Thursday, June 03, 2004

Monday, April 26, 2004
If you love reading about joyous, happy family'll enjoy reading this:

Forget about the House on the Water...I want this.

posted by jill # 10:25 PM
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Sunday, April 25, 2004
I sent my sister a big box of goodies from QVC today- all of her favorite snacks: Chocolate covered graham crackers, brownies, cookies. All wrapped up in a big box, with the words..."Congratulations on your big news! Here's some fortitude to help you cope with the real estate agents and lookie-loo's."

I also ordered a box of the treats for myself....for some fortitude of My Very Own.

posted by jill # 7:21 PM
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Heavy sigh.

Do you ever have petty thoughts and feel disgusted with yourself for having them, yet they continue racing through your mind with uncontrolled intensity? And your self-disgust is mixed with a little dose of indignant greed...which is why you can't abolish the covetous thoughts altogether?

I'm envious. Achingly, down-to-my-bone-marrow Jealous. My sister called yesterday to tell me that they were putting their house on the market. They found a "tract home" on a double lot, in a private community in Southern California. It's got 4 bedrooms, family room, den...3600 square feet total. With a swimming pool...and it's on the Water with a private boat dock.

They have always had more money than us - but not by such a long margin. This purchase puts them in a completely separate stratosphere. As my sister described (downplayed) the house, I began calculating the total cost in my mind. I asked her, "How much?" and she refused to tell me. As soon as I hung up the phone, I went to and started doing Research. The homes are d-o-u-b-l-e what I initially imagined.

I've always been slightly envious of my sister because she has never had to work. But I've also understood that this was my choice - I want to live in the Bay Area, I want to be married to an Artist, and I want to live in my own home...which means I have to work, which is fine.

But this....this is something else. Suddenly I am feeling Less. Less successful, less smart, less capable, less worthy. Just...Less. And I've never felt that way with anyone in my family.

So here I sit, feeling small. Partly because there is no way my husband and I could ever afford a home on the water in California....and partly because I am more jealous than joyful over my sister's good fortune.

And the question that keeps eating away at me is...."What else can I be doing to be able to afford My Dream House in Carmel?"

posted by jill # 8:59 AM
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Monday, April 19, 2004
Whatever it is that is driving me...a sense of duty, overwhelming sadness, or a desire to fix all that is bad around me...I feel compelled to leave rightnow to drive to South California to help my mom. I called her yesterday and my heart fell when I heard her voice. She apparently fell a couple of days ago and is in excrutiating pain. She refused to go to the doctor or the hospital, and my dad accepted that. Frankly, he is so tired he hardly gets out of bed nowdays.

So mom was sobbing from the pain, dad was irritated that I bothered him for an update, and neither had eaten yet. It was 3:30 in the afternoon.

I can't stand this misery. I can't accept their acceptance of this level of living. They are somehow unable to help themselves, a pattern that has been in place for many, many years. It's a combination of ongoing health issues and pure, palpable depression. They have given up and allowed their lives to decompose.

The house, which has been in a state of ruin for 20 years, parallels their downslide. Mold rampaging throughout their master bathroom. Piles of mail stacked in the kitchen. Piles of bed mattresses stacked in the living room. Little trails throughout the house to allow one to walk around the mess. Pots, pans, empty soda cans and bottles of water strewn all over the backyard. I spent two weeks hauling it all away. My mom screamed at me throughout the process. I was throwing away items that she planned to sell. It was junk in my eyes, but somehow it held value in hers. My husband and I spent an additional 10 days overhauling the house after it had been cleared out. New floor, paint, all new kitchen appliances, shutters on every window, all new light fixtures and faucets. It was an entirely new house. My hope was that it would lift their spirits, give them a new start. Something to enjoy in their lives that they could build on.

Sadly, it didn't happen.

So I will be taking off shortly for So Cal, to make arrangements for a care giver to visit my parents daily and bring groceries. I still believe that somehow, there can be a Turning Point that will give them a glimmer of joy.

