


I bought a fake tree, after much debate. Actually, the debate occurred as I drove home with said $16.99, 6’ fake tree. Made in China. I hemmed and hawed. I really love live ones, but know we will have one at home. How many trees must I kill in pursuit of a Merry Christmas? Then again, how many young Chinese women must I exploit for some fluffy green plastic?

Yes. I seriously think like this. If I become a drunk, you can point back to this post and say, “I saw it coming…”

Ultimately I decided that after many Christmases of disappointment, my joy over hanging ornaments was worth a little sweatshop sweat. I was worried about the cats peeing on a live one.

It’s a spindly little Charlie Brown type thing, and looks perfectly silly with my hodge-podge of decorations. I love it.

The cats have shown their approval by chewing on it.


I tried a gingerbread latte. It’s good, but I’ll stick to eggnog.

I consumed my latte while sitting in the coffee shop’s gorgeous, plush purple chairs with a wonderful friend. I have only known this woman for a few months, but we get talking and can’t stop. It’s amazing how a few hours of good conversation with someone with which you are completely comfortable can rejuvenate you.

She helped finish off my Christmas decorating. Not only is my tree lighted, but also the entranceway to across my bedroom/bathroom and all around the dining room. I’m typing this by rainbow glow.

I know there are lists somewhere that need check marks, crossed-off lines, question marks, margin notes, numbering, and even perhaps indented alphabetical sub-lists.

I hope they enjoy the night off. I have.

“It” In Spades

It came to my attention this Sunday that I have caused a man of God to break commandments.

Another time, a man who had not touched alcohol in years drank an entire bottle of Captain Morgan’s after our breakup. And made surprise visits to my entire family (two separate trips, two separate states).

Clearly, I need a warning label.

In spite of this evidence that I am desirable to the point of questioning morals, ethics and pride, I sit here alone.

Of course, I don’t particularly feel ready for another relationship right now. But that’s not going to stop my little pout. Hmm…perhaps a break will cure me from the high of infatuation and lead me to more responsible loves in the future.

If that is the case, I certainly won’t miss the heartbreak and confusion the above incidents caused. However, I’m not going to stop reflecting on them with a shameful sense of pride. Because whatever *it* is, I had it. In spades, baby.

(In retrospect – neither of those men were my soon-to-be-ex. Although we had our ups and downs, he never showed such tangos with humanity for my affection. Perhaps I need to heal, flirt, and go out there and do it all again, just the same)

Something of a List

I need a(nother) tattoo. Or a road trip to California. Perhaps a one night fling.


I am staring at a blank page. I’m up in the air about where I want to live, what I want to do, who I want to love.

And like any writer, blocked from the first word for fear it will be the wrong one, I just stare.

I need to make that first bold scratch and not re-read until chapter four.

In other news…

Many things are making me happy tonight. These include

1) Latkes made with organic potatoes, onion and eggs. Good for mind, body and soul.

2) Hitting the CD shuffle jackpot with “Birdhouse in my soul” by TMBG.

3) The broken-in softness of my pj bottoms.

4) Buying Christmas cards.

5) Lighting all the decorative candles around the house.

6) The feeling that, for this moment, I am completely happy alone.

Pile It On

I have listened to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” for the first time this year. It is now officially Christmas season for me.

I think I shall ask Santa to bring me someone who will sing it with me.

I have 2,943 words left. My back still hurts and I don’t think typing is making it better.

I’ve decided that I finish tonight, no matter what. So far today my consumption has included 4 cappuccinos and the crust of leftover pizza. That pretty much screams “masochist” already, why not just pile on?

It Jumped on Her Head!

Evidently my way to handle pain is to watch movies. Spiderman, to be exact. (I thought it was OK) And “As Good As It Gets”, one of my favorites.

I got about a third of what I had planned accomplished. Then I went to volunteer. In the middle of evening chores, the cold front came through, raining. Only a new volunteer or a bitch complains about the rain. Everyone else cracks jokes (wet T-shirt contest anyone?), splashes through puddles, and huddles together for warmth. I provided comic relief by way of my frog phobia. (It jumped on her head! Clearly it was going to eat her brains out!)

I did speak up for myself and state I could not work a 12-hour day tomorrow. Morning or afternoon, take your pick. Afternoon was picked, which was a win-win situation. I get to sleep in (Vicodin, here I come!) and they get me for a longer period of the day.

Now that the rain has stopped, it’s nice and chilly outside. Pajamas…Mexican hot chocolate…pizza on the way…painkillers…5,000 words left…and tomorrow morning off from volunteering. I’m in heaven.

Pity Party or Revelation?

I’m ignoring something. I’d consider it the biggest step I need to take in my life right now, after the divorce.

The volunteer I work do is not good for me. Over the years, more responsibilities have crept up, official and unofficial, on and off-site of the facility. It’s too much.

I’m not blaming anyone but myself. I love to be needed. I am a caregiver. And the work I do not only cares for the animals, but for the other volunteers whom I consider family. I am always willing to consider a heavier load if it means someone I love can stand a little straighter and wipe their brow in relief.

But there is too much load to go around. I pile more and more on my crippled back, and the people I want to see stretch and smile and joke just pick up another, heavier load to tote around themselves.

I don’t miss the people or the animals until I walk in the door. My entire drive there I think about how normal people don’t work such an insane schedule.

Then, I am there and caring for the animals and people and I scold myself for ever thinking I could leave.

All of that is subjective. My emotions, my guilt, it’s my perception of the situation. On top of that is a raw fact that I have been ignoring.

I volunteered yesterday morning. An hour into it, the right side of my back was spasming. By the afternoon, I could not sit still to watch “Finding Nemo”. I took a painkiller for the first time in two weeks. And the pain did not go away. Now I’m sitting here, 700 NaNo words behind with a huge to-do list on the counter top, and I’m still in so much pain I cringe at the idea of picking up a cup.

If I were good at listening to my body, I would have left my husband a long time ago. It was telling me I wasn’t happy long before I took that vacation and felt that twinkle in my smile and said out loud, “Oh! THIS is who I am!”

My body has been screaming at me to quit for over a year. It begs for time to heal, relax. I beat myself up for beating myself up, but continue on. I can’t believe that there’s not a compromise here. Surely if I just twist this way, or only carry the buckets in this hand, or take a five minute break and use an ice pack…

No. Nothing has changed the fact that I am causing myself pain.

But if I quit, how will I be important and special? Caring for the animals makes me different. Without it, I’m just some woman who lives alone and works a job she dislikes.

I’ve been struggling with this for a few months now. I’m trying to learn how to be good to myself. Really I am. I hope I learn soon.