Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I'm thinking about quitting my job. Hubby and I have agreed that I don't need it, that it isn't worth putting up with the bullying/abuse for the money they pay me.

What did I say in a blog post at the start of the year?:

'It's a coffee shop day, and I do enjoy making fancy drinks and cooking up delicious sandwiches for people, but it's not at all in line with the vision I have for myself. Neither is sitting at a desk [...] and being more or less sedentary for hours [...]. My vision includes not working for anyone and being able to explore my passions and interests freely and without obligation to anyone but myself, hubby and dogs.'

So why didn't I go with that gut feeling at the time? Because I was scared. Scared of the ramifications. Scared of what people might think of me. Scared of what not having a job meant. I also didn't want hubby to think of me as a freeloader (which happened the last time I was unemployed). Luckily, we're in a position (he recently switched to a better paying job at work) where that wouldn't be an issue anymore. Before, if I'd quit my job (even though he wanted me to), it would've been detrimental to our financial situation, and he would've expected me to start looking for another job immediately. I've been considering work-from-home options, or starting my own business, and he's said that he's okay with that (something he'd have never ever said before). He even said he could match the couple hundred bucks I make a week at the coffee shop if I want. At first, that made me uncomfortable. It sounded like I'd be getting an allowance like women in the 40s and 50s did ('You bought another hat?'). He didn't see it that way. In his words: 'You are calling it an allowance. I call it wages for staying home and not putting up with the shit you put up with at work on a daily basis.' I've read up on it, and a lot of couples make it work. Some even say it has helped to decrease their conflict. We already operate on two separate checking accounts while maintaining a joint/emergency account, and that's worked for us for many years.

Just the other day, I told hubby that maybe I should wait til after the holidays to make the leap. After all, the coffee shop, like anywhere, is a more enjoyable place to be this time of year. I had a surprisingly good day at work the other day, and actually felt bad for considering quitting (???). Why do I have such a hard time letting go of things that are bad for me? Hubby doesn't think it's the job itself I'm afraid to let go, but the people--my regulars--and I think he's right. That's really the only thing that keeps me going at work: seeing faces I recognize, knowing them by name/drink/etc., and knowing I can make them happy. Because trust me, there are plenty of people you can never make happy, and I encounter a lot of them on a daily basis, too. Outside of work, I feel like I'm in a town full of strangers, but at work, I feel important and appreciated. All quitting would mean is that I'd have to find another way to make friends. And that the coffee shop would have to take the time/money to train someone new, but why should I be worried about that??? Because I'm afraid of letting people down, that's why.

My sis from Seattle came to visit for a week recently (she left a week ago today), and I was grateful I got to spend some time with her (wish I could spend more). The cancer's gotten really bad. She learned a few months back that it'd spread to her brain, and recently finished radiation of her head. She's on about three different types of chemo, and what seems like fifty different OTC and prescription meds. She's still working, which is admirable, but both my parents and I worry that she won't be able to for much longer. She goes and goes and goes on days she feels good, but then pays for it for days and days afterward. I hated to see her go back to Seattle early this week, but I know it was even harder for my parents to let her get on the plane. The day before she left, she was researching end-of-life planning stuff, which is smart, but also really upsetting. I understand she has to look at the situation realistically, but I also hope it doesn't mean she's giving up. She's been looking at alternative treatment options, because she's running out of conventional ones, and fast.

I know it's her whole situation that's been making me seriously rethink my life and what I want out of it. I don't want to reach the end of my life and realize that all I've done is jump from one meaningless job to another and haven't spent any time doing things I really cared about.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Why won't cancer leave us alone? I'm a little late in sharing this here, but my dad informed me and my siblings on father's day that he has cancer in one of his kidneys. I guess I just don't know how to process it. I wondered why I'd been seeing so many doctor appointments on the shared calendar lately. When I saw an ultrasound followed by CT/PET scans, I began to worry. And rightly so, I s'pose. He thought it was kidney stones at first. I wish it had been.

