Friday, March 28, 2014

In the Middle of the Night

There's something to be said for having a place that you call home. I don't mean your house, I mean the town that holds your memories, whether they make you laugh or cry. The place where you can drive down a street and say, "Uncle Eddie got drunk one day at Crest Tavern and had to stop on his way home and pee right in that front yard."

I don't really have that for my childhood since I moved around so much, but I do have that here on the Island. Hubby and I had a rare occurrence today, we both had the afternoon off but E still had school, so we decided to head off the Island and go Downtown for lunch. As we were driving back, we passed the street from our old church. I had to laugh as we passed a small sign on the corner.

Hubby may be a pastor, but he has a huge rebellious streak. He believes rules were meant to be broken, not followed. Although if you ask him, he claims he only bends the rules. Me? I am the world's biggest rule follower and this attitude drives me crazy. I always worry that one day his refusal to go through normal channels will end up with me getting him out of jail.

Back when Hubby was the pastor for the Downtown church, he noticed that all of the other churches downtown had directional street signs. Somewhere on the main roads, there would be a sign saying, "Church of the Almost There" two blocks ahead for every other church. But the Downtown church had no sign. It really bugged him. The church was on the main grid of the city, but it was 5 or 6 streets back from the main road and Hubby wanted a sign.

At this time Hubby could have said, "Well, let's go talk to the City Manager and request a sign." However, a church member who worked with the City Manager talked Hubby out of it. He told Hubby that the request would be denied after months of back and forth bickering. Why go through all that hassle just to be told no? He thought, though, that if they went ahead and put the sign up, it would probably be left alone. So Hubby and this man ordered two street signs and hatched a plan.

The Downtown church was in a borderline location. Two streets closer to the main street and you have million dollar houses. Two streets above the church and you are in the land of drug dealers and pimps. Hubby and his accomplice decided they would get bright orange city worker vests and post diggers and sneak about the city streets at 2AM to put up these signs.

The first sign went right in the middle of the median on the most coveted scenic road in our downtown. It is the road that holds the statue in memory of the Confederate soldiers who died. It is the road that all the parades go down. It it the jewel of downtown. And there was Hubby, lurking in the street lights breaking all sorts of city codes. Amazingly enough, putting the sign up on the median went unobserved. For some reason no one questioned the fact that two city workers were out in the middle of the night putting up a sign.

Having such good luck with the first sign, Hubby and friend decided to head up to the more shady side of the city to place the second sign. This road had a little more traffic at 3AM and there were actually people on the corner looking for customers, if you know what I mean. Hubby, with his little bald head and not so pastoral attitude, dutifully started digging the hole for the sign while his friend kept an eye out for the po po. It wasn't long before a lady in red (literally) walked up the street and struck up a conversation.

The woman leaned against the light post nearby and asked Hubby for a cigarette. I am not sure if she really wanted a cigarette or was just trying to arrange her next date, but either way, neither Hubby nor the other man smoked and neither were going to make her an offer. BUT.. that didn't stop the other man from starting in on telling the woman exactly how he had smoked for 20 years, how unhealthy smoking was and how he finally managed to break the habit, yadda yadda yadda. The woman started switching from one foot to the other, becoming aggravated at the fact that all she had asked for was a freaking cigarette and she was obviously wasting her time. Finally she got fed up and started walking away, calling the men all sorts of name. Within a few steps a car pulled up and she was off on her next real date. Hubby finished the sign and returned home about 4 AM.

Sadly, the sign on the main road met an untimely demise a few short weeks after being put up. A large truck came down the narrow road, veered onto the median and took it out in an inglorious bending of steel. The sign disappeared and was never replaced. But the streetwalker sign still stands to this day. The city workers even mow the grass around it. It is a lovely homage to the anti-pastor that lives inside my hubby, because after all, even pastors are only human.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sisterhood of the Traveling (UP MY DAMN ASS) Pants

Whoever invented low-waisted pants hates women. Ok, maybe he/she doesn't hate the TWO of you out there in the world who are size 0's and can wear clothes designed to look good on clothes hangers, but for real size women with the big butts of which rap songs glorify, low-waisted pants are instruments of torture.