Mom and Dad lost their hope years ago. Mine is raging, pushing me to Do Something, right now.

posted by jill # 7:39 AM
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Sunday, April 18, 2004
P-R-O-C-R-A-S-T-I-N-A-T-I-O-N. The act of putting off the inevitable. The pending list of To-Dos that I must C-O-M-P-L-E-T-E. Top priority today: Charge $5,100 worth of gift certificates to my personal Master Card because my company doesn't provide corporate credit cards. These are bonus payouts for a sales contest, and I have to temporarily foot the bill. So I've put off making the purchase, because I don't agree with this policy. But today is D Day...I must hand them out tomorrow, no fail.

Jumping on the treadmill is running a close second on my list of items to Put Off. Truth be told, once I actually get going, I enjoy the workout. My problem is in the build-up, the act of forcing myself to Just Do It.

Number three item of tasks I just don't want to deal with today...getting my butt away from this computer so that I can take care of items #1 and #2. I'd much prefer to troll ebay and make reckless bids for nonessential items. I'm eyeballing a new designer suit that will cost me about $67. How can I say "No" to that? I'm also considering some new CDs to play at the station: Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughn, and Spike Jones. V.I.P.s = Very Important Purchases.

So yes, it's time for me to VaMoose.

posted by jill # 10:29 AM
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Saturday, April 17, 2004
So there I sat, on the chenille couch feeling comfy and at peace, watching yet another Law & Order rerun. My husband was with me and out of the blue he announced, "I'm so happy." His voice was at least one octave higher, and he said it with complete sincerity.

I looked at him and said, "Excuse me?" He replied, his eyes blazing directly into mine..."I am so happy with everything in my life."

This is out of the ordinary. When I met him, he was happy. Then we got married and he became Cranky. He didn't enjoy his job doing color separation for a pre-press company. He despised his supervisor. He longed to be an Artist, but he was afraid. I remember, it took him almost a year to pick up a brush and paint. Suddenly, he began to meet designers who needed faux treatments on their walls. So he did that. Then he started doing murals, late at night after his shift at work and over the weekends. For several years, he worked 6 or 7 days a week.

And through it all, he remained Cranky.

Then, 4 years ago we decided that he should start his own business and paint Full Time. He had the contacts, and he definitely had the skill. All he needed was the business acumen to manage it plus provide exceptional service to his customers.

This was a huge stepping off point for me. Although I've always earned more, suddenly I felt the pressure of being the only person with predictable income. The only person with company sponsored medical insurance. 401k. Paid vacation. Sick days. Stock options.

Somehow, we have made it through. Despite my being laid-off. Despite the terrible economy in Silicon Valley. We've pulled together and made it. And he's happy. He loves his work. He loves his home and family (that's me and our 4 cats). He loves the house and our neighbors. He's on top of the world.

I've waited years for him to come back around and enjoy his life again. And it hasn't been easy. Somewhere, along the way, I too lost my happiness. And tonight, I'm feeling joyful that my husband is back on track.

I'm also feeling mildy bitter...because he got there First.

posted by jill # 9:00 PM
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Thursday, April 15, 2004
My director was concerned about the quality of a project being led by a manager from a different group within the company. Despite not being a part of the project management team, I offered to run a meeting to discuss the final details about an event being held at a customer's on-site location. We're expecting about 250 people. Although this is not my project, I am the person most affected if it fails.

The Manager in Charge came to the meeting with nothing - no notes, no file, no papers. I started running down the checklist to confirm activities had been completed. "I'm doing that this afternoon," was the response.

OK, let me get this straight. The event starts tomorrow at noon and you're doing all of these items today...for the very first time?



And that was that. About 5 minutes later I pulled one of my supervisors off a different project to put him in charge of this one. Together, we just may be able to pull this one off. But we will both be work from 7:30am to 9:00pm tomorrow to Get the Job Done.