Fortunately, surgery to remove all or a portion of his kidney should get all of the cancer. That's what the doctor's have said anyway. Apparently, neither chemo nor radiation work on the kidneys, so surgery's the only option. His doctor said that if he'd started seeing any symptoms other than the ones he was having, it would've been too late. Of course, he now has to wait til August to have the surgery. According to his doctors, two months won't make a difference in terms of the cancer spreading; I hope they're right and that they know what they're doing.

In other news, we're being sued by the hospital where I received treatment because I haven't been able to pay the medical bills I continue to accumulate with followup care. We received a court summons yesterday. Hubby promised we'd fix it, and we're sending out a cashier's check tomorrow. Since I have to continue getting followup care for the rest of my life, and since the cancer has made me paranoid about every little sniffle I get, I visit the clinic/hospital more often that I'd like. And since the only jobs I've been able to get since finishing treatment are measly minimum wage jobs, I can't afford to meet even the minimum monthly payment. I told hubby I wish cancer had never come into my life. I wouldn't have been fired from job. We wouldn't be on the verge of bankruptcy. I wouldn't have completely obliterated our credit. I wouldn't be a neurotic, depressive, anxiety-ridden freak if I hadn't gone through it. We would've had a better life.

Cancer's cost me everything including friends, jobs, piece of mind, etc. I haven't told anyone this, but I've wanted to give up several times. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope that things will get better, that sickness will stop plaguing my family, that hubby and I will someday be in a position where we can spend true quality time together on a regular basis. I'm sick of this shit.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I'm currently relaxing in a hotel suite in the 'burbs while hubby is in work training. He's here through Wednesday, and since I was able to get a couple days off, I decided to join him here last night for a little getaway. I'm sipping coffee and practicing Spanish on Duolingo, an app recommended to me by my multilingual nephew, who graduated high school on Sunday. He's already learned two languages, is currently learning a third, and plans to learn even more! A lot of it's thanks to good schooling, but he also does a lot in his spare time (as evidenced by the bookshelf full of language learning material he showed me Saturday following his graduation party). He does this for fun, people! He paid his own way to France last year (where he stayed with a host family), wants to backpack around Europe next summer, and eventually wants to live abroad and work as an interpreter. He has more ambition than a lot of kids his age, even more than most adults!

Anyway, I had a revelation last night as I was lying in bed: I feel more at home here than I do in my own home. Then it occured to me that I felt that way at the last hotel we stayed at, too. I think I like this room so much because of its size. It's small. It's enough. As I've said before, it's become painfully obvious that while I love the house we bought last year, it's just too big for us. I find I'm forcing myself to use rooms we don't normally use just so they don't sit unused. I miss being a few steps from everything. I miss the coziness of being in separate rooms, yet knowing your significant other is only a short distance away if you need them. I miss the ease of maintenance. Also, the dogs don't know it, but they'd be better off in a smaller house, too. While both have mastered the massive staircase, I worry that they're both going to take a tumble one day. One story was all we needed. WHAT WAS I THINKING??? Our house is this big old cavernous thing, and because most of it isn't carpeted, there's nothing to absorb the noise. So everything--every step, every breath, every bark--is extra loud.

I'll be sad to leave here, just like I'm sad to leave every new place I visit. I'm still waiting for our new(ish) house to feel like home. What is 'home' other than a safe place to spend your non-working hours and rest your head at night? Maybe I'm assigning a deeper-than-needed meaning to it. Maybe hubby's utilitarian approach is the right way of looking at things. His response, for example, when I express an interest in decorating the bedroom to be a sort of oasis or escape, is: 'It's where we sleep at night. No one else sees it anyway.' 'That's not the point,' I tell him. But maybe he's onto something.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

After we'd had a few drinks the other night, hubby and I had a discussion we'd touched on briefly before, but had really sort of been avoiding. I'm talking of course about the kid discussion. He already knew this, but I made mention again about how I'd been questioning whether I not I want to have kids, and how if we ever decided to, how I'd been thinking of adoption as an option. He mentioned that he doesn't feel a biological need to have kids, but that if we were going to do it (adoption or not), he'd want to start before he's 45 (which is less than five years from now). No pressure intended, but still...pressure.