I am a fan of mom jeans. I don't care if they are considered tacky or unfashionable by the people who can afford personal trainers, personal chefs and spend lots of money to buy bottles of AIR. Give me a pair of jeans or pants that cover my chubby cheeks and wrap lovingly around my waist where my waist actually sits on my body and I am happy.

Several years ago I spent a decent amount of money on a simple pair of black pants. I tried them on and noticed they were a little low-waisted, but I thought they still fit nicely enough to purchase. But then I washed them once and suddenly they were just a little uncomfortable. Then I gained several thousand pounds and those pants got shoved back into the deepest recesses of my closet. I actually forgot about them until last month when I pulled out my clothes from my lesser me days.

I tried them on just to see if they fit again and they did. I was so excited I hung them up in my closet, not really planning on wearing them for an all day occasion, but maybe for an hour of church or such. I have lost so much weight most of my clothes are too big and I can't afford to replace them as fast as they outgrow me and they are nice looking dress pants.

Fast forward to today. I washed my work pants last night but forgot to put them in the dryer. I didn't know I had forgotten to put them in the dryer until I was packing my bag for after my workout. Every morning I drop E off at school, head to the gym and shower there before I head to work. I had no other pants to pack but the low-waisted black pants. And I would have no time to run home to exchange the pants because I was taking my school kids on a field trip today. It was those pants or nothing.

Let me tell you, I spent the entire day wiggling, re-situating, picking and pulling at the God Awful Pants. They just wouldn't sit right. They fit, in a way. They just didn't lay correctly. I felt like a toddler, irritable and surly because something was just not right. I picked up E and she asked me how my day was and the only thing I could say was, "I HATE THESE PANTS!" She just shook her head and laughed at me. She has learned to live with all my sensory disorder issues.

I pulled into my garage and didn't even wait for my garage door to close before I stripped off the pants and threw them in the wash. I'm sure the church members who live across the street saw more of their pastor's wife then they EVER wanted to but I just couldn't take it one more minute. I wanted to throw them away, but I hate being wasteful so I am going to donate those pants to Goodwill and condemn some other poor pudgy shmuck to a day of low-rider hell.

Stupid pants.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Journey

I am always amazed by how many of my friends comment on how different I am. These are people who have known me for years and know everything I have gone through. It wasn't easy to get here, but I think telling the tale of my journey is kind of important.

For the first few months after leaving CountryTime; Hubby, E and I were suffering from honest to goodness PTSD. Hubby had it so bad that he has started seeing a counselor to help him. We lived our lives in fear of making mistakes. Things are so peaceful here. We have a nice house in a nice, SAFE, blue-collar neighborhood. We can bike ride to stores, restaurants, libraries....the ocean. People give us our space and church members genuinely respond to us in a positive manner. We even have enough money coming in between our TWO jobs (one for each of us), that our taxes are getting totally paid and we are creating a savings account again.

Things were so good that we were afraid we were going to mess it up. We were afraid to say or do anything that might make people hate us again. I couldn't even force myself to see my long-time friends who now lived close to me because I just needed the security of my little home and my little family. I was afraid to mess up my friendships. It's one thing to live in fear of something that is really out there-gang members, crazy congregants, poverty. It is quite another (and even worse) to live in fear of something that might not happen or that you are creating in your mind.

Now don't get me wrong, I truly believe that if we had stayed in CountryTime, I might have actually, physically died. I gained 40 pounds with no signs of stopping in the three years we lived there. I was having horrible arrythmia and chest pains. I was in a major mode of self-destruct and couldn't see any way out. Moving didn't just make all of that go away. I had spent three years creating this big, puffy, protective self and now I had to figure out how to let go of all of that.