The former Manager in Charge should feel relieved he does not work for my department. He would be Toast.

posted by jill # 9:47 PM
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Sunday, April 11, 2004
I can't stop thinking about that new television show...The Swan. It was intriguing, alluring and repulsive all at the same time. Two women, extremely plain on the outside and riddled with deep, self-esteem issues on the inside....go to L.A. and have their bodies completely reshaped. Lipo, tummy tucks, face lifts, new teeth, breast augmentation, hair extensions, eyebrow lifts and lip plumping. All of this completed in about 3 months.

In the end, one looked fabulous - more beautiful than the show's host. The other had so many emotional issues, her inner distress overshadowed her body-overhaul.

I need a Personal Tranformationalist. Someone to coach me toward becoming a Hottie. The inner issues notwithstanding, I have problems on the outside that keep me from the Hottie designation: I'm overweight. The twins are runts. My face shape is broad - no distinct cheekbones, no sculpted chin. I have weak eyebrows and my left eye is lazy...meaning, it always looks squinty in pictures.

Ugh. Too much to work with. But I want a transformation none-the-less.

Now, here's the catch: I don't want it just for me. I want recognition. I want to launch into a new career, whatever that may be. I have Conditions. And my belief that none of them will happen is what keeps me from starting the process. So I wallow and daydream and never transform.

How do other people break through this obstacle? How do they reach a point of Focus and Determination, so they begin and continue until the goal is met? How do they avoid the Momentum Pitfalls of "but I was hurt and never loved by my parents..." or "no one really believes or expects I can do it...." or "what if I do all the work and I'm still not a Hottie?" I use all of my history of hurt to keep myself stuck in where I am today.

So I fail to change. I fail to grow. I just remain...As Is.

Exactly WHEN did I learn to accept being a Loser before even becoming a contestant?

posted by jill # 11:56 AM
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Saturday, April 10, 2004
Narrowism. An unlikely topic, but it's what we discussed over dinner tonight.

He and I were seated outdoors at The Left Bank, enjoying the sunset and a mild spring breeze. He was drinking Merlot, I enjoyed a mixed Amelie. Vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice and a dash of lemon.

I casually asked if he ever thought that perhaps we did the same things too often. Were we focused too much on work and not much else? He blinked a couple of times, pushed back away from the table and started rolling his head. "I don't believe you're accusing me of affecting you." I said, "What?" He replied, "Narrowism."

It's a good word, an appropriate description. The truth is that he has never really led a socially balanced lifestyle. I am married to a Workaholic, although he never admits it. His friends have discussed this with him and he's dismissed it. I've talked to him about it and he responds with a blank stare. It took me years to understand...and then, I finally figured it out. This is how his father operated, and my husband is following the pattern.

Of course, it's easy to sit here and point the finger at Him. What about me? What am I doing to mix things up and add spice to my life?

Sometimes I feel so downright...Myopic. My life is fairly consistent. I work. I DJ once a week. I see friends on the weekends. Blah, blah, blah. B-o-r-i-n-g...right? I've been too tired to host Game Night with friends. In fact, I hardly ever throw dinner parties anymore. I don't even throw the annual Christmas dinner and White Elephant Giveaway anymore.

So He and I made an agreement. He would initiate recreational activities, i.e. tennis, golf, biking. And I will initiate social fun with friends. I have my doubts that he will actually do this - but I remain Hopeful.

First, I'll have to get off my butt and take some action myself.

posted by jill # 9:30 PM
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It's a gorgeous day. We're on our way out the door to go to the Farmer's Market and enjoy breakfast downtown. It's wonderful to be able to walk to the bagel shop, the shoe cobbler, Peets Coffee. Makes me happy to live here. Later, I'll plant petunia's in the window boxes and read Art & Antiques in my gazebo. Today, Life is Good.

posted by jill # 10:37 AM
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Monday, April 05, 2004
Emotional drama sucks the life energy from me. I grew up surrounded by it and tend to avoid it at all costs. I realize that many people create it, consciously or subconsciously, to feel on edge, needed or alive. My supervisor was in the mood to spar today. Angry, self righteous, and unyielding. In one case, it was justified, but only for a short time. After two discussions, it was time to get over it and carry on.

Instead, he decided to Dwell. And kvetch. And claim an unfair work environment.