Mainly, I have no interest in being big, fat and pregnant, but also, I just don't think I'm kid-raising material. Mentally speaking, I'm still kind a kid myself, and I don't think I'm willing to give up my freedom. Because once you have kids, your life is no longer your own. I think back to when I was younger and my nephews were still little. Whenever they'd visit and ask me to play, I'd always say something along the lines of, 'Maybe later.' It felt like encroachment--like if I said yes, I'd never be able to escape. I've gotten better about it. In fact, I love hanging out with kids nowadays (maybe because I'm so desperate to be back there), just so long as they go home with someone else.

Everyone always tells me I'd make a good mother, but I know better. I'm still trying to figure out where I want to go in my own life. Also, I have a hard enough time keeping our two dogs in line. If I had a kid, I'm pretty sure I'd just mess it up. Some people say having kids brings it all into focus, but that, to me, just sounds like an excuse to justify one's own existence, which is selfish, and a horrible reason to bring a kid into the world!

I'm not trying to kid-bash here. I've had my moments when I've thought, Aww...wouldn't it be nice? But that's when a kid is being good. As soon as that kid starts being bad, or starts throwing a fit or whatever, that feeling goes right out the window, and I start wishing for infertility.

Monday, May 12, 2014

I'm on the edge of a nervous breakdown. And it isn't just the crap going on at work. It's everything: work, living in a house I can't maintain, having a dog that refuses to stop pissing and shitting everywhere, etc. My mom and dad, after visiting this weekend, told me that the house smelled like urine. It's been miserably muggy these last few days, so that's probably helped to make it more obvious. I try to keep it as clean as I can, but there's just no getting that smell out without burning the place down. There's not an inch of floor in this house that hasn't been squatted on since we brought our second dog (a rescue) home last summer. The carpet, the 80-year-old wood floors...all ruined. I'm not going to give up on her, though, so I guess I should just get used to the fact that our house is going to stink.

Hubby wants me to quit my 'poison' job, but that's easier said than done. It's true I hate going to work now (funny how fast your opinion of a place/people can change), but I also know what it's like to be unemployed (I was for nearly two years at one point), and I don't think I could do it again. I wouldn't even have unemployment this time, and even when I had that, it was only to be used for bills. I basically had no life. I couldn't drive anywhere because hubby didn't want to pay for it (my car actually stopped running because it sat for so long). I either cleaned too much or too little. If I didn't do anything at all, he'd get upset then, too. He makes it sound so appealing this time, though: An entire summer off to do whatever I want to do. Problem is, I'm afraid he'd end up holding it over my head like last time. I wouldn't expect him to make up the difference without my income. He'd give me money to go buy groceries, but he wouldn't pay for my social life (not that I have one). And why should he? I don't want to be a parasite anymore.

If I could go back, I'd quit this job and continue working the 13 hours a week I had at the other job. At least I'd know what to expect. None of this shady scheduling bullshit that I'm dealing with now. Oh well! Live and learn!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Anything that's too good to be true, right? I talked about how I had weekends off most of the time. Not the case anymore. When I took more hours at this job, we agreed I'd work an occasional Saturday, but that I'd have Sundays off. And I could handle that. In the beginning, whenever they needed me to work anything other than my regularly scheduled hours, they'd ask me ahead of time to make sure I was available. It was a good working relationship. Now they've started writing me in on my days off without asking me, and that's not sitting very well with me. They're starting to make up the schedule further ahead of time, which is fine, but now they're leaving it up to us to work out the kinks. I'm sorry, but unless someone's asked me to work anything other than my regularly scheduled hours, I have no reason to even look at the written schedule. That's not the only issue, though. The raise (not a huge one, but something) that was promised when I took more hours went into effect recently, and it's been nice having a little extra money. However, I learned the other day that my hours will be shortened starting next month. I did the math; it's basically going to be like the raise never happened. Also, I'll be working two 3-hour days in a row as a result. What the hell's the point? I love how they made it sound like it'll be a good thing: 'You'll get to leave early on Fridays!' Great. What if I don't want to leave early on Fridays? It would've been nice if someone had asked me how I felt about it before making my decision for me. Fuck off.

