Friday, January 25, 2008

'Specially Mine Which Is Just As It Should Be

I feel calm even in the midst of the busiest time I've had in a long while.

I've been busy networking to try and get more consulting work, coordinating my dad's cancer treatment and driving the 80 miles there and back it takes to get to his nursing home, interviewing and exploring full-time job opportunities, reconnecting with work colleagues I haven't seen in years, taking my temperature every morning in an effort to figure out the best time to try and impregnate my almost 43-year-old body, sticking to my new Weight Watcher's eating regime (which has resulted in 4.5 lbs GONE in two weeks) and taking care of my husband, dog, cats, home. It's all happening. All at once.

If that wasn't enough, I've read two books in the past couple of weeks, remembered to send birthday cards to my old English aunties and laughed a lot with Craze along the way.

My networking has actually resulted in some actual, dare I say it, work! So, I've had projects to work on and money coming in. I even got a call yesterday for a long-term project that could be really lucrative. Just what we need at just the right time.

In the past, I might have been crazed at all this activity. But oddly and thankfully, none of it seems to weigh too heavily on my shoulders. I feel light and happy. "Two and a half years of therapy kicking in?" you might ask and you might be right.

Nothing in my life is still perfect, yet it seems right. I'm ok with the imperfections and feel less angst ridden than I can practically ever remember being.

I am not rich or especially beautiful but I am especially happy just to have the life that I have. In the words of a song from my favorite movie (Scrooge with Albert Finney), "Life is fine, life is good, 'specially mine which is just as it should be."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Father Forgive Me. . .

It has been ten days since my last confession. . .as it were.

Not too many exciting occurrences or deep thinking to share during this period, sadly. I've been working to try and get more business and actually my consulting has picked up in the past week (hence my absence). Nothing too exciting to work on but money coming in (or soon will be). Things are looking up and that can't be bad.

It's extra freezing here in Chicago which I am not enjoying in the least. At noon today, it was 24-degrees and three hours later had dropped to 17. I'm sure it's in the single digits now.

Oh, how I long for the sweet, fragrant, earth-melting scent of early spring in the air. . .please come. . .please come. . .soon

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Weighty Dreams

Last night I dreamed that I was getting dressed or something (I had no pants on) and I had some of the fattest calves I have ever seen. Not just chubby or plump, which mine already are, but like Discovery Channel's Heaviest-Man-in-the-World-fat. In the dream, I just stared in disbelief wondering how all this pendulous fat had attached itself to my lower leg without me ever noticing it sooner.

And then I thought. . .

"Well, now I really have to get serious about my diet."

Good God, Weight Watchers, can't I at least slumber in peace?!?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Diet: Day Two

One thing I need to seriously conquer this year is my weight/food issues. So, yesterday it was back onto Weight Watchers for me. Counting points is familiar and not so tough once you get in the swing of things and it forces me to make healthier choices. The diet's fiberific nature is also good.

Day One was, as Borat says, a "great success." Day two is off to a good start also--oatmeal with raw almonds, dried apricots, raisins and coffee.

I actually feel a little better already.

Christmas cookies, chocolate Santas, white flour matzos, full-fat just-about-anything (except Danish blue cheese and dark, dark chocolate consumed in moderation): I divorce thee. I divorce thee. I divorce thee. There. I've done it. That was easy.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

It's Time to Put Out a Hit on Cashmere Mafia

Trapped in my current doldrums, I turned to network TV to help lift my spirits this evening (usually a poor decision) and thought I'd give Cashmere Mafia a try. After less than thirty seconds I'd estimate, I found myself just wanting to bitch-slap most of the characters and tell them to get a real life.

As a woman, I find these dreadfully skinny, high-heel wearing, over-dressed, super successful "women" who still find time to meet with their friends for lunch and cocktails several times a week (and also have lots of fun sex when they don't have their noses to the grindstone) like some man's wet dream of what a successful woman is. I don't like them. I don't want to be like them.