I'm still not certain we ever got to the root cause of his malcontent. I believe, ultimately, that he is unhappy with his compensation package. And it's tainting his behaviour in trying circumstances.

When the New Economy was in full swing and there were great jobs to be had by everyone, the challenge was to tolerate the inept - because, frankly, those were the only people who didn't have jobs and got hired.

Now that the economy is horrible, the challenge is to tolerate people who hate their jobs but stay... because there is No Where To Go.

posted by jill # 9:19 PM
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Sunday, April 04, 2004
Okay, I've been doing research for my show Tuesday night...and I came upon this:

"An illegitimate child, Eartha Kitt was born in the cotton fields of South Carolina, the daughter of a white dirt farmer and a black Cherokee mother. Given away by her mother, she arrived in Harlem at age nine, and at 15 she quit high school to work in a Brooklyn factory. As a teenager, Kitt lived in friends' homes and in the subways."

It's time for me to get over Myself and understand that I've had it a lot easier than many.

posted by jill # 8:02 PM
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My mood is still pretty bleak.

I'm thinking alot about my dad today, about how he just packed up and left without saying goodbye. I was maybe 9 or 10 years old at the time. Mom, my sister Pati and I had been out shopping that day. We came home and the house looked different. Items had been strewn around. We started looking in each of the rooms to see if anything had been stolen.

I walked into my parents bathroom and saw that my Dad's shaving kit was gone. On the dresser, in the bedroom, sat his wedding ring.

At that point, most of my memory becomes a blur. I remember the phone ringing several times that night, and the person on the other end of the line hanging up without saying a word. I remember my mom sitting us down to tell us that we were not to talk about this to anyone. If someone asked where my Dad was, I was to tell them that he was in Northern California on business. I remember my two grandmothers staying with us for long periods of time, always bringing bags of groceries. I didn't know that at the time we went on welfare. That Dad had cleaned out the Savings Account and sold the meager stocks we had owned and left nothing for us to survive on. I just knew that he was gone. And I ached in a way that I'd never felt before.

He was gone for over 6 months. During that time, we never talked about him. We weren't allowed to. There was no grieving, no crying, no discussion. We were told to act as if nothing had happened.

I remember receiving letters from him with arrowheads tucked inside. His writing was blurry, it looked as though water drops had hit the sheets of paper. I assumed at the time that they were tears, although I never confirmed this with him.

I was in my thirties when I learned that he hadn't left town when he disappeared. He was actually sitting in a rented car on a side street spying on the house. All that time....that I was aching and hurting. He was there, watching me. Going to school, coming home from school. Playing outside with my best friend. How in God's name could he have done this and not known what I was going though?

I've worked very hard to resolve my bitterness, but I haven't gotten very far.
I'm hurt that he left.
I resent not being allowed to talk to anyone.
Even worse, I'm furious that my mother expected us to act "normal" at all times.
I'm angry that when he did return, my parents were even more unhappy.
Slamming doors, threatening each other right in front of me.
Screaming loud enough for the entire neighborhood to hear.

I resent being subjected to so much turmoil throughout my childhood. Anger, hatefulness, contempt and disdain. No one ever thought about protecting me. All I could do was hang in there by myself...or hide in the closet when tempers really exploded.

Sigh. I'm not really sure why I'm rehashing all of this. Maybe I'm in the mood for a pity party. Maybe these thoughts just spring up whenever I'm feeling badly about myself. Because I'm just too different, or that I'll never be at peace with myself because I don't know what that feels like.

Maybe, it's because I realize that being poor isn't the worst form of being disadvantaged. And I can't help but wonder what my life would be like if I hadn't been stuck in the Eye of the Storm throughout my entire childhood.

posted by jill # 4:18 PM
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I spent the day with a friend yesterday, who also happens to be a VP at my company. We're very good friends - knew each other before I started the job - and have lots in common.