I sat down with my boss for a half-an-hour the other day and voiced my concerns, and while she made it seem like she understood where I was coming from, her responses said otherwise. She kept shirking the issue and siding with her manager who does the scheduling. I get that 'retail isn't a 9 to 5 industry,' but when she tried to tell me that nothing's ever set in stone when it comes to retail, I almost blurted out, 'So any agreements we've made pretty much count for nothing?'

What really ticked me off is when she said, 'Don't let this stress you out, okay? It's not worth it.' What I heard instead was, 'You're overreacting. Your feelings don't matter.' Because it doesn't bother her, she thinks it shouldn't bother me. I can't stand how self-important some people are.

Anyway, this whole situation has been making me feel physically ill for the last week. And I don't see it improving. Time to get serious about finding another job--one that won't screw me over.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Just found out the other day that a cousin of mine from Germany, like my sister, is also battling a cancer recurrence. He was diagnosed with leukemia a few years ago, and there was a while when he wasn't doing too well, but he was eventually told he was in remission. Now the cancer's back, and he's in need of a bone marrow transplant. I checked to see if it'd be possible for me to donate, but I can't because of my history. Just like I can no longer donate blood. Having also had a blood cancer makes my blood and marrow unsafe somehow. Apparently, if there's some latent cancer cell in my blood, it could potentially be passed on to the recipient and reproduce. It's unlikely, but possible. I feel so useless and so far away from everything that matters.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

So quiet on the other end of this line. I was right, then? There was really no point in reaching out. Maybe I hoped I'd trigger something in you that'd make you remember that you miss me. But instead I think I drove you further away.

Friendships are fading, and I have no interest in fostering new ones right now. I put so much of myself into the ones I thought would last--that had lasted--and they were the first to fall apart. I simply don't have the energy for it anymore.

So many wasted words.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

I've been experiencing a serious case of remorse over our house lately. I'm realizing it's way larger than what we need at this point in our lives. The fact that I've been questioning whether or not I want to have kids is a big factor, too. Two stories and four bedrooms is a lot for two people. In fact, since we've moved, I've found myself becoming more and more interested in the tiny house movement. Hubby and I have actually agreed that we'd like to build/buy a tiny vacation house somewhere/someday. That lifestyle appeals to me far more than a house with a bunch of extra rooms we only use on occasion. I mentioned in a previous post that ever since we moved in, I've been making a point of getting rid of a lot of my stuff. My actions are more in line with someone who's downsizing, not upgrading. I feel I'd be way happier in a tiny house.

Don't get me wrong; I love this house. But I'm realizing that bigger isn't the answer. We had it just as good at our old house. I just refused to see past the surface. The basement got water--sure--but it's not like that was unfixable; I just didn't want to wait around anymore for it to get done. We had carpenter ants, too, but removing the old rotting deck helped that situation immensely. Not only that, but hubby spent a buttload of money replacing said deck with a big beautiful patio the year before we moved, and we never really got a chance to use it. What a waste of money. Every house has issues and things that need repairing, and if it doesn't, it will eventually. We already had everything we needed. Did I feel like I deserved more?

My biggest problem right now is keeping up with regular maintenance, inside and out. Not only is the house itself big, but the yard is, too. Once we get a decent fence put up, it'll be great for our two dogs, but that's a lot of grass to mow and weeds to pull. I recently cut back to only one job, but I'm getting more hours than I was before. I have weekends off most of the time, but they're like mini-vacations to me now (I had forgotten what they were like as I haven't had them off like this in about two years), and all I want to do is be lazy. I have days when I get into a zone and clean absolutely everything in sight, but then I'll go weeks without doing it again.

Maybe I'll feel better once I figure out a plan-of-attack for this place. And maybe it's still too soon to talk. We've only been here just under a year. I've heard it sometimes takes years for a place to really start feeling like home. In a way, we're still living like we did in our previous house. We spend the majority of our time in the kitchen, family room and (master) bedroom. I've kind of monopolized the kitchen because it's the only room in the house I feel I can keep up with. Hubby practically lives in the family room, so it's both dining room and lounge area for him.