It started in January with one New Year's resolution. In January, 2013, I decided to live my life intentionally. That's it. Just that one thing. But here's the trick, it is really hard to always be intentional. I started with my reactionary behavior. I decided that I was going to stop every time I started to wind up and really ask myself if it was worth getting wound up. If it was, then I let myself get worked up and overwrought because I needed to feel it. But if it wasn't (and here's the kicker, very few things ARE worth it), I had to let it go. I had to. No choice given.

Then I started thinking about what I was doing to my body. I was in pain every day and I was suffering just to walk to the beach. I knew it was more than weight, but I wasn't sure what to do. So I started intentionally trying to sleep on a more regular schedule. It's amazing how much easier it is to be less reactionary when you are getting more sleep. And how much more energy you have. But I was still suffering from pain so I knew I needed to look farther.

So I started thinking about my addictions. I was intentionally not buying diet soda at the grocery store because I knew it was bad for me, but then I would intentionally run through a drive thru because I needed diet soda. So I stopped drinking it and anything with artificial sweetener. It took several tries to break the habit, but shortly after it was finally kicked, almost all of that neuropathic pain ceased. I could be touched without shrinking back. I could walk farther and felt better. I could start to exercise again. In August of last year I joined a gym and now go 5 times a week for 30 minutes a day. Yes, I said 30 minutes a day. After working out for 90 minutes, 5 days a week in CountryTime with no changes, I decided to change what I was doing. And it worked.

But I knew before I exercised I needed to get some physical things taken care of. I went back to a chiropractor and he helped with the other pain. I gave up caffeine because I was using it like a crutch for energy. Then I started doing the Naturally Slim program and I started to lose weight for the first time in 10 years. With each intentional step and decision, I was becoming healthier, stronger and more me-like. I was starting to be at peace.

My latest (and hopefully last for a while) intentional decision has been the hardest. I am trying to overcome my bump-on-the-log syndrome. If you put me in front of a tv or let me off the hook from doing something, I will sit on a couch and bromate for the entire day. I will let the laundry pile up, I will not vacuum, I will not empty the dishwasher, I will not go out into the real world, I will just allow myself to be sucked into useless tv programs. Hubby will pick up all the slack and never once mention it to me because that is how we have lived for so long. All of these things I have done to mask my depression can't hind this one glaring fact. I will sit on the couch and hide from life.

So I have intentionally refused to allow myself to watch tv until 8 PM at night. I think that is fair. I need some time to allow my brain to veg. That means I have to find something constructive to do with my time. My house is cleaner. I read more. I try to walk 10,000 steps a day. I cook more from scratch. And I realized, I need a creative outlet. Even though I have been singing more and laughing more and sitting less, it is still a struggle every single day. I truly believe artistic and creative people have something missing and need an outlet. My creativity ebbs and flows with my mood. Depression is a bitch.

So that's my story in a few paragraphs and why I am back. I am taking each day one day at a time and I fail a lot. But I am no longer afraid that my faults or failures are going to cost us this peaceful life we have here on the Island. One day we are going to get moved whether we cause it or not. I no longer seek out drama and when someone comes into my life who tries to create drama, they are quietly let go. I do sometimes still feel the need to make CountryTime suffer, but I am working on that. That is going to take a long, long, long time.

What's Down There?

I have always heard the saying that sex sells. So straight out of the gate this time, let's talk about sex.

I love reading. I would rather read than do almost anything else. And I will read anything that can hook me with either the flow of the words or a good strong character. Books that teach me things, or challenge me with 10 dollar words or have two characters with that maddening passion that very few people ever experience, call my name even if they are poorly written.

When I was 20 (back in 1990), I read the Earth Children series by Jean Auel for the first time. I love early human history. I can ramble on and on about Homo Habilis and Australopithicus and such. For what ever flaws the books have, Auel did a heck of a lot of research and you can learn a lot from reading them. But back when I was 20, I have to admit it was one of the first books I read that had such graphic sex. I was a late bloomer and had never HAD sex, nor did I watch porn movies and the internet was still a far way off, so, well, I was kind of innocent. Every time she wrote a sex scene (which she called Pleasures), she always wrote about the female characters throbbing knob. It popped up everywhere, every time (pun intended).