We perused Stanford Shopping Center along with oodles of hip, good looking shoppers. The sunshine was refreshing and we meandered among the tulips, peonies and larkspur. How lucky we are to live here...although the culture is demanding, in a way that highly affluent areas typically are. College kids were decked out in Kate Spade. Women were lithe, wearing designer duds and sunglasses. The shoes at Nordstrom and Macys started at $145.00 - and that includes the hip pair of sports shoes by Cole Hahn that I was eyeballing. In the end, it was too much to pay for a pair of slip-on tennis shoes.

The day was lovely and I had a wonderful time. Then I got home....and went into a deep funk.

I am a hypocrite. I criticize others for things I do myself. And I've really dropped the ball this last year in terms of being responsible, engaged and proactive.

It's hard to name specifics, exactly. Mostly because it's painful to admit in writing.

Deep sigh. goes:

1. I'm lazy. I haven't worked-out in over 2 years. I like to think that because I am a hard worker and work long hours I'm not lazy, but I am. I typically do nothing on the weekends, beyond sleep, write my radio program for the upcoming week, and watch tv. I've developed a middle-aged lifestyle without realizing it.

2. I'm disorganized. I don't do most paperwork on time.

3. I'm in denial about how I look. It's bad. Really, truly bad.

4. I keep having to buy bigger sized clothing because I keep gaining weight. I have enough clothes to stock a small boutique. Ranging in sizes 6 to 16W. Ugh.

So there you have it- some of the thoughts that haunted me last night. And rather than get off my butt and change things, I just want to daydream about how things could be different. How I could look, how others would regard me.

Sometimes, I am so damned pitiful.

posted by jill # 1:51 PM
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Saturday, April 03, 2004
Dear Abby had a letter from a 34 year old woman today who recently lost her fiance. I don't remember the details on how he passed away, but I do remember the writer's haunting words. She couldn't imagine living without her fiance, and she doesn't even want to try. They had vowed to be together forever, and she wanted to leave Earth to join him.

I've seriously thought about writing a response. Because I want her to know that her life doesn't have to end. Not yet.

When my husband and I were dating, I decided to have a complete physical. I was convinced that something was wrong with me - that I had a horrible, terminal affliction.

I just couldn't accept that something so good could happen to me - that I could actually meet my Soul Buddy. It was too good to rely on - I expected something dreadful to snatchit all away.

My husband is a Golden Egg. A rarity among men. And I love him more today than I did when we were dating - partly because we've been through so much together, partly because I have have seen his true character. He is awesome, through and through. All the way down to his bone marrow. In the 9 years that we have been married, I have reconfirmed every day that I do not want to live without him.

But something else has been going on too. I've learned that I am capable and strong. That if something did happen, I could go on. Not in the same way, not with the same degree of happiness. But I could Go On.

This is the lesson that this 34 year old grieving fiance will not have the chance to learn. She didn't get the chance to realize that over time, you can love a person even more deeply than you ever imagined. And grow self-reliant at the same time.

posted by jill # 10:22 PM
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My Bubba-Hubba - his Language of Love:

1. He brings me coffee in bed every morning.
2. He puts my shoes away - from wherever I slung them off after I walked through the door.
3. He washes my car most every weekend.
4. He rubs my feet while we watch Law & Order reruns most every night.
5. He is tender and loving with all 4 cats.
6. He lets me be Me.
7. He makes the bed every morning, like clockwork.
8. He compliments my cooking - every time, no matter what it is. Huevros Rancheros this morning?
The Best he's ever had.
9. He has never complained when I worked until 11pm.
10. He bounces out of bed saying, "Today is a great day to get up and go get 'em."
11. He sings, "Corn Freeee" when he flosses.
12. He loves and respects his mother.
13. He's a very hard worker and cares about quality and integrity.
14. He refuses to lie for me...when people call and I tell him..."Tell them I'm not here."
15. He helps our neighbors with their house projects.
16. He picks up and drops off all of my drycleaning.
17. He threw me the only birthday that I have ever had in my life...when I turned 40.
18. He's an artist and a contractor - an amazing dichotomy.
19. He goes to church every Sunday - with or without me.
20. He has never said the "D" word - even during our toughest times.

posted by jill # 10:10 AM
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