Just needed to rant about this. My dad warned me that I'd feel this way, but I didn't think it'd come this late or last this long. I probably just need to give it more time. Read an article recently that claimed it's perfectly normal to be grateful and want more at the same time. I have mixed feelings about that claim, but it's kind of where I'm at right now.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a random text yesterday from a number I thought I recognized, but had blocked over a year ago due to unwanted drama. I blocked them on Twitter yesterday morning after realizing it was the one place we were still connected. Shortly after doing so, I got the text that read, 'Yes, I'm that fast.' I assumed they'd noticed I'd blocked them and had decided to send a snarky response. I spent the better part of my workday 1) wondering how the text got through seeing as though I'd blocked them from contacting my number (the only thing I could think of was that they'd gotten a new number and had my phone number on file somewhere), and 2) thinking of a reply to the effect of, 'Don't turn this around on me. This was not my choice.' When I left work, I was just about to send my reply when I saw another message: 'Sorry wrong number.' Part of me wonders if it was the wrong number, or if said individual was just trying to take back the comment they'd made.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Because hubby used to bartend, he can be a bit of a 'social butterfly' when he's had a few to drink. As a result, I tend to be left to my own devices a lot when we're out on the town. It's not so bad if we're surrounded by people we know. But when I don't know anybody, I tend to keep quiet and withdraw into myself to avoid talking to people. Last night was one of those nights, and as I was sitting there quietly sipping the watered-down remains of a drink I'd been working on for the last hour and a half, I noticed a girl looking at me from the other end of the bar. Every time I looked up, I'd catch her looking. Eventually, the group she was with got up to leave. I watched them make their way over to me, and everyone passed me by, except her. She stopped next to me, touched my arm and said, 'I hope you have a good night. I've watched you sit by yourself all night, and I'm irritated.' And with that, she was gone. It was the first time since I underwent chemo that a complete stranger had expressed concern about me.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A friend and I were talking recently about years past, and they asked to see a picture of me from that time. When I showed it to them, they looked shocked and asked, 'That's YOU???' And that's a perfect illustration of how I feel. Whenever I explain to someone that I can no longer relate to the woman in those pictures, they look at me as if I'm insane, like I'm having some weird out-of-body experience. When really, all it is is that her outlook, her experience is so drastically different from mine, that I feel like whoever she was--whoever I was--'died' a long time ago. I look at those pictures and mourn the loss of her sometimes. Where was the cutoff point? Probably at our wedding. It's a shame to have to look at the pictures in our wedding album and know that I was sick and didn't know it. It makes me slightly uncomfortable to be honest. I can't look at those pictures without seeing the lump in my neck or the exhaustion in my eyes, both things I'd ignored in the months leading up to our wedding, and would continue to ignore for months afterward. All the strange symptoms I couldn't put my finger on (the bouts of inexplicable nausea, the cold that never seemed to go away, etc.); it was my body trying to tell me something was wrong. Strange that the year of our wedding, while we were still in the planning process, I had a moment of revelation: I was going to die. This was months and months before my diagnosis, but it brought on a series of panic attacks (which I'd never experienced before), and made it hard to face the world. Again, I should've listened to my body, because that was probably around the time the cancer had started growing. But of course, I had 'more important' things to do.

Now I look at my sister, who's dealing with a cancer recurrence, and I beat myself up for not being there for her as much as I could've been the first time. I'd already seen my father-in-law diagnosed with colon cancer shortly after I finished treatment, and I didn't quite know how to deal with that as I was still reeling from my own experience. The following year my sister would visit from Seattle after five years of being away and tell us she'd noticed a lump in her breast. She didn't have insurance at the time, but I urged her to get it looked at anyway. Within weeks, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and was on the road to starting chemo and radiation. She would later have a double mastectomy and be told she was in remission. When she visited late last fall, I was helping her with her lymphedema sleeve and prosthetics, and she talked about the fact that she'd been having trouble breathing. She'd had a lung collapse on her before, years ago, and she thought that it could've been related to that. It wasn't. My mom called me about a month later to tell me that doctors thought her cancer had spread. It had. After another round of tests, she started chemo once again. I have yet to even send her a card this time around. I see that she's been back on Facebook for the last week or so. She posted a rather poignant picture of herself the other day. It was a headshot, but one half of her face was from a time before the cancer, and the other half was from when she was undergoing treatment. I wonder if she also has trouble relating to the person she was before the cancer...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I once said I wanted nothing more than for you to be happy. I lied. I want you to be miserable so you can finally find the balls to get out of the shitty situation you're in.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