Frankly, I found all but about twenty seconds of the whole program to be fairly nauseating. I think I might have actually thrown up in my mouth. Just a little.

I used to love Sex and the City even though it also had no real bearing on my life. And coming from some of the same production team, I thought CM might be ok. But S&TC was much more compelling and clever. And when it comes to Cashmere Mafia, as my British mother used to admonish me, "It's not smart. And it's not clever."

If these women truly are part of some kind of "mafia," I hope some rival family takes them out. . .real soon.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


I am feeling BLAH.

Over the holidays I pretty much ate whatever I wanted and I think my food allergy issues are creeping up on me. My hands and wrists have been sore and stiff for the past couple of days and my knees hurt more than usual. This morning I woke up feeling stiff and achey. It always happens like this. I just wish I could narrow down the culprit.

I thought it was wheat that eventually makes me feel like an arthritic 90-year old. Then I got tested and my doc says I'm not allergic to it. But magically, every time I cut it out of my diet, I feel better in a matter for a day or two.

Is it yeast? Sugar? Something else? God knows.

I guess it's back to fruit, veggies and lean protein for me. That prescription always seems to clear this up.

In the meantime, I need to stop wallowing in it. My aches and pains along with the dark, rainy, oddly-warm weather are making me cranky. Thunderclouds are rumbling in the distance, but, damn them, I have things to do.

Can someone please loan me some get-up-and-go? I promise to get it back to you in a day or two.

Monday, January 07, 2008

"Thank You, Dad"

I've spent the past two days with my dad which I find very tiring. I'm not exactly sure why, when I just sit around either driving in the car or with him during our visits.

His instability on his feet, rampant forgetfulness and lack of any kind of social graces makes you feel like you're babysitting a 200-lb tipsy toddler with poor communications skills (because my dad forgets everything you say to him after approximately two minutes--no exaggeration).

And apart from just having to keep an eye on him all the time, I find a part of myself, hiding in the background, stands there pointing her finger in anger at the whole scene. I am never short or angry with Dad, but a part of me wishes I could speak to my pre-stroke father and just really give it to him.

"Look. See what you've done to yourself!" I'd love to hurl at the man who refused to quit smoking and started downing frozen Snickers bars like they were going out of style once he found out he was diabetic.

I'd really love to just smack that man who used to say to me, "When your number's up, it's up," when I used to implore him to take better care of himself.

"No, Dad, sometimes it's not up. Sometimes, you just lose your mind and your senses and leave it to everyone else to take care of you as you slip farther and farther away at a snail's pace."

I've been taking care of my Dad on and off since I was twenty. When my mom died and Dad refused to get out of bed for weeks. That was twenty-two years ago and I'm still looking after him. Now it involves frequent long drives to the nursing home, trips to the oncologist, dressing and undressing him and explaining the same things a million times over.

My real dad died a long time ago. The one I have left doesn't know how old he is or what year it is. He doesn't remember my husband's name or that I'm even married for that matter. And if you ask him if he has grandchildren, he can't tell you for sure. He's quiet now and looks perpetually lost. He says "thank you" a lot even when you haven't done anything to deserve thanks. And that's pretty much all he says unless he's asked a direct question.

I guess, if I'm truthful, it's the buried anger that tires me out. It's heavy to bear. I'm angry with my father for opting out of our lives in such a cowardly way. In refusing to take care of himself when he could, to make himself healthier when that was still an option, he gave up on us and didn't give a thought to the fact that we deserved a better father. One who wanted to be around. One who wanted to really participate actively in our lives for just as long as he could. It's worse than abandonment because the father we did love once is long gone. But this quiet, sad shell of a person is still here. And that man, he requires a lot of looking after.

"Oh, no. Thank you, Dad. Thanks a million."