I was not so naive that I hadn't heard about a g-spot or a clitoris, but for some reason I assumed they were the same thing. In my head I kind of pictured this little balloon-like organ suddenly peeking its head out of the folds of my "flower" and saying "Peekaboo!" Only that never happened to me. Was I some sort of asexual anomaly?

As I began to come out of my shell and have more mature sexual experiences, things seemed to work all right with everything down there and I began to forget the images the book put in my head. After all, this was the 90's. Maybe 70's sex was totally different and hazy.

Flash forward to this past month. Several years ago the last book in the series was published and I read it as a stand alone book. I remember being really disappointed in it, but we are getting ready to teach early humans to my school kids and I thought it would be good to read the series again just for background info. Once again I was reading about all of these things the character experienced, including the damn knobby thing.

I just couldn't take it anymore. I had to know where this knob was and why I didn't seem to possess it so I went to the source of most of my sexual experiences, my Hubby. I told my husband about my dilemma and asked him where this knob was on me because I sure didn't think I had one like everyone else. I thought my husband was going to choke. I totally came out of left field with the question and he kind of stuttered. Then he began questioning if our sex life for the past 20 years was all just a lie since I was even asking. (Isn't that just like a man?) But that wasn't it. I am not complaining about our sex life, I have never had issues, I just didn't understand the fold imagery. That kind of settled him down and we began to have a very technical discussion about sex and body parts and such.

What I discovered is that I am okay, I knew where everything was even if it didn't work the way Auel wrote it, and that I can still surprise Hubby after 20 years together.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Well Hello There

Has it really been almost two years since I wrote on this blog? Wow. Two years. So much has happened. I hope everyone out there is doing well. I am. I know you are surprised to see me back, but I really miss writing. I need a creative outlet so I decided to return for me.

Things are good here. E is 12. Can you believe it? She is currently starring in her middle school musical. She has been taking part in the school shows for two years and insists I have no part whatsoever in the theater. I respect that because she wants to know she is getting cast because of her own talent, not because of me. She also has friends, lots of them, including a BFF that has stood by her for our entire time here. She is happy and involved and that makes me happy.

Hubby is good. He really loves this church. We live at the end of a major interstate and all the crazies dump out here, but they are good-hearted crazies and it doesn't hurt that we live 4 blocks from the ocean.

I am good. I am back to working in a Montessori elementary school. I have given up theater for a while. I needed some drama free time. I have stayed very uninvolved in the church. I attend and sometimes I sing, but that is about it. Even when Hubby talks to me about things that are church related, I just listen and hold my tongue. I have learned that with him and his job, it is better to be an ear and let him do his job without my influence.

I gave up Diet Coke and everything apartame. It is amazing. 90% percent of my pain problems were coming from it. And apparently so were some of my weight issues. As of this week, I have officially lost 30 pounds. I work out 5 days a week and love it. I feel so much younger than I have felt in years.

So I went through and deleted most of the posts about CountryTime. From hence forward it shall be the time that shall not be named. This blog is no longer about negative things. I have spent the past several years learning to be less reactive and more positive. People who know me in real life always mention how much better I seem and I intend to keep it that way. But I do miss writing, especially funny things. So here I am. I want to share the good things, the silly things, the positive things, the questionable things. I will still tell paranormal tales, I will still give my skewered opinion and I will still use by sardonic wit. I won't talk about too much to do with my job because of privacy issues. I will probably tell congregational tales, but I never again want to have to sort through 417 posts to remove things that might get me in trouble. So some of you may find me boring. And that's okay. Boring isn't necessarily bad. But as I said, I need a creative outlet and I miss writing.

So just to give you a head's up, tomorrow will be a discussion on reading The Earth Children series as a 20 year old and a then again as a 43 year old. Pleasures. SMH.