You and I talked once about death, and how the only way to avoid thinking about it is to keep busy. I've wondered sometimes if that's all life is: putting off the inevitable.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

September 14, 2009

Tear soaked,
I shred the pillow in your absence,
sharpen my claws on this stone slab
I sleep on.
I'm always a kitten for you,
but tonight the wild thing
crawled upward out of my throat.
You should have seen her--
red eyed, teeth gleaming--
the white line of her body
like a comet's tail in the dark.

She was gone as quickly as she came,
and all I was left with was myself
stripped clean,
bare down to the bones,
a shock of hot breath on the bedsheet.
Tears, snot, saliva--
all of it a great sopping mess.

You should have seen it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's been an exercise in self-control for me not to just crawl back into bed every day. The fact that I work six out of seven days a week is in itself enough of a demotivator. Sunday's my only day off, but it's usually spent catching up on things I didn't get done at home while I was working (how a house can fall apart in just a couple days is beyond me!), and doesn't really provide any chance at relaxation since I have to turn right back around and be at work at a quarter to six the next morning. Yes, I know. Poor me. Blah blah blah. I suppose here is the only place I feel like I can really talk about this stuff. Nobody I care about cares to hear about it, and if they say they do, they're surely lying, or humoring me, or whatever. No matter how much I try not to be, I'm still seen as the selfish one. Nobody has asked me how I feel about my sister's situation, except my mom and brother, and I don't know how to talk to them about it. I know my parents are having a tough time, and understandably so. But I hesitate to reach out to them. Am I afraid of actually seeing how this is affecting them? Am I trying to be the strong one? I isolated myself from them when I was sick, too, declined their offers to accompany me to treatments, etc. I can handle it on my own, I told them. And I did. But was it better for me to sit alone in that chair while life-saving poison was being pumped through my veins? Was it better for me to sit with my headphones on, privacy curtain drawn halfway to obscure the suffering of those around me whose situations were far worse than mine? The couple of times someone did come with me, I could tell they really didn't want to be there in the first place.

I've got about an hour before I have to start getting ready for work, and I won't make it home again until after dark. Once I'm there, I'm usually fine; the hardest part's building up the motivation to go. It's a coffee shop day, and I do enjoy making fancy drinks and cooking up delicious sandwiches for people, but it's not at all in line with the vision I have for myself. Neither is sitting at a desk taking registrations and being more or less sedentary for hours (my other job). My vision includes not working for anyone and being able to explore my passions and interests freely and without obligation to anyone but myself, hubby and dogs.

Speaking of hubby--he turns 40 in just under two months, and I still haven't decided what to do for his birthday. As it's a rather significant number, I want to do something special, but unfortunately my funds are pretty limited. I'd love to transform the big room in our basement into the man cave he's been talking about, but that'd be tricky. I know it's possible to do things on a shoestring budget, but then I run the risk of doing something he doesn't like, but has to live with because it was a gift. I'd thought about doing something simple like putting up drywall and buying a dartboard or other game to put down there--in other words, getting it started for him, but leaving it more or less a blank slate. I'd need more than just drywall, though; I'd need the framework for it as well (and him to be away from home for about a week), and that's already beyond my budget. I also thought about buying him a dry bar for entertaining. After doing some searching, I've come across a couple reasonably priced ones (if it can be considered reasonable to spend the majority of my earnings on a piece of furniture), so that may be what I go with.