Friday, January 04, 2008

Hello, Universe

My bank balance is sad :(

It's not exactly making me sad or panicky but I do need to make more moola. . .and soon. I've been looking for a "real" job now for a few months, but the end of the year is clearly the worst time. I've had a few interviews but no offers yet. I'm frankly a little surprised. I've got such a great track record that I figured I'd be snapped up by some clever company in no time. Not the case it seems.

There's an interesting lesson in all this somewhere. I'm just trying to figure out exactly what it is.

In the meantime, I'm going to try and drum up some more freelance work now that the holidays are over, keep looking for any new job openings and generally think hopeful thoughts and keep my fingers crossed for good measure. And while I'm at it, I might finally sell some of the stuff sitting around my house collecting dust that I've been wanting to shift on eBay for years. Clear out the clutter and cobwebs and bring in some extra cash.

And, last but not least, I'll put it out into the universe. "Hello, Universe. I heard you were looking for a smart, creative and hard working person. Well, I'm your girl. Give me a ring. Let's chat. . ."

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Unmaking My Mess

The tree is still up but, sadly, the holidays, it would appear, are over. The advent of January (beyond the first of the month) has swept away all my excuses for relaxation, laziness or other more pressing holiday duties. Just need to get back to it, I guess.

So, I was back online looking for gainful employment opportunities this morning and shooting emails to a few contacts. My big project for the next couple of days is to finally clean up my office. It's a HUGE mess. I've been really lax about getting things together in there for months. But now, I feel like it's just holding me back.

Not to mention the fact that one of us (the human or furry inhabitants of my home) are likely to be crushed at any moment by a landslide of paperwork and miscellaneous stuff while innocently passing my desk. I couldn't have that on my conscience. Or all over the floor for that matter.

Now where did I put those new file folders I bought like seven months ago? I hope to god they're not at the bottom of the pile. That could be problematic. . .

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

All Is Quiet on New Year's Day

Just like the U2 song of my youth, New Year's day was still and peaceful. Except for the snow which continued to fall but made for a picture of loveliness and a visual clean slate to begin the New Year.

After days over the holidays spent dishing out Dayquil and matzo ball soup to the sickly husband, he finally felt a little better on New Year's Eve. So, we ventured out with a friend to a downtown Latin-themed hipster restaurant/bar where they play samba music and serve mojitos and over-priced tiny tapas.

It was fun at first, but I grew tired of the noise and chill sitting by the plate glass window after several hours. Waiting for midnight, I just kept wondering what the Bug was doing back home and wishing I was there with her, curled up with Craze on the sofa with a glass of something tasty and alcoholic, waiting for the ball to drop on TV and watching the snow fall outside. But instead, we waited for a countdown that never came until the establishment finally yelled "Happy New Year" at about 12:02 according to Craze's cell phone. Very anti-climatic.

We danced a little after midnight, but the dance floor was steamy and uncomfortable as over-dressed people jostled for space. The floor was slippery and sticky presumably from a multitude of spilled exotic cocktails.

It just wasn't my thing and, having settled up the bill, I was really counting the moments until I could gracefully let our friend know that it was time for us to go. Just about that time, most of the electricity went out in the place. The lights went dark and the emergency lighting kicked in and the music stopped. A hush fell over the festive crowd as everyone looked around waiting for things to kick back into gear. Moments ticked by and nothing happened. We waited about ten minutes until I finally took this as my perfect out-clue. It really was time to go.

Arriving home to about four inches of freshly-fallen snow, we let the Bug outside and she did her crazy, body-slamming dance of pure "welcome home" exhilaration. She then proceeded to run around attacking the snow in the backyard as if it was some new kind of agility course like she likes to do.

The following morning I watched the Rose Parade, chatted with my aunt and uncle in England and read magazines in my jammies until well into the afternoon. And in the evening I made the most delicious, spicy curry, finally using up the last of the Christmas turkey.

All in all, the first day of 2008 was uneventful and cozy and really quite a good way to start the New Year. Better still because there was nary a mojito or a caipirinia anywhere in site.