Getting down to the wire now. I could talk more about my disillusionment with adult life, lost friends, and unattainable dreams, but I'll save those for future posts. Maybe. I need some good news.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The wind that rattled our windows last night has died down, and the sun is shining, but still my boss told me not to come in and open at the coffee shop this morning because she didn't expect there to be too many people venturing out today. Not saying I'm complaining about the unexpected day off, just that maybe we're overreacting a bit about this weather. Yes, the windchill is -30, and I'm not saying we should all strip naked and go jump in the snow, but all the school/business closings, etc. seem a bit overboard to me. I never remember getting 'cold days' when I was in school. We wore warm clothing and got on with it. I could go on about how kids are coddled way too much these days, but I'll spare you the soapbox rant. Boy, do I sound old.

Anyway, I'm sitting on the couch in our living room and have opened the shades on all six windows to let the much needed light in. Of course, now I'm complaining quietly to myself about how bright it is (we're never happy, are we?). Usually, I'd have a dog on each side of me keeping me warm, but they followed hubby upstairs to bed a few hours ago, so I've settled for one of the many blankets I have folded in a basket on the floor. While I'm here, though, I may as well indulge the thoughts that had me awake at 2:30 this morning:

The further away we drift, the more I'm learning how truly alike we are. It's sad, really: the desire to make more memories coupled with the knowledge that you can't. Never had a goodbye been so hard or hurt so much as when I got on that bus and watched you shrink from view through a screen of tears. I think I knew I'd never see you again. I've tried to keep the line between us open, but I can only stretch so far. I have my distractions: the day's first cup of coffee, a soft dog ear--but somehow life seems so much colder, emptier without you in it. I've always thought you had to fall in love a bit with your friends, and I did with you, more so than anyone else. I remember the first day of that class we had together nearly ten years ago when I chose the empty seat next to you. Your hair was teased high and tinged with pink. Through one ear you'd threaded a feather, and through the other a pull chain with a skull charm at the end of it. But your black lined eyes were warm. Later, after we'd gotten to know each other a little better, you said you thought you made people uncomfortable, chased them away. You were surprised that I still wanted to be around you. Well, look at you now, how much you're loved, and by how many. It only took opening yourself up a bit. I just happened to be in the right place when you decided to start. I'm happy to see you didn't stop. And I miss you. More than ever.

Friday, January 24, 2014

2007 revisted

a spine rears up
to strain someone toward new beginnings.
White to red shifts
as seeds are removed.
To be pitted is a thrill,
unless you're thrown away once tasted.
We all know that flowers sleep
by doubling up over themselves,
secreting every soft
until the night no longer touches them.
This is the slow descent of debris.
This is the incidental injury.
To suffer somehow is always a side effect.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

There's entirely too much working going on here as of late. Between the hubby's twelve-hour overnights and my two jobs (so glad I can say two, though, instead of three), it seems like neither of us is ever home. Or when one is, the other isn't. I don't know how to do anything these days besides sleep and work, and maybe eat something here and there. Even get-togethers with friends are overshadowed and seem harder to enjoy. My diet lately consists mostly of coffee and convenience food. I don't even cook for myself anymore. Realistically, I could be fixing a healthy meal when I'm by myself, and hubby could have delicious leftovers to look forward to the next day, but I'm lazy. I'll periodically get inspired on the rare occasion when we're off together, but since I work mostly closing shifts, and am off only one day a week, he does the majority of the cooking. And when he's not home, I eat badly. We did get a juicer for Christmas and have been trying to enrich our diets with much needed plant material, but produce is expensive. Even more so when you're juicing because you use it all within a couple days.

I had hoped this year would be off to a better start, but I guess I should get used to the fact that the older I get, the more bad news I'm going to receive. I've already attended one funeral this month. Then there was the news about my sister's cancer returning, and how if further treatment is unsuccessful, she's expected to only live about two more years. Hubby told me recently that I can be so depressing that even he doesn't want to get out of bed. I wish he understood how hard it is to stay positive in the midst of all this. I can't imagine what my parents are feeling right now. When I was diagnosed with cancer nearly four years ago, it was the first time I'd ever seen my dad cry. To have another of their children diagnosed with cancer within a couple years is too much. I'd be numb by now if it were me. This is partly why I don't think I want to bring children of my own into the world; I don't think I could handle it if something happened to them.

Of course, I worry about how what I'm doing or not doing is affecting my health. I made the switch over to natural personal care and cleaning products after my cancer experience, and while that's all well and good, it's only a piece of the puzzle. Ever since I started working again about two years ago, I've been to the gym maybe twice. And as mentioned above, my diet hasn't been the greatest for a long time. Sure, I got a complimentary membership when I started work at the park district last year, but that's easy to take for granted. And I don't like returning to a place I work when I'm not working, because, well...thoughts of it are tied to work stuff, and so that's what I think about when I'm there. And of course, all I hear from my coworkers when I'm there to work out is, 'Wow, you must really like it here if you come here even when you're off work!' I've been trying to force myself to go, but that's hard to do when all you want to do on your downtime is rest so you can be ready for the next workday. When I was unemployed, I had time to focus on those things, develop healthy habits. My time (at least when I was alone) was more or less my own. I miss that. But there was also a lot of resentment around the fact that I didn't work, and feelings of uselessness on my part because I felt more like a parasite than a partner. At least now I'm contributing something, however little. But work is nothing but a distraction. I was talking to a trusted coworker the other day about how I've considered all the jobs I've ever had a paycheck, and nothing else. It's hard to be passionate about part-time jobs that provide nothing in the way of personal fulfillment. I'm discovering I'm not career-oriented. Kudos to the people who live this way, but I have no interest in picking one thing and doing it for the rest of my life. I have a hard enough time picking something off the menu at a restaurant. I'm passionate about too many things, and that list is ever-growing and expanding. I don't think I'd ever be able to settle on one. Call me 'flighty'--I don't care.

I have yet to take our Christmas tree down, maybe because it's a reminder of brighter times, of days we can never get back.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Don't believe what they say for one minute. They know medicine, but they don't know the human spirit. Imagine yourself still here two years from now, then make it five, ten, twenty. I'm not saying believing it will make it real, but I do know that we can't let others tell us how to live or for how long.

Regardless of what happens, I want to say I'm thankful for what distance has done for us. You've been putting up walls for as long as I remember, but I finally feel like I'm finding doors through some of them. Not all, but some. Sure, there's the thread of unity that came with our cancer diagnoses, and the subsequent swapping of chemo stories, but it's more than that. After your double mastectomy, we talked on the phone for two straight hours, which is impressive considering our longest conversation before that had lasted about five minutes.

I can't imagine how scary this must be for you, and how disappointing--to have gone through hell and come out the other side only to be told that you have to do it all over again. It's likely the road ahead will be paved with even more uncertainty than before. I'm sure there'll be many times when you'll want to give up, when you'll wonder what the point of all this is. I can't tell you I know the answer to that, but I hope you can stick around to find out.


Your little sis

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Some have expressed concern over the fact that I'm 'getting rid of all my stuff.' Trust me, it's nothing to worry about. It's become necessary for me to eliminate the clutter from my life, to strip things back to the basics. Moving into a bigger house has had a contradictory effect on me; instead of buying more stuff to fill the new(ish) space, I've been striving to simplify. Most of my stuff was packed away at the old house, but still it had an effect on me (and not just because it was the only occupant our 'guest room' ever saw). Maybe my health crisis a few years ago changed me more than I thought, or maybe this is just part of growing up. Regardless, I welcome the change. I used to hold onto everything thinking I'd use it someday. I'm paying for it now by having to open every single box and look through it all one item at a time. It's been packed away and out of sight all these years and I haven't missed a bit of it, which means I probably won't miss it when it's gone either. Sure, I've experienced a wide range of emotions as I've read old birthday cards, flipped through college notebooks, thumbed through magazine clippings, cuddled with several of my old stuffed animals, etc. But none of it holds the same meaning to me anymore. The most that would happen if I kept it is that it would all go back into the boxes it came from and go right back into storage, and I'd continue to feel bogged down by unseen clutter for years to come. I'm at the point now where I can actually part with it without feeling regret; why not take advantage of it?